2007/10/06

Setites after LotN

The Setites, in V:tES, is one of the clans that its playstyle is still reminescent of the archtypical old school Malkavian stealth and bleed. It was the only independent clan that actually faired well even before Final Nights came out. After FN, they were able to win around four tournaments per year, mainly due to the crypt boost they got (from 15 vampires with serpentis before FN, they reached 30 after). The next boost came with Kindred Most Wanted and some auxillary cards that the set offered. Now with LotN, a lot of old strategies are enforced, even some obsolute like corruption, but apart from that I really can not say that we are going to see something really new. On the other hand, some crippling weaknesses of the clan are addressed, bounce (though indirectly) and influancing. Still intercept remains the biggest weakness of the clan, since generating even a single point is very difficult task!

For discussion check the comments or the newsgroup.

The new crypt cards offer more or less what we already had, discipline-wise. Belle, Ahmose, Marla & Sisocharis are good and solid weenies. Abdelsobek just begs to become an anarch (he's able to use 8 out of the 12 3-way cards) and he also has an ability similar to Mylan Horseed. Halim is similar to Black Lotus, with superior dominate and but without presence; he also bestows stealth on mummies while he is ready. Renenet & Clea are solid mid-caps with all the in-clan disciplines. Ogwon offers another way to reduce opposing vampires' blood. Arnulf has a very strong ability that aids blocking and coupled with his auspex, offers the best chance the clan has in defending. Sundervere is a powerful bleeder (cardless upto 3, without permanents can reach 7, just one below his capacity and Pulse or Heart 9!!!), has superior auspex and he is red list, which translates as prime rush target for every combat competent deck. Pentweret is funny because he has all of the Salubri disciplines at inferior and from a serious perspective, a powerful anti-imbued ability (remember that the Imbued are 0-cost allies). Porphyrion is just bad design for two reasons; first he has an ability related to a card not yet printed (Treaty of Laibach is going to be a promo) and second he would be a better addition to the Ravnos than his own clan with CHI for OBF! Shemti looks totaly nuts in the artwork and has an ability similar to Crocodile Temple (enhancing Temptation). Seterpenre has a weird and probably useless ability. Last but not least, comes Nakhthorheb, who has the same ability as Eze, untap during your minion phase, which just overwhelmingly powerful! and if this is not enough corrupted minions can block him! oh he also has +1 strength, but than again who cares ;) This guy must be in every deck that uses his disciplines and the gretest minion is not below 4! namely all setite decks!

Discipline distribution of G4+5 is:

SER/ser -> 16+9=25
OBF/obf -> 14+9=23
PRE/pre
-> 13+8=21
THA/tha -> 3+2=5
AUS/aus -> 2+3=5
POT/pot -> 3+1=4
DOM/dom -> 2+2=4
NEC/nec -> 1+3=4
FOR/for -> 0+4=4
CEL/cel -> 0+2=2
one with CHI
one each with obe or vic

The new clan cards offer some possibilities. Cave of Apples, for example, is a huge boost to corruption strategy, since it lets any setite corrupt without a card any younger minion, including imbued! Mesu Bedshet is also a very effective card, bringing crypt cards to the uncontrolled reason and provided you do it right, also put on each two free pool. Spell of Life complements the previous action, since all those uncontrolled vampires can enter play as mummy allies. Speaking of mummies, Nephren-Ka is decent, but still nothing game-breaking. Finally, setites got Mokole Blood, which is just amazing, not only you temporary expand your hand size, you choose the cards from either library or ash heap and even after playing them, it burned, so you can bring the next one! Serpentis offers less usefull cards, Eternal Mask, for example would be a could addition to a weenie combat deck, not setites. Revalation of Ecstasy, on the other hand, is a very strong complement to the cave, since it in addition to corrupting, it also taps the chosen minion, plus it has no capacity limitation! Set's Curse is to expensive and I'd rather stick with the old pre/ser steal ally cards. Divine Image is one failed try to boost the setite combat potential. Cobra Fangs is a decent threat against combat deck.

Presence's Public Trust is very powerful (and similar to Undue Influence). Dream World is a huge boost to breed decks. Bloodlust, apart from being weak, is totally out of the discipline's character. Unholy Penance is pretty good for intercept decks, thus not the setites. Obfuscate was discussed in detail in the Assamite article, I'll just spotlight in the cards
relevant to the clan. Into Thin air is a huge boost to breed decks, especially when coupled with Dream World from above. Hide the Mind is effective since auspex still is the strongest and most common intercept discipline. Finally, there is Mental Maze, which is free for setites, though the blocking limitation prohibits its use to very few decks.As for off-clan disciplines, celerity's Precision, is a very effective against bounce.

Eternals of Sirius is simply overwhelmingly powerful! saves you five transfers and one pool, meaning if you're fourth or fifth you can bring out a 9-cap in your first round! Powerbase: Z├╝rich is another boost to influencing and also impossible to lose it with a stealth-bleed deck. Influencing support was one way the clan's lack of bounce was addressed, another option is Narrow Minds, which makes your opponents' bouncing more expensive. Finally, there is the disciplineless bounce with Lost in the Translation.

Since setites have presence, I think it best to address the new political actions. Reckless Agitation is amazing, but still on par with KRC, just be cautious since this card will draw hate by two players. Jericho Founding is just mediocre. Can't Take it with You is very good, since a lot of decks depend on permanents. Permanent Vacation is one more anti-imbued card from this set, but still even without imbued it's going to be useful against Warghouls, Hordes and others. Finally, there is Warrant make it's target a Red List in all but the name, so no trophies and goodies ... why make a card this?

It won't be an exaggeration to say that setites are the most newbie friendly of four clans. The preconstructed is fairly good, by itself and with the cards that can be found in the boosters, a competative deck can be created (see below for a suggestion). There are also three older preconstructed that have a lot of useful cards. Guruhi offer Giant's Blood, Legendary Vampire, 3 Minion Tap, Sudden Reversal, Awe, 4 Bewitching Oration, 3 Voter Captivation, 2 Wake with Evening's Freshness and many political actions. Istharri have 2 Blood Doll, Heidelberg, Sudden Reversal, 3 more Wakes, a Marijava Ghoul, Entrancement, 5 Enchant Kindred and 3 Legal Manipulation. Finally, from KMW there's the Baali preconstructed, which has Sahira & Suren, 3 Blood Dolls, 5 Legal Manipulation, another Enticement, a Temptation, extra stealth (which is really necessary), 5 Wakes, but most importantly a Mylan Horseed. KMW boosters also have several solid group 4 setites, Ferraille (imperative for voting), Waters of Duat, Disengage (must for S:CE defense) and Heart of the City. Not a lot, but is economic for drafting, the other option is trade. Again 3rd edition offers a lot of cards that are generally useful both for play and trade. Also LoB is also a good option to expand your collection and play options, if you chose the preconstructed.
Finally, the FN preconstructed and boosters won't really aid your collection, they are more or less obsolute for what the setites care.

For deck suggestion I will restrain myself in card selection, since the whole article is primarily for new players. I take for granted that a player has 2 clan starters and has either drafted 9 LothN boosters (approximately the same as buying a whole booster box). Thus the limitation are no rares, up to 5 commons, 2 uncommons & vampires, plus whatever cards you get from the two starters.

Crypt [12]
4x Nakhthorheb
1x Ogwon
1x Clea
1x Abdelsobek
1x Renenet
1x Marla Kenyon
1x Sisocharis
1x Ahmose
1x Belle
Master [12]
1x Crocodile Temple, The
2x Eternals of Sirius, The
1x Khobar Towers, Al-Khubar
1x Opium Den
1x Secure Haven
4x Vessel
2x Wash
Action [24]
2x Enticement
1x Form of Corruption
6x Mesu Bedshet
9x Public Trust
6x Temptation
Action Modifier [30]
3x Approximation of Loyalty
9x Into Thin Air
3x Revelation of Desire
4x Spying Mission
3x True Love's Face
4x Truth of a Thousand Lies
4x Veil the Legions
Reaction [12]
2x Confusion of the Eye
3x Eluding the Arms of Morpheus
3x Fillip
1x Lost in Translation
3x Mental Maze
Combat [12]
8x Majesty
4x Unholy Penance

The basic concept is to speed influencing and save pool (Eternals, Mesu and Public Trust), get as many as possible minions and bleed at stealth. Defense is the biggest problem, while 12 CE will stop most Psyche/TP Tracking combat, IG can only be dealt with Mental Maze, so if you face a lot of potence combat increase their number. Bleed/Vote defense also is thin, but this is a general problem for the clan. You could add the two Dummy Corporation from the preconstructed, as well as Ecstasies and more Confusions; removing either stealth/denial (if you don't face a lot of intercept) or combat defense (if there is not much rushing in your metagame). Finally, there are 17 stealth and 6 denial modifiers which is not enough to pass through dedicated intercept, so I would suggest to increase them at the expense of either bleed modifiers or reactions.