The Giovanni in LotN

The final article is up ... finally ;-)

Giovanni got very little good toys in this set, but as I was going through older sets and decks to write this article, I realized that this was always the case with the lewd necromancers :-(

So let's start with the worse part ... the crypt. Eric is a decent potence weenie in the wrong group, Stephan wastes his second discipline with presence, Nunzio with two in-clan at inferiors is actually good at the G4/5, Kay has protean, which could possibly be utilized in a deck build around that discipline and finally Primo is the standard 4-cap with 3 in-clan at inferior.
At mid-caps, Margaret is the standard anarch, Francis is the only vampire below 7 with superior necromancy, Accorri with superior dominate and along with Gianmaria all three have superior potence. Paolo is the first solid vampire with interesting options, considering his off-clan disciplines. Diego & del Giorgio at 8-cap are the youngest with all in-clan superior, while the later has an extremely useful ability and superior protean.
The high-caps still suffer from useless disciplines. Guillaume is saved by his two amazing specials. Lorenzo is exactly the opposite with an offensive combat special and potence as his sole combat discipline! Constancia is the only one with useful off-clan discipline, but her ability is mediocre the least and finally Luna has a good voting special, but no voting discipline! on the other hand her superior obfuscate can be useful for the Puppeteer decks.
I hoped for some support to proxy kissed + dead hand (NEC/pot + for), but instead there is one vampire with superior necromancy below 7! and the one with fortitude pays for it extra! while the other is a 10-cap!

The discipline distribution now in G4/5 is:
POT/pot -> 9/14 (23)
NEC/nec -> 10/13 (23)
DOM/dom -> 7/13 (20)
PRE/pre -> -/6, useless at inferior
PRO/pro -> 2/2
FOR/for -> 2/2
CEL/cel -> 1/3, too few for combat
AUS/aus -> 1/3, only for revealation
OBT/obt -> 1/2, useless
ANI/ani -> -/3, even more useless
THA/tha -> 1/1, for Magic of the Smith
one with CHI or OBF // probably in star decks
one with vic or dem // ignore them

The clan cards include Swiss Cut, which is a limited HG, unless someone has lost his mind and plays investments. Diary and Shell Break, while not bad themshelves are very hard to utilize. Tye is a nice alternative to Gregory Winter for finishing off beaten minions. Charigger isn't really a big benefit for a clan with dominate and finally the Promise is powerful against Camarilla.
Necromancy didn't get the support I expected. Chair of Hades is at least effective against the Imbued, but Resume the Coil and Soul Feasting are unbelievably bad (reminding me the AH/DS days). Shroudsight is useful to specific decks and Trochomancy (+ auspex) is very good for the Harbingers, but not the Giovanni since only four have auspex. Finally, Cold Aura could crawl into decks in certain metagames.
Dominate's Command the Legion is a solid addition, Murmur of the False Will is giving versatility and Autonomic Mastery is just decent.
Potence got also some strong cards, but without some kind of defense it loses it's value. Preternatural Strength can also save card slots by reducing or removing TS. Brute Force seems to me unecessary, on the other hand Slam gives a much needed maneuver and Street Cred is also nice addition to combat decks.
Finally, we got some pretty interesting cards without requirements. Bundi can be combined with IG and save slots from combat and Malajit offers additional stealth. The more significant cards though are aiding the Shambling Hordes and these are Leverage, Forearm Block, Target Head, Target Leg and Target Vitals.

The main problem a new player will face is the crypt. Not only the new vampires are inferior to the old G2/3, but getting your hands on the rest of G4 is hard. Gualtiero is the only worthy necromancer in Legacies of Blood, Raphaela and Don Michael are in Kindred Most Wanted. The two Giovanni with fortitude are even harder to find, since Benedict was only in the Alastor Starter and Baldesar is in Gehenna boosters. In general Legacies of Blood has some useful cards, but more importantly gives access to the three bloodlines with necromancy (Samedi, Harbingers and Nagaraja). Kindred Most Wanted on the other hand, offers more useful library cards, but does not really extend the horrible crypt options. Finally, Gehenna is a further example of next to zero useful crypt cards but has several powerful library cards.
3rd Edition not only offers some staple cards (Obedience, Scouting Mission (BH:Tr4), Delaying Tactics, Trap), but also has a lot of other useful ones, either for trade or to utilize the off-clan disciplines, especially if you take advantage of the bloodlines. The older base set (Camarilla Edition) has also some staple (Govern the Unaligned (FN:PG2), Seduction (BH:PTr2), Deflection (BH:PTr4, FN:PG2), Bonding (BH:Tr4)) and has the same advantages with the new base set. The problem is that it is hard to locate it.
A cheap alternative is the Tremere Antitribu starter from the Black Hand (NOT the 3rd Edition) since it has most of the dominate cards you will need. The old Giovanni from Final Nights has also a lot of useful cards, but more importantly gives you access to the old G2/3 crypt. And I also should note that three powerful cards (Spiritual Intervention (10th:B), Carlton Van Wyk (10th:B), Liquidation (10th:B)) can be found in the 10th anniversary set B.
Final Nights doesn't really offer anything significant apart from Charisma. It has useful cards and is worth buying, but given the difficulty to find boosters, I do not think it is worth the effort. On the other hand if you aim at making G2/3 crypts you will probably be more motivated ;-)

With the same limitation I used for the other three clans, I managed to put up a decent bruise-bleed deck for casual games. Pay attention that it has limited maneuvers (Slam) and damage prevention (Forearm, Armor & Undying), thus it will crumble against dedicated combat. Also the limited amount of IGs will be incapable of dealing with S:CE and without Dead Hand there is no way to deal with damage prevention. The bleed threat is also limited, but this is intentional, you could always include the conditionings from the starters, if you see that your metagame is neither bounce or intercept heavy.

Crypt [12] (average: 6.67)
3x Lady Constancia (Gio.10 / AUS DOM FOR NEC POT)
1x Guillaume Giovanni (Gio.9 / CEL DOM NEC POT obt)
1x Giovanni del Georgio (Gio.8 / DOM NEC POT PRO)
1x Paolo Sardenzo (Gio.7 / dom NEC POT THA pro)
1x Accorri Giovanni (Gio.6 / ani DOM nec POT)
1x Francis Milliner (Gio.6 / NEC POT pre vic)
1x Gianmaria Giovanni (Gio.5 / dom nec obt POT)
1x Primo Giovanni (Gio.4 / dom nec pot)
1x Nunzio Giovanni (Gio.3 / nec pot)
1x Eric Milliner (Gio.2 / pot)

Master [12]
1x Giant's Blood
1x KRCG News Radio
1x Morgue Hunting Ground
1x Path of Bone, The
4x Proxy Kissed
4x Vessel

Action [10]
1x Dominate Kine
2x Graverobbing
5x Harass
2x Sudario Refraction

Ally [8]
8x Shambling Hordes

Equipment [6]
3x Bundi
2x Nightstick
1x Sargon Fragment, The

Reaction [6]
3x Eluding the Arms of Morpheus
3x Fillip

Action Modifier/Reaction [10]
6x Murmur of the False Will
4x Spectral Divination

Action Modifier [8]
6x Call of the Hungry Dead
2x Forger's Hammer

Combat [30]
4x Armor of Vitality
3x Forearm Block
4x Immortal Grapple
6x Slam
3x Street Cred
4x Taste of Vitae
4x Torn Signpost
2x Undying Tenacity

There two ways to improve this deck (both removing combat). First, you can double or triple the Shambling Hordes and get your hands on Liquidation to boost ash heap recursion. The other is to focus on power-bleed, by increasing the stealth and block denial, as well as bleed-bounce and combat defense. In both cases you will need additional starters and the 10th anniversary preconstructed. A third option is to focus on potence, but this has not proven very successful in tournaments and the learning curve is pretty steep, so I would not suggest it to new players, even for casual games.

During this month I will put up a large article about the most competitive "indie" decks, including the Gangrel!

Read more!