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IN EXTREMIS
Imbued Newsletter
September 2006

Witness1

IN EXTREMIS - Imbued Newsletter,  September 2006

I. IN EXTREMIS
II. THE HERE AND NOW
III. I HAVE HEARD THE MESSAGE
IV. THE HUNTER'S EDGE
V. TOOLS OF THE HUNT
VI. THE DEVIL'S OWN


I. IN EXTREMIS

"It is not enough that we, the imbued, must somehow come to grips
with the awful truth of the world. If we do not know who we are and why
we have been called to fight this war, we will never be strong enough
to overcome the monsters and their domination of the human race. The
mere fact that others of the chosen do not see the enemy in the same
way we do is proof enough that the imbuing alone does not provide a
clear course for victory.

This site is for the fighters, the warriors who see the world for what
it is - a battleground. The enemy will not give in simply because we
ask them to or appeal to their corrupted humanity. We imbued have found
our way onto the net to find others like ourselves, to share our
experiences and draw courage from one another. Instead, we are
bombarded by dissenting voices, weak wills, and selfish egos who try to
turn the hunt into a mockery of its noble purpose. Hunter-net served
its purpose well enough in the beginning, but now it acts more to
weaken our resolve than to strengthen it. Think of this site as a fire
in the darkness, to gather our lost and scattered numbers and renew our
determination for the true cause.

If you believe in wasting your energies to protect drones or to look
for the good in the souls of abominations, you are not welcome here.
The Firelight website is for true hunters, the killers of beasts. This
is a place for us to share our knowledge of the enemy and the tactics
of their destruction. I created this site to keep our souls pure and
our minds focused on the task at hand.

We're the only hope humanity has left."
- Firelight home page, Hunter-Book: Avenger


II. THE HERE AND NOW

Welcome back to the V:EKN Imbued Newsletter. DragonCon has come and
gone and with it the Southeast Regional Qualifier. This month's issue
will focus on imbued combat and the lessons learned from playing a
Vengeance deck in the qualifier.

First, we'll analyze the crypt options for a vengeance deck, followed
by a look at the vengeance and Avenger library cards available.
Afterwards, we'll examine more general library tools, and finally
I'll dissect my qualifying deck and retool it with some lessons
learned from DragonCon.

III. I HAVE HEARD THE MESSAGE

Beatrice "Oracle171" Tremblay
Innocent - 3 cap, group 4
INN VEN
During your untap phase, another ready imbued you control takes 1
unpreventable damage. +1 bleed.

Beatrice is a solid bleeder, and innocence is pretty good, but her
pinging damage sucks when you want to use other imbued. If you want to
use her alongside the others, try combining her with imbued who can
Rejuvenate, so that you can heal the ping right back each turn.
Beatrice is cheap enough that you can probably afford to bring her out
later in the game, after the Rejuvenation has already been set up.


Jennifer "Flame61" Vidisania
Avenger - 4 cap, group 4
VEN VIS
Weapons cost Jennifer one less blood or pool. +1 bleed. -1 stealth.

Jennifer's a pretty decent minion. Bigger bleeds generate more blocks
(or else bleed your prey harder, either way is good for you) and
cheaper weapons can come in handy. The stealth penalty means you have
to spend conviction or use Angel of Berlin or Concealed Weapon to get
your equips through, however, and getting powers will also be hard
unless you've already got a scary weapon or something.


John "Cop90" O'Malley
Avenger - 4 cap, group 4
JUD VEN
John may enter combat with a monster as a (D) action that costs 1
conviction.

Solid. Judgment allows Vigilance, which opens up the possibility of
rush/bleed or even multirush, and the built-in rush is very excellent
(especially if it's blocked and you get to keep your conviction and
still trash a minion). Quite possibly the best of the bunch.


Lupe "Cabbie22" Droin
Defender - 4 cap, group 4
DEF VEN
If Lupe has a vehicle, once each action she may burn a conviction to
get +1 stealth or +1 intercept.

Lupe's Defense virtue is quite helpful in a combat-deck, allowing her
to Rejuvenate and/or become a Champion to defend against heavy stealth
bleeds or other (D) actions. Her vehicle special is often useful as
well, for blocking, target acquisition, or just getting through one
last bleed that ousts your prey.


Pedro Cortez
Avenger - 4 cap, group 4
MAR DEF
+1 strength. Pedro cannot maneuver to long range, press to end combat,
or end combat as a strike.
+1 strength is very good. The "frenzy" penalty can hurt you on
occasion, but most of the time it plays to your strengths anyway.
Martyrdom allows Inflict, which combines nicely with Surge. Donate
combines nicely with Smite and Cleave (especially the part where the
bonus strength lasts the rest of combat. Pedro competes with John
O'Malley for the top spot. I prefer John, but only barely.


Peter "Outback295" Rophail
Redeemer - 4 cap, group 4
RED VEN
While Peter is in combat with a monster, he may burn a conviction to
get a maneuver.

Peter is yet another solid minion. His maneuver ability is expensive,
but when you're want to chase down a monster (or escape from Arms of
the Abyss/Entombment), it helps not need Fake Outs in your hand to do
it. Redemption allows you to use Shame, which could help you out of in
some scary combat situations (War Ghouls and Shambling Hordes come to
mind).

IV. THE HUNTER'S EDGE

Cleave
Combat, Vengeance
Choose a melee weapon this imbued has or spend 1 conviction to put this
card on this imbued to represent a melee weapon that does strength
damage each strike. This melee weapon inflicts +1 additional damage
{{this action}}. If the opposing minion is (or becomes) immune to
non-aggravated damage, he or she loses that immunity for handling
damage from this weapon. Burn the melee weapon at the end of the
action.

Used alone, Cleave is more expensive and less flexible than lucky blow.
In combination with more Cleaves, a weapon, or presses to continue, it
gets better and better. It's a lot like Increased Strength, in that
it's stackable indefinitely, but you can wait until after strikes are
declared to increase your damage, allowing you to conserve cards
against cagey opponents. You also don't need to draw into a strike
card to make use of it (or two strikes to keep the benefit after
pressing). Make sure to use React With Conviction to cancel opposing
Majesties or Staredowns, and try not to overspend - press into
another round when to save on Cleaves whenever you can survive it.
Against Immortal Grapple, there's not much the Avenger can do but hit
hands for one (or two With Conviction), prevent with Surge or
equipment, and deny the opposing combatant Taste of Vitae.
Occasionally, you'll be able to outmaneuver the opponent and get a
Smite off, but that's an expensive (albeit probably effective)
solution, and many potence combat decks will be ready to chase you down
with celerity maneuvers. Against Dodges, your best option is to press
to continue and run your opponent out of defenses. Unless they're
getting additional strikes as well, you should be able to wear them
down and clobber them when they're hand runs out.


Muse of Flame
Action, Vengeance
+2 stealth action
(D) If this action is successful, choose a monster controlled by your
prey at random. This imbued enters combat with the chosen monster.

This card is pretty awkward. You get to get in a fight, but you don't
get to pick your target. You can only hit your prey's minions.
Occasionally your prey will block you (and he gets to pick the minion),
otherwise, it's random. You also don't get a maneuver or press like
Bum's Rush, Harass, or Ambush would give you. Occasionally, you'll
randomly pick a Haven'd minion and lose your action entirely.
It's replaceable, and you're more likely to use effects like Church
of Vindicated Faith or Edge Explosion that trigger off of a successful
action. Regaining extra conviction could be worth the tradeoff on
occasion, but you'll still need other actions if you want to take
your predator down a peg or pick off a specific target. Combined with
Vigilance, it might make Avenger multirush a viable strategy.


Smite
Combat, Vengeance
Costs 3 conviction
Strike: Strength+1 aggravated ranged damage. Even if the strike is
dodged, burn any electronic equipment (e.g., IR Goggles, Laptop
Computer, or Phased Motion Detector) on either combatant.

Smite is quite expensive, but ranged agg damage can be worth it, along
with the ability to destroy some really bothersome equipment. The
drawback is that it destroys your own equipment as well, so I recommend
skipping the electronic gear in a deck heavy with Smites. Include a
couple copies of this card in any vengeance deck if you can, to
surprise opponents who thought long range would be safe, or
occasionally kill a scary grapple-monster that you managed to
outmaneuver.


Surge
Power, Vengeance
[Combat][Reaction][1 conviction] Put three surge counters on this
imbued. This imbued may burn any number of surge counters to prevent
that amount of non-aggravated damage. Burn all surge counters on this
imbued at the end of the action.

Surge is huge, in my experience, as it saves your guys from the
incapacitated region when they take hands for one over repeated
combats, as well as saving them from larger strikes and enabling Pulled
Fangs.

Surge's ability to be used as a reaction card is odd, making it the
only card I know of that can prevent damage outside of combat. Brick
Laying is the only card I know of that matters for this, because most
actions that deal damage (like Cryptic Mission and Shadow Twin) specify
that their damage is unpreventable anyhow.

Living Wood Staff
Equipment, requires Avenger
Cost - X conviction
Unique melee weapon.
Strength damage each strike. Imbued inflict +X damage each strike with
this weapon. Using Cleave with this weapon will not burn this weapon.

This is a good weapon. Even if X=0, it makes the first Cleave free,
which is handy. Each conviction point spent in it is almost as good as
a permanent extra Cleave on the weapon, so it's a good deal to spend
them when you have them unless there's a lot of Immortal Grapple or
Terror Frenzy combat going on (and even then you should consider it).

V. TOOLS OF THE HUNT

Card of the Month:

Pulled Fangs
Combat
Only usable at the end of a round of combat in which this minion
inflicted more damage at close range than the opposing vampire. Not
usable by a dying ally or a vampire going into torpor.
Put this card on the opposing vampire and this minion inflicts 1 point
of damage. The victim cannot hunt until this card is removed. Any
vampire(s) may burn this card with two +1 stealth (D) actions. If the
victim must hunt and cannot, he or she goes into torpor. A vampire can
have only 1 Pulled Fangs

With Surge for damage prevention and stackable cleaves to deal
potentially large amounts of damage to an opposing minion, Pulled Fangs
is a natural in any cleave deck. It's sometimes even playable with
only a Strike With Conviction hands-for-two combat, so it shouldn't
be stuck in your hand all that often. As David Tatu put it to me, "I
like it better than Disarm. It makes people think, 'maybe that guy's
not really worth rescuing from torpor now.'"


Flak Jackets and Leather Jackets can be essential for protecting your
imbued. I'm not sure which I prefer in a Vengeance deck yet; Leather
Jackets can protect you from massive hitback, but since you're going
to be in combat so often, the constant Flak Jacket prevention is
probably more valuable - not to mention that it saves you from
spending conviction on Surge when you're only taking hands for one.

Hawgs can be pretty good with the permanent press, which also be used
as a way to catch minions who can maneuver to long range as well as
just hitting people twice as hard with the same set of Cleaves.

Weighted Walking Stick is huge in Vengeance combat, essentially
becoming a free first Cleave. Just remember not to deal more than four
damage on your first strike with it if you plan on pressing, because
the Stick has its own burn clause.

Dragonbound and Tension in the Ranks are strong, probably hurting
everyone at the table except for you. Fame is probably less good in an
imbued deck, mostly because you're already hurting for master space
after including several Angels of Berlin. You can't rescue and
re-dunk the famous vampire either, and once your first prey is ousted,
you'd need a new fame to play. Also, dealing with the constant ping
from a Famous vampire in torpor isn't easy, as the imbued have
limited pool-gain options. It's easier just to take advantage of the
constant pinging of Tension/Dragonbound with the occasional bleed of
two to take down your prey.

Use Angel of Berlin to equip out-of-turn: the choice is typically
between untapping after taking the action to equip or never tap for the
equip action in the first place. They're both strong effects, but the
second option's usually better, because you can choose between standing
untapped for a block attempt or taking some other action (like a rush
or a bleed).

VI. THE DEVIL'S OWN

Deck Name: Give Back the Devil His Own (Vengeance 1.0)
Created by: Witness1
Description: This is the deck I played at the Southeast qualifier.
Rush, cleave, and bleed your way to victory.

Crypt (12 cards):
3x John "Cop90" O'Malley	4	JUD VEN	Rush monsters for a conviction
3x Pedro Cortez			4	MAR VEN	+1 Strength, can't run away
2x Lupe "Cabbie22" Droin	4	DEF VEN	Vehicle special
2x Peter "Outback295" Rophail	4	RED VEN	Burn a conviction for a maneuver
2x Jennifer "Flame61" Vidisania	4	VEN VIS	+1 bleed, -1 stealth, cheap weapons

Master (13 cards)
8x Angel of Berlin
1x Memories of Mortality
1x Tension in the Ranks
1x Vox Domini
1x The Barrens
1x The Church of Vindicated Faith

Event (3 cards)
2x Dragonbound
1x Edge Explosion

Combat (23 cards)
8x Cleave
2x Weighted Walking Stick
2x Pulled Fangs
3x Dead-end Alley
4x Fake Out
4x Smite

Actions (7 cards)
1x Bum's Rush
2x Harass
2x Ambush
2x Arson

Reaction (3 cards)
3x Poison Pill

Power (9 cards)
5x Surge
2x Rejuvenate
2x Vigilance

Ally (1 card)
1x Carlton Van Wyk

Equipment (12 cards)
2x The Crusader Sword
2x Living Wood Staff
2x Hawg
3x Flak Jacket
2x Meat Hook
1x Orb of Ulain

Conviction (19 cards)
8x React With Conviction
7x Strike With Conviction
4x Second Sight

After playing in the qualifier, I realized that I'd forgotten the
golden rule of Archon Investigation: If your deck doesn't have
bounce, it should have Archon Investigation. In the first round, my
predator was playing a Lasombra stealth-bleed deck with Arms of the
Abyss/Entombment combat. The same deck was my predator in the finals.
Archon Investigation would have altered either game dramatically. Also,
since there's only one Edge Explosion, I noticed that it was often
impossible to play the Rejuvenates and/or Vigilances. I removed one of
each to fit in a pair of Archon Investigations.

I also noticed that I occasionally had more convictions in hand than I
could play, so I took one out. I decided a more balanced approach would
be better, so one React and one Strike came out, replaced by another
Second Sight and another Bum's Rush.

The Meat Hooks were traded up for another pair of Walking Sticks
(thanks to third edition). The Orb of Ulain became another Hawg, and
Carlton Van Wyk was replaced with a Heart of Nizchetus (also from third
edition). The card cycling should be pretty sweet. The Flak Jackets
have been replaced with leather for now, but I expect they'll be
changed back after a few more games.

I also took out one Smite, two Fake Outs, and one Dead End Alley for a
pair of additional Cleaves and a pair of Traps. This leaves me a bit
more vulnerable to gun combat, but more focused on melee combat which
is what I want to do anyway.

The final product:

Deck Name: Hero of the Day (Vengeance 2.0)
Created by: Witness1
Description: Cleave, cleave, cleave.

Crypt (12 cards):
3x John "Cop90" O'Malley	4	JUD VEN	Rush monsters for a conviction
3x Pedro Cortez			4	MAR VEN	+1 Strength, can't run away
2x Lupe "Cabbie22" Droin	4	DEF VEN	Vehicle special
2x Peter "Outback295" Rophail	4	RED VEN	Burn a conviction for a maneuver
2x Jennifer "Flame61" Vidisania	4	VEN VIS	+1 bleed, -1 stealth, cheap weapons

Master (15 cards)
8x Angel of Berlin
1x Memories of Mortality
1x Tension in the Ranks
1x Vox Domini
1x The Barrens
1x The Church of Vindicated Faith
2x Archon Investigation

Event (3 cards)
2x Dragonbound
1x Edge Explosion

Combat (25 cards)
10x Cleave
4x Weighted Walking Stick
2x Pulled Fangs
2x Dead-end Alley
2x Fake Out
3x Smite
2x Trap

Actions (8 cards)
2x Bum's Rush
2x Harass
2x Ambush
2x Arson

Reaction (3 cards)
3x Poison Pill

Power (7 cards)
5x Surge
1x Rejuvenate
1x Vigilance

Equipment (11 cards)
2x The Crusader Sword
2x Living Wood Staff
3x Hawg
3x Leather Jacket
1x Heart of Nizchetus

Conviction (18 cards)
7x React With Conviction
6x Strike With Conviction
5x Second Sight


That's it for this month. Here's hoping the next newsletter won't
be so late!
-Witness1
-ItE





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