Howler & Friends
This is an entry in the Bibliodèque project.
This is a variant of a major tournament archetype: here is the analysis of a tournament-winning decklist of the archetype instead.
This is an Ahrimanes wall deck using group 4 Ahrimanes. Depending on the build, it can be a pure wall or more of a toolbox. The core concept is to use the rather classical i Intercept/Combat combination — Raven Spy, Cat's Guidance, Aid From Bats and Carrion Crows — combined with z intercept and combat enhancers: Falcon's Eye, Speak with Spirits, Ears of the Hare and Swiftness of the Stag.
This is a slow play, slowing down the prey and predator and bloating a bit with Master cards, all the while bleeding when possible with Deep Song and dealing additional pool damage with Fame and Dragonbound.
Tips & Tricks
As Ahrimanes are Sabbat, they have access to Abbot, an excellent intercept enhancer. Having z for intercept allows to drop the classical Raven Spy completely, although most builds of this archetype still include it, sometimes along Muricia's Call and some other animal retainers.
z also provides Engling Fury, an excellent blood regeneration tool which, along Taste of Vitae, helps the Master leeching bloat module.
The i combat module always includes some cards against weapon modules to be able to handle some Ivory Bow, .44 Magnum or Sniper Rifle on the opponent side. To this effect and depending on the context, Drawing Out the Beast, Canine Horde or Terror Frenzy can be used.
If allies are expected, Vulture's Buffet can be preferred to Engling Fury and Entrancement can be added to the mix.
Randal Rudstam was kind enough to provide the following insights:
Getting into the three player endgame is more of a priority than getting the first or second oust.
A third way to play them is to go Anarch, remove Abbot for some Anarch Revolts and access to Field Training.
The main variant is a wall construct as given in example. Some may include r cards to help on the bleeding side, like Legal Manipulations and Aire of Elation. Underbridge Stray is also a common inclusion, as well as Smiling Jack, The Anarch. Yoann Guyader's deck from the 2013 French NC is a an exemple.
The Howler variant is less frequent, it is a group 2 build using Howler and The Siamese. Group 2 vampires are a bit more expensive and do miss a bit of superior I, so it makes including some Animalism quite necessary. On the other hand, the slightly bigger capacity allows for the use of Sense the Savage Way to increase intercept capabilities, and R is more present and allows for a more aggressive bleed module. Stephen Sing's deck from the 2011 Asian Continental Championship is an example of this approach.
Pentex™ Subversion has been modified by an errata in September 2019. It does not prevent a vampire to act anymore, so it is less powerful and should probably not be included in the deck anymore.