What should I buy?
These are guides to help you decide what to buy. Your choices will depend primarily on whether you're a Neonate joining the night or an Elder coming out of torpor.
Neonates joining the night
Neonates are the new Methuselah joining us in the Eternal Struggle. If you're looking into getting in the game, your best bet is without question the V5 box, containing 5 Camarilla preconstructed decks: Ventrue v, Tremere u, Toreador t, Nosferatu s and Malkavian q. You can play them straight out of the box and get a few fun games out of them. It is the perfect start for a collection or a curious Coterie alike.
If you're more interested into demoing the game, you might want to acquire instead the five New Blood decks matching those clans: they're cheaper and they're perfect to demonstrate how the game works to a couple of people in half an hour, but they're not full-fledged decks you can run a real game with. However, they are perfect additions to the V5 decks: you can use the New Blood cards to tinker the starter decks and try to modify and improve them a bit.
If you want to go beyond that and achieve the highest power possible for the lowest price, it seems like a good rule of thumb is to go one V5 starter + two New Blood for each clan. See for example these blog articles about Tremere and Malkavian.
From there, two possibilities are open to you: Go wide or Go deep.
Go wide: more clans, more decks
You might want to acquire more decks featuring more clans. This would give you and, maybe, your playgroup, more options and allow for a lot of different games.
It really depends on the kind of players you are: some playgroups prefer to have each member focus on their own clan and try to improve their deck game after game, while others prefere to mix and match, switching clan and deck every game.
If you want to go wide, here are the next steps:
Other V5 precons
There are additional V5 precons that are not in the standard box, they should be your first stop: Banu Haqim n, Brujah G, Gangrel p and Ministry r. They're strong decks with good cards and can seamlessly be mixed with the V5 Box decks amd their five clans. If you want top improve a bit on those clans and get some cards to tinker the decks, you can just get a couple of the matching New Blood bundles for each of them.
With this acquisition on top of the base box, you will have nine strong decks that can be enjoyed together in a balanced and fun experience. That's already a high replayability there for any playgroup. Going any further means you're not a Neonate anymore, but an experienced Ancillae ready to expand their horizon.
The legacy preconstructed decks are another series of ready-to-play powerful decks. The 25th Anniversary is a very strong top-tier tournament Gangrel p deck, but can be played together with your previous acquisitions easily: you might want to try and tinker the previous decks to make them a stronger match, but they are pretty good already, and the multiplayer nature of the game levels the playfield easily here. Den of Fiends, Parliament of Shadows, Libertine Ball and Pact with Nephandi are strong tournament archetypes too, although a bit tuned down.
Print on demand
So, you got 13 decks and you want more? Greedy childe of the darkness, very well. Your next inquiry should be the Print-on-Demand cards, then. They are the same quality as the bundles you acquired already, and cost $0.35 a card. Sadly, they can only be bought from DriveThru Cards in the US so, depending on your location, hefty taxes and delivery fees can apply, which means you should buy there in a few big lots rather than many small amounts if you're not an US resident.
What can you find there? Well complete reprints for some legacy clans and disciplines. As of today, clans Assamite D, Baali E, Daughters of Cacophony J, Ravnos b, Lasombra w, Followers of Set K, Tzimisce k, Pander a and Salubri c are fully available there, plus the Disciplines Quietus , Daimonon , Melpominee , Chimerstry , Vicissitude and Obeah . Combined with the cards you already posess, this can let you build a lot of strong tournament decks. See our archetypes section for a better idea of what you can build.
Promo Pack 1
Lost Kindred unlocks a couple of other decks: you can put up together a fun Gargoyles N or Samedi e deck but, more importantly with 2 or 3 of those bundles, and a couple of cards from previous decks and print on-demand, you can build a great Emerald Legion deck. It's last on the list mostly because the best builds for those clans will require some cards that have not yet been reprinted. But maybe that's not an issue for you at that point, and you already found your way to some nice resellers on the secondary market.
Go deep: deckbuilding & refining
Your other options is to have fun with a bit more deck building. Rather than fooling around with many options and building a collection of ready-to-play decks for friends to come play with, maybe you're more into carefully honing and improving your own deck and then meet with your friends and there deck to see who comes out on top. Maybe you want to play regularly with Elders who have access to a wider collection, or participate in tournaments.
In that case, diversification might not be your path, and you might want to go deeper into nice deck building options for your favorite clan. Therefore, your buying list shall be different.
Upcoming V5 format
Note that the VEKN Inner Circle did announce that a "V5 format" will probably be defined in 2023. There is no precise list yet of what we can expect as part of it, but most likely all products listed as V5 on the BCP website and online shop will probably be part of it, whereas legacy products and print on demand reprints will be excluded of it. Promo vampires starting with the promo pack 2 will likely be part of it, while the few reprints in those promo packs might not.
So, if you're mostly interested in the new format, you might want to stay away from the legacy products. On the other hand, note that it is unlikely that this new format will be come the "new standard" anytime soon: while some events might use it to appeal to more neonates, the biggest (nationals and continentals) and many playgroups will continue using all cards.
Contrarily to other CCGs, the more times goes by, the more reprints get available for all the old cards with the print on demand system, so new joiners will face less and less difficulties acquiring all the cards they need. The new "V5 format" could become mainstream in a few years, but it might just as well die out early. Right now, with the format not even completely defined, there's no way to know.
You'll notice if you go in the neonate archetypes section that almost all optimised decklists mention using quite a few cards from the 25th Anniversary deck. So yes, once you've got two copies of your deck and two copies of the New Blood, it's probably your first pick here. It provides you with a good number of staples you'll want to have, especially on the master module: Dreams of the Sphinx, The Coven, Giant's Blood and Information Highway, a good number of Zillah's Valley (which a few good high capacity decks absolutely require), and a number of Villein and Vessel. But on top of that, it comes with a good selection of votes, and good numbers of very useful cards in various disciplines, like Govern the Unaligned, Form of Mist or Freak Drive. Some cards are only available in this bundle, like Rapid Change or Murmur of the False Will.
Parliament of Shadows
Depending on what kind of decks you're playing, Parliament of Shadows is potentially a good second step. Again, it has a lot of good master cards: Information Highway, Jake Washington, Papillon, and the reprints of Obedience and Mylan Horseed. Still, depending on what kind of deck you're focusing on, this might be useless or costly, so check the cards list.
Keepers of Tradition
If you're focusing on a clan, you'll want to check the matching Keepers of Traditions bundle. Keepers of Tradition 1 for Brujah G, Gangrel p, Malkavian q and Nosferatu s, Keepers of Tradition 2 for Toreador t, Tremere u and Ventrue v. They often offer very good crypt alternatives that will open strong builds for those clans: all group 4 Inner Circle members, and group 5 Justicars, as well as very strong vampires in the groups 4 and 5. But also some useful cards that have not been otherwise reprinted, like Force of Personality, Touch of Clarity, Scourge of the Enochians and Ponticulus.
Beware for Malkavians q, the ones in this bundle have Dementation instead of Dominate as clan discipline. The legacy is an interesting, albeit a completely separate branch for Malkavians. If you want to go down this road, you might want to look into First Blood: Malkavian for additional cards and vampires.
Print on demand
The other avenue worth exploring to get more cards for your deck is the Print on demand option. Of ourse, if you're playing Lasombra w or Tzimisce k, this gives you easy access to all the clan cards you could need, plus Obtenebration and Vicissitude cards. But even for other clans, you can fetch important staples like Direct Intervention and Anarch Convert. Some key cards are also available for Malkavian q, Gangrel p and Brujah G, like Mental Maze, Hell‑For‑Leather, Power of One, Shattering, Smoke and Mirrors and Undue Influence.
Fall of London
Fall of London might have a couple of interesting new vampires that can really benefit your deck, and it's a relatively cheap bundle. Abraham Mellon and Darius Shirazi are great additions for some Malkavian q decks, Mithras, Queen Anne and Valerius open up interesting high capacity avenues for the Ventrue v, Daria with her superior can open new possibilities for Nosferatu s, Chun Hei might find her place in combat-heavy Brujah G decks, and Adisa can be a nice addition in some Banu Haqim n builds.
Other Sabbat precons
Depending on what you're playing, acquiring some other legacy preconstructed decks might be in order then. Using Libertine Ball, for example, can let you explore a different avenue for a Banu Haqim n deck, combining The Embrace and Consanguineous Boon to build a bigger swarm and get the most out of Haqim's Law: Retribution.
Again depending on the kind of deck you're interested in, the Anarchs Unbound kickstarter bundle (still available on BCP shop) might be worth the detour: it has interesting cards for Brujah G and Ministry r: Appolonius might be an interesting star, but also it's the only print of Illegalism, Memory Rift, Propaganda of the Deed, Donnybrook and Bollix.
There's really only one reason to go for Anthology 1, and that's if you're interested in a set of Ashur Tablets and Liquidation. In that case, you'll want three to five of those bundles. Sure, you'll also get copies of other good cards like The Heart of Nizchetus, Carlton Van Wyk, The Unmasking, Enkil Cog and Anarch Convert, but it's still a rather expensive investment for the return you get.
Echoes of Gehenna
Echoes of Gehenna might interest you, just because it does contain all the nice events that hadn't been reprinted yet: Narrow Minds, The Uncoiling and FBI: Special Affairs Division. On top of that, it's the only reprint of The Parthenon, which you might want to acquire if you went for a few Anthology 1 bundles.
Unaligned 1 & 2
The Unaligned kickstarter bundles make the end of the list here. Unaligned 1 is mostly interesting if you're into Banu Haqim n: it gets you Flavia, Omer and Al‑Ashrad, plus the mildly interesting Focus the Blood. The Gangrel p cards have mostly been reprinted in the preconstructed decks so it's not that appealing. There are only a couple of cards of interest in Unaligned 2: Saatet‑Ta for Ministry, Funeral Wake if you're interested in a or Emerald Legion deck. If you're into Giovanni O or legacy Followers of Set K (those with Serpentis ), the bundle has some very good cards that have only been printed there.
The First Blood bundles have very few interesting cards, most of them also got a reprint either in V5 products or in the Keepers of Tradition bundles. Still, it might be interesting in some case: it has Aching Beauty for Toreador t, rarely used Tremere u cards (Thadius Zho and Charnas), but also Weighted Walking Stick, Legal Manipulations, and Dementation cards like Kindred Spirits and Confusion if legacy Malkavians U are your thing. The Nosferatu s bundle has the only reprint (for now) of Aid from Bats, J. S. Simmons, Petra and Laptop Computer, and also has a Powerbase: Montreal, so it might be overall good value depending on your collection.
Now depending on the deck you're running, you might be missing just a couple of cards. Shadow of Berlin has an Aranthebes, and getting the whole bundle just for it might be the best bargain you'll find. Danse Macabre has fun cards, but unlikely to fit your deck, except if you're interested in experimenting with Shadow Boxing or Esprit De Corps or if you have a special interest in some vampire exclusive to the set like Mélusine d'Anjou, Johannes Worringen or Amber.
Heirs to the Blood is mostly irrelevant because the cards are all available as print on demand, but it might be worth it if the delivery fees for your location are steep.
Elder coming out of torpor
Welcome back, fellow Elder, if you're just getting out of torpor, awaken by the rumors of fresh new blood rampaging the streets and Anarchs rising all over the world.
If you already have a decent collection and the basic staples of the game, your will approach buying new cards from a very different perspective. Whether you want to complete your collection, try out some niche archetypes you could not afford before that have recently been made much more available, or want to discover the new cards and archetype that have been unleashed this last couple of years, this guide should provide you with all the information you need.
The four supplementary V5 decks, Banu Haqim n, Ministry r, Gangrel p and Brujah G, introduce big changes. First, in terms of the clan. Following the Paradox universe evolution, Gangrel p and Brujah G are now both Anarchs, with a good number of Barons. The changes are deeper for the other two: the new Banu Haqim (aka. Assamite) are Camarilla and got as clan disciplines, whereas the Ministry (aka. Followers of Set) are Anarch, with as clan disciplines.
Each deck introduces brand new vampires, but also new library cards:
- Brujah G: Line Brawl, 47th Street Royals, Bait and Switch, Organized Resistance
- Gangrel p: Double Deuce, Form of the Bat, Deep Ecology, Eyes of the Wild, Form of the Wolf
- Banu Haqim n: Haqim's Law: Retribution, Hunter's Mark, Hunger of Marduk
- Ministry r: The Platinum Protocol, Enchanting Gaze, Revelation of the Serpent, Form of the Cobra, Party Out Of Bounds
Note that the decks also contain prints that were otherwise only available as a PDF expansion before: Show of Force, Dust Up, Priority Contract, Thing, Rewilding, Protection Racket and Bear's Skin. On top of this, Quickness was modified (free instead of having a 1 blood cost).
This expansion gave birth to new competitive archetypes for all four clans: if you're into competitive play, you'll want to acquire a couple of each of those decks to be able to build the latest in-fashion decks.
If you've missed it, you'll want to look into the Lost Kindred bundle and the infamous Emerald Legionnaire. The card was designed to boost the Harbingers Q a bit and give them a chance in competitive play, and ended up giving them a couple of top tier tournament decks so strong the meta had to adapt and include more solutions against the typical swarm of allies these decks can field.
On top of it, the expansion offers nice new toys for Gargoyles N, Samedi e, Salubri antitribu d and Blood Brothers F.
If you were wandering around during the blip (the 2010-2017 period with no physical print), you may know of the VEKN "PDF expansion". You might want to know they've been printed through a Kickstarter, and a few copies are still available in online shops around, specifically on the BCP online shop. You might want to get your claws on those cards to replace your paper prints there. Also, Show of Force, Public Vilification and Inside Dirt, from Danse Macabre, have been boosted.
Promo Pack 2
Promo Pack 2 contains Barons for a few clans, quite a few of which are used in very competitive builds nowadays (Infernal Princes, Gangrel Barons).
The V5 expansions have brought new vampires in groups 6 and 7, though they didn't quite disrupt the meta the way they four "V5 Anarchs" decks did. All V5 decks and bundles contain new vampires so, if you're a completionist, you will want a bit of everything there. Moreover, the decks include a good number of staples that might be neat in your collection: you never have enough Second Tradition, Parity Shift, Govern the Unaligned, Eyes of Argus, Deflection and Delaying Tactics, right?
In terms of library cards, V5 Nosferatu is the only deck introducing new cards: Creeping Sabotage, Protected District, The Warrens and Roundhouse.
Fall of London
Fall of London contains a couple of additional vampires, and a couple of new Library cards:
- The British Museum, London
- The Mithraeum, London
- Mithraic Cultist
- Mobile HQ, Operation Antigen
- The Shard, London
- ECTU Operative
- Michael Harris, the Incinerator
- Valerie Diaz, Antigen Commander
- Enhanced Coagulant
- Ritual Goblet
The British Museum in particular has been used successfully in a couple of builds.
New Blood is all about new vampires, no new card in there. But the vampires are a very nice additon to the ones available in the V5 starters, if you want to get those crypts.
What changed in the last few years?
There have been a number of changes recently. You can browse the detailed list of changes but, to give you a primer on the most important points:
- Since 2011, Psyche! is played during combat, not in-between combats anymore, and priscii have "ballots", not "votes".
- Caitiff is a full-fledged clan, Anarch is a full-fledged sect, and sect is inherited from the sire when creating a new vampire.
- Vampires do not automatically get out during influence anymore: you choose whether you turn them up or not.
- A lot of effects that were mandatory are now optional, and things that were fetched in secret now revealed, for a smoother tournament experience
- Lilith's Blessing was banned in 2013
- Anthelios, Temptation of Greater Power and Seeds of Corruption were banned in 2017, and tap/untap have been replace by lock/unlock because of patent issues.
- Gypsies, Rom Gypsy, Tarbaby Jack, Terrorists and Tsigane were banned in 2020 but replaced by Double Deuce, City Star Taxi, Len Konopka, Dark Web Procurer and Ashlesha.
- Villein, Pentex™ Subversion, Una, The Ankara Citadel, Parity Shift, Sensory Deprivation and Nightmare Curse have been nerfed.
- Black Metamorphosis, Summon the Abyss, Summon the Serpent, Shadow Parasite, Revelation of Despair, The Realm of the Black Sun, Principia Discordia, Masquer, Kali’s Fang, Giuseppe, Edge Vitiation, Divine Image, Consignment to Duat, Inside Dirt, Public Vilification, Show of Force, Vivienne Géroux, Quickness and Herald of Topheth have been boosted.
Print on demand
In case you're not aware, you might want to know that a lot of legacy cards are available as print on demand on Drivethru Cards for $0.35 apiece. You can finally complete your collections for clans:
- Assamite n
- Baali E
- Daughters of Cacophony J
- Ravnos b
- Lasombra w
- Followers of Set r
- Tzimisce k
- Giovanni O
- Pander a
- Salubri c
Never had the means to build a Baltimore Purge, , War Ghouls, , The unnamed, , Spirit Marionette, Shattering Crescendo, or Legacy of Pander deck? It's now really affordable (mind the taxes and delivery fees, depending on where you live. It's still a good deal, though).
Maybe before you entered torpor, a few cards were frustratingly expensive to get. Ashur Tablets, Liquidation, Enkil Cog, Carlton, Heart of Nizchetus and The Unmasking, for example. In that case, you'll happily acquire a few copies of Anthology 1. It was the first reprint since Heirs to the Blood in 2010, and this bundle released at the 2017 Berlin European Championship launched BCP and the golden years we're unliving now.
The 25th Anniversary preconstructed deck might also be a neat acquisition. It is a full-fledged top tier tournament Stanislava deck, with all the good cards, including Enkil Cog, Dreams of the Sphinx, Giant's Blood, some Zillah's Valley and Villein, the first real print of Ennoia's Theater, some Banishment and a fair number of Parity Shift. It's a real treat.
The other legacy preconstructed decks were released as high level preconstructed decks to allow neonates to join existing Elder tables with something decent enough to leave them a chance. To make it worth our while, BCP also seized this occasion to print rather heavily sought-after cards, like a bunch of Antonio and Nephandus in Pact with Nephandi, so many Embraces alongside a couple of Palla Grande and Foundation Exhibit in Libertine Ball, the whole Lasombra package together with Jake Washington and Monastery of Shadows in Parliament of Shadows, and the whole package with The Rack, Smiling Jack, Bowl of Convergence and Heart of Nizchetus in Den of Fiends.
Depending on where you're collection is at, these decks could really fill some holes there, and they also include all the right staples you've never have enough of, like Govern, Deflection, Eyes of Argus, Deep Song, Carrion Crows, etc.
Promo Pack 1
A nice treat, the Promo Pack 1 has all these juicy star vampires that were previously released as promo cards: finally a chance to get this Capuchin, Montano or Lord Tremere deck rolling for a really affordable price.
Keepers of Traditions and Heirs to The Blood
The Keepers of Tradition have some nice cards and vampires you might be lacking, it's worth looking into. The Heirs to the Blood where a very nice reprint, also with a bunch of hard to find bloodline cards, but now that Baali E, Daughters J and Salubri c are available on print-on-demand, your mileage might vary.
For the collectors
A few of us Elders are greedy hoarders. That's fine, that's the beast speaking, really. You have to let it go from time to time, right? Some pretty exclusive promos have been released in the last few years, and there have been successive prints and differences in bundles you might want to know about:
- Some promos have been released with alternate are: Full-bleed Maila, G6 Theo Bell and Hesha Ruhadze, two sketch versions of Direct Intervention, alternate arts for Archon Investigation and Bum's Rush.
- An Edge card that has been released as promo and is now also available on Drivethru Cards.
- The Anthology set released and sold in Berlin in 2017 is different from the Anthology 1 reprint: it had a few more cards (Andre, Aisha, The Line) and a different icon.
- The pledgers of the Unleashed Kickstarter, the printed release of the VEKN "PDF expansions" Anarch Unbound, Danse Macabre and The Unaligned, also got the promos Double Deuce, Ashlesha, Len Kanopka, Vivienne Geroux, City Star Taxi, Dark Web Procurer and Vlad Tepes.
- Promos have no icon, the reprints do. So there are multiple versions of the cards in the promo packs or on print-on-demand (All cards in promo packs 1 and 2 were first released as promos with no icon, as was Nefertiti advanced or Anarch Convert, for example). The cards that have been promos multiple time, like Entrancement and Charisma had no icon the first time, and a specific GP icon (different for each) for the second promo round.
- They were exclusive promos for some World of Darkness product: Bolesław Gutowski (Polish edition of VTM, released), Alicia Cortez (Mind's Eye Theatre, released), Gabriel Tremblay (Chapters, released) and Tegyrius (War of Ages, unreleased yet).
- A modern layout version of Praxis Seizure: Venice has been sold over Drivethru Cards by mistake for a few hours, only a few copies have been sold and printed. This won't last though, since the card has been held as a future promo, and will at some point make it back on DriveThru.
- V5 bundles have been release not only in English, but also in French, Spanish and Protuguese. Some bundles were also release in Latin. These might make for nice alternates in your decks, or constitute an additional challenge if you're a real completionist.
Come out and play
Now that you're back in the night, maybe you want to get out of your haven and join us in some official events. It might be the occasion to get your fangs on free juidcy promos.
But moreover, you'll get to meet your peers, catch up, and see the latest trends in action. Check the VEKN calendar for official tournaments near you!