Combat

Combat occurs when a block succeeds, but can also be provoked directly using actions like Bum’s Rush: because of this card, other actions with similar effects are commonly called rush actions. It also gave its name to an entire category of decks: the rush decks.

Bruise

Combat does not help reducing the prey's pool, at least not directly. The core principle of combat is bruise: reducing its opponents blood amount. It forces the minions to hunt or stay in torpor, seriously reducing A&B. As a bonus, reducing the blood amount on the table means diminishing the effectivness of leeching techniques.

So the main focus of any combat module is to improve or prevent bruise, ie. blood consumption.

Dealing damage

On the discipline side, p and h are great at dealing high damage. i has a strong combination with Aid from Bats and Carrion Crows, giving 3 damages with a press. t has the excellent Theft of Vitae, which provides a non-preventable 4 blood differential at no cost. Many disciplines give access to aggravated damage options:

Using aggravated damage

Using aggravated damage while acting is tricky, as the acting minion has to choose and pay for his strike before the reacting minion. Cards that make the damage of a strike aggravated, like Claws of the Dead, are superior in this aspect, as one can wait to see if the reacting minion will play a combat ends or a dodge before using the card.

Using aggravated damage on the reacting side is easier. Moreover, it allows the use of Rötschreck, sending the opponent into torpor whatever his strike. The only prerequisite is for the range to be right for the aggravated strike to be able to land in theory.

Apart from dealing more damage each strike, additional strikes are a good option to deliver more damage each combat. They are, however, mostly available only for c users, with the notable exceptions of Arms of the Abyss ($), Devil Channel: Back (w) and Octopod (g).

Finally, Target Vitals is an excellent option to increase damage, available for every minion at no cost.

Weapons

Weapons are also a good way to improve damage. There are a lot of weapons available, here are the most efficient and most played:

Defence

The easiest defense for combats is to avoid them altogether using a Strike: Combat Ends, S:CE for short. Multiple disciplines give access to this option:

It is worth noting that Flash Grenade is an option for any minion, and also that big capacity vampires have access to d Obedience and O Mental Maze to avoid combat altogether, although only when reacting to an action.

How to deal with Strike: Combat Ends (S:CE)

S:CE are a real issue for combat-focused deck. Some solutions exist to deal with them.

Other than that, the only option is to get into enough combats to exhaust the S:CE on the defence side.

Aside from S:CE, damage prevention is another important part of combat. It is useful in defence, but also on the offence: reducing the loss of blood improves the bruise ratio, which is the primary focus of combat‑oriented decks. f is the key discipline for damage prevention, and only a few damage prevention cards exist outside this discipline:

Dodging is still an option for defence, and the simple Dodge is available for everyone. It is weaker than ending the combat with a S:CE, but it is still a viable defensive option when S:CE are not available.

Finally, two combat cards can send a vampire into torpor directly: Coma (e) and Entombment (£). They're too costly to be used effectively as an offensive option, but they are good defensive options as they can act as a deterrent against combat decks.

Range Management

Getting the correct range is fundamental for combat. Most combat module specialize in a given range, either maintaining long range to avoid the basic one damage any vampire can do, or using strong short range strikes and effects. Many cards provide maneuvers and many offensive combat module use them to manage their range. A few cards allow a vampire to set the range directly, without letting the opponent the opportunity to maneuver: