Fundamentals

Bleed

The root of the game win is to destroy the prey’s pool and the obvious way to do it is to bleed. Numerous cards in the game can enhance bleed. d and r give very strong bleed decks, but a swarm of minions also get the job done pretty fast. ¾ of edible decks will kill their prey by bleeding it.

Bleed modifiers like Conditioning should be played after the prey has declined to block. This way, they are more likely to get through.

Limited and unlimited modifiers

Bleed modifiers are almost all "limited", meaning one can play only one modifier increasing the bleed amount during a bleed action. However, a few cards provided non-limited bleed increase: Leverage, Command of the Beast and Quicksilver Contemplation are played, more expensive ones are not.

Bounce

On the defence side, bounces (reactions that change the target of a bleed) should be played only after the bleed amount has been confirmed by the predator, after block has been declined. This way the modifier, if any, is likely to be redirected too. This is because once the predator confirms the bleed amount, he actually passes on his opportunity to play a modifier and do not get another opportunity if the prey does not play a modifier themselves. Only a few cards allow to bounce bleeds:

And only a few cards can counter these bounces:

Archon limit

A bleed for more than 3 exposes the minion to the possibility of Archon Investigation. Because of this card, 3 has become the archon limit: some decks will make sure to stay under it to avoid risking their minions, others will consider their minions expendable and get happily over it.

Politics

The other option to deplete the prey’s pool is to use political actions like Kine Resources Contested. The advantage of this strategy is the +1 stealth on the action. The disadvantage is that it is not directed: not only the prey but the predator can block, and the whole table can vote.

The terms or the referendum are announced once the action resolves. One can negotiate the vote as the action is announced, but only after blocks are declined and the action succeeds does one choose the official terms of the referendum — and eventually betray everyone. The terms must be stated clearly once the action resolves, if just to confirm the Methusalah holds true to its word.

In order to pass their referendum successfuly, Methusalah will try to achieve a vote lock, meaning they have more votes on the table than the sum of all other players votes. Multiple techniques can be used to this effect:

Delay

Aggressive vote decks will pass multiple votes in a single turn, but this has led to the use of Delaying Tactics as a defence. This means diversity in votes is needed to avoid loosing a whole turn of actions just because Kine Resources Contested has been delayed.

Damage dealing votes

Only a few votes deal substantive pool damage, and they often have restrictions. Some votes dealing less damage are not listed here.

A&B

One can either choose to buff up attack or to keep minions and cards to defend oneself: the stronger the defence, the weaker the attack, so it’s a question of balance in every deck. Whatever the balance though, a deck power is fundamentally about « A&B », the number of Actions & Blocks in a single turn. In any case, the A&B must be as high as possible for the deck to be effective.

The most obvious way to increase A&B is to use wake reactions like Wake with Evening’s Freshness. Most decks use this technique, although some forward-only builds will not, for lack of decent defensive tools.

Wake & unlock reactions

A few cards provide wake or unlock effects during the opponents turn, letting locked vampire react to and intercept actions.

Another easy way to increase A&B is to use a weenie crypt: many small vampires for more actions and blocks. Their lower capacity mean they are less powerful individually, but the higher A&B is worth it.

Other methods to get more minions also increase A&B, like recruiting Allies or using breed cards like The Embrace to create new vampires.

The last way to increase A&B is to use modifiers to engage in multiple actions with a single minion. This strategy is called drive in honour of Freak Drive, one of the most played card to achieve this. Because the NRA (Non Repeatable Action) rule states that no action can be undertaken twice in the same turn by the same minion, this strategy has to be combined with a matching diversity in actions.

Unlock modifiers

Only a few cards allow a vampire to unlock during the turn and undertake multiple actions.

Action sequence

The choice and order of minion actions is important. A common strategy is to bait, beginning with the most mundane actions, up to the strongest ones. This forces the opponent to ponder what to block: too early and a devastating action could get through unopposed, too late and one could stay sitting for a big action than never comes.

The other side of the medal is the gambit strategy: engaging in the heaviest action first in order to entice the opponent to keep a wake or an unlocked minion for an even uglier action that will, in fact, never come.

The key to victory is to get a hand fit to oust one’s prey in the turn. Building this hand, then assessing the right moment to play it and lunge for the Victory Point is key. If the prey survives, they can rebuild their pool. Moreover, the rest of the table will tend to gang up against the predator. As a prey, one should take care to conceal its defensive capabilities — or lack thereof. As a predator, one should try to asses the number of wakes, bounces, delays, etc. available on the prey side.

Stealth and Intercept

The key between offence and defence is the management of stealth and intercept. Many disciplines give access to stealth and intercept.

One level of intercept is enough to block hunts, votes, equipments and recruitments. Therefore, some decks include a limited number of permanent intercept cards like WMRH Talk Radio.

Carlton Van Wyk, Ponticulus () and Harzomatuili (Cardinal or Regent) deserve a special mention: they include a permanent intercept bonus plus their combat abilities is great and allow them to hinder the opponents all by themselves.

Permanent intercept cards

Only a few unique cards give permanent intercept to any vampire, most of them master cards.

Other cards give permanent intercept to a chosen vampire.

On the other hand, whatever level of intercept one manages to achieve, stealth specialised decks often include some block denial modifiers atop normal stealth. O Elder Impersonation, N Call of the Hungry Dead and £ Blanket of Night are the only full-purpose block denials of the game. However, D gives access to Seduction which is still a strong denial, even if it is less efficient against wakes. Many disciplines give access to lesser block denials that only work against allies and younger vampires, but they are less used.