The First Blood: Malkavian introductory deck for Vampire: The Eternal Struggle focuses on destroying your prey’s blood pool through heavy bleeding at stealth.
In the early game, use your transfers wisely in order to get many vampires out quickly, so that you can start bleeding your prey heavy as soon as possible.
Once you have any vampires in play, take either the Kindred Spirits bleed actions or your vampires’ inherent bleed actions to bleed your prey. If your prey attempts to block, play stealth action modifiers. And, once your prey has declined to block, play an action modifier that increases the bleed amount (Eyes of Chaos or Confusion). Additionally, the Game of Malkav master card can also make your prey and other Methuselahs burn some pool.
However, since your predator will also try to oust you, the Malkavian deck also relies on three defensive modules: pool gain, blocking key actions and bleed redirection.
Obviously, the more pool you gain the more chances you will have to survive. That is why your deck contains several cards that can make you gain some pool:
· Kindred Spirits: You gain 1 pool if you successfully bleed a Methuselah for 1 or more.
· Game of Malkav: can make you gain from 1 to 5 pool.
· Blood Doll: You can gain 1 pool per turn for each Blood Doll you control.
· Needless to say, if your prey is ousted, you gain 6 pool!
Blocking key actions (for example, political actions that deal pool damage to you, or bleed actions you cannot redirect) can keep you in the game. However, to that end, you will have to leave at least one minion unlocked at the end of your turn and have some intercept reaction cards in your hand, unless you also have an On the Qui Vive reaction card in your hand, which will allow one of your minions to wake and attempt to block and play reaction cards as if unlocked.
Redirecting a bleed to your prey is both a defensive and an offensive move that can be made by playing a Telepathic Misdirection reaction card with an unlocked or waking vampire with superior Auspex to redirect a bleed against you to your prey.
Try to avoid combat whenever possible, because your combat module is poor and only consists of the following cards:
· Coma: You can send the opposing vampire to torpor with this combat card. So fear of this card may dissuade other players from entering combat with any Malkavian with enough blood to pay its cost.
· No Trace: Use this combat card to end combat if you see your vampire in combat could go to torpor or take too much damage.
· Mind Tricks: If blocked after playing this card, maneuver to long range if you expect the opposing minion to want to hurt you at close range (for example a Ventrue with a Weighted Walking Stick), or press to end combat when in combat with an opposing minion that wants to press to continue combat (probably a Nosferatu or a Tremere vampire).
Since you want to avoid combat, do not block unless you absolutely have no other choice. The most important thing to block is probably any action that grants permanent intercept to a vampire controlled by your prey. Never block bleed actions that you can redirect.
You will rarely have a perfect hand, so good hand management is essential to increase your odds of winning. Therefore:
· Use The Barrens to discard a card from your hand.
· Use a discard phase action to discard a card you do not need (usually stealth action modifier cards).
· If you have an excess of stealth action modifiers in your hand, use Bela (who has -1 stealth on his actions) to bleed and hope your prey attempts to block.
Another factor you should take into account during your minion phase is the order of your actions. Since your resources are limited, have your vampires take the least important actions first and the most important ones last.
And finally, make sure everything you do brings you one step closer to victory. Be patient, and do not let your emotions interfere.
How to build a competitive deck with two First Blood: Malkavian decks
Since tournament legal Vampire: The Eternal Struggle decks consist of a minimum of 60 and a maximum of 90 library cards and a minimum of 12 crypt cards, you could combine two First Blood: Malkavian decks in order to build a competitive deck meeting both requirements. It could look like this:
Crypt: (12 cards)
2 Apolonia Czarnecki
2 Arthur Denholm
2 Gem Ghastly
2 Osric Vladislav
Library: (80 cards)
1 Asylum Hunting Ground
2 Barrens, The
4 Blood Doll
2 Game of Malkav
2 Sudden Reversal
16 Kindred Spirits
5 Cloak the Gathering
4 Elder Impersonation
6 Eyes of Chaos
5 Lost in Crowds
4 Mind Tricks
2 Veil the Legions
4 No Trace
8 On the Qui Vive
7 Telepathic Misdirection
Good luck playing the First Blood: Malkavian deck!
Note: This article can be downloaded with additional graphics in PDF format: How to play the First Blood Malkavian deck
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