Harbingers of Skulls

Article for the V:TES CCG by Mike Nudd, originally published in Scrye 49


VEKN Interview
Scrye 8.2 - Ventrue antitribu
Scrye 8.3 - Tzimisce
Scrye 8.4 - Lasombra
Scrye 8.5 - Brujah antitribu
Scrye 8.6 - Final Nights
Scrye 8.7 - Voting Strategies
Scrye 8.8 - Combat Strategies
Scrye 48 - Bloodlines
Scrye 49 - Harbingers

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The new Bloodlines expansion for the Vampire: the Eternal Struggle card game offers a plethora of opportunities to explore new combos and strategies. My first look at the set considers the Harbingers of Skulls, of which there are five new vampires, all of which have very powerful and interesting special abilities. Their bloodline Disciplines are Auspex, Fortitude and Necromancy, and so it is not necessary to consider any of the new Disciplines provided in the Bloodlines set.

Obviously the Harbingers lend themselves well towards some sort of intercept deck, as they can draw intercept from Masquer (Wraith) and Spectral Divination as well as the myriad of cards provided by Auspex. However, once in combat, then what? The Harbingers can survive the worst that your opponent can throw at them thanks to the many damage prevention options provided by Fortitude. They can even reap the rewards of cards such as Ablative Skin or Masochism. Alternatively surprise an enterprising combat deck with a King of the Mountain of two. Harbingers are not very aggressive in combat, however, and your best approach may be the combo of Trap and Undead Persistence. It actually does not matter whether your vampires are burned, as Possession can be used to bring them straight back again.

The Harbingers are not great at bleeding, and you will need to pack some Laptop Computer cards as well as both Tasha Morgan and J. S. Simmonds Esq. to boost them in this area. More useful is a superior Pulse of the Canaille, or a Force of Will. Luckily the Harbingers are adept at getting their actions through. They can employ the stealth provided by the Necromancy cards Call of the Hungry Dead or Spectral Divination. More stealth is available from the master Creepshow Casino, or the equipment card Erebus Mask. Alternatively, the Harbingers can make their actions unblockable using Daring the Dawn. You can always get your vampires back out of torpor using the Fortitude card Rapid Healing.

An alternative to bleeding and fighting is voting. Two out of the five Harbingers have titles, and since they are all Sabbat vampires, it is possible to give them more votes using Crusade, Investiture or Cardinal Benediction political cards. They can also cancel other opposing votes using the superior version of Telepathic Vote Counting.

However, the Harbingers also offer their own strategy by way of resource denial. Each of the Harbinger vampires come with their own unique ability. The most powerful is Agaitas, The Scholar of Antiquities, who allows you to refill your hand with cards drawn from the deck of your prey. Egothha also forces your prey to burn a card from his library in each of your turns. The Harbingers also have access to the master card The Slaughterhouse, which causes your prey to burn a further two cards every time it is tapped. Since this location is not unique, you can stack these cards up so that your prey is forced to lose many more cards. When you combine these effects with the vampires themselves, your prey could lose the contents of his entire deck in a handful of turns. Once your opponent is out of cards, it should be easy to bleed him dry.

As a final note, it is interesting that the Harbingers have similar Disciplines to those of the Salubri, one of which Matthias has a full match of all three. It may be worth mixing Matthias into your crypt for completeness, and you could even try adding some Obeah cards to your library for spice. The Harbingers can easily recoup blood back through Restoration or Summon Soul, but neither of these cards are as good as Renewed Vigor.

Example Harbingers of Skulls Deck - "Toolbox of Doom"

CRYPT (12):

2 x Agaitas, The Scholar of Antiquities (BL)
2 x Anisa Marianna Lopez (BL)
2 x Egothha (BL)
2 x Gisele Harden, The Winnower (BL)
2 x Matthias (BL)
2 x Unre, Keeper of Golgotha (BL)


1 x Auspex (SW)
4 x Blood Doll (SW)
4 x Call of the Hungry Dead (FN)
1 x Catacombs (FN)
1 x The Coven (SW)
1 x Creepshow Casino (FN)
2 x Daring the Dawn (SW)
4 x Enemy’s Enemy (SW)
1 x Erebus Mask (BL)
1 x Force of Will (FN)
6 x Forced Awakening (SW)
1 x Fortitude (SW)
2 x Haunt (FN)
1 x The Hungry Coyote (SW)
1 x J. S. Simmonds Esq. (SW)
2 x King of the Mountain (FN)
2 x The Kiss of Ra (FN)
1 x Lazarene Inquisitor (BL)
2 x Masochism (SW)
2 x Masquer (Wraith) (FN)
4 x Minion Tap (SW)
1 x Necromancy (FN)
1 x Palatial Estate (FN)
2 x Possession (FN)
2 x Pulse of the Canaille (SW)
1 x Purchase Pact (SW)
4 x Resilience (SW)
2 x Revelations (SW)
4 x Rolling With the Punches (SW)
1 x The Rumor Mill, Tabloid Newspaper (SW)
1 x Signet of King Saul (FN)
2 x The Slaughterhouse (BL)
4 x Spectral Divination (FN)
2 x Sport Bike (SW)
1 x Sudden Reversal (SW)
4 x Summon Soul (FN)
4 x Superior Mettle (SW)
1 x Tasha Morgan (SW)
4 x Trap (SW)
4 x Undead Persistence (SW)