Article for the V:TES CCG by Mike Nudd, originally published in Scrye 8.4
V:TES CCGVEKN 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
The Lasombraís three disciplines provide you with a plethora of strategic options. Dominate gives the clan bleeding power, Potence lends itself to combat, and Obtenebration provides a miscellany of effects. In addition, there are a number of master cards and action cards which can used only by the Lasombra. Unfortunately this wide range of options can make the construction of a focused and efficient deck a difficult task.
The simplest approach is the stealth-bleed strategy. Simply load your deck with Dominate bleed cards, and then push them through with the stealth provided by Shadow Play, Shroud of Night and Elysian Fields. You can prevent your actions from being blocked with Concoction of Vitality, Vaulderie or Seduction. You can avoid getting caught in combat by using Oubliette or Shadow Body, or by dodging with Arms of the Abyss. You can also bounce your predator on using Deflection or Redirection. If you are feeling particularly cheeky then steal your opponentís minions, retainers or allies with Mind Rape or Far Mastery.
The Lasombra can also hold their own in combat. Attack vampires with Bumís Rush, Ambush, War Party or Templar, or intercept them using Darksight and Eyes of the Night. Gain further intercept through the Rumor Mill: Tabloid Newspaper master card, or by equipping with Mr. Winthrop or a Sports Bike. Once in combat deal out high damage with Potence cards, or put the opposing vampire in torpor using the particularly nasty Entombment. You can prevent opponents from escaping with Thoughts Betrayed, and you can neutralise or burn a torpid vampire by playing Disarm or Decapitate in turn. The Lasombra often have problems with damage prevention, so make sure you pack plenty of Flack Jacket or Leather Jacket cards. However, since three Lasombra vampires have Fortitude, you can easily mix in Fortitude master and minion cards into your deck to give it more staying power.
However, since Lasombra have a very high quotient of Archbishops, Priscii and Cardinals, perhaps the most interesting approach is the voting strategy. Add a large number of political cards to your deck, and back them up with the stealth so that they are not blocked. Also include the Power Structure and Powerbase: Madrid master cards to add additional political muscle. It is also worth noting that three titled Lasombra have access to Presence, you can even mix in a number of Presence master and minion cards to boost your voting abilities even further. Alternatively, try mixing in titled vampires from other clans. The Ventrue antitribu Quentin is particularly useful, as he can cancel the votes of an opposing vampire, and he has both Dominate and Obtenebration.
Focusing your crypt around titled vampires also gives you access to cards such as Eternal Vigilance, Cardinal Sin: Insubordination, Creation Rites or Bloodbath, and their high capacity means you can make particularly good use of Obedience to avoid combat. You can also include Purchase Pact as yet another way out of combat, which should remain in play due to your high number of votes. If you are concerned about getting an effective number of big vampires out quickly, then bolster your deck with Information Highway, Tomb of Ramses III and Powerbase: Montreal to improve your chances of transferring pool quickly.
Gaining pool to keep in the game should always be an important consideration for any strategy. You can take back the blood you have spent on your vampires with Blood Doll, Minion Tap or Tribute to the Master. Gain further pool with Secret Horde or Slave Auction master cards, or with the Consanguinus Boon, Ancient Influence and Political Stranglehold political cards.
Example Lasombra Deck - "The Power Behind The Throne"
CRYPT (12):Alvaro, The Scion of Angelica
Ambrosio Luis Moncada, Plenipotentiary
Angelica, The Canonicus x2
Antonio Delgado x2
Francisco Domingo de Polonia x2
LIBRARY (90):Anarch Uprising
Cardinal Sin: Insubordination x2
Communal Haven: Temple
Consanguinus Boon x2
Conservative Agitation x6
Eternal Vigilance x2
Eyes of the Night x3
Far Mastery x2
Govern the Unaligned x2
Mind Rape x2
Minion Tap x6
Political Hunting Ground
The Rumor Mill, Tabloid Newspaper
Shadow Body x5
Shadow Play x7
Shroud of Night x7
Tomb of Ramses III x2
Transfer of Power x2
Wake With Evening's Freshness x4