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Subject: Building around a breed- Lupus and other Animals rss

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H.C. O'Neill
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Lupus are Garou born of wolves. They come naturally armed with claws and fangs so a lot of their cards focus on increasing their natural skills. They’re also pack animals, so many of their cards involves getting allies, defending their pack and territory, or piling on in big groups.
There’s only a few Wyrm Lupus, which is probably a good thing because most of their best items are Gifts, which the Spirals can’t use!

Kinfolk Packleader
Kinfolk Veterinarian
Song of the Great Beast
Wolf Kinfolk
Wolf Spirit

Lupus get a lot of Allies. Unfortunately, three of them are pretty mediocre. Song of the Great Beast and Wolf Spirit both can’t do anything the turn they come into play. To top it off, both have poor stats compared to their renown and easily get killed in most games. Wolf Kinfolk has poor stats and no special ability.

However, their remaining Allies are quite good. Avahuasca lets you reduce the renown of all your characters by one when using pack actions. This makes for some great weenie swarm decks. Get multiple Avahuascas out and you may be able to add creatures to the attack for free!

Kinfolk Veterinarian lets you heal a damage card of one character each turn, on top of your usual regeneration. She can also heal aggravated damage. The downside is she’s insanely easy to kill and thus frequently gets squished.

Kinfolk Packleader can automatically pack defend with any of your Kinfolk that get attacked and draws a card when they do so. They also have pretty good stats for their renown. If you get all three in your deck out, ALL of them can join the defense.

Best Lupus characters for Ally based decks:
Amari Howls from Soul gives all her packmates +1 Rage during pack actions, making her great for boosting Allies.
Growls-at-Moon can automatically pack defend with any non-alpha packmate when they’re attacked. She works well with the Kinfolk Packleader.
Runs-to-Sunset can start the game with a Wolf Kinfolk or Wolf-Spirit in play.
Son-of-Moonlight can automatically attack anyone that kills a Wolf-Spirit.

Crushing Jaws
Deep Journey
Fatal Flaw
Feline Grace
Gaia’s Grace
Gaia’s Vengeance
Heightened Senses
Leap of the Kangaroo
Sense Prey

Homids get Equipment, Lupus gets Gifts instead. Keep in mind, Wyrm Lupus can’t use the Gifts.
Feline Grace and Catfeet both allow lots of dodging, so can keep even relatively small Lupus alive against much larger foes.

Gaia’s Vengeance is a massive direct damage card, so can let you wipe the floor with some enemies. Pick enemies you can wipe with Vengeance and no other cards and you may be able to splat things with impunity. There’s not a whole lot of characters that can use it however.

Deep Journey looks pretty simple on the face of it. Get to the Umbra, search for an item. However, it allows some very sneaky cheating. It doesn’t require you to have anyone in your pack that can play the caern, totem, or spirit ally that you fetched. It comes direct into play. So you can use it to play items after you’ve lost the one character that could use it. Or really go crazy and play stuff nobody in the pack can play at all. If the “in the Umbra” part is the problem, hop to the Umbra via Umbral Escape and then use it.

Gnaw is a handy trick for high renowns as they can smash a piece of Equipment every time they get in combat. Get them to be undodgeable or Fast Striking and they can chew through scads of Equipment.

Crushing Jaws is great for ensuring you can stay in combat with your target. However, you can’t withdraw either, so make sure you’re absolutely sure you can kill something before using Jaws.

Sense Prey is an incredibly useful card, but looks initially like you have to build a deck around it. Look at the top 5 cards from target deck, put any Victims in the Hunting grounds, and now you can kill them for VP when you normally couldn’t. So it appears you have to put Victims in your deck. Not so. Put it in and use it against Wyrm decks. Now you can eat their tasty Victims! You can also totally ignore the looking for Victims part. Target a deck you darn well know doesn’t have Victims in it. Everybody gets to see top 5 cards of that guys deck. He shuffles afterward, but it may tell you what sort of strategy he’s using.

Heightened Senses gets you an extra combat card if attacked outside the Combat Phase and lets you refuse challenges. It’s mostly useful with a low to midrenown character that’s sitting in the background doing something REALLY annoying and needs some protection.

Fatal Flaw will grant you 1 Rage for the duration of combat. Mildly useful, but there are way better Rage boosters out there.

Gaia’s Grace and Leap of the Kangaroo are total binder fodder at the moment. Leap might become useful once Battlefields come back into use.

Best Lupus Gift users- these guys are intended as backups for whatever strategy you’re using.
Old Storm Chaser- increase your hand size by one. He’s also one of the only characters that may use Gaia’s Vengeance.
Bladetooth & Crick Rumwrangler- 6 Gnosis for 4 renown means these two can use anything here except Gaia’s Vengeance
Runs-to-Sunset- starts with a Kinfolk and can use everything except Gaia’s Vengeance
Roar-of-Storms- he has an awesome moot related ability and can use everything except Gaia’s Vengeance.

Bull (personal totem)
Impergium (moot)
Kinfolk Den (territory)
National Park (Territory)
Bite (combat action)
Aggressive Bite (combat action)

Bull lets you draw an extra combat card in combat but you have to frenzy if you have one. Bull is best in a deck with midrenown characters. One more card doesn’t really count for much if you drew 10 due to a frenzy or a weenie swarm. Pile it up with Heightened Senses. Note that Bull only works for Gaia Garou.

Impergium lets Lupus force all human Kinfolk to be discarded from play. The downside here is that one of the best Allies they can recruit, the Kinfolk Veterinarian would get discarded. Vet is primarily useful in a deck with large characters, 6 renown and up. So if you want to make use of Impergium, use it with a deck of 5 renowns (what you’ll need to call it) and under.

Kinfolk Den is wonderfully obnoxious as it’s a true all out assault. EVERYBODY has to come however, even ones you’d prefer didn’t. It’s a bit like a limited use Sneak Attack that sits on the table ‘til you’re ready to use it. Few decks will want to mess with a pack with a Kinfolk Den. Keep in mind it doesn’t automatically draw you cards and since you’re already pulling everybody in, pack actions won’t do you much good. Kinfolk Den is thus best with a deck that has some other way to draw more cards, such as frenzy, Bull, Reinforcements, etc. Midrenowns are likely to get killed and trigger the Den, but still be able to wreak vengeance on their foes.

National Park gives you +1 Gnosis, pure and simple. Great for protection against the Wyrm or boosting up backup characters Gnosis. Get 3 out, and you can have the tiny Crick or Bladetooth calling down gaia’s Vengeance!

Bite simply requires you to not be in Homid form. Three damage for two Rage is great, since most combat cards do damage less than or equal to their Rage cost.

Aggressive Bite is another nice combat card as it can keep opponents from running away. Like Bite, you just can't use it in Homid form.

There’s a few other animal breed shapeshifters. Some of the Bastet are Felines, the Mokole are Suchids, Aurgra the Gurahl is Ursine, there’s Hyaeana Ajaba, and then there’s Shoragg and his Horse form…

By and large, there’s nothing for them under the old standings. Feline does not equal Lupus. However, they are slowly being filled in with the new Ahadi block cards or reprints. Gaia’s Vengeance became usable by Felines when reprinted in Least Wanted. Feral Grin is usable by Felines and lets them knock a character temporarily out of combat. One on one, it’ll end combat. In pack combat, it lets you temporarily remove the real threat… or cancel one character’s frenzy! Gnaw is usable by Hyeana Ajaba. Try it out with Ironjaw for maximum effect.

Perfect Cover is usable by Feline Bastet and Arachnid Ananasi.

Deny the Hungry lets Felines destroy a Territory AND force an opponent to discard combat cards.

Suchid Mokole get one kick ass combat card, Tail Lash which is normally a Rage 4, damage 1 attack. If played by a Mokole in Suchid or Crinos form it does +4 damage, making it a 4/5. Don’t mess with the crocodiles!

Sense Prey can be used by any creature in Animal Form!

There’s lots more cards planned in Ahadi for the non-Lupus animal breed shifters, but they won’t be out for a little bit. Be patient! Better yet, come playtest them!
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