Wyrm Slayer Ronin Garou
Power of the Ways
Scale of Ma’at
Take the True Form
Quoting the Litany
Balance of Gaia
(don’t forget The Stolen Wolf!)
Philodox are basically the control freaks of the Rage. You wanted to do something? NO. TOO BAD. YOU’RE DOING IT MY WAY. Whatever you wanted to do, the Philodox says no, you’re doing it this way. You’ll attack what he says, combat will proceed on the Philodox’s own terms, and he’ll dogpile you politically too.
The downside with this is that a Philodox is very reactive. You have an arsenal of tricks to deal with other people’s core strategies, but you are left waiting to see if they USE them. So there’s a lot of hurry up and wait.
Let’s get the Allies out of the way first, since there’s a pile of them.
They all suck. Plantive Jaggling you have to build an entire deck around to use at all (and good luck even FINDING this superrare promo). The Wolf Spirit and Gaffling Pest are in a race for “most useless Ally”. Wyrm Slayer has nice stats, but because you can only play one per game, this wipes out his usefulness. If you just need another Ally with nice stats, he makes a nice toss in, but there’s many other better Allies out there. You can’t really build around him.
So the majority of what the have is Gifts, plus one auspice specific Moot and Moot related action. Simply throwing it all in and reacting to everything as it happens is an option, but generally won’t work very well. This means you have two basic paths to victory: crush your opponent or crush enemies.
Let’s start with Enemy smashing since you may want to incorporate some of this into the Moot deck. Geas lets you send the target against anything in the Hunting Grounds. You can use this on your opponent to send one of his characters on a suicide run against a big target to have him soften it up for you. Or you can use it to send you own characters into combat.
Once in combat, you have lots of tricks to have combat your way. Gaia’s Vengeance can let you punch right through an Enemy’s defense and crush it in a single blow. But you can only use it once per game. You may want to combo this with items that will give you extra points for the kill like Scourging the Wyrm. Or use Gaia’s Vengeance to do the majority of the damage and then finish it off with Head or Gut or Telling Blow. Insightful Eyes makes this a lot more viable since you can’t be dodged, making that Telling Blow a lot more likely to land. (Samuel Haight is the ideal target for that combo)
Resist Pain and Power of the Ways round out the choices for a combat focused deck. Keep in mind that Power of the Ways ONLY works in the Umbra so is really incompatible with a Moot deck. (you can however play it ahead of time and it will become active once you get to the Umbra)
Now to the Moot deck. Moot decks generally want to avoid direct combat with other decks, but because you can control so much of what’s going on, you may want to occasionally engage with the other deck to try and kill some of his voting characters.
Take the True Form is probably the nastiest trick you can play. You CAN use it to kill people outside of combat, but you’ll only receive points if you’re in combat when you use it. This can be a great way to take out larger opponents. You can also use Geas to send them against an enemy and then kill them with Take the True Form midcombat. You won’t get any points for it, but you may get rid of their most powerful character.
Serenity and Staredown also let you control who can attack you and how they may attack you. Scale of Ma’at can also be another nasty surprise, but is more difficult to pull off. If you want to use it, be sure to pack Eyes Gouged in your combat deck and Resist Pain to make sure you aren’t bluffing either.
If you just want to plain avoid combat, Roll Over and Higher Calling work. Roll Over works best against champion decks. Higher Calling works best against weenie swarms. However, Higher Calling only works against Gaia packs, so if you’re facing Wyrm decks, it won’t help you.
Now, to the actual Moots. Quoting the Litany lets you double the Philodox’s Renown, so works best with high renown characters. Conveniently, it also means that with very large characters, if you use Pentex Infiltration to turn your Moots to Boardmeetings, you may still be able to push it through against a Wyrm deck. Sadly Balance of Gaia still won’t work as a Boardmeeting as it specifies Gaia pack in the text.
However, many of the high renown Moots WILL work against Wyrm packs when you’ve used Quoting the Litany, which can lead to some hilarious outcomes. There is little funnier than passing Betrayal of Principles or Skindancer against a Wyrm pack.
Keep in mind you cannot combo Pentex Infiltration and Legendary Leadership, because Pentex Infiltration transforms it to a Boardmeeting. A Satisfied Ego WILL work with that combo, but is worth fewer points.
For just plain dealing with Gaia on Gaia situations, ones where you can get a vote advantage right away are best. Balance of Gaia is Philodox only and steals points form the target. The Stolen Wolf is also a good choice, just target another Philodox. Both will work well with Legendary Leadership.
Now, if you’re going to include other Moots, it becomes a question of aggression level. If you want to be aggressive, Ritual Challenge or Justice Under Gaia can further let you control combat with other decks. If you prefer to avoid combat and get your points direct from moots, Caern Building or Winter Wolf will combo better with Quoting the Litany.
TO THE CHARACTERS!
Lamuran & Antoinine Teardrop are best if you want to use Gaia’s Vengeance. They’re the only Philodox that can naturally play it.
If you want to do a combat focused deck, Antoine pairs well with Ciran Far Traveller… but Ciran only has Gnosis 6, so can’t use the best combat toys. Ciran has Kailindo, Antoinine doesn’t, so this can make the combat deck touchey to make. Who you use each turn will depend a lot on what you have in your hand.
If you want an aggressive deck, but are willing to chance not being are willing to chance not being able to play gaia’s Vengeance right away, you have several Gnosis 7 and 8 Philodox to choose from. Pack some naturae Boon to make sure they can use the big stuff. Carla Grimsson and Markus rage-Like-Fire are both Get with Moot related abilities, so can make a good choice for an aggressive moot deck.
Simon Gentle and Roofwalker are both Glass Walkers but aren’t as impressive in combat, so are better suited for a low aggression moot deck. Chiaka works to round out an all Glass Walker Philodox pack.
If you want to focus on Enemies, Cheesy Puffs is also a good option. He can’t naturally use Take the True Form, Roll Over, or Gaia’s Vengeance, but is a tank in combat. He can make good use of the smaller items.
To fill out the rest of the deck, you want to look at lower renown characters. Crick Rumwrangler is 4 renown with no special ability, but has 6 Gnosis. Give him a Naturae Boon and he can serve as backup on those big gifts. Get that an a Half Moon out and he can throw gaia’s Vengeance. (he goes very well with Cheesy Puffs)
Ivan Korda (2) or Melody truthsinger (3) can get you some additional votes… or steal them away from others.
Susan Anthony (4) can start the game with ANY Kinfolk ally, even those she can’t normally recruit. Ina moot deck, she can start you off with the Kinfolk TV Reporter or the Bastet Gossip Network, putting you up extra votes right away. The Gossip Network can also vote in Boardmeetings, if you’re planning to use Pentex Infiltration. If you want a more aggressive deck, she can start the game with the Clan of Hyenas or Amazon Warriors. Decided to focus combat deck on guns? She can start the Kinfolk Small Town Cop or Kinfolk Soldier of Fortune in play so you’re not stuck waiting for guns.
What about BSDs? They can’t use Auspice Gifts, so are largely SOL here. Quoting the Litany does not work for Boardmeetings and can’t call the Moot. Half Moon is only vaguely useful as they have better ways of gaining Gnosis. Hilariously, they CAN recruit Wyrm Slayer Ronin Garou as an Ally, which is really the only reason to pick them. Both the BSD philodoxes are small, so they, and Wyrm Slayer, make a nice addition to a pack attack/defense deck.
It’s always a good idea to make sure your enemies can use you Gifts, but there’s a fairly short list that can use Philodox Gifts.
ENEMIES that can use Philodox gifts:
Samuel Haight (auspice gifts)
Progenitor Mage (any gifts)
It’s not as useful here as so many of your Gifts are reactive in nature and don’t require you to be in combat, but it can make for a nasty surprise when Sam Haight turns out to have Resist Pain and Insightful Eyes.