The Ministry got some sweet new toys in the 5th edition discipline revamp. The Platinum Protocol gave them a consistent stealth bleed capability on a single card, which can be made more potent with Revelation of the Serpent efficiently. A deck with a stealth-bleed backbone using these two cards can use several multi-act options, most of which are also very efficient. The Revelation modifier itself can unlock the bleeding vampire for the cost of burning two corruption counters placed on minions conveniently by the Protocol. The latter card alone enables Dabbler, which * also* has a second blood-gaining mode when there is no utility in unlocking after the first action. Lastly, anarch vampires with Protean have access to CrimethInc. which unlocks a vampire after performing a successful anarch-requiring or anarch-making action.

The new Ministry also have a very reasonable crypt: it is possible to build a deck crypt of good midcap vampires without using vampires with clunky disciplines. There are two good Barons. Such crypt can easily provide three good minions in play, all of which can spend their first action bleeding for three on stealth, then unlocking and doing something else.

The remaining question for the stealth-bleed backbone is what should be the second action (the one done after a minion bleeds first). With obfuscate and Opium Den, I do not need to worry about delivery, so it can be pretty much anything. The stealth-bleed nature of the deck has a weaker defensive side and, unlike the dementation stealth-bleeds, does not bloat while doing its primary job. Hence, it is probably a good idea for the second action to be something that makes the deck more resilient. As an inspiration, Dan Gargulák’s tournament-winning deck used allies such as Carlton van Wyk or Cry Wolf to defend, Enchant Kindred to bloat, and Reckless Agitation for more ousting power.

I decided to experiment with the Baron angle of Ministry and included Fee Stakes. Access to more barons enabled using Bait and Switch for bleed defense and made political actions more reliable to pass, especially the high-impact ones such as Reckless Agitation or Revolutionary Council.


Deck Name: Dabblesnakes
Author: Petr Muller

Crypt (12 cards, min=20 max=30 avg=6.17)
2x Nonu Dis             8 for OBF PRE PRO           Ministry:6
2x Vivian VI            7 obf tha PRE PRO   baron   Ministry:6
2x Crystal Lynn         6 OBF PRE PRO               Ministry:6
2x Elisha Tucker        6 cel obf pro PRE   baron   Ministry:6
2x Jenny Silver         5 obf PRE PRO               Ministry:6
1x Aluc Romas de Leon   5 aus obf pro PRE           Ministry:6
1x Doctor Morocco       5 cel obf pre PRO           Ministry:6

Library (79 cards)
Master (13)
1x Anarch Railroad
1x Carfax Abbey
2x Club Illusion
2x Dabbler
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
1x Opium Den
2x Vessel
2x Villein

Action (22)
5x Enchant Kindred
2x Entrancement
1x Fee Stake: Boston
1x Fee Stake: Perth
1x Fee Stake: Seattle
12x Platinum Protocol, The

Ally (1)
1x Saatet-ta

Political Action (4)
1x Eat the Rich
2x Reckless Agitation
1x Revolutionary Council

Action Modifier (23)
2x Cloak the Gathering
6x CrimethInc.
4x Enchanting Gaze
2x Faceless Night
1x Into Thin Air
1x Lost in Crowds
6x Revelation of the Serpent
1x Veil the Legions

Action Modifier/Combat (2)
2x Swallowed by the Night

Reaction (8)
5x Bait and Switch
3x On the Qui Vive

Combat (6)
4x Earth Meld
2x Form of Mist


I want to directly attack my prey’s pool by sustained increased bleeds at stealth; ideally, I should do at least three such bleeds per turn. The key card for bleeding is The Platinum Protocol which is a bleed for two at one stealth. The permanent locations (Onion Den, Club Illusion, Anarch Railroad) allow sustaining bleeds at stealth without spending cards. Bounced bleeds can further increase my bleed pressure.

I want to use high-impact political actions Reckless Agitation and Revolutionary Council as finishers. I should usually have at least two or three barons on the table, so it is not impossible to have a vote lock, but these actions can also be traded with other players when necessary. The Revolutionary Council is not used in a Death-Star Cannon fashion because the deck does not breed well and will rarely have more than three or four vampires. Instead, the Council should be used to remove annoying locations and equipment from the table, with the pool damage as a nice bonus. I want to play the Council only after the bleeds are done, my vampires have unlocked, and there is no better “second action” to play (or when there is some essential target to remove from the table). Eat the Rich is a nice one-of that can be recurred by Garibaldi-Meucci Museum: sometimes it will be good, other times not so much.


Having access to Barons allows me to reliably use Bait and Switch to bounce bleeds, so I should prioritize always having a Baron and ensure that I either have a wake or keep one untapped at the end of my turn. I should prioritize having more Barons on tables with political threats: it should not be a problem to have three Barons, which is usually enough to maintain reasonable vote power to deal with anything other than a dedicated political predator.

Vessel and Enchant Kindred provide a modest cushion after I bring out three vampires and pay for some master cards but rarely outbloat the more aggressive predators. I want to be an aggressive deck myself, so like most stealth bleed decks, I want to keep gaining pool via ousting.

I should take any opportunity to steal a defensive ally with Entrancement; one blocking Legionnaire, Carlton van Wyk or anything else at least minimally good in defense plugs one of the weak spots of the deck.


The deck likes the situation where it can race with a prey that also has no choice but to go forward. In the ideal case, it will win the race and oust the weakened grandprey fast afterward. When it loses the race, the six pool is often not enough to keep the prey alive for too long because the deck can deliver quite a lot of damage on its good turns: it can easily bleed for six to nine and follow it up with a Reckless Agitation.

The modest amount of Baron titles makes the deck a medium voting power on the table. It can usually overpower tables without a dedicated political deck, although the lack of Propaganda of the Deed limits its lunge capability. On most political tables, it should be able to broker a deal or two and avoid receiving collateral damage from others’ political actions.

I want to be fast and aggressive, so it helps when there are decks with a slower setup on both sides of the table. Opponents who attempt to block at least occasionally make the deck flow better by allowing it to play more cards, but a dedicated wall deck is often a long-term problem. In such cases, it is critical to have at least one (but better both) location that provides permanent stealth. Otherwise, the deck runs out of stealth cards fast.


To function correctly, the deck is somewhat sensitive to having access to many cards at any moment. For each action, I need Platinum Protocol with either a Dabbler minion or a CrimethInc., possibly with one or more stealth cards, and finally a “second action” card, such as Enchant Kindred or a Fee Stake. I have seen failure cases where my hand got stuck with too many cards of a single type; such cases are difficult to recover because of a lack of card flow.

V5 Ministry decks seem to be popular at the moment, and because their crypt is so limited, the risk of contesting is high. Contesting a vampire is backbreaking.

Having played the deck for some time now, it is a low-floor, high-ceiling deck, depending on whether I draw the high-impact master cards soon, especially Dabbler and Club Illusion. The first one is critical, and I am convinced the deck needs more; I would happily play four in the 80-ish cards. Having the Club Illusion on the table increases ousting power but also makes it necessary to have a blood-bloating solution, such as Nonu Dis or Carfax Abbey. Not drawing these cards soon enough can lead to some underwhelming results.

Ministry are now recognized as primarily a stealth-bleed clan, which some preys will backoust without remorse. Even the ones that do not will likely focus a lot on defense. They will not overextend or leave shields down at any given moment. This means that the first oust is usually the hardest and takes a bit of time, giving the grandprey space to potentially dominate the table. The deck does not have a plan B when being aggressive is not a good option: there are not that many resource-building actions the deck can take.

Lastly, as discussed in Survivability, the deck only has modest pool gain and will rarely operate with a huge pool cushion. This makes it vulnerable to decks that can produce a significant amount of damage.


The deck only has a modest defense against combat in the form of protean strike: combat ends cards: Earth Meld and Form of Mist and is therefore vulnerable to Immortal Grapple and Psyche!. It has no offensive capabilities in combat. It should be remembered that Garibaldi-Meucci Museum has an often-forgotten “elysium for Anarchs” mode that can end combat with an enemy Anarch vampire.

Backbone Cards

  • Dabbler: the namesake of the deck, combos with Platinum Protocol to enable consistent multi-act capability
  • The Platinum Protocol: bleed for two at stealth is a primary oust mechanism, enables Dabbler
  • Enchant Kindred: modest pool gain, makes it possible to play with three minions
  • Club Illusion: significantly increases ousting power
  • Garibaldi-Meucci Museum: recurses key cards needed at the moment, usually Bait and Switch, Platinum Protocol, or Reckless Agitation

Early Game

I found the deck to offer non-trivial decisions about which vampires to influence out and in what order. There is no star vampire, and different vampires are role-players; they are good under different circumstances. I prefer to have three smaller vampires to two larger ones - Nonu Dis is great, but it is not easy to influence him out together with two sixcaps (unless you start with three Enchant Kindred in hand). Having at least one Baron is essential to enable Bait and Switch. Fee Stakes can help later, but they are not entirely reliable. It is also helpful to keep one small vampire in an uncontrolled region to not shut down Enchant Kindred.

In the early game, the deck should usually go forward as aggressively as possible because the deck gains nothing by waiting and has limited opportunities for board setup and non-aggressive actions. In certain situations, it may be advantageous to not go fully forward. I only consider doing so when:

  1. I have a non-aggressive predator and do not need to race with them.
  2. I can spend time doing Enchant Kindred or Fee Stake instead of going forward.
  3. My prey will likely spend more pool without my early pressure.

That said, most players will still identify Ministry as an aggressive deck, so it may as well behave as such right from the start.

Many decks will defend by deflecting bleeds. With such predators, it is usually better to consistently bleed for a lesser amount of pool, as low as two, even for several rounds in a row. They usually get frustrated and start using them, then I start spending my resources to increase the bleed amount. Of course, always pay attention to the situation of the grandprey. Try to bleed responsibly, but sometimes just bite the bullet and play the deck’s game; it has no plan B. Do not be lazy and pay attention to the placement of the Platinum Protocol corruption counters when bounced around. All players are potential future prey, and a well-placed corruption counter can help out of nowhere later in the game.

End Game

If possible, try to navigate the table, so that rush combat decks are ousted before the game goes into the three-player game. The deck does not have too many tools for that except for votes. Another feasible outcome is to get the three VPs in succession and then try my best in the two-player game: this is usually possible when my predator is a slower, wall-ish deck.

It is important to remember that the deck loses a bit of its offensive punch in the two-player game because Reckless Agitation does not work. It must target two other methuselahs, so prioritize using it while there are still three players at the table.