Monday, June 30, 2008

Top Ranking Eldest

Here's a little statistic that shows how often the vampires of capacity 11 have been included in tournament winning decks (as recorded in Lasombra's TWD Archive (as of 13/June/2008).
01. Arika (Ventrue) -- 50x
02. Alexandra (Toreador) -- 25x
03. Stanislava (Gangrel) -- 24x
04. Leandro (Malkavian) -- 23x
05. Etrius (Tremere) -- 9x
06. Harrod (Nosferatu) -- 5x
07. Enkidu, the Noah (Gangrel antitribu) -- 4x
07. Gwendolyn (Brujah) -- 4x
09. Sha-Ennu (Tzimisce) -- 3x
10. Eze, the Demon Prince (Guruhi) -- 2x
10. Saulot (Salubri) -- 2x
11. Elimelech, the Twice-Damned (Ventrue antitribu) -- 1x
11. Hazimel (Ravnos) -- 1x
11. Ur-Shulgi (Assamite) -- 1x
There were no TWD containing the vampires "Ezmeralda", "Augustus Giovanni" or "Sutekh, The Dark God". The statistics shows clearly the dominance and strength of the Inner Circle members, while the early Independent big caps are rather weak in comparison. The statistics is (more or less) naturally flawed by the fact that vampires like "Elimelech" or "Sha-Ennu" have been released in rather new expansions.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Murphy is a VtES Player

In general (at least) the first three "Murphy's Laws" can be applied to VtES as well. In fact I believe Murphy came up with the laws when playing VtES first.
  1. If anything can go wrong it will.
  2. Nothing is ever as simple as it seems.
  3. Everything takes longer than you expect.
But there are special pitfalls for the VtES players, which everybody should be aware of. Warn your noob players, your neigbour's dog and your co-workers, so they will be prepared when playing VtES next time:
  1. You have always one pool less than you need to have. Your prey has always one pool more than you can remove in a single turn.
  2. When being ousted (or trying to oust) the next card in your library is the one you needed, but didn't draw.
  3. A hand jam always occurs at the worst time possible.
  4. Your opponents can top deck, you can't.

  5. Vampires & Cards & Combos

  6. The vampire in your torpor region is the one with the disciplines/abilities you need right now.
  7. If you play a deck with a star vampire, you either have none in your starting crypt or at least two.
    Corrollary: If you happen to get your star vampire in your uncontrolled region nonetheless, your grandprey or grandpredator will contest him.
  8. If you bounce a hefty bleed to your prey, you will have no bounce card left for the next and bigger bleed that you cannot block.
    Lemma: Your grandprey will always play "My Enemy's Enemy", when you can't block or bounce.
  9. You always have plenty of DIs and Washes, when there's nothing important to cancel. If there are plenty of opportunities to cancel, you have none.
  10. If you have a "Concealed Weapon" in your hand, the weapon will only show up as replacement for the "Concealed Weapon" you have just discarded.
    Corrollary: When all of your vampires are tapped out, you either have a untap card or bounce card, but never both.

  11. Deck Construction
  12. Cardtext always precedes player's wishes.
  13. If you come up with great deck idea or card combo, LSJ has already made a ruling which leaves a key angle of the deck/combo no longer feasible.
  14. If you managed to trim your deck down to 60 cards, your predator will play a Milling & "Brinkmanship" deck. This law especially applies when playing "Twister" decks.
  15. Either your predator is a stealth bleed deck, or your prey is a rush combat deck. Or, mostly likely, this happens at the same time.
    Corrollary: If you play wall deck, your prey will too.
  16. Your crosstable "buddies" are either noobs who never played a tournament or megalomanics who think they can safely go down to 1 pool in turn 4 even if their predator is playing a Giovanni powerbleed deck.

  17. Real Life
  18. When playing with four players and everything is looking great for you, a fifth player is showing up, and you will have to restart the game.
  19. When you are drafting (or opening boosters with a friend), the player next to you/your friend gets a "Heart of Nizcehtus", you get "Lobotomy" or "Crusade: Miami".
  20. If someone spills a drink (or any other liquid) on the table, most of liquid spills in the direction of the player who does not use card sleeves.
  21. If one of your deck gets stolen or lost, it's the one with the most expensive/hard-to-get cards.
  22. Your decklist is only wrong, if you manage to qualify for the finals. It's impeccable if you're finishing without any VPs.

  23. Most Important
  24. "Arika" is a bitch (even if you control her).
All of the above can be applied to casual games, but the larger the event (tournament, qualifier or championship) is, the more probable they are.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Top Ranking Allies

Here's the list of allies in VtES that are most frequently used in tournament winning decks. The number shows the number of decks where the ally appeared (at least once) on Lasombra's TWDA (as of 13/June/2008).
  1. Carlton Van Wyk -- 114x
  2. Jake Washington (Hunter) -- 70x
  3. Mylan Horseed (Goblin) -- 70x
  4. Gregory Winter -- 56x
  5. Vagabond Mystic -- 54x
  6. Ossian -- 42x
  7. Muddled Vampire Hunter -- 38x
  8. Procurer -- 33x
  9. War Ghoul -- 32x
  10. Leonardo, The Mortician -- 22x
  11. Shambling Hordes -- 22x
  12. Renegade Garou -- 20x
So obviously the generic allies, who fit into a lot of decks, are taking the lead, while the non-unique allies like the "War Ghouls" or the "Shambling Hordes" are usually only in decks built specifically on these allies.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Midnight Academy

About a week ago ShroudFilm (a.k.a. the "Anarch Convert") published the first episode of the "Midnight Academy". This is a video webcast on VtES which will include tournament coverage, interviews with players, strategy discussions in the future. In this first installment ShroudFilm discusses this time a "Nergal" walldeck in detail. But see for yourself:

Monday, June 23, 2008

VtES Cardmaker (Beta)

Damnans (a well known spanish VtES player) has build and published an online card creation tool named "Cardmaker" for VtES. The tool is very usuable and can be used to create fan-based set, storyline tournament related cards as well as cards for a Create A Clan tournament. Definetely worth checking! Read Damnans announcement for yourself:
This is a tool what allows any user to create cards online as easily as quickly.
Cardmaker is not just a card creation tool, but it also allows any user to save his or her cards in the server, to edit or delete his or her cards, to search the Cardmaker card database, etc.

For further information about how to use Cardmaker, check the English help file:
There is an English/Spanish forum on about Cardmaker, so feel free to post your comments and questions there:
I hope you to enjoy Cardmaker!

Memorable Quotes (Part 14)

"If luck weren't involved, I guess I'd win every one." -- Phil Helmuth (professional poker player)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Results Spanish EC Qualifier 2008 (Cordoba)

On June 14th, 2008 the VtES Spanish EC Qualifier was held in Cordoba (Spain) with 42 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Pau Vilar (ESP) -- 2 GW 10 VP -- 5 VP --
2. Julio Lopez (ESP) -- 2 GW 8 VP -- 0 VP --
3. Cesar Ruiperez (ESP) -- 2 GW 7,5 VP -- 0 VP --
4. Jose Vicente Coll (ESP) -- 2 GW 7 VP -- 0 VP --
5. Jorge Jimenez Muñiz (ESP) -- 2 GW 6 VP -- 0 VP --
Congratulations to Pau for his win of the Spanish ECQ 2008. You can find the full standings and a tournament report in the Spanish VTES forum (in spanish).

Results Welsh EC Qualifier 2008

On June 14th, 2008 the VtES Welch EC Qualifier was held in Swansea (Wales) with 10 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Hugh Angseesing (ENG) -- !Tremere Nephandus
2. Emiliano Imeroni (ITA) --
2. Jeremie Pichereau --
2. Mike Wilson --
2. Maciej Bernart --
Congratulations to Hugh for his win of the Welsh ECQ 2008. You can find the winner's deck in the Usenet newsgroup.

Results Portugese EC Qualifier 2008

On June 1st, 2008 the VtES Portugese EC Qualifier was held in Lisbon (Portugal) with 10 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Eduardo Mateus (POR) -- 2 GW 7,5 VP -- 3 VP -- Ravnos Wall /w Dominate
2. Bruno Jacinto (POR) -- 2 GW 10 VP -- 2 VP -- Weenish Brujah/!Brujah Celerity Gun
2. Igor Pereira (POR) -- 3 GW 9,5 VP -- 0 VP --Tremere Wall/Bruise/Bleed
2. Bruno Robalo (POR) -- 2 GW 9 VP -- 0 VP -- Ishtarri Politics
2. Ricardo Portela (POR) -- 1 GW 6,5 VP -- 0 VP -- Weenie Animalism Wall
Congratulations to Eduardo for his win of the Portugese ECQ 2008. You can find the complete final standings and a tournament report in the Portugese VTES Forum (in portugese).

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Results Dutch EC Qualifier 2008

On June 15th, 2008 the VtES Dutch EC Qualifier was held in Utrecht (Netherlands) with 19 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Peter Bouwman (NED) -- 2 GW 8 VP -- 1,5 VP -- Tremere Toolbox
2. Remko van Hierden (NED) -- 2 GW 7 VP -- 1,5 VP -- Giovanni Khazzar's Diary
2. Debbie Nuijten (NED) -- 1 GW 5 VP -- 0,5 VP -- Ravnos Animalism Wall
2. Martin Schumacher (GER) -- 2 GW 6 VP -- 0 VP -- Tzimisce Bruise & Bleed feat. Warghouls
2. Thomas Kwasnitza (GER) -- 1 GW 6 VP -- 0 VP -- Inner Circle Vote
Congratulations to Peter for his win of the Dutch ECQ 2008. You can find a tournament report and the finalists decks in the Usenet newsgroup.

Impressions from the Dutch VtES ECQ 2008

Here are some of the pictures taken during the Dutch ECQ 2008, that was held on June 15th, 2008 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Left: The pub/sports bar De Korenbeurs (in Utrecht) where the tournament took place.

Right: Third round seeing Martin's Tzimisce Bruise and Bleed vs. Izaak's Black Hand Toolbox in the heads-up.

Left: Thomas' Inner Circle vote deck trying to defeat Jörg's Tremere Mages.

Right: The table that lasted long during the third round, Debbie Ravnos Animalism Wall is trying to oust Paul's Weenie Animalism.

Left: The final table during the mid- game. Martin's Tzimisce against Remko's Giovanni against Thomas' Inner Circles against Debbie's Ravnos Wall against Peter's Tremere Toolbox.
Right: The final table in the early game.

Monday, June 16, 2008

An open request to the players

Please stop asking rules questions about old cards which we know are terrible. By asking such questions, you run the risk of LSJ issuing errata on that card. That will lead him to reprint that card, thereby putting a terrible card into a new starter or booster.

Think before you post.
-- Ben Peal, Department of Rocks and Gumballs

As posted on

Friday, June 13, 2008

Memorable Quotes (Part 13)

"There is such a thing as too much table talk." -- John Eno

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Books on VtES

A couple of books on VtES have been published since the release of the game in 1995. The current count is two novels and four player's guides. Here's a comprehensive list of publications, ordered by type and release dates.

  • House of Secrets

    Authors: James A. Moore / Kevin Murphy
    Pages: 361 (paperback)
    Publisher: White Wolf
    Year of Publication: 1995
    ISBN: 1-56504-843-1
    Price: $5.99

  • On A Darkling Plain

    Author: Richard Lee Byers
    Pages: 400 (paperback)
    Publisher: White Wolf
    Year of Publication: 1995
    ISBN: 1-56504-844-X

    Remarks: "On A Darkling Plain" contains voucher to get a free promotional card (i.e. "Dan Murdock"). Obviously the voucher is not redeemable any more.
    Summary: Although both novels are set within the (old) "World of Darkness" setting and they are based on vampire characters from the card game, it actually gives no real insight to the game. Therefore I wouldn't them classify as necessary reading for a VtES player.

Player's Guides
  • The Eternal Struggle: A Player Guide to the Jyhad

    Authors: Andrew & Daniel Greenberg, Richard Garfield, Rob McMillion, Harry Heckel IV, Teuuwynn Woodruff
    Pages: 208 (paperback)
    Publisher: White Wolf
    Year of Publication: 1994
    ISBN: 1-56504-163-1
    Price: $7.95
    • Introduction and Designer's Note (by Richard Garfield) -- this is the most interesting chapter of the book since Garfield, the original designer of both VTES and Magic the Gathering, describes what his motivation was to create the game as well as the early stages of the development of Jyhad.
    • Comes the Night (by Andrew Greenberg) -- a fiction chapter with some of the vampires of the Jyhad edition as main characters.
    • The Eternal Struggle (by Rob McMillion and Andrew Greenberg) -- gives and overview of the games and describes the basic game mechanics.
    • The World of Darkness (by Harry Heckel IV) -- here background information about the World of Darkness and the vampiric society is given, and terms like Blood Bond or Gehenna are explained.
    • Beyond Jyhad (by Dave Greenberg) -- here is shown how VTES interacts with the roleplaying game "Vampire: the Masquerade" (VtM) and how it can be used in a VtM chronicle. By this chapter you can see very well which was the intention of writing the book as well as part of the motivation of developing the game. Not the competitive game was the driving factor, but Vampire is seen mainly as extension or supplement to VtM.
    • Corrected Rules -- an update of the rules.
    • Card Changes -- list of changed cards between Jyhad and VTES expansions.
    Summary: The book was written right after the first edition of jyhad had been published and it shows in many places. The main flaw of the book is that it is aimed at the roleplayer audience rather than the competitive card player.

  • Darkness Unveiled

    Authors: Matthew Burke, Brian Campbell, Shawn Carnes, Andrew Greenberg, Jeff Harris, Beth Morsund, Paul Peterson, Teuuwynn Woodruff
    Pages: 200 (hard cover)
    Publisher: Wizards of the Coast
    Year of Publication: 1995
    ISBN: 1-88099-272-8
    Price: $14.95
    • Introduction (by Andrew Greenberg) -- a brief glimpse on early stages of the VTES development and playtesting.
    • The Rules -- VTES rules version 3.2
    • Deck Construction -- describes some deck archetypes but with some misconceptions about how to play or what to include into these decks.
    • The Seven Clans -- this is the largest chapter of the book describing the then seven Camarilla clans, their disciplines and key vampires. Here also some naviety about cards and tactics is displayed, e.g. when praising "Well Aimed Car" or "Disarming Presence" as valuable cards that should be included in a specific clan's deck.
    • Playing the Methuselah -- the chapter describes an extension of the game, where the Methuselahs take certain roles like "Manipulator" or "Romantic" and thereby get certain merits and flaws during the game.
    • Strategy and Tactics -- an introduction to games strategy, but does only scratch the very surface of this topic.
    • A War of Ages -- contains four variant rules, which alter the game drastically.
    • FAQ -- frequently asked questions about various rules and game situations; although these are more than 10 years old almost of them are still valid questuons with valid answers. Still, it is recommended to use the current rulings from the White Wolf website.
    • Card list -- a tabulated cardlist from the Jyhad and VTES expansions.
    • World of Darkness Glossary -- list of WoD termns and a short explanation of them.
    Summary: While there are some interesting bits of information in this book, the vast majority of information is either not very good, or relate to storytelling or variant rules.

  • Vampire the Eternal Struggle Player's Guide

    Authors: Robert Goudie, Ben Swainbank, Ben Peal with contributions from others
    Pages: 296 (hard cover / PDF)
    Publisher: White Wolf (WW2699)
    Year of Publication: 2005
    ISBN: 1-58846-648-5
    Price: $34.99
    • Introduction
    • Guide to the Disciplines -- gives on overview of all disciplines with the most relevenant cards and their usage.
    • Guide to the Clans -- gives a description of all clans and bloodlines with their strengths and weakness as well as a sample deck for each clan.
    • Deck Construction -- this chapter describes the most relevant deck types like Stealth Bleed or Intercept Combat and discusses deck construction for both constructed and draft format.
    • Strategy and Tactics -- along with the former chapter this is the most interesting one. It gives an overview of game/table dynamics, player postures during the game as well as mastering table talk and the making (and breaking) of deals.
    • Visual Card Encyclopedia -- this is a complete visual guide to each and every card up to the "Kindred Most Wanted" expansion.
    Remarks: Beside the print version the book is also available as PDF version on "Drive Thru RPG".
    Summary: From the player's guides this is by far the most substantial, it has solid information on deck building and game strategy as well as a large number of proven deck lists players can use. The image library is no longer update since 2005 six new expansions have been published.

  • VTES Player's Guide: Kindred Most Wanted

    Authors: Peter D Bakija, Todd Banister, Norman S. Brown, Jr., Michael Courtois, Robert Goudie, Ankur Gupta, Matt Morgan, Ben Swainbank, David J Tatu, David Wilson
    Pages: 47 (PDF)
    Publisher: White Wolf
    Year of Publication: 2006
    ISBN: --
    Price: $7.99
    Description: This is a supplement to the above mentioned VTES Player's Guide. It covers clans and cards contained in the "Kindred Most Wanted" expansion, although the card images of KMW are already included in the much bigger Player's Guide.
    Remarks: The book is only available as PDF version on "Drive Thru RPG".
Summary: While novels only cover the background of VtES, the two early player's guides only have collectors value. Currently the best book on VtES is the "new" "VtES Player's Guide" by "White Wolf", the book offers sound information on clans and disciplines as well as deck building and strategy.

Results Czech National VtES Championship 2008

On June 7th, 2008 the Czech National VtES Championship was held in Brno, Czech Republic with 30 players attending the final tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Gyula Erdos (HUN) -- 3 VP -- 1 GW 6 VP -- Princes w/ Potence
2. Csaba Greguss (HUN) -- 1 VP -- 2 GW 11 VP -- Setite Breed & Politics
2. Michal Bartos (CZE) -- 1 VP -- 1 GW 7 VP -- !Tremere Bleed
2. Jan Panovec (CZE) -- 0 VP -- 2 GW 8 VP -- !Ventrue
Wallish Toolbox
2. Martin Pacev (CZE) -- 0 VP -- 2 GW 7 VP -- Weenie Auspex w/ Anarch Revolts
Congratulations to Gyula Erdos for his win of the Czech Nationals. A report of the finals including the winning deck has the been posted in the Usenet newsgroup.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Did you know, that ... (Part 17)

.. you cannot use Archon Investigation to burn a vampire who has a Spying Mission stored against you and now bleeds you using a Computer Hacking. It's a bleed for 4 in total (+1 from Computer Hacking and +2 from Spying Mission), but only after the bleed resolves, and Archon Investigation must be played after a bleed is successful, but before the resolution.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Gods of Evil

Manituan of Puppets has published an unoffical VtES set named "Gods of Evil", consisting of a large number of crypt and library cards with the infernal vampires and the Baali in particular as a theme. While the main article is in Spanish (which I do not speak regrettably), the cards designed by Manituan are in English. And they are definetely worth a look (or three). There are two separate articles:
Update: The main article has been translated to English.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Deck Building Utilities (Update June 2008)

New versions of the "Anarch Revolt Deck Builder" (ARDB) and the web-based "Fragments of Elder Library Deck Builder" (FELDB) have been published in early June 2008. Both tools now include the cards (and images) from the "Twilight Rebellion" expansion. Here's the update of the basic information.

Anarch Revolt Deck Builder ("ARDB")
Current Version: 2.8.0
Author(s): Graham Smith (current project lead) / Francois Gombault (initial creator)
Description: Layered Filters, multiple export functionality and a tidy interface are the top features of this program, somewhat newer than the FELDB it had a fresh start and gained soon popularity in the VtES community.
  • Card List & Inventory
    • complete card list with card texts
    • almost complete collection of pictures of actual cards, but not always the latest version of the cards.
    • great search & filter use, multiple, layered filters
    • card inventory can be kept
  • Deck Building
    • offers the basic functionality of deck builder
    • includes some statistical information about the decks as well as card drawing simulation
    • ability to store decks in XML format (*.xml), as text (*.txt), HTML file (*.html) or for use with JOL (*.jol) or for posting to internet forums (*.phbBB).
    • gives some advice on deck building based on the "Happy Families" theory
  • Other Functionality
    • can update card database from White Wolf website
    • little utility for creating proxy cards
Cost: free software
OS Platforms: Windows, OpenSuSe, Fedora, Ubuntu, Mac OS X 10.3+(?)
Expansion Updates: about 2 to 4 weeks after an expansion has been released.
Expansions: all VtES expansions.
Latest Posting: 06/Jun/2008

Fragments of Elder Library Deck Builder ("FELDB")
Current Version: 2.4.2
Author(s): Balasz Kuno Kiss
Description: After the ELDB ("Elder Library Deck Builder") was no longer maintained, the ELDB's author David Andersion-Davila published the sources and FELDB was the result of the development with serious improvements over the old program.
  • Card List & Inventory
    • complete card list with card texts
    • almost complete collection of pictures of actual cards, but not always the latest version of the cards.
    • basic ability to filter and sort cards, this could be better, especially when compared to the ARDB.
    • card inventory can be kept, but needs to be used carefully when updating to the next version or expansion.
  • Deck Building
    • offers the basic functionality of deck builder
    • includes some statistical information about the decks as well as card drawing simulation
    • ability to store decks in native format (*.eld), as text (*.txt), HTML file (*.html) or for use with JOL (*.jol).
  • Other Features
    • several import/export options for decks and inventories
    • usually the quickest update after an expansion has been released
    • can update card database from White Wolf website (indirectly)
  • URLs:
Cost: free software
OS Platforms: Windows
Expansion Updates: about 1 to 2 weeks after an expansion has been released.
Expansions: all VtES expansions.
Latest Posting: 08/Jun/2008
Latest Changes (for version 2.4.2):
  • Added Twilight Rebellion" expansion
  • New group type: Any (0)

Friday, June 6, 2008

"Twilight Rebellion": Top Five Crypt & Library Cards

In reference to the "Legacies of Blood Top Ten" list made by Greg Williams in January 2006, I would like to show you a similar list, namely the top five of the "Twilight Rebellion" expansion, at least from my point of view:

Top Five Library Cards
  1. "Monkey Wrench" -- so the card looks very costly at first glance, since you "only" get +1 bleed for each blood spent, especially when compared to cards like "Conditioning" or "Eyes of Chaos". But there are several very distinctive advantages:
    • the card has no requirements other than being an anarch.
    • the card is very versatile. If you do not want to bleed for more than four to avoid an "Archon Investigation", you can easily adjust the amount of pool damage.
    • the card has a huge threat potential. Your prey has to fear huge damage from each anarch he faces, equal to the amount of blood the anarch has (up to four pool damage).
  2. "Twilight Camp" -- beside the "Anarch Convert" this is the second most important card in this set to make a vampire an anarch. I also quite like the card not only because it as a defacto hunting ground/short term investment for the anarch later in the game, but also that it has distinctive way of making anarchs when comparing it to "Seattle Committee".
  3. "Hell-For-Leather" -- this one is probably not the strongest of the new anarch three-way cards, but IMHO the most interesting one. Each of the effects cannot be achieved at all with the same disciplines (at inferior). The most interesting effect is the "Obtenebration" effect which makes another pay two pool if his minion is not ready and your minion is after a combat. Therefore this provides an effective mechanism for ousting your prey in addition or as an alternative to "Fame" or "Tension in the Ranks".
  4. "Constant Revolution" -- if the master card "Smiling Jack" (SJ) has a sibling, it's the action "Constant Revolution" (CR). Though cards are comparable in terms of effects, they are quite different in other aspects.
    • SJ is a master card, so it can be "Washed" or "Sudden Reversaled"; CR is an action card, so it can be blocked or "DI"ed.
    • SJ requires to move a pool to SJ; to CR you move a counter (from the blood bank).
    • SJ forces other players to burn pool or blood from vampires; CR forces other players to burn pool or discard cards from their hand.
    I don't regard "Constant Revolution" as substitute of "Smiling Jack", but rather as a complement/alternative to "Smiling Jack". Both have their advantages and disadvantages, but none is superior to the other one.
  5. "Crypt's Sons" -- this is one looks very strong. Practically when recruiting this retainer, you get two "combat ends" and "action continues" for the cost of one action and a pool. Which is a really good bargain. You can expect "Crypt's Sons" in many anarch based decks, since they can be used universally (i.e. they have no requirements other than being an anarch).
Top Five Crypt Cards
  1. "Anarch Convert" -- this card really revolutionizes the way you can play anarch based decks. Instead of packing 6 to 10 library cards to make your vampires anarch (like "Galaric's Legacy" or "Seattle Commitee" and hoping to draw them early, now you can add 3 to 4 "Anarch Converts" to your crypt and your almost guarantueed to make one of your vampires an anarch very early in the game. The special ability to either gain a pool or draw another card from your crypt makes sure that you do not suffer a significant disadvantage by adding "Anarch Converts" to you crypt. And you can narrow down your crypt choice like some tournament players already do by adding a couple of "Tupdogs".
  2. "Toby" -- "Toby's" special ability, i.e. giving an anarch +1 bleed by burning a blood, is really making up for his lack of disciplines. With his special ability he can be the cornerstone of any anarch bleed deck. In our draft tournament he was frequently drafted and put into decks, and contesting was also seen once or twice. The argument when prey and predator where contesting Toby was given by the prey as: "The contest is cheaper than being bleed by 2 by each of the anarchs".
  3. "Jack Drake" -- since he's the only anarch (next to the "Anarch Convert") makes "Jack Drake" a likely candidate for the top five list. But not only that fact, but also his +1 strength and of course the ability to allow other vampires to become an anarch when they move to your ready region, makes him the first choice in an anarch based combat deck, e.g. based on "Diversion" and "Hell-for-Leather". Even if he's really inferior to "Appolonius". ;)
  4. "Sean Rycek" -- also here his ability makes him so valuable. With only inferior "Demenetation" and "Auspex" he's rather weak 4-capacity vampire. But he can either burn a blood or tap to gain two votes in a referendum. So he's a valuable low cap vampire in any vote based deck or as vote defense. You can even put both "Sean Rycek" (group 4) and "Michael Luther" (group 3) in the same deck, and built an anarch based vote deck based on these two vampires. You may need some vampires with capacity of 5+ since, Sean and Michael cannot become anarchs without increasing their capacity by at least one first.
  5. "Jacob Fermor" -- although this "Gangrel" is missing the in-clan discipline "Fortitude", he's a most valuable addition to any "Werewolf" based deck. His special ability gives each ready werewolf you control +1 bleed. For examples this would a "Renegade Garou" a bleed of 1, and an "Ananasi Vampirephile" even a bleed of 2 (too bad there's not much synergy between the "Guruhi" and the "Gangrel").
But where's light there's also darkness (or was it the other way around in the "World of Darkness"). While theresome some subpar cards (e.g. "Shoulder Drop" or "Stealing Years", there is only one really disappointing card from those cards when shown in the preview or spoiled on the Usenet newsgroup.
  • "Power for All" -- the card has a powerful effect, canceling any library card when it is played is not too shabby. But the cost (in constructed play) for playing this card is just too high. In the mid- to end game you often do not have two untapped anarchs in play, or you don't want to tap them since otherwise you're open to attacks from your predator. In addition the two blood cannot often not be spared by the small- to mid-cap vampires which are often the basis of anarchs decks.
"Twilight Rebellion" expansion gives the anarch based deck a boost they really needed. Especially the two cards that enable players to make vampires anarch more easily and effectively, should give players an incentive to build anarch based decks and actually win some tournaments. It's about time!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

VtES Rules: "Anarch Convert" Q&A

Lately a number of questions came up regarding Anarch Convert, so here's a short "Questions and Answers" summary for the card. Most of the information is taken from the Usenet newsgroup "":

Q: Is the "Anarch Convert" really unique?
A: Yes, the "Anarch Convert" is unique. Other crypt cards like "Aabbt Kindred" or "Hermana Hambrienta Mayor" have an explicit card text saying that they are not unique. "Anarch Convert" lacks this text and is therefore unique.

Q: When I bring a new the "Anarch Convert", and there is already another one in play, can I use one of the special abilities before the contest starts?
A: Yes, you can use one of the the "Anarch Convert" effects (and removing the new "Anarch Convert" from the game) when the card enters play, even if another "Anarch Convert" is already in play and would contest your incoming copy.

Q: Can I make more than one non-titled vampire (already in play) an anarch in the same influence phase by moving a corresponding numbers of "Anarch Converts" to my ready region?
A: Yes.

Q: When I have no non-titled vampire in my ready region, can I move an "Anarch Convert" to the ready region, remove him from the game to make himself an anarch, in order to draw another card from the crypt?
A: No, you cannot do this since the "Anarch Convert" is removed from the game and is therefore not a valid target for making him an Anarch.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Memorable Quotes (Part 12)

"I can dodge bullets, baby." -- Phil Hellmuth (professional poker player)
My comment: Not if I play "Shadow Feint" on superior first!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Deck of the Month: May 2008: Enkidu Brinksmanship

This month's deck is the tournament winning deck "Enkidu Brinksmanship" played by Ira Fay. While most Enkidu decks go the combat way, rushing and dunking famous vampires, this one goes a different. But read Ira's comments, they are quite insightful.
Remark: I know the deck has been marked as not tournament legal due the inclusion of "Lubomira" (group 5) vs. "Olga Triminov" and "Jesus Alcala" (both group 4), but replace "Lubomira" with "Roger Fansworth" and you have practially the same deck. And I just very much appreciate the concept of the deck.
Deck Name: Enkidu Brinksmanship
Description: Get 7 raptors on Enkidu, wait until you can safely call Brinksmanship, and then Psyche for the win.
This deck will never get 5 VPs, but 3 VPs is attainable.
When you have only 0-3 raptors, try to only enter combat with your crosstable buddies or soft targets who can't hitback. Once you get up to 4+ raptors, start going after your prey.
Remember when playing this deck that other people's pool totals are completely irrelevant, which takes a little getting used to. In one game, my prey was at 2 pool, and called a Political Stranglehold to gain 9 pool. I didn't block, I was happy when he Voter Capped, because it meant 1 less card in his deck, and more blood on his vampires to Taste off. I intended to use Denette Stensen and Kai Simmons instead of Old Neddacka and Lubomira, but I couldn't find them for the tournament.
In this deck, it's actually useful that Enkidu is Red List, because sometimes you can convince crosstable allies to rush you and let you get another Raptor via Pack Alpha.
I intentionally have very few Brinksmanship and Forgotton Labyrinths in the deck, because you don't really want to draw them early. Shadow of the Beast is really strong, so do what you can to get it at zero stealth, preferably after you have the Homuculus.

Crypt (12):
6x Enkidu, The Noah
1x Old Neddacka
1x Margarite
1x Olga Triminov
1x Leo Washington
1x Jesus Alcala
1x Lubomira Hradok

Library (90):
Masters (11):
2x Giant's Blood
2x Guardian Angel
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Dia de los Muertos
1x Blood Doll
1x Elder Library
1x The Coven
1x The Rack
1x Powerbase: Montreal

Action Modifiers (2):
2x Forgotten Labyrinth

Actions (3):
2x Brinksmanship
1x Shadow of the Beast

Combat (58):
14x Psyche!
13x Pack Alpha
12x Earth Meld
5x Taste of Vitae
3x Canine Horde
2x Armor of Vitality
2x Leathery Hide
2x Sideslip
2x Side Strike
2x Vampiric Speed
1x Form of Mist

Retainers (15):
14x Raptor
1x Homunculus

Reaction (1):
1x On the Qui Vive

Results "Twilight Rebellion" Launch Event in Bochum

These are the results of our local Launch Event on June 1st, 2008 for the new VtES expansion "Twilight Rebellion" in Bochum, Germany after 3 rounds (no final round played):

# Name GW VP TP
  1. Sebastian K. 1 7 150
  2. Ralf L. 1 5,5 162
  3. Yuri N. 1 4 102
  4. Michael B. 1 3,5 120
  5. Didi R. 1 3 102
  6. Hardy R. 0 2,5 114
  7. Herman J. 0 2 108
  8. Thomas K. 0 1 96
  9. Jörg E. 0 0 66
  10. Debbie N. 0 0 60
Congratulations to Sebastian for winning the tournament (and a laser-etched Edge Marker).
We have been drafting 5 "3rd Edition" + 4 "Twilight Rebellion" boosters. Of course the player who is most fond of the Anarchs won tournament, IMHO since he had drafted the most combat cards of us all. His game winning card was "Hell for Leather" which used many times for making his prey pay two pool after he dunked an opposing vampire.
There we two factions of players, those who played the mix of Anarchs and Sabbat vampires and those choose Sabbat only. The Anarchs decks we largely driven by the many bleed cards the TR expansion offers. But also equipment was heavily favored, especially the "Baseball Bat" and "Anarch Manifesto". The strongest vampire was definitely "Toby" whose special ability to burn a blood to give an Anarch +1 bleed often proved to be very effective. The Sabbat-only players choose mid- to high-cap vampires with titles and therefore the political route. In the end the Anarch faction prevailed, since the many bleed cards like "Power for One", "Steely Tenacity" and "Monkey Wrench" had too much ousting power to cope with.