Saturday, August 30, 2008

I Hate Arika

(c) White Wolf Inc.
Some of you already know me, some don't.

I'm not a good player, I just like the game mechanics and original deck engineering. When I go to tournaments 'round the world I'm always ousted because of stupid mistakes or because I keep trusting deceptive people (but this is my own business ;) )

This thread is about one of the worst vampires in the game : Arika.

Why worst?
  • Because you can be her prey.
  • Because this vampire is grossly overpowered. You pay 11 pool for a vampire that should cost 14.
  • Bcause her special will screw most decks by pure luck. Creepshow Casino + Hungry Coyote, bye bye...
  • Because people play her as the Malkavian Inner Circle, since unlike Leandro she has DOM/OBF.
  • Because every round I play in a tournament, she's on the table. Boring.
  • Because I want to actually burn her each time she plays Obedience on my Thetmes. (next time it'll be Ur Shulgi)
  • Because she's minion tapped for 10 and then Queen Anne plays 5th Tradition cloaked in the labyrinth.
  • Because other Inner Circle suck in comparison.
  • Because when Arika is around, there is no place for imagination. Obedience and Govern the Unaligned all the way.
  • Because Ventrue should not have an easy access to Obfuscate? Barring Suhaila and her funky disciplines =)
  • Because I love every other vampire except her. And Lambach. And Queen Anne. And Meschenka. And Smudge. And all the bad vampires that ruin my tournaments
Reyda quoted from his 2002 posting "I hate Arika" (original post in the Usenet newsgroup).

VtES Clan Newsletters in August 2008

Two clan newsletters have been posted in the "rec.trading-cards.jyhad" usenet newsgroup this month. Beside using a newgroup reader, you can also access the newsgroup by Google Groups.
The "Follower of Set" newsletter's title looks a bit strange, but it was posted in late August regardless.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Content of "Keepers of Tradition"

White Wolf has added the products for the next VtES expansion "Keepers of Tradition" to their online catalog. That is
  • VTES: Keepers of Tradition Booster Display -- Stock #: 2791
  • VTES: Keepers of Tradition Booster Pack -- Stock #: 2792
  • VTES: Keepers of Tradition Starter Display -- Stock #: 2793
  • VTES: Keepers of Tradition Brujah Starter Deck -- Stock #: 2794
  • VTES: Keepers of Tradition Malkavian Starter Deck -- Stock #: 2795
  • VTES: Keepers of Tradition Toreador Starter Deck -- Stock #: 2796
  • VTES: Keepers of Tradition Ventrue Starter Deck -- Stock #: 2797
The release date for these products is November 5th, 2008. The accompanying text reads like this:
The firm hand rules all!

The Camarilla is the universal organization of vampires that speaks for and legislates every vampire in the world (at least, in theory). Bound by a number of Traditions detailing the creation, behavior and destruction of Kindred, the sect also strives to hide to existence of all vampire activity from mortal eyes. This deception, called the Masquerade, is at the core of the Camarilla’s existence; the struggle to universally uphold the Masquerade is what drives much of the sect’s policy and direction.

A new expansion for Vampire: The Eternal Struggle
  • 4 new starter decks
  • Over 24 starter-exclusive cards

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Results New Zealand AC Qualifier 2008

On August 23rd, 2008 the VtES New Zealand AC Qualifier 2008 was held in Wellington, New Zealand with ?? players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Greg Benseman (NZL) -- 2 GW 8 VP -- 3 VP -- Akunanse Wall
2. Steve McRoy (NZL) -- 1 GW 3 VP -- 2 VP -- Ravnos Dominate bleed
2. Jordan Green (NZL) -- 1 GW 4 VP -- 0 VP -- Lasombra toolbox
2. Amanda Fitzwater (NZL) -- 1 GW 3 VP -- 0 VP -- Speed Shamblers
2. Simon Reed (NZL) -- 0 GW 4 VP -- 0 VP -- Assamite Bleed / Vote
Congratulations to Greg for his win of the New Zealand ACQ 2008. You can find the complete standings and a tournament report, and the tournament winning deck in the Usenet newsgroup.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Top Ranking Animalism, Auspex & Celerity Cards

To speed things up a little bit I will give you the list of "Animalism", "Auspex" and "Celerity" cards which are most frequently used in tournament winning decks. The number shows the number of decks where the retainer appeared (at least once) on Lasombra's TWDA (as of 13/June/2008).

Monday, August 25, 2008

Results Newcastle AC Qualifier 2008

On August 24th, 2008 the VtES Newcastle AC Qualifier 2008 was held in Newcastle, Australia with 21 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Brett Tassell (AUS) -- 1 GW 5 VP -- 4 VP -- Toreador Antitribu Wall w/ .44 Magnums
2. Ben Szymkow (AUS) -- 1 GW 7 VP -- 1 VP -- FoS Typhonic Beast Bruise/Bleed
2. John Merton (AUS) -- 3 GW 11 VP -- 0 VP -- Brujah Antitribu Combat
2. Jahn Barfoed (AUS) -- 2 GW 7 VP -- 0 VP -- Weenie CEL w/ WWS, Zip Guns & Camera Phones
2. Paul Azzopardi (AUS) -- 1 GW 4 VP -- 0 VP -- Malkavian/!Malkavian Stealth Bleed
Congratulations to Brett for his win of the Newcastle ACQ 2008. You can find the complete standings and a tournament report in the Usenet newsgroup.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Results of "Feestake: Tilburg" VtES Tournament in Tilburg

These are the results of the "Feestake: Tilburg" VtES Constructed tournament in Tilburg, Netherlands after 3 rounds + final. The tournament was played on August 24th, 2008 with 18 players participating. Here are the standings after the final round:
1. Izaak H. -- 2 GW 7 VP -- 1 GW 3 VP -- Malkavian Antitribu Bleed & Block
2. Peter B. -- 1 GW 7 VP -- 2 VP -- Salubri/Tremere Antitribu Spirit Marionette
2. Paul W. -- 2 GW 7 VP -- 0 VP -- Nakhthorheb & Setite Friends do evil stuff
2. Ralf L. -- 2 GW 7 VP -- 0 VP -- Anarch Weenie Presence Undue Influence
2. Manuel N. -- 1 GW 4,5 VP -- 0 VP -- Ventrue Powerbleed
Congratulations to Izaak for his victory in the final round and the tournament. You can find the complete final standings, a tournament report and the winner's decklist in the Usenet newsgroup.

Left: The place we played at, the "Theseus" in Tilburg.

Right: Round 1, Table 1: Three different types of combat decks struggling for the win. Hardy's Bruise&Bleed, Izaak's Wall and Bart's Rush Combat.


Left: Round 1, Table 2: Two bleed decks (after Bart and I got ousted) and a struggling combat deck (Joachim's Gangrel Antitribu).

Right: Round 2, Table 1: Bart's Beast Rush Combat faces Izaak's Malkavian Antitribu Wall again.

Left: Round 2, Table 2: The table goes into timeout after Prim managed to oust Bart. Observe Debbie's Anarchs w/ full gear.

Right: Final Round: The final table with Izaak's and Peter's decks being quite dominant, the rest (Manuel, Paul and myself) mere "victims" of these two.

Results of the poll "A Kingdom for a deck"

Since I was undecided about what deck to play at the next tournament, so I put a poll on the blog and let the readers of blog decide what deck I play. The outcome of the poll was this:
  • "Harbinger Anarch Milling Wall" -- 13 (21%)
  • "Ravnos Search & Destroy" -- 12 (20%)
  • "!Toreador Anarch Bleed" -- 17 (28%)
  • "!Tremere Nephandus" -- 2 (3%)
  • This all crap! Play something else. -- 13 (21%)
  • Dunno. I don't care. -- 3 (5%)
To my surprise the strongest deck (the "Nephandus Mage" deck) got the fewest vote, and after some playtesting I must agree (mostly) with the sizable minority that voted "This is all crap! Play something else" (I disagree about their opinion on the "Nephandus Mage" deck. I must concede that I was very unhappy about the reader's choice, the "Toreador antitribu Anarch Bleed" deck. But I was determined to stick to results of poll, even though the deck in the presented form was too slow and couldn't build any decent pressure on its prey. So I cheated a little bit (and also I wanted to surprise the other players of the tournament a little bit if they read the blog), when I changed the deck quite bit. The core was still the Anarch -- "Undue Influence" -- "Power of One" engine, but I threw out almost all of the "Celerity" discipline cards and added "Dodges" and "Combat Ends" based on "Presence". But the most significant and most needed change was the decision to remove all the mid-cap "Toreador antitribu" (and the clan based cards) and put into weenies w/ "Presence" into the deck instead.

Astoundingly in the end the deck did quite well in the tournament environment, and made a very good 2 GW and 7 VP in the preliminary rounds of the tournament in Tilburg (see tournament results above), but was stopped cold when the top-seeded "Malkavian antitribu" bleed & block deck choose to be my prey. Not even the slightest chance in the finals ... The deck was fun playing, but I doubt it's even Tier 2, since any decent Tier 1 deck will shred it to pieces.

So this was the actual decklist of the deck I played:
Deck Name: Undue Power
Created By: extrala
Description: My take on Anarch Presence Undue Influence bleed.

Crypt: (17 cards, Min: 4, Max: 16, Avg: 2,35)
---------------------------------------------
5 Anarch Convert 1 Caitiff
1 Dirk pre 1 Caitiff
1 Aimee Laroux for pre 2 Daughters of Cacophony
1 Emerson Wilkershire III pre 2 Toreador
1 Justine Chen pre 2 Toreador Antitribu
1 Panya cel pre 3 Ishtarri
1 Mazz cel pre 3 Brujah
1 Jonathan Gursel aus pre 3 Toreador Antitribu
1 Reverend Adams aus PRE 3 Caitiff
3 Maldavis for pre AUS 4 Caitiff
1 Loonar cel PRE 4 Toreador Antitribu

Library: (79 cards)
-------------------
Master (18 cards)
1 Anarch Free Press, The
1 Anarch Railroad
4 Blood Doll
1 Club Illusion
1 Direct Intervention
2 Effective Management
1 Pentex Subversion
1 Rumor Mill, Tabloid Newspaper, The
2 Twilight Camp
1 Wall Street Night, Financial Newspaper
3 Wash

Action (14 cards)
2 Entrancement
12 Undue Influence

Action Modifier (9 cards)
2 Leverage
1 Monkey Wrench
6 Power of One

Reaction (15 cards)
2 Delaying Tactics
1 Fillip
2 My Enemy`s Enemy
5 On the Qui Vive
5 Telepathic Misdirection

Combat (17 cards)
5 Concealed Weapon
2 Diversion
2 Dragon`s Breath Rounds
2 Majesty
2 Staredown
2 Target Vitals
2 Unholy Penance

Retainer (1 cards)
1 Mr. Winthrop

Equipment (5 cards)
2 .44 Magnum
1 Bowl of Convergence
1 Deer Rifle
1 Saturday-Night Special

Results Finnish EC Qualifier 2008

On August 8th, 2008 the VtES Finnish EC Qualifier was held in Espoo (Finland) with 83 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Lasse Pöyry (FIN) -- 2 GW 8.5 VP -- 2 VP -- Lasombra Capitalists
2. Kari Vieno (FIN) -- 2 GW 7 VP -- 2 VP -- Nephandi Rules!
2. Juho Linna (FIN) -- 2 GW 8 VP -- 1 VP -- Obfuscate + Dominate
2. Juhani Puska (FIN) -- 3 GW 12 VP -- 0 VP -- Kill Fast or Die Fast
2. Antti Tirilä (FIN) -- 2 GW 8 VP -- 0 VP -- Loss Bleed
Congratulations to Lasse for his win of the Finnish ECQ 2008. The post on the tournament in the Usenet newsgroup and the VtES Orava website is more than great. It contains:
  • the final standings,
  • a tournament report,
  • the decklists of all 5 finalists,
  • a transcript of the finals, and
  • photos from the event.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More Preview Pictures from "Keepers of Tradition"

After Heather Kreiter's pictures from "Keepers of Tradition" came to my attention, I was also checked the websites of the other usual suspects like Lawrence Snelly or Peter Bergting. Apparently Ken Meyer Jr. wasn't lazy either:
Crypt Cards:
On the other hand I am not so sure that the stuff Jim DiBartolo made is actually for VtES or for another White Wolf (card) game. Take a look at the pointy ears, sooo not-vampiric!!

Preview Pictures from "Keepers of Tradition"

On her website Heather Kreiter has published seven pictures that will appear in the next VtES expansion "Keepers of Tradition" later this year.

Libary Cards:
Crypt Cards:

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Memorable Quotes (Part 20)

"Dude! NEVER apologize for a Frederick the Weak deck.

And a side note: remember, social pressure isn't the answer to Frederick decks. If your playgroup complains that a Frederick deck is spoiling their weekly games by winning too much, simply remind them that a Frederick deck is a perfectly valid deck to select, and their own decks should be prepared, at least in part, for any eventuality. If they choose to write off the possibility of a Frederick deck as "unlikely" when constructing their deck's defense, then they shouldn't be surprised when Frederick sweeps right through them.

(Of course, the only proper defense to Frederick is to contest him.)"
-- Derek Ray

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

VtES Grouping Rule

From time to time especially new VtES players ask for the reason why the "Grouping Rule" has been introduced to VtES. I'd like to give you some reasons why it is part of the game. As reminder the rulebook states in section 1.5 the grouping rule:
5. Group: Each vampire belongs to a specific group, identified by a number above the upper left corner of the text box. A player’s crypt must be built using vampires from a single group or from two consecutive groups. This does not restrict a Methuselah from stealing vampires from other groups through play, however. Cards from some older sets do not have this designation. For those cards, the ones with an expansion set symbol (an icon in the upper right corner of the card) are treated as Group 2 vampires; the others are Group 1 vampires.
The only exception to this rule are draft tournaments where vampires from any group can be mixed freely.

Reasons for the introduction of the grouping rule are:
  • Avoid "power" crypts -- imagine putting all "Presence" or "Dominate" weenies from Groups 1-5 into a single crypt.
  • Deck building challenge -- crypt construction is supposed to be a bit of a challenge, instead of having the opportunity to build a perfect crypt, you'll have to consider the limitation of having each and every vampire at your disposal.
  • Variety in play -- when playing a particular clan, e.g. "Lasombra", you do not want to see the same "Lasombra" vampires in each "Lasombra" deck over and over again. With the grouping rule you'll often have distinct crypts even when your opponent is using the same clan.
  • Avoid contests of titles in the crypt -- while contests are generally part of the game, contesting the same sect title should be avoided. Think of the different groups as vampire which appear (and disappear) from the "World of Darkness" over time. Therefore there should be only one "Archbishop of Chicago" or one "Nosferatu Justicar", at least in your crypt!
  • The bloodline clans (and especially those with the scarce trait) have been designed under the assumption that they have limited crypt selection. They shouldn't be played in the same way as a full clan. You can mix them into your deck as support for a full clan, or you'll have to live with the restrictions of a small crypt selection.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Results US National VtES Championship 2008

On August 16th, 2008 the National VtES Championship was held in Indianapolis, Indiana with 18 players attending the tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Jonathan Scherer (USA) -- 2 GW 7.5 VP -- 0.5 VP -- Gangrel
2. Shane Strait (USA) -- 1 GW 5 VP -- 0.5 VP -- Malkavian princes
2. Robert Dudock (USA) -- 1 GW 3.5 VP -- 0.5 VP -- Imbued
2. Jared Strait (USA) -- 1 GW 3.5 VP -- 0.5 VP -- Chicago Blood Brothers
2. Catrina Ahlbach (USA) -- 1 GW 3 VP -- 0.5 VP -- Kiasyd/ Obtenebration
Congratulations to Jonathan for his win of the US National Championship 2008. You can find the full standings in the Usenet newsgroup.

Results Washington, D.C. NAC Qualifier 2008

On August 3rd, 2008 the VtES Washington, D.C. NAC Qualifier was held in Washington, D.C. with 16 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Sonam Adinolf (USA) -- 3 VP -- Saulot Toolbox
2. Selen Turkay (USA) -- 2 VP -- Ahrimanes Bleed / Block
2. Adam Hulse (USA) -- 0 VP -- Weenie Auspex
2. David Cherryholmes (USA) -- 0 VP-- Assamite Bleed
2. Matt Morgan (USA) -- 0 VP -- Assamite Anarch Vote
Congratulations to Sonam for his win of the Washington, D.C. NACQ 2008. You can find the winner's decklist and a tournament report in the Usenet newsgroup.

Results Norwegian EC Qualifier 2008

On July 26th, 2008 the VtES Norwegian EC Qualifier was held in Flekkefjord (Norway) with 17 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Mats Ingdal (NOR) -- 2 GW 7.5 VP -- Anarch Obfuscate Weenie Bleed
2. Frode Løining (NOR) -- 2 GW 7,5 VP -- Ahrimanes
2. Stig Løvik (NOR) -- 1 GW 6 VP -- Brujah
2. Loyd Larsen (NOR) -- 1 GW 5.5 VP -- Nosferatu Antitribu
2. Steinar Olsen (NOR) -- 1 GW 5 VP -- Gangrel Garou
Congratulations to Mats for his win of the Norwegian ECQ 2008. You can find the winner's deck in the Norwegian VtES forum or the Usenet newsgroup.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

A Kingdom for a Deck

Since I am not quite sure what deck to play with in the upcoming VtES tournaments, I thought that maybe you could help me with this decision. I have currently four decks in consideration for the next three tournaments in the next four weeks. The decks in question are:
So take a look at the decklists, and vote in the poll on the left sidebar of the blog. Your also welcome to leave a comment on this blog entry if you have any suggestions or hints.

P.S.: The Ravnos deck is currently under heavy reconstruction after yesterday's first test run. I got ousted after an "Anarchist Uprising" dealt 8 damage to me.

A VtES Tournament Primer

(c) by White Wolf Inc. This is a primer for those VtES players planning to attend their first VtES tournament. The article describes what you can expect, how to prepare for a tournament and what are the do's and dont's during the tournament,

So you are going to attend a VtES tournament, and you are nervous at hell. Then then first thing you need to do is relax. I mean it. The people you are going to play with (or against) are a bunch of nice people (usually) and VtES tournaments are handled way more relaxed than in most other trading card games.

VtES tournaments are the organized form of a multi-round games. That means each players participates in two or three games (rounds). Each game consist of four or five players which are randomly assigned to these games. There is no arrangement of tables during these initial rounds based on the player's performance of the previous rounds. After the two or three preliminary rounds the player's scores from the previous rounds are added up, and the top 5 players are advancing to the final round. In this final round the winner of the tournament is determined, the winner of the final is also the winner of the tournament. (The other players at the final table are all automatically placed on the second place).

Your first tournament should be a small(er) tournaments. I wouldn't really recommend that your first tournament is a Continental Qualifier or a National Championship.

Preparations
You need a VEKN membership number to participate in tournament. VEKN is the abbreviation for "Vampire Elder Kindred Network" and is the official VtES players' organization. But don't worry, becoming a member of the VEKN is both free and easy to obtain. You can either register yourself on the White Wolf website and then generate a new VEKN number for you, or (much easier), let the tournament organizer assign a VEKN number for you. When you arrive at the tournament you just tell the tournament organizer that you are (not yet) a member of the VEKN, and he will grant you prelimenary membership in the VEKN, and register you as official member after the tournament.

Make sure your deck complies all current rules. In particular make sure:
  • Your deck shouldn't contain any banned cards. Therefore check the list of banned cards.
  • Your library has at least 60 cards and at most 90 cards.
  • Your crypt contains 12 or more vampires/Imbued. Also check if your crypt complies with the grouping rule (only vampires/imbued from one group or two adjacent groups).
You also need some blood counters. Depending on your deck you need at least 30 blood counters (usually 40 are better). Do not use dice as counters, they are easily toppled over and then nobody knows your pool or the blood on your vampires. The blood counters should be easily recognizable/visable and neither too large or too small. They do not have to be glass beads. Other players use counters from other games like "Risk", poker chips, coins, or even bullet casings.

Card sleeves for your deck are not required in VtES Tournaments, unless the VtES cards backs can be considered as marked e.g. they are worn or have otherwise distinctive markings. Because the original "Jyhad" cards are still valid and the "3rd Edition" cards have their back illustration "flipped", card sleeves should also be used unless number of cards between are somewhat equally distributed.

Some VtES tournaments, usually only the larger ones like National Championships, Continental Qualifiers or Continental Champhionships, require a deck list. A deck list is a piece of paper with the cards (and their number of copies) of both your crypt and library. The deck list can be printout from one of the deck building utilities like FELDB or ARDB, but it can also be handwritten. In either case make sure it's readable and correct! If a deck list is required, the tournament organizer will announce this, and request the deck list upon your registration before the actual tournament starts.

Please cbserve that contrary to other card games there is no card limit in VtES. That is you can put an arbitary number of an individual cards into your deck. Also as with other trading cards games proxy cards are not allowed, i.e. all cards in your decks must be genuine White Wolf cards.

Most of the above information can also be found in the official VEKN tournament rules. Although you need not to be familiar with all the details of the tournament rules, it doesn't hurt to have read them once. The same applies to the current rulings and errata list, if you are not sure how one of your cards actually work in a complex situation, you should consult the compiled list of rulings and errata.

During tournaments you can often trade cards with other players. So it's a good idea to bring along your own cards you can spare, and make up your mind, what you might need.

Travel
When traveling to a VtES tournament, you should inform yourself where and when the tournament actually takes place. Avoid the stress and arrive in time by
  • starting somewhat earlier if you don't know the exact location or expect traffic on the way.
  • getting a map to the location, especially of the immediate vicinity of the location. You'll probably won't need that if you travel by car and have a navigation system.
  • getting the telephone number of the organizer if possible, so you can call him if your late somehow. This usually work unless it's a big tournament.
You do not have to be there very early, since usually registration is opened only 30 to 60 minutes before the actual tournament.

In the tournament announcement there is often an email adress or website where you can pre-register. Pre-registration is usually only intented for informing the tournament organizer how many players he can roughly expect. Also if you're too late for the tournament, the tournament organizers at smaller tournament will often wait for you to arrive (though it helps if you call him on phone as well).

Registration and Tournament Organization
When you arrive at the tournament, one of the first things to do (perhaps beside a visit to the restroom) is to register. Registering just means that you'll give the tournament organizer your name and VEKN membership number (see above). He will also determine the seating order, which be announced after all participants of the tournament have arrived and registration is closed. Often there is a registration fee (from $0-$5 or 0€ to 5€) from which the tournament organization finances the prize support and promotional cards. Good thing is you'll usually get a bunch of "promotional cards for your entry fee as well.

Your Deck
Aside from the limitations described above (deck size/group rule/banned cards), I'd like to give you the following advice:
  • Play a deck that you played before, and that you know how to play with it. E.g. it's not fun for you and the other players when you start playing a political deck for the first time during a tournament.
  • Know your cards. Nothing infuriates other players more than if you starting reading your cards and if you ask other players how the cards you're playing actually work. On the other hand it's nothing wrong about asking other players what a particular card does they are playing. Nobody expects you to know each and every VtES card ever released. There are several thousands of library and vampires cards out there and only very,very few people know all the card texts exactly. If you don't know a card another player is using and it's seems important to you ask another player for its effect. If in doubt, let you give the card, so you can read it. Also do not be shy about asking other players what special abilities a vampires, they are moving to the controlled region, has.
Before the game
After the tournament organizer has announced the table seating for a given round, you should move to the table at which you will be playing the next round. Do this in a timely fashin, since there are a couple of things to do before the actual game starts like shuffling your deck, counting your pool, etc. Make sure you are at the right table (they are numbered), and that you have the correct seating position. Í have seen a couple of times that players (even experienced ones) haven't read the seating order closely and two players with the same first name have switched.

When you arrive at your game table for the next round, you should introduce yourself to the other players. Not only it's polite, it also helps communication during the game if you (and your opponents) can refer to each other by name.

Before the game starts, shuffle your deck throughly. How this is done (rifle shuffle, overhand shuffle, etc.) is up to you, only make sure that your deck is sufficiently randomized. Also make sure

Before the game starts your asked to cut and/or shuffle the crypt and library of your prey. Your predator will do the same with your crypt and library. So before dealing the cards to yourself, you should ask your predator if he wants to cut your crypt and library or not.

During The Game
  • Observe the order of play. If in doubt take the rulesbook and place it face down on the table so you can look up the turn sequence during your turn.
  • Observe the rules. Expect from other players that they observe the rules closely, and they expect it from you in turn. The other players may be to be lenient toward you, because you're new to tournaments, but do not take it for granted. Players are not looking kindly upon forgetting to take pool for the Edge or reversing the order to discard and influence phases. Suck it up, and learn from your error(s).
  • Calling a judge. When you have serious doubt about a particular situation or a rules question, do not hesitate to call a judge. I am not encouraging you to call a judge all the time, just if you have serious doubt about a given situation and/or the outcome of the game is decided upon the situation. In smaller tournaments a so-called "multi-judge" system is used. That is before the tournament six judges are selected (usually by the tournament organizer). All of the judges are also players, but with six judges in the tournament, there is always a judge who does not actively participates in a particular game and he can be called to decide on rules questions and the like.
Table Talk and Deals
There is usually much table talk in a VtES tournament, since it's a very social multiplayer game. Do not be intimidated by the amount or type of table talk. Some people like to trash talk, others try to sweet talk you into doing something that may be not in your best interest.

When another player tries to talk you into doing something, blocking, taking an action, playing a "Sudden Reversal" , etc., he may have good arguments, but always ask yourself, what is in your best interest, what is he gaining when you do the deed he's asking for. Especially veteran players try to convince less experienced players into performing actions, that they could do themselves, but they want to save their resources. Talk is cheap, taking actions or spending pool is not.

VtES is to some extent a game of making (and sometimes breaking) deals. There are small deals like "If you help my with my vote, I'll rescue your vampire" as well larger deals like "We'll help each other in ousting our respective preys, and then fight it out like men".
  • Before doing anyone a small or big favour (attacking vampires crosstable, or rescuing your predator's vampires from torpor, etc..), always ask for a return. Even if the action is in your best interest also.
  • Always ask yourself: "What is best for me?"
  • Do not make one-sided deals. If you're deal partner is offering a huge favour for partically nothing in return, it is quite likely that is not gonna keep the deal.
  • If in doubt about a particular deal (e.g. if your "partner" will keep the deal or if the deal is not to your advantage), politely decline the deal, but decline it! Your not obliged to accept any deal offered.
After and between games
If you're ousted, you can leave the table or you can watch how the game progresses/ends. After you have been ousted, you're considered a spectator, that means you're no longer allowed to comment the game or make suggestions to other players still involved in the game. To quote the VEKN Tournament Rules:
All spectators are expected to remain silent during the course of a game and are not permitted to communicate with players in any way while a game is in progress.
Unless explicitely forbidden by tournament organizer (e.g. to prevent interference of spectators with the game or reduce the noise level in the room), you can wander around see what decks are played at the other tables. This is informally known as "scouting" and may help you to assess your opponents more easily in the following rounds.

When discussing with other spectators please keep your voices down or (better) leave the playing area, where you do not disturb the other players still active in the game.

The start of the next round is named by the tournament, so you can take your time visting the restroom, eating some food, or talking to other players which also have been ousted. Also between the rounds 1&2 and 2&3, the tournament organizer may announce intermediate standings, but this is usually not the case.

Closing words
This was a lot of information and advice. I tried to cover most aspects that might interest a VtES player new to the tournament scene, but at the core you'll just need a deck, and 30 blood counters, and most important is the following advice: Have fun!

References

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Top Ranking Events

Here's the list of Events in VtES that are most frequently used in tournament winning decks. The number shows the number of decks where the Events appeared (at least once) on Lasombra's TWDA (as of 13/June/2008).
  1. Unmasking, The -- 90x
  2. Anthelios, The Red Star -- 81x
  3. Dragonbound -- 41x
  4. Edge Explosion-- 34x
  5. FBI Special Affairs Division -- 27x
  6. Break The Code -- 23x
  7. Thirst -- 20x
  8. Slow Withering, The -- 19x
  9. Restricted Vitae -- 17x
  10. Veil Of Darkness -- 16x
Nothing really surprising in the first five or six cards on the top. "Unmasking" is the friend of each and every ally deck, and so is "FBI Special Affairs Division". "Anthelios" is helping multiple master phase decks since 2003, while "Dragonbound" is used by combat decks. I think the last four of the top ten are resulting from "Gehenna"-based decks with 4 to 10 Event cards, I haven't seen them very rarely in decks that feature only one or two Event cards.

Monday, August 11, 2008

"Anarchs & Alastors" Storyline: New Cards

The card text of the two new cards usuable/available in the on-going "Anarchs & Alastors" VtES Storyline have be disclosed:
Flames of Insurrection
Unique Master. Requires a ready anarch
When a minion opposing an anarch in combat leaves the ready region, the controller of that anarch may move a counter from the bank to a vampire in his or her uncontrolled region. Any vampire may call a referendum to burn this card as a +1 stealth political action.

Public Enemy
+1 stealth action. Requires a non-Red List, non-anarch vampire.
(D) Choose a non-titled, non-Red List minion who either has succesfully bled for 3 or more pool since your last turn or is infernal or anarch. The chosen minion becomes Red List.
These new promo cards will be legal for use in tournaments on September 9th, 2008.

Next VtES Expansion: "Keepers of Tradition"

White Wolf's LiveJournal entry from August 04th, 2008 states:
VTES cards final proof and dropping in the precon cards..and at some point doing the starter boxes and display
Also Oscar Garza, the VtES organized play coordinator, reported in the Usenet newsgroup, that the name of the new expansion will be "Keepers of Tradition". The expansion features the Camarilla sect, contains 100 new vampires and will be released in October 2008.

Deck Archetypes: Anson Master

(c) by White Wolf Inc.The "Anson Master Cards" (or short: "Anson") deck) is, of course, based on "Anson's" special ability to get two master phase action each turn. It runs an insanely high count of master cards, usually something between 30 to 50 master cards, but sometimes even highter than that. The "Anson Master Cards" deck has won a couple of tournaments, but since the text of "Anarch Revolt" has been revised, the deck archetype ceased to appear in tournaments. Nowadays other "Toreador" decks like "Aching Beauty" or "Toreador Grandball" archetypes are more successful in tournaments.

How to win with them
There's a good reason why a player is (usally) only allowed to play a single master card each turn, that is master cards are (often) the strongest cards in the game. The "Anson" deck archetype is trying to exploit this strength by playing two to three master cards each turn. The third master phase action is usually aquired by putting "Parthenon" into play.(1)

(c) by White Wolf Inc.The deck's role during the game is mostly very passive; during its minion phase the deck almost never does anything, apart from calling an occasional vote like "Parity Shift". In other player's turn it resorts to blocking, but only to end combat with "Majesty" or "Obedience". So how the's deck going to win if doesn't do anything or little while acting (or blocking)? The answer was "Anarch Revolt".

The old version of "Anarch Revolt" dealt one pool damage to a player in his untap phase, while the new version does only so if you do not control a ready Anarch. Having a number of "Anarch Revolts" in play had much greater ousting potential before the card text was changed, especially if you could "defend" them by having the vote majority (with "Anson", "Anneke", etc.) at the table and playing "Delaying Tactics" in addition.

"Delaying Tactics" is quite o.k. when trying to keep at least one "Anarch Revolt" in play. This is because in a given turn the "Delaying Tactics" "protects" a particular "Anarch Revolt" to be removed by vote. But if you have multiple "Anarch Revolts" in play the vampires of the acting player can still try call referendum to remove the other "Anarch Revolts" in play despite a "Delaying Tactics" against the "first" "Anarch Revolt" played in the same turn. Check this thread in the Usenet newsgroup for all its gory rule details. With "Anthelios, the Red Star" and "Anson" it is also possible to retrieve the same "Anarch Revolt" that was removed since your last turn and play it in the same master phase.

So the main task is two play one, two or even three "Anarch Revolts" in same turn, in the mid- to long run not many decks can cope with that pool loss. To make things worse for the other players, you can retrieve the "Anarch Revolts" with "Anthelios" and replay them immediately with "Anson's" special. This is very efficient, since you need your master phase actions for the many other master cards to play. But you can use the potential as argument, so other players are dettered from removing the "Anarch Revolts".

Another angle to destroy its prey's resources (read: vampires) can be "Golconda: Inner Peace" and "Hostile Takeover" (if some "Ventrue" is added to the crypt). "Golconda" can also be used to gaining pool by playing a "Minion Tap" on "Anson" first to empty him, and then burning him with "Golconda" to gain another 8 pool. "Golconda" is also good for defending "Anson", i.e if he's in torpor or if some nasty master card was played on him like "Pentex Subversion" or "Fame". So burn "Anson" and bring out another copy of him this turn (at least a turn later).

The deck can deal moderately, there are a few options to help or harm players crosstable but not too many. Among these are "Golconda" and "Hostile Takeover" for removing vampires or "Parity Shift" for distributing pool. But most important are the "Life Boons" where you can give players enough pool so that they won't get ousted by the wrong player.

(c) by White Wolf Inc.Crypt Selection
The crypt is focussed on "Anson" for he's providing the extra master phase action (beside the "Parthenon") needed for the deck. The second choice for the deck is "Anneke" since she's also a "Toreador", has a "Justicar" title and a great special ability (built-in-"Eagle Sight"). But the crypt can be filled up with a couple of different choices. Likely candidates are "Democritus" for contesting cards, "Huitzilopochtli" for another master phase action or "Alexandra" for extra votes (and possibly her special ability).

Bleed defense
The deck has two options to deal with bleed, the first is using "Anson's" (inferior) "Dominate" to use "Deflection" to bounce the bleeds. "Telepathic Misdirection" is only added if there are other vampires in the crypt who have superior "Auspex". The second option is to regain pool as fast as the bleed deck applies damage to you. This is usually done by playing "Minion Tap" and "Golconda" and (if included in the deck) "Parity Shift".

Vote defense
The first and most important defense against political decks, and in this deck's case against the removal of the "Anarch Revolts", are their permanent votes starting with those "Anson", but also from additional vampires in the deck like "Anneke". Furthermore the usual vote defense with "Delaying Tactics" and "Direct Intervention" works for this deck too. As detailed above "Delaying Tactics" can prevent removing a particular "Anarch Revolt" for whole turn, but it's hard to protect multiple "Anarch Revolts" in play if you don't have vote lock.

Combat defense
"Majesty" and "Obedience" are the cornerstones of the combat defense. Usually "Anson" or any other vampire with "Dominate" will stay untapped and if they got rushed, play "Obedience" to avoid combat. Since "Anson" only has inferior "Dominate" this untaps the acting vampire, but on the other hand he cannot perform the action again that turn (unless it was a hunt action or something similar). E.g. a rush combat deck needs to use a different rush card for that minion to attack again that turn, or a bleed deck cannot bleed with the same minion again that turn. "Majesty" is the second line of defense here, if "Anson" is tapped and cannot play "Obedience". "Majesty" is also quite handy if "Anson" wants or is forced to take an action, which will not happen frequently.

How to win against them
Before the rewording of the card it was quite hard to beat deck. It has quite good pool gain, the "Anarch Revolts" are not easy to remove if you didn't play a vote deck yourself, and combat decks have difficulties getting in combat due to "Obedience" and "Majesty".

(c) by White Wolf Inc.Good chances against this deck archetype which can deliver persistent pressure. For example a bleed deck can deliver consistent pool damage to the "Anson" deck and leverage the "Anarch Revolts" against their controlling player. Also Weenie Rush or Multi Rush decks can be quite efficient against a master card deck. Though a couple of combats can be averted by "Obedience" and "Majesty", persistent attacking will led to torporizing "Anson" (or his companions). Only make sure to diablerize "Anson" when he's in torpor, otherwise "Golconda" played on "Anson" will ruin most of your efforts.Intercept decks will have very hard time, the "Anson" deck will avoid taking any actions in front of an intercept deck. In case of the wall deck playing "Smiling Jack", a "Toreador Grandball" can be used to remove the "Smiling Jack".

Removing the "Anarch Revolts" seem futile, but if you can spare the action, and you are able to or convince the rest of the table to) remove the "Anarch Revolts", you should do so. Yes, your opponent can still use two master actions and "Anthelios" to retrieve the card and replay it, but on the other hand then he's not playing a "Minion Tap" and retrieve a "Direct Intervention" for example.

(c) by White Wolf Inc.After the rewording, defense against the deck is often easy. Make an Anarch or two and you're immune against the deck. The immunity clause on "Anarch Revolt" has spawned a different type of deck. The "Anarch Revolt" deck nowadays, have a couple of Anarch vampires and a small number of "Anarch Revolts" in play. In order to make the "Anarch Revolts" effective, they kill the Anarch vampires of their prey. But as I said this is another type of deck ... Anyhow the "Anson" deck is not really capable of removing vampires in a reliable way, so the "Anarch Revolts" are not working anymore as reliable as before.

Key Cards
  • "Anson" -- his special is the key to the deck archetype.
  • "Parthenon" -- gives another extra master phase.
  • "Obedience" / "Majesty" -- combat defense, read: avoidance.
  • "Parity Shift" "Voter Captivation" -- basic combo to damage your prey and bloat at the same time.
  • "Minion Tap" / "Golconda" -- "Minion Tap" is first part of the bloat mechanism, while "Golconda" is the second as well as the failsafe if "Anson" is torporized.
Notable Examples & Variations
There are some variants of the deck, mostly there are slight difference in crypt selection, and if and which political actions to pack into the deck.
  • "The Master's Voice" by Rob Treasure -- basic variant with "Anarch Revolts" and a few votes.
  • "Toreador master deck" by Riku Niittymäki -- omits the political actions, and can oust without taking a single action.
  • "Anarch Revolt" by Kevin J. Wiebe -- adds a "Dominate" weenie horde for extra bleed/ousting power.
  • "Anneke+Anson" by Ruben Van Cauwenberghe -- mixes the "Anson master card" deck with a "Toreador Grand Ball" deck.
Sample Decklist
Deal with the Devil
Paris, France
07/03/04
20 players

Deck Name: Anson Master
Created By: Kamel Senni

Crypt: (17 cards, Min: 32, Max: 36, Avg: 8,23)
----------------------------------------------
15 Anson aus dom CEL PRE 8 Toreador
1 Huitzilopochtli AUS DAI DOM OBF PRE POT 10 Baali
1 Democritus aus cel for DOM PRE 10 Ventrue

Library: (90 cards)
-------------------
Master (73 cards)
9 Anarch Revolt
1 Antediluvian Awakening
1 Art Museum
1 Barrens, The
1 Bleeding the Vine
5 Dreams of the Sphinx
5 Fortschritt Library
1 Giant`s Blood
7 Golconda: Inner Peace
4 Hostile Takeover
1 Information Highway
3 Life Boon
1 Malkavian Dementia
9 Minion Tap
7 Parthenon, The
2 Personal Involvement
3 Recruitment
3 Storage Annex
1 Succubus Club
2 Sudden Reversal
1 Temptation of Greater Power
5 Visit from the Capuchin

Reaction (14 cards)
4 Delaying Tactics
10 Obedience

Combat (2 cards)
2 Staredown

Event (1 cards)
1 Anthelios, the Red Star
(1) Take note that you do not get an extra master phase action with "Anson" or "Rumors of Gehenna". In both cases you get two master phase actions, can even if you benefit from these two cards at the same time you still have "only" two master phase actions.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Midnight Academy (Part 2)

ShroudFilm has published another episode of the "Midnight Academy", the official VtES webcast. This second installament contains
  • coverage of the EC 2007 (in Gothenburg, Sweden)
  • interview with Ferenc Vasadi (HUN), European Champion 2007
But see for yourself:

Official Rules Team Rulings 08/08/08

LSJ has released the comprehensive Rules Team Rulings for 2008/08/08 in the Usenet Newsgroup. They look like this:
As always, changes contained herein do not go into effect for santioned tournaments for 30 days. (So these become active on September 07, 2008.)

Errata:
Lesser Boon is played when the block would succeed, and instead makes the action resolve as if unblocked. (And so effects that depend on the successful block don't see the block as successful -- Forced Awakening, Change of Target, Venenation, &c.)

Errata:
If a unique weapon is retrieved by Horrid Reality, it won't contest any other copies of that equipment in play.

Reversal:
Bauble cannot be burned if the target equipment isn't in play, by the general targeting rule [1.6.1.4].

Reversal:
An action that requires a Discipline (or clan or sect or capacity) will fizzle if the acting vampire no longer meets the requirements (just as it would fizzle if the acting minion ceased being ready, or if a required equipment was lost, like a Bomb).

Ruling:
Influence phase has two parts: the main part and the end part.

The main part is the "general" influence part, in which a Methuselah spends her influence and plays most other influence-phase effects (effects that don't specify the "end of the influence phase").

The end part is the "gain control" part, in which a Methuselah gains control of the sufficiently-influenced minions in the uncontrolled region. Effects that are applied "at the end of the influence phase" are played in this second part.

Note that some effects can bring a vampire out at other times. The timing given in card text, not "does this effect bring a vampire out?", determines the timing. For example:
  • Gather can bring out a vampire in the first part (the general part).
  • Tomb of Rameses III can bring the vampire out in the second part (end part).
  • Undue Influence can bring the vampire out in the minion phase.
Some effects check to see if a minion entered play "during" an influence phase. These effects will notice a vampire coming into play in either part (so they'll notice a vampire coming out via the normal means, Tomb, or Gather, but not Undue Influence). For example:
Ruling:
Some actions target more than one thing, some without the ability to individually control the selection, like Edged Illusion or Jaroslav Pascek's special ability. If one or more of the targets cannot be targeted (because of Trophy: Safe Passage, Sleep Unseen, or Reality, for example), the action can still be taken, and it will simply have no effect on the things it cannot target (and have the normal effect on the allowable targets).

Each of the actual targets is considered a target, which means that effects like Hide's "the action fails" or Talley's "+1 intercept" can be used if any one (or more) of the targets would be enough to enable the effect.

If one of the multiple targets becomes ineligible during the course of the action, then it's handled just as if it had always been ineligible. The action resolves on the remaining targets as above.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Top Ranking Political Actions

Here's the list of political actions in VtES that are most frequently used in tournament winning decks. The number shows the number of decks where the political actions appeared (at least once) on Lasombra's TWDA (as of 13/June/2008).
  1. Kine Resources Contested -- 208x
  2. Banishment -- 126x
  3. Parity Shift -- 124x
  4. Ancient Influence -- 104x
  5. Consanguineous Boon -- 96x
  6. Disputed Territory -- 95x
  7. Political Stranglehold -- 84x
  8. Conservative Agitation -- 76x
  9. Ancilla Empowerment -- 74x
  10. Domain Challenge -- 67x
  11. Dramatic Upheaval(1) -- 65x
  12. Anarchist Uprising -- 59x
  13. Protect Thine Own(1) -- 54x
  14. Rumors of Gehenna -- 50x
  15. Reins Of Power -- 50x
"Kine Resources Contested" (KRC) leads by a huge margin, not surprisingly since it offers (without having requirements like "Parity Shift") the best bang for the buck. KRC is also one of the most misspelled cards in Lasombra's TWDA.
(1) Take note that two cards on the list have been banned ("Dramatic Upheaval" and "Protect Thine Own"), but they are still high ranked.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Memorable Quotes (Part 19)

"I'm here to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and I'm all out of bubble gum." -- Nada ("They Live", 1988)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Results Sydney AC Qualifier 2008

On July 27th, 2008 the VtES Sydney AC Qualifier 2008 was held in Sydney, Australia with 27 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Ivor Blockey (AUS) -- Follower of Set w/ Bima
2. Steve Harris (AUS) -- Tremere Toolbox
2. Claudio Gomes (AUS) -- Brujah Antitribu Rush Combat
2. Michael Bailey (AUS) -- Toreador
2. Tim Watson (AUS) -- Giovanni Bleed
Congratulations to Ivor for his win of the Sydney ACQ 2008. You can find the winner's decklist in the Usenet newsgroup and a short tournament report on the Sydney by Night website.

VtES Rules: "CrimethInc." Q&A

(c) 2008 by White Wolf Inc.Lately a number of questions came up regarding CrimethInc, so here's a short "Questions and Answers" summary for the card. Most of the information is taken from the Usenet newsgroup "rec.games.trading-cards.jyhad":

Q: After what kind of actions an Anarch can play "CrimethInc"? Is the cardless "Go Anarch" action included?
A: As the cardtext of "CrimethInc" implies all actions that require an Anarch or make a vampire an Anarch are meeting the requirements, this includes
On the other hand the following scenarios are not covered by "actions requiring or making an anarch"-clause are the following:
The reasons are that these cards/abilities are not actions (and therefore you cannot play action modifiers like "CrimethInc").

Q: What about actions that require a "Baron"?
A: Yes, they also allow to play "CrimethInc afterwards, since a vampire can only be a "Baron" while being an Anarch, the requirement is implicitely met. This applies to regular action cards as well as political actions.

Q: Can "Calvin Cleaver" use "CrimethInc" to untap after using his special ability? Can another Anarch play "CrimethInc" after using "Calvin Cleaver" special ability to give him a blood?
A: No and yes. The action in the first question only requires "Calvin" himself, he does not need to be an Anarch to attempt the action. On the other hand, the action in the second question specifically requires an Anarch, Calvins having the Anarch trait is irrelevant.

Q: Can I use the same "CrimethInc" card (played at "Thaumaturgy" earlier) in play for multiple minions (or same minion) as long as I pay the pool? Or do I need multiple "CrimethInc" in play?
A: You need multiple copies of "CrimethInc" in play. The "during phase X do Y" template implies that you can only use a particular "CrimethInc" once during your turn. On the other hand, if you have four "CrimethInc" cards in play, you can untap a single minion four times, or two minions two times each, or any other combination.

Q: Can an Anarch use "CrimethInc" (using "Quietus") multiple times a turn to untap the same fellow Anarch vampire several times?
A: Yes, you can. Provided you have enough actions requiring Anarchs and enough "CrimethInc" at hand, you can take multiple actions requiring Anarchs and use multiple "CrimethInc" to untap fellow Anarchs. So in theory the following sequence is possible:
  1. Anarch A plays does some action.
  2. Anarch B plays "Keystone Kine" and "CrimethInc" to untap Anarch A.
  3. Anarch A plays "Undue Influence" and "CrimethInc" to untap Anarch B.
  4. Anarch B plays "Skullduggery" and "CrimethInc" to untap Anarch A.
  5. Anarch A plays "Constant Revolution" and "CrimethInc" to untap Anarch B.
  6. Anarch B plays "Undue Influence" and "CrimethInc" to untap Anarch A.
  7. ...
Q: Can I use "CrimethInc" (using "Protean") the same way as "Freak Drive"?
A: Not exactly in the same way, but it's comparable. The main difference are that "Freak Drive" can played even after an unsuccessful action (at superior "Fortitude"), and that you can use "Freak Drive" after any action. "CrimethInc" can only be played after a successful action requiring (or making) an Anarch.

Q: How do you pronounce "CrimethInc."?
A: As "crimethink"; as one word. The name originates from an anarchist organization of the same name. Check this Wikipedia article for details

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Local VtES Tournaments Summer 2008

At the end of August/start of September there are three VtES tournaments (more or less) near where I live. If nothing unusual happens, I will attend all three of them, but I have yet not clue what decks to play during these events. The only thing for sure is, that I will play three different ones.
The links contain more information about the individual tournaments.

Results North Central NAC Qualifier 2008

On July 19th, 2008 the VtES North Central NAC Qualifier was held in Denver, Colorado with 12 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Darby Keeney (USA) -- 2 GW 10 VP -- Weenie Presence Bleed
2. Bill Troxel (USA) -- 2 GW 7 VP -- Demenation / Obfuscate Bleed
2. Burt Sheldon (USA) -- 1 GW 4 VP -- Dominate / Obfuscate / Presence
2. Kevin Butcher (USA) -- 0 GW 2 VP -- Laibon Wall
2. Marshall Hogue (USA) -- 2 GW 7 VP -- Dominate / Obtenebration
Congratulations to Darby for his win of the North Central NACQ 2008. You can find the winner's decklist and a tournament report in the Usenet newsgroup.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bochum VtES League 2008: August 1st

Here are the decks of the Bochum VtES League 2008 from the meeting on August 1st (prey is from left to right, from top to bottom):

Left: Ralf's Nephandus Deck a couple of moments before it got ousted via a "Kine Resources Contested" which killed both Ralf & Michael at once.
Right: Michael's Hannibal wall deck got all the equipment by the use "Spirit Marionette" & "Heidelburg Castle".

Left: Since Didi had no pressure whatsoever he could build up with his Malgorzata Bleed & Bloat deck, and controlled the game pretty much.
Right: Due to lack of votes Markus' Malkavian Vote & Bleed deck never got really off, especially after "Gilbert Duane" was banished.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Deck of the Month: July 2008: Lots of Babies

This month's deck is the tournament winning deck "Lots of Babies" played by Ira Fay. The deck is a Trophy deck, which first uses multiple master phase actions to put as many "Trophy: Progeny" into play as possible, then kill a red-listed soft target, preferable a weenie or a weak ally and put 10, 20 or 30 progenies into play at once. With "Miller Delmardigan" as the Trophy collector all of the progeny become "Toreadora antitribu", so with a "Palla Grande" in play, you have 20+ weenies all with bleed of 2 ready to overrun the table.

Celestial Harmony #2
6/22/08
Eudemonia in Berkeley, CA
10 Players

Deck Name: Lots of Babies
Author: Ira Fay
Description: It's a little tricky to acquire 30 Trophy: Progeny irl (thanks gNat and Ian!), but once you get them, this deck can be fun to play. It reliably takes advantage of turns 1-3 master phases, which are often wasted in most decks. Miller's special is incredibly good - he is so perfect for this deck, and Anson compliments him beautifully. My goal in designing this deck was to get a trophy deck in the TWDA, and assuming I didn't make any stupid illegal deck errors, I'm excited to post the first one. Trophy: Progeny is very powerful in such large numbers, especially because it can act that same turn. Choosing the right Red List target is tricky, because you want something that you can burn, but other players can't. Whenever possible, choose a target that your prey controls. Then, just sit back and wait as long as possible, building the perfect combat hand, holding the Palle Grande, playing 2-3 Trophies per turn. Try to convince the table that you're not a threat (much easier when the Palla Grande is in your hand, and not on the table.) If things are flowing smoothly, you'll have 10+ Trophies on the table by turn ~8, and then you can lunge when you're ready. If you have a fast predator, bring up Anson first because he can Deflect, Parity Shift, and 2nd Trad to keep you in the game. If you draw The Parthenon early, you can consider bringing up Miller first. Without The Parthenon, you'll hand jam on Masters. It's very rare that I discard a Trophy: Progeny in this deck. Golconda was very helpful to keep me (or an ally) in the game long enough for the combo to go off.

Crypt: (12)
5x Anson (G1)
5x Miller Delmardigan, Teacher of Bahari (G2)
2x Carter (G2)

Library: (90)
Master: (37)
29x Trophy: Progeny
1x Trophy: Diablerie
3x Palla Grande
3x The Parthenon
1x Golconda: Inner Peace

Action: (8)
7x Red List
1x Aranthebes, the Immortal

Action Modifier/Combat: (7)
7x Resist Earth's Grasp

Combat: (29)
6x Psyche!
5x Amaranth
5x Pursuit
3x Majesty
3x Sideslip
2x Blur
2x Wolf Claws
1x Bone Spur
1x Claws of the Dead
1x Fast Hands

Political Action: (3)
2x Parity Shift
1x Political Stranglehold

Reaction: (6)
3x Second Tradition: Domain
3x Deflection