Friday, February 27, 2009

Memorable Quotes (Part 34)

"Jyhad is Magic with a bad attitude." -- unknown Jyhad player
Reference: An M:TGer at Gen Con by Mark Rosewater.

New Spoilers from "Blood Dimmed Tide"

With the help of many helpers on the Usenet Newsgroup (thanks I owe it all to you!) I was able to compile another batch of exciting spoilers for the upcoming VtES expansion "Blood Dimmed Tides". Since we all want to make VtES the most successful, longest living multiplayer CCG game in history, White Wolf has decided to met industry-standards and introduced foil mythic rares in this expansion. Please take that the "Squid Ghoul" (a.k.a. "Deep One") shown below is only the Uncommon (U) version, the foil mythic rare (FMR) version is yet to be revealed.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Clan Disciplines Overview

Although technically in Vampire: the Eternal Struggle (VtES) (in contrast to Vampire: the Masquerade) there are no clan disciplines, you can see a statistical increase of certain disciplines for each clan. Here are the de-facto clan disciplines for the major clans in VtES (clans are grouped by sect).

  • The clan disciplines for the Malkavians until Camarilla expansion (2002) were Auxpex, Dominate, Obfuscate .
  • Since the Camarilla expansion (2002) the Gangrel are an independent clan.
  • Technically the Caitiff represent not a clan (e.g. for Consanguineous Boon).
  • The Gangrel antitribu, divided into city and country Gangrel, de-facto have two different sets of clan disciplines, although in VtES they are treated as one clan.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Next VtES Expansion "Blood Dimmed Tides"

The first spoilers for the next VtES (maxi-) expansion "Blood Dimmed Tides" (BDT) have surfaced on the Usenet Newsgroup. This new and exciting expansion will contain approx. 500 new cards with ~150 new vampires and ~450 new library cards. The tagline for the expansion is "We put depth into strategy".

Along with the usual boosters, there will be 6 brand-new starter decks with all-new vampires:
  • Assamite SEALs
  • Aquatic Gangrel
  • Lasombra Pirate Captains
  • Ravnos Mermaids
  • Samedi Zombie Pirates
  • Tzimisce Squid Ghouls
There are at least three new keywords/game mechanics
  • Depth -- a new combat range, similar to close or long range.
  • Aquatic -- a new trait for all minions.
  • Shiplane -- this mechanic is not yet known to the public.
Other cards which names have been spoiled, but we have no further details about:
  • Harpoon of Ahab
  • Lost Temple of Set
  • Reinforced Hull
  • Spear Gun
  • Squid Ghoul
With the assistance of some little (anonymous) helpers from White Wolf research & design department, here's a glimpse of the cards that will be published in early Q2/2009:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"VtES 2009 Nossies" Awards: Nomination Round

The VtES 2009 Nossies Awards is an online award the VtES blog has introduced in 2008 to allow fans of Vampire: The Eternal Struggle to vote and acknowledge the best new VTES cards from the past year.

On Februry 23rd, 2009 the nomination process for the VtES 2009 Nossies Awards has begun. Until March 9th, you can nominate a single card for five (of the eight categories). To have your nominations heard post a comment with your card choices at After that the final voting will begin at for a week and the winners will then be announced.

Read the full story and nominate your favourite cards on

Monday, February 23, 2009

BYO Storyline Providence: "Whispers in the Darkness"

Something sinister is stirring in the city of Providence. Nightmare horrors come to life and attack the cities supernatural inhabitants without warning and then disappear as quickly as they manifest. Strangely, every evening at exactly 1:00 am, a vicious seizure of pain racks every non-mortal being, seemingly to siphon their vitality towards some dark purpose. Gehenna cultists have found their way to the city to herald the coming of the end, seeking either to stop the events before it is too late, or conversely, urge them along to their conclusion. The cities Kindred are in uproar. Some have fled, some are hiding, and still others are hunting for the source of these events. Murmurings warn of the stirrings of an Antediluvian, or the rising of a hideous demon, other rumors speak of some strange device causing the events. Whatever the cause, dark times haven fallen on Providence, and death, destruction and chaos are soon to follow. -- "Whispers in the Darkness" Storyline Prelude
A new Build-Your-Own Storyline (BYOS) named "Whispers in the Darkness" is going to be held on Sunday April 5th, 2009 in Somerville, Massachussets. Greg Williams has created this storyline with an elaborate Lovecraftian theme; he crafted not only the rules, but also elaborate background material. You can find the complete Storyline information on the Ash Heap, and the Storyline event annoucement in the Usenet Newsgroup

Also the aftermath story of the last BYOS event "Hashashin's Creed" has been published on the VtES Storyline website.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Results VtES EC Mini-Qualifier 2009 Karlsruhe

Here are the results of the VtES EC Mini-Qualifier" constructed tournament in Karlsruhe, Germany after 3 rounds and final. The tournament was played on February 22nd, 2009 with 18 players participating. Here are the standings after the final round:
1. Johannes W. -- 1 GW 7 VP -- 4 VP -- Ventrue G4/G5 Bleed Vote
2. Michael H. -- 2 GW 7 VP -- 1 VP -- Lasombra G2/G3 Bleed Vote
2. Lukas N.-- 2 GW 8 VP -- 0 VP -- Euro Brujah in Carthage
2. Erol Ö. -- 2 GW 8 VP -- 0 VP -- Lasombra Black Hand w/ Nocturn
2. Kristian W. -- 2 GW 6 VP -- 0 VP -- Nosferatu Royalty w/ Fortitude
Congratulations to Johannes for his victory in the tournament; so now he's qualified four times over for the VtES continental championships in 2009. You can find the tournament winning deck and a tournament report (in English) in the German VtES forum (requires registration).

Poll Results: "How many VtES cards do you have?"

Here are the results of the latest poll on how many cards the readers of this blog have. 144 readers of this blog have voted in this poll.
  • Less than 500 -- 5 (3%)
  • 500 to 1000 -- 3 (2%)
  • 1001 to 2000 -- 14 (9%)
  • 2001 to 5000 -- 26 (18%)
  • 5001 to 10,000 -- 32 (22%)
  • 10,001 to 20,000 -- 28 (19%)
  • 20,001 to 50,000 -- 23 (15%)
  • More than 50,000 -- 13 (9%)
  • I have no VtES cards. -- 0 (0%)
That's a lot of cards .. If I take the average of different card number ranges, sum them up, and divide them by the number of participants in this poll, I get the average each players owns, and that's approximately 15,000 cards.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

US National VtES Championship 2009

The US VtES Championship 2009 takes place at Origins Game Fair 2009 in Columbus, Ohio. The actual national championship tournament is on Friday, June 26th, 2009, but there is not only the championship tournament at Origins, but a series of different tournaments (and formats). You can find some further information in the original announcement on the Usenet Newsgroup.
  • Jay Kristoff's Pre-Origins: Constructed #0, 2R+F
    -- Wednesday, June 24th, ~6:00 PM
  • Constructed #1, 2R+F
    -- Thursday, June 25th, 11:00 AM
  • Constructed #2, 2R+F
    -- Thursday, June 25th, 5:00 PM
  • U.S. National Championship, 3R+F
    -- Friday, June 26th, 1:00 PM

  • North American Qualifier, 3R+F
    -- Saturday, June 27th, 10:00 AM
  • Recursion Draft, 7 Packs, 2R+F
    -- Saturday, June 27th, 6:00 PM
  • Constructed #3, 2R+F
    -- Sunday, June 28th, 11:00 AM

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Once Upon a Midnight Dreary (Part 2): GenCon UK 1998

Here's another gem from the past, James Coupe's report of the VtES tournament during the 1998 GenCon UK. Take note that there was still no game win rule, certain cards where not banished, and decks not as focused as they are nowadays.
Now, let's see if we can get something down in writing before I pass out.

Tournament started at twelve midnight Saturday night in the DCI tent. Except that they decided to move out of the DCI tent into a building that you actually had to walk too. *sigh* How inconsiderate of them..... But still, the tournament started at midnight which wasn't the best of times for anyone really..... Bloody well clashed with the Rocky Horror Picture Show too, damnit.... If this happens next year, heads will roll.

The tournament started with 17 people. After the first round, two people dropped out (so I don't have their names since I was working with the third round score sheets) and Chris Llewellyn (whose name I have probably completely mis-spelled and for which I apologise) was roped in to play, or was it Andy Thorn? It may well have been, thinking about it. This gives us more than the number of people for the Battletech Nationals which is a moral victory, even if they get bloody loads better prizes. *sigh*

Okay, so three rounds of play followed by the final. The unlucky players who didn't qualify for the final were:
  • Paul Louch, 0VP, 0VP, 0VP (1st round, second round third round)
    Playing a deck which mixed the Malkavians and Tremere to dubious effect (note the victory points total) but which looked like it could have done well if it had got a better table position. Muddles was often brought out to pling at other vampires and torporise them. Heh.
  • Barny Baker, 0VP, 2VP, 1VP
    A weird little deck. Seemed to love Vanessa with Obfuscate, Didi Meyers and people like that. Played about with Sneak and Bleed but included Fortitude for damage prevention and a little Auspex too. Very unlucky table position in the first round (prey of Peter Raphial) meant that he got bled a lot, and I still had to attack his vampires to stop them coming through onto me. A nice deck, and a good evolution of the S&B style to allow for combat defence though.
  • Matt Siejka, 1VP, 0VP, 0VP
    Suicide Day-Op deck. Lots of big bleeds with Conditioning etc. using Day Ops to force them through, but it suffered because it hadn't planned for blood gain to get the vampires back out of torpor, leaving it vulnerable to, well, anything.
  • Niki Sehmi, 0VP, 3VP, 0VP
    Potence Fortitude type vampires. Played about with Big Nosferatu and Suhailah. Suffered in the first round due to a mis-application of the No Repeat Actions rule by the two players involved, which could have netted it the last two victory points. Unfortunately, the game was packed up by the time either of them realised and Matt was forced to rule that the game had to stand since they couldn't set it back up.
  • Chris Llewellyn, 0VP, 0VP, 0.5VP
    Matt Green's Temptation deck. Steal your vampires and RAH! A very nice deck which has cropped up at tourneys invigilated by Matt Green before in the side games, and which goes through constant evolution I believe but a lot of fun to watch. Classic play of the game had to be when Chris stole a copy of Emerson Bridges with Temptation and then called a Disputed Territory to steal Emerson's real owner's Elder Library. Super humour. Chris also has credit for most amusing quote of the tourney
    • "Can I have a rules book?"
    • "Why do you need one?"
    • "Well, I've got to learn to play some time."
  • Baz, 3VP, 0VP, 0.5VP
    A deck which I didn't see but which I am assured was a fairly standard Malkavian Madness Network bleed type deck. It obviously did well in the first game, but the last game (as with all the other players with 0.5 VP in that game) was very nip and tuck and a little drawn out, time wise.
  • Alan Gates, 0VP, 1VP, 0.5VP
    A fairly standard Ventrue vote deck. In at least two of his games, though, he completely failed to establish any real voting presence and seemed to not call votes because of that when a more sensible option may have been to call the votes to cycle them. He was also singularly unable to secure the help of other people on the table which screwed him over.
  • Stephen Wright - 1VP, 1VP, 0VP
    A standard big Ventrue deck. Large voting vampires (which gave Alan hassle) and big bleeds, Fifth Tradition, Day Ops and things like that.
  • Andy Thorn, 0VP, 0VP, 0VP
    Assamite "Annoy thy neighbour" Contracts and the like which allow the killing of vampires etc. Screwed in one game, though, when he tenderised his predator who then didn't have opportunity to rescue it before *his* predator wiped the floor with him. Oops.
  • James Coupe, 0VP, 1VP, 0VP
    A Brujah, Brujah Antitribu combat deck. Badly constructed (I don't have the Torn Signposts etc. I need for it) and badly played, because I'm crap at combat. It was just what I felt like playing though. I only got a victory point by Life Booning my predator. *sigh* I really must try and be good at Jyhad one day. As Matt Green said, "James could be good if he spent more time building decks instead of memorising the errata." *sigh*
  • Andy Schipelbaum, 1VP, 0VP, 0VP
    A big Assamite backed up by weenies. The Assamite helps to get through any real opposition you have, and then the weenies just bleed you out. It never really got off the ground, though.
And the finalists were (in this seating order):
  • Peter Raphiel, 4VP, 1VP, 4VP
    A bloody bastardisation of a deck I had on me and everything. Kept the bleed from the Ventrue I had and made it more weenie. Weenie Presence and Dominate really, mainly based around bleed. Vampires like Gloria, Igo and Gideon were essential to the deck.
  • Jon Cooper, 3VP, 0VP, 1VP
    Make no mistakes. This *wasn't* a Malkavian Antitribu stealth and bleed deck. It was a Malkavian Antitribu deck with some stealth in it. And it also had some bleed in it. And Enchanted Marionette. And a couple of comas as well. Hannibal, Virgil (we couldn't decide if was John Wayne, from Thunderbirds or wrote poetry but still) and Korah, I think - the 7 capacity Priscus with inferior Animalism. All three tended to turn up, with little-uns like Boy Toy and Yorik who were put up to be cannon fodder for Paul Louch's Muddles and so forth. Okay, so it was a dirty stealth and bleed deck.
  • Will "Kung Fu" Lee, 0VP, 3VP, 3VP
    A *really* weird deck. Madness Networked actions with Malks for stealth and bleed, backed up by equipment such as a .44 Magnum and Leather Jacket. At least it meant that he got to upgrade the green water pistol to a *proper* gun. And then it brought out a little Tremere Antitribu and a Succubus. Weird. Obviously a very effective deck, though, just not one which seemed like it *should* have worked, just from describing it. Again, this was S&B going for the combat defence angle. Obedience was around as well as the Succubus having fun with you and the equipment too.
  • Rob Treasure, 2VP, 2VP, 3VP
    The Lazverinus "All Skills, All Stars" Deck. A hell of a lot of different things going on in the deck. Perhaps a little luck from time to time with the draws but played astoundingly well so that he always had what he needed against you at the right time. I have to say that it confused me when I first saw it. Bloody weird deck, it looked. I thought it was weenie Gangrel but still. But it has bruise and bleed, and intercept and bounce and everything.
  • Chris Booth, 2VP, 3VP, 0.5VP
    A Brujah deck which screwed me up in one of the earlier rounds. Brujah so it had enough combat to hit out when it needed to, using the little princes especially to create Third Traditions as more cannon fodder. A few of the fun bleed actions too - Legal Manipulations etc. I know a few people *did* comment that the deck and the player may have been more than a little responsible for the 0.5VP third round. A little too much pedantry, even in the face of the Judge, Matt Green, backed up by the 7/7 rulings about cards (a copy of which I'd made sure to bring along with me), and it wasn't like we'd just thrown them on him - he was aware that they existed when he arrived at GenCon. Nothing that could really qualify as deliberate time wasting, but that's how it felt in some people's point of view.
First ousting was Chris Booth by Rob Treasure. His vampires were destroyed and then he was bled out quite quickly. Second ousting occurred around the table with Peter Raphial ousting Jon Cooper with his weenie presence-dominate deck. There, it was very much of a race to see who could oust their prey first simply because Jon's deck couldn't easily deal with being bled itself. Peter Raphial then fell to Rob Treasure, having his vampires lightly tenderised followed up by a pretty good bleed to oust him. Rob was himself ousted by Will using a NEW Return to Innocence. All of 7/7 and new 23/6 was in force. With Rob and Will tied for 1st place on two victory points each, the final tiebreaker is the number of victory points they had already accumulated. Rob had seven, compared to Will's six, earning him a couple of Sabbat boosters more than the rest and an, apparently, very nice Clint Langley piece of artwork from Vampire: The Masquerade (I don't know - as I write this, it shouldn't have been presented to him yet).

Highlight of the tournament for me was getting to explode at an American who dropped out after the first round. I just got very exasperated with him telling me (not even in a game) that he could steal the blood of his Powerbase: Mexico City and that the new ruling had screwed it up (which, of course, it hasn't, it's just been made to preserve the intent of the card). "No, you can't, it would have been a directed action at yourself which would have been prohibited." "No, it was at the card, not me." "Yes, a card you control therefore an action at you ." I believe Andy Schipelbaum noted that I was one of the only Jyhad players in England who understood this. What was quite good was then hearing this American in his first round asking very basic rules questions and then coming out with something like "So who's making up these rulings then?"

But Rob's winning deck. He wants a cool name for it, but at 7 o' clock in the morning, the best we could come up with was the Lazverinus All Skills All Stars deck. Better name suggestions on a postcard please. The deck doesn't look much but what has to be taken into account is the calibre of the player, who knows exactly when to play and when not to, and ensures a good cycle of his cards to get exactly what he needs, when he needs it. Apologies if any cards are mentioned more than once, total the number of them if it happens. There are 86 cards in the deck, and 12 vampires.

Deck Name: GenConUK1998
Created By: Rob Treasure

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 13, Max: 35, Avg: 6)
1 Juan Cali aus for 3 Ventrue Antitribu
1 Ricki Van Demsi for pro 3 Gangrel
1 Cameron dom pot 3 Lasombra
1 Jimmy Dunn for CEL POT 4 Pander
1 Lisette Vizquel pro DOM POT 6 Lasombra
1 Dylan aus cel dom for pro 6 Ventrue Antitribu
2 Badger ani pot FOR PRO 6 Gangrel
1 Iliana tha DOM FOR PRO 7 Gangrel
1 Ian Forestal AUS DOM THA 8 Tremere Antitribu
2 Lazverinus pro AUS DOM FOR POT 10 Ventrue Antitribu

Library: (80 cards)
Master (15 cards)
1 Barrens, The
1 Blood Doll
1 Demonstration
1 Dominate
1 Dreams of the Sphinx
1 Fortitude
1 Golconda: Inner Peace
1 Information Highway
1 KRCG News Radio
1 Major Boon
2 Minion Tap
1 Rack, The
1 Rumor Mill, Tabloid Newspaper, The
1 Sudden Reversal

Action (10 cards)
2 Bum`s Rush
4 Govern the Unaligned
1 Masochism
3 Restoration

Action Modifier (8 cards)
2 Conditioning
2 Earth Control
1 Foreshadowing Destruction
2 Freak Drive
1 Threats

Reaction (15 cards)
4 Deflection
1 Enhanced Senses
2 Forced Awakening
1 Kindred Coercion
2 My Enemy`s Enemy
2 Spirit`s Touch
3 Wake with Evening`s Freshness

Combat (25 cards)
3 Bone Spur
3 Disarm
1 Fists of Death
2 Flesh of Marble
2 Immortal Grapple
2 Indomitability
2 Resilience
2 Skin of Rock
3 Skin of Steel
2 Taste of Vitae
1 Thrown Sewer Lid
2 Undead Strength

Retainer (2 cards)
1 Homunculus
1 Mr. Winthrop

Equipment (3 cards)
1 Hand of Conrad
1 Ivory Bow
1 Signet of King Saul, The

Combo (2 cards)
2 Rapid Change

A beautiful deck to watch in operation.

What was surprising was the willingness to accept the 7/7 Rulings. The Southampton crowd (with no net access) had had copies from Matt Green, I brought copies along, and other people seemed to be aware that they existed, even if they didn't know the specifics.

Most people understood that the cards that were being fixed were being fixed for a very good reason - that they were overpowered. The previous year's GenCon UK (or EuroGenCon as it was then) had seen Tomb of Rameses III flying around with Return to Innocence's being used like they were going out of fashion. The new No Vote Pushing rules were embraced by most, though it was unfortunate that it rendered Rob Treasure's variant of a Legacy of Pander deck all but useless (it needed to guarantee that first vote with a push, and then never again). It would be doable differently, but it's always awkward. Again, I think people saw that even if it did slim down a few other deck strategies, it was necessary to balance out the Weenie Vote Push which was so prevalent. Other vote decks may be less powerful now, but they never stood a chance against Weenie Vote Push anyway.

A few alternatives to the fixes were mentioned. WWEF could have been altered to requiring you to attempt a block (you could still ditch them if the action was naturally at stealth though) or force you to play another reaction card or something like that. Also, a possible fix for Tomb of Rameses III was to make it clan specific. It only works on, principally because of their Middle Eastern and North African links, Assamites and Setites. Would have to be altered slightly to allow for that (well, restrict for that) but the arguments are there. 1) You keep the original card text to a great degree. 2) You make Setites and Assamites more attractive as a playing style, since you can get them cheaper and faster than other clans. 3) The card would still be powerful so many players who didn't want it weakened to wallpaper might be more happy. This is a view which I can see the good points of, and one which is supported by, two years running, UK V:TES champion Rob Treasure and the Southampton possy, and Matt Green has been known to advocate it also.

Well, that's all I can think of to babble about now. Can I go to sleep now?

James Coupe (Prince of Mercia) Change nospam to obeah to reply

Vampire: Elder Kindred Network

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Memorable Quotes (Part 33)

"And then you're sitting at a four player table having no crosstable buddy .. because he's playing Imbued!" -- Didi Range

Saturday, February 14, 2009

VtES goes 30 Rockefeller Plaza

After seeing some other TV shows' characters used for VtES crypt cards on the spanish "VtES card creation" website, I felt the urge to do the same with the main characters from 30 Rock, an american sitcom now in its 3rd season. I think Liz would be proud of me .. and her being on a CCG card.

Left: Liz Lemon, the head writer for the fictional sketch comedy show "TGS with Tracy Jordan".

Right: Jack Donaghy, the slick, yet scrupulous vice president of "East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming".

Left: Jenna Maroney, an actress and singer who is very keen on being in the limelight all the time.

Right: Tracy Jordan, a successful African-American movie star with a reputation for unpredictable, highly erratic behavior.

Left: Kenneth Parcell, a young, obedient Southern-born NBC page, whose perpetual cheerfulness annoys his colleagues sometimes.

Right: Frank Rossitano, one of the show's writers wearing his trademark trucker hat.

Left: Pete Hornberger, producer of the show and close friend of Liz Lemon.

Right: Dr. Leo Spacemen, Tracy's and Jack's incompetent and unethical doctor.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Results Northeast NAC Qualifier 2009

On February 7th, 2009 the VtES Northeast NAC Qualifier was held in Providence, Rhode Island (USA) with 28 players attending the qualifier tournament (during TempleCon 2009). The final standings were as follows:
1. John Eno -- 1 GW 5 VP -- 1 GW 3 VP -- Ventrue Antitribu Intercept/Toolbox
2. Jay Aloia -- 2 GW 9 VP -- 1 VP -- Camarilla Pre/Dom Vote (Group 4/5)
2. Selen Turkay -- 2 GW 8.5 VP -- 1 VP -- Giovanni Pot/Nec/Dom Ranged Combat
2. Ben Peal -- 2 GW 8.5 VP -- 0 VP -- Brujah Breed & Boon
2. Adam Hulse -- 2 GW 6 VP -- 0 VP -- Ahrimanes Vote
Congratulations to John for his win of the NERQ 2009. You can find the final standings and the tournament winning deck in the Usenet Newsgroup.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Information Highway: Crypt Probabilities

These are the basic probabilities for drawing at least one copy of a vampire in your starting crypt (of 4) given a number of that vampires in a crypt of 12:
  • 1 copy in a crypt of 12 -- 33.33%
  • 2 copies in a crypt of 12 -- 57.58%
  • 3 copies in a crypt of 12 -- 74.55%
  • 4 copies in a crypt of 12 -- 85.86%
  • 5 copies in a crypt of 12 -- 92.93%
  • 6 copies in a crypt of 12 -- 96.97%

Results Las Vegas NAC Qualifier 2009

On February 7th, 2009 the VtES Las Vegas Regional Qualifier was held in Las Vegas, Nevada (USA) with 27 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Matt Morgan -- 1 GW 6 VP -- 1.5 VP -- !Gangrel Cardinal Vote
2. David Tatu -- 2 GW 8 VP -- 0.5 VP --
2. John Flournoy -- 2 GW 5.5 VP -- 0.5 VP -- Ravnos w/ Dementation Bleed
2. Jeff Thompson -- 1 GW 8 VP -- 0.5 VP -- Salubri Antitribu Wall
2. Ruben Feldman -- 2 GW 6 VP -- 0 VP -- Pander Boon w/ Gehenna Events
Congratulations to Matt for his win of the LV Qualifier 2008. The final standings were posted in the Usenet Newsgroup, a tournament report can be found in the Usenet Newsgroup as well, and pictures taken during the tournament are stored here.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Statistics on VtES Artists

The owner of the Secret Library website, jhattara, compiled a number of statistics regarding artists who made the most pieces for VtES.

"Keepers of Tradition": Top Ten 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 ten of the "Keepers of Tradition" expansion, at least from my point of view:

Top Ten Library Cards
  1. "Enkil Cog" -- the card that produced the most hype in the Usenet Newsgroup (at least there). Because it makes playing big caps more worthwhile it definitely deserves its place among the Top Ten.

    Decks: Any high cap. deck, and especially those with vampires that can untap via special ability like "Eze", "Masika", etc.

  2. "Ashur Tablets" -- This card gives recursion/twister decks a new plaything, a good one one, too. It's nicely balanced, because if you're not the only one playing this card at a table, there will be a race for putting the first set into play. On the other hand it's like an improved "Ascendance", where you collect 3 pool for three "Ashur Tablets" played.

    Decks: Any Twister deck, Speed Shamblers.

  3. "Deep Song" -- this card makes a lot of Animalism decks more competitive. Although strictly speaking it's not a combo card, with the "+bleed" and the "enter combat" features it practically is. And it's a decent replacement or addition to "Tier of Souls" or "Taunt the Caged Beast".

    Decks: Weenie Animalism, other combatish decks that play Animalism combat like Animalism Bruise & Bleed.

  4. "Eyes of Argus" -- this is the new uber-card for all the wall decks based on Auspex. Untap or getting +2 intercept (ven though it's only against (D) actions) is just to sweet to comprehend.

    Decks: All decks featuring Auspex for intercept, Weenie Auspex being the most likely candidate.

  5. "Touch of Clarity" -- this card has a hot future in any Dementation Stealth Bleed deck. In tournaments you can assume that either your predator or prey (if not both) use bleed bounce based on Dominate. You now can easily overcome this by canceling "Deflection", etc.; either when you're acting or when a bleed is deflected to you.

    What I don't understand, why the development team didn't make this card an uncommon, since it is a card that one would pack into a deck 4 to 6 times. This creates an unhealthy high demand for this card.What I don't understand why this card is a rare card. If the development decides to unleash such a beast, it should do it in way that any player can acquire the card with reasonable means.

    Decks: Any Dementation bleed deck.

  6. "Villein" -- the card that will eventually remove "Minion Tap" from the tournament scene (as soon as the card has a wider circulation than today). In contrast to "Vessel" it has a lingering affect and even stacks when it comes down to paying costs of "Minion Tap".

    Decks: Any deck that now runs "Minion Tap", all decks that like to hose "Minion Tap" decks.

  7. "Perfect Paragon" -- a good card which gives the Ventrue the much needed stealth, e.g. for getting a crucial second stealth when performing political actions. Toreador and Brujah decks might use it, too, with "Resist the Earth Grasp" they can get even +3 stealth on political actions for "only" a cost of 2 blood. And even if the stealth is not needed that cards gets you +3 votes in a referendum, so "Bewitching Oration" is the most likely candidate for being replaced by "Perfect Paragon.

    Decks: Vote decks without proper access to stealth, maybe even Dominate/Presence bleed decks, which can get +2 stealth using "Perfect Paragon" and "Bonding".

  8. "Scourge of the Enochians" -- obviously a weenie killer card, which is kind of a silver bullet against the rampaging Breed & Boon decks, which won a fair share of tournaments in 2008. Also nicely balanced, since other players who control this event may choose to burn a vampire (of capacity 2 or below) or not, similar to the possibility of "Week of Nightmares" to put nightmare counters on Ravnos vampires or not.

    Decks: Due to the silver bullet nature of the deck, you'll find this card in a lot of decks, especially on tournament level.

  9. "Ponticulus" -- the new ally for clan Tremere is probably the best ally since "Carlton van Wyk", and he's very comparable to him. Like "Carlton" he has +1 intercept, though "Ponticulus" only has intercept against (D) actions. Both are somewhat hard to kill for a non-combat deck, and they both rock when an "Unmasking" is in play.

    Decks: Tremere decks of course. O.K. "Mata Hari" decks and the like are suited as well ..

  10. "Papillion" -- the new super hunting ground ("Gurchon Hall" is also cool, but requires more rare cardinals). With abundant vampires with city titles, you will see this card quite often in the near future. Although the card costs three pool, the first net benefit is gained in just two turns, whereas the regular hunting grounds need three rounds for that.

    Decks: Any deck with a sufficient number of vampires with a city title.
Runners up:
But where's light there's also darkness (or was it the other way around in the "World of Darkness"). Some cards when shown in the preview or spoiled on the Usenet Newsgroup wasn't as promising as it looked in the first place.
  • Dark Influences -- just a tad too expensive. Yes, it's a trifle, yes, cancels the next minion card canceling card, but still .. I'd rather put two "Direct Intervention" in my deck.
  • Torrent -- a tad too weak to be useful. Nobody wants to play an additional strike for two blood, and the continue action is not so good, since it lacks the additional stealth (compare "Form of Mist") and the fact that the "continue action" clause is required to be used if your vampire is the acting minion.
  • Mouthpiece -- as good as it looks in the first place, it is not. The only card worth playing is "Conditioning".

Top Ten Crypt Cards
  1. "Lutz von Hohenzollern" (Malkavian) -- He is clearly the strongest vampire in KoT, Of course he has the basic attributes of an Inner Circle member (4 votes and +2 bleed), but in addition, he has a suitable combination of disciplines (AUS, PRE, OBF, ..) he also has this great special, where you do not even have to play political actions yourself or target your prey to make your prey loose a pool.In the near future he will share the same affection by players as Arika has now.

  2. "Dmitra Ilyanova" (Brujah) -- Fortitude, Obfuscate, three votes and a very reasonable special ability make up the formula for success of this vampire. If you have vote lock, this can result in massive blood/pool gain, especially with a couple of "Blood Dolls" on the table.

  3. "Mary Ann Blaire" (Ventrue) -- nearly as good as "Dmitra Ilyanova". Their special abilities are quite comparable, but "Mary Ann Blaire" lacks Obfuscate, "Dimitra" on the other hand has no discipline bounce discipline (Auspex/Dominate).

  4. "Vidal Jarbeaux (Toreador) -- his special ability is similar to that of "Mata Hari", and he (like "Mata Hari") is a vampire you want to build a deck around to use all those different cards that normally doesn't fit together because of the different requirements.

  5. "Mistress Fanchon" (Tremere) -- her card fetching ability is quite unique, other cards able to search your library for a card are limited to specific types of cards.

  6. "Gerald Windham" (Tremere) -- use "Magic of the Smith", grap a "Ankara Citadel" and let the "Freak Drive" show begin. Or you built a Tremere Vote deck based on his special.

  7. "Baron Diudonne" (Nosferatu) -- vampires with a built-in untap are always welcome, and this on this no exception. Although the untap is conditional (it must be a sucessful action), Use him together with "Warsaw Station" and he can potentially take three actions per turn. "Parity Shift", "Judgement: Camarilla Segregation" and Bleed anyone?

  8. "The Ankou" (Malkavian) -- after "Nakhthorheb" another 10 cap vampire with "just" the in-clan disciplines, but a spectecular special, that makes you build a deck around him. The only setup you probably need is a possibility to untap "The Ankou" like "Metro Underground" or a "Helicopter". "Enkil Cog" also helps, if nobody bothers or dares to hunt.

  9. "Randall" (Gangrel) -- the special ability to prevent damage on another minion gives ample opportunities for using "Randall", e.g. preventing damage for allies who cannot prevent themselves like the "Renegade Garou" or "Carlton van Wyk".

  10. "Carlak" (Brujah) -- little brother of the group 2 Euro-Brujah, he's one generation younger than the "old" Euro Brujah. A very solid vampire you may also see in Ventrue or Toreador vote decks.

Runners up:
  • "Miguel Cordovera", "Andrew Stuart" -- two Tremere with crappy disadvantages, in fact so crappy that they are nearly unplayable similar to Sonja Blue or "Jakob the Glitch".
  • "Josef van Bauren" -- sadly this is another weak Nosferatu Inner Circle member, he lacks any of the three discipline that are needed for good IC member, that is Dominate, Auspex or Presence.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Did you know, that ... (Part 27)

.. an tapped Imbued can play "On the Qui Vive" first, and then "Determine" to cancel a card as it is played.

Reference: Usenet Newsgroup Thread

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Poll Results: "Who is the strongest new Justicar?"

(c) 2008 by White WolfHere are the results of the latest poll on what the readers of this blog think is the strongest new Justicar (from the "Keepers of Tradition" expansion). 150 readers of this blog have voted in this poll.
  1. Dmitra Ilyanova (Brujah) -- 54 (36%)
  2. Mary Anne Blaire (Ventrue) -- 50 (33%)
  3. Gabrielle di Righetti (Tremere) -- 19 (12%)
  4. Unmada (Malkavian) -- 7 (4%)
  5. Alonso Petrodon (Nosferatu) -- 7 (4%)
  6. Montecalme (Toreador) -- 6 (4%)
  7. I don't like any of them. -- 4 (2%)
  8. There are more less equally strong. -- 3 (2%)
For me it's a little surprising that Dmitra won, and not Mary Ann Blaire, but granted Dmitra's package of the Justicar title, the discipline combination and her special makes her one of the best vampires of the "Keepers of Tradition" expansion.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Card Box Assembly

After I have read the post in the Usenet Newsgroup on a particular card storage box, I had to look for myself. Especially after someone posted a photo of the wooden box with VtES cards in it. So I went to the outlet of the well-known swedish furniture manufacturer, and I after inspecting the product called "Fira", I bought two pieces, that is two large(r) boxes with 9 small(er) boxes in it, both made from wood. Unfortuantely I had to assembly this piece of engineering ingenuity by myself. After buying wood glue (not really required, but I mistrusted, the nails/screws-only solution), I wanted to start the work at home, but I apparently I missed the essential tools. I searched desperately for a screw-driver and a plier (and found them) for quite some time, but a little hammer wasn't to be found, so I eventually lend one from my neighbour (thanks!).

So finally here's my little do-it-your-self how-to:

Left: The basic package with all the contents plus the equipment I used to assemble the card storage box(es).

Right: The contents of the package with one of the small boxes pre-assembled.

Left: The parts of one of the small boxes. 8 nails to fix the whole box, I used wood glue for extra strength.
Right: Assemblying one of the small boxes, this one has a front, a side and the bottom part put together.

Left: Small box with nails sticking out. Time to pick up the hammer!

Right: The assembled big box, where you see the three levels. Each of the levels hold three of the little boxes.

Left: The final assembly, the big box with the 9 small boxes set in. The wood is not treated in any way, but can be painted, oiled, waxed, etc.
Right: Complete box with some cards. Each compartment holds ~700 cards, so you can store ~6300 cards in the whole box.