Sunday, June 28, 2009

Card Distribution in "Ebony Kingdom"

After having (finally) received my booster display of the VtES expansion "Ebony Kingdom", and after a little card counting, I came up with the following distribution of cards in the different card slots of a booster:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Memorable Quotes (Part 45)

"LSJ? You are being cryptic .." -- XZealot
"Naw, not me. Cryptic is calling someone cryptic in a reply to yourself which contains no dialog from that supposedly-cryptic someone nor from anyone else other than yourself.

What I have been being in this thread is 'explict and verbose'."
-- LSJ
Reference: VtES Usenet Newsgroup

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Next VtES Expansion "Heirs to the Blood"

According to Potomac Distribution, the next VtES expansion is going be named "Heirs to the Blood". Reportedly the expansion will consists of boosters and starters, and is going to be released in October 2009.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Announcement Dutch EC Qualifier 2009

The Dutch VtES EC Qualifier 2009 will take place in Tilburg, Netherlands on August 30th, 2009. Here are the details for this constructed tournament:

  • Dutch EC Qualifier: Standard Constructed. Detailed rules can be found on the VEKN Tournament Rules webpage.
  • Sunday, 30 August 2009
    • Doors open/registration 10:00 h
    • Start first round 11:00 h
  • Denksport Cafe Theseus
  • Bredaseweg 167
  • 5038 ND Tilburg
  • The Netherlands

  • Since this is a cafe, please do not take your drinks along (Food is fine).
Round system:
  • 3 rounds, plus final (time limit: 2 h each)
Entrance fee:
  • 5 Euro
  • You can pre-register by leaving a response in the dutch VtES forum. This is not required, but appreciated by the tournament organizers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Card Tech: Liquidation & Ashur Tablets

Lately the combination of Liquidation and Ashur Tablets has become popular in a couple of VtES decks. The best example for deck that that uses this combo is one named "Ashur Celerity that won the Hungarian ECQ 2009 earlier this year.

Liquidation lets you gain 3 pool while moving 7 cards from the top of your library to your ashheap. On the other hand, Ashur Tablets lets you gain 3 pool and retrieve up to 13 cards from your ashheap to your library (and one to your hand), if you manage to put a set of three Ashur Tablets into play under your control. This is a decent pool gain combined with the ability to control the contents of your library in the mid- and endgame. The combo is somewhat similar to the Liquidation / Sudario Refraction that the Speed Shamblers deck uses in perfection.

The basic package consists of one Liquidation and three Ashur Tablets, which lead to following numbers:
  • Pool gain: 6 = 1.5 pool/card
  • Card flow: 13 cards retrieved - 7 cards discarded = 5 card retrieved from ash heap + 1 card to your hand
So the combo is somewhat better than the Ascendance "benchmark" (regarding pool gain). But what it makes playable is, that in addition you have some form of control of the cards in your library, and can retrieve cards from your ashheap later in the game.

I added a package of 2 Liquidations and 6 Ashurs Tablets to my Antonio d'Erlette Nephandus deck, and this improved the deck's performance significantly. The pool gain is necessary since the Nephandi and equipment I am running in this deck are quite expensive. Also later in the game I can retrieve the cards that I am going to need for a particular situation, e.g. Conditioning for ousting, Nephandus for putting them into play after they have been burned, etc.

Multiple of the basic package (i.e. two Liquidations and six Ashur Tablets or three and nine) are advisable, because with only three Ashur Tablets the risk is just too high "losing" one of Ashur Tablets by a Liquidation into the ashheap.

The main problem with the combo is the high number of master phase actions (and card slot) it costs. So from point of view the tech is only suitable when you have multiple master phase actions (Anson, Nana, Parthenon, etc.) or your master card count is somewhat low.

Currently the race for putting Ashur Tablets into play comes up only very occassionally. So it's usually save to assume, that you can complete your set of three Ashur Tablets without any disturbance, though this may change in the future.

Another, yet small disadvantage is the fact that you do not replace Liquidation until your next discard phase. This can be very annoying if there are other cards/effects that also reduce your handsize effectively, e.g. the do-not-replace clause on Mirror Walk or the handsize reduction caused by Dragonbound.

While not the swiss army knife for VtES the combo Liquidation and Ashur Tablets is an interesting card tech for those decks which want/need to combine decent pool gain with card retrieval from the ash heap. It's not suitable for all deck types

Results Italian National VtES Championship 2009

On May 31st, 2009 the Italian National VtES Championship was held in Rome, Italy with 27 players attending the final tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Simone "Levy" Bianchi -- Toreador Antitribu Palla Grande Swarm
2. Miro -- Followers of Set G2 DOM / Eternals of Sirius
2. Simone -- Brujah G4/5 Vote
2. Francesco -- Tzimisce Wall w/ War Ghouls (& a little vote)
2. Gian -- Lutz/Neferu/.. PRE OBF vote
Congratulations to Levy for his win of the Italian National VtES Championship 2009. You can find the finalist's decklist in the VtES Usenet Newsgroup and pictures from the event in the Italian VtES forum.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

German National VtES Championship 2009

As in the previous years the German National VtES Championship tournament takes place in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany. The championship tournament is played on December 6th, 2009 in the same location and the same weekend as the EuroDraft event (on December 5th, 2009).

The Tournament
  • Sunday, December 6th, 2009 will be devoted to the German VtES Championship -- please note that you will not have to qualify for this event. The top 5 players will automatically be qualified for participation in any Continental Championship in 2010.
The Location
  • The event will take place on the 6th (and 5th of December for the EuroDraft tournament) in DasHaus in Ludwigshafen am Rhein, Germany. Amongst European players this location is well-known due to the numerous events such as qualifiers and nationals which took place there in the past. It offers more than enough room for about 100 players in two different rooms. Drinks will be available on location.
  • German Championship: Standard Constructed, detailed rules can be found on the VEKN Tournament Rules webpage.
  • Sunday (Dec. 6th) -- German Championship

    • Registration 10:00 - 10:45
    • 1st Round 11:00 - 13:00
    • 2nd Round 14:00 - 16:00
    • 3rd Round 16:15 - 18:15
    • Finals 18:30 - 20:30
  • 5 EUR admission fee for both days (EuroDraft & German Championship)
  • tba
  • Traditionally, numerous Christmas fairs take place in neighboring cities like Mannheim or Heidelberg during December. These not only feature traditional German treats, but also souvenirs and the famous "Glühwein" (mulled wine).
More Details and Registration

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Deck Building Utilities (Update June 2009)

New versions of the "Secret Library", "Anarch Revolt Deck Builder" (ARDB) and "Fragments of Elder Library Deck Builder" (FELDB) have been published in June 2009. Here's the update of the basic information:

Secret Library
Current Version: 0.9.1
Author: Jussi Hattara
Description: A finnish website with similar filter & search functionality as "V:EKN Nu" and "VtES Monger". Nice, fresh web design and the ability to keep one's inventory as well as deck building utility. Definitively the best web-based site. The only "drawback" you need a (free) account to use the deck building and inventory functionality.
  • Card List & Inventory
    • complete card list with card texts
    • lacks pictures of actual cards, but this maybe is more a copyright issue.
    • search & filter use, but not as sophisticated as in the ARDB
    • card inventory can be kept
  • Deck Building
    • offers the basic functionality of deck builder
    • includes card drawing simulation, but offers no statistical information on the deck.
    • ability to export decks as text (*.txt), HTML file (*.html), FELDB (*.eld) or for use in JOL (*.jol), Lackey or WebTES or for posting to internet forums (*.phbBB) and local forums.
    • gives some advice on deck building based on the "Happy Families" theory
  • Other Features
    • since it's web-based application, you don't need a local installation.
    • ability to make deck lists public or keep them private.
Expansions: all VtES expansions (now including Ebony Kingdom).
Latest Posting: 17/Jun/2009
Changelog: Secrect Library Changelog

Anarch Revolt Deck Builder ("ARDB")
Current Version: 2.9.1
Author(s): Graham Smith (current project lead) / Francois Gombault (initial creator)
Homepage: ARDB on Google Code
Description: Layered Filters, multiple export functionality and a tidy interface are the top features of this program, somewhat newer than the FELDB it had a fresh start and gained soon popularity in the VtES community.
  • Card List & Inventory
    • complete card list with card texts
    • complete collection of pictures of actual cards.
    • great search & filter use, multiple, layered filters
    • card inventory can be kept
  • Deck Building
    • offers the basic functionality of deck builder
    • includes some statistical information about the decks as well as card drawing simulation
    • ability to store decks in XML format (*.xml), as text (*.txt), HTML file (*.html) or for use with JOL (*.jol) or for posting to internet forums (*.phbBB).
    • gives some advice on deck building based on the "Happy Families" theory
  • Other Functionality
    • can update card database from White Wolf website
    • little utility for creating proxy cards
Cost: free software
OS Platforms: Windows, OpenSuSe, Debian, Fedora, Ubuntu, (Mac OS X 10.5)
Expansion Updates: about 1 to 4 weeks after an expansion has been released.
Expansions: all VtES expansions.
Latest Posting: 15/Jun/2009
Changelog: ARDB Changelog on Google Code

Fragments of Elder Library Deck Builder ("FELDB")
Current Version: 2.5.1
Author(s): Balasz Kuno Kiss
Homepage: FELDB on Google Groups or Bala's FELDB website
Description: After the ELDB ("Elder Library Deck Builder") was no longer maintained, the ELDB's author David Andersion-Davila published the sources and FELDB was the result of the development with serious improvements over the old program.
  • Card List & Inventory
    • complete card list with card texts
    • complete collection of pictures of actual cards.
    • basic ability to filter and sort cards, this could be better, especially when compared to the ARDB.
    • card inventory can be kept, but needs to be used carefully when updating to the next version or expansion.
  • Deck Building
    • offers the basic functionality of deck builder
    • includes some statistical information about the decks as well as card drawing simulation
    • ability to store decks in native format (*.eld), as text (*.txt), HTML file (*.html) or for use with JOL (*.jol).
  • Other Features
    • deck manager functionality
    • several import/export options for decks and inventories
    • usually the quickest update after an expansion has been released
    • can update card database from White Wolf website -- New!
  • URLs:
    Cost: free software
    OS Platforms: Windows
    Expansion Updates: about 1 to 2 weeks after an expansion has been released.
    Expansions: all VtES expansions.
    Latest Posting: 05/Jun/2009
  • Spanish National VtES Championship 2009

    In 2009 the Spanish VtES Championship tournament is played in Sevilla, Spain. The constructed tournament is played on October 17th and 18th, 2009. The tournament event starts with the last chance qualifier on Saturday, since admittance to the championship tournament is restricted. The actual national championship tournament is played on Sunday then. You can find more information on the tournament in the Spanish VtES forum (in spanish).

    French National VtES Championship 2009

    This year the French VtES Championship 2009 takes place in Caen, France. The constructed tournament is played on September 26th and 27th, 2009 in the following venue:
    8 rue Nicolas Oresme
    14000 CAEN
    The tournament event starts with the last chance qualifier on Saturday, since admittance to the championship tournament is restricted. The actual national championship tournament is played on Sunday then. You can find more details in the Caen VEKN forum (in french). There you can also find a list of players that are already qualified.

    Tournament Report German EC Qualifier 2009

    Even though I didn't win the VtES tournament, here's my round by round report of the German ECQ qualifier that was played on June 13th, 2009 in Bochum, Germany. I was fielding a Tremere antitribu/Tremere deck featuring Antonio d'Erlette and Carna with Nephandus mages as key cards. You can find the complete deck in the Secret Library.

    Round 1: Ortje (Weenie DEM Bleed) --> Ralf (Ferox Gargoyles Rush Combat --> Me (Antonio Nephandus) --> Josha (Obf/Pre Bigcap Vote) --> Emiliano (Tzimisce Horrid Form Rush Combat)

    Arguably I didn't have the worst position at the table, but two combat decks at the table were making me twitchy. Ortje started bleeding heavily into Ralf's Gargoyles which promptly returned the favour by dunking Apache Jones. I rescued Apache from torpor. Actually I wanted the Gargoyles out of the game, since I couldn't handle Potence/Fortitude combat very well, and Ortje was already under pressure by Emiliano.

    Josha brought out Rafael de Corazon, on which he tried to play a Minion Tap a turn later, which I promptly Washed. Rafael de Corazon made Emiliano a little nervous, since he admitted that this posse of Meshenka, Caliban and Horatio weren't that much into intercept. He resolved his concerns by rushing Rafael with Meshenka. After Trap, Horrid Form, Horrid Form a Majesty by Rafael was answered with Telepathic Tracking and a Chiropteran Marauder in round 5 of the combat, which let to Rafael's early demise to the ashheap. Meanwhile I had Carna, Antonio D'Erlette and two Nephandi out, but since I had played a Wash the previous turn Ralf played a Fame on Antonio and rushed him a turn later while Ralf himself was on ~6 pool. He managed to get through with a Skin of Cameleon and dunked Antonio promptly, reducing my pool from 10 to 6. Ralf was ousted the next turn, but I also managed to oust a very weakend Josha, who made a gamble earlier by trying bring out a third vampire, leaving him with 5 pool only.

    In the midgame Ortje had protected one of his mid-caps Malkavian antitribu with a Secure Haven, but this one minion was enough for me since Emiliano's Tzimisce could only dunk a vampire now and then and I didn't have enough intercept/Deflections to stop the Malkavians from ousting me. The heads-up saw Emiliano taking control eventually, when he had dunked all but one of Ortje's vampire into torpor while he was on 10-15 pool himself. Ousting Ortje was then a matter of a few turns for Emiliano.

    Result: Emiliano (2 VP), Ortje (2 VP), Me (1 VP)

    Round 2: Me (Antonio Nephandus) --> Thomas (Gerald Windham Freakshow) --> Peter (Anson Princes Cel Gun w/ Ashur Tablets/Liquidation) --> Markus (Tremere Wallish Toolbox)

    While the table setup was generally ok, since I was sitting as predator of the perceived table threat, and I was not sitting next to the Celerity Gun deck, the table had other problems for me. On one hand Markus was playing almost exactly the same unique equipment (Heart of Nizchetus, Ivory Bow) as I was, on the other Peter was also using the Ashur Tablets/Liquidation engine as I was, only with Anson he was able to play it faster. But the game turned out to be better than I anticipated. Peter had a great card flow initially, and since he was scared by Gerald Windham, he attacked him immediately, and dunked him thanks to Psyche and Blur. But I waited with ousting Thomas since I don't want to sit next to the Celerity Gun deck immediately. So I brought one Nephandus after another, while Markus also choose to build up with an Ivory Bow, a Heart of Nizchetus, a Kevlar Vest and a Ponticulus (the later two Markus stole from my ashheap with an Ericyes Fragment).

    Eventually I ousted Thomas, and the table was sort of balanced for a short while. I had a horde of Nephandus, but did not dare to attack, since I feared the Peter's guns; Peter didn't dare to go forward, since he feared the Ivory Bow and later on not being to able to rescue his own vampires from torpor (an Unmasking was already in play); Markus also didn't like to go forward and kill the Nephandi, since I managed to put a FBI Special Affairs Division into play. After some rounds Markus declared that Peter and he needed to remove the Nephandus/FBI threat by attacking from both sides. This was the starting signal for me: I contested Markus' Carna and started attacking Peter, while giving him the opportunity to oust Markus by contesting. I managed to dunk most of Peter's vampires due to relentless attacks, and me knowing that Peter's only wake cards are very likely Second Traditions. So weakend it was not hard to remove Peter's remaining pool.

    The end game saw me attacking with a horde of Nephandus (which reincarnated from the earlier losses with the help of Ashur Tablets), and Markus reacting over and over again with Aisling Sturbridge who managed to kill Nephandus after Nephandus with Theft of Vitae. In the end the game timed out.

    Result: Me (GW 2.5 VP), Markus (0.5 VP)

    Round 3: Paul (Ventrue Dom/For Bleed) --> Johannes (Matthias & Harbinger Friends Wall) --> Me (Antonio Nephandus) --> Markus (Obf/Pre Bleed) --> Ben (G4/5 Brujah Prince Vote/Bleed)

    The table had a fanastic setup for me. A prey that had virtually no defense, and a predator that was too busy blocking an aggressive predator with no stealth. From the start Markus bleed Ben aggressively. and Ben was actually more victim than player. On the other end of the table Paul, Johannes and I brought out a couple of minions, but nothing really exciting was happening. I had already a couple of Nephandi out, and then started bleeding into Markus immediately, but failed to oust Markus before he did the same to Ben. With Ben gone, Markus bleeded Paul who gladly bounced the bleeds to Johannes, who initially blocked most of the bleeds. This gave Paul the opportunity to play a Pentex Subversion on Johannes' Matthias, and oust Johannes with several high-powered bleeds. In the mean time I had a Ponticulus, 6+ Nephandi, Carna and Antonio out. Paul tried to bleed me with one of his DOM minions and I declined to block. Paul then played Conditioning and Command of the Beast for a total bleed of 5, so I could play Deflection and ousted Markus who had tapped out all of his minions. Paul then conceded the game since he had no way to bypass my horde of blockers (he mostly relied on Seduction and Daring the Dawn).

    Result: Me (GW 3 VP), Markus (1 VP), Paul (1 VP)

    So I managed to get into the final, but in fourth place I wasn't able to influence the seating order. I think Erol as top seeded player underestimated the bleed power of Markus' and Izaak's decks and overestimated the intercept capabilities of Izaak's and my deck, and so he choose to be Cassian's predator and Markus' prey, while Izaak as second seeded, rightly guessed that my deck has the least initial forward momentum and gave him the time to build up and oust his prey.

    Final Round: Erol (Nosferatu G1/2 Royalty) --> Cassian (G3/4 Obf/Dom Bleed) --> Me (Antonio Nephandus> --> Izaak (Tremere Bleed/Bloat) --> Markus (Tremere Wallish Toolbox)

    So three Tremere/Tremere antitribu decks in the final, with all three playing Carna, the Princess Witch, and two aggressive decks, one with vote angle and the other with a bleed angle. The game started slow with everybody bringing out one to two vampires each. Unfortunately I had no Antonio in my starting crypt, so I decided to bring out Frondator first. I was very cautious in the beginning, not knowing that Izaak had almost no intercept in his deck, and Cassian didn't have Titus Camille in his starting crypt. The later was the reason that I was initally very cautious to use any Magic of the Smith to put equipment into play, and instead discarded them.

    Erol really started the game when he was playing Legendary Vampire on Selma the Repugnant (even though his first try was Washed). Erol then played successful Parity Shift against Cassian, gaining 5 pool since he already had vote lock. Cassian was unimpressed and played Govern the Unaligned on one of his uncontrolled minions to regain the lost pool. I recruited a Nephandus with Frondator, and finally had an Antonio in my uncontrolled region. Izaak also played Govern the Unaligned and equipped one of his minions with a .44 Magnum. Markus' Tremere started to bleed Erol somewhat heavily, who couldn't block. The next two turns saw Erol trying to play two Parity Shifts, both were DIed by Markus, leaving Erol who had brought out Suhailah as second vampire on very few pool which Markus could remove easily with his bleeds backed up by Mirror Walk. In the meantime Cassian had completed his selection of vampires in his controlled region with Black Lotus, Robin Withers, Ulrike Rothbart and most importantly J. Oswald `Ozzy` Hyde-White. His bleeds were ultimately my downfall since I hadn't have any access to decent amount of intercept and only two Deflections weren't enough to withstand the persistent stealth bleed. The rest of final is a short story. Izaak put Markus under heavy pressure, and could oust him with a superior number of minions easily. In the heads up Izaak had the greater bleed power, and so Cassian followed Markus shortly after.

    Result: Izaak (GW 3 VP), Cassian (1VP), Markus (1 VP)

    Overall the final round wasn't too exciting (in comparision to the previous games) and over in about an hour. But congratulations to Izaak who had chosen the best table position (for him), and played to the best of his abilities.

    Monday, June 15, 2009

    Results German EC Qualifier 2009

    On June 13th, 2009 the VtES German EC Qualifier was held in Bochum, Germany with 39 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
    1. Izaak Havelaar (HOL) -- 2 GW 8,5 VP -- 3 VP -- Tremere G2/3 Bleed & Bloat
    2. Cassian Heim (GER) -- 2 GW 7 VP -- 1 VP -- G3/4 Obf/Dom S&B
    2. Markus Schnober (GER) -- 1 GW 6 VP -- 1 VP -- Tremere G2/3 Toolbox
    2. Erol Öngün (GER) -- 3 GW 11 VP -- 0 VP -- Nosferatu G1/2 Royalty Parity Shift
    2. Ralf Lammert (GER) -- 2 GW 6.5 VP -- 0 VP -- Tremere Antitribu Nephandus
    Congratulations to Izaak for his win of the German ECQ 2009. You can find the final standings and the winner's deck in the VtES Usenet Newsgroup. Here are some pictures taken during the tournament:

    Left: Round 3 Table 2: Erol and Sebastian making a dirty deal to oust the other three players.

    Right: Round 3 Table 3: Marc-Etienne's Toreador deck and Jeroen's Malkavian DEM bleed deck fighting for the win.

    Left: Round 3 Table 5: A series of quick ousts first by Markus then by Paul and Ralf made the table finish in less than an hour.

    Right: Round 3 Table 7: Joscha, Peter, Yuri, Sascha and Khaled fighting for the victory.

    Left: Round 3 Table 8: Johannes' Imbued fight the good fight against the other player's vampires.

    Right: Bart (left) won the contest of the most interesting deck, playing a Blood Brothers Hermana Hambrienta Menor deck.

    Left: Between the 2nd and 3rd round we had VtES quiz with 12 questions. One of the few quiet moments of the tournament.

    Right: Erol (left), the winner of the quiz with the tournament organizer Didi (right).

    Left: Izaak won the tournament with a Tremere Bleed & Bloat deck (here in in the final's midgame).

    Right: The finalists (from left to right): Cassian, Markus, Ralf and the tournament winner Izaak (with the tournament organizer Didi).

    Friday, June 12, 2009

    Memorable Quotes (Part 44)

    "The life of a repo man is always intense."-- Miller in Repo Man (1984)

    Thursday, June 11, 2009

    Deck Archetypes: Weenie Animalism

    (c) 2008 by White Wolf Inc."Weenie Animalism" decks, as the name of this VtES deck archetype suggests, are decks based on small (sometimes also mid-cap) vampires with the Animalism discipline (preferably in the superior version). The deck can be played as rush combat as well as intercept combat deck, but both use the same combat package consisting of a large number of "Carrion Crows" and "Aid from Bats" combat cards.

    How to win with them
    The deck's strength lies in its cost efficient minions (and therefore often a sizable number of vampires), and a very effective combat package. There are quite a number of low to mid-cap vampires with superior Animalism, and Animalism on its own has some very efficient combat cards (see also Crypt Composition section below). Most notable in this deck archetype is the combat package consisting of "Carrion Crows" and "Aid from Bats", of which the decks incorporates 10 to 20 each.

    So the question is how to get in combat, so can you use all those Animalism combat cards? There are generally three ways of doing this:
    • by bleeding consistently,
    • by rushing other minions,
    • by blocking other minions.
    The bleed variation of the arcetype usually used to use "Computer Hacking" and "Tier of Souls" for bleeding, and tries to lure the blockers into combat. This only works if you keep bleeding consistently with 2 to 3 minions per turn, since otherwise your prey can cope with the relatively low bleeds by bouncing them or just taking the pool damage. The bleed orientated decks also sometimes pack the bleed enhancing retainers ("Tasha Morgan" and the like) and swap them around with "Heidelburg Castle".

    The next variation uses rush actions to enter combat with other minions directly. Either the action cards having no prerequisite are used like "Bum's Rush" or "Ambush"; but in the past expansions Animalism got its share of rush cards like "Deep Song", "Sense Death" and "Taunt the Caged Beast". Each of these rush cards based on Animalism have the disadvantage that the acting vampire can only enter combat with vampires ("Sense Death" even only with younger vampires). So the discipline-less rush cards should still be considered for this deck variation in order to be able to enter combat with allies (e.g. Imbued).

    (c) 2008 by White Wolf Inc.With "Deep Song" the Weenie Animalism deck now has the ultimate fusion of the two strategies. A vampire using the card can bleed at +1 at inferior Animalism, and at superior he can enter combat with another vampire. The superior version also has the advantage that the roles of acting and reacting vampires are reversed during combat. This can save cards when you know that your opponent is playing "Strike: Combat Ends" for example. For ousting usually "Fame", "Tension in the Ranks" or "Dragonbound" are used similar to a Celerity Gun deck.

    Played as intercept combat deck, the deck is quite similar to a Weenie Auspex deck. It uses small vampires to disrupt its prey's game, and later tries to control the table with permanent intercept. But instead of relying on guns as main combat cards, the Weenie Animalism deck relies on the above mentioned two Animalism staple cards. In addition sometimes "Murder of Crows" is used to increase the environmental damage inflicted by "Carrion Crows". In order to oust its prey cards like "Army of Rats" or "Smiling Jack" are used, though the deck often cannot prevent these cards removed in the early or mid-game, the deck does a very good defending these cards in the mid- to late game, when all of its permacept cards and other assets are in place.

    There are other variants of this deck that utilize combat-able allies like "Renegade Garou" or "War Ghoul", depending on the actual clans being used in the deck. This gives the deck an additional edge, especially since both aforementioned allies have a built-in rush capability.

    The deck generally not very easy to play, especially when to block and which vampires to rush is crucial for success.

    (c) 2008 by White Wolf Inc.Bleed defense
    The deck almost always lacks any bleed bounce, so the primary defense are the intercept provided by the "Raven Spies" or taking down bleeders with rush combat. Depending on the type of bleed deck (power bleed or stealth bleed), it can be important to concentrate the "Raven Spies" on one vampire, or to distribute them among an even number of vampires. Versus a powerbleed deck it can be enough to have three ready vampires, two of them with a single raven spy. Versus a stealth bleed deck you need to place all available "Raven Spies" on a single vampire (at least 3) to be able to block bleeders, and even that may not be enough to stop the bleeding vampire, e.g. when the acting vampire uses "Elder Impersonation" to bypass the blocker.

    If the deck features only a small number of "Raven Spies", it is important to rush backwards and to take a vampire or two down, This reduces the immediate pressure and gives you time to get more "Raven Spies" and otherwise get your resources into play, e.g. permacept locations like "KRCG Newsradio". This is most efficient against Stealth Bleed decks, since often don't pack little or any combat defense.

    Vote defense
    Because the deck's vampire seldom have any titles/votes, the vote defense relies on the same principles as the bleed defense. Basic defense is the intercept, rush vampires if you have not built up enough intercept yet. In addition a small number of "Delaying Tactics" help to give your deck enough time to build a proper wall with permanent intercept or take down the key vampires of your predator.

    Combat defense
    "Offense is defense" could be the motto of the deck. The combat package with "Carrion Crows" and "Aid from Bats" is a good against most combat decks, since the damage inflicted by the "Carrion Crows" are somewhat hard to deal with (i.e. to prevent). Especially if your deck can do it over and over again.

    Probably the worst matchup in terms of combat is Weenie Potence deck, where the opponent has invested as few pool as your deck, and the opposing vampires oftern hit harder than your Animalism minions. The matchup against Celerity Gun combat is usually a close one. While the Celerity Gun minions can take down the opposing Animalism Weenie in a single turn easily, they have to fear "Canine Horde" and maybe "Drawing out the Beast" on the other hand, though the later is not seen that often in a typical Weenie Animalism deck,

    (c) 2008 by White Wolf Inc.Crypt Composition
    The best vampires for this deck type are those with superior Animalism and minimal capacity (5 ot less). The best vampires around matching the criteria are "Stick" (capacity 3), "Bobby Lemon" (4), and "Beetleman" (4). Often these vampires appear two times in Weenie Animalism crypt, and the crypt then is filled with low cap vampires with inferior Animalism, and one or two 5 capacity vampires with superior Animalism. This gives the crypt a low average capacity between 2.5 (if using a majority of vampires with inferior Animalism) and 4.5 (if using a majority of vampires with superior Animalism).

    How to win against them
    The first step to winning against Weenie Animalism is to determine what variation of that archetype you are playing against, and adjust your strategy accordingly.

    When playing against the intercept variation, you need to act quickly before the weenie vampires can employ enough "Raven Spies" to block (almost) everything you do. On the other hand the deck is quite predictable when calculating the amount of intercept a single vampire can have, since almost all the intercept is already on the table, except maybe +1 intercept in the form of "Cats Guidance" or a similar card. This is a major weakness when you compare the deck with a Weenie Auspex deck, where it's almost impossible to calculate the amount of intercept the blocking vampire will have in advance.

    When playing against the bleed variant, and you're the predator of the deck, you won't have too much pressure, since the main pressure is on the Weenie Animalism deck's prey. But you shouldn't take too much time for building up, since eventually this variant will also have its share of intercept on the table and may rush with "Deep Song" once in a while.

    Probably the nastiest variant to play against is the rush version of the deck, especially if your deck is based on a star vampire, you only have few minions) or only limited combat defense. After a little while you might find most if not all of your vampires in torpor. A "Secure Haven" on your key vampire is pure gold in this kind of situation. In this case you definetely need assistance from your cross-table buddies, who need to rescue your vampires from torpor more often than not. Make an argument that each vampire they rescue is basically deterring the Weenie Animalism deck from their own minions. Also the rush deck isn't able to handle cross-table rescue actions due to lack of "Eagle Sight" and such, but might be able to block your own rescue attempts with a single "Raven Spy".

    The main weakness of the deck in combat is their predictability. Besides the aforementioned "Aid from Bats" and "Carrion Crows" there are few extra combat cards (e.g. "Canine Horde"). So the deck usually has only one press and one maneuver in a given round of combat. If you want go to close range and play an "Immortal Grapple", you'll need very often only one maneuver (e.g. as provided by "Slam"). Also if you have a single press against the press to continue from "Aid from Bats", that's usually enough to end the combat.

    (c) 2008 by White Wolf Inc.Key Cards

    Notable Examples & Variations

    Sample Decklist

    Belgrade: Black dawn
    Belgrade, Serbia
    Date: 19.8.2007
    Number of players: 10
    Rounds: 3 + F
    Winner: Ferenc Vasadi with 4 VP in the finals

    Tournament Winning Deck by Ferenc Vasadi
    Deckname : aniweenie

    Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 8, Max: 21, Avg: 3,5)
    1 Lisa Noble ani 1 Caitiff
    1 Zip ani 2 Ravnos
    1 Mouse ani 2 Nosferatu
    1 Droescher One-Eye ani vic 3 Tzimisce
    2 Stick ANI 3 Nosferatu Antitrib
    1 Dolie abo ani 3 Akunanse
    1 Bobby Lemon pro ANI 4 Gangrel
    1 Yuri Kerezenski aus for vic ANI 5 Tzimisce
    1 Effie Lowery obf ANI SPI 5 Ahrimanes
    1 Celeste Lamontagne for ANI PRO 5 Gangrel Antitribu
    1 Janey Pickman for ANI PRO 6 Gangrel Antitribu

    Library: (90 cards)
    Master (15 cards)
    6 Blood Doll
    3 Animalism
    1 Pentex Subversion
    1 Hungry Coyote, The
    3 Haven Uncovered
    1 Archon Investigation

    Action (11 cards)
    2 Army of Rats
    4 Taunt the Caged Beast
    2 Tier of Souls
    1 Aranthebes, The Immortal
    2 Bum`s Rush

    Reaction (15 cards)
    5 Cats` Guidance
    4 Instinctive Reaction
    4 On the Qui Vive
    2 Forced Awakening

    Combat (41 cards)
    16 Aid from Bats
    4 Canine Horde
    12 Carrion Crows
    3 Pack Alpha
    2 Terror Frenzy
    4 High Ground

    Retainer (8 cards)
    5 Raven Spy
    1 Owl Companion
    1 J. S. Simmons, Esq.
    1 Tasha Morgan

    Wednesday, June 10, 2009

    VtES or Making the Impossible Possible

    There several issues and inconsistencies in VtES which need to be addressed urgently. Check the following questions and see if you can figure out why the situations described are possible (or not)!
    And the answer to all questions, the universe and the rest is: fourty.. no, it's cardtext!

    [Thanks to the members of the German VtES forum who came up with the idea (and several questions) in the first place]

    Saturday, June 6, 2009

    New "Archon" Version 1.3

    A new version of the spreadsheet used for VtES tournament tracking named "The Archon" has been released. The version 1.3 includes the following changes:
    • Improved seating charts for 6 players (thanks to Karl Schaefer), and 18 and 23
      players (thanks to Jussi Hattara).
    • Corrected and updated finalists' ranking and rating to reflect the 2008 tournament rules.
    • Updated formulas for compatibility with Calc (thanks to Jussi Hattara).
    • Reworked V:EKN Report Tab (thanks to Jeff Thompson).
    "The Archon" can be downloaded on the White Wolf website.

    Thursday, June 4, 2009

    Memorable Quotes (Part 43)

    "Think about that for a minute. Really. Think about it.

    On what fucking planet would you put Ascendance in a deck? Oh, right, NONE because Ascendance is TERRIBLE.

    And yet here we are debating the merits of Ascendance over Vessel. Or, shudder the thought, Vessel AND Ascendance.

    If you're at the point where you're considering putting Ascendance in your deck, SHOOT YOURSELF IN THE HEAD.

    That's why Vessel sucks." -- Ben Peal (3 time VtES NAC winner)

    Reference: VtES Usenet Newsgroup

    Wednesday, June 3, 2009

    Deck of the Month: May 2009: Cogwork Brussel

    This month's deck is the tournament winning deck "Cogwork Brussel" played and built by Sebastian Meurer. The deck uses the synergy from playing Cock Robin's special abiility, Enkil Cog and Deep Song in order to make this Nosferatu a true bleed monster. But read Sebastian's description of the deck yourself below.

    A very close second when choosing a favourite deck this month was "Ashur Celerity played by Gyula Erdos and build by Péter Korsós. The deck is a unique blend of Celerity Gun combat combined with the ability to block with Second Tradition: Domain and using Ashur Tablets to recycle cards from the ashheap. Definetely worth a look!

    Deck Name: Cogwork Brussels
    Author: Sebastian Meurer
    Description: The deck is a Nosferatu multi-action toolbox with an emphasis on bleed actions. The foundation of the deck is Cock Robin's special ability to untap after a successful action requiring Animalism. Also Baron Dieudonne can untap after a successful action (but only by paying a blood). Another untap possibility provides Warsaw Station. With Tier of Souls, Deep Song and eventually Enkil Cog the deck has considerablw bleed potential. Thanks to Preternatural Strength you only need to make room for few extra combat cards to be very effective in combat, also by rushing selected targets with Deep Song.
    Maybe the deck's biggest advantage in a tournament is, that other players tend to underestimate its bleed potential and in general have trouble assessing the deck's capabilities.

    Crypt (12 cards; Capacity min=3 max=10 avg=7)
    2x Baron Dieudonne 9 ANI OBF POT PRO Nosferatu:4
    2x Beetleman 4 obf ANI Nosferatu:4
    1x Clarissa Steinburgen 3 ani obf Nosferatu:3
    4x Cock Robin 10 aus for ANI OBF POT Nosferatu:3
    1x Jeremy Wix Wyzchovsky 5 ani obf pot Nosferatu:4
    2x Petra 5 aus ANI OBF Nosferatu:4

    Library (82 cards)
    Master (19)
    3x Dreams of the Sphinx
    1x Elysium: Sforzesco Castle
    2x Labyrinth, The
    1x Mob Connections
    1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
    2x Perfectionist
    1x Powerbase: Montreal
    3x Vessel
    3x Villein
    2x Warsaw Station

    Event (2)
    1x Narrow Minds
    1x Scourge of the Enochians

    Action (15)
    8x Deep Song
    2x Preternatural Strength
    5x Tier of Souls

    Equipment (1)
    1x Ivory Bow

    Retainer (2)
    2x Raven Spy

    Action Modifier (13)
    2x Elder Impersonation
    2x Enkil Cog
    2x Faceless Night
    5x Lost in Crowds
    2x Veil the Legions

    Reaction (12)
    4x Cats' Guidance
    2x On the Qui Vive
    6x Second Tradition: Domain

    Combat (14)
    7x Carrion Crows
    4x Immortal Grapple
    3x Taste of Vitae

    Combo (4)
    4x Swallowed by the Night

    Tuesday, June 2, 2009

    New VtES card library CSV

    A new card library CSV file is available in the White Wolf download area. The file contains the information about the new VtES expansion "Ebony Kingdom" and the 2009 VtES promos.

    The CSV file is used for a couple of VtES deck building programs like ARDB.

    Update: Currently the files available on the White Wolf website only contains the library cards, but not the crypt cards from Ebony Kingdom.

    Results Belgian EC Qualifier 2009

    On May 31st, 2009 the VtES Belgian EC Qualifier was held in Brussels, Belgium with 24 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
    1. Sebastian Meurer (GER) -- 1 VP 6 VP -- 4 VP -- Nosferatu Cock Robin w/ Enkil Cog
    2. Jörg Alten (GER) -- 1 VP 5.5 VP -- 1 VP -- Giovanni/HoS Obfuscate Shambling Hordes
    2. Michael Heyder (GER) -- 2 VP 8 VP -- 0 VP -- Tzimisce Ani/Aus Toolbox
    2. Pierre "Stone" Tran-Van (FRA) -- 2 VP 7.5 VP -- 0 VP -- Ventrue New Lawfirm
    2. Fabian Sosna (GER) -- 1 VP 5 VP -- 0 VP -- Ventrue New
    Congratulations to Sebastian for winning the Belgian ECQ 2009. You can find the TWD in the German VtES forum (requires account).

    Left: The Outpost in Brussel, place of the Belgian ECQ 2009.

    Right: Round 2 Table 1: Herman has locked down the table with his Una Freakshow, but cannot make the win.

    Left: Round 2 Table 1: Herman's deck in all it's glory!

    Right: Round 2 Table 2: Jörg uses his Shamling Hordes to battle Stone's Ventrue Lawfirm for the win!

    Left: Round 2 Table 3: Johannes plays a vicious Imbued deck, which terrorized the table with multiple Talbot's Chainsaw attacks per turn.
    Right: Round 3 Table 4: Fred trying to push a Political Stranglehold through while heavily under pressure by Yuri's Obf/Dom S&B.

    Left: The players at the final table contemplating their options in the early stage of the game.

    Right: Proof that I was actually in Brussels. The Congress Column.

    Bochum VtES League 2009: May 29th

    Here are the decks of the Bochum VtES League 2009 from the meeting on May 29th (prey is from left to right, from top to bottom):

    Left: Michael played an .. exotic Yong-Sun deck, which needed to burn many vampires from it's prey crypt.

    Right: Didi's Tremere Antitribu Wall/Bleed deck made the only oust in this game.

    Left: Sascha's deck was a modified Brujah starter deck and had big problems sitting between two intercept decks.
    Right: Thomas played a Ani/Aus wall deck, but not based on Tzimisce, but on the G4/5 Tremere vampires.

    Left: Despite "only" having a New Carthage as support for his Brujah Princes, Hardy's deck was able put considerable pressure on his prey, but failed to oust him eventually.

    In the end the table timed out, with Didi making the extra VP when ousting Sascha's Brujah toolbox deck.