Sunday, January 31, 2010

VtES Clan Newsletters in January 2010

Two clan newsletters have been posted in the "" usenet newsgroup this month. Beside using a newsgroup reader, you can also access the VtES Usenet Newsgroup by using Google Groups.

Poll Results: "Which numbers of starting players at a VtES table is acceptable for you?"

Here are the results of the latest poll what readers of this blog find an acceptable number of players in a game of VtES. 288 votes have been cast in the poll:
  • 2, 3, 4, 5 -- 7 (2%)
  • 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 -- 1 (0%)
  • 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 -- 5 (1%)
  • 3, 4, 5 -- 32 (11%)
  • 3, 4, 5, 6 -- 44 (15%)
  • 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 -- 10 (3%)
  • 4, 5 -- 105 (36%)
  • 4, 5, 6 -- 51 (17%)
  • 4, 5, 6, 7 -- 3 (1%)
  • Anything, if it's VtES! -- 30 (10%)
As expected most players like 4 or 5 player tables. What I find more interesting than the individual results is to look at the poll the other way around, that is how many players won't play a table with a particular number of players.
  • 85.5% are opposed to playing 2 player tables
  • 55.6% are opposed to playing 3 player tables
  • 50.4% are opposed to playing 6 player tables
  • 83.7% are opposed to playing 7 player tables
I was expecting that most of readers are not willing to play 2 or 3 players and about 50% of readers are not willing to play 6 player tables. What I actually didn't anticipate, is that an almost equal number of readers is also not willing to play 3 player tables. I thought the numbers for 3 player tables would be much higher at least 70 to 80%.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Allies with Rush Capabilities

Similar to the list of vampires in VtES who can enter combat with another minion, there's a similar list for allies. Surprisingly most these allies can enter combat with another minion, and only one minion's rush capabilities is restricted against a specific clan. On the other hand, for the allies it's far more important what the cost to recruit and/or restrictions to put them into play are, then the restriction with whom they can enter combat. The list includes allies up to and including "Ebony Kingdom".

Name Cost Stats Clan Restriction
Amam the Devourer 2 pool 3/2/0 Followers of Set
any minion
Cry Wolf -- 3/2/0 Anarch any minion
Escaped Mental Patient 2 pool 1/1/0 Malkavian antitribu
any minion
Herald of Topheth 3 pool 5/3/0 Baali any minion
High Top 4 pool 3/1/0 Ahrimanes any minion
Muddled Vampire Hunter 2 pool 1/4/0 Malkavian any vampire
Nephren-Ka 3 pool 5/2/0 Followers of Set any minion
Order of Hermes Cabal 4 pool 2/0/1
any Tremere
Ossian 3 pool 4/2/0
any vampire; +1 stealth
Remnant of the Endless Storm 6 pool 5/1/0 Magaji any minion
Renegade Garou 5 pool 3/2/0 Gangrel any minion; +1 stealth
Rock Cat 4 pool 4/3/0 Gargoyle any minion
Shambling Hordes 3 blood 3/0/0 Necromancy any minion
War Ghoul 3 pool 5/4/0 Tzimisce any vampire
Wendell Delburton (Hunter) 3 pool 3/0/0
any minion

Stats of the allies are life/strength/bleed.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Vampires with Rush Capabilities

Among all the vampires (and Imbued) available in VtES, there is a small group of vampires (40 out of 1304 = 3.1%) which have the ability to enter combat with another minion with the help of special ability (cardless). The list includes allies up to and including "Ebony Kingdom". But the range of ability to rush is quite wide. I have split these abilities in 5 categories:

The best ability is to rush any minion (vampire and ally), so there's really no restriction on who to rush. This is the reason why Beast and Theo Bell are so popular in rush combat deck. Pariah and the Tupdogs are even younger vampires, but require special decks to put them work properly.
NameCap.DisciplinesClanEnter Combat Restriction
Tupdog1POT VISGargoyle:3any minion
Pariah6OBF PRO pot preAbominati:2any minion
Beast, The Leatherface7OBF POT ani cel!Nosferatu:2any minion
Talbot7ANI NEC PRO forGangrel:5any minion; burn master card; +1 stealth
Theo Bell7POT cel dom preBrujah:2any minion
Bakr8CEL OBF QUI dem proAssamite:5any minion; burn 1 blood; +1 stealth
Ellen Fence8CEL OBF PRO aus!Gangrel:2any tapped minion by prey/pred.
Gustaphe Brunnelle8ANI DOM POT obfNosferatu:4any minion by prey/pred.
Hrothulf8CEL FOR PRE dom pot proVentrue:3any minion; burn Edge
Uta Kovacs8AUS DOM THA ser!Tremere:4any minion
Black Annis9OBF POT ani pro!Nosferatu:4any minion by prey/pred.; +1 stealth
Nangila Were9ANI POT PRE obf serGuruhi:4any minion
Enkidu, The Noah11ANI CEL OBF POT PRO for!Gangrel:4any minion

The second best category are those vampires who can rush other vampires. This excludes allies, especially the Imbued, but adding "Break the Code" helps when Imbued are to be expected with this flaw. These vampires can be still be center of a rush combat deck.
NameCap.DisciplinesClanEnter Combat Restriction
John Cop90 O'Malley4jud venImbued:4any monster
Langa5VAL for!Salubri:4any vampire
Tariq, The Silent7AUS FOR OBF QUI celAssamite:2any vampire
Massassi9AUS CEL POT QUI obfOsebo:4any vampire
Wynn10ANI FOR PRO obf potGangrel:1any vampire by prey/pred.; +1 stealth

The next two categories are not really usable as the only source of rushes, because the rush actions are either restricted against vampires of a specific sect and/or younger vampires.
NameCap.DisciplinesClanEnter Combat Restriction
Shiloh Marie, Vengeance6ANI FOR PROGangrel:5any younger vampire
Amelia7CEL POT PRE!Brujah:2any vampire with cap. below 4
Ebanezer Roush8ANI OBF POT proNosferatu:1any vampire with cap. below 4; +2 stealth
Jeremy MacNeil (Adv)8AUS POT PRE cel chiBrujah:3any younger vampire by prey/pred.
Ignazio Giovanni9DOM FOR NEC POT obfGiovanni:3any vampire with cap. below 7
Jacques Molay9CEL POT PRE obf val!Brujah:4any ally or younger vampire
Roxanne, Rectrix9AUS DOM FOR OBF potMalkavian:1any vampire with cap. below 4 by prey/pred.
NameCap.DisciplinesClanEnter Combat Restriction
Fergus Alexander3pot proGangrel:5any tapped Sabbat
Redbone McCray6AUS PRE cel pro!Toreador:4any younger Camarilla vampire
Adonai7AUS VAL for!Salubri:2any Camarilla vampire
Karsh10ANI CEL FOR POT PROGangrel:3any tapped non-Camarilla
Lucinde, Alastor10DOM FOR PRE obf pot thaVentrue:3any non-Camarilla vampire

The final category are comprised of those vampires who can rush vampires of a specific clan (or an special ally type). These abilities are just gimmicks, which are only significant in one game out of 500.
NameCap.DisciplinesClanEnter Combat Restriction
Anka, Priestess of Thorns4ani chi proRavnos:2any Lasombra
Janni5cel for obf quiAssamite:4any Follower of Set
Radeyah6CEL pot preToreador:2any Follower of Set
Ferox, The Rock Lord7FOR POT VIS aniGargoyle:2any Nosferatu; +1 stealth
Faruq8ANI PRO dom for potGangrel:2any Assamite
Count Germaine8CEL FOR POT PRE obfBrujah:4any Toreador
Lady Zara Slatikov8ANI AUS OBF VICTzimisce:4any Baali
Salinger9CEL POT PRE tha!Brujah:2any Lasombra/Tzimisce
Kemintiri10OBF PRE SER THA aus domFollower :2any Ventrue
Joe "Boot" Hill7CEL QUI for obfAssamite:4any werewolf ally; +1 stealth

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Memorable Quotes (Part 67)

"No, you are the evil in the dark, the whisperer in the sewers, the beast in the shadows, the soap on the rope. You are all that is wrong with the universe." -- Andrew Greenberg in "Darkness Unveiled", p9 on the role of the VtES player in the game.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Poll Results: "Deck of the Year 2009"

After having presented twelve decks of the month in the past year, I have asked you to pick the Deck of the Year 2009. 299 votes have been cast in this poll. Please observe, that the initial choice of these decks were driven not by any wanna-be-objective-here motivation, but by my (likely flawed) preferences for originality of deck design, for audacity to play such a deck in a tournament environment or for the skill to pilot such a crappy deck to the tournament win (or final).

So the winner for the Deck of Year 2009 is Martin Major (HUN) with his "Broken Brujah" deck. Congratulations to Martin for building and winning with this deck. Unfortunately for Martin, there is no actual prize support for this "award" other than your five minutes of fame. Here are decks that made it the top three of the list:
  1. Broken Brujah by Martin Major (HUN) -- a bruise & bleed deck based on the G4/5 Brujah and the "Alastor" vote.
  2. Anson, Volker & Ashurs Tablet by Marcin Watras (POL) -- a very toolboxy Prince decks with Ashurs Tablets as recursion engine.
  3. Girls will find inner peace by Adam Esbjörnsson (SWE) -- Inner Circle feat. Cybele bleed deck with a multitude of master cards.
The complete results of the poll look like this:
  1. February 2009: Broken Brujah by Martin Major (HUN) -- 77 (25%)
  2. June 2009: Anson, Volker & Ashurs Tablet by Marcin Watras (POL) -- 56 (18%)
  3. December 2009: Girls will find inner peace by Adam Esbjörnsson (SWE) -- 32 (10%)
  4. November 2009: Undead Army by Joerg Alten (GER) -- 18 (6%)
  5. May 2009: Cogwork Brussel by Sebastian Meurer (GER) -- 18 (6%)
  6. October 2009: Laibon Rule the World by Michael Heyder (GER) -- 16 (5%)
  7. July 2009: Ninja Parade by Jesse Cross-Nickerson (USA) -- 16 (5%)
  8. January 2009: Diary of a Mad Love Song by Greg Williams (USA) --15 (5%)
  9. March 2009: Guillaume Powerbleed by Tomasz Pietkiewicz (POL) -- 14 (4%)
  10. August 2009: Tyebot's Chainsaw by Johannes Walch (GER) -- 14 (4%)
  11. April 2009: Team Africa by Ira Fay (USA) -- 12 (4%)
  12. September 2009: Mata Hari shifts you! by Pauli Kiova (FIN) -- 11 (3%)

Friday, January 22, 2010

VtES Battle Arena: Sample Decks

Here are some more sample decks for the VtES Battle Arena format. There are capacity five and six vampires, but remember only to matchup vampires of the same capacity:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

VtES Battle Arena: Match Example

Here's an actual example of a VtES Battle Arena match, this time between two capacity six vampires, namely "Darrel Boyce, Consul" and "Joaquina Amaya":

Combatant 1: "Darrel Boyce, Consul" [6: CEL OBF PRO]
  1. ".44 Magnum"
  2. "Disguised Weapon"
  3. "Dragon Breath's Rounds"
  4. "Earth Meld"
  5. "Flesh Of Marble"
  6. "Psyche"
  7. "Shadow Feint"

Combatant 2: "Joaquina Amaya" [6: ANI FOR CHI]
  1. "Amria"
  2. "Amria"
  3. "Apparition"
  4. "Imposing Phantasm"
  5. "Mayaparisatya"
  6. "Skin of Rock"
  7. "Drawing Out the Beast"

With these two "decks" the combat starts with Darell being the the acting vampire and Joaquina the reacting vampire (in brackets you see the current blood/capacity values of the vampires if the value changes):
  • Round 1:

  • Round 1 (again):

  • Round 2:
    • Darrel uses his handstrike to inflict one damage to Joaquina, which is prevented by "Apparition".
    • Joaquina uses her handstrike to inflict one damage to Darrel [Darrel 0/6].

  • Round 3:
    • Darrel uses his handstrike to inflict one damage to Joaquina, which is prevented by "Apparition".
    • Joaquina uses her handstrike to inflict one damage to Darrel [Darrel: Torpor].
This ends the match with Joaquina as the winner!

Gelsenkirchen VtES League 2010: January 20th

Here are the decks of the Gelsenkirchen VtES League 2010 from the meeting on January 20th (prey is from left to right, from top to bottom):

Left: Ralf played his Pander Boon deck, but despite being the table threat(tm) couldn't oust anybody.
Right: Kinner played his own blend of Toreador antitribu Anarch Palla Grande. He bloated quite well, but couldn't get past the wall before him.

Left: Zille's deck was his Ahrimanes toolbox deck, which tends a little bit to the wallish side.
Right: Didi played a Nosferatu Royalty deck, but had problems going forward, because important actions failed and master cards were canceled by SRs.

Left: The deck Martin had chosen, was a Toreador Obf bleed deck. This time with a lot of Spying Missions for responsible bleeding.

Notes: There was a lot back and forth in the game with everybody low on pool in the end, but the players always lacked the proper punch (read: cards) in the deciding moments. So in the end the table timed out, with everybody getting half a VP.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

VtES Battle Arena: Rules

The Battle Arena Rules are rules for playing VtES combat duels. The format is especially suitable for internet forums like they are in common use for VtES in various countries. The only drawback perhaps is that other forums users might be annoyed to see an increased number of posts due to Battle Arena matches.

The rules assume that there's a subforum for the Battle Arena matches as well as Battle Arena administrator. The Battle Arena administrator is merely there for starting a match (and recording the results).

1. The Basics
And so it begins ..
1.1 Only crypt and library cards existing in Vampire: the Eternal Struggle (VtES) may be used.
1.2 You and your opponent agree to a capacity which you use in the match.
  • For the moment, only capacities of 5 and 6 are allowed.
  • Both vampires must be of same capacity.
  • The actual "crypt" capacity of the vampire counts, not the "in play effect" capacity. Example: "Tariq, The Silent" counts as vampire with capacity seven.
1.3 In addition to your vampire, you must have chosen a hand of seven cards. Only combat, equipment and (animal) retainer cards are allowed.
2. Starting a Match
Who wants some?
2.1 Start a new thread at the Battle Arena subforum stating which capacity you want to use and send a Private Message (PM) to the Battle Arena administrator straight away, so that the fight can be started as soon as somebody steps up (and not the next one you pop around). The PM must clearly state what cards and vampire you have chosen for the fight. The PM shall have the same title as the thread so it's easy to tell what game you use the stuff for. Note that the details of your hand remain available in your sentbox.
2.2 The Battle Arena administrator randomly decides who goes first (and is thereby the active player and having first priority throughout the rest of the game) after both you and your opponent has PM'd hand and vampire choices.
2.3 When you finish a fight, the winner must report the result to Battle Arena administrator in a PM (subject line is the match’s topic, just like when you PM your choice of vampire and hand). Just a winner and a looser will do it.
3. Gameplay
You die now!
3.1 Combat proceeds as per the normal rules of VtES:
  • Before Range -- each player play cards during the before range-step, with the controller of the acting minion (as determined randomly by the Battle Arena administrator) having first opportunity to play cards.
  • Range -- determine the range. Default range for each round is close unless card text allows otherwise (i.e. "Fear of the Void Below").
  • Pre-Strike -- where cards such as "Immortal Grapple" and "Blood of Acid" are played.
  • Strike -- determine your strike.
  • Strike Resolution -- damage prevention, etc
  • Press Step - to press continue or end combat. The rules of the Battle Arena assume that each round has a press to continue, same as if a "Trap" had been played but whose effect doesn't end if three (or more) rounds.
  • Post Press Step - Playing "Taste of Vitae" and similar cards.
3.2 Throughout the combat, state clearly at which level you play the cards e.g. "Immortal Grapple" at superior or "Rigor Mortis" at outferior.

Additionally, when using rather obscure cards (i.e. "Mythic Form"), it helps to post the text of the card. Can always ask the good old Battle Arena administrator by PM for a reminder to be posted.
3.3 It is also good Battle Arena etiquette to give a reminder of the blood left on one's vampire at the end of each strike resolution (after the prevent phase), at the end of each round and after playing cards that cost blood. Example: "Guido" plays "Entombment" at superior" (3/5).
3.4 Throughout the matches, taunts and assorted trash-talking are more than welcome.
4. Additional rules of the Battle Arena
We are 'special' around here!
The following rules are usable in the Battle Arena:
4.1 Vampires have now access to the following cardless strikes:
  • Strike: this striking vampire burns two blood to become Anarch. Only usable by a non-titled vampire.
  • Strike: this striking vampire burns one blood to become Black Hand. Only usable by a Sabbat vampire.
4.2 Weapons are allowed although you will need something like "Disguised Weapon" or "Concealed Weapon" to bring them into play. The cost of the weapon is paid in blood by the vampire and is equal to the pool cost of the weapon + 1, e.g. playing "Disguised Weapon" on an "Ivory Bow" will cost the vampire 2 blood. Weapons costing only blood are not affected by this rule and keep their original (printed) cost. Note that combat cards that count as equipment while in play, such as "Weighted Walking Stick" and "Zip Gun", do not follow this special rule either and are played according to the regular rules.

Unique weapons will immediately contest. Vampires will pay a blood at the beginning of each round prior to playing any 'before range' cards to keep contesting the card or may decide to yield (acting chooses first). Control of the weapons returns at the beginning of the following combat round.
4.3 The library and crypt are assumed to be empty at the beginning of the fight. Cards played during the fight go to the ash heap normally (for the purpose of cards referring specifically to the ash heap i.e. "Reality Mirror").
4.4 (Animal) Retainer are allowed in a similar fashion as weapons regarding to cost. Of course, you need a way to put the retainer unto the vampire, e.g. by playing "Pack Alpha").

5. Ending the fight
You can pick up your teeth now!
5.1 In the Battle Arena, victory is achieved by sending the opposing vampire to torpor. If both vampires enter torpor during the same strike resolution the match is tied.
5.2 If the match is ended by a Combats Ends either player must reset the combat (e.g. by "Psyche" or "Telephatic Tracking" or the player playing Combats Ends has lost the game. Similarly, should a player press to end combat with no one restarting combat, said player looses the match (and gets to be called a wuss)
6. Other Stuff
We are not finished yet!
6.1. Banned Cards:
5.4. Erratas:
  • Improvised Tactics: Playable during any round
The original Battle Arena are from the former VtES UK Forum. I don't know who invented the format and wrote the rules initially. But many thanks anyhow!

VtES Pre-Release Tournament "Heirs of the Blood" in Bochum

Vampire: The Eternal Struggle - Tournament
"Heirs of the Blood" Launch Event: Bochum, Germany

Sunday, 07 February 2010
Doors open 12:00 h -- (Pre-registration required!)
Start draft 12:30 h
Start first round ca. 14:00 h
Zu den Vier Winden
Hofsteder Str. 94
44809 Bochum
Round system:
3 rounds, no final (time limit: 2h each)
Starter & Booster Draft (min. 12 crypt cards, 60 - 90 library cards)
  • 1x Heirs of the Blood starter – Gargoyle, Kiasyd, Salubri antitribu or Samedi
  • plus 4x Heirs of the Blood boosters,
  • plus 1x 3rd Edition booster
  • plus 1x Keepers of Tradition booster (exact quantities to be confirmed)
Entrance Fee:
~17,- EUR
The location is a pub, so you may not bring your own food and drinks.
Pre-registration is required! Please pre-register via email to me or a post in this thread in the German VtES forum.
Gerhard "Hardy" Range
Prince of Bochum

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Memorable Quotes (Part 66)

"Looking at one's cards is a crutch for players who rely on skill." -- Bender Bending Rodríguez
Reference: Futurama: Into The Wild Green Yonder (2009)

Monday, January 18, 2010

VtES European Championship 2009 Videos

The videos of the three major tournaments of the VtES European Championship 2009 have been uploaded by the organizers (Damnans & friends)
  • EC 2009: Last Chance Qualifier Final Round:

  • EC 2009: Day 1 Final Round:

  • EC 2009: Day 2 Final Round:

Please take note, that these are only five minutes previews of the full footage, which is between 1:03h and 1:51h. You can download the full videos (each at least 1 GByte large) following the instructions on the website.

The videos are also available (thanks to Myrdin) using the following torrent link:
Download with the torrent program of your choice.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Bochum VtES League 2010: January 15th

Here are the decks of the Bochum VtES League 2010 from the meeting on January 15th, 2010 (prey is from left to right, from top to bottom):

Left: Ralf played a Legacy of Pander deck with Malkavian antritribu support, but lacked the final punch after a Conservate Ag. got DIed.
Right: Alan Sovereign & friends was Didi's choice to play. Initially he had problems after Neighbour John got Pentexed, but recovered quite well afterwards.

Left: An old school Tremere toolbox deck was fielded by Markus. He had got a bit cautious after one of his minions went to torpor (courtesey of his prey).
Right: Michael played Ventrue antribu Bruise & Bleed deck, which had a very slow start, and only got going minutes before the timeout.

Left & Right: Hardy played a Toreador antitribu Breed & Boon deck. The deck had an Black Hand angle with cards like Black Hand Emissary" and "Watchtower: Wolves Feed". He ousted Sascha's deck quickly, but had problems passing his votes because of the "Legacies" in play.

  • Hardy's initial prey was Sascha, who played his big cap Malkavian Bleed deck (no picture) but got ousted fast, after influencing his second minion (Lutz) out.
  • Yes, Didi's deck featured several(!) Bang Nakhs. And no, it wasn't a starter based deck.
  • The table ended with a timeout, with Hardy the only one scoring more than 0.5 VPs.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gelsenkirchen VtES League 2010: January 13th

Here are the decks of the Gelsenkirchen VtES League 2010 from the meeting on January 13th (prey is from left to right, from top to bottom):

Left: With a predator occupied elsewhere Ralf had little problems ousting his prey(s) with his shameless copy the "Girls will find inner peace" deck.
Right: Frank's Tzimisce toolbox deck suffered from bad card draw and was ousted 2nd.

Left: Martin played his Brujah Obf Vote deck, but had initially problems with the Tzimisce's block capabilities.
Right: Kinner's !Toreador Anarch Bleed deck looked pretty good, until he had ousted Zille, when he lost several minions to Lucinde's rush actions.

Left: Also a "victim" of Lucinde's Rush actions, Zille's !Malkavian bleed deck missed a vital minion when he had to oust Didi.
Right: Didi had the problem that his Lucinde Alastor/Graverobbing deck only had enough pool for one minion, so the second component of his deck was non-existent.

At this table Ralf got the GW with 5 VPs, Kinner got the other VP.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Memorable Quotes (Part 65)

"If there isn't a table threat, then nobody at the table is playing properly." -- Matt (american VtES Player)
Reference: VtES Usenet Newsgroup

Friday, January 8, 2010

Poll: Deck of the Year 2009

After having presented twelve decks of the month in the past year here's the inevitable poll for you to pick the Deck of the Year 2009 (see sidebar on the right). Please observe, that the initial choice of these decks were driven not by any wanna-be-objective-here motivation, but by my (likely flawed) preferences for originality of deck design, for audacity to play such a deck in a tournament environment or for the skill to pilot such a crappy deck to the tournament win (or final).

There is no actual prize support for this "award" other than your five minutes of fame.