Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Memorable Quotes (Part 72)

Mina Harker: How did Lucy die? Was she in great pain?
Van Helsing: Ja, she was in great pain. Then we cut off her head and drove a stake through her heart and burned it and then she found peace.
-- transcript from Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Results Portuguese ECQ 2010

On March 13th, 2010 the VtES Portuguese EC Qualifier was held in Lisboa, Portugal with 17 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Hugh Angseesing (ENG) -- 2 GW 6 VP -- GW 4 VP -- Lasombra G3/4 S&B w/Nocturns
2. Pedro Luís (POR) -- 2 GW ? VP -- 1 VP -- Toreador/!Toreador G2/3 Tap & Bleed
2. Tiago Brum (POR) -- 2 GW ? VP -- 0 VP -- Ventrue G4/5 Bruise-Bleed??
2. Luís de Almada (POR) -- 1 GW ? VP -- 0 VP -- Giovanni G2/3 Powerbleed
2. Teresa Neves (POR) -- 1 GW ? VP -- 0 VP -- Daughters of Cacophony G3/4? Breed & Boon
Congratulations to Hugh for his win of the Portuguese ECQ 2010. You can find the tournament winning deck in the VtES Usenet Newsgroup.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Memorable Quotes (Part 71)

A Gargoyle deck sweeping a table?? That's against the laws of the universe.
-- Emiliano (Italian VtES player and string theory physicist) when the said Gargoyle deck threatened to sweep a table. Luckily the laws of the universe are still intact.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Results "Children of the Corn" VtES Tournament in Utrecht, Netherlands

Here are the results of the "Children of the Corn" VtES constructed tournament in Utrecht, Netherlands after 3 rounds and final. The tournament was played on March 27th, 2010 with 22 players participating. Here are the standings after the final round:
1. Axel K. -- 2 GW 6.5 VP -- 2 VP -- Old School Tzimisce G2/3 Wall
2. Dennis D. -- 1 GW 6 VP -- 2 VP -- Kyasid G4/5 Stealth Bleed
2. Peter B. -- 2 GW 10 VP -- 1 VP -- Obf/Pre/Qui Assamite Vote & Bleed
2. Izaak H. -- 2 GW 9 VP -- 0 VP -- Baali feat. Cybele Tend the Flock
2. Emiliano I. -- 1 GW 4.5 VP -- 0 VP -- Weenie Tzimisce War Ghouls feat. Maris Streck
Congratulations to Axel for his victory in the tournament. You can find the final standings as well as the tournament winning deck in the Dutch VtES forum.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

"VtES 2010 Nossies" Awards: Final Vote

The VtES 2010 Nossies Awards is an online award the VtES blog Charlotte by Night 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 March 25th, 2010 the final voting for the VtES 2010 Nossies Awards has begun. Until April 3rd, you can cast your vote in the following eight categories on
  • Best Card of the Year
  • Best Vampire in a Leading Role
  • Best Vampire in a Supporting Role
  • Best Artwork in a Library Card
  • Best Artwork in a Crypt Card
  • Best Event
  • Best Ally or Retainer
  • Best Equipment

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Deck Archetypes: Ventrue Antitribu Grinder

The Ventrue antitribu Grinder deck is a toolbox deck based mainly, but not exclusively of vampires of the Ventrue antitribu clan. It can bleed, block and fight to some extent, and you can see in these three areas each of the three clan disciplines of the Ventrue antitribu Dominate, Auspex and Fortitude. More often than not it grinds down its opponents with steady bleeding and blocking, hence the name of the deck archetype. The deck's motto is "Patience is a Virtue", since it is a rather slow deck, which really takes off in the late mid- and end-game, and needs to find the right spot to lunge against its preys. The Ventrue antitribu Grinder deck could be played for long time, since most the cards exist since the Sabbat War expansion. But the deck archetype became popular and successful in the tournament scene only about 3 years ago with the "3rd Edition" expansion and the Ventrue antitribu vampires that came along with it.

How to win with them

When looking at the decklist, you can ask yourself the question, how can this deck win? It has
  • no votes to participate in the political referendums,
  • no (or very little) stealth to make bleed actions successful, and
  • no straight forward combat offense and no answer to Strike:Combat Ends.
The short answer is that the deck is very persistent in what it does. It keeps bleeding persistent with a large number of bleed actions and bleed modifiers, it keeps blocking with the permacept locations and cards like "Abbot", it's persistent in combat by preventing damage and pressing into subsequent combat rounds, always trying to wear down opposing vampires and players.

In the early game tries to build up, especially trying to get out 3 to 5 minions with the help of "Govern the Unaligned" or "Scouting Mission", and getting some master cards like "KRCG Newsradio" or "Blood Dolls" on the table. In this stage the deck is mainly reactive, and only probes its prey's defenses with bleeds, and trying to block mainly its predator.

After the deck has established a solid position in the game, it tries to setup its first ousting in the mid-game. The Ventrue antitribu try to block more often than before its prey's minion actions, trying to eliminate blockers and bouncers for the forthcoming Ventrue antitribu's bleed actions. Keys for ousting are also the master cards which tap blockers or prevent them from blocking, i.e. "Anarch Troublemaker", "Misdirection" and "Pentex Subversion". The hard thing for the player is to find the right spot when and where to lunge at your predator. Often it is the case when you can leverage bleeds from your predator bleeding or when it becomes apparent that your prey is unable to block anymore because of lack of untap cards. The Ventrue antitribu then bleed hard with their Dominate bleed cards, mainly "Conditioning" or "Govern the Unaligned".

In the endgame, hopefully both your opponents and (equally important) the opposing vampires are somewhat low on blood. This is usually the chance for the Ventrue antitribu to seal a game win, again with bleeding and blocking. In the heads-up, you have to be more careful against bleed decks, since your best defense, bleed bounce cards, don't work anymore.

Overall the deck has no real strengths, but no real weakness either. It might take some time to adjust your playing style to it, since it requires some patience, and an eye for the point in time when to attack full force.

Crypt Composition
The deck is composed not of weenies (which would also be a reasonable choice), but mainly from mid-capacity vampires with Dominate, Fortitude and Auspex. This combination of disciplines, of course, favors heavily the vampires of the Ventrue antitribu clan. The deck's best choices are the midcap Ventrue antitribu from group 3/4. They can play all the discipline cards, and a lot of them have valuable special abilities. The following three vampires usually make up the core of Ventrue antitribu Grinder deck:
  • "Neighbor John" -- he's the smallest vampire with +1 intercept special ability, which makes him invaluable (although you sometimes wished he had Fortitude and/or Dominate at superior).
  • "Blackhorse Tanner" -- one of the best special abilities in VtES, since he let's you "re-draw" a card from your library every turn. It's good, because you don't discard the unwanted card to the ash heap. It's extra good for a reactive deck like this, because you can use the ability in other player's turn as well.
  • "Owain Evans, The Wanderer" -- the wandering hunting ground he's sometimes called, because other player often ask (and sometimes get) a blood from blood bank during their untap phase. Give him a "Blood Doll" or "Vessel", and you have a constant pool gain almost instantly.
Other than these three vampires it's just a question what set and level of disciplines you want. If you want some votes and a full set of disciplines, you can include larger vampires like "Polly Kay Fisher". If you value a larger number of vampires which you can move to the uncontrolled region by playing "Govern the Unaligned" on them, you can be content with a vampire like "Ulrike Rotbart". Other vampires (from other groups and clans) are possible as well, e.g. if you want to have another angle. For example, you can include some Tremere antitribu vampires like "Keith Moody", "Antonio d'Erlette", "Esoara" if you want to include the "Nephandus" ally for burning vampires in torpor without a bloodhunt.

Bleed defense
The deck has lots of defense against bleed decks in general and stealth bleed decks in particular, since the deck has a reasonable amount of intercept (although as not as good a weenie Auspex or Animalism intercept deck), and lots of bounce cards. Usually the Dominate bounce cards are more prevalent than their Auspex counterparts, since the Dominate cards only require the inferior discipline for that feat.

Usually you should try to block first, and if the acting minion uses stealth, bounce the bleed if you have the card. If you don't have the bounce card try to block again with Auspex cards or permacept. Don't worry if you're being bled sometimes, since you have the means to gain pool by bloating with "Govern the Unaligned" or just good old "Blood Dolls".

Vote defense
This is maybe the one Achilles heel of the deck, since the deck lacks often any titles or other votes. If you have a vote deck sitting next to you without any or little extra stealth, you usually do need not worry that much, since you can block most or at least the most important votes. The matter is different with vote decks that can generate stealth, usually by using Obfuscate. Here you have to be extra careful, since you will often not have the intercept to block votes that, for example, got up to +3/+4 stealth with the help of "Forgotten Labyrinth" or "Into the Thin Air".

The lack of votes can be somewhat compensated by including "Demonstration" (or even "Framing an Ancient Grudge", if you encounter Camarilla politics a lot), but often you're just better off with another permacept location like "Channel 10" because you can use it against other deck types as well. The other card that is most helpful, if the Ventrue antitribu fail to block a vote that is damaging you, of course, is "Delaying Tactics". But you need to use it for the important votes like "Parity Shift" or "Reins of Power", when you can't block.

Combat defense
The decks main combat defense are the Fortitude prevention cards and the combat-equipment cards like "Weighted Walking Sticks" and occasionally also "Zip Guns". The damage prevention cards serve three purposes:
  • Prolonging combat with "Indomnability" and "Hidden Strength" to inflict extra damage and/or (with some luck) even torporizing vampires or burning allies later in the game.
  • Preserving blood needed to pay cards later or that will be moved to the pool via "Blood Doll" or "Vessel".
  • Staying alive against combat decks.
The "Weighted Walking Sticks" are in the deck for having a cheap equipment (without the need for an equip action), that can be used for punishing blocking or acting vampires. This is also intended for depriving the opposing vampires from blood they would have need to pay cards or that would have been moved to the controllers. Again, the deck has no answer to S:CE, but by being persistent with a number of minions that just won't go away, the deck can score later in the game even against deck which utilize S:CE cards.

The deck does surprisingly well against combat decks, but has problems with decks that can hit repeatedly in a turn (read: Celerity Gun), or inflicts environmental damage (read: "Carrion Crows").

How to win against them
The Ventrue antitribu Grinder deck is a tough nut to crack. The best angle is to prevent the Ventrue antitribu from building up early on, mostly by blocking the "Govern the Unaligned" which are almost exclusively played at superior in the early game.

As bleed deck, you'll have a hard time being the predator of the Ventrue antitribu, because they have lots of bleed bounce and and are being able to block. Bleed decks should concentrate their bleeding, i.e. if they bleed, they should bleed with all their minions in a given turn. By bleeding only once or twice per turn, the Ventrue antitribu can almost certainly bounce a bleed and/or block the other one, which is even helping the Ventrue antitribu in their own bleed actions.

Combat decks should be aware of the considerable amount of damage prevention cards, which usually prevents them from regaining any blood by playing "Taste of Vitae". If possible you should try to single out vampires with inferior Fortitude, but due the intercept and number of untap cards the Ventrue antitribu have, you cannot rely on getting into combat with the vampire you want to. A good advice is to try to prevent the opposing vampires from getting out of torpor, since the Ventrue antitribu usually lack any extra stealth.

The best chances against the Ventrue antitribu has a vote deck, perferably one with additional stealth (beyond the +1 stealth of the political action itself). But even then you should try to concentrate your offensive actions to one round or two, not giving the Ventrue antitribu the chance to block as often and trying to move them into position where their hand is jammed with Fortitude and master cards.

Key Cards
Notable Examples & Variations
  • "Stick Men" by Hugh Angseesing -- if you look for the archetypical deck for this archetype, take a look at this take (see also the example deck below).
  • "Corporate Hit Squad" by Ben Peal -- uses ".44 Magnums" for the "Weighted Walking Sticks". You can find the deck in VtES Player's Guide (2005) (p112).
  • "Aim and Chain" by Vincent Ripoll -- a more aggressive version, leaving the intercept (Auspex) part behind, but concentrates on the forward motion. With the lack of need for Auspex, the crypt can be modified, using smaller vampires instead of the 7 or 8 capacity vampires.
  • "Earth Feeder" by Adam Hulse -- adds a Necromancy angle (also by adding Harbinger of Skulls and Samedi removing some of the discipline cards requiring Dominate. The whole decks moves more toward a wall deck.
Sample Decklist
North American Continental Championship Day 1
Atlanta, Georgia
October 3, 2009
51 players
3R + F

Hugh Angseesing's Tournament Winning Deck

Deck Name : Stick Men
Author : Hugh Angseesing
Description :

Crypt [12 vampires] Capacity min: 3 max: 8 average: 5.75
2x Owain Evans, The Wanderer 8 AUS DOM FOR cel pre !Ventrue:3
2x Blackhorse Tanner 7 AUS DOM FOR !Ventrue:3
2x Neighbor John 5 AUS dom for !Ventrue:4
1x Joseph O'Grady 7 DOM FOR aus cel !Ventrue:3
1x Jefferson Foster 6 AUS DOM for tha bishop !Ventrue:4
1x Jephta Hester 5 DOM FOR aus !Ventrue:4
1x Louis de Maisonneuve 5 FOR aus dom obf !Ventrue:4
1x Ulrike Rothbart 3 dom for !Ventrue:4
1x Lana Butcher 3 dom for Ventrue:3

Library [82 cards]
Action [11]
1x Abbot
10x Govern the Unaligned

Action Modifier [8]
2x Bonding
6x Conditioning

Combat [18]
5x Hidden Strength
5x Indomitability
2x Rolling with the Punches
1x Taste of Vitae
5x Weighted Walking Stick

Equipment [2]
1x Bowl of Convergence
1x Ivory Bow

Event [2]
1x Scourge of the Enochians
1x Uncoiling, The

Master [14]
2x Anarch Troublemaker
2x Blood Doll
1x Channel 10
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x KRCG News Radio
1x Misdirection
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Powerbase: Montreal
2x Vessel
1x Wall Street Night, Financial Newspaper

Reaction [27]
9x Deflection
2x Delaying Tactics
2x Eagle's Sight
2x Enhanced Senses
2x Forced Awakening
2x My Enemy's Enemy
4x On the Qui Vive
1x Telepathic Misdirection
3x Wake with Evening's Freshness

Thursday, March 18, 2010

"VtES 2010 Nossies" Awards: Nomination Round

The VtES 2010 Nossies Awards is an online award the VtES blog Charlotte by Night has introduced in 2009 to allow fans of Vampire: The Eternal Struggle to vote and acknowledge the best new VTES cards from the past year.
On March 17th, 2010 the nomination process for the VtES 2010 Nossies Awards has begun. Until March 24th, you can nominate a single card for seven categories. To have your nominations heard post a comment with your card choices at Charlotte by Night. After that the final voting will begin at Charlotte by Night for a week and the winners will then be announced.

Read the full story and nominate your favourite cards in the "Nominations for 2010 Nossies have Begun!" post.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Announcement Danish EC Qualifier 2010

The Danish EC Qualifier weekend in Copenhagen, Denmark is scheduled for April 24th and 25th, 2010. The event consists of two VtES tournaments, the Sect Wars Draft and the actual European Championship Qualifier 2010. The Sect Wars Draft is a team draft event, where each member of a 4 player teams gets to play a starter deck for a given sect. Each team can use a pool of 18 boosters of the same expansion to build 4 decks.

Here are the details for the event:

  • April 24th, 2010 (Sect Wars) + April 25th (ECQ 2010)
  • Sect Wars Draft

    • April 24th, 2010
    • 2 Rounds + Final (2 hours each)
    • Registration -- 10:30 AM
    • Deck Building -- 11:30 AM
    • Start 1st Round -- 12:30 AM
    Entry fee:
    • 210 Danish Kroner (around 28 euros)
    • The format gives each player of a team a starter deck from the selected sect and access to cards from the 18 boosters the team has available. Prizes will be a display of boosters (not determined yet which one) to be shared amongst the team.

  • Danish EC Qualifier 2010

    • April 24th, 2010
    • 3 Rounds + Final (2 hours each)
    • Registration -- 10:30 AM
    • Start 1st Round -- 11:30 AM
    Entry fee:
    • 40 Danish Kroner (5 euros)
  • If you are interested in crash space at local players, please contact one of the organizers below. First come, first serve. But we can probably fit 10-15 people.
    If you are looking for cheap hotels, here are some of the good overviews:
    Non-hotel options:
  • For more information or just to make you presence known for any of the tournaments you can contact the organizers by email:
    • nikolajw RemoveThis (at)
    • djmikkel RemoveThis (at)
    or post in this VtES Usenet Newsgroup thread.

Sect War Draft Rules

Here are the Sect Wars Draft rules as used for the Danish ECQ 2010 weekend (see post above):

Laibon vs. Sabbat vs. Camarilla vs. Independents and Vampires vs. Hunters

This event is an alternate tournament format that is non-sanctioned. The format is somewhat based on the NAC 2009 event using similar rules.

There will be 2 teams for each sect, made up of 4 players:
  • 8 Sabbat players
  • 8 Laibon players
  • 8 Camarilla players
  • 8 Independent players
  • 4 Imbued players
The maximum participants is 36.

Each sect will have 4 players sit together and make the best 4 possible decks from 4 starters and 18 boosters provided to them:
  • 4 Third Edition starters + 18 Third Edition boosters,
  • 4 Legacies of Blood starters + 18 Ebony Kingdom boosters,
  • 4 Keepers of Tradition starters + 18 Keepers of Tradition boosters, and
  • 4 Lords of the Night starters + 18 Lords of the Night boosters.
The Imbued will split 2 boxes of Nights of Reckoning to make their best 4 possible decks (18 boosters per player, as Nights of Reckoning has no pre-constructed starters).

We are also considering using Bloodline starters for this, but at the moment of writing this, we do not yet know how suited they would be for an event like this.

There will be 1 hour set aside for deck building. Collaborative deck building at its finest.

This will be a 2 round plus final round format.

One player from each sect will be present on each table to minimize contestation. If an Imbued team plays, then only one Imbued player will be at each table.

The top player from each of the sects plus the top Imbued player will play the final round. If there is no Imbued team, then the finals will be a four player game.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

VtES Rules: "The Rising" Q&A

Lately a number of questions came up regarding "The Rising", so here's a short "Questions and Answers" summary for the card. Most of the information is taken from the VtES Usenet Newsgroup "". The questions below assume that "The Rising" is in play, and you don't have the Edge or a VP before the action):

Question: If I oust my first prey without having or gaining the Edge, do I get the Victory Point (VP) and 6 pool, or do I get only the VP?
Answer: According to LSJ, you can order the two events (gaining a VP and gaining 6 pool) in any order you want. So you can get the VP first, and then gain the 6 pool (without losing it to the blood bank). On the other hand, if you want to stay low(er) on pool, e.g. to be able to play a "Parity Shift" later the turn, you can loose the 6 pool to the blood bank, and then get the VP.

Q: Do I gain pool for successfully bleeding with "Kindred Spirits" if I don't control the Edge before the bleed action?
A: No, because first the action (the bleed) resolves, that the player being bleed removes the pool, and you would gain a pool for the successful bleed. But because you only get the Edge after the action resolves (and the bleed is successful), you don't have the Edge when the cardtext of "Kindred Sprits" is checked.

Q: When one of my vampires use "Govern the Unaligned" or something similar successfully, can I put counters on a vampire in the uncontrolled region? Or, in other words, are the counters on uncontrolled vampires considered pool or blood?
A: The counters on the vampires in the uncontrolled region are considered blood, so you will gain the counters, even with "The Rising" in play regardless if you have the Edge and/or at least a VP.

Q: If I play "Off Kilter" without having the Edge, do I get the pool and/or the Edge? If I play "Off Kilter" while having the Edge, can I burn the Edge and get the additional pool for it?
A: In both cases the answer is, no. In the first case the pool gets straight to the blood bank, since you don't control the Edge in the first place, but gain it afterwards. In the second case, you gain a pool, but after burning the Edge you don't gain the additional pool since you no longer control it.


Monday, March 15, 2010

North American VtES Championship 2010 Announcement

(c) 2010 by White Wolf/CCPThe North American VtES Championship 2010 will be part of White Wolf's Gala Grand Masquerade event, that will take place in New Orleans, Louisiana. The event is scheduled for September 23rd to 26th, 2010. It not only includes the Last Chance Qualifier and the actual North American Championship (Day 1 and 2) for VtES, but also other events like those of the White Wolf's Mind's Eye Theatre LARP and other World of Darkness related events.

You can register yourself and find more information on the The Grand Masquerade website. Beside the registration you can also find information on the event venue, the Roosevelt New Orleans, for which White Wolf offers discounted room rates for the event attendees.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Poll Results: "How should the seating at the final table of a VtES tournament be determined?"

Here are the results of the latest poll how the seating at the final table of a VtES tournament should be determined. 200 readers of this blog have voted in this poll:
  • Players choose seating. -- 109 (54%)
  • Random seating. -- 45 (22%)
  • Fixed seating (1st/5th/2nd/3rd/4th). -- 20 (10%)
  • I don't really care. -- 17 (8%)
  • I never reach the finals! -- 9 (4%)
A strong majority (54%) is content with the current procedure, that a higher ranking players are able to choose the seat later than a lower ranking players. But there's also a sizable minority that would like to see an alternate seating procedure. 22% of the players would like to see a randomized seating as in the preliminary rounds, and 10% would rather have a fixed seating order.

Poll Results: "Are you net-decking VtES decks (copying successful decks from internet resources)?"

Here are the results of the latest poll if and to what degree the readers of this blog use the TWDA (and other internet resources) as the source for building VtES decks. 232 readers of this blog have voted in this poll:
  • Yes, I play them 1:1. -- 0 (0%)
  • Yes, but I modify them slightly. -- 34 (14%)
  • Yes, but I modify them heavily. -- 34 (14%)
  • I use them as inspiration only. -- 122 (52%)
  • I build my decks from scratch. -- 41 (17%)
  • I just borrow ready decks. -- 1 (0%)
Only a minority of players (some more intensively, some less) are netdecking (28%). Most the VtES players only use the tournament winning decks for getting ideas for their own decks (52%), while another minority always build their decks from scratch (17%).

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Finnish National VtES Championship 2010

The 2nd Finnish National VtES Championship will be held on May 29th, 2010 in Tampere, Finland.

Tampere is a central Finnish town which can be located easily either through railway from Helsinki, or a connecting flight from Helsinki airport directly to Tampere airport, and either a bus or a taxi from there. The airport is roughly 30 minutes away from the center of Tampere where the event will be held. Tampere can also be easily reached from Frankfurt-Hahn, London-Stansted, Dublin and Riga airports via Ryanair. Accomodation can be had from local players and or local hostels and hotels, ranging from 30 euros a night and upwards.

The event is to be held in the "Sofia Hostel/ Sofiansali" (YWCA hostel), a place smack in the middle of Tampere, with space for 70 players, which is hopefully enough. The event will start at 11:30 AM with registration and the games will start at 12:05 PM, until coming to an end around 09:10 PM. There will be a lunchbreak of forty minutes after the first round. The venue has a full range kitchen to be used by players as well.

Cost of event is ~10€ per player, which will go towards prices and rent for the place. Prices to be announced. Read more in the announcement by the organizers in the VtES Usenet Newsgroup.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Results "Dork Side of the Boon" Tournament in Mainz, Germany

Here are the results of "Dork Side of the Boon" VtES Constructed tournament in Mainz, Germany after 2 rounds and the final. The tournament was played on March 6th, 2010 with 12 players participating. Here are the standings after the final round:
1. Rudolf G. -- 1 GW 3 VP -- 3 VP -- Tzimisce G2/3 Block & Bleed
2. Ralf W. -- 2 GW 8 VP -- 1 VP -- Presence Weenies & Midcaps Power Bleed
2. Michael H. -- 0 GW 2 VP -- 1 VP -- Toreador antitribu Breed & Vote
2. Lukas N. -- 2 GW 7 VP -- 0 VP -- Nosferatu antitribu Vermin Channel Dominate
2. Alexander T. -- 0 GW 2 VP -- 1 VP -- Guillaume feat. Locations & Hordes
Congratulations to Rudolf for his victory in the tournament. The TWD as well as a tournament report can be found in the VtES Usenet Newsgroup. The picture one the right is the one from the card backers the tournament winner got for his tournament win!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Did you know, that ... (Part 41)

... if you control Syneosis, you can get two master phases by playing a trifle out-of-turn master card and paying a pool. Currently there are three trifle out-of-turn master cards, namely "Subdued by the Blood", "Two Wrongs" and "Wash", that can be used that way.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"Heirs to the Blood": More Weirdness & other notable things

Here are some more notable things about the latest VtES expansion "Heirs to the Blood" which are worth mentioning:
  • The Rising is a card that originates from the Build-Your-Own-Storyline event "What Lies Beneath", which took place in Melbourne, Australia in March 2009.

  • Toy is the first non-Gargoyle slave.

  • A number of prominent VtES players are depicted on both crypt and library cards:

  • A whole lot of cards requiring disciplines (including those requiring Maleficia and Striga) are drawn from Vampire Dark Ages books, namely the "Dark Ages Companion" (WW2804) and the "Storytellers Companion" (WW20003).

VtES Storyline Announcement: "Battle Lines"

The elders of the bloodline clans are faced with a terrible choice.

Are they being offered a gift? Or being taken down a darker path? Do they heed the warnings of the mysterious Bahari and join the followers of Lilith? Or do they reject the Dark Mother and her infernal servants?

The bloodlines must choose which side they are on. The Battle Lines are drawn.

More information on the "Battle Lines" storyline:

WW2949 VTES Storyline: Battle Lines $14.99
  • Kit contents:
    • VTES promo card: Infamous Insurgent -- 5x
    • VTES promo card: Lilith's Blessing -- 5x
    • VTES promo card: Guide and Mentor -- 5x
    • VTES promo card: Karsh -- 5x
    • VTES promo card: Claudio Serverino -- 5x
    • VTES Lords of the Night Booster Pack -- 3x
    • VTES Ebony Kingdom Booster Pack -- 2x
- Ben Swainbank
VTES Storyline Coordinator

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Secret Proposal for the VEKN Tournament Rules 2010

There are some rumors out there for a rule proposal for an update of the VEKN tournament rules 2010:
  1. If you play both Villein and Giant's Blood on the same vampire in the same turn, you immediately loose a VP.

  2. If you play the combination of Villein , Giant's Blood , Villein and Golconda on the same vampire in the same turn, you immediately loose the game.

Monday, March 8, 2010

VtES Rules: "Raw Recruit" Q&A

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

Question: Does the vampire targeted by this card keep the special abilities when enslaved as Gargoyle?
Answer: The new Gargoyle vampire does not keep anything from the original vampire (other than its capacity). In fact, it's an entirely new vampire, as the card text indicates. In addition the representation of the new Gargoyle is "Raw Recruit" card, and the vampire the "Raw Recruit" was played on, is first moved to the "Raw Recruit" card, and then removed from the game as the "Raw Recruit" is enslaved and put into the controlled region.

Q: Is the slave a unique vampire? What is the name of the slave?
A: The "Raw Recruit" is a non-unique vampire, i.e. you can have multiple raw-recruited Gargoyles under you control. The new Gargoyle has no particular name, but if you like you can name him Oscar, Ben or even Scott.

Q: What is the sect of the new slave Gargoyle? The default sect for the Gargoyles, or the sect from the targeted vampire?
A: Since the card text of "Raw Recruit" doesn't state anything specific, the sect of the new Gargoyle is Independent, the default sect for the Gargoyles.

Q: What is the starting blood of the new slave Gargoyle?
A: The new slave Gargoyle starts with zero blood, so he has to hunt first, unless provided with blood immediately, e.g. by tapping "The Coven".

Q: Does the slave Gargoyle keep the equipment and other cards?
A: No, any card on the vampire target by the "Raw Recruit", is burned (moved to the ash heap) when the target vampire is moved to the "Raw Recruit".

Q: What happens if the slave Gargoyle is burned? Does the original vampire card go back to the owner's ash heap, the controller's ash heap or is it removed from the game?
A: The original vampire was removed from game already when the "Raw Recruit" is enslaved as a result of the second action (if successful). If the "Raw Recruit" is burned, the "Raw Recruit" is moved to the Ash Heap. No additional effects on the original vampire (which is removed from game anyhow) are happening.

Q: Is the slave Gargoyle still considered a unique copy of the original vampire, e.g. if "Arika" is targeted by this card, can another "Arika" be influenced out? If so, what happens if the second "Arika" is raw-recruited as well? Does it contest the first one?
A: As stated before, the new Gargoyle slave has "no memory" of the original vampire other than its capacity. In addition the Gargoyle is also non-unique. So in the example given in the question, "Arika" and a new Gargoyle slave, which originated from an earlier incarnation of "Arika", do not contest. And you can even have multiple Gargoyle slaves originating from different incarnations of the same vampire in play.

Q: Is a non-unique vampire targeted by this card also considered non-unique?
A: Yes, a new Gargoyle slave based on a raw-recruited non-unique vampire is also non-unique. "Raw Recruit" does not make any distinction whether the targeted vampire is non-unique or not.

Reference: VtES Usenet Newsgroup

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Bochum VtES League 2010: March 5th

Here are the decks of the Bochum VtES League 2010 from the meeting on March 5th, 2010 (prey is from left to right, from top to bottom):

Left: Ralf played his version of the Girls find inner peace deck, pimped with new cards from "Heirs to the Blood". He could avert pressure early on with the help of "Unleash Hell's Fury", but couldn't really make the bloat-influence engine work, since he couldn't play a single "Villein" the whole game. But consistent bleeding put enough pressure on Didi to eventually oust him.

Right: With his Kiasyd Stealth Bleed deck Didi was the only one with a bloodlines deck based on "Heirs to the Blood". He suffered from a very bad card draw with 4 "Govern the Unaligned" and 3 "Oubliette" early on. In addition he got blocked by the Tremere when trying to use Govern on superior. After getting out three vampires, but rather low on pool, he was ousted in the mid-game.

Left: Michael played (as often) a new deck, this time a Tremere wall deck with rather big vampires. While good at tooling up with "Mr. Wintrop", "Bowl of Convergence", and "Ivory Bow" and building up with multiple "Govern the Unaligned", he could never apply any real forward pressure, and even had two of his vampires toporized when clashing with Hardy's Brujah.

Right: G4/5 Brujah Bruise&Vote was Hardy's choice, but this time he had some problems putting pressure on his prey and predator. The Baali had an "Unleash Hell's Fury" out, and behind him "Lucas Halton" managed to equip with an "Ivory Bow". So he feared that if one of his vampires got toporized he wouldn't be able to get him out, because of the Tremere Wall behind him.

The table ended in a timeout, with Ralf getting 1.5 VP and Michael and Hardy 0.5 VP each.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Poll Results: "In what kind of activities would you like to participate during the EC2010 Week of Nightmare?"

Here are the results of the latest poll in what activities the (potential) attendants of the EC 2010 Week of Nightmares would like to participate. 136 readers of this blog have voted in this poll (multiple choices were allowed (up to three).
  1. Friendly Games in Pubs -- 73 (53%)
  2. Constructed Mini-Q -- 71 (52%)
  3. Friendly Games in Card Stores -- 53 (38%)
  4. Storyline Tournament -- 53 (38%)
  5. Draft Mini-Q -- 46 (33%)
  6. Community Dinner -- 40 (29%)
  7. Duffin Draft in Pubs -- 25 (18%)
  8. Unofficial Tournament Format -- 17 (12%)
  9. Tourism Duffin Draft -- 16 (11%)
  10. "Bring your own Game" Evenings -- 15 (11%)
  11. Sports Tournaments -- 10 (7%)
  12. Costume Championship -- 10 (7%)
As expected since the Week of Nightmares is mainly a VtES event, the VtES events dominate the poll. The most desired events are the friendly games in pubs (53%) and the mini-qualifier constructed tournament (52%), followed by friendly games in game stores and storyline event (each 38%).

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Memorable Quotes (Part 70)

Sometimes you have to play Archon Investigation for the educational lesson to the other player.
-- Sebastian (german VtES player) after AI'ing Ayo Igoli for a bleed of (just) 4.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Deck of the Month: February 2010: Wax on, Wax off

This month's deck is the tournament winning deck "Wax on, Wax off" played by Martin Schumacher.

I am huge fan of "Ashur Tablets", and since this deck features a huge amount of it, I have to love this deck. Basically the deck is a rush combat based on Animalism and Potence, with a bit of Presence based bleed cards. What makes the difference to other rush combat deck is the huge "Liquidation" / "Ashur Tablets" engine. The three master phase actions provided by the "Nana Buriki's" special ability and "The Parthenon" allow the deck to gain a large amount of pool, while getting the cards into the hand and back into the library it needs at a given table. Another big advantage for the deck is the build-in-rush "Nanglia Were" has, as well as the +2 hand size provided by the special ability of the deck's two main Guruhi vampires.

Deck Name: Wax on, Wax off
Created By: Martin Schumacher

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 27, Max: 36, Avg: 7,91)
3 Nangila Were obf ser ANI POT PRE 9 Guruhi
4 Nana Buruku ANI POT PRE 8 Guruhi
1 Fish pre ANI POT 5 Guruhi
1 Mateusz Gryzbowsky ANI OBF POT 8 Nosferatu Antitribu
1 Lukas pre ser ANI OBF POT 8 Nosferatu Antitribu
1 Sundown ANI POT obf pre 6 Nosferatu
1 Ellison Humboldt ANI OBF POT PRE pro 9 Nosferatu

Library: (90 cards)
Master (36 cards)
18 Ashur Tablets
7 Liquidation
4 Blood Doll
1 Mbare Market, Harare
1 Effective Management
1 Fame
1 Pentex Subversion
1 Brothers Grimm
1 Parthenon, The
1 Giant`s Blood

Action (16 cards)
4 Deep Song
4 Bum`s Rush
5 Legal Manipulations
3 Heroic Might

Combat (38 cards)
7 Carrion Crows
7 Torn Signpost
7 Slam
7 Immortal Grapple
5 Taste of Vitae
3 Burning Wrath
2 Canine Horde

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Heirs to the Blood": Top Crypt & Library Cards

Still in reference to the original "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 library and top five crypt cards of the "Keepers of Tradition" expansion, at least from my point of view:

Top Five Crypt Cards
  1. "The Unnamed" -- as the previews of "Heirs to the Blood" have been shown, this vampire of clan Baali and his abilities were hotly discussed. He has a reasonable set of discipline with Protean and Celerity as out-of-clan disciplines, but what sets him apart are his special abilties. Not only can he strike for 2R aggravated damage, but you also gain 2 pool when he bleeds successfully, easily offsetting the infernal penalty. A deck based on him when "The Unnamed" has an "Enkil Cog" and a "Homunculus" would be a force of nature.

  2. "Shalmath" -- the True Brujah vampire is best one with a built-in untap ability yet, as he can untap once every turn at any given time. "Shalmath" follows the pattern of some the big capacity vampires lately (like "Nakhthorheb" or "The Ankou"), who only have their clan disciplines at superior, but have a very good special. It remains to be seen which kind of deck is going to spawn. Probably not too wallish, since "Shalmath" lacks the proper disciplines for that. But with "Enkil Cog" he could act twice, e.g. in his turn and his prey's turn), and still be able to play cards like "Rewind Time" or "Touch of Pain" in other player's turns.

  3. "Qawiyya el-Ghaduba" -- this Salubri vampire has some similarities with "Enkidu". Both are red-listed vampires, have +2 strength and are real monsters in combat, although with a different set of disciplines at their disposal. The main difference is that while "Enkidu" has a built-in rush ability, Qawiyya has a built-in untap ability, making her suitable for a multi-rush combat deck as well. Although Qawiyya has only three relevant combat disciplines, she's has almost the same combat capabilities, Fortitude and Valeren can be used to prevent damage and Potence and Valeren to dish out damage. Only her access to maneuvers and moreover to additional strikes is somewhat restricted. With access to both "Immortal Grapple" and "Death Seeker" she also has some of the best tools against "Strike: Combat Ends".

  4. Blood Brothers Kiev Circle -- this Blood Brother Circle and their selection of disciplines is a fresh change to the pertient set of disciplines the previous circles possessed. With the introduction of Protean on four of the five vampires of the Kiev Circle, decks based on them offers a wide range of directions they can take. For example, one could built a deck which makes the vampires Anarch, play cards like "Smash and Grab" or "Skullduggery" and use "CrimethInc." untap.

  5. "Arishat", "Ariel", "Isanwayen" -- although these vampires are not overly powerful by themselves, they are vampires that can form the backbone for a deck based on these bloodlines. They all are vampires of capacity 6 and they all have their respective clan disciplines at superior. In the past of all the bloodlines only the Daughters of Cacophony ("Yseult") featured such a vampire, and other bloodlines like the Samedi or the Harbingers of Skull still lack it.
Runners-up: The Arcadian, Chaundice

  • "Darlene Killian" -- this group 5 Ahrimanes is simply not a good "bridge" vampire for the Ahrimanes, due to her small capacity and her disadvantage of paying extra for allies and retainers.

  • "Toy" -- while the Samedi received an extra vampire (which the clan dearly needed), his disadvantage makes him only playable in very specialized decks, fcr example a Malkavian bleed deck which uses the Toy's slave status for good.

Top Ten Library Cards
  1. "Wider View" -- this master card is good for those decks with a star vampire crypt, which actually wants to bring out several other vampires as well. For the cost of one pool (for the card itself) and one transfer you can cycle through your crypt without spending several turns and 4 transfers each. And in the end when you have the crypt you desire you can ditch the card for 2 pool by spending 4 transfers. Another good design feature is that the card is not unique like "Information Highway", so extra copies can be played easily later in the game, without choking your hand.

    Decks: Star vampire decks with multiple or only one copy of the star. Or decks with a narrow crypt selection (like the newly introduced group 6 vampires for the bloodlines) that want to play all of their different vampires in their crypt.

  2. "Lily Prelude" -- this political action requiring Melpominee certainely beats the benchmark of "Kine Resources Contested". Although the action costs a blood, the fact that you can assign the four points of damage any way you want outweighs the cost. And if the acting vampire has superior Melpominee he can even choose a Methuselah to gain a pool. So you can "bribe" one of your so-called cross-tables buddies a bit.

    Decks: Any vote deck containing a reasonably number of Daughters of Cacophony. With this card you may see the Daughters as support clan for the Ventrue or Toreador more often.

  3. "The Rising" -- I am quit sure that this event will see some playtime in the future. It will speed games up, since it will prevent players from gaining pool in their minion phase and,even more likely, in their master phase (via "Villein", "Blood Doll", etc.). The only drawback is that it can backfire against yourself (when you don't have the edge or a VP), or making another it easier for another player to oust somebody. But in deck build for exploiting "The Rising", e.g. Malkavian antitribu Stealth/Bleed deck this card is a killer.

    Decks: Any deck that (hopes to) makes a quick VP, or can regain the Edge reliably while not relying on blood gain during the untap or master phase.

  4. "Death Seeker" -- by my opinion this card is on similar level to "Immortal Grapple" and "Psyche" to beat "Strike: Combat Ends". But furthermore it can also overcome other combat defense like damage prevention or maneuvers if necessary. This card makes combat decks based on Salubri antitribu much more efficient, when before often lots of the cards played before strike were wasted when "Strike: Combat Ends" was played by the opponent. And before HttB only "Telepathic Tracking" could help, which only could be played by "Adonai" and "Dela Eden" (the only Salubri antitribu with superior Auspex back then).

    Decks: Any Salubri antitribu combat deck.

  5. "Summon History" -- when currently looking at EBay auctions for VtES cards this action card requiring Temporis is the card with the highest prices. If these prices are reasonable is debatable, but the card has a similar effect on the VtES community as "Mata Hari" back in the days when she was introduced in "Kindred Most Wanted". The card makes decks possible which combine a multitude of permanent cards of vastly different requirements, e.g. combining "War Ghoul" deck with the "Tinglestripes" equipment. And at superior you can even move a vampire from the ash heap or uncontrolled region to the ready region, albeit without blood, but with the cost reduction a card like "Ankara Citadel" the sudden appearance of vampire is more than reasonably priced.

    Decks: Any deck wants to use (or abuse) this card. Since the inferior version of the card is already good, "Agent of Power" is a cheap means to play this card by almost any deck.

  6. "Faerie Ward" -- another very strong card requiring Mytherceria. For a reasonable 2 blood this card can cancel a (D) action against you, for example a bleed, rush or other actions like "Temptation" or "Enticement". And played at superior Mytherceria the acting vampire doesn't even untap during his next untap phase. This makes the card something like a reversed "Mind Numb".

    Decks: Suitable for any Kiasyd, because it offers a very strong defense for a reasonable price.

  7. "Code of Samiel" -- basicially this is a hunting ground for the Salubri antitribu, and with a cost of 2 pool reasonably priced. What the card makes really good is the additional (or is it the main?) feature of the card. Each time a Salubri antitribu burns a minion or sends a vampire to torpor he untaps at the of the turn. The good thing is that the effect can be used several times each turn, and not only in your turn, but in every other turn as well. Outstanding.

    Decks: Any Salubri antitribu combat deck.

  8. "Veneficti (Mage)" -- this Baali ally is one of the most cost effective allies ever. +1 stealth and bleed for two for the cost of just one pool is very, very good. Compare this to "Nephandus", which also have 2 life, 1 bleed, 1 damage and a nifty special, but Nephandus costs 1 pool more than Veneficti. In my opinion this ally is an auto-include in every Baali deck.

    Decks: Almost any deck with more than 3 or 4 Baali vampires.

  9. "Gremlins" -- this action action requiring Mytherceria is a very versatile one. You can either burn an equipment as +1 stealth action (at inferior Mytherceria), or you can bleed for +1 at +1 stealth. Combined with "Bonding" you can easily perform a +2 bleed at +2 stealth, and without even paying a single blood. Although not entirely dark-gothic-like, I really appreciate the artwork.

    Decks: Good addition for most Kiasyd bleed decks due to the card's versatility.

  10. "Tend the Flock "-- the card that says for every Baali deck (except the mono-capacity ones) gain three pool. OK, maybe the cardtext doesn't say so explicetly, but it comes down to this. A little unimaginative (even for Baali), but a very strong crypt accelerator and/or bloat card.

    Decks: Any deck with more than half the vampires being Baali of different capacity.

Runners-up: Cavalier, Dabbler. Mind of the Wilds. Oppugnant Night, Raw Recruit, Voices of the Castle, and some more .. good new stuff in this expansion.

  • Spirit Claws -- while the card is good in theory, there are too few vampires who can actually play it. You need either some Protean skill cards, or if you prefer the cheaper variant, "Agent of Power", to give an Ahrimanes superior Protean, otherwise only "Sylvie Helgon" can play the card at superior.

  • Most the cards the Samedi (including those requiring Thanatosis) are getting. "Stiff Contempt" or "Decompose" are not really good, and the other cards are somewhat ok, but what the Samedi needs is a card that ousts, like the Daughters' "Harmony" or the Followers of Set "Enticement", not a card like "Under My Skin" which is good in itself, but doesn't help a clan which has problems with gaining ousting power.

  • Bliss -- why do we need a card that gives a combat ends at superior Dominate and superior Presence, when both disciplines have a card of this alone? Because it doesn't cost, so does "Autonomic Mastery" (although your minion usually got hit), and so does "Staredown". Ignorance is bliss, they say, and in this case they might be right.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Results "Erol's B-Day" Tournament in Karlsruhe, Germany

Here are the results of Erol's B-Day VtES Constructed tournament in Karlsruhe, Germany after 3 rounds and the final. The tournament was played on February 28th, 2010 with 14 players participating. Here are the standings after the final round:
1. Ralf L. -- 1 GW 5 VP -- 3 VP -- Legacy of Pander w/ Obfuscate
2. Sebastian M. -- 1 GW 3,5 VP -- 2 VP -- Brujah G4/5 Weenie/Midcap Vote
2. Maik S. -- 2 GW 9 VP -- 0 VP -- 1 Cap. Computer Hacking w/ Thin Blooded Seer
2. Erol Ö. -- 1 GW 6 VP -- 0 VP -- Thetmes & Dominate Friends Graverobbing
2. Johannes W. -- 1 GW 3 VP -- 0 VP -- Tremere G4/5 Vote
Congratulations to Ralf for his victory in the tournament. The TWD as well as a tournament report can be found in the VtES Usenet Newsgroup.