Thursday, November 24, 2011

Reasonably Priced Decks

After buying a rather large VtES collection (something about 14,000 cards) at the end of last year, I had (and still have) a large surplus of common and uncommon cards. So the question came up, what to with the cards.
  • Throw away the cards. -- Ugh. Not really my thing to throw away something useful/valuable to others.
  • Donate it to the local card pool. -- Maybe, but there's no local card pool, or more important, local new players.
  • Sell them in bulk on EBay. -- Less work, but also less profitable (and fun).
  • Sell them individually on EBay. -- More profitable (perhaps), but also much more work.
  • Sell them on demand/request by fellow players. -- Also takes some time, but over a much longer period of time.
What I did was something different (at least I am a starting with that). Similar to the Barbed Wire Project for VtES or comparable the Pauper/Peasant formats (in MtG), I have tried to put a number of decks together, which are both cheap, sturdy, but still able to win games (or be able to make VPs at least). Since the bulk of the surplus are the mid- to late-expansions (like Black Hand, KMW, Third Edition and Sword of Caine) I am starting with the Sabbat clans, and maybe extending the deck building to the four independent clans from Lords of the Nights. Eventually I am planning to sell those decks, at whatever opportunity arises, from local tournaments to fellow players (in Germany).

When building a deck, it always starts with looking at the disciplines a clan has reasonable access to (also known as "clan disciplines), and looking up which are the commons (and uncommons) I have for these disciplines. This defines the basic stock of that deck, and most likely the direction the deck is gonna take (bleed, vote, combat, ally, ..). These cards are complemented by a few cards requiring the clan in question (i.e. a Hunting Ground). Then I add master and minion cards which have no requirements, but are useful in general or for the deck's direction.

At last, I am looking at the crypt. The vampires are taken from group 3-4 or group 4-5, since these are the expansions I have in surplus. I almost exclusively go for the low- to mid-cap vampires, because for a beginner's decks I think it's important that a player has access to a lot of actions, and is not just sitting around with 1 or 2 vampires, of which only one will act, since the second would often only be kept for blocking purposes then. With three or even four vampires at hand, you can act with two or three vampires depending on the situation at the table.

Then I start actually building the deck(s), making slight adjustments if I don't have the proper number of cards in my surplus stock (both for crypt and library) for 3 to 4 copies of the deck. The next step is to take playtest the deck. First in the casual rounds and after a game or two I play them in our (bi-)weekly league rounds. During this I try to optimize the deck (within the same limits as before) and come to a version which I am content with.

Of course, these decks could be even better if I would allow myself to add more rare cards to it, but that's not really the point of the exercise. And of course, these decks cannot be considered tier 1 (or even maybe tier-2), but against other casual decks (with or without rare cards) they can hold their ground, and score a victory point or two and an occasional gamewin should be possible, too.

In the following weeks, I will present these decks here on the blog, starting with a Tzimisce Bleed deck tomorrow.


Joscha said...

It is really great for beginners to get their hands on a jewel like this. A working deck you can learn with and make your first experiences. There are some new players in Bad Nauheim. I'd be very glad to buy one of those decks you build and give it to them as a present that hopefully draws them into the game more.

Sam said...

Another good use is a CUBE draft deck. Make a 'deck' of 300 library and 60 vampires. Then sort those into booster pack piles and draft as usual. End of the evening shuffle all back together and then you can do it all again.


Ke said...

I planned on buying some starters for friends to introduce them to the game — these sound like a great alternative.

How well to you think they'll hold up against a standard starter deck?

Tazar said...

I've already did that and sold some S&B decks. My friends also sold some combat and vote decks. Average price of this decks was below 20 Eur. It is good way how to introduce new player to the game.

Pendargon said...

Great way to start new players. We did that in our community when an established player of ours had to move to another city. We made 9 different decks using commons and uncommons and a couple of rare cards, and gave that to him. He hooked some new friends, as decks are balanced to each other, and they started playing, and now we have a new community of 6 that is slowly growing... :-D

extrala said...

@Ke: The decks will hold their ground against the regular starter decks for sure!

Brandonsantacruz said...

I'm glad to have a fresh pair of eyes on this. The more people take an interest in beginner decks, the more viable and reasonable they can be. Good luck!

daem0nfaust said...

@Sam: That's an interesting concept. Where did you get that? Is that a common "own card pool" draft mechanic for card games?

extrala said...

According to Wikipedia (on formats for MtG):
A Cube Draft is a draft variant similar to booster draft, but rather than using factory sealed booster packs, packs are created by taking fifteen cards at random from a pre-selected pool of cards.

See also:

Also, Sam has written about Cube Drafting for VtES in the british VtES forum as well on the Usenet Newsgroup more than a year ago.

jeffCostello said...

Hello Extrala, im doing something similar with my few cards. I put links here, maybe you like that. I played these two in last tourneys and averaged top 10 in Barcelonas tourneys (well, its easy to a tremere usual deck to get this 1gw Xpoints but).

Anonymous said...

What a great idea -good stuff!