Here we are now, the inaugural blog post on what is sure to be…a middling quality gaming blog. *woo* So let’s start out with something recent, since not much has been going on with the miniatures gaming front (no pun intended) right now.
I just got back from the “Infernal Pursuit” Vampire: the Eternal Struggle tournament in Castro Valley. It was a standard constructed tournament and I decided to bring out my, somewhat rebuilt, Tryphosa/Cavalier stealth bleed and vote deck. After some discussion with Brandon (my cousin who got me into this infernal game) I tried to gear my deck for the usual stuff that the Castro Valley players run in their decks. We expected to see lots of goofy combat tech and probably some vicious stealth bleed. Voting would be more scarce, as would bloat. With that in mind we played lots of Strike: Combat ends and I added Banishment and Alastor and an AK-47 to give me a chance if I was in a position where I needed to shoot my way out.
The tournament was well run though maybe a little tight on space as there was a Magic tournament going on that was competing for the tables. The owner Ed was a great guy and very friendly, he was apparently the one who introduced the game to the area in the first place and still managed to have some stock which is becoming a rarity these days.
Joel and Brandyn ran the tournament and ran it smoothly so three cheers for them. Now onto the hot boring pretentious V:tes action.
1) Brandon H. – Toreador/Toreador anti
2) Dan – Gargoyles/Tupdogs with Tremere anti
4) Joel – Ravnos Tumnimos/Week of Nightmares
Having a bigger crypt draw I start out with big vamps, Lutz first then Santaleous. My first action is a bleed of 5 with Lutz, my prey finds this disconcerting. He brings out some Tumnimos and other Ravnos complaining that he both doesn’t know how to play and that there is not point since he is going to be imminently ousted by my Malks (by now I realize this as Joel’s “act”). I Spying Mission him with Santaleous since he can’t oust this turn. This is followed by Joel playing Week of Nightmares, Brandon asks me to Santaleous cancel it but I decline, seeing this as a great opportunity for Joel to do some work for me. Joel then follows up by Sensory Deprivation Lutz to shut him down while he is tapped. I can’t block so this looks like quite the coup for Joel, until it comes till my turn when I can replace my Old Friends with a…Banishment! As I’m re-reading the card wondering if it will break the Sense Dep. Brandon chimes in with “You know, if you Banish Gavrin you can get rid of Sense Dep.” After quickly consulting with Ian to confirm I proceed to do just that, knocking Gavrin into uncontrolled purgatory and breaking my Inner Circle member out of Sense Dep.
Now Dan’s deck relied heavily on Tupdog rushing but Brandon wisely played an early game Scourge of the Enochians pretty well shutting him down. So Dan’s deck was basically dead in the cradle. Joel Sense Dep’d Lutz one more time as a parting gift before Santaleous finished him off. This was followed by Brandon on his turn ousting Dan leaving us in a head to head situation. Brandon had out more minions but I had just drawn into Alastor. I had some stealth but not enough to get by Brandon’s Auspex so I decoyed by having Lutz Kindred Spirits into him and playing a lot of stealth of that, he caught me and I think I played No Trace. Then I followed up by calling Alastor on Gem Ghastly which Brandon could no longer block. I pictured an endgame that would involve me gunning down Brandon’s minions with my AK-47. This was quickly dispelled by a string of something like 6 Strike: Combat Ends cards from Brandon as I was overwhelmed by his superior minion count. In retrospect I should have played the Alastor on Lutz despite the fact that he had less blood on him since he could have used the Eyes of Argus in my hand as wakes and potentially burned through Brandon’s S:CE. Oh well, only 1vp for me.
Going into this round I know that I’ve got to pick up a game win if I want a spot in the final table.
1) AJ - Tzmisce combat
2) Rodney – Malk/Malk-anti
3) Jason – Pentaniqua
I’ve never played with Rodney or Jason at this table so I wasn’t sure what to expect from them. I start the game with a Sudden Reversal in my hand which seems redundant since Santaleous is in my crypt draw but oh well. I lead out with Sean Rycek for some early opportunity bleeds before AJ can get going, this allows me to take and hold the edge for one of the (I think) four times I gained pool from the edge this game. AJ brings out some large Tzmisce and tries to Minion Tap it for all its worth and Suddenly my Reversal seems like a great decision.
Things begin to look dire though as everyone else brings out minions. Rodney beings out Lazarus Jones and Jason brings out basic Pentaniqua followed by Maris Streck! AJ and Rodney get into a fight demonstrating that AJ’s deck has dangerous combat and a lot of intercept. Also AJ has 5 votes on the table which combined with Streck means that I don’t really have much chance of passing anything, even if I do draw into my Malkavian Justicar I won’t be able to more than contest with Streck. Coupled with the fact that my Prey has virtually unlimited intercept thanks to Streck and will probably catch my Malks and beat them senseless, things look grim for me for awhile, I do manage to pull off a Villein+Giants Blood leaving Tryphosa full and me 10 pool richer.
My opportunity comes when AJ decides he needs a 3rd minion and thus brings himself down to 4 pool to bring out Lambach leaving two up to defend. Pentaniqua decides she needs to bleed me so she bleeds for 2 at 1 stealth thanks to Tryphosa. I declare I can’t block and reach for my pool, Jasons play Sense the Sin to make it 4, I Telepathic Misdirection the bleed to AJ. AJ and Jason have a friendly combat but critically AJ is now down to one untapped minion. I shrug off a bleed from Maris (I’m over 15 pool at this point) and my turn comes up, I lead with a Tryphosa Kindred Spirits bleed for 2 at 1 stealth, AJ attempts to block producing intercept, I stealth, AJ gains intercept from a generous cross table ally but Elder Impersonation followed by Eyes of Chaos nets me 7 pool and clears the way for my votes. Rodney and Jason fall in turn to Reins of Power, Conservative Agitation, and bleeds. Table status: Swept.
1) Gerentt – Brujah/New Carthage
2) Dan – Gargoyles/Tremere-anti
3) Joel – Ravnos/Week of Nightmares
4) Cassie – Kiyasid stealth bleed
5) Me (top seed)
I’ve been to a few final tables before but never as top seed so the whole idea of picking my table spot was new territory for me. I had seen two of these decks earlier for sure so I knew what they were like, Gerentt’s deck I should have known since I’ve seen him play it many times before though I was hoping in vain he was trying something new this time around. In retrospect I’m not sure if there was a better spot for me, probably between Joel and Cassie. In any event my opening crypt draw pretty much sealed the deal for me.
Why I’ve drawn nothing but the low end of my crypt, awesome! Sean Rycek, Bloody Mary, and Gem Ghastly x2 were my starting options. I went with Sean first though in retrospect this was a mistake, I should have gone for Mary and then Gem then started digging. Gerentt had a great opening hand with a first turn Information Highway, second turn Dreams of the Sphinx, and a third turn New Carthage. I figured I had a chance, if I could stealth by Gerrent’s Second Tradition: Domain, to oust him early and clear all the rival votes off the table, but alas, my Kindred Spirits deserted me. Sean was no help to me at all since he can neither defend nor bleed well and Gem, while pretty, can’t hope to block the stealthy Kiyasid or bounce them either. Mary was my only defense but also my best offense and since I didn’t draw any of my cards to get blood back off my vampires.
Gerrent happily goes forward Parity Shifting 5 pool off his prey to no opposition and buying a shiny Assault Rifle with it. I succumbed to stealthy dominate shortly after, becoming Cassie’s first and only victim. I wished everyone well and thanked the tournament organizers for running the event and headed off into the wilderness of the East Bay with Ian and Brandon. We had some good conversation about deck strength on the way out, my contention is that deck strength matters while Ian insists that the threshold for deck viability is so low as to be virtually meaningless. Gerentt called us on the way to tell us he had cleaned up after we left, which we all expected. Congrats to him, I think that makes his first tournament win so good job to him.
We had a late dinner at a restaurant that Ian knew of, Blimpie’s I think it was, it was decent quality but probably a bit expensive.
Did we learn anything? Well, if your deck does two things fairly well it is quite easy to beat it at either of those two things, shutting down that half of your deck. Probably being more focused would be helpful. Brandon and I discussed the idea of using Madman’s Quill to set off the Cavalier condition allowing you to boost all of your bleeds and still bleed with the same minion. This might warrant inclusion when I rebuild my mid-cap Malk stealth bleed deck.
Genesis of a deck
I’m going to go through my own process of deck creation to see if I can spot the point at which things go horribly off the rails. I’ve found that too many players build decks that are simply these awful Rube Goldberg devices where what they want to do with the deck is either far too complex or not worth doing. I’m not immune to this myself, so I try to check myself as I go.
Deck idea: Nana and low cap Guruhi with Ani and Bamba
So far check, I’ve used this Bamba idea before and its pretty good. Highly matchup dependant but still good for a couple vp’s. With Nana I can play more masters and do stuff like play Animalism cards quickly so I can overwhelm my prey with Deep Song + Guruhi are the Land bleeds of 3. I want to add an animalism angle since wake+guns trumps this deck badly. This deck should also be quick and small, 60 cards sounds right for this. Silly Anarch Revolt deck builder cant update from the White Wolf website so I can never put Lilliths Blessing into decks, oh well. Here’s what I’ve got:
Crypt (12 vampires) Capacity min: 4 max: 8 average: 5.91667
4x Nana Buruku 8 ANI POT PRE Guruhi:4
2x Batsheva 6 ANI PRE obt pot Guruhi:4
2x Fish 5 ANI POT pre Guruhi:4
2x Urenna Bunu 4 ani pot pre Guruhi:4
1x Fode Kourouma 5 POT ani aus pre Guruhi:4
1x Lumumba 4 PRE ani Guruhi:4
Library (60 cards)
6x Deep Song
2x Founders of the Ebony Kingdom
Action Modifier (10)
10x Guruhi Are the Land, The
7x Aid from Bats
3x Canine Horde
7x Carrion Crows
1x Codex of the Edenic Groundskeepers
3x Laptop Computer
2x Not to Be
2x Liliths Blessing
3x Familial Bond
Crafted with : Anarch Revolt Deck Builder. (Sun Sep 11 12:17:03 2011)
I’ll try it out next time I play V:tes and post up the results .