March 21 V:TES

As mentioned in part 3 of my series on a deck built around Sins of the Cauchemar, we had a playday yesterday.  Four players, four games.  It was a grind, not so much because of the four games but because of the four player tables.  I’m much more comfortable with the five player dynamic and feel rushed into acting with four.  Borrowed decks were borrowed from me, btw.

Game 1:

Cauchemar deck -> borrowed 4CL Path of Typhon deck -> anarch Conrad Adoula deck -> Madness Network SB, Malk 4/5

Early on, I was able to contain my predator but at the cost of having virtually no impact on my prey.  My grand tried rushing both directions and didn’t make a lot of progress, getting Coma-ed on one side and outmaneuvered on the other.  He could never afford a third minion.  I felt compelled to bleed a few times to get the edge and, to cycle, used Governs, so my prey did take some pool damage.  With my predator low on pool from Dragonbound and bringing out lots of vampires and my prey being low due to having no particular pool defense, the game was ready to collapse.  My prey lunged with bleeds followed by Enticement, but I Eagle Sight blocked the Enticement, and my prey was ousted by Dragonbound.  My predator considered backousting as he expected to get ousted by Dragonbound, but I convinced him to go forward and hope that his opponents would mess each other up.  I made a mistake which likely cost me the sweep, but I took out the Conrad deck in the endgame anyway.

Game 2:

borrowed 4CL Gargoyles -> !Toreador wall -> Ani/Pro bleed -> Malk deck from above

I put out Beatrice Trembley on turn one and she spent the rest of the game bleeding for 2 with monsters having -1 intercept.  I quickly amassed a solid army of Beatrice, Carlton Van Wyk, and Gangrel.  I was a little worried about my predator as he did hardly anything and wasn’t being threatened.  Gargoyles tried to survive Malks.  Might have happened if I were more aggressive, but I held back a bit to let my prey soften up other players and those other players kept getting ousted the turn before I was going to make my move.  My prey and I split 2, 2.

Game 3:

!Tor 4CL toolbox -> borrowed 4CL group 4/5 Nos w/ Dominate -> Conrad deck from above -> borrowed 4CL new Inner Circle

I need to retool my !Tor deck as it just has no ousting power whatsoever.  Even with three Palla Grande, I just get blocked, bounced, or reduced bleeding and don’t do any damage.  My prey complained about the excessive toolboxiness of his deck.  My predator didn’t realize the importance of having certain disciplines so brought out Lutz and Joseph rather than Hardestadt and only one of those two.  The Conrad deck beat people up, got his prey with Fame, then got ousted as I couldn’t push through 2 pool damage to my prey who had brought out two 10 caps, a 9 cap, and a 6 cap.  The game timed out with my prey getting 1.5, the Conrad player getting 1, and me getting .5.

Game 4:

Cloak the Unaligned -> borrowed Tzimisce toolbox Ashur Tablets -> Malk deck from above -> Settite bleed

I thought we would call it after game 3, but we decided to play one more game under the idea that we would play fast decks.  I have a joke deck built that is nothing if not fast one way or the other.  As expected, my Cloak the Unaligned deck couldn’t handle a fierce predator and I died quickly.  The wacky thing about the game was that my prey won.

Why?  Because the deck was missing some important cards for how it’s supposed to work, for one thing.  For another, he only brought out two vampires all game and still managed to do enough pool damage to take players out.  A lot of bounce helped him but also the dynamic of the game was in his favor.  Possibly, missing those cards, he was able to draw into the cards he needed for that particular game.

That’s the thing about this game – on forums, even in person, players obsess over how they build their decks when the fact of the matter is that how a deck is built just isn’t that important to winning.  In other CCGs, it’s often one of the top determinants to success.  But, as I’ve been preaching for more than five years, I just don’t see it being that important.  Managing a table is huge.  Seating can be huge.  Timing, lunging correctly, and stopping lunges are huge. 

But, deck construction?  Too many factors, too much politics to make deck construction a primary determinant of success.  A bad build might be optimal for a particular tournament.  A strong build may bring too much table hate.  Being toolboxy might be great one day and horrible the next.  And, sometimes, you just randomly get screwed by bad play on your opponents’ parts or get thrown games or tournaments you shouldn’t win.

I do believe decks for this game need to meet a minimum threshold of viability.  I’ve played decks in tournaments that didn’t and even apologized for one of them.

Speaking of tournaments, regional qualifier weekend next weekend and I need to figure out what decks I’m going to play in the three tournaments.  Look for a report next week.


2 Responses to March 21 V:TES

  1. Andrew H. says:

    To be fair in game four I think the outcome had a lot to do with Brandon knowing exaclty how to get around my deck. He let me burn through all of my deck’s bleed and jam my hand with stealth declining to even attempt a single block. In the end it almost didn’t work as I got ousted needing only 1 +bleed card to finish him off.

    I think you thoughts on deck construction are interesting. Though I would add that if deck construction really didn’t matter then Reuben wouldn’t consistently wipe the floor with us in this area. I’d say deck construction is of mild importance until you get to the top levels of play which rarely occurs around here.

    As an aside, I think my issue with your Nos deck was how slow it was. It worked but only after I had influenced out around 25 pool worth of minions, something that never would have flown if we were playing decent decks.

  2. iclee says:

    Ruben was the top ranked player in the world for a long time, over a year I believe. That suggests he beat people playing strong decks as well.

    If deck strength were a primary determinant of success, then people could just netdeck and win often enough. But, they don’t. You see the same names constantly win V:TES events. Furthermore, if you look at the decks they win with, I don’t think an argument can be made that their decks are the strongest decks possible. That provides strong evidence that skill at the table matters far more than how you build a deck.

    In general, you would have planned on bringing up The Eye first to improve your defensive abilities in an environment with more aggressive decks.

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