It was all about the swag. Some of us want to have all of the cards, so when Gator Games www.gatorgames.com told me that they had ordered one of the new V:TES tournament kits, we had to have an event.
I tried coming up with crazy formats to experiment with, but in the end, because agreeing on what nuttiness to try rarely works, we went with standard constructed play with Ebony Kingdoms being allowed. As new sets aren’t legal for sanctioned constructed tournaments until 30 days after release date, it was unsanctioned.
I built two decks that ran EK cards. One was a dull Akunanse deck to try out new Abombwe cards. The other was a new version of “Laibon with Dominate” – irony being at the top of my hits parade. I lent the Akunanse deck to Jeff.
We only got 5 people, but then, Gator holds no more than 9, one. Two, it meant more promos for everyone. Three, 5 is way better if you just want to play than 6 or 7. With a lot of the regulars being unable or not sufficiently interested in coming, 8 (the sweet spot at Gator) was implausible.
Jeff, Akunanse (borrowed) -> Brad, Osebo (Cesewayo featured, 419 Operation) -> Eric, Akunanse -> Geoff, RPG Launcher -> Ian, Laibon w/ Dominate
Yes, though the event was open to everything, the few motivated individuals were hot for Laibon action due to EK just having come out. The only deck that really did anything was Eric’s. I got Lucian, The Perfect in play, who proved way more combat capable than I thought. I got Cesewayo (merged even), but Brad thought he had to have him, so diablerized when I ran into my other deck when it finally drew offensive combat cards and got him torped. I only vaguely cared. It didn’t do him a lot of good, trading a capable midcap with a Sniper Rifle in for the 10 cap and certainly didn’t do me any good. Geoff got ousted, unsurprisingly, as Eric had no pressure and could deal with Geoff’s combat well enough. I got ousted when Brad failed to rescue my untapped Bamba when I was tapped out and at 5 pool.
Which brings me to an aside. I find that far too often in multiplayer CCGs players play their decks and not the situation. That is, they do whatever their decks were built to do rather than what’s in one’s best interests. I don’t know if it’s true, but I feel like I hardly ever play my decks anymore. I’ve become so caught up in table management that what I’m playing hardly matters.
Brad -> Ian -> Eric -> Jeff -> Geoff
Though I never put any pressure on Eric, this was the only game in which he had problems. That he and Jeff traded in combat and Jeff played almost the whole game defensively stalled him. But, then, besides Geoff ousting Brad, the whole game was stalled. That tends to happen with 2 intercept combat, 1 intercept, and 2 bruise bleed decks at a table. I was regretting not advertising the event as multideck. I was completely shutdown by Eric getting No Secrets From the Magaji and Well-Marked as my deck didn’t have a boatload of combat and couldn’t tool up with anything with intercept around.
Does that mean my deck sucks? Not necessarily. I wouldn’t argue with someone saying it sucks, but both my decks weren’t built for a heavy combat metagame. They were unpolished in an attempt to try some new stuff out for the first time, but my thinking was more towards how to survive good decks, not combat decks.
Jeff -> Eric -> Ian -> Geoff
Brad had to leave early. I had a stupidly good start with Info Highway, Cesewayo on turn two, turn three double Orun and Epiphany. With two Stunt Cycles and a Thrown Gate in hand and some sort of blind spot to which vampire Geoff had in play, I bled into Victor Tolliver and Cesewayo went from 10 blood to empty in torpor. I was thinking his dude had inferior Celerity, which I should have been able to deal with, but nope, I did something idiotic as part of my master plan of appearing weak and burning out most of my prey’s library right away (he went through by my estimate 40% of it in that one combat). Not really, but it did run through my mind while I was getting pummeled.
I transferred low on pool to have some minions in play. Eric, oddly, didn’t use the complete lack of pressure to build up quickly and took forever to get a third minion online. Geoff went forward and trashed Jeff’s guys while his library shrank to nothingness. With Geoff out of deck, I ousted him with a 5 bleed. For the first time in three games, my Brutal Influence deck actually lost an Orun off one of its dudes. This is more remarkable when one considers that I had Lucian, The Perfect in games 1 and 2. Okay, my deck sucks – that Lucian could never successfully bleed displayed some sort of fundamental flaw.
I thought I could get Jeff who had one ready minion and one pool, but Eric could block any undirected actions I’d take and I had no blood and hardly any pool to work with and my hand was jammed on bounce. I digged long and hard to try to get to Giant’s Blood, which Eric played right before me in every game … except this one, where he played it way before I drew mine yet over 1.5 hours into the game and with around 20 cards left in my library. My next hope was to time out with 1.5 VPs, which happened as Jeff started propping my empty torpored guys (aka all of my guys) up.
Winning was meaningless. Playing was not. I learned a number of things and having people get more familiar with new cards, just having people play who don’t regularly, was highly valuable.
Deck Name: 090612 EK Dominate
Created By: Lucian, The Perfect
Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 4, Max: 42, Avg: 6.5)
2 Cesewayo ani THA POT DOM CEL AUS10 Osebo
1 Cesewayo (ADV) ani AUS CEL DOM POT THA10 Osebo
2 Lucian ANI AUS DOM OBF POT PRE 11 Guruhi
1 Onaedo aus pot DOM OBT 6 Lasombra
1 Otieno ani dom OBT POT 6 Lasombra
4 Tupdog POT VIS 1 Gargoyle
1 Ugadja dom for ABO ANI POT PRE10 Guruhi
Library: (90 cards)
Master (23 cards)
3 Blood Doll
1 Dreams of the Sphinx
1 Giant`s Blood
2 Information Highway
Action (17 cards)
5 Brutal Influence
3 Govern the Unaligned
1 Heroic Might
2 Preternatural Strength
Reaction (20 cards)
3 Eyes of Argus
3 On the Qui Vive
3 Wake with Evening`s Freshness
Combat (18 cards)
4 Immortal Grapple
1 Mighty Grapple
3 Stunt Cycle
4 Taste of Vitae
2 Thrown Gate
1 Torn Signpost
1 Undead Strength
Retainer (1 cards)
Equipment (5 cards)
1 Bowl of Convergence
1 Kduva`s Mask
2 Leather Jacket
1 Seal of Veddartha
Combo (6 cards)
2 High Orun
2 Murmur of the False Will
2 Supernatural Resistance
There are some obvious problems with this deck. Why no Mbare Market, Harare? Strange Day might have let me oust people in games 1 and 2. But, the important thing was I learned some things.
Lucian, The Perfect makes some people wet because of how absurd his bleeds can be. What I discovered was what an annoyance he is in combat. We didn’t play his ability quite right – he shouldn’t increase the cost of dodges, for instance – but I vastly preferred fighting with him than any of my other vamps. His special and Disarm is a natural combo.
Brutal Influence may enable brutal bleeds, especially with an 11 cap with +3 bleed, but the superior is horrible. What you want to do with Enchant Kindred, Govern the Unaligned, and Scouting Mission is use them for acceleration early and bleed late. Needing a lot of Orun just to be worth the blood cost, BI is hardly ever worth playing at superior. I thought it would be an X+1 situation, not a pay a blood for an X situation. Then, the bleed part is inherently nonsynergistic as any good use of the card causes you to lose the Orun that made the card worth playing. Fortunately, I always had the “win-win” situation of either getting a 5-7 bleed through or keeping all of my Orun. Sarcasm also tops my charts.
High Orun was a waste of slots, but then, I hadn’t built the deck to really exploit it. Supernatural Resistance was terrible, usually unplayable. Jeff did play one usefully in game 2.
In the end, I thought it was a really good experience. It wasn’t high level play, but it was competitive-minded enough to be a learning experience. Not only did we see new cards played, we saw them tested. And, we ended up with vast amounts of promos for $3.
Thanks Jean, Gator for letting us take up the store all day for a modest entry fee, for a wealth of prizes, and for dragging us out of our comfort zone to see some multisubregional action.