I can’t imagine going to this year’s V:TES North American Championships. I used to not care, but after the 2007 experience, I’d really like to go. Still, I’ve missed every year except when it was in Los Angeles.
But, I’m very interested in a question thrown out to the newsgroup about what to expect. Hey, metagaming. It’s part of what makes CCGs fun even if it ends up being counterproductive when you actually play in an event.
So, what do I expect? Maybe, the better question is: what concerns me?
Weenie Animalism or Auspex worry me. Really, weenie Auspex should never get ousted unless it’s next to a weenie combat deck. Weenie Animalism’s benefit is being a weenie combat deck while still having enough survivability to fend off the brutal pool-removing decks.
Dementation bleed is probably more likely than Dom/Obf or Pre/Obf or, these days, even Ser/Obf. Doesn’t matter a huge amount, the defenses remain much the same. A deck that doesn’t have some sort of plan for brutal bleed is a bad deck, so I wouldn’t be specifically worried about these.
Stealth vote can get by walls and can wreck weenie/breed decks (Ancilla Empowerment, Anarchist Uprising) and Imbued. I wouldn’t expect a lot of Imbued, but I could see about two Imbued players. The reason for hating on them is less a function of the environment and more because playing against them is so tedious.
I agree with extrala – http://extrala.blogspot.com/ – about Ventrue Law Firm being popular again. Yet another reason to play weenie intercept. But, the more interesting thing to me is how many copies of Delaying Tactics to play to fend off voting. If I really cared enough to metagame, I could see playing something straightforward, like weenie Obfuscate, since that will mean extra deckspace for hosers, and running a boatload of DT.
Fear of Mekhet? If I were playing a vote deck, probably. If not, maybe something more flexible.
Anyway, back to expectations rather than answers to those expectations. Rush? Somebody, I’m sure. Deep Song rush is readily available. But, I just can’t get too excited by the likelihood of having to deal with it.
Midcap or fattie wall? Entirely likely to see something like Carna wall or maybe David Tatu will trot out Masika wall, so it’s worth considering. But, since I’m already worried about weenie walls, it shouldn’t significantly affect my metagaming. Does bring up the question as to how much antigun plays are worthwhile. Always kind of questionable to get too esoteric with antigun plays.
Breed? I see Nos breed/boon being highly likely. Breed has so many dangerous decks whether Palla Grande, Clown Car, Death Star, or whatever that I’d rate breed decks a top level threat. It’s why I see stealth vote being a desirable metagame choice or, again, weenies.
But, then, there’s Scourge of the Enochians and maybe The Fourth Cycle. The latter I wouldn’t expect to matter in more than about one game, if at all. The former seems necessary to me unless it will affect you as well. Yet, as I’ve seen countless times with hosers, they don’t work as planned. People will hope that others play them. They will not show up at the right time. They will punish the wrong decks. People will cut deals. Etc.
Combo? Eh, I really don’t take combo too seriously. Yes, there are decks out there that can all but win in one turn, but how often do they fail?
Ebony Kingdoms strategies? Hardly. I am all things variety and new and I can barely generate any enthusiasm for EK. Maybe some will try stuff out just to do something new and different or to see if there’s real potential in Laibon strategies with the new cards, but I’d be utterly unconcerned. For one thing, what do they do that causes a concern that other decks wouldn’t?
Tap bleed, a la Vignes? Ruben is probably going, so it will probably show up in an at least one event, but does the possibility really justify something like more wakes or more bounce and justify them more than another deck may justify metagaming? Then, I don’t like the deck in the metagame I envision. Not that other people metagame as I expect, but I don’t like it against weenie Animalism and I don’t like it against vote.
Weenie vote? I don’t see it being in these days, especially with the threat of Scourge of the Enochians. Of course, breed vote decks have weenies, but I think they are less risky.
Weenie bleed? Eh, it’s easy enough to get above 2 in capacity to avoid Scourge. But, does weenie Presence really work differently than Vignes? Does weenie Dementation, another of Ruben’s favorite decks, really work differently from midcap stealth bleed? Are people really going to worry about weenie Dom with Target Vitals?
10 caps? Yes, and 11’s. People have got to trot out their Enkil Cogs, after all. So many 11 caps now to choose from that people who like fatties will want to do something with them.
I don’t expect to see unusual amounts of certain disciplines. Serpentis seems to be the only discipline underplayed where The Eternal Mask decks should probably be more popular than they are (if still not going to be hugely significant in the grand scheme of things).
Will DI2 be noticeable? Probably not. It has seemed to finally start leeking into decks. Will DI’s, Suddens, and Washes fly fast and thick? I don’t think they will. I just have this sense that, as usual, the game’s counterspells will be woefully underplayed.
Is it worth olding one’s vampires to dodge Neonate Breach? I’ve actually done such in a midcap deck and in a deck that ran some cheaper dudes. But, if you can’t deal with votes in general, it probably doesn’t matter whether it’s Neonate Breach or KRC or Parity Shift or Reckless Agitation.
Mono-Daimoinon? Sadly, probably not. As much as some of the old D.C. crew may be getting back into the game, I don’t know if there’s the same temperament for wackiness.
My pick for winning deck? It’s dumb to try to guess on decks, much more meaningful to try to guess on players since it’s players that win the game and not decks. But, I’ll guess a wallish Ahrimanes deck.