Yesterday, we had our first Eden’s Legacy event – http://white-wolf.com/vtes/index.php?articleid=1157. I was quite pleased.
First, having five players from Castro Valley/Hayward show up was huge, not just for the numbers but for the refreshing attitude that tournaments are a good thing, an opportunity to be part of a larger community of players.
Second, people metagamed for the storyline rules. Far too often, I see players just bring some normal deck and put no thought into how to leverage the special rules to one’s best advantage. What a wasted opportunity to think about the game considering that people don’t really need to metagame in standard constructed play around here.
I hear the !Brujah are doing well and they certainly need help, not that winning storylines really means jack, but we can pretend it does. So, I considered playing them, but with a bloodlines set coming out soon, I also thought about reminding people that bloodlines are functional currently (with a few exceptions) and I’m always for promoting the more obscure clans.
I ended up building three decks before the tournament. One was to lend out, so I didn’t stretch very far – Kiasyd. One was insanity – Abomination rush. The one I ended up playing was a ripoff of a Harbingers deck I played in this year’s qualifier. The one that got borrowed was the Abomination deck and somehow he got a VP.
There were several features of this event I focused on, but one that had a lot of resonance was bleed reduction. I don’t play bleed reduction much. I don’t think it’s that good since it doesn’t oust my prey like bleed bounce does. I also just have a general aversion to strategies that make games last longer since we have such a problem with games timing out. The beauty of bleed bounce is that it doesn’t preserve the amount of blood in the game. Specifically to metagame to these rules, three of the four Motivations require having the edge, so not letting the edge go to one’s predator is actually important.
For the Kiasyd deck, that was easily achieved with Folderol. It’s too bad it didn’t see play as it would have been interesting to see how many Folderols went crosstable. For the Harbingers’ deck, it meant a bunch of Telepathic Counters and Ancestor’s Insights …
… So, Laibon get a searching mechanic and searching is broken, so it would be kind of lame not to check out what it would mean to have easy search. Top off with Motivated by Knowledge, yet another broken mechanic, and the synergy is all there. Group 3/4 Harbingers have Laibon, two of three of those Laibon can play Ancestor’s Insight and TC for mucho bleed reduction. Freak Drive is a natural complement to Perfectionist to maintain blood to burn for card draws while Mina’s special might go off. While, Necromancy provides a means of recursing cards discarded in the pursuit of knowledge.
What was amazing, especially after playing a round, was how little people were interested in the Codex of the Edenic Groundskeepers. I won off of the back of this one card, sweeping my first round game, coming back from 1 pool in my second, and getting the last two VPs in the finals because of numerous bleeds for 4 and 5.
Jeff (my Abomination deck) -> Ian -> Eric (Malk94) -> Andy (Guruhi rush)
With a ludicrous deck as my predator, I was never successfully bled the entire game by my predator. With a huge table threat as my prey, Andy had no choice but to rush backwards all game. What was amazing was how long it was before Eric started doing any pool damage. A bit less pool and Andy would have been toast. Instead, I got through Eric without having to expend too many resources and Heidelberging the Codex killed Andy and Jeff.
Brandyn (Lasombra bleed) -> Oliver (Lasombra vote) -> Brandon (Nos weenie Obf) -> Ian
This was a brutal game, especially for the typical NoCal environment where everyone would rather stop people from being ousted than oust folks. Brandon hit on one of the ways I think the environment can be broken – weenies. Oh wait, the normal game can be broken by that. Well, he had Motivated by Jyhad to nearly double his bleed output. Course, what he should have done was grab the Codex right away as that’s what I would build a weenie deck to do for this event.
Brandyn and Oliver contested a vampire for the second straight game, but it almost didn’t give me the table as I was being pounded. On the other hand, I had the deck to deal with Brandon’s. Bleed bounce wouldn’t have done much, but bleed reduction kept me alive. What completed the keeping me alive was Oliver bouncing some bleeds into Brandon and then ousting him right before Brandon would oust me as I had burned through my reduction. I dropped Brandyn with a Codex bleed on a Strange Day and the endgame was a tense affair with my finally being able to pay for Heidelberg and bleeding Oliver out with some bleeds of 2 and ending the game with zero blood on my four vampires.
This game really brought out how annoying Motivated by Knowledge is. Oliver had gone with Presence for Voter Cap to pay for card drawing. Fortunately for me, he also tried to shoehorn in Laibon, so his vampires weren’t natively Presencetastic. Still, I couldn’t stop the votes, so he had a blood engine to dig for useful cards, which meant there was rarely a chance I wasn’t going to run into a wake for my bleeds at negative stealth.
Eric -> Grant? (Giovanni bleed) -> Gerentt (Malk wall) -> Ian -> (Oliver)
Gerentt’s deck was truly a wall. Oliver questioned my sitting in front of it, but he didn’t realize what a huge threat Eric was. There were only two spots, in front of a wall that would mess with my tooling or in front of the only vote deck and behind the bleedmonster which would likely get a lot of pool before I’d get help from the table. Gerentt never bled me, which was kind of annoying as I was choking on Eyes of Argus, TC, and TM. I was afraid to discard bleed defense in case Eric’s bleeds or Grant’s got bounced around the table, but I don’t think Gerentt ever bounced a bleed.
I was yet again able to get the Codex, though Oliver at least argued that it was a bad idea. Not sure why he cared so much since he had bounce. I didn’t care if my predator got it, my prey got it, or my grandpredator (who I urged to take it) got it. Eric getting it would have likely given him the game. So, somebody needed to care. I almost took it with a first turn Tupdog just to take it out of the game, but I figured I had a decent shot at it and my predator or grandpredator having it would have helped through bounce while my prey having it would have gotten the threat off the table.
As it was, Eric reasonably quickly got to the point of blowing his prey off the table, but as I hoped going into the finals, ran into the wall and sputtered while also keeping my predator busy enough to not block my actions. This was hot for Oliver who had vote lock and a table without Delaying Tactics. I went forward out of not drawing any toolup actions and Eric’s pool evaporated between Oliver and my bounced bleeds. With Eric gone, Oliver was in a sick position for timing the game out. Going forward, the wall stood fast and beat his guys down with Sniper Rifle. Along with losing blood in combat, blood wasn’t coming back as none of Oliver’s vampires started with Presence, which was huge for preventing “I draw cards until I win.” I kept swinging on Oliver, time was growing shorter, Gerentt couldn’t draw enough wakes to stay in the game. Fortunately, there was still just enough time left as I figured Oliver couldn’t do much in his depleted state as his library was getting thin, partially from Zygodat milling, and his blood was thin, plus he couldn’t bounce in the endgame and had no intercept to stop mundane bleeds. With about 5 minutes left, I finally ousted him.
Let me step aside and talk about winning since I never seem to get a chance to accurately explain my take on it. Above, I say I was quite pleased and lots of folks would figure it was because I won. And, yes, winning had something to do with it. But, as I try to explain to people for why I could never be a great player of a competitive game, winning and losing, in and of themselves, do nothing for me. Pleasure out of winning for me is derived from pleasure overcoming challenges. It could be the deckbuilding challenge. It could be the challenge of playing well. It could be winning when winning is unlikely due to a sheer stubbornness to keep trying to win or, at least, not get ousted. I don’t know that I played particularly well, oddly, my games, even with Motivated by Knowledge, weren’t that complicated for me most of the time. I did survive and go on to victory in the second round through tight play, I guess. The deckbuilding challenge was playing Harbingers and metagaming properly to the rules and what I expected out of opponents. But, mostly, it was winning close games. Winning easily is a complete bore, much like watching sporting events that are close are so much more entertaining than ones that aren’t. On the other hand, if I’m going to lose, I’d rather get blown out than lose a game I think I can win.
I want to run another storyline. I think there’s a lot of metagaming possibilities without too much obnoxious stuff to deal with. I have some ideas for !Brujah decks, so maybe I’ll actually go through with that. Still, really trying to abuse either the Laibon search of the Knowledge draw mechanics might be interesting. Alternatively, blood denial might be cute in this format to screw with the Knowledge seekers.