I could write a post about DunDraCon 2010, but since I was sick every day except the day I was too tired from work to want to do anything, there seems little point.
I should write about Aquarius since I’m nearly a week out of the sign’s window already, but I’m too tired for creative thought.
So, instead, I’ll write something simple – a report on my trip to the 2010 Las Vegas V:TES Qualifier.
I get in Saturday around 12:15AM, so off to bed as soon as I get to Nat’s house. Apparently, I get a lot more sleep than many of my opponents, certainly more than the drunk insomniac also staying with Nat.
James (EuroBrujah guns) -> me (Serpentis SB, Ashur Tablets) -> David B. (Pot/Cel) -> David T. (Pre/Obf/For) -> Preston (Cesewayo)
The interesting thing about more competitive play is how fast games warp. My prey took one action in this game. I bled him some while he brought out Menele, David T. Pentexed Menele, I continued bleeding, then I killed him when he brought out Jacko because I didn’t want to be rushed and I had little pool.
Why did I have little pool? I had never played the deck before and didn’t realize how important Liquidation was to my pool management. I normally play decks with silly cards like Blood Doll, but no, I was relying entirely on Ashur Tablets, Liquidation, and ousting for pool gain. I only ran two Liquidations and I discarded one because I felt safe … for some incomprehensible reason.
David T. played the early game with one vampire, yet had Preston on the ropes. With a mighty two vampires in play, he was one action away from taking Preston out. Any of vote, bleed, or Enticement would have done it, but Cesewayo was tooled up and Preston had The Erciyes Fragments to grab bounce from James’s ash heap. James couldn’t get a gun in play so wasn’t a combat threat when he was in combat, but I didn’t want to help him cycle, so I avoided combat. But, I lost 5 pool to Parity Shift and kept getting bled for 2 until I got down to 3 pool and got ousted by a 4 bleed at stealth. I found out later that David T. finally got Preston and James won.
me -> Robert S. (Ahrimanes) -> Jeff P. (Ahrimanes Great Beast) -> Christian (anarch Tremere)
It was so bad when Rob got out intercept locations in his first couple of turns. My deck was stealth light because I wasn’t metagaming for good decks for some reason. I still reduced his pool significantly. On the other hand, Christian was reducing mine even with playing 6 Ashur Tablets. Jeff brought out Nergal, got the Great Beast because Rob was too busy defending against me, and took control of the game. Christian was getting hammered until Jeff pressed into a Walk of Flame, and the Great Beast never made it out of torpor. I could have rescued, but I tried to kill my prey since I was low on pool and he wasn’t obviously going to stop me. Of course, with a wall deck, stopping light stealth isn’t terribly hard, so I failed. Christian didn’t think it was best to keep me alive, so he got me and Rob cleaned up.
Failing to make the finals, I played an actual pickup game – the only pickup game of the trip. Not playing more pickup games made me unhappy face.
Nat (Ankla bleed) -> Dave L. (modified Samedi precon) -> Chris (weenie Brujah vote) -> me (anarch Baali toolbox) -> Jeff P. (modified Kiasyd precon)
I gave Chris grief for not being able to oust me. It was sad how he had vote lock, could get most of his actions through, yet couldn’t oust a deck that brought out multiple Baali. I finally got some serious Failsafe action in a game, which was the hotness with such a tenuous deck. The best way to describe the silliness was that Barbaro turned two vampires infernal and my prey decided to self oust from the infernal penalty rather than die to either Anarch Revolt or Contagion. Nat was slowed by the intercept in the Samedi deck. But, he eventually took Dave out, took Chris out, and took me out as I sat on a hand full of Conflagrations.
I did also manage to play all three of my Condemnations – Mute on a Brujah, Doomed on Omme Enberbenight, Betrayed on Ankla. The Undue Influences in the deck didn’t turn out to be that exciting, maybe because I drew lots of them early without Sense the Sins to actually do any meaningful damage.
Robert G. (Arms Dealer) -> James (Malk vote) -> Cameron (Hell-for-Leather) -> Sim (Newjah) -> me (City Gangrel Dominate SB)
This game warped crazy. I went down to 6 pool in no time. James brought out Lutz who got diablerized. Robert G. had 11 bleed on the table when I ousted him with bleeds of 5 and 6 where he had to think hard about whether to try to block the second bleed based on whether I had stealth or Conditioning in my hand. When I ousted him my ash heap was something like x2 Foreshadowing Destruction (one discarded), x2 Conditioning, x2 Govern, x1 Cloak the Gathering.
Cameron went down to 4 pool, Pentexed forward to go to 2, rushed Sim into oblivion (taking down Karen and Tara). I didn’t get it. Maris was still behind him, and his predator and prey still controlled the votes. He thought he’d do more pool damage and thought maybe my bleedzooka deck would oust James on my next turn. Since I don’t play bleedzookas, I bled James twice and did 2 pool damage and Cameron got ousted.
James made an epic comeback, eventually bringing out Oriandus and Rachel Brandeywine as he had vote lock and kept gaining pool off of Parity Shifts and Con Boons. I tried propping up Sim, which at least kept him alive, though it didn’t enable him to do anything. Right after Rachel came out, I pretty much had one last shot to take out James and had crafted an all bleed/stealth hand to do it. The endgame was uninteresting.
Rehlow (FoS steal) -> me -> Andy (high cap Toreador vote) -> John (Kiasyd) -> Mark (!Trem)
This was weird in a not particularly pleasant way. Rehlow’s Cave of Apples enabled him to take my Mylan and Jake Washington. Temptations hit my vampires. Mark got scary (for Rehlow) with a building Nephandus horde, which I dug for basic Sebastian Goulet to steal to form a triangle of absurdity with potential (but lack of actual) ally ownership changes. I tried to ignore Andy, but I eventually had to oust him as I was only playing for 1 VP since my 1 & 4 from the previous game put me in a good position for the finals. Fortunately, Mark took Rehlow out before my board exploded to his vamp steal cards. I stole John’s Mylan and bled him out and Mark and I had a reasonably epic endgame where I took two of his Nephandi with Sebastian, From a Sinking Shipped a third, only to watch him block 4 or 5 actions to survive at one pool while I kept forgetting that I was playing On the Qui Vive with allies. It reduced my bleed power on one turn and killed me in the end when I remembered Carlton was tapped and he could bleed me out with his one action and all of my 6 or so minions tapped. My (delayed) remembering that my guys didn’t untap ensured Mark his first game win which enabled him to get into the finals (as top seed), kind of important for what happened later.
To this point, every game I played was interesting, some might even say fun, for me at least. I had lots of decisions, on the edge both ways, crazy stuff happened.
Norm (!Trem, Tupdogs, and Beast) -> Preston (Akunanse) -> Darby (Imbued Talbot’s Chainsaw) -> me -> Nat (Serpentis SB with bounce)
This was not too enthralling. Though I had gobs of pool from an early Villein + Giant’s Blood, I felt on the defensive right away. Preston fought Darby some but had no meaningful impact on the Immune. Nat had bounce, but I wasn’t bleeding him and was getting rushed from Beast and blocked by Carlton. Eventually, Darby took control with Talbot’s beatdown and we needed Norm to help gang up on him, Preston blew himself up trying to beat down Darby though it would have been really interesting if he got a weeniekiller vote off to kill Darby, especially the second one which would have ousted Darby, Preston, and Norm. With Norm with little pool, Nat ousted him and Preston, stole the Imbued with the Chainsaw, and we timed out.
me -> Preston -> Robyn (Palla Grande) -> Mark -> Brandon (Dom/For tap bleed)
The funny thing is that my deck was metagamed against decks like Brandon with my 11 bounce cards … and other stuff. I still only lasted around 5 turns and, what, 20 minutes? Maybe longer timewise, but it felt like nothing. Because I did nothing. I spent my Governs to bring out guys, including using one on a Tupdog (transferring back). Losing two pool to Tension in the Ranks from my exploding Tupdogs, taking a bleed crosstable, and tapping my Anarch Convert to spend a pool on Heart of Nizchetus did not help, but the reality was that I needed to draw either one of my 7 remaining wakes or … one of my two Archon Investigations to stop Brandon’s lunge. I drew none of those and took 10 bleed with all of my guys tapped because of Anarch Troublemaker.
I went to get food and so found out later that Brandon couldn’t get through Preston and Mark took 2. Robyn conceded since Mark was higher seed, thus guaranteed to win.
My next turn would have been exciting as I had Heart in play, Villein to empty my 4 cap (or not and try to oust Preston who was at 6 pool), Epiphany to merge Sebastian and take Mark’s Nephandus. But, even though I tried being as conservative as possible, I wasn’t quite conservative enough to not have to rely on drawing off of Dreams to get a wake or AI to have that next turn.
Sunday, I slept in a bit, Nat and I went for dim sum in Chinatown where they were celebrating Chinese New Year, window shopped (yes, two guys window shopped because life is about irony), went to City Center to check out the new complex, watched some Olympics.
Was great to be able to stay with Nat. Wish I could play more pickup games which tend to be much more fun than tournament games. Felt like I didn’t do that much compared to last year, but I think I had an extra day last year. Didn’t get to spend as much time talking to other players as I would have liked. Did sell one of my extra 3e boxes. But, no trades for me. Good trip.