Aquarius I – Zodiac I

I hope I can rely on the native forgiving natures of Aquarians for being so late.

Aquarius
“I know”
positive qualities:  vision, individuality, tolerance, friendliness, inventiveness, originality, genius
negative:  eccentricity, neurosis, detachment, absentmindedness, refusal to cooperate

Mark Rosewater, Magic’s lead designer, and other writers for Magic frequently bring up the psychographic profiles that have been defined for Magic players – Timmy, Johnny, Spike (there’s a fourth that has been talked about).

I don’t do a great job of explaining them to people.  But, then, that hardly matters when I can point to this article – http://www.wizards.com/magic/magazine/article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr11b – or this article – http://www.wizards.com/Magic/Magazine/Article.aspx?x=mtgcom/daily/mr220b .

Inventiveness, originality, genius – these sound like Johnny terms to me.  If it’s not clear where I’m going or where I’m coming from, maybe it’s time for me to explain some train of thought.

Hopefully, anyone reading this blog will know that I went to the Vegas Qualifier for V:TES this year.  Our host had three other players staying with him.  The other two I consider Johnnies.  They are into offbeat and inventive decks.  They keep looking for ways to win on their terms, unlike the Spike who is usually just looking to win or, at least, be efficient, or the Timmy who is looking to just have fun stuff happen.

Ignoring that people are rarely one thing, let’s get into the area of inventiveness or originality or … whatever.  Let’s get into deckbuilding.

I’m not a terribly original deckbuilder.  I try to be by trying to eschew well-established archetypes or, at least, *just* well-established archetypes.  The City Gangrel with Dominate deck I played in the Vegas Qualifier was mostly a Dominate/Obfuscate stealth bleed deck, pretty much the archetype that should be everyone’s first deck and, for all that people may see me play weird stuff these days, is by far the most common archetype for when I was learning V:TES.  But, I tried to spruce it up with Repo Man/Ambulance and with various tech I don’t see other players use much.

Then, I tried to be much more inventive back in the day.  My kick soon after becoming aware of the tournament winning deck archive was to come up with inventive ways to win with clans.  After a time, that morphed into coming up with dumber and dumber deck ideas to see what I could sneak into the TWDA.

A project of mine since Twilight Rebellion came out has been to come up with uses for Laecanus.  He’s awful, being screwed out of Auspex for no good reason.  Of course, he naturally goes into Hell-for-Leather gun decks or even just Celerity gun decks.  We can even see that in group 4/5, there are four Toreador with CEL at 6 cap or less, and they are all screwed on Auspex (in that you really want AUS for bounce) and mostly suck at Presence, too.

I’ve done a number of decks, including several Obtenebration decks and two or more anarch decks.  Nearly every time I draw Laecanus, I don’t want to bring him out as he’s just bad.  So …

Speaking of bad, I’ve been thinking of Mercury’s Arrow.  People think the card is trash.  Thinking little of it is reasonable, it has a deficiency of goodness.  But, having played against my original MA deck, it’s annoying to play against because it is a real threat.  Yet, .44s are that much better a threat since they don’t keep costing blood and stick around and work real well with Psyche! (nevermind that .44 Magnum is just an awesome card in the game, Celerity or no).

But, it’s so unoriginal to pair CEL and guns.  Originality is often advantageous in CCGs (my Spikeness crops up) as people have a harder time playing against the unknown.  I see taking the trite Celerity guns archetype and relying far more on Mercury’s Arrow being a more challenging deck for someone to know how to deal with.  And, it does have some possible benefits where pool savings or not relying equipment is important.

Not that switching out of guns is best synergy with Laecanus as it makes his anti-Frenzy ability less relevant.  Anyway, because of the lack of Auspex, I’m still probably stuck with rushing rather than the better strategy of intercept combat.  Besides playing lots of Tastes of Vitae, what’s the tech to make this sensible?  Well, can always spend more blood and play Fleetness to rush at stealth, get a maneuver, and have a stealthed bleed for when it’s time to clear the hand of Aire of Elation (all four of them or whatever I’d run).

Actually, having done rush with him, since he does have Presence and since he is a Toreador, bruise bleed is not something I’ve considered previously.  It’s not an archetype I care much for, especially without Dominate.  In theory, enough AUS could be found for bounce or, *gasp*, a try could be made to run without (a horrible, horrible try).  Though, his Toreadorness has the problem that you might as well just run good Toreador since they aren’t exactly hard to find.

I guess I could do a more Power of One based anarch deck if I was going to break down and do bruise bleed.  At least he makes sense as an anarch for all sorts of mediocre plays and I can not get ousted by the sheer awesomeness of anarchdom (I’m sure that makes up for nonexistent pool defense cards).

There’s not much genius here.  I should be looking for more genius things to do, as my friend Bill keeps bugging me about.  I should be getting some Heirs to the Blood soon, which may inspire me more than my oh so brief conversations with players in Vegas have.  I can already picture Gargoyles … with Dominate … again.  Because nothing is quite as original as doing something you’ve done before and found to be amazingly dull the first time around.

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One Response to Aquarius I – Zodiac I

  1. Brandon says:

    I think that you’ve got something there. CEL/pre Toreador B&B using a mix of fleetness and +2 bleed actions, backed up by aire of elation. Combat in the form of Mercury’s Arrow, Pursuit/Sideslip/Side Strike, Taste. It can include the typical blood doll/life in the city blood/pool gain tech. Without having bounce, the anarch angle might hurt you a lot. If you use Undue Influence instead of regular bleed actions, you might be able to support the anarch version, it just means fewer combats.

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