March 6th, D[r]aft

So, we did something of a postrelease event for Heirs to the Blood by doing an Elder Draft where nearly 90% of the boosters were Httb.

I was confused, thinking that we would Rochester draft the vampires, but that’s another format.  One I think is worthwhile and that I’ve done a couple of times but not pertinent to yesterday.

Anyway, I’m less concerned with the mechanics and results and more with the lessons learned.


Draft pods of 4 are too small.  Maybe 5 is too small, too.  But, you just see too few cards.  That might be okay with another game, but this game has so many different clans and disciplines that you want to see a lot of variety of cards.  I think I realized this in the past and forgot it.  We had 13 players, so we could have done 6 and 7.


If you see every pack, realize when you are not going to get what you want.  As soon as I saw the fourth pack, I should have switched drafting strategies both with the vampires and, later, with the library cards.


Think more about vampires.  One of my big areas of weakness is that I don’t really think about what vampires are viable when drafting particular sets.  I knew pool gain was easy and offense was slight, so I should have thought more strongly about fatties and Baali.  I actually had The unnamed but didn’t draft library cards to go with it.  With other sets, I don’t go weenie as much as I should.


Envision how the games will go.  I thought I had a reasonable crypt of 4 vampires with varying capacities to use Tend the Flock, only to discover that my bleed reduction and pool gain meant I always wanted a fifth crypt member.  I tended to have plenty of pool but not enough force to push through players or enough blood.


Don’t fixate on a strategy.  My plan was to force !Salubri for the bleed reduction off of Auspex outferiors and for the combat ends of Valeren to counter other people drafting heavy combat.  That might have worked better with larger pods as I might have gotten at least one Tinglestripe or something that might hurt someone.  Much like I overly focused in the vampire draft, I should have switched out when I wasn’t seeing enough Valeren and no Tinglestripes, nevermind that I should have read Hide the Heart more carefully and picked it higher when I actually saw one.

Sticking to a strategy doesn’t tend to be a problem with V:TES because people who don’t know how to draft or who are rare drafting will pass you absurdly good cards, e.g. On the Qui Vive, Off Kilter multiple times (including being the final card in a pack), Public Trust (in a low offense environment), Tend the Flock.  It’s not like Magic where fighting over something is clear and costs valuable picks.  But, the real problem with my drafting was when I wasn’t seeing Tinglestripe – having no bleed, no vote (not that voting was all that plausible), and no combat meant no way to overcome someone.


20 card libraries are tiny.  One third of your deck is in your opening hand.  I should have managed my card plays better to my deck size.  While I don’t mind one recursion, I actually like bigger limited decks because I’m more used to conserving resources and playing to single copies of cards.  I probably should have played a larger deck since I had a number of about equally marginal “20th” cards.  I didn’t have any particular power play I was going for and I had two searching masters.


Grasp the rules better.  I forgot we weren’t contesting vampires owned by other players.  That likely cost me my first round game when I didn’t bring out my fourth vampire until I wanted to contest.  While it’s not a problem understanding the rules, I forgot to recurse one turn, which screwed me up for the next turn.


Think about card combos more.  There was one game where I had As the Crow and Off Kilter in my opening hand and didn’t play As the Crow after bleeding my minionless prey.  I made other dumb mistakes like that with not playing my cards in productive combinations.  I tend to think of cards too much in isolation, which is reflected in my deckbuilding practices where my plays are often 1 or 2 card combos rather than the long strings that other players seem to enjoy.


Draft cool stuff.  Because I used to actually be good at limited play, I feel like I should uphold some sort of standard.  But, the reality is that I tend to find limited play rather dull and the number of events I’ll play will be few.  Having seen HttB in bulk in action, I would have done things quite differently, but I don’t foresee us doing another limited event any time soon and certainly not with so much HttB, so I might as well have taken the Maleficia/Striga risk since I saw so many of those cards passed rather than the boring “please don’t oust me” strategy I went with.


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