This is a bit different for me. It should be obvious to anyone who reads my blog that 2011 has been a low-V:TES year. We had our NAC qualifier late in 2010 and promptly had zero momentum going into 2011. I could have played last night, apparently, in Pleasanton but my interest in driving more this week, what with the rain, was nonexistent. Of course, I also ended up skipping Las Vegas this year.
Anyway, I have no new deck dated this year. That’s the paucity of play. But, tomorrow, we are looking at session #2 at Legends, so it’s time to get back! in the game.
I’m building decks right now. I just finished a deck. This would not be terribly interesting news, in and of itself, since I’d guess I’ve built maybe 500 decks in my life. What’s different this time around is whether I can put into words my thinking processes so far today (and yesterday) on what decks to build.
I always start with: What haven’t I done recently or ever?
I don’t mind doing something I’ve done before if it’s sufficiently interesting or enough time has passed. What is enough time? Six months, year, maybe.
I actually started thinking about deck ideas yesterday. Because of Pleasanton play, I have very different incentives than normal for me circa 5+ years ago, nevermind having seemingly different incentives from most folks. Bringing too many new cards into Pleasanton is just not fun. The interest in learning what unfamiliar disciplines and clans do just isn’t there, so the incentive is to go old school. Nothing wrong with old school. There’s always a new twist and I’d still think about old school even when playing in, say, a bloodlines heavy environment. I ran through the list of original gangsters and settled on Ventrue.
But, what could I do differently with Ventrue? Sure, combat is the way to go, but it’s not like people have never done combat with Ventrue before. I underplay Weighted Walking Stick, so I started forming a concept. Political Ally concealing a Saturday Night Special … sleep.
Today. Today, I open FELDB and start thinking Ventrue again. I look at clan cards. I get bored. I forget my train of thought from last night. I recall that I was thinking about +1 Strength in general Friday and the idea of that and WWS being my random hitback while doing something that isn’t as boring as combat is. Old school, of course, as I considered the possibility of going to P-town in the morning.
So, I do a search on +STR. I sort by clan and my mind’s eye settles on Settites. Three possibilities, even if not true beatage. I look at Serpentis cards, I get bored. Temptation is not a horrible thing to do, but I’ve done it fairly often and getting back! to regular play and starting off with a tedious deck is not likely to build funnage. I start looking at group 2/3 with Serpentis to get away from monoclanism, then go back to FoS clan cards to reestablish the original concept.
What haven’t I done much of? Fair amount, actually. I’ve underplayed Waters of Duat, underplayed FoS vote with Ferraille, haven’t gotten into Mummy combat (finding Mummy toolbox being much more interesting), don’t even recall whether I bothered with Spell of Life having been turned off by it during playtesting and the many attempts when Lords of the Night was new. No serious Cave of Apples or Mokole Blood decks. But, as I started thinking about Waters, I shifted to thinking about Bima. Bima is another case of underplayage.
Bima fits my +STR theme and gives some sort of angle that I haven’t used in ages while also not being moronic from the viewpoint of trying to build a deck that can win. Is my build terrifically twisty? Not so much, but the Bima Are Back!
Back. When I put that into the title of this post, I knew that was my theme for my decks. What else needs to come back?!? Backflip, Backstab, Backstep, Devil-Channel: Back, etc. Sure, all of these cards and others, even Praetorian Backer, could be thrown into a deck if I wanted to be enslaved by my theme in some sort of goofy way. Goofy is good, though. Maybe I do need to figure out a way to get all of these cards into one deck.
Or, not. Backwards, as in playing backwards, is a concept I often eschew, but it’s not without any merit, and it is doing something different. Rush is an obvious way. Stupid trick decks like Mark of the Damned are always possible. The problem with this line of thought is that our environment tends either towards great aggression (when people bring out stealth bleed), which is okay since games should resolve, or a total lack of progress, which is not really so much why we play the game. Besides the inherent nonfun of intending to go backwards around the table, the lack of going forwards is just far too common.
If I preserve the idea only of returns, then the question becomes: What should return? What should be brought back?!? Shadow Court Satyr, of course, since I keep not building a new SCS deck. But, two ally decks in the same session? Kind of narrow.
Going back! in time … [du-du-du-du-du] … there was this thing, this thing that involved bleeding for more than one and stealthing by blockers. It was totally a concept I invented.
But, what now brown cow? How to not just do another “Ozmo never bleeds for 8 since you are dead long before that ever gets built” deck or a Malk deck with no Obfuscate cards? What combination of stealth and bleed has not been beaten toward a deceased equine?
Can Dominate + stealth ever be made interesting? Dementation? Sure, can always come up with some awful combination, like Dem/Pot, or Dom/Vis, but that’s not so much coming back! as it is just being different (even if I have done Dom/Vis a couple of different ways). Is there some way to make the old school bleed strategies interesting?
Not so much. Guess I’m back! to Backstep and Backflip, two cards I’m not even sure I’ve ever used in constructed play.
Well, that’s kind of how my mind works when I go to build decks, though usually it ends up in a couple of new decklists in half an hour because I latch onto something more solidly than when I’m musing without the deckbuilder in front of me like I am in this post.