Not for me, of course. The triumph was that we had more players for a V:EKN sanctioned event than we have ever had.
I’m still trying to get caught up gamingwise with Gen Con follow up, so I made some changes to the deck I was building for Jeff and came up with a couple of deck ideas Friday night, then had to figure out what I was playing in Saturday’s two tournaments Saturday morning. Unfortunately, I frequently forget the decks I most want to play in tournaments because they are so infrequent and so many ideas have accumulated.
So, I started looking through old ideas. There are actually quite a few decklists I have for decks I’ve never pulled the cards for. I should think about notating that in their file names. Eventually, I found one of the ideas that I had been saving for tournament play that I was sufficiently interested in to put together.
Angel Rush is not a deck, so much as an archetype. The idea is to minimize card slots for combat by playing Beast, Pariah, and Guardian Angels. Not that combat necessarily matters, depending upon which version of the archetype we are talking about. One version is a serious combat deck. Another, a … disorganized mess. I only made things worse by inflating the latter from 80 to 90 cards and putting in such cards as No Trace, which proved to be useless.
The other deck I settled on was yet another Laecanus deck. Not that the deck needed or, even, wanted Laecanus, but he wasn’t useless, in theory. Superior Celerity, Toreador anarchs with Presence bleed and bounce. So far, I could have said “Toreador deck” and been about as descriptive. The deck was supposed to play a ton of Resist Earth’s Grasp for stealth, supplementing with Suppressing Fire, for the kill card – The Portrait. Of course, there’s no controlling whether The Portrait becomes a bleed card or not, so this wasn’t the most robust of strategies. Another deck I left at 90 cards, showing just how little I care about competing anymore.
Round 1: Jeff (Enkidu’s Car Dealership) -> Andy H. (Tryphosa) -> Ian (Flying Portrait) -> Aaron (weenie Cel guns)
Weenie Cel guns? Ick. Though, it turned out the ick was mostly for Aaron, who had Enkidu appear quickly and Andy not bring out dudes for a long time, allowing me free rein to do stuff. I’m not sure Jeff actually went first, which shows how much less I’m into these games.
Ransam appeared. I got Parmenides for a turn who only bled for 1. Aaron started rushing right away, which led to Unholy Penance on Parmenides which never got removed. Because Aaron just kept rushing me, I decided not to play my usual game of passivity and tried to kill him as fast as possible. Fortunately, for me, he never Psyche!d while I combat endsed fairly often and he only ever got one gun. I couldn’t muster quite enough bleed to take him out before two of my three vamps got punked. Andy had to make a decision when I was low on pool and Aaron was at 2 pool with my Famed guy in torpor. He ate Ransam rather than bleed me out, figuring I’d just bounce some more and that having to do 2 pool damage with one minion was harder than 1 damage and Fame killing Aaron off.
I got Aaron to stay alive and tried to figure out how to rebuild my board. Jeff was in decent shape. Andy was still likely to take me out. Until, Jeff nuked Tryphosa and Lutz. Even with just Gem left, Andy might have been able to get me. I rebuilt my position slightly. I had The Rack on Philippe de Marseilles. Jeff stole it. I twice forgot to take it back, bleeding (when I had the Edge) instead. That might have been game as Jeff took out Andy to put him out of range of one turn of my bleeds and the combats between Enkidu and my Celerity vampires went slightly in Enkidu’s favor. I did Portrait, only to see Enkidu’s visage … I discarded the other The Portraits. I decked. I finally lost a critical combat to Enkidu and, then, lost another fight with my remaining vampire.
A table win would have been interesting. As terrible an idea trying to throw Well-Aimed Cars is, I actually really like the Enkidu deck, with its strong Black Hand theme and solid crypt for all of the nonsense it tries to do. So, I was highly amused that Jeff started off so well.
Round 2: Joel (HoS Shamblers) -> Brandyn (Highlander) -> James (Corrupt Construction) -> Ian
Joel drops KRCG News Radio, making me sad as I have a hard time with permacept. James keeps burning D’habi Revenants, which tells me what deck he’s playing since I played against it in our qualifier weekend. Brandyn is very screwed since his numerous discipline deck is so unreliable and he’s surrounded by rushing allies and intercept. I’m in a strange situation of being largely unable to do things but also being able to handle the ally combat since my deck has tons of maneuvers and combat ends for defense and can shoot the allies (Shamblers, Escaped Mental Patients) dead much of the time.
We settle in. Eventually, James Fames and Havens one of my guys and I am way too cocky about my ability to defend forever in combat. I Catatonic Fear, Target: Vitals one Corrupt Construction. I Zip Gun, kill an Escaped Mental Patient. I get punked by a second Corrupt Construction, which I totally could have blocked, when it plays Trap and I can’t draw a Resist Earth’s Grasp to press to end. I let my Famed guy get rescued and get punked again for the kill. Funny. Eventually, Joel wins.
I go for food rather than play pickups. I do end up playing a pickup when I get back, but it’s against local players, which makes it kind of pointless. Speaking of local players, the first tournament had six from the South Bay group, five from the East Bay, and six from SoCal. An Imbued deck gets thrashed. I land with some Blood Sweats. The Trem deck dies by bleeding with Govern when at 1 pool when his prey has two torped vampires, his only ready vampire Pentexed, and a Major Boon … on his predator. I eventually win an uneven endgame, including having my dude with Fame (from the beginning of the game), while doing a forced hunt at 0 blood, torp a Guruhi with Taste of Death (reduced by Path), and take no damage.
Just ridiculous that this was the first time we have ever had 20+ for a V:EKN sanctioned tournament in the area. We got one more from SoCal, one more from the East Bay, and one more that falls under the South Bay group.
Round 1: Ian (Angel Rush) -> Robert (Vote w/ Faerie Wards) -> Sean (!Toreador anarch) -> Michael (weenie Hack w/ Obf) -> Eric (War Ghouls)
I bring out Beast, I spend my whole game rushing, mainly Michael’s dudes with Obfuscate since I know how his deck works. Eric doesn’t, not that he could have survived, but he could have forced a couple more actions on Michael’s part if he knew about the Obfuscate splash. Eric does bring out a War Ghoul, who gets Pentexed, and Eric is ousted. I also rush with Pariah when I have masters to feed him. I almost get to blow Failsafe. I also almost die before Sean gets Michael. With Michael gone, I’m in no better shape, worse in a lot of ways against Sean and fall quickly. With a lot of pool, Sean seems to have a huge edge in the endgame, but Robert bloats enough to weather the storm.
I should have discarded more aggressively, but I didn’t want to show much of my deck. I doubt it would have mattered much since my built-in rushers with Potence had no way of dealing with disciplineless Dodge or Staredown.
Round 2: AJ W. (!Malk) -> Joel (EuroBrujah) -> Robert -> Chris (Serpentis FSR) -> Ian
While I did Beast rush Allonzo Montoya and Disarm him, I actually did very little backwards even though Chris Tempationed Beast and put Form of Corruption in play. I figured any significant backwards action would just give Robert the game. The irony of my being annoyed by Temptation, Form of Corruption, and Free States Rants being called is that Chris never stole one of my vampires as only Anarch Convert was ever low enough to be taken by Form of Corruption. I died to being bled at stealth.
Before that happened, Joel hammered AJ when AJ blocked a Parity Shift and threw a Pentex on AJ’s other vamp. To break Pentex, Chris cut a deal with AJ to bleed me with Kindred Spirits, which is what put me in ousting range. Chris’s votes should have been nullified by Robert, but a KRC got through because Ventrue Headquarters had been tapped on Robert’s turn to pass something I could have caused to succeed. I bled much more in this game since I lost any particular interest in trying to survive and AJ was fairly weak. AJ did get Joel, which took all pressure off of Robert while depriving Chris of an easy three VPs. Robert won.
Having RPG stuff today, I headed out at midnight rather than play pickup games. Not great timing having all of this gaming the weekend after Gen Con. It would have been even more ridiculous if my regular Friday night RPG hadn’t gotten cancelled.
The interesting thing about the tournaments for me was how uninteresting I found the games. My decks should have been more interesting than they were. I think they both were too vague in their goofiness, so I ended up with far too many ordinary situations even if I had strange plays available to me.
Speaking of decks, I fell into the same trap of blaming my decks, even if it was intended to be in jest, for performance failures. The Portrait deck was good enough, maybe the Angel Rush deck, in all of its bloated 90 card glory, didn’t achieve the minimum threshold of viability. But, it’s just so easy to talk about deck failures when it’s really player failures, even when joking. People might have taken my comments about my decks not being serious because they were 90 cards … well, seriously. Really, I didn’t play well, and I’ve stopped trying to use table politics to determine results, which is a form of playing badly.
I could have had more fun – I think I just wasn’t mentally prepared for tournament play this weekend. But, the far more important thing was the exceptional attendance for events, attendance at a peak without even the draw of it being a qualifier weekend. Kudos to Brandon for making it happen and nagging people from outside the region. Big ups to Andy H. for hosting and providing food and drink. Shame I didn’t get to play any with much of the SoCal crew – never played with Andy F., Dennis, Matt.