Learning

Sometimes, one’s notions of one’s own brilliance get punctured.  A group of coworkers and I went to a dinner where we talked a bit about Chinese Astrology.  Later, one of the group posted a link to True Colors, a career personality system with similarities to other personality systems like Myers-Briggs.

There’s only four colors and I would say they correspond to the four elements – Air, Earth, Fire, Water.  Though, the system is oriented to how you function at work and a lot of the questions were about what sort of relationships you prefer rather than being an overall personality measure.  Anyway, I managed to be the only one of the group to get no one else correct (out of five).  Ignoring the person I never had a conversation with, what remained was still someone I reported to for a year and people I’ve known for over a year.

Putting aside what this may say, maybe it was because I was humbled that I wanted to focus on playing decks that I could learn from at yesterday’s V:TES session.  The first deck I put together was for someone else.  The second deck was a Baali/Maleficia deck that … get to that … and the third deck was Jay Kristoff’s tournament winning, 60-card Lasombra deck – http://thelasombra.com/decks/twd.htm#2011wonitf

First game: Jeff (Loving Decapitate) -> Ian (Baali) -> Gerentt (EuroBrujah) -> Andy (!Salubri Garrote) -> Brandon (HoS)

I bring out Nergal, Advanced Nergal, and promptly discarded Epiphany (because it was funny and, theoretically, it wasn’t worth having The Horde take the action later); having to pay for cards the rest of the game was tiresome.  He gets Contagion.  Theo Bell rushes him and empties him because I don’t read a card carefully enough.  Nergal goes to torpor.  My grandpredator tries twice to eat him.  My predator rescues him.  Then, things get messy.  Andy, though he and Jeff had talked a lot about playing the same crypt, forgets that Qawiyya is out and contests her.  Then, things get weird.  I put Smiling Jack in play to give Gerentt something to do besides rush me, but nobody burns it.  Its fourth counter would have ousted me.  Instead, I can’t muster enough bleed to oust Gerentt before Andy gets ousted, then fail to generate enough damage between Anarch Revolt, Smiling Jack, Nergal with Enkil Cog, and Contagion to oust Gerentt before Brandon dies to Contagion or Anarch Revolt.  Possibly, my correct play might have been to not play Anarch Revolt and bleed with Nergal hoping to get blocked and sent to torpor to keep Brandon around.  Brandon only failed to get Jeff because Qawiyya became uncontested just in time for three Smiling Jack damage.  Jeff ousted me when I would have died anyway and the endgame was tense as Gerentt briefly had both Donal and Theo in torpor and hadn’t yet brought out Constanza.

What’s funny is that my deck never even showed what it was trying to do.  Inferior Maleficia on one guy with one blood most of the time was not very exciting, either.

Second game: Gerentt (Ventrue) -> Jeff (as above) -> Brandon (!Trem w/ Obf) -> Andy (Tryphosa) -> Ian (Jay’s deck)

I’m pretty sure I screwed up criminally.  The start of this game was painful with my prey calling KRCs and my predator having Lutz.  I needed one or the other to die and my predator would have been easier.  I played virtually no cards for quite a while, so it was hard to determine what the deck was supposed to do besides bring out lots of vampires (no Embraces, yet).  My prey’s Mary Anne Blaire did reduce the threat of Lutz, but Andy had enough problems that he never did anything I cared about.  He wanted to Parity Shift for my remaining five pool, but messed up by having his justicar do something else.  I couldn’t pass a Con Boon, so I went to one pool.  Then, I sat on one pool for a while.  I did try to do something pointless and bleed Gerentt out when I knew I couldn’t get there with some Govern bleeds, and all that happened was that he gained 10 pool on his turn.  Two Embraces gave me six Lasombra.  Andy died and my choking on Deflections became highly useful as Brandon kept failing to do one pool damage to me.  Gerentt did Banish one of Brandon’s vampires, which helped.  I had just enough bleed to oust Gerentt.  Yeah, now I can afford Wider View.  I finally got Crusade Berlin off and called a second vote that got blocked, which was fine, and, for some inexplicable reason, didn’t tap out to call Con Boon.  Now, maybe it gets blocked by Brandon, but that’s fine since it pretty much guarantees that he dies, being at 2 pool with three bleeders behind him.  I figured he was dead anyway.  Jeff plays Heidelberg with Tasha Morgan in play and then that vampire gets a Light-Intensifying Goggles!?!

With Brandon not slain, I just barely get ousted.  I think Jeff split, so maybe that wasn’t a terrible play as I did outminion him and would have vote lock.  I didn’t come close to decking, and it was hilarious how much I could sit around doing stuff while at one pool and no ability to pass a vote.

Third game: Ian (Ass bleed) -> AJ (Ventrue vote) -> Jeff (!Malk Earthshock) -> Gerentt (Salubri) -> Andy (!Salubri Garrote) -> Brandon (Ravnos)

AJ kept calling Con Ags, which often hit Jeff for five at a shot since nobody else had any votes besides the Edge and Tyler McGill.  Jeff had no game as he couldn’t bleed for more than two and Serenna shut down his Kindred Spirits pool gain (sure, he could have bled someone else, but that would have been nearly as pointless).  Andy couldn’t draw a Garrote, so his combat was ineffectual and one of his dudes got SensDepped.  Brandon just kept building his forces.  I had lots of Nest of Eagles, but he wasn’t bleeding me and, then, I was too tapped to reduce his bleeds.  Jeff explodes.  I fall.  AJ goes.  Andy finally dies.  Gerentt and Brandon contest four cards – Heidelberg, Dreams, Tasha, J.S. – for a while with Brandon eventually giving cards up.  The “start your turn by losing four pool” stuff was entertaining.  Gerentt’s bloat was just too much, allowing him to pay for the contests.

As much as I love the crypt for the Earthshock deck, it needs to be reengineered or eliminated as it can’t do anything to impact the game.  The Ass deck can go away, too, having been played three or so times.  I broke down four or five decks in the morning to prevent ever seeing them get played again, I really need to ramp up with new decks.

Anyway, as to learning.  The last game didn’t have much to work with.  The first game was amusing, but my deck never even tried what it was intended to do.  I’ve been keen on building other people’s decks to check out some different strategies and styles, though it was interesting to me how many decklists I kept in new mail that I ended up deciding I didn’t actually care about.  Playing Jay’s deck was strange in that, on the one hand, it has elements of my style of play in its innocuousness and the result of the game was typical of a lot of games for me where I undeservedly oust someone, but, on the other, did I learn whether the deck played better than the player or was the situation just the usual one of weird things happening?  I so wish Tribunal Judgment was Failsafe …

Now, the takeaway for someone else from all of this folly is that we don’t deal enough.  In particular, I have next to no interest in dealing, anymore.  My learning, such as it was, was to learn about cards, strategies, and styles I don’t play.  Jay’s deck could have had a very different game with some attempt to deal.  Jeff could have threatened to Kindred Spirits backwards to backoust.  And, so forth.  Well, my interests are what they are, and I’d rather just play cards then try to engineer a result in spite of them.

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2 Responses to Learning

  1. Brandon says:

    I think some decks are better suited for extor… (ahem) negotiation than others. Vote decks can spread out damage. Rush decks can pick on anyone. Wall decks can potentially block anything. I think your style is more about doing some unexpectedly strong play than overtly manipulating the game state.

    I hope you and Jeff (and Andy?) are having fun at the convention. See you in a week.

  2. Andrew Haas says:

    Wow, that was a terrible showing from me. I’m really looking into my Malk deck to see how I can get it to perform better, maybe switch out the Calls for Grooming the Protege? That would mean fewer actions to take with big vamps and potentially more bleeds and votes, which is where my effort should be.

    I’m not sure why Jeff looked at my deck and advised me to run it at the same table, my fault for not looking though. We should organize some sort of carpool out to Castro Valley.

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