How does one prove deck quality in V:TES?
By winning? But, say you play six tournaments and win once. Is the deck that plays one tournament and wins better?
The problem is solved in CCGs where vast quantities of tournaments are played to where you (generally) overcome small sample size problems. Not many CCGs have the volume.
Maybe in a six-month span, V:TES generates enough events that at least a few things can be determined. Imbued were obviously broken – take a look at results here from March 2007 through the end of the year. As a percentage of wins and in terms of quality of wins (based on tournament size), Imbued dominated.
Or, did they? If I were to pinpoint the most overlooked factor in determining what is good and what isn’t in V:TES, it would be looking at what lost. Unfortunately, we really have no idea what loses. Where Magic can support a system where every matchup in a tournament is recorded, we don’t have a list of all of the table results for every tournament or, pretty much, even a single tournament in most cases.
Personal results should be meaningless. Nevermind that those who play in 30, 40, 50, 75, 100 player tournaments have experiences I’ve had less than a handful of times. My entire tournament career is a small sample size with huge biases in player skill and player interests. Though, I will point out, as an arguing point, that I’ve lost every tournament I’ve ever played where I was running weenie Dominate to go with all of the “I’ve won every tournament I’ve ever played playing …[junk]…” statements.
Revisiting the issue of whether it’s possible to determine or credit deck quality in this game comes, unsurprisingly, right after we had a tournament. It’s quite amusing. We’ve had what I consider the most successful tournament season in the region ever in the past month or so. Sure, storyline seasons saw more total participants, but from a competitive standpoint, we’ve had better than a qualifier weekend’s worth of events spread out to a degree that shows some stability.
Anyway, here is a deck I did not play:
September 3, 2011
3R + F
Konstantin Prischepa’s Tournament Winning Deck
Crypt (12 cards; Capacity min=3 max=6 avg=4.5)
2x Angela Preston 5 for PRE MEL Daughter of Cacophony:2
2x Céleste, The Voice of a Secret 3 pre mel Daughter of Cacophony:2
2x Delilah Monroe 4 for pre MEL Daughter of Cacophony:2
2x Gaël Pilet 6 chi pre FOR MEL Daughter of Cacophony:2
2x Muse 3 ani for mel Daughter of Cacophony:2
2x Yseult 6 FOR MEL PRE Daughter of Cacophony:3
Library (78 cards)
1x Command Performance
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Elder Library
1x Fear of Mekhet
4x Hanging Fermata
1x Paris Opera House
1x Protected Resources
4x Concert Tour
6x Enchant Kindred
6x Member of the Entourage
Action Modifier (18)
4x Freak Drive
8x Missing Voice, The
2x Phantom Speaker
4x Skin of Steel
The relevance of this deck should become clearer by posting the deck I did play. Ta da:
Deck Name: 110910 Harm-on-ye v2
Created By: Angela Preston
Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 4, Max: 23, Avg: 3.5)
4 Anarch Convert none 1 Caitiff
2 Angela Preston for MEL PRE 5 Daughters of Cacophony
1 Celeste mel pre 3 Daughters of Cacophony
1 Delilah Monroe for MEL pre 4 Daughters of Cacophony
1 Gael Pilet chi FOR MEL pre6 Daughters of Cacophony
1 Muse ani for mel 3 Daughters of Cacophony
2 Yseult FOR MEL PRE 6 Daughters of Cacophony
Library: (80 cards)
Master (14 cards)
1 Bastille Opera House
1 Command Performance
1 Coven, The
1 Hanging Fermata
3 Life in the City
1 Paris Opera House
4 Wider View
Action (14 cards)
Action Modifier (32 cards)
4 Echo of Harmonies
10 Freak Drive
5 Missing Voice, The
4 Siren`s Lure
4 Voter Captivation
Political Action (9 cards)
7 Consanguineous Boon
1 Free States Rant
1 Lily Prelude
Combat (7 cards)
1 Toreador`s Bane
2 Zip Gun
Combo (4 cards)
Is one deck better than the other? I have no frickin’ clue. It’s easy to say that one deck won and my deck wasn’t that deck. In fact, I gained .5 VPs over two rounds. One could read the tournament report from the Russian event like I did (to the extent that I could have the page translated to English), but I’m still not at all clear how the first deck was so successful beside that it didn’t have either of the stealth bleed decks behind it in the finals.
It could easily be that Konstantin is a better player than I am. Going off on a tangent, I’ve noticed that I come away from tournaments feeling like I haven’t played much, that I don’t have much to talk about. I realized that a likely reason for this is that I used to be in finals frequently and there’s no guarantee that I’ll be playing pickup games when the finals of events are occurring these days.
My deck … before I attempt some analysis, I’d note that I took a deck I wrote up almost exactly a year ago – 9/12/10 – and modified it some after goldfishing it once and realizing a lot of vote action modifiers aren’t a good idea when you don’t draw any votes. Plus, I cut it from 90 to 80.
My deck is not the sort of deck I like to play. For me, it’s awfully high risk and inflexible. For a whole lot of other people, this might seem hilarious as it’s way less high risk and way more flexible than most Choir decks. I could play Konstantin’s deck, but I could never build Konstantin’s deck.
I’ve played maybe four or so different Choir builds. The general problem of Daughters being unable to defend themselves against pool loss, only made worse when you are forced to fill your deck with awful cards like Choir, is one I’m constantly trying to address. Based on yesterday’s results, I’m tired of using vote bloat. People do not respect the fact that you must bloat in decks like this or you will be easily ousted. It’s also rather boring to Con Boon over and over again. What was interesting was that I lowballed Choirs so much in my final build that I wasn’t bored with Choir for the first time ever. I actually hoped to draw Choirs and was entertained when I played them.
Besides dropping the vote angle and likely going with Forestal bounce, I would not run the Anarch Converts as Wider View makes them redundant and Wider View is filtering with pool gain while Convert is filtering with pool loss. Sure, I dodge Anarch Revolts, but that’s not a major problem these days, and I don’t really have the combat defense to survive anarch removal attempts, anyway.
Removing the vote angle so changes the deck that it’s not that clear how it would look or what sort of vote defense plays I’d consider. One thing I have to consider is how much evasion to run. I keep ending up discarding Siren’s Lure and The Missing Voice even though they are tactically crucial. As I say to people, getting actions through with Daughters is easy, but at what cost of jamming on evasion? Of course, all problems are solved with Dreams and The Barrens, which may be another reason my game has fallen off, though …
Getting back to the problems of determining deck quality, player skill has a huge impact on results. Even if you believe deck strength is more important than I do, I believe it’s an easier argument that player skill affects results than deck quality. Which brings me to my skill. As I said, I was in finals far more back in the day. What can that be attributed to? Smaller events might have something to do with that. Only need about 2 VPs to get into the finals of a 10-12 player event. But, recent discussion about how I don’t deal or don’t try to really talk at all to improve my positions in games leads me to believe that my skill has fallen off significantly because I no longer try (to a meaningful degree) to influence games in my favor with politics or table talk.
Sure, the less table politics influence play, the more deck strength will. My argument on the irrelevancy of deck strength, assuming a minimum threshold of viability, is because any game can be talked to victory, overriding the power of card play. It’s not because deck strength is meaningless in a vacuum.
Anyway, here’s how my day went:
Rodney (Dementation bleed) -> Ian (Harm-On-Ye) -> Steve (Imbued) -> Brandyn (Aching Beauty)
Steve’s V:TES goal seems to be to destroy vampires and put lots of cards in play. Rodney was amazingly ineffectual, though his position wasn’t that bad, so at least I didn’t have a lot to worry about from that side. On the other, though, I didn’t realize until too late that Steve never intended on trying to win and simply wanted to beat up vampires, starting with mine.
I quickly learned that my deck chokes on voting. Not terribly bad in some respects because stealth bleed behind me can only be survived with my votes, but it meant I got off to a slow start. Normally, that would be fine and I’d just wait to lunge, but Steve wanted my guys dead even when all I was doing was gaining pool and was perfectly willing to let Brandyn do whatever he wanted, so I was in the mindframe to play for 1 VP anyway. By the way, 16 player tournament meant all four-player tables and a decent chance of needing a GW to make the finals.
I ended up with four vampires in torpor, but I didn’t feel like I was going to get ousted before time was called, leaving Rodney as the only one to fall. I also thought I had a reasonable chance of ousting my prey if he “tapped out” (he had Vigilances) by taking the leave torpor action with Delilah with three blood, untapping with Command Performance, gaining blood with magic, Freak Driving for Choir and Harmony. Might have taken two turns as I had two Life in the City in hand and earlier had played The Coven without using it, though it went when Rodney went.
Did the game bother me? Not really. A lot of things did make some sense. Steve beating down my vampires made some sense. Brandyn never rescuing made sense. Rodney going forward made sense. The game was fairly pointless, but I did stuff and had chances. You can’t legislate against bad play and whose bad play was really at fault? Could argue that I let things happen by not pointing out that Brandyn was free to do what he wanted until so late that the game was going to time out.
Joel (Clown Car) -> Sean (Lasombra bleed) -> Ian -> Gerentt (Newjah)
I never tried blocking the Lasombra bleeds. Talley Govern. Gratiano. Guess I’ll just keep Con Booning and playing Bribes/Voter Cap. I did call one for Abominations to make sure I could cycle a Cap. I choked horribly on my bloat early, even discarding one of the three Con Boons in my opening hand. That was okay, I ended up calling seven or eight with Echo of Harmonies help.
I thought it was hilarious that both my prey and my predator talked about my being able to just “Choir my prey out”. One turn, I played a Choir that got blocked – it was the only one in hand – and ended up bleeding for as much damage as I could have done if I had gotten Choirs through. Another turn, I Choired for a mighty 2 pool damage. Late in the game I Harmonyed for 3. I can take solace in the fear I generate when I’m being completely ineffectual. Gerentt didn’t even bother bringing out a third vampire because I was such a threat. Joel got Sean just in time to prevent my being ousted on Sean’s turn. Didn’t really matter. I misplayed by bringing out an Anarch Convert rather than blowing a Wider View because I forgot all of the Tumnimoses had superior Chimerstry and it was easy to stealth by this “key” blocker. Eventually, Joel swept.
Rather than go into too much detail, I’ll simply say that Shattering the Gates is pretty easy when no one cares if you get counters. I fell a Sense the Sin short of ousting my prey which would have meant two VPs and 12 precious pool, and, then, I died never bringing out anyone besides merged Nergal. Failsafe getting Suddened by my predator may or may not have mattered, but it was funny how important it is to the South Bay group that I not be allowed to play Failsafes.
Good times, but I should probably either get more pickups in or try to get into the finals to have more to talk about after tournaments.