3/4 Berkeley Tourney

Brandon and I drive up, get to Berkeley before 10AM, find a good parking place, and are left wondering what to do about food.  We wander around a bit and settle on a breakfast/lunch coffee/tea place.  Run into Ian and his friend while eating, then head over to Games of Berkeley.

I repeatedly made the comment about how I was amazed that more people weren’t familiar with Games of Berkeley’s basement.  We used to run Babylon 5 tournaments down there over a decade ago.  A lot about the store was the same, but the downstairs was a lot better.  It was better lit, there were more gaming areas, so it felt less like a dungeon with many employee only exits, it might have smelled better than back in the day.  Still little air flow, so it got warm and stuffy.

Anyway, folks tried to contact everyone under the Sun to get to a tenth player since, as everyone knows, the only prize that actually matters in V:TES tournaments is the TWDA.  Didn’t work.  I blame East Bay people.  I used to care more about this sort of thing.  Another sign of how much less gravitas I put on the game is that it didn’t really bother me.

Round 1

Eric (Ayo Igoli & Ishtarri) -> Kenneth (Shamblers) -> Ian L. (Ezmerelda 1st Tradition) -> Alex CH (Tzimisce wall)

This was horrid seating for me, knowing very well that Alex’s not new deck was just going to be an endless succession of combat cards supported by easily being able to block my actions.  Meanwhile, if Kenneth went forward with Shamblers, the two combat cards in my deck weren’t going to stop me from being minionless.

What was funny was that my Pushing the Limit was in my opening hand.  Combined with no one yet having seen the deck, it was unclear what the deck did.  I Info Highway first turn, put 5 on Ezmerelda.  Turn two, Rake.  I couldn’t really decide who I wanted out first.  Rake was the best disguise but less useful than either Gilbert Duane who was the only crypt option for my primary discipline – Obfuscate – or Ezmerelda who could be Villeined early.

Alex and I had virtually no interaction in the game.  I didn’t want to take easily blocked actions, so usually acted only when Gilbert could stealth me.  What little bleeding I did was bounced.  My votes kept getting discarded, though I did Banish Le Dinh Tho.  His first two discards were On the Qui Vive and Pushing the Limit.  Eric didn’t have a whole lot of impact in the game, getting largely beaten up by Alex and losing a Famous Ayo Igoli to Breath of the Dragon, which made no sense to me.

If I had to say why I’ve had more success than a lot of other locals, it would mostly be due to my interest in playing until the game is over.  Another sign of fewer gravitasons in my sphere of influence is that I really stopped caring about this game.  Kenneth Famed me and rather than tap Dreams before entering combat with a Shambler, I let the Shambler come for Gilbert and drop him.  Not that it really mattered.  The game was inevitably between Alex and Kenneth and it was all a matter of how the combats went between them.

Round 2

Ian T. (Armin Brenner Coalition) -> Lev (Barrenness) -> Alex O. (Nahum PRE anarch) -> Ian L.

Much chagrin by Ian T. over Lev’s deck as Barrenness shuts down his deck’s babymaking and nukes the weenies.  Funny thing was that Scourge of the Enochians came down early and it only ever blew up one of Ian’s dorks.

More screwed was Alex.  He tried Pentex Subversion on The unnamed, but I burned it as it was way too early.  The unnamed quickly got Enkil Cog and double bled a lot, which Alex had limited defense against, relying more on Scobax for bleed reduction than Auspex for good bleed defense.

Armin did Banish The unnamed, which helped a little.  Some of my cool plays got killed with Evil Eye.  But, I essentially had no predator, so I amassed Princes and blew up Ezmerelda a few times.  I played a fairly early First Tradition, which mostly hurt Alex, but it still seemed okay.  I later dropped multiple First Traditions to lock Ian and Lev out of the game and had enough offense to finish Lev off, though it was disturbingly close.

The five player timed out as the first round five player timed out.

Finals

Ian T. and Kenneth were fourth and fifth.  Brandon chose to sit downstream of Kenneth.  I didn’t want anything to do with either Kenneth or Brandon, but I’d rather be upstream of Kenneth and didn’t fear being downstream of Ian, so I inserted between Ian and Kenneth.  Alex liked how impotent my deck was offensively and wanted to be away from Brandon and sat between Kenneth and me, though I would have also considered being between the two Ians as he would have been away from both other combat decks and didn’t really have anything to fear from either of us.

Ian T. -> Ian L. -> Alex CH -> Kenneth -> Brandon (ANI rush)

My first two turns I discard Fear of Mekhet.  Therefore, I cannot lose if you define losing as not discarding two Fear of Mekhet on one’s first two turns.

Ian T. did not have a good game.  His first vampire was a !Gangrel with inferior Presence, so no superior Enchant Kindred, no Unexpected Coalition, only one vote.  All of my vampires have 2 votes.  I brought out Volker on turn 2 and Greger on turn 4, not having any acceleration to bring out Ezmerelda for a few turns after.

While the best of the games, if not the best for me, there still wasn’t a whole lot going on.  Brandon couldn’t care less about Shamblers, which he could nuke at will.  Ian had little to do that mattered as I didn’t feel much threatened.  Alex had the most meaningful interaction for much of the game.

Alex managed to get low on pool as most of his masters got Washed away by Kenneth and me.  I was doing okay with Papillon to restore my guys who got emptied, such as Ezmerelda who got hit for nine in one combat by Velya and Rotschrecked another time.  I untapped with an empty Ezmerelda and considered whether to pop her or whether to lunge.  I figured lunging made more sense since there was so little chance of my deck getting through Alex’s normally.

I fail.  I fail a couple of other times as well, having bleeds of three from Greger, his Camera Phone, and his Old Friends getting bounced.  Meanwhile, Brandon takes out Ian with Fame and bleeds, which tends to happen when you have no predator.  I suppose I should mention that I couldn’t pass votes much of the time as I allowed Ian to get Cardinal Benediction off and Alex had Meshenka and Velya, so Ian going out was interesting to me.  Brandon going out would have been better, in theory, removing Narrow Minds from play and giving Kenneth the ability to do stuff forward.

Instead, time limit drew near and Brandon finally destroyed my board and bled me out.

Oh well.  I do have a few things to say about my deck.

Deck Name:   110626  Ezmerelda Tradition
Created By:  Ezmerelda

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 23, Max: 44, Avg: 8.25)
———————————————-
1  Calebros                           ANI obf pot    5  Nosferatu
5  Ezmerelda                          ANI CHI dom FOR PRE tha11 Ravnos
1  Gilbert Duane                      AUS DOM OBF    7  Malkavian
1  Greger Anderssen                   AUS dom OBF pro7  Malkavian
1  Murat                              OBF POT ser    7  Nosferatu
1  Nikolaus Vermeulen                 ani for obf POT7  Nosferatu
1  Rake                               aus cel pot PRE6  Brujah
1  Volker                             CEL pot        5  Brujah

Library: (75 cards)
——————-
Master (21 cards)
3  Dreams of the Sphinx
2  Fear of Mekhet
1  Giant`s Blood
1  Heidelberg Castle, Germany
2  Information Highway
1  Papillon
7  Villein
4  Wash

Action Modifier (16 cards)
3  Change of Target
6  Cloak the Gathering
1  Forgotten Labyrinth
3  Old Friends
3  Veil the Legions

Political Action (15 cards)
3  Banishment
1  Domain Challenge
7  First Tradition: The Masquerade, The
3  Kine Resources Contested
1  Neonate Breach

Reaction (13 cards)
6  Deflection
2  On the Qui Vive
5  Second Tradition: Domain, The

Combat (2 cards)
1  Dodge
1  Pushing the Limit

Ally (2 cards)
1  Carlton Van Wyk (Hunter)
1  Mylan Horseed (Goblin)

Equipment (2 cards)
2  Camera Phone

Combo (4 cards)
4  Swallowed by the Night

First, I never played a KRC all day.  The deck is probably offense shy, anyway, since I need to violate people while First Tradition is in play, but it’s no wonder that I felt like I couldn’t really hurt folks (ignoring the whole wall deck as prey two rounds thing).

Second, I still don’t have a great idea how to use First Tradition in this deck.  In two games, I didn’t even try putting it into play, fearing that it only helped others more than me.  Yet, those two games were the two games I lost.  And, the deck chokes horribly if it just discards them.

Third, there was a third thing, but I forgot.  I guess I could say that the crypt could be less silly as the Brujahs’ main value seemed to be in confusing people rather than causing pool loss.

Lack of Parity Shifts?  That was intentional.  I considered at the last minute putting some into this deck I designed in June, but then, I remembered how boring Parity Shift is.

Deck does need changing.  If it doesn’t play First Tradition, it fails conceptually/strategically, and it’s not very good at playing First Tradition.  Not that I’m much of a fan of First Tradition since the whole point of the card is to limit interaction – that may be good, but it’s antifun.

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