I got to thinking about what disciplines I’ve won tournament wins and which I haven’t, again. But, that’s really a better topic for after some more tournaments since it wasn’t that long ago (in “tournament time”) … well, actually, it was over three years ago I posted this. The main problem with doing another look is that I don’t think anything has changed.
So, as unexciting as that is as a topic, I got to thinking about Dementation. I feel bad about not doing more things with Dementation. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t want people to do interesting things with Dementation. Where Dominate’s “other” cards include things like Graverobbing (free), Obedience (free), Mind Rape (not free but not bad), Chain of Command (possibly free), Hall of Hades’ Court (kind of silly), Mesmerize (free), Dementation’s “other” cards include the likes of: Mind of a Child (3 blood), Mind of a Killer (incredibly confusing), Prison of the Mind (3 blood), Sleep of Reason (2 blood), and some pretty weak effects.
Some like Blessing of Chaos, so I’ll give it a pass, even though every time I’ve tried to run it in a deck, I just ended up discarding it or getting ousted before I could discard it. Lunatic Eruption is something I’ve had success with. And, Dementation has far fewer cards than Dominate, as well as being a far less common discipline.
Still, Dementation is a perfect example of the tyranny of
good great cards. Kindred Spirits, Madman’s Quill, cardless bleed with mods, or, to a lesser extent, The Call all drive out inferior plays. Being of an economics background, where you get Gresham’s Law, the “bad money drives out good” theory, I always enjoyed using the phrase “good cards squeeze out bad” to explain why so many CCG cards never see play or only see play in the most limited (and often poorly conceived) cases.
I do have some tech I want to try at some point, but we have such a limited tournament schedule that getting around to everything takes so darn long. In the meantime, there are ideas that should be pursued just in the name of variety and discovery, no matter how discouraging they seem in the face of “Why don’t I just bleed?”
For one thing Dive into Madness is a bleed play, for another, the sort of decks I can think of where I’d want to try something effective are not the sort of decks I’m all that enthralled with playing, so while I’ve not done much with Dive, I doubt I’ll try very hard.
With more ways to untap, such as Danse Macabre, The Haunting and Total Insanity might suck less, but I tried multiple times to do something with these, and they … sucked. Even worse, they sucked in a really tedious, let’s all hate this game, kind of way.
How many Tremere have Dementation?
I see. I see. I see nothing.
This is important. For most, I figure they will realize why, but who knows what others think? Obviously, paying 3 blood for a card is rather exorbitant. Sometimes, like The Kiss of Ra, you understand the cost. Sometimes, like Burning Wrath, you are probably playing a bad card that seems worth it. Sometimes, you can easily recoup the cost, like Awe for 3 into Voter Cap. Dementators are not a bunch known for great blood gain, though if you try hard enough and make your deck suck enough at winning, any deck can gain copious amounts of blood.
A common fix to costly cards is to play a Tremere. Only need one to Magic of the Smith out The Ankara Citadel. I did have a rather ridiculous Dragos deck that ran Dementation and Ankara. It had nutpuncheritis.
Now, we do have Winchester Mansion to Magic out to prevent some really sketchy plays, like skill cards or Clan Impersonation. Anyway, why so much focus on Ankara? Mind of a Child and Prison of the Mind are two cards that beg to be played for half, rounded down, cost.
Mind of a Child has been around forever. It’s awful. It’s annoying, but what does it have to do with winning? Again, there are more ways to untap in the game, even if we just look at more vampires with Fortitude. Cardano has been around forever, but Gerald Windham is way cooler. Either way, could also do things like run Restoration or Aaron’s Feeding Razor to recoup blood, nevermind Perfectionist. Una is, of course, a natural untapping machine, so the focus here would be to gain blood to avoid the dreaded Clan Impersonation plan. Then, Zillah’s Tears, Danse Macabre, Black Hand, etc. can all help !Malks with untapping to not waste actions on losing plays, with The Hungry Coyote helping with costs.
Same could be said for any expensive card, like the next one I’ll talk about, so why care about Mind of a Child? Because if you can get enough of them out fast enough, you can murder decks. What sort of decks? Not really sure, but I’d be inclined to believe that high cap decks would be the best victims since you can only turn so many vampires into children. Even then, is this worthwhile? Isn’t this still a make someone lose but not win play? Probably. A lot of setup to justify the cost with a matchup based result that may just mess up a table, where Dementation already has plays to counter other decks, like Touch of Clarity and Wrong and Crosswise.
Prison of the Mind has not been around forever. Besides being a way to nuke Imbued, if an unreliable one as React with Conviction kills it, the superior is never going away, unlike Mind of a Child being something that also requires defending. At 1 blood, the inferior is hot. The superior is always mean, if also not something that helps with winning the same way Kindred Spirits helps with winning, maybe not helping at all. Even at 2 blood (Perfectionist?), the inferior is akin to Set’s Curse, which I think is entirely playable, though Serpentis
is was actually far more of a control discipline than Dementation.
Giving -Stealth and -Intercept isn’t what we would call synergistic, but it does mean that it’s likely to annoy every victim. But, to what end? Why play defensive Dementation? Minus intercept is an offensive play against Bowl-ers and whoever, but so is another stealth card. Many a Dementation deck is happy to have stealth bleed at the table, so the -Stealth is more of an … antiannoying play? Not like vote decks are necessarily going to be stopped that hard – stealth vote won’t care much unless you are a wall and nonstealth vote should have enough dudes without the card to do their thing. Stops casual hunting, which is so totally worth an action and 3 blood that isn’t “bleed for 2 and gain a pool”. Just not sure how much it will matter, but allies are annoying enough to run some odd plays.
Mind of a Killer may be confusing, but confusing cards have been known to be far better than people think. This is, at least, free, so why not? I wouldn’t be inclined to play it on my own guys, even though that’s an option, but like Lunatic Eruption, it might just be a nice disruptive effect that actually helps with winning, if not as much as bleeding would. The two could be combined, but that’s not actually a combo, since the way the card reads, the burn clause from combat would not trigger the damage. Sure, that makes it more of an “I play on my dudes” play, but how often do I want to go to so much effort just to get +1 Strength for an action? Better seemingly is just to Lunatic one dude and Killer a different dude to encourage excessive amounts of combat, though that can also be achieved with just more Lunatic Eruptions. Though(!), I’ve found that casual Eruptions are better than dedicated Eruptions.
Sleep of Reason is one of those things that I think sounds far better than it is at first blush. Sleep of Reason is also one of those things that I think takes far too much effort to build around. Yet, it’s really not that hard a card to play and has a powerful effect. It’s one of those toolbox plays I can see, even in a nontoolboxy deck, just because it will be more likely to be relevant than casual Graverobbing is. Play a couple of Storage Annexes and a couple of these and randomly torp people out of nowhere. Gee, that sounds a lot like Coma. Except, everyone knows about Coma, Coma costs more, Coma often means you are sending yourself to torpor, Coma is far less likely to land (dodge, combat ends, Immortal Grapple, maneuver), and I’ve just explained why Coma sucks (outside of Dragos, The Eye of Hazimel decks, yeah).
While the play of Sleep can be critical, the threat of it, like say ditching The Kiss of Ra or Walk of Flame or Hidden Lurker early, might be worth enough to justify it when it is a dead draw. Discard Sleep, bleed like a Dementator, watch someone not Villein/Blood Doll down to 1.
Of course, when playing questionable tactics/strategies, one must be disciplined. A deck full of Killers, Eruptions, Sleeps, et al is going to cripple someone in all likelihood and lose like crazy. I’ve seen a Mind of a Child deck, and it performed vastly better when all it did was discard them and bleed. Four to six slots is more along the lines of what I can see for a deck even built with some of these cards in mind. Otherwise, sacrificing too many slots on good stuff plays and plays that do something VPwise.