Got a good group of five for some V to the TES earlier today. First chance for me to bust out the new collection – see this month’s post on May 6th for more info on the experiment.
Ian (!Trem BB) -> Eric (AAA) -> Brandon (borrowed Kiasyd SB) -> Andy (Cavalier Malks) -> Gerentt (Shattering Crescendo/Tourette’s)
I drop Tension turn one. Eric moves 2 blood to Alexandra. Kiasyd pop up. Sean Rycek is joined by Lutz. Daughters appear. Daughters get Ossian, which I let go as I find it interesting to see whether it will come back to burn me later.
I block Muse and put out Weather Control and Theft, intimidating Ossian for much of the game. I block Muse later, who is only a Minor Irritation to Janine(!!), hunting because I could. What I don’t do is find much in the way of bleed cards, only getting a Threatsed bleed from Frondator through before Alexandra appears. Very slowly, Anson also appears and ends up being the bane of my existence with his silly Second Tradition nonsense.
Meanwhile, Andy is under the fearsome shadow of Dame, Isanwayen, and Omme. Gerentt has to worry about either Lutz getting offensive or the Kiasyd ripping through. Tourette’s Voices get played or threatened.
Eric puts Toreador Grand Ball out to make Alexandra less blockable. But, Anson is not so free to act. I do Walk of Flame Alexandra at some point, but she doesn’t suffer much and comes back right away. Gerentt does finally do actions forward, torping my Frondator and depleting my Paul Cordwood with Crescendoes. Andy’s fortunes improve dramatically as the Kiasyd keep failing to kill him and Eric’s Ancient Influence succeeds. Tryphosa makes an appearance, taking Andy to 4 pool. Gerentt taps out to play Carlton, going to 2 pool. Andy kills him after one of Eric’s votes takes him to 1 and Andy Restructures away Carlton. I bounce Lutz bleeding who unhelpfully runs into Anson’s domain.
I lunge at Eric, but it becomes a mess as he has Second Tradition, Eyes of Argus, Telepathic Misdirection to screw up my math. Actually, it was kind of annoying to draw two Governs in the middle of my lunge as they didn’t help at that point and I would have maybe done better if I knew I would be able to Govern four times in the turn. Probably wouldn’t have mattered. Eric got Brandon, somehow finishing things off with a bleed of 2 at one stealth right as 2 hours was up. I was at 1 pool when we stopped.
My timing was just off. I kept expecting Majesty from my prey and only recall one, though how that mattered isn’t so clear. Never drawing a Harass was kind of annoying but would have not been good if Eric did play more Majestys. I didn’t use Paul’s ability much, which was not a good sign since it’s so good, but then, people didn’t want to fight me. I did end up taking as much damage from Tension as my prey did. In many ways, a very normal game.
Eric (fast War Ghoul) -> Gerentt (Lasombra w/ Pre) -> Andy (Cybele Great Beast) -> Ian (!Malk SB) -> Brandon (!Salubri Brothers)
As I had two Blood Dolls in my opening hand, I put Fabrizia in play on turn one, figuring there was a good chance I could hunt farm for a while. In fact, she spent almost the entire game hunting back to 4 blood. Persephone was my second vampire only because she was the only one with Auspex.
Brandon was a threat to rush, so I tried to ignore him, which led to amassing a horde of dorks. Eric got a War Ghoul out but struggled in a lot of other ways, though he did get to Camera Phone bleed a decent number of times. Gerentt went crazy with voting and Governing early to achieve Moncada, Polonia, and Gratiano with tons of pool. Even when Brandon crosstable rushed Gratiano and ate him, another just came up and there was still much pool. Andy bloated lots but didn’t draw The Great Beast. He did try Entrancement on the War Ghoul and I sadly had to use my Great Beast stopping DI on Entrancement.
Due to a lack of bounce, I got bled a bunch by Cybele but usually had 15+ pool due to Blood Doll farming. Starting in on using Kindred Spirits didn’t hurt. Though Isabel de Leon and Adonai both had the power of the big eye in front of me, there was quite the lack of bouncing. When Brandon went to 4 pool for another guy, I ousted him. War Ghoul came for Persephone and ran into White Lilly’s Saturday Night Special + Deny(al) of Trap. I oust Eric with Persephone, Fabrizia, White Lilly, Bloodfeud, and General Perfidio out. Persephone gets Banished. I Pentex Polonia because I didn’t expect to get Gerentt and Andy was low on pool and end up ousting Gerentt. I bleed Andy out.
Does getting 5 VPs in every game I’ve ever played with my experiment’s !Malk SB deck say anything about this experiment? Nah, I’m always an advocate for questioning results based on insufficient sample sizes; in this case, I had a good seating and things played out well for how I wanted to play the game. Of course, I did already think this deck, of the three I’ve built out of this card pool of about 750 cards, was the best. Far more useful to see what can be done with a less efficient archetype to try to get at the issue of whether decks of sufficient viability are possible with such a small card pool to work with.
While this experiment is hardly vigorous in the scientific method, I do feel that it’s unnecessary to take into account how much better I am at playing stealth bleed than other archetypes and how much experience I have with decks like the second deck. It’s not a question as to whether a newb will be competitive and interested with this card pool but whether a newb could be competitive and interested with this card pool.
Mostly addressed being competitive to this point, talk a bit about being interested. I have three decks. The third, which I haven’t played yet, may not be viable. Still, the decks do largely different things, which should satisfy some desire for variety. The !Trem deck was more interesting (of course) than the !Malk deck; I will probably get bored with it quickly, but, then, I get bored with almost all of my decks after one or two plays; it doesn’t seem too boring at this point. What I should try is to see whether I can cobble together most of a fourth deck that isn’t some well known archetype or, at least, doesn’t use the crutch of relying heavily upon one of the Third Edition precons. This will help give me a better idea on what variety is really possible at this level of cards.