More Than A Blood Doll

I think I have an idea why I had more than the usual number of deck ideas at the end of last week.  Between playing some tournaments the weekend before and setting aside my experiments for a moment, I felt free to explore ideas, new or otherwise.

So, Friday, I wrote up three decks, all group 5/6 bloodlines because I like bloodlines and I like limitations on building decks and I like playing cards I haven’t played before.  Then, Saturday, I wrote up five more decks.

I’ve grown tired of complaining.  Not to say I won’t do it, but I used to complain about CCGs a lot.  There have cropped up a fair number of threads on vekn.net about individual cards, whether to fix them or not, how to fix them, etc.  I’ve not chimed in all that much.

Yet, something about these decks got me agitated.

How many of the decks do you think, of the eight, have Lilith’s Blessing in them?

How many Villein?

In general, I’m anti-staple.  In my mind, the fewer required cards, the more deck diversity.  On the other hand, there is something to not having too much diversity, and it makes things a lot easier when there are staples to pump out decks.

V:TES has always had staples.  Kids today may look down upon it, but Wake With Evening’s Freshness was all we had for generic wake effects until Sabbat.  Even after Forced Awakening, I survived almost entirely on WWEF.  Blood Doll, of course, with Minion Tap being a closeish substitute and Tribute to the Master being a distant substitute.  Each discipline has staples.  Etc.

Vessel produced arguments about Blood Doll’s use, now, largely irrelevant.  On the Qui Vive is just better than WWEF, though I’ve started putting Wakes back into decks as I do get tired of OtQV’s drawback for certain decks.  But, I’m rambling.

Seven and five.  Those are the number of decks, of the eight I wrote up on July 6th and 7th, that run, respectively, Lilith’s Blessing and Villein.

I can almost say that LB + Villein is the new Blood Doll, except five of those decks also run Blood Doll.  Now, at a certain point, I think I just got tired of putting LB and Villein in decks, which is why one deck has neither and why a couple of the decks may run Blood Doll instead of Villein.

Given that I’ve been okay with doing crazy stuff like put Blood Dolls (or Minion Taps) in “every” deck and putting The Barrens and/or Dreams, when serious about a deck, in “every” deck and seemingly putting Information Highway in every deck and putting wakes in every deck that played other reaction cards and putting bounce in every deck with Dominate and/or AUSPEX, I’m not sure what is so bothersome about the idea that LB + Villein is a staple play.

Maybe it’s due to hating unique promos – LB shouldn’t exist.  Maybe it’s due to hating how Villein used to hose Minion Tap while being better than Minion Tap, an arguably overpowered card, the vast majority of the time.

Or, maybe it’s because I tend to run five Blood Dolls in decks that rely on Blood Doll for moving counters around, where I typically run more Villeins and some number of LBs, eating more slots on masters when the competition for masters has only gotten more fierce.

Or, maybe it’s because I’m still irritated at Villein’s availability, namely that I should have had a lot more than I have.  Villein’s relative scarcity impacts how many decks I have built at a given moment.

Or, maybe it’s that LB + Villein is so much more powerful than old school, rely on Blood Doll for some pool gain, days.  LB means netting counters.  That’s obvious.  Even without Villein, it’s incredibly efficient, synergizing well with Blood Doll and numerous other ways to empty vampires.  One copy is often going to result in six or nine more counters, minus the one for the cost of the card, minus the opportunity cost of not playing another master, but plus the skill card searching benefit, which is relevant to quite a few of my decks.

I detest tedium.  What I crave out of games is so often variety.  Boardgames can be interesting for a while, maybe up to 20 plays, but eventually run into a dearth of variety for me.  CCGs are most perfectly excellente for their vast variety, in certain cases, essentially infinite variety.

So, I get annoyed when “my game” (CCGs overall) loses variety.  It’s why I occasionally feel that Dominate is oppressive in V:TES.  And, it’s why I’m getting tired of LB + Villein or just LB by itself.  Sure, I hamstring myself all of the time with V:TES deck construction, so I can just ignore them.

But, there’s something Dominate and LB have in common that other plays that I do ignore on a regular basis – Second Tradition, Parity Shift, etc. – lack.  I enjoy playing Dominate cards.  I enjoy getting three blood, whether as part of putting vampires into play for free or more subtlely as a recovery mechanic.  I enjoy these things, but I want to enjoy other things as much.  It’s becoming hard to moderate the use of LB.

Though, I never found Blood Doll offensive.  Well, not in practice.  In concept, it’s kind of offensive for being way too good and generic.  WWEF would fall into the same camp of just being part of the game, like Meditation in Babylon 5 or Lucky Find in Wheel of Time or Mantra of Power in Ultimate Combat!.

I was reluctant to post about Lilith’s Blessing and Villein bothering me because a post ranting about cards really doesn’t do any sort of service.  I try to actually post content that might be of use to someone besides myself.  And, yet, I never found anything else to write about in this post, contrary to my intention.

I could say something about these eight decks beyond that some are bloodlines decks.  I could say something about where ideas come from.  I could say that I was thinking about writing something about the role of Primogen in the game, but I’ve basically bitched for a 1000 words, so maybe tomorrow or the weekend I’ll be inspired to write about something else.

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4 Responses to More Than A Blood Doll

  1. It’s interesting that you bring up Primogen (briefly at the end) – I’ve always felt like the 1 vote titles represent some really cool design space. There should be interesting cards that only they can play, or at least some reason that people would want to play with them (as opposed to wanting to play with the vampire, and having a one vote cherry on top). Anyways, this is a lengthy way of saying that I’m very eager to hear your ideas on the matter.

  2. Ke says:

    The scarcity of Villein may be irritating — but both Lilith’s Blessing and Villein have opened up new options in terms of decks. Yes, they can be used to bolster decks — but they also bring viability to concepts that would be too fragile without.

    As you touched on, the skill card on demand aspect of Lilith’s blessing offers loads of creative opportunities…

    I see it like this, if people feel motivated to bitch — then it’s likely due to change, most people don’t like change. I came back to VTES after these cards were introduced and was excited by the possibilities they offered (even if they were are pain to track down).

    Imagine VTES without Villein — deck-bio-diversity would be greatly reduce and VTES would be poorer for it.

    • iclee says:

      What deck is viable with Villein but not Minion Tap?

      I’m not against new cards. I’m usually in favor of them. However, new cards don’t have to be the cards that get made. Lilith’s Blessing could have given only one blood and still encourage skill card use. A different card could have been created to encourage skill card use.

      And, generically powerful cards often hurt deck diversity by removing inferior options. There are plenty of masters I don’t consider except for the oddest of decks because there are far too many elite masters. And, so forth.

      It’s like how so many people hate banning cards but seem to miss that banning a card might actually effectively unban more cards because the banned card made the other cards not worth playing.

      I think you have a good point. And, you may be right that the net gain is greater – such things are incredibly hard to determine. I just don’t see these two being desirable; actually, Wider View would fall into the same camp – card I like the effects of, that I play all of the time, that I think is too stapleish and has some other undesirable effects.

  3. Aaron Clark says:

    “…banning a card might actually effectively unban more cards…” Well said.

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