There I be, up 1-0 on the competition. Knowing that Gangrel antitribu are all of the rage (2012 wins – !Gangrel 5, Ventrue 4), I went with semi-turbo ally for the Saturday night tournament.
Robert (see below) -> Fred (!Ventrue grinder) -> Julien (Shamblers) -> Ian (!Gangrel ally) -> Matt (weenie Dom)
I have actually forgotten what Robert was playing. Winnie predator will tend to do that. Though, this game was excruciating and a strong signal of a possible flaw in my deck.
Let me start with the end, as that will give an idea how tedious this game was. Matt got 1.5 VPs. I had a dozen or more minions in play at times. I was the only who might get ousted before time and only really because of Anarch Troublemaker and because I was still trying to do pool damage to Matt when I could have just stayed all untapped and given up on anything happening.
My predator’s game ended when I merged Sebastian Goulet. He ended the game with like 27 pool, though. Fred grinded Matt some but could never seriously mount offense. Matt had 8 blockers after he gave up trying to get through Fred. There was likely some optimal way for me to use my Gregory Winter, Impundulu, Young Bloods, stolen Shambling Hordes, Ossian (got burned by Autonomic Mastery), and my bleeders – two Shadow Court Satyrs, Black Spiral Buddy with Jacob Fermor in play, Mylan. But, nope. I just couldn’t deplete Matt fast enough with Lilith’s Blessing in play to where he lost enough minions to stop blocking/bouncing.
The deck did everything it was supposed to do: Una The Summonings and Freaks for free; Sebastian owns the ally world; Jacob Fermor gives me an extra bleeder … Actually, this was a major flaw in the deck. For some reason, when building the deck, I was thinking Jacob would pump more of my allies.
Directions Dude (Jar of Skin Eaters) -> Mike C. (Tzimisce Eternal Vigilance) -> Ian -> Mike S. (DEM bleed) -> Greg (Malk intercept combat?)
Mike S. needed a lot of VPs to get into the finals, but then, so did I. He bled a lot. Jar of Skin Eaters did lead to two burned bleeders, but Mike S. swept. I wasn’t too far away from stabilizing in the endgame as he was nearly out of deck, but whatever. His Nightmares upon Nightmares forced me to cycle, my low pool forced me to avoid bringing out more annoying allies, his The Rising was tiresome. The Rising is rising to a level of requiring metagaming as my decks are atrocious at getting VPs early enough and barely hang on poolwise much of the time.
From the penthouse to the oustedhouse. All in one single day. No four tournament sweep for me. I’m so pathetic. Should just give in and play Dominate …
Directions Dude (DoC 5/6) -> Mike S. (AAA) -> Ian (Kiasyd 5/6 w/ Animalism) -> Doe Eyes (FoS bleed)
David lost a bunch of pool. David only Shattered Brandon’s Crescendo once. Brandon drew bounces early so that I only cost David more pool. David was doomed. But, not before he Kissed Alexandra with the power of Ra. Alexandra being Mike’s only dudess. Mike brought out Francois but lacked nondoomedness.
In the endgame, I too lacked nondoomedness. While I had Myrna (Villeined down to 1), The Arcadian, and the all powerful Greer Worder, Eater of Alexandra, Mike’s Reins of Power depleted a nontrivial amount of my pool, though it did make sense to call for the possible Voter Cap benefit. And, I had the power of Dominate at my beck and call, so Brandon might have poofed on my next turn. I was kind of hoping Francois would steal blood backwards or bleed into my fist of bounce, but it was not to be and Mike’s game was crap (too many turns for Alexandra, Alexandra getting eaten before she did anything).
Bumby, while David was still in the game, I played Scarlet Lore, way later than I should have. What did I choose? Folderol, of course. Just meant Brandon had to play one more card for the oust.
Ian -> Edward (Gangrel w/ Serpentis) -> Mike C. (Tzimisce bleed/’schreck) -> Directions Dude
David had no game. Scout came out. Scout fell down. Scout got eaten (yummy Scout). Scout came out. Scout fell down. Scout got eaten (tasty Scout).
Twelve player tournament, so all fours until the finals. With no predator and the fearsome power of Dominate at my beck and call, I brought out Myrna and Nitidas and worked on upgrading Nitidas’s powers to MYT-y and ANI-mated. Edward’s Nadima got ‘schrecked, so I had to save her and her wondrous Raven Spy, after bleeding to get the edge. Because he had a Camera Phone and either J.S. or Tasha on Horrock, he couldn’t really stop trying to oust his prey. Draeven proved the bomb in this matchup, in that I used him once to ignore Breath of the Dragon at inferior.
In truth, verily, Mike couldn’t do anything to me. I was on the wrong side of him to get ‘schrecked. My Hell-for-Leathers and Draeven pretty much stopped any damage my way. My Earth Swords took down two of his dudes. I played Scarlet Lore for … no, not the obvious choice of Trainer … but On the Qui Vive as I was kind of wake scarce.
I used the MYT-y power of Gremlins to bleed Edward out, brought up The Arcadian, which prompted Mike and his reduced minion force and questionable pool total to concede. Good ole Dominate.
Directions Dude scoffed at my chances of making the finals, but he forgot the power of Dominate, for Dominate is very MYT-y. I only got in as fourth seed, so didn’t have to agonize about seating. Matt chose to be between Dennis and myself. Doe Eyes chose to be Dennis’s predator. Fred chose to be Dennis’s prey. I really liked my position, knowing Dennis was toast, figuring Fred could pressure Matt and having scouted the decks enough to know that I played the bounce game against Matt.
Dennis (1/2 Celerity Princes Fourth Tradition) -> Fred (Gangrel w/ Serpentis) -> Matt (Stanislava bleeds and burns) -> Ian -> Doe Eyes
Dennis did some traditional stuff. He called an Anathema early but wouldn’t ensure that it was going backwards, so Fred DIed it. Dennis died.
I had a very slow game. I brought out The Arcadian, had bounce in hand, but no wakes. I had to keep The Arcadian untapped as I feared much bleed. I actually played things really badly with Anarch Convert and when to play Draeven, so I was even slower than I should have been. Antediluvian Awakening was a thorn in my existence as, briefly, was Dennis’s Judgment: Camarilla Segregation. I didn’t have anything for pool gain and I wasn’t cycling. I finally realized I needed to cycle. So, when Myrna joined the party, it was go time. She may have Sanguine Instructioned The Arcadian in the power of Ani-mation.
Fred almost stabilized against Brandon, getting up to three intercept on Nadima. A bit of miscommunication led to my wasting a Folderol on trying to save Fred. Too much bleed killed Fred, though, at least, I wasn’t part of the problem by bleeding into Amenophobis’s Deflections.
Matt did largely zilch. He had Abombwed and Soul Gem nuked Stanislava once and had mucho pool, but he knew I was in the mood to bounce and did bounce his one early bleed. He couldn’t draw another Abombwe, so there was no reason to ignite Stanislava anew. With just the three of us, Matt started going forward, by that I mean he bled for six, I bounced, Brandon bounced back, I bounced back, Brandon played Archon Investigation. This was a move Brandon regretted the rest of the trip.
Due to seeding, Matt couldn’t win as soon as I oust Brandon. If Matt gets me in the endgame, Brandon wins. So, dying wasn’t bad for Brandon, nevermind that he was never going to survive with my five bleed on the table and lack of having Gremlinsed all game. AI took him to 4 pool, would have been at 1 by eating the bleed. With no Stanislava for Matt since no Abombwe meant no free 11 cap, by the time Matt got new ICM up, I ousted him. Two lessons: obviously Adana is superior to Stanislava in every way as proved by the earlier tournament and this event; Dominate is MYT-y.
Two blue ribbons.
I knew what deck I would play for tournament four based on my results in three. If I won, I would play my Chill Dudes deck (tuned for added nonsuckiness). If I failed to win, I would play a much stronger deck that would give me a chance for a second tournament win – KoT Ventrue precon + six Blood Dolls.
Sadly, I won with Dominate, so I was forced to play Chill Dudes, who, having proved their ineptitude, are now and forever to be known as Catatonic Dudes.
Edward (Anson skill card) -> Matt (Obf/Pre w/ Events) -> Robert (!Toreador Undue Influence w/ votes) -> Ian (Catatonic Dudes) -> Mike C. (Horrid Form)
I was never seriously threatened by my prey. He did keep Deep Songing Edward, but I’m not sure if that was because he couldn’t target Laecanus and Aleister Crowley or he just didn’t care about catatonic minions. Robert, meanwhile, could Undue Influence me at will since my one intercept card (in the deck?) of The Mole did nothing to him. Matt did massive pool damage early and never drew into the kill, no matter how much I broke Pentex on his Stavros. Edward lost Anson with many skill cards before either Reins of Power or Golconda. I had to rescue Alexandra to keep him in the game.
I did meaningless stuff. Some day, I will learn the lesson that every deck has to be able to do significant pool damage to a defenseless prey. Technically, Mike wasn’t defenseless, I just didn’t care about his Meshenka, Dragos w/ VIC, or Underbridge Strays. That’s the advantage of being catatonic.
Robert didn’t die, which made me sad. He offered Edward a deal for some nice juicy ICM votes to pass Robert’s Reckless Agitations, which were intended to kill Matt and me, but could only kill me. If Edward didn’t vote up, Robert would transfer out since he was at 2 pool and dead to Matt’s next turn, anyway. Edward agonized, rightfully so. We were short on time, finally I got crosstabled to death, the only reliable way to oust me no matter how catatonic I may be. I left. Edward did get his 1.5 before time, so it proved the correct play for what was a tedious game. That result, since this fourth tournament was only 10, meant that Edward and Robert simply set themselves up for a coin flip for fifth place going into the finals.
Aaron (Anneke blocks) -> Edward -> Ian -> Fred (unnamed Barrenness) -> Robert
Fred Barrennessed Laecanus twice. I hardly cared. Aaron blocked some of my actions, like trying to Entrancement away Veneficti, so I didn’t do anything, thus preserving the power of catatonia. Edward lost too much pool to not be ousted. Robert tried to go forward, but it didn’t amount to much.
With Edward gone, I read the game this way: Fred and Robert should coordinate to reduce Aaron’s dominate position but they wouldn’t and Aaron would win. Fred did get Robert but lost the endgame.
In the following pickup game, I played the Ventrue precon with six Blood Dolls and was happy. Happy to bring out Mike Courtois, Jackson Asher, happy to bring out Hardestadt, happy to be the table threat, happy to have Hardestadt Archoned by my prey playing Tzimisce, happy to oust my prey with the power of a fist full of Conditionings, happy to lose to a Heaven’s Gate/Resurrection deck.
In a previous pickup game, I played the anti-hunt deck I built for Jeff and was amused by how The Final Nights was too threatening to not Delay.
There is this fast foody place within walking distance of Mike’s house. I wasn’t thrilled with their hot pastrami dip because it was overcosted for what it was, but they had a “meat burrito (ground beef)” on the menu, and I quest and quest for ground beef burritos (Taco Bell doesn’t count). While bland, with salsa, it was a vast amount of taco filling goodness in a flour tortilla.
Anyway, we played a pickup game, and I demanded with all of the power of Dominate at my beck and call to play someone else’s deck. I played Robert’s Qawiyya & Saulot deck. Lots of stuff happened that I’m too tired to write about. Basically, I got a perfect Zillah’s Valley and Repulsion draw to get set up right away and to bleed with Saulot a lot for two at stealth, only got Slaughterhoused for 10 by my predator, and bled out Eze Like Monday Morning on Sunday … wait … whatever … for the win. My main takeaway was that I had only like 10 cards in my library when I won and only got Slaughtered for 10, so the deck was moving cards at a rate incomprehensible to my play style of trying to play no cards like an evil zen robot.
The drive home sucked. We will not take Interstate 5 again, I hope. Everyone just wanted to get home and crash. Other than the drive back being endless, it was quite the pleasant trip and one we should try to do again.
Great for Courtlyoil to put us up for the weekend, for Matt and Robert to give driving directions pretty much along the lines of “Follow that car. Follow that white car.”, for Matt to drive and provide directions to his secret parking place that crosses international borders, for Robert’s lending of his unstoppable deck, for everyone who made playing four tournaments funnish, for the con for giving dealer dollars for high placement so that I could give Directions Dude half and keep the other half for my sparkly … secret awesomeness. Also, while everyone else was getting smashed on inferior liquor, nobody bothered me for my Perrier-Jouet … I think that’s what it was, it was kind of brownish and sometimes was mildly sweet and sometimes carbonated and seemed to have 23 flavors.