Experiment #2 – First Contact

So, I was a bit less rigid about gathering cards for this experiment.  I had two nearly intact Giovanni precons lying around, and I really wanted to understand its strength and weaknesses more, so I decided to use both.  Though, I did decide to limit myself to only one copy of each booster Giovanni.  I had a virtually intact Ravnos precon.  I had some strange Assamite precon dregs that involved cards from two Assamite precons.  I decided to take out the second precon’s cards and planned to restore the Assamite precon to its full complement of cards.  But forgot.

I have rares tallied for the first seven boxes of Lords of the Night I opened.  I used box #1’s rares.  For simplicity, I assumed x5 of each common from the box and x2 of each vampire/uncommon since I didn’t track such things.  Really, only Third Edition was worth tracking to that level because of its uneven distributions of more common cards.

I didn’t actually pull two of each vampire/uncommon and five of each common because I didn’t have that kind of time and didn’t need a bunch of the cards in the set to do initial decks.  I pulled the ones I thought might get use in my decks.  Here is what I played yesterday:

Deck Name:   Experiment 2 – Assamites
Created By:  Bakr
Description: Intercept “combat” with pool gain and bleed.

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 14, Max: 31, Avg: 5.66)
———————————————-
2  Bakr                               CEL OBF QUI dem pro8  Assamite
1  Bertrand d`Anjou                   auscel qui     4  Assamite
2  Evan Rogers                        cel qui        3  Assamite
1  Hafsa                              OBF QUI aus cel6  Assamite
2  Kashan                             CEL OBF QUI obt pre7  Assamite
2  Layla bint-Nadr                    CELOBF qui     5  Assamite
1  Monty Coven                        CEL OBFQUI dom for pre8  Assamite
1  Sajid al Misbah                    QUI            4  Assamite

Library: (63 cards)
——————-
Master (7 cards)
2  Agent of Power
1  Black Throne, The
2  Path of Blood, The
1  Quietus
1  Underworld Hunting Ground

Action (12 cards)
6  Haqim`s Law: Leadership
6  Loss

Action Modifier (1 cards)
1  Into Thin Air

Reaction (16 cards)
3  Black Sunrise
4  Eluding the Arms of Morpheus
2  Lost in Translation
6  Nest of Eagles
1  Rooftop Shadow

Combat (16 cards)
1  Baal`s Bloody Talons
1  Mercury`s Arrow
4  Pursuit
4  Selective Silence
3  Taste of Death
3  Weighted Walking Stick

Combo (11 cards)
7  Blood Awakening
1  Resist Earth`s Grasp
3  Swallowed by the Night

All things ever can be determined by a single game of V:TES.  For instance, I’m sure it’s normal throughout the world that one plays in a game with two vote decks at the table and the only titled vampire in play is Kashan … up until Darlene Kill-Ian gains PRO & Pre and acquires a Fee Stake.

What’s the funniest thing about all LotN, all of the time?  So far, it’s that Assamites rule.  Sure, FoS can bleed at will and gain pool from it and have Sirius Eternals, but Assamites have reliable (hope for no other Ass players) pool gain in the form of HL: Leadership.  Pool gain is something horribly horribly missing in LotN.

Note how not pulling all of the cards to restore the precon’s contents kind of was major – no Market Square for my intercept deck.  Webs don’t work for me as well as they should, but with so much pool gain, should have had them in here, as well.

It’s always nice when one’s prey has no intercept or bounce, thus meaning that every single Loss lands.  Would have been interesting to see what would happen in a more normal situation.  Really should have more fearsome combat and could totally steal the Giovanni deck’s Tastes of Vitae.  On the other hand, I got 3 VPs while getting into combat once(?) and punching for 1 … against my prey!!

Deck Name:   Experiment 2 – Ravnos
Created By:  Brian Thompson
Description:  Block, stealth, don’t hurt me.

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 13, Max: 27, Avg: 4.83)
———————————————-
1  Anjalika Underwood                 ANI aus chi for5  Ravnos
2  Brian Thompson                     ani chifor     4  Ravnos
1  Chavi Oraczko                      ANI CHI FOR nec7  Ravnos
1  Gwen Brand                         auschi         3  Ravnos
1  Jayakumar                          ANI FOR chi tha6  Ravnos
1  Johann Matheson                    ani auschi     4  Ravnos
2  Neel Ramanathan                    anifor         3  Ravnos
1  Papa Legba                         ani chi for obt5  Ravnos
1  Vasiliy Vasilevich                 ANI CHI for pro8  Ravnos
1  Vassily Taltos                     aus cel chi dom for obf6  Ravnos

Library: (63 cards)
——————-
Master (12 cards)
1  Agent of Power
2  Chimerstry
2  Path of Paradox, The
2  Svadharma
4  Vessel
1  Week of Nightmares

Action Modifier (10 cards)
2  False Resonance
4  Fata Morgana
1  Freak Drive
1  Leverage
1  Mirror`s Visage
1  Will-o`-the-Wisp

Reaction (14 cards)
1  Army of Apparitions
4  Fillip
1  Forced Vigilance
3  Ignis Fatuus
3  Instinctive Reaction
2  Lost in Translation

Combat (13 cards)
2  Amria
3  Carrion Crows
4  Indomitability
1  Mayaparisatya
1  Skin of Night
2  Soak

Ally (2 cards)
2  Underbridge Stray

Retainer (3 cards)
3  Raven Spy

Equipment (3 cards)
1  Karavalanisha Vrana
1  Talith
1  Treasured Samadji

Combo (6 cards)
2  Mirror Image
4  Occlusion

While reviewing the Ravnos precon contents, I couldn’t help but think about my tournament winning Ravnos deck.  It too seemed inclined to try to block stuff and have no real other plan for what it did.

The two extra Vessels could have been stolen from the Assamite deck or the FoS deck I didn’t bother pulling cards for.

The crypt of the Ravnos precon is unplayable.  I hoped for better from boosters.  While better, the Ravnos really got a mess in this set.  I debated running Ganesh.  Sadly, the deck could really use both ANI and CHI.  So, that I got about as perfect a crypt draw in the game I played, with Vasiliy, Chavi, Papa, and Anjalika, does not bode well for more table sweeps.

I did choke on stealth at times, but since some of the stealth doubles as combat defense and I liked having a bunch of combat defense against my Flurry of Action/additional strike predator, it worked out well until Week of Nightmares dropped for the automatic win.

One thing I thought about is taking the Ravnos precon without booster supplement and simply using a crypt of x2 of each of the group 2 Ravnos I would want to play with – Gabrin, Joaquina, Vaclav, Khalil, Salbatore, and Sarisha.  Still would have a crippling lack of pool gain and wakes, but at least, the crypt wouldn’t be a joke.

So, you may be wondering why I didn’t run Sense the Savage Way since I had five of those to play with from “boosters”.  That would have helped the wake problem.  On the other hand, that would have required playing more awful high caps in a deck with no pool management.  I decided I’d rather run chumps who couldn’t do hardly anything but might get a Raven Spy and who could be targeted by Karavalanisha Vrana for some supposed pool gain.  When you are relying on a rare that I might not have gotten in my “box” that costs 2 pool for pool gain, hope to drop Week for the win.

Deck Name:   Experiment 2 – Giovanni
Created By:  Giovanni del Georgio
Description:  I bleed, I bruise, I block?

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 12, Max: 34, Avg: 5.5)
———————————————
1  Accorri Giovanni                   DOM POT ani nec6  Giovanni
1  Diego Giovanni                     CHI DOM NEC POT ani8  Giovanni
1  Eric Milliner                      pot            2  Giovanni
1  Gianmaria Giovanni                 POT dom nec obt5  Giovanni
1  Giovanni del Georgio               DOM NEC POT PRO8  Giovanni
2  Guillaume Giovanni                 CEL DOM NEC POT obt9  Giovanni
1  Kay Polerno                        dom necpro     4  Giovanni
1  Margaret Milliner                  dom for nec pot pre5  Giovanni
1  Nunzio Giovanni                    nec pot        3  Giovanni
1  Primo Giovanni                     domnec pot     4  Giovanni
1  Stephen Milliner                   necpre         3  Giovanni

Library: (75 cards)
——————-
Master (8 cards)
1  Giant`s Blood
1  KRCG News Radio
2  Necromancy
4  Vessel

Action (13 cards)
3  Divine Sign
4  Dominate Kine
1  Graverobbing
3  Harass
2  Sudario Refraction

Action Modifier (12 cards)
6  Call of the Hungry Dead
6  Conditioning

Reaction (8 cards)
5  Eluding the Arms of Morpheus
3  Fillip

Combat (19 cards)
4  Brute Force
4  Immortal Grapple
3  Slam
4  Taste of Vitae
4  Torn Signpost

Equipment (1 cards)
1  Camera Phone

Combo (14 cards)
7  Murmur of the False Will
7  Spectral Divination

For anyone familiar with the contents of the Giovanni precon, might be wondering where all of the Shambling Hordes are.  After all, with two precons to work with, that’s a reliable eight to work with.  But, I had an interesting discovery.

After cutting the offensive chaff that is the melee weapon angle, I realized that there’s a nontrivial amount of intercept in the deck between Divine Sign, Spectral, and KRCG.  Since I so rarely play with Divine Sign and Shamblers would have made the deck even busier, I decided to go with the three-fold path of bleed, bruise, and gain intercept.  I should have played the fourth to be more serious about committing to the intercept angle.

What was amusing is that this deck has the best card quality yet was the only three of the decks to lose.  Only deck that got played twice and both times failed to get a VP, though I could have probably gotten one when I played it if I was more cautious.  The bruise thing just didn’t work out.  I do like the crypt options far more than for the other decks (Assamite isn’t terrible, Ravnos is).  Maybe the two of us who played it just didn’t play it aggro enough since it really is meant to be forward looking even if it does have a rather lot of wakes.

Speaking of the bruise thing not working out, I realized that Slam was my only answer to ranged combat while I was designing the deck.  I put back in a copy to not just roll over and die to a single .44 or from Aid from Bats, but I really should have run as many as possible, as getting tooled by run to long and Bats/Crows is sort of what happened when I played the deck.  I like how my booster option of Cold Aura is the exact opposite of what I want with this deck.

The lack of defense, even if limited bleed bounce, targeted intercept, and casual intercept is hardly weak in the LotN world, could be obviously supplemented by blowing up predator’s minions with Shamblers, even if that is terribly boring.  Still, while not being bored is an important element of these experiments, not everyone finds Shamblers as dull as I do, and they are rather good, which plays into the test to see how competitive these decks can be.

With a second copy of booster Giovanni, I would probably play two of each of the 8-caps.  Guillaume was doubled up when I wasn’t sure whether I was going to run Shamblers or not.  He’s okay, big helps with bouncing, but he’s hardly being used optimally in a location low world.

Experiment #2 contrasted with Experiment #1 does show something rather notable about how V:TES has been published.  Third Edition was all about a lot of variance.  Obtenebration wasn’t playable with the cards I had in my pool, for instance.  I had plenty of master options – many terrible ones or, at least, ones I would never do if I had better cards – but it was easy to run 20% masters.  My On the Qui Vives had to move around at times between decks, but I had the “best wake ever” to draw upon.  I could run a full load of Blood Dolls.  Voter Captivation was an option.

Lords of the Night has Eluding and Fillip to provide wakes, if kind of awkward ones, in copious amounts.  But, the master selection is horrid.  I’m running Agent of Power just because I might as well use up a few more master slots.  I seriously was going to run five in the Assamite deck until I realized that the deck needed to be small to more reliably draw The Path of Blood.

There are votes in the precons, and Reckless Agitation is not weak.  But, no Voter Cap and no vote push and such awesome voting power as the FoS having one titled vampire with a mighty 1 vote means I really have no interest in trying.

LotN is a very focused set.  Sure, that’s obvious cryptwise, where you get four different clans.  But, there isn’t a wide variety of cards in the set, and you get a goodly number of copies of the commons per box.  A couple of boxes of boosters and you get four or so Target Vitals, The Eternals of Sirius, and Underbridge Strays as well.  I might have been somewhat fortunate to get Will-o’-the-Wisp and Mirror’s Visage for more Chimerstry stealth, but I didn’t really need more stealth.  Kumpania would have been a more useful rare, but I’m getting off on a tangent.

With LotN, if a common is important, you get a bunch of them.  Since the four clans have so little overlap in disciplines, they don’t fight over anything but the generic cards.  Plenty of Camera Phones to go around.  Enough Lost in Translations.  Enough Leverages that a Shambler bleed deck with Camera Phones and Leverages would be entirely possible.

I can see trying some different things with each of the clans, but I don’t see the complex decisions in deckbuilding that I saw with the Third Edition experiment.

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