Played some games yesterday, not all of which involved decks from Experiment #2, so will toss in some other comments. First two games were three players, last two were four.
First game, played a new !Gangrel deck that did some stuff but not what it was supposed to. Unfortunately, to do what it is supposed to do, it should really be a rush deck, but then, it will just fall over and die. While choking horribly on actions.
Second game, played the experiment’s Assamite deck with minor changes. Did nothing all game as I choked on maneuvers, Nest of Eagles, and Haqim’s Law: Leaderships. Got blocked by Second Tradition a lot and was no threat in combat, so all my guys died.
Third game brought up something a bit more interesting. I lent out the experiment’s Ravnos deck. Now, the person playing it does often complain about my decks, but the complaints in this game were a bit more of the “why aren’t you playing better cards” style of complaints. This was a similar refrain to when I lent out the Giovanni deck during our previous playday. This game did have a couple of amusing situations. I played Skin Trap against my prey’s minion with Treasured Samadji just to cycle as I went to long to wave, only to have him play combat ends. Horatio, with VIC, Breath of the Dragoned a blocking Underbridge Stray, which was about my only effective combat all game.
Fourth game, we wanted to end quick. I lent out a deck from Experiment #1. While I was fine playing the !Brujah deck when I tried to make it as functional as possible, this was a more combat oriented build that was far inferior to the votey build I was running during the experiment. Predictably, it did nothing and died. The complaints about it weren’t that surprising because high cap rush is usually garbage.
Taking the bitching and moaning from lending out decks from these experiments into account, it seems a bad idea to lend any more out. The question, though, is whether this frustration with playing with inferior card choices due to limited options would extend to players who weren’t experienced.
Not quite the same words I used the last time I commented on Experiment #2 but the same sentiment – while I feel like I can build different decks with just a box of Lords of the Night precons and a box of boosters, that’s the thing – they would be different decks. This is completely unlike Experiment #1, where I felt like I could modify a particular deck in a variety of ways, especially with regards to masters.
With Experiment #1, the !Toreador deck could have been less intercepty, combat could have changed, could have voted, could maybe have bled more, etc. and still felt like it could play and be a variation of a single deck. With Experiment #2, making the Assamite deck less bloaty, intercepty, or reactiony just seems to produce a different deck. First, I wouldn’t make it less dependent upon HQ:L as that’s the primary way a LotN deck can survive given the master options available. What I could do is make it more stealthy so that those go through more often but at the cost of being either less blocky or (even) less fighty.
I could spend more time thinking about how to build the Ravnos deck differently, but it’s not all that exciting an exercise given the crap Ravnos in LotN. The Giovanni deck I can see going in some very different directions, but can I see making substantial changes to the build I already have and calling it the same deck? Maybe, as the Giovanni deck has better individual cards, which means playing around with quantities is more of an option, though there’s still little to do with master selection.
I’m already thinking about a different experiment, as I don’t know how long I can stay interested with the limited card choices LotN offers. I have in mind a few things. One would be to take a precon from some set and allow the use of commons (or, I guess, fixed cards) from that set and the next two sets, as that better captures the idea that people don’t just pick up cards from a single set. And, it addresses how many sets are missing crucial cards for producing “normal” (if still limited) builds. Another idea was to specifically take the Ventrue precon from KoT and evolve it, since I’ve been playing a KoT precon and it both has more game than most other precons, just as the CE Ventrue precon did, while also having glaring weaknesses – bunch of cards that require Prince/Justicar and lack of reliability in getting one of those creatures in play.
I do think that mixing up building my usual decks with running an experiment makes me less interested in the experiment. If I were using these experiments to build stock decks that could be lent out to newbs, that might be one thing, though that’s fairly pointless since we don’t have newbs. Instead, I play them like I would any decks I have built, which means I tire of them exceedingly quickly. If only playing decks from the experiment, I can suspend my disbelief to some extent and live with the limited variety. When having unlimited decks at hand for contrast, it’s hard to remember to embrace an environment with many fewer options.
Then, I might be more enthusiastic about playing an experiment deck if I could play one in a tournament, as that provides a far more rigorous test, but we haven’t had any conversation about tournaments in quite some time and may very well end up having the next in December.