Because people from outside the area need to get home, we don’t have a Qualifier Weekend, really. We did have some Friday night play, though, for early arrivals and the South Bayers.
Weak Sauce 1:
Aaron (Kurt Densch blocks it all) -> Andy (Tumnimos) -> Ian (Kiev Circle) -> David (winnie vote/bleed w/ Obf) -> Brandon (winnie Pre vote)
David and Brandon did much raaahhhrrr. Andy and I did much hhhar-har-har. Aaron had to defend all day. I rushed some with Oppugnant Night not being as effective as I was intending due to the power of Fake Out and Dodge against my largely Desert Eagleless Blood Brothers.
Ultimately, the game was not much to write about, with Brandon dying, David having something like 10 vampires in torpor at some point between intercept combat in front and rush combat behind, and my realizing after the game that I forgot to put in any strategy for ousting my prey. Time out with just the one oust.
Weak Sauce 2:
Ian (Art Scam/Flamethrower w/ Obf) -> David (Great Beast) -> Aaron (Dom/Pot/Tha) -> James (Millicent Smith combo) -> Brandon (fat FoS)
I put one on Gabriel de Cambrai. Turn two, Brandon has Pentweret. James has Apache Jones, adds Sayshila. Aaron has Cameron, then Marianna to be all punchy. David Soul Gems Huitz into Beast, losing Huitz to combat and Brandon’s diablerie.
Gabriel learns the all important master Obfuscate rather than the irrelevant master Auspex and largely fails to stop FoS bleeds for 3-5. James does pull off his combo of Lunatic Eruption, Millicent Smith, plus lending me intercept with Tourette’s Voice and Babble, but it’s all for naught as Malabranca only steals one pool a turn from my prey and I only play two Art Scams – the turn two one and the same card I pull back with turn three Ashur Tablets (the only card I recurse). Having forgotten how I built the deck, I realized after looking through it why I didn’t see anything other than Quicken Sight for Auspex cards – there weren’t any. Top card of Quicken Sight, though, might have saved me and may have not in the crucial “stop Nakhthorheb from gaining Blithe Acceptance when Brandon has Millicent” turn.
Since it was late and the next day was the tourneys, I packed up and went home and found out the next day what happened. Oddly, I was maybe two turns from ousting my prey as I had Palla Grande in hand and there was a lack of defense against bleeds at stealth to my left. Of course, it’s often the case that I’m finally ready to inflict grievous injury upon my prey right around when I get ousted, since it usually takes me an hour and a half or so to get around to being ready for the inflict grievous injury phase of the game.
Saturday 1, 20 players:
Ian (ABO Magaji Highlander) -> Alex (Saulot & allies) -> David (Jar of Skin Eaters) -> Adam (Giovanni bleed/allies) -> Andy (Tumnimos)
Having not learned his lesson about playing Brandon’s Tumnimos deck, Andy played it again and somehow failed to get a VP with Week of Nightmares in play. Alex did a lot of Conviction stuff early, so it looked like it might be Imbued even after Beatrice came up – just turned out to be the usual off-Imbued use of Beatrice, with Ossian joining Saulot. Ossian was an annoyance because I had to play around him, plus I kept an Invoke Poison Glands in hand from beginning to last turn of the game to randomly annihilate Beatrice. But, Beatrice, even with Crusader Sword, never fought with me.
Adam did stuff and received Jar-age to the Famed Isabel. His The Unmasking made a real mess of things between my prey, his Akhenaten(!), and my Tunnel Runner. I had to keep Tunnel Runner on “D” for most of the game (up until Adam got ousted) because I had only two vampires and TR was my best defender. The game ground on, with David’s Muaziz getting Sensory Depped, though Rutor’s Hand meant she was functional. David’s lack of blood and getting beaten down by Ossian made it hard for him to get a pool depleted Andy. I did mistakenly block Andy’s Raven Spy while Adam was still bouncing/bleeding Andy to death because I just figured he could play a stealth card. Having tooled up forever with Shaman, Murder, Akunanse Remains, Ancestor Spirit, I finally realized how little time was left in the game and pushed impotently forward. Alex was very close to the oust, theoretically with Saulot Camera Phone, Uriel, and Ossian Fame rushing crosstable on Andy. Beatrice had been punked and efforts were made to go after her in convalescent care, but even Sprinkles, the Underbridge Stray, couldn’t feast upon her soul.
Time out for the … eh.
David -> Ian -> Rick (3/4 big Tremere) -> Aaron (Malk intercept) -> Kenneth (high cap Malks)
Like I don’t see the Jar deck all of the frickin’ time. Kaahh. By the way, I was quite unimpressed with how many decks people were playing that I had seen before, from within the area and without. I just can’t understand how people don’t get bored playing the same deck over and over, but that’s me.
This was kind of amusing, though Kenneth was quickly dispatched and Aaron found my lack of prey containment not so enthralling. David doesn’t get Muaziz right away, so weenie Dom guys bleed me, with whoever 3 cap and his skill card getting Archon Investigated to slow the beats. Rick puts out Mistress Fanchion. Aaron blocks many with Zoe the master (Ivory Bow) archer, including Kenneth’s Lutz. Kenneth is at 4 pool after Lutz, Brandywine, and Helicopter, but is around long enough for David to try to Graverob, Eagle Sight blocked by Aaron, followed by Raw Recruit, not followed by Muaziz chomping as Raw Recruit succeeded.
My Ugadja was offended by active Skin Eaters and decided to Deep Song rush Muaziz, which led to Muaziz’s hands and a Horde of Canine burying the Skin Eaters somewhere safe. Later Jars were delayed by Aaron’s intercept.
With Uchenna, Ugadja, Bamba, and little pool because of constant bleeds from my predator, I did little to my prey except burn his Mob Connections. My prey, on the other hand, bled Aaron some and contested Ivory Bow, depriving Aaron of combat threat value. Aaron’s game went from hefty to shifty after Kenneth was gone due to Pulsed Aleph being consumed by Skin Eaters and the lack of Ivory. I had a way to survive Fame on Uchenna, bleed, and a Skin Eater rush, but I was so low in pool that I had to block a stupid Gargoyle bleed after being bled to one by Muaziz’s 5 bleed, meaning I couldn’t wake, intercept Muaziz rush, Skin of Night in combat the Skin Eaters.
Shame for Aaron and my reputation as an effectual player. I had been sitting on Fear of Mekhet almost all game, not being sure of what to do with Kenneth still in the game, then having to wait for Fanchion to get below 5 blood. I also just drew The Kiss of Ra, so possibly on Rick’s next turn, Fanchion would have been gone. Then, a turn later, some Tremere fattie, like Oliver Thrace takes a nap over some pathetic action of mine.
Game times out. Then, things get cra-a-a-zy. Twenty person tournament. Only two of the finalists had game wins. Three finalists had 1.5 VPs each round, including Aaron and David. Dennis Lien won with a Tariq deck.
I played two casual games with mostly Davis players. First was quick with a bunch of Anarch Revolts. The second was slow and we cleaned up when it was apparent that no one was going to be ousted before the qualifier. I did get amused by my Lucian, The Perfect not being threatened by !Toreador to the right or Blood Brothers(!) to the left (both group 2 circles were being played in the game, neither was all that threatening in combat, playing lots of Shell Games and whatnot). I had a hand of Make an Example, Eyes of Argus, Telepathic Misdirection, and four Tastes of Vitae at one point. Sadly, this deck’s highpoint over the weekend was this game.
Qualifier, 21 players:
Ian (Ass intercept combat) -> Kenneth (Obeah/Tha) -> James (Iron Glare) -> Jeff (Nos Royalty) -> Chris (big Tzimisce War Ghoul?)
I don’t know what James’s deck was trying to do as he brought out Shemti and Nana, but I know he voted. Kenneth brought out Saulot and Elena made an Infernal Pact to learn the evil that is Obeah. He Spirit Marionetted some but took so long bringing out Saulot, I bled him a couple of times with Loss and then ignored him as I dealt with the menace. Chris was not a menace, simply a speed bump as I blocked Dragos bleeding with Evan Rogers because, seriously, a 3 cap with Cel/Qui does not fear anything, and then, I ignored him as Jeff rolled through him with the power of voting and Selma, the Legendary Vampire, bleeding.
When Jeff got to me, I not only was Blood Awakening low due to having discarded a couple thinking Chris would survive longer but really didn’t have an answer to more than two stealth anyway. I could have reduced bleeds, but Jeff cheated by playing a vote deck when no one bothered with vote defense. Jeff may have swept, it hardly mattered.
Steve (Aus/Dem/Obf bleed/vote) -> Joel (Pot/For/Dom rush) -> Ian -> Brett (The Eternal Mask)
Ah, four players, such a different experience. To my benefit in this case. Joel got hammered by bounced bleeds and Alicia Barrows and Stavros bleeding. Steve didn’t vote before Stavros between Joel’s Lazverinus and Amenophobis. Both were not so good for him for obvious reasons. Laz rushed a lot but couldn’t finish off Alicia or Stavros when needed, leaving Joel to be a non-existent predator. Brett worried me as he could easily sweep if he got Steve. I happened to have Bakr pop up, and, much to my surprise, Bakr went on a killing spree, napping Amenophobis to prevent bounce, napping Alicia, waving his Weighted Walking Stick angrily when not Tasting of the Death. Who would have guessed that rush would be so useful?
Meanwhile, with no predator, I got out other dudes, so I ended up with Evan with Quietus skill card, Monty Coven, and two Webs. I had four Blood Awakening in hand at one point and untapped three guys with Eluding and two Sunrises when Brett hunted to annoy Steve in a turn after he finally got Joel. With Brett largely bloodless and just Renenet and Waters doing Eternal bleeds, I wasn’t worried he would get Steve. Nor was I that offended by his Suddening my Agent of Power on a Web. I bled them both out in the same turn, two Loss bleeds for Steve.
GW and 3 VPs was only enough in this event to tie for seventh with Ben Peal of all folks. David lost a coin flip to Dennis for fifth with a bunch of folks at 4 VPs. Jeff Kuta won the finals fairly quickly while I was running home to look for cards to trade people, including Shorb who was going to leave early the next morning.
Played a casual after doing some trading, and had to face Brandon’s weenie Presence vote deck and David’s Great Beast deck and Brandon’s fat FoS deck for the umpteenth times.
Chris (Lutz and Herbert) -> Ben (fat FoS) -> David (Great Beast) -> Ian (The Perfect friend for Osebo) -> Brandon (winnie Pre vote)
Lucian, The Perfect got Heroic in his Might, Marked Well, and put on the Leather. But, I basically did nothing all game as I kept getting bled and didn’t draw any bounce, unlike the casual earlier where I drew something like five TMs. Brandon did oddly Pentex Lucian and burn him with Justicar Retribution, the only effect of the latter being to deprive me of bleed reduction with Ancestor’s Insight and the former being irrelevant to my inability to block FoS after David dies. At least I was able to keep Lucian perfect and never bleed with him in either game.
Lutz didn’t slow Brandon’s voting down much, only accelerating pool damage to Brandon’s second prey. Brandon got vote lock, a bunch of dudes, and I didn’t interact with him all game as my deck didn’t have that much intercept and Osebo Kholo didn’t end up mattering. Ben got me without too much trouble – see lack of bleed bounce. Then, the endgame was an interesting match of Brandon’s winnie swarm with no library and FoS big bleed. I figured Ben had it due to pool counts, only Ben Daring the Dawned Porphyrion to be able to play Redeem the Lost Soul, only to have Nakhthorheb Pentexed for lockdown.
Thank yous, of course, to Andrew and Eric Haas for hosting, Brandon and Andrew Haas for organizing and running and getting food and drink (though I didn’t partake of either), players showing up, especially those who traveled far, such as the SoCal players.
Was there a lesson to be learned from the events?
First, I’m done with Experiment #2. Still have sample size issues with saying whether my Ass deck was viable, since it performed in only a single game, a game in which I had no predator. It was amusing, though, to have Bakr run around killing folks. It was amusing to put a hunting ground in play with a deck with no master pool gain and not feel bad. Sadly, I can’t say I was playing a rush deck as Bakr is just in there for disciplines.
I may do some more experiments, but the Lords of the Night one was so discouraging with how many things don’t exist in the set to make diverse decks that I don’t know if I can stomach playing more boring decks that can’t play staples of the game, like Blood Doll. I might do something like a precon and open up some boosters every once in a while just because I have so many loose boosters from so many different sets lying around.
Second, is there anything to be drawn from how I sucked at these tournaments where I played decks I built specifically for tournament play and won 50% of the tournaments when we trekked down to SoCal playing decks only built for casual play as I was too lazy to build some dedicated tournament decks?