The Best Of … 2009?!?

December 31, 2012

I always find it weird that this blog started in 2009.  In some ways, it feels much older.  In others, it feels odd how long ago certain posts were made.

This 2012 year-ending post is about my best post of 2009.  Why 2009?  Because of several things.  One, I used to do more double posting on single days to where I don’t think certain posts got as much visibility.  Two, I’m constantly surprised by how many of my “these are quintessential ideas” posts were made right away for this blog, even if that makes perfect sense – pent up supply as it were.  Three, if I’m going to do an annual review, I don’t want to skip any years.

I went through and rated all of my 2009 posts.  I don’t feel compelled to inflict those ratings upon my readers.  Nor, do I have much confidence in my first pass ratings.  Ignoring a “classic” post (Durga Syn), I rated 10 of my posts with the highest rating.

Oh, I should explain my system just to give a better idea of what’s normal.  Unlike how I rate cards, with the InQuest system of average being two stars, I went with a more even distribution of:

* Sucks
** Poor
*** Average
**** Superior
***** Great

With “Great” not meaning perfect or life-changing, but in theory, clearly better than “Superior”.

The 10 are:

What Makes A RPG Campaign Work?

Deck Stats

Review – The Warrior’s Companion

Ebony Kingdoms Ratings – Library

Dead CCGs – Ultimate Combat!

RPG Balance

Bleeding, at stealth

Ultimate Combat! – Basic Deck Construction

2009 NAC, No, But …


Two are RPG play theory.  One is going back and looking at my own V:TES history.  Two are reviews of new products for games I have played a great deal – Conan RPG and V:TES, respectively.  Two are about Ultimate Combat!  It’s interesting just how many posts I had about Ultimate Combat! in 2009; obviously, as I never got to playing regularly again, there hasn’t been much material for subsequent posts.  One about how to play V:TES better.  One on metagaming for major tournament play.  And, the last on what I wanted to see and not see out of Heirs to the Blood.

To determine the best, I have to put great weight on gravitas.  The two reviews are light fare for me, even if The Warrior’s Companion review is quite dense.  Of the remaining posts, the only one that doesn’t have as timeless a quality is “2009 NAC, No, But …”, even though “Inheritance” was also a product of its age.  “Bleeding, at stealth” had a lot more that could be said, or it could have been said cleaner – I still believe that it’s an important topic because 16 years of playing V:TES has shown me that a lot of people just don’t get how to play stealth bleed, supposedly the most basic of decks.  “Inheritance” can’t keep up with the graviton generating powers of some of the RPG theory.

“Deck Stats” could use an update, technically, but there’s something much more enlightening about taking a look at my own tournament winning decks before more recent wins, and I doubt there’s a lot to be learned by revisiting more than I have already done so in other posts.  As self-aggrandizing as it may seem, I find it to be possibly the most elegant post I’ve ever made, lacking the verbosity of many of my posts, analyzing data in a way that was intriguing to me.  For all that, it doesn’t have as much to say.

That leaves two Ultimate Combat! posts and two RPG theory posts.  “RPG Balance” is not as important to me as a concept as the idea of getting RPGers on the same page.  Meanwhile, while I believe I have two of the most important articles on Ultimate Combat! ever published, that’s not saying a whole lot in the grand scheme of things.  The deck construction one is better written, methinks of the two.

Which just leaves, “What Makes A RPG Campaign Work?”

I think I have had* important things to say about gaming, but it is hard to conceive of a more enduring philosophy than being on the same page when it comes to RPGs.

*  I may still have, though, in noticing how many philosophies of mine I touched upon in year one of this blog, I must say I do repeat certain themes much more than I expected.

I welcome thoughts on which of my posts were better *or* worse.  For any year.


2012 V:TES Qualifier

December 30, 2012

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:

Round 1:

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.

Round 2:

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:

Round 1:

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.

Round 2:

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?

Rarely Matters

December 26, 2012

As mentioned in the forums, I thought I’d take a look at the rarity breakdown of my V:TES tournament winning decks.


I don’t believe that rares are needed for V:TES or that there’s a significant advantage to having them.  But, where’s the proof?  In the Christmas pudding?

Actually, it will probably just be funny rather than enlightening to take a look.  Generally just going to assign rarity based on what was reasonably available at the time (to my recollection), with vampire rarity for library cards being uncommon and ignoring fixed rarity for library cards (since that’s how other CCGs handle fixed rarity).

Living Lolita Loca

Terrence was precon only.

58 commons, 5 uncommons, 17 rares

The Embrace (5), Breath of the Dragon (1), Ivory Bow (1), Living Manse (4), Anarch Troublemaker (1), Dreams of the Sphinx (1), Heidelberg Castle, Germany (1), The Hungry Coyote (1), J.S. Simmons, Esquire (1), Tasha Morgan (1)

Of Ghastly Dreams

Khalil Ravana precon only.

64 commons, 13 uncommons, 13 rares

Heidelberg Castle, Germany (1), The Path of Paradox (3), Week of Nightmares (1), Fleecing the Gaje (1), Nightmare Curse (4), Rumors of Gehenna (1), Ivory Bow (1), Treasured Samadji (1)

Baali of the Name 1.1

66 commons, 4* uncommons, 20 rares

*  Behind You! was a rare at the time.

Dreams of the Sphinx (2), Blessing of the Name (13), Contagion (1), Entrancement (2), Behind You! (2)

Weapon Not Found

50 commons, 4* uncommons, 26 rares

*  Freak Drive was a rare at the time.

Daring the Dawn (3), Day Operation (1), Freak Drive (9), Ashes to Ashes (5), Dust to Dust (5), Ivory Bow (1), Dreams of the Sphinx (1), Regenerative Blood (1)

Mellow-Yellow Drama

60 commons, 9 uncommons, 11 rares

Bastille Opera House (2), Paris Opera House (1), Entrancement (1), Awe (1), Echo of Harmonies (3), Siren’s Lure (2), Praxis Seizure: Cairo (1)

Silent Sympathy

68 commons, 13 uncommons, 9 rares

The Coven (1), Awe (1), Business Pressure (4), Protect Thine Own (1), Rumors of Gehenna (2)

“When in doubt … win.”

Can always argue that Tupdogs were relatively rare, but whatever.

64 commons, 5 uncommons, 11 rares

Dreams of the Sphinx (1), Mbare Market, Harare (1), Giant’s Blood (1), Ancestor Insight (1), Victim of Habit (1), Strange Day (1), My Enemy’s Enemy (1), Shaman (1), Ivory Bow (1), Changeling Skin Mask (1), Kduva’s Mask (1)

Pale Panda Warriors

55 commons, 8 uncommons, 12 rares

Dreams of the Sphinx (1), Joseph Pander (1), Entrancement (3), Epiphany (3), Ghouled Street Thug (1), Legacy of Pander (3)

Thunder Is Impressive

Adana de Sforza required two KoT precons.

64* commons, 18 uncommons, 4 rares, 4** promos

*  Counting Flesh of Marble as common.

**  10th Anniversary only as promos.

Giant’s Blood (1), Tension in the Ranks (1), Mr. Winthrop (1), Adaptability (1)

Channel 10 (1), Wall Street Night, Financial Newspaper (1), Carlton van Wyk (2)


69 commons, 8 uncommons, 11 rares, 2 promos

Great Symposium (1), Black Metamorphosis (1), Scarlet Lore (1), Trainer (2), Draeven Softfoot (Changeling) (1), Basilisk’s Touch (1), Darkling Trickery (3), Entombment (1)

Lilith’s Blessing (2)

* * *

So clearly we have overwhelming proof that you need rares to win.  Without Blessing of the Name, Ashes to Ashes, Business Pressure, Trainer, … it’s back to the kiddie pool with you.

Man, I love me my money games.  As soon as I can hop on eBay, I’ll totally be raking it in.

[What we can really tell is pretty much nothing, but there’s a reason I don’t consider deck quality to matter a whole lot.]

[Poetic] License Is Nil

December 24, 2012

Twas the day before Christmas
here in the US,
and this author was at a loss
as to his latest 2000 word mess.

So, he sat in his chair,
grabbed a burn deck a-near.
Played his usual solitaire
his opponent fast a-sear.

Bent his mind to RPGs
a new campaign in progress.
The love of detail disease
an affliction to regress.

Five days til events
for the Vampire CCG.
No views to improvements
to a deck or three.

Albion disappointed
his boardgame playing group.
What is the next to be anointed
as a piece of cardboard poop?

No clever finale
to this post will come,
only a word talley
… with a modest sum.

Annual TWDA 2012

December 19, 2012

Every year around this time, I take a look at what has won in the last two years from V:TES’s TWDA, usually by clan.

Why in December and not January, when the full year’s results will be in?

Because we have been having our qualifier weekend in late December the past few years, which has worked well attendancewise.  Because I used to care much more about clan results as a determiner of what sort of decks I might play in tournaments.

I’m not really into the clan paradigm anymore.  I have a bit of interest in the discipline paradigm, i.e. what disciplines have I never won with.  But, mostly, I think about what sort of concepts would be notable to win with, e.g. the “no decision” deck or the “play no cards” deck.

Still, it’s always an interesting way to cut the data.  So, data cutting:

Clan Sect Wins 2011 Wins 2012 Total
Brujah Camarilla 13 6 19
Caitiff Camarilla 1 2 3
Gangrel Independent 2 7 9
Malkavian Camarilla 17 13 30
Nosferatu Camarilla 7 2 9
Toreador Camarilla 13 12 25
Tremere Camarilla 8 15 23
Ventrue Camarilla 19 12 31
Grand Total 149

Original gangsta, clans and Caitiff.  I have 66 less TWDs for 2012 than 2011, so we can expect a dropoff on average.  Gangrel and Tremere clearly buck that trend.  Good to see Gangrel do something in 2012 after a tremendous tumble.

How do I know they took a tremendous tumble in recent years?

Clan Sect Wins – Total Wins – All Last 2 – %
Brujah Camarilla 19 68 28%
Caitiff Camarilla 3 16 19%
Gangrel Independent 9 82 11%
Malkavian Camarilla 30 131 23%
Nosferatu Camarilla 9 72 13%
Toreador Camarilla 25 99 25%
Tremere Camarilla 23 91 25%
Ventrue Camarilla 31 145 21%

Here is a breakdown of wins in the last two years, wins all time, and the percentage of the wins that occurred in the last two years.  Unsurprisingly, Brujah have done better more recently.  I’m kind of surprised, however, at how the numbers are across the board.  I guess in the absence of new toys for other sects, the old guard does well.

Another way to look at percentage of wins within the “class” Camarilla for the last two years and for all time is:

Clan Sect Last 2 – % All – %
Brujah Camarilla 13% 10%
Caitiff Camarilla 2% 2%
Gangrel Independent 6% 12%
Malkavian Camarilla 20% 19%
Nosferatu Camarilla 6% 10%
Toreador Camarilla 17% 14%
Tremere Camarilla 15% 13%
Ventrue Camarilla 21% 21%

This shows what percentage each “clan” has within the “class” = Camarilla.  So, throughout all of time and space, Malks and Ventrue each have about 20% of the Cammie wins.  That hasn’t changed in the last two years.  However, Brujah have 10% of all wins for these “clans” but have 13% of the wins for them in 2011-2012.  Bit clearer on the Gangrel dropoff, also brings up a Nos dropoff.

Clan Sect Wins 2011 Wins 2012 Total
Assamite Independent 7 4 11
Follower of Set Independent 6 8 14
Giovanni Independent 10 12 22
Ravnos Independent 2 3 5
Grand Total 52

Not all that exciting.  Ravnos are suffering, whatever.

Clan Sect Wins – Total Wins – All Last 2 – %
Assamite Independent 11 50 22%
Follower of Set Independent 14 62 23%
Giovanni Independent 22 91 24%
Ravnos Independent 5 41 12%

Ravnos not keeping pace in recent years compared to historical norm.  I’m really only using this chart to show all time wins, which I’ll get to more, later.

Clan Sect Last 2 – % All – %
Assamite Independent 21% 20%
Follower of Set Independent 27% 25%
Giovanni Independent 42% 37%
Ravnos Independent 10% 17%

Wow, this is unexpected.  In all of time and space, Ravnos only have 17% of Indie wins?!?  But, clown car …  What are the Assamites doing owning 20% of Indie winnage?

Clan Sect Wins 2011 Wins 2012 Total
Brujah antitribu Sabbat 4 2 6
Gangrel antitribu Sabbat 13 9 22
Lasombra Sabbat 7 9 16
Malkavian antitribu Sabbat 8 6 14
Nosferatu antitribu Sabbat 0 1 1
Pander Sabbat 2 1 3
Toreador antitribu Sabbat 2 2 4
Tremere antitribu Sabbat 11 6 17
Tzimisce Sabbat 6 6 12
Ventrue antitribu Sabbat 12 8 20
Grand Total 115

Well, yet again, time to remind people that !Gangrel do just fine in the modern meta.  Then, you get real losers.

Clan Sect Wins – Total Wins – All Last 2 – %
Brujah antitribu Sabbat 6 24 25%
Gangrel antitribu Sabbat 22 49 45%
Lasombra Sabbat 16 86 19%
Malkavian antitribu Sabbat 14 90 16%
Nosferatu antitribu Sabbat 1 28 4%
Pander Sabbat 3 27 11%
Toreador antitribu Sabbat 4 55 7%
Tremere antitribu Sabbat 17 60 28%
Tzimisce Sabbat 12 79 15%
Ventrue antitribu Sabbat 20 77 26%

Welp, obviously the fortunes of !Gangrel and !Toreador have gone in opposite directions.  !Nos have had it rougher, but since they’ve always sucked, it’s easier to forget them.

Clan Sect Last 2 – % All – %
Brujah antitribu Sabbat 5% 4%
Gangrel antitribu Sabbat 19% 9%
Lasombra Sabbat 14% 15%
Malkavian antitribu Sabbat 12% 16%
Nosferatu antitribu Sabbat 1% 5%
Pander Sabbat 3% 5%
Toreador antitribu Sabbat 3% 10%
Tremere antitribu Sabbat 15% 10%
Tzimisce Sabbat 10% 14%
Ventrue antitribu Sabbat 17% 13%

Ten Sabbies means 10% of all wins is equivalence, if not necessarily ideal.  I mean, why shouldn’t Lasombra and Tzimisce have higher percentages given that the antitribu share a bunch with their Cam-a-lot?

Not surprising that !Malks have such a large all time percentage or that it has gone down over time as Malks stole their discipline (identity).

Clan Sect Wins 2011 Wins 2012 Total
Abomination Independent 1 0 1
Ahrimanes Sabbat 9 4 13
Baali Independent 9 6 15
Blood Brother Sabbat 1 1 2
Daughter of Cacophony Independent 5 0 5
Gargoyle Independent 6 4 10
Harbinger of Skulls Sabbat 1 1 2
Kiasyd Sabbat 4 6 10
Nagaraja Independent 0 1 1
Salubri Independent 4 2 6
Salubri antritribu Sabbat 1 0 1
Samedi Independent 3 0 3
True Brujah Independent 4 5 9
Grand Total 78

One might think that bloodlines would do well this year, given that they were the last freshness of cards.  Apparently not, as the bloodline win total drops from 48 to 30.  In case I don’t note it elsewhere, 22% of all bloodline wins happened in 2011, so it’s more likely that 2011 was just a massive aberration.

Clan Sect Wins – Total Wins – All Last 2 – %
Abomination Independent 1 2 50%
Ahrimanes Sabbat 13 46 28%
Baali Independent 15 33 45%
Blood Brother Sabbat 2 5 40%
Daughter of Cacophony Independent 5 13 38%
Gargoyle Independent 10 35 29%
Harbinger of Skulls Sabbat 2 6 33%
Kiasyd Sabbat 10 30 33%
Nagaraja Independent 1 1 100%
Salubri Independent 6 18 33%
Salubri antritribu Sabbat 1 6 17%
Samedi Independent 3 11 27%
True Brujah Independent 9 12 75%

Um, yeah, last two years kind of good for bloodlines.

Clan Sect Last 2 – % All – %
Abomination Independent 1% 1%
Ahrimanes Sabbat 17% 21%
Baali Independent 19% 15%
Blood Brother Sabbat 3% 2%
Daughter of Cacophony Independent 6% 6%
Gargoyle Independent 13% 16%
Harbinger of Skulls Sabbat 3% 3%
Kiasyd Sabbat 13% 14%
Nagaraja Independent 1% 0%
Salubri Independent 8% 8%
Salubri antritribu Sabbat 1% 3%
Samedi Independent 4% 5%
True Brujah Independent 12% 6%

The most interesting thing here is how stable the bloodlines have been internally to their bloodline “class”.  Of course, when most bloodlines wins have been in the last two years, then, obviously, the all time percentages are going to correlate strongly to recent percentages.  Still, only Trujah feel like an outlier and that’s to be expected now that they have learned the power of Auspex bleed bounce.

Clan Sect Wins 2011 Wins 2012 Total
Akunanse Laibon 6 3 9
Guruhi Laibon 9 7 16
Ishtarri Laibon 6 4 10
Osebo Laibon 3 1 4
Grand Total 39

Whatever?  Hold on, sweet chariot!  So, in 2011-2012, Laibon have half as many wins as bloodlines?  Well, at least they collectively beat the Ventrue.  Go Laibon!

Clan Sect Wins – Total Wins – All Last 2 – %
Akunanse Laibon 9 24 38%
Guruhi Laibon 16 26 62%
Ishtarri Laibon 10 26 38%
Osebo Laibon 4 14 29%

And –

Clan Sect Last 2 – % All – %
Akunanse Laibon 23% 27%
Guruhi Laibon 41% 29%
Ishtarri Laibon 26% 29%
Osebo Laibon 10% 16%

No shocker that Nana has made the Guruhi sexy.  Osebo are becoming forgotten.  Though, all of the Laibon have been doing better in recent years.

Let’s look at some deltas.  Here we have the biggest losers from 2011 to 2012:

Clan Sect Total
Imbued Imbued -8
Brujah Camarilla -7
None (blank) -7
Ventrue Camarilla -7
Ahrimanes Sabbat -5
Daughter of Cacophony Independent -5
Nosferatu Camarilla -5
Tremere antitribu Sabbat -5
Malkavian Camarilla -4
Gangrel antitribu Sabbat -4
Ventrue antitribu Sabbat -4

Yes, Imbued.  None?  That would be The Lasombra’s doesn’t fit into a clan group.  This just doesn’t seem all that telling without the actual totals, so here they are:

Clan Sect Wins 2011 Wins 2012 Wins – Total Total
Imbued Imbued 9 1 10 -8
Brujah Camarilla 13 6 19 -7
None (blank) 27 20 47 -7
Ventrue Camarilla 19 12 31 -7
Ahrimanes Sabbat 9 4 13 -5
Daughter of Cacophony Independent 5 0 5 -5
Nosferatu Camarilla 7 2 9 -5
Tremere antitribu Sabbat 11 6 17 -5
Malkavian Camarilla 17 13 30 -4
Gangrel antitribu Sabbat 13 9 22 -4
Ventrue antitribu Sabbat 12 8 20 -4

In terms of percentage lost, can’t beat DoC, who drop 100% in a year.

Not a lot of winners:

Clan Sect Total
Tremere Camarilla 7
Gangrel Independent 5
Lasombra Sabbat 2
Follower of Set Independent 2
Giovanni Independent 2
Kiasyd Sabbat 2
True Brujah Independent 1
Nagaraja Independent 1
Nosferatu antitribu Sabbat 1
Ravnos Independent 1
Caitiff Camarilla 1

In truth, only really two winners, unless you want to include Nagaraja, who finally got a win.  Even so, the jumps for Gangrel and Tremere seem modest, though what I saw last year was the biggest jump being 8 additional wins, so those two are pretty much normal for big jumps in a year.  What may be less normal (have issue with not doing this that many years to get a larger sample size of deltas) is that only two jump significantly.

Another way to look at deltas is to get off the clan thing and look at “class”:

Class Total
Bloodline -18
Camarilla -11
Imbued -8
Independent 2
Laibon -9
None -7
Sabbat -15
Grand Total -66

Indies rock 2012!

Some other “class” data:

Class Total %
Bloodline 218 10%
Camarilla 704 34%
Imbued 62 3%
Independent 244 12%
Laibon 90 4%
None 196 9%
Sabbat 575 28%
Grand Total 2089 100%

All time.  And, 2011-2012 …

Class Total %
Bloodline 78 16%
Camarilla 149 30%
Imbued 10 2%
Independent 52 11%
Laibon 39 8%
None 47 10%
Sabbat 115 23%
Grand Total 490 100%

It’s long, but I think some folks might want to see every clan together.

Clan Wins 2011 Wins 2012 Wins – Total Wins – All
Abomination 1 0 1 2
Ahrimanes 9 4 13 46
Akunanse 6 3 9 24
Assamite 7 4 11 50
Baali 9 6 15 33
Blood Brother 1 1 2 5
Brujah 13 6 19 68
Brujah antitribu 4 2 6 24
Caitiff 1 2 3 16
Daughter of Cacophony 5 0 5 13
Follower of Set 6 8 14 62
Gangrel 2 7 9 82
Gangrel antitribu 13 9 22 49
Gargoyle 6 4 10 35
Giovanni 10 12 22 91
Guruhi 9 7 16 26
Harbinger of Skulls 1 1 2 6
Imbued 9 1 10 62
Ishtarri 6 4 10 26
Kiasyd 4 6 10 30
Lasombra 7 9 16 86
Malkavian 17 13 30 131
Malkavian antitribu 8 6 14 90
Nagaraja 0 1 1 1
None 27 20 47 196
Nosferatu 7 2 9 72
Nosferatu antitribu 0 1 1 28
Osebo 3 1 4 14
Pander 2 1 3 27
Ravnos 2 3 5 41
Salubri 4 2 6 18
Salubri antritribu 1 0 1 6
Samedi 3 0 3 11
Toreador 13 12 25 99
Toreador antitribu 2 2 4 55
Tremere 8 15 23 91
Tremere antitribu 11 6 17 60
True Brujah 4 5 9 12
Tzimisce 6 6 12 79
Ventrue 19 12 31 145
Ventrue antitribu 12 8 20 77
Totals 278 212 490 2089

Just to be clear, the third data column is the total of 2011 and 2012.  There’s only so much going back and messing with my pivot tables I wanted to do for presentation.

A lot of presentation and not much analysis.  I built so many redundant charts I can’t think of what I want to speak to.  Also, people can draw their own conclusions or be shocked to the extent that they didn’t already have an idea what these numbers would be.


December 11, 2012

In truth, it’s not so much being out of town for a while but not having enough inspiration on any one topic for not posting in almost three weeks.

So, has a thread about choosing the best clan for a single group.  I posted my thoughts on most defining clans for each (single) group and don’t know that that really qualifies as being a classic post.  Instead, I wanted to take a look at what I haven’t played from a group perspective.

First, it’s easy to eliminate groups 1 and 2 because they’ve been around so long that I must have done enough permutations not to worry about missing out.  Then, group 6 is something that I started into for a while to the point where I covered a significant amount of ground in what’s a not very deep group, even got me a tournament win, somehow.  Oh, right, Kiasyd with Animalism is the most powerful thing ever.

Rather than go overboard, I thought I’d just take a look at only group 4/5 and what clans I may have underplayed and why.


I had a Lorrie deck I played in a tournament, and I just find Zubeida boring, so not caring.


Just not a star vampire dude, yet I’ve played a decent amount with Nergal.  Just not that compelled to play this grouping when I could play The Hordes, instead.

Blood Brother

No clan is harder to work with than BB.  However, I really need to do more with the idea of ignoring Sanguinus and/or more ideas for Kiev.  The reality is that I have decks written up, I just don’t bother playing them because BB are so antifun.


Played some but just the P/J decks really.  I so keep meaning to do something with Jack Drake, but that isn’t necessarily a Brujah deck.  I’ll have to look through some of the unbuilt decklists.


Not a clan in the Caitiff case, but part of my reluctance is a sense that the drawbacks on new 1 caps are much worse than on old.  Plus Scourge of the Enochians.  Having seen people use some of the Newtiff and Newder, maybe it’s not as bad as I think.

Daughters of Cacophony

Group 4/5 is just so unappealing vis-a-vis group 2/3 or 5/6.


More than any other clan, Gangrel have lost ground.  The main point with exercises like this one is to take a look at situations like the Gangrel in group 4/5.  For instance, I didn’t realize how many weefolk there are in 4/5.  Only one is missing Protean, so it’s not like they suck.  Then, I find some of the big caps interesting, I just have a hard time using them as they lack close substitutes to avoid my reluctance to go superstar.


Unique, slave Gargoyles don’t interest me.  I just can’t get interested, and that some slaves are slaves to one clan and some to another is just awful.  Plus, Tupdogs make a joke of anything else involving Gargoyles.


I feel like I’ve played a decent amount with group 4/5 Giovanni, even before Experiment #2, but I don’t feel like, outside of the experiment, that I’ve made any effort to play a “group 4/5” deck – a deck that just generally uses the grouping.


Here, it’s more a reluctance to play with Malks than anything else.  So much “been there, done that” involved.  I have a bunch of decks written up that use them, but antifun … for like the opposite reasons that BB are antifun (not exactly, but you know).


For the person who very likely built more Nagaraja decks than anyone else in existence, probably more than 99% of the playerbase combined, I just can’t get that excited by this collection.  Asguresh is interesting but not much of a Nagaraja.  Yavu is nothing but disciplines.  Prejudice is discipline impaired.  Still more cohesive than group 5/6.

Nosferatu antitribu

I’ve played with group 4’s on occasion.  Group 5 only has the one representative.  This grouping just doesn’t feel that coherent, maybe because group 3/4 makes so much more sense.


I rarely use Salubri as support.  If I’m going to do a Salubri deck, it’s going to be 2/3 or 5/6 in most cases, these days.


It’s amazing anyone defends group 4 Samedi.  Sure, Morlock is good stuff.  But, group 4 Samedi was about as atrociously bad a group of vampires for a clan possible when they were printed.  I’ve increasingly used individuals and the expanded options of groups 4 and 5 make this collection less pathetic, but there are so many better things to do with group 2/3, and group 5/6 is just a funny restriction on deckbuilding.


Only reason I’ve played these guys so much is Laecanus.  “He who makes me fail.”  There are a lot more things to do than try to make Laecanus worth including in one’s crypt.  Dull and hardly new, but Toreador w/ Dominate is one way to go with this grouping.  Andre LeRoux goes in every deck.  Still not feeling a great sense of identity with 4/5, though.

Toreador antitribu

Group 5 isn’t offering enough to not play 3/4 instead.  And, really, I quite like group 2, so I’d rather do some nostalgia decks and get more play in with the likes of Greta Kircher.


Group 4/5 is so much “some of these are not like the others”, having some of the worst possible Tremere (Andrew Stuart, Miguel Cordovera), while having some I’d actually build around (Windham) and some that are totally forgettable.


Contender for Gangrel’s title of “clan that lost the most” over time.  This is just such a sorry group that, once you get past Tzimisce w/ Obfuscate, which group 5 doesn’t even help with and which just sucks, has nothing to pull you away from group 2/3.  As an aside, Tzimisce really deserve a lot more, in general, like new clan cards.  Aside, the second, if Laibonism was (sensibly) expanded to the other major African clans, Tzimisce would have a boatload of new vampires and might gain some interesting fourth discipline action, which neither Obfuscate nor Protean provides.


I don’t hate Ventrue.  I just have disdain for how often original gangsta clans get played.  This grouping is a perfectly good opportunity for me to do some new Ventrue action, even if it may end up looking like old Ventrue action.  Well, I do like Hardestadt, just need to find him some buddies since I hate superstar decks.

Ventrue antitribu

Suffers from lack of group 5 adding much that matters disease.  Admittedly, I’m not sure how much I want to play with !Ventrue, anyway, given how boringly effective they have become*.

*  This is the sort of things V:TES should have done much more of.  !Ventrue used to get tons of grief, with people wondering why they shouldn’t just play Ventrue (legit argument) or for dumber reasons.  Having what is good and what isn’t evolve over time is crucial to keeping a CCG compelling.  I may still enjoy the game, but there are many times I get discouraged by the lack of change.