I haven’t written much about V:TES recently. I missed out on the recent excursion to get some tournaments in down South, so missed out on some fodder for posts. But, I got to thinking about something while looking over deck lists. I have a theory that I want to “test”.
Since there is no such thing as rigorous testing with this game, I thought I’d take a look at what decks won 20+ player tournaments, going back about 20 tournaments. As it happens, by going back 19 tournaments, capture October 2012, which includes three 100+ player tournaments from the European Championships.
What am I looking for?
Three things. Wakes, intercept, and bounce. In particular, the reaction card kind.
Start with the 100+ player decks and move down.
Wall deck using Auspex – lots of all three.
Small amounts of each – max output for any one is four slots, with cards overlapping in functions.
Three Deflection, two On the Qui Vive, two Second Tradition. Amusingly, no Auspex reactions.
If the Toreador had only been doing Auspex, all three 100+ player tournament winning decks would have been using it.
Couple bleed wakes, couple Lost in Translation, and Aksinya.
No real reactions.
Two Eyes of Argus, five Second Tradition, five Telepathic Misdirection.
No reactions. The Unmasking for permacept, of course.
Wake, bounce, Delaying Tactics, can use Spectral Divination for intercept, The Unmasking.
Two Lost in Translation, two Second Tradition.
While not heavy on reaction cards, this is a wall deck that uses permacept and Atonement. Only two bounce cards, though.
Wake, bounce, even a touch of Auspex bounce.
Twelve wakes, 13 Murmur of the False Will.
Permacept, four Cats’ Guidance, four wakes.
Grinder deck has lots of these things … shocking.
Wake, bounce, Delaying Tactics.
So, what was the point of all this?
Actually, before getting to that, comment upon the potential metagame biases in just looking 19 decks back. Lot of decks are from Europe. But, Europe isn’t one big metagame. Add in some decks from elsewhere and I’m not going to worry much about metagame biases when I’m looking at so few decks, anyway.
The point of all of this is not one-fold.
First, I keep thinking about how many fat vampire decks along the lines of Girls or Lutz or whatever that have paltry levels of intercept or defense against actions besides permavotes to mess with voting. I wanted to see if there was a pattern in tournament winning decks from larger events of just ignoring the possibility of being messed with by non-bleed/non-vote actions (and inability to stop tool up actions).
Second, I was curious to see if there was a pattern of having far more bounce cards than wake cards in these decks. I’m constantly amazed by the decks that run 5+ bounce cards and don’t seem to care about waking. Not only is that negative actions by keeping someone untapped who didn’t need to be, but it means vulnerability to tap plays – Anarch Troublemaker, Mind Numb, etc.
Within this tiny sample size of 19 decks, there really is no pattern. Some decks are wall decks. Some have moderate amounts of wake + bounce. Some have little to no reaction plan. Only one does the “I bounce but I don’t care about waking” thing that *doesn’t* involve Aksinya.
Given a lack of pattern, I don’t see an obvious way to take advantage of the metagame. Now, it could very well be that the decks that didn’t win provided much clearer information. A breakdown of just the 100+ tournaments of every deck would be far more useful data than what I’m working with.
For some, the threshold of credible stealth is to get to three, to bypass Second Tradition. Against a lot of my decks and based on inconsistent observation, it still seems like two stealth is far and away mightier than one stealth. For instance, the Nephandi and Shamblers above are not going to be blocking much in the way of two stealth actions (no intercept locations).
Well, the one thing I take away from this exercise is that there is a decent amount of diversity in what wins, and that wall decks do just fine. Wait, that’s two things.