As mentioned, we had a couple of V:TES tournaments this past weekend. At times, we’ve had more events in Berkeley, at times, less. Mark Jasper organized the two tournaments and we can hope for more in the future.
But, before getting into V:TES, my weekend was complicated by also running my RPG campaign Saturday morning. Since our RPG group was all going to go to the tournaments and the Saturday event was at 5PM, we decided to have our “monthly” FSTH (Feng Shui Tu Huo … spin on Feng Shui RPG, the primary basis for the campaign) session in the morning and all head out at the same time to Berkeley. I’m sure, at some point, I’ll spend more time speaking about the FSTH campaign. But, from a logistics standpoint, the main impacts were: had to build decks Friday night rather than last minute, to leave last minute for RPG planning; encouraged to produce a compact session to avoid being in the middle of something and then have to jump up and leave; just made the weekend more involved, in general.
Back to V:TES. We all get up to Berkeley with plenty of time, taking two cars as the others were all going to crash up there, with only my commuting the hour’s drive back and forth. I do feel rather drained, which might have been good – mellower.
I built three possible tournament decks Friday night. Decided to go with the most convoluted one, not having taken to heart the lesson from a tournament years ago where I realized that playing a convoluted deck when not yet in mental shape to make decisions was a bad idea.
We had 17 players, 2+F.
Rick (!Nos and Carlotta Horseshoes) -> Joel (HoS w/ Animalism) -> Ian (For Sex*) -> Eric (Aus/Pre bleed)
* Not my usual method of naming decks. It will make more sense when I get to round two.
Rick Famed a Harbinger. Rick tried to annoy the Famed one. Joel blocked Horseshoes and came out ahead in combats with Mercy for Seth a couple of times on Carlotta, Dead Hand, Crows, and whatever. I brought out Augustus Giovanni. Having an Obedience in hand, I decide to block Joel’s Babalawo?, and Augustus Kisses Ra. As I said to folks, a lot of mistakes don’t matter in the game, getting washed away in the ebb and tide of the game, but the ones that tend to matter the most are at the beginning and when going for a VP. This was not good. Augustus hung out in torpor for a while, as I didn’t trust Mordechai not to block him leaving torpor. I eventually get Sarrasine up. Rick eventually rescues Augustus.
Meanwhile, Eric has no pressure, so he just keeps bringing out dudes, getting Remilliard, Delilah Easton, Jost, and Sheila. Rick has no intercept, so Jost can walk right past him. Eric has a lot of combat ends to ignore combats. I have strange hands to where I couldn’t do much. Eric did block some votes. I was getting Slaughterhoused by Joel, while playing various cards to survive Trochomancy bleeds, accelerating my mill rate. When Rick got ousted, Joel stopped bothering me to put pressure on Eric. Eric had 19 pool, I bled for one, reducing him to 18, and he was scared. Joel had to fend off a lot of minions. Eric had to worry about getting beaten down in combat with Joel. I needed more dudes, so I kept transferring to go low on pool, with Lille Haake joining the team, giving me that precious +1 bleeder against Eric … as Archons got Augustus when he Trochomancyed. Started working on Eze.
I started to stabilize, while Joel ran into issues with being outminioned. Because my library was dissipating, I had no real incentive to use up offensive cards, and Joel wasn’t bleeding me enough to use bounce, so I basically just went with base bleeds against Eric. Some got bounced, making Joel’s game harder as he had little pool, mostly from Sheila Daring the Dawn bigger bleeds past Joel. Finally, Eric got through, at a great time for me as Joel was about to Slaughterhouse my last few cards. However, in pushing through Rick and Joel, Eric had gotten beaten down a good amount, so I wasn’t terribly worried about his minions, and his pool wasn’t ridiculous. With a few remaining votes and whatnot, Lille did what she always does and bled my prey out for the 2/2 split.
Henri (Elimelech BH) -> Ian -> Rick -> Andy (Scout & Friends) -> Brandon (Not Malk94)
Everyone knew what deck Brandon was playing, so we knew Henri was dead. Brandon’s deck was Malk94 with a Khabar: Glory angle. I brought out Lille and planned for the inevitable. I had a lot of Villeins, early, so I wasn’t in bad shape, but I did make a big mistake not Telepathic Countering Elimelech bleeding for 2, as I should have been cycling to try to get votes that could bloat Henri. Rick and Andy exchanged damage-dealing actions (Horseshoes, Shattering Crescendo) before calling a truce to deal with the menace. Henri died quickly, but Andy got some Shattering going on Brandon, and I got a Banishment on Didi, who, being Famed, wasn’t all that quick to pop back out.
I mostly ignored Rick. But, my bloating kicked in hardcore. I had Eze, Kahina, Lille out when I Reckless Agitationed Rick and finished him with Lille, the smiter of evil. I had Forestal out as well and 38 pool when I started working on Augustus, who popped out as my fifth vampire, leaving me at 23 pool, at the time. Andy and Brandon tried to coordinate, but I had a good amount of bleed defense, bloat, and vote superiority to pretty much do whatever, which eventually caused Brandon to transfer out.
So, why For Sex as a deck name? I had Eze, Kahina, Lille, and Forestal out … before forming Voltron (Augustus).
Ended up top seed, as a bit of a surprise. Mark and Robert had no options. Nick inserted as Mark’s prey. Brandon was going to insert as Robert’s prey but changed his mind and inserted as Robert’s predator. If he had gone with his first option, I would have been Mark’s prey, easily, figuring that I would have some time to marshall my bloat and bounce. With his actual choice, I still went as Mark’s prey, figuring Nick might ignore me as I’d mostly ignore him and being least afraid of Mark as my predator, even though I didn’t have a good idea what his or Nick’s decks did.
Ian -> Nick (BH Lasombra w/ Purge) -> Brandon -> Robert (Velya War Ghoul) -> Mark (Aus/Pre/Obf vote)
I bring up Kahina with a plan of Eze second.
Because Robert is a good player, he withstood Brandon’s deck. Actually, Robert got a strong start, with The Unmasking right away. Mark had Stavros. Nick had Appius, discarding Graverobbing early, which didn’t inspire confidence in me. Brandon had Mariel and Badr. I Banishmented Mariel at full blood, hoping that, if Nick did Purge, he wouldn’t Graverob Mariel. Robert brought out allies. Mark Entrancemented Beatrice from Robert. I Far Masteryed Ossian from Nick, which really didn’t do me a whole lot of good.
Brandon kept trying, but Robert held off with War Ghoul and Asanbonsam coming down. Mark had an early Carlton, but Robert stole him to oust Mark, who ate a 6 bleed from Brandon that made it to me before I bounced it back, as Mark had brought out Lutz, which was just not acceptable. I figured Nick would just bounce back to me, but he said he might bounce to Mark as well to prop Robert.
Then, it got heinous. Robert stole Ossian from me and started beating down my dudes. Now, I did have tons of pool from a bunch of Villeins, but it meant I had little action impact with Lille, Eze, Kahina. In fact, the ally menace got to the point where it was everyone in favor of Brandon ousting. I couldn’t do much with votes to help, the only thing I could do was get Nick to take The Erciyes Fragments from Robert and rescue Mariel. With The Coven in play, Brandon could still keep firing, but it was Nick doing a Govern/Conditioning bleed coordinated with Brandon’s bounce that had enough stealth to oust Robert. Nick Purged for the only time with Saul, while I rescued Eze. Mariel got White Nightsed away while she was napping. With vote lock and no intercept around me, I could start doing stuff, but Nick could have gotten out of range.
Early in the game, I was choked on offensive votes and decided to pitch Reins of Power. With time growing short and with Nick’s pool only likely to grow, I have Eze get The Sargon Fragment, untap, get Reins, which nobody tried to block, called Reins with Lille, the smiter of evil. Rather than have the game end with a double oust, Nick gave Brandon 6 pool, and we fought it out, though it was pretty much over as I had enough pool to withstand what was left of Brandon’s library. I did stuff. Brandon bled. With Roland and Badr up, Roland bled for 4. I took it. Badr had Glory and bled for 5. I Archoned her. Didi came up, but Brandon had too little deck left and, with little time left, he Pentexed me ineffectually and conceded at 1 pool, 40 seconds before time would have run out.
Key play in the game? After my first Villein, I played another master – Powerbase: Madrid. It ended the game in the same state as it had been four turns after I played it – full of counters and unused. … I have no vampires that can natively use it. Other amusing things were to double superior Trochomancy bleed Brandon in the endgame, discarding Walk of Flame in the endgame just to show my l33t deckbuilding skills, and probably something I’m forgetting.
Drive home. Next day, drive back.
Sunday, we have the second tournament organized by Mark and run at Eudemonia. I don’t bother building new decks in the morning, as I know what I want to play.
Brandon (Hektor eats the world) -> Edward (Ventrue vote/bleed) -> Robert (Nocturns Shadow Twin) -> Ian (Samedi intercept/combat) -> Cory (Spider-Killer Aus/Chi)
I thought my Groaning Corpse deck would be more fun than it turned out. I knew Robert as my predator was going to be bad as our play style tempos are very different, i.e. his deck would be too fast for my deck. Robert’s Lucy got the Heart of Nizchetus. Edward twice tried to Hostile Takeover her, costing Robert 9 pool in total. Unfortunately, my intercept required too much tool up, and the combination of action advantage and stealth meant I couldn’t impact Robert at all.
Cory had no game. Brandon feared something like Sensory Deprivation, so Spider-Killer got eaten right away. Salbatore didn’t last much longer, though he did come out first. Edward got hit from both directions, Shadow Twins and some intercept one way, Hektor the other. My Baroque got Famed and Shadow Twinned into torpor a couple of times. Edward’s ability to go forward declined, so it was very much oriented to an endgame of Brandon (no predator) and Robert, with Robert having a decided advantage. There was a key point where Brandon called a KRC that a new S-K blocked that could have done enough damage to Robert that, if Brandon let Edward live a turn, Edward could have gotten a three bleed through with his last vampire and ousted Robert, which would have been awesome for me and better for Brandon. At 2 pool, with both Pentex and Fame gone, I could have recovered, and I didn’t fear Brandon’s deck at all.
But, Robert lived, and I didn’t, and Robert won the endgame. For me, it was just a really boring game, with no ability to play combat cards and taking virtually no actions.
Ian -> Rick (Luna and Anu) -> Conner (Guruhi high caps) -> Brandon -> Andy (Cybele)
Closer. But, still not close enough. I really wanted to get into fights with Hektor or the like, but no, both rushy decks were across the table. This game, if I didn’t need VPs to make the finals, would have just timed out with no ousts. I couldn’t do anything to my prey with only two vampires and with his deck predicated upon bouncing and boosting with Anu. My grandprey stabilized after I helped him stop a bleed when he was at 5 by burning a Masquer. Brandon punked his predator. Andy didn’t bring out Cybele until he had a skill card and Soul Gem.
Since I needed a path to victory and nothing had progressed that far after about an hour, I stole Montreal from my grandprey and brought a third dude and just kept bleeding, which, of course, just ousted my grandprey. Bringing out a third vampire meant my pool was low enough to be threatened by The Great Beast and Annazir. Brandon was worried about Rick. Rick had absurds amount of pool as he didn’t bother with a third minion until he lost Luna to Archons and Anu to beatdown. I got ousted. The game sped up dramatically and Rick cleaned up.
The finals had:
David (DoC vote/bleed) -> Rick -> Robert -> Mark (Tzimisce fatties) -> Nick (Baali vote)
Or, something like that, as I didn’t really care. Though, Nick, Robert, and Mark did make both finals, which is an achievement. David won by getting the only oust when Nick was crosstabled by Robert’s Shadow Twins to stop Nick from ousting David, but otherwise, I don’t have a great idea what happened.
Pick up game was going on where Cory borrowed a deck from me. It played very strangely, but it was a good situation for him, except time ran out.
I missed out on eating at any of the places I like in Berkeley both because the Saturday tourney was at a strange time (most, historically, started in the morning or early afternoon, leaving dinner an easy thing to do afterwards) and because everyone really needed to get home after the Sunday tourney. And, I thought my Samedi deck would be more fun – not starting seated next to Brandon was unfortunate for having wacky stuff happen and my drawing a paltry number of wakes throughout the tournament was tiresome. But, it was nice to win the Saturday tournament with the Powerbase: Madrid deck.