To what extent is it interesting to hear about a group’s casual games? I’ve increasingly lost interest in reporting on casual play, though it interests me more when funny things happen, and I can see some value when there’s something to be learned.
I put together a couple of new decks before we played earlier today. One was just a Sunrise Service/Recure the Homeland bleed deck that was all about my usual focused, prey-oriented beatdown. That I may have built that deck previously was evidenced by how many Sunrise Services and Recure the Homelands I had sleeved in preferable sleeves. I just don’t recall having executed this idea that has been around for ages. The other deck was based on Biothaumaturgic Experiments, though it never did its funny thing.
Ian (Bio-Ex) -> Andy (borrowed Sunrise/Recure) -> Brandon (Toreador) -> Eric (Ahrimanes, group 4)
Andy had five vampires with reasonable blood levels and 18 pool at one point. Brandon’s Torries got smacked some by Ahrimanes, as Brandon would occasionally whip out Aire of Elation bleeds. I did what my deck was supposed to do – tool up and survive long enough to tool up some more. Eric was under too much pressure and lacked a great plan for getting either by my maneuvering +1 Strengthers or for not just getting bounced.
Andy bounced my first(?) bleed to Eric and a number of my other bleeds. Since they were all for one, it was a mild annoyance. To put some actual pressure on, I brought out Muaziz, Eugenio, Blythe, and Aisling. I mistakenly gave Muaziz The Ankara Citadel and generally made lots of dumb mistakes, including not eating the first time one of Andy’s guys got torped. Besides Eric walling up, what made me relevant to the game was a Sport Bike on Eugenio, a shockingly effective level of intercept against a prey with Mirror Walk. Still, moving combat cards was difficult between my lack of desire in hurting Eric too much and Mirror Walk.
Brandon just couldn’t keep enough blood on guys and lacked someone with AUS to bounce with TM rather than the Deflections he ran in his Toreador with some Dominate deck. So, Andy took him out, still having a couple of Sunrise Services out. One SS took out Eric. Andy eventually conceded when we were at minion parity due to my permacombat, Sport Bike, and recently acquired Bowl of Convergence. Brandon and I didn’t think it was cut and dried how things would turn out, but it would have been a tedious grind to play it out and probably have taken us over two hours, anyway.
If there were any takeaways from this game, they might be that permanents can be harsh even when they aren’t all that and that not all of my decks ignore offense or eschew Dominate-requiring cards. Those are not terribly compelling takeaways.
Of more interest, perhaps, was analyzing Eric’s deck after the game. I had forgotten that Eric had wanted me to look over the decklist via email. At first, things seemed reasonable. But, then, actually counting cards led to noticing an absurd number of actions in the deck.
Many worry about master jam. I find action jam just as problematic and have long had a bias away from action cards. After all, cardless actions can still win games (helped immensely by action modifiers, of course). I noted that one of the things I look for when I build my decks in FELDB is the shape of card types. The vast majority of my decks will emphasize action modifiers and reactions and I will often trim just based on card type counts, especially from the total number of actions (Actions, Political Actions, Equipment, Allies, Retainers).
I removed one master and nine action cards. Eric played the cut down deck in the third game.
Ian (group 6 HoS w/ Obf) -> Eric (EuroBrujah) -> Andy (Scout and votey/bouncey friends) -> Brandon (Ventrue Law Firm)
This was the last go for a deck that could hardly be considered a HoS deck based on how it has performed [sic] in the past. The deck has never done anything constructive, routinely choking on Cloak the Gatherings because stealth is useless in casual play. First Tradition came down before I got Elimelech in play, so between Viuda Blanca, Elimelech, Wider View (no time to ever pop), Heidelberg, and a .44, I was at three pool. I lost a pool to Eric’s KRC, couldn’t afford to take a turn, and was easily bled out.
Just too slow. When half the crypt is 10-caps and a quarter 11-caps, need far fewer Cloaks and far more acceleration. Eric was low on pool but ousted Andy, and the endgame was actually fairly interesting with New Carthage being very swingy. But, Eric couldn’t manufacture a stealth to bleed for a ton past Brandon, assuming Brandon lacked a Second Tradition in hand at the time, and Brandon eventually Parity Shifted back to a reasonable position and got back vote control.
Eric (Ahrimanes) -> Brandon (Toreador) -> Andy (group 4/5 Malks) -> Ian (DBR Decapitate)
I’m also done with my Dragon’s Breath Rounds/Decapitate deck. Actually, after the previous time playing it, I was thinking of changes and realized the changes I would make to make it less nutpunchery would involve removing the point of the deck. Unlike the HoS deck, which I gave extra play to since it never did its thing but seemed interesting, this deck got the more standard “only play twice in my life” level of play.
I got blocked Governing at superior by my prey, never having enough facesmash to scare people. Dr. Julius Sutphen decided to be annoyed by my prey blocking my bleed for one to move his prey’s Edge and went to torpor after punching to the neck region of Muricia. Brandon Giant’s Blooded and rescued him. I lacked Deflections, so my predator did not struggle that hard to bleed me, with some bleeds being bounced into me, which didn’t matter that much. I tried Far Mastery on Muricia’s Raven Spy and … succeeded, much to my chagrin, as the only point to that play was to tap Eric out to bleed for seven when he had seven pool. Such brilliant play on my opponents’ parts always dooms me.
I kept leaving the area during games two and three, so I wasn’t sure how things ended up the way they did, but Andy ran out of deck and didn’t think he could push through for a second VP, unless something happened to Eric’s pool or minions, while Eric had trouble doing anything to Brandon’s Felicia with an Ivory Bow. After Andy was ousted, Brandon did get blood poor and Felicia went down, and Eric finally could bleed through with his four dudettes.
The Ahrimanes deck did seem to flow better. Another aspect of it is that group 4 sucks, I mean, it sucks. I mean, it lacks SPI and, therefore, sucks. Relying entirely on Speak with Spirits to wake when having only one minion out with SPI has all kinds of issues. So, I finally responded to Eric’s email about other possible changes and sample tournament winning decks. Actually, group 4 has done okay, in recent years, tournamentwise, so whatever.
We also looked at his EuroBrujah deck, which also had the too many actions problem and the too little combat problem.
What was the theme for today? I suppose it was a theme of deck construction. Neither of the new decks I had interested me a lot, though the Bio-Ex deck is certainly worth another run. I’ll have to think of something I can do with Sunrise Service that doesn’t involve Dominate bleed. Then, there was taking established archetypes and looking at proportions (the actual card choices almost all made sense). Then, there was the need for me to give up on some wacky decks from recent months. One because I lack the interest in trying to make it more functional, the other because I lack interest in the idea, anymore, and pretty much lost interest after the first time I played it. So, there’s an interesting contrast between my being bored with obscure decks and being interested in helping tune well known archetypes. I would never want to play EuroBrujah or wallish Ahrimanes, myself, but hey, whatever floats people’s boats – I can find tuning Malk94 (for someone else to play) interesting.