When it comes to V:TES tournaments, I have a banned list that I apply to my decks.
Because it amuses me. Really, a game that isn’t amusing isn’t worth playing.
Why does it amuse me?
Winning more than my share of tournaments has a lot to do with it. While I’m not sure what the tournament win rankings currently are, I was tied for 21st last I could gather in lifetime wins. What makes that more amusing is what I haven’t won with.
What is worthy to go on the list?
This gets into an interesting philosophical schism. On the one hand, any card I’ve already won with can’t go on the list. On the other, the nature of CCGs is variety and constantly trying different things, so there can’t be a list of “Personal Allowed Cards”. In truth, part of the point of having a personal banned list is to force myself to play with less commonly played cards. At the point where you can’t play Weighted Walking Stick, maybe it is all about Spike-Throwers and Elixirs of Distillation.
Power is not the primary criterion for what cards make the list. Boringossity is. But, what’s boring? That’s tremendously subjective. On the other hand, it’s hard for a card that isn’t powerful to be boring. People tend to play the best cards. Commonality of play drives what is boring to the mostest degree.
I’ve won tournaments with decks that had Dominate requiring cards in them, so I can’t have Dominate written off entirely. Fully a third of my TWDs ran Dominate, whether it was bounce for Daughters, Kiasyd, and Samedi or Far Mastery and Obedience for Augustus Giovanni. Yet, even with the utter sleaze of the Kiasyd deck, with its two copies of … *gasp* … Dominate plus bleed (well, 6x Gremlins and it’s stupid outferior), no Bonding/Conditioning/Threats/Foreshadowing Destruction, no Govern the Unaligned/Scouting Mission/Mind Rape or any other Dominate bleed action besides the stupid outferior of Gremlins. (Without that outferior, Con-Dom Kiasyd decks would be so much easier.)
Certainly, Conditioning and Govern are on the banned list. But, what about Foreshadowing Destruction? It’s not that I’ve never tried winning tournaments with some of these cards, it’s that I fortunately failed to win any tournaments with my 20x Foreshadowing Destruction deck and the like. Whew! I’m still interested in the “I play nothing but Foreshadowing Destruction until you all die” decks, but it is a really dumbtastic card that shouldn’t exist, and I can just resist the temptation. Murmur of the False Will snuck itself into my win list, so now I’m tainted forever and ever with at least one plus bleed Dominate action modifier. Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha, I can run 20x Murmur in all of my decks!
But, what of Mind Rape? With Mind Rape on my banned list, that means no more JackalRape decks. I can’t see putting Slaughtering the Herd on my banned list, though I have a hard time generating enough enthusiasm to play the card at all. Do I keep writing up Dominate Kine decks I don’t end up playing or do I keep myself untainted by stealth+bleed in one card? The Ailing Spirit has to be at the Gremlins level of just biting the bullet and being afflicted with a Dom outferior.
Dominate is easy to point to. What’s interesting is what else rises to the level of boringossity as some of Dom’s staples. Wait, before going there, a comment about Deflection. The game only functions because Deflection exists. Vast numbers of decks only function because Deflection exists. Explain to me again why Deflection level bounce isn’t disciplineless?
Oh, and bounce doesn’t bore me. Bounce is possum.
I put Eyes of Argus in a lot of decks. Yet, I’ve yet to be tainted by it, though that has a lot to do with how few tournament wins I’ve had since KoT got printed. I had never thought of it making my list until like a month ago. The card shouldn’t have been made. It’s relatively ubiquitous … because relatively ubiquitous is a phrase that has so much relative meaning. Including Sense the Sin and Nightmare Curse, fully 50% of my TWDs run Auspex. Why should I play Eyes of Argus? Why? Just to win more with sleazy Auspex?
I need to get away from Auspex and its Telepathic Misdirectioning crutch. I’ve had more decks with Auspex than Presence (assuming I don’t misremember irrelevant outferiors)!
Speaking of Presence, Voter Captivation has already made one of my decks. So has Business Pressure, so I can’t ban Business Pressure. No-o-o-o-o-o, one copy of Aire of Elation made my fat Pander deck!! I am forever tainted by Aire of Elation, another card that should not exist, which by I mean that it should have no Toreador benefit.
Speaking of terrible KoT decisions … because I was totally speaking of those, right? … I totally dodged Deep Song in my Kiasyd deck. Now, you might say that was an obvious deckbuilding decision because I wasn’t playing rush but playing “intercept” combat with that deck and Deep Song would never make the cut before Trainer, Hell-for-Leather, and the ultrasleazy Underbridge Stray. Eschewing Deep Song doesn’t seem so challenging, given how broken Animalism is with Carrion Crows (uh, nope, never won with these) and Aid from Bats (no room when I had Amria to put in). Oh, my!
Am I banned from Animalism based combat?!? Heavens, no!! Song in the Dark is totally legit as my go to Animalism combat play.
Then, there’s Dementation. I have no entries for Dementation. But, I still feel my nine person tournament, tournament winning deck. I ran Kindred Spirits, Confusion, and Eyes of Chaos in that deck. Can I hide my shame simply because that deck doesn’t count towards my Hall of Fame creds? Do I embrace my lovey-dovey for stealth bleed and play nothing but “the !Malk sleaze” (yes, I’ve been around long enough to think of Malks as Dominating and not Demented)?
Grabbing breakfast before one of the August tournaments, we talked about what sort of Demented deck I could play (that actually does something and not my most recent attempt at Dementation “intercept combat”). It amuses me, amuses me enough to play with … plus(!) … bleed(!!) … cards!!! … using the discipline better known for Prison of the Mind, Sleep of Reason, and Personal Scourge.
No Public Trust. Sighification … guess all of those winnie Presence bleed decks are off the table. Well, except how Legal Manipulations and Enchant Kindred show up in one or more of my TWDs.
Only one deck with Protean and no Dual Form. Will I miss you Dual Form? Can I be convinced that you aren’t boring? Actually, there really is no justification for banning Dual Form. So, it’s broken. Broken isn’t a problem. I played Dramatic Upheaval in multiple TWDs. Lilith’s Blessing was in my Kiasyd deck. Ghouled Street Thug graced that Pander deck.
No Earth Meld, Earth Control, or Form of Mist, yet. Well, I have to be able to play Earth Meld in my tournament decks because it’s a key card to my No Decisions deck, version 1.0, that is the first in a long line of decks where I can stop thinking at the table all together.
Spirit Marionette is not so much boring as unpleasant. Well, at superior. Inferior interests me some. This is another criterion for my banned list – unpleasantness.
Powerbase: Montreal, The Erciyes Fragments, mono-Imbued (even the Convictionless decks), and … other stuff have to make the list.
Sensory Deprivation got into my Nightmare Curse deck, so stuck with that joy of a card. Shambling Hordes, however, have not shambled for me. Yeah! Neither have War Ghouls, but War Ghouls are actually cool because of their self-sacrificing ways, where Shamblers are just tedious. I’m getting tired of checking, but I’m pretty sure there’s no way a Nephandus could be in one of my decks, but they are just so cute.
Parity Shift, Second Tradition – guess I need to go back to playing bloodlines decks and other, fun decks. I did have a Fifth Tradition deck (post-CE) that played these cards. I’ll just have to find something better to do with Fifth Tradition. On the other hand, my hypocriticallity arises as I did run Protect Thine Own in a deck. But, hey, wasn’t PTO fun? … anyone, anyone?
Ivory Bow in two decks, blah. Bowl of Convergence in zero decks. Huzzah!! Carlton shows up twice in the same deck – you cool, Carlton, you cool.
Yup, this banned list is just going swimmingly. What was it, again?
1. Govern the Unaligned
2. Scouting Mission
6. Foreshadowing Destruction
7. Eyes of Argus
8. Deep Song
9. Carrion Crows
11 Eyes of Chaos
12 Kindred Spirits
13 Powerbase: Montreal
14 The Erciyes Fragments
15 Shambling Hordes
16 Parity Shift
17 Second Tradition
18 Bowl of Convergence
I need another two cards, at least. Round numbers people, round numbers.
Anyway, the point of this post wasn’t actually to say that the game needs to start banning a bunch of cards, that the game needs to reboot with a better card pool, or that other people should embrace my weirdness and deprive themselves of staple or power cards. I actually just needed to flesh out my personal banned list, as it wasn’t that clear to me what I could put on it and what I couldn’t or remember what I choose to deprive myself of. Hopefully, there was some amusement in reading this, as any game that fails to amuse is not a game worth playing.