[Fisticuffs & Fangs] December 2014

As I’ve let some time slide by, I don’t have all of the details in mind for various games of V:TES and Shadowfist as I tend to do.  But, I thought it was worth mentioning some things to mention some other things.

Working backwards, I played Shadowfist last night.  One game.  Hours = 3.5.  This is not actually that unusual for our Thursday night group.  Whether it’s good or bad is hard to say.  Certainly, at a certain point, the players lose interest as attempt after attempt to win gets stopped, and that’s bad.

I was playing a Hopping Vampire deck.  It did get a couple Hopping Vampires back from the smoked pile, but it was more notable that in one turn (but not all at the same time) I had four Hopping Vampires, Xiang Kai, Destroyer, two Wailing Apparitions, and Desolation in play.  It was more notable that I could have blown up the Queen of the Darkness Pagoda with Poison Clan Warriors but thought she was helpful for keeping Havoc Suited Gadgeteers/Seamus/whatever and Hidden Dragons under control.  I did blow her up with a Poison Clan Warriors at some point.  It took a lot of effort, but she and Desolation finally did each other in when my Hot Springs got C4 Sinkholed to enable Fox Pass to do its cheaty stuff.

Justin (Hand, lot of new cards) -> Ray (Darkness plus Molten Heart) -> Ian (Hopping Mad) -> Joren (Dragon weapon states)

Justin’s early Fu Lions on what turned out to be Turtle Island meant it was a long time before that site moved.  Ray was never close to winning except at the very end but his Edges kept people from being too attack effective.  Battle Suit, Havoc Suits, Both Guns Blazing, and the like made Dragon stuff bigger.

One problem we run into is that players often don’t sneak to victory as people burn two sites for victory, making them always a threat.  Joren decked.  Justin finally won with the token from Unbroken Protectorship that had Fighting 4 for some reason and who had got a Bamboo Cane, giving him enough to take out Auspicious Termites that Ray had seized from him earlier.

Last Sunday was V:TES, where we got two games in.

Ian (!Malk SB) -> Andy (Masika Madness) -> Eric (Kiasyd SB) -> Sergio (Giovanni PB) -> Brandon (Ani/Aus/For)

Sergio came really, really close to ousting Brandon, but wakes and intercept and bounce meant Sergio got into very low pool.  Andy didn’t really do a whole lot, though Masika had a gun for a bit before Gremlins got it.  I bled at stealth and rarely hunted.  Eric got two and conceded in the endgame.

More specifically, my deck was put together out of a box of Third Edition boosters and precons, from my long ago Experiment series.  My recollection is this deck has still won every game it has played in.  But, whatever.

Sergio (Giovanni PB) -> Ian (Ani/For/Tha) -> Andy (Malk 3/4 vote) -> Brandon (everyThing) -> Eric (Toreador guns w/ Zephyr)

Sergio got beaten down early but eventually had a horde.  Brandon tried someThing, anyThing, but Maris Streck on one side and intercept Celerity guns on the other meant a lot of noThing.  I thrashed some in combat with either Burst of Sunlight or Walk of Flame, but I didn’t have as much intercept as I drew early on and had to rely too much on leaving Aksinya untapped.  Parity Shifts kept getting stopped by Delaying Tactics.  Andy Banishmented his own vampire before losing his last vampire to be a pool sack that I ousted before time.

There are just some crypts I really like that produce interesting discipline combinations, but I keep running into the basic problem that the eventual deck build will not have enough ousting power.  I had Marcia and Phaedyme as well, Marcia with a Camera Phone, but it barely mattered.  Freak Drives would have helped convert my blood into bleeds, but the deck is busy enough as it is.  And, that’s the problem with relying on esoteric combat plays.

December 11th, we played two, count them – two, games of Shadowfist.

I played my Flower Glower deck in the first game, which actually only went about an hour.  Blossoms of the Black Lotus got reasonably meaty off of Petals of Despair, Moon Petals, and Crown of Thorns.  Even a Hell Charger appeared to aid victory.  For some reason, I have this reputation as a Hand player with this group, even though I play Lotus a lot.

The second game was much longer and full of much funnier.

Auramancer is broken.  Sure, I had a 17 Fighting Auramancer next to something like a 14 Fighting Auramancer, lost a 15 Fighting Auramancer to Die!!! which also took out two 5 Fighting Jammers – Scrounger and a Rhesus Pieces as I recall, both with Electro-Gliders – because that’s what Die!!! always does – take 25 Fighting off the table.  But, even if Auramancer only gets to 3-4 Fighting, how is that not a deal?  As a foundation character, why would I not put five in every deck to just randomly get a net zero cost, 4 Fighting character?

It’s not like the ability says the card goes from smoked to play, it just says removed from smoked.  I may be playing in a recursion heavy environment, but any sort of Reload, toast from smoked pile, minor recursion is going to happen.  I was only running three and avoided having too many in play at once because who wants to be the clear table threat because of their foundation characters?  My “Auramancer” deck is going to be fairly obvious, when I build it, but it seems pointless to bring to casual play.

At the point where Pi Tui, Matron of Silver and Ice is less threatening than my 2 cost foundation character, something is kind of off.  She got taken out once, replayed with a Fire Horse steed for 17 Mobility Fighting and still wasn’t anywhere near as good as “I gain another power and Fighting.”  By the way, I ended this game with 24 power.  I didn’t have much deck left and no more Auramancers (or Pi Tuis), so I was waiting for some character thinning before playing the rest of my characters and making a bid for victory.  Justin pushed through with recursive demons before that could happen, and, of course Die!!! to take out 25 Fighting.

Ray was playing Purists and Joren, obviously, Jammers.  Purist character removal did do the Matron of Silver and Ice and one or two Auramancers in.

I mention above about pointless to bring to casual play.  I’m definitely overlapping how I approach Shadowfist and V:TES in certain ways.  I’m playing very passively and considering some things as “not suitable for casual play” in Shadowfist, like I do with V:TES.

On the other hand, there’s a big difference when I go to build decks.  It’s just so easy for me to throw together a Shadowfist deck because of the thousand plus cards I haven’t played, where trying to build something for V:TES that’s novel and interesting and suitable either for casual play or under my personal tournament banned list or both is a narrow path to walk.

Put another way, while I may be building pretty sketchy Shadowfist decks, I think they function adequately or better, where my sketchy V:TES decks just seem to make for bad games.  It’s interesting to think that V:TES has a higher threshold for deck construction than another CCG.

Is it because V:TES has a relatively small number of relevant effects – bleed pump, stealth, intercept, combat ends, etc.?  Or, is it that Shadowfist has greater interchangeability in cards – my 3 cost, 4 Fighting dude is a lot like other 3 cost, 4 Fighting dudes I play; my hitters are hitters; my character removal is a lot like other character removal, etc. – that I’m actually playing a much higher level of card in Shadowfist without even trying?

Name:  Hopping Mad
Faction:  Lotus
Size:  50

Lotus Cards (35)
Characters (28)
1x Desolation
1x Destroyer
4x Flesh Eater
5x Hopping Vampire
1x Jueding Shelun
1x Miasma
5x Poison Clan Warriors
4x Shamanistic Punk
1x Xiang Kai
5x Wailing Apparition

Events (7)
3x Corruption
1x Demonic Plague
1x Dust Storm
2x Shrieking Witch Heads

Generic Cards (15)
Events (5)
5x Pocket Demon

Feng Shui Sites (10)
1x Boot Hill
2x Hot Springs
1x Ominous Swamp
3x Proving Ground
3x Sunless Sea Ruins

Demonic Plague wasn’t that interesting.  Corruption was deemed to be powerful by an opponent, which I thought was weird as Lotus have Tortured Memories.  I never played Proving Ground, but they are really tricky in my goldfishing.  I need a way to clear out my own Proving Grounds to avoid getting locked out of games, perhaps.  I had to switch to Wailing Apparitions and Shamanistic Punks to get the magic to play Pocket Demons just to avoid self-locks.  I also need to make my Hopping Vampires fiercer.  I already had in mind an idea to mix up with Jammers, but I actually could just stick to Lotus and add the effect I’m looking for.

Name:  Flower Glower
Faction:  Lotus
Size:  40

Lotus Cards (22)
Characters (17)
3x Arcane Esotericist
5x Blossoms of the Black Lotus
1x Hand of Darkness
5x Moon Petal
3x Petal of Despair

States (5)
3x Crown of Thorns
2x Hell Charger

Generic Cards (18)
Events (4)
4x Pocket Demon

Feng Shui Sites (14)
1x Booby-Trapped Tomb
4x Dockyard
1x Forgotten Temple
1x Martyr’s Tomb
1x Medicinal Flower Garden
4x Po Toi Islands
2x Tower of Glass and Steel

A very focused deck for me.  Arcane Esotericist is pretty much only in here to give me magic resources, as I got tired of playing Imps all of the time.  I do find it interesting how the non-faction resources are so essential to play Pocket Demon, Scrounging, Violet Meditation, cards I consider necessary to any sort of deck where you don’t want to just get locked out of the game when things go awry, yet how few foundation characters actually give the resources over the game’s history.  Modern seems much better about the dual resource foundations.

Too many FSSs, but that’s because this is just thrown together with what’s handy.  I’m eschewing the power Lotus events as I’ve played those.  Also, I’m trying to remove cards that can be played to stop victories due to how long our games run, which leads to having a lot of characters to play …

I’m not going to bother with my Monarchs deck, as my decklist doesn’t match the actual deck, one, and, two, it’s a random pile of crap with three Auramancers, some Fire Cadets, and some Fire Horses.

Deck Name:   141129  Aksinya Burns You
Created By:  Aksinya

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 30, Max: 41, Avg: 8.91)
3  Aksinya Daclau                     cel tha ANI FOR PRE PRO9  Gangrel Antitribu
1  Fakir al Sidi                      abo ANI FOR PRE PRO THA11 Gangrel
2  Jayakumar                          ANI FOR chi tha6  Ravnos
1  Konrad Fleischer                   tha ANI AUS DOM FOR9  Ventrue Antitribu
2  Marcia Felicia Licinia             ANI CHI FOR THA dom9  Ravnos
1  Mictlantecuhtli                    pre pro ANI FOR POT THA10 Gangrel
2  Phaedyme                           ANI CHI DEM FOR pre tha10 Ravnos

Library: (80 cards)
Master (23 cards)
1  Giant`s Blood
2  Information Highway
5  Life in the City
1  Park Hunting Ground
1  Thaumaturgy
7  Villein
1  Wider View
5  Zillah`s Valley

Action (3 cards)
1  Army of Rats
1  Resilient Mind
1  Shepherd`s Innocence

Action Modifier (3 cards)
1  Dawn Operation
1  Freak Drive
1  Kiss of Ra, The

Reaction (14 cards)
3  Cats` Guidance
3  Eluding the Arms of Morpheus
3  Rat`s Warning
5  Sense the Savage Way

Combat (29 cards)
6  Burst of Sunlight
1  Canine Horde
6  Carrion Crows
6  Hidden Strength
4  Indomitability
2  Rolling with the Punches
2  Skin of Night
2  Walk of Flame

Ally (2 cards)
2  Underbridge Stray

Retainer (3 cards)
1  Mr. Winthrop
1  Owl Companion
1  Raven Spy

Equipment (3 cards)
2  Camera Phone
1  Veneficorum Artum Sanguis

More Freak Drives but fewer cards … or maybe just a different deck.  I could make the combat less reliable, I suppose, but, then, what’s the point of the deck?

Obviously no point in posting my !Malk deck.

I could have gone further back to the previous V:TES session, but I think this is sufficient.  I got to compare and contrast the two games, again.  I got to mention a few aspects of our Shadowfist meta.  I didn’t get into how Stunt Cycle = ownage, but whatever.


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