I’m not sure why we got into having qualifier weekends in the Winter, but it probably had to do with people being off for the holidays and being far enough in advance of the Summer events to have qualification matter.
We had two tournaments Saturday. Four players came up from SoCal. Including our Portuguese player, we had six from the South Bay. Five from the Berkeley environs.
Friday, we had most of the players already in place at the Haas residence, as most were going to crash there. I played one pickup game before heading home to not be out too far past my bedtime.
Andy (borrowed Porphyrion deck) -> Lex (Infamous Insurgent) -> Dennis (Shalmath & Pals) -> Robert (Shattering Crescendo) -> Ian (Voting Thunderbolt)
Andy was borrowing my deck, all it did was bleed at stealth. Admittedly, only had two copies of unusual cards in it for a FoS with Fortitude deck, and he never drew them. He didn’t progress that much … because … never discard plus bleed when playing my decks – they barely have enough to oust people.
Lex brought out three !Ventrue, including Dylan, who got advanced. He put out three Fee Stakes and kept voting against my votes. Dennis brought out Shalmath and got Enkil Cog, eventually bringing out titled Brujah, later. Robert got his Crescendo Vaticinationed away and just did some bleeds. I voted, often unsuccessfully. National Guard Support came out early and stuck around until it had six counters. That didn’t have a huge impact. Even with my various Business Pressures, I failed a Con Ag, I failed both Persona Non Gratas, failed a Neonate Breach.
Robert couldn’t defend, even with bleeds at -1 stealth. Dennis got low on pool, but Lex couldn’t finish him off quickly enough for me because he didn’t try to put five pool damage on Dennis with Reckless Agitation, only doing 3/3 on Andy, so Dennis Decapitated one of my guys. Lex got Dennis. None of us could push that hard before time ran out.
T1 – 15 players
Ian (Malgorzata Is Missing) -> Dennis (Lorenzo Detuono Steals You) -> Kenneth (Trujah Stealth Bleed) -> David CK (Gangrel fight) -> David A (DoC bleed/vote)
I was ousted around the 1:40 mark. I never attempted a bleed. I didn’t realize until this game was over that I hadn’t drawn Malgorzata. She didn’t show up in round two, either.
Let’s try this again. In over 1.5 hours of play, I never attempted a bleed … … … playing a stealth bleed deck.
There’s only one thing I was supposed to report from this game – Kenneth played Vaticination fairly early on, looked at five players’ hands and discarded one of his own cards … … … Villein. But, as much as that trumps anything about the rest of the game, there was a rest of the game.
For instance, the DoC were going to die, as they always are going to in DA’s decks. I stole DCK’s Carlton, figuring he would finish the deed. Kenneth, then, just bled DCK out, leaving DA around for another turn to oust me. DA got multiple minions stolen by Dennis and couldn’t survive. Dennis got Kenneth before time as Kenneth went down to no functional minions.
It wasn’t like I didn’t bring out Mistress Fanchon, Rutor, and Nickolai. It’s just that it took forever to bring Fanchon out, and I didn’t discard aggressively, then got jammed on combat defense I was expecting to use against DCK. In ~25 cards, I drew zero bounce, having a Murmur of the False Will in my hand at the end I think, so every Virtuosa bleed landed on me.
Sergio (Tzimisce intercept combat w/ votes) -> David CK -> Eric (EuroBrujah) -> Robert (Massassi Osebo) -> Ian
I bring out Rutor. Game over. … I had scouted after the last game I knew Sergio’s deck.
For some reason, we kept playing.
I held on to combat defense. I used many a Meld with the Land to stymie Robert’s evil. Eric got annihilated and was quickly out. Robert put out an early Pulse, but I drew a good amount of bounce this game, so I never took a bleed of three (to my recollection). I was less “kill DCK crosstable” this game and DCK got a VP.
Robert – “He has the best position at the table.” This was referring to me. At about the 1:55 mark, I bled. I did three pool damage. That’s right. You gnome it. My deck is so good that it can go an entire tournament and land on my prey with every single bleed action!! Rutor hunted a few times because of Fame, a Fame that came out as soon as my vampire came out and which never triggered. Oh yeah.
DCK petered out against Robert and Sergio doing combat stuff. Game timed out.
Brandon (EveryThing) -> Dennis -> Kenneth -> Robert -> Lex (Giovanni Powerbleed?)
Lex bounced a bleed to Brandon, then bled him out. There was a DI to stop Robert from ousting. Dennis got pretty mangled. And, I don’t know what else happened. Game time out and Lex won his first tournament. Foreshadowing alert, foreshadowing alert.
Meanwhile, while the finals was going on, I was demoing Shadowfist to Andy and Eric.
T2 – 12 players
Brandon didn’t realize he could play in the qualifier, and Mark and Nick had to head out.
Ian (Nizzam’s Inner Circle) -> Lex (Tzimisce intercept combat) -> Matt (Nos Royalty fight) -> Eric (Toreador guns)
I’m #1. I’m #1. Two tournaments in a row, player #1.
Eric did something. I blocked with Josef von Bauren. Eric went to long without a gun. Josef Disguised a .44 and shot Felicia three times over two rounds to send her to torpor. Josef got ‘schrecked by Lex but got rescued by Matt. Matt beat up vampires. I beat up vampires. Nizzam took a while to get into play, but finally did some of his bleed reducing thing. Eric got a Desert Eagle at some point but got ousted.
Lex had no ready minions at one point, with Sascha, Corine, Horatio, Wendy Wade, and Matt’s Uriah Winter in torpor. I brought out Adana. I had three pool. Matt Famed Adana, rushed, Faceless Nighted Nizzam, got dodged. Matt rushed again and Skin of Steel/Disarmed me dead. Matt proceeded to forget the more important ability of Warsaw Station and conceded to Lex when Matt had no ready minions.
At least I did something. As is usual for Inner Circle Members, it’s incredibly important to crosstable rescue? Thirty-one pool of vampires in play, all full(?), when I died because don’t bother giving me any Villeins or Blood Dolls in my deck with both.
Matt -> David CK (Malk Madness fight) -> Alex (Thetmes fights, Dominate dudes die) -> Ian
David put out Smiling Jack. It got burned reasonably quickly. Alex put out two small dudes, Muddled Vampire Hunter killed them both. I became the table threat as my opening hand had 2x Dreams and 2x Zillah’s Valley, so I popped Nizzam and Adana quick. I largely ignored combat, but I stupidly let a Famed Adana go to torpor because I forgot she could play Acrobatics for free after a Selective Silence/Thin Blood combo.
I eventually swept, though David tried to rally everyone to stop my war machine. Uriah did have both an Assault Rifle and a .44 for a while and the table had to coordinate my not getting them. Alex ended the game with no ready vampires.
Dennis and Lex are low seeds. Robert inserts as Dennis’s prey. I insert between Lex and Dennis. Sergio inserts as my prey. First time I had been in a finals in ages.
Dennis (Ishtarri Trophy) -> Robert (BH Lasombra Descent) -> Lex -> Ian -> Sergio (Giovanni Powerbleed)
Dennis plays Mbare Market and brings out no minions. Lex puts out an early Carlton to defend well. I am locked as any Adana bleed becomes Dennis being ousted faster. I cycle (slowly) to get Alastor or Fleetness to start rushing. I do have Disguised Weapon and an Assault Rifle, so when I finally start fighting, I do okay. Adana gets an Ivory Bow. I finally start rushing after Dennis is dead. Robert keeps pushing on Lex. I have a Famed Mistress Fanchon that Robert sends to torpor to get a chance at two VPs. She gets rescued by Sergio who occasionally looks at Robert’s hand with Le Dinh Tho. Robert decks but ousts Lex with permastealth. I reduce a lot but run out. Sergio’s Marciana Giovanni lets me stop Robert’s killing bleed and the game times out with Sergio winning off of top seed, giving him his first tournament win.
I never had a chance, along with Dennis. Maybe a Dreams would have gotten me into rush sooner, but I started thinking about bleeding around the 1:20 mark, knowing it would take forever to get through Sergio’s pool. The game just moved so slowly that only Robert had a chance, and I think Sergio has the endgame by virtue of having a library left, if time doesn’t run out before he gets Robert. Lex was my only hope, but it must have been pretty boring for him, too, though maybe stopping Robert a lot was interesting. Carlton probably saved him at least eight pool.
I headed out after the tournaments, around 2AM. They were playing a pickup. I returned 9AM Sunday and ended up in a pickup with Andy, Eric, Brandon, and Sergio. Sergio borrowed my Voting Thunderbolt deck and wasted some The Diamond Thunderbolts with his discard phase actions. He got out National Guard Support too late to stop Andy’s !Trem BH stealth bleed deck from running through him. Brandon was stymied by my Chi/Dom/Pot deck’s ability to Mayaparisatya him to torpor and Earthshock away four of his blood. Andy stole my Heidelberg, which was huge, Diego Giovanni had to go burn it. I Mind Raped Gerald FitzGerald but had little to do with him, even though I had Saul Meira in play. My Servius Marius Pustula gave much hand size to Eric and me as Eric cancelled a lot of masters with his Santaleous and Serenna deck. Brandon kept Priority Contracting me with his BH Assamite deck. Yes, three players had Black Hand vampires and the ability to untap BH vampires.
Game timed out with my having 10 combat cards in my hand, including two Illusions of the Kindred, Burning Wrath, Mayaparisatya, Increased Strength, Immortal Grapple, Decapitate, Thoughts Betrayed, and whatever. Since I have no cards that allow me to get into combat with someone, that’s kind of the expected result with this deck. It was a funny game, though.
After Brandon and Sergio left, we played Castles of Mad King Ludwig, which I won off of the power of my 150m buildings, for they were circular! I had lots of activity and living rooms but zero downstairs, food, sleeping rooms. Never bored in my castle – you can bowl, sew, go to the theater, study, go outside, smoke some berchta, have many, many doors that lead nowhere.
So, all in all, since all I care about is sweet, sweet victory, my crushing two-point victory at CoMKL was really all that mattered. All anyone else did was unimportant and all for nothing.
Thanks to Brandon for organizing. Thanks to Andy and Eric and their family for putting up with us all. Thanks to people for showing up and witnessing the incredible bleeding power of my stealth bleed decks.
We should really do this sort of thing more often.