Fisticuffs and Fangs – 20150129 and 20150201

So, I could try to recall the details of four games of Shadowfist on Thursday, a record, and four games of V:TES today.  The latter would be obviously easier to recall.  But, rather than try to get into the details, the transactions, maybe trying to figure out what the takeaways should be would make more sense.

Thursday

We had four players for the first two games and two players for the last two.  Don won the first game with Syndicate, Catching Bullets when I tried to Entropy Sphere Song, The Little Dragon, who had a Platinum Upgrade.  Ray won the second game with too much monkey power, first creating Barrels and Big Macaque Attacks, then dropping 18-Fighting Mandrill Sergeants.

Down to three, I won with my Modern, Unique Dragon deck (though it focuses on only a few of the unique Dragon characters – Khofesh, Dr. Amanda Snow, and Iron Fists McQueen).  The funniest thing was how Dr. Amanda Snow and her Evil Twin both kept getting Six Demon Bags back, making them unkillable.  Average Jane and a Cop on the Beat finished things off after Neutron Bomb and Hands of Darkness repeatedly assassinating my characters cleared the board.  Joren won the fourth game with … I think it was his Thunder Knight deck but I really can’t recall.

Anyway, what were the takeaways?  One takeaway is that we can play games in less than 3.5 hours.  Four games was a record, though we probably would have played only three if we had four players for every game.  Another might be that I need to start building decks heavier in events.  My characters often have limited impact at certain stages of games.  Sure, it’s funny to put out Ordinal Spirits, but, somehow, they only do so much.  It is very different when someone is playing with Neutron Bombs than when they aren’t.

Don asked why people didn’t play Ascended more.  Because they are boring as hell.  I have my Reascended deck, which amuses me, but I looked at Modern and older Ascended characters to build some new decks prior to Thursday and I just couldn’t generate any interest.  I’ve already played many of the Ascended characters I have any interest in, and I don’t even have that much interest in the ones I do prefer.

Meanwhile, I have both a Modern Dragon Uniques deck and a Classic Dragon Uniques deck, and both interest me to some degree.  Hand are far more interesting to me in Modern after the latest sets.  I think I’ve lost some interest in Syndicate just because it felt too much like I kept doing the same things.  I still haven’t put out a lot of Purist cards.  I have difficulty finding other things I want to do with Architects.  Monarchs are really turning me off at the deck level, for some reason.  Where I need to do more is multifaction decks.  And, events.  Lotus, of course, have tons of different things to do, though I’m kind of tired of their foundations.

Because I tend to just throw decks together, I do end up not getting around to ideas I keep thinking about.  I’m not sure what I should do about blocking off time during a week to actually get intense about deck construction.

Today

We had a four-player, a five-player, then two more four-players.  We didn’t even get out of the store that late – I got to catch the swingy ending to the Bigbowl.

The first game was a 2/2 split between Kiasyd SB and !Gangrel horde.  The second game saw David’s Great Beast deck get locked down for most of two hours due to Pentex, then saw Eric’s Toreador guns deck, who had nobly beat the crap out of Hektor during the game, unlock him and watch him oust everyone.  Yes, it was problematic, but the game state was really problematic, where not unlocking David would have let Sergio have a lot of minions behind Eric after I was ousted.  Because of the local hatred for Hektor decks, Eric was aghast that Sergio would rescue Hektor, though Hektor could never successfully hunt after the rescue.  Since I was playing Illusions of the Kindred, I was curious about fighting Hektor, but I never got a chance.  The one time I Mind Raped a !Brujah who could rush Hektor through Dogs of War, I didn’t have anything in hand to punch through his Kevlar Vest.

I tried playing a new !Ventrue Recruiting Party deck for a second time in game three, and, like game one, it just got hammered with pool loss early and never did anything except hang around a while.  In the first game, I couldn’t stop votes.  In the third game, I couldn’t bounce to stop Santaleous and friends from bleeding a lot, even though I had Neighbor John with Abbot in play.  In game four, I played Aus/Pre/Vic, got bled down to one pool, and took 3 VPs.

What were the takeaways?  Hektor can be interesting, if you can fight well enough (like having illusions to throw around).  Pentexing someone to keep them from playing the game makes for an annoying game even when they end up winning.  I still have yet to figure out how Recruiting Party will ever do anything, though my deck did turn out really differently than planned due to Effective Management being relatively scarce out of Third Edition.  My games are a lot less difficult when I play more comfortable decks, like that Aus/Pre/Vic stealth bleed deck.  Actually, it has too much combat – I had six combat cards in hand at one point – and not a lot of stealth.  Given how the metagame has changed, it doesn’t really have enough stealth, where I could have probably gotten away with its casual stealth 10 years ago.  Of course, that just means I fight more, which is amusing, though it’s an easy deck to run over because it can choke on combat cards when it needs intercept or bounce.

I don’t know that there’s a lot of overlap between the two play sessions.  I guess there’s something about speed and how it can impact the play experience that I’m totally not writing about.  I guess there’s something about playing cards you enjoy playing and how that can work better than trying to force things you don’t have as much interest in.

But, probably the primary takeaway is that I get to play two different CCGs, four games each with a good number of players, one of which is in a fan publication state and the other, in publication, doesn’t seem to be trying to market itself at all.  I think that’s a far better place to be than in a state like “I remember when I used to play CCGs, in the long, long ago.”

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