Berkeley VTES Tournaments – August 2015

The obvious time to have a bunch of gaming commitments is right after Gen Con.  After all, gaming is a hard night’s day.

I plan out my three tournament decks.  Three?  But, what of tournament four?  I just can’t do that.  Not if I’m working the next day.  Drive down to LA, play four tournaments over a holiday weekend?  Sure, but it’s just pain to consider starting a Sunday tournament at 5PM or whatever, normally.

Tournament 1

Thirteen players.  Two SoCal players had some transportation issues.  Darby flew out from Colorado, marking his first trip to the Bay Area to play tournaments.

Round 1:

Alex (Carolina Vález) -> Brandon (Founders of the Ebony Kingdom) -> Ian (Ass Contestation) -> David (Potence Parity)

Brandon quickly Epiphanies to give him three strength against Lutz.  I bring out Lutz, of course, because I just want some votes in play to not see a vote deck run the table.  David has to work to get a vote through, even Brujah Justicar, as I bring out Kabede Maru, as well.  Alex puts out Carolina and puts out Abyssal Hunters.

I call Rumors of Gehenna to bleed my prey.  I have three Storage Annexes out eventually and still don’t have the right cards at the right time.  I, actually, sadly don’t have Quick Exit for when Brandon rushes Lutz early.  I contest Dreams with Brandon for a long time, hoping to draw Praxis Solomon to bleed my prey some more.

I remember David doing various things, but they didn’t seem terribly consequential.  Brandon horded.  David got low on pool, with bounces going back and forth.  I bled with Lutz and Loss to oust him, though the latter was just toocleveritis, as I could have ousted him with Old Friends, instead.  I was really in a position where the only thing to do was get two VPs.  I should have just kept Loss, which would have been enough to oust Alex, instead, I bring him down to 1 pool, and Brandon cleans up.

Round 2:

Brandon -> Jeff (Palla Grande bleed) -> Darby (unnamed Enkil) -> Ian

Again, I bring up Lutz.  I bring up Izhim abd Azrael.  Slowly.  Acceleration just not present.  I make a lot of dumb errors in how I manage cards, as I don’t remotely care about Brandon getting Ivory Bow or Brandon contesting Dreams.  I don’t cycle Conceal to burn The Barrens, and end the game with two wakes in hand.

Jeff comes out fast.  Darby does not, then The unnamed gets Pentexed, which Brandon doesn’t burn right away.  Life is pretty good for me, actually, even more so when Veneficti gets Entrancemented.  Except. I have very little pool, and I’ve done nothing all game except an early bleed of three to cycle Lost in Crowds.  Lutz, with Ivory Bow and Quietus, tries to stand fast, but I get I am Legioned out of existence.

Fairly boring tournament start for me.


Brandon wins – I quite like his deck, though I couldn’t play it in a tournament.

Tournament 2

Lost a player, still had 12, whew.

Round 1:

Mark (Baba Yaga) -> Alex (5/6 Salubri) -> David (Victoria & Friends) -> Ian (Ahrimanes/Baali vote)

This was about as uninteresting a game for me as could possibly be up until the point I played Extremis Boon with about 5 minutes left and wondered whether I could oust people.

David’s decks tend to come out fast.  Alex got crushed between two decks that rush.  Mark got like eight cards on Baba Yaga, bled with Enkil Cog into a Sniper Rifle, and Baba Yaga got eaten.  The two rushing decks didn’t take forever to start screwing with each other, so it wasn’t a completely pointless game, for me.  Still, I had no time left to do anything weird, like try to pass an Anarchist Uprising to bring Mark down to about 2 pool and David 1 pool.

Round 2:

Kenneth (Lunatic Eruption) -> Ian -> Darby (Tupdog) -> Mark

Mark didn’t want to bring someone out because of Tupdogs.  Kenneth Lunatic Eruptioned my first vampire, so I had one less minion to try to find an opening to do anything to Darby.  Darby ignored me because all I did was Lost in Translation with Helen Fairchild and hunted.

Couldn’t wait Darby out because he actually knows how to play Tupdog decks, and he got out Hand of Conrad, plus a couple Raw Recruits.  Mark brings out Baba Yaga, she gets nuked.  Kenneth can only survive for so long, I never had a game.

That was a contender for least interesting tournament experience.  Well, not really.  I’ve played tournaments where I just got blown away quickly by fast decks.  In theory, I could have done 20 pool damage to Darby if I can get through Yawp Court, because he had 10 minions in play, but that was never going to happen.  Any time he wanted, he could eliminate my ready region.


Jeff did not win playing my Hatchlings deck, v2.  Bill won.

Sunday we lost a number of players, so it looked like casual day.  Jeff showed up to return sleeves to me, and we had eight people around, so we tournamented.  Went multideck due to the unregardable number of players.

Round 1:

Brandon (Bleed w/ Tha) -> David (Victoria & Friends don’t bother playing) -> Ian -> Jeff (winnie Dem w/o Dive Into Madness)

I play Information Highway.  Jeff Suddens it.  After David is ousted, then Brandon is ousted, I transfer up Zubeida and am ousted.

I have plenty of time to get puff pastries out of the hot car and get an overpriced mint chocolate chip shake.

I could rant and rave about decks that don’t allow people to play the game (David’s Lazar and Memories Fading Glimpse), but, actually, there are so many of those in V:TES, from Brainwash to winnie rush to Reversal of Fortunes, that there’s no real point.  It was somewhat amusing to have one card in my ash heap and take no actions and be the third player ousted.

Round 2:

Mark (Thaum wall?) -> Jeff -> Brett (Merged Melinda Galbraith) -> Ian (Baali of the Name 1.1)

I got into the habit at some point of having some of my tournament winning decks built, as what’s more productive than lending out decks and saying “this deck has won every tournament it has ever played in”?

Since I didn’t have anything more amusing to do in a tournament where I didn’t care what I played, I figured it would be more entertaining.  I was right.  Thomas Steed got followed by High Priest Angra Mainyu.  I do the bombo of Fear of the Void Below followed by combat ends because cycle, cycle, cycle.  Brett had to worry about winnie Dementation behind him but found a bit of time to do things to me, though my pool total tended to be reasonable.

Mark had Fragment of the Book of Nod, Powerbase: Montreal, and three pool.  High Priest Angra Mainyu went for Montreal, which Mark almost let me have, but, fortunately, for team only kind of evil, he found enough blocking for me to Majesty.  Angra Mainyu, then, went for Fragment since I didn’t have any bleed pump … yet.  Mark managed to get his block on, again.  Majesty.  Redraw.  Sense the Sin.  Since somehow nobody ever bounces my Blessed Baali, I oust Mark.

I eventually oust Jeff because winnie Dementation can’t deal with random Conflagration and being bled.

In the endgame, Brett has vote lock but not a lot of blood on his guys and not ridiculous amounts of pool.  I have Thomas with Obfuscate, Angra, and Giotto.  Stuff happens.  Prophecies of Gehenna is in play, so we look at each others’ hands.  I Blood Doll Thomas down to one blood, Blessing of the Name with him, must hunt.  Brett’s two empty vampires hunt, Mylan untaps one of them, and I get ousted by a KRC he drew after I looked at his hand.  I had no wakes, even though the deck runs like 10 because you have to with Blessing of the Name.

That was just weak.  Could have swept with old school that does not remotely make any sense given the current card pool, the change in how infernal works, card text migrations (Catatonic Fear/Majesty no longer being free), and the meta.

Well, whatever, 2 VPs is a lock for the finals in such a small event.  I was tempted to play Baali of the Name 1.1 again, but I figured that it was a rare opportunity for me to play a deck in the finals no one knew and that has cards on my personal banned list.


Ian (Abombwe Makes Protean +Bleeders Bigger) -> Darby (BH Obf) -> Jeff -> Brandon (Gangrel w/ votes) -> Brett

So, about everything possible went my way except not having quite a tight enough leash on Darby and Brett falling a round early.  Zillah’s Valley, Zillah’s Valley, Zubeida.  Darby doesn’t have a fattie for a couple of turns.  Brandon’s Badger calls Reins of Power when Brett has no vampires in play.

Darby had Haqim’s Law: Leadership to bloat.  I had Jamal as my third vampire after Doyle Fincher.  Abombwe spread so that Zubeida was unBanishable, Doyle was an 8-cap.  Brett failed his own Political Stranglehold because it would give me nine pool, but that just meant he died.

Jeff taking the first two VPs made things rather political.  I could only win if I ousted Darby before Darby ousted Jeff.  Jeff got reduced to five pool by BH bleediness, so he was dead the next turn, if Darby didn’t get taken out.  I had five bleed on the table but didn’t have anything else.  Jeff Kindred Spirits backwards enough to put Darby at five, and I bled for five.  In the endgame race, I didn’t come that close to being ousted, and Jeff had no library left and too little pool.

I must admit that a set of SW rares is a pretty good prize.  I wouldn’t really say that I achieved much all weekend, as I sucked horribly at the meaningful tournaments, losing out even on an easy opportunity to back into a finals.  Jeff did most of the work in the finals, probably should have backousted Darby a bit sooner, as Darby’s bleeds went from about three a turn to like eight a turn.  But, if Jeff gets three, he doesn’t care about that.

Thanks to Mark for organizing.  Great to see Darby and Bill come out to join the Bay Area players.  Jeff didn’t completely mangle my Hatchlings deck, though he didn’t win with it, either.

I’ve just got to play with smaller minions.  Why I keep getting sucked into specious ideas for amusing decks is, actually, not that hard to answer, but that needs to be less often.  My third planned deck might have actually taken actions and reduced pool, but that’s hard to say.

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