I wrote out some four or so new deck lists and managed to get around to pulling together cards for two of them, while also looking back at some of my other possible tournament plays.
Reasons I love CCGs:
One: Infinite Ideas
While looking over a deck I’ve never pulled the cards for, I was wondering why I hadn’t put Repo Man into it as it ran 4x Sport Bike. That got me thinking about Repo Man. That got me to search vehicles. That got me to thinking about yet other builds for Polaris Coach and deciding that Polaris Coach + Cryptic Mission is totally a deck that should exist. Then, there’s immediate Helicopters in your PRE/Obf bleed/vote deck.
With every CCG, I think of new decks or card combinations even with a game with as small a card pool as Ultimate Combat! or as focused a card pool (due to allegiances) as Wheel of Time. Certainly easier with a game with a vast card pool like V:TES, but there are just so many things people don’t do. Sometimes it’s a clearly less effective strategy, but that may not be a bad thing in multiplayer play. Sometimes it’s a build that only makes sense for a specific metagame.
There are dozens of decks I can see trying in a local tournament that have never seen the moonlight of night.
Metagaming isn’t just about trying to win, though that’s quite the driver. My thinking for the upcoming tournaments goes somewhat along these lines: the environment will be far more aggressive than our local environment; play will be quicker putting aside deck builds; player skill will be higher; no one will know my play style and I won’t be familiar with other people’s styles. Doom … d-o-o-o-m …
Just in terms of trying to build to win, I would focus on how Animalism is the best combat, Parity Shift will be played often, Lutz will appear often with some sort of vote, bleeds of 4-6 or permableed of 3 will be common, winnies will probably not be that common but neither will the countermeasures, Imbued will probably show, event decks might appear, tons of fatties, Celerity guns will also likely be notable.
Flesh of Marble plus some sort of hit back should wreck combat decks. Combat ends should pretty much stop everything if you run enough to get by Psyche!. Voting may be messy at times with Velvet Tongue, though the chances of much in the way of Daughters screwing around with incentives is low. The fear with voting, though, is more that tables unprepared for vote should just get run over. In Stockholm, there was virtually no voting and a vote bloat deck that got going fast enough could have easily won my tables.
Bleed is the easiest thing to defend against, but I find that Auspex bounce is somewhat less valuable due to the commonality of The unnamed decks.
Does what works well versus what works poorly in this crossregional, totally not like my home metagame matter to me? Of course. I want to enjoy my games. If I just get run over then I’m going to find the events boring. I have plenty of decks that only work locally because I can bank on surviving long enough for them to play out. My decks show how slow they are in other regions much of the time. The one deck that did a decent job of getting going, though, even then, it didn’t play in a true crossregional meta, just a different meta, was Living Lolita Loca. Small vampires allow you to do stuff. Or, run lots of Zillah’s Valleys and Banishment Santaleous when he appears.
But, there’s more to metagaming than winning, at least for me. I want to enjoy games. Maybe an all forward deck would be the best play, but I don’t enjoy those sorts of decks. I went through several passes on possible decks to play, and I added a fun factor rating that was subtlely different from my usual pros/cons comments on whether to take a deck to an event.
Fun was interesting because it highlighted the difference between fun results and fun play. In local play, I can believe I can win with anything better than Gargoyles with Presence (which had a chance in that finals). There are many game features I can build decks around to unlock an achievement. I’ve never won with Serpentis in a deck. Or Quietus. Or Abombwe. I keep building decks that don’t achieve the minimum threshold of viability with these disciplines because I want to avoid boring stuff. So, I also build some real decks with Serpentis. And, I can’t imagine enjoying playing them in a tournament even if I unlock another achievement.
So, yes, I have to adjust to a metagame, but I also have to metagame myself to strike the right balance where I can play something that interests me that will interest me in events I’m not likely to make the finals for.
Three: Not Every Deck Is Gargoyles With Presence
I started pulling cards for decks, then realized my builds didn’t make sense. I overlooked vampire specials. I forgot to put in a hoser. I overestimated how many vampires I could have in play. In some cases, it’s annoying to have to change geniusness. But, in some cases, like realizing Inbase Discotek is h-u-u-u-g-e tech for a deck I want to play, fun can be had by actually trying to construct a well crafted deck.
Now, building for two-player CCGs is usually more interesting for this sort of thing as, again, deck construction is typically much more of a thing in two-player play. But, maybe I do have room for Force of Will in my Fortitudeless deck.
Four: Weird Stuff Happens
More so with multiplayer play, where opponents will mess with other opponents, but the nature of vast possibilities of card interactions is that sometimes you aren’t psychic. Sometimes, you just find the situation amusing.
We played two games of Shadowfist last Thursday. In the second game, I ended the game with 13+ power realizing my 7 No Masters deck had not that many characters in general – my smoked pile at the end of the game consisted of something like 10, maybe 12, events. The first game, I proved that multiplayer CCGs are lunacy. My three Betrayers of the Crane went for a Dockyard and through the power of Butterfly Swords achieved victory. Yes, three, 1-cost foundation characters seized control of the world. In both games, I only ended up with one character in a smoked pile and that was the turn I won the first game.
I can only hope some weird stuff happens at these tournaments. After all, why bother playing games that are chesslike … uh, doh, some people like those sorts of games. Hey, CCGs are better!
Speaking of CCGs, we are going to check out the L5R LCG and see if it’s more enjoyable than the VCG was.