Fisticuffs [20140925]

September 27, 2014

I should probably get consistent about date formats.

I think it’s even more important for me to record Shadowfist play sessions.  Shadowfist is harder for me to remember as so many little things happen that are or could be impactful.  I may play more cards in a V:TES game, but V:TES is just so much less of a swingy game.  Well, this and that I’m just much more familiar with V:TES and can extract what I consider interesting more easily.

We’ve now played three sessions with the same group of four players, so we both have a regular game going, having played weekly on Thursdays for two, yes two, one more than one, weeks in a row and we have a clearly defined metagame – super clear, fully defined, and immutable.

The 25th was my night to play three decks that I want to break down.  As with other CCGs I play where there’s no deckbuilder, I only record my decks when I break them down.  So, I don’t have a record of decks after I’ve changed them but before I change them again.

Ascended -> Cops -> Fire Ants -> Abominable Tech

Other people did stuff.  Meanwhile, what my game was about was not drawing foundation characters early, having people kill my Abominations shortly after they came out, drawing one event the entire game and using it, Expendable Unit, to kill my Field Medic rather than have my Blood Eagles die, then drawing nothing but FSS and foundation characters in the late game.

Fire Ants did do some attacking stuff, with The Dragon Throne reducing cost.  Nobody bothered going after The Dragon Throne, then everyone got so close to victory that there wasn’t time.  The Ascended always had lots of power, playing a Nuclear Power Plant early that I tried to take out but got stopped.  I did take it later, but they just played another one.  Ascended finally ended up winning after dropping Adrienne Hart a couple of times, Raven Li, and Might of the Elephant hitting a Disco while Raven was Fox Passed over to The Dragon Throne.

My inability to process what is going on during Shadowfist games is well examplified by the fact that my first FSS was Medicinal Flower Garden, it got revealed early on, never went away, and never got turned when Shrieking Witch Heads did exactly enough damage to smoke my Gamma Beast.  I, then, waited all of the rest of the game to find an opportunity to turn my MFG and nothing came up.

Yeah, it’s strong to completely overlook the ability of cards that you played that are sitting in play face up.

One thing this game demonstrated is the nature of our metagame.  The players seem quite happy to stop any sort of site removal while being happy to see characters get taken down.  It’s no wonder that two of the players play massive decks and expect long games.  Sure, people stop those going for victory, but just plinking an unrevealed site is cause to hop into the way of somebody.  Mobility is something I’m looking to avoid playing with as it will only feed into the mindset that everything needs to be intercepted.  I’ve gone entire games without losing my first-played FSS …

Dragon -> Tattooed Man (borrowed) -> Fire Ants -> Rattlebones.dec

I’m not sure it was the Fire Ants deck, again.  All of the 100+ card decks played are hard for me to distinguish.

When I got to three power, I played Jake Rattlebones.  When I won, Jake Rattlebones was a 13 Fighting, -1 damage to Armies of the Monarchs, five damaged character.  The question was asked as to why nobody took out Jake all game.  As was pointed out, he often had damage on him, so he just didn’t seem like that big of a deal.  I did have to Spirit Wrack one Nomad Army, then Tortured Memories a Golden Comebacked Nomad Army that tried to block his bid for victory.  Also, there was paying four power to get rid of Prisoner of the Monarchs on him.

Early Nomad Army plus Training Sequence got Evil Twinned crosstable.  They both died to Final Brawl.  Final Brawl certainly kept things relatively open.  That plus my Tattooed Man deck was being borrowed by someone who often plays his cops deck.  The deck may not work, I wouldn’t know since I hadn’t played any of my decks except my Daughters of Nu Gua deck, but I think it’s too massive a contrast in style.  I build defensive, low flow decks … wonder where that came from … that intend to win during a specific window of time with little offense … I’m sure that sounds familiar but I have no clue as to why …

Syndicate were just too starved on power to do much, not being able to push through for enough burns for power.  I will note that my first FSS was a Booby-Trapped Tomb and it never got revealed.

Healing Snow -> Lotus -> Cops -> Architects

My first FSS was Dockyard.  It never took damage in this two hour game.  I did trigger Six Points and get a warrior token that hung around with a Blast Aura for quite a while.  Chiu Bagong avoided Hands of Darkness but he and his Evil Twin ran into Overzealous Assassins.  Cops kept coming back with 200 Guys With Hatchets and Ladders.

Sergeant Blightman came and went.  CHAR came and went and got Reinvigorationed and went.  Paradox Beast came and went.  General Gog won it for the Architects due to Uncontrolled Mutation.

Dan Dammer, Jammer Slammer showed up a couple of times, one time being intercepted by a Hand of Darkness …

I believe it was a PubOrd Officer who got crowned by Underworld Coronation.

If General Gog hadn’t gotten through for the win, I was about to drop Pi Tui to return six cops to play.  There was a comment that a horde of little dudes was a better way to go than big dudes (see Green Snake and White Snake get smoked when the table felt like smoking them), but I’d actually say permanents-based recursion is the most powerful thing in the game.  Whether that’s a bunch of dorks or Underworld Trackers or whatever.  Sure, Dragon event recursion is strong, but I don’t find it nearly as busted as repeatable, inevitable recursion.  While a surprising number of my plays were effective, the most interesting one in this game was Auramancer.  I don’t think I put out multiples at a time as that draws attention, but one Auramancer is extremely likely to get bigger in this meta, which means I’m gaining free power, as well.

I do need to put in more stuff to stop Fox Pass and Kinoshita House.  My bid for victory with Claw of the Ice Bear, Auramancer at 4 Fighting, and Six Points was stopped by Kinoshita, as have been many of my bids for victory in other games.


Name:  Abominable Tech
Faction:  Architect
Size:  40

Architect Cards (25)
Characters (17)
2x Arcanomoth
2x Blood Eagles
2x Combat Engineer
5x DNA Mage
1x Dr. Curtis Boatman (S&S)
2x Gamma Beast
1x Gnarled Annihilator
1x Melting Flesh Squad
1x NeoBuro Field Medic

Edges (2)
1x Reinvigoration Seed
1x Rise of the NeoBuro

Events (5)
3x Arcanovirus
1x Expendable Unit
1x Howling for Blood

Sites (1)
1x Dao Biotech Headquarters

Generic Cards (15)
Events (5)
5x Scrounging

Feng Shui Sites (10)
1x Booby-Trapped Tomb
2x City Park
4x Dockyard
1x Forgotten Temple
1x Medicinal Flower Garden
1x Mobius Gardens

Yeah, this deck isn’t playing good cards.  A lot of the good Architect cards just annoy me, even though comparable cards for the Lotus don’t.  I’m pretty sure I don’t need that many DNA Mages.  Should be a second Dao Biotech as that’s my linchpin.  No real coherent plan for punching through.  Yup, this is the complete opposite of every deck I build for multiplayer CCGs ever … right?  While it’s going to go away, I did fail to play a bunch of the cards in it, so I’m sure there will be more Dao Bioteching in the future.

Name:  Rattlebones.dec
Faction:  Lotus
Size:  50

Lotus Cards (36)
Characters (22)
1x Abaddon the Destroyer
3x Abysmal Wyrm
2x Exorcist
3x Feng Kan
3x Hungry Ghosts
5x Imp
3x Jake Rattlebones
1x Ravenous Devourer
1x Sewer Scum

Edges (2)
2x Insidious Plan

Events (12)
1x Bribery
1x Cries in the Night
2x Death of 1,000 Cuts
1x Feeding the Hungry
2x Spirit Wrack
4x Tortured Memories
1x Underworld Coronation

Generic Cards (14)
Events (5)
1x Discerning Fire
4x Pocket Demon

Feng Shui Sites (9)
1x Booby-Trapped Tomb
4x Dockyard
2x Forgotten Temple
1x Gambling House
1x Kowloon Gate

Unlike other factions, I actually play with good cards for Lotus.  They just have so many cards I like.  I am already tired of the ludicrous amount of removal they have.  Also, it would get old to put Evil Twin in every deck.  What I’m having a hard time doing is getting away from the Feng Kan + Exorcist combo or away from the efficient Abysmal Wyrms.  All of my Gambling Houses should really be Möbius Gardens as I just find that Gambling is not as easy as one would think and Möbius Gardens triggers far too easily, with one more Body.

Name:  Healing Snow
Faction:  Monarchs
Size:  48

Monarchs Cards (29)
Characters (22)
3x Auramancer
1x Chiu Bagong
1x Claw of the Ice Bear
4x Fire Cadets
3x Fire Horse
2x Pi Tui
3x Six Points
1x Snow Fox
2x Snow Seer
2x Wayfarer

Edges (3)
1x Crystal Heart
2x Lessons of the Fallen

Events (2)
2x Winter’s Laugh

Sites (1)
1x Tomb of the Sacred Vigil

States (1)
1x Whirlwind Transformation

Generic Cards (19)
Events (4)
4x Pocket Demon

Feng Shui Sites (12)
1x Diamond Beach
4x Dockyard
2x Dragon Graveyard
1x Maze of Stairs
1x Mobius Gardens
1x Phlogiston Mine
1x Stone Spirals
1x Whirlpool of Blood

States (3)
2x Blast Aura
1x Six Demon Bag

This is just a mess of a deck to try to play a lot of new cards.  Winter’s Laugh and Blast Aura are surprisingly defensive.  Certainly, Winter’s Laugh isn’t all that in my play, being usually one power to cancel an event.  Haven’t gotten a Six Demon Bag in play yet, need to build a SDB deck.  For some reason, I really dislike Phlogiston Mine.  I keep thinking someone will take it and use it against me, even though my sites hardly ever get taken or burned (in this meta, which screws up a lot of my defensive plays).

I really like Fire Horse, but I got to have more focused Monarchs decks just because I should really like Monarchs but am finding I’m not liking my Monarchs decks that much.  Diamond Beach needs to see more play in this meta to deal with hordes of cops, ants, or whatever.  Toughness, in general, is causing a lot of problems for decks I’m playing against.  I think it has to do with how burns for power are stopped early on or avoided due to the commonality of Bite of the Jellyfish to where hitters aren’t as common (even though people seem to sit on massive quantities of power a lot of the time and have no issue giving other players power through Paper Trail or Fistful of Dollars or whatever) in addition to efforts to take out hitters right away.


Post Danse Macabre Metagaming

November 30, 2013

Keep thinking of things that are ideas for something to write about but which may not have a lot of depth.  Done right, this should have some meat.

By the way, post #300 of this blog.

Many speak of what you can do with the new Danse Macabre cards for V:TES.  Why bother rehashing those thoughts?  Let’s go on to how I might metagame for an environment in which people are going to be trying new cards.

Starting with the crypt cards, what crypt cards might get me to think about building decks differently?


Can’t be Archoned.  But, does that matter to how I build decks?  Sure, I run Archon a lot in tournament play because people bleed so uncontrollably in tournament play.  But, a Mimir deck is likely to be Mimir doing the work, which means one action to care about a turn.  Bounce or reduction makes that not hurt much.  That leaves decks that can do neither.  He can easily get by blocks with Form of Mist and whatever.  But, again, I’m not terribly scared by proactive superstar decks.  It’s the superstar wall decks that are incredibly annoying and, as I rarely play Pentex Subversion, his unPentexability is not terribly relevant to me.

But, what of a Mimir wall deck?  He can Eternal Vigilance.  He can’t be Kissed.  He can Magic out a Sniper Rifle or Kevlar Vest or whatever.  I’m just having a hard time seeing someone bother.  It’s still not that hard to get by Animalism intercept.  He’s not going to have a Bowl, though, sure, he could Sport Bike and Mr. Winthrop up.  Other than immunity to Pentex, Misdirection, and miscellaneous annoyance master plays, why block?

Carolina Vález

Do I expect to see Abyssal Hunters everywhere?  Not so much.  More likely that her ability will discourage allies to some extent.  Who am I kidding?  Probably not at all, since it’s just one of your dudes who has her ability – just go murder the rest … since Lasombra block is not much of a thing.

Xipe Totec

Speaking of ally hate, getting to the point where there’s enough built in ally steal that I’m wondering when it hits the point that it’s a true deterrent.  Entrancement can be DIed, but not Goulet, Xeper, Xipe.  I’m not so much of a fan of the good allies since I hate popular things, so maybe it’s not all that relevant to have a Courier stolen or whatever.  Plus, it’s not like other people find Goulet as fun to play as I do, etc.

Crypts – General

New !Brujah won’t really change that all sorts of folks will be trying new Pot/Pre cards.  Just as new !Gangrel midcaps shouldn’t change how much !Gangrel see play.  The new Lasombra I would expect to see encourage Lasombra decks.  One is superefficient (though POT is of questionable importance), the other has all sorts of miscellaneous goodness to make up for being afflicted with 9-capness.  But, does it matter?  Stealth bleed, stealth vote – not exactly anything different to worry about.  More Baltimore Purge chances is kind of “eh” as neither is terribly oriented to Purging.

The efficient !Trem midcaps encourage something, but what?  One is Black Hand oriented, which isn’t likely to be as important as Recruitment Exercise for seeing BH, though Seraphity does mean more builds for Seraph oriented decks.  The other’s voting prowess strikes me as more of a side effect than a deck driver.  And, again, does this mean any sort of metagaming change?  Not likely.  Whereas, the new Tzimisce might.  Group 4 Tzimisce were just so bad and group 2/3 was old.  Filling in with some disciplined voters helps get closer to the amazing group 2/3 crypt.  Could see Tzimisce vote, but that hardly matters – I’m already terribly concerned by voting.  It’s the increased possibilities of wallish Tzimisce that would be a concern.

Now, each of the library cards (there aren’t that many).

Spoils of War

!Brujah seem to be everywhere.  Of this and the Pot/Pre cards, I’d rate this the best, but is the bloating power of this card sufficient to change anything about deck choice or deck design?  Does blocking become more important?  Seems unlikely since the point of the new cards is to bruise blockers.  I’ve already been in a situation where this card wins a war of attrition.  It’s almost like everyone should play good stealth bleed, if they aren’t playing vote, as it’s still easy to rip through a !Brujah deck when you have the offense.

Marked Territory

How thrilling.  Just encourages stealth overkill.  But, anyway, so I get blocked by a !Gangrel – do I care?  It’s less scary than being blocked by a Toreador or a Second Traditioning Brujah.  Encourage block deny?  Well, as I’m not terribly into Giovanni, HoS, or Nagaraja these days, does it mean some slight increase in Elder Impersonations, like, from zero?  Maybe.

Inside Dirt

Blood denial is just such a pain to have do anything, especially when The Coven sees play in every game.  So, even with Public Vilification around to support it, I don’t see worrying about random blood burn.  Bleed bounce is not disincentivized to any meaningful degree just because of new age Enticement decks.  Is it worth running more bleed reduction to gum up Inside Dirt decks?  Eh.  It’s not like I expect a lot of Inside Dirt, like I expect a lot of !Brujah.  Moving on.

Public Vilification

Younger.  So, Lutz and other Fear of Mekhet targets aren’t likely to get nailed by this.  That’s unfortunate, though trading one vote deck for another hardly fixes how annoying voting is in the game.  Unfortunately, if this sees play, and I’m not thinking it will see that much, it becomes Dmitra-like in how it’s a hassle to keep someone down, though Voter Captivation does a bang up job of making for full vampires all of the time, so whatever.  Keep going.

Under Siege

Go in decks weak in intercept or strong in intercept?  That makes a big difference.  If the former, then it’s just feeding your stealth predator.  If the latter, does that change expectations any?  It’s more of a tactical (play) change than a strategic (metagaming) change to make.

Show of Force

Encourages bruise bleed.  Doesn’t actually solve the problems of bruise bleed, which are:  weak defenses; poor control elements.  Just likely helps produce easy to oust decks.  So, the question becomes how much you adapt to there being a bunch of forward looking, still pretty much helpless decks at tables.  Do you try to save them by running more Eagle Sights, DIs, and Con Boons?  Or, do you stealth bleed them out of existence when they cooperatively sit as your prey?

Then, if I’m inclined to play blocky decks, do I invest in more maneuvers, more damage prevent, and/or more other things to ignore combat?

I think I pretty much ignore this card’s existence.  I don’t see that I’d change what I’d play or how I’d build decks just because it’s more likely to see some sketchy strategy.

Instantaneous Transformation

Effect on random !Gangrel of seeing more multiacting !Gangrel decks doesn’t mean anything to me – not really any different than expecting Freak Drive out of Gangrel decks.  This is all about superstars.  In particular, in this area, I’d imagine The unnamed sees that much more play.  Enkidu is not really that popular either up the coast nor down the coast.  Mitru, Adana, … of course it’s all about Stanislava.  Reasonably popular up here, tiresomely popular with Wedge down the coast.  Even though she can already play Freak and Forced, it’s just one more reason to give her a go.

What’s interesting about the redundancy is that DI becomes less of a sure thing at stopping a multiturn.  DI IT and FM or FD can DS (do shi-).  Etc.

But, again, does it matter?  Don’t think so.  Fatties are already ubiquitous.  Wrecking the life of 11-caps is a noble and righteous goal that all should embrace, regardless as to their religions.  Maybe go from two Fear of Mekhets in every deck to three in a world with marginally more Adanas and Stanislavas.

Shadow Boxing

Whether a card is good or not doesn’t necessarily affect whether I metagame against it.  Maybe I feel vindicated by losing to bad cards rather than good in CCG play since that means I win the metagame subgame, but, mostly, I don’t like losing to strategies I find annoying.  And, getting punked in V:TES is annoying.  So, does that mean damage prevent?  Maybe.  I already went through my Flesh of Marble in every deck phase to counteract the flying animal menace.  Maybe, it’s time to embrace Fortitude, except Fortitude damage prevent, with its zero impact on good strategies, just means someone else wins.  Obedience is another way to go, but that means playing Dominate.  Mental Maze, though I’m just contributing to a fattie world.

Not blocking at all means the superior is unregardable.  So, a world of a bunch of forward moving, let the fattie vote decks and BBB decks win, decks is totally a possibility.  Actually, even though it would further besmirch my tournament results, it is tempting to play Samedi, and they can slough combat like nobody’s business while also being awful at blocking.  I’m sure I have some other ideas that would be similarly unconcerned by someone trying to inflict their Horseshoe deck upon me.

Dark Steel

Lasombra combat.  Ha ha, er, ha.  When someone else plays this sort of deck, it will be a first.

Shakar: the Hunt

And, whether a card is good or not also doesn’t necessarily affect whether one will see it played.  Given how bad BH decks are at fighting, maybe some superstar play – nah.  Unregardable to the metagame.

Recruitment Exercise

So, will people finally start putting Gehenna-killing cards in their decks?  Unlikely.  I often can’t be bothered, even when I think of it.  It’s not like event killers are any good at killing events.  The Uncoiling can easily miss without just one event to nail.  I’ve yet to be able to play Fourth Cycle.

Oh?  Not everyone is going to play Watchtower: The Wolves Feed decks?  Right.  That’s too European for this state.  Do typical BH decks need any particular metagaming against?  Equipment kill/steal to prevent multibleed from Guarded Rubrics is something, I guess.  Is that worth jumping through any sort of hoops rather than just bouncing and hoping for a DI on GR?

Hmmm, seems like DI keeps coming to mind.  One wonders …

Esprit de Corps

First, not likely to influence how often people play Dementation, Dominate, or Presence.  Nor do I care really about it being used for a bruise bleed or block strategy.  The question for me is how much it will lead to swarm rush.  Not expecting much of such decks as too many arrows point to bruise bleed builds until people tire of them.

Does make one wonder about .44s, even in a world with many more “maneuver to close” plays, especially with a permamaneuver to go with it.  There really aren’t that many vampires who get a free maneuver.  Nehsi is someone I can see playing, though 10 for him and 2 for a .44 seems counterproductive.  Anton de Concepcion may see more play these days but probably not by me.  Tammy Walenski is really interesting but expensive.  Ysador the Foul – too expensive.  Lazarus (adv) is hilarious – I need to build that deck.  If only there were a cheaper vampire, like a 7 cap, with AUS and that already showed up in one of my more fun decks of recent times.  If only.

Of course, many of these Pot-y decks could just as easily be playing hyperspeed Gates or Gates to the Vitals, so it’s kind of POinTless to get excited by “shoot for 2 with two maneuvers”.

Bottom Line

So, in the end, I’m not really feeling doing any substantial metagaming different from what I’d already do.  Maybe figure Animalism will be somewhat less prevalent in a world inclined to hyperspeed Gates and getting Slammed.  Winnie Auspex seems less exciting unless it’s full of bounce to not have to block the Potencers as much.  Questionably reducing the odds of seeing either of those, not that I see them that often, anyway, might free things up a bit to where some “this dies to Crows” deck or “important not to get blocked every action” deck might get the “I choose you” treatment.

Mostly, I just see a lot of new decks get eaten by any sort of solid stealth bleed deck, though that’s kind of something that should happen all of the time and only doesn’t because of regional biases against simple stealth bleed.  So, whatever.