Turns out having V:TES tournaments near Origins is not the optimal way to get folks from Colorado to come out. Well, lesson for next time.
A different question is whether having V:TES tournaments near Origins, when I’ve gone to Origins, is well-suited for me. As all things in creation can be determined by single instances, clearly, it’s pain. Suffering. And, sleepiness.
So, I got a quick inspiration for a deck and built one on Friday night. See, this is one of my problems. I have all of these pent up deck ideas, some of which make sense for tournament play locally, some of which crossregionally, and some of which not ever. Then, rather than focus on those ideas and knock out some cool, hard awesome, I see something and build a totally unrelated deck.
Saturday morning, I started working on what was needed for the new deck building methodology Andy and I talked about on the way to the airport. It proved much more involved than what I first thought, much like building a cube is way more effort than I feel like putting in.
I threw together a deck in case we didn’t have 10+ players for the morning tournament. So, I have two new decks post-Origins. Both suffer from the same problem. A problem I keep instilling in my decks. A problem which will be addressed in a bit.
Carpool up to Berkeley. Nine players for first tournament. This is actually why having prize support for events matters – without the magical 10 players to get a deck in the TWDA and to build Hall of Fame resumes, why does it even matter what happens? Could just be playing casual games. Part of the reason I don’t push tournament play at conventions, where players appearing is unreliable and people show up late and leave early.
Ian (Preternatural Strength w/ Dom) -> Rick (Inconnu Tutelage Prince/Protean/Other) -> Alex (EuroBrujah) -> Mark (Toreador Nightmare Curse)
In both games, no one got ousted. Welp, that’s NoCal V:TES. Rick finally got Inconnu Tutelage and almost decked. Between Alex and me, we got out something like five Preternatural Strengths. Mark had a Nightmare Curse DIed, had a Will-o’-the-Wisp DIed by Rick that would have ousted me. Had his final attempt to oust DTed by me. I didn’t really put any pressure on Rick, with Alex having to do most of the work in the game. It would have been awful for Alex and me to sit next to each other “Punch for 3. Punch for 3.”
David (minions) -> Eric (Trem/!) -> Ian -> Mark (Samedi Rush) -> Brandon (Ventrue)
Multideck, where maybe only Mark bothered to change decks. Mark and I didn’t fight much, but I did Horseshoes his guys some which led to a Fame dunk. His own Dragonbound was doing two to him late in the game. Brandon was cruising up until he ran out of combat ends against Mark, three were played in a single fight, for instance. David got out Victoria, Lazar, Volker, Carlton, Muddled, Jake. Carlton got Pentexed to give Mark a second VP.
Eric got beaten up some and never really threatened me, which was sort of sad as I did have bounce.
I was Potencely impotent. See, this is what happens when I don’t think through my deck choices for tournaments. Because I don’t play a lot of the standard offensive weapons, so many of my decks can’t really hurt anyone (by themselves). This is a bad habit that I need to get out of as it impacts the experience for other players.
Devin (Aus/Dem/Tha) -> Mark (Samedi rush) -> Eric (Trem/!) -> Jonathan (Shamblers) -> Ian
Devin put no meaningful pressure on and would have been ousted if I hadn’t been with a couple of minutes left. Mark beat up Eric’s guys easily enough. Eric didn’t have much of a game. Jonathan had an interesting situation. Shamblers are awesome sauce against Mark’s deck. They punch, explode, more get made. Actually, we saw zombie on zombie action with Reanimated Corpses and Shamblers. At the very end of the game, Jonathan rushed my guys multiple times, which might have mattered if …
If Devin didn’t DI my third Deflection to get me ousted by The Baron. I actually could have bounced to Mark as I needed two ousts to win and didn’t really care what happened if I didn’t get two. Mark, as top seed, didn’t need to do anything after Eric got ousted.
Before moving on to the tournament that mattered, expounding time on not playing offense.
I keep thinking about how long it has been since I’ve played Dementation SB. I enjoy all sorts of stealth bleed decks, but I think more about Dementation in part because I have no TWDA decks with Dementation, in part because I’ve played far more Dom SB over the course of the last 20+ years, in part because I so rarely play anything remotely normal for Dem SB even when I do come up with deck ideas for the TWDA.
There’s this massive struggle between feeling like I’m missing out in enjoyable play with my extensive banned list and feeling like I achieve nothing by winning with boring stuff. I mean, sure, winning the NAC or the EC or the SAC or whatever would be an achievement as my resume is poor when it comes to major tournament wins, but I have my “code” and it amuses me to stick to it.
Jay actually said that to me when I was playing a pick up game: “You have your code.” Some people like to win more than anything else. I like to amuse people more than anything else. Though, to be fair, I do have a tournament winning deck with Protect Thine Own in it and another with Pentex in it. But, that’s ancient history. I become more and more restrictive over time and I’m not sure it’s the most fun way to go.
I really have to think about what sort of limitations I place on myself, though I doubt I’ll suddenly unban a lot of cards. It is sort of absurd that I could play Gremlins and Murmur of the False Will in decks and not play Scouting Mission and Threats, but absurdity is all part of the game I play.
By the way, I was asked what card is my most banned card. I think I mentioned Eyes of Argus. I was really tired. Actually, Deep Song would be more banned. But, the obvious superban is Enkil Cog. Gods, I hate out of turn actions. It’s so obnoxious to suddenly be playing a different game just because of two stupid cards, one of which should have never been made and the other of which should have been banned a long time ago.
Yes, they reward skill. Yes, helps you Shatter the Gates and achieve numerous other combos. They are so dumb in terms of how they alter the natural flow of the game. I would also ban Reversal of Fortunes as I’m not into effects that cause you to be playing a different game, but the need would decrease quite a bit if the Madness would go away.
Ian (CEL/PRE Fifth Tradition) -> Alex (Brujah group 34 P/J) -> Mark (Emerald Legionnaire) -> Devin (Valkyrie vote Undue Influence) -> Eric (!Ventrue intercept combat)
Crypt was three 10-caps and a 9-cap. I had no masters to play for a while. I brought out Andreas and had a hand full of wakes. Andreas got a gun. Anneke came out. Anneke got Giant’s Blooded so that I pretended to be relevant. I was irrelevant. I had a dumb decision to make. I could have contested the Brujah Justicar title to stop Alex from Second Traditioning with Jaroslav which would just shut me down. I probably would have, but Eric had Owain in play and the correct thing would have been to feed Jaroslav until I give up, so I didn’t.
And, maybe Jaroslav can keep Mark under control. He did. Thing about Erlik and Erebus is that they are Sabbat and Jaroslav hates him some prey Sabbat. Mark almost got Devin, but stuff happened including my using Anneke at the very end to block ELs. Eric further shut down my game by getting Owain with a Sniper Rifle, The Rack. I just couldn’t ever impact him and Devin had to defend too much to force Eric to use resources.
NoCal play – .5 VPs for all.
Devin -> Rick (Nos/! Horseshoes fight) -> Alex -> Brandon (Tupdog) -> Ian
I transferred to my two 10-caps for a long time, considering whether my 9-cap would have mattered and not considering my 8-cap. The reason for one of the 10-caps was Justicar title. The reason for the other was built in press. Meanwhile, Brandon bled me for one a lot and used Tupdog rushes to fight the superfighty Brujah.
With no predator, Devin did stuff. Only having Brunhilde advanced Archoned when she went for the five bleed kill stopped his ruthless bleeds of two at one stealth. Amusingly, Devin could actually pass a vote past both Anneke and Alex’s four votes.
After I finally brought out minions, one of my 10-caps got diablerized, which I thought was weird. I expected all of my minions to go to torpor even with a hand of six combat cards, but the diablerie slowed Brandon down, if anything.
There was a brief window when Devin needed to bring out another Brunhilde that I could have bled for 5 and probably gotten it through with him at 6 pool. Nobody bled into my bounce during that window to reduce his pool to 5 (or, better, 2). I’m sure I would have been Archoned, anyway, so it hardly mattered, but Devin got Rick finally, did heinous damage to Alex even after I gave Alex 13 pool with Golconda and Political Stranglehold, bled out Brandon who was at 1 pool, bled me out without effort after I Golcondaed my only minion.
The reason I didn’t encourage helping me to deprive Devin of round two existence is that I didn’t see how Brandon had any interest in my ousting him. Devin did far more pool damage to Alex than we expected once Rick was out of the way, so it didn’t seem like he was going to sweep like he did. The only window for me was when Rick was still around and Brandon was close to ousting me with my 2 pool, which would have been far better for him. That’s the problem with suppressing players and not ousting them – their maximizing VPs means sitting around and surviving and putting no pressure forward. All hail SB that won’t mess up people’s games but will eviscerate the players’ existences.
Those were two horrible games of V:TES in terms of my being remotely relevant to my prey. Now, that’s not unusual in a lot of my games for reasons mentioned, but it furthers the idea of just going small and ousty.
See, in, say, EC play, my fat dudes people don’t typically see make me impotent because I get hit too hard too early from my right and get Pentexed by even the likes of my prey who I haven’t actually done pool damage to. In local play, that’s not as likely, instead, the problem is having way too much combat for my not totally focused on combat decks to have to deal with. Not because everything is combat – finals involved The unnamed, for instance, a deck that only hits for 2 with its 4-caps, and a deck with a horde of allies that hit for 2, beyond the two actual combat decks.
I was so tired on the way back, didn’t even have much to talk about on the ride back.
It was a decent experience. Got to spend time with people I don’t see all of the time. Got to wander around Berkeley some to find a place open at 11PM (not actually hard). Just felt like my V:TES play was pointless. Far more relevant in games I cared nothing about, while taking up space in games that will impact generations for millennia.
Congratulations to Mark for winning the second tournament. Thanks to Mark for making stuff happen. I’d be good with more tournaments. Thanks to Brandon for driving. Got to talk to people about stuff, which was nice.
Well, if this experience taught me anything, it taught me that my next Elixir of Distillation deck needs to be far more potent. Actually, harkening back to yesterparagraph, the lesson may be to just play more stealth bleed. It puts pressure forward and doesn’t do weird things to games like voting and combat and … weird stuff.