The Toreador Grand Ball (TGB) decktype is around for quite some time now. Essentially it is a political deck, which uses the Toreador Grand Ball to make the political actions like Kine Resources Contested and Parity Shift unblockable. Another alias for this decktype is AAA or Triple-A for the three main vampires it features, namely Anson, Anneke and Alexandra.
How to win with them
The TGB deck lulls the table into the belief, it is utterly harmless and it won’t do anything. In a way this is true, until the deck has had its required setup, then the first TGB hits the table, and the vampires start voting.
The main action to keep the deck alive is Parity Shift; if you have an aggressive S&B or Combat deck as predator, then you need to take down the aggressor first, and then turn to your predator. The deck is also a master of deal negotiation, since with the help of Parity Shift and/or Anneke’s special ability it is able to deal damage quite effectively cross-table or block actions crosstable. The description of Erol Oenguen’s TGB deck was Survive and make a deal with someone who can oust. and that exactly was this deck archetypes strength: it had table control. All of the “AAA” trio of vampires has it’s own superior asset:
- Anson provides a second master phase action,
- Anneke can block cross-table, and
- Alexandra can untap a Toreador during it’s player’s minion phase.
Another neat trick is having multiple TGBs in play, but effectively you only need to not to untap only one of your Toreador vampires. And even that can be circumvented by Alexandra’s special ability. The deck not only generates large amounts of pool by Parity Shifts, but also with any other vote, by first (nearly) emptying the vampires with Minion Taps, and then refilling them with Voter Captivation later own.
The deck’s bleed defense is quite simple, yet effective. It uses Telepathic Misdirection to bounce bleeds of and/or Second Tradition: Domain to block it. The amount of intercept can often be enhanced by Eagle’s Sight or other Auspex-based intercept cards.
Usually no special vote defense is needed here, since the TGB deck has a lots of votes to offer, A TGB deck might pack either the classic Delaying Tactics” or even better “Scalpel Tongue, since it can turn around both a vote that you call yourself or a vote that is called by your adversaries.
TGB’s combat capability is defensive in nature, with an abundance of Majesty, and sometimes with sprinkles of Obedience. Also Secure Haven is often seen in this deck type. Some deck variants also feature Concealed Weapons and .44 Magnums to be able withstand other combat decks more consistently and even provide hitback against ally or weenie decks.
How to win against them
So early pressure is mandatory, but you need to be aware of the deck’s capability to steal “back” one’s pool by playing Parity Shift. The victim of the Parity Shift is often, especially early in the game, its predator, not its prey.
If the deck is low pool, especially after putting itself deliberately down for being able to play the Parity Shift, it is vulnerable to Delaying Tactics and even more so Confusion of the Eye.
It is mandatory, for both the prey and predator of the TGB deck, to remove the name-sakes of the deck. This is true even if the TGB player can recycle TGB from the ashheap and play it as a second master phase action in the same turn. The reasoning is that if he uses two master phase actions to retrieve and play a “used” TGB, he cannot use it for playing and/or retrieving other vital master cards. And without the TGB the Toreador are either blocked during actions or they don’t try anything funny at all.
- Toreador Grand Ball — the namesake of the deck, vital for taking political actions without the fear of being blocked.
- Anthelios — retrieve Toreador Grand Ball, Direct Intervention and other vital goodies from the ashheap. Best utilized with Parthenon and/or Anson in play.
- Parity Shift — the main means to keep the deck alive.
- Second Tradition: Domain — the decks untap card and main source of intercept as well.
One of the key cards used to be Anarch Revolt, but due to the fact that you can get “immunity” from the Anarch Revolt by making one (or more) of your vampires an Anarch, it is no longer one of the favorite cards of a TGB deck.
Notable Examples & Variations
- Classic TGB deck /w multiple copies of the “Triple-A” vampires
- Toreador Grand Ball by Kamel Senni — the basic version.
- Anneke+Anson by Ruben Van Cauwenberghe — another basic version, but w/o Alexandra.
- Erol Triple-A by Erol Oenguen — focusses on blocking and table control.
- AAA by Marc Desaulniers — an aggresive version with more KRC.
- Masters of the Grand Ball by Teemu Sainomaa — an updated version w/ some newer cards added.
- Alastor variant –here the main vote is Alastor, and the deck mutates into a Rush combat deck during mid-game.
- Alastores Pipoqueiros by Sergio Trentin Jr.