In the White Wolf VTES forum a player asked how one would cut down a 90 card VTES deck to smaller size more suitable for tournaments or competitive games in general.
When I start building decks I usually start with 90 card version. With this initial draft I then play a couple of league or casual games, to see which parts are working or not. Between these games I often remove cards that didn’t work in this deck. Sometimes I replace them with more suitable cards, or if I have the impression, that the card doesn’t fit into the concept at all, I just throw them out, e.g. when I have too many master cards in the deck, I remove those which are not essential to the deck. So this is already the first step of reducing the deck size.
Before trimming down the deck to a tournament size between 60 and 80 cards, I first ask myself, if this is necessary at all? How much cards were left in the library in a typical game and did I came close to decking myself? E.g. when playing a combat deck with a high throughput of cards or a deck with many Liquidations, it’s often not advisable to reduce the card count below 80 to 90.
When I have decided to reduce the deck size, I usually aim to reduce the deck to 75 cards. Sometime ago in the French VTES forum Sabbat in France one of the forum members came up with the following classification with regards to deck size:
- 60 cards — fast or combo decks
- 70 cards — fast deck with extras
- 75 cards — normal deck
- 80 cards — combat decks
- 90 cards — bad decks
Although it’s slight exaggeration at the lower end of the list, it shows the a good guideline for which deck size to aim. The faster or the more combo-dependent the deck is, the smaller the deck should be.
Usually when trimming down a deck, I follow these principles:
- Try to retain card ratios where possible, e.g. try to keep the same ratio of master cards to combat cards to action cards, etc. This is important to avoid hand-jams with certain types of cards.
- Eliminate cards that are not essential to your deck, but nice-to-have and/or corner case.
- Eliminate cards with higher number of copies (5 to 10) in your deck by one or two copies.
For example, if this would be my DOM bleed deck with 24 cards, ..
Master Cards (7): [29.2%]
5x Blood Doll
1x Pentex Subversion
Action/Action Modifier Cards (11): [45.8%]
6x Govern the Unaligned
Reaction Cards (6): [25%]
I can reduce it to the following deck with 18 cards (removing 1/4 of the deck):
Master Cards (5): [27%]
4x Blood Doll
1x Pentex Subversion
Action Cards/Action Modifier (8): [44.4%]
5x Govern the Unaligned
Reaction Cards (5): [27.8%]
I have removed the Graverobbing and the Retribution, because they are kind of useful in some cases and nice for casual games, but not necessary for the deck to work in general. Then I removed one copy each of Govern the Unaligned and Blood Doll, and as a consequence one copy of Conditioning to retain card ratios between the different card groups. This is of course a simplified example, but it shows the general principle.