After buying a rather large VtES collection (something about 14,000 cards) at the end of last year, I had (and still have) a large surplus of common and uncommon cards. So the question came up, what to with the cards.
- Throw away the cards. — Ugh. Not really my thing to throw away something useful/valuable to others.
- Donate it to the local card pool. — Maybe, but there’s no local card pool, or more important, local new players.
- Sell them in bulk on EBay. — Less work, but also less profitable (and fun).
- Sell them individually on EBay. — More profitable (perhaps), but also much more work.
- Sell them on demand/request by fellow players. — Also takes some time, but over a much longer period of time.
What I did was something different (at least I am a starting with that). Similar to the Barbed Wire Project for VtES or comparable the Pauper/Peasant formats (in MtG), I have tried to put a number of decks together, which are both cheap, sturdy, but still able to win games (or be able to make VPs at least). Since the bulk of the surplus are the mid- to late-expansions (like Black Hand, KMW, Third Edition and Sword of Caine) I am starting with the Sabbat clans, and maybe extending the deck building to the four independent clans from Lords of the Nights. Eventually I am planning to sell those decks, at whatever opportunity arises, from local tournaments to fellow players (in Germany).
When building a deck, it always starts with looking at the disciplines a clan has reasonable access to (also known as “clan disciplines), and looking up which are the commons (and uncommons) I have for these disciplines. This defines the basic stock of that deck, and most likely the direction the deck is gonna take (bleed, vote, combat, ally, ..). These cards are complemented by a few cards requiring the clan in question (i.e. a Hunting Ground). Then I add master and minion cards which have no requirements, but are useful in general or for the deck’s direction.
At last, I am looking at the crypt. The vampires are taken from group 3-4 or group 4-5, since these are the expansions I have in surplus. I almost exclusively go for the low- to mid-cap vampires, because for a beginner’s decks I think it’s important that a player has access to a lot of actions, and is not just sitting around with 1 or 2 vampires, of which only one will act, since the second would often only be kept for blocking purposes then. With three or even four vampires at hand, you can act with two or three vampires depending on the situation at the table.
Then I start actually building the deck(s), making slight adjustments if I don’t have the proper number of cards in my surplus stock (both for crypt and library) for 3 to 4 copies of the deck. The next step is to take playtest the deck. First in the casual rounds and after a game or two I play them in our (bi-)weekly league rounds. During this I try to optimize the deck (within the same limits as before) and come to a version which I am content with.
Of course, these decks could be even better if I would allow myself to add more rare cards to it, but that’s not really the point of the exercise. And of course, these decks cannot be considered tier 1 (or even maybe tier-2), but against other casual decks (with or without rare cards) they can hold their ground, and score a victory point or two and an occasional gamewin should be possible, too.
In the following weeks, I will present these decks here on the blog, starting with a Tzimisce Bleed deck tomorrow.