After the rule changes in the Rules Team Rulings from December 2nd, 2011, Minion Tap is actually playable again in VEKN sanctioned tournaments from now on.
Hurray, Minion Tap is back … oh, wait .. you’re not talking about us?
This month’s deck is the tournament winning deck “Shattering test Villein Perfectionist” played by Vincent Ripoll (FRA). They were several other candidates for this month’s choice, for example Stefan Karlsson’s Gerald Windham Multirush deck or Johannes Walch’s Chain of Command deck as well. In the end I liked Vincent’s deck best, possibly because I saw it in action several times. The deck is based on Shattering Crescendo and it’s devastating effects, especially in the endgame. The deck first keeps a low profile and tries to build up and plays Shattering Crescendo against his predator (as defense). The real deal with the deck is find the right time to play the Shattering Crescendo as offense or and/or to control the table.
1. Ralf L. — 7,40 RtP/game — 20 games — 6 GW 25,0 VP
2. Sascha M. — 5,63 RtP/game — 16 games — 3 GW 16,5 VP
3. Michael B. — 3,60 RtP/game — 20 games — 2 GW 14,0 VP
4. Hardy R. — 1,65 RtP/game — 17 games — 0 GW 7,0 VP
Participants without a sufficient number of games (8):
5. Robert M. — 24,00 RtP/game — 1 game — 1 GW 4,0 VP
6. Rudolf G. — 22,00 RtP/game — 2 games — 2 GW 7,0 VP
7. Didi R. — 6,00 RtP/game — 6 games — 1 GW 7,0 VP
8. Sebastian R. — 4,00 RtP/game — 1 game — 0 GW 1,0 VP
8. Thomas K. — 4,00 RtP/game — 1 game — 0 GW 1,0 VP
10. Martin S. — 3,00 RtP/game — 2 games — 0 GW 1,5 VP
11. Markus H. — 0,00 RtP/game — 2 games — 0 GW 0,0 VP
11. Martin E. — 0,00 RtP/game — 2 games — 0 GW 0,0 VP
11. Martin V. — 0,00 RtP/game — 2 games — 0 GW 0,0 VP
11. Alexander T. — 0,00 RtP/game — 1 game — 0 GW 0,0 VP
11. Kai K. — 0,00 RtP/game — 1 game — 0 GW 0,0 VP
11. Ralf W. — 0,00 RtP/game — 1 game — 0 GW 0,0 VP
11. Manuel D. — 0,00 RtP/game — 1 game — 0 GW 0,0 VP
The results can also be found in the German VEKN forum (incl. the individual matchday results & decks). The group has shrunken to the bare minimum for making some sort of VtES league possible, but at least we had less match days canceled than last year and quite a number of “visitors” from other playgroups (or even countries).
Here are the final standings of the VtES League 2011 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany. This year’s winner after 39 league games is Zille, who snatched the victory from Kinner with the last league game (in which victory points were doubled).
1. Sebastian Z. — 9 GW 47 VP — 37 Games — 1,90 CP — 8,92 RtP
2. Sebastian R. — 7 GW 28,5 VP — 24 games — 1,23 CP — 8,31 RtP
3. Ralf L. — 4 GW 28 VP — 28 games — 1,44 CP — 6,58 RtP
4. Martin E. — 3 GW 21,5 VP — 39 games — 2,00 CP — 4,82 RtP
5. Thomas K. — 0 GW 13 VP — 36 games — 1,85 CP — 3,29 RtP
Participants without a sufficient number of games (12):
6. Dietmar R. — 2 GW 9,5 VP — 4 games — 0,21 CP — 13,71 RtP
7. Martin V. — 2 GW 8,5 VP — 5 games — 0,26 CP — 10,26 RtP
8. Michael B. — 2 GW 8,5 VP — 6 games — 0,31 CP — 8,64 RtP
9. Frank S. — 2 GW 13 VP — 9 games — 0,46 CP — 8,02 RtP
(RtP = rating points; CP = correction points (for game attendance)).
“Mr. Son of a bitch, let’s play some cards!” — Teddy KGB in Rounders (1998).
Here are the results of the latest poll if the readers of this blog use card sleeves in VtES games. 162 readers of this blog have voted in this poll:
- Always. — 64% (104)
- Most of the time. — 22% (27)
- Only in tournaments. — 0% (1)
- Rarely. — 7% (12)
- Never! — 2% (4)
- I’m only a collector. — 6% (10)
- Cowboy Jim. — 2% (4)
As you see the group which uses card sleeves rarely or never in a game of VtES is a rather small minority (9%). So when talking about the future VtES expansion based on PDF printouts it’s only this minority which is “forced” to use card sleeves although they usually don’t.
This is an article way back from 1997 written by Robert Goudie around the time when the VEKN was founded (to be exact on December 15th, 1997). Originally appeared on the then official VEKN website, The Madness Network.
This article endeavors to provide an edge to players who have already achieved a measure of proficiency playing VTES. Nothing written here will make an inferior deck-builder or tactician a winning tournament player.
Together, we’ll look at the issues unique to the Duelists’ Convocation International’s tournament environment and how the tournament setting changes the way we approach the game.
The Player’s Objective
This should be no surprise. Your objective is to win. However, before we can tackle the task of winning a final round, we must earn entry to the final round. As entry to the final round is your first objective, make every effort to keep this goal in mind throughout the preliminary rounds. It has been my experience that a player needs to average just slightly over two victory points per round to advance to the finals. This is rarely accomplished by getting exactly two victory points per round but rather by getting three to five victory points in one round and then gaining other victory points here and there throughout other rounds. Never pass up an opportunity to get a victory point. I’ve seen players play a round to a draw because they only needed a half victory point to advance. I’ve personally used a Life Boon on my Predator and moved all of my blood to him, thereby ousting myself and gaining the victory point that my Predator would have gained for my demise. Being the last one alive at your table or even having the most victory points at your table is a false victory and does not meet your first objective. Be single-minded in your pursuit of victory points and get yourself into the finals.
Understanding the Tournament Environment
Analyis of the DCI Tournament Rules
The first thing to do is read the tournament rules. I mean really read the tournament rules. What differences are there compared to your typical play environment? First of all, there is a time limit imposed for each round. Also, there are rounds. Three to be exact. The top five finishers play a fourth, final round. What else? A banned list. Also, there is a sixty to ninety card limit for library sizes. Don’t miss that there is a restriction that allows a minion to take a given action only once per turn. Anything else? There is a restriction on when vote cards played for additional votes during a political action can be replaced into your hand. Lastly, there is are optional rules regarding card backs in your library and crypt.
Follow the Rules
The first tip seems obvious but bears examination anyway. Obey the deck construction rules. Make sure you put the proper number of cards in your library and crypt. I once mishandled my cards in a preliminary round and during the final round of a tournament, after drawing a card from my library, I noticed that the next library card had the brown crypt coloration. I was in violation of the crypt rule (my crypt was now 11 vampires) and my library contained 91 cards. I was fortunate that the players at my table were generous and allowed me to continue. Don’t always count on this sort of goodwill, though. During a weekend of tournaments, the optional rule regarding library card backings was in effect. The rule states that between forty and sixty percent of your library must have the Jyhad backing if you choose to mix Jyhad and Vampire cards. Players were letting each other slide all weekend because they thought the rule was unfair and enforcement didn’t really affect game play. Sure enough, in the last tournament of the weekend, one player asked the judge to check libraries for proper adherence to the 40%-60% rule. After the judge made the check of libraries, about a dozen people were disqualified. Be sure your deck is legal before the tournament and check it again between each round.
Know Your Limit
The time limit plays an important role in tournament play. If you don’t know what the limit is in advance, assume that the minimum 2 hour time limit will be used. The time limit should be taken into account when you choose the deck you will use. If you are playing with the 2 hour limit, you should avoid playing decks that develop slowly. Remember, your initial objective is to earn enough victory points to advance to the final round. A combat deck that aims to be the “last one standing” would probably gain 2 victory points if everything goes well. It may even win the table. However, it doesn’t have a very good chance of advancing to the finals. Play decks that you think can sweep a table. If you get a sweep in any preliminary round you’ll almost certainly advance.
The time limit affects the game well beyond the selection of the deck you should compete with. During play, the time limit can be a friend or an adversary. Put time on your side. It is a good idea to keep your own timepiece to gauge how the round is progressing. The judges are only required to give a five minute warning before the end of a round but it may be useful to know personally how much time is left. Stalling is not permitted but players are allowed to take their turn and think about what they are going to do. If necessary, don’t hesitate to walk that fine line between stalling and simply slowing down play. Each player left in the game at the end of the round receives one-half victory point. Every little bit helps.
On the other hand, if you are in a hurry and someone is playing slowly, call a judge over to watch the game. Even if you believe the other player is well within the rule’s prohibition against stalling, the judge may have a different tolerance level than you. An added benefit of this tactic is that the other player may become flustered and try to rush through their turn. This will inevitably lead to some mistakes by the opposing player which you will certainly take advantage of.
When seating is decided for a round, a table with inferior players is often thought of as a good thing by a quality player. You start to think how you’ll make quick work of them and sweep the table. Then the game starts and your prey is taking too long a time and even making errors like trying to play Master Cards during his minion phase, etc. Every inept player is a potential easy victory point but those players are also stealing your time. The entire table’s time is slipping away. I’ve had other players help me oust my inept prey because they realized my prey was affecting the table ability to complete our game before time is up. Don’t let these players stick around. Don’t help them. Destroy them! Get help from other players if necessary, calling on them to observe their time being wasted by this inferior player.
The Art of the Deal
The negotiation that takes place during a game of VTES is common in almost all playgroups. However, we often don’t think of negotiation as part of the game and refer to it as something extraneous. I am of the opinion that it is an essential aspect of the game. I often liken players who neglect this aspect to playing with less than a full hand. Negotiation is a way of creating resources. You can negotiate with other players to help oust your prey. You can negotiate a cease-fire with your predator or prey to gain time for refortification. You can negotiate to allow satisfactory outcome of votes, contestations, etc. While these negotiations often take place within our playgroups, they are rarely attempted at tournaments. Oftentimes nervousness or shyness prevent players from working deals during tournament games. This can be attributed to the fact that you are probably playing with strangers. Try to be outgoing and friendly and don’t let the opportunity to strike a deal pass you buy.
Ok, we’re not stupid. Most of us have learned the lesson that if we make a deal and then break it we end up hurting ourselves in the long run. We will gain the immediate benefit of the surprise attach when we break our word but we are forever reminded of our trespass by our friends. In the end, keeping our word helps us win more games than not. Tournaments may be a different story. If you at a National tournament or somewhere you don’t plan to be again, you may want to try your hand at a little backstabbing. Don’t feel bad about it. When playing the game you are a Methuselah not a banker, student, or minister. You’re integrity as a person is not in question (though all of the other players may doubt yours!). Just a few months ago I saw a player in a final round who desperately needed to make a deal with another player. It would have been a mutually beneficial situation for them. Unfortunately, they had played a preliminary round together where the first player broke his word. Needless to say, this other player was not willing to make himself vulnerable with the “Liar” sitting next to him. The deal-breaker verbalized his remorse over the earlier event and repented of it when he saw that it cost him the game. The same weekend I passed on an opportunity to win a game because I felt I had to keep my word. Don’t get me wrong. I was tempted. I just decided that the one victory was not worth the hell I’d experience at the other eight tournaments a year that I would participate in.
All Things Being Equal
Don’t take for granted that the playing field is level. Before the start of each round verify that everyone has the proper number of pool to start with. At a minimum you should check your prey. Discovery of an overage in someone’s pool supply is a serious infraction—even if the error was unintentional. Obviously it is easier to oust an opponent who has 30 pool instead of 35 and that difference could be a deciding factor in the outcome of your game.
It is also important to watch other cards being played. I know I have played cards in their superior form without realizing that the vampire only has the inferior skill. This was unintentional, of course, but the mistake is made over and over by veteran and new players. Pay close attention to your own cards and those being played by other Methuselahs. Verify those prerequisites!
Tricks of the Trade
A couple of nice little tricks I’ve observed some top players use are worth sharing. One is to hide your discard pile. Now I know you can’t really hide it. And I know that anyone can check your ashheap at any time. However, what I’ve seen done is to simply place your discards in a plastic case (or similar case) in a standing position facing you. If someone really wants to check out your discards, make them ask. What you gain by doing this is that other players will not see your discards accidentally and realize what you have. It forces your opponents to wonder what you have played and then act on their suspicions by asking you to see the discard pile. Some shy players may even be reluctant to ask.
The other equally obnoxious thing to do is keep track of your life points with a Scrye life counter or keep your pool in a cup or other such manner. Again, keeping this hidden will avoid anyone just scanning the table and then noticing that you have a ton of pool. Instead, they will have to realize first that you have been gaining a lot of pool recently and then they may confirm that suspicion by asking you.
.. Mylan Horseed (Goblin) can actually untap not only your own vampires, but vampires from other players as well? The reason is simply, that the Mylan‘s cardtext does not restrict the controller (of the vampire being untapped) being the player who controls Mylan. It’s just restricted by the capacity (8 or more) and not being Camarilla vampire. In fact, this is one of the “tricks” in a Spirit Marionette deck to create a valid target for the Spirit Marionette.
Reference: Alex Bertoncini at SCG Kansas City
More context on the issue at hand:
The ninth episode of the VTES webshow Cause and Effect has been broadcasted live this Sunday (December 20th, 2011). The topic for the discussion were Ahrimanes decks in general as well as the use (and abuse) of Temptation of Greater Power.
The next episode (and first for next year) of Cause & Effect will be hosted on January 10th, 2012.
One interesting thing I stumbled upon, is that three of the “hunter” allies, are actually Imbued according to the Vampire the Masquerade/Hunters Reckoningbackground material. These three are:
- Wendell Delburton, known on hunter-net.org as Crusader17, was an Avenger, living in the United States. He was responsible for the destruction of countless horrors, Wendell Delburton had no doubts that God had chosen him, even before the angels set him on the road that would end in an encounter with the Devil, He was found dead Saturday, August 2, 2003 in a wheat field outside Wichita, Kansas. He was impaled through the neck with a stabbing implement.
- Jake Washington is an Innocent living in the United States, also known as as Bookworm55 on Hunter-net. Jake had always been a bookworm, but at 18, in his first year at college in Boston, things were beginning to look up for him until the Messengers imbued him. His first experience of the supernatural was meeting a little dead girl. He found and tipped off the police about her murderer. He quickly found Hunter-Net and made a few contacts among the Imbued, wanting to study and explore the new world he’d entered into, even though it frightened him. He made contact with a warlock he nicknamed “Purple” (because of the color of his aura when using the Second Sight) and learned much from him.Three weeks after his imbuing, Jake met a beautiful woman named Phaedra in his local bookstore-café, and quickly realized she was a vampire. True to his creed, he didn’t hunt Phaedra, but instead talked with her, hoping to understand her and learn more about vampires. An adolescent virgin, Jake didn’t resist her sexual advances, allowing her to bite him and even tasting some of her blood, but even though he was learning and beginning to understand her, things went wrong. On their third meeting, a local hunter Jake knew named Andy followed him and attacked Phaedra; she flew into a rage, killed Andy and pulled off Jake’s legs. He blacked out, his next clear memory of hospital, where he was recuperating from a “car accident“, his care paid for by insurance.For a while, Jake dropped off Hunter-net, though he eventually returned to post a bitter document titled “The Enemy“, drawing heavily on his conversations with Purple and Phaedra to set down everything he knew about supernatural creatures. He temporarily took over the running of the site from Witness1 following a period of downtime. As he pieced his life back together, Jake grew to regret the “Enemy” post, since despite what happened to him he still didn’t believe that “monsters” were inherently more evil than human beings. Differences with witness1 led him to create the Vitalis site and sub-list for those who, like him, thought of themselves as on a mission rather than a hunt, but after the Montreal “Body Snatcher” Tragedy and the fallout over Oracle171’sinvolvement, he grew conflicted.His feelings led him to realize that Phaedra must have helped him survive after her attack, and set things up so that he would be looked after in hospital; he became convinced she must have a soul, and left Hunter-net again to find her with the aid of an older hunter named Fyodor. He did manage to speak to her once, and he traveled the country with Fyodor in the hope of finding her and learning more about the monsters. Fyodor, a much more ruthless hunter, eventually left Jake to his own devices, but not before channeling the power of the Messengers to restore Jake’s legs.
Jake continues to travel around America, knowing he can never go back to his family – he has no way to explain to them how his legs have been healed. He is still obsessed with finding Phaedra and proving to Hunter-net that she has a soul – and that other monsters must have them, too.
- Dr. Carlton Van Wyk, known on hunter-net.org as Doctor119, is a Judge, living in Chicago, best known for his month long journal discussing his encounters with at least 18 rots and invisibles, He is somewhat clinical and detached, and approaches the hunt with a scientific mindset.Though the details of his past are never fully revealed, it seems clear that Van Wyk is no longer a legally registered doctor. He has a “clinic” in his basement where he carries out minor surgery, including illegal abortions.Van Wyk was also known under the alias of Harlan Crandall.
All list of hunters in Vampire: the Masqueradecan be found on these lists (from the Wikis mentioned above):
.. you can play Eagle’s Sight on superior when your predator (or any other player) is taking a (D) action against you. This works since the use of Eagle’s Sight (by it’s own cardtext) is not restricted to those situations where you’re not an eligible blocker. This, of course, has no other effect than you cycling cards (when your predator is using 0-stealth actions, for example).
Maybe three weeks before the start of the tournament, I decided to go for the highest goal: to win the German Championships (GC). Seconded by the great Swedish player Isak Esbjörnsson Bjärmark, I choose to play a variation of my Anson Tap & Bleed deck, which in turn is a deck creation of Isak and his brother Adam, but with some minor modifications.
I also had some thoughts about the meta-game in advance. I assumed that out of probably 25 players ..
- 5 players would probably be unexperienced (maybe having problems even with some core rules),
- 5 would already have played tournaments, but are not regular playing,
- 10 would be experienced and regular players (maybe already with an entry in the TWDA),
- 5 would be “great & famous” players.
Therefore seating would be relevant always, but in a somehow different manner..
- Tremere/!Tremere Vote around Orlando
- Girls will find something
- Tup Dog/Rock Cat
- Piper War Ghoul
- a Tucimia Bleed deck
- a Summon History deck around Al-Munthatir
- at least one Nosferoyalty deck (G12)
- at least one Ventrue Lawfirm (around Lodin)
- at least one Kiasyd Stealth Bleed (G45)
- at least one Dmitra multi-action Vote deck
- at least one !Ventrue Grinder
- at least one Tap & Bleed deck (probably around Edward Vignes)
- maybe one Toreador AAA/AAAAA
- maybe one combat deck with Immortal Grapple
- maybe one ANI combat deck
- maybe one Weenie AUS deck
- maybe one Spirit Marionette deck
The meta was quite different from what I expected. Here is the summary of decks as posted by the organizer:
1. Martin S. (GER) — 1 GW 4 VP — 1,5 132 TP — Tremere Toolboxy (Triple-B: bleed, bruise, block)
2. Erol H. (GER) — 1 GW 4 VP — 0,5 132 TP — Trujah Bleed
3. Vincent R. (FRA) — 1 GW 4 VP — 0,5 126 TP — Daughter’s Shattering Crescendo
4. Manuel D. (GER) — 1 GW 3,5 VP — 0,5 138 TP — Gangrel Royalty Block
5. Rudolf G. (GER) — 2 GW 8 0 VP 132 TP — Toreador Ashur-Tap’n’Powerbleed
6. Alexander T. (GER) — 1 GW 3 VP 120 TP — Tremere Toolbox
7. Martin H. (GER) — 1 GW 2,5 VP 102 TP — Stanislava S&B
8. Alf B. (GER) — 0 GW 2,5 VP 132 TP — Piper Warghoul
8. Miriam S. (GER) — 0 GW 2,5 VP 132 TP — Tremere Toolbox
10. Robert F. (GER) — 0 GW 2,5 VP 126 TP — Nergal Turbo
10. Timo C. (GER) — 0 GW 2,5 VP 126 TP — Lutz & Friends Block/Vote
12. Ralf W. (GER) — 0 GW 2 VP 114 TP — Suhailah/Murat Obf/Pot/Ser
12. Ralf L. (GER) — 0 GW 2 VP 114 TP — G2/3 Tzimisce Triple-B
12. Carlotta G. (GER) — 0 GW 2 VP 114 TP — Caitiff Vote
15. Felix H. (GER) — 0 GW 1,5 VP 120 TP — Jaroslav Paszcek Second Tradition Combat
16. Ali A. (GER) — 0 GW 1,5 VP 108 TP — Toreador Bleed
16. Christoph B. (GER) — 0 GW 1,5 VP 108 TP — Nizzam Black Hand
18. Oskar G. (SWE) — 0 GW 1 VP 96 TP — Tzimisce feat. Lambach & Dominate
19. Johannes W. (GER) — 0 GW 1 VP 84 TP — Tricky Giovanni Powerbleed
20. Joscha D. (GER) — 0 GW 0,5 VP 84 TP — Weenie Dragon Breath Rounds
21. Jan S. (GER) — 0 GW 0,5 VP 78 TP — Blood Brothers Kiev
22. Tom H. (GER) — 0 GW 0,5 VP 72 TP — Weenie Cel Gun
22. Tobias H. (GER) — 0 GW 0,5 VP 72 TP — Old School Ventrue
22. Jörg W. (GER) — 0 GW 0,5 VP 72 TP — Assamite Magaji Bamba
25. Julian S. (GER) — 0 GW 0,5 VP 66 TP — Dom/Pro Bleed
My first table: Martin H. (Stanislava S&B) > me > Ali (Toreador Block & Bleed G23) > Joscha (Weenie Dragon Breath Rounds)
I was not really scared of Martin’s deck, because I had seen it the day before while playtesting, so I knew there would be no voting and no Mind Rapeing. Ali’s deck was similar to mine, plus some additional wakes, so he should have been a “big barrier“. Joscha’s deck I feared most: I knew it well, and he managed to reach the GC finals with it two years ago. The seating could not have been better for me the given circumstances.
I did not have Anson in the starting crypt, but Delilah, two 5 caps and Jost. So Delilah jumped into play first round. I could sudden a Powerbase Montreal (very important, as I realized later even more) and had my first bleed for 4 in round 2 :-) Ali brought out one 8 cap in round 3 and later another one. Joscha weenie-ed right away, and even played an Information Highway. Martin brought out Stanislava as his first minion, and managed to never get her hurt: Obedience, plus a lot of Earth Melds. One time, Martin even had the courage to send a weenie to torpor with Claws of the Dead and simply play a Skin of Steel against the subsequent DBR ..
As I remember, I had some acceleration due to Dreams of the Sphinx (there were so few of them the hole day over: I never ever contested one!), so I could bring out my minions quite fast and “work” on Ali. Of course, it was not that easy, because he could defend against my bleeds and even against my Mind Numbs with block & Majesty. Plus, he played Mind Numb himself backwards (a suggestion from me the day before). Pentex Subversion helped me, and luck, and the circumstance, that Stanislava was under attack each round.
Luckily, Joscha never rushed cross-table, because he feared to tap out against Ali, and was always in fear of bounced bleeds .. By the time I ousted Ali, Joscha was at five or four pool (and Martin at 10 or so). He rushed Jost twice, because he had already realized (earlier than me), that a single bleed of Jost could mean the oust. Jost survived (Majesty rules!!), and ousted with a bleed for five.
The rest was rather easy: Anson finally in game, Anthelios shining, Pentex on Stanislava. Table sweep in 70 minutes. 1 GW 4 VP, first step to the goal taken!
My second table: me > Johannes (Tricky Giovanni with Liquidations) > Oscar (Tzimisce Wall feat. Lambach) > Carlotta (Caitiff Vote) > Ralf L. (Tzimisce Bleed & Block).
I already knew Johannes deck and was very happy to be its predator. I was not scared too much of the Tzimisce decks (maybe I should have been), and Carlotta is a new player, a beautiful girl of maybe 17 years from the local playgroup.
Carlotta played with a rather weak setup of a Weenie vote deck from one of the other local player, but she was able to immediately put pressure on Ralf with Conservative Agitations. She even managed to get through two Praxis Seizures before titled vampires hit the table.
So, most of the time, I had no predator and could work on Johannes. I mind numb-ed Lady Constancia as soon as the reached the ready region, because I knew I had to: several Freak Drives support Johannes’ idea of bloating and bleeding, with minions raised from his graves by several cards .. Oscar, of course, brought out Lambach – so the table was suddenly full of votes, but Oscar had always to be careful, being very vulnerable to Seductions .. Still, Carlotta could continue to “gnaw” on Ralf.
I brought into game Anson, two 5 caps, and Jost (he really meant the difference in the first two games in comparison to the original version of my deck, and had plenty of pool due to Ashur & Liquidation and (almost) zero pressure. But it was not trivial to oust Johannes due to his pool-gain via Liquidations and some Govern-bloating. Then Lambach, though seconded by Mylan Horseed (“so cute”) got pentex-ed by Carlotta.
Johannes, whose deck did not “flow“, made a deal with Oscar, and removed the Pentex. In Oscar’s turn, Jost got pentex-ed .. Oscar forced Carlotta to play her Conservative Agitations 1 on Ralf, 4 on me (“so you can still work on ousting Ralf, and it does not really hurt Rudolf“) .. This hit me once, but the second time (and would have a third time), I could play Delaying Tactics.
I tried to struggle Jost free, and was lucky enough to have two Majestys on hand running into a Telepathic Tracking and loads of Vicissitude combat .. I waited a turn. Ralf got ousted. In my next turn, I contested the Pentex playing mine on Lambach, and ousted Johannes.
Oscar gave up the contest, but had to realize that he could not immediately remove mine in his turn .. he was ousted the next round, even though he three minions out, being only at 3 pool. Luckily, Carlotta, out of missing experience, made the finish somehow easy for me, and a series of minor mistakes allowed me to oust her (being on 9 pool) in the last minutes, with the last cards: I got through my library, though I had completed Ashurs twice, and ousted with three “remaining” vampires of mine with three Public Trust bleeds .. So my total score was 2 GW and 8 VP, and I knew I had reached the finals and the qualification for the EC 2012! Unfortunately, my “luck” ended here ..
“Sometimes, going for the oust means not to go for the oust ..“
My third table: Jan (Blood Brothers Kiev) > Alf (Piper Warghoul) > Miriam (Tremere/!Tremere Toolbox) > me > Erol (True Brujah Block & Bleed)
Pleasant seating for me, because Miriam is, like Carlotta, a new (and beautiful) player of the local playing group. Plus, I knew what kind of deck all the other players would play. Alas, I do not remember much of the game.
Jan, who feared Erol’s deck a lot, never managed to be a real threat to Alf, partly due to inferior cardflow (master card jam). Alf had quite a “typical” start into the game: Got a young Tzimisce out, recruited a Vagabond Mystic the turn after and piper-ed a War Ghoul and a second minion in turn three. Miriam, like Carlotta, played a borrowed deck and started with bringing out Masika St. John, Almiro Suarez and Carna. Her problems began with a Fame on Masika, and found a climax in Carna torporized by Alf’s War Ghoul, that survived with 1 life remaining ..
So I could build up. But I was aware, already before the game, that the tap-mechanism could afford “additional 2 blood” now and then against Erol’s Trujahs because of Outside the Hourglass. I bled steadily, first with Gideon, I think, then Anson, Jost, and later a 5 cap.
Erol had to take the first bleed, then influenced Lydia out, who got Mind Numbed the following turn. He then managed to equip her with the Heart of Nizchetus, a move crucial to his survival. Two turns later, Erol brought also Al-Munthatir into the game, and was down on 5 pool I think (I had sudden-ed a Villein) after the Scarce penalty.
My next turn: I am not sure now, if I already had out 4 minions, but Anthelios shone, The Parthenon was raised, and I had two choices: a) playing calm and safely, picking up Sudden Reversal again to make sure Erol would “never” play successfully a Villein, or b) going for the oust, picking up Pentex and play Misdirection in addition. I chose the latter, and my cardflow prevented my plan ..
Plus, I underestimated the defense qualities of two Trujahs with superior Auspex. So I tried and tried, but my efforts only brought Erol down to three pool. In his turn, Erol could play Villein and Giant’s Blood, and had the Heart to always have good defense in his hand ..
After this, nothing really relevant happened during the rest of the game. Of course, I tried to get Erol again and again, but in vain. Ironically, I was the only one ousted before the time-out, because I did not want to sit down and wait (and I was already in the finals), so I brought out another minion, went down to 5 pool, got my two untapped minions tapped by Erol’s Mind Numbs, and Miriam finally found the courage and the cards to bleed ..
After the game I was quite convinced, that I should have picked up the Sudden Reversal, and wait, wait, and again wait, if necessary. I am very sure, that I would have ousted Erol that way in at least 95 out of 100 cases ..
“Stay away from the fire ..“: The final round
Standings after 3 rounds:
- Rudolf — 2 GW 8 VP — Anson Ashurs Tap&Bleed
- Martin S. — 1 GW 4 VP (won in the tie-roll) — Tremere/Tremere antitribu Bruise/Bleed/Block
- Erol — 1 GW 4 VP (lost in the tie-roll) — True Brujah Block/Bleed
- Vincent — 1 GW 4 VP (out of only 2 games!) — Daughters Shattering Crescendo
- Manuel — 1 GW 3.5 VP — Gangrel Royalty Wall
As I was told afterwards, Martin and Erol were outside, smoking, and full of doubts if they reached the finals. They broke into laughter as Ralf told them that they were on places 2 and 3 ..
I am by no means “used” to choose a place at a final table. Maybe I have been in seven finals before, and only once was top seed. And it was a final table with 4 TWDs: mine (improved! ^^), Martin’s and Vincent’s only one/two weeks old, plus Erol’s. Unfortunately, I could not guess properly how dangerous Manuel’s deck could/would be ..
The other finalists sat down in the following order:
Manuel > Vincent
Manuel > Erol > Vincent
Manuel > Erol > Martin > Vincent
Again, I had two choices: Neither wanted I to be Vincent’s prey, nor sit in between Erol and Martin. If I had realized at that moment, that the rest of the table would have to struggle for a VP in order to win the finals, I would have relaxed and sat down between Manuel and Erol.
But I did not realize this bonus of being top seed .. Plus, I was still under the impression that I had not managed to oust Erol the round before, and I was not able not consider Manuel’s deck to be the least dangerous in this finals, which it was, maybe. Due to these miscalculations, and eager to win “heroically“, I decided to sail before the storm near the cliffs:
Manuel > Erol > Martin > me > Vincent
Manuel started the finals. I had no Anson in my crypt, but Mariana, Delilah, Ranjan and the 6 cap. I brought out Mariana. Already a minor mistake: I should have influenced on Delilah and one of the vampires with Dominate ..
Vincent put Diana Vick into Powerbase Montreal (my prey being able to bounce so early, that was somehow new). Next turn, Martin played a Powerbase Montreal. I hesitated, and then decided to keep my Sudden for my prey. Afterwards, I felt this decision to be wrong: steady acceleration for my predator cannot be good .. Plus, Martin influenced Carna out.
First, I did not fear this, but as I wanted to play Mind Numb on Diana, I got Eagle Sighted, with no Majesty in my hand (my hand was more often than before weird, for the duration of the whole game) .. Luckily, I got neither theft-ed nor flame-d .. After a bleed for three the subsequent round, I decided to activate “safety modus” for some time. I put a second minion, with Dominate, into game, and searched for Anson, who “promptly” appeared .. For the first time this tournament I had a “real” predator ..
In the meantime: Turn 2, Vincent could bleed Manuel for 3, and kept the Edge. Turn 3, Yseult showed up, and Manuel was immediately under pressure. He managed to stay in game with Ingrid Rossler, seconded be Dr. Alan Woodstock, and lots of Earth Melds. Erol got Lydia out, and the 3 cap Nagaraja, and played Summon History for 2 blood. Martin tried to block with Selena and Carna, but Tangle Atropos’ Hand to times in a row was too sneaky for the Tremere/!Tremere. Erol then equipped with Heart of Nizchetus, a surprise, even to himself, for he had drawn the Ankara Citadel in replace for the Summon History .. Martin could build up, helped by the Powerbase Montreal and due to two Vessels and a Hunting Ground. Also, he magic-ed his copy of the Heart (this contest should last until the very end of the game) ..
When I got out Anson, Anthelios shone already, and The Parthenon was in place .. I started to put pressure on Vincent, consequently sudden-ing his Villeins, when he played one. Then the first shot backwards with Shattering Crescendo .. Fortunately, none of my minions dropped into torpor, plus, Vincent forgot to use The Coven in his turn ..
Manuel struggled to survive, having a Raven Spy on Ingrid and using one minion as “pool slave” for his Vessel, and not risking to block one of Erol’s Trujahs after a Domain of Evernight inferior & Outside the Hourglass combo. Erol had no problems also sending Al-Munthatir into the fight, and consequently tested Martin defense, who rarely attempted a block with full force ..
I kept the pressure on Vincent, but had some problems with my card flow, and risked to go down to 9 pool, and finished my turn with two of my four ready minions (the fifth was already in torpor) untapped. After my next Sudden on one of his Villeins, Vincent cast two times Shattering Crescendo against my minion, apologizing that he had to .. He was right, but of course, this was my downfall. The next turn, Martin bled two times with superior Conditioning, and one time for 1 .. only 40 minutes played.
Martin then did not make the mistake I made: He realized that he was top seed now, and he had a VP .. so he dealt with Vincent not to interfere with him until Manuel would be ousted. The rest of the game proved, that it had been necessary to sudden Vincent’s Villeins, now he almost played one after another, of course with Lilith’s Bleesing on his side. Somehow Manuel survived. Erol was really creative in putting pressure on Martin with Temporis tricks, but “only” brought him down to 2 pool before the table timed out ..
So this is it, my very personal “point of view” to this year’s GC. Congratulations once again to Martin for becoming the German Champion! And once again a big Thank You to the organizers, Joscha Duell and Tobias Hoffmann, for this great event!
1. Balázs Sebestyén (HUN) — 2 GW 7,5 VP — 2 VP — Omaya & Aus/Ani Weenie Wall
2. Gyula Erdős (HUN) — 2 GW 6 VP — 2 VP — Akunanse feat. Fakir al Sidi 15+ Wakes
2. Slaven Karakas (CRO) — 1 GW 6 VP – 1 VP — Kiasyd Stealth Bleed
2. Máté Vaka (HUN) — 1 GW 6.5 VP — 0 VP — Gangrel antitribu Cel/Pro Aggro Poke
2. Goran Damjanic (CRO) — 1 GW 6 VP — 0 VP — Giovanni Powerbleed
Congratulations to Balazs for his win of the Hungarian Nationals 2011. A tournament report by Mephistopheles from his point of view can be found his Hun Fragment blog.
The eighth episode of the VTES webshow Cause and Effect has been broadcasted live this Sunday (December 11th, 2011). The three Swedish hosts have chosen Mind Rape (and related decks) as their main topic this week. In addition the show features the first discussion and improvement of a deck in the deck clinic. The subject this time is a Dominate/Auspex/Thaumaturgy/Obfuscate Bleed deck named RiffRaff originally built by Lönnka.
The next episode (and last for this year) of Cause & Effect will be hosted next Sunday, which is December 18th, 2011.
After the official announcement that the VEKN and the design team in particular is working on a new fan expansion for VtES in late November 2011, now the VEKN design team has published the first part of their Designer’s Diary (on December 13th, 2011). The first part explains the general background and motivation for the upcoming (yet still unnamed) VtES expansion.
Read the full article on VEKN.net.
- Portuguese National Championship: Standard Constructed. Detailed rules can be found on the VEKN Tournament Rules web page.
- Deck lists are required, either on paper, in electronic form (USB stick), or by email to the email address below.
- Sunday, December 18th, 2011
- Doors open/registration 10:00 AM
- Myrdinn’s Magic
Complexo Olímpico das Piscinas do C. F. “Os Belenenses”
- 3 rounds (2 hours each) plus final (2.5 hours)
- 5 Euro
- For non-finalists: promo cards and a booster.
- For finalists: extra prizes.
- Winner: special prize.
- Players arriving from outside of Lisbon, should contact the organizer for possible accommodations and information.
- Contact the organizer via email, tiago (/dot/) broom (/at/) gmail (/dot/) com.
Update: Please take note that both the venue and the date for the tournament have been changed!
The first three trading games developed by Richard Garfield and produced by Wizards of the Coast were Magic: the Gathering (1993), Vampire: the Eternal Struggle (1994) and Netrunner (1996). All of these were branded as part of the so-called “Deckmaster” series. But in fact, had little in common other than being trading card games and using the tapping cards (rotating cards by 90 degrees to indicate that they’re being used). The brand name was actually never really used/marketed ever, since the buyers and players never really cared if a particular game was part of the series, but since the cardbacks had been printed in that fashion in the first editions, Wizard decided not to change them anymore. (Actually they did when the name of VtES changed from Jyhad to Vampire the Eternal Struggle (in 1995), but they didn’t change the Deckmaster label).
Due the belonging to the “Deckmaster” series, the cards of the series had (approx.) the same dimensions. A deckmaster card ..
- .. is 63 mm wide and 88 mm high (2.5 by 3.5 inches),
- .. has a thickness of less than 1 millimeter,
- .. weighs 1.814 g (about 0.064 ounces).
On December 11th, 2011 the GermanNational VtES Championship 2011 was held in Bad Nauheim, Germany with 25 players (from 3 countries) attending the final tournament. The final standings were as follows:
1. Martin Schumacher (GER) — 1 GW 4 VP — 1.5 VP — Tremere/Tremere Antitribu Triple B
2. Erol Hammer (GER) — 1 GW 4 VP — 0.5 VP — True Brujah Bleed
2. Vincent Ripoll (FRA) — 1 GW 4 VP — 0.5 VP — Daughters (& Ventrue friends) Shattering Crescendo
2. Manuel Diehm (GER) — 1 GW 3.5 VP — 0.5 VP — Gangrel G2/3 Wall
2. Rudolf Garski (GER) — 2 GW 8 VP — 0 VP — Anson & Friends Ashur Presence Tap&Bleed
Congratulations to Martin for his win of the German National Championship 2011. The deck he played was quite similar to the one he won the tournament with a week ago in Arnhem (Netherlands).
The VtES Player’s Kit (product code: WW2257 / ISBN 1-58846-899-2) was an introductory set for VtES beginners, and was released at the same time as the Third Edition expansion in 2006. It contained basically the material needed for 4 players to start with VtES and was sold for $24.99 (list price). The player’s kit contained a number of different items:
- Four 50-card introductory decks.
- A large turn-by-turn instruction.
- 120 blood tokens (red glass).
- A Rulebook.
The four decks are actually halved versions of the Third Edition starter decks. Each of them had 44 library cards and 6 crypt cards. The decks were pre-stacked for use with the turn-by-turn instruction to guide new players through the game.
In addition, in each of these four decks there was one crypt cards, which did not show a colored (finalized) version of a vampire, but “only” the artist sketch. One left right you can see the four “unique” crypt cards from the VtES Players Kit. All the cards from the VtES Player’s Kit are tournament legal (including the four special crypt card versions) and function in the same way as the “original” cards from the Third Edition.
The Danish National VtES Championship 2012 and the Danish European VtES Championship Qualifier will take place at the same weekend. The two tournaments are scheduled to take place in Copenhagen, Denmark on March 10th and 11th, 2012. Everyone, of course, is welcome to participate, and the organizers hope that as many players can make their way to Copenhagen as possible. For more information and pre-registration you can contact the organizer by sending an email to “c [/dot/] nislev [/at/] gmail [/dot/] com“.
- Date: March 10th (Saturday) and March 11th (Sunday), 2012
- Time Schedule:
- Registration: 11:30 (Saturday) and 10:00 (Sunday)
- First round starting time: 12:00 (Saturday) and 10.30 (Sunday)
- Expected finishing time: 21.00 (Saturday) and 19.30 (Sunday)
- Format: Standard Constructed, detailed rules can be found on the VEKN website.
- Number of rounds: 3 Rounds + Final
- Time limit: 2 hours per round
TBD (in Copenhagen)
- Pre-registration: Please pre-register by email to “c [/dot/] nislev [/at/] gmail [/dot/] com” so we have an idea about numbers for prize support and other purposes.
- Travel Info & Accommodation: We will do our best to help players from abroad with accommodation, either at the homes of local players or at a hostel/hotel if preferred. For info about accommodation and flights to Copenhagen Airport (Kastrup), email “c [/dot/] nislev [/at/] gmail [/dot/] com“.
.. you are allowed to play a Cryptic Rider on an automatically passing referendum. So you can (for example) start playing a Dia de los Muertos first. Then you can call a vote, then play Cryptic Rider during that referendum making the next referendum successfully called passing automatically as well. And of course, you can repeat this until you run out of Cryptic Rider and political action cards (and vampires calling these referendums).
On the other hand, it’s not possible to play Delaying Tactics during a political action that is automatically passing since there’s no referendum during which the card can be played [LSJ19980107].
Reference: VtES Usenet Newsgroup [LSJ20031009].
From the latest Magic: The Gathering expansion Innistrad:
Victim of Night
Cardtext: Destroy target non-Vampire, non-Werewolf, non-Zombie creature.
For use in VtES, I guess, most would agree to “what a waste of cardspace” .. ;) Although the quote on the card is kind of nice:
“Do not touch a drop. Not yet. I want to watch this so-called slayer’s last crisis of faith.”