On May 30th, 2015 the Belgian VTES EC Qualifier was held in Brussels, Belgium, this time with 23 players from four different countries (Belgium (8), Germany (3), Italy (9) and the Netherlands (3)). attending the qualifier tournament. The tournament was also part of the Italian Qualifier Tour 2015. The final standings after 3 rounds and the final were as follows:
1. Danilo Torrisi (ITA) — 1 GW 5 VP — 2 VP — Lutz & Maris Vote
2. Bram Van Stappen (BEL) — 2 GW 8 VP — 1 VP — Anu Diptinatpa Procurer Bleed
2. Tom Vandenberghe (BEL) — 2 GW 8 VP — 1 VP — Ventrue anitribu Grinder
2. Bart Jansen (NED) — 1 GW 4.5 VP — 1 VP — Antonio D’Erlette Nephandus
2. Martin Schumacher (GER) — 2 GW 7 VP — 0 VP — Dracon & Friends Ani/Aus/Tha
Congratulations to Danilo for winning the Belgian ECQ 2015.
This is a list of VTES cards that can only be played once per game:
Most of the cards fall into one of these three categories:
- .. providing significant blood/pool gain
- .. allowing unblockable actions
- .. taking control of/burning a vampire
I can understand why most of these cards need to be restricted to “once per game“, hut some of the cards are plain ridiculously limited by the restriction, e.g. what is broken about playing multiple Tajdid per game? Or Reality Mirror, for example, could be easily restricted by allowing it once per turn, instead of once per game.
.. you cannot play (in this order) Govern the Unaligned with Conditioning, and then play Seduction (which just replaced for the Conditioning) on another vampire. The reason is that even if you play all these cards before the other player could react/interact, the Seduction can only be played as the action is announced. And that window has closed, when you played Conditioning, which is a regular action modifier.
So the correct order is to play the action card, play all (one or more) action modifier cards that are needed to be played as the action as announced (or use any similar effects like using Club Illusion), and then play any (other) action modifiers you want to play.
On April 18th, 2015 the VTES Northwest NAC Qualifier was held in Seattle, Washington with 12 players attending the qualifier tournament. The final standings after 3 rounds and finals were as follows:
1. Darby Keeney (USA) — 1 GW 4 VP — 3 VP — Legacy of Pander Vote
2. Brian Moritz (USA) — 2 GW 5 VP — 1 VP — Euro-Brujah (combat heavy)
2. Grayson Nootenboom (USA) — 1 GW 6 VP — 0 VP — Cock Robin (multi-act & combat)
2. Ethan Gunsul (USA) — 1 GW 6 VP — 0 VP — Gangrel Allies
2. Fletcher Gibson (USA) — 1 GW 4 VP — 0 VP — Turbo Baron
Congratulations to Darby for his win of the Northwestern Qualifier 2015.
In earlier times — when the Malkavians had the clan disciplines Auspex, Obfuscate, Dominate — the archetypical bleed deck was based on Malkavians with Dominate & Obfuscate. With the release of the Sabbat expansion the Malkavian antitribu with Dementation (instead of Dominate) took over this role. Although Dementation lacks some of the versatility (in areas other than bleed) Dominate offers (e.g. Deflection, or Govern the Unaligned), Dementation has its own merits. Cards like Kindred Spirits offer basic bleed capability and pool gain, while other cards can provide stealth like Deny or Confusion. Furthermore, Kindred Spirits also offers the possibility to bleed any other player at the table, not only your predator. So this gives the player additional potential for dealing and cross-table interaction. Today the Malkavian antitribu Kindred Spirits bleed deck is one of the most successful and most feared decks in the VTES tournament scene. Another name of the deck is Fast Eddie, since Eddie Gaines is the smallest vampire with Dementation which can bleed for 2 in its turn 2, showing how fast and effective this deck delivers damage to its prey pool.
Remark: Although this deck archetype often uses a mixed crypt of Malkavian antitribu and Malkavian I will often relate to this deck’s vampires as Malkavian antitribu for avoiding more complicated sentences.
On May 16th, 2015 the Russian National VTES Championship 2015 was held in Moscow, Russia with 9 players attending the final tournament. The final standings after 2 rounds and the final were as follows:
1. Pavel Khachikyan (RUS) — 0 GW 2 VP — 1.5 VP — Ventrue Lawfirm 2015
2. Armen Khachikyan (RUS) — 1 GW 4.5 VP — 1 VP — Nana Buruku Ani Combat
2. Andrew Vlasov (RUS) — 0 GW 2 VP — 1 VP — Ventrue antitribu
2. Dmitriy Petrov (RUS) — 0 GW 2.5 VP — 0.5 VP — Tha/For?
2. Zubets Petr (RUS) — 1 GW 5 VP — 0 VP — Lutz Vote?
Congratulations to Pavel for his win of the Russian Nationals 2015.
During last year’s European VTES Championship, I had one conceptually very interesting deck to play against. Unfortunately it is one of those decks that is very, very frustrating to play at the same table, .. and I am not talking about Malk’94 or Weenie Dementation. The deck I was up against was a Baali/Striga deck which used a lot of Scobax (and I mean a lot), to control the table and eventually to halt any action at the table.
I am ranting against this type of decks, because VTES (as a multi-player game) is a game which has a lot of social interaction, which makes a huge part of the game. And what these types of decks do, is monopolizing the game time and hamstringing any interaction in one way or another. A game of VTES lasts up to two hours, giving each of five players 24 minutes of (active) playtime on average. This is not entirely true, because players are ousted earlier, when it’s not your turn your participating as well. e.g. by attempting to block or casting your votes in a referendum, but you get the point. But what these anti-social decks are doing is taking away game time from you and you co-players.
I have listed the decks I would consider falling into this category. Your mileage may vary, but these are the decks I have seen so far ..
- First Tradition — When used excessively, it only let’s the player of the First Tradition play his turns. He has build his deck around this, and compensate for the loss for the First Tradition (e.g. by using Parity Shift). The other decks, especially those without heavy bloat, usually must very soon or even immediately skip their turn.
- Reversal of Fortune — This deck reverses direction every other turn, and leaves only himself and his prey (or predator) play.
- Una Freakshow (or anything similar, e.g with Gerald Windham) — This deck does not let you skip turns, but rather prolongs its own turn for an unreasonable amount of time. I have seen players taking easily 30 to 45 minutes for one turn, which in one case I remember, made the other players leave the tables and get some drinks and food in the meantime.
- Scobax Denial — Once setup (which doesn’t take to long), plays 2-3 Scobax each action (mostly of his prey and predator), to eventually disallow his prey/predator to take any (successful) action.
I am not arguing for a ban of these cards (at least not at the moment), since actually you don’t see too many of these decks, but rather appeal to the VEKN design team (and to a lesser degree the playtesters), to have this kind of abuse in mind when looking at new cards and ideas. What happens when half of your deck consists of these cards, how can this card be abused, is it a problem if there’s recursion involved, etc. On the other hand, a lot of these cards can be easily fixed if they have some kind of limitation, e.g. if Scobax could only be used once during an action, or only against certain types of actions, the card would be reasonable.
In 2004, 11 years (and one day) ago, White Wolf had a VTES developers chat with Mike Todd as moderator and Steve Wieck and L. Scott Johnson as guests. They were answering questions which VTES players could ask via chat. Here’s the transcript of the hour long chat as initially published on the White Wolf website (and later republished on Charlotte by Night).
Mike Todd (May 18, 2004 5:54:52 PM)
About 5 minutes or so until we start. :)
Mike Todd (May 18, 2004 5:56:37 PM)
And as another reminder, hold your questions until the chat actually starts. :) I’ll be dumping the question queue until then.
Steve Wieck (May 18, 2004 5:59:06 PM)
Hello everyone. For those new to these chats please let me explain a couple things.
Steve Wieck (May 18, 2004 5:59:21 PM)
L. Scott Johnson and I (Steve Wieck) will not see all of your posts. All of you will not see each other’s posts. All of your questions and comments go through the moderator (Mike Todd).
Steve Wieck (May 18, 2004 5:59:36 PM)
Mike will sort the questions and comments and post them to the chat for everyone to see. Scott and I will answer the questions as Mike posts them.
Steve Wieck (May 18, 2004 5:59:50 PM)
Please ask lots of questions or make comments, Mike will post and we will answer as many as we can.
Steve Wieck (May 18, 2004 6:00:01 PM)
In addition to your questions, Scott and I have 5 items to announce during the chat today. While we make the announcements we will answer questions about the announcements and also continue answering any other questions you have.
Lately, there was an inquiry on Facebook (can’t remember if it was VTES Brazil or VTES World) about a comprehensive list of past VTES Clan Newsletter. But apparently there isn’t anymore directly accessible with the demise of The Lasombra’s VTES website (and the Clan Newsletter Archive) at the end of 2015 .. or at least they’re not easy to locate. There a few websites where you can find the newsletters though, namely
What are the VTES Clan Newsletter? The Clan Newsletter were posts on in the Usenet Newsgroup rec.games.trading-cards.jyhad (now archived on Google Groups rec.games.trading-cards.jyhad) each dealing with a specific vampire clan and topics relevant for playing that clan. Typical topics included:
- Vampire Fiction
- Deck Designs
- Clan Strategy
- Discipline Overviews
- Card Overviews
The first clan newsletter appeared in 1998, and after a short while quite a number of clan newsletters appeared every month in the newsgroup. As you see in this article on the publication frequency, the heydays of the clan newsletters were the years 2001 to 2004 with an average of 7 or more clan newsletters each month. The last (so far!) Clan Newsletter has been published in April 2010.
To bring back the glory of the old times, I have started the blog VTES Clan Newsletter Archive, which is intended for republishing the VTES Clan Newsletters which were posted in the Usenet Newsgroup in chronological order. This is an ongoing effort, and will not be done in a month or two, also because I’m also reformatting the newsletter a little bit for easier readability. The Lasombra had an astonishing 861 Clan Newsletters archived (if I have counted correctly), and currently I have cleaned up and reformatted about 25 old clan newsletters, which is less than 3% of the overall number. So you can see the enormity of the task.
After assembling the list of cards that reduces cost for cards requiring disciplines, I stumbled upon a list of allies that can use vampiric disciplines. All of these allies can only play these disciplines at inferior level, which significantly reduce the effectiveness, but once in a while it can prove useful addition, e.g. for the Infernal Servitors, the Tunnel Runners or the Rock Cats ..
A few allies have quite unique capabilities, when it comes down to playing cards requiring Discipline:
- Bima — you can choose a discipline card from your hand to put it on the Bima.
- Shadow Court Satyr (Changeling) — you put any combat card (including those requiring one discipline) on the Shadow Court Satyr, which he can use during combat .
In particular, I think the allies which can play cards requiring inferior Potence got a little bit screwed with the introduction of Target Vitals. Why bother giving an ally Potence, when the any ally is able to inflict +2 damage using Target Vitals?
But there are a few other means to enable allies to play cards requiring disciplines, but often these are restricted to the duration they can play these cards or the time when the ability to play discipline cards is bestowed.
- Bestow Vigor — can play (basic) Fortitude for the remainder of the turn.
- Ghouled — can play (basic) Potence cards after a mortal ally has been recruited.
- Pressing Flesh — can play (basic) Fortitude (after being revived).
- Leech — can play (basic) Potence cards for the remainder of the turn.
- Putrescent Servitude — can play (basic) Potence cards (after being revived).
These restrictions (along with the card slots required for playing these cards repeatedly) are usually the reasons why you don’t see these cards in VTES games very often. Although there a few decks out there which might be not tier-1 material for tournaments but still fun to play.
- Pressing Flesh by Samuel Guilbault— this deck uses Pressing Flash to bring back Escaped Mental Patients (although technically there are no Fortitude cards in this deck).
- Nephandi Leech by Roberto Venturi — as the name suggested the Nephandi are using Leech to suck life/blood and use Horseshoes to do further damage.
Please let me know, if missed any of these allies or cards that allow allies to play cards requiring disciplines ..
The Speed Shamblers deck archetype has had considerable success during the years 2006 to 2008 in the VTES tournament scene. With Amiel Feldman being the chief author of the deck, Olivier Perez has been the foremost player using this deck. Olivier’s tournament score card is quite impressive with tournament wins in the German and French ECQ 2006 and runner-up during the French Nationals 2007. With the rising popularity of Animalism combat decks and the ban of Memory of Mortality in 2008, the performance of Shambling Hordes decks in general have suffered quite a bit since then, but there not an unusual sight in VTES tournaments today.
The deck archetype is basically a Rush combat deck with the Shambling Hordes as its main weapon. The speed factor is due to the small deck size of 70 to 80 cards, and the recursion/tutoring technique from the Liquidation and Sudario Refraction.
Today, one of search terms which were used to navigate to this blog was the question “what deck should i take to tournament vtes“. Quite a while ago (in 2008), I had written an article on the topic of entering VTES tournaments for the first time (named “A VTES tournament primer“) which also contains a short section on the topic.
My basic answer for this question is that you should play a deck that you’re comfortable with, more specifically ..
- Play a deck that you have played before, and that you know how to play with it. E.g. it’s not fun for you and the other players when you start playing a political deck for the first time during a tournament.
- Play a deck that has scored a few game wins, or at least a couple of VP. It may be fun to bring your goofy Samedi-True Brujah deck, but it can be frustrating to you (and you fellow players) if you’re ousted after 30 minutes each game, because your crypt draw sucked or you got a handjam full of master cards.
Also check, that..
- .. your library contains the a tournament legal number of cards, that is between 60 and 90 cards, and your crypt consists of at least 12 vampires.
- .. your crypt follows the grouping rules, that is, all vampires in your crypt belong to two adjacent groups.
- .. the deck does not contain any banned cards. I have heard about at least one incident during last year’s European Championship (in Oct. 2014), where the deck of a player contained Lilith’s Blessing, a card banned from tournament play in April 2014. The list of banned cards are part of the VEKN tournament rules (section 4.1).
- .. the deck does not contain any proxy cards. Proxy cards are OK in casual games, when you don’t like to switch around cards between decks, or you want to test a new strategy that requires a lot of cards you don’t have at the moment. But for VEKN sanctioned tournaments you need proper VTES cards. The exception to this rule are the new PDF expansions (The Unaligned and Danse Macabre) where you can print your own cards and put them in front of any regular VTES card.
To get an impression what you’re up against, you may want to check the Tournament Winning Deck Archive, which contains the latest decks which won a tournament of 8 players (or more).
Today (May 10th, 2015) the VEKN released the seventh issue of the VEKN Newsletter with a variety of information regarding VTES, VEKN and related matters.
Of Interest to Scholars and Slanderers:
The survey results for The Unaligned have been posted! Check ’em out here:
Arnau Diez Sans created a Google Map for V:TES players to show their location. If you’d like to add yourself, go here:
Design Team News:
We’ll be finishing up the design of the upcoming Anarchs-themed set this upcoming weekend. It’s been a very challenging project and it’s taken us quite a long time to finish it, but I’ve had a lot of fun with it. Going into playtest, the set will have 46 cards — 25 crypt, 21 library. If you’d like to be a part of the playtesting process, please contact our Playtest Coordinator, Hugh Angseesing, at squidalot (at) hotmail /dot/ com.
Read the complete VEKN Newsletter 10 May 2015 with additional information on the VEKN Storyline events, upcoming tournaments, etc. on VEKN.net.
Back in the heydays of White Wolf and the (old) World of Darkness, the marketing department of White Wolf introduced something called Theme Years which (more or less loosely) promoted role playing books with a similar theme/background.
- Year of the Hunter (1995-6) — focus on mortals, specifically those who hunted, studied or otherwise interacted with supernatural creatures.
- Year of the Ally (1997) — focus on the mortal (or nearly-mortal) allies of the supernatural denizens.
- Year of the Lotus (1998) — focus on Asia, culminating in the release of Kindred of the East.
- Year of the Reckoning (1999) — focus on the the Imbued, which are hunters (and to a lesser extent, scholars) of the supernatural as featured in the Hunter: The Reckoning series.
- Year of Revelations (2000) — focus on prophecies and signs heralding the end of the world of the supernaturals.
- Year of the Scarab (2001) — focus on Egypt & ; strongly tied in with the release of Mummy: The Resurrection.
- Year of the Damned (2002) — focus on demons & the inquisitions; strongly tied in with the release of Demon: The Fallen.
- Time of Judgment (2003-4) — this theme heralded the end of the canon classic/old World of Darkness with books detailing the end of the world with regards to the supernatural as it was. Each of main role-playing games had its own book detailing different scenarios for the apocalypse, e.g.
- VTM: Gehenna
- WTA: Apocalypse
- MTA: Ascension
- Time of Judgement
Why I am mentioning this on this blog, whose main focus is on VTES (and to a much lesser extend only on the World of Darkness)? Well, I wish the VEKN as the organization putting new VTES expansions (and promo cards) would pick up a similar instrument to promote and release new cards (in the current PDF format). This would perhaps break up the current release schema along the lines or sects or other groups like the Anarchs or the Black Hand, but why keeping it in that format for the foreseeable future if you’re not stuck with official company policies? Why not have a Year of the Hunters, or a Year of the Balkans? Maybe don’t publish a set based solely on hunters or eastern European vampires, but put an emphasis on it and/or make a Storyline with a focus on it or have some extra cards with references to this focus.
On March 29th, 2015 the Italian National VTES Championship was held in Turin, Italy with 21 players attending the final tournament. The final standings after 3 rounds and the final were as follows:
1. Alessandro Donati (ITA) — 1 GW 7 VP — 4VP — Weenie Dementation Bleed w/ Ashurs
2. Danilo Torrisi (ITA) — 3 GW 11 VP — 0 VP — Maris/Lutz w/ Mental Maze
2. Mario Testa (ITA) — 3 GW 8.5 VP — 0 VP — Nana/Nagila Potence Rush
2. Luca Turicchi (ITA) — 2 GW 6 VP — 0 VP — ???
2. Simone Zanni (ITA) — 1 GW 4 VP — 0 VP — Lasombra Nocturn
Congratulations to Alessandro for his win of the Italian National VTES Championship 2015 . You can see the tournament winning deck also on VEKN.net.
The Malkavian ’94 deck is one of the earliest and still one of the most successful VtES deck archetype in existence. The name derives from the fact that the deck is around since the introduction of VtES (then known as Jyhad) in 1994. Since then it has seen little need for modification. The Malk ’94 deck archetype is also known as Malkavian (Obfuscate/Dominate) Stealth Bleed deck, which describes the type of deck more closely.
How to win with them
Here’s a short instruction manual for the deck — extracted from a TWD deck description:
“Keep it simple. Get out a bleeder as quick as you can and keep bleeding. If you bring out a vampire and you are bleed, bounce the bleed. If you get bounced and you are going to take out someone else’s prey, play Spying Mission.”
Last week on VEKN.net, one of the VTES players had created a Google Map for VTES players all around this world.
While I doubt you can effectively get in contact with other playgroups (for this VEKN.net or local VTES forums are better suited in my opinion), it nicely displays how geographically distributed around the world the players of VTES are.
So if you want to contribute to this map, please feel free to enter your name or playgroup’s location to the map.