This week was somewhat quiet with regards to VTES, but you can still feel (and read) about the aftershock of the ban of Anthelious the Red Star from VTES Tournament play.
Two weeks ago, the latest expansion for VTES named “Anarch Unbound” has been published by the VEKN. The expansion consist of 24 crypt and 18 library cards. I’d like to make a quick review for the library cards. although maybe review of the new cards is a not entirely the correct headline for this post, maybe “first impressions” would be more suitable. I haven’t been part of any design team or playtesting group working on this expansion, so (more or less) this is the first time I can read the new cards in detail and form an opinion on each of these.
Some general comments on “Anarch Unbound” in advance:
- I am not quite sure if I like that this expansion is “Anarch-only”. Let me briefly explain why. I have played the Anarchs quite extensively (e.g. bleed or combat decks), but an all-out Anarch expansion means, that then we have no new library cards for non-Anarch decks for about two years (assuming the next expansion will be released in the next 12 months).
- I like the combinations of three-way discipline library cards have more coherent disciplines combinations, in the past a lot of tha/ser, nec/ani or any similar combinations of disciplines which you don’t find often in a larger number of vampires, especially not very often in small or mid-cap vampires.
- Also more vampires with an inherent Anarch trait are a good thing. in my opinion. One of the issues with Anarch decks was they were often initially slowed down by the need to make its vampires Independent and Anarch, before becoming effective. This has been seriously improved with the advent of Anarch Convert, but still was a disadvantage when compared to other sects/traits/titles like the Camarilla or the Black Hand. Another significant step is the introduction of an action modifier (“The Red Question”) which can be used to make a vampire an Anarch.
- Even though I don’t discuss any crypt cards in this post, I would like to mention, that I also like the fact, that the merged version of a given vampire (basic plus advanced) usually have a significant boost, e.g. being a small/mid-cap Baron. I am not sure if we’ll see merging of vampires more than in the past, but the designer’s intent has become quite apparent by these new crypt & library cards.
First Strike was always somewhat iffy in terms of handling its effect in a VTES game. I think most of it comes from the naming “First Strike” implicating that it is resolved/handled first in any combat (which is not true; see below). Maybe a better naming would have been “Fast Strike” (or something along that line).
From the VTES rulebook section 6.4.5. “Strike Effects”:
First Strike. A strike done with first strike is resolved before a normal strike. Thus, if the opposing minion is burned or sent to torpor by a strike done with first strike, his strike will not be resolved at all. If the opposing minion was striking with a weapon that is stolen or destroyed with first strike, then the opposing minion simply loses his strike altogether. If both minions strike with first strike, then the strikes are resolved simultaneously. A strike done with first strike will still not resolve before a combat ends effect (which always resolves first), and a dodge still cancels the effects of a strike done with first strike (see below).
And here’s a summary of various scenarios that are relevant for handling First Strikes in a combat:
- .. vs. Dodge — according to the rules (under section 6.4.5 — Dodge) a Dodge is handled before First Strike, that is the First Strike effects are evaded by the vampire using the Dodge.
- .. vs. Strike: Combat Ends — also according to the rules (under section 6.4.5 — Strike: Combat Ends) S:CE is handled before First Strike, that is the combat ends before the First Strike is resolved.
- .. vs. another First Strike — in this case, both First Strikes are handled at the same time, similar to the case when both strikes are “normal” strikes (exception are the environmental damage effects (if any; see below).
- .. vs. environmental damage — the environmental damage is always handled during normal strike resolution (regardless of who actually played the First Strike). For example, if one of the combatants goes to torpor (or is burned) by damage effects of the First Strike, the effects of the environmental damage are not resolved.
- .. vs. Rötschreck — Rötschreck is played when strikes are chosen, that is before the strikes resolve. Therefore the effect of Rötschreck kicks in before the sequencing of First Strike and the “normal” strike takes players.
- .. vs. Nightstick/Forearm Block — the prevention effect of Nightstick/Forearm Block is not there yet, when the First Strike is resolved. Therefore the First Strike’s damage cannot be prevented by using these cards.
“Ni dieu ni maître!” literally means “No gods, no masters“, and is an Anarchist slogan originating from the late 19th century. The term was originally coined by the French anarchist Louis Auguste Blanqui (1801-1881). He was the founder and editor of a journal with the name “Ni dieu ni maître!” (1880-1886). Also Friedrich Nietzsche used the term in his groundbreaking work “Beyond Good and Evil” (1886). Since the late 19th century the term (or its translated equivalent) is used by Anarchists around the world, but has also been adopted by other political movements and even became part of the pop culture, e.g. Punk bands adopted the slogan, as well as Metal bands later on.
“Ce cri qui n’a pas la rosette,
Cette parole de prophète,
Je la revendique et vous souhaite
Ni Dieu ni maître.”
-— (Léo Ferré, ni Dieu ni maître, 1964)
The last week was quite an eventful week with regards to VTES, most importantly because of the release of “Anarchs Unbound“, and the expansion of the banned card list (for VTES tournaments):
- On January 21st, 2016 the details of the Italian National VTES Championship 2016 have been announced. The event will take place from February 6th to 7th, 2016 in Collegno (near Torino), Italy.
- On January 17th, 2016 the VTES expansion “Anarchs Unbound” has been published. This is an all new PDF expansion expanding the possibilities for Anarch-based decks. The expansions consists of 24 crypt and 18 library cards.
- On January 17th, 2016 the VEKN has expanded the list of banned cards for tournament play by three. Now Anthelios, the Red Star, Temptation of Greater Power and Seeds of Corruption are banned. This caused a considerable controversy on VEKN.net and Facebook, arguing whether these bans are justified or not.
- The VTES Clan Newsletters from September 2001 have been edited & uploaded to the VTES Clan Newsletter Archive blog.
The details on the Italian National VTES Championship 2016 have been announced today. The championship event will take place from February 6th to 7th, 2016 in Collegno (near Torino), Italy. The tournament is a two day event, with a regular VTES Constructed tournament taking place on Saturday and the championship tournament on Sunday.
Saturday, February 6th, 2016: VTES Constructed Tournament:
- Circolo Terracorta Collegno
Corso Togliatti 65
- Circolo Terracorta Collegno
- Format: Constructed
- Round: 2 + Final
- Time Limit: 2h
- Fee: 8.00 €
- Prize Support: Sleeves (finalists) & Deck protector and EC 2016 qualification (winner)
Sunday, February 7th,2016: Italian National VTES Championship 2016:
- Circolo Terracorta Collegno
Corso Togliatti 65
- Circolo Terracorta Collegno
- Format: Constructed
- Round: 3 + Final
- Time Limit: 2h
- Fee: 10.00 €
- Prize Finalist: EC 2016 qualification & free admission to the EC 2016 (finalists) and Album Portfolio, EC 2016 qualification & free admission to the EC 2016 (winner)
In the World of Darkness, the Spell of Life is powerful ritual which provides immortality. The ritual was initially developed by Isis, an Egyptian nature goddess, and Osiris sister and wife. The ritual to become immortal follows the cycle of nature in the sense, that all Immortals must die before they become Undying, and not until they have died can they become Undying. While the Spell of Life was able to sustain a body for millennia, it was flawed in that the recipient became a half-dead creature, resembling a walking corpse.
Only after Osiris awoke, he was able to create a new Spell of Life which did not contain the flaws of the previous one. This new version of the ritual was finally able to fill the recipients with life force and vitality, thus creating the Amenti. Those who denied this new version of the Spell were declared Shuankhsen, and are hunted by the Hand of Thoth. The Bane Mummies are the original and primary of the Hand of Thoth, as decreed by Horus, even though other enemies of Horus are persecuted with zeal by the Hand as well.
- Spell of Life (White Wolf Wikia)
- Playing for Keeps — since January 9th, 1995
- High Stakes — since January 9th, 1995
- Cunctator Motion — since January 9th, 1995
An ante is a forced bet in which each player places a card from his deck into the pot before the game begins. The player who ousts another players actually wins the forfeited card from the losing player. The concept was (as in Magic The Gathering) never really popular, and the concept was dropped very soon after the release of VtES. So cards relating to ante, as those three above were banned for this reason.
- Madness of the Bard — since July 1st, 1999
The judgment of this card varies from “downright silly” to “very much fun“, but in the end it prevents most players from freely communicating to each other, which is one of the cornerstones of a multi-player game.
- Return to Innocence — since March 14th, 1999
A card which allows a vampire to bleed for 10+ is just too good for the game. In a typical tournament the comfort level in terms of having pool is something like 10-12. With that amount of pool you need two high-level bleed come through, but this requires considerable setup and/or amount of cards being played during these actions, or you need at least 3-4 Kine Resource Contested/Conservative Agitations, but this also needs some setup. With RtI you can just bleed with Daring the Dawn and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is bleed bounce.
- Succubus Club — since January 1st, 2005
Mass trading resources, especially with the now defunct tournament rules about table-splitting (at least for practical purposes), this led to absurd situation. Players Bob and John made a table split deal, with one of the them having a Succubus Club in play. After the deal both trade regularly their whole set of resources of vampires, master cards and other permanents back and forth, until they succeed in having ousted the other players.
- Kindred Restructure — since January 1st, 2005
The abusive technique for using Kindred Restructure (and to a lesser extent) Dramatic Upheaval was called VP Sniping. The player with the Kindred Restructure in hand would wait where some predator was in sure ousting range (i.e. down to less than 5 pool or something similar) for the next turn. Then the KR would be played, and his new player, while having done nothing all the while, ripped off the reward for ousting from the original player. Furthermore with Kindred Restructure this player could arrange the table in manner which was most suitable for him, e.g. having a weak predator or prey or both. But LSJ’s publicly stated reasoning for the ban was simpler — it gives a player two predators at the same time, their real predator and the guy who’s going to jump right in there. Which is pretty unfair.
- Dramatic Upheaval — since January 1st, 2005
The same arguments as for Kindred Restructure applies to Dramatic Upheaval as well, but to only slightly lesser extent, since it allowed to change seats with one player only.
- Edge Explosion — since January 1st, 2008
One of the driving engines of an Imbued deck, since it both allowed him to have a power for which he hasn’t had the appropriate Virtue, but may gain a Conviction for a successful action once each turn.
- Memories of Mortality — since January 1st, 2008
Very powerful when playing an ally deck, not only wasn’t an opposing vampire with this card no longer allowed to block any ally, he couldn’t hurt him anymore and the card was hard to get rid off.
- Protect Thine Own — since January 1st, 2008
This card provided a very cheap way to remove any non-Camarilla vampire, though it requires an Inner Circle member for using the card’s full effect.
- Lilith’s Blessing — since April 22nd, 2013
This is the first (and only) promo card on the ban list. The card provided very easy (and repeatable) access to 3 blood, and is somewhat abusive when used with Villein (or Minion Tap with multiple master phase actions).
- Anthelios, the Red Star — since February 16th, 2016
The card is problematic not of its own, but predominantly in combination with multiple Master Phase actions the card can easily be abused. So to speak, the cards suffers from the dial-a-card syndrome, repeatedly.
- Temptation of Greater Power — since February 16th, 2016
The issue with is that the use of the card often influence the outcome of a game dramatically when played (even if that can only happens once per game). Even if the player using the card isn’t put into a winning position , the target player surely cannot win the game anymore, either because he lost one his key vampires, or loses so much pool, that he is ousted much more quickly.
- Seeds of Corruption — since February 16th, 2016
The reason for the ban of Seeds of Corruption seems to be more of a technical issue rather than the power of the card. It’s not always easy to figure out, what exactly happens with the target vampire (and what happens after the Seeds of Corruption has disappeared).
Earlier Card Bans and Revokes
- Rowan Ring — from January 9th, 1995 to January 1st, 2000(?)
- Stake — from January 9th, 1995 to March 14th, 1999
The cards were banned because the corner-case paralyzation rules which were dropped in VtES (as opposed to the Jyhad rules). Since extensive rewording would have been necessary the rules team decided to ban the cards. With the new wording of the VtES version of Wooden Stake and the Camarilla Edition (CE) version of Rowan Ring the paralyze mechanic was dropped and replaced by “send to torpor“, so the ban could be lifted after the new version had been released.
- Monocle of Clarity — from January 9th, 1995 to January 1st, 2000(?)
The wording of Monocle of Clarity allowed easily to break the game, thus it was banned. For an example see the following thread. With the new wording of the CE version which limited the card’s functionality to the current game state, not a future one, the card was allowed again.
Today the new VTES expansion “Anarchs Unbound” has been officially released by the VEKN. As the new suggests, the new expansion focuses on the Anarch movement. There are 24 crypt cards and 18 library cards; the crypt groupings range from 1 to 5, and there are 11 advanced versions of older vampires.
Full information on the expansion including the ready-to-print PDF files on VEKN.net.
In addition to the release of the Anarchs Unbound expansion on January 18th, 2016, the VEKN released a number of rules clarification, and (more significantly) three new card bans (for VTES tournament games).
- [6.1.3 Equip] To equip with one or more equipment cards currently possessed by one of your other minions, tap the acting minion (the minion who is attempting to get the equipment cards) and announce the equipment cards he is getting. If the action is unsuccessful, the equipment cards remain where they are.
- Strike: burn equipment: When declaring such strikes, choose which equipment on the opposing minion the strike will burn. [new term]
- [6.1.2 Hunt] Note that a ready vampire with no blood must hunt (and cannot take any action except a hunt action).
The following cards are banned from Tournament Play starting February 16, 2016
- Anthelios, The Red Star
- Temptation of Greater Power
- Seeds of Corruption
There are a number of news related to VTES that came to my attention, but these short news do not really qualify for a full post. So here’s the summary of the latest VTES news bits:
- The date for the VTES European Championship 2016 has been announced. The EC 2016 will take place in Genoa, Italy from November 11th to November 13th, 2016.
- The (European) web shop Walch & Nusser for the remaining VTES products will be closed in February 2016. Currently there’s the final sale of their remaining VTES products going on, which will last until February 12th, 2016. Here’s the announcement from one of the shop owners on VEKN.net
- A new VTES blog named The Inconnu has just opened up. The full announcement can be found on VEKN.net as well. Please have a look, hopefully more content will added later …
The Italian National VTES Coordinator has provided more information on the VTES European Championship 2016, that will take in Genoa, Italy from November 11th to November 13th, 2016. An official website for the VTES EC 2016 will be launched in February, but more importantly, the actual schedule for the EC has already been disclosed:
EC 2016 Time Table
- November 10th (Thu)
- Welcome Party
- November 11th (Fri)
- Last Chance Qualifier
- Legendary Vampire (closed event upon invitation for the 40 top players of the World)
- November 12th (Sat)
- EC Day 1
- Three-Decks-Mayhem (non sanctioned format in which players can switch decks between rounds)
- November 13th (Sunday)
- EC Day 2
- First Chance Qualifier
You can find the full announcement of the EC 2016 dates on VEKN.net
.. that you can burn a vampire who attempts to bleed for four (or more) by using an Archon Investigation even though you have a Protected Resources in play? The reason that the reduction of a bleed to two only kicks in when the action resolves, that is the pool is actually reduced by the bleed amount. On the other hand, to play Archon Investigation it is enough that the acting vampire is attempting to bleed you.
In the same sense, when you’re bleed for four and you reduce the bleed by two (e.g. by using Telepathic Counter), you’re still bled by two. The effect Protected Resources only kicks in later, effectively leaving the bleed at two.
In the World of Darkness, the Bane Mummies are mummies raised by Set using the Spell of Life. The five man and two woman, who would become the Bane Mummies, were all Egyptians, mortal followers of Set in the first century B.C. But Set’s knowledge of the Spell of Life was incomplete, and therefore (unlike the mummies raised by the original Spell of Life), the bodies of the Bane Mummies were fused with unholy spirits. Their spirits journeyed in the Underworld after their death, undergoing significant abuse and torments. After their rebirth, their psychological damage became apparent, when they turned towards Apophis (the Egyptian deity who embodies chaos). They believed that they needed to mend an already broken world by letting Aphophis devour it, thus eventually abandoning their creator Set.
Initially there were only seven of them, and they are also known as Apepnu. But the Apepnu became able to create lesser Bane Mummies, which are called Asekh-sen. The seven original Bane Mummies are:
- Tutu the Doubly Evil One
- Quetu the Evil Doer
- Amam the Devourer
- Saatet-ta, Darkener of the Earth
- Hemhemti the Roarer
- Kharebutu the Fourfold Fiend (Kherebutu)
- Hau-hra of the Backward Face
- Bane Mummies (White Wolf Wikia)
- World Of Darkness: Mummy (2nd Ed.), p34