Thursday, 24 November 2011

UK Nationals — 10 hours of VTES!

Our local VTES venue was the host for the UK Nationals on Saturday and what a day it was. The turnout was good (especially given the awesome weather) and atmosphere was great — friendly players and at a homely venue. Unfortunately (from a blog perspective) I got quite caught up in my games, so coverage is going to limited, sans notes and to keep it simple I'll refer to the decks versus player names.

I built a deck the night before the tournament and come the morning I had to decide whether to play a new untested (yet fun!) deck or a tried & tested deck that I had been tweaking for sometime. The fun deck won out — I was eager to give it a go regardless of the sensibility.

The deck was a variant of the Tariq eats the world archetype — reworked that night after being inspired Otto Kukkasniemi's version listed in the TWD. The concept is to burn vampires with Tariq then possess them with  Daemonic Possession and Egothha before using the minions to bleed or for pool gain via Golconda.

First round:
Beast Combat > Me > Tzsemci Rötschreck > ????? > Imbued

I had a fairly good starting hand with NSA Trio put into play on my first turn — this turned out fairly irrelevant as we were all playing combat decks...

The imbued were hit with table hate from the offset, Beast back rushed immediately and consistently. This gave me plenty of time to tool up Tariq with Atonement, the Rowan ring, Tariq Advanced and bring out a second vampire (Miriam Benyona).

I was feeling fairly comfortable with the pace of things and where I stood on the table, my grand prey had been ousted fairly quickly (after influencing out aggressively) and I was fairly certain I could handle the Tzsemci combat. As it turned out I didn't need to worry about the Tzsemci, after stupidly blocking a bleed with Miriam (thinking I could handle the combat) she was left in torpor with pulled fangs. This left me one bouncer down and stuck between a newly formed alliance between the Tzsemci & Beast. Their focus shifted to the imbued and after constant pressure the Imbued were left with a few pool and incapacitated minions.

I decided to move forward with Tariq and enter combat with one of the weaker Tzsemci vampires, my tooled up Tariq and combat hand proved worthless as he was Rötschrecked into torpor. With no blocking minions, imbued as my cross table ally and my predator holding the votes things weren't looking good. After limited discussion Beast diablarised Tariq, taking the Rowan ring and effectively giving the game to my prey. I influence out Zoe in order to hold out for a few more turns.

After diablarising Tariq, Beast and company were caught by the Tzsemci with eagle's sight and Rötschrecked into topor. The Imbued's last pool was removed by an Army of rats in play and the Tzsemci swept the table.

Second round: I need a weapon!
Baali > Me > Weenie Dem Bleed > Vote > Anarch Bruise Bleed

I started with a great crypt and what looked like a great hand — the perfect combat hand with everything but a weapon. I influenced out Zoe early on to bounce, followed by Tariq shortly after. I had a fairly good idea what the anarch deck did and it didn't waste any time pressuring my predator with combat. I decided to go forward with Tariq in order to cycle cards and draw a weapon. After a number of rounds of combat (hidden strength / psyche) I failed to draw a weapon and the target was left with no blood and me a hand full of Amaranths.

By this stage my grand prey had suffered at the hands of Petaniqua and had a 4 cap vamp in torpor. After a gracious conversation, I diablarised the poor soul and powered up Tariq with Draught of the Soul and CEL. Egothha possessed the vamp and Zoe tooled up with the Sargon Fragment.

After working my way through a third of the deck I had yet to draw a single weapon — plenty of Amaranths, plenty of Disguised weapons but not a single weapon. By now my Baali predator had become quite strong, he had three minions out (include Nergal), had beaten the Anarchs close to submission and was forcing through some strong bleeds. I would have been bled out if it wasn't for a cross table direct intervention (thanks!).

After some frustration, the Anarch deck brought Smiling Jack and an Anarch revolt into play — which at the time made sense, but less so when the Baali played Villein + Giants Blood on Petaniqua. With my pool dwindling and a weak combat hand I decided to chance it and rush Nergal. After multiple maneuvers to cycle cards I finally drew a weapon (Rowan's ring) and burnt Nergal with an Amaranth.

Unfortunately it was in vain as without drawing any pool generation I was ousted by the Jack and the Revolt in the next turn — followed shortly by the the Anarchs. The table then timed out with a draw 1.5 VP to the Baali and the vote deck.

Third round: Hello, Tariq?
Imbued > Me > Lasombra Baltimore Purge > Harbringers Soul Gem 

This had to be the worst game I've ever played, I was so statistically unlucky it was comical. I drew a great hand — but a rubbish crypt. You'd think that packing 6 Tariqs in a 12 card crypt would be enough. Perhaps not —statistically the odds of him being one of the first four is 97% or so and I landed squarely in the other 3%.

After paying one to see one twice (and failing draw Tariq!) I had to get some minions on the table as the Imbued were on the march. So Zoe and Egothha came up and did their best to defend. Egothha could at least use hidden strength and grind through the Imbued — however without the ability to back rush I was screwed. It didn't take long for the 4 - 5 Imbued bleeding for 2 to oust me. The bottom six cards in my crypt: Tariq.

I was feeling fairly demoralised by this stage — but I could see the funny side of it and had enjoyed the other games. It would've been great to at least burnt a few more vamps — but nothing's for certain in VTES.

Both of the other players pressured the imbued hard, with a Political Stranglehold giving them the pool needed to deal with them. The play off went to the the Harbingers after about 45 minutes, he was using Unre, Keeper of Golgotha to good effect with the Soul Gem.


Congrats to Hugh Angseesing for both winning and organising a really great event! You can view an interview with Hugh at the VTES EC here. The same goes to Norbert Flasko one of our local players who drew runner up with a weenie presence dragon breath rounds deck.

Fun round: New deck.
Toreador Wall  > Ravnos Breed & Bleed (Me) > Animalism Wall > Venture Vote > Gangrel Something

There were quite a few of us keen to play a fun game and after my previous non-game I was particular keen to end the day on a positive note. I drew a great hand and crypt: Zillah's Vally, Brainwash, Tuminos, Sensory Depreviation along with Spider Killer and Gabrin — so I was feeling fairly good.

I got up and running fairly quickly, Spider killer started breeding and I tried to look as innocent as possible. The Toreador's played Revelations at superior forcing me to playing with an open hand for a number of rounds. This was not so much of an issue as I had a fairly straight forward strategy, bide my time then rush forward — however I wasn't too happy when he discarded the Sensory Deprivation with an inferior Revelations. I burnt the revelations on my next turn and continued to breed and bloat with Tributes to the Master.

My Animalism prey was pressuring my grand prey very well, blocking his votes and punishing his vampires. By now I also had Gabrin out with 4 other weenies. Spider Killer was running low on blood as expected, but this was a non issue as I had both a Golconda & Giants Blood in my hand and a second Spider Killer uncontrolled with 6 blood. Unfortunately my grand predator used a Giants blood for zero blood gain — giving me an easy discard decision. My predator's wall was setup fairly well with +2 intercept and an Ivory Bow in play. 

I remained patient and used all but the last of Spider Killer's blood to bring out another Tuminos. My Animalism prey again went forward leaving himself tapped out. It was at this stage that the Venture attempted to back oust my prey. The first vote was caught and blocked, but he was unable to wake for the second KRC — this left him on 6 pool tapped out sans wakes and me with 6 minions. Come my turn I bled minion by minion, pausing on the final pool to think momentarily. It was unlikely that I would have the oust so easily again in the game — however he was the only player with the intercept to keep the vote deck in check. After a day of no VPs I bleed with my last minion and ousted him, whilst hoping to draw into more crippling mechanisms for the vote deck.

The Venture played a Temptation of Greater Power on his prey's full 9 cap vampire. Triggering a bidding war between the two of us, he won out as I was waiting to Golconda Spider killer on the next turn. This left his prey defenceless on the next next turn with his only other minion in torpor after a run in with the Ivory Bow wielding Toreador.

The Toreador sat tight, he was sitting on 5 pool with plenty of intercept — but no way to block the votes heading his way. I Golconda'd Spider Killer, bleed forward with the weenies and at the end of the turn I bought out another Spider Killer before drawing another Sensory Dep. The Venture ousted both it prey and grand prey on the next turn leaving us to go head to head.

I had a great hand, two Realitys, a Sensory Dep and enough cards to push them through. Spider Killer Sensory Deprived Marie Anne Blaire, Freak Drive'd and Reality'd an 9 cap with 3 blood on him. Gabrin Reality'd a 6 cap with 1 blood on him and the Tuminos bled. Unfortunately in the next round Marie Anne used her last action to move two blood down, followed by a superior governed. This meant that at least one of the minions were coming out this turn and he had plenty of pool to spare. I kept the pressure up on the next turn bleeding forward, however I well timed Golconda on Marie Annie gave my prey the 10 pool and the victory after a very satisfying game.

It was a great day of VTES, a pleasure to meet everyone and play some great (and no so great) games.... 

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