Tuesday, July 05, 2005

You missed out!

If you didn't come to Origins, then you missed out on the opportunity to play in eight tournaments in just five days. I hadn't gone before, but when I heard about the vtes-stacked schedule, I couldn't stay away.

1) I went with a CEL/.44 deck for the pre-Origins tournament on Wednesday night. Mine uses Black Cat for cheap equipment and Nod to move it around. I'm not sure if this is a good angle or not, but I completely bombed in the tournament. I had a good shot at a VP, but like an idiot, I didn't blow up Cailean's Mark V with the Anarch Troublemaker my predator passed to me. Probably would've had the table win had I done so, but whatever. I was too tired for a final. Also, I don't think CEL/.44 is right for me.

2) Thursday morning at 10 AM I shuffled up my new group 3/4 Giovanni bruise/bleed/rush deck starring Ignazio Giovanni. My memory is a little hazy, but I remember ousting Ben Peal by tapping his War Ghouls with an Anarch Troublemaker someone passed to me. That's totally illegal, by the way. I made the finals, but without a misplayed Anarch Troublemaker, I couldn't overcome Ben's Mata Hari War Ghoul deck and he won the tournament.

The moral of this story is pretty simple. If you are my predator, discard the Anarch Troublemaker. You will not oust me with it. Instead you'll pass me a tool which I will either use to cheat or embarass myself with bad play. Discard it. Everyone will be better off.

3) I played a kind of disgusting Anarch Toreador antitribu deck with Undue Influence and Palla Grande. I think I only got like 1 VP. Not sure why the deck didn't work. Too toolboxy?

4) I whipped out my new & improved Yazid Tamari/Church of the Order of Saint Blaise/Alamut/Heartblood of the Clan deck for the last Thursday tournament. I got mashed by the same Enkidu deck twice and only scored 1 VP. However, due to a massive number of drops due to the excessively late hour (we started the final at 1 am) I squeaked into the final at 4th or 5th seed. I managed a VP in the final due to a happy misunderstanding between my predator and prey, then was ousted anyway. 7-year-old Connor Bell cleaned up the rest of the table.

5) Friday brought us the first 3R+F tournament of the week followed by the first draft. Because the final was to take place at the same time as the drafting, I deliberately chose a terrible deck to play. My deck was a group 1 small/midcap Toreador vote deck with lots of Scalpel Tongues. To my surprise I came close to game wins twice and was a Toreador Grand Ball away from at least 1 VP on my third table. I ended up with only 2.5 VPs and no wins, but I was pretty happy to do that well and certain to not have to worry about dropping from any finals. Scalpel Tongue isn't actually that bad, especially if there are other vote decks at the table. I could probably think about making this a good deck without crappy vampires like Tatiana Romanov.

6) Draft! We had an excellent number of players for this Cam vs. Sabbat draft. With 11 players per faction, we were able to draft in gigantic pods with each player only seeing one card per pack. I didn't indicate a preference and was randomly assigned to the Sabbat faction. My first pack contained a Nosferatu Kingdom. I normally consider Nosferatu antitribu to be a fairly weak clan in draft, but I thought this card to make up the difference nicely if I drew it early in a small deck. As the draft progressed, I wound up with a lot of Obtenebration Stealth and several Scouting Missions and Threats. I also landed two copies of Gratiano. My !Nos deck gradually became a Lasombra stealth bleed. This may have been the best draft deck I ever made. Here are some of the highlights:

2 Gratiano
6 Threats
1 Command of the Beast
3 Scouting Mission
3 Shadow Play
1 Blanket of Night
1 Swallowed by the Night
2 Guard Dogs (and Animalism Masters to put on Gratiano)
1 Forced Awakening
2 Redirection
1 Tribute to the Master
1 Eternal Vigilance
1 Cardinal Benediction
2 Conservative Agitation
1 Anarchist Uprising

I kept some of the Nosferatu antitribu angle, but ended up mostly just drawing and relying on Lasombra stuff. In fact, I drew Gratiano in every game. Anyway, all that got me 2 wins. I think I was top seed in the final. Word was going around how fast this final would be because of the number of highly effective decks. I ended up choosing to prey on Ben Peal. As we know, Ben is a top-notch drafter and player and so he obviously had to die first if I was going to win the game. If you want something done right....

Other finalists included Dave Buerger (Ben's prey), Chris Burgh (Dave's prey) and Pete Oh (my predator). The final was indeed fast. I had a first turn Pentex Loves You! and was soon bleeding Ben for 6 at stealth. Ben got Dave really low, but Dave had Menele + Secret Horde + Rumors of Gehenna, which kept him alive. Chris brought up a pile of Tzimisce. Pete got Madame Guil and bled me down to 2 since I was tapping out trying to kill Ben. Then Dave got bounced to Pete for 3 and Pete took it. I guess he had the same plan. Chris killed Pete. I killed Ben. Dave tried to deal for a VP, giving me the game win (it was obvious I could oust him as he was on 2 pool and the Pentex Loves You! would be enough). I probably should've gone for it, but I was afraid Chris would kill me before I got another turn. Had I thought about it more, I would've realized that in that case I'd still be getting 2nd place. Oh well. I killed Dave and then Chris brutalized poor Gratiano with Lambach and ousted me.

7) Draft again! While most of the Origins vtes community tried desperately to qualify, Pete Oh, Dan Keller, Peter Bakija, Oscar Garza and I had a fantastic KMW/Final Nights draft. Oscar eventually had to man the White Wolf booth, so his deck was piloted by a guest cast of thousands and was dropped from our final. I would have expected that KMW + Final Nights would have resulted in a virtually unplayable mess, but we actually came up with some good decks.

Pete drafted Setites with lots of Truth of a Thousand Lies and True Love's Face. His finest moment was ousting me with massive bleeds and then ousting me again with massive bleeds after I took over Oscar's deck. He proved he's broken by blocking Shambling Hordes and playing Revelation of Despair at inferior to reduce their life.

Dan drafted Giovanni with some nice Dis Pater and Ambrogino Giovanni (adv) tech to get stuff for toasting his ashheap. He also got a pair of Shambling Hordes and the allies he needed to sacrifice to them. Holy crap! He proved he's broken by Daemonically Possessing Peter's Paul DiCarlo after he was burned in a blood hunt.

Peter drafted some Ravnos stuff. He got Spider Killer out in one game and Lorrie Dunsirn in another. Seemed like he might've gotten the short end of the stick in competing for Ravnos stuff with Oscar, but he did manage to prove he's broken by rushing and toporizing Lorrie Dunsirn and then playing Tortured Confession!

Oscar went with a Mata Hari deck, but sadly didn't get to play it much. Looked like it was pretty good with lots of allies and clan-requiring stuff. He proved he's broken by gaining VPs despite being on the other side of the con doing demos.

I of course drafted Assamites. Assamites are the very best clan in draft and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Worst in constructed and best in draft. I sadly only managed to snag one Web of Knives Recruit (who I never even got out), but I did get three Khabar: Glories, three Black Sunrises and a Khabar: Loyalty. I also played a lot of Quietus combat, which is much better when everyone else's combat is crap. I proved I'm broken by burning Mata Hari in combat with Bajazet al-Nasir and gaining three trophies.

The final was fast and furious. Dan's early Shambling Hordes and Dis Pater meant that Pete had a lot of pressure and couldn't hurt me much. I got a very nice crypt draw with Tegyrius, Jalal, Michael DiCarlo and Badr. I got them all out and was able to do pretty good stuff with my deck. Tegyrius' +1 strength and CEL/FOR combo for Forced March was exactly what I'd been lacking in prior rounds. After a little scuffle between Peter and Dan that left them both weakened, I was able to oust Peter with Khabar: Glory in play and from there it was a walk.

8) For the last tournament of the week, I agreed to play Pete's rushless rush deck. I've always felt this deck is rather strong and have been tooled on by Pete in the past. We tweaked it a little to my liking and prepared to play. Pete borrowed my Ignazio deck (see above) and ended up being at both my tables in the preliminary rounds. I won the first four-player table against three other combat decks by avoiding contact with the other decks in the early game and then getting mean later on when they were out of good cards. Then I suffered utter deck-gag in the second round and got destroyed by Mark Loughman's Synesios bleed/vote deck without ever having drawn much in the way of combat cards. I could've rushed him several times, but I would've been hitting for 1. Doh.

Anyway, my sweep landed me in the finals at 4th seed. Other finalists included David Tatu, playing a group 3/4 animalism toolbox, Ben Peal playing a Lasombra Creation Boon deck, Robyn Tatu playing Tzimisce voters and Greg Pettigrew playing Leandro with Crocodile's Tongue. I didn't have very high hopes of doing well in this tournament as Ben's deck has some real payload and bloats and swarms well. Robyn's deck includes Lambach. Enough said.

Greg sat as my prey, which gave me a hope as I could crush his big bleeders and hopefully outrace Ben, my predator. I had a first turn Dreams and got Beast out, followed by Jeremy MacNeil (adv). I got two Blood Dolls and didn't influence any more after that, so I hovered around 16-18 pool in the early game. I rushed Ben a bit. Just enough to keep him from coming forward full-throttle. I bled Greg, getting bounced to David. The Tatus played it mostly cool. Greg bled David a bunch. I bled Greg for 5 without getting bounced. Then I rushed him a bunch and played Dragonbound. It was clear I was in for a VP. Robyn got more aggressive with Ben. Ben bled and voted at me a little, but mostly just tried to live. I ousted Greg. Robyn ousted Ben. I ousted David with a Fame on Clarissa Steinburgen.

40 minutes left. Robyn slid down the table and I got a better look at what she had out. She hadn't drawn Lambach (yay!), had less pool than me (yay!) and had Sascha Vykos (adv), Stravinsky, Velya and John Paleologus all in play and all near capacity (boo!). I was doomed. I took her head on, hoping she wouldn't have the combat to face me, but of course she did. Soon all my vampires had been diablerized and I'd been KRC'd twice. As a final act of definance, I played Tension in the Ranks (knowing there was no way it could hurt me because I couldn't get out any more vampires), then conceded Robyn's victory.

I must develop some anti-Tzimisce tech as they defeated me in the finals twice. Oh well. See you at Gen Con I suppose.


Blogger Pat Lusk said...

Re your Anarch Troublemaker trauma... you & I have a history with that card, too, only it was I who played it illegally in the small Lansdale tournament that you & Wayne came up for.

I was playing Malk/!Malk SB sleaze, you were playing Anarch Friend of My Ravnos.

I played AT and tried to immediately use it on that turn, as it was an early copy that didn't have "during untap" restriction.

We got to my 2nd or 3rd action before you realized my mistake... we rewound... I made a mistake during the rewind and wound up with one fewer stealth card than I should have had, so I wound up bleeding you for something very much like nothing. *ugh*

10:06 PM  

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