Tuesday, August 23, 2005

More Week of Nightmares stuff from Matt

I still have four days left to summarize. Might as well do so before I forget stuff. Oh, wait. I never forget stuff. Might as well do it before I get to busy with something else then.

At Thursday's draft, both Josh and I proved that you can be a top-ranked drafter and still suck. I never played against him (too bad, as he might've out-sucked me). We both got some pretty good stuff and we both made our decks way too large. I had some nice damaging votes (KRC and 2 Domain Challenge, I think), some other fun tricks, some titles, a good amount of Animalism untap (The Mole, Cats' Guidance, Rats' Warning) and some +bleed as well as a Labyrinth for my Ellison Humbolt. I hand jammed on junk I should've trimmed for four solid hours and wound up with something like 0.5 VPs total. Josh fared similarly for similar reasons. Let this be a lesson to you, my friends. Make your draft deck SMALL! Even if you aren't Swainbanking it's better to run yourself out of 40 cards than not be able to play 70. I think I already mentioned that on this blog, but there it is again.

I guess we played some more vtes or something after that. Why wouldn't we? Anyway, then there was much discussion about how to make Josh's NAC decks better and not very much about how to make mine better. What's with that? Has my generous nature and uncontrollable need to criticize everything been taken advantage of?

I played my Ignazio rush/bleed deck the next day. My deck is pretty solid and I win a lot of games with it, plus it's fighty, which I like. Here's the key to success, readers: no Freak Drives. I know you want to, but there just isn't room. If you Govern up a small army of POT/DOM guys, there's just no need. You're going to win. Well, sometimes, anyway.

Game 1
Shane Strait playing dom/obt stealth bleed with Kiasyd
Wallace (forget his last name, guy from Winnipeg) playing EuroBrujah
Nick Watkins playing dom/obt stealth bleed with Kiasyd
Ankur Gupta playing Undue Influence Anarchs with sticks

This game started nicely with me having a stealth bleed predator who may contest with someone else on the table and my playing a Fame on Ankur's Illyana Radiovich right after he'd discarded two Diversions (he didn't discard any more after that), then getting Ignazio and Governing out Baldesar and two other guys. Then things went south. Nick's Julia Prima tried a superior Govern and I asked Wallace (who had untapped Jaroslav Pascek) to try to block so Nick would have to play some of that expensive Obtenebration stealth (I had a Divine Sign in hand, so I figured I'd be able to block Julia after I got that on her). To my surprise, Nick played no additional stealth. Jaroslav slapped Julia around a little and kept pressing until there was no Grapple and Julia Entombed him. Dang! Wallace's game was pretty much over. He got out Constanza, but was soon ousted by Shane.

Ankur got a lot of guys out and bled a lot with Undue Influence. Shane contested Julia Prima, which ended up being kind of bad for both he and Nick. I tried to work on Ankur, but both Shane and Nick were getting low and I was afraid of bounced bleeds or Fame damage ousting them. I rushed Ankur a bit, but his combat was surprisingly good. I had him pretty low, but it looked like he'd probably oust Shane before I got him. Time was called before anyone else died.

Game 2
Michael Perry (Parry? sorry can't remember) playing Omaya + Nadima and Smiling Jack
Will Kristoff playing Ahrimanes maybe with Smiling Jack?
Robyn Tatu with Maris/Casino vote/bleed/fight stuff

I knew my Earthshocks would serve me well this game and they faithfully showed up when I needed them most (actually had an extra in hand at all times). The first action of the game was Omaya getting a Bowl of Convergence which surprisingly was not blocked. Then Howler went for a Flak Jacket and Omaya blocked, manuvering close twice and sending Howler to torpor. Looked like I might get a free ride for a while. Nope, Will tried his best to keep the forward pressure and blocked two superior Governs, but I dealt him some serious pain for his trouble, torporizing The Siamese. I bled Robyn a little and it didn't seem like she had very good combat because she kept her distance.

After a few turns, Jack was collapsing the table and Will was good as dead with both his minions in torpor and only a few pool. Robyn was unable to cut through Omaya often enough, so she bled me a little just to move cards and generate some pool. After Will was ousted, I played Fame on Maris and put her down. Then I bled for a bunch, torporizing Casino when he blocked. Jack was going to kill Robyn, but Michael played a Life Boon to keep her in the game, thinking he could oust me on his turn. Then Jack would automatically oust Robyn. Knowning my hand and doing the math (he would've had to land two bleeds or somehow knocked a bunch of blood off my guys), I don't think he would've got me, but it was a fair shot. Anyway, Robyn had no desire to sit around and wait for death and no way to oust her prey, so she transferred out.

I had great combat in the endgame, managing to torporize Omaya despite claws and a Flesh of Marble (had to press like four times doing only one point of damage each turn, ha!). I bruised my way into the death of Jack, which was very important. Then I stole all of Michael's stuff like The Rack and Powerbase: Montreal and beat up Nadima for good measure. I think he conceded as his death was certain. A game win made it certain I'd advance to the next round, so I breathed a sigh of relief and wiped away a tear because that meant I wouldn't play in the Shadow Twin draft event.

Game 3
Ben Peal playing Cheesequake
Stefan Ferenci playing Tzimisce intercept (with Jack?)
Josh Feuerstein playing Louhi bleed/block
Peter Charnley playing Arika (deck he won the next day with)

Ben was despairing his lack of winning so far and him now having a rush predator and intercept prey. I guess I could've been really bad for him if I wanted to wreck his game and then die, leaving him for Peter. Peter was just too dangerous a predator for me to go forward full-throttle. I think all I ever did to Ben was bleed him for 1 and Fame one of his guys (later torporized by Stefan).

Much of this game was a stealth/intercept contest between Ben and Stefan. Ben won that quite a bit and Stefan helped me to dislike My Enemy's Enemy just a little bit more. I rushed Peter when I could and Governed down for pool gain the rest of the time. I only had out Ignazio and Baldesar. If Stefan had had some intercept permanents he might've stopped Ben and even been able to follow through with his threats to Eagle's Sight Michael. Unfortunately, he just couldn't keep up and it made things worse that Ben had Korah and Kite, so Peter always threw the extra KRC point on Stefan. Meanwhile Josh was bleeding and blocking some, but couldn't keep up with the Minion Tap/Voter Cap action.

Eventually, inevitably, Peter PTO'd Ignazio. He also Banished Stefan's Kazimir, which was kind of odd because he could've Banished Baldesar, which would've left me without minions and on very few pool. Ben was at four pool at that point, tapped out with a Famed guy. I checked his ashheap (he'd spent more than half his deck) and found only one Wake. What are the odds of him having a Wake? Like 99.9%. Even if I'd had some form of stealth (Haven Uncovered), I would've been blocked by Kite, so I didn't even try to oust Ben. Instead I tried to punish Peter more and torporized Arika. Stefan was kind of crippled without Kazimir and Ben ousted him quickly, around the time I died. Ben had a few cards left to oust Josh, then I think he allowed Peter to withdraw. Peter hadn't rescued Arika and didn't feel he could get her out of torpor (no stealth and Kite again?) or win without her.

Turned out everyone in our hotel room (me, Josh, Ben, Christian and Devin) all advanced to the next round. Well, nearly 2/3 the tournament did because the day one event wasn't quite as large as the NAC had been in the past.

After all that, we again worked on Josh's deck and also Christian's but not so much mine or Devin's. Ben kept his aloof and secret while the rest of us blabbed about what great tech we had. I actually got a little advice for my deck and it was pretty solid already, having won a tournament at Totalcon and not having made many changes since then. My deck uses group 2/3 Malks and !Malks with lots of The Call and titles and stealth and Parity Shift and stuff like that. My new tech was to include Harzomatuili as "combat defense" (my deck otherwise has none other than a Jake, a Secure Haven and a few Swallowed by the Night) figuring I'd Parity Shift his cost back.

Saturdays games went thusly:

Game 1
Andreas Nusser playing Toreador Grand Ball
Norm Brown playing Cock Robin and Enkidu get Trophies
Alex Harmon playing Presence princes with Anson
Bill Troxel with weenie Auspex and some combat and stuff

This table was terrible for everyone! Andreas couldn't get an action off without his Grand Ball due to Bill's intercept, Norm was seated between two vote decks that would both hate his combat, Alex had a combat predator that could destroy him and I had two other vote decks at the table to contend with. Bill had the unlucky prospect of sitting between the only two decks he couldn't block all the time (me because I had tons of stealth and Andreas because of his Grand Balls).

Everyone proceded cautiously for the first few turns until Andreas played a Temptation of Greater Power on Norm's Cock Robin. Alex had an untapped Bleeding the Vine, so immediately Norm started dealing for Alex to cancel the card. I was pretty much in favor of that happening as well because I liked the idea of Enkidu smashing all the voters. Eventually Andreas and Alex made the standard kill each others' prey deal and the TGP went through. Norm "won" the bid and got to start his turn on 2 pool. It was pretty humorous as both Norm and Andreas were promising to serve me up to Alex in exchange for his help/non-interferance.

Soon Andreas got his Toreador Grand Ball out and killed Norm. I now had two predators and had to work with Bill a little bit, which wasn't great as he was the guy I was supposed to want dead. I played several The Call and used a hunting ground, merged Quentin King III and Hannibal Adv to keep Alex at bay. I could only afford just the two minions. I kept wanting to bring up Korah, but I don't think the extra votes would've helped and it was important to have someone to Call.

Eventaully time was running down and Alex couldn't kill me. Andreas knew he'd have to oust Alex to win the table and I just wasn't dying fast enough. He hit me with KRCs twice, but even that wasn't enough and I don't think he wanted to completely unload on me because then he'd never oust Alex. Andreas announced that Bill was just killing him and called an Anarchist Uprising, reducing Bill to 2 pool. On my turn I bled for 2, expecting bounce and wound up bleeding Alex (not for the first time). Then I called a Domain Challenge, but Alex DI'd it. Andreas had another unblockable Anarchist Uprising and Bill was out, Alex was low and I was effectively out of Alex's reach. Andreas started bleeding and voting against Alex. Alex played a Second Tradition against Alexandra's bleed. I offered to DI it if Andreas would let me withdraw (after all his Minion Tapping and not having anything done to him, he had a huge heap of pool and still had more votes than me so I didn't think I could get him in the few minutes remaining). Andreas agreed, but Alex had another Second. Then time was called anyway. I walked away from the table with 1.5 VPs, pretty glad to have done so considering the whole two predators thing (to be fair, my extra "predator" ousted my prey for me, so it's not like he was that bad for me).

Game 2
Eric Chiang playing fatty Brujah Antitribu rush/bleed
Emiliano Imeroni playing low/midcap Animalism fight/bleed
Devin Villegas playing !Nos rush
Hugues Bertrand playing Arika and friends

Another fairly bad table. Hugues despaired of Beast as his predator and then even more when I brought out Maris. He started bargaining with Devin for a table split. To my surprise, Devin accepted the offer and refused my counter-offer of Maris giving him all the intercept he wants. I figured he'd just splatter Arika and be done with it. That deal forced the remaining three of us to form a pact against the pair of them. I bled Hugues a little with Kindred Spirits and both Eric and I gave Emiliano the room to go forward against Devin. Devin rushed me a little, but I had two Swalloweds to get away. On my turn, I unleashed the kind of unholy vengeance that only a vote deck can muster. I Parity Shifted away five of Devin's pool, then hit him with a KRC for 3. I had the Kindred Spirits in hand to finish him off, but I figured Emiliano should do a little work on his own. He did and Devin was ousted, leaving me with only one predator, which is more the way I like things.

After that Eric went forward full-force and it didn't take long to oust Emiliano. Hugues played it cool, probably looking for an Elder Impersonation or something to get past Maris. He called a KRC or two and I made him blow some stealth trying to block with Kite, but never used Maris' ability. In fact, I never used Maris for anything all game except to call a Parity Shift and hunt for 1 once she got a Blood Doll. After Emiliano was ousted, Hugues said all he cared about was a single VP, he didn't care if it was from ousting me or from withdrawing. I was all "yeah, me too!" since I knew I couldn't deal with an alliance between the two. Eric had out Theo by that point and his combat would've just squished me. Eric agreed to the deal because it would give him the win and Hugues and I withdrew.

Game 3
Will Kristoff playing the Ahrimanes deck from the day before
Shane Schneider playing !Toreador vote/bleed
Ben Swainbank playing Giovanni bleed/Hordes
Jay Kristoff playing Nosferatu weenie vote/boon/Justicar abuse

Rough game here. My first vampire out was Rachel Brandywine and Jay's first one was Selma, the Repugnant. I had the Parity Shift and a load of stealth in hand as well as a friendly Priscus across the table. The other vamps I'd drawn were Quentin King (adv - the one with no title), Kite and Hannibal. I really needed a prince! I brought up Quentin and Kite and hoped something good might happen. Something kind of good happened: Jay was unexpectedly ousted by Ben bleeding for like 11 while he was tapped out. Also, I blocked Howler getting Mr. Winthrop with my Jake Washington and Ben's Unmasking.

With my prince title back, I had a little more freedom to act, but it was still tough going as Shane was kind of pinned down by light intercept on both sides and Ben was bleeding steadily. I got Will down to 6, then the Hordes rushed Quentin and put him down. I Restructured the Hordes, but I should've called the KRC I had in my hand because I immediately drew another. Shane suggested I call KRC with 3 on Ben and then he'd be able to oust him and then wait for me to oust Will before he came for me. We went for that, but Ben had wake/bounce for the ousting bleed and instead I was ousted. Serves me right. KRC is better than Restructure. KRC is better than Restructure. KRC is better than Restructure. KRC is better than Restructure. KRC is better than Restructure. That's my new mantra.

After that I got to watch Josh be hopelessly pinned down between two vote decks (one with intercept) for two hours, but congratulated him on his stunning finish anyway. We went to eat, drink and play more vtes after that.

There was a lovely draft on Sunday, but I've written enough for now.


Blogger Ira said...

I know this comment is a bit late, but in Saturday's Game 1, did a different vamp play 2nd tradition after you DI'ed it? Just curious.

Thanks for the excellent report!


2:29 PM  

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