Tournament 1: Whistling Up the Beast 29 players(!)
Game 1: "Yeah, I'll block that"
Oscar Garza (Harbingers + Le Dihn Tho)> Ian Thompson (Weenie DBR w/dom)> Garet(Trem)> Me (Mistress Fanchion vote/bleed)> Aaron Clarke (Anatole Wall)
I got off to a good start with some crypt acceleration (Zillah's Valley?) and a Villein in hand, plus an Abactor, plus stealth. I didn't mind not having a Govern in hand since I could gain a decent amount of pool right away and maybe get one by my second action. Little did I know that Anatole had other plans. Mistress Fanchion comes out, is Villeined to two and Abactor hunts. Anatole says no bueno. I Forgotten Labyrinth, but Anatole shows +3 intercept. Fortunately I get away with a light punch to the face, but this action foreshadows more bad things to come.
My predator's first minon is rushed and graverobbed right off the bat. Who is it? Astrid Thomas. I hadn't realized how annoying her special was with other Tremere, but you learn something new every day. Fanchion was allowed to hunt and I brought out Laszlo Mirac. His Bishop title and vote negating ability meant I had the chance to pass votes- if they weren't blocked and if my minions weren't rushed and graverobbed.
Oscar was hard at work thinning Ian's hand of any nasty rushes or Dragon's Breath Rounds. This helped save the table (and him) from a very grisly demise. Aaron kept his focus on me and didn't bleed into Oscar "for fear of him bouncing to Ian" for an oust. Not sure how Ian was more manageable than Oscar's no combat, few minions situation, but ok. Ian brought out/stole about seven minions and finally finished off Garet. I was next, but I managed to cycle a couple Obedience and bounce cards in the process. Ian was ousted after failing to backrush Oscar (didn't have the right cards, was eventually decked), then I was ousted by a bleed for 4(?) at stealth bounced from Aaron. Oscar, now with +12 pool, cleaned up.
I didn't feel bad losing at this table. While I had no predator on my right for some time, I did have a strong one on my left. Even the four last minute Seductions came up short of breaking through the wall that was Anatole + Mr. Winthrop and a sidekick. I believe the only offensive action I got through was at 5 stealth, but I was regularly blocked at 3-4, Anatole or no.
|"I prefer not to."|
I may sound bitter, but I'm just sarcastic by nature. If I didn't learn how to deal with a bad seating in VTES, I would have quit a long time ago.
Game 2: "Major Boned"
James Lin (Harbingers)> Ian Lee (!Brujah vote)> Me> Eric Schultheis (Carna and friends)> A.J. Wiley (Nakhthorheb corrupt/bleed)
I managed to bring out Laszlo again and his special helped me pass votes until Orlando Oriundus came out, but I could never muster the level of dominance I would have otherwise had. I scrached around and managed to call a couple of votes, but was otherwise pretty ineffectual. One vote failed that would have given me an oust because I forgot my grand prey brought out Neferu. I called the terms before I realized the problem, where I maybe could have tried to throw damage to my grand predator to get Neferu's help. My stealthed bleed for four that would have ousted Eric was Major Booned by my predator. Eric Major Booned a bleed against me for one, making me eat two-three of my own bleed later. Eric Eagle Sight blocked a bleed against me that would have ousted me, making me promise to not try to oust him for one or two turns. I had no intention of honoring the deal because my position was too poor to survive one more turn against Ian. Eric was tapped out and I sent in what would have been an ousting bleed with my last ready minion, then stealthed it by a woken blocker only to be bounced. So close, yet so far.
This game was more or less a disaster. James kept removing useful masters from Ian's deck with Egotha and, once, Revelations. James failed to remove Unholy Penance and chose to S:CE rather than Dodge another one with Spiritual Intervention (different minion). Bold move.
We all got really low on pool (I was at three, my prey at four, his prey at one, James at one, Ian at just a hand full). I am not sure what the order was, but I was ousted by Ian and A.J. was ousted by Eric, then the game timed out. I almost hung in there for .5 vps after Ian Golconda'd my one ready minion, but had no way to do anything and no hope of being in the finals, anyway.
The finals were a clusterfuck of intercept and combat with a side of Robert/Oscar. Nick brought out Cesewayo adv, man of many untaps, got a sniper rifle, and was still occasionally pwned by Jeff Poole's Spiritus/Fortitude Great Beast. Jeff's predator, Matt Wedge, was playing ANI/pro and was also pwned, but Carrion Crows did help with the battle of attrition. Oscar did his thing by playing Brother's Grimm and cashing it in, plus defending Carlton from a Set's Curse via Robert. Robert eventually ousted Oscar and Matt ousted Jeff before the game timed out. Robert was the top seed, so he took the GW. Well fought!
Tournament 2: Summon the Abyss 20 players
Game 1: "Sir Not Appearing in This Film"
Jeff Poole(?)> Ian Thompson (!Nos w/dom)> Matt Wedge (Turbo Stanislava)> Jeff Kuta (Assamite Breed/boon)> Me (Weenie dem/obf)
This was one of the quickest games of the tournament. I bled out Jeff before he did anything that I can remember. Ian showed some intercept with a Raven Spy on Cailean and eventually Julio Martinez (some of my minions were Camarilla). I baited him into letting me cycle more stealth, but it backfired a little because I was blocked once. Combat wasn't a big deal and Ian had to play Cats' Guidence for intercept rather than an untap. He too was ousted.
Jeff Kuta was putting together an army of Assamites. One of the upstarts burned Stanislava's Soul Gen with a Loss, which may have slowed down Matt. I used a Delaying Tactics on a Con Boon instead of the next vote, a Reckless Agitation. That was pretty foolish, but I was following the "bleed out the whole table" strategy rather than simply making sure to survive until I could oust Matt for the GW. Jeff got me low on pool, so I had to keep the bleedzooka going.
On my first Kindred Spirits bleed of the turn, Matt played Dark Influences. No more KS for me! I still managed to get the +3 or so bleed on top of the number of minions I had for the oust. In the end, Jeff simply overwhelmed me with bleeds for one. Had I delayed his Reckless Agitation (making it useless in the two player game) or had Matt not played DI2, I might have had the pool to survive another turn, possibly ousting Jeff. I had to be content with a 3/2 split, being on the winning end and all.
Game 2: "Speed Freak"
Andrew Haas (Al-Muntathir + BH bleed)> Kenneth Davenport (FoS Bleed)> Dennis Lien (Tremere)> Me> A.J. Wiley (Fat Tzim)
Once people figured out what I was playing there was some hand-wringing, but not much they could do to stop me. Dennis could have coordinated with Kenneth to bounce bleeds to me, but I don't think that his deck would survive without ousting his prey and after giving his prey six pool. Once I saw what Dennis was playing, I figured he would try to block me (and he might have the intercept to do it), so I avoided undirected actions like The Call (I think I did one at inferior as my first action) or Dive into Madness.
A.J. did some to try to block me, but he also spent some intercept trying to block Andy from equipping with a Guarded Rubrics. Andy made the argument at the time that it 1) cost him pool and 2) only helped him bleed, but A.J. tried to block anyway. I'm not sure if it would have made a difference if he decided not to block Andy because he never caught me. One down.
Andy had the ability to bounce. With my many bleeders, I didn't really care if one or two landed cross-table. This is a big advantage over my first deck because what other players do matters far less with 2-3x as many minions in your ready region. Kenneth ousted Dennis, my only serious threat, then I ousted both him and Andy. By the end I had seven ready minions and I neither ran out of bleed, nor was I ever blocked.
|"Can't catch me!"|
Finals: "There can be only one"
I was top seed going into the finals with 2gw and 7vps, so I got to choose seating last I had only played vs Matt's deck before and I knew I could destroy him without any problem. The player behind him was Garet, who is still not very experienced and came in as the lowest seed, which I thought was an indication of how threatening the deck was- not very. My assessment was spot on, which made me happy. In an otherwise very chancy game, its nice to know you got something undoubtedly right once in a while.
Me (dem bleed)> Matt Wedge (Stanislava)> Ian Lee (Blessed Resilience)> Brett Schofield (Tzim tap and cap)> Garet (Tremere from tournament one)
Matt knew he was a goner. He discarded two or three copies of Antediluvian Awakening before bringing out Stanislava, then was promptly ousted. Brett was busy gaining lots of pool and calling votes, which often pinged me for 2-3 damage. Being an inexperienced KS player, I didn't try to take Brett out early. Would that have been the right call? In hindsight it seems more likely than not, but other things happened that I could not have predicted. Garet didn't bleed me for a lot and only bounced about one bleed into me, which I reduced some with Wrong and Crosswise. He over-influenced and bought a hunting ground when he already had The Rack and only one Blood Doll in play.
Ian brought out Mordechai Ben-Nun, the +1 intercept Harbinger, and eventually Carlton. I think he also had some midcap that he Villeined off of and used for Force of Will shenanigans. The two +1 intercept dudes were a pain, so I had to focus on ousting Ian via Pentex and a Faceless Night at OBF in order to oust him. I was almost out of deck when Ian was ousted. Brett had about 18 pool by the time it gets to Garet's turn. He promised Garet that he wouldn't hurt him if he tapped out bleeding me. Garet was at low pool and I pointed out that Brett would break the deal because it would mean a VP and a better position for him. Garet trusted Brett, which at least helped oust him. Garet bled me for about five, leaving me really low on pool, and tapped out. Brett called a Neonate Breach, which would have ousted Garet and almost ousted me. I Delay it. Brett calls a KRC that again would have ousted Garet and hurt me. I Delay it again. At this point all Brett has to do is bleed with Lambach and Garet is ousted. He had no wakes and therefore no ability to retaliate. I believe he learned from his mistake, it's one we all have to learn the hard way.
With plenty of time left on the clock, I run out of deck facing Brett's again massive wall of pool. One thing that may have made a big difference in the endgame was that Brett influenced Sascha Vykos Adv, which let him cycle several times. He played a Political Stranglehold the turn before he ousted Garet, gaining nine pool. Maybe he wouldn't have seen that card in time without Sascha, who knows. In the end, Brett played his position well and earned his win.
|"Don't hate me because I'm beautiful."|
Thanks everyone who came for helping make our tournaments another big success. I really look forward to going down to LA for their Labor Day Weekend tournaments (school schedule permitting, which it should). It was nice to meet some new people, both those new to the area and those new to VTES. Oscar Garza made it out and that makes the first time I've spoken to him in person. Garet and Kyle made it out, even though Kyle was too ill to play. It had been years since I'd seen Ky, so it was good to see him again. I was pleasantly surprized to have Jeff Yin and Oliver Stacey come to the first tournament. Special thanks to Ian Lee for helping organize prize support, including VTES Ankh blood counters, and to Steve and Andy for providing a venue and helping setup for tournaments. After all these trades I just did, I'd better start constructing some new and interesting decks for next time. Evil deck ideas were percolating in my mind before I even left Andy's house ;)