(A "relying on blogger not to lose my notes" post)
So, Monday's social game was quite fun. I managed to fit 4 games in, the last (admittedly a 3 player), in just over 35 minutes, and tried different decks each time. I didn't try my !Malk deck, which I had wanted to play, since I somehow left out 2 vampires when reconstructing it, which was somewhat daft.
In the first game, I was playing an experimental Samedi deck. The table was Phillip, playing a !Salubri deck, bleeding Brendan's !Tor combat deck bleeding my Samedi, bleeding Marc's potence combat deck. A very combat heavy table. The Samedi deck didn't do particularly well, which, given the thrown together nature of it, is not that surprising. Damage prevention was a major issue, so I should prehaps add some Fortitude to the deck idea. I think there's a potentially fun vampire bloat module using Genina + Compress + Amaranth + Ritual of the Bitter Rose, and then rescue Genina if the blood hunt sends her to topor, but I need more Amaranths and Rituals to make that work. The concept of using Reanimated corpses and Shambling Hordes didn't come out at all, which partly reflects how the deck struggled. Marc's potence deck eventually swept the table, thanks to dealing vast amounts of damage, and gradually building up a stock of useful devices to boost bleed.
The second game saw me playing my Blood Brothers deck, bleeding Brendan with a Settite deck, bleeding Val's Eze bloat deck, bleeding Phillip's experimental deck, bleeding James' !Brujah bleed deck (I think I started, although that may be incorrect). Val's bloat strategy worked exteremely well, while Phillip's deck never really got going. I was able to oust Brendan, using Walk of Caine for a 5 bleed, but ran into the problem of not being able to fill up blood quickly enough to put pressure on Val. Having Angelo Banished twice in the game certainly didn't help me, either. I should look at adding the Sermon of Caine's, to get blood redistribution, and I need some additional pool gain (maybe a Powerbase Chicago?). I'd dearly love to have some Hungry Coyotes for the Hermana's hunting, but that will probably require searching eBay, and a secure ahven or two for Angelo is probably also a good idea, since the deck is heavily reliant on him. Anyway, 1 VP for that deck is not bad, and I can blame Brendan for not putting enough pressure on Val for my later troubles :).
The third game saw Val, playing a weenie gun deck, bleeding James (the deck never got going, but looked bruise-bleed'ish), bleeding Phillip, playing a Nossie bruise bleed deck, bleeding me, playing my Toreador Alexandra star vampire deck, with Val starting. Val got off to a very fast start, as the weenie's are prone to do, and, by adding camera phones, was setting up to be very dangerous. James never got into the game, not being able to defend against Val succesfully. I had a good opening few draws, pulling Alexandra early, being able to minion tap her, enchant down, and pull Elliot quickly as well, followed by another Minion Tap, leaving me with two minions,. Alexandra's untap ability and surprisingly good pool levels. While I never had the vote lock, since Phillip pulled out several titles, the early pressure from Val, and a well timed Scorn of Adonis enabled me to get a Kine through. A couple of bleeds, and I was able to oust Val before he ousted James. I did have a uncovered haven slapped on Alexandra, but was able to draw enough strike combat ends to survive that. James was quite weak, and I was able to get a couple of Aching Beauties down, so I ousted him quickly. Phillip had got a Army of Rats into play, but I was generating pool fast enough that I could cope. In general, the cards were very kind to me, in addition to the two minion taps, I drew three Aching Beauties, and both the Hunting Ground and the Art Museum quite early. which helped me keep my vampires sufficiently healthy. Due to the number of minions, the endgame between Phillip and me got quite tight, but, with two minions with Aching Beauties, I was able to oust him successfully. Despite not having the vote dominance the deck usually has, I'm quite pleased with how it went. Had Val been my predator, though, things would likely have gone rather poorly for me. Like any star vampire deck, the Toreador deck is rather fragile, but it can be very effective.
The final game was a three player game between me, playing my Ahrimane deck, bleeding Simon, playing his !Salubri deck, bleeding James, playing Micheal's Osebo deck. This game was rather madcap, since we were pushing to be over by midnight, and only started at just after 11:30 pm (in the end, me finished at 0:06, which was't a bad effort). I was able to sweep the table, thanks largely to how the table interaction fell out - James, while doing quite a bit of damage, never got enough blood back onto his minions, so was scrambling to keep them out of torpor by the end. Simon suffered from having a minion burnt in combat early, and I was able to get a Army of rats in paly, and defended it for long enough for it to significantly reduce his pool. I also was able to get good use out of the Carrion Crows + Aid from Bats combo, sprinkled with a few Strength of bear's + Scorpion Stings, so I was able to do enough damage in combat to be OK. I did have several vampires got to topor, and one vampire burnt. I also drew Ohoyo for the first time since I started using the deck. He provided some useful additional combat options, and the ability to swap him in to a combat was most useful. While he was burnt after only a few turns, he did enough damage to be worth the cost, and it allowed to to play a Vulture's Buffet with good effect. I eventually was able to play Tier of Souls, which, with the added bleed, gave me sufficient momentum to oust Simon and then James. A game, which, despite ultimately sweeping the table, was quite tight, and generally good fun. I think the Ahrimane deck is actually shaping up reasonably well now. While not A-class, it's got enough going for the bruise and bleed option to be quite dangerous when things go it's way.