Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The April 2009 VTES Tournament

The tournament was held at the new Outer Limits shop. It's a considerable improvement on the old 5th floor store, feeling a lot more spacious and less pokey. The access control system to get into the building is a little fiddly at times, but no less annoying than the sign-in requirement at the Strand Towers.

Due to only 6 players showing up, we decided to go for the 3 rounds of 4 player games, with two players sitting out each round. Since we also wanted to fit the final in, I opted to play the Settite Stealth Bleed deck, as being the most forward focused of those I'd brought.

Round 1 saw Richard (weenie Obf), bleeding Kevin (!Tor Bleed & Vote), bleeding Brendan (Ventrue Bleed & Vote) bleeding me (Richard starting). I had a less than ideal start, with Richard Archon'ing my first bleed, a loss that did slow me down rather more than I would have liked. Brendan was able to easily secure the vote lock, and Kevin wasn't able to generate enough bounce or intercept to reliably trouble Richard, who rapidly built up a scary swarm, and duly ousted Kevin. I was able to put some pressure on Richard, but was losing pool too fast to Brendan's votes, so my situation looked dire. A combination of a misjudgment on Brendan's part, which allowed me to survive bringing out an extra minion (although it did leave me on 1 pool) and place a spying mission on Richard, a fortunate Pentex from Richard on Hardestaadt, combined with a well-timed Ecstasy on my part to reduce a ousting bleed from Brendan that he was unable to boost suddenly left me with an opportunity to oust Richard, which I duly took. With Brendan then drawing a couple of votes, though, my doom was sealed in the next turn.

I sat out the second round, which saw Marc (Akunanse bleed & vote) bleeding Richard bleeding Simon (!Salubri combat) bleeding Kevin (Marc starting). Since I did a lunch run and was seduced by the shinies on display, I didn't pay close attention to the game. Simon suffered horribly from being the only pure combat deck in play, and never really got forward momentum. Richard ended up bearing the brunt of Simon's combat, which allowed Marc to oust both Richard and Simon, but Marc was ousted by Kevin.

In the 3rd game, Simon was bleeding me, bleeding Marc, bleeding Brendan. I had a funny crypt draw, never seeing a minion with OBF, and starting with 2 duplicates in my opening draw, which made things a bit more awkward than I would have liked. I also didn't run into many eternal masks in the first half of my deck, which also made things a bit tricky. I did get lucky in drawing the two Presence masters really early, which allowed me to protect the two minions without pre, which made it much harder for Simon to attack me. I was forced to juggle things a fair bit, with a Fame'd minion hanging around on 1 blood for much of the game, but gradually got setup with the hunting ground and Opium Den, and eventually got up to 4 minions out, although I did have a Waters of Duat burnt by Marc in combat. The game see-sawed until Simon caught Brendan without S:CE and was able to put a vampire in torpor, who was subsequently diablirised by Marc, providing Marc with the minion superiority he needed to oust Brendan. I was now setup, and drawing into my stealth cards, I was able to run through Marc in fairly short order, and then my minion superiority and available stealth allowed me to overwhelm Simon fairly quickly.

This meant I was the top seed in the final. I chose to sit as Kevin's predator, which, in retrospect, given that he was the most capable of generating intercept, was probably an error. The final table was me bleeding Kevin bleeding Brendan bleeding Richard bleeding Marc (I started). Being immediately upstream of the two decks with bounce was probably foolish as well, but I was worried about my defense against bleeds being bounced onto me, and didn't want to be Richard's prey. My crypt draw was on the expensive side for the deck, and I should have paid to see 1 more, as I only got three minions out. Consequently, the deck ran a little slow, and, although I did eventually oust Kevin, Brendan had ousted Richard by that stage (helped by bouncing some bleeds, including one of mine that Kevin had already bounced), and Brendan was well setup and had farmed back enough pool to be out of range. I had been whittled done most effectively by Marc, but Marc had been whittled down by Richard, and then by Brendan, so it was a race to see who would be ousted first. Brendan decided to resolve the matters by voting us both out in a single turn, and thus leaving both Marc and I with a single VP to his 3.

We manage 3 rounds and a final in under 6 hours, which is quite good going. The predominance of bleed decks on the table contributed to this though.

Overall, I had fun, and the Settite deck secured 5 VP's on the day, and generally functioned quite well, even when faced with odd crypt draws. There are a couple of crypt choices I'd like to adjust, and I should probably replace the Dream Worlds with Social Charms, for the occasional farm option, but the deck's pretty solid.