Last weekend was the 1st tournament of the year, the Battle of Paardeberg. Unfortunately, only 7 players showed up, which is one of the more awkward numbers.
Saturday saw the preliminary rounds (tables of 5, 4, and 5).
The first round saw Dan (Osebo wall with thrown junk) bleeding Kevin (!Toreador sneak bleed & vote) bleeding Hendrik (weenie Pre & For swarm) bleeding Phillip (Brujah Trophy deck) bleeding Richard (Guhuri Ani Pot Pre bruise and bleed).
Hendrik got off to a fast start, but was slowed down by a cross table eagle sight from Dan. This allowed Phillip to bin and burn a couple of Hendrik's minions. It was at this point that Phillip discovered that his trophy deck completed lacked any Master cards, which was rather amusing. Kevin got a few bleeds and votes through, and gradually whittled Hendrik down. Richard was able to trump Dan's combat package, as Dan never got the Ayes he needed, or the maneuvers to avoid close range combat. Hendrik was eventually able to bleed through Phillip, but had taken quite a heavy toll doing so. Richard duly ousted Dan. Kevin should have ousted Hendrik, but backed off at a point when he should have just bled Hendrik out, and then opted to allow one of his minions to be Golconda'ed by Richard, which never looked the right play. This allowed Richard to clean up the rest of the table.
The second game saw Phillip bleeding me (!Nosferatu rush with Fame) bleeding Hendrik bleeding Simon (!salubri combat). Hendrik got off to a fast start, which only allowed Simon to bring out a single minion. Simon and I ended up co-operating to rush Hendrik minions into the ground to keep him from sweeping though Simon, but this meant that Simon was unable to pressurise Phillip, so I was also having to try and balance that threat. I was able to successfully burn one of Phillip's vampires, and did torporise a few others, and between Simon and I, Hendrik and 6 or 7 minions either toporised or burnt. However, I didn't draw into a single Fame or Tension, so was never able to really damage Hendrik's pool, and, with Phillip burning my hunting ground, eventually ran out of blood on my minions and was duly ousted. Phillip was able to sweep the table from there, although Hendrik might have been able to oust Simon if he'd played things a little differently.
The third round saw me bleeding Richard bleeding Kevin bleeding Simon bleeding Dan. I got off to a good start, being able to bin one of Richard's vampires early, but then went through a long period of not drawing into my combat, which slowed me down to a crawl. This meant I was also unable to stop Richard gearing up - the leather jackets were a real problem for me. Dan built up fairly slowly, while Sim on back-rushed Kevin a fair bit. This allowed Richard to oust Kevin, after which the table stabilised for a bit. The most amusing incident was the complex deal Simon struck, agreeing to torporise one of Dan's minions for my support, and then later agreeing not to rush Dan for his support, which he was not quite able to fulfill, due to Dan choosing not to block Simon when he had a Kiss of Ra in hand. Richard was able to oust Simon, but at this point he had several minions in torpor (as did I), and was severely hurt by having a few minions diablerised. I didn't have the minions to survive against Dan, and he duly ousted both me and Richard.
I ended up being the 5th player in the final in the roll off.
The final saw me (starting) bleeding Richard bleeding Phillip bleeding Dan bleeding Hendrik.
I had a poor crypt draw, no beast, all three copies of Calebos and one Mateusz, which immediately meant that I wasn't going to get any use out of the Street Creds in my deck. Hendrik, however, opted to go slowly, and thus I was able to bring out both Mateusz and Calebos. I generally tried to keep Hendrik down to two minions by rushing backwards, and tried to put pressure forward on Richard. Richard, however, opted to largely sit tight, leaving Phillip alone, except for a couple of cross-table rushes against Dan. Phillip seemed to have a poor crypt draw, and so didn't put much pressure on Dan for much of the game. Dan played a Powerbase Montreal, which was promptly stolen, and for much of the game, it was traded back and forth between Phillip and Hendrik. I perhaps should have gotten into the stealing act earlier, but didn't really have that many actions to spare, as I was trying to pressurise Richard (without much success). Hendrik eventually lunged, but I had enough untap to survive, and Hendrik left himself to exposed and was ousted by Dan.
This game saw quite a bit of contesting as well. I spent much of the game contesting a fame with Richard (my Fame on Hendrik), and, after Hendrik was ousted, I ended up contesting both a Fame and a Tension with Richard for some turns.
I managed to bring out Beast, and started whittling Richard down, but a Golconda but Richard out of range. Dan stopped on ousting lunge from Richard on Phillip, and I binned one of Richard's two minions the next turn, but was unable to stop the rescue, and Phillip was unable to stop the final bleed. At this point, Richard was out of library, I had both the Powerbase and the Nosferatu Kingdom, so was able to farm up. Dan was down to only 1 minion. I ran out of time to oust Richard (The game ended with him on 1 pool, and a famed minion in torpor), and may have been able to take Dan due to minion superiority, but my minions were looking quite low, so it wasn't that clear cut.
Still, the final was extremely epic at times, and, considering that I was downstream of the fast weenie horde, I was really surprised to not be ousted.
After the final, I was involved in a quick social game, playing my modified Anarch Vote deck. I was bleeding Yancke (Ravanos bleed) bleeding Richard (Kiasyd) bleeding Simon (DoC vote). I managed to oust both Yancke and Richard, but fell to the daughters. Overall, I think the tweaks help the deck, although it still struggles to get going a bit, and is very vulnerable to other vote decks.