Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fee Stake Cape Town (Weekend of Nightmares: Friday)

Friday evening was the Fee Stakes tournament. We got going a little late, due to various people, and were annoyingly one short of the 10 required for a TWDA entry, so we opted to go with a multi-deck tournament.

In the first round, I opted to play my Anarch vote deck [1]. The game was Hendrik (Assamite blood control), bleeding Phillip (group 1 Gangrel) bleeding me bleeding Marc (Stanislava and friends) bleeding Simon (Lasombra Anarchs Hell-for-Leather). I got a slightly weird crypt draw, with 3 Anarch Converts, which meant I didn't get going that quickly. Initially, Marc looked like the table threat, pulling out Stansiliva and another minion, and, while not going for huge bleeds, consistent 3 bleeds from Stansilava were whittling through Simon's pool quite quickly. Phillip was bleeding consistently, but was slowed down by Hendrick's blood denial actions. I made an early miscalculation with a Voter Cap, and left Raphael Catarari stuck tapped on odd blood total without a Crimethinc in play, and thus spent a couple of turns effectively down a minion. I did manage to get a Fee Stake down, and scrape through a Reckless Agitation, which, with a combination of Marc voting away the Fee Stake, and then having what would have been the ousting bleed blocked by Simon, who was able to Immortal Grapple to prevent the Form of Mist, left Marc in lunge range for the next turn. The next turn, I was able to play a Dreams, and the increased hand size allowed me to get what I needed to oust Marc, and was able to oust Simon almost immediately as well. The game then folded fairly quickly in my favour, as I had the stealth and Crimethinc's needed to oust both Hendrik and Phillip. It was a bit tight for a couple of turns, and, had Marc ousted Simon, I may not have been able to keep him from running away with the table, but the table was quite favourable for my deck, and I had a couple of lucky moments.

I didn't see much of the second table, but it had James (Imbued) bleeding Yancke (Tzimisce wall) bleeding Brendan (Lasombra vote, I think), bleeding Richard (Akunase wall). At the point I saw the game, other than the imbued, the only minion up was one of Yancke's vampires, who had been Pentexed. Richard was ousted by his own Smiling Jack, giving Brendan a VP, but then James swept up the rest of the table.

In the second game, I decided to play the Harbringer's of Skull deck. The table was James (!Salubri) bleeding Brendan (Big cap vote with Rafael de Corazon) bleeding me bleeding Hendrik, bleeding Yancke (!Ventrue grinder). An early Antediluvian Awakening by Yancke, and an early bleeding for 6 from Brendan left me somewhat low on blood, and, as I'd drawn the fat end of my crypt, I ended up being far too defensive, and I only brought out 1 minion. In general, I just played this game badly, and really should have gone fishing for a small second minion. James, however, was able to block enough of Brendan's actions that Brendan could never really get the farm going, and a couple of Eagle Sight's from James helped keep me in the game for quite some time. I did manage to whittle done Hendrik to almost in lunge range several times, but was always an action short of being able to oust him. Yancke eventually ousted James (after a couple of turns when he should have ousted James, but misplayed things, such as not saving a bonding for the minion with DOM), and swept through Brendan and myself quickly, but then timed out against Hendrik. I didn't see anything at all of the other game, but Marc collected the most VP's and made it to the final.

On a die roll, I opted to play the Anarch Vote deck for the final, but I made a very poor seating choice. James had decided to play the Imbued, and as I was worried by their ability to interfere with my setup, I didn't want to sit next to them. I also thought that Marc would be playing the Stansilava deck again, so I didn't want to be downstream of it, so I opted to sit as Marc's predator and Brendan's prey, not realising that Brendan would be playing the Lasombra deck, and not realising that Yancke, Brendan's predator, was going to play his PRO DOM deck. Marc turned out to be playing his Assamite Black Hand deck, and, although I got Raphael Catarari early, and was able to start getting the Anarch cycle going, I didn't see the Fee Stakes our Crimethinc's I needed to really get going, and a few heavy bleeds early left me unable to get the number of minions I needed out. An early Yawp Court from Marc meant that I was also going to struggle to get a vote to hit the table, since I saw little of my combat package. My involvement in the final was thus fairly short-lived, and, although I did land a couple of 3 bleeds on Marc, he farmed most of it back so I had made little impression on his pool. James was being largely left alone, so was able to tool up fairly nicely. Marc was up to through minions, and around 10 pool when I was ousted, but fell quickly afterwards, thanks to a couple of heavy bleeds that were deflected onto him and a single bleed for 4 from Brendan, and, given that James was fairly low on pool at that point, I thought Brendan had the game. Brendan though, didn't have the cards that he needed to force the actions through past the Imbued, and suffered a critical bounce failure on a turn when Yancke bled for 14. This wasn't enough to oust Brendan, so Yancke fell to the Imbued, and, as Brendan was unable to draw into enough stealth, James won the two-player shootout.

In retrospect, given the decks involved, I should have sat as James' predator, as I may have been able to negotiate vote support of the basis that the Imbued are always a threat, which could have given me a VP, but I didn't have anyway of dealing with permanent votes of the Lasombra, so it's doubtful if I could have really done better than that.

The Anarch deck is probably about as good as this version is going to get. The addition of the Reckless Agitations has helped a lot, as it's a significant amount of pool damage that is less resource intensive than the Revolutionary Councils, and the Revolutionary Council, Crimethinc, Reckless double is a scary combo, but it is ultimately a fragile deck build, and vulnerable to heavy bleed or serious vote.

[1] Given that it was "Fee Stake: Cape Town", someone had to play a Fee Stake deck, after all.

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