The Saturday socials had a regrettably low turnout, with only myself, Simon and Richard eventually showing up. Thus there were a number of 3 players games, which was not quite ideal.
In the first game, I was playing a deck built out of two Kiasyd / Lasombra starters bleeding Simon (tweaked Anarch Lasombra) bleeding Richard (2 Guhuri starter). I got off to a nice start with the Kiasyd, and, with the benefit of an early Dominate Master, was able to Govern down twice, which allowed me to get to 3 minions quickly and cheaply. The deck generally had decent forward momentum, but struggled a bit in combat, and really does need a couple of conditionings added to it. I was able to oust Simon, but fell to Richard's deck, as I wasn't able to block enough of the votes.
The Kiasyd deck operated much as I expected, and probably can become a decent DOM & B deck. I need to retool the combat package, which is a bit light. Earth Swords would be a good addition, although I may need some more manevours. I need to also examine the other crypt options I have, as I was rather lucky with the Master draw, which did help.
In the second game, I played a deck I'd put together out of two Ishtarri starters, bleeding Richard (2 Akunase deck), bleeding Simon (Anarch Lasombra). I had a nice crypt draw, and generally the deck flowed quite nicely. I generally struggled for blood management, there are a number of expensive cards, but the combination of a Marajavi Ghoul, Heildeburg and Ganhuru's special mean I was often bleeding at stealth, and gained a fair bit of pool from the bleeds, which helped me considerably. Simon had minion torporised and burnt early on in the game, which left him struggling to put pressure on me, which also helped a great deal, and so I was able to sweep.
I'm somewhat surprised at how well the Ishtarri deck did. I've always been a bit meh on Uncontrolled Impulse, due to it's conditional nature, but, if the deck's flowing a bit, it works really well. The crypt needs tweaking, as there are some good vampires who aren't in the starter.
In the third game, I played my Off Kilter + Enticement deck, bleeding Simon (Thaum Cel Trophies) bleeding Richard (Guhuri bleed). Simon maanged to red list and burn one of Richard's minions early, which allowed him to get permanent untap and intercept. I got off to a reasonable start, and had got up to 3 minions and SER on one by the mid game, but hadn't quite seen enough pool damage or any of the Freak Drives, so hadn't really pressurised Simon. Simon then burnt my third minion, and I wasn't able to bloat or bleed fast enough to survive the Guhuri deck. Simon wasn't able to keep enough blood on his minions to survive the potence from the Guhuri, and eventually fell to them as well.
The Off-Kilter deck continues to feel as if it will almost work, but doesn't. The deck just doesn't generate the actions it needs to continually keep it's prey under pressure, and, although I did have Simon down quite low at one point, I didn't have the push needed to oust him. More Freak Drives would help, but I think I need to retool the Master package to include some Effectives or Coroner's Contracts, so I can gain more use out of the Little Mountain Cementaries. Sprinkling in a handful of Corpses is probably not a bad idea either, as a few extra 2 bleeds can't hurt.
At this point, we decided to play a couple of rounds using decks built by other people.
In the first game, I played Richard's Akunase deck, bleeding Simon, playing a weenie'ish Liabon vote deck of Richard's, bleeding Richard, playing my Ravnos weapons deck. Simon had a failry bad game, as the combination of my getting out a magagi before he passed a vote, the small minions all being vulnerable to the Abombwe block fails tech and the wall'ish nature of the Ravnos tech resulted in him not being able to go forward, and he was unable to defend against the Akunase. The Ravnos deck did fairly well, getting decently setup and blocking several actions, but the fortitude of the Akunase was enough to stay alive. I managed to oust Simon without two much difficulty, but there were a couple of tight rounds against the Ravnos were I drew into a couple of combat cards at just the right time, and was able to trade minions going down with Richard, but, as that left it as 2 minions against 1, I was then able to win the endgame, although not completely comfortably.
The Akunase deck was fiddly to play, largely due to my unfamiliarity with the cards, but, with small'ish minions, and some strong action modifiers, it works quite well. Reliquary: Akunanse Remains is also really strong. The combat package needs a bit of work - on several occasions, I had a rush card in hand, but no good combat options available to me. ANI support, for crows, and some of the new Abombwe tech from EK will help that at lot.
In the next game, I was playing Simon's Nergal deck, bleeding Simon, playing Richard's two Guhuri starter deck, bleeding Richard, playing Simon's Samedi wall. Despite an almost prefect start for the Nergal deck (1st turn concordance, merging Nergal immediately), I found myself constantly struggling to get actions through, and, when I did land a bleed, the bloat of the Guhuri deck eradicated the effects almost immediately. Consistent bleeds from the Samedi deck eventually ousted me. The Guhuri deck, while bloating quite effectively, wasn't able to generate much forward pressure, so it couldn't prevent the Samedi deck getting setup, and, after I was ousted, the Samedi deck was able to whittle the Guhuri deck down with consistent blocks, and thus swept.
The Nergal deck is again just not fast enough. Once setup, it has some nice combos, but probably needs either a little bit of permament stealth, or some more block fails tech, and, if the untappy thing is working, it needs some additional damaging actions for Nergal to take. I'd be tempted to sneak in a Heart of the City and a couple of D'habi Revenant's, so Nergal's bleed continues to tick up, relying on Nergal's special and the Spying Missions to deal with bounce.
Simon's Samedi wall continues to be surprisingly effective. Having played against it a few times now, I've come to the conclusion that the stealth, which allows it to get almost all the setup actions, is a key component. This allows it to run mainly off permanents, which is always better.