Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Vampire: The Eternal Struggle - The past, the present, the future

It has been 14 months since my last post on this blog. Though I was sure I will drop V:tes for sure, I played through the year 2016. Granted the rated dropped from 6 hours every week to 1-2 games every 5 or 6 weeks. Played some other CCGs during that time and got some more experience and insight. This has lead me to evaluating lot of things including V:tes and what it means to me.

The Past

I have played V:tes for more than a decade and the game will always have place in my heart. Uniqueness of the game, political aspect and everything about the game is just fantastic. And though I have encountered and tried a lot of games, there is very small number of them I consider this good, original and interesting. Even digital space is not innovating TCGs as much as I have expected. I have participated in many tournaments and played hundreds of games, enjoyed time spent with my friends with this game. There is so much to say, but that would be boring for you, since every V:tes veteran knows what I am talking about and it is very hard to explain to non players

The Present

There is a friendly tourney in march, which is held at my friends house and that will probably be my last V:tes venture. Although I persisted longer, than I thought, everything about the game became tiresome for me. Booking time for potential games, which did not happen, people hoping that there will be fourth player to last minute and so on. Trying to setup game just became so much painful, that I did not even enjoyed game nights that ended in a success and often left early. Although this will be probably another blow for Thursday games, its the best move for my nerves. There is no influx of new players, no stashes of boosters left. Though you can interest someone in game, it rarely works long term. You can draft from LotN and KMW only so many times and no one really set up cube. And although there is Anthology set, coming out, by itself it cannot revive game, so this is probably last goodbye with V:tes unles the game comes back to life. Which brings me to:

The Future

After playing other games and hanging with older players, people of the same age and lot of younger players, I do not believe that simply reprinting V:tes will solve anything. The state this game ended in, is model that will probably get no investors, because there will be very small market for it. I myself would find it very difficult, to sell the idea of this game to anyone right now. And though I am not professional in designing cards and games in any way, I will try to list problems I see with V:tes that will need to be addressed before reprinting, but to be honest, restarting. Because I am pretty sure there is no way to sell this game with sticking to enough core things that would allow some kind of reprint. Also will mention few things that should be addressed, but are not part of the game itself.

1) The endgame

Cash prizes were never a thing in V:tes as far back as I can remember. (Granted was not there from the start and attended only like 4 ECs) But these days, to capture good part of new players, there has to be some carrot dangling before them. The ability to earn some money, or potentially become pro player that just lives only from his winnings, has a strong pull on people these days and helps competitive events. Casual players can be deterred from the game that has complex rules, high threshold for entry and requires larger investment to start with it. On the other hand if experienced or motivated players see that there is potential to earn something on the top, they invest (profit for a company), play competitive and play a lot. (good for community)

2) The threshold

As I have mentioned above, if the game was reprinted right now, the threshold for new player would be way too high. Learning to play this game perfectly takes time, practice, reading, thinking and a lot of times spent with rulings just to be sure and that is just one part. Learning how to play five player table of experienced players is a skill, that needs to be learned as well and is not easy. And lastly, the collection. Even if we consider every possible card would be reprinted, we stand before collection issues. There is no rotation in game, so we have (not counting PDF editions) 3 500 cards to play with. And lets not forget there is not anything like a playset in V:tes. You can theoretically build a deck with 90 Blood Dolls and play with it, so its very hard to estimate how many copies of a card will you need. MTG did good with rotation. Not only that players are able to collect legal cards quickly, they can keep in mind smaller subset of cards that can be played in respective format. That still does not prevent them from collecting older cards or playing in a different format, just lowers the threshold (good for newcomers) and also makes new products to sell more. (good for company) Also complete restart would lower threshold even more, possibly could move more product for company. (Although this would probably piss a good part of old timer community) And it would be good opportunity to tamper with a core rules while we are at it.

3) The 3,6,7 dilemma

 So you have met for a V:tes night and you have this awkward number of players. Three player games are often boring, it turns to quick 2 vs 1 or someone dies quickly and you have to play longish 1v1 game, when 1v1 is just supposed to be finale. If there were some kind of "Event/Eneny/Raid" pack included in PCD, that would provide additional problems/objectives/enemy you are able to redirect bleeds or assign points from political actions, that might bring some refreshment to a three player tables. As for 6 and 7 player tables, someone often sits that out because otherwise that game will take 3 hours and that is very hard to remedy without taking out some of the core things that are true for V:tes. Because obvious things you can do to do faster games are - no deals/ timed turns/ reduced starting pool. All of which somehow favor one or the other player. Event deck might help here too, splitting that table into two, or there might be special event pack, which would introduce new threat to the game (like permanent effect of Becoming of Ennoia in play from turn 1) - though this would be tough thing to balance. And although different number of players needs to be addressed in casual games, it can get troublesome in tourneys too.

4) The 4/5 difference

Although it might seem a minor thing, if two players get maximum VPs on all of their tables, they might have different total of VPs. I am of course talking about difference on 4 and 5 player table. And though it seldom has effect, the difference should not be as significant as it is right now. Giving the table total an addition 0,5 VP or TPs might lesser the difference. It would be interesting to see comparison of tourney data and what would that do with order of players. (This would need a lot of testing and data analyzing) Now I would switch to rules themselves.

5) Cutting the obvious

Over the years the game has grown, so have the factions, types of cards and interactions. I had conversation about these things and I know a lot of people would disagree, but the game needs to by simplified. If there were only two choices - a) reprint with a ban or rehashing the rules, some of these suggestions would fall to both options, some only to one of them. If they decided, that they would reprint the game, but ban complicated cards, I would say, no problem - everything that mentions research area, imbued, events, Maleficia, Striga and few cards from the most asked about rulings list. Its very simplistic approach, but it would go long way making the game easier to learn, though its not ideal by a long stretch. If we would go for reprint, I stand by most of the choices. Every type of card that requires special subset of rules just does not need to be there and annoy new players - so yes, imbued are first on chopping block again and to be honest, research area, events, Maleficia, Striga should be removed too as unnecessary. V:tes has already enough of interactions by itself, that removing most of the special cases just makes the game smoother.

6) Streamlining combat

As much as I love combat mechanics and every aspect of it, (for years I have played lot of combat heavy decks) and it has become more complicated, than it really needs to.I cant really say that combat is too complicated, but i´t certainly did not remain in boundaries of three phases - determine range/choose strike/press - described in base rules. Although detailed play summary posted on vekn.net helps a lot, there should still be few things handle. Cards should be moved to less phases, end phase is just redundant as is pre strike window used by only a few cards. Also the "exceptions" should be smoothed out. Its painful to try explain that dodge is only strike that does not resolve, or that every effect of "combat ends and..." happens after combat, except untapping, which by card text happens first. I could go on and on, but you can see the picture. There should be clearer outline of phases and less exceptions.

7) Removing exceptions and confusions

And I mean those really annoying ones, like Caitiff status in game. It looks like a clan, it has a design of a clan, but no, it is clanless. And I know its because of lore, but in terms of game design, it just does not have place there, or has to be treated differently, because current design is just flawed. Another confusing  problem for new players is the difference between blood hunt referendum and referendum of a political and what effects can be used in it, but if you add Bernard, the Scourge or Veles Hunt, to the mix, you get a very unfortunate situation. And mind you, I know all these things, but times and times again, I had to teach new players these differences and it was just painful. Again I could continue here, but as in previous point, we need better accessibility.

8) Keywording

There is a tourney anecdote that might or might not be based on a true story. Player A played a card with a long text that player B did not know, he started explaining it and after five seconds, player B said: "Too much text, Direct Intervention." Extreme case? Maybe, but lot of V:tes cards have this giant block of text, that can just deter from close enough reading. We need to replace "Enter combat with a ready tapped minion controlled by another Methuselah" with "Rush tapped" and continue from there."Maneuver, only usable to go to close range" could be substituted with Maneuver close and so on. Wording of V:tes has become bloated in trying to express in exact words, what card does, but some things, like during X do Y are counter intuitive for players from other games, before they read clarification about it.

9) Balancing cards

If we return back to talking about possible competitiveness of the game, there needs to be a little more balancing in terms of cards, but mostly disciplines. If we look through entire history of V:tes, there are disciplines, that just stay on top for most of the time. (I am looking at you dominate!) And for a good reason, since the strong cards for them were released during Jyhad and never rotated out. Govern the Unaligned and Deflection are still so high on power curve, that adding something more powerful into the game is very problematic and balancing cards in other disciplines to match it had to pain in the butt as well to designing cards for dominate just to not add more power in in. I have to say all the designers did pretty good job around it, but all the time id had to be pretty complicated. And since Jyhad, when I see dominate, first cards I still consider playing are Govern and Deflection. Bad design? Not really, but there is a room for improvement here.

10) Play to win

We are coming full circle with this one and getting back to endgame which I started  with. If there ever should be tourneys witch prizes, "Play to win" rule has to have clearer boundaries. Which is not easy in game that has ousting, back ousting, cross table ousting, self ousting and still tries to be competitive. I have been on table, where I was accused of not playing to win, judge was called on me and after hearing my reasoning, agreed with me, that I am playing for my maximum possible VPs. I was on table, where I was really torn. I look like one person is a) playing very poorly in terms of judgement b) was not playing to win/was helping his friend to do table sweep. And that table was played in a fashion, that no one would be able to prove either way. Hell I was not sure and I was observing the play entire time. This one is tricky and I do not claim I have solution for this. To keep all the possibilities in game and at the same time limit grey areas of play is a task for a team of people. However there is need for this to be dealt with.


Conclusion

I am feeling greatly nostalgic about the game and I still do love it, but it being dead means I will move one for good. I would love to see it alive again, but I am confident, that there is no chance to market it without solving most issues I have pointed out above. And I know there will be points that many of you wont agree on and also that it is easy pointing out mistakes and not offering solutions, but I am not payed to do that. Do not get me wrong, I would jump on opportunity to make this game better, but even writing this post took a way more time than I expected and I treasure my time dearly these days. Not sure if anyone will even read this, but for those of you, that will make it to the end, thank you and I hope you will find something interesting in the paragraphs I have written. Hope to meet you in better times for V:tes.


Silmegil

Monday, November 23, 2015

End of Active V:tesing

It has been more than a year from my last blog post and this shows how my encounters and hype for V:tes looks these days. Cease of official support was great hit to the game, but I tried to fight it for as long as I can. True is, that our player base shrunk from two tables on regular basis each week to not being able to meet at all in at least four players. I missed more games in one month, than in three years before.

It is not only that, but though I still enjoyed deck building, most of other players were not bringing any new things to table. I still tried to run events, but with less of players it became unbearably difficult. Not only that, but some players often forgot about those and we ended up with having for very little people. Some of them have travelled for hour or so just to find out, that someone else have forgotten about event and we now have seven players. Holding each event or even weekly play ment that I had to make phone calls just to make sure, that everything is in place and often found out, that people simply forgot about their promises.

After three last events crashed and burned due to ignorance and inactivity, I gave up and sold my cards except for three decks. I love the game and I love community, but I will not put my time into something, that just won't mean anything in the end. I will still carry on with my duties as judge, prince or NC and I will be glad to join and play in any event if the time permits it, but it will be on more passive side.

I wish you all good luck and I hope we will meet in future on some tournament or possibly see the game resurrected again.

Best regards to you all.


PS: Even that this is irrelevant to V:tes, I will be now putting a lot of time into something, that I hope will be great in future and is awesome even now, so if someone wants to join or meet me, you can find me as Silmegil in this game:

HEX: Shards of Fate homepage

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

5 Reasons why I like Anarch Revolt

I have "discovered" this card few years ago and got really interested. It wasn't played in our playgroup at all before then (or very little). After witnessing Lutz and converts with mass revolts and banishments, it got me thinking. Now I have two decks with them and I am struggling to not put them in others. I do not want to overflow our metagame with them, so I will probably keep it to two decks maximum, but I just wanted to express how much I like this card and why.

1) Pool damage

I will start with obvious one. If it is left unchecked on table and no one else is anarch, It keeps doing 4 pool damage between your two rounds. If it stays there 5 rounds, that is 20 pool damage for one master card and that is just brutal.

2) Blood loss

Sometimes players will want to prevent themselves from taking damage from multiple revolts, they will go anarch the old fashioned way. Even when it would be done by each player in first round which that revolt hits the table, that is still 8 blood lost on the table. And all of other players were hit for one pool in that round. Which again is 4 pool damage. Additionaly, everyone spends one action doing something else, that their deck is not supposed to do initially. And that is huge loss for most decks.

3) Actions wasting

Depending on how heavy are these featured in your deck, players might start removing those revolts from play as soon as they hit the table. Although that might seem as the worst possible option for you (and it often is), it is still wasting action. More often than less, it is your predator or prey removing that card. If your prey removes it, that means that you hit him for one pool, your cross-table "buddies" are safe and he spent one action doing something else than tooling up. This is still better than if he done govern superior. If your predator has done the removing, that is even better. You just scored 4 pool damage and your predator is doing something else than tooling up or trying to oust you.

4) Speeding up the table

Whichever option is happening with those revolts, the end results are, that there are less pool on the table, less blood on the table or less tooling up. Usually that means the games are quicker, there usually are no time outs and you are not so tired after three rounds of playing. I am a fan of this, since I do not like to play until time ends, since those games are tiresome and usually not as interesting.

5) More dynamic games

When players loose their resources, they tend to do something about it. Even hardcore block decks are forced to act - either to remove revolts or make themselves anarch. They can be blocked doing this. Players that would go for removing revolts may vote against just because their prey is dying quicker than them. If nobody is able to remove them, they just go forward and try to oust their prey. Usualy there are more actions, more blocking and more interactions between players. I have experienced few games where there were 4 block decks and for two hours, almost nothing happened. I hate those games and with few revolts, they just do not happen.

That is basically it. There are some cards, that can produce similar effect, but I really like these. I am not fan of them as only ousting mechanism, but they are great as support for almost every anarch deck. Of course having too much of these deck could eventualy distort playgroups, which tend to get smaller and smaller and that players would deploy counterstrategies and eventualy the playstyle of group may chage. That is one reason why i keep only two decks with them. Another problem, which you can expect is anarch decks on the table. Your revolts won't slow them down and they may even profit from them more than you. That is why it is important to have more options for ousting.

Well that is all from me now. Just wanted to share one of my favourite cards. If you disagree with anything or just want to add som facts, feel free to comment below.

See you next time...

Saturday, May 17, 2014

How I failed at the Czech ECQ

I was prepared, that I won't be playing if the number of player would be wrong and I was pretty content with that. But in the end, pretty large number of players did not show and we ended up with 12 players only. 13 including myself, so I've played. I was not feeling entirely well after friday night, so I have chosen my Aksinya Shattering deck.

1st Game:

Aksinya's Shattering - Muaziz rush/amaranth-Vignes-Kiasyd s/b

I knew what my prey was playing and he knew my deck as well. I brought up Aksinya, he transfered Muaziz. I was pretty sure I would be able to deal with him, that I will be going backwards and try to shatter kiasyd, even offered to not redirect bleeds. Well, no chance. Aksinya was amaranthed. So Lula Burch bled him for four and was eaten. I started to transfer Aksinya out again, since it was my only option, but i knew from the start, that there was no time. So I died and table vas taken by Vignes, because he cannod be rushed.

Vignes 3 VP GW
Kiasyd s/b 1 VP

2nd Game:

Gerald Windham bleed - Mordechai Block - DoC Crescendos - Aksinya's Shattering

I was expectin this game to be pretty interesting. Balancing table, spending blood carefuly and be ready for crescendos.  Well, not the case. I did like 2 actions in this game. Third was lokis gift, which was DIed. My predator did 42 crescendo damage to my minions until I was finaly down and after that he bled me out. In the meantime, Mordechai was ousted, since Gerald had now push from me. In the end Gerald had taken the table, because my predator had ran out of crescendos. After this game, I have done 3 acions in total.

Windham 3 VP GW
DOC Crescendos 1 VP

3rd Game:

Antonio & Nephandi - Stanislava - Aksinya's Shattering - Mordechai Block - Muaziz Rush/amaranth

Well this game was not looking good from seating at all. Since I run very little stealth, mordechai was just too much. And I was not very fond of Stanislava either. But to my surprise, stanislava never got out due to early nephandus push and Mordechai was torporized by muaziz. I was able to kill them both and Nephandi ousted Stanislava. In the end I was missing one stealth or needed my revolts more early. Four of five revolts were in the last twelve cards. So no luck for me and I was ousted.

Me 2 VP
Antonio & Nephandi 3 VP GW

The last game would have been enough to qualify for Ec, which I still am not. There is no need to say, that I did not make it to finals. There is no detailed report from me, but it was won by Stanislava with 4 VP. Two games were crap and I did not qualify. Needles to say, that I was not in a best of moods. But what the hell. I missed Stockholm and I really do not want to miss Mannheim, so I will try to qualify and hope to meet everyone there.

See you next time...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Czech ECQ and Council in the Woods Storyline

I am preparing for next week right now. Czech ECQ and storyline will be held in Bystřička in Motobar Royal Star. Since I will be running the event, there is pretty good chance I will not be playing at all. It is a little sad, but I am ok with both options. When playing, I will probably choose very simple deck, so I can perform my duties and there will be very little distractions. On the other hand if not playing, I will be qualified for EC and event will more likely run smoothly.

Although the event wasn't advertised too much, we hope for good attendance and many players will be staying overnight for a storyline. The venue has beds for 30 people, but the main room should support at least 50 players if needed.

There will be some casual games and drinking on friday, ECQ on saturday and storyline on sunday. Anyone can participate in any event, but i recommend trying them all for good experience. For the ecq there will be standard tournament rules and will be played with 3R+F with 2 hours time limit for each round including finals. As for the storyline....



“Wake up, guests are on the way.”

“Really? Is it time for snack again?”

“Not that kind of guests. Apparently we were chosen for some big time meeting. I am not sure, who are they, but it looks pretty serious. I mean, there should be at least twenty delegates and they’re going to negotiate something.”

“Why would anyone that important want to meet here? They are usually used to their luxury items”
“I really do not want to know and you should not either. We just have to make sure they are comfortable and their needs are taken care of.”

“Ok, so we need to prepare for twenty of them? That should not be too complicated.”

“Twenty VIPs, but they will have their entourage with them. So this place will be packed to the roof and there will be conflicts. We need to make sure there won’t be any faux pas.”

Each delegation will get their lackey? There should be enough of them ready. I’m glad we were prepared. I will make sure they will attend to all their needs.”

“Double check on that. If someone gets pissed or if someone manages to use those lackeys against their party, we won’t live another day and it will not be pleasant. According to my info, these will be real beasts. They will probably not talk at all. All of those “talks” will be handled by their younger ones, but rest assured – they will have backup in case anything goes wrong. We have to be careful, or this place will go nuclear.”

“We should begin with the preparation right now. And hope that it will be enough.”

One after another, windows in the old house came back to life with movement and light. It will be ready for you and your minions. What about you? Will you be ready?



Rules

·        Each player receives one „Lackey“ card depending on his selection. It should be placed in a sleeve in front of a regular crypt card. In the beginning of each game it should be placed in his uncontrolled region. Lackeys are not unique and do not contest each other. They are considered independent clanless vampires. When they enter play from the uncontrolled region for the first time, their controller must choose a clan and they are enslaved to that clan for the remainder of the game.

·        Each player starts with the “Friends in High Places” in play.

·        At least 75% (e.g., 9 out of 12) of the minions in each player’s crypt must be of the same clan.
·         Slave minions (except Lackeys) can take directed actions even if there is no ready member of their enslaving clan in play.

·        There is no pool cost for moving a scarce minion into your ready region.

·        All storyline cards will be provided by organizer and you need only to bring spare sleeves for them


Cards








If you would like to attend this event, please let me know so I can have some estimate about number of people (booked rooms and food portions estimate) we should expect. Also note, that the venue only accepts czech currency and room space is limited. I will answer any question within 24 hours so feel free to ask me about anything regarding this event. Even when arriving on last minutes notice, I am sure there will be place to sleep and something to eat and definitely someone to play with, but at least some notice would be nice.

See you next time...

Friday, April 4, 2014

Still alive

I have not posted anything in a while. Seems unrelated, but probably from time I have been given NC position for Czech Republic, things just started to be more hectic. We had a little drop in attendance on our thursday plays. Still I have managed to build three new decks and I am preparing for Czech Europian Championship Qualifier and storyline which will follow after that. Since I will be running that event, I might probably end up not playing, but I do not mind at this point. I just pray for big attendance and that everyone will enjoy this event. I will follow up with post about storyline and its details, but for now, I just want to try to keep Czech Vtes on the map.

See you next time...

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Back from the NAC

I have just returned from Czech National Championship. Draft tournament was actualy huge disapoitment for me. I have drafted terribly, ended up with very fragile deck and even 5 VPs, which I got in the end were miraculous. I have ended up on 7th place out of 15 players, which is acceptable, but overall I was not very happy, so I will not write about it more. I will go for more detailed report on constructed tournament.

There were 25 attending players. This number was once again smaller than last year. I knew about some of the decks that would be present since I was bringing a lot of cards for different players and I knew, that there would be pretty nasty decks and despite being tempted even on the last minute, I went for my first decision - !Gangrel anarchs.

Game 1:
Khazar Diary - Ventrue high caps - Tzimisce wall - !Gangrel anarchs - Brujah swarm politics

This was pretty tricky table for me. I knew that my deck is slow and I probably won't be able to stop my prey from quick ousting. My predator on the other hand was pretty dangerous for me, since most of my actions are on 0 or 1 stealth. Khazar deck had pretty bad start. I had actualy figured out what deck it is only turn before the player was ousted. As predicted, I was able only to slow my prey down a little before the first oust. Only after that the game started to realy tak a left turn. My prey told the tzimisce wall, that he will be ousted in the same round when the ventrue, since he cannot afford blocking and after that tzimisce started  eagle sight blocking right away, followed by govern+conditioning bleed at one stealth sent directly to Brujah swarm. Ventrue game pretty much ended in one turn full villein and Golconda. I was able to oust my prey after that and proceeded with some more anarch revolts, which prevented Ventrue player from getting other minion out and waited with rotshreck in my hand. My prey got ousted after that and i have rotschrecked tzimisces only anarch. 4 VPs and GW for me.

Game 2:
Sebastian Goulet and allies - AAA - Giovanni hordes and conditionings - Ahrimane wall - !Gangrel anarchs

With a turn one unmasking and howler behind me, I was feeling pretty hopeless. To be honest, only hope I saw from the start was three zillah valley in three turns and pretty fast start from AAA. Hordes put up a good fight, but were overwhelmed in the end because of fast start. In that time I got pretty beaten up by ahrimanes and only thing that saved me was, that I was able to archon investigate howler. Sebastian deck was on seven minions because almost all of my actions were defensive (D) actions on ahrimanes. AAA started to worry about him (especialy after anneke lost 5 blood and alexandra burned by fear of mekhet from ahrimanes) , so I was offered a VP for two rouds of peace from my side and only defensive actions against ahrimanes. I was hanging by a thread so I agreed and my prey was ousted and ahrimanes were hit as well. I have started to prepare and played defensively. I knew ahrimanes won't be able to oust me and AAA did not have almost any cards left in library, so I saw oportunity there, but I know ahrimanes would eventualy finish me. I could see them surviving, so on second turn of defense and peace with AAA I dropped second anarch revolt in play and thanks to that, they were ousted. I knew I had very little time, so first turn there were some bleads from me, leaving two of my minions on 0 blood and aksinya on 1, with life in the city in my hand and coven on the way. AAA pentexed aksinya then rescued his minion from torpor and he retrieved kine resources contested from his ash heap and it was my last turn. I played life in the city and it got suddened. I was afraid, that it is my end and i started counting. After a while I knew i will not go without a fight. Celeste received two bloods from coven and my other minion hunted, aksinya reminded pentexed and I have bled for three instead of four. Two more bloods for anarch revolts and AAA was left on 1 pool. KRC ousted us both and I have milked the most I could. 2 VP for me.

Game 3:
!Gangrel anarchs - Eurobrujah - !toreador palla grande bleed - Ariadne with garous - Rachel Brandywine madness

I knew, that this game will be very dangerous for me. If there was good master flow, I could survive Rachel for some time. But if my hand got jammed, it would go pretty bad. Fifteen cards with only three masters pretty much left me at mercy of others. I am ashamed, but I was pretty much almost crying there. Ariadne was dying really quickly. !Toreadors were embracing like crazy. I did not have enough actions and Aksinya had to remain untapped and my prey did not think that Madness network is so strong at the begining. So in between my turns I have lost eight pool and rachel got enkil cog. It looked like I am heading for a quick death. Ariadne got ousted by then and my prey had already Donal, Constanza and Anvil out. I got a little better cardflow by then and I was able to drew into more master cards. Rachel was under the pressure from !toreadors, so she had to go for quick oust. I was able to redirect every bleed from Rachel and my prey got ousted by those bleeds. Rachel died right after, but in the heads up, I was not able to overcome superior numbers. So only 1 VP for me.

In the end 1 GW and 7 VPs were enough for fifth place, so I was going for finals. And lucky lucky  going first.

Finals:
!Gangrel anarchs - Giovanni Hordes - !toreador palla grande bleed - AAA - Ahrimane wall

I knew this game will suck right after ahrimanes decided to sit as my predator. One look down to my uncontrolled region and no Aksinya. It can happen, but three times out of four games. I was ready to start banging my head against wall, but first turn Effective Management just returned me to the game. I thought I had a chance, but no such luck. After third game where I was having trouble with master cards, I made sure to spread cards as much as possible, but when shuffling it all went to hell. My hand was full of master cards and bleed modifiers and I was barely able to do anything. I was trying to slow down ahrimanes, but it cost me a lot of blood and trying to destroy army of rats cost me even more. All my actions were of course blocked. At one point, I played fame on one of my preys vampires and torporized him with Shattering, but it cost me another minion because of shambling horde. And after that it all went to hell. AAA ousted both his predator and prey with a single ancilla empowerment. I was hit pretty bad and even with back shattering, I was ousted by Reins of Power a turn later. In heads up, ability to steal allies sealed the deal and AAA won the tournament.

Of course I was sad, that I did not win but in the end getting as far with a very toolboxy deck was very satisfying. I am little sad, that it underperformed in every single game and card draws were really bad. On the other hand even when all this, I was still able to get to finals. My spirits are up thanks to this. Here is the decklist:

Deck Name: Aksinyas Shattering
Author: Silmegil

Crypt (12 cards; Capacity min=1 max=9 avg=4.42)
===============================================
 3x  Aksinya Daclau       9  cel tha ANI FOR PRE PRO  !Gangrel:4
 4x  Anarch Convert       1                           Caitiff:ANY
 1x  Bill Butler          3  pot pro                  !Gangrel:4
 1x  Célèste Lamontagne   5  for ANI PRO              !Gangrel:4
 1x  Janey Pickman        6  for ANI PRO              !Gangrel:4
 1x  Lula Burch           3  for pro                  !Gangrel:4
 1x  Mowgli               5  ani cel FOR PRO          !Gangrel:4

Library (74 cards)
==================
Master (24)
 1x Anarch Free Press, The
 5x Anarch Revolt
 1x Archon Investigation
 5x Bay and Howl
 1x Blood Turnip
 3x Effective Management
 1x Fame
 1x Giant's Blood
 2x Life in the City
 2x Rötschreck
 1x Twilight Camp
 1x Two Wrongs

Action (19)
 2x Bum's Rush
 6x Loki's Gift
 8x Shattering
 3x Skullduggery

Action Modifier (12)
 4x CrimethInc.
 2x Leverage
 6x Monkey Wrench

Reaction (5)
 3x Friend of Mine
 2x Guard Dogs

Combat (14)
 6x Claws of the Dead
 3x Diversion
 2x Form of Mist
 3x Leathery Hide

This deck is very toolboxy and it relies on little bit of everything. One or two revolts are enough. Not to realy threaten other people pool, but to put some small pressure. If those revolts do only some damage, that is ok. Voting them off table wastes oponent actions. Leaving them be costs pool and going for anarch is costing blood, actions and leaving vulnerability to shatterings. Lokis gifts are tooling up actions. Gaining blood on one minion, getting one from another can seem like minor deal. In the end one stealth or two votes can do great things. I have seen political actions fail simply because people keep forgetting about them. I do not use stealth most of the time and I usually go for aggropoke instead. I only go for kill if I am sure that I can pull it off. And of course it always helps to not be the biggest threat on table, which this deck hardly is. Once again this was much longer than intended, so I am going to end it here.

See you next time...