"Ayelech" by Samuel Araya for Vampire: The Eternal Struggle Fifth Edition.
Greetings fellow Methuselahs,
GET READY FOR VTES FIFTH EDITION “SPOILER SEASON”!
Black Chantry Productions tells that during February content of the upcoming VTES Fifth Edition will be revealed on Blackchantry.com and in social media channels. First you will be shown some artwork, and then, after the final playtesting has been concluded and everything is nailed, more information will appear and, eventually, actual cards will be spoiled. At the same time distributors will start making the orders on which the first print run sizes are based, so don´t forget to remind your friendly local game store to prod their distributors about getting stock.
Some Fifth Edition card art was shown in the November and December newsletters, and above is yet another piece: Ayelech, a Tremere Kindred, by the always excellent artist Samuel Araya.
Want to know more about Fifth Edition? Please read Ben Peal's product update in the last newsletter.
The organisers behind the VTES European Championship 2020 has launched the official website: vtes.orava.org/ec2020. The event will be held in Helsinki, Finland on July 24-26 at Ropecon, a huge convention for analogue games. Besides the normal EC tournaments there will be a Week of Nightmares, the European Grand Prix final and all kinds of fun and hospitality - check out the site for more information. Registration is not open yet, but please follow EC 2020 in social media and register early!
MAJOR TOURNAMENTS IN FEBRUARY: CHILE AND CANADA
If you are in the vincity, don´t miss the second South American Cup tournament! It is played in Santiago, Chile on February 22. The venue is Kaiju Sekai and the organiser is Gonzalo Andrés del Rio Díaz. More details are in the VEKN Event Calendar.
Also, the fourth of the North American Cup is played on February 23 at Mancala Monk in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, organised by Tim Fowler. Bring your best deck!
CLARIFICATION: LIMITED TOURNAMENTS
Members of the VEKN board have received questions about if it could be possible to get VEKN tournament ranking for other events than the normal standard constructed tournaments and “classic” limited formats booster draft and sealed deck. Answer: It is! For any tournament with the organiser's own limited rule variants, use the Limited Tournament Rules (and thus the Limited ranking).
The opening paragraph (7) in the Limited Tournament Rules says this: “The rules in this section apply to all Limited tournaments, including Sealed-Deck tournaments (sections 7.3 and 7.4) and Draft tournaments (sections 7.5, 7.6, 7.7, and 7.8).” This means the named paragraph covers Sealed-Deck and Draft, but not that other limited tournaments are excluded.
To illustrate this, and as a clarification, a new section 7.9 containing some examples of "restricted" tournaments has been added.
- “Draft cube”: Use the Limited Tournament Rules.
- Tournament with only Sabbat vampires: Use the Limited Tournament Rules.
- Tournament with Black Chantry-printed cards only: Use Limited Tournament Rules.
- Tournament with only Jyhad-backed cards allowed: Use the Limited Tournament Rules.
Please, note that all general tournament rules apply. For example, that the event needs to be entered in the VEKN calendar and advertised, and its results reported, etc.
Hopefully this clarification will open minds for new ideas for all competitive players out there. Have fun!
CLASSIC DECKS: THE GORATRIX WALL
It´s been a while since we had one of these meaty strategy articles in this newsletter, but we´re glad to return to that tradition. This time we asked 2018 Grand Prix Europe champion and all around fantastic Finnish person Mika Nurmikolu to tell us about one of the most notorious decks of the game, the Goratrix Wall.
Before we start, lets have a look at one of his own successful versions of the deck:
Ropecon 2018 Finnish Grand Prix
Helsinki, Finland - July 28th 2018
49 players - Winner: Mika Nurmikolu
Crypt (12 cards, min=4, max=40, avg=6.17)
4x Goratrix 10 ANI AUS DOM THA vic Tremere antitribu:2
4x Anarch Convert 1 -none- Caitiff:ANY
2x Omaya 7 ANI AUS FOR pro Gangrel antitribu:2
1x Anastasz di Zagreb 8 AUS THA ani cel dom justicar Tremere:3
1x Anton 8 ANI AUS cel obf vic Tzimisce:2
Library (88 cards)
Master (20; 5 trifle)
4x Anarch Revolt
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Erciyes Fragments, The
1x Giant's Blood
1x Guardian Angel
2x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Powerbase: Montreal
1x Rack, The
1x Smiling Jack, The Anarch
1x Sudden Reversal
1x Aranthebes, The Immortal
1x Army of Rats
1x Deep Song
3x Magic of the Smith
2x Nose of the Hound
1x Rutor's Hand
1x Carlton Van Wyk
1x Mylan Horseed
1x Neighborhood Watch Commander
1x Bowl of Convergence
1x Heart of Nizchetus
1x Ivory Bow
1x Kevlar Vest
1x Ruins of Ceoris
1x Murder of Crows
Action Modifier (2)
2x Enkil Cog
1x Breath of the Dragon
1x Canine Horde
7x Carrion Crows
6x Cats' Guidance
5x Eagle's Sight
2x Enhanced Senses
6x Eyes of Argus
2x My Enemy's Enemy
2x On the Qui Vive
2x Read the Winds
6x Sense the Savage Way
5x Telepathic Misdirection
Hi Mika! We know you like this deck archetype, but would you still consider taking this deck to a tournament in 2020?
- Both yes and no! “Yes” because it works well in a variety of situations, being (in my humble opinion) a tier 1 toolbox with decent resources to handle almost any kind of table composition, if luck is on your side. “No” because if Goratrix is contested, it is game over, man – if you are unable to act, your prey and predator will be on you like students on a free bowl of spiked party punch. Also, the deck generates a lot of unnecessary table hate. If you think you can manage to soothe the sometimes irrational disposition of your fellow Methuselahs, you should consider piloting this deck, even though it will be in contest with me, at least... ;)
How do you play this deck successfully?
- I have some general points, applying to a variety of decks, but especially this one: Keep the table opinion from turning against you by being a nice player. The others have already a reason to watch you closely, and unfortunately the deck suffers from being a star vampire deck, and an easy one to recollect. Everybody remembers how they lost to Goratrix no matter what they tried to do. They also remember how they lost to combat, but they cannot probably name any single vampire whose fault that was, just that there were fangs and arms and heads flying in every direction, but with combat that is expected.
Being seat 1 is the worst for this deck – with 1 transfer if you do not have Dreams in your opening hand, you are massively delayed. Your only possibilities are bringing up an Anarch Convert or discarding like a maniac to dig up some Dreams, which will not usually work. At the beginning of the game, transfer on Goratrix, and possibly bring an Anarch Convert if you are on seat 3 or 4. The other vampires are there only to complement Goratrix, and if somebody (your predator) knows you are playing Goratrix but do not have him on the table, they will overextend themselves to get free hits on you while they can. Try to look like you are playing another kind of deck and do not give any hints during the early rounds, for example do not discard Sense the Savage Way or Magic of the Smith to give useful information to your evil buddies.
When Goratrix arrives, gauge the table response. You can block everything, but generally you should not. Do not threaten people around the table that you are going to be breathing on their necks if stuff does not happen. Nobody likes it when their cross-table ally tries to boss them around. Instead, wait for people to open the conversation about deals with you. It will happen, without you needing to take the initiative, since people know you are Goratrix and you can block everything. Being open to suggestive suggestions will further enhance your benevolent image. In addition, best value from deals comes if you do not need to spend any resources while keeping your word, for example if somebody asks you, you can tell them that "I will not Eagle's Sight you if you do A or B this turn" et cetera. It is polite, even more so if you currently do not have Eagle's Sight in your hand, and they will be in your debt.
Do not be a kingmaker or give up, always try to scrape up some VPs to justify your wicked deeds to other unsuspecting minions that were trying to stealth past. The deck has great staying power over time if you hedge your bets carefully. If and when you must be an ass and block someone when they are going to win, try to be polite about it, and also at the same time make you win instead. The others will understand – and also make your life easier in the next tournament :P
If somebody zeroes in on you and goes all in to oust you, use it to your advantage. Deflect a bleed of 2, feign a crap hand, then bounce an unblockable bleed of 7. Some players will stop for nothing to get an oust on Goratrix – let their hate earn you VPs.
The deck is rather slow and gains power over time. Thus, let your prey do your work for you by softening your grandprey. Keep up the incentive by blocking any pool gain actions, such as superior Govern the Unaligned or Salubri “fill'em ups”, to make them use the Governs to move towards their prey and the pool waiting there. Other actions, like getting a .44 Magnum, depend on the deck of your prey. Toreador Celerity gun combat? Bad news, you have to block all their gun equips, and hope they do not pack Concealed Weapon. A Political or a bleed deck that has Magnums just in case? Fine, costs 2 pool and will not hurt you anyway, unless they go for the retainers.
If you are unsure what to fetch, the first Magic of the Smith should get the Heart of Nizchetus. With it in play you can fix your hand against anything, pick the perfect master cards and cycle out the win conditions that you want to play later. Against combat, Ruins of Ceoris, Ivory Bow or Kevlar Vest is probably a better first pick, though. A nice trick – when you have the Heart and happen upon another Magic of the Smith, keep the second in your hand if the situation is not urgent. The heap of unused nice stuff at the bottom of your library is easily shuffled back by playing another Magic of the Smith and chuckling maniacally!
Does the deck have a best possible seating?
- The ideal predator would be a stealth-bleed, bruise-bleed or weenie bleed deck. Stealth-bleed is perhaps the best, especially if it has few ways to bleed responsibly. With a heavy bleeder as a predator, you can easily claim 2 VP and then timeout, resulting in a GW. Bruise-bleed can be good if you manage to cope with the bruising part, for example if they have no rushes. Weenie bleed is the most annoying of the three as far as the ideal predators go, because even you can run out of blocking power and they have plenty of minions. Try to make every block count and get them to torpor with Carrion Crows plus steal 2, then block rescues to starve their actions. Also, Aranthebes, the Immoral will stop them dead in their tracks.
Another group of nicer-than-average predators is voters without massive stealth. You can make deals with them to let votes pass, and block the votes you dislike. This requires finesse, so be careful if you sense they are going to renege on a deal, for example, on a high-value vote such as Parity Shift or Banishment. After all, you do your part first, and if they change their mind after they have not been blocked, you will end up with the shortest straw, although you can block all of their votes later (should you survive).
Stickmen decks will be good if you resist the temptation to block their bleeds, and instead bounce them. Note that any vampire with superior Fortitude and more than two blood will be able to Kiss of Ra you to torpor without any questions asked, and a decent predator will turn instantly into a horrible one. The only consolation will be that they cannot untap with Freak Drive and diablerize, but with an AUS/FOR predator you will never get Goratrix out of torpor yourself, so watch out for them, and block only with Omaya who has FOR herself, or some vampires that are expendable.
Ally decks without aggressive combat are also fine – Goratrix can hold Legionnaires, Shambling Hordes or Nephandi at bay quite easily, if you do not run out of untap at a critical moment. Watch out for the Pentex though, and keep a Sudden Reversal and/or 2+ bounces in your hand if an ally deck is waiting to lunge.
Nice preys will usually be anything with large non-threatening vampires you can block. Political decks – make deals with them. Bloat decks – block all their bloat. Bleed decks – let them soften your prey and bleed them meanwhile, Eagle's Sighting or Life Booning their win away from them. An additional benefit is if your prey cannot bounce the bleeds you will be bouncing to them!
And what is this deck archetype's most problematic preys and predators?
- One particularly nasty group is other wall decks with a better combat module. You will need to stack cards on Goratrix in order for him to come up on top in the late-game combats. If you are constantly and consistently blocked, you cannot gear up. Your hand will jam with useful cards you cannot use. In these kinds of situations, try to make a deal with the other block deck that you both can fetch gear on your vampires on 1 per 1 basis. Unless absolutely necessary, do not block them if they are playing card-based combat and you get a feeling that they can kick your undead butt in combat. A naked Goratrix is an easy prey to a red hand. Also, do not overextend yourself when blocking – there´s nothing worse than getting the Kiss of Ra from a random Govern down...
The deck is slow to cause pool loss, so if your prey somehow bloats and you cannot prevent it, your game will proceed at a snail's pace. The best play then will probably be to let them influence out more minions to overextend their pool. They will probably not care about you if they have built a decent pool buffer and will be harassing your grandprey. If your grandprey goes into defensive mode, your grandpredator hopefully can stall your predator and you can try to do something, so bleed for 1 and 2 whenever you can. But with a little bit of bad luck and no Eagle's Sights, your grandprey will be gone quite soon.
Dedicated ranged or melee combat, expendable weenies, or anything with aggro are dangerous. Your maximum ranged damage per round is 2 from Carrion Crows and steal 2, which can discourage but not stop Celerity gun decks, especially if they have a Taste in their hand. An Animalism weenie deck can whittle you down by rushing you with minions on 1 blood, and Goratrix has no way of dealing with aggravated damage. Try to leverage Omaya with Crows or gear up quickly to protect yourself against combat, otherwise you will have to count on cross-table rescues.
What are the most obvious changes you would do to the version above?
- Add any cards! It´s 88 cards only because I ran out of my lucky sleeves from Palma, but the deck still managed to win :P Some general suggestions: More Deflections, Gambit Accepted (just for the giggles), Constant Revolution, Revelations.
Some more situational adaptations: If there are lots of ally decks, there will probably be ally hate too, so remove Mylan Horseed and Carlton Van Wyk and replace with Kindred Segregation and Far Mastery. Strangely enough, usually nobody wants to steal Neighbourhood Watch Commander.
If there is no combat, free minions in torpor are harder to come by, so remove Graverobbing and perhaps Breath of the Dragon and Nose of the Hound (the Nose is great when you can surprise rush a weakened vampire, but if there is no combat, there are fewer good targets)
If you suspect aggro combat, put in Rego Motus, but your best bet is staying out of combat whenever you can.
Do you have any other tips and comments?
- The original version has 7 Auspex bounces (2 My Enemy´s Enemy, 5 Telepathic Misdirection, and 2 Dominate bounces (2 Deflection). Adding a few more probably will not hurt, and maybe remove Mylan, his value is debatable nowadays with so much ally hate going around. Breath of the Dragon is a one-off surprise due to Finnish Politics :P but if your metagame prefers discussion, it can be dropped. It is of great value against Celerity gun combat, though!
Generally, try not to discard your essential late-game cards, which can include but are not limited to the following, depending on the deck composition: Army of Rats, Canine Horde (for taking out their crucial piece of equipment, it works against all equipment, not just weapons!), Revelations, Rutor's Hand, Enkil Cog, Constant Revolution, Gambit Accepted, Life Boon (it actually works!), Smiling Jack, The Anarch, Pentex Subversion (for contesting) and Sudden Reversal (to sudden a Pentex, of course). Keep them in your hand for the beginning of the game and play them later at a critical moment. Especially Smiling Jack will bring you tables when you have your defenses set up.
But what crazy shenanigans are up with the Gambit Accepted, you may ask? Well, it is a rather modern addition to the mix and it has several effects: 1) Drain 1 pool per turn from your prey and sit behind your wall, just chilling and winning, and 2) Your predator will become super-reckless in order to get you, and you can use this momentum to your advantage, and the hidden third factor: 3) You insulate your game against the other Methuselahs remaining at the table – nobody in their right mind will want to help your predator anymore in this game when you interrupt their deal-making with your casual observation of the card text. The reaction should be akin to "What, 6 pool and 2 VPs from an oust?! Sorry man, no deal, that's just too obscene, you will have to take Goratrix down yourself."
With this last bit of experimental addition I wish you good luck to your games, and may your tables always be interesting, if not successful!
Thanks Mika for this thorough rundown. If you like articles such as this, also have a look at the previous ones:
• Ventrue lawfirm
• Kindred Spirits stealth-bleed
• Auspex weenie wall
Do you want to contribute to the newsletter with a strategy article like this? If you think you have what it takes, please contact the editor Henrik.
• To celebrate that VTES "parent game" Vampire: The Masquerade is released in Polish soon, a special Polish-related VTES promo crypt card has been created. It´s a Malkavian, it´s an anarch, and his name is Boleslaw Gutowski. Follow Black Chantry in social media for the full reveal!
• VTES is soon available in French! Both the First Blood intro decks and the four Sabbat-themed precon decks have been translated - read the full announcement here.
• Getting the first VTES Legacy Card Singles is up on Drivethrucards as promised proved more difficult than expected. But they will all be there very soon, even the mighty Ur-Shulgi!
• Round 3 of playtesting VTES Fifth Edition is now over, and Black Chantry wants to thank everyone that has participated in both testing the cards and giving feedback on the new rulebook.
• Chief Marketing Ghoul Henrik Klippström is preparing the Fifth Edition "spoiler season" mentioned at the top of this newsletter, trying to present the news in a delicate way to kindle the interest in both old Methuselahs and fresh Neonates.
• Art Director Ginés Quiñonero oversees the creation of a new, modern graphic profile for VTES, including a new logo. But don´t worry, card backs will not be affected! This will be made public in February. For more about Ginés, we recommend the recent Bindusara interview with him.
• Currently 18 Black Chantry products are available through Drivethrucards.com and other stores:
- Lost Kindred bundle
- Keepers of Tradition Reprint Bundle 1
- Keepers of Tradition Reprint Bundle 2
- Heirs of the Blood Reprint Bundle 1
- Heirs of the Blood Reprint Bundle 2
- Den of Fiends Preconstructed Deck
- Libertine Ball Preconstructed Deck
- Pact with Nephandi Preconstructed Deck
- Parliament of Shadows Preconstructed Deck
- Anthology I bundle
- VTES Card Creator (Drivethrucards only)
- 25th Anniversary
- First Blood: Malkavian
- First Blood: Nosferatu
- First Blood: Toreador
- First Blood: Tremere
- First Blood: Ventrue
- VTES Legacy Card Singles (Drivethrucards only)
Do you have opinions or questions for Black Chantry? Start a topic on the VEKN forum, or contact the company by e-mail, Facebook or Twitter.
RECENT NEWS IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS
Some particularly interesting news about Vampire: The Masquerade and World of Darkness this month:
• The fourth season of the actual play Twitch show “LA by Night” begun airing on January 31.
• On January 30 White Wolf posted a World of Darkness community survey for all fans to answer. This includes questions which affects VTES, so please participate!
• "Vein Pursuit" is a new streamed tabletop role-playing game vampire chronicle preceding the events of the upcoming "Bloodlines 2" computer game. All episodes of the campaign can be watched weekly on Twitch.tv/WorldOfDarkness starting January 31, and is available for replay on the World of Darkness Youtube channel.
• Flyos Games launches the Kickstarter campaign for Vampire: The Masquerade - Chapters on February 4. Check it out if you´re into co-op adventure!
February 1: Dawn of a new era - Santiago, Chile
February 1: Red cards will keep you warm - Logroño, La Rioja, Spain
February 1: Ahrimane Protectorate I: Rat's Warning - Helsinki, Finland
February 2: Crusade: Jacintinho - Maceió, Brazil
February 8: UK Nationals - Leeds, United Kingdom
February 8: The Comeback - São Paulo, Brazil
February 8: Bloody february - Madrid, Spain
February 8: Abomination 2 - New Holland, United States
February 8: Feijocards Limited - Fortaleza, Brazil
February 8: Torneio de Fevereiro na Red - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
February 9: Dutch ECQ: the Secret Library of Montfoort - Utrecht, Netherlands
February 9: Manacor Blood - Manacor, Spain
February 9: Aftermath - Leeds, United Kingdom
February 9: Blood of Valentine - Verona, Italy
February 15: La Serena By Night - La Serena, Chile
February 15: Shadows Theater - La Pobla de Vallbona, Spain
February 15: Granada by Night Feb 2020 - Granada, Spain
February 15: Road to EC: New Blood - Joensuu, Finland
February 15: Monde de merde - Lyon, France
February 16: Tension in the Ranks - Toluca de Lerdo, Mexico
February 22: South American Cup 2020 - Santiago, Chile
February 22: Under the Blood Moon - Middlesbrough, United Kingdom
February 23: Transfer of Power Hamilton: North American Cup V - Hamilton, Canada
February 23: Black Night 2020 - Palma de Mallorca, Spain
February 29: 3rd Tragic Love Affair - Espoo, Finland
February 29: Silesia by Night - Katowice, Poland
For more information on upcoming events see the V:EKN Event Calendar.
You can contact the V:EKN Inner Circle members using contact forms at V:EKN.net. Also follow the V:EKN Facebook group, the official V:TES Facebook page Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and the official V:EKN Twitter account @VEKN_VTES
“Become who you are!”