file If Govern was 2 blood (analysis)

10 Jul 2018 09:55 - 10 Jul 2018 10:52 #88704 by Kraus
Kraus created the topic: If Govern was 2 blood (analysis)
Musings on what would happen if Govern the Unaligned were changed

There has been quite a bit of discussion on the forums now about banning or changing staple cards. The reasoning for this have been changing the meta (bringing a wider range of viable decks onboard) and making less powerful cards playable (diversifying the card pool).

Changes to other cards might be glanced at at the end of the text.

Name: Govern the Unaligned
[Jyhad:C, VTES:C, SW:PL2/PV, FN:PG2, CE:C/PV4, Anarchs:PAG, KMW:PAl3, Third:PTr5, HttB:PKia6/PSal4]
Cardtype: Action
Cost: 2 blood
Discipline: Dominate
[dom] (D) Bleed with +2 bleed.
[DOM] +1 stealth action. Move 3 blood from the bank to a younger vampire in your uncontrolled region.
Artist: Mark Poole; Oliver Meinerding


Govern has been a staple in both bleed and crypt acceleration, and even bloat, since the start of the game. The bleed option on inferior is on par with other best bleed actions in the game. The superior effect gives not only 3 pool, but 3 transfers as well, accelerating minion acquisition by roughly a turn for each passed Govern.

Blood vs. Pool acquisition

To evaluate the proposition, we have to agree on that “Pool is harder to gain than Blood”. Furthermore, “Loss of Pool ousts players, loss of Blood doesn’t”. For pool, you’ll need additional cards, many of which require either blood to convert (Blood Doll, Villein, etc.) or other resources (Master phase action and an extra cost [Liquidation burns the library, Powerbase Montreal requires defence]). Blood can be Hunted for.

Govern within Dominate

In addition, other Dominate actions have to be looked at: Slaughtering the Herd, Mind Rape, Scouting Mission and Dominate Kine. StH, MR and DK all cost 2 blood, and have an inferior effect of bleeding with +2 something (either +2 bleed, or +1 bleed/stealth). They all have different effects on superior, and none collide with Govern. Given the speed of a tournament level game of VtES big actions and effects are preferred, and Scouting Mission (being a free Govern with a lesser effect) falls flat. I suspect that SM would not see play even after a Govern change.

Slaughtering the Herd is a defensive tool on superior, draining blood from Predator and recouping some back; in theory it is a powerful effect. Locations are surprisingly common and often powerful these days, and Dominate Kine addresses them; in practice it is a powerful effect. Mind Rape can be comboed with many other effects to downright destroy a vampire; in practice it is a very powerful effect. Govern superior grants both pool and speeds up the influence phase; as we have seen, a very powerful effect.

These are somewhat similar in power level, and all mentioned are compared to Govern; this is often why the rest are rarely seen. The lack of stealth in the superior effects hinder them, and they are somewhat restricted. Govern can be played on superior almost always. In other words, the playability of the other three depend on the other players, Govern only checks if you are playing your game properly.

In deck building the player should always consider blocks, so a delivery mechanism should be added anyways; this is why the lack of stealth is not considered a worse hindrance.

This said, it really does seem odd that Govern costs 1 :blood: instead of 2, as it’s counterparts all cost 2, and carry a slightly worse (situational) effect. Their inferior effects are all comparable (with Slaughtering the herd having a boost against allies).

Of course, even if Govern were changed to 2 blood, it’s effect might still be preferable to the others, as demonstrated.

Govern in decks

Govern is used mostly for it’s superior effect, and gains added benefit mid-game for the inferior ability. Some decks use it only for the inferior effect in swarms. Decks that rely on the acceleration and pool management:

Inner Circle multi-action decks (Stanislava and Arika)
Tremere big-caps (:ANI: Tremere G5, Mistress Fanchion)
Ventrue Princes (G1-2 Lawfirm or G4-5 Gents with Sticks)
“Grinder” Fortitude (cap 8 downwards with Fortitude grind)
“Swedish style” Thaumaturgy Govern chain (cap 7 downwards with Mirror Walk and/or Hexaped)
“Swedish style” Obtenebration Govern chain (cap 7 downwards with Obtenebration)
Power Bleed (Giovanni, with Necromancy)
Malkavian 94 (cap 7 downwards with Obfuscate)
Kiasyd Stealth Bleeds

In these the Govern bleed ability is used in tandem with superior effect, but rely more on the speed and pool from it. For comparison, a cap 2-4 swarm Dominate deck only uses it for bleed effect, where it is best because of the 1 :blood: cost.

These decks are briefly discussed below, with the consideration that Govern would cost 2 blood. Note, that when estimating the lost blood, remember that blocked action cards are not paid. Some decks plan to stealth through for passed actions, some decks are fine with some blocked (no cost is paid). The estimate is compared to if Govern was 1 blood.

Decks:

Stanislava and Arika can use Mind Rape as well, but Govern is used for crypt acceleration. Freak Drives cost Arika blood, and Protean stealth costs Stanislava blood. There is no replacement for Govern in these decks. Mind Rape can recoup lost blood for both, and Voter Captivation for Arika. These decks plan to pass actions, so every govern loses them a single blood, with an estimate of 5-6 lost blood per game (Governs are played in 6-8 copies).

Tremere use Govern in their big-cap decks for crypt acceleration. There is no replacement for Govern in these decks. They often avoid combat altogether with Mirror Walk and Obedience, or use :ANI: :THA:, which is very blood friendly. Few of their other cards use up blood. They plan to pass their actions, but some Govern bleeds might be lost to blocks. An estimate of 4-5 lost blood per game (Governs are played in roughly 8 copies).

Ventrue Princes do not stealth, but have many actions. Both recoup blood with Voter Captivation, and the combat version aims to not lose blood in combat, and sometimes gain it through Taste of Vitae. Blood generation is moderate. Both versions plan to have their actions blocked, with key actions only passing. An estimate of 4-5 blood lost per game (Governs are played in 6-10 copies). As in some versions Zillah’s Valley is used to influence out princes to fuel Parity Shift, Govern can be sometimes changed with Dominate Kine to steal locations instead of contesting them.

!Ventrue grinder decks often showcase hunting grounds and Owain Evans. Their blood generation is excellent. They expect to have many of their actions blocked, with key actions passing (alongside bleeds of 1). Governs are used on superior only in first turns, more used in bleeds. An estimate of 4-5 blood lost per game (Governs are played in 8-10 copies). Here Slaughtering the Herd could be an option for its defensive superior effect.

Swedish Style mid-cap stealth bleeds use Govern only in first turns to accelerate for (almost) free minions, and then use Govern for bleed only. They aim to pass their actions, and have no other plan than to bleed fast and hard. They have low blood generation, using Coven often. These are the only deck that might consider Scouting Mission in this scenario. They might use Slaughtering the Herd to deal with allies. The added blood cost hurts them the most, with an estimate of 6-8 blood lost per game (Governs are played in 10+ copies).

The above applies to Giovanni power bleed as well.

Malkavian 94 already struggle somewhat with blood, but they have Mariel Lady Thunder to deal with the most oppressive combats. They are somewhat more opportunistic than Power Bleeds and Swedish Styles, and so may resort to hunting. Still, the same as above applies.

Kiasyd would most likely resort solely to Gremlins if Govern were changed.

In conclusion to this section, big caps already have the capacity to play govern even on 2 blood. They might need to Villein for a few less blood, and prepare for combat and blood gain more. Often it might mean adding a Hunting ground or other masters to gain blood, or an extra copy of Voter Captivation. A few cards of extra combat defence might be needed. Mid-caps already boast a robust blood gain if need be, but those decks that aim for 7-caps to govern down 3 or 4 caps will find that the weenies cannot handle the extra costs because of their low capacity.

Of course The Slow Withering and Blood Cult Awareness Network make a mockery of this analysis.

Govern for other decks

There are decks that use inferior level of dominate for Deflection. Some might use Govern in some amounts for extra bleed, but more often those decks already have another oust mechanism (Animalism or Chimestry). Governs would be replaced by in-clan oust mechanisms. This is not enough to shake the meta on their part however. Inferior level of dominate will still be good just for Deflection.

Many decks outside of those mentioned do not care about the change. Weenie dominate would disappear in favour of weenie Presence, and the already dominant weenie Dementation would gain more leverage. Big cap decks slow down for the amounts of some blood per game, which would mean for some easier ousts for Dementation. As a pure bleed discipline Dementation would take the lead, if it hasn’t already. Dominate and Presence would retain their role as multi-use disciplines, with Presence boasting more blood gain and more affordable bleed, and Dominate being reserved for mostly singular expensive but game shaking actions.

In conclusion about deck choices, big caps would persevere, grinder dominate decks would survive and adapt, and super fast mid-cap+weenie strategies would die out and be replaced by Presence, and even more so Dementation.

In conclusion about dominate’s inner balance, Slaughtering the Herd might replace Govern on inferior in some instances (in a meta where allies are prevalent, as seems to be a future trend), but Dominate Kine or Mind Rape would still keep their niche. Scouting Mission might make those 7-cap decks pushing down (as 6-cap could still come out in a turn with SM) doable, but rarely better than Dementation. Scouting Mission would still not be seen in bigger cap decks as a replacement for Govern. Govern would still be the best Dominate card, just not the best card in the game.

Disclaimer: It has to be understood, that in competitive play people will always use the best possible option. Even with the change Govern would be the best option for Dominate. Thus, the power level of Dominate as a whole would diminish slightly; choices of cards within dominate would scarcely diversify.

When larger crypts suffer slightly (consistency suffers when more blood gain is required), more consistent weenie decks reign supreme. Weenie ANI and DEM gain a bit of leverage. Ally decks do are unaffected, since they are already weak to vote decks; a deck type that relies on Govern somewhat.

Other cards for errata

It has been said that Deflection or Conditioning should be errated as well. The change to Govern would rein in Dominate as it is, and no change to Conditioning will be required. Deflection being as it is is crucial for the game balance, and the ability for many decks to survive the current meta. The existence of Narrow Minds already reins in Deflection.

Finishing words

There has been some discussion about the power levels of cards, most of which has sparked some unnecessarily heated discussion, and is fuelled by bias and personal feelings. Of course this analysis is not free of bias either, but it aims to consider meta relevant decks in an objective manner. If this would be good for the game is, as always, up to debate.

You are of course invited to point out oversights within the text, and where I would be plain wrong.

"Oh, to the Hades with the manners! He's a complete bastard, and calling him that insults bastards everywhere!"
-Nalia De-Arnise

Facebook @ VtES: Joensuu
Last Edit: 10 Jul 2018 10:52 by Kraus.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Lönkka, Ratadin, Snodig

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10 Jul 2018 10:41 #88705 by Jazzbeaux
Jazzbeaux replied the topic: If Govern was 2 blood (analysis)

Name: Govern the Unaligned
[Jyhad:C, VTES:C, SW:PL2/PV, FN:PG2, CE:C/PV4, Anarchs:PAG, KMW:PAl3, Third:PTr5, HttB:PKia6/PSal4]
Cardtype: Action
Cost: 2 blood
Discipline: Dominate
[dom] Bleed with +2 bleed.
[DOM] +1 stealth action. Move 3 blood from the bank to a younger vampire in your uncontrolled region.
Artist: Mark Poole; Oliver Meinerding



How about this option?

Govern the Unaligned
Type: Action
Requires: Dominate
Cost: 1 blood
This card costs an additional blood if capacity is below 6
[dom] (D) Bleed with +2 bleed.
[DOM] +1 stealth action. Move 3 blood from the bank to a younger vampire in your uncontrolled region.

Would slow weenie acceleration, while still making it viable for higher capacity vamps.

Sam

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10 Jul 2018 18:06 #88721 by DJHedgehog
DJHedgehog replied the topic: If Govern was 2 blood (analysis)
Govern the Unaligned
Type: Action
Requires: Dominate
Cost: 0 blood
[dom] (D) Bleed with +1 bleed.
[DOM] +1 stealth action. This vampire burns 1 blood to move 3 blood from the bank to a younger vampire in your uncontrolled region.

Scouting Mission
Type: Action
Requires: Dominate
Cost: 0 Blood
[dom] D Bleed at +1 Bleed
[DOM] +1 Stealth Action. This vampire may place two blood from the blood bank on a vampire in your uncontrolled region.

This fixes both cards as far as I'm concerned. Govern loses a tooth, but is still playable and flexible. Scouting mission loses the clause that forces it on a younger vampire, so it becomes a more flexible "thing" or "reunion Kamut".

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10 Jul 2018 19:37 - 10 Jul 2018 19:38 #88727 by elotar
elotar replied the topic: If Govern was 2 blood (analysis)
I actually like the idea of 2 :blood: cost. It's quite elegant, will make the card in line with other +2 bleed actions and solve many power problems.

Also it will provide some benefit of adding one blood +2 bleed actions from other disciplines or forth tradition to :DOM: decks.

:splat: NC Russia
:DEM::san::nec::cap4:
Last Edit: 10 Jul 2018 19:38 by elotar.

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10 Jul 2018 20:48 - 10 Jul 2018 20:50 #88730 by Kraus
Kraus replied the topic: If Govern was 2 blood (analysis)

I actually like the idea of 2 :blood: cost. It's quite elegant, will make the card in line with other +2 bleed actions and solve many power problems.

Which power problems will it solve though? My conclusion was that it doesn't actually solve almost any 'problems'. At least I couldn't identify any.

The only 'problem' I see here is the inbalance within Dominate's action pool, and adding an extra blood doesn't really diversify their use much, if at all. Scouting Mission might find a place in mid-cap bleed, but then again, as said, DEM already does this better, more or less.

What are those problems in present meta?

Fourth Tradition is a good catch, but would probably still not be used. If it didn't cost blood, sure, but not really as it is. Govern's versatility would still trump it.

Would slow weenie acceleration, while still making it viable for higher capacity vamps.

I'm claiming it would still be viable in big caps even with 2 :blood: cost. It's really debatable if weenie dominate should even be hit.

"Oh, to the Hades with the manners! He's a complete bastard, and calling him that insults bastards everywhere!"
-Nalia De-Arnise

Facebook @ VtES: Joensuu
Last Edit: 10 Jul 2018 20:50 by Kraus.

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10 Jul 2018 21:22 #88733 by Lech
Lech replied the topic: If Govern was 2 blood (analysis)
Well, if there are no downsides, why not going for 2 blood cost ? It will change for some blood-starved decks and speed up the game (less poolgain from villein).

The only decent nerf to conditioning would be (if any is needed):
Conditioning
Action Modifier
1 Blood
:dom: +1 Bleed (limited).
:DOM: +3 Bleed (limited).

There is already Redirection in place of Deflection, so players wouldn't just splash dominate. There need to be some new cards to deal with s&b and powerbleed.

:laso: :CEL: :DOM: :OBT: :POT: :cap8:
Sabbat.Black Hand Shakar: Lech loathe ranged weapons. Once each action, he may burn 1 blood to become Camarilla Prince of Krakow until the end of the action.

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