file SPLIT: Ashur Tablets and Liquidation

21 Mar 2019 14:59 - 21 Mar 2019 15:00 #94196 by Lech
Ok, longer than not this:

You can't really make counter cards that affect this unless they are good enough even if no counter is present. It's easier and more elegant to target degenerate cards like Ashur's Tablets, GtU, Deflection, Parity Shift, .44 directly.

Part of the problem is that there are no half-pool/blood counters which makes costing adequately cards problematic, second part is sheer power of master cards to make them playable in single-master card, and their recursion which increase deck quality a lot. IF its hit by hate card, it will render weaker cards from that niche unplayable.

: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.
Last edit: 21 Mar 2019 15:00 by Lech.
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21 Mar 2019 19:19 - 21 Mar 2019 19:41 #94198 by Kraus
Krausedit\\ This ended up being a mile long. tldr: ...there is no tldr. Sry.

I really don't see Ashur's as a problem. I think it is fun to play against those decks, mainly because, in my experience, they can be thwarted. Then again, I don't play in tournaments, so I'll just have to continually miss the points people make about its "problems."

I do enjoy playing against them as well. But then again I enjoy playing against anything and everything that is not Gehenna spam. And that is only because resolving every action and effects takes effin' ages. But yes: like it or not, debate it however, a tournament meta and a casual meta are different things. I personally thoroughly enjoy both, but they ARE different things. Counting VPs instead of always, always going for maximum points and GW make games very different.

That's why you see us constantly swimming up-stream against the majority of players (on VEKN forums anyways) to talk about card balance and bans. I want the meta to shift. I want the things that are powerful to move out of the way for something new and different..

I'll have you know that I whole heartedly agree with this.

And this is partly why I don't think that counter cards and silver bullets will kill a such a broadly powerful and robust card like Ashur Tablets.

Trochomancy is somewhat of an answer, but will hardly stop those decks in their tracks. Seating might make Trochomancy void as well. It's also only properly usable by such a small list of vampires. Of course a single :nec: level will enable the hate part, but then it's a dead card in so many different situations. That silver bullet targeting will not make for better game experiences, I think, nor will it add new strategies to the game.

Unless we get a whole lot of different kinds of Ashur and recursion hate readily available for plenty of different disciplines, clans and sects, and in a way that is actually playable even in a non-Ashur meta, we won't see a good enough silver bullet to actually work against them.

I mean I would love to see that happen. Something for Nosferatu and !Nosferatu that has a theme of digging up skeletons in closets (ash heap is the vamps' history, can be leveraged), something to vote for, something for anarch only... And if those had combos within those sects or clans already, they could make for valid strategies in their own right. It's just a bonus that you could hamper Ashurs with them.

I mean I would love to see that happen.

But still, some combos and strategies are just so robust that it really wouldn't hurt to narrow them down a bit. Usually cards that feed themselves (don't really need other card interaction) are the worst culprits. Govern isn't that bad, since it's just a single powerful card, but needs support cards to get them through. True, Ashurs need those extra master phases, but you already do that with just your transfers. You don't really need to play other cards to enable them. Playing Ashurs gets you Ashurs, which enable the rest of your stuff.

The same could be said about Legionnaires, even though I don't find them that problematic (since they still function with restrictions that apply to minions as a whole). They suffer from the same issue, however. One card feeds other copies of that card, instead of feeding other cards.

Almost everything else in the game needs other cards to work with, or to enable them. To get the best out of Magnums you need additional strikes, and cards to actually equip them (often). To succeed in chimestry's perma-lock actions you need (often) a shit ton of stealth to deliver them. Both strategies also require a hefty allotment of pool/blood.

Ashur only needs you to play your cards to get the benefit. With the vampire you chose to begin with (Nana, Cybele, Anson).

Even if we would get decent counter cards to Ashur spam, it doesn't change the fact that Ashur as a strategy is so robust that people should still most likely play them. There is practically no risk, or very little risk, to choosing the Ashur style to begin with (aside of contest). Playing S&B you still need to consider your blood generation, pool generation, combat defenses...

You get two out of three already from Ashurs, as well as consistency.

Also, you'll have to do quite a bit of hard decisions in the game with any sort of a deck. Arguably control and combat decks need to make a bit more of them. Arguably bleed decks have to make less meaningful choices, but they have to make pretty hard choices as well. Ashurs kind of take away from the choice department, since you'll have a supply of cards you can most likely play without others interacting with you, and resupply your deck with the cards you need most, and keep pounding.

This all been said, I do understand that there are multiple ways of playing against Master spams. I play them myself. Stealing locations has never been more interesting a choice, since getting rid of their Parthenon really slows them down. All sorts of contest shenanigans work against them. You can (and, in my opinion, always should) gang up on the MMPA deck from turn one, and players who won't often (of course not always) will lose to the MMPA deck in the heads up.

[quick story: tournament, 4 player table: me (Dracon) > Cybele MMPA > Mithras > Aksinya (I dunno what). Cybele brings Aksinya first, contested with another contest from cross table. I plead and plead and plead that Mithras won't take the oust he could so easily do and just block the bleeds - together we'll eventually take out the MMPA deck. Crosstable is already commited to contest pool damage to MMPA since we see it'll just take the table. Mithras caves in last minute ("I have no intecept!") (mate, you don't need it, just grind with me...), takes the oust, we lose the table. MMPA 3+GW, Mithras 1. //sigh]

These are all just "ifs", as I guess everyone here knows. We all play a lot, and have been playing a long time. We know how games are - it's chaotic and full of random stuff and surprises. That's what most of us love about VtES.

Ashurs makes one deck in the table often so dominating that they'll be so much better at "climbing the ladder" (as Littlefinger would have it) that it just as well could be even the whole table won't have anything to say against it.

Unless the silver bullet cards that would be introduced enable strategies and ousting variants in their own right, printing them won't broaden deck variation. We all would love to see more and new stuff brought to the table. BCP has done a wonderful job with it. Matasuntha is actually good. So is Mithras. The new anarch stuff actually enables new decks. Just a few new sabbat cards brought the whole sect up tiers. None of those are anything near to Ashurs however, since the former decks still play within the minion phase, as 95% of vampire decks do.

Ashurs doesn't. Or, they do, but because of their master phase they get to play their minion phase so much more efficiently than other decks.

Even Pentex and Parity Shift, some of the most infamous cards I see ranted on (even though I feel neither are problematic), both have clear and substantial drawbacks or limitations. And neither feed other copies of themselves. Quite on the contrary. They have everything to do with the minion phase.

(Here I'd like to thank DJHedgie for an excellent post. Cheers.)

(Lech as well. Cheers mate.)

So we have a few options as I see it:

-Design new cards! It's really an option, of course. Just, we have to make sure that they are thematic and tie into a sect or discipline or clan, or other prerequisite, but not give the answers only to one group. Rather, there should be plenty, for plenty different groups, and they all should be a) powerful in their own right to enable a brand new strategy or archetype and b) do something significant to Ashur Tablets prior or post to playing them, preferrably even cross table (if they so choose). Here's a challenge to you all: start designing! Personally I would love to see plenty of these, all doing a different thing.

-Errata or ban. Never ideal, are they? No, but it would definitely rein things in, and allow for older B tier strategies to blossom a bit more. Granted, they would be old, but something we probably haven't seen in top tables that much. Personally I think VtES is already super varied and a gadzillion different strategies are viable. So, a) errata or ban either Ashurs or b) helping cards. I'm guessing maybe Liquidation, or errata ALL extra master phase cards (vampires and library cards) to set master phase limit to 2 at the start of the phase (instead of giving extras). Errata for Ashur targeting only minion cards might work so that the decks won't feed themselves as much.

-Keep going as we are. There are already strategies that could deal with those decks. Not many of them are good, and most of them are aimed only at hampering other players (or slowing them down), which rarely turns into good things for the one playing those hamstrings. It takes away momentum from the game. Removing Ashurs with Trocho (if you ever get that far) only removes some late game options from the player - it rarely furthers or twists the game in that moment. Question is: are people willing to add control to each of their decks, and are they willing to slap the best decks off of the table? Will they even be able to? Does that put players in an even more unfair position only because of the randomest thing in the game: seating?

Personally... I don't think I know what is best. In a world only inhabited by me, I'd errata Ashurs and MMPA cards. It's not me though, and errata after a reprint of a card this soon would be such a major "FU" to customers I'd never do it if I were in BCP. Making new cards would take a whole year, really, but that should be the aim anyways. Just not worry about it? That's probably what we'll have to settle for now, and just cross-table oust MMPA (or play them yourself?), or try to find decks that could reasonably hamstring them without destroying your own deck's flow and strategy. If we haven't found that after 4 years (or how long?), I don't know if that'll happen.

I'll have you know here, that Ashurs is 100% the only card I feel is problematic in the current VtES meta, and has been for quite a while. There are stupid cards that I don't see were well designed (Scourge of the Enochians - I see why it was printed, but I don't think it's good design. That's only an example), but those are mostly narrow silver bullets. There are cards that are just worse than their equivalents that have yet to see a BCP reprint, that could be errated for better (Kpist 2 :pool: srsly). That's just me though. Ashurs is so robust and contrary to what has seemed to be the game's fundamental philosophy (your deck WILL deplete, and that applies to all decks, no matter the archetype), that it requires after-thought put into.

Sorry for the wall of text. I think I just needed to get that rant off my chest.

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

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Last edit: 21 Mar 2019 19:41 by Kraus.
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21 Mar 2019 21:54 #94199 by Palamedes
What if the text changes to the following:

Ashur Tablets
Master.
Put this card in play. If you control three copies, no more Ashur Tablets can be played during a game, remove all copies in play (even controlled by other Methuselahs) from the game to gain 3 pool and choose up to thirteen library cards from your ash heap. Move one of those cards to your hand and shuffle the others into your library.


It's still playable, you get 3 pools and cycle the cards, but it stops the further abuse. This will change a lot some decks, but then Ashur Tablets will be normal, but still usefull card.

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22 Mar 2019 01:31 #94200 by LivesByProxy
@Palamedes,I don't think that makes Ashur's still playable. Currently it looks like players are dedicating 9+ deck slots to Ashurs in order to reliably draw them and the multiple copies are valuable. With your change, playing more than 3 is wasting deck slots (once you've played the third, every extra Ashurs in your deck becomes a dead draw), but playing only 3 makes it unreliable as a form of pool-gain or deck-recursion.

:gang: :CEL: :FOR: :PRO: :cap6: Gangrel. Noddist. Camarilla. Once each turn, LivesByProxy may burn 1 blood to lose Protean :PRO: until the end of the turn and gain your choice of superior Auspex :AUS:, Obfuscate :OBF:, or Potence :POT: for the current action.

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22 Mar 2019 12:42 #94209 by DJHedgehog

Kraus wrote: Krausedit\\ This ended up being a mile long. tldr: ...there is no tldr. Sry.


You hit on the two things I see as the biggest problems, which I'll make a TLDR :P

-Ashurs effect is too strong. Recursion in this game is highly limited because the nature of the game is limited resources. That's the real fun and unique part of the game- you have to spend your life to even play the game and hold up to assaults from your predator and still go forward and win. On top of ruining that aspect, you also pick the cards going back into your deck thereby creating the best deck for the situation you're in.

-MMPA is really silly. Sure it's been around for a while but that doesn't make it worth keeping around. I don't think most master cards were created with the intention of being played multiple times in a turn. Getting to 4 MPA is not difficult.

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22 Mar 2019 13:03 #94210 by Kraus

DJHedgehog wrote:

Kraus wrote: Krausedit\\ This ended up being a mile long. tldr: ...there is no tldr. Sry.


You hit on the two things I see as the biggest problems, which I'll make a TLDR :P

Cheers.

-Ashurs effect is too strong. Recursion in this game is highly limited because the nature of the game is limited resources. That's the real fun and unique part of the game- you have to spend your life to even play the game and hold up to assaults from your predator and still go forward and win. On top of ruining that aspect, you also pick the cards going back into your deck thereby creating the best deck for the situation you're in.

This I really agree on. Of course we have huge bloat devices in Embrace + Con Boon and Voter Captivation has always been around, but getting those off require quite a bit of set-up, and an environment where others flat out refuse to play floating votes in their crypts. And that's of course only one form of huge bloat devices we've had since day one. They're still never been over powered, and can be played against with most conventional VtES strategies and options. Everyone knows how disheartening Mininon Tap on Arika followed by Ancient Influence + Vote Cap can be. But that's gone now. Kill the vamp and you're good. Without the vampires there won't be bloat.

Which brings us to the next thing:

-MMPA is really silly. Sure it's been around for a while but that doesn't make it worth keeping around. I don't think most master cards were created with the intention of being played multiple times in a turn. Getting to 4 MPA is not difficult.

Both G1-2 and X-4-Y can do 3 with vampires alone, and Parthenon is a no-brainier. The problem compared to above is that you first influence out, let's say Anson. By the time you've played 2x Liquidation and 3x Ashur's, you've already paid for Huitzi without any minion phase interaction.

But this is again turning out to be a rant without new information, and me just repeating myself.

The point I'm trying to make is that Ashurs enables something that no other trick or combo has been able to achieve ever, and it - as has been said - goes directly against what has to me and many seemed like a fundamental design element of VtES for ever.

I'm not debating if it's fun or not. In VtES there are at least a dozen different and contradicting ways of having fun. All of those are based on the same premise however: how do you spend your diminishing resources?

You could play Ashurs with combat, with S&B, with bloat, with combo, with wall - and it in all situations takes away the fundamental struggle that was supposed to be eternal, fundamental and overarching: the pool :pool: and card :burn: limitation.

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