file Contents and card changes in 25th Anniversary revealed

06 Jun 2019 19:48 #95281 by Lech
All of the changes were good, but i disagree the most with the Black Metamorphosis, it should have +2 stealth baseline, because it should be hard to block it due to not needing any social integration.

Long story short:
Pentex, good, now works as block denial,not total shutdown. Still good in certain archetypes, but no longer must have in all.
Parity Shift, good, now it's more in-line with other political actions and perhaps there will be more non-cam political decks. Still super strong.
Freak Drive, good, that was degenerate. But it's least impactful change.

: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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07 Jun 2019 01:38 #95290 by Luriel
I won't say my "2 cents" because it feels more like 2 "handfuls of cents" in this case. I hope I don't bore anyone.

On a general basis. If you asked me about changing what some cards that have been in the game since almost the vey beginning do, I would say no. If nothing else just for keeping the spirit of those cards. That said all the latest changes seem to be the result of a thoughtful work, definitively not the first answer to a problem.

Something I would have been grateful for would have been a bit of open development in this matter. While Paradox needs the existance of a company such as Black Chantry Productions to be able to talk about VtES, I want to think BCP is still related to (if not part of) the VEKN which is a player organization since its birth. So, it should involve the player base as much as possible. I have personally met some of you and think of you more as players stepping up for the game's sake than as businessman in a company.

I don't know how long has this process taken. But writing some posts in this very forum during its different steps open to player feedback would have been great. Things in the line of "After discussing internally the situation of these cards, we've reached the conclussion that something must be done. Any feedback would be appreciated but keep in mind that while we will listen to your opinion, we won't necessarily follow what you propose." or "We plan on playtesting these changes. If you feel you can offer a better solution, feel free to contribute knowing your idea has probably already been taken into account and discarded.".

I want to think that the whole VtES community is able to reach better solutions to matters regarding the game than just a part of it. No matter how experienced and knowable of the game that part is.

Let's focus on every single card now.

Pentex Subversion (main dish first without foreplay)

Let's be honest, if this would have been the only chage made, the shitstorm here and on facebook would have been the same as it is now. And it is no surprise. Search for all the 2 pool masters in the game using the searching engine of your choice. Out of the 81 existing ones, Pentex Subversion is the best, way ahead of the second. To the point some people advise to put between 1 and 3 in every deck and it's not a bad advice. It also affects deck building in other ways... a lot of big capacity vampires are discarded regardless of the lore behind them or their abilities when creating a new deck just for the existance of this card.

But none of this is new to the vast majority of you. I recall people complaining about this card back in early 2000s if not before. I even remember Similing Tom joking about americans calling it "European Stealth" (it seems back then it was not played as much in the States). I also think none of the stated above is the reason for the cardtext change.

About 3 years ago a friend of mine went to Ginés' Conclave (I was unable to go due to working during weekends). When asked about how it went, he said: "Well... I planned on trying my new Mistress Falchon deck but she has been pentexed just after leaving the uncontrolled region in each of the 3 rounds, so I was unable to play any game. To make things worse some people offered me a casual game, in which I was also pentexed. What a waste of a Sunday". To him I said: "Man up! This is part of the game. Improve your social skills and don't give up so easily just because things don't come easy". But I couldn't deny the fact those were indeed bad gaming experiences for him. And you all will probably have some similar experiences to tell. And I haven't talked yet about newcomers playing it with no reason just because they have it in their hands (remember that 1 to 3 advice above?).

Specially for new players or people that can't play as often as some of us do this is not right. Giving up a weekend day with your loved ones for nothing doesn't feel right. This is something I would change Pentex for...

Regarding the change itself. As I said before I feel there has been some work (plenty of back and forth) behind it. It keeps its use as an ousting tool while not being so prone to produce those bad gaming experiences I was mentioning. And still an interesting card between those 81 2 pool masters. I'm not sure which alternative I would have offered if asked beforehand about the matter. Probably increasing the cost by one pool without any changes to the card text (which probably would have led to the same sitation as no making any change at all).

Parity Shift (I hope you are hungry for more)

To me, it makes sense the more restrictions a card has to be played the better it should be. Compare Computer Hacking to Entrancement or Scouting Mission (at this point I'm afraid to mention another Dominate bleed action card just to not add more fuel to the bonfire). Wake with Evening Freshness against Eyes of Argus or Black Sunrise. And so on...

We will probably agree Kindred Resources Contested is the "standar" political action. Let's compare Parity Shift both with it and other commonly played political cards, In its best case playing scenario, it deals an additional point of damage than KRC while not having to split its damage (focusing it in your current target) and giving the pool equivalent of an ancient influence controlling a 10 capacity vampire to one player (which can be yourself) or an Consaguineous Boon controlling 5 vampires of a nonavailable for other players clan. The famous 10 pool swing. In its worse, you still deal 2 damage to your prey while gaining 2 pool (still a better net exchange than 3 to your prey at the cost of one damage to yourself). All this requiring an easy to meet pool threshold (don't forget pool is the most easily spent currency in game) and playing with a Camarilla Prince (a fairly common title) or a Justicar. If you compare this to the examples above, you will see there is a noticeable difference between the power level of PS regarding KRC than between any other more restrictive card against its "base" card.

It's no surprise that talking about political decks in this game almost everytime means talking about Camarilla political decks. I think in this case it's not a matter of avoiding bad gaming experiences than a design problem. Taking PS into account, how good should a Sabbat (or Laibon, or Anarch...) political card be to encourage that sect political game? Would be healthy to the game having a PS equivalent card for each major sect in the game? I guess our developers reached the conclusion it isn't.

As for the change itself. It feels like trying to reach a common ground. On one hand, the card is worse in early game. On the other, it's better at the end. I would have suggested something like this if asked. I still believe the card is way better than other common political cards. I also hope this change opens the door to other political cards with about the same power level as PS for other factions.

Una and Ankara Citadel (Lets pour some drinks to bathe it all)

If you nerf such an influential card as Pentex Subversion it is bound that some now unanwsered decks will appear. I guess these 2 were the most annoying of the lot. Once again, I suspect this has more to do with avoiding bad gaming experiences than balance issues. Specially knowing, as some of you have already pointed out, that changing Freak Drive text so that the 1 blood is no more a cost but an effect of the card would have been a much more elegant solution. Collateral damage, I guess. Anyways both cards are still playable.

I fear, as many of you, this could be the beginning of a wave of card adjustements that would have been unnecessary without the previous changes. And for the game's sake, if avoiding changing freak drive results in having to change a handful of other cards, please take the easiest way and deal with the problem itself.

Black Metamorphosis (light dessert at least and at last)

If improving this card brings the Lasombra combat archetype to the game, the change is welcomed. I'm not sure this will be the case.

P.S.: I hope you didn't have to take a break while reading all this



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07 Jun 2019 02:07 #95291 by Sambomb
While we are discussing it, Mimir now can have :DOM: ?
One of his BIGGEST advantage is to be immune to Pentex so you can build a star deck without worry about be hampered with one card.

Archbishop of Itaocara
Prince ID #510

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07 Jun 2019 05:30 - 07 Jun 2019 06:46 #95292 by PetriWessman
On reflection, I'm hoping the minor (but good) change to Black Metamorphosis is the start of a trend, where BCP improves old not-that-good cards to useful status.

The game is full of cards like that. Good ideas, and useful potentially, but implementation a bit too weak. For example, doing the same to Shadow of the Beast should be a no-brainer. Or adding unconditional +1 stealth to Rampage (or some other bonus). Removing built-in burn options from most of the DS-era locations. Stuff like that.

Sure, some cards are so useless and wallpaper that fixing them isn't really possible (clan hosers, etc). But there's a *huge* pile of "wallpaper" which could well slowly be turned into useful cards which might actually see play.

Should be a win-win for everyone, provided reprinted cards are available of course. Tournament decks don't include these (since they are currently bad), and it would open up a pile of new options without needing complete redesign.

There's probably a lot of stuff in the way (art rights?), but hey, I can always hope :)

Added: on second thought, +1 stealth on Rampage doesn't make much sense thematically. I mean it's Potence being used to smash buildings, not very stealthy is it :lol:

So maybe something like:

:pot: (D) Burn a location. Whenever this action is blocked, before range is determined during the first round of the resulting combat, this vampire can gain +1 strength that combat.
:POT: As above, but can gain +2 strength.
Last edit: 07 Jun 2019 06:46 by PetriWessman.
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07 Jun 2019 05:35 #95293 by Luriel
If I'm not mistaken, Ben commented a while ago on how many Quietus cards from Final Night suddenly become playable if their cost is reduced by one across the board. Maybe that's a sign of them working in the direction you propose
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07 Jun 2019 07:01 #95295 by jonathan
Actually, when I look at the games I played, Pentex and Parity Shift have been mainly used on defensive or cross-table balancing duties.

Sure, you can use them to cripple your prey. But both these cards are so much more than that.

If you have been sitting next to Enkidu and losing all your vampires before you can play, or next to the best stealth and bleed decks while playing decks that either need long setup or do not have access to bounce cards, you will know what I mean. In fact, without Pentex and P-shift in their original version, your odds of being ousted early or not being able to play at all probably increase.

Very oppressive decks that tackle games as a succession of duels are only made better by these changes.
Dominate is only made better by these changes.

I played a game last week where one poor dude was prey to a weenie dementation deck. It took cross-table Pentex and parity to give him a chance to play. With the new game texts, Pentex would not have slowed down the weenie dementation deck, and parity shift would not even compensate a standard bleed action (and the three pool loss would have been recouped in less than a turn with kindred spirit bleed actions).

During the next game, I played a big cap deck that needed some setup. My predator played weenie potence. I used Pentex to gain time and build up my board. I used Pentex on one of his minions, I knew I would not be able to defend it for a long time. He tried to burn it, I blocked and one of my lesser vampires went to torpor. Then on the 2nd attempt he could burn the pentex. It actually deprived him of a grand total of 1 action, but it was enough to give me a chance to play the game, though I payed a pretty high cost of 1 card, 2 pool and 1 vampire in torpor.

I can't even remotely imagine that I am the only one having encountered countless similar situations. If I am, then it probably means that many people play the game zeroing in on their prey without looking at the table as a global ecosystem. So if it's just a succession of one-on-one duels, I think many 2-players games are much better.

In my opinion, the best vote deck in the game doesn't even have access to P-shift.
Legacy of Pander decks usually play 3 to 5 Kine Resource Contested or Conservative Agitation per turn.
Old P-Shift was worth 1,66 KRC in terms of pool gain. New P-shift is worth 1 KRC. And LoP decks mostly play Pentex because of the "cannot block" effect. So, basically, the new Pentex version.

On the other hand, there are also many cases where Pentex and P-Shift were clearly abusive. So yes, maybe changes were called for. But there were many many adjustments that could have been made while keeping the above-mentioned functions intact.

So, that's it for the rant. What is done is done and we have a new meta to explore.
I hope that my fear of NPE-situations becoming even more frequent will not be proven in practice. And if it is, I hope the problem will be tackled by designing new cards, instead of nerfing more and more of the existing card-pool.

And then, about the anniversary deck. Stan would not have been my first choice for such a product but I guess it ticks many boxes (powerful, easy to play) so it's good. Overall it's even great. The best preconstructed deck ever.

The box is gorgeous. We get cards that were only available through DIY printing available. And new art... And a new vampire... Really, great.

But now, the reprints are awful: Femur of Toomler, Hand of Conrad, Form of corruption, Khobar Towers... And then you have CVS which is very hard to find but not what players wanted.

People wanted Direct Intervention (which will be direly needed as Pentex won't keep your Baron on a leash anymore), Mind Rape, Call the great beast, Golconda, and many many other key cards...

So mixed feelings on the product. I will still buy it because I want to support the game... But mixed feelings...
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