Preview art by Ginés Quiñonero.
Greetings fellow Methuselahs,
Cold winds are blowing, chilling the bones of even the most cold-blooded of ancient Methuselahs. Great that we have the Eternal Struggle to keep us warm!
BILL TROXEL IS THE 2020 WORLD ONLINE CHAMPION!
The 2020 World Online Championship was played on Lackey during November with 80 preliminary games with a total of 103 players. 64 of these games ended with a Game Win. The top five players gathered on November 28 for the final table:
1. Rodrigo Iturrieta - Faroock from Chile: 5 vp (GW), 5 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 1 vp, 0 vp, 0 vp
2. Bartosz Daciuk - BartDCI from Poland: 5 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 1.5 vp, 0.5 vp
3. Sebastian Meurer - Menteith from Germany: 5 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 1 vp, 0 vp, 0 vp
4. Bill Troxel - Killiam from USA: 4 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 2 vp
5. Joab Rogerio - Joab Roger from Brazil: 4 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 4 vp (GW), 3 vp (GW), 0 vp, 0 vp
The game can we watched on Twitch. This is Bill´s own report: "Joab removed a lot of counters from the game with Smiling Jack and 2 Anarch Revolts early on. Jack accumulated 4 counters before it was destroyed by Farook with the help of Shadow Body. Faroock had brought out Lord Leopold Valdemar (Priscus), so did not have the option to go Anarch and suffered heavily. Bart decrypted an Anarch Convert, and Menteith was also able to get an Anarch in his ready region. Killiam with a pure Tupdog crypt took the full brunt of the damage. Once Faroock had Lord Leopold ready with vote lock, Killiam took the actions to remove the Revolts.
Joab played aggressively, bleeding frequently with Deep Song. Faroock needed a second minion and brought out Badr, Shadow of Grenada, bringing himself down to 1 pool! Joab then played an Anarch Revolt, which would have ended Faroock had he not had a Vessel on Lord Valdemar. Joab holds on for another turn, then Governs down with Badr and scoops back a couple more pool.
Meanwhile, Killiam had started going forward with his Emerald Legionnaires and was making a dent in Joab. Killiam had made a terrible mistake in his third turn by forgetting to bring up two Legionnaires during his unlock phase, so he was a couple bleeds behind. Fortunately for Killiam, he had suffered virtually no early or mid-game pressure from his predator Menteith, whose deck appeared to be designed as more of a late-game swarm, so Killiam was able to just barely oust Joab with his final bleed before Joab could oust his prey.
With Joab out, Faroock at 3 pool, and Killiam finally sporting a large army of allies, the second VP for Killiam was inevitable.
Meanwhile, BartDCI had finally brought out his star vampire, Cybele. He had to dig into his crypt for her, and also had to Golconda Nana Buruku in order to afford her. He was fairly low on pool, so it looked like Killiam would have a reasonable shot at ousting him with all his allies.
Down to three players, Bart and Menteith form an alliance to oust Killiam, such that Bart would bloat with masters and put no pressure on Menteith, while Menteith accumulated an army of weenies and equipment that was truly frightful. After a lot of Founders of the Ebony Kingdom, Guruhi are the Land (GATL), and a Codex of the Edenic Groundskeepers, it was clear that if Killiam ever got fully tapped out, he would be vulnerable to an oust.
Killiam played aggressively for awhile trying to secure that 3rd victory point, but after some run-ins with Menteith's Laibon and their Animalism combat, his numbers began to dwindle. When Bart pulled a Villein into his hand upon popping a set of Ashur Tablets, Killiam's prospects for ousting Bart looked bleak.
Eventually it got to where Menteith might only need a good 2 or 3 turns to oust his prey, maybe 3 or 4 if Killiam walled up---although if Killiam were ever to tap out, a single turn of Darby-dancing the Codex with GATL would have done it. However, by that time the clock only had about 15 minutes left on it, and BartDCI was playing very methodically, with his turns lasting a while. Killiam ultimately decided to fully wall up, taking no further forward actions, and Menteith only got to see 1 of the turns he needed before the game timed out."
Results: Killiam (Bill Troxel) GW with 2.5 VP
BartDCI: 0.5 VP
Menteith: 0.5 VP
Congratulations Bill! Below is his tournament winning "Tupdog Legionnaire" deck, also found on Amaranth.
x10 Agent of Power
x2 Archon Investigation
x2 Direct Intervention
x7 Parthenon, The
x15 Summon History
x1 Cry Wolf
x10 Emerald Legionnaire
x1 Gianna di Canneto
Action Modifier (10)
x10 Skin of the Chameleon
x6 Delaying Tactics
Thanks to organizers Igor Beslin and Rudolf Scholz, others that helped out and of course all the players!
DECKS TO BEAT: NOVEMBER
A retrospect by Henrik Klippström.
So, what happened in November? If you talk about November 2020: Not much, as the live VTES tournament scene is stiffer than a mummy´s tounge, because of the pandemic. But in November other years, o´boy, there have been A LOT of action. So what about a trip down memory lane? Maybe even before your own VTES career begun? This will be a look at the most prominent tournament winning decks of each November in the years 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, all presented with some 2020 comments. With “prominent” we mean the winning deck in the tournament with most participants. Sure, these decks have sometimes aged badly and would have hard to compete at the same level today. Some also has cards based on the local metagame that might seem odd for us today. But hopefully having a look will inspire your deck construction!
“Gangrel Wall of Untap” by Josh Duffin
Deck type: Gangrel toolbox
Crusade: Philadelphia – Philadelphia, USA - November 4 - Number of players unknown
2000 organizer´s comment: “Josh's deck is a fiendishly clever block and untap monstrosity. Cats´ Guidance, Raven Spies, Forced Awakenings, and Atonement make for constant blocks, and Earth Meld keeps your people alive and ready for more. Smiling Jack the Anarch takes down entire tables while pool management keeps his damage to you to a minimum. Millicent Smith, Puritan Vampire Hunter is also a really nice addition to this blocking machine. (I didn't get Josh's comments on the final, or on his deck, so I hope he'll respond to this mail with any words of wisdom on playing this thing.)”
2x Bear Paw 5 ANI for pre pro Gangrel:1
1x Camille Devereux 5 FOR PRO ani Gangrel:1
1x Raven 5 FOR PRO ani Gangrel:1
2x Chandler Hungerford 3 PRO Gangrel:2
1x Basilia 10 ANI FOR PRO obf pot primogen Gangrel:1
1x Ingrid Rossler 9 ANI FOR PRO dom prince Gangrel:2
1x Gitane St. Claire 7 ANI FOR PRO primogen Gangrel:1
1x Badger 6 FOR PRO ani pot Gangrel:1
1x Mirembe Kabbada 5 PRO SER ani Gangrel:2
1x Anastasia Grey 3 ani pro Gangrel:1
4x Blood Doll
3x Blood Puppy
1x KRCG Radio Station
1x London Evening Star
3x Millicent Smith, Puritan Vampire Hunter
1x Powerbase: Chicago
3x Smiling Jack the Anarch
2x The Parthenon
2x The Rack
2x Zoo Hunting Ground
3x Army of Rats
1x Shepherd's Innocence
2x Flak Jacket
1x Mr. Winthrop
1x Palatial Estate
3x Raven Spy
2x Sport Bike
2x Earth Control
2x Bone Spur
2x Canine Horde
15x Earth Meld
3x Form of Mist
3x Superior Mettle
1x Wolf Claws
10x Cats Guidance
7x Forced Awakening
1x Wake with Evening's Freshness
• 15 is a lot for most cards, but Earth Meld is so very versatile that it works.
• 27 master cards, however, is a bit scary, especially in the pre-Trifle era. Would probably clog your hand after a while unless you are lucky or a very skilled player like Mr Duffin. Today I´ll might switch a handful of those masters for some mixed intercept reactions and some Delaying Tactics (to have some crosstable say).
• While this is a Millicent Smith wall deck, not a tap’n’bleed deck, one would maybe be tempted too run some Deep Songs and Freak Drives for an "plan B", and slim it down to 82-ish, probably with Janey Pickman & friends instead of group 1+2.
“Sabbatspex 2005” by Jay Kristoff
Deck type: Auspex weenie
EC 2005 Last Chance Qualifier – Budapest, Hungary – November 5 – 150 players
1x Billy 5 AUS dom for Ventrue antitribu:2
1x Colonel, The 5 AUS cel dem obf Malkavian antitribu:3
1x Devin Bisley 5 ANI AUS vic Tzimisce:2
1x Elizabeth Westcott 5 AUS ani cel vic Tzimisce:3
1x General Perfidio Díos 5 AUS dem obf bishop Malkavian antitribu:3
1x Idalia, Prophet of Guadalajara 4 AUS dem Malkavian antitribu:2
1x Mercy, Knight Inquisitor 5 AUS cel dom pre Toreador antitribu:2
1x Nicholas Chang 2 aus Toreador antitribu:3
1x Piotr Andreikov 2 aus Tzimisce:3
1x Remilliard, Devout Crusader 4 AUS pre Toreador antitribu:2
1x Richard Tauber, Ayelea's Puppet 4 AUS tha Tremere antitribu:2
1x Wendy Wade 3 ani aus Tzimisce:2
6x Blood Doll
2x Effective Management
1x The Barrens
1x The Hungry Coyote
1x Metro Underground
1x Pentex Subversion
1x Police Department
1x Powerbase: Montreal
1x Smiling Jack, The Anarch
4x Anima Gathering
4x Zillah's Tears
5x .44 Magnum
1x Bowl of Convergence
1x Palatial Estate
2x War Ghoul
4x Change of Target
4x Aura Reading
5x Concealed Weapon
4x Delaying Tactics
4x Eagle's Sight
4x Enhanced Senses
6x Forced Awakening
10x Telepathic Misdirection
6x Wake with Evening's Freshness
• A rather classic Auspex weenie wall, but with enough Tzimisce in the crypt to bring out those surprise War Ghouls, who will most certainly cause havoc in otherwise stale games. The problem is to get them out there without much stealth or other tricks (like Piper) – you need to gun down any potential blockers first, so “real combat decks” with slight intercept is always the nemesis of the Auspex wall.
• Interesting metagame choices are Zillah´s Tears (against Sleeping Mind?) and Atonement (really shuts down other weenie decks).
• This deck type got Eyes of Argus now, and most probably could not resist adding some Anarch tech.
• Probably rather stable today, if you like being in the way :)
“Action oriented Ventrue g4-g5” by Guido Canciani
Deck type: Ventrue lawfirm variant
Italian NC 2010 – Bologna, Italy – November 28 – 51 players
1x Graham Gottesman 7 DOM FOR obf pre tha prince Ventrue:5
1x Emily Carson 5 DOM for pre primogen Ventrue:5
1x Lodin (Olaf Holte) 8 DOM FOR PRE aus pro prince Ventrue:5
1x Mustafa, The Heir 6 FOR PRE cel dom prince Ventrue:4
1x Reginald Moore 4 PRE primogen Brujah:4
1x Tara 6 POT PRE cel prince Brujah:5
1x Vasily 6 CEL aus pre ser prince Toreador:5
3x Victor Pelletier 5 PRE cel dom for Ventrue:4
2x Victor Donaldson 6 DOM for pre prince Ventrue:5
1x Anarch Troublemaker
6x Ashur Tablets
1x Coven, The
3x Dreams of the Sphinx
3x Information Highway
1x Island of Yiaros
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Temptation of Greater Power
1x Fourth Cycle, The
5x Govern the Unaligned
1x Anarchist Uprising
1x Ancilla Empowerment
1x Conservative Agitation
1x First Tradition: The Masquerade
5x Kine Resources Contested
7x Parity Shift
1x Carlton Van Wyk
3x Heart of Nizchetus
9x Freak Drive
2x Force of Personality
• This is a interesting early variant of the classic group 4-5 Ventrue princes, but without sticks and Fortitude presses, instead with Majestys and Freak Drive for tap’n’bleed action.
• 6 Ashur Tablets in a deck without multiple Master Phase actions is also an interesting choice, probably not adviceable today.
• The crypt is also interesting, with 5 Victors and singles of the rest. Obviously a really early vote lock with Justicar Pelletier was priority, to get those Parity Shifts going, maybe followed by Freak Drive and Heart of Nizchetus. Parity Shift was nerfed last year, but is still playable, although maybe not worth to base your whole game plan on.
• Bonus hero points for “the boxer island” and AK-47 (“When you absolutely, positively got to kill every ************ in the room; accept no substitutes”).
• This got 3 victory points in the final, not easy but surely still possible today.
Untitled deck by Mirko Oliveira
Fee Stake: Ceará III Brazilian NCQ – Ceará, Brazil – November 5 – 21 players
2x Arcadian, The 8 DOM MYT OBT chi for Kiasyd:5
2x Roderick Phillips March 7 DOM MYT cel obt tha Kiasyd:4
2x Isanwayen 6 DOM MYT OBT Kiasyd:4
1x Pherydima 8 DOM MYT NEC obt pot bishop Kiasyd:4
1x Omme Enberbenight 7 MYT OBT cel dom priscus Kiasyd:4
1x Dame Hollerton 5 DOM OBT myt Kiasyd:4
1x Ermenegildo, The Rake 5 DOM OBT pot Lasombra:4
1x Leila Monroe 4 dom obt pre Lasombra:4
1x Lucy Markowitz 3 dom obt Lasombra:4
1x Anarch Troublemaker
1x Coven, The
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Giant's Blood
1x Great Symposium
2x Jake Washington
1x Life in the City
2x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Bitter and Sweet Story, The
15x Govern the Unaligned
4x Song of Pan
2x Aura Absorption
2x Command of the Beast
3x Fae Contortion
4x Foreshadowing Destruction
5x Shadow Play
3x Shroud of Absence
3x Stone Travel
1x Carlton Van Wyk
1x Heart of Nizchetus
5x Shadow Body
3x On the Qui Vive
• 4 victory points in final, and not surprising. Looks really stable.
• Song of Pan is a bit tricky, but sometimes needed for those real monster bleed turns.
• Metagame choices are the rather low level of bleed-bounce, but instead rather high level of combat defense, with both Shadow Bodies, Nocturns and double Jake.
• I would not change anything else in this deck – as a matter of fact I won a Swedish Championship the same weekend with a very similar deck!
Who knows, maybe we take a look at some December decks in the next newsletter?
RECENT GREAT VTES CONTENT
• Yet another site that collects VTES decks is vtesdecks.com
• Card search and deck building tool VTES-DB has a successor: VDB. You find it at vdb.smeea.casa
• Mike the Neonate struggles on at The Neonate Diaries – latest entry is about ”Growing the Coterie”
• Codex of the Damned starts a series of advanced strategy articles. The first are "The Game of the Game" by Mark Loughman and "Playing Montano Baltimore Purge" by Rudolf Scholz.
• In French: Francois Deslauriers makes videos for new players, most recently one about the turn sequence, master cards and the bleed action.
• In French: Events for Games has started to collect various resources at a special VTES page.
WE NEED NEWSLETTER CONTENT!
Do you want to create content for the VEKN newsletter? Things that might be interesting to publish are:
- tournament reports
- strategic articles on a deck or deck archetype
- player interviews
- just about anything else that relates to VTES that is reasonably well written and not too long (2,000-6,000 characters including blanks seems about right)
BLACK CHANTRY SUMMARY: NOVEMBER 2020
• Fifth Edition is now in stores! November 30 is the official release date, which means the new cards in the set will be tournament legal on December 30th. The most common question to Black Chantry customer service is still "How do I buy VTES?", and the answer is still: Ask your friendly local game store to stock it! If that fails, turn to your favourite online store. Black Chantry care about the local stores, because that is where people can meet and play the game (in non-covid times). You can also turn to any of the distributors listed at Blackchantry.com, they know more about stores that have VTES.
• The rulebook and the five helpsheets from the Fifth Edition box have been published for download under "Utilities" at Blackchantry.com. Also check out the interview with Rules Director Vincent Ripoll!
• Black Chantry CEO Hugh Angseesing gave a long interview for the Midnight Express podcast, talking (among other things) about how VTES is produced, how the cooperation with Paradox Interactive works, and the future of the game. Well worth your time!
•Chief Marketing ghoul Henrik had the great privilege to interview none other than Richard Garfield, the original creator of VTES. He had many nice and interesting things to say - read it all in the article titled “If Magic is a hand of poker, Vampire: The Eternal Struggle is a poker tournament”.
• The second round of playtesting of the next unnamed set and the four preconstructed decks (Banu Haqim, Brujah, Gangrel and The Ministry) has been delayed somewhat, but will soon start. Concerning that, Banu Haqim have a new clan symbol:
• A new reprint round of older products was received last week and will be distributed to stores. Also more Barons promos now in stock - tell your local prince to get some!
• Currently these 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 (Also Spanish, French)
- Libertine Ball Preconstructed Deck (Also Spanish, French)
- Pact with Nephandi Preconstructed Deck (Also Spanish, French)
- Parliament of Shadows Preconstructed Deck (Also Spanish, French)
- Anthology I bundle
- VTES Card Creator (Drivethrucards only)
- 25th Anniversary
- First Blood: Malkavian (Also Spanish, French)
- First Blood: Nosferatu (Also Spanish, French)
- First Blood: Toreador (Also Spanish, French)
- First Blood: Tremere (Also Spanish, French)
- First Blood: Ventrue (Also Spanish, French)
- VTES Legacy Card Singles (Drivethrucards only)
- Promo Pack 1 (Drivethrucards only)
- Promo Pack 2 (Event promos only)
- VTES "Parity Shift" playmat
- VTES card sleeves
- Vampire: The Eternal Struggle Fifth Edition (Currently stores 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, Instagram or Twitter.
Some highlights from the last month:
• BIG NEWS! The Vampire: The Masquerade Companion will be released as a free download on December 16. It will contain three "new" clans: Ravnos, Salubri and Tzimisce, as well as more about ghouls and mortals, new Merits and other goodies. Happy holidays came this year too!
• Paradox Interactive are reorganizing how they work. Renegade Game Studios is now their main publishing partner for tabletop role playing games, but "core content" (like the Companion mentioned above) will once again be produced in-house at Paradox.
• Learn more about these changes in the very nice announcement video, starring all members of the World of Darkness brand team.
Follow local regulations on what physical events are possible. Notice that online tournaments are possible - just note "ONLINE" in the event name when you add the event to the calendar!
For more information on upcoming events see the V:EKN Event Calendar.
You can contact the VEKN Inner Circle members using contact forms at VEKN.net. Also follow the VEKN Facebook group, the official VTES Facebook page Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and the official VEKN Twitter account @VEKN_VTES
"Politics is the art of the possible."