Preview art by Ginés Quiñonero.
Greetings fellow Methuselahs,
This year of sparse live VTES events is over, and we once again present to you a somewhat different newsletter, this time starting out with some personal contributions, one from Finland and one from Mexico...
THE MEMOIRS OF A FORMER NEW PLAYER
Dear fellow Methuselahs,
It all started a year and eight months ago. My brother who had played Vampire: the Eternal Struggle for a few years took me to play a demo game. He says he had asked me to play almost as a joke, not expecting me to be interested, me having practically no previous game experience of any kind. But I was interested, and I was turned into a vampire, one of the best things ever to happen to me. Here are some unforgettable moments of my career as a vampire so far.
After my demo my brother coached me diligently. If you have a mentor when you are starting your games, you have a huge advantage. I drew charts of the phases of the turn and of combat and studied these plus my cards as if I was to have an exam. My brother said that no one else studies VTES like this. But I sure orientated myself profoundly. Once my uncle made me show him my teeth, as he wanted to make sure I was still human. I guess I didn’t talk about much else at the time.
My games started well. I won the demo and the first actual game was a table of four that ended as a 2-2 split, a tie with the local prince. In the third game I understood nothing of anything and just watched as the game around me collapsed. The others applauded as the new player sweeps the table. I wonder if I even knew the meaning of the word at the time. Later I have learned what Smiling Jack is. In the eighth game I and my brother had our first “Tiippana Off”, just the two of us left – that was how a colleague commented the situation in the message group. And I won.
My brother kept guiding me forward. I looked up decklists in TWDA, printed them as proxies, and my brother taught me how to play them. I guess I did everything backwards, playing with new decks all the time instead of concentrating on a single one. But I learned. I have tried “almost everything possible” and bleed is my absolute favorite.
I played almost solely weenies. I didn’t believe my brother when he said that I might have it easier if I played with something a bit bigger. When I tried Montano, he was flattened by Nephandi and that was the end of my big cap playing for a while.
I met players out-of-town the first time in my second tournament. I had played for three months and I believe that I made an indelible impression on one of them: I ousted him before he had his first minion ready. Nice card, Brainwash. My score in the tournament was 7/20, 3 vp. I made it to two ousts before the tournament winner, with a The Unnamed deck, caught me.
After three tournaments a senior player told me to make a deck of my own. He asked what kind of a deck I’d like. One that gains pool, not only loses it, my answer was. And I was given a 20 card core for a deck: Ansons, Ashurs, Liquidations and Parthenons. The rest should be “whatever I wanted”. I did as instructed. My brother later told me my deck didn’t turn out exactly as expected. Well, Anson does have Dominate, so why wouldn’t he bleed with Govern? The crucial card in my deck was Torrent. Anson finished the last bleed with it and it was a sweep. A big help was an Archon Investigation I played earlier in the game. I was not assumed to have one in a deck that can bounce bleeds.
So I started building decks. I made some horrible mistakes but succeeded too, at times. Once I made a deck from scratch, no decklists used, and it turned out to be Malk’94, the traditional version. Well, someone else has thought it to be a good deck too – and it was a sweep.
My brother and I sometimes take a random vampire and make a deck for them. Once this vampire was Jackie. My brother made a deck for her, a weenie Dementation deck. I started printing the proxies we needed and he said “you’re not putting this together, right?” And I played with it. My brother, who played at a different table, asked how it went. A sweep. He laughed. There was a tournament coming up. My brother asked how it had gone with Jackie. I had won two games and got points from two others. He said that with that deck you’ll be in the finals. And I was like, then I’m definitely not playing it! Well, I ended up in the finals which was an impressing experience even though I got no victory points there.
VTES sure is a game worth playing. You get to challenge yourself and always learn new stuff. And considering my background, I play very well, at least according to my brother. Still have a lot to learn, so let’s keep going forward. I encourage others to try the game and to relentlessly keep playing even if this is quite a handful at first.
I have now played 194 games, won 19 of them and tried 40+ different decks. Yes, I keep a record. Now I would need a GW in the near future so that I could have it so nicely: 20/200. Of course, most of my games have been reasonable, sad or dismal. But I am always delighted of small victories: hearing praise for your self-made deck, when Tariq gets to eat the world, playing Chameleon successfully or blowing up Khazard’s Diary. Or when your crochet garlic as your Edge gets attention.
Thanks everyone for your patience in teaching new players! Be safe and let’s keep on bleeding!
CHRONICLE OF THE LOST TRIBE
About VTES in Mexico:
Vampire: The Eternal Struggle arrived in Mexico in the mid 90’s. Back then, role-playing games where at their peak, alongside the new trading card games, led by Magic: The Gathering (MTG), created by Richard Garfield for Wizards of the Coast. This boom made the appearance of the first table-top game stores, play centres, and boardgame cafés possible.
At that time, stores such as Comic Castle, Minas Tirith, Lotus Valley or Comic Imp had products of the World of Darkness (Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf: The Apocalypse, etc.) in their catalogue, as well as the card game based on that universe: Vampire: The Eternal Struggle (VTES).
A group of friends and I used to frequent Lotus Valley, a store located south of Mexico City, where we got into the world of werewolves, with little success though. Thereafter, we started a Vampire: The Masquerade Sabbat chronicle. While we were waiting for a game to start, we would be taught to play various trading card games of the time. I particularly got hooked on VTES.
Step by step, our group acquired more and more cards to build decks of all sorts, according to the tastes of each of us (my first deck was a Lasombra deck from The Sabbat). And, although my first experiences at VTES tournaments were not particularly lucky, my love for the game always endured.
As time passed, the store shut down, and my group had to split up. It was then when I started to wander in search of players and places to play VTES. Many game stores focussed on MTG and other card games (Yu-Gi-Ho!, Pokémon, etc.), but almost none was selling or knew VTES. Besides, the existing play groups were in hiding and kept private, thus excellently obeying the First Tradition.
Occasionally I would find a Methuselah to play some games with, and some stores would eventually sell some product. So those were long and dark years for me and for the other VTES players in the city. With great effort the players arranged for a store to bring new VTES products, which revived the interest of former players in the game. After many attempts, the community of players was reorganised, and games were played on weekends or Mondays. And so, VTES Monday nights became customary to date. However, there were few new players in the VTES scene, which consisted of the few Methuselahs that were still active.
With a new prince of Mexico City, the VTES community thrived, because he ran sanctioned tournaments and the stores were selling the new VTES sets. Starting in 2017, the prince and I focussed on making the community grow with new players. After many efforts, in 2019 the alliance of our group with the Club de Juegos de Mesa was formed, who opened their doors to us in order to become the “home of VTES in Mexico”, and where little by little new players would start showing up.
Due to the pandemic, we turned to digital platforms to keep the local community alive. Fortunately, this linked us with the international community, mainly with the communities of Latin America and Spain, which has been beneficial to the overall community because of the exchange of knowledge and points of view, playing styles, pieces of advice and recommendations. Likewise, a team of collaborators who love VTES (Grupo VTES México) was formed, who, with their content, strengthen and nurture the community through the different digital platforms: Official Pages (VTES México and El taller de VTES), Facebook and Instagram (VTES México), specialised Podcasts (Master Phase), are available for both experienced players and those who are just starting out in the world of VTES.
The Spanish editions of the game have helped a lot to for the game to be more attractive to the Mexican community, and we hope for it to continue growing in 2021, both for the old players, who come out of torpor, and for the new-borns, who join the ranks of VTES fan community.
Eduardo García Ayala, ”Lalo Vtes”
DECKS TO BEAT: DECEMBER
A retrospect by Henrik Klippström.
December! The month of various holidays generally doesn´t have many big tournaments, but where there´s darkness and free time, there are always some devout players who will do battle. Here are the winning decks of the tournaments with most attendants of 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, with some comments.
Untitled by Jay Kristoff
Deck type: Midcap Tzimisce wall
Insubordination – Columbus, Ohio, USA – December 9 – 21 players
2000 comment: ”I was often content with not taking any actions and letting the master cards and my wall of intercept do the work. The reaction cards are there to protect the master cards that are already in play. Aggravated damage (with or with out Rotschreck) made vamps pay for trying to mess with my stuff. Multiple master phases were required because I ran through minion cards quickly and would occasionally see a very gray hand.” (More at Insubordination: Columbus-recap)
2x Little Tailor of Prague 8 ANI AUS VIC dem Tzimisce:2
2x Caliban 6 ANI AUS VIC Tzimisce:2
2x Corine Marcón 6 AUS VIC ani Tzimisce:2
2x Lolita Houston 4 VIC aus Tzimisce:2
1x Meshenka 8 ANI AUS VIC priscus Tzimisce:2
1x Sascha Vykos, The Angel of Caine 8 AUS THA VIC ani dom priscus Tzimisce:2
1x Devin Bisley 5 ANI AUS vic Tzimisce:2
1x Terrence 4 ani aus vic Tzimisce:2
2x Anarch Revolt
4x Blood Doll
1x The Coven
1x Direct Intervention
1x Giant's Blood
1x Library Hunting Ground
2x The Parthenon
1x Powerbase: Chicago
1x Powerbase: Montreal
1x The Rack
1x Smiling Jack the Anarch
1x Sudden Reversal
3x Army of Rats
1x Consanguineous Boon
1x Rumors of Gehenna
2x Breath of the Dragon
10x Chiropteran Marauder
6x Inner Essence
4x Meld with the Land
9x Cat's Guidance
3x Eagle's Sight
2x Enhanced Senses
1x Fast Reaction
10x Forced Awakening
3x Sprit's Touch
2x Telepathic Counter
4x Telepathic Misdirection
- 90 cards was standard in 2000, but now, try to slim it down to around 82 by just cutting 10 percent in each card category. Sure, this is a deck that will want to play a lot of cards, but 90 cards is seldom worth it.
- Aggro-poke is not very hot these days, at least not in most metas. Rötschreck of course spice things up, but still tricky.
- Meld with the Land often feels like a underplayed card. That inferior, Obedience-inferior-kind, effect is often nice.
- Today, 10 Forced Awakening is a bit much unless you REALLY want to block, never bounce, anything. And speaking of bouncing, I´d up the bounces a bit, and switching those Telepathic Counters for bounces (the Counters CAN be good, and surprising, but seldom worth it). And of course, Eyes of Argus is of course a no-brainer in this deck today – but just how many do one dare to use?
”Tzimisce Vote” by Jeffrey ” The Lasombra” Thompson
Deck type: Tzimisce big/midcap vote
Praxis Seizure: Atlanta – Atlanta, Georgia, USA – December 10 – 14 players
2x Lambach 10 ANI AUS DOM VIC pre cardinal Tzimisce:2
2x Stravinsky 9 ANI AUS VIC pot archbishop Tzimisce:2
2x Velya, The Flayer 9 ANI AUS PRE VIC for cardinal Tzimisce:3
2x Meshenka 8 ANI AUS VIC priscus Tzimisce:2
2x Sascha Vykos, The Angel of Caine 8 AUS THA VIC ani dom priscus Tzimisce:2
1x Devin Bisley 5 ANI AUS vic Tzimisce:2
1x Elizabeth Westcott 5 AUS ani cel vic Tzimisce:3
3x Information Highway
2x Library Hunting Ground
6x Minion Tap
1x Anarchist Uprising
1x Ancient Influence
2x Consanguineous Boon
1x Disputed Territory
8x Kine Resources Contested
1x Political Stranglehold
1x Reins of Power
1x Year of Fortune
1x Gregory Winter
1x Mylan Horseed (Goblin)
3x Private Audience
5x Telepathic Vote Counting
3x Voter Captivation
8x Aid from Bats
8x Carrion Crows
2x Chiropteran Marauder
6x Telepathic Counter
9x Telepathic Misdirection
10x Wake with Evening's Freshness
- The ”bruise-vote” concept is famously challenging to win with, much because both combat and voting are fairly card intensive to make fly – you try to build ”card chains” for both things at the same time. Combining them in one deck gets tricky. While the threat of a Aid+Crows combat is strong, I´d be tempted to switch all that combat for Changelings and Plasmic Forms, plus some Meld with the Land. Could keep the Marauders for surprise agg and maneuvers. Sure, that become a different deck, but likely more stable – of course highly dependent on your meta.
- Bribes if fun and can be nice, but probably smarter to switch for something else, or just slim out. Like above, this deck should probably not be 90 cards.
- The deck is not dependent on a single star vampire getting Voter caped repeatedly, so Minion Taps would be Villeins today, and most Wake with Evening´s Freshness will be Eyes of Argus.
- You could also consider playing more Voter Caps, run 3 each of Lambach and Velya instead of whatever else – both are extremelly strong and versatile vampires.
"No Rules Vignes" by Ville Kaijasaari
Deck type: Ventrue Vignes powerbleed
Monday Mayhem XXII – Tampere, Finland – December 6 – 23 players
3x Edward Vignes 6 DOM PRE for Ventrue:3
2x Victor Pelletier 5 PRE cel dom for Ventrue:4
1x Epikasta Rigatos 8 AUS DOM PRE cel prince Toreador:4
1x Mustafa, The Heir 6 FOR PRE cel dom prince Ventrue:4
1x Boss Callihan 5 PRE dom for pro Ventrue:3
1x Catherine du Bois 5 DOM for obf pre Ventrue:3
1x João Bilé 5 DOM FOR pre Ventrue:4
1x Michael Luther 4 aus pre Toreador:3
1x Diana Vick 3 dom pre Ventrue:3
1x Anarch Troublemaker
1x Giant's Blood
2x Lilith's Blessing
2x Pentex Subversion
1x The Coven
1x Uptown Hunting Ground
1x Ventrue Headquarters
2x Enchant Kindred
6x Govern the Unaligned
1x Judgment: Camarilla Segregation
5x Mind Numb
2x Scouting Mission
2x Kine Resources Contested
2x Parity Shift
2x Change of Target
1x Daring the Dawn
2x Foreshadowing Destruction
4x On the Qui Vive
- A rather classic Vignes deck, but with group for 4 instead of group 2, for titled vampires to pull off those four votes in the ”launch rounds”. Not sure if its worth it, maybe?
- Note the Lilith´s Blessing – thats banned until someone convinces Vincent Ripoll to unban it!
- Seems a bit low on Conditionings, but that is always tricky to balance. Thats the card slots used for those votes, I guess.
- Maybe a couple of Freak Drives would work – while we´re maybe low on superior Fortitude, Freak Drive is great for heavy launches.
- I´d run at least 2 Daring the Dawn.
”Não tem eagle, vai de second” by Walter Polack
Deck type: Malkavian bigcap toolbox
Power of One – Somewhere (!), Brazil – December 13 – 18 players
3x Lucian 10 AUS DOM OBF cel tha justicar Malkavian:1
3x Gilbert Duane 7 AUS DOM OBF prince Malkavian:1
2x Greger Anderssen 7 AUS OBF dom pro prince Malkavian:2
1x Mariel, Lady Thunder 7 DOM OBF aus tha Malkavian:1
1x Ozmo 6 AUS dom obf Malkavian:1
1x Roland Bishop 4 aus dom obf Malkavian:1
1x Dollface 3 aus obf Malkavian:1
1x Asylum Hunting Ground
1x Club Zombie
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Madness Network
1x Millicent Smith, Puritan Vampire Hunter
3x Minion Tap
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Powerbase: Montreal
1x Smiling Jack, The Anarch
1x Vast Wealth
1x Dominate Kine
1x Far Mastery
5x Govern the Unaligned
1x Bowl of Convergence
1x Heart of Nizchetus
2x IR Goggles
1x Ivory Bow
1x Sengir Dagger
1x Disputed Territory
3x Parity Shift
2x Elder Impersonation
3x Lost in Crowds
5x Swallowed by the Night
4x Disguised Weapon
3x No Trace
2x Eagle's Sight
2x Enhanced Senses
2x Forced Awakening
1x My Enemy's Enemy
5x On the Qui Vive
7x Second Tradition: Domain
4x Spirit's Touch
4x Telepathic Misdirection
1x Wake with Evening's Freshness
- This is a funny deck! The world would be a better place with more toolbox decks in it. They´re not boring to play and not as vurnerable to ”impossible” seatings as non-toolbox decks are. And 4 victory points in this final shows they can work.
- To at least once pull off a Disguided weapon-Flamethrower-Graverobbing combo is reason enough to try this deck.
- 90 cards is still a lot. Consider slimming down to 80-ish, starting in the Master section.
- Lucian is underrated – his special ability is often useful, but remember to pack some maneuvers.
VEKN ON FACEBOOK NOW 1.918 MEMBERS!
Slow but steady, the VEKN community is growing, in spite of the current low live event activitiy. An easy way to know this is the constant addition of members to the official VEKN Facebook group. In the last 12 months, the group is up 26 percent in members. And what is just as important, a large majority of the 1.918 members are active members, who actually interact with the group. Please keep on doing so, and please recommend VTES playing friends to join too!
Most engaging post in December (most comments and reactions):
1. WW just released the WoD V5 Companion …
2. Oh! Hello, Inés Tristào. So you don't actually have Potence!..
3. Are ghouls also considererd mortal?
4. Please Black Chantry sponsor some Netflix series with VTES decks…
5. I haven’t heard anyone complain about the clan symbol change…
6. Which Govern one do y’all prefer?
7. 'Smol Demon' art
8. Are we going to change the usual abbreviation from THA to BLO now?
9. Congratulations Alan “Alanmut” Santos of Brazil!
10. I just found that Toreador Grand Ball is not Unique...
But don’t forget there is a forum on VEKN.net too!
BLACK CHANTRY SUMMARY: DECEMBER 2020
• Fifth Edition is now for sale all over the world! November 30 is the official release date, so the new cards are tournament legal on December 30, as is the latest rule change about default sect that was announced in the latest RTR. In that announcement there was also some addendum and errata for the Fifth Edition rulebook and helpsheets.
• A new round of playtesting has begun, with both the next four preconstructed decks (Banu Haqim, Brujah, Gangrel and The Ministry) and cards for the not yet named next expansion. The pandemic situation makes live playtesting hard, but games can be played using Lackey or Tabletop Simulator, and of course the cards are discussed thoroughly in designated forums. The round will end in mid February.
• Black Chantry CEO made a stunning performance in the official World of Darkness News show with Outstar - check it out if you missed it.
• Black Chantry art director Ginés Quiñonero delivered some insight in his role and the art of VTES in a interview on Blackchantry.com.
• 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.
RECENT NEWS IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS
Some highlights from the last month:
• The Vampire: The Masquerade Companion was released as a PDF on Worldofdarkness.com, and got 10,000 downloads in just the first 12 hours. It contains (among other things) clans Tzimisce, Ravnos and Salubri updated for the V5 setting, and the changes in clan disciplines is particulary interesting for future VTES design. The companion is a free download, all you need to get it is a site account.
• Creative Lead Justin Achilli discussed the above mentioned Companion on World of Darkness News following the release, don´t miss it!
• The World of Darkness Twitch channel ran a "Vamily Holiday Marathon" for the Direct Relief Covid-19 Response, with all kinds of WoD games streaming.
• "Werewolf: The Apocalypse - Earthblood" has a first look video of the gameplay out. Action guaranteed!
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
"The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war."