Hunter's Mark - Art by Ginés Quiñonero from the Fifth Edition Banu Haqim preconstructed deck.
Greetings fellow Methuselahs
FOUR NEW PRECONSTRUCTED DECKS SOON AT YOUR STORE!
November 1 is the official release date of the new Fifth Edition preconstructed decks; Banu Haqim, Brujah, Gangrel and The Ministry. It's hard to know exactly when they will arrive at the shelves of your local store, but it should be somewhere around that date, so the official legality date for normal VEKN tournaments for the new cards in those decks are 30 days later: December 1.
Please, if you have the possibility, organize some kind of launch event. These new decks should be on par with the other five Fifth Edition decks (Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere and Ventrue), so consider using those too. And if you arrange a launch event, please take some pictures and post about it in all kinds of social media, hashtagged #vtes - this awakens interest, and helps the community grow!
REMINDER: VTES ONLINE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2021 COMING UP
This Lackey tournament will be played on six dates during November, with the final on December 11. News is that Black Chantry Productions sponsors prizes with store credit at Drivethrucards.com, and that the registration has started at the official VTES Discord server.
The interest for this November 27 Alicante event went through the roof, so organizers have now opened up the venue for a new maximum; 120 bloodthirsty Methuselahs can now attend, and 100 have already registered! And take a look at those Edges, aren´t those the nicest you´ve seen in a while?
ULTRA PRO SPONSORS EUROPEAN TOURNAMENTS
... or to be more exact, tournaments within the EU. If you are organizing a tournament that will have more than 20 or so participants, check out this post at the VEKN.net forum on how to apply and what you need to get this support. Big thanks to Finland National Coordinator Janne "Lönkka" Lönnqvist for making this possible!
PLAYER INTERVIEW: ALEX ROMANO, NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPION 2021
Briefly mentioned in the last newsletter, the North American Championship 2021 was played in late September at the Origins game fair in Columbus, Ohio. All the Week of Nightmares and Origins winners were:
WoN Sunday: Kelly Schultz - Tzimisce Dracon
Wow Monday 1: Brad Cashdollar - Gangrel Stanislava
WoN Monday 2: Kelly Schultz - Baali The Unnamed + Maleficia
WoN Tuesday 1: Ben Peal - Malkavian Fifth Edition precon
WoN Tuesday 2: Vinny Castellaneta - !Malavian toolbox
WoN Wednesday 1 (charity draft): Guy Russo - !Malkavian
WoN Wednesday 2 (North American Cup qualifier): Darby Keeney - Followers of Set Tempt-O-Rama
Origins Thursday 1: Darby Keeney - Baali Huitzilopochtli
Origins Thursday 2: Darby Keeney - Giovanni Khazar's Diary
Origins Friday 1: Karl Schaefer - Imbued Chainsaw
Origins Friday 2: Kelly Schultz - Inner Circle vote
NAC: Alex Romano - Protean !Toreador
Origins Sun: Kelly Schultz - HarbingersThe Capuchin blocker
Hello Alex, congratulations on the championship victory! Thanks for the opportunity to ask you some questions. First, tell us about your background in VTES please. How long have you been playing?
Thanks for the opportunity to share. I started playing VTES in 2002, when I was 12 years old because Decipher tanked the Lord of the Rings Trading Card Game, so I had to find something else to do and I saw a purple Vampire on a card and was instantly hooked. It was Rake to be exact. About a year after starting, I got grounded from going to comic shop because my grades were slipping LOL, so I stopped playing for a long time.
I took a prolonged break and returned to the game in 2010 at my same local shop. My playgroup luckily is able to play at least every two weeks and we hold tournaments a few times a year. I have played in a lot of tournaments, probably upwards of 40-50, Week of Nightmares not included.
Tournament winning deck: "It's about time"
3x L'epuisette 4 aus cel pro Toreador antitribu:4
3x Malabranca 9 obf AUS CEL PRE PRO Toreador antitribu:4
3x Ondine "Boudicca" Sinclair 9 obt AUS CEL PRE PRO Toreador antitribu:5
3x Redbone McCray 6 cel pro AUS PRE Toreador antitribu:4
1x Archon Investigation
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Erciyes Fragments, The
1x Fear of Mekhet
1x Fetish Club Hunting Ground
1x Giant's Blood
3x Palla Grande
1x Powerbase: Montreal
1x Rack, The
1x Smiling Jack, The Anarch
1x Wider View
4x Art Scam
2x Enchant Kindred
1x Eternal Vigilance
2x Under Siege
1x Carlton Van Wyk
4x Earth Control
4x Instantaneous Transformation
2x Scalpel Tongue
15x Earth Meld
6x Form of Mist
1x Eagle's Sight
2x Enhanced Senses
4x Eyes of Argus
3x Forced Awakening
4x Quicken Sight
2x Spirit's Touch
6x Telepathic Misdirection
That's a rather original deck you won with, Toreador antitribu with Protean. Have you played it a lot?
Yes, I have played this deck probably around 100 times over the years, it is a favorite of mine. I chose it for this tournament because generally at NAC day 2 you see some hyper aggressive decks and lots of allies, both of which this deck deals with very well. Surprisingly I did not see any Emerald Legionnaire decks at any of my tables, but I did have a couple of games, including the final with an Antonio d’Erlette Nephandi deck. This deck is great at blocking key actions and making a lot of pool. It rarely ever loses a combat if you don’t want to, and as long as there is an absence of Immortal Grapple. It has a surprising amount of bleed power with the combo of Palla Grande and the few Presence bleed cards in the deck, and generally, with the spot stealth combined with Form of Mist, you will get the bleed through when you want to. Also, once the Erciyes Fragment hits the table you have a lot more options to generate bleed or stealth with both in-clan and the off-clan disciplines.
Ideally your predator is an Animalism combat deck with big vampires, because if you don’t want it to, it will basically never oust you. Even more so though is a non-factor predator, as I had in this final. Prey-wise I don’t mind much, other than a deck I can’t keep up with as far as getting its victory points.
Easily the most important thing to think about is when to lock. Whether it’s acting or blocking, a key thing I learned years ago was, just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Once Under Siege is out you really have to weigh which actions to use those counters for, it shouldn’t be a throwaway block or else you end up stretching yourself thin. Sometimes the best turn for this deck is to just gain pool via Vessels or Art Scam and just stay unlocked. It requires patience to navigate this correctly as it isn’t a power bleed deck.
How were the preliminary rounds for you?
The preliminaries were actually not great for me. I got one VP at the first table before getting blown off the table by Mark Loughman’s stealth-bleed. The second table was basically only ever going to result in a 0.5 VP from me as my predator was playing a Scobax Cybele deck and my prey was playing The Dracon blocks literally everything ever attempted. The third game was much better though, as I was able to get a table win and slip into the final as the fifth seed with 3.5 VP and a win. Before it was announced, I thought I had no chance of squeaking in.
So, the final then, what were the players and the decks?
The final was a seriously intense game. Luckily my seat was decided, and I didn’t have to give it too much thought at all. It looked like this: Mark Loughman (Lasombra Stealth bleed) > Alex Romano (!Toreador with Protean) > Brad Cashdollar (Tremere with Animalism wall) > Matt Coombs (!Salubri with swords wall) > Darby Keeney (!Tremere Nephandi swarm)
Honestly when we sat down, I did not feel confident. Brad is notoriously tough to oust, and Mark’s deck can move very quick and, although I block a lot, it isn’t consistent enough to stop every bleed of 6 from getting through. My plan was to sit back and play the victim until the tide turned my way, just take my turns gaining pool and slowly influencing out my crypt.
How were you feeling about how the game evolved?
As the game developed, it became evident very early my path to victory. Mark brought out a small Lasombra and only Computer Hacked me for a bleed of 2 before I had a minion out. That was literally the last forward action he got that game as Darby absolutely obliterated all of Mark’s vampires with a Frontal Assault the next turn. He was left with one ready vampire in which he made Nocturns to block the forthcoming Nephandi swarm. As this was happening, I was able to influence out all four of my vampires and get two Vessels and The Rack on Malabranca as well as an Under Siege into play. This basically means I gain a minimum of 2 pool each turn and the Nephandi will not oust me unless I make a massive mistake.
One massive key swing in this game then occurred. Mark, crippled and down to around 2-3 pool was basically a foregone conclusion. Darby did not have The Unmasking in play at this point and I was holding two Entrancements, so without even needing a single action modifier I stole two of his four Nephandi, which led to many Nephandi-on-Nephandi battles. a. k. a. the worst combats of all time.
Brad was sitting around 7-8 pool at this time, and I drew a Fear of Mekhet which had Gabrielle Di Rhigetti’s name on it. This is a key point in the game because. as I said. this deck can be more about patience than anything. I did not play the Fear of Mekhet on the first turn I had it and lulled Brad into a false sense of security. On Matt’s turn Brad blocked one of the Salubri with a blade and an additional strike on him. and Dr John Dee went down. This left him with Gabrielle with two blood on her and Lord Tremere with three or four blood. I had a Palla Grande in hand as well as three Form of Mist I had been saving up.
So next turn hits and I play the Fear of Mekhet. Gabrielle dies and on the next go around I drop Palla Grande and blow through Brad. This was the first point I genuinely felt confident in winning. barring a timeout as Darby was the higher seed. From there I was able to get Matt after many turns of effort and only one minute and seven seconds left on the clock. Darby conceded and that was the game.
Wow, that seemed like a great game, congrats once again. So, in general, what does the new North American champion think about the future of VTES?
I think the future of VTES is bright, obviously this year we had reduced attendance at the NAC, but we all know why that is. We had a few first-time attendees and, in doing so, showed the game is ready to take the next step. Black Chantry does a great job of promoting and producing cards for the game, next year possibly having a dedicated demo person for the game probably wouldn’t hurt, but again I understand why we couldn’t this year.
I want to dedicate this tournament to everyone we have lost in the last few years as it has been hard on VTES. Fernando César, Dave Settie, Timothy Woods and, unfortunately, many others I cannot recall. May you all rest in peace and never be forgotten.
DECKS TO BEAT: OCTOBER
A retrospect by Henrik Klippström
So, this is the twelfth and last installment in our monthly “Decks to beat” series, in which we have examined the winning decks of the tournaments with most players. They have been written by me and the great Rudolf Scholz. We hope that it has been somewhat awarding for you to follow during this period of very few tournaments and fresh tournament winning decks. Do you have ideas on similar articles for this newsletter? Maybe you are an expert deck builder and want to write such articles? Please, contact the editor at !
Year 1999 (because we found no decks from October 2000!)
"OK, What the Hell, a Ventrue Vote Deck" by Eric Nawrotzki
Deck type: Ventrue vote
Crusade: New Jersey – New Jersey, USA – October 30 – 13 players
Eric's own 1999 comment: “This Ventrue Vote Deck shares a fair degree of similarity to my Toreador vote deck, which won "Praxis Seizure: New Jersey". Once again defense was a prime consideration. It has Domain Challenges, Forced Awakenings, and Sudden Reversals to slow down the weenie tap decks (of which, for some strange reason, there were none). The Archon Investigations and Protected Resources and the Deflections to deal with the big bleeders (of which there were many). Since there are more Ventrue Princes the Toreadors, I went with more 5th Traditions and Minion Taps. The weakest part is still probably combat defense, but I was able to add Obedience to the Elysium and Majestys (and I did not encounter any combat rush decks).” (See also the official report.)
1x Democritus 10 DOM PRE aus cel for justicar Ventrue:1
1x Emerson Bridges 8 DOM FOR PRE pot prince Ventrue:1
1x Gideon Fontaine 3 PRE Ventrue:1
1x Heather Florent, The Opportunist 6 FOR PRE dom Ventrue:1
1x Jazz Wentworth 5 PRE dom for Ventrue:1
1x Natasha Volfchek 9 FOR PRE cel dom pot primogen Ventrue:1
1x Ranjan Rishi, Camarilla Scholar 5 DOM PRE for Ventrue:2
2x Sir Walter Nash 7 DOM FOR PRE prince Ventrue:1
1x Timothy Crowley 7 FOR PRE ani dom prince Ventrue:1
1x Wilhelm Waldburg 9 DOM FOR PRE aus cel prince Ventrue:2
1x Violette Prentiss 4 PRE dom Ventrue:1
3x Archon Investigation
1x Blood Doll
1x Elysium: the Arboretum
6x Minion Tap
1x Information Highway
1x Protected Resources
3x Sudden Reversal
1x Tomb of Ramses III
1x Uptown Hunting Ground
1x Ventrue Directorate Assembly
2x Ventrue Headquarters
6x Fifth Tradition
5x Govern the Unaligned
1x Ancient Influence
2x Consanguineous Boon
1x Disputed Territory
2x Domain Challenge
1x Kindred Restructure
10x Kine Resources Contested
1x Praxis Seizure: Cairo
1x Praxis Seizure: Geneva
1x Praxis Seizure: Seattle
4x Bewitching Oration
5x Voter Captivation
2x Forced Awakenings
2x Second Tradition
- While the classic Ventrue lawfirm is more of a vote/bleed toolbox, this deck leans mostly on the vote strategy.
- Fifth Tradition: Hospitality suffered errata a bit later (in 2002 with the reprint in Camarilla Edition), but the card is still somewhat playable, although I would prefer a bunch of Freak Drives to do so.The deck is 90 cards, which is too much for a competitive deck in 2021, and it’s also a bit too master heavy (21 master cards, 6 of them out-of-turn masters, no trifles, as trifles didn´t exist in 1999).
- 3 Archon Investigation in a deck with 10 Deflections tells us that the New Jersey meta must have been very bleed heavy. Today you seldom see that card in decks that have bleed bounce. Yet with this setup, Protected Resources looks a bit too strange.
- There´s actually a Classic Decks article about this deck in the January 2018 newsletter – check it out
“Lasombra presence slim fast” by Lucas Bonroy
Deck type: Lasombra with Presence vote
French ECQ Emergency Preparation – Paris, France – October 22 – 50 players
1x Alvaro, The Scion of Angelica 9 OBT POT dom pre archbishop Lasombra:2
3x Ambrosio Luis Monçada, Plenipotentiary 10 DOM OBT POT PRE aus for cardinal Lasombra:2
3x Francisco Domingo de Polonia 9 DOM OBT POT PRE pro archbishop Lasombra:2
1x Gratiano 8 DOM OBT obf pot priscus Lasombra:2
2x Jessica (ADV) 8 AUS CEL OBT PRE bishop Toreador antitribu:2
1x Michael Luther 4 aus pre Toreador:3
1x Sela (ADV) 7 POT PRE cel obt archbishop Brujah antitribu:2
2x Blood Doll
1x Elysian Fields
1x Giant's Blood
1x Infomation Highway
7x Minion Tap
8x Zillah's Valley
2x Anarchist Uprising
1x Ancient Influence
2x Ancilla Empowerment
2x Cardinal Benediction
2x Domain Challenge
1x Political Stranglehold
1x Reins of Power
2x Approximation of Loyalty
2x Blanket of Night
3x Iron glare
2x Private Audience
5x Shadow Play
1x Shroud of Absence
4x Shroud of Night
1x Stone Travel
2x Tenebrous Form
5x Voter Captivation
- A very classic Lasombra + Presence deck, slim as the name suggests, only 74 cards. Highly aggressive, it relies much on getting its bloat with Minion Tap (today probably Villein) and Voter Captivation going. It is sensitive to combat (especially stealthed rushes, although uncommon) and very fast bleeding, and of course a real wall prey, for example an Auspex weenie (no block denial cards like Seduction).
- The inclusion of Cardinal Benediction suggests the creator tries to secure the vote lock if the game gets long, possibly afraid of other vote decks. Note that, if Gratiano becomes Cardinal, he still can cast his 1 extra ballot in the Prisci subreferendum, thus he might be able to claim 6 votes for your side. That card might be a bit underplayed.
- An interesting exclusion is Kine Resources Contested, usually the standard damage-dealing political card, then and now. Instead there are no less than six “1 damage per minion card” (Anarchist Uprising, Ancilla Empowerment and Domain Challenge), maybe because swarm decks were expected. I´d probably swap 4 of those for Kine Resources Contested, unless I expect swarms.
- It looks stable – don´t hesitate to bring it to a tournament today, although you should have a close look at your meta and modify the deck if needed.
The European Championship 2010 was was a spectacular event. EC Day 1 had 155 players (winner Erik Torstensson playing “Girls will find”, the First Chance Qualifier had 149 players (winner Jérôme Goyet with a Magaji combat deck), and one might say that Brian Mortiz winning deck of EC Paris Day 2 (also Laibon!) is more “prominent”, but with our selection criteria we instead take a look at this one:
“Rising Dementia” by Csaba Greguss
Deck type: Malkavian/!Malkavian Kindred Spirits stealth-bleed
EC 2010 Last Chance Qualifier – Paris, France – October 29 – 172 players (!!)
2x Apache Jones 5 DEM aus for obf Malkavian antitribu:4
2x Jackie 3 DEM Malkavian antitribu:4
2x Midget 3 DEM obf pre Malkavian antitribu:3
2x Morel 6 AUS DEM OBF Malkavian:4
2x Tony 6 AUS DEM dom obf Malkavian:3
2x Uncle George 5 DEM aus dom obf Malkavian antitribu:3
1x Antediluvian Awakening
1x Archon Investigation
1x Fortschritt Library
2x Pentex(TM) Subversion
3x Wider View
1x Blood Trade
1x Break the Code
1x Nightmares upon Nightmares
1x Rising, The
4x Call, The
15x Kindred Spirits
2x Sibyl's Tongue
2x Cloak the Gathering
8x Eyes of Chaos
2x Faceless Night
2x Lost in Crowds
3x Mind Tricks
2x Spying Mission
2x Swallowed by the Night
2x Touch of Clarity
- 4 game wins in a 172 player tournament and 5 victory points in final, that must be some kind of record, right?!
- Just another Kindred Spirits deck, this time groups 3 and 4, you say? Well, sure, but apart from the result two things stand out: Firstly, the Gehenna event module with The Rising was innovative in 2010, stopping bloat effectively. Secondly, Lear Jet is unusual. Many try it, but it’s not easy to make it work.
- To all of you who frown upon this type of deck – try playing one! Total focus, very little political leverage, and no one will ever help you out of a bad spot. It’s not easy to win with!
The European Championship was in September this year, so we can look at something else:
“Girls will find... Inner Circles” by Jorge Delgado
Deck type: Baali MMPA stealth-bleed
Spanish NC 2015 – Badía del Vallés, Spain – October 25 – 54 players
1x Adana de Sforza 11 CEL OBF POT PRE PRO aus inner circle Brujah:4
4x Aksinya Daclau 9 ANI FOR PRE PRO cel tha Gangrel antitribu:4
4x Cybele 10 ANI DAI OBF PRE SER THA Baali:4
1x Lucian, The Perfect 11 ANI AUS DOM OBF POT PRE Guruhi:4
1x Lutz von Hohenzollern 11 AUS DEM OBF PRE pot inner circle Malkavian:4
1x Rafael de Corazon 11 AUS CEL DOM OBF PRE inner circle Toreador:4
1x Archon Investigation
9x Ashur Tablets
1x Coven, The
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Giant's Blood
1x Golconda: Inner Peace
2x Information Highway
1x Jake Washington
1x Metro Underground
1x Monastery of Shadows
1x Parthenon, The
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Wider View
4x Zillah's Valley
1x Anthelios, The Red Star
1x Scourge of the Enochians
1x Call the Great Beast
2x Unleash Hell's Fury
2x Aire of Elation
2x Elder Impersonation
1x Enkil Cog
2x Faceless Night
4x Into Thin Air
2x Spying Mission
2x Swallowed by the Night
1x Lost in Translation
- Arguably the tightest “power package” deck concept ever, “Girls will find” is aggressive but rather stable against most opponents, especially when facing players that aren´t used to it and know what to do to stop it.
- Vulnerable to rush combat decks – Unleash Hell´s Fury and the mighty Jake Washington is just about your only hope.
- Took a heavy blow when Anthelios was banned in 2016, but it is still viable.
- Nowadays the most extreme variants of the deck run 20+ Ashur Tablets to have them trigger almost every turn.
Thanks for reading!
BLACK CHANTRY SUMMARY: OCTOBER 2021
- The four new preconstructed decks are soon at your fingertips (see above), as should the Promo Pack 2021 cards be, if you attend the right events.
- As earlier decks, these new preconstructed decks will have helpsheets downloadable from Blackchantry.com, in English, French and Spanish.
- After some complications, the last Unleashed Kickstarter backers have now received their cards. There is a small surplus printed which will be sold in some way soon - more news on that when it is ready.
- Artwork for the Fall of London set is dropping in, and the design team headed by Ben Peal are doing some last tweaks on the card designs as this is written. Release: Early 2022.
- The new First Blood-type set will be called New Blood. These cards are being templated, both reprints and new cards. Release: Early 2022.
- 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)
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 (Stores only)
Vampire: The Eternal Struggle Fifth Edition Latin (Drivethrucards only)
Fifth Edition: Malkavian (Stores only)
Fifth Edition: Nosferatu (Stores only)
Fifth Edition: Toreador (Stores only)
Fifth Edition: Tremere (Stores only)
Fifth Edition: Ventrue (Stores only)
RECENT NEWS IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS
Wow! The World of Darkness team over at Paradox really made October the "Month of Darkness" they promised. This was 30-ish activities and announcements, for example:
- A Dark Pack Community Discord server was opened, connecting World of Darkness content creators.
- The MET Vampire: The Masquerade - War of Ages Kickstarter project was launched.
- Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodhunt is expanded with "Act 2".
- The first issue of the VTM comic book "Winter´s Teeth" was made available as a free download. Try it out!
- Really cool lo-fi music collection with a special Vampire feel was put on Youtube.
- On October 14, a new Brand Update was published, with news on the new editions of Werewolf: The Apocalypse and Hunter: The Reckoning (also, more about the latter on October 26).
- The Storyteller´s Vault was opened for community created content.
- An official World of Darkness account launched on Spotify with no less than 18 large mood playlists - one for each vampire clan, and more!
- A teaser of the upcoming VTM sourcebook Second Inquisition appeared at the Renegade Game Studio store.
- The last episode in the five-season-long VTM-chronicle LA by Night streamed, accompanied by a brand new loresheet for you to download.
- Dark Pack opened for video games too, with Vampire Jam!
Puh, that was a lot, and those were only some hightlights - check out the "Month of Darkness" page for more.
VEKN still refrain from generally encouraging physical tournaments. Follow local regulations on what events are possible. Notice that online tournaments are possible - just check the box "Online tournament" when you add the event to the calendar!
For more information on upcoming events see the VEKN Event Calendar.
You get out what you put in.