Greetings fellow Methuselahs
NEW BLOOD RELEASE AND LEGALITY DATES ARE SET!
The spoiler season for New Blood is soon over when this reaches your eyes, and you need a release date. It will be April 17, so the tournament legality date for the new cards from this set is May 17. One of those new cards is the lovely (and thirsty) Ameila Locke depicted above with excellent art from Ken Meyer Jr. Enjoy!
GRAND PRIX TOURNAMENTS STARTS AGAIN - FIRST OUT: MALMÖ, SWEDEN
The European VTES Grand Prix circuit is restarting, and now a new city is added. On Saturday July 2 we play in Malmö, as a part in the big gaming event Malmö Game Week Unplugged. Hugh and Henrik from Black Chantry Productions will attend, as will hopefully absolutely all VTES players from Sweden, Denmark, Germany and everywhere else! Beautiful Malmö is the largest city in sourthern Sweden, close to Copenhagen, why not make it a stop on your summer vacation and oust some Methuselahs?
Details: Facebook VTES Grand Prix - Malmö 2022, and we will update you in appropriate channels when we know more about Malmö Game Week Unplugged and the rest of the Grand Prix season.
JAMES SALT IS THE UK VTES 2021 CHAMPION!
19 proud Methuselahs turned up at Patriot Games in Leeds on March the 5th to battle for the UK 2021 (played in 2022) championship belt. No proxies, gloves off and claws out! Head organiser was UK National Coordinator Paul Jones.
James Salt took an impressive 3 game wins in the preliminary rounds (with a wall deck!), and he had more to give...
Standings after preliminaries:
1. James 3 gw 6.5 vp
2. Craig 2 gw 6.5 vp
3. David 1 gw 5.5 vp
4. Warren 1 gw 4.5 vp
5. Simmy 1 gw 3 vp
Comment on the final by the organiser: “The Gangrel were able to take advantage of the trademark slow start of MMPA (multiple master phase actions) and exclusively push forward against the Blood Brothers who are forced to hunt as they enter with no blood. This allowed the Gangrel to eat through the Blood Brothers pretty quickly, and left The Ministry with very little pressure. The Ministry pushed hard in to Ravnos, ousting them before they could call any Consanguineous Boons. 40 minutes into the game the Liverpool players had been taken out and team Leeds was in a 3-way. Aksinya Daclau gave the Ministry the exact amount of trouble you'd expect her to, and allowed the Gangrel to block their prey and take advantage of it using Claws of the Dead. Pretty soon it was down to just two players, and with Smiling Jack still there from turn 1 it wasn't long until MMPA was getting outpaced.”
Congratulations James Salt, 2021 UK champion with 4 victory points in the the final (The Ministry player Simmy got 1).
James' tournament winning deck: “Wolf Wall”
3 Casey Snyder
1 Hanna Nokelainen
1 Joaquín de Cádiz
1 Kamile Paukstys
1 Martina Srnankova
1 Nathan Turner
1 Ruslan Fedorenko
1 Antediluvian Awakening
1 Carfax Abbey
1 Guardian Angel
1 Powerbase: Montreal
1 The Rack
2 Smiling Jack the Anarch
2 Wider View
2 Constant Revolution
1 Dog Pack
4 Raven Spy
2 Form of the Bat
6 Claws of the Dead
4 Form of Mist
2 Pack Alpha
6 Bait and Switch
10 Deep Ecology
2 Delaying Tactics
1 Eyes of the Beast
4 Eyes of the Wild
6 Organized Resistance
1 Party out of Bounds
2 Protection Racket
We´ll see if there will be a second, real 2022 championship sometime later this year. Thanks to organiser, helpers, sponsors and of course the fantastic players!
DO YOU WANT TO ORGANIZE THE VTES ONLINE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2022?
Igor Breslin and Martin Weinmayer have been running the VTES Online World Championship tournaments for the last four years, but are now looking to step down. Are you interested in taking over? Or maybe help out? The VEKN, other players and Black Chantry will of course be there to support your efforts. Please mail !
THE FIGHT CLUB (PART 2)
By Aldo Fernández
PLAYING AGAINST COMBAT
Another issue, that we already pointed out in the previous article, is playing against combat.
Many people have difficulty playing against combat because, strategically, it can be more difficult than against other archetypes, especially since it is difficult to get help from other players at the specific moment you are being hit (after that, they will rescue your vampire or punish the Methuselah that plays combat, but your vampire will already be empty or burned, at which point you may be out of the game or close to it, depending on the deck you play and how much help you can get from the other players).
The combat strategy, which is already a different strategy from the others (since it attacks the vampire's blood and not the blood pool directly), goes in combination with the need to deal with the frustration and helplessness of having your vampires in torpor or burned and, generally, with the impossibility of being able to develop your game and cycle cards, in addition to the usually associated indifference of the other Methuselahs, either due to laziness or fear of being the next one to capture the attention of the combat deck.
Your deck usually packs some cards against bleed, political, block or ally strategies in a generic way (for example, bleed bounce/Archon Investigation, Delaying Tactics/passive votes of your own vampires, stealth or "lock" effects in the form of master and/or cards such as Mind Numb, or Entrancement/Far Mastery/Restructure, respectively), and this allows you to play the game regardless of whether you get any victory points or the game win.
These cards are normally given for granted in most decks as a basic part of either its strategy (action cards and action modifiers) or its defense (reaction cards).
However, only "strike: combat ends" cards or effects (S:CE from now on) are generally used as the sole strategy against combat, which in my opinion is huge mistake, since, when a combat deck is correctly structured and cycles properly, the S:CE bring absolutely nothing against it.
A good combat deck doesn't worry about S:CE, because it has Immortal Grapple, Psyche!, Telepathic Tracking, Dog Pack, Blessing of Chaos... (there are other cards that do the same and). They are decks, which, as we saw in the previous article, are designed to overcome these types of cards comfortably.
Also, if you do not have any vampires, you will not be able to play any cards. If you do not play any cards, your hand will always be the same due to lack of card cycling. That means that the combat player will cycle his cards and you will not, and will therefore have decisive advantage in resources and game development.
Faced with the frustration of not knowing how to play against combat, some people end up playing more combat, thinking that if they are going to get hit anyway, they will have to try to hit back even harder, which will cause the brutalization of metagames with the blooming of combat decks.
There are many ways to play against abusive combat decks (Multi-rush/Massive rush), but the best one is usually to cooperate with other players against it or to bring a deck prepared against combat.
We will see them below.
WAYS TO PLAY AGAINST COMBAT
This is always the best way to play against a combat deck. If your vampires' Discipline spread does not have any cards to deal with the combat deck, try to cooperate with the rest of the players to prevent the combat deck from doing and undoing as it pleases with total impunity.
Rescuing vampires who have been sent to torpor, stealing powerbase-type resources such as Powerbase: Montreal or The Rack, crossing the table with politics or with harmful cards such as Sensory Deprivation, Mind Rape or Mind Numb, is usually the best way to fight against a deck who abuses the other four.
You have to be supportive of the Methuselah that is being rushed, because although the problem for a non-rushed player is not imminent, it will be when the first Methuselah has been fully rushed, since the massive multi-rush/rush deck only has one viable strategy to play: fighting continuously.
In cases where there are two or more combat decks, things get complicated. When one of the two decks is not dominant over the other, they will split the table abusing the non-combat decks. When this happens, you have to take other strategies, because it will be practically impossible to cooperate against one single enemy and there will be too many open fronts.
Prevention cards as a helping strategy
These cards are precisely the cards that make combat ineffective, as a general rule.
It is inevitable to think of Fortitude as the generic prevention Discipline, but right now there are more cards that can prevent damage.
Prevention is the most proper and obvious way to make combat inefficient.
Cards like Terror Frenzy, Fortitude prevention cards in general, Flesh of Marble, Obedience, Mental Maze, Charismatic Aura, etc. are extraordinarily powerful against combat, and allow you to buy some time so that other Methuselahs in the game can be the target of the combat deck, which before the imminence of other dangers and the frustration of not being able to fight you, will simply decide to fight vampires controlled by other Methuselahs.
Allies as a typical strategy against combat
Allies are often a problem for combat decks, especially for the ones that spend much blood and require Taste of Vitae to fuel up and keep going.
In addition, they can prevent the combat deck from reaching the targeted vampire, and with the help of The Unmasking and the FBI Special Affairs Division, they can become a huge problem for combat decks, especially if not properly built.
We rarely find cards like Orgy of Blood in the more solid combat decks, and even if we do, that card is simply ineffective against the new and stronger ally decks (Emerald Legionnaires and Nephandi).
The event pack to literally destroy vampire blood or card cycling (Slow Withering, Blood Weakness, Veil of Darkness…) is usually extremely tough in case such Gehenna cards hit the table relatively early.
Most rush or multi-rush decks will suffer a lot if these cards are on the table, and even if their players know they have to get the controller of the Gehenna events off the table, the events themselves are going to make that difficult for them, in addition to the fact that the prey and predator of the combat deck will take the opportunity to exploit that weakness to get the it off the table relatively quickly.
Although this strategy is very effective against combat, it is no less certain that you will be the target of both combat and possibly the other Methuselahs.
Varied, subsidiary strategies, or with subsidiary effects, of the main strategy
There are many cards that, at a given moment, can strategically humiliate combat, and that will often grant you not only a few turns more, but also immunity. It is always a good idea to pack some as "singles" if they fit within your strategy, like, for example, Meddling of Semsith, Ponticulus, FBI Specials Affairs Division, Golconda, Chantry, Sensory Deprivation/Nightmare Curse...
Other more situational cards can be Scourge of Enochians against a Potence weenie deck, Fear of Mekhet against a Yaroslav Pascek deck, Elysium: The Arboretum against a Eurobrujah deck, Derange, because it can keep a vampire from playing specific clan cards, etc.
Many of them are devastating against some types of combat and can be totally useless against others. However, they are cards that, situationally, at given times and against specific strategies, can be definitive, and that are already very good by themselves.
More combat: Fight fire with fire
Even though I think this is significantly the worst approach, unfortunately, I am also of the opinion that it is the one that happens the most. This is because the player who was not playing combat to begin with, and had to face a combat deck, knows no other way to deal with it than the escalation of power.
Vitiated metagames, that are turned into war zones with the impossibility of playing any other deck archetype in a solvent way due to the massive presence of combat, make the game lose a lot of interaction and, above all, interest for players, who, seeing that they do not get to play the deck they want because of the demands of the pre-established script end up worsening the metagame of the area and finally, in many cases, quitting the game.
Assume you are going to be hit
This is not a bad strategy in a healthy metagame, and instead of modifying your deck choice or the deck itself, you assume the percentage risk of being dealt a combat deck on a table as your predator.
In that circumstance you have to assume that you are not going to get any victory points. And, if you manage to scratch one thanks to other players, then that is what you take.
You can have a bad tournament and get beaten up at multiple tables, but in the long run it is a no-brainer strategy if you're in a low-combat or balanced-combat metagame.
It is important to know what strategy you have chosen against combat decks when designing your deck, because, just as you pack some bleed bounce cards against bleed decks, or some Delaying Tactics/Poison Pill or titled vampires against political decks, and cards that steal allies or punish Methuselahs for the number of vampires and minions they control, or cards to get through wall decks, you must pack those cards that protect you against combat, and also be aware that there are four more players at the table who can help you.
Finally, it should be noted that combat is a strategy as viable as any other, but due to the way these decks develop their own game, it makes it difficult for non-combat decks to be able to face combat decks if they have not thought thoroughly about how to stop them.
And in case you finally cannot stop a combat deck, the feeling of frustration for not having played should quickly disappear, and you should improve your deck style and your way of approaching combat decks, because combat is never the problem. The problem is usually not knowing how to face a combat deck, and the solution is always much simpler than what it seems. Understand combat and, from there, you will understand how to stop it.
Throughout my years as a VTES player, I have lost more games to Arika, Monçada, AAA, Antonio d'Erlette and his Nephandi, Lucian, or Horatio and his flesh-crafted friends than to pure combat decks.
I have played against many combat decks and I have always known how to face such games, either by means of the cards in my own deck, or by the help of other players. A different matter is whether or not I have won any victory points at those tables. However, what I have always had crystal-clear is how to deal with them.
The great key to combat is not to fear it irrationally, but to be clear about the plan that we have preconceived to face it when assembling and playing your deck, and to carry it out during the game with determination and solidity.
I hope that this article (in two parts) has been minimally illustrative for you, and remember that it is simply my reflection based on my experience as a player, which is surely nuanced by the infinite existing metagames. So, it is not a dogma of faith and it only intends to leave something in writing for those people who want to play with combat or assume that they must play against combat, always from the position that combat is one of the main strategies of the game and that, in a healthy metagame, it must be present, like any another strategy, and in the same proportion.
BLACK CHANTRY SUMMARY: MARCH 2022
• As noted above, the New Blood mini-decks will be in stores in mid April. This is an introductory set aimed at new players, but yet it contains new crypt cards and some juicy reprints, some with brand new art that is revealed in the ongoing social media spoiler season - don´t miss it!
• The Fall of London set still needs some polishing. Unlike New Blood this contains more complex cards that hopefully will excite experienced players, so extra steps are taken to avoid problems. The preliminary schedule now says release in mid 2022.
• The next batch of Legacy singles for Drivethrucards (Salubri, Tzimisce and Pander) is now templated. It is now being uploaded to the site, and after a test print and physical proofreading it will be made available for you all!
• Product Director Ben Peal tells us he will have more time to work on card design for later sets now, so hopefully some new stuff (mainly for a Camarilla follow up set) can be shown to playtesters soon. Some of that art has already been delivered, and it looks FANTASTIC.
- 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
Fifth Edition: Nosferatu
Fifth Edition: Toreador
Fifth Edition: Tremere
Fifth Edition: Ventrue
Promo Pack 3 (Event promos only)
Fifth Edition: Banu Haqim (Stores only)
Fifth Edition: Brujah (Stores only)
Fifth Edition: Gangrel (Stores only)
Fifth Edition: The Ministry (Stores only)
RECENT NEWS IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS
Lots of things are happening in the World of Darkness right now, both around digital games like Swansong and Bloodhunt, but as hardcore VTES fans we tend to focus on the lore-related material that might have impact on VTES in the future:
- We are still very hyped with the sourcebooks for Vampire: The Masquerade that were announced at RenCon last month, mainly the Vampire: The Masquerade Player´s Guide and Blood Sigils. Outstar summarized these news in the March 11 World of Darkness News show.
- The PDF version of Second Inquisiton is now available for those who have preordered the book!
- The cover for the upcoming Hunter: The Reckoning Core Rulebook was revealed, created by Mark Kelly, also a very productive VTES artist. Isn´t it wonderful?
Subscribe to the World of Darkness News show for more news!
Upcoming tournaments for the coming month (booked so far) are in:
For details about these events, see the VEKN Event Calendar.
Remember: Online tournaments are possible - just check the box "Online tournament" when you add the event to the calendar!
You can contact the V:EKN Inner Circle members using contact forms at V:EKN.net. Also follow the official V:TES Facebook page Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and the official V:EKN Twitter account @VEKN_VTES
When the chess game is over, the pawn and the king go back to the same box.