Greetings fellow Methuselahs,
HÅVARD SKJEVLING IS THE 2022 NORWEGIAN CHAMPION!
A Special report by Jon Martin Fjeld:
Saturday 6th of August saw the rebirth of the Norwegian Nationals tournament. For the first time in 11 years the Norwegian (and some Swedish) Methuselahs gathered to establish dominance over this remote, cold domain.
The tournament was held at Tabletopbattle in the city of Moss, in southeastern Norway, and 22 players were ready to compete. Boosters and promo cards were handed out, and a local brewer even made a special-brew that was served at the event.
After 3 nail-biting rounds, where the last table to finish was so exciting it had 15 spectators, the final seating was determined. 3 Norwegians and 2 Swedes… With everything at stake, could this get more tense?!
The seeding into the final looked like this:
Martin Svenneryd 1
Johnas Johansson 2
Ole Andreas Gresholt 3
Marius Ramstad 4
Håvard Skjevling 5
And with that, this is how the final seating ended up:
Martin Svenneryd was the first player, with his Followers of Set. Håvard Skjevling, the second player, with his version of the “8-ball madness” Malkavian deck. The third player, Johnas Johansson, played his Presence-deck with the legendary Jost Werner and friends. Marius Ramstad, the fourth player, made his own “Ventrue Stickmen” variant the night before the tournament. And finally, Ole Andreas Gresholt with his “Nanamalism” deck in the fifth slot, playing the same deck he used to win the first tournament he ever played. All in all, a group of experienced players and a nice spread of play-styles.
After only 1 hour and 20-or-so minutes, there were only 2 Methusalas remaining. Both Håvard Skjevling and Marius Ramstad had eliminated their preys, and were squaring off to determine who would be walking home with the trophy.
By using Revelations to regain the upper hand, Håvard managed to oust his prey and was declared the Norwegian national champion of 2022. Congratulations!!
(PS: how many V:TES card names can YOU spot in the text above?)
Håvard´s tournament winning deck: "Homunculi Network"
5x Rachel Brandywine 10 ani AUS DEM OBF PRO prince Malkavian:3
3x Philip van Vermeer IV 7 dom pro AUS DEM OBF Malkavian:2
2x Greger Anderssen 7 dom pro AUS OBF prince Malkavian:2
1x Quentin King III 7 obf pre AUS DEM prince Malkavian:3
1x Victoria 5 cel obf AUS Malkavian:2
1x Zöe 3 cel obf AUS Malkavian:2
1x Direct Intervention
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Giant's Blood
1x Guardian Angel
4x Madness Network
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Rack, The
1x Secure Haven
1x Uncoiling, The
1x Anima Gathering
1x Blessing of Chaos
2x Shadow of the Beast
1x Carlton Van Wyk
1x Bowl of Convergence
2x Camera Phone
1x Mr. Winthrop
Action Modifier (15)
2x Crocodile's Tongue
3x Elder Impersonation
1x Enkil Cog
3x Faceless Night
3x Lost in Crowds
3x Spying Mission
Action Modifier/Combat (5)
5x Swallowed by the Night
11x Earth Meld
3x Form of Mist
4x Eyes of Argus
2x On the Qui Vive
7x Second Tradition: Domain
5x Telepathic Misdirection
RICARDO MOLINA SOBREIRA IS THE 2022 BRAZILIAN CHAMPION!
20 players turned up for the Brazil national championship in Rio de Janeiro on July 30.
Standings before the final:
1. Desso Alastor 2 GW 8 VP
2. Ricardo Molina Sobreira 2 GW 7 VP
3. Junior 1 GW 6 VP
4. Jonathan da Silva Goudard 1 GW 5,5 VP
5. Itamar G. Jr. 1 GW 5 VP
Unfortunately we don’t have details on what decks were played or the seating.
Congratulations Ricardo Molina Sobreira (center above), victorious with 3 VP in the final. Desso and Jonathan had one each.
Ricardo´s tournament winning deck: “Tzimisce ludymilan“
3x Lady Vadislava 9 ANI AUS DOM VIC nec priscus Tzimisce:5
3x Xipe Totec 9 ANI AUS PRO VIC archbishop Tzimisce:5
3x Ludmijla Rakoczy 7 ANI AUS VIC bishop Tzimisce:5
3x America Johnson 4 AUS vic Tzimisce:5
Master (17; 2 trifle)
1x Direct Intervention
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Carver's Meat Packing and Storage
1x Smiling Jack, the Anarch
1x Library Hunting Ground
1x Powerbase: Barranquilla
2x Powerbase: Montreal
1x Rack, The
1x Tension in the Ranks
1x Aranthebes, the Immortal
2x Army of Rats
4x Deep Song
3x Fiendish Tongue
3x Under Siege
1x Carlton Van Wyk
2x Asanbonsam Ghoul
1x Bowl of Convergence
Action Modifier (4)
7x Aid from Bats
3x Breath of the Dragon
8x Carrion Crows
6x Chiropteran Marauder
4x Taste of Vitae
2x Enhanced Senses
6x Eyes of Argus
6x Read the Winds
3x Sense the Savage Way
7x Telepathic Misdirection
Some words from Ben Peal, Product Director of Black Chantry Productions:
Darby Keeney has stepped down as Playtest Coordinator for Vampire: The Eternal Struggle. For the past four years, Darby has helped guide us through our Sabbat pre-constructed decks, the Fifth Edition box set, the First Blood demo decks, the recent Anarch and Banu Haqim decks, the New Blood demo decks, and The Fall of London. The waters were tough to navigate at times - especially with Fifth Edition - but Darby handled them excellently. Many, many, many thanks, Darby!
Moving onward, we're taking a new approach by having multiple Playtest Coordinators, one for each language the game is currently printed in.[*] The goal is to lighten the workload on each coordinator and to encourage more communication and feedback by removing a possible language obstacle.
French language coordinator: Serge Cirri
Spanish language coordinator: Darío Canto
English language coordinator: Norman Brown
Portuguese language coordinator: TBD
[*] Ginés Quiñonero can be the Playtest Coordinator for Latin, if he likes. :)
If you're a native Portuguese speaker and would like to participate in our playtest program, as a playtest group or as the Playtest Coordinator for Portuguese, please email me at .
A lot of people ask me how I get the excellent tournament results that I usually get. And I always reply: “with a lot of work and dedication.”
This is usually not enough to satisfy the curiosity of the person who asks me, so I normally continue explaining that I prepare the tournament from all fronts, as a deck builder, as a VTES player and as a connoisseur of the cards and their interactions and of the game rules.
I think that anyone who wants to face a tournament with guarantees has to delve into these three facets of the game: deck builder, player and ruler.
I am not going to differentiate between how I approach a large tournament and a small one, because I understand that a small tournament, although it is easier to prepare, and even more so if it is an environment where you know the existing metagame, can be prepared in the same way as a big tournament, although in some aspects you oversize the previous work.
Previous study of the tournament. Number of participants and expected metagame.
The first thing I do is to see where the tournament will be held and the expected turnout it will have. A tournament of 20 people is not the same as a tournament of 200. And a tournament played in your usual environment is not the same as an international tournament.
Having made these distinctions, I usually start my journey to try to win the tournament.
For this, I start to study the expected metagame in said tournament.
If it's a local tournament, the metagame and the players are usually more defined and you have more knowledge of what to expect from the tournament.
You can anticipate what local players are going to play and to what extent, if you are a person who regularly follows the game in the area, either because you are interested in it or because you play actively.
If it is an international or very large tournament (National or Continental Championship, Grand Prix...), then you have to study which are currently the most played decks and the decks with the best tournament results.
Many times, and more so if the environment where you play is competitive with a large number of experienced players who want to win (and not just play to test decks), both metagames can coincide.
It is important to explain that there are tools that empower you to do this kind of study, from compendiums of winning decks such as the Tournament Winning Deck Archive (TWD), to WhatsApp groups, social media groups, in addition to knowledge of the game, the cards and/or decks that dominate the metagame.
The ability to make this forecast will lead you to have an approximate analysis of what you can expect in the tournament you are preparing, being fully aware that in this game and on the table you can find anything.
If you got it right, and you don't get a false positive, the next decision will be whether you play for the metagame or against the metagame.
My opinion is that a skillful and dominant player can play both ends of this decision.
You can play in favor of the metagame because you are a better player and, consequently, in an environment where the expectation is that there are dominant decks and/or strategies, you will play them better. Therefore, it is always an option to play in favor of the metagame.
If you are a better player, you can also play against the metagame, that is, play a deck that strategically dominates the expected decks in the metagame forecast you made.
If the forecast of the metagame is not clear, because the previous study has not been decisive or we have not been able to read it clearly, the choice of deck should always be either a very extreme deck or a very balanced one.
In the first case, we will want to play an extreme deck regardless of the environment: a deck that works autonomously and with as little interaction as possible with other decks, generally due to speed or its ability to "combo" (Khazaar's Diary, Emerald Legionnaires, Tupdogs, Girls will find…)
In the second case, we will want to look for a very balanced deck that allows us to face all facets of the game with certain guarantees and adapt to the table with resources to fight against any strategy (Grinder Ventrue antitribu, Tremere toolbox based on Magic of the Smith...)
Finally, there is an extra factor in international tournaments. If your level of English, or in general, your ability to communicate with players from different countries can be a handicap, you should play decks that allow you to play without having to get into big discussions, primarily disregarding political and/or high table-control decks.
The choice and construction of the deck, a phase prior to success. The deck builder.
When I have already determined the expected metagame or I assume that I cannot have a clear idea of what I am going to find, I choose the deck. In my case, I don't care if I play for or against the metagame, in both situations I'm comfortable.
Normally, and in my case, I put together four decks: a political, a wall, a combat, and a bleed deck. And, when I have them assembled, knowing what I have foreseen, or knowing that I have not been able to foresee, I pick one based on what I think will best suit the tournament, without forgetting that it has to be a deck with which I have a certain affinity, because playing a deck you don't feel comfortable with is always a worse option.
The deck builder facet is absolutely decisive in the functioning of the deck and in the development of your player facet during the tournament.
At this time more tournaments are lost than are normally won.
This is because people tend to build decks with a "certain" fantasy, without taking into account issues such as the speed of card cycling, the number of master cards, the amount of blood or blood pool that is spent, the consistency and the speed of your vampires coming into play… Many issues that are currently impossible to explain in a comprehensive way, but it is possible to point them out in a generic way.
Your deck is your tournament tool. The better your tool is, the better you can play, and for that purpose you have to have a series of clear rules:
1. Play only essential cards. Do not play good cards and obviously either bad or regular cards. When your deck only has essential cards, you always draw a card that you want to play.
2. When building your deck, look for similar decks to take ideas from and, if you like them and they are good, implement them (even so, you will see many small tournament decks whose construction is more than questionable. Learn to discern what is good and what is bad for your deck. We're only interested in must-have cards.)
3. Study the clan or discipline cards, know all the cards you can play and choose with all the information available.
4. If you know a good player of the archetype you are going to play, ask him, share the knowledge, soak up.
5. Test the deck in two ways:
a. Against the wall: Draw and play dummy hands, dummy situations, and watch it cycle. If the deck does not withstand this test, it must be rebuilt (master cards clogging your hand, lack of cycling to obtain resources, vampires are put in play too slowly...)
b. Play a couple of games with friends or your gaming group, try it out in a controlled environment, see how it performs in a “real” test.
6. Adapt the deck to the sort of the tournament you expect, adapt it to the metagame you expect, always without dirtying the deck (if you expect a lot of politics, you can include one more copy of Delaying Tactics or Direct Intervention in exchange for a prevention card, for example). The adaptation of the deck does not mean changing the structure or the game plan you have, you shall always include essential cards.
7. If you are going to include silver bullets to adapt it to the metagame, you should be aware that either you are going to look for cards via tutors (Magic of the Smith, Summon History...) or you are going to have to toss in cards that can be useful at any time and/or easily disposable without affecting your card cycling or your game strategy. Some of these cards can be Fear of Mekhet, Gran Madre de Dio, Italy, Scourge of the Enochians…)
For me, this is the most complicated facet of the game. People understand that my decks are good and they regularly borrow them from me, and I hand them to them without any problem. But you have to understand that all my decks have a lot of work behind them and a lot of micro decisions about how to build them and why I include copies of certain cards or why I don't include them.
In the last tournament (I got 3 game wins out of 3 with a new-crypt Gangrel deck). I spent two days considering if I needed to include 2 copies of Smiling Jack and 1 of Constant Revolution, 1 and 1, 2 and 0 and, after two days of work, I decided to change those cards for 1 more Bait and Switch, 1 more Direct Intervention and an additional Protection Rack. Those changes were a success and took me to the first place in the tournament.
And, although it appeared to be a meaningless decision, I thought about it a lot. I tested that several times and, in all situations, those cards seemed to be bad cards to me for what I intended. I understand that some people may disagree with me on this, but I simply refer to my results.
Generally, those are very thoughtful and well-worked decisions.
As I always say, my decks are public, but they don't usually come with an instruction manual, and deckbuilding is an extraordinarily complex and deep facet, beyond merely sheathing good cards for the deck.
The study of the rules and interactions of the chosen cards, cards that can give a clear advantage in the game. The ruler.
If you are not a person who usually plays combat and you have still decided to play combat, you should carefully study that facet of the game that may be more unknown to you. Does the press step come before or after Taste of Vitae? If both combatants have a card that determines range, how are the effects prioritized (Brick by Brick vs Terror Frenzy)?
It is important to be clear about the rules of the game, but it is also very important to review certain mechanics, especially if you are going to play around them.
Also, if you have conflicting cards that generate complicated interactions, it is good to review not only the rules regarding them, but also the clarifications that may have been given for them.
There are cards that are highly conflictive in this game, such as: Unleash Hell's Fury, Determine (and imbued cards in general), Direct Intervention... and if we are going to play them, it is important to be clear about how they are going to influence the table if our adversaries generate interactions with them.
In general, reviewing the rules of the game, the tournament rules and the specific rules of some cards, is something that I usually do before a tournament, with special attention to questions I have doubts or insecurities about.
This gives you depth in making decisions where these cards are going to be involved, depth that your opponents may not have and this gives you a two-fold advantage:
1. In the analysis of your move, when you decide to make it, because you know perfectly well the scope of the move with the interactions that you can foresee.
2. In the execution of the move, that you will always do it with greater precision.
In addition, not making mistakes in certain mechanics and interactions frees you from negative game factors by having made a bad or suboptimal move (which can even cost you your permanence at the table).
The day of the tournament. How to face it. The player.
Although it is a cliché, there are things that have to be done on the day of the tournament and that I always do, because they are extremely important:
1. Sleep well the day before.
2. Get up on time and do not be in a hurry or under stress. Have your deck list ready beforehand, have your deck, play mat and counters ready, as well as the money on hand... anything that makes it easier for you not to have to be under stress before the tournament.
3. TAKE A SHOWER.
4. Be on time for the tournament, have a good breakfast, but not a hearty one.
5. Do not make any excesses the day before, neither before nor during the tournament.
6. Be confident and with some adrenaline, the desire to play and win are important.
If you've got your metagame forecast right and built your deck properly, you will have a great place to start, but you still have to play the game.
These are some constants that I try to keep at a table whenever I play, and that have worked well for me:
1. At the tables you must not lose your temper, ever. You have to try to communicate effectively with the rest of the table, you don't have to protest continuously or talk systematically about the movie you saw yesterday or about the restaurant you went to last week, because when you want to say something interesting, people will pay little attention to you.
There are players who are greatly harmed because they do not stop talking, they comment on all the plays, they put discord in all the actions, their own or others. That makes people less willing to talk to them out of sheer saturation.
2. At the table you have to be firm with your decisions, which must be oriented to your style of play, and people must be clear that you are at the table developing your own game, whatever it may be.
Your game plan is set in stone. Your way of developing can be adapted to the table, if necessary. This becomes very complex to explain, but you have to be clear about what you want, and you have to play your deck in a certain way, although you can adapt to how you develop that game (which will always be the same).
As an example, and putting an extreme case, if you are going to play a deck with 8 First Tradition, you have to go out playing a First Tradition and then adapt your game development to the table, but not play the First Tradition when it is your only game plan and that makes you not develop any game and be ousted. Be firm in your game plan, adapt to its development.
3. You have to think through your moves, not only on your turn but on other people's turns, so that your turn is fluid and consistent, leaving little to the imagination or randomness. As I always say, there is a good move and all the others are worse.
If you give yourself time to think about your moves, because you are focused and you actively play the two hours of the game (and you don't disconnect when someone else is playing…), you’ll minimize bad moves a lot.
4. You have to establish a game plan in the first turns to gain access to victory at the table. You have to detect not only the player who is going to be your biggest rival at the table, but also the cards that can be played against you by your prey and/or predator, and also those that can be played cross-table.
This was typical when you played Sabbat against Camarilla many years ago and, you had an Inner Circle cross-table. You knew that sooner or later Protect Thine Own would affect you, and you had to anticipate that move, counter it and then dominate the game.
Anticipating those moves that can take you off the table is the key to having an effective response to them and being able to stay on the table.
5. You have to be patient and thoughtful, and you don't have to rush the play of key cards (such as, Direct intervention, Scourge of the Enochians, Fear of Mekhet, Club Illusion…), and you have to assume, as soon as possible, the fate of those cards (for example, if they cancel cards, what cards are going to have to be canceled, and if they are cards that will be relevant on the table, whether or not they should come into play or be discarded).
6. And, of course, don't make game mistakes, that's the basics. Although, with everything that’s been explained so far, you can probably minimize those mistakes.
If you finally manage to carry out all this, it is possible that you can play a great role in the tournament, but one thing must be clear: facing a tournament and wanting to win it has a great depth, and winning games is also extremely difficult.
The winner wins because he works hard and also plays well. If you are not one of them, I will give you the last piece of advice:
The problem is you. Games are not always lost by your rivals because they played badly, and games are not always won by them by chance or because their friends gave them to them. Be critical, review your game, your decks, your developments and adaptation to the games, your analysis of the environment, your concentration... and you will realize, if you are honest with yourself, that you have done something wrong. Improve it and start winning.
However, if you've done everything right... The only thing left is to win all the rounds and the final!!!
We thank Aldo for sharing his wisdom. Do you also want to contribute to the newsletter? Contact .
Finally another artist interview! This time we had a talk with Mitch Mueller of Sydney, Australia, who have illustrated Vampire: The Eternal Struggle cards since Black Chantry took over production in 2018.
Hi Mitch! How are you doing today?
- Busier than ever. Due to the C-word pandemic more people are in need of illustrators. Last month was my first week off in two years. And our first baby is on its way and due in two months. A new part of my life begins and we are looking forward to it.
How about your background as an artist? Are you educated or self-taught?
- Like most, I guess, started from early age to doodle. But back in the day the Internet didn't have as much to offer in regards to tutorials for inspiration. Watching Dragonball and meeting Akira Toriyama kept me inspired throughout childhood but I never knew you could make money working as an illustrator. I didn't turn "professional" and pursue an actual career until 2014. I went to the Bali Illustration Workshop and that really changed my life. Obtaining first-hand advice from artists like Dave Rapoza and Kekai Kotaki helped create a different perception about the vast possibilities in this industry. After that, I spent 2 years sitting at my tablet late at night honing my skills after work before I even got a foot in the door. But once things got into motion, all the studying paid off.
What artistic techniques do you prefer?
- It varys from illustration to illustration and client to client. I used to love pencil sketches and for any artist in their first years of learning this skill, pen and paper should be essential. I currently only use Photoshop for painting from scratch. I don't have time for sketches atm. But hopefully in due time I will get back to the traditional process. Usually I would start out with sketches and see what the client leans towards and refine it until we have a clear direction and go from there to flat colors and then rendering.
How do you work with models and photos?
- I only used photos as reference for poses and lighting. Your visual library can only hold that much. In earlier days, my ego would tell me reference is cheating but I know now that we need to refer to something in order to make it look realistic or according to the style.
We guess many who read this have seen your recent work for VTES. What else have you worked with? What of your art are you most proud of?
- I think the last two pieces I worked on for VTES came out really well. I´m not sure when the “The Fall of London” will be released but I am happy with that. I am usually happy with my work when the clients are and also when I see it being used in games. It's very satisfying. Probably Gods Unchained by Immutable, an online card game like Hearthstone, was a lot of fun to work on.
What other work do you have upcoming?
- Uhhhhh... there are lots of projects I keep working on. Bantam West, a wild west boardgame by Ike Brunicardi, is probably one of my favorites.
We thank Mitch Mueller for this chat. Check out more of his work at his Artstation page. If you like artist interviews, these are our previous ones:
- Riccardo Fabiani
- Noora Hirvonen
- Ken Meyer Jr
- Heather Kreiter
- Mark Kelly
- Javier Santos
- Samuel Araya
- Amy Wilkins
BLACK CHANTRY SUMMARY: AUGUST 2022
• The 54-card mini-expansion The Fall of London is being printed, expected to ship for stores in late September. Most cards have been previewed in various places, including Gaming with Brett S. There will be a storyline tournament format with rules that will be published soon.
• A first draft of the next preconstructed decks (Ravnos, Salubri and Tzimisce) have been sent to the playtesters (see Ben Peals message above).
• Other parts are moving on, with focus on new promos and other event support, planning/designing future sets, preparing more reprint cards for print-on-demand, updating the rulebook and new translations.
- 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 (Also Spanish, French)
Fifth Edition: Nosferatu (Also Spanish, French)
Fifth Edition: Toreador (Also Spanish, French)
Fifth Edition: Tremere (Also Spanish, French)
Fifth Edition: Ventrue (Also Spanish, French)
Promo Pack 3 (Event promos only)
Fifth Edition: Banu Haqim (Also Spanish, French)
Fifth Edition: Brujah (Also Spanish, French)
Fifth Edition: Gangrel (Also Spanish, French)
Fifth Edition: The Ministry (Also Spanish, French)
New Blood: Malkavian (Also Spanish, French)
New Blood: Nosferatu (Also Spanish, French)
New Blood: Toreador (Also Spanish, French)
New Blood: Tremere (Also Spanish, French)
New Blood: Ventrue (Also Spanish, French)
The Fall of London (Also Spanish, French)
RECENT NEWS IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS
Jason Carl and the rest of the World of Darkness crew are doing something really cool and different with New York By Night, the Vampire: The Masquerade actual play show. We talked about its first season in the previous newsletter, and guess what - that season is already over! But fear not, season 2 is airing in September! The cool thing is that there´s a new cast for season 2, with clans Lasombra, Nosferatu, Toreador and Ventrue of the Camarilla sect. So with the first season characters being of the Anarch sect, this means we get to see two sides of the Eternal Struggle in New York. Exciting!
Subscribe to the World of Darkness News show for more news!
Upcoming tournaments for the coming month (registered 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
He who cannot obey himself will be commanded.