Preview art by Ginés Quiñonero from Fifth Edition: Tzimisce.
Greetings fellow Methuselahs,
Our worldwide network of active Vampire: The Eternal Struggle tournament players is now 2 182. That means 2 182 unique persons have played a tournament in the last 18 months. Wow!
JONAS STÅHLE IS THE VTES 2023 EUROPEAN CHAMPION!
The European Championship took place in Barcelona, Spain on October 13-15, and it had a record attendance: 269 players!
As usual, the main tournament was preceded by a series of "Week of Nightmares" tournaments, which were won by these nice folks:
• Monday: Jesper Bøje of Denmark
• Tuesday: Márcia Mota of Portugal
• Wednesday: Sergio Bolsico Silverio of Spain
• Thursday: David Luhaæær of Denmark
Then the real fun began. This year's special promo card was Piper with new art by Ginés Quiñonero. It was awarded in both English and Spanish versions to all participants.
Hugh Angseesing and the rest of the Black Chantry ghouls honoured the event with their presence, as did Chico and Lalo all the way from Mexico, and some other wonderful long way travelers - extra thanks to you for attending!
Also worthy of praise are all those that took the test to become sanctioned VTES judges - you are all heroes!
As we have grown accustomed to, Marko Saari of Finland took some extra nice pictures of this EC too:
Check out the details about each EC event in these separate VEKN.net articles:
Thanks to all players, organisers and sponsors - hope to see many of you in Warsaw next year!
PLAYER INTERVIEW: JONAS STÅHLE, 2023 EUROPEAN CHAMPION
Interview by Henrik Klippström. Full transparence: I play with this guy almost every week. Strangely, he doesn´t win that much when I´m around :) For more about this tournament, check out the full report.
OK, lets start from the beginning … How long have you played VTES?
- I started back in 2003-2004, I think. Anarchs had been released recently and Kindred Most Wanted was one of the first new releases for me. One of my friends, Randal Rudstam, introduced the game to me by playing 1-on-1 and rushing my vampires, or at least that's how I remember it, but I still got hooked. In the beginning we were just a small group of highschool friends, but after a few years I migrated to play more with the rest of the current Stockholm group.
What do you enjoy most about the game?
- I primarily enjoy the social aspect, sharing stuff that happens on the table and just general blabbering. I also have a soft spot for deck building and exploring less used card interactions.
How do you generally behave at the table?
- I think I can take on a bit of an agitator role against whoever I perceive as my main threat, regardless of table positions. I'm no stranger to passing on a victory point to get an easier game win. I do think I have more success when I actually keep a low profile, however. You (Klippström) play with me every Wednesday so you probably have a more objective view than I do, so feel free to fill in. (Yes, he can be an agitator, but yes, I don´t always think that role suits him :))
Do you prefer a certain type of deck?
- I do like decks that are active and focused on ousting, so bleed decks are probably the closest to my heart. I think it's important to try out all kinds of archetypes to understand how they function, though. For less competitive play I love trying out underplayed cards, or new card interactions, as mentioned.
The European Championships Day 2 is the 85 best players around. You played Ministry Dabbler stealth-bleed. Why did you choose that deck?
- Most of all it's a deck I'm very comfortable with, I played it a lot and it has performed well before. I also expected a lot of the new Fifth Edition decks, e.g. Gangrel, Banu Haqim and Brujah, and I think that Ministry has a quite favorable matchup against those. There's also a lot more intercept in it compared to other popular stealth bleeders, which allows you to block key actions – like Raven Spy, Bowl of Convergence – and dictate the game more. It is quite weak to aggressive bleeding, but that tends to be less represented on Day 2, although I'm not sure how true that was this year with so many players, thus requiring more victory points for finals.
Are there any special prey and predators you like or don´t like when playing this deck?
- As mentioned, an aggressive bleeder, especially a stealth-bleeder, can be rough since the deck doesn't pack all that much defense. Like with most decks a prey with very dedicated minion-rush is always a problem, since even if you could oust it, you'll do so crippled.
How were your preliminary rounds on Day 2?
- I managed to snag two game wins ending in very close heads-up situations. In the first my Gangrel opponent got roughed up too much the round before the heads up by Sniper Rifle wielding predator, giving me too much of an edge. A shared Club Illusion also worked well in my favor. In the third table, second game win, a very timely Pentex Subversion removed the star blocker from the Akunanse player – sporting Jubal with extra intercept against Ministry! – giving the oust from a mandatory pool to Smiling Jack.
About the final, what were your thoughts for the seating?
- I did not really know what Javi played, but assumed it was more control-focused than aggressive forward. Banu Haqim is also a pretty decent prey for ministry, hence my choice of seating. I think Otso got the impression that Kari played a more traditional voting Arika deck and wanted to sit close enough to control. At the time, I also saw his positioning as a way of letting me and Tomasz go at each other and then just delete however emerged from that.
As the game begun and evolved, how did you feel about it?
- Things mostly went my way to be honest, and my main job was to not fumble it away. I did try to not throw everything at Tomasz but rather try to build a board first, but not sure how others perceived it. The game overall was suprisingly relaxed though, and even when it went well I never really counted anyone out. I never had the energy to overthink the situation, and expected more resistance with Direct Interventions and dealing to get me off the table. Sometime after my second victory point it looked too good to ignore, but then it felt more like a matter of time when I'd get the last oust since my board was so strong.
So, now you are the best player in Europe, maybe on planet Earth. What are your thoughts on the future of VTES tournament play?
- Not sure if I feel like the best player, but I'm very happy with my performance! I can't say I have too strong of an opinion on future tournaments, other than that I'll try to keep playing and enjoying the game.
What are your personal VTES goals right now?
- I'm really looking forward to future sets, in particular because Ravnos is a favorite clan of mine, and I want to find a way to make them work. There is going to be a lot of new stuff to explore. The current meta game is still evolving a lot and as things get shaken up there's old stuff suddenly being viable, which I think is exciting.
Thanks to Jonas for the interview, and we wish him good luck in the future!
NEW STRUCTURE FOR VEKN NEWSLETTERS
As you probably already have noticed, we are trying a new routine for official Vampire: The Eternal Struggle event reports. The reports will be published as separate articles on VEKN.net – only a short summary with a link to the full article will appear in the newsletter. In this way we lift some stress from the newsletter writing at the end of each month and get more room for other fun stuff in the newsletter.
But still, please remember: If you organise a tournament of National Championship level or higher, it is important that you send in the requested event information to the newsletter editor. Do it at the same time that you upload The Archon!
NERIJUS MIKALAJUNAS IS THE 2023 VTES CHAMPION OF POLAND!
45 players turned up in Warsaw. Read the full report: Polish National Championship 2023
ANOTHER ROAD TO PULLED FANG ENDS
Words by Lukáš Simandl:
On the eve of the Czech Nationals (reported in the last newsletter), the culmination of the Czech Road to Pulled Fang league also took place. This league consisted of a series of five tournaments, with the winners receiving unique playmats, and all players earning points for the overall ranking.
The first of these tournaments was held in Prague in November, and its winner was Tomáš Kubec. The second was in January, won by Jan Kočí in Ostrava. March saw another victory for Jan Kočí in Lichnov. The fourth tournament took place in Hradec Králové, and its winner was Jan Liška. The conclusion, as in the previous year, took place in Brno, with Lukáš Vrbický emerging as the victor.
Points from individual tournaments were added up for the overall ranking. This was done by summing up game wins and victory points (as a secondary scoring metric) from the three most successful tournaments of each participant. An interesting note this year was that two tournament winners did not make it to the top five due to their absence from other Road tournaments.
The final five players gathered on the evening before the Nationals to conclude this year's Road to Pulled Fang. An interesting situation occurred when two Carna met at the table, leading to a contest. This might lead to a slight change in deck selection for the final table in the future. Nevertheless, the players who made it to the final table were: Jan Kočí (5 GW; Gangrel anarch) -> Jiří Paska (4 GW; Carna) -> Lukáš Vrbický (6 GW; Carna) -> Lukáš Simandl (4 GW; Lasombra Animalism) -> Michal Faldyna (5 GW; !Tremere). The ultimate winner was Jan Kočí.
Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi! (The King is dead, long live the King!). We are already looking forward to the next series of Road to Pulled Fang, which will have one more tournament this time.
How do you grow a player community? Let´s take a look at an example. Earlier this year Radovan Vitek from Bratislava, Slovakia, was in contact with the VEKN regarding torpor rescue of the Bratislava community. Now we can tell how it is going!
What they have achieved in 9 months:
- They grew the community from 4-6 regulars to 8-10 regulars plus a few new players.
- They ran their first weekly league (similar to the one in Stockholm, based on an earlier German one) for 10 weeks with rating points and "crowning" of a champion.
- They established regular playing times: every Tuesday plus first Saturday in every month. That attracted the community from Vienna and the two groups regularly visit each other for tournaments and marathon sessions of VTES.
- They attended two tournaments with more experienced players in Vienna.
- They did a bundle order from the Polish Vtes.store and got some perks for it and are planning to do another one plus singles from Drivethrucards.com to tackle the shipping cost.
What they hope to do in the next 12 months:
- organize a first tournament of standard constructed to get feeling of what needs to be done and how to run things. The guys from Vienna will help with it as they have more experience.
- Continue with the league games, and this years league will award the top five participants with a storyline game with custom event cards.
- They would like to build cube limited environment for mostly “V5” (Fifth Edition) cards that will serve as a repeatable option for drafting and playing VTES. This will be explored and tested first. So far, the beta list and ratios with limited testing can be found here: the list and the ratios.
- There is also the option to do some sort of "prerelease" tournament with upcoming Ravnos, Salubri and Tzimisce decks.
The VEKN really appreciates initiatives like this, and will, together with Black Chantry Productions, do whatever possible to support similar ventures. Good luck to the Bratislava community!
BLACK CHANTRY SUMMARY: OCTOBER 2023
• Yes, all the Black Chantry partners were once again gathered at the European Championship. A very rare occasion, when you have a Swede, an American, a Brit, a Frenchman and a Spaniard joining to form a card game company!
Henrik, Ben, Hugh, Vincent and Ginés.
• In Barcelona that weekend, Hugh and Ben held a presentation where the product roadmap was revealed and explained, and Ben then put it into writingover at www.blackchantry.com - a must-read if you are interested in the future of VTES.
• Believe it or not, the “preview season” for the next three Fifth Edition preconstructed decks is still ongoing. The clans are Ravnos, Salubri and Tzimisce. Release date is not set, but hopefully in December. All previews are collected at these product pages:
• Many have questions about what really is going on with all the VTES promo cards that Black Chantry put out, so now a promo card policy has been published.
• While the second round of playtest of the Hecata and Lasombra preconstructed decks is prepared, the playtesters are trying out the first draft of a two-player variant of VTES. This is very exciting, for it is one of the most sought-after things according to Black Chantry customer service.
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, Latin)
Fifth Edition: Nosferatu (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
Fifth Edition: Toreador (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
Fifth Edition: Tremere (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
Fifth Edition: Ventrue (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
Promo Pack 3 (Event promos only)
Fifth Edition: Banu Haqim (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
Fifth Edition: Brujah (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
Fifth Edition: Gangrel (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
Fifth Edition: The Ministry (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
New Blood: Malkavian (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
New Blood: Nosferatu (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
New Blood: Toreador (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
New Blood: Tremere (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
New Blood: Ventrue (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
The Fall of London (Also Spanish, French, Latin)
Echoes of Gehenna
Shadows of Berlin (Also Spanish, French)
New Blood: Banu Haqim (Also Spanish, French)
New Blood: Brujah (Also Spanish, French)
New Blood: Gangrel (Also Spanish, French)
New Blood: The Ministry (Also Spanish, French)
RECENT NEWS IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS
This year's "Month of Darkness" has come to an end, as usual LOADED with exciting news and content for fans of Vampire: The Masquerade and the rest of the World of Darkness. We would like to highlight:
• the launch of Vampire Nexus, the official digital toolset for Vampire: The Masquerade
• the World of Darkness News show interview with the guys behind Clans of London, an upcoming mobile-first card game
• the global PDF release of Vampire: The Masquerade - Blood Sigils, a sourcebook devoted to blood sorcery and thin-blood alchemy
• the brand new Hunter: The Reckoning wiki over at Paradoxwikis.com
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 VEKN Inner Circle members using contact forms at VEKN.net. Also follow the official VTES Facebook page Vampire: The Eternal Struggle and the official VEKN Twitter account @VEKN_VTES
Impossible is for the unwilling.