Ginés Quiñonero Spying Mission VTES 2021
Spying Mission by Ginés Quiñonero.

Greetings fellow Methuselahs,

INTRODUCING: THE MINISTRY

In the Vampire: The Masquerade Fifth Edition lore, the Followers of Set have rebranded themselves as The Ministry, and Vampire: The Eternal Struggle abides. A preconstructed deck is at the heavlily-strained print shop and will appear, together with decks for Brujah, Gangrel and Banu Haqim (previously known as the Assamites) sometime in October-November.

We have to wait a bit with the deck list, but the tuckbox text tells us the following: "This deck delivers a steady stream of mischief on your enemy, with tactics both direct and indirect. Your vampires do anything to elude defenders – sneaking, hypnotizing, even shape-changing! Your defense is limited, but you have some Anarch tricks up your sleeve." So this will be a bleed deck, but Anarchness and the new clan discipline Protean (replacing Serpentis) helps it stay alive ... or should one say undead?

Below you see the new Spying Mission (always bleed responsible!), a new Baron with art by VTES veteran Ken Meyer Jr, and a new action that will be important in the deck, art by new VTES artist Kim Aldau.

Spying Mission VTES 2021 Elisha Tucker VTES 2021 Ken Meyer Jr The Platinum Protocol VTES 2021

VTES Rules Q & A July 2021RULES Q & A

Black Chantry Rules Director Vincent Ripoll answers some rules questions:

Q: If my vampire has a Sniper Rifle and blocks, and the acting vampire can set the range to close before range is determined, who wins?
A: The acting vampire has the impulse to play their cards and use their effects first, so the acting vampire “wins”: once the range has already been set, the Sniper Rifle cannot set the range anymore.
 
Q: In order to merge a vampire, do I need the two different versions of the cards, or does it work with 2 advanced versions?
A: You need the base and advanced versions. Once one is out, you can merge it with the other version by spending 4 transfers and 1 pool during your influence phase.
 
Q: If my prey gets ousted by my grand-predator (the predator of my predator), who wins the VP and the 6 pool?
A: You do, no matter who ousts your prey.

Q: The acting vampire plays Mirror Walk at superior and is blocked. Can the acting Methuselah choose to use the slave rule to unlock? And would there be combat?
A: The short answer is no [ANK-20210627]. If you want to read more about it, there is a very interesting discussion here: https://www.vekn.net/forum/rules-questions/79192-mirror-walk-and-slave and a few clarification and reversals:

Two minor changes introduced in the 2019 Sabbat preconstructed decks that should have been mentioned in the official card changes on release:

Mirror Walk: Now explicitly locks the blocking minion. (SP, 16/02/2019)

This is because Mirror Walk no longer activates half of the block resolution and cancels the other half but triggers before the whole block resolution.

Telepathic Tracking: The card is played when the combat would end, and replaces this by starting a new round. Telepathic Tracking is always played before Psyche! because Psyche! is played when combat is about to end (that is after any replacement effects). (SP, 16/02/2019)

REVERSAL (of the last part of LSJ 20090513 about Promise of 1528): you cannot play Promise of 1528 before burning the blood or life to the Banshee Ironwail.

This is due to this new RULING: An effect that is delayed (such as Mirror Walk effect: "if this action is blocked, lock the blocking minion and end the action before block resolution.") happens as soon as the condition is met, before any Methuselah can play other cards or use other effects in that same timing window (it is not possible to "interrupt" the resolution of an effect by playing other unrelated effects, even if they share the same timing window).

If two delayed effects have the same timing, then they are resolved in sequence, as usual.

Do you have your own rules questions? The easiest way to get a quick answer is posting it in either the VEKN.net forum or in the VEKN Facebook group.


Card text updates July 2021OFFICIAL CARD TEXT UPDATES

Also from Vincent Ripoll, the official card text database has been updated, effective 09/07/2021 (DD/MM/YYYY):

  • Daliah: Gaining blood is now optional.
  • De Sade: All vampires (including the ones which the same controller) must burn blood to vote against De Sade's referendums.
  • Inside Dirt: Burns 3 blood or 3 pool, instead of 2.
  • Public Vilification: The blood stolen is now distributed among vampires.
  • Show of Force: The vampire can gain +2 strength at superior instead of +1 strength.
  • Vivienne Géroux: Can now play cards requiring basic Celerity and/or Fortitude as an Anarch vampire. (This includes Forced March and Diversion).

Also, note that there is a typo on Illegalism in the Kickstarter version of Anarch Unbound: The [chi] effect should read "This is a +1 stealth action." instead of "This action a +1 stealth action." This is a typo – there is no practical difference in these two wordings.

Also, some have asked what happened to the Mind´s Eye Theater promo card Alicia Cortez? The card was released on March 31, and is tournament legal as of that date. It has been added to the card database.



DECKS TO BEAT: JULY

A retrospect by Rudolf Scholz

I rise my glass in memory of the ones we lost. Mementum mori, and say “Not today!” … I hope many of you have played VTES again, real VTES with cards in hand, and started to enjoy the summertime. Have you seen some previews of the new decks by Black Chantry and maybe even already pre-ordered some? Anyway, it is now time to look back, at the tournament winning decks with the most participants from July 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015. Three out of four of these decks made use of library recursion.

VTES July 2021 01Year 2000
Untitled deck by Steve Coombs
Deck type: Midcap Presence lock-and-bleed toolbox
DragonCon 2000 – Atlanta, Georgia, US – July 2 – Unknown number of players

Notes from Steve: “Some comments about playing this deck:
1. Don't rely on getting any specific card, nor wait for one.
2. Play the hand you receive (all surprises from the deck will be good, I promise).
3. Cycle – Focus on going forward, you cannot win with this deck if you turtle up.
4. This deck was designed to play at a 4 player table ... (It's what I'm used to and usually what I see in tournaments).
5. Yes this deck is not perfect and it does have weaknesses, but I foresee changes to it in the not too distant future.
6. I'd like to thank David and Jose and the Charlotte play group for all their help and teachings over the last year.”

Crypt (12)
2x Anson   8 CEL PRE aus dom  prince  Toreador:1
1x Jost Werner   6 AUS PRE ani   Toreador antitribu:2
1x Rake   6 PRE aus cel pot  prince  Brujah:1
1x Sheila Mezarin   6 AUS PRE cel for   Toreador antitribu:2
1x Felicia Mostrom   5 AUS CEL pre   Toreador:1
1x Ramiel DuPre   5 PRE aus cel dom   Toreador:1
1x Demetrius Slater   4 aus cel pre   Toreador:1
1x Mariana Gilbert   4 PRE cel   Toreador:1
1x Remilliard, Devout Crusader   4 AUS pre   Toreador antitribu:2
1x Gideon Fontaine   3 PRE   Ventrue:1
1x Delilah Easton   2 pre   Toreador:1

Library (90)
4x Auspex
1x Barrens, The
3x Blood Doll
1x Effective Management
1x Elysium: The Arboretum
1x Giant's Blood
2x Information Highway
1x KRCG News Radio
2x Misdirection
1x Parthenon, The
3x Presence
2x Society Hunting Ground
2x Sudden Reversal
1x Tomb of Rameses III

2x Distraction
8x Legal Manipulations
1x Pulse of the Canaille
8x Social Charm

1x Ivory Bow
6x Marijava Ghoul
1x Palatial Estate
1x Sengir Dagger

10x Aire of Elation

4x Dodge
6x Majesty

2x Delaying Tactics
6x Telepathic Counter
2x Telepathic Misdirection
7x Wake with Evening's Freshness

2021 comments:

  • Presence bleed is powerful and a viable choice, and trying to make use of Marijava Ghoul to bleed at +1 stealth with Presence cards is an interesting idea. Auspex as a second discipline is quite common nowadays, which usually leads to a Toreador antitribu and Toreador crypt.
  • With a deck like Steve’s, you try to overwhelm your prey, either by successfully bleeding or by getting blocked, which locks the blocker, and surviving the combat and doing something useful afterwards, either with the same vampire, in case of superior Majesty, or with the next one.
  • However, this deck features too many master cards (taking into account that there are only 2 copies of Anson and 1 copy of The Parthenon); and if you really need 7 skill cards, you should probably ask yourself if you have chosen the right crypt.
  • If you drop the skill cards, the master card section immediately looks better. By taking out 2 other (Tomb of Rameses III, KRCG News Radio) and by turning 2 more (Elysium: The Arboretum, The Parthenon) into copies of Dreams of the Sphinx, things start to look well.
  • The Presence bleed cards are usually more diversified these days, e. g. Enchant Kindred allows you to build up or play a waiting game, Entrancement to take care about allies. Distraction could be Mind Numb. 2 copies of Aire of Elation could be changed to Change of Target. Change the Dodges to more copies of Majesty and/or to Staredown and/or Charismatic Aura and/or Force of Personality.
  • Looking at the reaction cards, Wake with Evening’s Freshness has to be replaced by On the Qui Vive and Eyes of Argus, and usually Telepathic Counter makes way for more copies of Telepathic Misdirection and for My Enemy’s Enemy.
  • Crypt-wise, Rebekkah should join the team, and maybe Greta Kircher.



VTES July 2021 02Year 2005
“With a feminine touch” by Jarkko Suvela
Deck type: Gangrel and Protean friends bigcap vote
Ropecon – Espoo, Finland – July 22 – 85 players

Crypt (13)
3x Stanislava   11 ANI CEL DOM FOR PRO  inner circle  Gangrel:2
2x Genevieve   10 ANI FOR PRO aus dom  priscus   Gangrel antitribu:2
2x Rachel Brandywine   10 AUS DEM OBF PRO ani  prince   Malkavian:3
2x Ingrid Rossler   9 ANI FOR PRO dom   prince   Gangrel:2
1x Caitlin   6 ANI PRO aus dom   bishop   Gangrel antitribu:2
1x Bothwell   3 ani for   Gangrel:3
1x Chandler Hungerford   3 PRO   Gangrel:2
1x Panagos Levidis   3 ani obf   Gangrel:2

Library (90)
3x Blood Doll
1x Direct Intervention
1x Dominate
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Ecoterrorists
1x Giant's Blood
2x Golconda: Inner Peace
5x Minion Tap
1x Sudden Reversal

1x Alastor
1x Ancient Influence
2x Banishment
1x Disputed Territory
1x Gangrel Justicar
5x Kine Resources Contested
2x Parity Shift
1x Political Stranglehold
1x Protect Thine Own
4x Reinforcements
1x Reins of Power

1x Assault Rifle
1x J. S. Simmons, Esq.
1x Ossian
1x Palatial Estate
1x Tasha Morgan

3x Beast Meld
3x Conditioning
4x Earth Control
6x Freak Drive
3x Rapid Change

3x Carrion Crows
5x Earth Meld
4x Form of Mist
3x Superior Mettle

7x Deflection
2x Guard Dogs
2x Rat's Warning
3x Wake with Evening's Freshness

2021 comments:

  • The lady with the rose, yet not as a star vampire … The best way to find out about its special features is comparing it with 25th Anniversary.
  • With Carrion Crows and Superior Mettle, Jarkko’s deck is prepared for a few fights (to counter Finnish politics?), and with Alastor, Assault Rifle and Ossian, it has means to get rid of soft targets as well. Protect Thine Own also helped to deal with problematic vampires, but it got banned in 2008. There is also a library recursion module with Reinforcements which can allow you to do some deal-making.
  • Like the 25th Anniversary deck, this deck focuses on political actions and relies on Dominate for bleed defence, but it does not really try to put vampires into play faster (no Govern the Unaligned, no Zillah’s Valley). This deck won a BIG tournament, yet I wonder about the usefulness of the weenies (except for Chandler Hungerford).
  • Obvious changes are Minion Tap to Villein and Wake with Evening’s Freshness to On the Qui Vive. Recommended crypt changes are Rachel Brandywine to Xaviar Advanced and Panagos Levidis (since he has neither Fortitude nor Protean) to Mark Decker. Replacement for Protect Thine Own could be Scourge of the Enochians.
  • It should be tried to reduce the size of the library to make the Reinforcements more efficient. A first try is -1 Blood Doll, -1 Golconda, -1 Gangrel Justicar, -1 Kine Resources Contested, -1 Beast Meld, -1 Guard Dogs, -1 Carrion Crows. (If I were looking for a true redux version of this deck, I would kindly ask Jay Kristoff for help.)



VTES July 2021 03Year 2010
AD&D (Advanced Derange & Dementia) by Otso Saariluoma
Deck type: Malkavian bigcap stealth toolbox
Ropecon – Dipoli, Espoo, Finland – July 23 – 93 players

Notes from Otso: “The same deck I played before, this time with slight alterations, as I found Unmada too important to miss in the opening crypt. Temptation of Greater Power was actually an excellent addition. If you want to use the combo in every single game (which I didn't), I'd suggest playing more copies of the key cards: Derange, Dementia and Enkil Cog.”

20 days before Ropecon, Otso had won a smaller tournament with almost the same deck that he had named DnD (Derange & Dementia). On that deck, he commented: “The classic combo [Derange & Malkavian Dementia] with some new cards. Enkil Cog makes targeting the right vampires easier. Bring out Unmada first, Cybele second and Lutz third, if able. If all else fails, just bleed for three.”

Crypt (12)
5x Unmada   10 AUS DEM OBF VIC cel for  justicar   Malkavian:5
4x Cybele   10 ANI DAI OBF PRE SER THA   Baali:4
3x Lutz von Hohenzollern  11 AUS DEM OBF PRE pot   inner circle  Malkavian:4

Library (76)
1x Archon Investigation
6x Ashur Tablets
1x Direct Intervention
3x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Giant's Blood
2x Golconda: Inner Peace
2x Heidelberg Castle, Germany
2x Information Highway
3x Malkavian Dementia
1x Metro Underground
1x Monastery of Shadows
3x Parthenon, The
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Temptation of Greater Power
6x Villein
1x Wash
2x Wider View
3x Zillah's Valley

2x Anthelios, The Red Star
1x Scourge of the Enochians

5x Derange
1x Entrancement

1x Banishment
2x Parity Shift
1x Political Stranglehold
1x Reins of Power

1x Cloak the Gathering
1x Elder Impersonation
2x Enkil Cog
2x Faceless Night
2x Forgotten Labyrinth
1x Into Thin Air
2x Lost in Crowds
1x Spying Mission
2x Swallowed by the Night

3x No Trace

2x Eyes of Argus
3x Telepathic Misdirection

2021 comments:

  • Both Anthelios, The Red Star and Temptation of Greater Power are banned since 2016. Especially the first ban affects this master-heavy deck. The simplest fix seems to be: add a copy of each Derange and Malkavian Dementia for the lost copies of Anthelios. Temptation of Greater Power could become something defensive, maybe Unleash Hell’s Fury. Plus, after the RTR 20201130 Derange lost a bit of its disruptive powers.
  • The trick of the deck: Put Derange on a worthy target, preferably out-of-turn with the help of Enkil Cog, thus it cannot be removed before the start of your next turn. In your next master phase, play Malkavian Dementia on a deranged vampire and do with it what you regard to be appropriate: Play Golconda on it, or use Heidelberg Castle to drain off the blood and take a useful action if the vampire was unlocked. As a side benefit, Derange usually slows down the game to your favour.
  • Even without the combo the deck is a valid threat. And being granted two or maybe even three master phase actions, two sets of Ashur Tablets will probably allow you to retrieve precious cards. Possible variations of this deck: Adding Anarchist Uprising and Ancilla Empowerment is one of the most obvious choices, because of the many weenie and ally decks out there. You could try out Social Ladder (to be played after Malkavian Dementia), put in more stealth/block denial cards, or play more reaction cards (wakes, bounce, Mental Maze, etc).
  • If you squeeze in one or better two Master: Discipline skill cards into this deck, you can hope to be able to play Derange on ANY vampire. ;-)



VTES July 2021 04Year 2015
“NAG Anu gets a blood” by Bram van Stappen
Deck type: Anu and Weenies with Procurers swarm bleed
French LCQ – Soissons, France – June 4 – 31 players

Notes from Extrala who chose this deck as Deck of the Month in his blog: “The deck is a rather untypical ally bleed deck built around Anu Diptinatpa and the Procurer ally. The Procurers together with Anu’s special ability to spend a blood to give a minion (!) an extra +1 bleed, serve two purposes. The first is to bleed for one with Anu’s help, and the second one is to provide Anu with an extra blood (hence the deck’s name) for future bleed modification. If you dare to block, the third angle of the deck is kicking in: with Concealed Weapon & Flash Grenade the minions are able to end combat and tap down an opposing vampire easily for the next untap phase. The deck looks very inconspicuous, but it’s fast, and puts a lot of pressure on its prey with a horde of minions.” 

Crypt (12)
5x Anu Diptinatpa   7 DOM NEC aus vic   Nagaraja:6
1x Andre LeRoux   3 aus   Toreador:5
1x Alu   2 obf   Assamite:5
1x Dr. Solomon Grey   2 dom pre   Caitiff:5
1x Eric Milliner   2 pot   Giovanni:5
1x Honest Abe   2 pre   Brujah:5
1x New Blood   2 san   Blood Brother:ANY
1x Nichodemus   2 pot   Nosferatu:5

Library (73)
1x Anarch Troublemaker
6x Ashur Tablets
3x Blood Doll
1x Coven, The
1x Direct Intervention
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Giant's Blood
1x Jake Washington
4x Life in the City
2x Parthenon, The
1x Wider View

1x FBI Special Affairs Division
2x Unmasking, The

1x Carlton Van Wyk
10x Procurer

1x Camera Phone
1x Codex of the Edenic Groundskeepers
7x Flash Grenade
3x Saturday-Night Special

1x Change of Target

2x Backstep
9x Concealed Weapon
2x Dragon's Breath Rounds

6x Deflection
1x Delaying Tactics
2x On the Qui Vive
1x Redirection

2021 comments:

  • Bram himself says: “Well, I'd say it's originally built, pre-Legionnaire age. People tend to underestimate the damage output. The module with deflect and Anu's special is superstrong, especially if you can just use Procurer to fill her up again.”
  • It takes a while to fully understand all the threats Bram packed into this deck, and any unprepared opponent will tend to not regard it as a threat at all. First of all, any bleed delivered or bounced by this deck, even a bleed for zero, asks the same question to your prey: “To block or not to block?”
  • Personally, I like Procurers using Flash Grenades very much, since it is very powerful to lock an opposing vampire and not letting them unlock in their next turn. Adding the Saturday-Nights Specials together with Dragon’s Breath Rounds puts even more mental pressure on your opponents.
  • There is only one card I recommend to add to this deck: two or three copies of Anarch Convert (at the same time dropping one or two of the 2-caps), since in my opinion Anarch Revolt is currently a very common card in tournaments and a big threat to a deck like this.
  • Depending on the metagame, a second Delaying Tactics (in exchange for a Deflection) might be required, and a second The Coven (probably in exchange for a Blood Doll) could be useful since the first copy tends to be removed from the game (=> the curse ^^). I am tempted to put in a Secure Haven to help protecting the star vampire, yet it would not interact well with Life in the City and Blood Doll.



That’s it for this time. Thank you for reading!


VEKN Facebook growth
VEKN ON FACEBOOK NOW 2,059 MEMBERS!

... of which a whopping 1,812 are considered "active members" during the last month. The growth is not explosive, but considering the launch of VTES Fifth Edition was during a period when physical events has been discouraged, any growth is welcome. Thanks to all of you out there who promote the game, on Lackey and otherwise!

Most engaging posts this month (most comments and reactions):
1. At this moment in Slovakia.. 1gw.5vp
2. To clarify about the Sydnelson's card being shared
3. In Honor of our friend Fernando Cesar - Prince of Rio de janeiro
4. Ken Meyer Jr returns with more lovely art for Vampire: The Eternal Struggle!
5. Octane is one of the crypt cards in the upcoming …
6. So what to do with the new g6 Assamites or Banu Haqim as they prefer to be called nowadays?
7. Victoria Ash, preview Vampire: The Eternal Struggle art by Carmen Cornet.
8. Last Thursday (every Week) we have 6 player Table in Wels, Austria.
9. New strategy article by Tommi Hakomaa: How to play Tupdogs & Nephandus
10. Obituary: Sydnelson was the most fundamental pillar of our community…

Don´t forget that the VEKN.net forum is still around! Rules Questions and tournament winning decks ("Event Reports and TWD") are popular sections in the past month.


Black Chantry logo

BLACK CHANTRY SUMMARY: JULY 2021

  • The Unleashed Kickstarter is under delivery! The first lucky backers have received their products, others have to wait a bit. Black Chantry Distribution has been created to serve EU backers more easily.
  • The five Fifth Edition single decks (Malkavian, Nosferatu, Toreador, Tremere and Ventrue) are in stores since early July.
  • Previews for the next four preconstructed decks (Banu Haqim, Brujah, Gangrel and The Ministry) have begun (see above), but moving on slow, since the release date is sometime in late October/early November. The annual promo pack has roughly the same status – you saw a couple of previews in the June newsletter.
  • The second round of playtest of the Fall of London-themed mini expansion has concluded, and playtest coordinator Darby Keeney has produced a meaty report that is currently being digested by the designers. We´ll see if another round of playtesting is needed.
  • The design team is also working on a follow up expansion for the Fifth Edition clans. The format is still vague, but first drafts of some cards will be in playtesting soon.
  • The next batch of Legacy Card Singles for Drivethrucards has been templated and is now being proofread.

VTES Fifth Edition

Black Chantry VTES products

• Currently these Black Chantry products are available through Drivethrucards.com and other stores:

Do you have opinions or questions for Black Chantry? Start a topic on the VEKN forum, or contact the company by e-mailFacebookInstagram or Twitter.


Swansong Galeb
RECENT NEWS IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS

  • Vampire: The Masquerade Swansong has a new trailer out for the Ventrue protagonist Galeb. The game is scheduled for release in Febuary 2022.
  • Paradox Interactive is looking for a freelance World of Darkness Community Ambassador - apply as soon as possible!
  • The World of Darkness News show has changed to a shorter format, and the main themes this month have been Vampire: The Masquerade Bloodhunt (July 2 and July 10), and Vampire: The Masquerade Out for Blood (July 16).


CALENDAR

Upcoming events:
VEKN still refrain from generally encouraging physical tournaments. Follow local regulations on what 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 VEKN Event Calendar.

 

"Relax. No one else is knowing what they're doing either."

Carmen Cornet - Victoria Ash

Victoria Ash by Carmen Cornet.

Greetings fellow Methuselahs,

THE RETURN OF ICONIC VAMPIRES

We now welcome some "icon" characters back into Vampire: The Eternal Struggle. With start in the upcoming preconstructed decks and the 2021 promo pack, old familiar faces get new versions in other crypt construction groups. Theo Bell, Gilbert Duane and Hesha Ruhadze will have a new version in group 6, while the new Victoria Ash is in group 7. As these cards have the exact same names as their old versions, they contest as normal.

Gilbert Duane group 7 Victoria Ash group 7

 


VTES 2021 top

BRAM VAN STAPPEN WINS ATLANTIC CUP 2021!

A fantastic 101 Methuselahs logged on to LackeyCCG to participate in the Atlantic Cup on June 5-6 - a record attendance for an online VTES tournament. Everyone seemed delighted in how smoothly the event ran, praising the organizers in comments. Several streamers also let non-participants in on the action.

Standing after the three preliminary rounds:
1. Fernando Cesar - Sydnelson (BRA) 3 GW, 13 VP
2. Kleber Martins - Kleber (BRA) 2 GW, 9 VP
3. Bram Van Stappen - gotcha (BEL) 2 GW, 8.5 VP, 168 TP - won coin toss with Hugo
3. Hugo Dey - The Thing (CHL) 2 GW, 8.5 VP, 168 TP
5. Luis Espejo - LuisEspe (CHL) 2 GW, 8.0 VP

2021 Atlantic Cup final table
You can watch the whole final on Youtube, commented by Lionel Panhaleux and Christopher Malec.

Congratulations to Bram for a solid win with 3 VP. Fernando Cesar scored 2 VP.

Bram Van Stappen's tournament winning deck: "——____——" aka "The Hoody Gang #3"

Brams comment: Again big thanks to all. I tend to build several versions of decks I enjoy playing, so here is another of my Matasuntha decks. The deck is super slow, so not a very wise decision in a 100+ people tourney, especially without Smiling Jack, Anarch Revolt, etc. The worst part is you rely on the table collapsing and taking what is left. The good part is you have decent defense, in terms of intercept and even combat. Ashur Tablets retrieve cards: combat, when you face hard hitters; or wakes and intercept, on a stealthy table. 8 Eagle's Sight should provide you some control of the table. (VEKN forum link to the TWD)

Crypt (12)
1x Alcoan   7  for AUS CEL NEC   Harbinger of Skulls:6
5x Anarch Convert   1   Caitiff:ANY
1x Guggenheim   6  AUS CEL PRE   Toreador antitribu:5
1x Khurshid   8  AUS FOR NEC POT   Harbinger of Skulls:6
2x Matasuntha   10  ANI AUS CEL FOR PRO   Gangrel:5
1x Nuriel   8  cel dom AUS FOR VAL   Salubri antitribu:6
1x Titi Camara   5  pot AUS CEL   Osebo:5

Library (90)
9x Ashur Tablets
1x Direct Intervention
1x Erciyes Fragments, The
1x Giant's Blood
1x Maabara
2x Parthenon, The
1x Powerbase: Montreal
1x Rack, The
5x Villein

1x Dragonbound

5x .44 Magnum
1x Bowl of Convergence
1x Sport Bike

1x Mr. Winthrop

2x Aura Reading
5x Concealed Weapon
8x Diversion
5x Taste of Vitae

8x Eagle's Sight
1x Enhanced Senses
8x Eyes of Argus
3x Forced Awakening
2x Guardian Vigil
3x My Enemy's Enemy
5x On the Qui Vive
3x Quicken Sight
6x Telepathic Misdirection


Bram van Stappen Tomas WallmurBram and Tomas - VTES camaraderie in the rain at Paris EC 2019.

WINNER INTERVIEW: BRAM VAN STAPPEN

Congratulations Bram! You are an experienced live tournament player, but have you played a lot of VTES online before this?
- Yes, I have been playing online for quite some time. I think it was Martin Schumacher who lured me online first. I played with him a great deal, but lately he has been having other priorities, unfortunately for the online community. Luckily, there is a nice bunch of players online like Igor, who has been a constant in online VTES. Lately I have been playing a lot with Toms but also with Brazilians, Spaniards, Germans, kiwis and aussies, Americans and the UK bunch, some French and so many others. It is nice that our small community is so international.
    Nothing beats live play though, meeting with the players, having a chat and beer, interact and watch your opponents’ reactions at the table. Tourneys, and especially the EC is such a warm gathering with old familiar faces, the Swedes, Finns, Italians ... such a nice player group. I hope some of them will decide to give Lackey a shot as long as we can't get together for live play. So, get some Swedes to play please, my leverage on Tomas, Randy, Kalle, etc seems insufficient. Janne, we miss some Finnish politics; please bring it on, and to the dear Italian playgroup with superstar Danilo ... where ya'all at?!
    I was happy that the meta in the Atlantic Cup – from what I saw – was similar to live tourneys and a bit less combat-oriented. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against combat, but I like variation.

How did you choose deck for this event?
- I suck at choosing decks generally; I never know what to play. I have a zillion deck lists, but when I go through them, none seem good enough to take to a tournament, and I end up with a deck matching my mood: sometimes a controlling wall, sometimes an all-in weenie deck or just a “fun deck”.
    Since it was such a big tournament, I anticipated the usual bleed decks, but I also anticipated more combat than I encountered, and thought some would play funky weird decks.
    So, in the end I took a Matasuntha deck. I have played Matasuntha a lot, but I didn't play this exact version. I had been experimenting with her and Khurshid plus some backup using guns. I had versions that struggled when facing gun decks or Animalism. Luckily, I didn't encounter any of that at the Cup. Also having a gun can be useful when low on blood; if you can maneuver to long and shoot, it allows you to use the Diversions in the deck for additional strikes instead of prevention. And fortunately, I didn't see stealth politics, because 4-5 stealth undirected actions are hard to block for this deck.
    Having a big cap bleed predator is ideal if I have the time to setup a bit and if I draw into my bounce as I should. The deck has basically no ousting power. Ideal is to be at full strength by the time the table is crumbling and then take control of what is left: read “torpor what is left”.

How were the preliminary rounds for you?
- I posted a small report of the preliminary rounds on the VEKN.net forum earlier. Basically, I had an easy first table with a turbo-Emerald Legionnaire deck putting his prey, an old school Ventrue deck, low on pool very fast. The Ventrue played Ancilla Empowerment and, since all feared the Legionnaires, I got my first VP basically for free. Blocking what was left of the Ventrue was easy and with 2 VP's and twelve pool there was nothing stopping me.
    The second one was impossible with a Goratrix celerity wall deck as my prey, but with some Jedi mind tricks and the necessary luck I made an unlikely 1 GW 3 VP's with only Guggenheim on 2 blood and 1 pool left. This effort involved playing Giant´s Blood on my pred, rescue my predator's Elimelech and bouncing his bleed.
    The last game had some technical difficulties, some talk, much slower play than previous rounds. Hugo ran away with some VP's despite having 2–3 vamps in torpor. I didn't get the time to finish what was left.

In the final, after the seating, you were between two bleed decks, and with two breed-decks as table allies. No combat decks at all. How did you feel about this situation?
- No deck at the final table really made me feel like I couldn't handle it. Stealth-bleed is fine – I played Hugo in round 3 and knew he also played defensive with some larger vamps, so I choose to sit as his prey. Breed is fine with Matasuntha's special abilities. Being able to handle all decks doesn't make you win though.
    The most dangerous one was probably Fernando's Giovanni with block denial. With Call of the Hungry Dead as an option, cross table blocks become way more difficult.
    My game plan was to stay alive, put pressure on Fernando when I could, hoping to cycle some of his bleed-bounce and being able to redirect some Malkavian bleeds to him, see how table goes and try to make it fall my way eventually. Once there are only 3 players left, the Matasuntha wall is most likely to take the rest. I had some trouble to get a grip on Fernando though.

How were you feeling about how the game evolved?
- With a slow wall like mine you don't care if some people die fast; you just want people to fight, spend resources and then step in at the right time. But that was hard with Fernando going fast with his big bleeds of 10 plus pool damage output every turn. I didn't draw my Eagle´s Sights as early as I would've liked, and I was forced to keep some of my defensive resources for Hugo. With Powerbase: Savannah in play it made no sense for me to try and block Fernando since I would not be able to torpor his minions. So, I had to go for that Powerbase as soon as possible. Then, when I blocked him successfully, I didn't have any Diversion in hand, so I didn't manage to torpor his vampire.
    When there were three players left and Hugo's deck showed its great defense capacities, I was confident to take Fernando down. Also, because any bounced bleeds would end up with me and make my life easy. With Eagle´s Sight and a Direct Intervention in hand I was confident. When Hugo lunged on me, I could have just played an Eyes of Argus and used Erciyes Fragments for a bleed-bounce, but I wanted to take no risk running into a Touch of Clarity, so I tried to block him and played intercept until I drew an Auspex bounce. It was unlikely he would have both Touch of Clarity and Hide the Mind in hand.
    Winning was a combination of good seating, some luck, and fewer mistakes from my side than usual. On tables like this final one the smallest mistake can cost you the game. Thanks again to Lionel and everyone who helped organizing, streaming ... and all players!

Thanks to Bram for the interview, and thanks to the organizers of the Atlanctic Cup, primarily Lionel Panhaleux, who put a lot of effort into marketing and tying continents together with this event. Also thanks to sponsors Midnight Sun and Black Chantry, judges and all you wonderful participants!



IN MEMORIAM: FERNANDO CESAR

Fernando "sydnelson" Cesar tragically lost his life to complications from Covid-19 after the online event reported above. He was a pillar in the VTES community and a dear friend to many of us. The VEKN express our deepest sorrow at his passing and wish all his family and friends the best under these difficult circumstances.



DECKS TO BEAT: JUNE

A retrospect by Rudolf Scholz

We witnessed an amazing Atlantic Cup, and now people start to actually gather around a real table again and play VTES with decks composed of real cards (or some crazy proxies, grrrr ^^). The monthly review on decks, this time from June, shall remind you on some archetypal threats in the world of VTES by presenting you the tournament winning decks with the most participants from June 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015. Please bear in mind that, like Imbued, Covid-19 is still around and tries out new variations. Take care, ladies and gentlemen!

Year 2000
“Princely Weenie Dominate” by Ethan Burrow
Deck type: Midcap to weenie Dominate swarm bleed
Praxis Seizure: Dallas – Dallas, Texas, US – June 3 – 14 players

Notes from the organiser: Seating of the finals was Norman Brown (“Spiridonas The Boxer”) => David Edelstein (“Princes Just Say No”) => Matt Heslin (“Same Old Ventrue”) => William Dockendorf (“Bleed of the Weenies”) => Ethan Burrow (“Princely Weenie Dominate”). “David was able to oust Matt as Matt's hand was jammed with Obedience and combat cards, while David was doing the sexy bleed thing with Seduction and/or Jost. Ethan ousted Norm with a Misdirection/Sleeping Mind combo, preventing Norm's Second Tradition from keeping him alive. Ethan then ousted David, then William with an all out rush of weenies bleeding as it was simply a matter of time before Williams' weenie deck would be able to overcome Ethan.” (Complete report by LSJ is to be found in rec.games.trading-cards.jyhad.)

Crypt (12 cards)
1x Constanza Vinti   8 CEL DOM POT   prince   Brujah:2
1x Dónal O'Connor   8 CEL DOM POT   prince   Brujah:2
1x Gilbert Duane   7 AUS DOM OBF  prince   Malkavian:1
1x Sir Walter Nash   7 DOM FOR PRE   prince   Ventrue:1
1x Gloria Giovanni   4 DOM nec   Giovanni:2
1x Cameron   3 dom pot   Lasombra:2
1x Jing Wei   3 dom tha   Tremere:1
1x Christine Boscacci   2 dom vic   Pander:2
1x Mustafa Rahman   2 dom   Tremere:2
1x Ohanna   2 dom   Malkavian:2
1x Samson   2 dom   Ventrue antitribu:2
1x Royce   1 dom   Pander:2

Library (87 cards)
1x Barrens, The
6x Dominate
3x Minion Tap
10x Misdirection
2x Parthenon, The
3x Secure Haven

10x Govern the Unaligned
7x Third Tradition: Progeny

7x Conditioning
6x Foreshadowing Destruction
4x Sleeping Mind, The

5x Deflection
3x Pulling Strings
2x Redirection

6x Dodge
8x Fake Out
4x Open Grate

2021 comments:
– A deck using the bleed powers of Dominate obviously is a threat, and it is the breed angle which makes the deck still interesting nowadays.
– The crypt looks fine, even though I would be tempted to 1) include a fifth Prince with superior Dominate (Wilhelm Waldburg would have been available in those days) to make sure that Third Tradition: Progeny could be played right from the start, and/or 2) further improve the “Govern-down chain”, e. g. with Ingrid Russo or Kurt Strauss.
– Library-wise, Ethan’s deck misses any anti-anti-weenie-tech like The Uncoiling, Not to Be and Aranthebes, The Immortal. Plus, a few copies of On the Qui Vive look useful, and vote defence with Delaying Tactics or Poison Pill is more reliable than Pulling Strings.
– 25 master cards are too many in a deck that wants to do actions and play action modifiers consistently, and there is no blood management at all. An attempt to a modern fix could be: 1x Barrens, 2x Dreams of the Sphinx to improve card flow; 4x Dominate (Third Tradition will fetch them), 3x Villein; 3x Misdirection, 1x Anarch Troublemaker, 2x Pentex Subversion to diversify the so-called “European Stealth”; 1x Secure Haven, 1x Jake Washington (he is an enhanced Secret Passage), 1x The Coven.
– Actions and action modifiers: Slaughtering the Herd might make your day against ally decks, thus including one or two copies of it usually is a good idea. Or, because of the Princes, you might want to include political action cards like Parity Shift or Domain Challenge. Gaining real stealth on a bleed action can become valuable as well, so maybe 1x Conditioning and 3x Foreshadowing Destruction should become 4x Bonding for the vampires with superior Dominate. For similar reasons, Seduction should be included as well. I think one up to three copies of The Sleeping Mind should be dropped.
– The combat package could be improved low-key by replacing Dodge with Absorb the Mind. If you want to show more ambitions, go for Fake Out together with Concealed Weapon and Flash Grenades (even Jake would be able to do that trick). Another approach would be to accept the risk of getting rushed, but reduce the risk of fatal blocks by swapping in some copies of Change of Target.

Year 2005
“Cindy’s Angry Dragon” by Brad Cashdollar
Deck type: Euro Brujah combat
Warning Sirens – Columbus, Ohio, US – June 29 – 36 players

Crypt (12)
2x Theo Bell   7 POT cel dom pre   Brujah:2
2x Theo Bell (ADV)   7 CEL POT PRE aus dom   Brujah:2
2x Don Cruez, The Idealist   10 CEL POT PRE ani dom pro  justicar  Brujah:1
2x Constanza Vinti   8 CEL DOM POT   prince   Brujah:2
2x Dónal O'Connor   8 CEL DOM POT   prince   Brujah:2
2x Volker, The Puppet Prince   5 CEL pot   prince   Brujah:2

Library (90)
5x Blood Doll
1x Carver's Meat Packing and Storage
1x Direct Intervention
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Elder Library
2x Fame
2x Haven Uncovered
1x Sudden Reversal
1x Tension in the Ranks
1x Warzone Hunting Ground

1x Dragonbound

1x Aranthebes, The Immortal
2x Bum's Rush

2x Leather Jacket

4x Conditioning

8x Blur
2x Disarm
7x Flash
9x Immortal Grapple
3x Pulled Fangs
6x Sideslip
4x Taste of Vitae
8x Torn Signpost

7x Deflection
6x Second Tradition: Domain
4x Wake with Evening's Freshness

2021 comments:
– The so-called “Euro Brujah” (featuring Brujah Princes with Dominate and European city titles) have been sexy since Dark Sovereigns was released in December 1995. It is an archetype usually aiming for close-range combat with a set of specific cards to be included and some room for personal taste.
– Brad’s deck is very solid as it is, even 16 years later. Changes you might want to consider today are: 3x Blood Doll => 3x Villein, Elder Library => Monastery of Shadows; Wake with Evening's Freshness => On the Qui Vive (and/or more Second Tradition: Domain); some copies of Flash => Resist Earth’s Grasp, some copies of Blur => Pursuit, and some copies of Sideslip => Side Strike and Fast Hands (to be able to deal with nasty strikes or weapons). In an ally-heavy metagame, Orgy of Blood is a valid silver bullet.

Year 2010
Untitled deck by Cory Busch Kendall
Deck type: Imbued Wall
Reunion Kamut – Columbus, Ohio, US – June 23 – 42 players

Crypt (13)
3x François "Warden" Loehr   3 def jud   Judge:4
2x Jennie "Cassie247" Orne   5 inn jud vis   Visionary:4
2x Erick "Shophet125" Franco   4 inn jud   Judge:4
2x Jack "Hannibal137" Harmon   4 def jud   Defender:4
2x Marion "Teacher193" Perks   4 jud red   Redeemer:4
1x Travis "Traveler72" Miller   5 def mar   Martyr:4
1x John "Cop90" O'Malley   4 jud ven   Avenger:4

Library (76)
6x Angel of Berlin
1x Church of Vindicated Faith, The
1x Information Highway
1x KRCG News Radio
1x Lupine Assault
1x Parthenon, The
1x Rose Foundation, The
1x Smiling Jack, The Anarch
1x Society Hunting Ground
1x Vigil: The Thin Line

1x Unmasking, The

4x React with Conviction
4x Second Sight
4x Strike with Conviction

1x Moise Kasavubu
1x Vagabond Mystic
1x Wendell Delburton

1x Crusader Sword, The
2x Flak Jacket
1x IR Goggles
2x Kevlar Vest
2x Leather Jacket
4x Sniper Rifle
2x Sport Bike

1x Champion
4x Discern
2x Rejuvenate
4x Vigilance

3x Concealed Weapon
4x Dodge
9x Glancing Blow
4x Manstopper Rounds

2021 comments:
– Imbued turned into a somehow normal ally deck archetype “with some special rules” after the bans of Edge Explosion and Memories of Mortality in 2008. And, well, this deck is kind of a “friendly” Imbued deck, since it omits the various nasty Gehenna Events available.
– Like other decks with a tool-up setup, Imbued need above all time (no fast bleeders or voters as predator, since the lack of pool gain options) and preferably no blockers around. Once they manage to acquire their Powers, above all Vigilance, and (in Cory’s variation) some defensive equipment, they are a serious threat.
– Since Imbued decks leave open quite a few design options, just some general thoughts: Society Hunting Ground must be an input data error, I assume it to be a Society of Leopold (a very nasty card). Manstopper Rounds should probably be Target Vitals these days, but you could go for a surprise Glaser Rounds as well. I would double or triple The Unmasking and like to have a Direct Intervention, a Vox Domini and/or a Poison Pill for some vote defense. To buy more time for the setup, Millicent Smith is a nice option.

Year 2015
“Desencalhando as Shrouds 2015” by Pedro Paulo de Sousa Mendes
Deck type: Guillaume Giovanni toolbox
Brazilian NC 2015 – Belo Horizonte, Brazil – June 6 – 43 players

Crypt (12)
5x Guillaume Giovanni   9 CEL DOM NEC POT obt   Giovanni:4
3x Gianmaria Giovanni   5 POT dom nec obt   Giovanni:5
2x Raphaela Giovanni   6 DOM NEC pot pre   Giovanni:4
1x Kay Polerno   4 dom nec pro   Giovanni:5
1x Primo Giovanni   4 dom nec pot   Giovanni:4

Library (84)
9x Ashur Tablets
1x Barrens, The
3x Charisma
1x Coven, The
1x Direct Intervention
1x Dummy Corporation
1x Filchware's Pawn Shop
1x Fortschritt Library
1x KRCG News Radio
1x Monastery of Shadows
1x Morgue Hunting Ground
5x Parthenon, The
1x Path of Bone, The
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Powerbase: Cape Verde
1x Powerbase: Montreal
1x Secure Haven
1x Storage Annex

1x FBI Special Affairs Division
2x Unmasking, The

1x Dominate Kine
1x Far Mastery
3x Govern the Unaligned

1x Ambrosius, The Ferryman
1x Brigitte Gebauer
1x Carlton Van Wyk
1x Felix "Fix" Hessian
1x Gianna di Canneto
2x Puppeteer
4x Shambling Hordes
1x Tye Cooper

3x Call of the Hungry Dead
3x Change of Target
3x Conditioning
2x Seduction
7x Shroud Mastery
3x Shroud of Absence

3x Spectral Divination

6x Deflection
2x On the Qui Vive

2021 comments:
– Guillaume Giovanni is the star of yet another tool-up deck. His special text allows you to easily get a hand-size above 10. All you need to do is to play (useful) locations; usually Master cards, hence the location The Parthenon is typically included.
– Usually, Guillaume decks focus on higher numbers either of Govern the Unaligned (and Nocturns) or Shambling Hordes. Pedro’s deck goes “full toolboxyness” and even includes Ashur Tablets (it is more common to deal with the ash heap via Sudario Refraction).
– One of the bigger issues of this deck is pool-gain, so you have to keep a close eye on your pool and the threats to it. Therbold Realty and two copies each of Delaying Tactics and Funeral Wake should help you to survive long enough. You should think about swapping in two or three copies of Trochomancy in case your metagame features Emerald Legionnaires or even more decks with Ashur Tablets.

That’s it for this time. Thank you for reading!


VTES Combat top

VTES STRATEGIES: COMBAT DOESN´T WIN

Some thoughts from Mexico again – this time about a specific deck archetype:

One of the aspects that I like the most about Vampire: The Eternal Struggle is to play combat. The way this mechanic is designed within the game seems highly dynamic to me as well as being one of the aspects in which the role-playing influence is most noticed within the game. The representation of the physical confrontation of the minions under your control against your opponents is very funny. However, there is a phrase, at least in Mexico, that we have repeated more than once in games, whether casual or competitive: combat doesn´t win. That is, decks specialized in the art of combat never reach the great honors.

Any of you can check out the Tournament Winning Deck Archive (TWDA) in which the bleeding decks will appear with most wins, followed by politicial decks, then the toolbox decks will appear, allies and, out there in a forgotten corner, the combat decks at the bottom. But I have to make a few clarifications. I do not mean that a winning deck can't make good use of combat, but rather that decks specialized in controlling minions through combat, or decks whose victory conditions rely specifically in incapacitating minions efficiently, seldom manage to win games or tournaments. I have never seen a combat deck win a tournament.

A pure combat deck is totally offensive with the aim of eliminating all the minions present on the table, starting with those of their predator and prey, which differ from wall decks, since these are reactive decks. Combat decks require that in each confrontation their own minions are the only ones standing, so their performance needs to be optimal, if not perfect. Use your victory conditions wisely, which can range from the “death pack” (Tension in the Ranks, Fame, Dragonbound), pool-burning cards (Smiling Jack, Anarch Revolt, Antediluvian Awakening) or equipment or retainers that allow you to increase your ability to bleed. They generally have a meta-game based on intimidating their potential threats and blackmailing them with beating up their minions. On many occasions these decks are a headache for the table, because if they do their job well, they will not let the other players do much and then they'll just watch the time go by. And that's not very funny.

But combat can be a great tool in any deck, even if only for defense. The complexity of combat requires experience and serenity to obtain the best results and to complement the main strategy of a deck. As you can also see in the TWDA, almost every winning deck has a combat package. Sure, there are pure combat deck archetypes that have won tournaments – among the classics are Toreadors with guns, Tupdogs and Theo Bell & Beast, and if you look further you can find some other lucky ones too. How do you know if a deck is pure combat? Very simple, check the victory condition. If you use anything other than combat to win, it is not pure combat.

Finally, although I strongly believe that combat does not win, however in my personal philosophy as a player, I am totally convinced that, without combat, you cannot win.

Eduardo García Ayala, @LaloVtes


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Black Chantry logo

BLACK CHANTRY SUMMARY: JUNE 2021

Vampire: The Eternal Struggle Fifth Edition single decks will reach stores in the beginning of July, maybe already out when you read this. They the same decks as in the Fifth Edition box set, but sold individually in a tuckbox, in English, French and Spanish.

• Black Chantry have a lot of material in printing (at the actual print shop) right now - the four new preconstructed decks (Banu Haqim, Brujah, Gangrel and The Ministry), the annual promo pack, and of course all the content from the Unleashed Kickstarter - four bundles (Anarchs Unbound, Danse Macabre, The Unaligned 1 and 2) and the Kickstarter exclusive promo cards. The campaign ended at 330 percent funded, so the extra promo card Vivienne Geroux (note the errata!) was added to show extra gratitude to backers.

Vivienne Geroux

• Round 2 of playtesting the Fall of London mini expansion is still ongoing.

• More smart bundling of Drivethrucards Legacy singles should be done when you read this, and of course more such cards are in preparation too. It requires quite a lot of work from many hands - more news on that as soon as its done!

• The design team with Ben Peal in the lead is sketching on future cards, which become easier the more is revealed of Paradox plans for everything World of Darkness, for example the Sabbat sect. The team is all but immune to community input, for example you can post ideas for new cards and mechanics in the VEKN Forum (check out the "Expansion Sets & Card Ideas" section) or in the VEKN Facebook group.

VTES Fifth Edition

Black Chantry VTES products

• 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)
Vampire: The Eternal Struggle Fifth Edition Latin (Drivethrucards only)

Do you have opinions or questions for Black Chantry? Start a topic on the VEKN forum, or contact the company by e-mailFacebookInstagram or Twitter.


World of Darkness News

RECENT NEWS IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS

June was a big month for World of Darkness news, here are some picks:

• Renegade Game Studios announced a first expansion for Vampire: The Masquerade: Rivals called Blood & Alchemy.

• You can sign up for closed alpha play of Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodhunt, the battle royale-style computer game set in Prague. Much more about that in the World of Darkness News show.

• A preview of the upcoming Sabbat book for Vampire: The Masquerade is now available for free download!

• A new trailer for Vampire: The Masquerade - Swansong premiered.

• The vampires of the Twin Cities will encounter furry problems in World of Darkness: Crimson Thaw from Vault Comics in September.

"Trails of Ash and Bone" is a follow-up book for Cults of the Blood Gods for Vampire: The Masquerade, with four stories set in Copenhagen, Atlantic City, Florence and Birmingham.

 



CALENDAR

Upcoming events:
VEKN still refrain from generally encouraging physical tournaments. Follow local regulations on what 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 VEKN Event Calendar.

"Everything you can imagine is real."

VTES 2021 precons

Greetings fellow Methuselahs,

PRECONSTRUCTED DECKS BOX FRONTS REVEALED

After about a year of designing and playtesting, the four 2021 preconstructed decks are now soon ready for the printer. Featured clans are Banu Haqim (Camarilla), Brujah (Anarchs), Gangrel (Anarchs) and The Ministry (Anarchs). These decks will be available in English, French and Spanish and contain totally 42 new crypt cards and 16 new library cards mixed with reprints of previously published cards.

Distributors can preorder these soon, so please ask your favorite store to stock them. The recommended retail price is £18/€20/$22 and they will be in stores in October.


Atlantic Cup 2021

ATLANTIC CUP THIS WEEKEND!

Now we look forward to what seems to become the largest online VTES tournament so far. Over 100 Methuselahs have registered to play Atlantic Cup 2021 on June 5th and 6th. The format will be 3 rounds Standard Constructed played over Lackey plus Discord. Many thanks to Lionel Panhaleux and everybody else involved in organizing this!

For registration, cool prizes, schedule and all other kinds of information, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vtes-atlantic-cup-registration-149917819233

Atlantic Cup 2021

Above: Some of the skilled players already registered: Jay Kristoff (US), Fernanda Nunes (BR), Desso Alastor (BR), Delmar Sittoni (BR), Richard Cortés Zúñiga (CL), Rudolf Scholz (DE), Tomàs López Jiménez (ES), Martin Weinmayer (AT), Joab Rogerio Barbosa da Silva (BR) and Nikica Novakovic (RS).



DECKS TO BEAT: MAY

A retrospect by Rudolf Scholz

The signs are right: The Kickstarter project is funded (yeah!), and the Atlantic Cup is about to take place (woohoo!). The monthly review on decks, this time from May, might give you an inspiration for your next tournament deck, since the tournaments with the most participants from May 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015 saw winning decks which are a bit off nowadays’ mainstream. No, it’s not about Kali’s Fang, but neither about Liquidations, Tupdogs or Emerald Legionnaires.

VTES May 01Year 2000
“Sandwich of the month” by Matt Green
Deck type: Malkavian toolbox
Untitled tournament – Portsmouth, England – May 6 – 18 players

Notes from the organiser: Matthew Green won, with a quite EXTRAORDINARY toolbox Malky deck, including [blush, simper] out-of-turn rush/aggravated damage/Rotschreck combat. He only had 5.5 VP to get to the final but he engineered this quite BRILLIANTLY, ensuring, for example, in the third heat that none of the other players was going to get more VP than him, and that the biggest threats to him were stymied. He then played a total blinder in the final, starting off slow, blocking or voting down [with my help] Rob's votes, helping me to bring Rob down to 1 pool and then using a Madness network Dramatic Upheaval to swap places with me, so that he could bleed out Rob and then, via a deflection, me. A really AMAZING performance and one for the aficionados. Well done, Matt!

Notes from Matt: The deck could stand some improvement, it was the first time it had seen competitive play. The Bums Rushes were pretty bad, another hunter would have been better. The Legendary Vampire was great as were the My Enemy's-Enemies. Telepathic Vote Counting should be something different and the deck should have Sudden Reversals and maybe a DI [Direct Intervention]. Tribute to the Master effectively kept Rob T. in the game during round 1, I had no way to deal with it. Masters in this deck are at a premium really and adding still more OOT [out-of-turn] cards may be a bad idea. I'll try it and see.

Crypt (12)
2x Gilbert Duane 7 AUS DOM OBF prince Malkavian:1
2x Greger Anderssen 7 AUS OBF dom pro prince Malkavian:2
2x Victoria 5 AUS cel obf Malkavian:2
2x Zebulon 5 OBF aus dom pro Malkavian:1
1x Ozmo 6 AUS dom obf Malkavian:1
1x Aleph 4 AUS dom Malkavian:1
1x Watenda 3 obf Malkavian:2
1x Zöe 3 AUS cel obf Malkavian:2

Library (82)
2x Blood Doll
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
2x Elysium: The Arboretum
1x Legendary Vampire
5x Madness Network
2x Protean
4x Rötschreck
2x Vast Wealth

2x Bum's Rush
2x Graverobbing

1x Muddled Vampire Hunter

1x Ivory Bow
2x Leather Jacket
1x Sengir Dagger

2x Conservative Agitation
2x Dramatic Upheaval
1x Kindred Restructure
4x Kine Resources Contested
1x Malkavian Justicar
1x Parity Shift

2x Cloak the Gathering
2x Conditioning
1x Foreshadowing Destruction
3x Forgotten Labyrinth
6x Lost in Crowds
2x Telepathic Vote Counting

3x Behind You!
1x Body Flare
2x Bone Spur
3x Flesh of Marble

4x Deflection
2x Forced Awakening
3x Malkavian Rider Clause
6x My Enemy's Enemy
3x Wake with Evening's Freshness

2021 comments:
– Malkavians with Dominate looking for Madness Network fun: acting out-of-turn (all Malkavians have their own Enkil Cog) – with the option to play out-of-turn Master cards while acting. Like: “Does your deck have a viable defence against aggravated damage and Rotschreck? No? Oh, sorry … Do you mind me playing Graverobbing on your now useless vampire in torpor?”
– The vote angle of this deck allowed exchanging seats with another Methuselah, which usually resulted in VP-sniping (as described in the comment above). Dramatic Upheaval and Kindred Restructure were added to the Banned List in 2005. If you wished to achieve a similar effect nowadays, you had to build a deck around Life Boon and a way to deliver “friendly fire”, e. g. with (mass) damage votes (or the Dementation action card Kindred Spirits).
– How to make this deck work in 2021 and retain parts of the originality? Crypt-wise, in order to make sure the Protean combat module works more safely, I would triple Greger Andersen (drop Watenda) and maybe Zebulon (as 13th vampire?) and add 1 or 2 Wider Views. Hint: It is probably the safer bet to focus on Obfuscate cards (like Disguised Weapon) and Equipment (.44 Magnum is a very common option) when choosing groups 1 and 2. When going for Protean, change to group 2-3 and go for Rachel Brandywine with superior PRO (first printed in Camarilla Edition in 2002) as a fearsome star of the deck.
– More pool gain is needed since the VP-sniping option is lost. Poolgain could be 3x Villein (instead of 2x Blood Doll) and replacing all seat-changing votes and the copies of Conservative Agitation by Parity Shift. The 3 copies of Malkavian Rider Clause (maybe even add a copy of Cryptic Rider) will help you to get the pool you need (additionally, raise your sweet-talking skills).
– Master cards: Drop Elysium (usually there are too many non-Camarilla combat decks around) for another Dreams and maybe a Papillon (its cost-gain ratio is brilliant). Even though Direct Intervention and/or Sudden Reversal/Wash would be nice, I would go for Rötschreck only – you cannot chase two rabbits at the same time.
– Turn Bum’s Rush into Nose of the Hound. Forced Awakening should be On the Qui Vive, WwEF be Eyes of Agus, and you will wish to add copies of Second Tradition: Domain as well (or drop bounces for them, it´s a metagame decision). If you wish to exert more table control, add copies of Eagle’s Sight and probably a Bowl of Convergence.
– Vote-wise, I would stick to the 2 copies of Telepathic Vote Counting. If you want to get more bargain out of the Protean angle and Madness Network, you could instead take in 2 copies of Homunculus. Foreshadowing Destruction has to be another Conditioning, since only Gilbert has DOM. 1 copy each of Lost in Crowds and Forgotten Labyrinth should be Elder Impersonations, since “block fails” is so strong (and needed every now and then).
– The combat module is a small one (even if you go up to 90 cards), so choose your troubles wisely. Flesh of Marble is a nice way to take away the threat of huge amounts of damage. Bone Spur (and probably Body of Sun) could be Claws of the Dead (and maybe add two more copies of that). I would go all Protean, turning Behind You! into Form of the Ghost and/or Earth Meld.
– Fun note: If you up for funky stuff, add a Ghoul Retainer. When it uses the Ivory Bow or the Sengir Dagger, the damage is technically “environmental”.

VTES May 02Year 2005
“Ahrimanes gone wild” by François Déziel
Deck type: Ahrimane Anarch vote
NAC Qualifier - Watchtower: Chosen are Called – Montreal, Quebec, Canada – May 1 – 26 players

Crypt (12)
4x Howler 8 ANI PRE SPI obf Ahrimane:2
4x Siamese, The 7 PRE SPI ani pro Ahrimane:2
2x Cynthia Ingold 6 SPI ani for pre Ahrimane:2
2x Nettie Hale 5 ani cel pre pro spi Ahrimane:2

Library (90)
1x Anarch Free Press, The
1x Anarch Railroad
3x Anarch Revolt
3x Blood Doll
2x Powerbase: Los Angeles
2x Seattle Committee
2x Sudden Reversal

4x Engling Fury
2x Entrancement
1x Fee Stake: Boston
1x Fee Stake: Corte
1x Fee Stake: Los Angeles
1x Fee Stake: New York
1x Fee Stake: Perth
1x Fee Stake: Seattle
2x Muricia's Call

4x Conservative Agitation
2x Domain Challenge
4x Firebrand
4x Kine Resources Contested
2x Reinforcements

2x Owl Companion
2x Raven Spy

2x Aire of Elation
4x Bewitching Oration
4x Voter Captivation

8x Swiftness of the Stag

4x Chameleon's Colors
6x Majesty

4x Cats' Guidance
4x Falcon's Eye
2x Forced Awakening
4x Speak with Spirits

2021 comments:
– Votes powered by Presence and Fee Stakes together with some table control with Spiritus reaction and combat cards. It is important to recall that only the Anarch cards of the sets Anarchs, Gehenna and Kindred Most Wanted were available (so no Anarch Convert) AND that Anarch Revolt affected all Methuselahs in the game until the rewording released with Twilight Rebellion (TR) in 2008.
– Today, you want to make use of Anarch Convert in order to reliably control different ready Anarchs as soon as possible (which is needed to get the Fee Stakes work). As Karl Schaefer describes in his very useful article “Advanced Crypt Construction (and Math!)”, you want to go for 5 copies of Anarch Convert in a Crypt composed of 12 vampires (maybe 3x Howler, 2x The Siamese, 1x each Cynthia Ingold and Nettie Hale).
– The Master section is already nicely shaped, however consider using Trifle cards, so Vessels or Villeins instead of Blood Dolls, Wash instead of Sudden Reversal. I like Seattle Committee, but one copy could now be a Twilight Camp. Garibaldi-Meucci Museum and Carfax Abbey are strong cards you might want to add, maybe in exchange for 1 Owl Companion and 1 Reinforcements.
– I like the action section, too, yet including Field Training to enhance Cynthia Ingold or Nettie Hale is very tempting. Political actions should be diversified, exchanging some copies of Conservative Agitation (and/or KRC) for Eat the Rich and Reckless Agitation. 1 Domain Challenge could be Anarchist Uprising or Ancilla Empowerment.
– 1 or 2 copies of Bewitching Oration could be Perfect Paragon, and 1 or 2 copies of Majesty could be Force of Personality, to gain more flexibility.
– Regarding Reaction cards, again change Forced Awakening into On the Qui Vive. You want to make room for at least 1 Delaying Tactics and maybe 1 Detect Authority (as protection against a desperate D-action), but choosing 2x Direct Intervention (I heard there is a reprint available on Drivethrucards.com) would, of course, give you a lot more options against the various threats VTES offers. Because of card-flow issues, I would try to keep the total of Master cards at 16, maybe 17 highest.

VTES May 03Year 2010
“Viking Invasion” by Gonzalo García
Deck type: Gangrel feat. Torvus Bloodbeard toolbox
Fanfare for Elysium – Móstoles, Madrid, Spain – May 1 – 16 players

Crypt (12)
4x Torvus Bloodbeard 9 ANI FOR OBF PRO pot Gangrel:3
1x Xaviar 10 ANI FOR PRO aus cel pot 2 votes Gangrel:3
1x Brunhilde 8 ANI FOR PRO pre Gangrel:3
1x Danielle Diron 7 ANI PRO chi for 1 vote Gangrel:3
1x Sophia Watson 6 ANI FOR obf pro Gangrel:3
1x Lord Ashton 5 ANI for pro Gangrel:3
1x Bobby Lemon 4 ANI pro Gangrel:3
1x Ramona 4 for pro Gangrel:2
1x Bothwell 3 ani for Gangrel:3

Library (90)
2x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Ecoterrorists
1x Gangrel Revel
1x Giant's Blood
1x Heidelberg Castle, Germany
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Powerbase: Montreal
1x Rack, The
4x Vessel
4x Villein
1x Zoo Hunting Ground

3x Deep Song
1x Gather
1x Shadow of the Beast

1x Camera Phone
1x Heart of Nizchetus
1x Ivory Bow

1x J. S. Simmons, Esq.
8x Raven Spy
1x Tasha Morgan

3x Canine Horde
7x Carrion Crows
4x Claws of the Dead
1x Earth Meld
3x Hidden Strength
5x Pack Alpha
4x Rolling with the Punches
1x Scorpion Sting
1x Skin of Steel
1x Soak
2x Target Vitals
4x Taste of Vitae
2x Unflinching Persistence

4x Cats' Guidance
1x Eyes of the Beast
2x Forced Awakening
1x Guard Dogs
4x On the Qui Vive
4x Sense the Savage Way

2021 comments:
– Torvus is all about (bleeding and) tooling-up with permanents and winning in the endgame.
– Regarding the crypt, Xaviar is a bit too big as a secondary vampire for my taste, and it is not needed to rely on members of Clan Gangrel only. There are quite a few alternatives when going group 3-4 (okay, Ramona has to leave the crew then) and looking e. g. for ANI for+PRO. Doyle Fincher is interesting because of his +1 bleed, though his special makes him double-edged, plus Brunhilde, Danielle Diron and Beckett offer interesting advanced versions. Be on guard to keep enough vampires with capacity 7+ because of Sense the Savage Way.
– Masters: I would take out 2 Vessels and put in 1 Wider View and 1 Ennoia’s Theatre. Gangrel Revel could be Archon Investigation, of course doubling Heidelberg Castle would be a good idea as well.
– Actions and retainers: Alternatives for Gather and Shadow of the Beast are Army of Rats and Rewilding. In addition, if you reduced the combat package, you would gain some space for a few copies of Thing. Exchange 1 Raven Spy for a third bleed retainer, Robert Carter, and another one could simply be Mr. Winthrop, because it costs no blood.
– Forced Awakenings and probably Guard Dogs should be On the Qui Vive, and two combat cards should become Delaying Tactics. A further reduction or reshaping of the combat package would allow to include some Protean action modifiers to provide stealth every now and then. Especially when switching to an all Protean combat module, it should be quite easy to trim this deck down to 80 or even 75 library cards.

VTES May 04Year 2015
“Horda Psicopata” by Bruno Pontes
Deck type: Giovanni ally rush
Campeonato Extra 02 – Fortaleza, Brazil – May 2 – 13 players

Crypt (12)
3x Regina Giovanni, The Right Hand of Augustus 10 DOM NEC POT aus for 2 votes Giovanni:2
3x Lisandro Giovanni 9 DOM FOR NEC POT THN Giovanni:3
2x Andrea Giovanni 7 DOM NEC pot vic Giovanni:2
1x Carlotta Giovanni 7 NEC POT dom obf Giovanni:2
1x Isabel Giovanni 5 DOM NEC pot Giovanni:2
1x Vittorio Giovanni 5 dom for nec pot Giovanni:2
1x Rudolfo Giovanni 3 NEC Giovanni:2

Library (90)
1x Archon Investigation
1x Barrens, The
2x Charisma
2x Fortschritt Library
2x Golconda: Inner Peace
2x Path of Bone, The
4x Perfectionist
1x Tower of London
4x Vessel
1x Wall Street Night, Financial Newspaper
2x Wash

1x FBI Special Affairs Division
1x Unmasking, The

1x Ambrosius, The Ferryman
1x Carlton Van Wyk
3x Gianna di Canneto
2x Mylan Horseed
2x Neighborhood Watch Commander
1x Ossian
5x Procurer
17x Shambling Hordes
1x Tye Cooper

2x Unlicensed Taxicab

3x Call of the Hungry Dead
6x Freak Drive

3x Spectral Divination

6x Glancing Blow

6x Deflection
7x On the Qui Vive

2021 comments:
– It is somehow unusual to see a bigcap crypt in the “Shambler” archetype, and in his next TWDA version a few months later, Bruno had taken out Regina completely in exchange for more smaller vampires.
– For the other changes he considered afterwards, please have a look at his next version (http://www.vekn.fr/decks/twd.htm#2015pcsb) and be on the lookout for his previous 3 tournament-winning Shambler decks (kudos!) as well.
– A lot depends on metagame and personal style, especially in a 90 card deck (that could be reduced to 80 cards when accepting less variety). Combat-wise, Trap and Fake Out are usually friends with Shambling Hordes. I would exchange 2 or 3 On the Qui Vive for Funeral Wakes and include at least 2 more “card cyclers” (Dreams of the Sphinx, Fragment of the Book of Nod), maybe in exchange for Tower of London and 1 Golconda. If I had not proclaimed that this “Decks to beat” article is not about Liquidation, I would have to mention the Liquidation & Sudario Refraction module. “Dare not think about a pink elephant …” ;-)

That’s it for this time. Thank you for reading!


Black Chantry logo

BLACK CHANTRY SUMMARY: MAY 2021

• Time flies, and we are now in the last week of the Unleashed Kickstarter! Make sure to join, and tell friends who have been curious of the game. Some add-ons and new pledge levels have been added along the way - for example, the Temptation of Greater Power level - possibly a great, discounted way to get into the game, or maybe split it up in your playgroup?

• Upon requests, a "one-of-each" bundle of the Latin Fifth Edition cards has been added to Drivethrucards.com. More smart bundlings and of course more cards are being prepared for print-on-demand!

• Finishing touches are laid on both Promo Pack 3 and the above mentioned preconstructed deck. In stores and at events this fall.

• The Fall of London set has been sent to playtest groups for its second round of testing.

VTES Fifth Edition

Black Chantry VTES products

• 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)
Vampire: The Eternal Struggle Fifth Edition Latin (Drivethrucards only)

Do you have opinions or questions for Black Chantry? Start a topic on the VEKN forum, or contact the company by e-mailFacebookInstagram or Twitter.


Sabbat: The Black HandRECENT NEWS IN THE WORLD OF DARKNESS

The most exciting World of Darkness news for VTES fans this month is the announcement of "Sabbat: The Black Hand", the official Sabbat sect sourcebook for Vampire: The Masquerade. It is now available for pre-order and planned for an August release. The official description:

An antagonists’ guide to the cultic fanatics of the Sabbat, this book contains:
• Descriptions of the Paths of Enlightenment, the foundations of Sabbat identity
• Information on the Gehenna War, and how the Sabbat opposes the dread Antediluvians
• New tools to expand your chronicles, including Discipline powers, versatile antagonists, and the horrifying Ritae of the Black Hand

This means lots of new design space for future VTES cards - we look forward to see what the Black Chantry design team make of it!

Creative Lead Justin Achilli was guest in the World of Darkness News show and answered many questions about the book:


 



CALENDAR

Upcoming events:
VEKN still refrain from generally encouraging physical tournaments. Follow local regulations on what 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 VEKN Event Calendar.

"Die with memories, not dreams."