VTES UK 2023 champion

27 players turned up at Patriot Games in Leeds to determine who is the best VTES player.

Standings before the final:
1. Tibor Morocz 2 GW 7.5 VP
2. David Sykes 2 GW 7.5 VP
3. Tommy Hayward 1 GW 6.0 VP
4. James Freimuller 1 GW 6.0 VP
5. Mikey Ferguson 1 GW 5.0 VP

VTES UK 2023

VTES UK 2023 final table
Congratulations Mikey Ferguson, new champion with 4 victory points in the final. Tibor Morocz got 1.

A report by the champion himself:

I must admit, I had ABSOLUTLEY NO RIGHT to win this game.

Allow me to set the stage for you... After battling my way to the final table, my fellow finalists strategically chose their seats, aiming to maximize their chances of victory. As a Stanislava Vote and Bleed player, I am accustomed to being avoided when it comes to seating arrangements. However, the UK V:TES National Championships showcased some incredibly powerful decks.

Let's discuss my two "Allies" across the table... Although I use the term loosely.

Firstly, there's Tommy Hayward with his Queen Anne Baltimore Purge deck. Yes, you read that correctly, and yes, the deck is as ruthless as you can imagine. Even before taking our seats, I knew Tommy's plan was to torpor the entire table, diablerize as many vampires as possible, and steal my high capacity support vampires like Xaviar or Hartmut Stover to use them against me. Not exactly an ideal situation...

Then we have Tibor Morocz, a skilled player with an impressive tournament record. Not only was he a formidable opponent himself, but his deck presented a fresh twist on an old concept: Weenie Dragon Breath Rounds. His strategy involved using 1 and 2 capacity vampires to torpor higher capacity ones, and trading them off for each other through blood hunts. Of course, I had 5 Earth Meld in my deck, but missing it just once could cost me my 11 capacity Stanislava. To make matters worse, Tibor was seated two places to my right, and his plan was to quickly accumulate victory points. Once he dispatched his prey, I was the next likely victim.

It seemed that I wouldn't receive much assistance from across the table...

Perhaps my predator would be a more manageable challenge?

(Insert "FALSE".Gif here)

To my right sat James Freimuller, the Prince of Norwich. A truly great guy, except when you find yourself sitting next to him at the V:TES table. James brought a deck that none of us at the tournament were familiar with, and throughout the day, whispers about its dangerous nature grew louder. His plan? To gain the Edge and burn it using Inside Dirt. This proved to be quite daunting considering my only defence was Deflection.

So... an undefendable predator... Fantastic...

Well, maybe I would have a prey that I could attack?

(Insert "FALSE".Gif here)

Oh joy, it was David Sykes and his MMPA, Life-Gaining, Aksinya Daclau wielding, intercept-heavy, mass deflecting deck. Wonderful. As a stealth bleed deck, I couldn't bleed my prey because he could effortlessly deflect me using one of his 44 Master Cards. And even if he didn't, he could simply block my attempts and laugh as I suffered from an excess of Carrion Crows.

Yes, indeed.

Two cross table "Allies" who showed no interest in aiding me.

A prey I couldn't bleed.

A predator I couldn't defend against.

Well, maybe I would at least draw some Information Highway or Zillah's Valleys to give myself an explosive start and potentially eliminate Dave quickly, followed by Tommy...

(Insert "FALSE".Gif here)

I got what was possibly the worst start. With no acceleration, I mustered up a turn 4 Stanislava having been a victim to James’ uninterrupted bleeds for 1 and Inside Dirts taking me down to low pool. By the time I got my second vampire out, I had 3 pool to my name. My predator James was having to push for the oust as Tibor was putting him under a lot of pressure himself.

However, a couple of timely Villiens later, and with James both running out of steam and falling victim to some Dragon’s Breath Rounds, I managed to get myself back up on my feet. Yes, James had spent the last 7 turns mercilessly draining my pool, but I had to quickly learn to forgive and forget as the threat of Tibor ousting James seemed imminent.

So, the unlikely happened. I cut a deal with my predator and prey to help us deal with the threats and turned my weaknesses into strengths.

Oh yeah, and whilst all this bloodshed was happening, Tommy had set himself up perfectly with two, YES TWO, Baltimore Purges.

If I couldn’t bleed I could call votes. My next few turns would see me Banishing Queen Anne, calling multiple KRC’s with Tibor receiving the 3 points of damage each time. Then, I spoke to Dave saying I WANT him to deflect my bleeds to Tibor.

It is a little ironic that the Stanislava deck was the only one doing anything about the table threats!

I managed to weaken Tibor enough to slow him down a lot, however, it wasn’t enough and soon after he ousted James. Tommy also got Baltimore Purge to trigger, devastating the table, Queen Anne had a fine feast, and a grave robbing meant he helped himself to my Xaviar making me lose Vote Control.

My only option was to turn to Tommy and try and cut yet another deal. I was in his good graces though, after all, I had done more damage to his prey in the last 5 turns than he’d done all game! I managed to convince Tommy that allowing me to oust Dave would be enough to allow me to put up a decent enough fight against Tibor. My table talk sold it to Tommy that with Tibor already being on 1VP, we couldn’t risk him gaining another in quick succession as he’d be 1 oust away from becoming National Champion for the second year in a row. Tommy voted with me on 2 KRCs to gain me 6 pool from Dave and the oust.

Then disaster… Tommy called a reigns of power despite the fact that if it passed he would be left on 0 pool himself. We’d already gone through all the talk of whether or not there were any blocks from me or Tibor, and the votes would be counted regardless. Tommy had to vote down his own referendum. The turn passed to Tibor and he used the turn to try and recover some of his own vampires from Torpor.

Now… If any of you reading know your Stanislava decks well, you’ll know that all this deck needs is a tiny window of opportunity.

This was my moment.

When you’re a stealth bleed deck, a habit you get into is noticing when decks that can deflect bleeds don’t, and on the previous turn Tommy took a bleed for 3 to the face without even flinching. Also, I think Tommy had been playing quite insularly, so I think he may have forgotten that earlier in the game I had attached a Signet Of King Saul to Stanislava. I untapped, used my usual hunting grounds, and I simply Govern the Unaligned bled for 5. Tommy scooped up his cards. I gained my 6 pool, and that would then be enough to help me survive my own Ancilla Empowerment that would hit Tibor for his last few drops of blood.

And that was it! In the blink of an eye I went from an impossible situation to National Champion. Anything… ANYTHING can happen in V:TES, and this final goes to show that winning is always on the cards when you keep your wits about you and take the opportunities that are presented to you.

VTES UK 2023

Mikey Fergusons tournament winning deck:

5x Stanislava 11 ANI CEL DOM FOR PRO inner circle Gangrel:2
2x Ingrid Rossler 9 ANI FOR PRO dom prince Gangrel:2
2x Hartmut Stover 10 CEL OBF PRO dom for archbishop Gangrel antitribu:3
2x Xaviar (ADV) 10 ABO ANI FOR PRO aus cel pot justicar Gangrel:3
1x Mark Decker 8 CEL PRO ani for obf pot prince Gangrel:3

Masters (25):
6x Villein
8x Zillah’s Valley
2x Information Highway
1x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x The Barrens
1x Giant’s Blood
1x Backways
1x Monastery of Shadows
1x Perfectionist
1x Zoo Hunting Ground
1x The Coven
1x Papillon

Events (1):
1x Scourge of the Enochians

Action (9):
6x Govern The Unaligned
3x Scouting Mission

Political Actions (12):
6x Kine Resources Contested
1x Ancilla Empowerment
1x Anarchist Uprising
1x Banishment
1x Reins Of Power
1x Political Stranglehold
1x Ancient Influence

Equipment (3):
1x The Signet of King Saul
1x Helicopter
1x Seal of Veddartha

Action Modifier (16):
6x Earth Control
3x Forced March
3x Freak Drive
3x Instantaneous Transformation
1x Enkil Cog

Action Modifier/Combat (2):
2x Rapid Change

Combat (12):
7x Form of Mist
5x Earth Meld

Reaction (10):
6x Deflection
2x Second Tradition: Domain
2x On The Qui Vive

More is written about this tournament at the Captain Thalco blog (Note especially the witty deck names!)

Thanks to all the players, organisers, sponsors and the venue Patriot Games Leeds!