check [TWD] Shell Break 2023 (2023-04-10)

11 Apr 2023 06:24 - 18 Jun 2023 15:31 #107823 by UFOPOLI
Shell Break 2023
Espoo, Finland
2R + F
17 players
winner: Tero Aalto
2 GW 5 + 1,5 in the final

Seven years of grinding countless tournaments with this deck, and finally it wins! I started playing VtES quite exactly seven years ago, and this was my first proper tournament deck that I played both in my first big local tournament and my first EC in Genoa. I have no idea how many tournaments the deck has seen, but the number is high, and a fair share of finals, too, including some close calls.

The deck has changed fairly little over the years. The main philosophy is that the vampires are all capable of doing a lot by themselves, which significantly reduces the pressure to have perfect hand at all times. Unless something goes wrong, the first turns consist of Małgorzata doing her thing, and using all transfers to buy new minions instead of influencing. The turn you begin with two minions is the first one with some variety, and even then, the only other action may be a Magic of the Smith. In other words, it's a very slow deck – but resilient, and well suited for the violent Finnish meta. Between Obedience and Mirror Walk, you're pretty well protected from entering combat. Allies, however, are the deck's big weakness.

The most difficult thing in playing this deck is the turn there are three minions, i.e. four actions, because there are so many options, including everything you can tutor with Fanchon. If you have made it this far, the chances are you're in a good position, but also that the other remaining players have had a lot of time to develop their boards. If the time isn't running out or there isn't any other impending disaster, it usually makes sense to keep playing cautiously. Do a few powerful actions per turn, and never stop buying new minions, unless you're very low on pool, because it will pay back later, and who knows, you may even have to replace one of your minions with a fresh copy at some point.

Now let's take a look at yesterday's tournament. This Easter event at a local pub is quickly becoming a tradition. It's also dear to me because this is where I earned my place in the Hall of Fame last year . A special feature of the tournament is that everybody brings chocolate eggs, and each time your prey is ousted, you get their egg. We got a nice turnout, close to the maximum number of participants we could have accomodated. The signature card of the day seemed to be The British Museum that was contested in several tables. My choice of deck was driven by two rather irrelevant factors: 1) It was over a year since the last time I had played it, and 2) despite all the attempts, I still hadn't gotten it in the TWDA.

I knew the first round was going to be tough just by looking at who were sitting at the table. I was not disappointed, as my prey quickly brought out Tupdogs and Rock Cats. The other two decks were Legionnaires with British Museum and Laibon vote. Ally rush and the slave rule are the two worst things that can happen to a deck that relies on Obedience, so I didn't rate my chances high. However, being experienced players, the others realized that we needed to stick together or fall to the cats one by one. With concentrated efforts and repeatedly rescuing each other, we managed to stay in the game and wear the cats down enough for me to oust them with one bleed. This is where the game properly began. Incidentally, this was also followed by the aforementioned crucial turn when I have three minions in play for the first time. Recalling my own advice from the past, I decided to take it slow, first eliminating my predator's main voter and my prey's only bouncer with Banishments. However, when the first Banishment was DI'd, I realized I had an even better plan, asked Fanchon for an Ancilla Empowerment, cast it alongside the Anarchist Uprising I had in my hand, and took out the Legionnaires from 12 pool with 6+6 damage. The next turn, simple bleeds without any modifiers for a total of 7 were enough to sweep the table.

In the second round, my predator was a Ghede rush deck, which is threatening but manageable as long as you don't run out of Obediences. Luckily, I drew them in magical amounts and never had to enter combat. The prey was a Lutz vote and bleed deck that I knew powerful – and very capable of backousting. The crosstable was a Kiasyd/Lasombra bleeder that was the most imminent table threat. However, it didn't manage to do much before overextending and being ousted by Lutz. At this point, the rest of the table ganged up on me, but despite rushes and several Banishments on Małgo, I managed to grind out three points and a win.

The final was one where I had even more zero expectations than usual. There were three rush decks: Black Hand Assamites, Shalmath, and the Rock Cats we met earlier. The fifth deck was a Living Manse bleeder that I miscast as a Tzimisce wall based on the crypt. As the first seed, I had the power to place myself as far from the cats as possible, but there were still no good options. I chose to sit between the Assamites and Shalmath, inconveniently forgetting that Assamites like to rush with contracts that only work on the prey. The game started chaotically with some interesting deals and crosstable rushes. Nizzam al-Latif rushed Małgo as soon as she came out, and them being the same age, she couldn't protect herself. I had to bring Lord Tremere out manually, giving me a bit more safety, but I knew I'd be dead as soon as soon as I ran out of Obediences, or if the cats decided to pay a visit crosstable. Another thing I hadn't realized was that I was not only sandwiched between two rush decks but also the table's best blockers, so no actions were free.

Repeated Banishments on Shalmath gave me enough space to oust him, which set me in a good position, being the first seed. Shortly thereafter, though, I lost all of my minions to rushes from both sides, and Fanchon was Graverobbed. I had closer to 20 pool but no other resources. There was nothing left for me to do except sit and wait if time ran out before anybody got two VPs or managed to oust me. Time was on my side this time.

- - -

Deck Name: The Fanchon Show: Endless Games Most Beautiful
Author: Tero Aalto

Crypt (12 cards, min=36 max=44 avg=10.17)
5x Malgorzata 9 AUS DOM THA VIC pre priscus Tremere antitribu:4
4x Lord Tremere 11 ANI AUS DOM THA VIC obe Tremere:5
3x Mistress Fanchon 11 AUS CEL DOM OBF THA VIC inner circle Tremere:4

Library (77 cards)
Master (15; 6 trifle)
4x Dreams of the Sphinx
1x Giant's Blood
2x Information Highway
1x Monastery of Shadows
1x Perfectionist
6x Villein

Action (2)
2x Magic of the Smith

Equipment (3)
2x Heart of Nizchetus
1x Sargon Fragment, The

Political Action (9)
2x Anarchist Uprising
1x Ancilla Empowerment
3x Banishment
2x Kine Resources Contested
1x Reins of Power

Action Modifier (22)
6x Changeling
4x Conditioning
1x Foreshadowing Destruction
7x Mirror Walk
4x Seduction

Action Modifier/Combat (2)
2x Plasmic Form

Action Modifier/Reaction (1)
1x Murmur of the False Will

Reaction (23)
5x Deflection
6x Eyes of Argus
7x Obedience
3x On the Qui Vive
1x Redirection
1x Telepathic Misdirection

:baal: 2 votes (titled) of Helsinki
Last edit: 18 Jun 2023 15:31 by Ankha.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Ankha, Hakuron, ResurrectioN, Kilrauko

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17 Apr 2023 15:02 #107861 by Jannu
Archon approved.

Congratulations for the winner! Great report :)

:POT: Potence, if it doesn't work, you just aren't using enough :POT:

National Coordinator of Finland
Prince of Hämeenlinna

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