V:EKN Clan Toreador Antitribu Newsletter, July 1999


7/11/99 Editors Corner - Ethan Burrow, Prince of Austin

Sorry for the lateness of the newsletter, but I was gone in Colorado for
9 days for vacation. 

Well, another tournament came and went last month. Six veteran players
showed up, not including the judge, to partake of Praxis Seizure -
Dallas. 3 Vote Decks, 2 Combat decks, and 1 Combat/Intercept deck. It
was quite an interesting Meta-Game. 

While I admit that I sometimes whine and bitch a lot, I'm still a bit
peeved that I was playing a combat deck and my prey was always the OTHER
combat deck. (except for round 2 where it was the combat/intercept deck
>8-P ). I never preyed on a vote deck. And of course I was mauled by the
domain challenges that apparently everyone was playing with to prevent
weenies from winning. Grrrr... 

For once I'd like to play at a 12+ tournament where you faced several
decks instead of the same ones every round. Is that too much to ask....?
Hey, everyone in Texas, Louisiana, etc. - Crusade : Austin on October
30th. Let's try to get more than 2 tables this time :-) 


Vampire of the Month - 

Lachlan, Noddist 

He's what you'd expect from a high cap Archbishop. He's got the votes,
and superior in all clan skills. The main peculiarity which we'll focus
on is his out of clan skill - dominate. 

While he does have it at the inferior, there is a lot of potential for
this without even having to resort to Master Skill cards. Due to his
capacity, many of the following cards will be just as useful at
inferior. 

       1.Redirection/Misdirection - Use redirection unless you use
         master skill cards or plan to face IC Members ;-) 
       2.Enhancing Bleeds 
       3.Kindred Coersion/Pulled Strings - for vote defense 
       4.Secuction 

Whether you put in a few dominate cards hoping that you can influence
Lachlan, or put him into a deck using dominate, he can pull off the
above cards quite handily. 


Card of the Month - 

Telepathic Vote Counting 

This card is what allows our Clan to outsmart the Ventrue at their own
voting game. Both inferior and superior are useful depending on the
situation, so we'll look at each independently. 

Inferior : Cancel a political action. If you played a political card to
call this vote, take the card back into your hand. Any votes cast are
discarded. 

Basically, you use this to preserve a vote that you need to pass while
gauging how the table will react to it. You can play this card after all
reactions and vote pushes have occurred, to draw out all opposition to
your vote...and then take the vote back into your hand. Then another of
your vampires can cast the vote on the same turn, hopefully without the
same amount of opposition. 

Also, if you realize after playing the vote that it won't pass...but you
need it to, play TVC and then take the vote back. You may be able to
take advantage of an ousted player or a torporized titled vamp later on
to allow the vote to pass. 

Superior : Only usable during a political action. A vampire of your
choice abstains from voting. 

This use is obvious, remove the highest voting vampire blocking your
vote. I'm honestly not sure about the timing on this, whether you have
to announce before or after the vamp in question has specified their
votes. If you could use it after, to quiet an IC member after opposing
you, then you can see the power of this card. LSJ?? 


Deck Medic/Strategy Corner 

The Evolution of a Deck 

Many decks I build go through several iterations, most of them playable,
until it reaches the point where it is ready for the stamp of approval
for archiving purposes. While some of you may build a deck, play it once
or twice and then give up on it...break it down....and build another
one, I tend to try and fine tune the idea until the deck finally works.
That's part of the challange of the game. Remember, part of the fun and
strategy of CCG's is building the deck. 

I usually go through the following phases in deck construction : 

        * Proof of Concept 
        * Shore up Defenses 
        * Terrorize 

Proof of Concept 

Almost all decks are generated when you have an idea for a cool combo or
two. Or maybe you want to build a deck centered around a single card,
maybe two. You gather your collection and build the deck trying to keep
your concept pure, while adding the obvious offense/defense to your deck
- and balancing it sometimes with pool gain methods. 

You do a few shuffles and test runs to make sure no obvious hand jams
occur, and also make sure your crypt selection can even play the cards
you draw. Sometimes I realize that most of my vamps are unable to play
some of the cards in the deck, which signals me to go back and make
changes. 

If everything looks good at this point, then you take that new deck and
play it a few times against real opponents. After a few plays, no matter
how well it's built, there are always things you notice which could
improve it. Which leads us to the next phase. 

Shore up Defenses 

While this is too general of a title, it still sums up essentially what
you are trying to do. Make the deck more defensible by improving your
cycling and augment defenses you found lacking in the previous phase.
Here is where you take out all the cards you thought would be cool,
which you tend to always discard instead. Replace them with bleed
defense, wake cards, etc. 

If your concept isn't fast enough, replace your discards with more focus
on your concept. Improve the speed of the deck, because speed usually
always gets you a victory point :-). Make every card slot count,
optimize your masters. After you play with your deck a few more times,
it should be competitive, but not a table sweeper. 

Terrorize 

Sometimes, but not always, decks reach the third phase. Where you
realize that a certain combo works really well, and is worth making your
deck more fragile defensively so you can really lay on the offense. Your
deck concept is so good, that defense is less useful than simply going
full offense. Your goal is to outscore everyone, not bide your time. 

Typically in this phase you pull out most if not all forms of defense to
improve beyond the previous phase your speed of not only your opening
hand but of cycling it as well. Weenie rush decks are a good example of
this. Pure rush actions and potence strikes. Rarely do you see any other
cards, so there is no waiting. The vamps will always rush and hurt your
opponents minions, every action. 

Never throw away a deck because it doesn't work the first time you play
it. It may turn out to be a terror deck, it just needs some tuning. My
Vicissitude/Obfuscate deck is a good example of a deck that went through
all 3 phases, if I get enough requests, i'll post it next month. 

-- 
Ethan Burrow - Prince of Austin
ethan@ddg.com
http://whitestar.ddg.com/vtes/