The new formulation of the deck seems to be working well and I’m pleased with it.
04:30 5/13 [ShaneS_C tier] START OF UNTAP PHASE.
04:32 5/13 jonathan_sicari’s pool was 30, now is 28.
04:32 5/13 Added 2 blood to inactive region #2, now 2.
04:32 5/13 jonathan_sicari’s pool was 28, now is 27.
04:32 5/13 Added 1 blood to inactive region #3, now 1.
04:32 5/13 jonathan_sicari’s pool was 27, now is 0.
04:34 5/13 ShaneS_C tier untaps.
04:34 5/13 [ShaneS_C tier] worst draw ever
04:35 5/13 ShaneS_C tier’s pool was 30, now is 29.
04:35 5/13 Added 1 blood to inactive region #1, now 1.
04:35 5/13 [jonathan_sicari] me too, got the worst of my princes in my crypt.
04:45 5/13 [bleakprophet] START OF UNTAP PHASE.
04:45 5/13 jonathan_sicari’s pool was 0, now is 27.
04:46 5/13 preston’s pool was 30, now is 28.
04:46 5/13 Added 2 blood to inactive region #4, now 2.
04:54 5/13 [jonathan_sicari] bleak did say he’d only be able to stay until about 7 mins from now so he may have left?
04:54 5/13 [jonathan_sicari] and he’s not logged in.
04:55 5/13 [ShaneS_C tier] fark me
04:55 5/13 bleakprophet’s pool was 30, now is 26.
04:55 5/13 Added 4 blood to inactive region #3, now 4.
04:55 5/13 [ShaneS_C tier] kill it and get another going ?
04:56 5/13 [bleakprophet] i’m at work, so i can only log in and out briefly
04:56 5/13 [ShaneS_C tier] START OF UNTAP PHASE.
04:58 5/13 [ShaneS_C tier] START OF INFLUENCE PHASE.
04:58 5/13 ShaneS_C tier’s pool was 29, now is 28.
04:58 5/13 ShaneS_C tier draws from crypt
04:58 5/13 [preston] START OF UNTAP PHASE.
04:58 5/13 [ShaneS_C tier] yay
04:59 5/13 preston’s pool was 28, now is 24.
04:59 5/13 Added 4 blood to inactive region #4, now 6.
04:59 5/13 [jonathan_sicari] START OF UNTAP PHASE.
04:59 5/13 [jonathan_sicari] START OF INFLUENCE PHASE.
04:59 5/13 jonathan_sicari’s pool was 27, now is 23.
04:59 5/13 Added 4 blood to inactive region #2, now 6.
04:59 5/13 Move Badger to jonathan_sicari’s ready region
04:59 5/13 Capacity of Badger now 6
04:59 5/13 [bleakprophet] START OF UNTAP PHASE. Continue reading New Gangrel Deck Racks Up a Win
As the former Prince of Dallas and winner of the 2008 Texas VTES Qualifier, I took it upon myself to design decks for beginners. My goal was to design decks that were competitive enough to play with other people’s tournament decks but inexpensive enough to give the decks away to beginners without flinching. Truth be told, this project has become a bit of an obsession of mine. I found that the time I devoted to tuning and refining these decks took my mind off of the other problems in my life. Although I know this confession brands me a geek, these decks represent well over 80 hours of design, testing, and play.
These decks win. Whenever I get frustrated with the current decks I’m working on, I always just reach for one of these. It leads to some humorous interactions with other players. I remember in one game, a local player was testing this !Salubri deck that used Concealed Weapon/Garrot/Sword of Righteousness combo to burn everyone’s vamps. I was playing the beginner Brujah deck and he rushed Tura Vaughn and did his combo. I responded by playing fast hands to steal his Garrot with First Strike, then playing blur to send him to torpor and burn the Garott to burn his vamp. Great fun. I even picked up a couple of VPs playing with these decks in casual games at the 2006 North American Championship- a collection of the best players in North America.
Each deck includes a 60 card library (which works out just fine for a 4 player game) and a 12 card crypt. The flavor of the clans is well preserved in each of the decks: the Ventrue vote, the Gangrel fight, the Malkavians bleed at stealth, etc. The vast majority of these cards are from the base Jyhad set, but I did stretch to include some cards such as Animal Magnetism and Pack Alpha that help a particular strategy.
In fact, check out the feedback I’ve gotten through Ebay sales over the years.
One winner of this auction in England sent this email. “Thank you so much! The decks have arrived. I have played a couple of games already – Torreadors got me a win and nosferatu got 2nd place in two 4-way games. Great strategy notes with them. As I am new to the game, they came in very handy, particularly with the Torreador (a wall deck). Thanks again! I have left positive feedback.”
Thanx for the decks! I played the brujah deck last night and it ripped up everyones f’in vampires. They said it’s a bruise and bleed deck. Can’t wait to try out the others. 🙂
A new player wrote me from Italy to say, “Hello, I would like to thank you for the great job you have done with these decks. I like them very much. Expecially the Malkavian deck always led me to victory when I play with it and I’m never be able to stop it when I play against it with any other deck.”
Mark Loughman, a VTES player and game store owner in Columbus Ohio, told me that a player who frequents his store bought a set of these decks from me and that the decks were well helpful for new players. Mark said that the player was able to take my designs and look for ways to improve upon them, which got him trading for other cards and interacting with the larger VTES group.
My experience in playing and selling these decks for over three years has left me so confident that I am going to offer a money back guarantee.
If in the first 30 days you don’t feel they were worth the money you paid, just ship’em back to me and I’ll credit you with a full refund. International shipping is $17 for airmail unless the United States Postal Service charges me a bunch more. You can check for yourself at www.usps.com
Because these decks are for beginners, I have typed up a strategy guide for each deck that includes a list of errata on any of the cards in the deck list (so they will know that Concealed Weapon doesn’t require Obfuscate for instance). In addition, I can also take these errata notes, print them on Return Address Labels, and stick them on the face of the card so that all the relevant information is right there. Note: The cards will be entirely blank and unmolested unless you request this, but it is a free service. Even if you just wanted to buy these decks to play test. Say you wanted to see how your new deck will fare in a tournament, play a 4 player game with your new deck, the Malkavian deck, the Ventrue deck, and the Gangrel deck and you will see how it does against combat, sneak and bleed, and a voter deck.
If you were to buy these cards seperately, their full retail price is roughly $80. If you’d like to see an exact listing of all the cards you get in this batch of seven decks, as well as how I calculated that value, CLICK HERE.
If you’d like to buy my VTES starter decks you can use Google Checkout. This Google Checkout button charges $49.99 for shipping out a set of 7 decks to anywhere in the Domestic United States.
This button, on the other hand, if for my international clients. For $65.99, I will ship these decks most anywhere in the world. If the United States Postal Service comes back and says it’s going to cost a bunch more to ship to North Korea, I’ll let you know, but I’ve shipped to Australia, Europe, and Central America without a problem.
I’ve long been an advocate of trying to make powerful decks from a limited selection of cards. Such “commons” decks thwart the argument that a given CCG is merely the realm of the those who want to invest large amounts of money into it if they can do reasonably well against such decks. This was the reasoning behind my Barbed Wire decks that I made and still sell that mostly use Jyhad card stock.
Another VTES player, perhaps inspired by my Barbed Wire decks, made his own limited card selection challenge: Atom Weaver’s “Deck Bashing Challenge.” This challenge revolves around making as competitive a deck as possible by combining two starter decks of your choosing. While I like the idea, I do have a few reservations about the idea.
For one, starter decks in VTES are much like Magic: the Gathering and are set specific. If one were to find a great combination of starter decks to make an excellent general purpose deck, the starters you were using might be out of stock two years down the road and simply be of little use to the proposed newbie who needed it. Secondly, the starter decks all revolve around a certain strategy; by combining two of them, all you are really going to be able to do is refine that strategy a bit. The starter decks themselves are not toolboxy enough to really serve as the blank slate that I like as a deck constructor. Of course, one could combine two separate starters, but that runs into it’s own problems. Lastly, VTES is a game that has always favored certain strategies such as sneak and bleed or vote and cap. Starter decks, such as the Malkavian or Venture starters from Keepers of Tradition, will be quite competitive whereas working with the other starters from that set means that you will be building a deck that will simply never be as competitive. That’s just the nature of VTES and CCGs in general.
It was a challenge to try to make a playable Tremere deck from Jyhad commons. As I mentioned in my last post, the Tremere have to have some sort of combat package: it helps to get your bleeds through and you won’t have to block as many actions if you torpor/burn the minions you do block. The combat options for Thaumaturgy in the basic Jyhad set are limited to:
Blood Rage or Blood Fury
Theft of Vitae
Walk of Flame
Walk of Flame is a powerful card, but it (like Cauldron of Blood and Drain Essence) requires you to make it beyond the first round of combat, and that requires some form of press based combat. I found from play testing that Traps worked quite well with the overall combat package. You could drain off the opposing vampires blood with a Theft in the first round and, if all went well, burn the opposing minion with a Walk of Flame in the subsequent rounds. That makes for a fairly threatening combat package. It can’t deal with a strike to end combat, but that’s something the Tremere are notorious for having a problem with.
One of my hobbies is the collectible card game, Vampire: the Eternal Struggle. It was the second collectible card game (after Magic: the Gathering) designed by Richard Garfield and put out under the “Deckmaster” label. Originally introduced in 1994, the game is still supported with new expansions today, which makes VTES on of the longest running CCGs outside of M:tG.
VTES was designed to be a group game. It doesn’t play well with only two players, and many players won’t bother with a 3-player game either. Four or (preferably) five seems to be the preferred number of players to capture the dynamics of the game. It has consistently been recognized as the best multiplayer CCG ever. That also means that it requires a decent player base in order for play groups to really thrive.
The economics of the game are also a bit unusual. Typically the first printing of a collectible are the most sought after and valuable. Not so with VTES. Wizards of the Coast, the company that introduced the game back in 1994, wasn’t sure how many cards to print for their initial print run. The only guide they had to go off of was how many M:tG cards they were selling, so they ended up printing a lot more VTES cards (which was originally titled “Jyhad”) that were actually demanded. The end result was that of all the VTES cards in circulation, the cheapest and most plentiful ones are the ones originally printed. Which is the opposite of what one would expect.
At the start of 2005, I challenged myself to do something with all these original printing Jyhad cards. You could practically get them just for the asking and it seemed a good opportunity for someone to do the classic business maneuver of adding some value to them by repacking them in a more desirable form. Of course, in the world of CCGs, one of the hardest things to come by is a good deck design. So I decided to design decks comprised almost entirely of original Jyhad card stock and make them as competitive as I could. Continue reading The Problems of the Tremere Clan in VTES, Part I
As my personal friends know, I’m a gamer geek. My collectible card game (CCG) of choice is Vampire: the Eternal Struggle (VTES). It’s Richard Garfield’s (the designer of Magic: the Gathering) second CCG and he designed it for multiple players. It’s a game I enjoy playing competitively.
Every year, White Wolf (the company that publishes VTES has a North American Championship. In order to play in this tournament, you first have to do well in a qualifier tournament which every region has. This weekend, Los Angeles had its qualifier tournament and I enjoyed playing in it (I didn’t qualify). Since VTES has a small but loyal player base compared to other CCGs, you get to know everyone pretty well who competes on a national level. We’ve become a pretty close knit group despite the fact that we all live in different regions; our willingness to travel and our love of the game brings us together.
Well known members of this tight-knit circle include Ben Peal, and a married couple, Robin and David Tatu. They have all purchased my book and found it a good read. Both of the Tatu’s were at the tournament this weekend, and I commented to them that my investments were up some 50% over the last six months. They recommended that I sell my gold investments before they crashed. Now, I found it a bit peculiar that two people who told me that they learned a great deal about how the economy works from the book that I wrote would then tell me to sell gold.
It does make sense in a human nature kind of way. The knee jerk response I’ve gotten when I tell people how much money I’ve made off of my gold investments is “Sell!” It’s a bit of conventional wisdom that has its roots in reality. After all, trees don’t grow to the sky and what goes up must come down. If something’s up 50%, then it must be time to sell it.