#22 Design Team Notes on New Expansion

The VEKN Design Team for the new expansion has provided some background on their composition, work process and the upcoming expansion. Some highlights---

On the goals for the new set:
The design team strove to achieve several goals for the set. Among them, and not necessarily in any order of priority:
  1. Preserving game balance and card balance.
  2. Adhering to World of Darkness canon for crypt and library cards
  3. Creating cards which enable portions of the game which are lacking or underdeveloped. (We are not making "hosers.")
  4. Developing high-caliber cards which can be feasible in tournaments and fun in casual games.

On set contents:
It is no big secret that the traditional Sabbat clans lack Group 5 crypt cards, so these will comprise a large portion of the set. We hope this will provide more options for viable Sabbat G4/5 crypts and additional synergy with G5/6 Bloodlines. The new G4/5 vampires are intended to work well with those previously established in G4, and we hope that G4/5 plays to different strengths and weaknesses than G2/3.

See the full text over at the VEKN Forums.

My personal takeaway: While I am extremely happy that there is continuing fanbase support for V:tES, I will probably pass on this one since I've long ago decided that I will focus on G1/2/3 vamps.


#21 Deck Building 101: A Bare-bones Approach

Winning at V:tES requires a deep understanding of generally two things: The Deck and The Player. The former also means other decks on the table, and the latter, those who control the said decks. Taking all the other decks and all the other players, including those not on the table, the most dynamic element emerges: The Metagame.

This series of posts will deal with the V:tES skill many players learn after learning how to play the game: Deck Building.

In creating decks, I ask the following questions:
  1. What is the key card/idea/trick of this deck?
  2. Which vampires support this? 
    [Create the initial crypt]
  3. How can the key library card be abused used to its full potential?
    [Create the initial library]
  4. How do I intend to oust?
    [Improve the library/crypt]
  5. How do I intend to survive against stealth bleed? Powerbleed? Combat? Vote? Intercept? Imbued/allies?
    [Improve the library/crypt]
  6. What have others done before? How have they dealt with the strategy's weaknesses?
    [Improve the library/crypt]
  7. What is my inventory like?
    [Iterate steps 1-7 as needed]

As an example, we will walk through creating a Henry Twister deck, once prevalent in the US and European meta but now largely ignored in favor of other, more resilient twister flavors, the most popular of which is the Girls Will Find ... variant. According to the TWDA, Henry Twisters won 7 tournaments from 2005 through 2011, 4 from North America and the rest from Europe.

  • Twister --
    • a deck designed to operate at below normal deck minimums (usually 40 cards) through the use of burn option cards to pad the deck to normal minimums and ashheap recursion to line up perfect hands. (XZealot)
    • a deck designed to reduce its own library down to a relative few (10 or so, maybe less) cards that are just perfect.  The excess cards are usually burn cards for bloodlines not to be found in the twister deck's crypt.  Then the desired cards are continually regenerated, for instance, by using Waste Management Operation. (Frederick Scott)
    • "Twister" is a deck that is played from the ash heap (Jozxyqk)
  • Henry Twister --

  1. What is the key card/idea/trick of this deck?

The new deck is a Henry Taylor Twister. Henry gets and a bunch of intercept. He blocks then cycles infinite Earth Melds with his special. Ousting is primarily with Smiling Jack, the Anarch. Much of the deck should be in the ash heap by turn 5 or so, and recursion through Waste Management Operation will ensure you always have a hand that can deal with anything.

  1. Which vampires support this?
Since the strategy hinges on Henry getting , it would be good to fill out the crypt with weenies. However, this early on, I know I want to survive unblockable big bleeds (via Elder Impersonation, Call of the Hungry Dead, etc.) so I also want bounce. Incidentally, all my Deflection is in another deck so I need to use instead.

As an initial crypt, I can use:

5x Henry Taylor POT cel pre pro 6 Brujah antitribu:3
3x Khalu AUS CEL POT ani pro 7 Osebo:3
1x Daliyah PRO obf 4 Nosferatu:2
1x Chandler Hungerford PRO 3 Gangrel:2
1x Sadie pro 2 Gangrel antitribu:2
1x Anarch Convert
1 Caitiff:0

The obvious question is, "Why Khalu?" He's bigger than Henry and has no . True. However, he's among the smallest with and has a useful special to boot. There are times that you will need to cancel some EvilStuff(TM) (Immortal Grapple, Change of Target, Elder Impersonation, etc.) and not have a Direct Intervention in hand (or have just used one). The special can be powered by The Rack (since you will be blocking anway) and some Vessels and Blood Dolls in a pinch.

But to be honest, he needs a home.

  1. How can the key library card be abused used to its full potential?
For Henry do pull off his combo reliably, we need to strive to get the ideal hand every turn. Initially, this can be:

1x Archon Investigation / Direct Intervention / Sudden Reversal
1x Forced Awakening / On the Qui Vive
1x Telepathic Misdirection for Khalu
1x Earth Meld
1x Form of the Ghost
1x Quick Meld
1x Wolf Claws

With this hand, we can cancel EvilStuff(TM) or pool-gaining masters of the prey, bounce bleeds, manuever away in combat to play the S:CE-untap (and ready to block again) trick, or hit your unsuspecting prey with aggravated damage.

In the next post, we will round out the rest of the library (Question 4.), put in some counters to other strategies (Question 5.) and incorporate lessons learned from other deck builders (Question 6.).

In the mean time, some light reading material to complement the Henry Twister: Game mechanics: 90 cards vs smaller decks (at Google Groups > RGTCJ).