Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter

Official VEKN !Gangrel Newsletter Volume 6 Number 8 August 2003.

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In this unholyday issue ....
EDITORIAL: Rewarding Fair Play
FICTION: On The Beach
DECKS: Peter Laan's Samantha decks
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EDITORIAL: Rewarding Fair Play
There's been a fair bit of NG chat recently about table-splitting, and
a separate thread about trying to speed up the game, by penalising
preys who wall up. This has coincided with some interesting situations
which have arisen in our playgroup and in the jyhad on-line tourney
when one or another deck/player has established such a stranglehold
over the table that self-ousting has seemed the only way to prevent
that deck/player sweeping. Whilst not agreeing with everything that
has been said in these threads, i do think there are some serious
issues here; serious enough, perhaps, that they can cause a player as
notable as Jeff "Lasombra" Thompson to consider hanging up his
competitive gloves.

To separate out the issues somewhat, i do not think anything should be
done to penalise the "turtle" strategy. A good VTES player does not
pile hell-for-leather into their prey [thereby forcing them into the
turtle strategy], because to do so only in the end strengthens their
grand-prey. Your prey is your friend: use them to wear down the Hated
Grandprey, and THEN take BOTH of them out. Your other friend is your
grand-predator, and when you are using a combat deck you will often
find that the best strategy is subtly to play the table until the last
Methuselahs standing are you, your initial prey, and your former
grand-predator. The latter two will look strong, and you will watch as
they beat lumps out of each other, waiting for the moment when
harmless little you waltzes in to pick up the pieces, 3VP and the
game-win.

Spiteful self-ousts are a different matter, it seems to me. To reduce
these, i wonder if there is a case for factoring tournament points
into a player's rating. To be honest, i do not have a concrete
suggestion for how to do this because i am a little vague about how
they are calculated at all. But if, as i suspect, you get more TPs the
longer you stay in, then this is a mechanism which penalises the
"cross-table" self-oust, and rewards the player who sticks it out to
the bitter end. Exceptions would have to be made for some sorts of
[perfectly-legitimate] deals, but there could i think be merit in a
system which allowed referees to compel players to aim, first, for the
game win: if that became unattainable, for the maximum number of VPs;
and if VPs became unattainable, for the maximum number of TPs.

Here endeth the long-hop. Smash it away to the boundary, if you
choose!

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FICTION: On The Beach
In the UK it's the hottest day of this, or any other year [for which
records exist], and the vampires are unable to sleep. Consequently, as
darkness and blessed coolth creep over the Legbiter estate the mansion
is full of crotchety vampires. As host, my duty is clear.

"Let's go to the beach!"

We pile into a convoy of hearses and race off towards the Witterings,
which has the best sand hereabouts. Soon the vampires are busy with
picnics, paddling, the construction of Gothic sandmansions and all the
other activities of the English seaside. Only Samantha still seems
discontented.

"What's wrong, sweetheart?"
"Absolutely zippo surf is what's wrong, and i bought this wetsuit and
board ESPECIALLY because i was coming to visit you for the
unholidays."
"Alright, why don't you do a little Weather Control, then? Not
throwing Caine's Good Gifts in his fangs sorta thing? If you do it a
bit away from the rest of us, we won't get rained on so much."

Samantha picks up her board and saunters off in the direction of
Chichester. The western mouth of the Solent gapes before her, and
beyond that the Channel, and the vast Atlantic. She wades in, and once
the water is deep enough she climbs onto her board, and begins to
paddle out. At a reasonable distance from the land, she begins the
Weather control ritual. Brrr! That wind is ICY! Her hair is whipped
about a little, so she tranforms her Flesh to Marble to keep what's
left of her coiffure intact.

Lacking auspex, she hasn't noticed herself being followed along the
beach, and into the water, by another vampire. It's Wynn, and he is
very, VERY angry. Once in the water his shoulders involuntarily hunch,
his legs taper, fuse and swivel in an odd fashion, his arms shorten
and flatten, his head expands and a great fin grows from his back. In
the beast-form of the Great White Shark he swims out with powerful
strokes of his new tail, following the scent of Samantha's moontan
lotion. The bright gleam of earth's waxing satellite flickers on his
flanks.

The magical surf is properly up now, and Samantha turns back towards
the beach. As she watches the waves, preparing to mount the board when
the big one appears, Wynn is coming up from the depths, swift and
remorseless as a rocket. With hideous force his great jaws break the
surface, snapping hard onto Samantha's board and body, holding her in
a remorseless Immortal Grapple.

Yet somehow he cannot grip her; she writhes in his jaws and then
suddenly her own jaws gape wide and she bites, hard, her extensible
fangs probing into the Great Fish's undead flesh, sawing, worrying at
her opponent's throat. Just before his head comes off Wynn's last
thought is how cold it is getting. Feebly he summons his powers of
fortitude, but they avail him not. In two halves, he sinks slowly into
the the Solent, a magnet for crabs and dogfish.

Samantha's board is ruined, and she has to swim back to shore. Never
mind, that's what Magic of the Smith is for. Creating a new board from
random bits of polystyrene she pins up her hair again, and wades back
out into the moonlit ocean.

**************

DECKS: Peter Laan's Samantha decks

i just recently noticed that there's a great combat combo based on
Samantha, and was thinking of building a deck around it for the UK
qualifiers in August. i may still do so, but as far as the idea is
concerned i must own up to being scooped by Peter Laan, whose relevant
decks i append below. Here is the combo:

Samantha enters combat.
She plays inferior Weather Control and superior Flesh of Marble.
Because she is taking a point of damage from the Weather Control, she
will reduce all damage from other sources to zero. She draws out her
opponent's beast at inferior so's to negate any manouever or equipment
issues.
In combat, she plays a Blood Rage or Blood Fury. These now count as
hand strikes. Because Samantha is doing them, they are aggravated, and
because they are these particular thaumaturgy strikes, they are
unpreventable by fortitude.
If her opponent strikes to end combat, she Psyches for a new one.
If they dodge, she additional strikes.

Not an unbeatable combo of course, and one would worry if it was -
Coma and Entombment will still spoil one's night, as would multiple
SCEs: Pentex subversion and weenie swarms will still hurt, since
Samantha is a BIG girl. Some but not all of this could be ameliorated
by deck design, and in this context i think some lessons could be
taken from Rob Treasure's most recent Watford-winning deck [Karsh
multi-rush].

Anyway, here is a marginally-edited repost of Peter Laan's NG post on
the subject.

"I [Peter Laan] have played a Samantha deck for a while. Here's the
latest close combat version and after the theft version:

Deck Name:   Samantha does it again and again
Created By:  Peter
Description: Rush, untap with earth meld, psyche, play weather control
and flesh of marble to be immune to most damage, play drawing to get close
range, hit with blood fury. Repeat.

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 17, Max: 40, Avg: 7,33)
----------------------------------------------
5  Samantha             ani CEL OBF PRO tha  10, Gangrel Antitribu, Bishop
4  Muaziz               aus dom for THA      7,  Tremere
1  Pieter               for OBF PRO tha      6,  Gangrel Antitribu
1  Chandler Hungerford  PRO                  3,  Gangrel
1  Huang                pro                  1,  Pander

Library: (90 cards)
-------------------
Master (13 cards)
3  Blood Doll
1  Campground Hunting Ground
1  Depravity
2  Dreams of the Sphinx
1  Elder Library
3  Haven Uncovered
1  Powerbase: Berlin
1  Thaumaturgy

Action (16 cards)
4  Ambush
5  Bum's Rush
4  Harass
1  Rutor's Hand
2  Sacrificial Lamb

Combat (61 cards)
7  Blood Fury
7  Drawing Out the Beast
10 Earth Meld
9  Flesh of Marble
3  Infernal Pursuit
12 Psyche!
5  Pursuit
8  Weather Control



Deck Name:   CelProTha
Created By: Peter Laan [? editor's assumption]
Description: Rush, untap with earth meld, psyche, play weather control
and flesh of marble to be immune to most damage, steal blood and then send
them to torpor with a handstrike or weather control.

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 10, Max: 40, Avg: 5,58)
----------------------------------------------
1  Masika St. John      THA                  3,  Tremere
4  Samantha             ani CEL OBF PRO tha  10, Gangrel Antitribu, Bishop
1  Chandler Hungerford  PRO                  3,  Gangrel
1  Sarah Brando         CEL                  3,  Brujah Antitribu
1  Scarlet O'Toole      CEL pro              4,  Gangrel Antitribu
1  Steve Booth          CEL pot pre pro      5,  Brujah
1  Blythe Candeleria    aus THA              3,  Tremere
1  Darrel Boyce         CEL OBF PRO          6,  Gangrel Antitribu
1  Huang                pro                  1,  Pander

Library: (90 cards)
-------------------
Master (11 cards)
5  Blood Doll
1  Depravity
5  Thaumaturgy

Action (17 cards)
5  Ambush
5  Bum's Rush
5  Harass
2  Rutor's Hand

Combat (62 cards)
5  Earth Meld
12 Flesh of Marble
3  Infernal Pursuit
12 Psyche!
7  Pursuit
14 Theft of Vitae
9  Weather Control


I don't think I have won a single VP with the first version. Got a GW
with the theft version the only time I've tested it.

Peter"

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And that's it for August! i will be at Watford for the UK qualifiers
[would have gone to the July do, but woke up too drunk to drive], and
then we're in Lisbon from the 27th-3rd September. So i'll see quite a
lot of you soon, and looking forward to it immensely!