Official VEKN !Gangrel Newsletter Volume 6 Number 8 August 2003. *************** In this unholyday issue .... EDITORIAL: Rewarding Fair Play FICTION: On The Beach DECKS: Peter Laan's Samantha decks *************** 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! *********************** 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" ************ 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!