OFFICIAL VEKN GANGREL ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER VOLUME 5 NUMBER 6 JUNE 2002 ****************** In this HM QE2 Golden Jubilee Issue .... ALLE MENSCHEN WIRDEN BRUDER: RAMSTEIN TOURNAMENT IMPRESSIONS. DECK: Brit-Turbo, or, Tribute to the Rehlow ****************** ALLE MENSCHEN WIRDEN BRUDER: RAMSTEIN TOURNAMENT IMPRESSIONS. We have long owed the Eichlers a visit, and an excellent opportunity to pay some of our debt arose over the weekend of the 25th-27th May, coinciding with the US holiday of Memorial Day. Accordingly, Sarah, Michael and i caught a Ryanair flight from Bournemouth International Shed to Frankfurt Hahn where Michael E was waiting to pick us up. This flight was ridiculously cheap - total cost of absolutely everything including taxes for three of us was just under 120GBP, making it cheaper to go abroad than to stay at home. The Eichlers live off-base in the beautiful picture-postcard Hunsruck district of Germany [the area where the excellent Heimat TV series was set - i mean the first Heimat, the second was boring pretentious crap as any fule kno], and they have a lovely house in an old orchard, surrounded by wooded hills with stately wind-turbines rotating in the distance. We arrived on Saturday and that night Sarah and i visited the USAF base which was TREMENDOUSLY interesting in all sorts of ways. Next day was the Ramstein constructed-deck tourney in which myself and the two Michaels took part, while the women went out and did girly things, much to Monika Martin's disappointment. It was quite a big tourney nevertheless, 17 players all told and it was great to meet some of the famous German and Portuguese players, pretty much all for the first time. Alex from Frankfurt won my heart forever by intelligently praising the Fairy Feller's Masterstroke fiction [from the January NL], and i repaid his kindness by sleazing him out in the third round. i had decided to play The Combo which i have been busily tweaking ever since Matt Rehlow published the idea on the NG, and when the first game began i found myself with no Baron and no way of getting him, a situation that persisted for an alarming number of turns. Then finally i did get him out, equipped with the Soul Gem and started to mince through Monika's Setites and then Matthias' [i think, anyway he is another famous german player] Brujah princes/Theo Bell deck. i had previously made a deal with other Michael to let him alone until he had ousted Andreas [his prey] but i had to break it, because Andreas was in absolutely NO mood to be ousted, and i was in no mood to forgo the table win. So i screwed Michael and then got kicked in by Andreas' !Nossie intercept wall - 3 to me, 2 to him. Next game i was sat between Johannes' !Malky intercept deck and Joscha Duell's Tremere intercept/bleed and burn decks; the other unfortunate player was Michael E again so we got pretty much kicked in - Johannes 3, Joscha 1. Third heat i was bleeding Alex's true Brujahs and being bled by Matthias' Princes/Theo deck. i didn't catch the other player's name but he had a sweet-looking Lucien bloat deck. In this game the combo got properly motoring and i swept, which was enough to put me into the final as top seed. Unusually [at least IME] the final was a thoroughly-good game. i chose to sit between Sebastiens' and Yet Another Michael's weenie vote decks; Rui's very strong Giovannis were bleeding Sebastien, and the other player was Thomas with a Tzimisce block and burn deck. Michael and Rui got going early and things looked pretty black for the rest of the table, but then i got the combo going just after Sebastien had backousted his predator in exchange for a no-bleeds-for-2-turns deal with Thomas. Michael got his wish to see the combo in action but only for the one turn it took me to take him down from 20-odd pool to zero. Perhaps i should have let him be ousted by his own Anarch revolts but i was slightly afraid that someone might play a life boon so i did him in with a bleed instead. A tight three-player tussle ensued which was essentially resolved when Thomas deflected an unblockable bleed onto Sebastien; by this time i was decked and couldn't get through Thomas so i conceded a few turns later [all minions in the bin, no cards in hand or library]. So Thomas won and congratulations to him, and i came second. Thanks to Michael E for organising the tournament and to all the players for a thoroughly-sporting day. Michael Anklebiter also enjoyed himself, partly because he pulled off a table win but mainly because the Germans were so very polite and considerate of the fact that we couldn't speak German. We look forward to entertaining them when they come to Watford later this month for the UK qualifiers. In this tournament i noticed an odd side-effect of the table-wins rule, which is that you will rarely see anyone you beat in a previous heat in the finals. There's nothing wrong with this in principle but it did get me wondering whether there might be a case for seeding a tournament - it's not entirely desirable if all the best players just by chance are together on the first table, since a maximum of one of them can actually get a table win out of it [i'm not saying this happened in Ramstein, because ALL the players were really good - a tournament where the European Champion is nowhere near getting to the final is, i submit, a fairly strong affair]. We would need a better ratings system for this to be worth thinking about [and Robert is onto this], and of course it is not necessary in BIG tournaments [of which we should have more]. i want to finish this piece by linking it to the recent thread about metagame this, metagame that, blah-blah. For those who didn't read that thread or have forgotten the gist of it, this was a spirited discussion about whether metagames matter, are impenetrable, exist and so on. As one of the small band of Jyhad Tourists it's my view that they don't matter THAT much at least at tourney level. The Ramstein tournament is part of the evidence for my point of view - 1 Brit, 1 Portuguese and 3 Germans in the final, and the Brit [me] playing with a deck derived from an American's concept. And without further ado, here's that deck. ********************** DECK: Brit-Turbo, or, Tribute to the Rehlow CREATED BY: Legbiter, but firmly based on the original idea of Matt Rehlow. This version got second place in the May Ramstein tournament, Germany. A closely-similar version recently won a tournament in Sweden; sadly i have forgottten the player's name [Erik, maybe?] and i'm not sure whether he cloned it directly from Matt or from me. CONCEPT: The Baron, on one blood, acquires the soul gem, then bleeds with inferior Force of Will [and burns]. The next vampire in the crypt is [a] younger, and [b] has superior necromancy, so it comes into play on full blood, and possesses the Baron back into play. This fresh baron is not bound by NRA, so it can do exactly the same thing again. Easily capable of running through 15 pool in a single turn; mutates from a trick deck into a swarm in the process [don't neglect to use the specials on the other vampires you bring out, they can be crucial to victory]. Hard but fun to play, its banes are contesting, static intercept intelligently deployed, and rush-combat. i would rate this right up there with ToGP as a novel and heart-breakingly competitive deck, and i would also point out that it is REALLY cheap to build, VERY few rares [only the Soul Gems are essential, and really you only need one]. POSSIBLE IMPROVEMENTS: This deck really needs to go up to 90 cards, keeping the overall proportions, which also means its crypt has to be increased. How this might be done is indicated below. CRYPT [12 vampires] [raise to 14; add Isabel Giovanni and Rudolpho Giovanni] Andrea Giovanni Gillespi Giovanni Rafaele Giovanni Kanimana Belghazi Agaitas, the Scholar of Antiquities Le Dinh Tho Egothha Carlotta Giovanni Anisa Marianna Lopez The Baron Pochtli Gisela Harden, the Winnower LIBRARY [71 cards] [raise to 90] MASTERS  [raise to 32] The Barrens Coroner's Contact x 6 [raise to 8] Dreams of the Sphinx x 2 Elder Library Fragment of the Book of Nod Minion Tap x 7 [raise to 9] The Parthenon Storage Annex Vast Wealth x 5 [raise to 7] Visit from the Capuchin ACTIONS/EQUIPMENT  [raise to 30] Force of Will x 10 [raise to 13] Possession x 10 [raise to 13] Psychic Veil x 2 Soul Gem of Etrius x 2 ACTION MODIFIERS  [raise to 28] Call of the Hungry Dead x 6  Cloak the Gathering x 2  Daring the Dawn x 3  Faceless Night x 2  Lost in Crowds x 2  Seduction x 3 [probably should replace these by more Daring the Dawn or Faceless Night, or other stealth cards] Spectral Divination x 3  ****************** And that's it for June at least as far as the NL goes, but this is going to be a great month for vampy fun - UK qualifiers on the 29th and HUGE numbers of continental players are planning to come over, including the Eichlers. i will be there too, but sadly even if i DO qualify i won't be able to go to Vienna [insert tiresome work-related excuse]. Earlier in the month we hope to see Cameron Dormer and to show him the Portsmouth non-metagame .... which reminds me to say that when we got back from Germany Michael and i went straight over to Garry's house for our fortnightly game, which ended 3 to me [Nosferatu Kagemusha], 2 to Matt Stockton [Toolbox Baron] by concession, JUST before i was about to play ToGP, targetting The Baron. One final final note is that i'm becoming increasingly aware that a LOT of people will be disappointed by there not being any !Gangrel fiction in this NL. i apologise for that, and will either publish something separately when i get inspiration, or do a REALLY BIG STORY in the next NL. But right now i have to mark students' work and i'm also about to start translating a book out of French, so i just don't have time for the story, sorry!