OFFICIAL VEKN GANGREL ANTITRIBU NEWSLETTER VOLUME 4 NUMBER 11 NOVEMBER 2001 IN THIS ISSUE ...... FEATURE: A DECK-CLINIC IN DIXIE BLOODLINES PREVIEW: AHRIMANES FEATURE: A deck-clinic in Dixie My ears are still not quite right from the flight back, but i had a great time in SE USA at the end of October. Thanks to all who were kind to me and/or with whom i played but especially to David Tatu and Robin, to David Zopf and Amy, and to Jeff "Lasombra" Thompson. i booked my ticket just after September the 11th [not ENTIRELY as an act of defiance, since this trip had been long-planned] so i got the most AMAZING deal - round trip to Atlanta for 220 GBP or about 330 USD [North West Airlines]. On the down side i had to go via the Twin Cities [Minneapolis/St Paul's] rather than direct to Atlanta, and the plane was a DC10 rather than a jumbo, so it was quite a journey. On the Gatwick-Twin Cities leg i sat next to a nice American man who was into radiotherapy for cancer. We talked a bit of shop, a bit about sons and a bit about the international situation, and then i watched as we passed over Greenland and Northern Canada in sunlight. i hadn't realised how very intermediate between land and water that part of the world is, and how beautiful. Landing in America i passed through the EFFUSIVELY friendly immigration and customs control, narrowly managing not to mention the J-word when asked about the purpose of my visit. The customs man was particularly amused by the notion that i had come to america to play cards, but not for money. There was a two-hour wait for the plane to Atlanta, so i nipped out for a cigarette and then had to stand in the security line for half an hour. They discovered a ten-kopeck piece in my coat, which must have been there for at least a year, and had lain undiscovered by numerous airport metal detectors in that time. Security was impressively tight overall, and a couple of middle eastern gentlemen on the Atlanta flight got about 15 minutes worth of it before they were allowed on the plane. Also on that plane were a gaggle of rather silly girls, one of whom annoyed me intensely by revealing to the person next to her, in a loud voice, that she and a girlfriend had CANCELLED a long-planned trip to the Munich Oktoberfest in the wake of the terrorist attacks on America. Maybe she wasn't paying attention when they taught her the national anthem in school. David T was waiting for me in the airport and after marvelling at the Fire Ant sculpture and collecting the luggage we drove back to his place where Robin, Prescott, Jeff and Ben Peal were At Play. i joined in for the next game [Jeff had to go before that, unfortunately], fielding an exact clone of Joscha Duell's Euro-winning deck [its first outing in my hands]. It was now midnight my time and the game went on until 3 my time so i played like a complete moron, but still got ONE VP [David T; Prescott got the rest]. Then Ben and i had a long argument about strategy and table-balancing, and so to bed. Next day we argued for a bit more and i showed Prescott how to play Zoon which he enjoyed. We also ate breakfast at the Waffle House and i awed Ben with my ability to not only eat but also enjoy a full Southern Breakfast, even the grits. Then we all went to a party where we played ENORMOUS numbers of games and i got to catch up with a lot of old friends and to make some new ones. A lot of eating and drinking and sleeping also went on. i won ONE game of VTES [out of, i dunno, 3 or 4; 3 to me [Prescott, Derek and last Man Standing], 1 to Derek [playing a very neat Mythic Form deck which i hope to feature in a future newsletter, and taking out David Zopf with it]], plus Chez Geek and Munchkin, and i learned the Art of the Chinese Yoyo. Connor, Jeff Dai, Todd and i played a fun game called History of the World which went on for about the same time as the REAL history of the World - Connor won, but this is one of those games where that doesn't really matter. Eventually we got back to David's house and next day i was due to leave which was fairly melancholy. So i wasn't TOO unhappy when i turned up to the airport and was told that my flight had been cancelled. The earliest i could fly was next day afternoon so it was back to David's house for the legendary Monday afternoon/evening Atlanta session of VTES. On the way we picked up some REAL Suthran Fraad Chick'n which was, well Fraadfully good. i actually did quite well in this session where the competition was REALLY intense, winning two out of four games and only losing one of the other games 2-3 to Ben Peal [i bottled out of a game-winning bleed at one point, so Ben got Jeff and me, and i got Pat and Chas]. Maybe this had something to do with me playing my Really Fierce decks, one of which was robust enough to give me the game despite some EXECRABLE play on my part [3 to me [Ben, Jeff and Last Man Standing], 2 to Ben [Robin and Prescott - apologies to both of them since i was MORE than instrumental in their demise]]. But really i think a major factor was that i listened and learned during my trip to America, and then i acted on what i had learned. In short, i Tatu-ised my Temptation of Greater Sleaze deck, GREATLY to its benefit. i played this deck three times over the weekend, with the following results: Pre-Tatuisation: 0VP [David tatu was my prey, then Ben, then Derek, then Robyn - Robyn swept]. Tatuisation stage 1: 2/5 VP [the game described above] Tatuisation stage 2: 4/4 VP [Jeff was my first prey, then David Tatu, then Prescott]. [Of course, such a limited data set is not conclusive and there's an element of the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy here - but see below for the tools to try the experment yourself.] For those who don't know, ie everybody, since i just made the word up, Tatuisation is the process of trimming your deck down from the ritual 90 cards to as close as you can get to the legal tournament minimum and still have your deck Do Its Stuff. There are lots of excuses for initiating Tatuisation and we had some rather lengthy debates about whether and when it is worth doing. But rather than go into these i'ld like to invite you to look at, maybe even play, the pre- and post-Tatuisation versions of the Temptation of Greater Sleaze deck, and judge for yourselves whether it was worth doing in this case. If you decide that it was, maybe you should try to implement it on some of YOUR decks. Probably i should add that i also Burrowised the deck, that is to say broke it down into modules, before i Tatuised it. See Ethan Burrow's !Toreador newsletters for what this means. REPOST OF ORIGINAL TEMPTATION OF GREATER SLEAZE DECK: The original design principle of this deck was to include as many as possible of the cards that make your heart sink when they hit the table. It was thrown together one saturday morning when Sorrow and i were about to go to a Watford tournament. It took third place there [Martin Cubberley won], and the largest number of VP of any deck that played in that tourney. CRYPT [12 vampires] Zebulon [replace with Mariel] Leandro x 2 Lucian x 4 Greger Anderssen x 2 Gilbert Duane x 2 Mariel, Lady Thunder LIBRARY MASTERS  Direct Intervention Dreams of the Sphinx Giant's blood Golconda - Inner Peace Information Highway Legendary Vampire Minion Tap x 4 The Parthenon Pentex Subversion Temptation of Greater Power x 4 Tomb of Rameses III x 3 Secure Haven Sudden Reversal ACTIONS  The Fifth Tradition: Hospitality x 3 Govern the Unaligned x 2 Kine Dominance x 2 Pulse of the Canaille Revelations [remove] VOTES  Anarchist Uprising x 2 Ancient Influence Banishment x 2 Dramatic Upheaval KRC x 5 Parity Shift x 4 Political flux [maybe remove] Political Stranglehold Rabble Razing [remove] REACTIONS  Deflection x 4 Forced Awakening Obedience x 4 The Second Tradition: Domain x 2 Telepathic Counter x 3 [not sure. Maybe remove]. WWEF x 6 ACTION MODIFIERS  Cloak the Gathering x 4 Conditioning x 3 Elder impersonation Faceless Night x 4 Forgotten Labyrinth Lost in Crowds x 4 Spying Mission Swallowed by the Night x 4 TATUISED TEMPTATION OF GREATER SLEAZE DECK. CRYPT: Leandro x 2 Lucian x 4 Greger Anderssen x 2 Gilbert Duane x 2 Mariel, lady Thunder x 2 LIBRARY [70 cards]: MASTER : Direct intervention Giant's Blood [or Blood Doll] Golconda: Inner Peace Legendary Vampire Minion Tap x 4 The Parthenon Secure haven Sudden reversal Temptation of greater Power x 3 Tomb of Rameses III DISCIPLINELESS : Anarchist Uprising Ancient Influence Banishment Dramatic Upheaval The fifth Tradition: Hospitality x 3 Forced Awakening Kine Resources Contested x 4 Parity Shift x 3 Political Stranglehold The Second Tradition: Domain x 2 Wake with Evening's freshness x 4 AUSPEX : Telepathic Counter x 2 [could be an argument for some aura readings in here, just to make Mariel's ability even MORE annoying] DOMINATE : Conditioning x 2 Deflection x 3 Govern the Unaligned Kine Dominance x 2 Obedience x 3 OBFUSCATE : Cloak the Gathering x 3 Elder impersonation x 2 Faceless Night x 5 [change one of these to an Elder Impersonation and this deck becomes legal for those who like 4CL. This should probably be done anyway]. Lost in Crowds x 4 Spying Mission x 2 Swallowed by the Night x 4 Once the serious gaming was over the serious drinking began, interspersed with much discussion of politics, culture and how to fix some intriguing but overall unsatisfactory games that we had encountered over the weekend [Zombies and Chrononauts]. We also continued our discussions about the VTES community, and one upshot of this is going to be a PROCESSION of American players over to Europe for various tourneys and related fun, hopefully matched by increased traffic in the opposite direction, too. And finally, the next day it was back to Blighty. LOTS more security checks, and on the flight from Atlanta to Detroit the captain gave an at first very funny and then very moving little speech about flying in the face of terrorism. He got a round of applause from the passengers, and i got a free beer from one of the flight attendants basically because i was British, probably. At Detroit it was back onto the DC10 but this time in first class which is, i now think, the whole point of DC10s. As we flew down the St Lawrence and out over Labrador the lighted cities began to shrink and then fade away. i know this is Canada but just at this time the last line of the American national anthem came into my head, and a lump into my throat. Goodbye for now, American friends! Thank you all again, and see you in February for the NE regionals, provided i can manipulate my timetable around them. BLOODLINES PREVIEW: AHRIMANES [taken from the WW site, http://www.white-wolf.com/vtes/BLahr.html]. Golly, less than a month to Bloodlines and of all the clans we're the only one with a DEDICATED bloodline - the Ahrimanes. Their symbol is a fierce beasty head, maybe a tad more feline than the normal gangrel/gangrel anti wolf. Here is what the game-designers have to say about our new little baby sisters, together with a description of a new and rather interesting master card: "Ahrimanes Disciplines: Animalism, Presence, Spiritus Sect: Sabbat Nickname: Cats Background The Ahrimanes originated with the Sabbat Gangrel. The founder of this bloodline was a Gangrel antitribu named Muricia. When Muricia utilized the thaumaturgic powers of the native North American shamans, she effectively separated herself from her clan and her blood forever altered. Muricia tried to create others like herself, but soon discovered she could not, for her vitae was infertile. She learned she could choose existing Gangrels and, using the same ritual the shamans used on her, make them like her The Ahrimanes have a new discipline: Spiritus. This discipline comes from the spiritual forces existing in nature. This discipline is highly versatile, giving Ahrimanes a strong edge over other Kindred in the wilderness. -- Storytellers Handbook to the Sabbat V:TES Notes The Ahrimanes cards mix well with the Gangrel and (to a lesser extent) the Toreador and Brujah (as well as those clans' antitribu counterparts). Although their numbers are small, you could also play the Ahrimanes by themselves. They're stronger when mixed with other clans, usually. New Term: Sterile Sterile vampires cannot take actions to create other vampires (e.g., cannot perform The Embrace action, The Third Tradition action, etc.). These vampires cannot perform the Revelations of the Sire or the Abomination actions, either. Card Preview Feral Spirit Master. Put this card on any Gangrel or Gangrel antitribu you control. This vampire is now an Ahrimane (and Sabbat). This vampire has Spiritus; if the vampire already had Spiritus, he or she now has superior Spiritus. This vampire is now Sterile. [Editor's note: Monique is absolutely wetting her panties over this one. Yeeha!] This is another card designed for mixing Bloodlines clans with other clans. With Feral Spirit you can turn one of your "basic" vampires into an Ahrimane. That vampire will then be able to play cards that require Ahrimanes as well as cards that require Spiritus. (If you change his clan back to Gangrel with Clan Impersonation, you could then play another Feral Spirit to give him superior Spiritus. A complicated way of simulating a Master: Discipline card, but it's there if you want to try.) Since there's no clan requirement on this card, you don't have to control your Ahrimane vampire first. You could even play this card with no Ahrimanes in your crypt at all (and "build your own" Ahrimanes from the plentiful Gangrel and Gangrel antitibu vampires)." i wouldn't dissent from any of that but feel compelled to add that the Ahrimanes' presence ability could radically change the perception that the gangrel in general and !gangrel in particular kinda, well, suck at votes. Zachary, Bear Paw and a few Ahrimanes .... hmmmm tasty. Also, it'll be VERY interesting to see how Spiritus pans out as a discipline, since it sounds a bit like Viscissitude and obtenebration which have turned out to be great toolbox disciplines. Finally, what fun it could be temporarily to take over a prey gangrel/gangrel anti and somehow contrive to turn it into an Ahrimane using Feral Spirit, so that you could clan loyalty its sorry butt! i actually managed to play Clan loyalty against Rob Grau in a sealed deck game, much to the amusement and amazement of the rest of the table. Alright, that's it for this rather long issue. For Christmas i might get you the Ditchwitch deck, if you are good. You will have to preorder your bloodlines if you want ANY presents or food from Santa, that's for sure. Seeya later!