Gangrel Antitribu Newsletter

ABROAD THOUGHTS FROM HOME [My VTES holiday snaps, if you like]
DECK: Pot/Dom bleed 'n' bash
In the humid evenings of late summer the collectors are out, with 
their white sheets and mercury vapour lamps, their killing jars 
and their pins. Up here in the Farlington redoubt there's a particularly 
good spot where significant rarities can be had. Pure melanic Autographa 
gamma, since you ask, two or three of the little fellows so far this year. 
Of course, you can capture those in daylight, too, and what a year it's 
been for the diurnal lepidopterist! The best clouded yellow year in unliving 
memory! O yes, i too am a bit of a collector, you know. No-no, nothing like 
that, i have to observe this ridiculous masquerade nonsense these nights, 
you know. At my age, i have to watch my heart. Don't want the archon of 
Wessex to have any excuse for putting a nasty pointy bit of wood in it, 
do we?
Alright, here we are, this big dew-pond is the place. Just watch this! 
i bare my arm and will my blood to flow into it. Within minutes the arm 
is covered by greedily feeding mosquitos. i watch benignly as they fill 
themselves and drift off into the night. It's the third night i have done 
this and now the little ghouled insects move with an alien intelligence. 
Their simple brains are filled with one purpose - to feed and return. 
As for me, i will just take my ease on this mossy bank and wait, with 
my mouth slightly open. Time to gloat over the cricket and do the Times 
crossword. 3-1 in the end, but what a fight the Windies made of it! 
They'll be back, but i wonder if we will ever see the likes of Courtney 
Walsh and Curtly Ambrose again. Hmmm, one across likes like "Put One's 
Foot In It", which would make one down, let's see, o yes you're right, 
it's "Playpen". Should be able to finish this in a quarter of an hour.
Meanwhile, all over the suburb people are slapping arms and legs and 
cursing at the unusually-resilient and voracious mosquitos. Global 
warming, they will say, but we know differently. The first little 
visitors return and obediently deposit their cargos between my lips. 
Delicious! Ah me, what a pity that summer couldn't be longer. Perhaps, 
after all, i will retire to the tropics. A hedgehog trundles through the 
grass and pauses to look at us, then disappears into the hedge. Watching 
it go, i realise why, in the end, i will never leave England voluntarily.
Firstly, thank-you to those who made my recent trips to SE USA, Portugal 
and Manchester so VERY much fun. This obviously includes everybody i played 
against and everyone who organised stuff but above all David Tatu, Richard 
David Zopf + Amy Dietz, David Pontes, Ron Spencer, Tim Avers and Anam 
Sheader.  Gentlemen and Ladies, i owe you all! Tim, next time i'm in 
Atlanta i will Hunt You Down and FORCE you to play VTES with me. Bwahahahaha.
The main purpose of all this gadding about was to have good games against 
good players but i also wanted to test out some theories about why we in 
the UK seem to be so totally out-of-step with the other Jyhad/VTES 
sub-communities. Some obvious long-hops which can be quickly smashed 
away to the boundary are:
[1] They REALLY are good players out there. But y'all knew that, anyway. 
i won 2/3 games [7/15VP] in SE USA when i was playing my fierce decks 
[generally got caned, otherwise, ESPECIALLY when playing my clones of 
good US decks], and got 4th place in the Lisboa tourney when i really 
shoulda won - own fault for SUICIDAL final seating-order choice against 
the advice of my friend Luis Duarte. All, however, were tough games, 
even the EXTREMELY silly 6-player in which Zopf's Giovanni and my 
Cappadocians kicked each other with COMPLETE disregard for the normal 
predator/prey dynamic [Family stuff, You Wouldn't Understand!].
Furthermore, they KNOW how to build and run the decks we usually 
use - Robert Grau and i had an interesting discussion about How to 
Abuse Happy Families [and i sure hope the anti-paedophile brigade 
aren't monitoring this Newsgroup] - it's just that that's Not the Way 
They Play.
[2] It's not that we have a weird metagame. UK fierce decks work abroad 
just fine provided they are being run by somebody who is neither drunk 
[or anyway not COMPLETELY drunk] nor suicidal. And you don't need to be 
a UK player to run one successfully, as proved by Chris Shorb in the 
recent LA tourney.
[3] You still need a fierce deck to beat foreigners. i played with several 
toned-down versions of fierceness [standard HF toolbox stuff] and got 
thoroughly beaten-up when i did. Eventually - HF decks are pretty 
resilient, even the fun ones.
Now for the non-obvious stuff, and i think somewhere in here are buried 
Deep Truths about Jyhad style but unfortunately i cannot see what they are.
i definitely formed the impression that there are two ways to build 
and play VTES decks - the way it's done on the South coast of England, 
and the way it's done everywhere else i've been. If you are in UK, the 
experience of many Gencons is that you HAVE to construct and play the 
South coast way to compete - this year our final had four South coast 
players [in descending order of final ranking,  Rob Treasure, m'self, 
Jon Cooper and Barney Baker] and one respected visitor in the form of 
Niki Sehmi [5th] who, BTW, has his MA fine arts exhibition soon in 
London. This was out of a field of 30, including two good continental 
players [David Pontes and Xavier Abad] and loads of people from
Scotland, Wales, Nottingham, Watford, London etc, the newbies 
[at least to us] among whom ALL [interestingly enough] played what 
James Coupe and i have taken to calling American decks. "Focussed" 
would probably be a better adjective.
The first two heats were pretty much standard Pompey tourney rounds 
for me [lost the first 3/2 to Will Lee taking out Ian Stubbington 
and David Pontes on the way - the other player was Steve Wright; 
i won the second 4/1 and John Eagles, Barney and Anam were my victims, 
but i had to give Barney a guy called Jode cos i couldn't trust him 
to ride out Barney's unblockable bleeds]. I only really got to look 
at the out-of-town stuff in the third heat when i found myself the 
only S coast player up against Xavier and two strong players from 
Wales and Nottingham plus a nice girl from St Andrews called Sarah. 
She was playing Gangrel and had 4VP going in to the third heat but 
i never got to see much of her deck, because she was rapidly sleazed 
out by my grand-predator the Welshman playing possibly THE most 
focussed weeny vote deck i have ever seen. In the process, and 
much to his disgust, Xavier [the Welshman's predator] took the 
dirt-nap, cursing weeny sleaze. Meanwhile i was exercising my own 
brand of sleaze on my Nottingham-based prey - master phase bleed 
for 22 through temptation of Greater Power [i know you think this 
is silly, Sorrow, but for complex reasons involving vote balance 
and minion taps this bid was actually justified!]. Finally after 
much clever finessing by all 3 players i got my Nottingham prey 
via Temptation and Parity Shift and then my Welsh opponent when 
a spectator pointed out that Navar McClaren can't actually block 
older vamps. 3VP to me, 1 each to the other two male Brits.
So what is this Magical South Coast Trick? Unfortunately i have 
No Idea. It certainly isn't the case that we all have discussions 
from which we reach a consensus about how to build decks, nor that 
we share a common philosophy. A lot of my decks these nights are 
Happy Family affairs, but to my knowledge none of the other players 
down here uses the formula at all. I suppose our decks are generally 
multi-dimensional [at least some of the Southampton ladz use what 
Ethan calls modules], and one thing we all do a lot is table-talk, 
either lying outrageously about how weak we are or else exaggerating 
somebody else's strength so's to build alliances against them. 
Rob's favourite theory, and i must admit it's a good one, is that 
we have the equivalent of the 1980s Windies fast-bowling attack 
down here - a group of VERY strong players [including but not 
limited to Rob, Matt Green, William Lee, Steve Wright, Barney Baker 
and Jon Cooper] who are constantly [at least once a month] kicking 
the shit out of each other and everybody else amidst violent 
fluctuations of the metagame. But then, as i learned in my 
travels, the same is true of Atlanta and Lisbon, too.
DECK IDEA: Anklebiter Goes Tactical [Pot/Dom bleed n bash].
i actually have TWO decks to talk about this month but one of 
them, kindly donated by Derek Ray, is in my email at work where 
i can't access it thanks to a broken cable. So that will have to 
wait till next month. Here is the one i currently have to hand.
Michael aka Anklebiter has had a fairly dismal summer Jyhad-wise; 
4 tourneys, no VP. It is clearly time for him to do something a 
bit different and so here is the latest deck i have built for him. 
Its excuse for being in this neswletter is that it contains Shane 
Grimald, who always seems to me the most enigmatic of the !Gangrel. 
Odd, too that his disciplines are exactly the same as those of 
Judah - most enigmatic [IMO] of my Other Favourite Clan the Nosferatu.
CRYPT [12 vampires]
Cameron 3 pot dom
Ignacio, the Black Priest 4 pot dom obt
Shane Grimald 4 pot dom ani
Francesca Giovanni 4 pot dom nec
Vittorio Giovanni 5 pot dom for nec
Sabine Lafitte 5 pot dom aus tha
Aurora Van Brande, Paladin 6 pot dom for obt
Lisette Vizquel 6 POT DOM pro
Anvil 6 POT dom tha pre CEL
Gratiano 8 pot DOM OBT obf
Lucita 8 pot DOM FOR OBT cel
Emerson Bridges 8 pot DOM FOR PRE
LIBRARY [82 cards]
Masters [16]
2 Minion Tap
The Rumour Mill
Sudden Reversal
Direct Intervention
The Barrens
Elder Library
3 Blood Doll
Dreams of the Sphinx
Legendary Vampire
Potence [18]
6 Torn Signpost
6 Immortal Grapple
4 Undead Strength
Mighty Grapple
Thrown Sewer Lid
Obtenebration [6]
2 Eyes of the Night
2 Shadow Play
Shadow Step
Fortitude [6]
3 Hidden Strength
Superior Mettle
Skin of Steel
Daring the Dawn
Dominate [18]
Foreshadowing Destruction
Far Mastery
The Sleeping Mind
4 Deflection
4 Conditioning
4 Govern the Unaligned
Dominate Kine
Disciplineless [18]
2 Delaying Tactics
3 Bum's Rush
5 Taste of Vitae
Leather Jacket
Pulled Fangs
This deck swept its first 3-player encounter, i wouldn't say with 
ease, but against two fairly competitive decks run by me [Nosferatu 
Kagemusha] and Lady Legbiter [Oxford University Press]. i then played 
it at our weekly pub game where it tied for first-place with Mark's
obfuscate/presence vote/bleed deck in a timed-out 7-player game. 
Far Mastery should probably be Grave Robbing, but otherwise the deck 
looks ok.
Alright, that's it for September. i'm currently swithering about 
whether to go to Paris or Watford in the third week - don't really 
fancy getting stuck/blocladed in France, MUCH as i love French 
cuisine, culture and girlies, but REALLY want to play in a Happy 
Families tourney. Suffice it to say that i will be seeing SOME of 
you before the next Portsmouth tourney in early October.