As always it was great to play in Vienna again. The guys are very welcoming and the atmosphere was great. We were only 10 players so I wonder what would have happened if I don't visit them from Hungary. I played the same deck than the day before in Hatvan with a slight modification. I swapped the Boons for more KRC's since I missed a little extra ousting power from time to time and with 22 reaction cards defending my pool wasn't a problem.
Zoe + weenie cel deck -> Anson Grand Ball -> Cel +1 strength Kung Fu -> ??? -> Myself
Funny that I can't remember who my predator was. As you can guess from this, there wasn't too much pressure on me. I spent the time slowly building up while my prey went forward like crazy. I was happy with that, since I was hoping on scoring 2 vp's in a row. Unfortunately for me the Kung Fu deck ousted my predator too early. Since he played a lot of Psyche! I couldn't just stay passive and had to oust my own prey so we were only 3 players left with Anson still being strong. I had the total vote lock in this situation so my prey figured out that he will help the Kung Fu deck oust me. Note that in this case I am not complaining at all since it was the right call. I would have done the same. I had already Vessels, HG and Art Museum in play to generate 2 pool/turn and gathered enough s:ce and reaction cards to defend myself until the time out. This is what happened actually. I had great luck since the time out happened in my own turn. At the end of my turn I would have been ousted by a Dragonbound. Note that the Judge was observing the game and found everything to be according to the rules. 1.5 VP's
Zoe + weenie cel -> Myself -> Tremere! toolbox -> Anson -> Menele combat
Wow! This was one of my best games ever. I mean it. I started out with no Prince in my opening crypt, no Grand Ball during the first turns and the Anson deck started with Anneke so my Toreador Justicar vote card wasn't worth it ti be played. I called another vamp which wasn't a prince either. So I started with a weenie and Lucina because she has +1 strength against vampire with cap less than 5. In the round before I observed that the Zoe deck just goes forward relentlessly so I figured he would do the same now. For this reason I decided to go all defensive, because I need the time to find and bring into play a Prince. I already learned from previous games that my deck can afford itself to sit around for 1,5 hours doing nothing and than suddenly launch a tactical nuke and one turn oust with unblockable Parity + Ancilla or Neonate + Anarchist or something similar.
So my plan was to sit out for awhile. I bounced all the bleeds from my predator to the Menele deck instead to my prey since it turned out it was more of a bruise and bleed deck than a rush deck, but Zoe kept reducing the bleeds with Telepathic Counters. The Menele guy was kind of happy because this way he could enter combat and cycle his red cards. This way I managed to reduce the pressure behind me but this came at a price: I basically back ousted my predator. Of course all the pressure from my predator had an effect on me too. I was down to very little pool, like 2 or 3 but got my Prince into play! Since my prey had no pressure whatsoever on him he could freely play forward which played me in the hands. He burned Anneke! Yes!
What happened next shows how suddenly things can change in v:tes. We were down to 4 players since Zoe got ousted by Menele. He saw me there with 3 pool and the pressure was taken from him so he rushed me. I cycled my Charismatic Aura + Majesty combo and survived his rushes. In my turn I played my second Grand Ball (I had one in play with the promise not to use it to cause my prey damage, Menele didn't care about it since he tried to oust me instead of burning it). I now used my first Grand Ball to back oust Menele and Voter Cap it. With my second Grand Ball I played a Toreador Justicar which passed! Yeah! Complete Vote lock and no pressure from behind!
In my next turn I started playing against my prey who could defend himself for quite a while with Delaying Tactics, but he ran out of them. Meanwhile I took some damage, but nothing too serious. Finally I ousted my prey and we were heads-up with Anson with me having the vote lock. In the heads-up Lucina torporized two vampires. I used Fleurdumal's special and saw that his only wake card is an Eyes of Argus. Anson has inferior Auspex so he can't use it to wake. A bleed with Aire of Elation made me the Game Win. 1GW 3VP
Kung Fu -> Zoe + cel -> Tremere! -> Chameleon Nakthorheb -> Myself
I knew what my predator was playing so I decided to influence on different vampires and bring 2 into play the same time once I feel it is save to do so. I guessed the table's dynamic right. With me not putting vamps into play the Kung Fu will go forward taking off the pressure from the Tremere! who than can focus on his prey who is my predator. This is what happened and Nakthorheb got blocked a couple of times so he couldn't set up and ran out of blood. Once I figured my vamps will be save I put both Epikasta and Fleurdumal into play. My hand wasn't really good yet so I promised my prey not to go forward next turn. Keeping my promise I went for hunt actions next turn to restore the blood spent on reaction cards. The celerity guy could defend against Kung Fu and even had the strength to go forward. The Kung Fu ran out of maneuvers and couldn't put any pressure forward anymore. Since the Tremere! used up too many resourced against his prey he was vulnerable. One or two turns later I finally drew my first Grand Ball and called a Parity Shift to steal 5 pool from my prey keeping all 5 of them.
I could have given it to the Tremere! but figured that it is best for me to let him die. This is what happened so Zoe got an extra 6 pool. Here he made the mistake to put that 4 cap Assamite into play which was just perfect for the Kung Fu deck, who meanwhile cycled a lot of cards. The next few turns were all about Kung Fu and Nakthorheb having a deal to oust Zoe and me. The game situation suggested it is easier to start with Zoe so they went for him. Here comes the funny thing! One of the guys from Zoe had diablerized a Tremere! earlier and taken the Bowl of Convergence. Now this guy had also a .44 Magnum. He got a Fame and was sent to torpor. The Fame would have killed him so I diablerized it cross table and since I had the vote lock I got a .44 Magnum and a Bowl of Convergence on Epikasta! Awesome! I rescued two cel guys from torpor to by myself another round and made some unblockable damage to my prey. He failed to oust Zoe, because the Zoe guy had 2 Wake cards in this hand. Meanwhile my Grand Balls got burned and I had no other one available. So in my turn I said to myself what the hell it is now or never and went for bleed actions. My prey ran out of wake cards and I ousted him with Aire of Elation. Then I ousted Zoe with a bleed for 1. With +12 pools and total vote lock the heads up wasn't too long. Also I blocked one of Nakhtors actions with 5 intercept using the Bowl. In my turn I played a Parity Shift and 3 KRC's. 1 Game Win with 4 VP's.
So I had 2GW 8,5 Vp's out of 5 Game Wins (2table x 3rounds = 6 - 1 time out = 5 GW were given away). Now here comes the bad part: Walter Paolini had 3GW 10VP's. Isn't that funny???
Now the seating (before I choose were to sit) was this:
Nakthorheb -> Menele -> Anson
Fuck. I mean it. So here is what I figured. No matter where I sit Walter will sit behind Nakthorheb. Why? Because he was playing a Lucian based malk '94. Lucian is a 10 cap. The Nakthorheb is the only deck in the final that has no bleed bounce. Lucian has no combat defense except for Obedience which won't work against Menele, so he doesn't want any direct confrontation with the combat deck.
So where to sit? I obviously can't sit between Nakthorheb and Menele. If Nakthorheb launches of his combo I am dead. And I still got the Menele with all of his Immortals in front of me. My 4 Charismatics won't save me. I can't sit between the rush and the other vote deck. That is even worse. So I had to go for sitting in front of Anson and this was a mistake. I'll come to this back later!
Walter of course sat in front of me. It was a free vp for him and he was the top seat. My problem was that I had an amazing start, which is never good. Thinking it through I always loose a table when my deck starts off to good. It just generates too much table hate. As did it in this final. I the choice to either sit there and watch Walter making a 1/5 sweep or try to pull every string. So I started table talking too early to try to convince Menele to cross table rush Walter. In exchange I promised him to back oust Anson. This was when Nakthorheb was still in the game. So Walter let him play and they formed a 3 player alliance against me. Rightfully. Second big mistake from my side. I should have waited until the Nakthorheb is gone. This alliance weekend me too much. I managed to back oust Anson. Walter let Nakthorheb oust Menele. Walter ousted Nakthorheb and we were heads up. I still could have won, since winning the heads-up grants 2 VP's. I would have had a chance if I hadn't been weekend by the 3 player alliance earlier. I've lost the heads-up and Walter won. He deserved this win very much, since he played it smart and technically flawlessly. Congrats!
Back to what I did wrong:
I should have totally chosen to sit between the Nakthorheb and Menele decks! Reason: do the same good old trick than in game 3. Wait until Nakthorheb isn't a threat anymore. Start discarding to cycle reaction cards. With 12 bleed bounce cards in an 80 card deck I should have taken this move. Play it save and patiently, do no early pressure on Menele (he was a bruise and bleed, not a rush deck, man I am an idiot). Bounce the bleeds than do the tactical nuke and get a new prey that is more than likely beaten to crap already. Well, it is always easy to be smart afterwards. Next time I'll do better.