National Championship México 2020 (online vía Lackey), 26th + 27th of December 2020
3 Rounds + Finals
When I heard of the tournament the first time, it was like: »Wow, cool, I want to play along.« Next thought was: »Oh no, Christmas time AND my mother-in-law’s birthday, I simply cannot participate.« But one day before the start of the event, I realised that I actually could participate, and I was granted an encouraging permission by the whole family; and this is why I dedicate this very special tournament win to them.
I had no idea what the metagame could be like, and I decided to go for a deck which is able to make fast VPs and GWs. My actual deck choice, Giovanni g23 Powerbleed, was supported by the fact that I won the »Bleedfest«, organised by the British NC Paul Jones this summer, with almost the same deck.
A total of 16 players participated in the Mexican Nationals, which meant we would have 4 player tables in the preliminary rounds. I hoped this would be in favour of my deck.
Round 1: me, Giovanni g23 Powerbleed => Edgar, Shalmath Toolbox => Alejandro, Toreador antitribu g23 Breed & Boon => Matías, HoS g34 Emerald Legionnaires
Isabel and Gloria Giovanni plus two Anarch Converts, some kine of a perfect crypt to start with. Since it was soon obvious that my Prey played a star deck, I decided to bleed heavily as soon as any possible, that was a bleed for 7 in round 3. After the subsequent bleeds in round 4, my prey was no longer able to have his star vampire Shalmath enter the game, and he self-ousted. First VP after 15 minutes, a good start, but I did not expect to achieve more in this game.
Alejandro neither was denied any pool-gaining action nor any Embrace by Matías, thus very soon a bleed for 6 could be equalised by a Consangenious Boon. Matías built up steadily and seemed to be very confident to be able to withstand the dawning Palla Grande storm.
My spirits raise with some successful blocks of Con Boon actions with the help of Spectral Divination and with Delaying Tactics showing in my hands. In the consequence, I was able to oust Alejandro, second VP, but again I did not expect to get through Erlik with Bowl of Convergence, Erebus, and 3 Legionnaires. But the stealth cards came in just in the right order, and since Matías had made some minor mistakes earlier in the game, he was short of something between 4 and 6 pool. Sweep, woo-hoo! GW + 4 VPs.
Round 2: Desso, Weenie Tzimisce g23 Piper War Ghouls => me, Giovanni g23 Powerbleed => Fernando, Toreador antitribu g23 Toolbox => Yago, Carna & Antonio d’Erlette /w Nephandi
My biggest mistake in this game occured in round 2, when I already knew by Desso’s first vampire what kind of deck he played. I gave up the contest of my turn 1 Jake Washington because I had a second one in my hand, but that got Wash-ed by Desso … Thus I had to rely on Yago’s deck being able to deal with +1 stealth actions. And since Yago pushed through bleed actions with the help of Mirror Walk, Desso’s focus was mostly on his Predator, but nevertheless put a Fame on Francesca Giovanni. I forced myself to bear in mind that a Fame might work out to my favour as some kind of »last pool removal« like an Antedeluvian Awakening or an Anarch Revolt.
My Prey showed some bounce cards, so I decided to bleed as patient as possible. Yago’s game hopes ended when Carna was taken down to torpor by a War Ghoul Trap and afterwards got diablerised. I was able to make a short-term deal with Desso: He offered not to rush any of my three vampires if in return I did not push through a bleed which was bounced with a My Enemy’s Enemy to him. I used that turn to oust my Prey. 1 VP, so at least I would have achieved something. But Unmasking was in play, and Yago still had Antonio ready, and Nephandi gathered around him.
Famous Francesca went to torpor, and it became clear that Desso wished to oust me with the help of Fame when he rescued her the first time. To my great relieve, I finally drew into my Spiritual Interventions. With now 4 ready vampires I tried to test Yago’s defences, Antonio and three Nephandi, a turn later. Since he had no bounce in hand, my plan to accept subsequently getting blocked by the Nephandi and passing through the last bleed to remove the remaining 4 pool worked out. Wow, 2 VPs, more than I could have hoped for.
I felt like resigning immediately afterwards, but I played on. Desso was pretty low on pool, and I still had chances to pass a decisive bleed, against 3 or 4 weenies and 3 War Ghouls … When the last turn started, Desso was on 4 Pool. My hand showed a good load of stealth and bleed modifiers. Famous Francesca bled and was put to torpor by a War Ghoul. Then I managed to get through a bleed for 4 with Isabel, but she was hit by Archon Investigation. Since I controlled the Edge already since at least two turns and none of Desso’s minions had a Vessel, I simply passed the turn. Oust by Fame, another sweep. A maximum total of 2 GWs + 8 VPs after two rounds, which already guaranteed me a spot in the finals!
Round 3: Jimenez Lutz Vote => Joab, Pander g23 Swarm Vote => me, Giovanni g23 Powerbleed => Guillermo, Brujah g45 Vote
This time it was me to bite the dust very fast. Joab got a perfect fast start and could enhance his weenies with Crusades while the elder vampires were still asleep. Since I had some small hopes left to draw one of my Delaying Tactics, I decided to cycle bleed cards against my Prey putting him down to 1 Pool. He recovered a bit with the help of Villeins, but the crucial damage was done. Soon the whole table collided, Joab swept, which secured his spot in the finals. And Guillermo as well should reach it.
The Finals: I was 2nd rank after the preliminary rounds, and since I finally took a look at the other tables and decks, I realised that it would be a table with four vote decks around and against me. Since Joab was 3rd rank, by tournament points only, I decided to stay away from his deck as far as possible.
The seating dance:
Guillermo => José
Guillermo => Joab => José
me => Guillermo => Joab => José
me (2nd), Giovanni g23 Powerbleed => Guillermo (4th), Brujah g45 Vote => Richard (1st), Ventrue g45 Vote and Bleed => Joab (3rd), Pander g23 Swarm Bleed => José (5th), Toreador g34 Vote
And the dice made me the starting player.
Well, I guess the »bleed sink« is a well-known aspect of VTES, and in this game my deck was the »vote sink«. When any collateral or intentional vote damage had to be assigned, it was put on me quite often. Since the Brujah decided not to support Joab’s effort to get any title, all he could do was to put damage on goals supported by other voters or to do bleeds for 1. Maybe he could have ousted the Toreador if he had just bled him after all the other voters had titled vampires in the game.
I somehow survived, even though an early Gran Madre de Dío, Italy was really troublesome to me. No bringing out a vampire in order to have a blocker, bouncer or delayer … I guess José could have ousted me if he had focussed all his efforts to achieve this with Madame Guil being able to multi-act AND to act out-of-turn via Enkil Cog, but to my favour he chose not do so.
Joab got ousted, and I finally managed to oust Guillermo. Of course, this unleashed the power of the Ventrue, who had been held in check to some extend by the Brujah’s New Catharge. Well, I was quite happy with my VP, and was aware that I still had a small chance to win the finals. José tried all he could to resist his Predator, which bought me one turn and wasted some of Richard’s resources. I even invested one of my three vampires, who blocked a vote by spending his last Blood for a Spectral Divination and went to torpor. Of course, it was all too soon four Ventrue with 25 Pool against two Giovanni with 13 Pool.
Two aspects helped me to stay in the competition: Blood on my vampires by Giant’s Blood and The Coven, and Richard running out of Second:Tradition Domain and of cards causing Pool damage.
So I bled for a total of 9 in the first turn of the heads-up, then for a total of 14 in my second turn, leaving Richard on 2 Pool. He put me down to 5 Pool in return and himself back to 4 Pool, but my deck still showed enough bleed and stealth power to succeed. 3 VPs and the GW for me!
A big thank you goes to the organisers Alejandro and Carlos and to all the players participating! I am really grateful that the official tournament language was considered to be English, which allowed me to participate at all. And I feel honoured to be the Mexican National Champion now.
Wart Ihr auf einem Turnier und habt besonderes erlebt was Ihr berichten wollt oder habt gar gewonnen. Hier herein!
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