The Baltimore VTES Tournament, "Dominion"
Glen Burnie, MD. 10 January 2004

by Dan Coleman, Prince of Baltimore and penultimate loser

Twenty hungry and bouncy Methuselahs came out to Glen Burnie, MD last Saturday and celebrated the publishing of Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" by bleeding each other dry in a sanctioned Vampire the Eternal Struggle Tournament.

The event, "Dominion," was won by Matt Morgan of Beltsville, MD. It was Matt's first sanctioned win. Last year he won the Black Hand Pre-Release Tournament, also held in Glen Burnie at Games and Comics…and Stuff. Joining Matt and other local players in the fray were players from Harrisburg, PA and Washington D.C.

The tournament was fraught with Redirections and Deflections as many players were determined not to take any nasty bleeds. In addition to blood, there was also the smell of burning flesh in the air as many notables were aggravated or otherwise burned to death.

The finalists were not determined until the very last table of the last round was concluded. With his Game Win and Victory Points tying Colin Riggs, Greg Williams beat Colin out of the fifth seat with Total Points.

The finalist and the seating arrangements are: John (BJ) Alton (4th cede) bleeding Mike Minker (2nd), bleeding Greg Williams (5th), bleeding Matt Morgan (3rd), bleeding Josh Duffin (1st).

The game is relatively quick.

*BJ opens with Anarch Revolt; Matt plays Dream of the Sphinx.

*BJ and Mike transfer; Greg influences Caliban and Matt brings out Rachel Brandywine.

*BJ flips Lucita; Mike, Aristotle de Laurent; Greg bleeds for 2; Matt uses DoS and plays the call, influencing Tony; Josh flips Arika .

*BJ plays Antediluvian Awakening and bleeds for 3; Mike Blood Dolls and equips with a Leather Jacket; Greg successfully calls for the burning of AR; Matt plays Blessing of Chaos on Tony; Josh plays Secure Haven on Arika and calls Protect Thine Own, burning Lucita.

*BJ transfers; Mike plays Zillah's Tears and brings out Korah; Greg bleeds for 2, bounced to Josh, flips Meshenka; Matt bleeds for 3, bleeds for 3 (Josh down to 1 pool); Josh burns AA and uses four transfers to move 2 blood from a vampire in his uncontrolled region to his pool.

*BJ flips Marcus Vitel; Mike bleeds for 2, bounced to Matt, and bleeds for 1; Greg bleeds for 2 and bleeds for 1; Matt oust Josh with a bleed of 3 and plays The Call to influence Rodolfo.

*BJ plays Scouting Mission at superior, plays Freak Drive, and plays superior Govern the Unaligned to influence ADV Lucita; Mike bleeds for 1; Greg‘s Caliban hunts; Matt (with a hand size of 12) bleeds for 2, bounced to Mike who bounces it to Greg who blocks and ends combat with Meld with the Land, Matt bleeds for 2, bounced to Mike who blocks and maneuvers to long for no effect.

*BJ bleeds for 2, bounced to Greg who plays Meld with the Land; Mike lays a Laptop Computer on Korah; Greg inflates a Corpse Balloon and influences Terrence; Matt plays Deranged on Lucita and Rodolfo bleeds for 2, bounced to Mike.

*BJ bleeds for 3, bounced to Greg, bounced to Matt (Matt down to 8 pool); Mike bleeds and is blocked and combat ends with Meld with the Land; Greg gives Terrence a Living Manse; Matt oust BJ with a bleed of 2 and a bleed of 2 (BJ's hand is filled with Rolling with the Punches he cannot play because he cannot get into combat.).

*Mike plays Malkavian Game, but Greg's scissors cut Mike's paper and Mike looses 2 pool, Mike bleeds and is blocked and combat ends with a dodge; Greg's vampires hunt; Matt bleeds for 2, bounced to Greg who dodges combat, Matt's Rodolfo bleeds for 2, bounced to Greg, Tony makes another Call and The Colonel marches out.

*Mike has Korah bleed for 2, blocked, and dodged; Greg plays Giant's Blood on Meshenka; Matt bleeds for 2, bounced to Greg who bounces it back to Mike who takes the bleed, Matt bleeds for 1, Matt bleeds for 1.

*Mike and Greg regroup while Matt plays DoS.

*Mike bleeds with Korah and Greg reduces the bleed; Greg discards; Matt bleeds for 2 and plays Form of Mist after it is blocked, Matt's Tony bleeds for 1 and Mike is ousted.

*Greg attempts to withdraw and Matt gets fat with pool from the Edge.

*Greg successfully withdraws after discarding his entire library with 50 minutes to spare.

*Matt's pool is huge.

*Greg garners 1 Victory Point and Matt gets the Game win with 4 Victory Points.

The final standings look like this:

1 Matt Morgan of Beltsville, MD with 2PGWs, 7.5PVPs, 4FVPs and 168TPs.
2 Greg Williams of North East, MD with 1PGWs, 5PVPs, 1FVPs and 126TPs.
3 Joshua Duffin of Bethesda, MD with 3PGWs, 11PVPs, 0FVPs, 180TPs.
4 Mike Minker of Annapolis, MD with 2PGWs, 8PVPs, 0FVPs, 150TPs.
5 John Alton of Crownsville, MD with 1PGWs, 6PVPs, 0FVPs, 132TPs.

6 Colin Riggs of Washington, DC with 1PGWs, 5PVPs and 114TPs.
7 Will Jones of Elkridge, MD with 1PGWs, 4PVPs and 120TPs.
8 Colin Doyle of Harrisburg, PA with 2.5PVPs and 120TPs.
9 Nick Coelius of Severna Park, MD with 2PVPs and 90TPs.
10 Robert Thomas of Crownsville, MD with 1.5PVPs and 102TPs.
10 Nicholas Bollaert of Rockville, MD with 1.5PVPs and 102TPs.
12 Kyle Burton of Harrisburg, PA with 1PVP and 108TPs.
13 Kevin Karpinski of Crofton, MD with 1PVP and 102TPs.
14 Gordon Palmer of Glen Burnie, MD with 1PVP and 96TPs.
15 Eric Hoffman of Baltimore, MD with 0.5PVPs and 90TPs.
16 Rob Santos of Harrisburg, PA with 78TPs.
17 Peter Oh of Baltimore, MD with 72TPs.
17 Dan Coleman of Baltimore, MD with 72TPs.
17 Justin Stoner of Harrisburg, PA with 72TPs.
20 Jason Coleman of Glen Burnie, MD with 66TPs.

Deck Name: Rachel Brandyclaws

Created By: Matt Morgan
Description: Stealth bleed with Protean for combat defense/offense. Bleed for 2 or 3 at stealth. Use Form of Mist to minimize bounce potential. Rotschreck rushers and odds are they won't rush again soon.

Crypt: (12 cards, Min: 22, Max: 40, Avg: 7.67)
1 Colonel AUS dem obf 5,!Malkavian:3
1 Dolphin Black AUS DEM OBF 6,!Malkavian
:2 1 General Perfidio Dios AUS dem obf 5,!Malkavian:3, Bishop
1 Kite AUS DEM obf 7, !Malkavian:2,Bishop
1 Korah AUS DEM OBF 7, !Malkavian:2,Priscus
4 Rachel Brandywine AUS DEM OBF PRO 10,Malkavian:3, Prince
2 Rodolfo AUS DEM OBF pro 8,!Malkavian:3, Bishop
1 Tony AUS DEM obf 6,Malkavian:3

Never saw Kite or Dolphin Black, but Tony showed up in every game, I think. I originally had only 3 Rachels and 1 Imogen (the only other Malk/!Malk with protean & dementation), but ultimately decided to drop the crappy Imogen for a 4th Rachel, improving my chances of drawing her.

Library: (90 cards)
Master (16 cards)
1 Asylum Hunting Ground
4 Blood Doll
3 Dreams of the Sphinx
1 Giant's Blood
1 Institution Hunting Ground
3 Protean
2 Rotschreck
1 Sudden Reversal

Never used the hunting grounds. My Blood Dolls always clumped (had them all early in the first round, but never saw them in the finals). The skill cards came in handy, Sudden less so. I managed a Giant's Blood on empty Rachel in round 1, but wasn't able to use it in later rounds (usually because someone else beat me to it).

I Rotschrecked Tzimisce a few times, which gave me a real sense of satisfaction.

The Dreams are absolutely essential. Combined with Rachel's ability, they're just amazing. I also got them early enough the final to have Rachel on turn two. If I hadn't had that many Dreams, I would've probably not gotten a single VP all day as I would've been hand-jammed nearly all the time.

Action (18 cards)
1 Blessing of Chaos
4 Call, The
3 Derange
9 Kindred Spirits
1 Restructure

Blessing of Chaos and Restructure were prayer cards, but Blessing enabled me to oust Josh very early in the finals as he couldn't play Voter Captivation. I managed to Restructure a War Ghoul in round 3. That ended up being the round I lost, but the War Ghoul was instrumental in helping me oust my first prey.

The utility of Kindred Spirits goes without saying. The pool gain from them kept me alive as I was almost never blocked. I considered adding more The Call, but four of them turned out very well as I consistently drew them when I wanted them.

The three Deranges (all I own) ended up being only a minor annoyance as there weren't an titled vamps for me to change sects on and most people didn't bother trying to move the Deranges around.

Action Modifier (22 cards)
4 Cloak the Gathering
6 Eyes of Chaos
4 Faceless Night
4 Lost in Crowds
4 Spying Mission

Six Eyes of Chaos proved to be a very good number and gave me fairly consistent good bleed without jamming my hand on modifiers. The rest of the stealth (18 cards counting the Swalloweds) were pretty good. I was able to sneak past wall decks on occasion. I never used Spying Mission for "responsible bleeding" because most of the time when I was bounced, I ended up ousting my prey soon enough anyway and it was good to have my next prey softened up.

Political Action (1 cards)
1 Parity Shift
Never had a good opportunity for it, but I think it's good in theory.

Reaction (13 cards)
7 Telepathic Misdirection
6 Wake with Evening's Freshness

Seems like it might not be enough, considering my vampires are huge, but the Dreams cycling and Kindred Spirits pool gain compensates well enough.

Combat (16 cards)
6 Claws of the Dead
4 Flesh of Marble
6 Form of Mist

I was expecting more combat and this proved to be too much, but again the Dreams cycling saved me again. The Forms of Mist were great for getting past Eternally Vigilant Cailean or just for tapping a blocker. Better than pain "responsible bleeding," this card helped my bleeds hit their target.

The Flesh of Marble helped out a lot when I was getting rushed by a War Ghoul in round two.

Combo (4 cards)
4 Swallowed by the Night
Mostly used for stealth. I maneuvered a couple times just to cycle them.

This was the last game in the area for Kevin Karpinski and Jason (no relation) Coleman. Kevin is off to Pensacola FL and Jason is heading to Virginia Beach. Be on the lookout for them and invite them into your local playgroups.
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