First of all - sorry for the late report. Between eye-surgery and taking care of two kids full time I haven’t found that much time and energy to write lately and I didn’t want to rush it. Better try and keep some standard of quality and find some joy doing it.
Between the Archipelago Jones tournament and this one I haven’t been playing much at all and my tinkering with my decks have been kept at an absolute minimum (for me that is since I use to tinker a lot with my decks). I was ill prepared to say the least. Some days before the ECQ I sat down and created 3 new/semi-new decks and I got a couple of casual games played the night before but none of the decks felt good enough so I decided to play my Maris Streck War Ghoul deck again.
I know it is getting dull reading about it and I promise I will try something else next time but to tell the truth - I will probably return to this deck in future reports again. Since last time I only switched a couple of cards and the decklist looked like this at the ECQ:
Deck Name : Mar Ghouls
Author : Stefan Karlsson
Crypt [13 vampires] Capacity min: 2 max: 9 average: 5.53846
5 Maris Streck 9 AUS OBF ani dem dom justicar Malkavian 3 2 Horatio 2 vic Tzimisce 2 2 Piotr Andreikov 2 aus Tzimisce 3 1 Corine Marcon 6 AUS VIC ani Tzimisce 2 1 Devin Bisley 5 ANI AUS vic Tzimisce 2 1 Elizabeth Westcott 5 AUS ani cel vic Tzimisce 3 1 Wendy Wade 3 ani aus Tzimisce 2
Action Modifier 
3x Cloak the Gathering
2x Veil the Legions
1x Muddled Vampire Hunter
8x War Ghoul
3x Fake Out
1x Erciyes Fragments, The
1x Fragment of the Book of Nod
6x Jake Washington (Hunter)
1x Pentex(TM) Subversion
1x Powerbase: Montreal
1x Rack, The
2x Smiling Jack, The Anarch
2x Delaying Tactics
2x Eyes of Argus
6x On the Qui Vive
5x Telepathic Misdirection
1x J. S. Simmons, Esq.
1x Mr. Winthrop
1x Tasha Morgan
|Stefan Karlsson||Thomas Dollas||Helena Löf||Johnny Wretlind|
|Mar Ghouls||Vignes||Kite/Anatole toolbox||Daughters with Choir and Shattering Crescendo|
I have a bad starting hand without Jake Washington or any of the retainers. When Johnny starts to put Choirs on the table I start to worry since without any War Ghouls I will not be able to block him if he plays Daring the Dawn. I calculate worst scenario and he is able to ditch out 12 pool damage which would surely put me in a bad position not being able to get any War Ghouls this game. I get two Tzimisce and Maris on the table and Helena does her best bleeding Johnny so he has to play his Shattering Crescendo backwards.
Thomas bleeds and Helena have to take some of the bleeds going dangerously low on pool since she uses some of her blocks and reaction cards against Johnny to help me. When I finally get my first War Ghoul and is about to go forward I am not quick enough and Thomas manages to oust Helena. I offer Johnny to use Maris special ability for him to gain enough intercept to be able to block Thomas and survive if he stays untapped but instead he lunges and I manage to block all his actions. The next round Thomas scores his second victory point and we are at the duel.
We have plenty of time and I adapt to a slow defensive strategy while Thomas is very active. In one round he performs every directed action possible (tries to steal both Fragment of the Book of Nod and The Rack and bleeds with every vampire). I block everything until I am out of wakes. Then he plays Entrancement on my only War Ghoul. Very good play! I manage to put another War Ghoul and Muddled Vampire Hunter in play next round and I have two Fake Outs on my hand that I can use for his rushes so it turns out to not be as big a problem as it could have been.
Slowly I grind him out finishing it all with a late Dragonbound.
|Nikolaj Wendt||Stefan Karlsson||Isak Esbjörnsson Bjärmark||Michael Jørgensen|
|Guillaume Giovanni with Obtenebration||Mar Ghouls||Arika Mind Rape Abactor||Assamites|
This is the game when my starting crypt lacks Maris Streck when I have two stealthy decks as prey and predator. Michael slowly influences out a big cap Assamite and Isak has the crypt acceleration he needs to get his ball rolling quickly. Before anyone knows what happened Michael is ousted. Me and Nikolaj agrees that Isak have to go next and Nikolaj doesn’t bleed me while I use all my resources towards Isak. It takes some rounds but I manage to get him and again I am in the duel.
Without Maris it is hard for me to block Nikolaj’s actions but fortunately he doesn’t have that much bleed on his hand when he passes my defence. He plays Sudario Refraction for 3xOubliette one time and it is hard for me put his vampires in torpor with such stunts even though I have Ossian and 3 War Ghouls. He is also gaining a larger hand size from Guillaume’s special so it is just a matter of time here.
When I finally start to beat his vampires down he plays Secure Haven on Guillaume. I forget that War Ghouls can tap and burn to burn a location so with a stealthed Govern + Conditioning Nikolaj bleeds me out.
When I realise my mistake I get really pissed at myself, actually considering quitting the tournament early. I have lunch with Isak, Marko, Nina and Tom during the break and I think I interrupt the conversation like five times with a grumpy “Fucking Secure Haven..”.
Nikolaj GW 2VP
|Jan Sonnenberg||Archibald Zimonyi||Stefan Karlsson||Mattias Bäckström||Rudolf Garski|
|Malk 94||!Ventrue / Tremere block and bleed||Mar Ghouls||Mistress Fanchon powerbleed and vote||Saulot and Euralye Spirit Marionette|
Archibald is playing defensive towards the Malkavians from the start and I need no more than 2 stealth to put my allies to play even though he fields both Neighbor John and Carna. Rudolf is influencing aggressively in the beginning of the game but he has good reaction cards so he survive the bleeds from Mistress Fanchon. I am also going low on pool having to take some bleeds in the bouncing chain and I am really scared Archie will lunge and kill me but I have a feeling he doesn’t play that much bleed. He has a .44 Magnum and will be hard for me to backrush the way I want so I hope for him to get bled out so I can concentrate on the Malkavians.
Jan also starts to go low on pool and I try and get him to roll forward towards his first victory point but he is a little hesitant not wanting to run in to my War Ghouls. Soon he is so low on pool that going for the oust is his only option in getting anything this game and fortunately he manages to oust Archibald who has been sitting on a bad hand.
A bleed for 8 from Mistress Fanchon is bounced all the way around the table leaving me at 1 pool. Rudolf locks Jan down with Unburdening the Bestial Soul in exchange for me rushing all of Mattias’ vampires to torpor. When Rudolf have bled Jan out we renew our deal - Rudolf not bleeding me and me ousting Mattias instead of rushing Rudolf’s vampires. I still only have a few pool so I know a dealbreak might come. Luckily I have both On the Qui Vive and Telepathic Misdirection on my hand for the worst case scenario but it doesn’t happen and Mattias is ousted.
Still not high on pool I have to fear Saulot playing Neutral Guard. I have my reaction cards and blood on Maris so Euralye and Rudolf’s three or so AUS weenies is no big concern. I focus on getting Saulot to torpor and succeed in the task also diablerizing him in the process. Rudolf plays Secure Haven on Euralye and this game I remember War Ghoul’s full card text but don’t think its worth a War Ghoul to remove it. I get the weenies to torpor but time runs fast and I am getting stressed. I also stress Rudolf but he is a smart and patient player and doesn’t change his normal pace nor does he take offence. I slowly build my pool and am in no danger anymore and finally I manage to block Euralye and from that point I can stress-bleed for the win with little more than one minute left of the game.
Stefan GW 3VP
Happy that I didn’t leave for home I got a qualifier t-shirt and a place in the finals. My first and third game was long and I left for lunch right after the second one so I didn’t do any scouting at all during the preliminary rounds. I made a quick ask-around and got to know what the others were playing and 50% of that information was correct (I hate you guys!). The standings before the finals:
|1||Daniel “DT” Teige||2 GW||6.5 VP|
|2||Marko Lindros||2 GW||6 VP|
|3||Magnus “Ober” Karlström||1 GW||8 VP|
|4||Stefan Karlsson||1 GW||6 VP|
|5||Daniel Wiberg||1 GW||5 VP|
It was obvious the no one would chose to sit between me and Daniel since its quite bad for your health to be squeezed between two War Ghoul decks, especially if they are both blocky. Ober’s choice of seat would therefore decide who would be prey and predator between me and Daniel. He chose to sit as my predator and Daniel was my prey. Not good at all.
!Tremere mass bleed
!Ventrue Grinder with gimmicks
Marko plays Sudden Reversal on my first Jake Washington but I have another on my hand to contest Daniel’s when it hits the table. Daniel asks me about which vampire I will bring out first and since I have all three weenies in my starting crypt I tell him Piotr (want to deny him Auspex as much as I can). He influences out Horatio. When Marko’s first vampire turns out to be Katherine Stoddard I see a small window of opportunity. I have a trap and a My Enemy’s Enemy on my hand. If I block Horatio’s first action with Wendy Wade and play Trap I might be able to get a ghoul on the table before anyone can block it. I influence her out but still lack that retainer to be able to try and recruit a War Ghoul. When the calculated combat between Horatio and Wendy occurs Daniel plays Target Vitals and I am owned. DT constantly helps me with blood from Owain Evans and even rescues me from torpor but Marko’s very cool and odd deck packs enough power bleed for me to be a quick oust even with Maris and a couple of wakes as defence.
Daniel gets his first War Ghoul and starts to pound on Marko’s vampires. Ober bleeds like crazy and DT has to play defensive. DT has enough bounce cards to eat trough Marko’s pretty big pool. Ober and DT starts to deal and manages to block Daniel’s second War Ghoul recruit attempt. He gets Ossian instead and Ober rushes for his victory point when it is still time.
In the duel Ober is almost getting that last bleed to hit with Mirror Walk and Bonding but Daniel cycles wakes and gets Eyes of Argus and can block it for the win. Congratulations!
Daniel GW 2VP
I had a great time and the 41 players were a great surprise and a good life sign of the game. Me and Isak discussed the state of the game some weeks earlier and though only about 25 players would show up and we were happy to be proved wrong. I also qualified for the EC which is a good thing that will make me be able to relax during the Stockholm EC.
I will miss the big Copenhagen tournaments this year but hopefully I will play something and write about it before Autumn and the Swedish nationals and the EC.
Keep playing and keep keeping this game alive people!