Grinder-style Emerald Legionnaire decWhen building this deck, I wanted to take the traditional Ventrue/!Ventrue grinder, replace the Ventrue/!Ventrue with Harbingers and the Dominate with Emerald Legionnaires. There's not an even math in that conversion, however. There's no good answer to Deflection, since all of the Auspex bounce locks your vampires. Weighted Walking Sticks don't provide enough permanence nor enough safety for your vampires lacking Fortitude. Furthermore, space has to be made for Spectral Divination and Breath of Thanatos for their versatility. While I like the result, in the end, this is probably just a fightier version of Martin Weinmayer's Emerald Dream.
I wasn't sure what people would play today, but I wanted good defense. I finished up the deck about 2 hours before the event, and found the right mix for today. The final had two fast bleed decks that I knew about and two decks that I hadn't seen all day.
John M. (Toreador/!Toreador Anarch Toolbox) 0 VP -> John E. (Dem Breed with Madman's Quill) 0 VP -> Me 4 VP -> Mark (Nocturn Bleed) 0 VP -> Will (+Bleeders with AUS/OBF)
I knew both Mark and Will were strong bleeders, having survived as prey to each deck, I didn't want to risk that again. I was unsure of the other decks, so decided to be Mark's predator because I hoped to be able to wear him down during his undirected Nocturn recruitments. I felt that was still a risky choice. I don't have a lot of Eagle's Sight, so it was possible that Mark could have taken 3 VPs before I could get him under control.
Going third was perfect for me and I had a great crypt with four different vampires. I got Erebus in play on turn 2 and on the next turn gave him a Guardian Angel and a Bowl of Convergence. I got Maldavis in play next. Mark was only taking forward actions early and Will's Cornelius Ottavio had standing 3 bleed vs. every deck on the table. My predator hit Erebus with a Pentex Subversion, played Sibyl's Tongue to find a Conceal and immediately tried to burn the Bowl. Maldavis was barely able to block it. Maldavis took an action to remove the Pentex and drew a block. Mark was going forward very effectively and I had little to say about it. Will was trying to outrace his predator. John M, my grand-predator, took two actions to remove the Pentex (Change of Target on the first), then sunk a big bleed on John E. Erebus was able to block again and tried to do so with almost every action my predator took. After a few feints, John E got a Creation Rites in play. At this point, I got my first Legionnaire and then brought out Zygodat. Then knocked off the Creation Rites with Scourge of the Enochians. Mark started to take undirected actions, as the Nocturns came up. I wore down his vampires' blood totals (Obtenebration is expensive), but he made really good progress. When it came to my turn again, I played another Legionnaire normally and mostly held off. The pool totals are very low for both Will and John M. When a bleed of three gets bounced to me, I decided that sending it to John M instead of my prey is the better long term move. If Will can get a VP and I'm the last man standing, I'd win on seeding (or better). John M blocked, but that took critical resources. On my turn, I Pentexed Mark's fourth vampire and sent my Legionnaires after The Path of Night. Mark needs to take a lot of Nocturn actions and I lock every minion to keep Mark from going forward. Will survives and is able to oust John M. John E hits me with a bleed that I can't block, but doesn't have enough to really hurt me. I ousted Mark with Legionnaires and the next turn got Will. John E's bloat machine was working well, but his minions were low on blood. I had The Unmasking and four vampires and three Legionnaires. When I dropped Smiling Jack, John E conceded with ~30 minutes left in the final.
The critical play, in my mind, was recognizing that I needed to throw John M off the island and let Will have a VP and the extra pool that comes with it.
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