Mark B, and the life-changing deck.

“I’ve got to thank my friend Wayne for getting me into Vampire: the Eternal Struggle. He showed me the game in a quick “this is how you play this deck” way, then sent me off to play in a big tournament that he couldn’t attend. I played a lot of other card games at the time, particularly heaps of Raw Deal, but I quickly found VtES to be superior due to its better mechanics.

I remember that first deck so well. It was a really nasty stealth bleed deck. Used low-cost Presence and Obfuscate vamps, maybe some Toreador, and just cheaped out people. Wayne told me that it should win and he was right.

The thing I remember from that day was the abject disgust and loathing from everyone (except for Disco Stu!). Competitive tournaments are like that so I don’t hold anything against anyone! The fact that it did end up scraping into the finals table and then winning didn’t make me popular either. But that day started my long time love of all things Vampire: the Masquerade, so I really can’t complain.

I’d never had much exposure to Vampire before that day. I had heard about it, of course, but mainly through its (unfounded) reputation of being for pretentious goth snobs only. I am really thankful to know better. I’ve spent hours playing Vampire in cards and RPGs and can say that my life wouldn’t have been the same if I hadn’t learned to play VtES.

Once I moved past that first deck, I found I loved two things – Ravnos and Chimerstry. But I found that the Ravnos tended to suck as a clan in VtES (Ezmerelda being the exception!) So I kept trying new things. Ravnos, for some reason, has several vampires with Presence. Do you know that the Daughters of Cacophony also have several vampires with Presence and Chimerstry? I do! Presence Chimerstry means fat bleeds and lots of running away from combat. And other bizzare tricks. Man, I love Chimerstry.

I used to share a card collection with Wayne, and didn’t have any VtES cards of my own – Wayne had multiples of every set so I never needed anything. But then Wayne moved to Queensland and sold off his awesome collection. Soon after I started moving around a bit, and life got in the way as it often does!

I own a store now, Top Deck Games in Melbourne’s western suburbs. Being on the other side of the counter is a hard experience. You remember how tough it was to buy cards, how little money you have to spend and always looking for the next deal. As a shop owner you need to keep the lights on, so good communities like the VtES community that come in and play and buy stuff are important.  I think that paying a little extra to support your gaming store is a must, wherever you are.

I have a lot of experience with different games, and I can say that there’s no other CCG that encompasses a true multiplayer format like VtES does. The politics in the game is a surreal experience – both in the voting and the prey/predator mechanic. Nothing beats the discussions, the wheeling and dealing, the pure joy of meddling in someone else’s affairs that VtES gives.”

Ezmerelda (Final Nights).
Artwork by Christopher Shy.

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