Craig L, and embracing the oddball.

“I joined the Canberra group in 1999, after I stumbled across Salem spruiking it at a university open day. I’ve played Vampire: the Eternal Struggle ever since, only taking breaks when the local group has occasionally fallen in torpor.

VtES was my first CCG. I’ve tried others since, like Lord of the Rings and Android: Netrunner, but wanted to minimise the collection sprawl and have remained attached to VtES. The best thing about it is how much space there is to experiment.  My fave example of this is the four-year period between The Sabbat and Sabbat War, when the game was out of print. People still managed to come up with new decks and even managed to find ways to break old cards (such as Temptation of Greater Power).

I’m known for using cards like Storage Annex and Pariah, and for my Twister decks. The Canberra group was very focused on tricks and oddball decks, and my fondness for this sort of play arose pretty early, when I didn’t own many cards. My favourite types of cards and decks are ‘spanners’.  Temptation, Vampiric Disease, that kind of thing. I like the spanners for how much they can change the flow of a game, and take it away from the usual dynamic of pool bloat vs. pool damage. 

As an example, in ‘normal’ play, you might find yourself cycling cards like mad, calculating whether you can draw bloat and flick cards faster than your predator can draw bleed cards.  This might be tense, but is basically a race between (overused) resource A and (overused) resource B. However, if your predator drops a Vampiric Disease and Lunatic Eruption on your best vampire – all those normal calculations go awry and, in my opinion, the game is more interesting.

I like the turnout that you get at the Championships but – relatively speaking – I do dislike tournament games.  You can see more ugly stuff (in deck choices, and play style – stalling, poor losers, petty behavior) than in regular games.  The year I traveled to Canberra for the ‘pleasure’ of sitting next to Una (twice) is the year I decided going interstate for a tournament isn’t really worth the effort for me.

I’m excited about the future of the game. Black Chantry are off to a good start, and reprinting Villein, Heart of Cheating and other pricey cards makes the game feel a bit less “pay to win”. There’s also a good opportunity for Black Chantry to shake up the status quo. I’ve seen tournament decks become more homogenised over the last ~10 years. Many strong cards (Villein, Pentex Subversion, Heart of Cheating etc) can be used in almost any deck, so they DO get used in almost every deck. I’d prefer we move into an environment where anything similarly high powered should be a clan toy (e.g. Eternals of Sirius), or designed to work best with a subset of decks (similar to The Admonitions or Kaymakli Fragment). That’d start bringing more diversity back into the competitive scene.”

3 thoughts on “Craig L, and embracing the oddball.

  1. Chris says:

    I look forward to seeing what craziness Craig has cooked up each year at the Nationals. No mention in the article that you will often find him sucking on a chup-a-chup during a game 😉

    Like

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