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The V5-Only Format

The idea of a V5-only format has been floated by BCP for some time.  Ideally, this is a way to level the playing field for newer players.  Some folks have, of course, lost their collective minds about the idea.  More ways to play VTES and easier formats to bring in new players sounds exactly like what the doctor ordered to me.

Steve has been running several online tournaments this year, a subset of which were in the V5-only format.  I wasn't able to make his earlier V5-only events, but was able to make this last one.  Here are my thoughts about it.  Is V5-only worthwhile?  Let's find out.

What I Played

I had a few ideas that I wanted to experiment with: Queen Anne + obf/pre Princes, using Banishment (she's one of the oldest vampires available); Malk voters; Banu voters; and Nos Barons.  I'm glad that I didn't pick either of the first two as both of those showed up in the event.  I've previously won with a Banu deck focusing on Haqim's Law: Retribution and decided that wouldn't be very interesting to me.  The Nos were where my heart landed, but my concept was busted because there's no Nosferatu Justicar vote in the format.  (See my comments below about what we need from BCP.)

In the end, time was a factor, so I converted an Anarch Gangrel deck that I've played a couple of times to be V5-only compliant.  It was an easy swap as most of the cards are now in V5 with the New Blood 2 deck releases.  Here's the result:

Deck Name: YAWG (V5)
Author: Karl Schaefer

Crypt (12 cards, min=12 max=24 avg=4.67)
2x Casey Snyder        6 PRO ani cel for   baron   Gangrel:6
2x Kuyén               6 ANI PRO           baron   Gangrel:6
1x Martina Srnankova   6 FOR PRO ani               Gangrel:6
1x Kamile Paukstys     5 PRO ani for               Gangrel:6
1x Mickey Wheeler      5 ani cel for pro           Gangrel:6
1x Hanna Nokelainen    4 ani for pro               Gangrel:6
1x Nathan Turner       4 PRO ani                   Gangrel:6
1x Indira              3 PRO                       Gangrel:6
1x Joaquín de Cádiz    3 for pro                   Gangrel:6
1x Ruslan Fedorenko    2 pro                       Gangrel:6

Library (82 cards)
Master (18; 6 trifle)
1x Anarch Free Press, The
1x Anarch Railroad
2x Archon Investigation
1x Backways
1x Carfax Abbey
1x Club Illusion
1x Ecoterrorists
1x Powerbase: Montreal
2x Smiling Jack, The Anarch
6x Villein
1x Zoo Hunting Ground

Action (12)
2x Constant Revolution
2x Rewilding
8x Thing

Equipment (3)
1x .44 Magnum
2x Sniper Rifle

Political Action (1)
1x Domain Challenge

Retainer (2)
1x Mr. Winthrop
1x Raven Spy

Action Modifier (3)
2x Earth Control
1x Monkey Wrench

Action Modifier/Combat (2)
2x Rapid Change

Action Modifier/Reaction (4)
4x Form of the Bat

Reaction (20)
4x Bait and Switch
5x Deep Ecology
3x Eyes of the Wild
6x Organized Resistance
2x Protection Racket

Combat (17)
2x Claws of the Dead
10x Earth Meld
5x Form of Mist

The Games

You can view all of the games from the event at on Steve's YouTube Channel.  For reference, here are the tables:

Round 1 Table 1: I got 3 VPs / GW
Round 1 Table 2
Round 2 Table 1: I got 2 VPs / GW
Round 2 Table 2
Finals: I got 2 VPs / GW

My most interesting recollection of the day was in round 1.  I contested Smiling Jack, which kept my predator from getting ousted.  This resulted in 3 VPs for me, but could have easily been a 2-2 split (or worse a prey sweep) otherwise.  I was holding 3 other Master cards at that point.  My predator was at 10 pool and my prey had good odds to remove all of it.  Alas, he took 9, leaving my predator at 1 pool.  1 pool he would have had to pay to Jack.  There was a good chance that the gamble would not have paid off and another Master card would have been better for playing heads-up.  Sometimes, you just have to take calculated risks.

Thoughts about the Format

I enjoyed the limited card pool.  It's somewhat refreshing to think about the game in a different way.  There are few things though that we need from BCP to balance this format.

  • More skill cards.  BCP is slowly filtering these in and I usually don't like them, but they have a place.  That being said, all of the disciplines should be available.
  • Other breed options.  While Childe of the Revolution didn't make an appearance at the event (in my games at least), it's the only breed card in V5 right now.  This is an imbalance.
  • All Justicar votes should be present.
  • Bleed retainers.
  • More archetype options.  Cavalier is the obvious miss.  That will go a long way toward making voting Malk a thing.
  • Cryptic Rider: a Jyhad original.  I wanted to do some Nosferatu voting and lacking both a Justicar vote and Cryptic Rider made that too difficult to pull off.
  • Something to help with big bleed.  The addition of Archon Investigation had an obvious impact during the event.  Three vampires were burned in the final alone.  With small vampires and easy access to stealth and payload, the bleeds just fly.  I only survived the final by backousting 2 predators and leaving another so gimped that he died soon thereafter.  To be honest, I'm not sure what this is.  Most clans have access to bounce in some form or another.  Protected Resources could be an interesting option.
  • Something you can do with The British Museum.  Right now there is not much useful equipment that The British Museum affects.  Adding more equipment that works with it, would open up the design space for decks.


The V5-only format is quite fun and just different enough from my standard VTES fare that it's worthwhile.  Steve is planning on running another event once the new starters are out and we'll see how the meta shakes out with the introduction of new cards and new clans.

I look forward to seeing you at the next online V5-only event.


  1. Thanks for the article, especially for the pointer to Protected Resources.

    Personally, I don't like AI and its impact, whether V5 or not [not that my opinion matters in this regard :)]. Outright burning a vampire feels too strong, and there is no comparable card for other stats, e.g. strength (at least none i know).
    Protected District seems more balanced, and could possibly help Sabotage Nos to become more stable.

    1. Both AI and Protected Resources were VTES responses to Malk 94. They serve different purposes.

      The fact that you cannot bleed when using Protected Resources (and it costs) hampers many decks ability to use the card.

      AI is definitely a blunt response to being bled, but in environments where it sees a lot of play, bleeds tend to be more responsible unless an oust is on the line.

      Personally, I'd rather bleed many times for small amounts than once for a large amount, so AI doesn't bother me as much.


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