Potent Certamen?

A couple of times in these forums people have suggested that Tremere should have Potent Certamen rather than Minor Magical Focus in Certamen.
However, how do you make it Potent? What Shape & Material bonuses would apply to Certamen?

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I just use the +3, not the Shape/Material bonuses. Not sure what others do.

I keep hearing about Potent Magic but it seems lackluster compared to a Minor Magical Focus; this is for the purpose of leaving the Magical Focus slot free, right?

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That is likely the reason, to give House Tremere a bonus for Certamen without prohibiting them from having a Focus to boost a speciality. A thing attempted in many ways over the years. And something not everyone thinks is necessary.
However I can’t see how Potent Certamen can benefit beyond the flat +3, since no S&M is so broad as to help generally, nor are there ones for every Art, so the Tremere can’t even load up on enough foci items to be well prepared.

I don’t think this is a solution I’d use.

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Just to resurrect this thread, a possible work-around solution has arisen in my game.

A character with with the virtue Special Circumstances - While in Magical Conflict.
Doesn't apply when the character makes a first strike, only triggered after uninvited magical energies strike the character, whether or not the charact's Parma Magica stops it.
It has been ruled by the SG that entering a Certamen duel counts for the trigger to this Special Circumstance.

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Sounds like a very good idea. I like it.

In general the problem.withbthe focus is that it makes Tremeres way weaker magically. Instead of a boon it is a hermetic drawback. So allowing for a focus in something else is always a good idea. We simply gave them puissant certamen. Even if certamen is not an ability, we considered it an arcane one for the same +3 when in certamen. Never can ho in our sagas since Tremeres were not dominant and no player wanted a tremere, but the idea was there.

One of the better answers I've seen that don't involve making up new virtues/translating virtues is Puissant Finesse or Puissant Penetration. You could also just give them 'Certamen Specialist' as a new virtue, that acts like magical Focus in only Certamen. Special Circumstances is an option I like though. The Tremere HAVE trained extensively for mystical combat.

Without getting into the debate over whether or not Tremere need a different virtue instead of MiMF: Certamen, I will note that the House Tremere section of Houses of Hermes: True Lineages was written with the weakness of that virtue in mind. PC Tremere get a bunch of resources and support from their House, and the House operates on the assumption that it's own magi will not be as good as specialists from other Houses. They know a Tremere healing specialist will never be as good as a healer in another House, and they engage with other Houses with this in mind.

So swapping out that MiMF for another virtue, while certainly a valid option and a thing many groups do, has other ramifications for the House which should be considered.

Definitely agree. It comes down to properly balancing the support you receive against the tasks you're given, and the house virtue if changed. My saga has very little Hermetic political shenanigans, so Tremere support had been pretty mild.