The Grand Prix Convention 2007 - Part Two
by Johannes Klarhauser, Staff Writer
24th March 2008
Tournament #4: Grand Prix Main Event
Still sleepy from the short night, I headed downstairs for a quick but excellent breakfast, then went straight back to my room to write my decklist.
Thanks to Thorsten I eventually got all the cards I needed to build my Bajoran speed deck. I had toyed around with the idea for some time, but never actually built it. The other decks I had prepared were Caleb Grace's world champion deck, and a Borg solver. In the end I went with the Bajoran deck, because I felt that I wasn't familiar enough with the Borg to take them to a major event yet; Caleb's deck would undoubtedly have done well, but playing someone else's deck just didn't feel right for the last big tournament of the year.
In round one I immediately regretted not working harder on my dilemma pile. Matthias Herath, who came in second at the German Nationals this year, and made it into the Top 16 of the Europeans, made short work of dilemmas with his speedy Borg deck. My dilemma pile does not have enough sure stoppers in it take out enough personnel, and relies heavily on stuff like Accelerated Aging
and Psychokinetic Control
to work. Matthias breezed through his space mission on his first attempt, assimilated my Benjamin Sisko (Emissary of the Prophets) as a bonus, and went on to his first planet in the same turn, where I could finally stop him. My own deck was doing ok, I even managed to complete a mission, but when I played an Accelerated Aging on Salvage Borg Ship
, the game came to a sudden end. Unfortunately, I forgot that one of the drones has Archaeology and Astrometrics, so my dilemma didn't to anything and Matthias solved for the win. It's really an embarrassing feeling when you lose in less than 15 minutes. (+1, 1 total)
Game two against Carsten George's TNG deck went much better. He built a monster crew and filled his core with five or six events, but couldn't draw into a ship. By the time he attempted his first mission, I had already completed two. I stopped him with a combo ending in Gomtuu Shock Wave
when he finally attempted in space with 11, then used my copies of In the Pah-wraith's Wake
to destroy some of Carsten's dilemma manipulators and double-teamed my way to the win. (+3, 4 total)
The last game before lunch break had a familiar face waiting for me: Will Hoskin and I were paired against each other for the fourth time in four tournaments so far this weekend. Will played a version of his Worlds deck, a Romulan/Cardassian dissident deck. The game started well for me; I completed my first mission quite easily, and even managed to destaff Will at some point. However, Will had a nice comeback and stalled me for ages on my last mission. When time was called, I was on 65 points, and Will had another turn. He completed his second mission, then went on to attempt the third. I tried to figure out some way to force Will into losing enough points to Power Shift
, and stop his crew afterwards, but it wasn't to be. In the end Will had to spend just enough points to overcome my Zero Hour
to complete the mission, but he ended up on 95 points and got only a modified win. (+1, 5 total).
So, with a win, a loss, and a modified loss, the day started less than stellar, and qualifying for the elimination stage seemed highly unlikely now. During the break I headed to Subway with Will and Sonny, and after a sandwich and some cookies, we were ready to go into the next three rounds.
Tiemo Mittelstedt was my next opponent. He was playing Ferengi, and used their manipulation shenanigans to get his key cards in play. Since I had played Ferengi for quite some time myself I had little trouble tracking their skills and attributes, so I was able to stop a couple of Tiemo's attempts with only one overcome dilemma. Again, my deck was as fast as I had hoped it would be, and my missions were done soon enough. (+3, 8 total)
With a 2-2 record so far, my next opponent was Thorsten Wanek. He played a Klingon battle deck with a Tragic Turn
killer pile. Although I knew how brutally this deck could decimate my personnel, I was sure that I had pretty good chances to win this game. For one, it would take Thorsten some time to Set Up
, which gave my already fast deck a further speed advantage; also, his Tragic Turn would leave enough dilemmas overcome for me to complete all of my missions on the second attempt, provided I had enough personnel left alive. I was off to a good start, and completed Acquire Illicit Explosives
before Thorsten had anything too worrying in his core. Although he had Call to Arms
out early, he only scored ten points from his first engagement instead of 20, because he only had a single four-or-more cost personnel in play (Kang). He spent his points on an Endangered
and an All-Out War
, both of which were used to kill off more of my personnel. Still, with Vedek Assembly and Odo (Wayward Link)
I was never in danger of running out of personnel. When I captured Thorsten's only four-coster with an Impressive Trophies
, he had to abandon his extra points strategy and went for missions instead. I double teamed my last mission, and thanks to the Consume dilemmas that killed my weenies, my second team could auto-complete Historical Research
for the win. (+3, 11 total)
My last opponent was Ulf Benjes. Ulf played a Romulan deck with two easy 30-point missions, and two 40+ points missions (one of them was Wormhole Negotiations
, I think), and of course the obligatory point engine. His core was filled with six or seven events soon enough, and my worst fears were confirmed when I attempted my space mission: Ulf was playing his Overwhelmed
/eight-coster killer pile. Whenever I faced a Tsiolkovsky Infection
or Whisper in the Dark
, I was always short of one skill; however, Odo's ability saved my key Bajorans from certain death (I don't run Escape or Emergency Transport Unit
in my deck). With In the Pah-wraith's Wake I eliminated Endangered and Machinations
, and worked on my missions, trying not to lose too many personnel. When Ulf attempted Investigate Alien Probe
, I played an Accelerated Aging on its own, knowing that he wouldn't be able to use his Anthropology – unfortunately, Ulf surprised me with an Outlining the Stakes
and conveniently ignored the Anthropology requirement of his mission. By now I had drawn through most of my deck, and was at the point where I was able to draw and play the personnel I had recycled with Vedek Assembly. With lots of cheap cannon fodder, I forced Ulf into playing several dilemmas, and in the end my double teams completed their third mission shortly after Ulf completed his second. A very intense and thoroughly entertaining game! (+3, 14 total).
With 14 points after six rounds, I ended up on fourth place (out of 26 players). The top three spots were all taken by Borg decks, with the unbeaten Tobias Rausmann (18 points) dominating the field. Thanks to my three full wins after the break, I secured a wildcard spot in the elimination stage, where I had to play the other wildcard player, Sonny Jensen.
Before the elimination games started, we went to grab some food. After pizza on Friday and Subway sandwiches for lunch, we headed to McDonald's this time, but only after another 30 minutes of erratic wandering through the streets of Celle before we finally found what we were looking for.
Sonny played his Borg solver deck that had earned him the 3rd place at the European Continentals in July in Berlin. Back then, my TD duties included doing deck checks of the Top 16, so I was vaguely familiar with some of the differences between Sonny's Borg deck and other variants. For example, that Sonny stocked only two Computation Drone
s (Tobias and Matthias Herath run three copies); or that he runs Shady Resources
and Standard Punishment
as extra dilemma busting power. Still, these bits of information weren't really much help anyway. I simply hate playing against Borg solver decks. I just don't know how I can stop them.
Luckily, Sonny had a terrible opening hand: no Quintessence
, no download cards, and no Annexation Drone
/At What Cost?
combo. That gave me a slight speed advantage in the first couple of turns, and I tried to put the pressure on Sonny by attempting Acquire Illicit Explosives with six personnel on turn three. Sonny stopped me with only one under, but thanks to the Region keyword, I was back with reinforcements on the next turn and made Sonny play three dilemmas in order to stop me. By then, Sonny had finally got his engine going, and soon he went to Assimilate Resistance
with eight. I played Skeleton Crew
/ The Caretaker's “Guests” / Chula: Echoes / Where No One Has Gone Before
. With Guests, I removed the Borg Queen. Without the Queen's swapping ability, three Borg were then stopped by Chula: Echoes
, thanks to a Computation drone being around. With only five personnel left, the sphere was finally sent to Where No One Has Gone Before. This lucky dilemma combo right at the beginning was devastating to the Borg. Until the sphere was back, I had already completed my first mission and was well into my second.
Sonny did his best to catch up, and breezed through Assimilate Resistance on his second attempt. With the help of Benjamin Sisko (Emissary of the Prophets) (whom he assimilated from my discard pile – ouch!), he went on to Plot Invasion
, but I was able to stop him with a Hard Time
/ Zero Hour combo. On my turn, I completed Transport Delegations
, and went on to Historical Research. Again, Sonny stopped me, but now I was close to winning, if I could only stop Sonny for one more turn. Sonny attempted Plot Invasion with six (leaving five on the ship). I played The Dreamer and the Dream
, followed by Vault of Tomorrow
(which I used to play Timescape
), and Excalbian Drama
. I discarded two cards from hand for the sure stop. Before he lost his hand to the Dreamer, Sonny flew his ship over to Salvage Borg ship and attempted with five, but he couldn't complete that mission either after I stopped one personnel with Back Room Dealings
. This gave me the additional turn I needed to complete Historical Research with the second of two away teams.
Winning against a Borg deck has always been incredibly difficult for me, so this game was a very pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, there were two more Borg decks among the other six players in the elimination stage...
Check out part three of this series to find out what happened in the remaining games!
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