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The Road to Worlds: Regionals Week 1

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

6th April 2017

Second Edition Georgia Regional winner Greg Hodgin
Title: New Romulan Gamma
Headquarters: Romulus, Seat of Power
Deck Size: 73 cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 38 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Kill
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Ashbey, KillerB, prylardurden, LORE, Bosskamiura, rsutton41

Greg's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?

I'd been tooling around with GQ Romulans for a while, and I figured it was time to give them a go. I obviously love my Romulans, and it had been a while since I had brought them to a tournament. I didn't want to bring the same old build though, so there you go. I also didn't want to bring a stop deck, as too many people were stacking stop prevention, so instead I decided to come with a slightly thicker kill pile (just in case Michael Shea decided to play with a Terok Nor mill deck). I don't play kill as much because of that, but I felt I had a good read on the meta and rolled the dice. I considered bringing 5-space Voyager and a weenie Klingon deck, but the night before I settled on this. I wasn't disappointed.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I was hoping to face speed/weenie decks, and 3-mission solver decks. I was really hoping not to face control decks or kill dilemma piles, which thankfully I didn't.

Prior to this tournament, did you have much experience playing this deck (or decks like it)? Did you learn anything new about it when you played it this time?
Oh yes; Romulans are my thing. I learned that this deck archetype is very dangerous in the wrong (or in my case, right) hands. I learned this deck is similar to the Borg deck I built for Master's last year: when you attempt missions you should just spend that turn drawing up to allow you to activate all the deck's cool features.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)? Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations? Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
Oh sure: escape's an obvious choice here, but I could pitch those for use with Simulated Prey/A Taste of Armageddon. I expected Tal to be more useful, but not many people were playing with interrupts so his usefulness was a bit curtailed. Fajo's Menagerie was a lot bigger than I thought in this deck: I used it near the end to add 2 cards a pop to my hand, allowing The Die is Cast and Karina/Ruwon to better use their abilities. I thought Outlining the Stakes would be useful, but really it was clutter by the end of the game: I had more than enough skills to go around and the points usually went to At What Cost? or Power Shift.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Tie for two cards in this deck: The Die is Cast and Power Shift. The Die is Cast saved me on more than one occasion (Polywater does nothing if The Die is Cast on the table), and Power Shift let me solve some missions by attempting with 7, getting 2 stopped (even w/ The Die is Cast out), and still managing to finish the mission.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
This isn't going back in the binder. It's a strong deck which has its weaknesses, but I believe it's a good candidate for a top-tier championship deck.

My Commentary:
Welcome back, Romulans! It has been a while since we've seen a Romulan Gamma Quadrant solver in this series; after all, most of the new tools that Romulans have received lately have been more relevant for their new interference-based phase II headquarters. People often like to try shiny, new things, and the newest draw deck card here comes from Strange Bedfellows (April 2015). That said, Romulan solvers have always had a unique feel to them, with plenty of in-game decision-making, which I imagine is why players like Greg show so much loyalty to them. Well, there's the unique feel, but I suppose there's also the perennially high power-level.

Romulan Gamma Quadrant Solvers are still strong. Despite the large size, tools like The Viceroy and Tal mean that you can still reliably have access to Greg's MVPs The Die is Cast and Power Shift even in a 73 card deck (actually pretty slim for Romulans). Likewise, early access to Energize, At What Cost, and Surprise Party helps speed out heavy hitting personnel like Ruwon and Karina, whose kill and stop prevention nicely supplement that pair of events. Fortunately, the once-ubiquitous Navaar has seen errata, and there is no Gav or Silik here to replace her, so the Romulan lack of skill-gaining is one potential weakness to target - though it is hard to find those skill holes when no personnel in the deck has fewer than four skills, and a couple of them even have seven skills.

Greg's choice of a kill pile here is a little idiosyncratic for a GQ solver. Typically these solver decks tend to run attrition piles of some sort, given their lack of the kill-enhancement tools like Aid Legendary Civilization or Far-Seeing Eyes that you see in their Alpha Quadrant Romulan counterparts. Greg does outline an excellent reason in his interview for going with this pile, including its surprisingly large size for a kill pile. Usually, kill piles like to run on the smaller size, to increase the odds of (A) drawing heavy-hitters like Guillotine and (B) hitting those All-Consuming Evils on the consumes. We have seen a number of good standalone non-consume kill dilemmas like Silent Witness and Hard of Heart, so I don't mind seeing the size increase, and it is hard to argue with the results.

Second Edition Moscow Regional winner Andrey Gusev
Title: Silver Age Maquis
Headquarters: Quatal Prime, Quiet Mining Colony
Deck Size: 80 cards
Deck Archetype: Control Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 44 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Standard Attrition
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Mogor, Ashbey, The Ninja Scot, TReebel, BCSWowbagger, jadziadax8

Andrey's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?

I just went through play achievements I hadn't had and chose one of those. Other choices were Genesis Khan and New Romulans.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
The deck is rather slow and, due to its size, the chances to reliably get the usual Maquis tools for slowing down your opponent are quite low. So I was hoping not to face speed solver decks. Other that that - doesn't really matter, but the fewer Moral Choices the better.

Prior to this tournament, did you have much experience playing this deck (or decks like it)? Did you learn anything new about it when you played it this time?
Well, I played Maquis a couple of times before, but this deck is different. More solver than control. I'm not sure I learned a lot, just got some experience playing with new Maquis cards. It was fun.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)? Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations? Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
Quite a number actually, due to Silver Age achievement. But Product Placement and Back-Flush Bussard Collectors were useful everytime they showed up. I was thinking about including GPT instead of Hurried Departure from These Are The Voyages but that would require to include more equipment and the deck was already heavy on non-personnel cards.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
I would choose Defiant Reprisal as MVP. With this card on the table you are not afraid of the kills and can fearlessly start attempts as soon as you have a team of six that can solve a mission.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Do not try to repeat :)
Seriously speaking, I think I was just lucky to win the event after a loss and a bye.

My Commentary:
Like the Romulans, we also don't see much of the Maquis in this series, though I suspect that the reason is different. Romulans have historically had some flexibility in playstyle: you can play a control-style Aid Legendary Civillization/Kill Pile deck, or you can play a more solving-focused Gamma Quadrant deck, or you can use the new headquarters and play a more actively interfering deck. Maquis are different because the vast majority of their powerful verbs and abilities have been interference cards. Using cards like the Maquis Defiant or Reide to deprive your opponent of the cards that they need to play the game feels plain mean to some players, so despite the high power level of the Maquis, we just don't see them that often.

I suspect that this trend will change with the new cards the Maquis got in A Time to Stand, starting with their headquarters, Quatal Prime. You can now build a more solving-focused Maquis deck with their "events on missions" theme, and not feel so much of that Maquis Shame. Andrey's deck here attempts to take the best of both worlds, using the new cards along side some of the control-flavored old cards, and I really like the result. It still feels like you're playing the Maquis, blocking out dilemma-filled missions with Biogenic weapon (for cheaper!) while also attempting DMZ missions at attributes +1 from Not Easily Taken.

I would also like to point out that the particular achievement, Silver Age Player, that Andrey has gone for is one of my favorite ones (along with the companion dilemma achievement). Other than whatever Dangerous Missions card you throw in, I find that that achievement does a great job at encouraging you to use unexpected cards, without necessarily requiring you to use bad cards. I love seeing Warp Speed Transfer here; as the only To Boldly Go card, I suspect it is there for the achievement. Now I'm tempted to use that card myself in Maquis, since I imagine it combos well with having a ship like the Defiant lurking at an opponent's mission. Might be great in a New Romulan deck too, what with all their ships blockading opposing missions. Happy deckbuilding!

Don't forget to vote for next week's winners in the relevant forum threads. Also, this coming weekend the very first online regionals are happening. You can play in them! Sign up and play with the best players from all over the world! (First Edition) or (Second Edition)


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