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The Road to Worlds: American Nationals

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

13th April 2017

Second Edition American National Championships winner Kevin Jaeger
Title: Jaeger Bomb 3.0: Dakota Pain Dealers, a wholly owned subsidiary of Money, Inc.
Headquarters: Earth, Cradle of the Federation and Mouth of the Wormhole, Deep Space 9
Deck Size: 47 cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 23 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Skill Lockout (Kill Hybrid)
Victory Correctly Predicted By: None (though he did not preregister)

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

This was the only deck I was considering. I'd worked on this upgrade for a few months and I had it slated for whatever the next big event was that I would attend. I thought that would be continentals but after all the errata talk I moved up the timeline.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
The deck has been tuned to handle pretty much everything. Assimilation can be difficult to deal with but it's still a match in your favor. Dominion crippling strike is annoying but very beatable. The only thing you don't want to see is the mirror match. A bad draw is near soon as it almost was against Tyler.

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?
I think I may have some experience playing the deck with my namesake. :-)

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?
Most of the deck is situational. Knowing all the permutations of what to do when is what the deck is about. It's not about one card. Yes, a pair of cards make a combo but that combo doesn't win the game by itself.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Jaresh Inyo and Vintner for co-mvp.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Just putting it on the long list of decks that I designed that other people have just decided shouldn't exist. So much fun having all your hard work aborted by others.

My Commentary:
Things certainly have evolved since the last time we discussed this deck. I was planning to talk at length about the changes to the deck (I heartily approve of the addition of Vintner, he has been good in my testing), but Kevin already addressed the changes in the strategy notes for his decklist - seriously, go read it, Kevin is very generous with his deck descriptions. I would be encouraged to do the same, but my decks are much less... nuanced. And then there's the interview I got back from Kevin; after that last line, I think perhaps there's something bigger to talk about:

Preposterous Plan. It has been a hot topic in the public watchlist thread as a possible target for errata. Combining Preposterous Plan with Guinan for a hefty dose of early points is certainly powerful, and fueled the top three decks at this tournament. I've thought about this issue a lot, and my feeling is that this game has precious few high-roll combos out there, and that's something that appeals to certain types of players. For my money, cards like Quark (Vastly Outnumbered) are more concerning with low-cost, no requirement blank check downloading. High roll combos should come with some risks - namely, the risk of not drawing the combo, and the risks inherent with playing a thin enough deck to draw the combo more reliably. Quark greatly reduces those risks, which makes him (to me) the most problematic element I see here.

Is that enough to call for a change though? Well, Kevin himself said "The only thing you don't want to see is the mirror match." That's concerning for any deck: it speaks to why I don't like to see speed decks using kill piles, I don't think it is healthy for anything to be its own counter. But it is hard to take out of the equation that Kevin is simply an excellent player, who played a well-crafted deck to perfection. And just because Kevin hasn't found a non-mirror match counter to this deck, doesn't mean that it isn't out there - though he has been working on versions of this deck for over a year, perhaps two.

Either way, one thing's for sure: I will lose no sleep if Aid Legendary Civilization got hit by one of Annorax's Temporal Incursion beams :D

First Edition American National Championships winner Kevin Jaeger
Title: Call of Duty: Dakota Sniper
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Play Engines: Emblem of the Alliance, The Regent's Flagship, Bajoran Resistance Cell, They Call Themselves the Maquis
Draw Engines: Study Divergent History, Bajoran Resistance Cell, Historic Coming Together
Bonus Point Mechanics: Historic Coming Together, Assign Mission Specialists
Victory Correctly Predicted By: BCSWowbagger, rsutton41 (despite not preregistering!)

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

I had it and another deck prepped for the event. Since I was on only about 3 hours of sleep, I went with the option that was much simpler to play.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Preferred to face decks without a headquarters. Can't battle there. Also not keen on facing Cardassians since you need the defensive measures. Fortunately it was in my opening hand against Johns KCA.

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?
Certainly not. I had only 1 playtest game with the deck before playing it Sunday.

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?
The aforementioned HQ: Defensive Measures.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Sniper of course!

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
It was fun to play. It was better at busting dilemmas than I expected. It was fun to really do something different and unexpected.

My Commentary:
There are definitely some surface similarities between Kevin's 2016 Minnesota Regional deck. They use several of the same play engines, the same Treaty (though with a different means of obtaining it now), and many of the same personnel. This week's deck is much more finely tuned though. There are more play engines for speed and flexibility, fewer draw deck tech cards so that he draws the cards he needs the most more reliably, and he's now down to a single alpha quadrant mission. This deck is also no longer as loyal to the DS9 icon personnel, instead making room for skill powerhouses like Chakotay (VOY). That's okay though, since only one of the play engines actually requires the DS9 icon, so we can get several turns of use out of it, then let it fall by the wayside when someone like Macias is needed to recover a specific personnel.

"But Lucas," I hear you cry, "where is all that Jaeger death and devastation that we've come to know and love?"

This time, it's largely in the seed side of the deck. Now, sure, the Regency 1 can always hold its own in battle (and from the sound of things, it did), but who needs it to when three of your dilemmas (MACO Encounter, Sleeper Trap) download assault teams that vaporize your crews? Historically, dilemmas like these have been used to either guarantee a single turn stop, or maybe set up an Extradition, something like that. But there are a sweet three copies of Sniper in the seed deck, and each of those dilemmas downloads, in addition to a few personnel, the necessary hand weapons. Now there's a chance for three to die right at the start of the battle (sniper's choice!), followed by anyone who is mortally wounded (pretty likely with all those rifles lying around) in the ensuing battle, and then there's still the guaranteed stop.

Though these assault teams are not compatible with the affiliated personnel in the deck, there are enough non-aligned personnel that either (A) the non-aligneds can then join them for more slaughter or (B) the non-aligneds can pick up and show everyone how to use the Cardassian weapons, taking the carnage show on the road. Not bad for what is probably the most solving-focused 1E deck I've seen out of Kevin in... ever.


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