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The Road to Worlds: Grimsby/FL/NC

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

18th May 2017

First Edition Grimsby Regional winner Niall Matthew
Title: Strong and Stable!!!
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Play Engines: MACO Training Camp, Protect the Timeline, Military Assault Command Operations
Draw Engines: Finally Ready to Swim
Bonus Point Mechanics: Gold!, Assign Mission Specialists
Victory Correctly Predicted By: prylardurden, Bosskamiura, The Ninja Scot

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

Having co-designed Broken Bow, I wanted to put my money where my mouth is and show that this is a quality set. Paddy wants to try Klingons when he gets the chance, so I thought I'd go for Starfleet. I remember seeing someone on the forums saying something like 'The MACO cards haven't got me excited.' So MACO it was. I wanted to prove that guy wrong.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Anything, The more diverse the decks, the better, just to see how MACO shape up on the table.

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 had experience with normal Starfleet, but having to utilise Military Assault Command Operations required a very tight deck. I lost my first game because I forgot to set up one of the Combat Ready cards properly.

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?
For shits and giggles, I thought I'd add Data Laughing because of the Errata to Enterprise. I needed a way to boost RANGE on my ships, especially the Shuttlepod, so I thought Data Laughing would be a fun choice as it doubles Data's Head.

Right..... The Combat ready cards. These saved my ass throughout the event, especially Combat Ready: Solidarity. That card, combined with Sickbay: Menagerie saved me against the likes of flapjacks, the kill feature on Friendly Fire among others. Security Sacrifice gives the option of not losing a key personnel. I faced a lot of death Dilemmas, but the MACOs know the score when it comes to survival.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?

Can I give 3 please?

Combat Ready: Solidarity, for the reasons above
Data Laughing, because I'm a twat and it actually helped me win a game
Gold!, Dan and myself developed the basic idea of this card over expensive steak at Gencon last year, so it's one of my babies. I've noticed nobody using ti so I thought I'd give it a go. It only got the maximum of two passes during each game, which gave me a handy 10 extra points per game. This is a dangerous card. If you want the high points from it, pass it at the start of the game.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Huge thanks to Kevin Jaeger for the Dilemma strategy. I hate net decking but I didn't have time to build a new Dilemma set, so I messaged him saying I'd borrow it as it looks fit enough for Gold! :)

MACO are solid. With a small deck, you're playing between 3-5 Personnel per turn. The card play of Military Assualt Command Operations helps you cycle through your deck quickly. I was typically decking out by turn 5. With the right away team / crew set up, MACO are ready for any situation.

With a bit more tweaking, this deck can be even quicker.

Data Laughing is broken!!! I demand for it to be on the ban list NOW!

Now, off to build my next deck. Should I try and add Howard Heirloom Candle and break that too? ;)

My Commentary:
It's always interesting to me to see a deck that defies conventional deckbuilding in terms of play to draw ratios. Very often we see decks that have "draw engine" lists that are just as long (if not longer) than their "play engine" lists. Even decks that rely heavily on the card-play draw engines (Kivas/Handshake, for example) often have some supplemental end-of-turn draw engines to get them out of the inevitable bind when their Kivases have been Rakal Shuffled to the bottom. But here we have a single seedable draw, supplemented by downloading from the time location, and the ability to play cards you've never drawn with Military Assault Command Operations. With Niall often decking out by turn 5, it clearly get enough speed, at the expense of having little room for situational cards (they'd be put on the bottom).

Niall touts the kill prevention that MACOs have access to, which I think is part of what makes them a great match for Gold!. The thing you'd fear most with Gold! on the table are those random kills becoming targeted kills, but if you're just not worrying about kills then you can just let those points sit on your side of the table (while your opponent will often be quite happy to get rid of them). Makes me think that Hologram decks are another deck that wouldn't mind a Gold! floating around, since they're so hard to kill too.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention how fun it is to see Data Laughing and Data's Head in a winning deck. Though Niall mentioned the intended use was as an additional Range booster (and, I imagine, a way to make sure the opponent is having fun), players in the forums speculated about some other uses of that combination. Having 20 cunning in one place (from an equipment no less) does make it harder to set up Denevan Neural Parasites with Ferengi Infestation, though this deck probably doesn't fear kills enough to bother with that. It also makes Exact Change math a whole lot easier - you now have the flexibility to only add your personnel's cunning numbers up to just 30, which is only a player and a half worth of fingers and toes!

Second Edition Space Coast Regional winner Sean O'Reilly
Title: Jaeger-meister bombing
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: 24 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Kill/Attrition Hybrid
Victory Correctly Predicted By: edgeofhearing, Fritzinger, and (after the deadline) monty42, kingmj4891

Sean's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used?

I wanted to use a deck that is a proven winner. I will be the first to admit I took the deck from Kevin Jaeger. I have been successful in building winning decks on my own during our league season, but a regional is a different battle.

I did make one modification to Jaeger's Bomb 3.0 deck. I added one copy of Talosian Trial to my dilemmas.

What other decks did you consider using?
Honestly, I didn't consider any other decks. I have another regional coming up in Orlando in a few weeks and I will likely play a different deck then (after winning in Palm Bay).

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck?
With Krim, I was hoping to face either a deck using Infestation or Chula: The Game. Of course, no one was playing those dilemmas.

What decks did you hope not to face?
A discard deck. I ended up facing one of those, but thankfully my opponent did not get his dissident Jake Sisko out fast (and even if he had, I had drawn my Holding Cell in my opening hand).

Prior to this tournament, did you have much experience playing this deck (or decks like it)?
Never had played it. I usually don't test draw decks a lot. But to get the hang of this one with so many moving parts, I tested this deck about 20 times.

Did you learn anything new about it when you played it this time?
Yes. Holding Cell affects both players. Thankfully, my opponent playing the exact same deck pointed that out (so I didn't put both our Datas in the Cell). Instead, I put his McCoy in the Cell - as I had yet to play mine.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)?
Preposterous Plan is very useful in this deck, but would not be in every deck. What was funny in one game my opponent and I both played Preposterous Plan to score 5 extra points when he played Guinan. Another game, I had two Preposterous Plans in my opening hand so the score was 15-5 just 10 seconds into the game.

Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations?
The ability of Kira Nerys, Ambitious Ally to download a ship can not be understated.

Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
No.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Quark, Vastly Outnumbered. His ability to download any card (in combination with the downloads from Jean-Luc Picard, Vintner, Jaresh-Inyo, Federation President and Common Ground) lets you get any card you need.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Despite three people playing the deck in Palm Bay, it is not infallible. A Species 8472 deck beat one. And I know of another deck that could really slow it down (especially if the Jaeger Bomb is forced to go second).

That said, it is a challenge to defeat - especially when you are facing another Bomb-style deck (I got a modified win against a Bomb 3.0 deck, and a true tie against a modified Bomb-style deck).

My Commentary:
Thanks, Sean for being the first Second Edition player to not be affected by the curse of being picked to win by me! In any event, this is another deck that I don't have much to say about... anymore at least. Feel free to look back at the last time I reviewed it. Since then, there has also been an interesting forum thread about kill piles without draw deck support, or only Aid Legendary Civilization to support them. I've always been of the mind that, if you want to come over to my side of the table and kill or destroy or assimilate or whatever form of interference you like, eat your (or more likely, my) heart out. But Aid Legendary Civilization's interference is too passive for me, and gives way too much of an advantage to already powerful cost-cheating effects. I would lose no sleep over a change to ALC.

Second Edition North Carolina Regional winner Greg Hodgin
Title: 2017 Relativity
Headquarters: Prevent Historical Disruption
Deck Size: 55 cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 38 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Kill
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Armus, Mogor, Marquetry, The Ninja Scot, and (after the deadline) monty42. There was a rush on picking him right at the end, he may have preregistered late.

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

I grabbed the wrong deck on my way out the door; I wanted to play a two-mission TNG solver deck, but it all worked out. I was considering playing with either a new Romulan deck I was toying with or the 2-mission solver discussed earlier, but that wasn't to be.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
With Relativity? I'd prefer to face non-speed decks if possible and decks which weren't prepped for Feds (no Moral Choices). I really hoped that I didn't face battle decks or kill decks; just annoying, but I thankfully 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?
Kind of, yes: I'm trying to branch out from Romulans and I'd been playing with Relativity for a while now. I did learn a few things, actually: usually I go to the planet mission first in this deck and just soak up the necessary execution, but this time I did the space mission first and it went pretty well.

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?
Not really, no: most of the cards in there were there specifically to just keep on trucking. Yes; the Chakotays really shined here. I might take out 1 To Boldly Go; it was useful, but not worth the 3 cost in the deck, although it did prove useful once.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Two, actually: the Chakotays. Him, plus James T. Kirk, made it so very easy to just eat dilemmas away. Being unable to unstop 2 people/dilemma is very powerful, and only doing it once or twice is plenty to usually overcome what's needed.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Nathan Miracle and I had the same headquarters (i.e. Relativity), but his deck was far weaker without the Chakotays. It's clear that's a powerful mechanic.

My Commentary:
Did I just say how I was surprised to see Relativity winning so much, especially when they haven't received many new toys? Did I just say it last week? Good, time for another Relativity winner. This deck uses a lot of the same tools we've been seeing in Relativity decks recently: Aid Lost Colony is an easy 50 points for Relativity, Field Studies is a great thing to spend those points on, Metron Arena is essential for protecting that discard pile. But there are a few quirky choices here that I'd like to talk about.

I've often heard people describe Relativity as a good counter for Kill piles, especially ones paired with Aid Legendary Civilization. Since the deck's main gimmick is Temporal Transporters pulling personnel back from the discard pile, why should you care if personnel are dying? And yet, Greg's got a copy of Escape in here, why is that? The truth is that, while Temporal Transporters is great at preventing any sort of skill lock-out, against a true resource denial deck you're still paying two cost and two discards. In a Relativity deck, with relatively few free draws, that's paying four counters every time you need to retrieve someone. At that rate, most Kill/ALC decks will have warped right past you, you'd be better off just playing a weenie deck dumping your hand again. Escape protects the investment you've put in to your personnel, leaving your resources free to bring back Chakotay over and over.

To Boldly Go is a card whose power is immediately obvious, especially since many Federation factions lack much stop prevention. I remember throwing it in my early Davies decks, only to realize its main draw back - it is a 100% dead draw until you've solved two missions. Instead of drawing something that can help you solve two missions, you've got a card that cannot even be played to your core until two missions are solved. And yet, this card has experienced a bit of a comeback. Though the three decks that are currently using it are three completely different ones, I've mostly seen it in Relativity, so I'll speak to why I think it is more powerful there. Relativity is a deck that is unlikely to ever field a second attempting crew, instead preferring to focus on the solving power of one big crew. A card like To Boldly Go is going to be much more impactful in such a deck because it can effectively gives you a whole second attempt with your finely sculpted God-crew, rather than just spending three counters on some chump personnel. Also, Relativity doesn't really have dead draws, because you can always just pitch it to Temporal Transporters and never look back.

First Edition North Carolina Regional winner Chris Deitz
Title: Resistance Isnt Futile ver. 3.0
Deck Archetype: Aggressive Solver
Play Engines: Federation Flagship: Relaunched, They Call Themselves the Maquis, Nanoprobe Resuscitation
Draw Engines: Process Ore: Mining, Federation Flagship: Renewed, Kivas Fajo - Collector
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists, Process Ore: Mining
Victory Correctly Predicted By: None (though, to be fair, he didn't preregister).

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

I wanted a deck that was as equally capable in combat as it was at solving. Federation decks have always been excellent speed solvers but often struggle in combat situations. The ability to engage an opponent and threaten parts of the space line is a very effective tool for curtailing your opponents movements and limiting his options. Its tool that is usually missing from the federation's toolbox. The benefit of running the Enterprise-E crew is that they all have great skills and every time you play out an E crewmember it buffs the ship which creates a lot of synergy for my deck. The deck was designed to be able to bust a Borg cube or start solving very quickly, whatever the situation calls for.

I had considered running a Ferengi speed solver, which was very fast and had a lot of built in redundancy but it lacked flexibility and was very vulnerable to aggressive combat orientated decks.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Anything in the alpha quadrant, speed solvers in particular are easy prey. Especially if they think I'm playing a speed solver as well. The deck was designed around the philosophy of using the Enterprise-E as essentially a dilemma to block off parts of the space line, so a mirror or delta quadrant deck means I have to focus on speed solving.

The only deck I really didn't want to run into was a delta quadrant hologram deck as there is little that can slow them down and I can't get to them to blow them up, well unless I ride a caretaker wave over.

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've been playing variations of this deck for a year now so I have had a lot of experience and time to refine it. I did learn a couple of key lessons at this event. You have to be careful what you mine out as you can easily lose critical personnel, especially if your not mindful of how many nanoprobes you have left. Its a balancing act, throwing things away to move through the deck and making sure you have what you need even when you lose personnel to dilemmas. The second thing I learned was that the fear of attack authorization can lead people to break out some weird cards like Hail.

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 tech cards that I've slotted into my deck are incoming message attack authorization and the needs of the many. A couple of obscure cards that see a lot of action in my deck. Attack authorization is the card around which a lot of the deck hinges. If given the opportunity its easy for the Enterprise-E to effectively cut the opponent off from their missions, their are few ships a fully staffed Enterprise-E can't kill in one hit. Even Borg cubes aren't safe from a fully armed and operational Enterprise. The Defiant can threaten the opponent by pushing Quantum torpedo hits through, cutting them off from attempting space missions until repaired. I continue to be impressed by the utility of the needs of the many. The ability to nullify any dilemma or tactic card about to destroy your ship is extremely useful even with the cost of using it. God, V'ger, the cloud, Gomtuu shock wave, any stacked damaging dilemmas, being ambushed by your opponent, it handles it all. What's that, your opponent wants to force you to decide between losing your ship to damage markers or being dragged to the delta quadrant, well not with needs of the many.

The only card I'd consider dropping is probably disruptor overload. It just didn't come up often or I didn't have it when I needed it.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
I've given it a lot of thought and settled on the Enterprise-E. Its so critical to the deck, in fact the whole thing revolves around it. Its a mobile free play engine which a large part of the deck reports to. It also has a built in card draw engine with flagship renewed. The built in holodeck lets me make effective use of café des artistes to download Deanna Troi who hands out gold stars for easy staffing. Its fast and hard hitting and only gets better as the game goes on. The Flagship of the Federation is no slouch.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
The Enterprise-E is my favorite ship design and its crew is hands down my favorite from the franchise. I grew up watching the next generation and Captain Picard was like a second father to me. I used to rush home from the bus stop to catch TNG. The fond memories I have of going to the theatrical release of First Contact really stuck with me. I remember being so awed seeing the crew aboard the new flagship fighting the borg on the big screen. So I was determined to make a really great Enterprise-E deck and its been a lot of fun for me to design and play.

My Commentary:
When I went to Gencon in 2014 for my first (and, so far, only) World Championships, I asked some advice about what to play. One of the local 1E players here told me not to play federation because they just aren't better solvers anymore, and you lose the ability to threaten the opponent with battle. I'm not a player of outright aggressive decks, but even the ability to make an opportunity attack is very valuable. It means the opponent needs to be more cautious and either work around you or wait and build up sufficient defenses. The great thing about this deck is that opportunity attacks are even more effective when the opponent doesn't expect them.

Only three decks in the last year have used Incoming Message: Attack Authorization are the two loaded versions of this deck, and one sealed deck - it's safe to say that, until now, no one would see the attack coming. An effective surprise attack is pretty rare in this game, most of the time you'll see that fleet coming, or you'll at least know that there's a threateningly-sized ship within striking distance, and make your movement plans with that information in mind. Some forms of surprise attack, like wormholes, announce their presence in the form of the Mission IIs, but Attack Authorization just requires a Treachery aboard (not even a Federation Treachery), which are common in Enterprise E deck due to the prevalence of Son'a and Maquis.

Of course, surprise attacks aren't the only thing this deck has going for it. I've waxed poetic about the solving strength of EE personnel before, though the choice of Trois is different than I'm used to. This one trades some solving power for more staffing stability, which is reasonable - even a solver never wants to be immobile for want of staffing. Nanoprobes aren't bringing in the typical powerhouses (McCoy and, yes Brian, Guinan) because FF:Relaunched would break with them in play, but Kes and her download of The Gift is situationally even more powerful, and Seven of Nine's skill list is very impressive. And when you've got a deck that's good at both solving and battle, you've got a winner.

First Edition Online Regional #1 winner Jon Carter
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, Resistance-is-futile, LORE, JamesValEson

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

So as I said in my deck report, I decided to join the regional really late, so I just did a slight mod to Kevin's sniper deck. I had never played with sniper so I wanted to see how it worked, be trendy, etc.

I had recently reinstalled lackey, so I didn't have any other decks built at the time.

I did make some mods to take advantage of being able to get to Art of Diplomacys and to get a tractor beam in the alpha quadrant (the later did help me slove the mission once. (I forgot to put some of the changes in the deckbuilder

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Ship battle would have been a problem for me, really any battle. The solver side is fast, but fragile. Speed solvers were great, because I could really do damage when they attempted planets.

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?
No experience, in fact, I played sniper wrong in the first game and did the kills randomly, rather than targeting. Didn't realize how good the card was.

As I played it, I learned it needs a touch more bonus point generation to ensure the 100 points if you cannot solve test warship or your AQ mission for some reason (The one game where a scow locked me out of the only AQ mission in the game, I had to solve all five missions to get above 140).

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?
Lower decks as a card really helped me this tournament, it made my snipers kill more. Let universally dudes have the highest attributes for things like Rules of Obedience etc. Otherwise no big surprises, it is just a tight solver.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
The MVP is sniper, but not just because of the kills. It forced my opponents to adjust strategy, and that led to mistakes.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
If my deck showed me anything it is, be aggressive with mission attempts. Two of my games I won because I started attempting early/my opponents were taking an extra turn midgame to be cautious. You need to build decks that can lose bodies and keep going, otherwise, the speed decks will outrace you every time.

It will be interesting to see what people do with/against sniper in the future (as a well placed crash could kill the deck).

My Commentary:
As you may have noticed by now, I've decided that, as a measure to maintain my sanity, I won't be doing full reviews of almost completely netdecked winners. That's not out of a dislike of netdecking; I think that it's important for the health of the game to see how successful decks perform when transplanted into different communities, and when played by different players. But, unless I think there's something new to analyze about the deck, or if I'm concerned something's too good, I will point you to the prior review of the deck. And, while I believe this is a very good deck, Jon does point out some significant weaknesses, so if you'll excuse me, I have a Computer Crash to add to my 1E regional deck.


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