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High level casual play musings on Nth Degree

by Fritz Meissner, Ambassador

11th October 2017

Fact: I am the highest level 2nd Edition player in the world right now. To be exact, 11734m above the Indian Ocean, in the air between Cape Town and Sydney. Therefore, I offer you all my high level casual play musings, and an Nth Degree card preview to boot!

With my regular playgroup in Cape Town we keep things pretty casual for the sake of an inexperienced player base. I personally only discovered the CC in 2010, we held our first sanctioned tournament in more than 10 years in 2014. At a rate of one gathering a month (or less) we’re not catching up very fast.

One of the issues I’ve noticed with 2e for inexperienced players is that the supreme skill of the game - playing dilemmas - is lost on them. I could write many paragraphs on why this is so, but that’s not the focus of the article.

Instead, you’ve got to find some other way of making the game fun and interactive. There’s not that much opportunity for this if you’re netdecking the average competitive deck. There’s a strong skew towards straight solvers in top level play. But if you’re prepared to look beyond the most popular competitive lists, there is actually some wonderfully trek-flavoured interaction in the game. I’m thinking of combat, engagements, infiltration, brainwashing, assimilation, and - my personal favourite - capture.

Capture has been a part of tier one decks throughout the game’s history. At the moment it looks like they’ve fallen slightly out of favour at the top level, but you never know when a pro will pick them up and wreck shop. Further, the most popular capture cards are those that give you capture without much interaction: think Ensnared and Evek. These cards add some flavour, but it’s not quite the same as chasing your opponent around the spaceline.

Which brings me (finally) to today’s card review. When I saw the Nth Degree spoiler list I was glad to see Arrest Order referenced on Ekoor, the new 1-cost Cardassian. Arrest Order has been around since the beginning of the game, and it’s a pretty good example of a capture card displaced by more powerful alternatives. You have to clog your hand with an interrupt until exactly the right moment, you have to have a Security personnel next to your opponent’s personnel, and you have to have a hand weapon.

Ekoor

So it’s a casual tool, but a fun one if you can pull it off. Show up with guns at your opponent’s mission and kidnap some people. Make them think harder about when to attempt planet missions, make them sweat over the stopped personnel they just left behind after a solve.

Ekoor is cheap, he downloads Arrest Order, and he provides the necessary Security. He also provides Law which Well-Crafted Lure requires. Law and Security are good for Cardassia IV, Hold Secret Prisoners, which becomes easier as you grab more prisoners. Since you’re packing hand weapons, how about throwing in Kressari Rendezvous … and note that Ekoor’s cost and Kressari’s printed point value is good For Cardassia!

The personnel mix will be tricky to get right, because 1 cost Cardassians do not have an abundance of Officer or Treachery for Kressari and Cardassia IV, nor do they have good staffing. For Cardassia! at least allows you to use NA personnel as well. It probably won’t be a deck that uses Central Command, though. But that’s the point - leave the usual cards in the binder, bring something fun to your next event, I dare you!

I also feel that Ekoor is just right for Excelsior. I’m hoping that the next revision of that format can find space for him. My next few tournaments in Cape Town will definitely be using that format, which also narrows the gap between the newbies and the old-timers who know every card.

In the meantime, my plane has landed and I now have to get around in Australia. Fortunately I watched Mad Max on the plane, so I feel I am ready to integrate into their culture. Good times ahead!


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