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Minnesota Regional Report

by Kevin Jaeger, Players' Representative

1st May 2009

For awhile, it wasn't looking like I was going to make this tournament. The wife and her family were requiring my assistance in doing some 'cross-town moving. Then the weatherman declared that it was going to rain on Saturday so, while I was at work, they scrambled to get everything loaded up and hauled over there on Friday... which meant I was free to make the trip, but it meant I was going to have to be on the road at 6:30 in the morning. Oh well. At least it meant that I had the chance to play in arguably the most difficult regional of the year against possibly the toughest regional field.

Prior to all this though, fellow writer Johannes Klarhauser and I had been discussing the Subliminal Vacation deck that's been making waves in Europe. Johannes directed me to some decklists and, using them, I synthesized a new version of the deck utilizing the best attributes of each along with some of my own innovations. Johannes asked me to play it at the next Regional I could get to and I agreed that I would. I later talked to Charlie who asked me to keep track of my stats from the tournament, so they could continue to compile information on the deck.

After playtesting my version of the deck with my friend Nate (who told me I should expect to get punched in the face playing "that BS") I was ready to play should I be able to make it.

Saturday morning rolls around and after a quick shower, good-bye kiss to my wife, and Burger King breakfast, I set my iPod Nano (with travel FM transmitter)to shuffle and hit the road for my four-and-a-half-hour trip. The trip goes smoothly and I arrive ready to rumble. The contestants start rolling in and before long we've got a 20-person Regional!

Round 1 vs. Tony Carlson

Tony won the random roll and went first. He laid out Unicomplex and then I knew that the two cards to worry about were the Transtator Drone and the Tactician Drone. Tony got his team out quickly and flew his ship to his Alpha Quadrant space mission and attempted with eight personnel. By then, I had managed to get the core of the deck set up (Nog, Jadzia, Subliminal, Vacation) and was ready to decimate. I drew the eight and decided that they would suffice... and by the time the attempt was over he was left with just one guy left on his ship and Tragic Turn on the mission. I spent the next group of turns just fortifying the castle, since after the first turn of carnage, I noticed that his deck wouldn't last too long doing that. Tony got a second group put together quickly with the help of Unimatrix Zero, dropped another ship and went over to the same mission. I used Not Easily Avoided to set up the first dilemma, drew zero, and used Vacation to draw five. The dilemma I went to get was Tsiolkovsky Infection, knowing he didn't have the requirements; the other usable dilemmas drawn were Final Adventure and Contaminating a Culture. So, all eight personnel died, and Tony subsequently conceded the game 20 minutes into the round saying "I only have these two ships in the deck and they're now destaffed so..."

FW 0-0 by concession.

Round 2 vs. Michael O'Shogay

Mike laid out Romulus which spelled trouble. After the first turn, I had all the information I needed - "four or more"-cost Romulans. So the key then became to hope Mike kept missing on Getting Under Your Skin (which he did) and to hold a Grav-Plating Trap in hand to target Wariness with (which he never played). Numerous turns into the game neither of us had done much, except Mike played T'authn to remove a 'Grav-Trap' which I replaced in my hand by playing Quark (True Ferengi) to get another copy. Since Mike was playing Wariness, I shifted gears with how I played the deck from just building the castle, to actually getting people down and Emergency Transport Units down in order to attempt missions.

Since I was actually doing that, and because (apparently) Mike just couldn't seem to draw into a Wariness, he decided to match my mission attempt with one of his own. This was the big mistake of the game that blew it open for me, as I killed seven of his nine personnel. At that point, getting six Romulans on the table for Wariness took a back seat to just trying to rebuild. Mike got some people down, but his draw deck kept fighting him as he was forced to discard lots of duplicate personnel. In the meantime, I went out with the Talnot to Deploy the Fleet a few times. Eventually, Mike got another group out to attempt... but again, without Wariness, it was a futile effort. A couple turns later, Mike was decked out, and I was up in points. So it was just a matter of drawing up for the deck-out win. I was happy to walk out of this game with the win since it was the one and only deck I was at all scared of facing.

FW 15-0 by deckout

Round 3 vs. Barry Windschitl

As soon as Barry dropped Earth (Lush and Beautiful Home), I knew he was playing the Original Series (TOS) battle deck he's been playing with for awhile now. So, the immediate strategy decision was to just sit around building my castle, never leave home, possibly Tongo to get ahead, and wait for Barry to eventually get frustrated and attempt a mission... which is exactly what happened. The first 20 minutes of the game were just each of us playing personnel and ships. I played Tongo a couple times and had bad fortune, losing twice and only winning once. With Barry ahead, he chose not to do much, so I went out to my planet mission, keeping staffing and mission skills aboard. Surprisingly, the first team ended up completing the mission when he got some bad random selections. Everyone flew home and sat around while the pressure was back on Barry to complete a mission. He tried, and watched everyone die. That gave me an opening to Deploy the Fleet twice in order to work for a possible Full Win if I needed it. At this point, though, Barry's deck was dwindling, and without loads of personnel left, he couldn't take advantage of Survey New World. He did use it, however, to cycle Matt Decker and James T. Kirk (Highly Decorated Captain). Eventually, though, the math caught up with Barry and he was forced to deck out, which allowed me to just do the same for the win.

FW 55-10 by deckout

Round 4 vs. Jody Lamb

We sat down and Jody said right out "I said I wasn't gonna play Voyager, but here I am playing Voyager." He spread out his missions and I saw that he was playing the same deck as he did here in South Dakota, which meant that I had the advantage of knowledge...and I was going to need it since it's a good deck and he plays it well. Jody didn't draw Voyager in his opening hand, which meant he had to wait 'til turn three to make his first attempt at Caretaker's Array. Tragic, I know, waiting until turn three. At this point, I didn't have the core of the deck up and running yet, but it didn't matter for right now since just a kill here and there would do it. I got a great draw, getting Occupational Hazards for the kill and return to stop the attempt. Next turn, Jody goes again and again I get a solid draw getting Secret Identity and Tsiolkovsky Infection, which hammer his six-man crew down. On my turn, the castle is built, and from then on, Jody realizes he's not gonna break through and will only lose people. So he slow plays and decides to just build up people declaring "I'm not gonna get my people killed until you risk some of yours." After awhile, I drop the Talnot and Deploy the Fleet a couple times to take the lead. I smiled and said "Maybe I don't need to." It was a gamesmanship move that Jody didn't bite on. Darn. Jody draws up a lot and pitches lots of useless cards like Vascular Pads and copies of At What Cost?. Eventually, he depletes his deck, and knows that this is his only chance at victory. So, he goes out to attempt Aid Lost Colony, attempts with everyone, and actually breaks through the wall by pitching four Chakotay's from hand to prevent deaths and destroys three events to prevent stops. Jody goes up 55 - 15, but that would be it. He's got nothing left in the tank with which to break through. I've still got a manageable deck size left in order to leave myself time, but it's the game clock I'm fighting.

Since I know his deck, I know the dilemma pile and it's a kill-oriented high-Consuming pile. So, I get my two teams together and make my attempts. The first group forces seven dilemmas under the mission, but he gets Inferiority in the core to make a net four. The second group, though, is a five-man team and Jody Machinates, but discovers he has nothing that can do the trick. So, they complete the mission and we are tied. I check my discard pile, cards in play, and do some math. I now know I have nothing left in the deck that costs zero, so I stop Quark to play Tongo against his depleted deck. I win with a Talnot, but time is called before I can draw out my deck next turn.

MW 60-55

Round 5 vs. Kris Sonsteby

Knowing Kris' style as I do, I knew the likelihood of event destruction was low. So, the focus for me early shifted from smart play to just simply "get it on the table as quickly as possible" since Kris' style is one of blazing speed. In this game, he wouldn't dissapoint, getting the A Sight For Sore Eyes plus At What Cost? combo working right away. He was out with nine at his first mission on turn four. The problem for me was that I had trouble finding a Subliminal Signal. So, I drew up and breathed a sigh of relief getting a Tragic Turn, Secret Identity, Crew Advancement and Tsiolkovsky Infection I could pay for. As I was tracking skills, I knew that it was just a matter of using the Secret Identity to check what attribute to call for using Crew Advancement to make Tsiolkovsky hit. Which at the end, it did, buying me a turn. My turn, I drew up and got a great top deck, getting a Delivery Boy on counter five and Subliminal Signal on counter seven. I played it out and used Nog and Jake to set up for the future. At that point, it was pretty much over. The rest of the game was just watching Kris make attempts where I killed loads of people. He did get really close on an attempt, so I decided that I should go complete a mission just in case. I completed Eliminate Sphere Network on the first attempt, and at that point, I was up 60 to 0, making it probably easier to just win via that route. Kris' turn, I killed every single remaining personnel in his deck. I decided the likelihood of Kris playing with Back to Basics was low, and so I went to The Siege of AR-558, where I got hit with Back to Basics, essentially resetting the game for Kris. However, I was far enough ahead and had enough dilemmas under the mission fast enough that I completed the mission after Kris only got one more mission attempt in. So, even though it was a bad decision, it wasn't that big of a deal, and if anything, I probably owed it to Kris to win by missions and not deck him out.

FW 100-0

It goes without saying that I came in first. What I do need to say is that this deck is, in my humble opinion, ridiculously overpowered and simply unfair. It circumvents a foundational point of the game as overcoming dilemmas is meaningless against it. While winning is fun, this deck isn't all that entertaining to play. Usually by the sixth turn, the game's over and it's a matter of just having to sit there and play it out. Not to mention, its method of victory is a serious negative experience. So I'd rather this deck not be allowed to do that for the sake of encouraging people to come to tournaments. Just my two cents on the subject.

Hope you enjoyed the read and remember - North American Continentals are right around the corner!


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