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2009 World Championships Tournament Report, Part 2

by James Hoskin, Staff Writer

1st September 2009

This is part two of James Hoskin’s report. In part one, he won three of his first five games in day one of the world championships...

Day 1, Round 6 vs. Darrell Minott (Big Borg)
Deck: Darrell was playing a [Kli] Klingon solver, with personnel remarkably similar to those in my deck. You can read his decklist here.
Game Summary: From the moment Darrell played his first two personnel, I began thinking we were playing a mirror match. One of us would play a particular personnel, then the other would play the same personnel on the following turn. I didn't know whether he was battling, and as neither of us were leaving our headquarters, that began to look more and more likely to me. Having built up ten personnel, I was the first to venture out to a mission. I had yet to play any Treachery personnel, so I moved to Secure Strategic Base and formed two teams of personnel. With my four "good" personnel left on the ship, I made something of a bluff attempt with the remaining six, hoping to get some overcome dilemmas. Darrell's An Issue of Trust would have stopped my "real" team easily, but I was fortunate to only have one Honor personnel in my bluff team. They completed the mission, and I immediately moved to begin attempting Brute Force. Having stopped my attempt with Chula: The Chandra, Darrell then moved to attempt Protect the Escapees. I played Causal Recursion, which would force Darrell to either score 110 points to win the game or to score points from an event, and then stopped the attempt. I made a point to note that Darrell would still be able to score 110 points without having to complete a fourth mission, although it would force him to ignore the easy-to-complete Rescue Prisoners mission. Having stopped my next attempt at Brute Force with one dilemma, Darrell then completed his space mission and began an attempt at Deliver Ancient Artifact. This I stopped, before playing All-Out War and Ferocity and using them to kill four of his personnel. I repeated this on the next turn to kill even more personnel, and thought that the game had turned in my favour. What I hadn't counted on was Darrell's ability to stop my mission attempts with just one or two dilemmas. He was able to stall me for long enough at Brute Force to build up another ship full of personnel. They promptly completed Deliver Ancient Artifact before moving to Eliminate Sphere Network, where I stopped his attempt with several dilemmas including a well-timed Shocking Betrayal. Unfortunately, I had used too many dilemmas to stop his attempt, and despite completing Brute Force on my turn, Darrell was able to win the game on his next turn. I ended the game having not drawn a single Treachery personnel.
Moment to Remember/Forget: I had a several overcome dilemmas at Brute Force when I made my fourth attempt there. Darrell only got to draw two dilemmas and I was confident of completing the mission that turn. Things were looking good when Darrell indicated that he couldn't play either of his dilemmas and I began to show the required skills. Unfortunately, I had forgotten Darrell had killed a couple of my Security personnel, and I needed to use William T. Riker (Exchange Officer) to gain Security in order to complete the mission. If only he didn't need to be facing a dilemma to use his ability. Facepalm moment #3.
Game Result: Full loss 65-100
Tournament Standing: 3 wins, 3 losses.

Day 1, Round 7 vs. Nat Kirton (Nate Jeezy)
Deck: Nat was playing a [Fed] Federation Cadet weenie deck. His decklist has not yet been posted online.
Game Summary: Despite Nat playing weenies, and him attempting a mission on his third turn, I wasn't too worried. I knew my dilemmas could punish a weenie deck - if I could just draw them when I needed them. Fortune seemed to favour me and, despite my bonehead plays (see the moment to forget, below), I was able to kill personnel and stop his first two attempts at Practice Orbital Maneuvers. In fact, I did such a good job of killing his personnel that he didn't have enough Cadets remaining to complete it anymore, so he was forced to attempt Aid Legendary Civilization instead. When I stopped his personnel there, I then flew over and used Kruge (Instinctive Commander) to take command of his only ship. Unfortunately, a weenie deck comes with cheap ships, and Nat was able to play a second ship with staffing on his next turn. He then proceeded to complete Aid Legendary Civilization with help from Leonard H. McCoy (Remarkable Man), before using the mission's ability to force me to place a number of personnel beneath my deck. That left me stranded at his mission with just one personnel in play. Despite this, I was still confident of winning the game. Nat's draw deck was looking rather lean, and I knew that I could still kill more of his personnel with my dilemmas. I didn't expect Nat to play In a Mirror, Darkly though. He was obviously used to losing a lot of personnel to dilemmas, because that event let him shuffle every personnel and ship in his discard pile back into his deck. Suddenly, things were not looking so good to me. Even though I was able to kill more personnel at Practice Orbital Maneuvers, Nat's personnel were able to complete it, and I was left two missions behind before I had had the chance to attempt a mission myself. The situation didn't change on my next turn, even though I had enough personnel in play by that point. Having stopped Nat's attempt at Avert Danger, I flew over to begin an engagement and then used Kruge to take command of his second ship. That netted me four captives, and left just five personnel on the planet mission. Unfortunately for me, there were too many overcome dilemmas and those five personnel were able to complete the mission for the win on Nat's next turn. Nat told me afterwards that he didn't have another ship that he could play, and that if I had killed just one more personnel on his penultimate attempt, he would have been left unable to win the game.
Moment to Remember/Forget: I made two seriously bad dilemma plays at Nat's first two mission attempts. The first time, I played Unorthodox Tactics despite not commanding a ship myself. The second time, I tried to play Full Complement after another dilemma, forgetting that its cost raises in that situation. It got overcome without being faced. Facepalm moments #4 and #5. (perhaps I should rename this section "Facepalm moments of the game"?)
Game Result: Full loss 0-100
Tournament Standing: 3 wins, 4 losses.

Day 1, Round 8 vs. Amber Mitchell (Marquetry)
Deck: Amber was playing a [AU] Mirror [SF] Starfleet deck. You can read her decklist here.
Game Summary: Both Amber and I came into this game with the same record of three wins and four losses. Charlie was saying that the number of modified wins recorded would mean that anyone with four full wins should qualify for day two. With this ray of hope we both began the game knowing that only one of us would make it through. I tried intimidating Amber by playing Kruge (Instinctive Commander) on my first turn. I was hoping that she wouldn't leave her headquarters for an extra turn or two, giving me time to build up my personnel. That wasn't the case though, and she attempted Automated Repair Station with no regard for the safety of her ship. While I was able to stop the attempt with Accelerated Aging, I didn't have the resources for a subsequent engagement. Instead, I used Korath (Duplicitous Tinkerer) and an Emergency Transport Unit to destroy the copy of A Sight for Sore Eyes Amber had played the previous turn. I then began an attempt at Protect the Escapees. Despite having two personnel stopped by dilemmas, my four remaining personnel could complete it as, remarkably, they all had Strength of eight. On Amber's next turn, she had some personnel stopped by my dilemmas, but was able to use Standard Punishment and complete her space mission before moving to Survey New World, where I was able to stop her personnel. I don't like it when people complete missions when they don't have enough personnel to do so (looking at you Power Shift), and I took the opportunity on my turn to kill four personnel with my usual combination of All-Out War and Ferocity. That bought me a turn and, while Amber regrouped, I was able to complete Secure Strategic Base on my first attempt. Additional Starfleet personnel were played the following turn, and Amber caught me up thanks to another dilemma pile failure of epic proportions. Drawing five dilemmas against eight attempting at Survey New World; I drew three space dilemmas, Skeleton Crew and Moral Choice. Our race to qualify for day two was going to come down to the last mission. I took the first attempt, and was stopped by An Issue of Trust, despite beginning the attempt with Klag (Second Officer) in the team (see the moment to remember, below). Amber then tried her luck, and I threw as many dilemmas as I could at her personnel to ensure they couldn't complete the mission. My tactic worked, and it was my turn again. With the help of The Sword of Kahless, I formed two teams who could complete Brute Force. It turns out that the second group wasn't needed, as the first team of four personnel completed the mission for the narrowest of wins.
Moment to Remember/Forget: With Klag (Second Officer) in play, I thought I was immune to An Issue of Trust. I may have been tired at this point, but I didn't expect to face Secret Identity - removing Klag - followed by An Issue of Trust. It was such a simple but effective combination used by Amber to stop my personnel.
Game Result: Full win 100-65
Tournament Standing: 4 wins, 4 losses.

After an exhausting eight rounds, lasting around twelve hours, we were done. All that remained was to find out who placed where and, thanks to this site, the positions were calculated as soon as the final match was finished. Despite Charlie’s earlier comment that anyone with four full wins should qualify, that wasn’t quite the case. There were six players with four full wins (or equivalent), and only four places in the top 16 to fill. My strength of schedule meant that I placed thirteenth. John Corbett finished first playing [Bor] Borg, and Will finished above me (for the first time ever) in sixth place playing a [Rom] Romulan Wariness deck. You can see the final day one standings here.

Saturday 15th August

The day two bracket paired me against Ben Hosp in the first round. He played a [Kli] Klingon deck in day one. If I could beat Ben, I was due to play either fifth seed Nat Kirton or twelfth seed Justin Beal. I narrowly lost to Nat on day one playing a [Fed] Federation Cadet weenie deck, and I assumed Justin would be playing some variation on his trademark [Rom] Romulan Far-Seeing Eyes lockout deck. If I made it to the semi-finals, I could have played any of four players, but number one seed John Corbett stood out as a threat. If I could overcome all of these players, then I would probably end up playing my brother Will in the final (he made me write that.)

As mentioned earlier, I planned to play a [Car] Cardassian capture deck on day two. The deck used all manner of cards; Arrest Order, Caught in the Act, Ensnared, Odo (Impartial Investigator), Covert Ambush, Impressive Trophies, Prisoner of the Exile, Sylvia and Vian Test; to ensure that, whatever the situation, I could capture my opponent's personnel. I was also using Assassin Team as a surprise strategy. The idea being that I would keep it in reserve in the first game of the best of three match. I could then spring it as a surprise on my opponent in the second game if I needed it. You can read my decklist here.

Day 2, Top 16 match vs. Ben Hosp (bhosp)
Deck: Ben appeared to be playing the same deck that he used in day one. It was a [Kli] Klingon battle deck designed to kill as many of his opponents personnel as possible (mainly via the Tragic Turn dilemma pile), before using Kruge (Instinctive Commander) to take command of his opponent's ship. Once the opponent was crippled, he would attempt Commandeer Prototype. That would allow him to download and use the U.S.S. Defiant (Commandeered Warship) once completed, and he could then use the ship's ability to move dilemmas from one mission to another and win the game. You can read Ben's decklist here.
Game 1 Summary: I had played a earlier variation on this deck at the 2008 World Championships, where Neil Timmons had beaten me soundly, so I had a rough idea of what to expect. Of course, new cards had been released in the preceding year, and Ben had incorporated them into his deck. This meant that the warning sign I was looking out for - Complications or some other event allowing him to draw and play additional dilemmas - never appeared. After a few turns, I tried to make a quick attempt with my Cardassians, and I hoped Ben would get a bad dilemma draw (i.e. no Tragic Turn.) Unfortunately, he played Uninvited and used that to give me Entanglement as the first dilemma. Tragic Turn followed that, and he easily stopped my attempt with his other dilemmas. I could still staff my ship though, and I thought that it could have been much worse - but I was wrong. On his next turn, Ben used Mara (Science Officer) to download All-Out War and then came over to kill enough personnel on my ship to strand it at Kressari Rendezvous. I began playing more personnel on the following turn, but my next setback was to lose my only ship and the two remaining personnel aboard it to Kruge. Ben had already completed Commandeer Prototype by this point, and was busy moving dilemmas with the U.S.S. Defiant. While I tried in vain to stop him, he completed his second and third missions with relative ease. I did manage to capture two personnel with Ensnared, and then score 5 points from them using Prison Compound, during this time; but that was nowhere near enough to stop him.
Game 1 Result: Loss 5-100
Game 2 Summary: I tried a different tactic in this game. Thinking that Ben's dilemma pile wasn't going to massacre my personnel, I decided to try and ensure that he couldn't use Kruge to take my ship. Before I left my headquarters, I made sure I had played the Prakesh (with standard Shields of 8, increased to 12 in a engagement I didn't begin), Jasad (who increases the attributes of the ship he is aboard for each different Capture and Punishment card I command), as well as two copies of Psychological Pressure and two copies of Tribunal Sentencing. I also had about twelve personnel in play, and felt fairly confident that Ben couldn't kill them all with dilemmas. Even if he could, I calculated that he would need Weapons of 17 to attack my ship. As you can imagine, it took me some time to amass these resources, and during that time Ben had begun his mission attempts. I was fortunate to capture Gaard after his first attempt, and my punishment events were having their desired effect of slowing Ben down. I thought that this might give me a chance of winning the game, but I made a huge mistake during my first mission attempt (see the moment to forget, below.) With my mission attempt failed, and my ship and all remaining personnel lost to Kruge on the following turn, I was in back in trouble. To make maters worse, Ben finally played Korath (Duplicitous Tinkerer) and began using his ability to destroy my events whenever he played an equipment card. Once the U.S.S. Defiant was downloaded into play by the completed Commandeer Prototype, the game was effectively over. Once again, I was busy building up personnel while Ben moved dilemmas and then completed missions for the victory.
Game 2 Result: Loss 0-100
Moment to Remember/Forget: During my first mission attempt of game two, I forgot that a combination of Jasad aboard the Prakesh meant that Ben probably wouldn't be able to attack my ship. I had kept a Grav-Plating Trap in hand to counter any event or interrupt he decided to play, but I only had one equipment - an Emergency Transport Unit - to destroy. I had resolved to not use it during the mission attempt, and decided to keep it to prevent Ben from playing an engagement event on the following turn. When Ben played He Wasn't Nice during the attempt, naming Jasad, I should have saved him from death with the Emergency Transport Unit. He was my last [Cmd] command icon personnel aboard the ship and, if he was killed, I would be unable to staff my ship and its shields would be reduced by four. Instead of saving him, I let him die, and then used my Grav-Plating Trap to prevent Point Blank Strike from being played the next turn. Ben had two copies though and played the second, followed by A Few Minor Difficulties. That meant my destaffed Prakesh was reduced back to shields of eight, and Ben was able to win the engagement and take my ship with Kruge. Game Over (again.)
Match Result: Ben's two wins saw him progress to the Top 8, while I was knocked out.

Ben would, subject to fire alarms, eventually make it to the finals of the world championships, where he ended up playing a mirror match up against Neil Timmons and his Klingon battle deck. I understand that Neil won by two games to zero, and so my record of always getting knocked out by the eventual champion was over. Thanks for breaking that one Ben! ;)

You can see the completed day two tournament bracket and the final standings here.

While the top 8 round of day two was underway, the second This Side of Paradise pre-release took place. I joined slightly late though, and they had run out of This Side of Paradise cards to give to me. That meant I ended up playing a [TNG] Next Generation [Fed] Federation starter deck, with additional cards from three regular booster packs. Despite not getting the new cards, I pulled a number of very useful cards. The rares in my starter deck comprised Beverly Crusher (Chief Medical Officer), with 2 Medical; Nog (Eager Cadet), allowing me to look at my opponent's top four dilemmas when he was played; and Gravimetric Distortion, an excellent damage dilemma in the sealed environment. My pulls from the booster packs included Geordi La Forge (Chief Engineer), with 2 Engineer; Grathon Tolar (Hologram Forger), with 2 Programming and 2 Treachery; and a second copy of Pran Tainer (Atrean Seismologist), with 2 Geology, to complement the one copy included in the starter deck. I also pulled three good wall dilemmas: Captain's Holiday, Center of Attention and Dangerous Liaisons.

With my great dilemmas and the sheer number of personnel I had with two levels of a skill, I expected to perform well in the tournament. This turned out to be the case in my first round game against Nick Fancher. He was playing a [TNG] Next Generation deck like me, but he didn't have the skills to overcome my dilemmas, while I was able to blow through his quite easily. In the second round, I played Matthew Hayes and his [DS9] Deep Space 9 deck, but I just couldn't draw a ship until it was too late. Matthew had already completed one mission and was halfway through his second before I played a ship. Once I had played my ship and made two failed mission attempts, he twice top-decked a single dilemma to stop my subsequent attempts at that same mission. My third game was against Phil Schrader, and my memory fails me at this point. I have no idea what happened in our game. However, the tournament software tells me that I won. You can see the final standings here.

While I was still playing in the sealed tournament, Will got knocked out of the second edition world championships and decided to play in the first edition world championships. Having not played since last years world championships, he finished a respectable eighth with a borrowed Kazon deck. You can see the final standings here.

Once that was over and done with, Will and I gathered up a few random jobbers from Minnesota and headed off to play in the Austin Powers 2009 World Championships. I could bore you all with a long story involving phrases like "Mrs. Ruth will shag Wang", "put your Dick back in your hand", "nobody knows what you're talking about... ass" and "schlooooooooooooong", but the short story is that I WON!

Sunday 16th August

Will and I almost missed the team tournament on Sunday morning because I was busy reminding him that I was a world champion. After he won the same world championship four years ago, I took no end of abuse from him over it, and I didn't want to miss any chance to pay him back. When we did arrive at the convention centre we began the task of looking for a third player to join our team. While we were beginning the audition process, Neil strolled over and announced that the other Team Jersey players had abandoned him and he was looking for a team. We jumped at the chance, and bagged him before anyone else could speak.

Four teams totalling twelve players entered the tournament, where Neil, Will and I modestly called ourselves "The World Champions." I decided to play the same [Car] Cardassian capture deck that I played in day two of the world championships, because I wanted to test it over more than two games. My first opponent was Matthew Hayes playing [Bor] Borg and; despite capturing six of his personnel, including the Borg Queen and Locutus; I was a little too slow to attempt my missions and couldn't win the game. Matthew was using Unimatrix Zero to spend additional counters each turn and I was using Tribunal Sentencing to reduce the counters he could spend. This pretty much evened itself out, and if it wasn't for the classic combination of the Annexation Drone and At What Cost?, I think I would have scraped a win. As it was, Matthew was able to complete two 40 point missions, while I was only able to score 65 points from my two missions. He recorded a modified win.

In the second round I faced Ben Johnson, who was playing a [TNG] Next Generation [Fed] Federation two-mission win deck. I started well by taking T'Pol (Subcommander) captive and scoring points through Labor Camp. I also managed to complete two missions while still holding Ben's personnel at his first mission. The score was 90-0 to me, and knowing I would score the final ten points on my next turn, I thought the game was over. However, Ben almost scored 100 points to win the game on his final turn. First, he completed Breach Barrier for 40 points, and used the mission's ability to score an additional five points. He also scored five points with Tallera (Covert Isolationist), ten points from the U.S.S. Enterprise-D (Federation Flagship) and five points from Legal Proceedings - even though I now realise he couldn't legally play it on Breach Barrier... retroactive facepalm. He then moved to Historical Research and formed two teams to attempt with. I had to use several dilemmas to stop his first attempt and was left to draw just two dilemmas to stop the second one. Fortunately, I could use one of those dilemmas, and I stopped him to ensure my victory.

My third and final game of the tournament was against Michael van Breemen. He was playing another one of his trademark crazy decks that tries to avoid facing dilemmas while completing three missions in the same turn. At last year's world championships, Michael played a Goval deck, and this year he was trying the same trick using Four of Twelve (Standardization Drone) in a [Bor] Borg deck. Within a couple of turns, Michael had played Four of Twelve, so I knew roughly what to expect from his deck. Instead of playing like I normally do, I began drawing through my 96-card deck for anything to help me stop him when he decided to make his move. I was playing cards like Machinations, The Manheim Effect, Stir Crazy and Unexpected Difficulties, while discarding most of my capture and punishment events. I guessed that I probably only had to stop one attempt to prevent Michael from winning the game, so I focussed my energy on that. My events were worrying Michael, and he admitted later that he was stalled for a few turns while he destroyed most of them using Two of Nine (Transtator Drone). That gave me enough time to complete a mission of my own, and left me with an interesting choice: I calculated that I only had about 20 cards remaining in my deck, and I had three copies of Ensnared (each of which would allow me to discard the top five cards of my deck) in my hand. I knew that if I could deck myself I would win the game, but I tried to not let Michael in on my plan when I spent an entire turn drawing seven cards. Unfortunately, Michael chose that moment to begin attempting his missions. He destroyed fourteen equipment cards to increase the attributes on Four of Twelve to Integrity, Cunning and Strength of 33, before attempting his missions. He had previously used Tampering With Time to fix the top four dilemmas of my pile, and had now finished destroying as many of my events as he could. Running a Tight Ship meant that I only drew one (unplayable) dilemma at Collapse Anti-Time Anomaly before it was completed. I then got to draw two (unplayable) dilemmas at Find Lifeless World before it was completed. Finally, it came down to one dilemma at Aid Legendary Civilization. I got to draw two dilemmas and Michael had only seen what one of them was. If the other was playable, then his attempt would be stopped and I could win the game. If it was unplayable then Michael would have completed three missions in one turn. I couldn't play it, and he won the game. Oh for that extra turn, where I could have decked myself to win the game before Michael had left his headquarters.

I ended the tournament with only one win out of three, but fortunately "The World Champions" as a whole had performed much better. Will was victorious in two of his three games, while Neil - the world champion that he is - won every game that he played. We won the tournament and each received a number of foil missions for our efforts. You can see the final standings here.

And yet again, Gen Con was over for another year. This report, however, is not; because our journey home resulted in several moments worth mentioning. The first being our internal flight from Indianapolis to Dallas Fort Worth (yes, I know we were flying in the wrong direction to get back to England.) Instead of gliding gently into landing at Dallas, our pilot decided to stay at high altitude for longer and then performed a manoeuvre something akin to dive-bombing the airport at the last minute. I don't know if this was the pilots' decision, or a directive from some higher authority, but it was very disconcerting - especially given that, shortly before we departed, I had read a story saying that the old fighter pilot generation of airline pilots were now retiring, and the new generation of pilots replacing them were only being trained in simulators and couldn't necessarily tell when their plane was stalling (translation: falling out of the sky.)

Having flown in the wrong direction to Dallas, our transatlantic flight back to London was even longer than the flight we took on our trip out. Being the same airline, and only a few days later, it was no surprise that the selection of movies available had not changed. This meant I spent the entire nine-hour flight watching the new Star Trek movie over and over again. Over the course of the two flights I believe I watched the film a total of eight times, and by the end I could recite the script along with the actors. I would also like to proudly report that, as there was no "turbulence", I didn't spill any food down the front of my shirt. It's just a shame that the same couldn't be said for my sock.

The story doesn't end there. When we arrived at London, there was a mechanical problem with the jetway which meant that we couldn't disembark from the plane. We spent almost 45 minutes waiting for it to be fixed while we got a running commentary from one of the stewards: "we now have five supervisors in the vicinity, but no one to actually fix the jetway." The in-flight entertainment had been switched off by this point, so I couldn't begin to watch the new Star Trek movie for a ninth time. Instead I amused myself by imagining what I would write on a piece of paper (if I had any) and hold up to the window for the airport ground staff to read. My top three were "I dare you to do better", "You can whistle really loud" and "I may be sick on you." Not that the new Star Trek movie was all I could think about or anything...

See you at the 2010 world championships - no matter which continent they are on!

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