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My Road to Worlds - Part III - Tournament Overview

by Jeremy Commandeur

9th September 2011

Part III - Tournament Overview and Round by Round Recap

The World Championship was slated to go for five rounds followed by a top four best 2/3 playoff. Play offs in 1E are terrible, as you just memorize all of your opponent's dilemmas and tech. Besides, playoffs would mean 11 rounds of 1E. I love 1E, but my brain would be oatmeal after that many rounds. Before the event began the players in attendance voted to have a top four single elimination play off instead. 7 rounds of 1E is much more bearable than 11.

23 players showed up to play in the 1E World Championship. I observed: 10 players from Risa, 4-5 local guys from Indiana, 2 from Canada (Ken Tufts, Mark Morris), former world Champions David Bowling and Jordan Leung, Sean O'Reilly, Mr Achievement Matt Hayes, Jeff Pugh (who just started playing last year and did well this year), and as a blast from the past, Jason Drake. Jason was the highest rated 1E player in the world for almost the entire time that Decipher produced the game.

I would like to acknowledge the local Indiana guys who made it out for 1E Worlds. I counted 4-5 of them this year and they always bring interesting and unique decks. Keep it up gentlemen! I hope to see you all next year.

Now I need to take a moment to brag for the home team. If you look at the regional HQ, Risa has the largest number of active 1E players in the world. Out of the 23 people playing in the World Championship, 10 were from Risa. If you exclude the four Indiana locals, that is more than half of the total tournament. Every one of those 10 players from Risa is a volunteer for the Continuing Committee in some capacity or another (Playtester, Writer, Ambassador, thinking up stuff for Matt Hayes to do, and overseeing the top secret Continuing Committee warehouse). California is a long way away from Indiana, so that level or participation means something. Unless your last name is Hoskins, odds are the Risa players traveled farther to play Trek. :-)

Playing 2E at worlds I saw a lot of Minnesota and Jersey players. Playing 1E I saw a lot of Risa. We really need to get our own cool shirts like those guys. I'm so jealous. :-)

Find the full list of participants here.

I highly encourage you to read the entertaining and upbeat tournament report from Chris Donati (Swisherfan) who went all the way to the top four and placed 2nd in the main tournament. Also, see Corbin Johnson's (Corbinq27) report here.

Here is my #1 secret for doing well at major events: Get enough sleep the night before. Tired people make mistakes, and those mistakes lose games. Regulate your body to insure you think clearly.

Also, stay hydrated. Last year, Charlie worked so hard and got so dehydrated that he was hospitalized. Slave labor personified. This year I made sure to stay hydrated and I made sure to check on Charlie 2-3 times each day. After all, if the Chairman dies we are all screwed as nobody else is willing to do as much work for free as he is. :-)

Round One vs Thomas Kamiura
Thomas is a skilled player from South Risa/San Diego. He was playing a fast DQ Download based Hologram deck. He was fast, but I downloaded more personnel than him and thus was faster. Without Shape-Shift Inhibitor in the game, he who downloads more wins. Downloads are the metric of card advantage in high level OTF.

My dilemmas managed to stall Thomas' DQ deck. I can't remember exactly but I think I shut out Thomas and won in four turns. Thomas was very gracious and wished me luck. He told me that since I beat him, I need to keep winning so he would have a strong strength of schedule :-)

Props to Thomas for using Crell Mosett and lots of Cardassians in the DQ. Cardassians are cool . My favorite affiliations are Borg, Cardassian and Klingon. Might as well beat your opponent black, blue and bloody. Even if you don't win, you will have fun blowing stuff up. :-) The only Cardassian deck cooler than Thomas was Jeff who was playing Vidiian/Dominion War Efforts/Crell in the DQ. If you are going to play DQ, might as well play it with style.

Round Two vs David Bowling
Dave is a world caliber player, a gentleman the Godfather of 1E. Can you think of a better opponent? Dave was playing an AQ Starfleet deck with a bunch of 2E Tech I had never seen anybody use and barely understood. My compliments to Dave for playing an original deck, and not playing DQ. I learned a few new 2E tricks from Dave in this game. Dave had a crummy hand in the early game and Masaka Transformations into a Space Time Portal drop which I couldn't stop. I had needed to download R'Mor to go for Warped Space and I don't normally play Its Only a Game in OTF. I think Dave managed to solve a mission and start on another before the Klingons finished. I'm pretty sure I scored V'Ger seeded by Dave to make my two mission win easier (I can't quite remember for sure).

Round Three vs Stephen Lee
Steve is was playing a fast DQ deck with lots of downloads. My main concern was the lone Computer Crash that Steve likes to play. I parsed and timed my downloads carefully to avoid disaster. I also did not attempt A Good Day to Live with the initial download crew in case I was crashed mid-attempt. I played fast and aggressive against Steve. I could tell Steve was tired and not thinking clearly. A long day of 2E the day before wore him out. Too much 2E makes you stupid ;-) I think Steve solved a mission before I won, but I might of shut him out. I don't remember.

Round Four vs Dan Hamman
I knew this would be a tough match up. Dan was playing Borg and he has the Harness Particle deck perfected. I would rate HP010 as one of the most powerful decks in the game, right behind DQ Fed and DQ Hirogen. I had two Romulan drones to battle Dan if needed, but it turns out the game didn't last that long. Dan cleared a space mission, got out HP010 and would have probed on the next turn. However, that was too slow. The Klingons finished the game on turn three or turn four and shut the Borg out.

Round Five vs Ken Tufts
Probably my most challenging match of the day. Ken was playing a DQ mass download deck. His deck was similar to mine in that it didn't really need to report guys for free or draw cards. Ken just downloaded into a big crew and managed his personnel carefully to make that initial 10+ people last the entire game. It makes me sad when the game degenerates to the point were drawing cards and playing cards don't really matter. :-(

Disaster struck me this game. Apparently whenever Ken cuts my deck, he gives me the Rakal shuffle. :-) When I played him in Oregon we both had terrible opening hands. In this game, I didn't draw an Aantak in my opening hand. Bad news. I used Masaka, still no Aantak. Double bummer. I focused on drawing cards with the Remote Interference and Duck Blind. It took me until turn 3-4 to draw and play Aantak. The good news was that by then I had drawn enough cards to both Space Time Portal Drop AND play the I.K.C. T'ong for 2 more guys.

I think Ken solved two missions this game, maybe even three. However, he failed Lack of Preparation, lost more points to Edo Probe and got hit by The Higher the Fewer with a big crew. The point drain kept him from winning.

Top Four Playoff
At this point the main event was finished and I was the only undefeated player. The top four heading into the playoffs here:

  1. Jeremy Commandeur (AQ Klingons)
  2. Chris Donati (AQ FC Feds/Androids/Son'a)
  3. Kenneth Tufts (DQ Hirogen/Vidiian)
  4. Jordan Leung (DQ Fed/Vidiian with some Hirogen along for the ride)
I told Chris Donati he needed to win so we could have an all AQ, all Risa final. DQ Fed and DQ Hirogen decks have won EVERY world championship for 10+ years. Two AQ decks were in the final four, and I thought that was spiffy.

Before the 10 years of DQ dominance, the other affiliations to win the World Championship where: Romulan, Bajoran, Federation and Klingon. The Klingons hadn't won since David Bowling won with the Klingons way back at the very first World Championship. It was high time to bring glory to the empire!

Semi-Final vs Jordan Leung
Jordan is a top level player and I know this would be a challenging game. Jordan was playing a DQ download deck with all three of the powerhouse DQ affiliations. However, it seemed like the Hirogen were just there for support and the Feds were the main focus. I could tell Jordan was tired at this point and he made some costly mistakes. I also had the advantage that Jordan hadn't played me before and didn't know what the heck my deck did. His DQ deck had some cool AQ tech (outlined below), but was otherwise somewhat predictable. Many DQ decks are similar and predicable, so smart play can anticipate their moves.

Jordan had some hilarious and awesome AQ tech. He seeded a Ferengi Trading Post at Purchase Moon with the 1st Rule of Acquisition. Assign Mission Specalists sent Kathleen Tonell and Darren Wallace to the Trading post and Duck Blind went on Purchase Moon. 1st Rule would download Gint who would download Peace is Good for Business. Thus, his AQ tech would get Jordan two extra draws each turn.

The Klingon Empire does not think Peace is Good for Business and observing primitive cultures is a waste of time. Turn one, an angry fleet of Blood Oath guys went to Purchase Moon and laid the smack down. The mission specialists were dead and Gint was forced to report via Temporal Micro Wormhole to the DQ. That also meant Jordan couldn't download Dr. R'Mor. I drew a Son'a Battleship early in the game and could have destroyed the Ferengi Trading post if I needed to.

Jordan said I was the first person all day to mess with his draw engines right away. This is surprising as the DQ can play highly skilled guys for free at the rate of 3+ per turn. One DQ guy is worth 1.5 or 2 AQ guys in terms of skills. Each draw basically equates to another free DQ guy. Killing the draw engines of a DQ deck is absolutely worth doing.

Like with Ken's DQ deck, Jordan failed Lack of Preparation and I think an Edo probe as well. Gint got killed off by a dilemma (Jordan said sending Gint was a mistake) and Jordan's drawing power slowed to a crawl.

The Klingons were fast and finished the game before the DQ solved a mission. The DQ was shut out with negative points.

Lots of credit to Jordan for some crazy AQ draw engine tech. Another DQ deck would have been unable to counter the AQ (as it is still far too costly to hop quadrants to/from the DQ) and Jordan would have had a clear edge in DQ/DQ match ups.

Final vs Ken Tufts
Chris Donati lost to Ken and my dream of an all AQ, all Risa final was dashed. That is a bummer, as I was really looking forward to trying to destroy the Enterprise E. I had tactics and could Blood Oath download into three staffed ships on turn one.

Ken had already played against my deck and would be my hardest match up of the day. I mixed up my dilemmas into alternate combos as Ken had encountered them before. Knowing I needed to solve a space for a two mission win, Ken loaded my two space missions with five dilemmas each. That destroyed plan A (A Good Day to Live, Warped Space) and plan B (Hunt for DNA, Seek Life Form) and I went right to plan C. Plan C was to solve ALL four of my planet missions. Ugly. Luckily the five card combos under the space meant that each planet had only 2 or 3 dilemmas.

I attempted a mission every turn. Typically I made two attempts a turn and just kept hammering away. Ken mass downloaded into a fast DQ start. Luckily for me, he promptly failed Lack of Preparation again. :-)

Now, if you look at my tactic side deck you will see that it is almost all Evasive Maneuvers to keep Raptor One alive. Since Raptor One has no staffing requirements, Evasive Maneuvers brings it to shields 10. However, I have one, and only one Quantum Torpedoes. That means, if I get lucky I can hit the Equinox (3 base weapons + 5 from Quantum Torepedoes). I began harassing the Equinox as Ken attempted missions. Ken was tired and forgot to download a better ship. On my second or third attack I drew the torpedoes and killed two guys on the Equinox. Sending the Equinox skittering back to the outpost. This bought me at least a turn, maybe two.

Meanwhile, I solved Hunt for DNA and A Good Day to Live. Ken hit my Hunt for DNA solve with In the Zone. Then I solved Insurrection and took a double turn. I was hoping to draw Arbiter of Succession to end the game. However, I never drew a copy and instead had to solve Romulus for the win. I had solved four planet missions for a total of 170 points.

It was the first time in 15+ years the Klingons had won the World Championship and the first time in 10 years an AQ deck had won. Yipee! I get to design a card.

The moral of story is that without Shape Shift Inhibitor in the environment, high level OTF decks are dominated by download decks. The number of affiliations that can compete in that environment is limited to just a few (DQ, Borg, Klingons, Romulans).

I'll be honest, I'm very much hoping that the results of Regionals, North America Continentals and the World Championship show the need for Shape Shift Inhibitor in OTF. I know it is bitter medicine and people hate Inhibitor. SSI does kill legitimate balanced cards (Assign Mission Specalists, Bajoran Civil War, Ferengi Conference and others). However, there are far too many download cards in the game at this point to not have SSI around to add a cost to downloads.

No joke, if SSI doesn't come back, my World Champion design a card will be a SSI clone. :-(

I know I'm being preachy. However, I feel obligated to use my knowledge of 1E and my experiences this year at four Regionals, Continentals and the World Championship to better the game. I consider myself honor bound to use what I know to lay out the case for Shape Shift Inhibitor. If I remain silent, I allow high level play to be poisoned and would feel responsible for my inaction.

Feel free to flame me or offer words of encouragement at Trek1E at mac dot com. I would be happy to hear your thoughts, especially as you have taken the time to read mine.

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