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November 2022 First Edition Game Changes Update

by Charlie Plaine, Director of First Edition

7th November 2022

Hello everyone! It's the first Monday of November, which means it the regularly scheduled time for announcing game changes to First Edition. Today is a big update, involving 12 changes to the Watch List and 4 additions to the ban list. This series of changes is a first step into making changes necessary to restore First Edition to a healthy play environment, especially at the upper levels of play. Let's get into the changes, starting with the bans:

OTF Ban List Updates
The last few years have seen higher than average performance of a small subset of decks, specifically [OS] decks and [TNG] Borg decks. It's remained problematic in spite of changes via errata and the release of new cards. Some players have described it as a "play those decks or lose" environment, which is extremely unhealthy. In order to allow more decks to have the opportunity to compete, and to give our Balance Team time to tackle the complex problems involved, we're taking action against key cards in these decks.

The Final Frontier
The goal of allowing [OS] decks to be playable on the spaceline was, and remains, a worthy one. However, it's painfully clear that the existing structure for doing so has unbalanced the environment. There are enough different pieces to the power of [OS] decks that it's proven difficult to identify a single point of failure. Since the ability to play [OS] decks will remain via Sherman's Peak, we are adding The Final Frontier to the OTF Ban List.

The Ultimate User
Similarly, the goal of creating a "beginner-friendly" Borg deck remains a necessary one. However, the power of the existing [TNG] Borg deck has developed to be too strong, especially when compared to the easy of playing the deck. As with the [OS] decks, there is not a single point of failure to target that doesn't cause significant collateral damage to other Borg decks. Therefore, we are adding The Ultimate User to the OTF Ban List.

The other type of deck that is warping competitive play is what is known as "interrupt spam," i.e. a deck that relies on playing multiple copies of an interrupt to stall the opponent. We want to preserve the ability for interrupt to be playable and have powerful effects, but need to address the ability to play them in unlimited number without cost. While we investigate solutions to these problems, we are taking action against 2 of the worst offenders today.

Smoke Bomb
This interrupt allows a player to stop all of their opponent's personnel with minimal cost. Played en mass, it's virtually impossible to progress in a game. Therefore, Smoke Bomb is moving from the Watch List to the OTF Ban List.

Double Dumbass On You!
The powerful interactions with this card and dilemmas such as Temptations of the Flesh allow an opponent to stop large amounts of crew with each play of the card. As this interrupt is the enabler of the repeated stops (often turning dilemmas into walls that would otherwise be passable), it is being added to the OTF Ban List.

Programming Note: The online Trek Masters tournament is scheduled to start 1 week from today, which is very short notice for changes of this magnitude. In response, tournament director Kris Sonsteby (LORE) has asked me to let players know the 1st round will be extended in response. This will help players that may be affected by these changes to adjust.

Watch List Updates
Today, we are removing 9 cards from the Watch List: Lower Decks, Memory Wipe, Smooth as An Android's Bottom, The Devil, Borg Queen (Shades of Gray), Nine of Seventeen, Seven of Nine (The Borg), Guinan, and Madam Guinan. Memory Wipe and Smooth were added earlier this year when they were pardoned from the Ban List, and have not caused in problems since. All of the other cards were added due to various concerns about their power (or the power of decks using them) that have proven to be unwarranted; or, in some cases, the cards added were not identified as causes.

However, we are adding 3 more cards to the watch list. Process Ore: Mining has proven to be an extremely reliable drawing engine that is often used to fuel interrupt spam. It's been added to the Watch List to help monitor which decks are using it, and how, as part of our efforts to reduce interrupt spam deck's viability. Starbase 247 is a strong driver towards playing Federation, which is not an affiliation that needs such a tool. Because of it's powerful special downloads and shields, it eclipses all other Outposts. It's being added to the Watch List to help determine the best course of action moving forward. Finally, much like with Empok Nor, He Took Away My Pain can be used to generate a large number of cards in hand. This can be used to fuel ship drops of massive crews. While we continue to explore options, this card is added to the Watch List.

And that brings us to the end of the November update, as big as it is. We believe these changes will set us back on a path towards a healthier metagame, though there is still a lot of work to be done. As a remember, our regular game change updates (such as errata, the OTF Ban List, and the Watch List) are scheduled for the First Monday of each month. The next scheduled regular update is Monday, December 5th, 2022. Finally, we are currently running a request for comments on a new policy for announcing game changes. We'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

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