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The Post-Lifesigns Meta

by Fennim (on behalf of the First Edition Executive Committee)

21st June 2024

The newest expansion set, Lifesigns, has brought a new, interactive deck with The Search for Spares, and a new mechanic ("resource siphoning") to First Edition. A number of players have expressed strong concerns about how this will affect the game's overall state-of-play. The First Edition Executive Committee thought it would be a good idea to acknowledge those fears and asked me to lay down a few markers about what the Think Tank expects will happen in coming months.

The Expectation

The expectation is that in the first few months after release there will be quite a lot of Vidiians in the environment. This is partly because Vidiians will be the flavor-of-the-month and partly because players will be racing to score Vidiian-related achievements during the release window. This is normal. Vidiians may be even more prevalent than usual in the early months though, because they directly respond to a set of powerful speed decks that Design has been trying to rein in throughout 2024.

After this initial Vidiian wave, the expectation is for the environment overall to adapt. Fewer drag-race speed decks and more decks that pace themselves (and probably put more resources into dilemmas and defense) are anticipated. Similarly, fewer decks are expected to get away with 2-3 weak ships + 30 personnel and instead see more investment in prepared defenses like Spacedock and Disruptor Overload. Since Vidiians are not actually very good against those kinds of decks, the expectation is that Vidiians will then fade and settle into a niche... but will always be ready to be pulled off the shelf if the meta ever moves back toward predominant free-play salads.

Players of all types will need to make adjustments - some more than others - but players of all skill levels will be able to make those adjustments, once the initial shock wears off and the community begins to design, share, and play decks that account for the new Vidiian threat. Do not expect the game to degenerate into a narrow suite of just "Vidiian" and "anti-Vidiian" decks.

While these are the expectations for Lifesigns, the First Edition Executive Committee will continually re-evaluate how Lifesigns is affecting the game, and the First Edition Executive Committee is committed to making adjustments if necessary.

Until then, you're probably wondering how to deal with a Vidiian deck. The Design Team have been playing around with them, off and on, for almost four years, so they do have some thoughts about that. Here are a combination of tips from the best minds of the Design Team and the Think Tank:

Some Suggestions

If Organ Bank is on your doorstep, you might want to address that first. Staff up some decent ships and go battle it. That then removes the threat of your planet attempts hitting Deadly Donation, and gifting your opponent 10 points from Organ Theft. That dilemma will still stop someone, but it isn't as devastating any more. You might also delay attempts at planets until you have enough ships to kill the Bank.

Organ Bank has no matching commander, and only works on its own, so it struggles to get above 13 ATTACK / 13 DEFENSE - and it has a hard time doing that without resorting to a tactic which only does 20% HULL damage. If your deck can reliably put 14 ATTACK on the table in the early game, you're probably going to be okay. One simple way to achieve this: make sure you draw a ship in your opening hand or early turns, and download a second ship with Attention All Hands or Call for Reinforcements or Spacedoor.

A Vidiian opponent can ruthlessly replicate your card draws without paying the same costs. Whether the Vidiian player can use those draws is another question. Remember: the Vidiian player has to design a deck that works whether it's drawing 5 cards per turn or drawing just 1 - and you are in charge of how many they actually get. Figure out whether your opponent is weaker at lots of draws or few draws, then make their situation as uncomfortable as possible by refusing to draw the number of cards they want.

Vidiians are almost certain to gain card advantage if you generate excess draws - especially from cyclers like Process Ore: Mining or interrupts like Mutation / The Power). If you're running hot on draw, and your local meta is currently under a Vidiian Storm Watch, we recommend liberal use of Scorched Hand via Tribunal of Q. Cards which force discards are also going to be powerful. Since Vidiians have very few [AU] cards, Temporal Shifting is worth a look.

There are some interrupts worth considering, too. Amanda Rogers can stop a Herd and Harvest. Disruptor Overload can kill a Vidiian Harvester, ending the threat of Organ Theft (although watch out for the Vidiian player's own Amanda!). Scotty, Beam Me Up can remove an entire about-to-be-stopped away team from a planet surface where they would be vulnerable to Deadly Donation. Triple World Champion and interrupt lover Peter Ludwig will attest to all those interrupts being useful in non-Vidiian matchups too!

Nearly all current decks will be able to adapt to Vidiians. If players don't adapt at all, they should anticipate problems, but, in general, the expectation is that they should be able to.

There are some decks that may simply be a bad matchup against against a Vidiian opponent; a deck without protective facilities like Cardassian Liberation Front, for example. But hopefully decks like that will receive help will get it in future. Similarly, decks which hinge on downloading personnel on an opponents' turn just got more expensive (such as Mila's Entertaining Plague Ship or Dakota Sniper.)

However, please be assured that the Continuing Committee are continuing to watch tournament results and will take action swiftly if this expansion makes Vidiian decks too powerful.

Save a Life
Modern Medicine allows many of us to donate our organs to others and save lives. Across the globe, signing up as an organ donor is one of the most helpful things any of us can do. Along side our release of Lifesigns, we want to promote organ donation to highlight this essential lifesaving option. Please take a moment to read over Helping Save Lives With Organ Donation by Andreas Rheinländer and consider becoming an organ donor.

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