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Thunder Road: Glory Days

by Mike O'Shogay, Staff Writer

24th February 2014

I have heard many times that there isn't enough deck analysis and deck breakdown out there for players. 'Why did you use this card over others?' and such... With this article series, I plan to take a deck that I have built and breakdown the choices that I made for each card in the deck with some dilemma theory and examples included. I think all of this is good for newer players and players looking to get into more competitive Second Edition. Even if my decks are terrible, at least my reasoning is out there.

A little about myself…I’ve played Star Trek: CCG since First Contact for First Edition, all the way through the current day for Second Edition. We played casual in our play group for most of the time. During the Continuing Committee era, we got more competitive and started going to tournaments.

As for what I have accomplished…not a whole lot really; took 1st place on day 1 of NA Continentals in 2009, and placed 2nd or 3 rd in some of the largest Regionals from 2010 - 2012. Is that good enough? Probably not, but I’m all there is right now for a complete deck breakdown.

Why listen to what I have to say? What have I accomplished? You might be asking yourself. Well, I’m putting out the reasoning behind the card choices I make, which I haven’t really seen done on this website before.

This opening might sound familiar... that’s because it is. I subscribe to the old comic book adage; “Every comic book is someone’s first comic book,” and as such I’ll start each article the same.

VOYAGER…WAS IT REALLY THAT BAD?

Finding Our Way

Starting at the end of 2010 our play group ran a series of tournaments which we called the Return to Farpoint series. The premise of the tournaments was to take us back to the old days of Star Trek 2E.  The first tournament, a Premiere only tournament, only allowed cards from the first set. For each following tournament, the next set would be added to the pool of cards. So with the second tournament, Energize was allowed in the card pool as well, and so on and so forth. Here is the complete listing of those tournaments if you want to take a peek.

To add a twist to it we added that the group could ban one card, by majority vote, every four sets. So at the end of the run 3 cards were banned: Goval, Follower of the One(who is pretty close to broken in the Traditional Format), Tragic Turn(which in Traditional is miles behind the post-virtual version but not weak by any means), and Dukat, Pah-Wraith Puppet(someone I consider one of the most necessary and broken personnel in the game). In case you haven’t guessed it yet where I am going with all of this; I am going to go over a Traditional deck. No I don’t mean old fashioned…I mean a deck comprised of cards from the beginning of this game through What You Leave Behind. While the deck was built with those three mentioned cards banned, the deck can still play well even if they weren’t.   

Love them or hate them Voyager was a very strong affiliation at the tail end of the Decipher era.  Borg, Klingon, Cadets, Big Bajoran, Romulan FSE, TNG Micro-team, and various Goval, Follower of the One decks are also very strong with this limited card pool. Tragic Turn had yet to get the card that really broke it: All-Consuming Evil. Maquis and Cardassians still needed a few pieces that were given to them post virtual. The deck I’m going to detail this time is a Traditional Voyager deck. It is based really around 3 cards; Chakotay, Bridge Between Two Crews, Revised Chakotay, Imposturous First Officer, and Seven of Nine, Efficient Analyst

IT’S THE KILLING GAME OR JUST ANOTHER DILEMMA PILE

The only dilemma preventers of the day were Knowledge and Experience, Montgomery Scott, Relic, Geordi La Forge, Retired Engineer , and James T. Kirk, Original Thinker, so there was no aversion to non-skill dilemmas in those days. Without personnel like Donatra, Honorable Commander, Reyga, Young Scientist, and Jonathan Archer, Damaged Captain you could run some of the day’s best dilemmas in Chula: The Chandra and Old Differences. They fell to the wayside with the non-skill dilemma hate but a single dilemma that stops two or more for the former and may only cost 3 for the latter is very powerful even if they are random stops.  

Chandra

In order to offset the power of the blue affiliations, a single Moral Choice is in the deck as it can stop most attempts with just this dilemma alone. One of the strongest dilemmas printed that changed how people built decks was Agonizing Encounter as it punished people for building decks that have a very narrow skill requirement set on their missions. This deck also boasts a couple copies of Swashbuckler at Heart in order to stop interrupt skill cheaters. Just a single copy of Pinned Down was added to the deck for some diversity and sometimes you just need a single random stop.

An Issue of Trust, Picking Up the Pieces, and Personal Duty are in the deck because they are either one dilemma drops that can stop away teams all by themselves or they can be used to set up a bouncing wall. This deck uses two copies each of dilemmas that either stop specific skills or will kill a personnel at random: Back Room Dealings and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?. They are also a wall dilemma’s best friend as they set up for them well. 

This deck runs a single copy of Triage and Magnetic Field Disruptions. In addition to being 1 costing dilemmas that stop a personnel they can also setup walls well, like Triage helping set up Mugato and Magnetic Field Disruptions helping set up Where No One Has Gone Before.  In addition to being 2 great walls they also don’t go under the mission if your opponent doesn’t pass them. No attrition dilemma pile is complete without a Gomtuu Shock Wave. It stops the away team and doesn’t go under the mission. 

Having kind of gone to the wayside, a reason people ran hand weapons was Center of Attention, especially if you didn’t have a lot of Security in your deck. The other reason people ran a hand weapon was Rogue Borg Ambush, as it is a kill and a hard stop. One of the better planet walls is Excalbian Drama as it is an Integrity wall that scales how high you need the Integrity requirement to be.

I left 3 of the best utility dilemmas for last. I am using two dilemmas to help stop the micro-teaming that happen with most decks; Skeleton Crew and Timescape. This deck boasts two copies of each to make sure you draw into them. The final dilemma is probably, over the course of the game’s history, the best dilemma ever made. Hard Time is almost always a dilemma you should use three copies of.  It’s a 3 cost dilemma that will always remove someone from a mission attempt and never go under the mission.

MISSIONS

Kazon Ritual

Back at the end of the decipher era it was hard to build a Voyager deck with a requirement other than Integrity. Like TNG, most of their personnel were designed to that attribute. I don’t like to go the easy route, so this deck is built to go either of two ways, depending on the draw. While being geared towards the Integrity route they aren’t slouches with Cunning either.

Their home mission Caretaker's Array is a very easy mission to do, provided you have the skills. This deck has plenty of Science and Diplomacy but is lacking in the Biology department with only three personnel with that skill. So that means don’t attempt Caretaker's Array. Besides not being able to attempt it, the points gained from it have no purpose and will not help you win. 

This deck uses two 35 point missions and 2 30 point missions.  Since Necessary Execution was, and still is in places, a big dilemma in the day, I would suggest checking your skill set and either fly to Explore Micro-Wormhole or fly to Assault on Species 8472. If you solve Explore Micro-Wormhole you will have to solve both space missions to win. If you solve Assault on Species 8472 first, you have choices. Both have drastically different skill sets but it is very easy to get either. 

The last two missions I call the Chakotay missions. The reason is because Revised Chakotay, Imposturous First Officer has all the skills except Transporters on Observe Kazon Ritual. Chakotay, Bridge Between Two Crews has all the skill on Obtain Advanced Technology. Now depending on your draw you can easily complete either requirement on these missions. 

THE DRAW DECK

Here is a description of the Seven Shuffle as it’s called (Disclaimer this is how the Seven Shuffle worked prior to Finding Our Way’s errata. Now you can only do this once per turn). Seven of Nine, Efficient Analyst does amazing things. Combined with Finding Our Way she can help you search through most of your deck. Since they are both orders you can literally search through most of your deck at as long as you have ships in your deck.  Look at the top two cards, exchange cards in hand for what you want, discard a card to download a ship, shuffle, look at the top two cards, and repeat until you set your hand. Now, you can only use Finding Our Way once a turn for the discarding ability, which makes the effect weaker but still seeing 4 extra cards each turn is really useful. 

The most boring part of this deck is the ship spread. All three U.S.S. Voyager, Home Away From Home and a single Delta Flyer, Innovative Vessel so your U.S.S. Voyager, Home Away From Home doesn’t get bogged down from personnel.

SKILLS, SKILLS, SKILLS

Chuckles 2.0

Every deck needs some ways to handle dilemmas. This Voyager deck has many ways to help you cheat around and pass dilemmas. The most popular Voyager personnel to do this are the Chuckles Brothers; Revised Chakotay, Imposturous First Officer and Chakotay, Bridge Between Two Crews.  They can do something very powerful: prevent your personnel from being stopped. With Revised Chakotay, Imposturous First Officer it can be any personnel but you have to discard a copy of either Chakotay. The bonus is: he also can prevent kills. With Chakotay, Bridge Between Two Crews it has to be a Federation personnel and you have to blow up your own event. At the time there were a lot of dilemmas that just plain stopped random personnel with no consequence if you didn’t actually stop them. For example, Chula: The Chandra and Old Differences were two such dilemmas. So these two personnel could almost blank those dilemmas if you needed them to.

The one big thing Voyager lacked through most of its life is a good skill cheater. They had a very broad range of skills but having very little Intelligence means Rogue Borg Ambush was super effective against them. Also being somewhat light on Geology and Archeology means Captain's Holiday is also very effective. That’s why this deck is running the non-aligned skill cheating trio of Silik, Chameleon, Navaar, Experienced Gift, and Gav, Diplomat. It’s running all three but they are expensive and you really only need one in play at any given time to start ruining peoples days. 

To go with this skill cheating and to help fuel Chakotay, Bridge Between Two Crews, three copies of Security Drills are in the deck. There are so many dilemmas this helps you pass, it should be a three of in most Federation decks. Since Tragic Turn decks were played but not necessarily running rampant as they are now, The Doctor, Emergency Medical Hologram combined with Revised Chakotay, Imposturous First Officer are in the deck to help hedge against that. 

ATTRIBUTES….WHO NEEDS THEM

If Voyager does one thing well, it is attributes. This deck is using two equipment to help you pass dilemmas. Federation Compression Rifle helps you pass Center of Attention and Rogue Borg Ambush while also helping you defend your away team from the Borg or Klingons. Modified Tricorder is in the deck to also help boost your attributes on eleven different personnel in the deck by 1 just by discarding a card. This can help you pass any number of attribute walls assuming you already have the skills for it.

Voyager boasts some of the best personnel you can want when facing dilemmas. Cavit, Apprehensive First Officer is awesome because while having relevant skills you can make him an 8-8-9 by using his ability. However if you do not complete the mission he is killed. But sometimes you are always just a couple short and he helps you get past that. Kathryn Janeway, Forceful Captain is a 10-10-9 while facing dilemmas in the Delta Quadrant. Good luck getting that Gomtuu Shock Wave to work well.  Speaking of mega attributes, Crosis, Fanatical Lieutenantc can easily get a +3 or +4 boost on the regular in this deck. It’s hard to get attribute walls past this deck. 

Chuckles Beta

While not boosting herself, Lyndsay Ballard, Back From the Dead can boost the rest of your away team by +1 if you are facing the last dilemma and can actually pass it. Another guy with high attributes and good skills is none other than the big emotionless man himself: Tuvok, Chief of Security. Being an 8-9-9 and gaining an extra Security while facing a Security or Officer dilemma is pretty good. Speaking of boosting your attributes, while having decent skills, Harry Kim, Eager to Please boosts all of your Programming personnel present by +1. 

Especially since your decks success is based off completing missions with the least possible personnel you can send while still being able to pass all the dilemmas, attribute to card cost efficiency is huge.  If you are playing 4 cost personnel in your deck they better do great things. I think that the ones I have put in this deck are all very important and fill specific holes. Sometimes you need to just put personnel in the deck to fill skill gaps but they reasonably have good attributes for their cost. Tolian Soran, Renegade Scientist and Serova, Warp Field Theorist are such personnel. The former is a free guy and the latter also boosts your Engineer personnel in your away team, a la Harry Kim, Eager to Please.

UTILITY, AS ALWAYS

Since Voyager doesn’t have a Headquarters Mission, there is no way for them to remove damage counters. B'Elanna Torres, Straightforward Engineer gives you that way to remove them while also giving you a lot of mission skills. Baxter, Wandering Security Officer is one of the few personnel that Voyager has that have either Archeology or Geology, and he has both. As a bonus if he dies, you can get an event back from your discard pile. With eleven Astrometrics personnel in the deck Astrometrics Lab is a must for helping boost your range, especially since Chakotay, Bridge Between Two Crews can eat it later.

Neelix, Morale Officer, Stadi, Focused, and Tom Paris, Best Pilot You Could Have all have Navigation which is a skill Voyager is lacking on. Marquay is in the deck due to his skill set and being a 5 Integrity Treachery personnel. Lastly, one of the best personnel in the game is Shran, In Archer's Debt if you can land him and keep him out. If he gets stopped by a dilemma you greatly benefit by taking a dilemma back. 

Most of my decks don’t run a lot of ways to manipulate dilemmas. This deck uses a few of them as either for their abilities or for Chakotay fodder. Stir Crazy only costs one and helps stop your opponent’s second mission of the same type attempt. If they completed a planet already and are attempting one now, one cost for three extra dilemmas and spending 3 more is really efficient.  Sometimes you want a dilemma that is overcome back to reuse. For this purpose, The Trial Never Ended exists. If your opponent can’t pass a wall that goes under the mission this will make them cry.  Finally, for dilemma manipulators if you don’t draw what you need use Unexpected Difficulties. It turns your bad dilemma draw into an acceptable draw.

ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END

I plan on writing this as a series and as such I will be going over a lot of different decks I have together from Maquis Disruption with a Tragic Turn Kill Pile, Starfleet At What Blast, more Romulan shenanigans and even one or two traditional decks. For some of the decks I use the same dilemma pile but will always detail something about them, such as: combos, theory, or even examples of different types of dilemma piles like a Tragic Turn pile.

For any suggestions, questions, or concerns please PM.  Deck List can be found here.


Discuss this article in this thread.



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Decklist

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Missions
Planet
10U51•Observe Kazon Ritual
10U52•Obtain Advanced Technology
Space
3S82•Assault on Species 8472
10U46•Caretaker's Array
10U48•Explore Micro-Wormhole


Draw Deck (45)
Equipment
10C211x Federation Compression Rifle
10U221x Modified Tricorder
Event
1C751x Astrometrics Lab
10C271x Finding Our Way
5P123x Security Drills
3C581x Stir Crazy
3U632x The Trial Never Ended
2C692x Unexpected Difficulties
Personnel
Federation
10U612x •B'Elanna Torres, Straightforward Engineer
10U621x •Baxter, Wandering Security Officer
10U642x •Cavit, Apprehensive First Officer
10U653x •Chakotay, Bridge Between Two Crews
10R661x •Harry Kim, Eager to Please
10R701x •Kathryn Janeway, Forceful Captain
10C741x •Lyndsay Ballard, Back From the Dead
10C771x Marquay
13U723x •Revised Chakotay, Imposturous First Officer
12R842x •Seven of Nine, Efficient Analyst
10C821x •Stadi, Focused
10R831x •The Doctor, Emergency Medical Hologram
10R841x •Tom Paris, Best Pilot You Could Have
10R851x •Tuvok, Chief of Security
Non-Aligned
4R1571x •Crosis, Fanatical Lieutenant
12C1001x •Gav, Diplomat
14C991x •Navaar, Experienced Gift
10R961x •Neelix, Morale Officer
1R3441x •Serova, Warp Field Theorist
8R871x •Shran, In Archer's Debt
8R881x •Silik, Chameleon
7R1091x •Tolian Soran, Renegade Scientist
Ship
Federation
12R1161x •Delta Flyer, Innovative Vessel
10C1123x •U.S.S. Voyager, Home Away From Home
Dilemma Pile (30)
Dual
8R11x Agonizing Encounter
10R21x An Issue of Trust
4C62x Back Room Dealings
1C141x Center of Attention
14U41x Chula: The Chandra
4C152x Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?
6P63x Hard Time
14C71x Moral Choice
14C101x Old Differences
1S431x Pinned Down
3U282x Skeleton Crew
12R172x Swashbuckler at Heart
13R201x The Dal'Rok
2C252x Timescape
Planet
12C51x Excalbian Drama
12C121x Mugato
2U171x Picking Up the Pieces
3U251x Rogue Borg Ambush
1C571x Triage
Space
3R121x Gomtuu Shock Wave
1C361x Magnetic Field Disruptions
1R421x Personal Duty
7R151x Where No One Has Gone Before


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