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The Road to Worlds: First Edition Winning Deck Analysis, Week 2

by Lucas Thompson, Freelance Writer

9th April 2014

Welcome! It's that magical time of year again, that time when everyone brings their best deck to the big dance and we get to watch and see who (and what) rises to the top. This year I'll be doing a series of articles analyzing the winning decks from First Edition (1E) regionals. If you win a regional, you should be getting a private message from me inviting you to answer some questions about your deck (or just plain talk about it), and I'll be sharing your thoughts with the community at large - as well as some commentary of my own.

We start with week two, since there were no 1E regionals held on the first weekend of regional season. Two regionals were held this past weekend: two six player events; one in Matthews, NC and one in Glen Ellyn, IL.

 

The 4/5/14 1E Sector 001 Regional in Matthews, NC was won by Derrick Marsh (HoodieDM). He used a Federation/Cardassian/Starfleet deck titled "1e Can Play With Cadets Too". His tournament report can be found here.

 

Wesley Lied

Deck Stats:
Play Engines: Office of the President (32% of the deck), New Arrivals (22%), Dominion War Efforts/Assign Support Personnel (20%), Seat of Starfleet (2%).
Draw Engines: New Arrivals, Rescue Personnel.
Percentage of deck that plays for free (or is downloaded reliably): 52%
Bonus point mechanics: George and Gracie, James T. Kirk, Phoenix, Rescue Personnel.
Unique Dilemmas (to be updated as the season progresses): Dejaren, Denevan Neural Parasites, Ferengi Ingenuity, Forsaken, Occupational Hazards, The Clown: Guillotine (6).
Non-Dilemma Seed Cards: 12

Derrick's Commentary:

Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
There’s a lot of factors out there to consider when building a deck for competitive play right now, since TNG most recently took a huge errata hit. I feel Bajoran/Dominion/FedEE/Borg are the huge game players right now. TNG Klingons are still pretty good and TNG Ferengi aren’t too bad, but it’s hard to say where they sit now with the errata. Three of those base themselves off huge interaction with their opponents, usually resulting in some sort of battle. TNG solvers are a bit slower now, but if I can still aim towards something along that line in mission solving, then I have a good start.

I’ve been toying with trying to succeed with a two mission win deck. There are some huge bonus point options out there right now with Nexus/Whales/Phoenix/Objectives to tip the amount of points you need to hit 100. I wanted to also design a deck that revolved around homeworlds and regions. This way you don’t have to rely on luck with getting the spaceline in accordance to what you want in front of you, plus homeworlds are a great protector against battle decks. I mostly enjoy playing Feds and/or Cardassians, so I decided to toy around two different decks a while back, each based off their corresponding homeworlds. For this though, I found myself lacking in free plays for the Feds.

Generally if you can produce 3 personnel a turn, you’re good for what I consider competitive play. Well with New Arrivals and Assign Support Personnel + Dominion War Efforts, the Cardassians (a lot like the Dominion) find themselves in a good spot. You get to use your free play (whether it’s New Arrivals or say HQ) and then your normal play and then you basically get to dial a skill with ASP+DWE. I find the ASP for Cardassians very strong. So you put two of each in your deck. Play the one for New Arrivals and then that same turn, download it with ASP. This way you’re getting double those skills per turn. I like to include the 5 in my deck b/c of some of the rare skills (and common) found on them.

I then decided to go with a ton of personnel that can be DL mid attempts, or find ways to not lose my guys during attempts. Harrad-Sar/Anya/Starship Enterprise/Daniels/Anastasia/Enterprise-A are great dilemma busters. I then started looking at ways to “break” the game (or as Corbin likes to call it: “janky-jank”), so I started looking at Time Locations. I know Altonian Brain Teaser is very popular to play on homeworlds, especially Earth and with whales and phoenix out there, I didn’t want to risk not having those 25 pts. Time locations are unaffected by Brain Teaser so that was a no brainer, no pun intended.

Putting the Starfleet HQ worked great because you can put the whales in there and they can’t be captured (without Invasive Beam-In), and due to 22nd-Century San Fran protecting all non-[22] personnel/ships, they can’t be targeted in battle. Then I took a look at Rescue Personnel, which is a great card for getting free points and drawing cards. So the rest was just an auto balance of seeing what I could get, but essentially by turn 3 you could be rescuing 5 personnel to be drawing 5 cards. What really worked well were my dilemma combos. That stalled my opponents to earn me 100 point wins.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
My fear was whatever Ryan was playing. I had a feeling he was gonna bring Borg, but I was okay with that, because again that’s what this does well against. During our game before the error was noticed, I just had some really poor card draws - I wasn't getting out a ship. I’ve done the calculations, it was like 6-7% chance of that happening and go figure. I did draw into the Phoenix, but that obviously didn’t help. I did learn what to do next time though, so I was good with that.

Prior to this tournament, did you have much experience playing this deck (or decks like it)? Did you learn anything new about it when you played it this time?
Outside of using Lackey to practice draws, not really. It was a little based off my Homeworld Cardassian deck I used back in an online tournament in February. But I always learn something new when I play, especially against good players like Ryan, Nathan, and Jeremy.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)? Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations? Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
I designed my deck to be able to handle different encounters when the situation came up. With Ryan’s game, just bad luck in draws, but otherwise Defend Homeworld and Strategema are designed for Borg. Though I don’t think Ryan would have attacked me if I had gotten my ship. In Nathan’s game, Starfleet HQ helped protect the whales as stated. He was also using the idea of New Arrivals and then ASP+DWE for same personnel that turn. However, my dilemmas just held him off. In Jeremy’s game, he Admiral Cartwright’d me right out the gate, so I DH’d for him my first turn to get rid of his treaty as well. However, I built into my deck an easy way to get it back. I just Wall of Ship’d for U.S.S. Enterprise (TNG) to Wall of Ship for Enterprise-A to get  Ambassador Sarek to redownload my second treaty in my Q’s Tent. I was fine, but poor Jeremy suffered because I was picking off his Bajoran Resistance Personnel with my Cardassians on Earth haha. The skills they had (Comp Skill and Security) would have helped him pass some earlier dilemmas he ran into.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Every game was different, but I would say George and Gracie definitely delivered 15 pts to me every game.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I know I could definitely tweak some more things as I’ve encountered them in the game. Homefront definitely made it a hurdle in both Ryan and Jeremy’s game. But the design of mine is to use New Arrivals for the first five turns, so I didn’t feel too bad not using the HQ free play for a bit, but by turn 3-4 I’d have enough Security to be okay.

My Commentary:
While I've seen Dominion War Efforts combined with Federation before, Derrick made some very interesting deck building choices. The first is his choice to use Practice Orbital Maneuvers and actually intend to solve it. I know that, if I were staring at a spaceline that included POM and Earth, I'd probably make the assumption that I was facing a Borg Stop First Contact deck that was simply hoping to use the Sector 001 region to force Earth closer to the middle of the spaceline. I mean, what Federation player would actually use Cadets?

Well, Derrick did use cadets, which made up a significant amount of the non-free play cards in his deck (meaning that he would not be able to solve POM until turn 3 at a minimum), but tricking your opponent into thinking you're playing Borg can be a big advantage. Borg face dilemmas so differently that I'd be scrambling up my dilemma combos in order to best stop them, which means they would not be optimally set up for a non-Borg player.

Derrick also worked a couple of time locations into his deck. He had several copies of Rescue Personnel in his draw deck, which could generate points and draws for saving the whales, which already gives you points. Because Earth and POM are already 40 point missions (but are not that easily stealable), he nicely set himself up for a 2 mission win, potentially without even leaving the Sector 001 region.

By avoiding the use of Continuing Mission or Reshape the Quadrant or Federation Flagship: Relaunched, he allowed himself the flexibility to use a number of powerful cards together. Geordi La Forge (First Contact) could fetch the powerful Ocular Implants, one of the few remaining dilemma scouting cards in OTF. Anastasia Komananov and Daniels can both suspend play to download cards that can end your mission attempt in the middle of facing a dilemma, potentially saving an away team from something nasty like deadly flying pancakes. James T. Kirk can get any Captain's Order, and is a back-up source of bonus points. Anya, Harrad-Sar, and Vic Fontaine can all download critical mission skills in the middle of an attempt. Most of these personnel would take his card play, but each one can potentially save the game for you.

 

The 4/6/14 1E Deep Space 9 Regional in Glen Ellyn, IL was won by Jeremy Huth (9of24). He used a Borg Deck titled "Super Fun Cards". His tournament report can be found here.

 

Deck Stats:
Ass World Play Engines: We Are the Borg (79% of the deck), They Will Be Coming (49%), Borg Queen (First Contact) (35%).
Draw Engines: We Are the Borg, Strategic Base.
Percentage of deck that plays for free (or is downloaded reliably): 70% - Borg Queens will usually cost the card play, but could technically report for free with We Are the Borg, which is why the percentage for that card is higher than for the deck as a whole.
Bonus Point Mechanics: None (well, Population 9 Billion - All Borg and potentially Resistance Is Futile sort of count).
Unique Dilemmas (to be updated as the season progresses): A Fast Ship Would Be Nice, Crisis, Cytherians, Female's Love Interest & Garbage Scow, Ferengi Infestation, Gomtuu Shockwave, Lack of Preparation, Oh No!, Subspace Shock Wave, The Clown: Bitter Medicine (10).
Non-Dilemma Seed Cards: 12

Jeremy's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
I played a Stop First Contact deck, which I have been refining continuously since I returned to the game a couple years ago. As such, it is a deck I am very familiar with and know I can perform well with it. I was fairly busy in the weeks before hand and didn't really have the time to look into other decks, though the thought of trying out an assimilation deck did come to mind.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
In truth I hadn't given it much thought. The dilemmas are geared toward slowing down the opponent and costing them points, which works good against most non-Borg opponents and can deal with a Borg player using They Will Be Coming quite well. In terms of matchups the deck is strongest against Federation/Starfleet decks and They Will Be Coming Borg decks. Its weakest matchups are super fast solvers and heavy interference decks.

Prior to this tournament, did you have much experience playing this deck (or decks like it)? Did you learn anything new about it when you played it this time?
I have been playing evolving versions of this deck over the last couple years, the last tournament prior was the 2013 Iowa Regional. There is so much to 1E it is easy to learn something new each time you play, which I did at this tournament as well. I wouldn't say it was deck specific knowledge, but I hadn't realized that Commandeer Ship excluded Borg cubes as targets.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)? Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations? Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
There are several situational cards, HQ: Defensive Measures, Quark's Isolinear Rods, Borg Scout Vessel and Eliminate Starship to name a few. At this point I pretty much have an accurate idea of what to expect from the cards in the deck, so I don't get many surprises any more. Though I will say that the first time I used Three of Nine (Tactician Drone) in the Iowa regional I was quite impressed with her ability.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
If I had to pick one card, I would go with the Borg Queen (First Contact). Her special skills are what setup nearly every aspect of the deck when it needs to be, to me she has already reached perfection.

My Commentary:
First we looked at a Federation deck that looked like a Borg Stop First Contact deck, now let's look an actual Borg Stop First Contact deck. The mission selection has a lot of different attempting icons (4/6 have Federation, one has Cardassian only, one has Romulan/Klingon), but even beyond that, making the Borg call is pretty easy here: one homeworld (Earth), 4 nebula missions, and Secret Salvage (a potential target for the Salvage Starship objective).

So, Jeremy's not working with the element of surprise, but most of the time you won't even need that as the Borg. Judging by the decklist, it looks like he's aiming to tear down the spaceline, Stop First Contact at Earth, and then perform some starship salvage for the remaining points (boosted with Population 9 Billion - All Borg and potentially Resistance Is Futile as well). If you try to get in his way, well, he's got the option to salvage your starship after destroying it with Eliminate Starship.

Dilemma-wise, I see a lot of Borg stalling favorites. 2 Edo Probes and 2 Female's Love Interest & Garbage Scow combo dilemmas are backed up with Mission Debriefing. The point loss from the Probes is backed up by a couple The Higher... The Fewers. Crisis is technically fairly easy to pass, but is often worth a bonus turn due to the empty ships of "God"-fearing players (side note: I always intend to leave Ari on my ship when playing Cardassians, but his 8 integrity is just so nice for passing "God").

At 43 cards, Jeremy's Borg deck is one of the slimmer ones I've looked at lately, but being a Stop First Contact/They Will Be Coming Borg deck, he has some time to kill while traveling to Earth just in case one of his Queens is stubborn and takes a few turns to show up. There's no Lower Decks, so "God" is a potential issue for him, but he has a Borg Scout Vessel as a back-up plan. In fact, according to his tournament report, that Scout Vessel saved him in one game where his Cube was nuked by a Kurlan Naiskos'd Scimitar, but was able to evade it in the smaller ship for the win.

 

Well, that's all for this week. Thanks to everyone for posting decklists and entering tournament reports. I'll see you next week with the winning deck from the 4/12 Ferenginar Regional!

 


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