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The Road to Worlds: First Edition Winning Deck Analysis, Week 11

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

10th June 2014

The 6/7/14 1E Risa Regional in San Diego, California was won by Thomas Vineberg. He used an Illegitimate TNG Klingon deck titled "OTF TNG Illegitimate Klingons". His tournament report can be found here.


Deck Stats:
Play Engines: Illegitimate Leader of the Empire (51% of the deck), Attention All Hands (21%), Holodeck Door
Draw Engines: Continuing Mission, Handshake, Surprise Party
Percentage of deck that plays for free (or is downloaded reliably): 69%
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists
Unique Dilemmas (to be updated as the season progresses): Aggressive Behavior, Captain's Holiday, Emergency Conversion, Horta, I Hate You, Important Guests, Macrovirus, Mission Fatigue, Remat Detonator, Restricted Area, Seismic Quake, Volcanic Eruption (12)
Non-Dilemma Seed Cards: 7


Thomas Vineberg's Commentary:

Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
I wanted to play a deck that I hadn't tried before. I considered Rogue Borg or perhaps Holograms but ultimately decided Illegitimate Leader fit best with what I wanted to do.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I was hoping to face Alpha Quadrant decks so that I could set up a "long" intermixed spaceline where I could interfere with my opponent through adding travel time, playing "pollution" type cards, and battling if the opportunity arose. I didn't particularly want to face a DQ (or heavy GQ) deck or a deck with a lot of Region missions - those would cut down a lot on the interaction and cause some of my setup not to work very well. I also wasn't looking forward to facing the Access Denied/Ferengi Ingenuity/Dejaren combo that has been prevalent lately - I prepared for it to some extent but even so it would have been a pain. Oddly enough I did not see it at all this time.

She had to lean that far over just to keep her hair in the frame

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 played decks which try to set up the spaceline to inconvenience the opponent before, with varying degrees of success. It worked out pretty well this time - Gaps in Normal Space is a new addition that has been helpful. I've played a lot of TNG decks, but I hadn't used Illegitimate Leader before, and I really had a great time with the deck. The flexibility of being able to dial up a good selection of personnel on demand (Duras, the Sisters, Ja'Rod, K'Vit, Zegov) plus ships (Cha'Joh, I.K.C. Vorn) made me feel that I always had options available. They do have some skill weaknesses, so the addition of the classic K'ChiQ was essential - the AU door was pretty much included because of her.

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?
The last card I cut was Klingon Civil War - I would've been sad if someone else had been playing Klingon. Last card I added was Klingon Restaurant, which was helpful in one game. I never used it, but Establish Landing Protocols is in there in case I need to hide or avoid anti-transporter shenanigans. For thematic reasons, I included the barely useful Toral, and was amused when I actually ended up needing his and his grandpa Ja'Rod's combined Leaderhip x1 to pass a dilemma.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Arbiter of Succession won me two games, one that I quite likely would have lost otherwise. There's just really no downside to it. In terms of "actual" gameplay, (and not just cheesy bonus points) I tried out a card that's had a low profile since it was toned down somewhat from its earlier 1EC incarnation: Fitting In. It combos amazingly well with K'ChiQ in particular. In at least a couple of my games the ability to effectively dial "Any Skill x2" was a huge help. The addition of Kamala can even make it "x3" which is enough to handle almost any obstacle. On the dilemma side, the old standby Cytherians is still a great one - just the threat of it can deter someone from trying a space mission, and on an unfavorable spaceline it can be repurposed as a self seed.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
The no-Honor rule definitely made deckbuilding an interesting challenge - I had to dig up some rarely-seen C-listers to fill out certain skill holes (Toq! Vagh! K'Vada! Morag! old-school K'mpec!) and it was great fun to play with something a bit different from the usual Klingon suspects.


My Commentary:
Looking at the decklist, one labeled " TNG Illegitimate Klingons", I was surprised to see four Stellar Cartography missions right off the bat. TNG Klingons are pretty SC-poor, worse if you're excluding Konmel (The Next Generation) by using Illegitimate Leader. That leaves you with K'ChiQ (well, you were going to use her anyways if you're playing TNG Klingons) and... K'Tesh, that hologram guy. The hologram for the guys with only a couple built-in holodecks.

Played by a guy who was on TV for some non-science fiction reason

That holodeck deficiency did not stop Thomas from using him though: six Holodeck Doors appear in this deck. One will likely get played on an early ship (only the I.K.C. Fek'lhr has a holodeck), and the rest can be used to download the holograms in the Tent directly to that ship. K'Tesh is obvious - aside from being the go-to mission-skill-guy for this deck, he's also a mission specialist and, being holographic, unkillable. He's joined by Freud and Moriarty, a couple characters with generally useful skills and decent attributes. These guys even have the chance to show up on away teams, since Thomas stocked a copy of Holo-Projectors.

As an aside, I do expect the use of Holodeck Doors as a tertiary play engine to increase in popularity. While you have work to get the holograms to join away teams, at space missions they're powerful personnel. Even just a few Doors in a Federation Flagship: Relaunched deck can get a Mona Lisa aboard your Enterprise-E via the skill-rich Da Vinci. In a TNG Federation deck, Doors present a way to play the Barash-icon personnel "for free", and most of those personnel don't even need to be stocked in the Tent because they can otherwise play for free with Finest Crew in the Fleet.

Back to the deck at hand, and again on a subject related to holograms, Thomas chose to use a couple of the converted, backwards-compatible, skill-cheating interrupts. Neither can be played in the middle of a mission attempt anymore, but can mean the difference between walking though a wall dilemma the turn after you face it and waiting multiple turns for reinforcements. Fitting In can't pump attributes anymore, but works well in conjunction with K'chiQ to generate two of a skill that you may not have had any of the turn before. Likewise, Cluttering Irrelevancies simply conjures the relevant skill out of nowhere, but at the higher cost of returning the targeted hologram to hand at the end of the mission attempt.

Okay, enough about holograms, let's look at those delightful interference events. Atmospheric Ionization and Gaps in Normal Space both cost your full card play but can significantly slow down the opponent. GiNS works well with Thomas' choice to use primarily high span missions - any of his missions that interweave with the opponent's mission will put large obstacles, and GiNS will exacerbate the problem. Additionally, the Battle Bridge Side Deck contains some heavy range-reduction tactics (Target Warp Field Coils, for example), making it possible to outright strand ships that are between some high span missions. AI pairs nicely with dilemmas like Volcanic Eruption or Horta, trapping the majority of a larger away team on the planet (my recommendation: add Murasaki Effect to taste for more fun). Also, this deck has the fewest non-dilemma seeds of any winning deck (even the block decks!) in the season so far; the use of things like AI and GiNS seems to be an extension of that stall strategy.

Wow, here's something I did not notice until I was entering links in the article: there's no Tribunal of Q here. I don't think any other non-block deck covered by this series has been quite so bold. Several have made the choice to include Referee-icon cards in the deck and forego Q's Tent: Civil War, but none have skipped out on Referee-icon cards altogether. Having tried doing so myself while hidden achievement-hunting, I've got to say, playing without cards like In the Zone and General Quarters at your beck and call can be scary. No lead is safe, you can go from 90 points ahead to a full loss in one turn - in fact, according to Thomas' tournament report, that situation would have happened if Johnny Holeva'd had the ability to cycle his own In the Zone out of play. And any Borg opponent that doesn't have a GenQ to worry about will churn out their personnel much faster. Cheers to Thomas for playing without a safety net - you're a brave man.


See you next week for an analysis of the winning decks from three regionals! My vacation is officially over. Podcast, watch it.


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