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No Uniform, No Orders

by James Cream, Staff Writer

26th June 2014

Ever since I saw the file for the newest First Edition expansion, The Maquis, it has been rather hard to build any new decks. I just want to build with the new dilemmas and the new faction in every possible combination, be that as a Deep Space Nine, The Next Generation, or Voyager themed deck. In fact, I was so undecided on what to build first, I let the other writers choose what they wanted and then took what was left. 

Cosette

Looking at the set as a whole, in retrospect, there might be a reason that I got TNG. There are only four TNG Maquis personnel in The Maquis and that adds to an impressive two pre-existing TNG Maquis personnel to bring a total of five available personnel, since two of those are versions of the Ro Laren persona. Because all five such available personnel are also allowed in the Block format, I decided to make this a Block deck. 

Limiting the deck to being TNG does have its advantages, though. Continuing Mission is an amazing draw engine for a format that is rather light on ways to draw and there are a couple potentially powerful verbs that are limited to TNG Maquis. So it really begs the question of how much can be done with a limited pool of cards.

The Missions:

Every deck has its gimmick, or set of gimmicks, and one that I am rather fond of is the single region deck. This has the benefit of ensuring that the player has all of their missions next to each other and limits the options for an interaction based opponent. It also can have the added benefit of splitting the opponent's missions into two very distinct groups divided by a fairly insurmountable amount of range, if they are not careful. 

There aren't any regions with six missions in block, but I have found that a single region can often be obtained with high likelihood by using multiple missions in just two or three regions. In the case of this deck, there are three different regions: the Demilitarized Zone, the Bajor Region, and the Gamma Quadrant. Because of The First Stable Wormhole, the latter two are effectively always right next to each other while the former should end up either adjacent to or only one mission away from this.

This deck also has the option of a two mission win, with three missions that can be completed for 40 points and the Nexus (+ Soran) to put it over the top. Characterize Neutrino Emissions and Access Relay Station can be solved with the mission specialist, Dr. Christopher (make sure to keep him safe), while Verify Legendary Journey is a natural 40 point mission. This latter mission is open for theft in OTF, which is why I have also included a copy of HQ: Defensive Measures

The Play Engines:

The most common type of deck, in the current meta, is the speed solver. There are a couple ways to succeed at that; cheating through dilemmas using special downloads OR just bringing tons of personnel out quickly to churn through dilemmas and solve the missions. This latter strategy works mostly because of what dilemmas are popular now, and it certainly works well for the block dilemmas. 

Given that the TNG Maquis are rather limited on their available personnel and skills, they will certainly have to be paired with other free play engines. The Rogue Borg are one such option, with a play engine that can seed by itself and has no limitations on what property logos are used. It is, however, limited in the number of personnel and skills that play there and even more so by granting those free reports to one specific location. Similarly, Scientific Diplomacy is able to seed on its own but is again limited in numbers and skill diversity, especially when one considers that both SCIENCE and Stellar Cartography are unneeded for busting block dilemmas while Astrophysics is barely useful.

TCTtM

Mercenary Raiders is an even better choice. It still doesn't have that many persons who play for free, but it does have quite a range of skills, including one of the most important skills for block: Diplomacy. It also comes with its own mission that is worth 40 points, but that is rather open for theft unless the player can protect it with a battle strategy. This time, the reporting starts out at a specific location, but can be moved. 

This brings us to my choice: Finest Crew in the Fleet. This play engine has a good number of people and a very diverse array of skills. But even better, the personnel can play to wherever there is a Federation outpost and also to the U.S.S. Enterprise itself, even when that ship is in the wrong quadrant. This play engine also has considerable overlap with our second free play engine: Attention All Hands. A given for any TNG decks, Attention All Hands has the widest array of personnel who play for free using it and can even net a ship, in place of card play, though I have not included a valid target here (since the only valid ones for this deck were insultingly pathetic). 

This bring us to the ultimate question of which Maquis free reporting engine to use. There are three in the expansion and two of those are compatible with TNG: They Call Themselves the Maquis and Defending Their Homes. At first glance, the latter would appear to be the better choice. It allows all of the TNG Maquis personnel to report to a compatible facility and it can grant a special download of a pretty cool card in For the Cause. What's more, it can download They Call Themselves the Maquis thereby granting the player a two for one deal. In most cases, I would say that anything free should be taken, but not this one. The big limitation is that this play engine cannot seed and thus it must be the choice download using Continuing Mission (note: don't even bother bringing up the crazy idea of stocking it in the deck and playing it later.) Which means that it cannot be practically paired with Finest Crew in the Fleet.

They Call Themselves the Maquis, on the other hand, allows only unique Maquis to play but is able to seed itself. Those personnel can be played to any Demilitarized Zone or Badlands Region planet mission, which in this deck means: right next door to where we are reporting the Finest Crew and Attention All Hands personnel. It also means that Kalita has to be left out of the deck, since she is non-unique. What's more, it doesn't have the added limitation seen on Defending Their Homes of no treaties, and this happens to work well with the mission selection (see above). Block has a rather limited pool of mission, but by using the Federation/Bajoran Treaty, I have opened up a wider array of choices, including Bajor Region missions, playing into the mission selection strategy.

The Personnel:

Ideally, this type of deck will get three free played personnel each turn. To achieve this, there should be even numbers of personnel for each play point and as much overlap as possible between them. There are ten personnel in the deck who play for free using Finest Crew in the Fleet, eleven personnel who play for free with Attention All Hands (including seven which overlap between these two), and seven that play for free using They Call Themselves the Maquis. What's more all of these people manage to have a fairly diverse array of skills while all being able to play to the DMZ, since that is where the Federation outpost is seeded. 

So there you go, a solid TNG Maquis deck to use at the next local or online block tournament. Have fun and remember to always defend your home!

 

 

What's that? There is a problem with the deck? Two problems, actually? Well, alright, I'll explain it to you.

The first problem is that Macias, who was a universal personnel as a Second Edition backwards compatible card, is now unique. As such, it isn't reasonable to count the number of TNG Maquis personnel as seven who play for free, since the player can only play one of the four copies of Macias, that is unless he manages to leave play.

The second issue is that there are a good number of non-TNG cards in this TNG deck which cannot be played without eliminating Continuing Mission and with it two of the free reporting engines. Not surprisingly, though, these issues are related. 

The Cheat:

TFSW

The special ability on Macias is pretty cool, and also the reason that there are four of him in the deck. This allows him to be swapped with a Maquis personnel in the discard pile, while having no limitation on what property logo that personnel has nor on how many times it can be done each game. What's more, as this swap does not include a 'card play' it circumvents the restriction on Continuing Mission. This deck will never play a non-TNG personnel, but instead manages to play Macias over and over again and then trade him for someone better in the discard pile.

This 'trick' was certainly the intent of the designers. At first glance, this expansion seems to have a number of cards which are useless in the block format, but in reality any and all personnel in the set have potential use in block. Macias' ability allows the player to put any Maquis personnel into a TNG deck without compromising the property logo limitation. This includes powerful personnel like Tom Paris and Tuvok from Voyager as well as Thomas Riker and Cal Hudson from Deep Space Nine. It also makes some of the older Block cards which had no use in the format, like Teero Anaydis, quite useful. 

But there is one more key step to the trick. Macias can play for free as much as he wants and swap out for whatever Maquis are in the discard pile, but you will still need to get those personnel into the discard pile. In a full card pool event, this can be achieved with cards like Process Ore, Mutation, or Handshake (function 3), but Block is rather lacking in ways to choose to discard a card. This is where The First Stable Wormhole comes in.

Not only is it good at setting up the one region mission gimmick, but it also offers a way to discard those non-TNG Maquis personnel while granting free movement through the Bajoran Wormhole. If there are any skills this deck has in excess, they are SCIENCE and Navigation, which you will need for Wormhole Navigation Schematic. The First Stable Wormhole allows the player to discard a card from their hand (that unplayable non-TNG Maquis personnel you've been holding) to download Wormhole Navigation Schematic (even from the discard pile) to move through the wormhole without being stopped. Then you can swap your Macias in play for the powerful Maquis personnel just discarded to go bust some dilemmas. What's more, all of those copies of Macias in the graveyard will help power Tabor's special ability. 

But don't forget about old Macias when it comes to attempting missions, he also has a pretty great set of skills. You might just want to keep one copy of him around, for a while, in case those skills are needed. 

 


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Decklist

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This deck is legal in the following Card Pools:

This deck is legal in the following Rules Sets:

This deck is currently eligible for the following family or families of achievements:


Mission (6)
Mission
3 V1x Access Relay Station
23 V1x Characterize Neutrino Emissions
21 V1x Divert Attention
31 V1x Establish Interquadrant Communications
19 V1x Search and Rescue
36 V1x Verify Legendary Journey

Seed Deck (30)
Dilemma
1 V2x A Good Day to Lie
4 V2x Dal'Rok
2 V2x Deliberate Tactical Error
6 V2x Flim-Flam Artist
5 V2x Forsaken
6 V2x Founder Secret
7 V1x Friendly Fire
9 V1x Linguistic Legerdemain
9 V2x Shall We Begin Again?
5 V2x The Arsenal: Separated
Doorway
9 V1x Alternate Universe Door
15 V1x The First Stable Wormhole
3 V2x The Nexus
Event
16 V1x Treaty: Federation/Bajoran
Facility
Federation
11 V1x Federation Outpost
Incident
21 V1x Attention All Hands
22 V1x Continuing Mission
31 V1x Strategic Base
16 V1x They Call Themselves the Maquis
Objective
18 V1x Assign Mission Specialists
14 V1x HQ: Defensive Measures

Draw Deck (35)
Event
16 V1x Isomagnetic Disintegrator
Incident
25 V1x Finest Crew in the Fleet
Interrupt
22 V1x Wormhole Navigation Schematic
Personnel
Bajoran
16 V1x Riker Wil
Bajoran/Federation
26 V1x Ro Laren (The Maquis)
27 V1x Tabor (The Maquis)
Federation
53 V1x Barron
28 V1x Cal Hudson
55 V1x Daniel Kwan
59 V1x Dr. Christopher
60 V1x Geordi La Forge (The Next Generation)
66 P2x Herbert
19 V1x Jean-Luc Picard (Chain of Command)
63 V1x Lopez
64 V2x Martin
65 V2x Seth Mendoza
22 V2x Sito Jaxa
32 V1x Thomas Riker (The Maquis)
33 V1x Tom Paris (The Maquis)
25 V1x Worf
Non-Aligned
92 V1x Dr. Syrus
25 V1x Dr. Tolian Soran
41 V4x Macias
45 V1x Santos
Ship
Federation
39 V2x U.S.S. Enterprise (Chain of Command)
51 V1x U.S.S. Excalibur
Non-Aligned
49 V1x Cosette

"Outside the Game" and/or Seed-Phase Downloads (2)
Doorway
12 V2x Bajoran Wormhole



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