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Strategy Articles

The Road to Worlds: Winning Deck Analysis, Week 1

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

2nd April 2015

Welcome back for another season of The Road to Worlds. Around this time every year, we have a three-month stretch where each region of play for the various Star Trek card games gets to have its "big dance." Whether the players of your locale are rated 1800 or don't know their rating, whether your nearest regional attracts 4 players or 40 players, once a year everyone brings their best decks and competes for their regional title. I'm here to celebrate with the winners, ask them what they think, and analyze their decks.

We start this year with the winning deck from the 3/29/15 Roswell, Georgia Second Edition Regional. Kevin Reitzel beat a field of 16 other players, emerging as the only undefeated player after five rounds. He did so with the following deck:

Title: DS9 Fed Holding Cell GA 2015 Regional Championship Deck! 5-0! 03/29/15
Headquarters: Mouth of the Wormhole, Deep Space 9
Deck Size: Large (60+)
Deck Archetype: Control Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: Medium (30-49)
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition with event-related dilemmas
Average Draw Deck Card Cost: 2.27
Agonizing Count: 2
Odds of Passing a 3-Skill-Dilemma Legacy: 17%

Here's what Kevin had to say about his deck:

He's innocent, I'm sure

Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
I only considered this DS9 Holding Cell Fed Deck, for reasons below.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Decks I hoped to face: Decks based on heavy Interrupt strategy and ones that rely on certain unique characters such as Romulans, Cardassians, and capture decks. And consume dilemma decks. Decks I hoped NOT to face: Ferengi because they slow the pace of game play, and Borg, just because they are annoying and a negative play experience.

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?
Yes, I have had experience playing this deck. My old friend Chris Donati from my hometown of Santa Barbara California gave me the basic idea several years ago. I've been playing it at most regular and regional events due to its anti-cheese strategy. Its my main go-to deck. I'm known for it. Did I learn anything new from playing it? Just certain card choices, like using more lower cost personnel for faster strategy, and making less mistakes as I capitalize on my opponents mistakes.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)?
Yes. Rescue Captives because a few of our players, especially one, are infamous for capture decks:-). Self Replicating Roadblock because Moral Choice really slows me down and most everyone knows I play Fed. And Indebtedness, a foil version I got as a gift from the Players Committee, due to my contribution to Star Trek CCC back in my Decipher days. Plus it helps my deck strategy :-)

Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations?
Miles O'Brien, Repair Chief, my deck depends on heavy event use, Miles O'Brien, Repair Chief protects my events. Ezri Dax, Resourceful Counselor, stops many of my crew from kill dilemmas. And of course Holding Cell which stops the cheese! Lol!

Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
Not really. The only change I made after my Regional win was taking out a Hoya and replaced it with Weyoun, Defective Clone, only because he has all of the skill requirements for one of my missions Track Survivors.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
"Holding Cell" Hands Down!

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
The competition is very tough in our play group. We have a large player base that we are very proud proud of. We had the largest regional turnout of 17 players. There are a few players that always make the top 3. I did get a little lucky with how the match ups were paired. But I don't remember making any crucial mistakes with my deck, and I capitalized on my opponents mistakes. I know this deck inside and out, I was "In the Zone". This DS9 Holding Cell deck is a good defensive deck as well as an offensive one. I loath high interrupt decks and kill consume decks. My deck counters them.

Say hello to my little friend

My Commentary:
The first stand-out uniqueness of Kevin's deck that I noticed was: no Quark! Quark is a great tool for DS9 control decks to use to get answers to specific match-ups, like Holding Cell versus Cardassians or Sisko to get the Patrolling Warship versus TOS Battle. Then I noticed that the deck lacks Bajorans altogether, and that's when I saw the Bustling With Activities. While it won't download the events, there are three Holding Cells in the deck anyways, and it will download other key pieces like Sisko and Enrique Muniz. Enrique is a fantastic draw engine that works in just about any DS9 deck, but with the inclusion of personnel like Solok and Kira (Starfleet Emissary), this deck looks like no exception despite the absence of Bajoran-affiliation personnel.

Though the draw deck uses enough events to support the 8-cost dilemmas, the dilemma pile follows an increasingly popular trend of using those 8-cost heavy-hitters while eschewing Overwhelmed and Unfair Comparison. A mid-speed solver like this one doesn't want to risk an Unfair Comparison that whiffs (or an Overwhelmed that is drawn without something to combo with it), preferring instead to utilize meta-specific dilemmas like Intimidation and Agonizing Encounter to set up the kills. Kevin seems to have fully embraced our new 8472 overlords, and his three Hard Times are supported by a set of three The Weak Will Perishes.

I'd also like to highlight Kevin's use of Gangster's Welcome. That dilemma rarely does very well in the my dilemma popularity series, but that doesn't mean it isn't good. While it isn't quite as easy to track for as its cousin Rogue Borg Ambush, it works in many of the same match-ups, is two cost instead of three, and the destruction of two events can be absolutely devastating for the opponent. The Weak Will Perish + Gangster's Welcome + Whisper in the Dark can lead to 5 dead personnel for as little as 5 cost.

If you like this deck, and want to try your hand at building something similar, I recommend also looking at Nate Wineinger's 2014 North American Continentals deck. Both decks have a similar stated purpose: to have answers to threats from the opposing deck while steadily solving missions. If you're looking to build your own DS9 control deck, Kevin's and Nate's are great places to start.

That's it for this week! See you next week for some more decks, but in the meantime, check out OKCoyote's Regional Rundown.

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