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The Road to Worlds: Winning Deck Analysis, Week 2

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

9th 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.

For week two, we've got winning decks from the two events held in Matthews, NC on 4/4/15. Nathan Miracle won the first event, a Second Edition Standard event with this deck:

Title: Don't We All Have the Right
Headquarters: Mouth of the Wormhole, Terok Nor
Deck Size: Medium (45-59)
Deck Archetype: Control Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: Medium (30-49)
Dilemma Pile Type: Persistent Attrition
Average Draw Deck Card Cost: 2.1
Agonizing Count: 2
Odds of Passing a 3-Skill-Dilemma Legacy: 38%

I wonder if there's something you'd consent to do for me

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

Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
I considered a wide array of decks, but I knew I wanted something which could mess with my opponent. My short list came down to Cardassian Capture and Terok Nor. I figured Kevin Reitzel would play DS9 with Rescue Captives protected by Holding Cell, and Scott would likely play Starfleet with his captive-freeing MACO, so I decided against capture.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I wanted to play against decks with expensive personnel and events, because I wanted to get as much benefit out of Weyoun and Dukat as possible. My biggest fear was the possibility of being destaffed, as I didn't have much in the way of back-up ships, it never happened.

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 similar decks before. It used to be a two-mission win deck with Kressari Rendezvous and Survey New World. The popularity of Insurrection led me to change it to Rescue Prisoners of War and Deliver Prisoners. With the change to Ruling Council, the deck had to go back to three missions.

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?
With no Intelligence in the deck, I included two Hand Weapons in case of Rogue Borg Ambush. I never faced Rogue Borg Ambush, but for all I know that's because my opponents chose not to give me the dilemma because I had the Hand Weapons.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Weyoun, without a doubt. Mikey had trouble drawing Medical, and I used Weyoun to get rid of two Medical personnel. I used him four times against Scott. Against Big Mike he sent Deanna Troi on a trip, and then would have had the opportunity to destaff him had I not won on the turn I did.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I would probably try to find a way to get in Tacking Into the Wind and take out Back to Basics. I thought I would discard enough personnel with Dukat to trigger B2B, but I never came close, and I would like to have a way to retrieve ships in case of destaffing.

Data, we should probably just... leave him be

My Commentary:
Well, here again in week 2, we have another crontrol solver winning, but the means of control is quite different. DS9's Holding Cell combines interrupt denial and personnel denial into one utility card, but Terok Nor's options cover those bases and more. Our Death is Glory to the Founders stops interrupts and events from being played at interrupt speed, Weyoun can repeatedly pull important personnel off the table, and Dukat provides cheap event destruction that DS9 decks can only dream of. While Terok Nor doesn't have a specific answer to battle (like Patrolling Warship in DS9), it is hard to win combat against Jem'hadar, and it is hard to catch a damaged Terok Nor ship in space due to Ruling Council.

Nathan's unique persistent dilemma pile is one that benefits greatly from all that control provided by the draw deck (in addition to his own skill tracking). The Nth Degree and Chained Environment normally suffer from the prevalence of Security Drills in so many Federation decks, but those drills will only get one turn of functionality at best with Dukat around. Likewise, Breaking the Ice and We'll Never Know also fear the drills and Bridge Officer's Test, but I'm sure Rak'tazan will be happy to provide some glory to the founders in order to help those dilemmas stick. In return, the pile's high concentration of skill-related dilemmas grant the draw deck an enormous 38% chance of beating a bare Legacy, which is huge compared to the average pile.

Frozen by Fear and Flare of Rage do not only benefit from the cost reduction provided by the various Persistent dilemmas. If you compare the requirements of those two heavy hitters with the skills on the various one-cost filter dilemmas, you'll notice a large degree of overlap. Say the opponent fails We'll Never Know one turn, is stopped by Neurogenic/Pillage/The Weak the next, then Nathan will still likely to be able to afford a Flare of Rage supported by Neurogenic/Pillage on the third turn. As this pile is so heavy on Planet and Space dilemmas, I'd be very curious to see how well Storage Compartment would support it, though it clearly got the job done without it.

Intrestingly, Nathan uses several of the cards from Balance of Terror that benefit from opposing dilemmas being removed from the game, but does not use either War of Attrition or Tenuous Alliance. As it turns out, one Hard Time or successful application of Where No One Has Gone Before will make Edan'Atal a roughly average Jem'hadar, and gives Untapped Influence a decent impact. Once those missions start getting solved, though, Revok and Rayva will contribute icing to the cake by boosting the effectiveness of those cards even further.

 

After the Second Edition regional came the First Edition Block-format regional, again drawing 9 players, but this time won by Ryan Sutton. This was the deck he used:

Title: Sto'Vo'Kor Bound Klingons! (GQ Edition)
Deck Archetype: Battle
Free Play Engines: Legitimate Leader of the Empire, Attention All Hands, The Great Hall
Draw Engines: Continuing Mission, Surprise Party
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists, War Games

I wish we learned more about this whale-interested species somewhere else in Trek

Ryan had this to say about his deck:

Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
I will answer the latter question first. I really really really wanted to play the Dominion/Ferengi alliance deck however after reading a tournament report from Moskop which clued me into the fact that getting ships to work between the 2 affiliations was somewhat of a nightmare and the fact that at the time (before the errata) the card Where Opportunities are Made was somewhat challenging to use I decided to use my San Diego Masters Deck with 1 change. I decided on Tuesday of last week to use the Klingons because of my familiarity with the way it played and its reliability. I really did not want to play it again as it is a terrible play experience for your opponent if they are not ready for it.

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 play decks that were unprepared for battle. I really dreaded playing against the Dominion as I knew that coming after them would be hard from a range perspective. I also know that Scott (Neelix) is one of the best Block players in the World so I didn't want to play against anything that he created as I knew he would bring his best. So I really got the worst of both worlds when he played Dominion. It was a very tight game against him as always.

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 had a ton of experience playing this deck as I have played it multiple times. I recently played a version of it in San Diego in January. As to what I learned about it: I found out that the range of the GQ missions is vast and can significantly hurt you when you are not a DS9 vessel receiving the range reduction from First Stable Wormhole.

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 used the First Stable Wormhole card for the sole reason of getting to the GQ if someone played Dominion so that I could battle them. As for the usefulness of the card: It turned out to be completely unnecessary. However, I would still include this card if I played the deck again.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
I am going to rephrase the question as what was the most Non-MVP card of the deck. Nathan (GooeyChewie) and I True Tied. He decided the morning of the event to Net-Deck my San Diego deck. So we literally duplicated all 6 missions and were playing almost the same cards every turn. He solved one planet mission and I solved one planet mission. The other 2 planet missions had Dead Ends under them. So that meant that each of us had to attempt a Space Mission which neither one of us wanted to do because we were afraid of stealing after the mission was cleared out or the Scoring of points that might be possible from War Games. We were truly at a lock as to what to do. I did however hold the advantage. I went second so I would get the last turn. We both kept building our crews. When time was called I got my turn and I literally had all but maybe 2 people in my deck in play. I thought that I had placed Whale Probe under the other Space Mission and I knew Nathan did not have one due to him not seeding AU Doorway. I attempted and cleared 7 dilemmas to reveal the 8th and there it was.... My Whale Probe which froze everything. So a True Tie at its finest. So my most non-MVP card was my own Whale Probe. A great game to say the least!

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Thanks Scott (Neelix) for hosting a great event! - 9 players is huge and I hope the Regional grows even more next year.

I wish we learned more about this whale-interested species somewhere else in Trek

My Commentary:
How to Identify a Battle Deck: Lesson One. So, even if Ryan had not told us that this deck is a battle deck, the clues are all there. The first clue is the most obvious: 10 ships is way more than you'd expect in a 44 card solver. So, yeah, I guess you shouldn't need another clue, but there's another one to find! Clue number two is the absence of draw-engine cards in the draw deck (like Handshake, Let's See What's Out There, etc.) despite the presence of three play engines. Normally, solvers like to keep those free-play engines running by drawing more spam fuel through each turn's card play, but that's just not an option in a battle deck - those precious card plays are reserved for ships.

Sure, the abscence of a large-scale draw engine means that the deck could run out of steam. But the Continuing Mission draws and the ability to download universal ships twice per game (from Attention All Hands and Call For Reinforcements) means that, by the time the steam runs out, the board should be solidly under Ryan's control. Since the ship downloads don't come from hand, it is like having an extra draw for the first two turns; and only with the worst of opening hands will those incoming K'Vorts be unstaffable. Furthermore, that gives you two turns where you're not playing ships from hand to stockpile ships to play for the rest of the game.

One interesting feature to this deck is a result of the erratum affecting Attention All Hands. Since that engine now requires that the universal personnel is not in play in order to be played for free, Klingons have a deficit of worthy universals. Additionally, any universal Non-Aligned personnel won't be free to play just by including a ship, hence the presence of the Repurposed Outpost. Half of the universal personnel in the deck are non-aligned; though many do not have staffing icons, they possess precious dilemma skills that the Klingons lack, and each one of them can activate the card draw on Continuing Mission.

One final note: this decklist reminded me to put sites in my Orlando Masters deck. Do not forget to do that! I forget to do that early and often, only remembering when I'm paired against a Nor deck once every other tournament. There's no cost to putting those sites in there; even if you do not plan on battle as a main strategy, it might be nice to be able to slip aboard through some Docking Pylons and commandeer a Nor through Ops. In this particular deck's case, I can imagine several scenarios where Klingon Restaurant could prove itself very useful.

 

That's it for this week, see you next week with more reviews and be sure to check out OKCoyote's Regional Rundown podcast in the meantime.


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