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The Road to Worlds: Winning Deck Analysis, Week 6

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

7th May 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.

It was a busy weekend in the Omarion Nebula Region; Aarhus (I broke down and looked up what part of the address is the city name this time) played host to a Second Edition constructed tournament, a Regional tournament, and a National tournament! The Regional was won by Soren Ramme Nielsen with this deck:

Title: Niners have Again Emerged Triumphant at the Omarion Regional
Headquarters: Mouth of the Wormhole, Deep Space 9
Deck Size: Medium (45-59)
Deck Archetype: Control Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: Medium (30-49)
Dilemma Pile Type: Standard Attrition
Average Draw Deck Card Cost: 2.38
Agonizing Count: 2
Odds of Passing a 3-Skill-Dilemma Legacy: 9%

Soren had this to say about his deck:

Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
I made a bunch of decks up to this event, but really had only little time to test them, so in the end it came down to decks that I knew I could play reasonably well (i.e. not my new Dominion battle deck). On my shortlist were TOS speed solver, Starfleet damaged Archer and Samuels, Ferengi Equipment and DS9 speed. I chose the latter because it is fast, has very good kill prevention, and has just a splash of control too.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I hoped that people would play control decks with kill piles as this deck really screws those piles over. Turned out only Tobias played a kill pile and he only managed to kill one guy at my two space missions.

I didn't want to face to face battle, engagement or assimilation decks as I removed my copy of the Defiant when I swapped out commander Sisko for the new attribute boosting one. I was not too keen on Dominion point denial either, but I hoped that I had enough speed to solve my fourth mission if needed.

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 different versions of the deck over the years, so I felt confident playing it. I had not tested my new version with the new cards yet, so I was a bit unsure how it would work. It turned out to work great boosting both the speed of the deck (Lwaxana, the new -2 personnel) as well as the mission solving (new Sisko).

I learned again that this is a really versatile deck that has answers to multiple match-ups. It has speed, attribute boost, kill prevention and Holding Cell for a touch of control that can make all the difference. Depending on the meta I would consider both commander Sisko (and the Defiant) or Vastly Outnumbered Sisko instead of the new version.

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?
A Few Minor Difficulties didn't hit the table all day, but it can be an important counter card, so I will probably keep it. The new Sisko really worked out great - with him and the Centaur your opponent is really under pressure when playing dilemmas in space. Also the new Lwaxana who pretty much played for free every time.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
I would have to say the Centaur, though Holding Cell is a close second. The Centaur's attribute boost in space is awesome, but HC's ability to remove key personnel and counter interrupts is huge!

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I love this deck! Props to Naetor for the back-bone for my current version. My dilemma pile needs a little work though, but it got the job done.

My Commentary:
I actually have the Naetor original put together up on my shelf for testing purposes, so I recognized this deck's core immediately. I too have been working on updating it with the new cards from Strange Bedfellows, so let's see what we've got here.

I agree with Soren's decision to forego Common Purpose/Cause. Those cards can generate a significant number of extra counters, but I've found that Enrique already creates enough of an advantage on his own. Go ahead and ask a Ferengi player: you can generate all the extra counters you want, at a certain point it's what you do with them that begins to matter more. Additionally, Sharish Rez, Elizabeth Lense, and Lwaxana Troi also get you some essentially free personnel for little additional investment, and the first two have some negative synergy with the "bonus affiliation" personnel (T'Rul, Martok).

I would recommend adding an Abrasive Allies or two; even with only four affiliations, they are very likely to hit, and choice stops are very powerful with dilemmas like Optical Delusion around. While we're at it, I'd also recommend adding a Martok (even without Common Cause), as his eight integrity for only three cost works with the deck's microteaming ability. Sure, he is Secret Identity fodder, but Quark and Vic are already big targets, so it's not like he's adding a new weakness to the deck.

I love seeing the three copies of Swashbuckler at Heart in the dilemma pile due to its increased effectiveness with Holding Cell around. The Cell has a nasty habit of showing up too late in the matches where you really need it; those Swashbucklers will help you draw for the Cell and stall those nasty interrupts in the meantime. Though Holding Cell will absorb interrupts when played, one Grav-Plating Trap is enough to nuke it when played, but Swashbuckler will clear the way. Of course, once the Cell hits the table, that doesn't make the Swashbucklers useless; you still get the draws, and you'll stall your opponents by pushing those blocked interrupts that have been clogging their hands back on top of their decks.

 

The Danish National tournament followed on the next day, and it was won by Tobias Rausmann for the third year in a row. He used a different deck this time, and it looked like this:

 

Title: Central Groumall Motivation v2.01
Headquarters: Cardassia Prime, Hardscrabble World
Deck Size: Large (60+)
Deck Archetype: Capture (Interference)
Dilemma Pile Size: Medium (30-49)
Dilemma Pile Type: Kill (Tragic Turn/All-Consuming Evil)
Average Draw Deck Card Cost: 2.46
Agonizing Count: 4
Odds of Passing a 3-Skill-Dilemma Legacy: 0.4%

Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
I had three different decks prepared for the tournaments at Danish National weekend. My Romulan deck from Europeans, a fast Klingon solver, and the Cardassian capture deck I with good success at a tournament a few weeks ago. All three decks are good and wanted to play all the decks over the weekend. So the capture deck was a random choice out of the three decks.

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 small solver decks, because they lack the resources to withstand a focused capture deck + kill pile.

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 played the deck once before and the results were the same.

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 only situational card in the deck is the Phoenix. As Commandeer Prototype was needed for my deck (Intelligence for Enabran Tain) i include the ship just in case.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Trap is Sprung is very good in combination with a kill pile. You can use it either directly at the first mission attempt to have better chance to wipe out a whole away team or wait until later when the opponent would otherwise auto-solve the mission.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I like interactive decks and cardie capture fits into this theme.

My Commentary:
Now, while I have a lot of experience with Cardassian solvers, and have tinkered with Cardassian decks with capture as a sub-theme, I have no experience with large, capture-heavy decks like this one. I like to build in the 35-50 card range; the language of a slim deck just makes sense to me. I have, however, been studying large decks in an attempt to learn how to build like that, and I've noticed some themes.

Take, for example, Stefan Slaby's deck from last week, and compare it to this one. You'll notice some similarites: they are of equivalent size, and have roughly similar proportions of card types. Cardassians run a bit deeper on interrupts and ships, while Voyager is more event-heavy to fill that first, likely Voyager-less turn. Similar, but each deck playing to its own strengths, trading the damage events for capture-related events and the like. These are control decks - they have lots of cards so they have lots of room for specific answers. One copy of Apprehended in 83 cards may not seem like much, but it's a card you don't want to draw until the late-game anyways, and there are some match-ups that you can outright win by dropping it and destaffing your opponent with it.

One thing that this deck has that the Voyager deck lacks is a draw engine, and it actually has two. The obvious one is Tain; in exchange for an Agonizing count of four, you get unparalled card draws. And when you draw a second Tain, just use High Command "Motivation" on the first one and keep on drawing. Then you've got Damar, Ambitious Glinn, who can turn those extra ships into chances to draw that Apprehended, or The Central Command, or Prison Compound, whatever it is you need to win the game you're in.

The kill pile here works as the other half of a good draw engine. By killing (and capturing with the help of the draw deck) your opponent's personnel, you're neutralizing the counters that your opponent spent on drawing and playing all those personnel. In the meantime, you get to keep your personnel-counter investment unless your opponent is trying to do the same to you (in which case, I hope you have good counter-generation!). It works similarly to the Romulan deck that Tobias used in the Regional the day before: generate counters with These Are the Voyages and At What Cost?, then blank your opponent's counters with kill dilemmas and Aid Legendary Civilization.

 

The First and Second Edition Regionals in Sioux Falls, SD (Andoria Region) were both won by Kevin Jaeger. He shared the following comments about his creations:

 

Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
1e: Because I love playing dominion. I also considered a romulan/ds9 reshape 2 mission win deck.

2e: Because it's IMHO the best deck out there. I didn't consider anything else.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
1e: Anything in the dq in order to find out if an upgrade I made would work. This deck doesn't fear a deck, it has cards it has to play around - like Paxan Wormhole.

2e: Same as 1e answer except the deck hates early event destruction but can still play through it.

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?
1e: Lots of experience. I learned that one Jemmie with a gun with Phaser Burns feels good.

2e: I've played the deck before. I learned nothing new, deck does what it does.

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?
1e: Phaser Burns, Disruptor Overload, and Plexing. Sometimes capture and ship battle is all you need. Sometimes they play no equipment, most of the time Barclay's Transporter Phobia isn't played. But you never know. Phaser Burns against Mark's Kazon was awesome.

2e: The whole deck is finely tuned. Every card is functional and plays its role including Escape because even attrition stop decks occasionally try to kill people.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
1e: MVP = Reward From the Founders. It frees up the deck to utilize Ultimatum and Victory is Life downloads for other things much more useful from one game to the next.

2e: MVP = 4 cost TNG Scotty. Just say no to 8 cost killers, "God", Breached, etc.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
1e: I love dominion.

2e: Looking forward to King of the Ring!

Since no decklists have been posted to the tournaments page, I don't really have any analysis to share here, though James Heaney suggests that this year's First Edition Dominion deck appeared similar to one that Kevin used last year. As such, it may be prudent to review my analysis of that deck from the article I wrote last year. As for his Second Edition deck, he did win worlds back in 2008 with a TNG deck. Perhaps he's gone back to his roots.

 

That's all for this week, see you next week with winning decks from Michigan, Germany, and the UK! Check out Daniel's Regional Rundown in the meantime!

 


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