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The Road to Worlds: Winning Deck Analysis, Week 12

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

18th June 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.

 

The most recent Second Edition Vandros IV Regional was held in Hamburg, Germany as part of the NordCon festivities. Tobias Rausmann won the event, and makes his third appearance in this year's series with a third different design:

 

Title: Dilemma be gone
Headquarters: Mouth of the Wormhole, Terok Nor
Deck Size: Large (60+)
Deck Archetype: Control Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: Large (60+)
Dilemma Pile Type: Achievement
Average Draw Deck Card Cost: 2.38
Agonizing Count: 2
Odds of Passing a 3-Skill-Dilemma Legacy: 7%

Tobias had this to say about his deck:

Why did you choose the deck that you used?
This time I chose a deck that would get some achievements and give me the opportunity to try more cards from the recent set. It worked better than expected.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
The MVP card was Undermined Defenses. It was a great way to manipulate random selections or to exclude the complete away team. The deck was big enough to use it multiple times and it got me multiple missions.

My Commentary:
This is our third Terok Nor Regional-winning deck; we've already looked at ones by Nathan Miracle and Steve Hartmann. While this deck is not a copy of either of those decks, it is a closer relative of Steve's deck. It is also a control solver, with a heavy emphasis on milling the opposing dilemma pile, using the full suite of Tenuous Alliance, War of Attrition, the various personnel who help, and Inevitable Triumph. Triumph pulls double duty, also supplementing Terok Nor's excellent event and interrupt disruption along with Dukat and Our Death is Glory to the Founders.

Another interesting addition here is the single copy of Crippling Strike. Steve Hartmann had opined that Ruling Council essentially grants the user an additional turn, and I believe that Crippling Strike does the same thing in a different way. Just like Ruling Council doesn't affect your counters but reactivates all your personnel, a well-timed Crippling Strike can basically deactivate your opponent's personnel for a turn. They aren't stopped, but if they can't get anywhere then they might as well be. Since this deck is 14 cards larger than Steve's, adding the Strike to the existing three Ruling Councils increases the count of interrupts that buy you a turn proportionally.

I had a follow-up question for Tobias:

I noticed that your deck qualified for the "Tragic Turned" achievement since it used every dilemma from Fractured Time and Reflections 2.0. Presumably this means that you were using a significant number of dilemmas that you haven't used in quite some time. Did any of those underused dilemmas impress you?
No. I didn´t use any of the "underused" dilemmas in the tournament. To compensate for these dilemmas the dilemma pile was much bigger than normal.

Well, I was hoping to have a scoop for you on the surprising usefulness of something like Mr. Tricorder (I loved using that card back in that era), but I can't say that I'm surprised. Ken Tufts won a regional with a similar achievement deck last year, instead going for using all the Premiere and Energize dilemmas, and he used a similar strategy. Instead of the Tufts approach of fishing out the zero cost walls with Uninvited, by pairing this pile with a Terok Nor deck, Tobias can comfortably count on many of those dilemmas getting milled with things like Tenuous Alliance.

 

Only one Regional-level (or higher) event took place this weekend, but that doesn't mean we're done here. The third annual Online (Not a) Regional for First Edition finished up this Sunday. Though it doesn't have the K level of a traditional regional, it still drew an impressive twenty players, many of whom have considerable playing chops - I'd say anyone who is on the Road to Worlds cannot afford to ignore events like this one. In a result decided by strength of schedule, Kenneth Tufts makes his third appearance this year with this deck:

 

Title: Kazon battling for Achievements v1.1
Deck Archetype: Battle (Interference)
Play Engines: New Arrivals, The Kazon Collective, Son'a Observatory, Home Away From Home
Draw Engines: New Arrivals, Duck Blind
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists

Ken shared his thoughts on the deck:

Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
I picked a deck I was trying to hit an achievement with like 98% of the time I play trek :)

I didn't really consider other decks, I signed up with the intention to play this deck because I don't want to run it too much in locals. Also, I have been training my local players how to deal with variations of it when J and Justin have played it locally, so it's harder to get Full Wins. Since I figured it was more likely to hit Modified Losses with it locally, I wanted to give the online meta a test spin with 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 not to face any REALLLLLLLY fast solver, the kind that can win in 4 turns or less. If I get a bit of a bad draw I might have issues getting to them in time.

Anything teched heavily enough against Kazon battle could have been a problem, but this version was running counter tech tech, so I was less worried about that.

And lastly I hoped not to face a deck that looked like a variation on one I built specifically to combat this deck. I did anyways, and that was the one game I did not get a Full Win in. Please let me be clear, I'm not saying Matt copied my deck - he had some different tech in it for sure but we have played a few times now and I know we both think alike in quite a few ways about trek decks. We definitely both went to the same well on that deck in how and why it was a good counter to the Kazon Battle deck, some of my newer anti-tech tech was key to this game not going to at least a Modified Win for him (that and we both made some huge mistakes that should have pulled it out of a tie in the favor of who ever made the least of them).

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, this is the second modification of this deck I have played and I have played it a few times already. It's taken from the many versions J has played locally, mostly just to save time because I had seen his deck enough to know his was making most of the choices I would make. Rather than start from scratch I started with his and tinkered. This was when the deck was really starting to gel for me which lead to much more Full wins versus previous outings getting only Modified Wins.

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 has a ton of situational cards, (Hail, Tachyon Detection Grid, Kevin, Anij, and Computer Crash are some of them) and each one was used in at least one game and were key in all those games. Most of them performed as expected; one is my MVP, though it did not really exceed what I expected, it's only that I faced more of the cards I put it in to deal with than I expected.

I would continue to include all of them however I don't like this deck it's mean and abusive so I have no intention of playing it now that it got the achievement I planned it for.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Kevin Uxbridge... all those hidden fighter ships are much much less useful when Establish Landing Protocol goes bye-bye. At least one player was running the Goddess of Empathy that it was also in there for, though I did not face that player. I believe in one game it also stopped an Isomagnetic Disintegrator to basically end my opponent's hope of recovery.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Not really, other than having played it a few times now I have cemented my feelings that there are a few issues with just how fast and strong it gets the battle fleet going, and that Outgunned on an opponents turn is just wrong. I had before mostly just played against it and over all fared well but had been concerned. Now playing it I do understand why people have issues with it fully. What I was able to do to people was just wrong.

It is not a 100% win every big event deck because Modified Wins/Losses are always a big issue with it but it still just ugly, I hope the CC is able to look at it and find some ways to make it still viable but a little less ugly.

My Commentary:
Last year there was just one deck that conquered two First Edition Regionals: Stefan de Walf's Kazon battle deck, which was later appropriated by J who also won with it. It is a beast. You build a fleet, place it all aboard the same ship, wormhole it to the Quadrant that your opponent is in, unstop the whole stack with Make It So, and blow up or Outgunned everything your opponent has in play. It's a controversial deck, and a lot has been said about it already. In March, Ryan Sutton started a simple forum thread about it, which ballooned into a seven page debate. I consider that thread to be required reading in any discussion of this deck.

I asked Ken to point to the type of anti-Kazon deck he referred to in his interview, and he directed me to his Terran Empire deck from the Maryland Masters last year. It is similar to Michael Van Breemen's Terran Empire deck from earlier this season, and can do a lot to avoid battle with Hidden Fighters and planet hopping with Multidimensional Transport Device. It can do a lot without ships, and it is tough for the fleet to cover all the rabbit holes that ships can pop out of. In addition, Ken added some Goddesses of Empathy to protect those few ships from Outgunned on the turns when the ships need to come out of hiding.

So, this Kazon battle deck can be beaten. In fact, Justin Ford has taken variations on it to each of the three non-block North American Masters events, and each time he lost to one (and only one) opponent. Once was Ken's Terran Empire deck, and two losses to high-speed decks from John Paul Veasey and Ryan Sutton. Interestingly, those high speed decks were not designed specifically to defeat Kazon battle, so I'm still not sure how I feel about the deck. I do tend to agree with Ken that Outgunned on an opponent's turn seems above the curve, as it tends to neutralize many of the battle defenses that your average midrange solver might include. What do you, the reader, think?

 

That's all for this week; see you next week with winning decks from the Rura Penthe Regionals, and the Second Edition Online (Not a) Regional. Daniel's taking a week off from the Regional Rundown, so you'll have plenty of time to check out his Assimilate This! podcast.

 

 

 

 


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