What's New Dashboard Articles Forums Chat Room Achievements Tournaments Player Map The Promenade Volunteers About Us Site Index
Article Archives
First EditionSecond EditionTribblesAll

All Categories Continuing CommitteeOrganized PlayRules CommitteeDeck DesignsVirtual Expansions
Card ExtrasSpecial EventsTournament ReportsEverything ElseSpotlight SeriesContests
Strategy Articles


The Road to Worlds: Regionals Week 12

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

23rd June 2016

Second Edition Kassel Regional AND German Nationals winner Thomas Schneider
Title: Who needs Planets? - German Nationals
Headquarters: Caretaker's Array
Deck Size: 60 cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 36 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Standard Attrition
Average Draw Deck Card Cost: 2.08
Agonizing Count: 2
Odds of Passing a 3-Skill-Dilemma Legacy: 11.4%
See also: FFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

Thomas' Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?

Honestly it was lack of time... I was really busy the weeks before the Regional/Nationals weekend so I could not build something new. The Voyager 5-space was the only reasonably up to date deck I still had available, so it was an easy choice. All I did was adding some new dilemmas. Brave Words is just too good for Voyager to not include it.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I was expecting that most players would stock tons of anti-Voyager cards, so I did not expect to win a lot of games. Turned out I was right about the first part but not about the second. I have no idea how many copies of Distress Call and Moral Choice I have faced during the weekend, but even that was not enough to stop Voyager. The only games I lost were against interactive decks (new-Romulus and Maquis), so there is at least one weakness remaining.

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 a very similar deck at UK Nationals and a few locals, so I had a very good idea how to play the deck.

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 thought about adding Resilience but in the end decided against it. Usually I do not like to include situational cards as they tend to slow the deck down in all other games.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Homeward Bounds! It is so unbelievably far above the power curve that I really cannot believe it still has not been errataed into oblivion. Hopefully results like this ones will convince the powers that be to finally do something about this deck.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
It should not exist. At least it should no longer exist!

My Commentary:
Thomas' victory is a big red flag for me. This double header at Kassel was well-attended, and not by inexperienced players either. For a player to come out on top using the same deck on both days tells me that something is wrong. I know I've personally been in a position of thinking I've done enough to tech for 5 Space Voyager, only to watch the game slip frustratingly away from me. That experience is anecdotal though; this event's results are not. It's true that Thomas did drop a game on both days – the deck is technically beatable. However, when the decks that beat 5SV can't seal the deal against the rest of the competition and 5SV still winds up on top despite being teched against, that's when I begin to worry.

It's not just Homeward Bound and William Telfer, Voyager has a bit of what used to be the Romulan and Klingon problem, simply being good at everything. They could do everything well: skill gain, stop prevention, kill prevention, downloading, cost-reduction or counter gain. I believe that the errata to both those affiliations (and peripheral cards like Navaar) has done a great job of producing some gaps in their armor – for example, you can actually tech against Romulans with skill walls again.

Voyager was already a top-tier affiliation before its phase II make-over. I believe the goal was to develop a niche strategy for them in order to avoid simply inflating their power, but the catch is that all the old Voyager tools can still be used with the 5 Space strategy. On top of that, both of the expansions since Lower Decks have had sub-themes that directly buff Voyager. Voyager is one of two factions guaranteed to have a 4-staffing icon ship by turn two, which is even better than just being a faction that exclusively uses such ships, like the Borg. Just ask Greg Hodgin, his one dropped game at Georgia Masters was due to never drawing a ship in his ship-rich Borg deck.

Worse, the promotion of high-span missions has, so far, had the effect of boosting 5SV exclusively. No other faction has a natural mission selection with a total span anywhere near that of Voyager. No other faction commonly uses a Nebula mission (Inversion Mystery). Few other factions report to their ship and aren't as strongly affected by high-span missions. Again, A Time to Stand is still fresh, but the problem is that every other faction, in order to benefit from (or avoid being hurt by) the new span-related cards has to make their deck worse for all other purposes; 5SV benefits from them and their presence in the meta) naturally.

It is this accumulation of advantages that has led us to this situation. I know some of you are thinking “yes, but it can be beat, let the meta adjust more.” The thing is, we've had more than a year of people adjusting, and the deck still keeps coming out on top, tournament after tournament after tournament. Even the Pulsforts' Berlin Wall infinite counters deck dropped a game to Geoffery Peterson's Borg Assimilator that year at worlds – that doesn't mean that the deck wasn't oppressive. What we have here is a deck that is having an oppressive effect on tournaments worldwide. Before this Regional season, the verdict was still out for me. After writing about it fifty thousand million times, I'm convinced something needs to be done about it.

Second Edition Fargo Regional winner Kevin Jaeger
Title: Bad Company: Reductio Ad Nauseum
Headquarters: Founders' Homeworld, Home of the Great Link
Deck Size: 49 cards
Deck Archetype: Control Interference
Dilemma Pile Size: 34 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Attribute Reduction Attrition
Average Draw Deck Card Cost: 2.33
Agonizing Count: 4
Odds of Passing a 3-Skill-Dilemma Legacy: 4.8%
See also: No other winners to point at, though Michael Van Breemen did come in second place at 2015 Worlds with another relatively slim Dominion Infiltration deck.

Kevin's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?

I had been working on this deck in tandem with my dual hq deck at the Nebraska regional as my personal mottos are 1. don't play the same deck twice in a row and 2. don't put out a deck into the meta you cant beat. Seeing how powerful the "Jaeger Bomb" deck (thanks Alexey) was I built a deck that could take it head on while still having game against the field. I also have a huge soft spot for playing 2e dominion in the Fargo regional. Bit of a tradition. The only other deck I considered was the terok nor deck I played in some casual games and a casual event a couple weeks ago....But it was never really a serous thought.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I was hoping Barry would play his dominion deck so I could get the challenge I wanted. I didn't want to face his assimilator, because that game would have been a boring 50 minutes of nothingness game until the last second push.

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've played dominion infiltration before and it's how I know that it's weakness was an unreliability in getting infiltrators at the right place at the right time. New Kira Founder solves that. I learned that new Kira + Set Up = awesome. Yes I will decide who the first number for Chula: The Chandra will be thank you.

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?
Greasy Dukat is the Obvious answer. He is a concession to the reality that is Borg and Crippling Strike and Bajoran shenanigans. Instigate Dissension was tech against my own dual headquarters bomb deck. Instigate Dissension was still useful as a choice 2 stop when used with set up. That was handy....once. I would probably drop to 2 Mobilization Points to add in an Unexpected Difficulties.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Co-MVP = new Kira Founder and Set Up. Just so much fun.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I'm glad I finally had a legit way of making Enemy Boarding Party, Hunter Gangs, and Preventative Repercussions reliably awesome.

My Commentary:
Wow, I really thought that the classic Dominion headquarters was good and extinct. Now I see it is simply endangered. I guess I'm not surprised that it wasn't so much a desire to use Non-Aligned personnel as it was the desire to use Reflections Gelnon that brought Kevin to use the original version. He's really good – being able to plunk down one of those high-cost solving-friendly Jem'Hadar like Remata'Klan for free, to a ship that doesn't need to be at home, is really valuable. You can wait until you know what you're facing dilemma-wise, and strategically pick Remata or Amat'igan. Or use him to restaff a ship remotely with someone like Ikat'ika.

Anyways, I have some personal experience playing against a similar deck when I went down to the Georgia Masters. My gracious host Will Raiman was running a larger version (that used the new HQ), but also used the Kira Founder/Misdirection/Pseudopod/Odo Founder engine. In our test games, I discovered that it was basically a deck that, given enough time, simply could not lose. With my very fast speed deck, I could often pull off one to two missions before the pieces fell in place, but then I just could not solve missions anymore. With all attributes reduced by two from Misdirection and Bashir Founder, all of a sudden Hard Time threatens to be a full stop for a nine person crew! Progress just stops, even multiple crews are lucky to put a single dilemma under, assuming your personnel live that long against the deadly attribute dilemmas like Hunter Gangs and Enemy Boarding Party.

Kevin's version seems to be a sped-up version of that deck, through the use of Gelnon and Crom recursion via Survey New World. A faster, heavy attribute reduction deck is scary – I was very lucky that Will had his worst start ever in our game in the first round of the Georgia Masters and managed to pull off the Full Win – if his deck were on average faster, I wouldn't have even been able to hope for that. I'm also a little scared that Kevin has this pegged as a deck that can beat his Jaeger Bomb deck (yes, I like Alexey's name for it the best). Before seeing Kevin's feedback, I would have expected the Jaeger Bomb to be one of the few decks with a favorable match-up due to its ability to put out personnel with such high attributes so quickly. If even a deck that can play Defiant Worf, Emissary Sisko, Premiere Bashir, and Jaresh-Inyo for only three counters can't beat this one, I'm not sure what can.

First Edition Fargo Regional winner Kevin Jaeger
Title: If I dont make it, get yourself and Frito to the Time Masheen.
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Play Engines: Bajoran Resistance Cell, Deep Space Station K-7, Cybernetics Expertise, Lewis Zimmerman
Draw Engines: The Guardian of Forever, Bajoran Resistance Cell, Temporal Shifting,
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists, Kira Taban
See also: This deck's primary play engines (BRC and TOS) line up with Richard DeLashmit's Yesterday's Enterprise, but the other engines give it a significantly different flavor.

Kevin's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?

I decided to run something different for the North Dakota regional as it was said that there would be several newer players. So instead of playing a janky control deck that I had been working on for a couple weeks, I opted for a fast as can be solver and get outside my comfort zone... and avoid becoming a time game superstar. The other deck I was considering was a Luther Sloan capture deck. It has a solid early 3 turns but nowhere near enough solving ability yet to reliably get Full Win and without enough FW, even a single loss puts you out.

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 get into a solving rave with everyone so that I could push myself. I didn't want to have to play around jank. The deck was totally able to do it if it needed to but that was not the thing I needed to work on to get better.

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 am not known as a speed solver player in 1e. So my experience with solvers is understanding how quickly they can move so I know how quickly I need to shut them down. I study solvers to understand what they want to do so I seed dilemmas more effectively. But I don't like to play them myself usually because I don't like feeling as if one hand is tied behind my back. My goal with every 1e deck is to be the person dictating the game. I'm gonna do x, try and stop me.

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 card(s) I would consider situational for this deck would be the Suna + Reflection Therapy. As you can see, I'm not running ref anything for defense so again, the mindset was, I'm gonna go balls out fast and you stop me.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
MVP = Guardian of Forever.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
The deck was fun.

My Commentary:
Kevin's right, this is not the type of deck I expected from him at all. In Second Edition, it is much more common for him to switch hit back and forth between solvers and interference decks. However, in First Edition, the most solveresque deck I've seen out of him in years was the KCA deck he took to Minnesota, which can very easily take a very aggressive turn. When he actually lost a game with that deck, I assumed it would be wall to wall interference decks as far as the eye could see afterwards. And yet, here we are with a solver that leans heavily on the battle-averse Federation. There isn't even a Battle Bridge side deck! On the other hand, Captain Kirk is there to activate some attacks of opportunity, and even those Constitution-class ships aren't that little once you add in Captain's Log and Mr. Scott bonuses.

In any event, it's a good one to be sure, and hits all the notes we've been seeing from successful solvers this year. The play engines are numerous, and they can all play to the same location (though there is no headquarters battle protection). The primary draw engine (Guardian) does not cost a full card play (and is one of my favorites due to how flavorful it is). It has a bunch of Alternate Universe-icon personnel and a handful of Empathy or dial-a-skill (for some reason, typing out "Alternate Universe-icon" just fills me with nostalgia). And of course, it includes Bajoran Resistance Cell and Dr. McCoy.

Utilizing the Zimmerman-based hologram free play engine is rare, and I can see why. Alpha quadrant solvers tend to be Continuing Mission or Reshape the Quadrant decks, and can't use a Voyager property logo card, while non-Alpha solvers would need to spend two seed slots (the Rods and a Micro-wormhole). The remaining non-CM/RtQ Alpha solvers often go for flashier engines like the Son'a and Baku with their downloads, multiple free engines for one seed, and potential for taking a double turn. However, the ability of Holograms to report direct to Zimmerman should not be overlooked; sure, you may be spewing out Son'a, but it won't do you much good if you get cut off from your supply line by a battle deck. Holograms may have some difficulty with planet missions, but I feel that their resilience to kills definitely makes up for that weakness, especially in a two-mission-win deck.

Second Edition Kazan Regional winner Alexey Korolev
Title: Jaeger Bomb
Headquarters: Earth, Cradle of the Federation and Mouth of the Wormhole, Deep Space 9
Deck Size: 40 cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 36 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Standard Attrition
Average Draw Deck Card Cost: 2.5
Agonizing Count: 2
Odds of Passing a 3-Skill-Dilemma Legacy: 1.7%
See also: This is Alexey's version of Kevin's TNG/DS9 speed solver from week 10.

Alexey's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?

I was choosing between 5-space Voyager and new Starfleet until the last week. But I felt tired of all these mid-range solvers, and when Kevin Jaeger's deck (and his reflections on current European meta) appeared on the website, I decided to try a "pure speed" deck. I also hoped that no one will be prepared for the deck, which can attempt on turn 2.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I was preparing for Voyager, Maquis, Starfleet, Dominion and was afraid of possible combat or capture decks. Surprisingly, there were no Voyagers, though everyone was prepared for it. I beat Maquis twice and even 3x Stalling for time + Organized Terrorist Activities were not able to compensate for overwhelming speed of this deck. Bajoran battle decks were too slow and barely managed to staff the ship. My only lost game was a result of the opponent (Andrey Gusev) having At What Cost? on his starting hand - we both attempted with 8 on turn 2.

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 was not aware of existence of Preposterious Plan until last week and never played 2 HQ or Jaresh-Inyo decks before, so my experience was limited with 3 test games (I lost two of them). I was rather surprised that having just 4 archeologists in the deck is enough to reliably solve Historical Research.

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?
No situational cards, all cards were useful except maybe Uninvited which was discarded by Dreamer twice. Overperforming cards included Spock, Maverick Diplomat (great attributes, allowing me to complete planets with 4 people) and Karen Loewes (excellent skill set, allowed me to pass through Accelerated Aging + Unknown Microorganism to complete ALC in game against Nickolay).

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Ezri Dax! Our tournament director (Andrey Larin) even wrote her name into my Tournament winner certificate. It was the first major Russian event with two ACE kill piles and everyone else had very kill-heavy dilemma piles so she did very well. But, of course, this deck is impossible without Guinan+PP+Inyo combo, so you may just put Kevin Jaeger's picture here instead of Ezri's.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
This deck is absolute nightmare for unprepared metas, but it has huge skill holes and is vulnerable to all usual 2 HQ hate, so I think I will never play it again.

My Commentary:
I like what Alexey's done with the place... and not just the name (though it is a definite improvement). The "Common" cards are gone, and with them some of both the speed and the fragility of the deck. The core combo should be found earlier more often, but the deck will likely slow a bit in the mid-game - if the game even lasts that long. That's probably closer to how I would play the deck, as evidenced by the reverse-engineering I tried to do from Kevin's report before I saw the decklist last time.

Not needing to diversify the affiliations in the deck as much has allowed Alexey to squeeze in some other power cards. Using Call to Arms Garak tickles my nostalgia, but Spock and his ability to download Inyo on top of his rich skill list and high attributes I feel is more likely to promote the mission-solving game plan. I also like Alexey's choice of Dax better - Premiere Jadzia may fill more skill holes, but as soon as she dies those Rapid Progresses and Counterinsurgency Programs will just go right back to being a source of hard stops regardless of crew size. Ezri, on the other hand, provides essential kill prevention to back-up Julian; Secret ID one of them, and the other comes right in and picks right up where the other left off.

But yes, I think Alexey is absolutely right, this isn't a deck you can play week after week due to its skill holes. In last week's discussion thread, Kris and Ken had a friendly debate about whether or not the Common DS9 deck (which this deck is a close relative of) would fare well against the TOS Aid Legendary Civilization deck. I'll take this opportunity to weigh in that any deck planning to secure a skill-based lockout should be favored against this deck and the Common Deck, whether it is through Kills -> Telepathic Deception or something the Brian Sykes would run with all the aforementioned dial-a-wall dilemmas. At least, I hope so... I haven't done much testing yet.

Second Edition Cape Town Regional winner Fritz Meissner
Title: New Players Do Exist and Phase 2 made Recruiting them Easier
Headquarters: Cardassia Prime, Hardscrabble World
Deck Size: 57 cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 43 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Standard Attrition
Average Draw Deck Card Cost: 2.49
Agonizing Count: 2
Odds of Passing a 3-Skill-Dilemma Legacy: 12.5%
See also: This is Michael Van Breemen's Georgia Masters deck, but with an attrition pile. The last time we had a Cardassian winner was when Al Schaefer won a Regional last year with his version of my version of Len's Cardassian solver.

Fritz's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?

I was in a position where I controlled 3/5 of the expected meta so I tried not to be too cutthroat about my deck choice. I don't want to be playing something that means "you lose because you've never seen these cards before", or "you lose because you haven't realised what your meta missions do". OTOH I wanted to expand my group's horizons to a bit more interaction, because I've mostly been dishing out simple speed decks over the last two years.

Cardassians are ideal because capture on its own doesn't completely shut down the opponent, unlike say TOS battle where a single turn decides between "I win and you do nothing" (horrible) and, "I lose" (undermines the viability of interaction). As such I've been running demos where I play the simplest possible (smaller than legal) capture deck and give the new player a TNG deck with just personnel and ships. This has worked well and it meant that the new guys in this event had already seen Cardassians.

I found MVB's Georgia Masters Cardies, which is a nice blend between capture and solver. In his report MVB doesn't sound particularly enthusiastic about the deck, in particular the choice of kill pile. I don't think my group is ready for kill piles anyway so I paired it with a Ken Tufts bouncing pile.

Had I not had time to prepare I would've used the Dominion solver I used in Online Not A Regional. It's Ken's build that includes a small amount of interaction. Not first choice for demonstrating interaction, but at least a small taste... and probably a better choice if my only goal was winning.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I had a pretty good idea of what I would face: up to the day of the tournament I was expecting four others, 2 with speed solvers I gave them (DS9 commons and your phase 2 TNG with Rigel + ALC) and 2 with their own choice of deck including the defending champion Daymon Watt (who was ultimately a no show). I thought Daymon would probably bring Dominion because that's what he knows, and the 4th, Robin Caddie is utterly unpredictable (like, Maquis + Androids unpredictable).

Honestly, I didn't think the draw deck was a particularly good matchup against any of those, but I prepped the dilemma pile a bit. Ken's version was already anti-Stakoron, I added even more (Picking Up the Pieces), and more weenie hate - In Development. There were also some standard dilemmas that I was surprised not to see in the original: Insurrection, Timescape. And it was actually built pre-ATTS, so I tried out Becalmed and Dead Weight. The draw deck had 3x Uninvited (no doubt because of its pairing with a kill pile), so I added Crew Advancement which I had never seen until Kris Sonsteby used it against me in an online tournament. Finally, because of 3x Central Command + 3x Uninvited I added one copy of the two interrupt walls from Lower Decks.

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've played Cardassians solvers loads, but capture (I think) only once in a tournament, which accounts for my rustiness in playing Ensnared while the target was at my opponent's HQ (twice). With 3x Prison Compound the temptation was to max out on the captives, but in fact the capture was only important where it removed key personnel like DS9 Martok in my game against Markus and Mot against Nick's TNG. I've no doubt if I saw MVB playing it I'd pick up some more tricks that I missed.

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?
Insurrection and The Clown: Go Away were absolutely vital in the 3rd-round decider against Nick. At Investigate Alien Probe I landed both. He needed 6 people for the attributes, 7 after the clown. At time I still only had 4 under the mission, and my pile served up the goods attempt after attempt just drawing 3 or 4 dilemmas. This is after 2 turns of triple attempts without even drawing timescape (or Uninvited).

Trap is Sprung really seemed to deter opponents from attempting the mission it was on, but it probably shouldn't have since they were playing weenie decks that could afford to lose anyone. I'm undecided about this card, as it is interference "for free" in the mould of Crippling Strike, but much more situational.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Adopted Authority! The best dilemma in the Federation + Starfleet heavy meta right now.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Not particularly about my deck so much as its title:

(1) To the community as a whole: new players do exist, we can recruit them, stop saying we can't. On Saturday I ran demos all day at my LGS, with each game having a crowd of onlookers. Sunday morning one of them is emailing me at 4am talking about the place he's found to print and can I send him some PDFs.

You and I might leave, but the game will survive if we're prepared to care about reaching new players. Most of the forum concerns (like about locations of competitive events) are orthogonal at best to the question of recruitment. Don't stop arguing for what you believe in, but don't go nuclear on the whole community if you lose.

(2) I really like phase 2 for giving me competitive, simple, flavourful decks that I can give to new players. Over and over again on Saturday I heard how cool it was to play a game with a real story to it.

Maybe we have some concerns about keeping players in once one person brings an NPE deck, but for getting new players in we are far better off than before when you were either losing or winning slowly with a deck that gives you carpal tunnel when you shuffle.

My Commentary:
This is one of those decks that I've experienced personally, though I doubt I got the full experience. Capture is not at its best against swarms of weenies - Ensnaring Mot, while helpful, isn't quite as potent as Ensnaring Gowron. That said, the deck can pivot to be a strong enough solver that even a deck built to beat a kill pile was within a turn of losing. That's what makes this deck interesting to me: it is flexible about its win conditions in a way that many other decks aren't. Against control, you really have too many important verbs to destroy them all, and then you either solve too fast and/or capture their lynchpin personnel. Against speed, you lean on the gas and have a shot at solving just as fast.

Cardassians, in my experience, are in an interesting spot design-wise. The things that they are good at, they are the best at. Absolutely no one prevents stops as well as the Cardassians do, and trying to block all the Cardassian skill-gain is a losing proposition. If we were ever to get into a Counterinsurgency Program dominated meta, it would be the Cardassians we'd need to turn to in order to push the needle back. But as we move into attribute gain and counter-generation, their options get weaker; and then their kill prevention and cost-reduction are nearly non-existent.

They are an affiliation with well-defined strengths and weaknesses, and a whole mechanic (capture) that is their primary playground. They've got strong flavor identity in terms of self-milling for immediate gain, with poor access to the discard pile. This is pretty much the sweet spot where I dream of all affiliations residing. Aaaand it is probably part of why they aren't winning much these days. Too many factions currently have too few flavorful weaknesses, and that's not a problem that can be solved by adjusting the meta by design. That's why I've been a strong supporter of the incremental-level errata to the Romulan cards a few years ago, and that's why I'd love to see more of the same.

Man, I'm doing a lot of editorializing this week.

First Edition Online (Not a) Regional winner Jon Carter
Title: Shooting Green from every hole
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Play Engines: Continuing Committee, Office of the Proconsul, Son'a Observatory, Cybernetics Expertise
Draw Engines: Remote Interference, Duck Blind, Handshake, Surprise Party
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists
See also: We haven't seen a primarily Romulan non-Continuing Mission winner for a very long time.

My Commentary:
Though this particular combination of play engines is quite uncommon, this deck reminds me a great deal of Justin Ford's Bajoran Orb Solver. That's another deck that can stack a bunch of play engines at its homeworld, and potentially turtle there against an aggressive opponent. Both decks have the option of using The Genesis Effect on a homeworld Dead End, but while Jon's deck lacks the ability to stay home and play Dabo in order to pressure the aggressor into solving missions, he's got some other anti-aggro tools up his sleeve.

There are two space missions in this deck that greatly benefit a deck that is assuming a defensive posture. First there's the more common Evade Borg Vessel. I've noted in the past that it is ironically titled due to granting less protection from the Borg than any other affiliation (thanks Multiplexor Drone!), but no deck that lacks Kurlan Naiskos is going to blow up an outpost that is hiding in this nebula. You're not completely safe there, but it's a start. The other mission is Paxan "Wormhole", and you are going to be much, much safer there. No pure aggressive deck routinely runs Androids, not the Borg, Kazon, or KCA. In fact, the only other non-Federation deck that tends to run them are either TNG Romulans (who will usually have trouble shooting you), or a Illegitimate Leader speed deck.

All that defense, and you've still got a reasonably fast speed deck underneath it all. Four fully-supported play engines, with loads of draw to back them up. One of those draw engines is even Remote Interference, which doubles as a Borg probe prevention service. The personnel in the deck are generally high quality - oh and look, there's Dr. McCoy! Thanks for playing another round of "spot McCoy in the solver deck" with me; when he even shows up in Continuing Mission solvers (like Kris' Romulans), then you know that he's maybe a bit too good.

Second Edition Online (Not a) Regional winner Oliver Thust
Title: Les Miserables
Headquarters: Quatal Prime, Quiet Mining Colony
Deck Size: 65 cards
Deck Archetype: Control Interference
Dilemma Pile Size: 32 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Kill
Average Draw Deck Card Cost: 2.18
Agonizing Count: 3
Odds of Passing a 3-Skill-Dilemma Legacy: 0.7%
See also: This is our first winner using the new Maquis HQ, but I would say it is a spiritual successor to decks like Neil Timmons' 2014 Worlds-winning Maquis deck.

Oliver's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?

I already had a Maquis-themed deck in my deckbuilder with Athos IV, and considered it worth it to remove Dukat and Shran in order to get the benefits from the new headquarters: making events cheaper, and also important, to have one region in whole deck. As an alternative I thought about a Starfleet deck with Lorian and the NX 01.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I decided to use it because it's a fine strategy against most used Starfleet and Voyager Decks. Not sure in Klingons (much Law) and Terek-Nor (Event-Destruction/Law). Won against Klingons during the German Nationals later after all.

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?
No I didn't have much experience, I haven't played Maquis for a long time. I tested it against three players beforehand. I learned that I shouldn't use Adopted Authority in Maquis when I'm also using Not Easily Taken". But I also learned that Not Easily Taken, with an event on opponent's mission, works very well with Dilemmas like Hunter Gangs or Ardent Predator.

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?
Deck worked like I expected, but I changed up the dilemmas for German Nationals; more killing with Ardent Predator, Hunter Gangs ... (and I won all matches there)

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Biogenic Weapon of course.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
You always have a problem with getting full wins in a one hour tournament. You have to consider this in tournaments with more rounds.

My Commentary:
Ouch, winning every round of a tournament and still losing as Oliver did at German Nationals, that's got to sting. Of course, that has been a perennial problem with Control Interference decks in Second Edition. Even if you efficiently process all your turns, you're still only going to get so many turns before the game ends - if you spend turns on stopping the opponent, well that's time you're not spending on actually winning the game yourself. That's how we've got multiple Interference decks that many high level players will tell you are the best in the game, but just aren't played that much. Part of it is that they feel mean to play, but at big tournaments that's not what's stopping people, the risk of losing without actually losing a game is very real in a many-round event.

In the See Also section I compared this deck to Neil's Maquis deck, but after reading Oliver's responses (and writing about Kevin's infiltration deck), it feels more like a hybrid between Neil's deck and Kevin's. The kill pile is still there, but Aid Legendary Civilization's passive interference has been replaced by the slightly less passive but still very interfering Not Easily Taken. Infiltration decks have shown us how potent attribute reduction can be, even at a mild level like Nat Kirton's deck from the MN Regional. Add that to classic Maquis card denial and a kill pile, and it's going to be hard to keep a crew in play that can even solve anything.

Also gone are Cascade Virus and Alarming Rumors, since those interrupts specifically call out Athos IV. Operational Necessity picks up some of the slack, but it only targets interrupts, not personnel or events. Instead, we get the upside portion of playing events on your own missions, with a boost from the other half of Not Easily Taken. Extra points are plentiful from Habak, Debate Over Dinner, and the text on the space missions, fueling a few key Organized Terrorist Activities. Then we've also got the new personnel like Kolopak and Rogers, giving the new Maquis some better solving tools. This new Maquis direction is interesting to me; I'm not much of an Interference player myself, but there are some ideas that I'm excited to see where players take them. If we can get their solving speed up, then they could be a real threat going forward.


Discuss this article in this thread.

Back to Archive index