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: Canadian, British, and Russian Nationals

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

8th December 2016

First Edition British Nationals winner Alex Dixon
Title: battle of sector 001
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Play Engines: Federation Flagship: Relaunched, Bajoran Resistance Cell, Chamber of Ministers
Draw Engines: Study Divergent History, Bajoran Resistance Cell
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists

My Commentary:
I've got to admit, I was somewhat skeptical of Battle of Sector 001 when it was first revealed. We don't see much use of stealable missions these days, even less so when you consider that this mission has only one affiliation icon (cannot be protected by HQ: Defensive Measures). Worse, that icon is blue which is the most common color you'll see on the other side of the table from you. The requirements are even more general on the opponent's side; it's not like you'll only need to worry about Enterprise-E players stealing it. That said, it is a whole lot of points for you, with very non-specific requirements - it isn't every 50 point mission that has requirements that nearly a third of the personnel in your deck have.

Otherwise, we've seen many elements of this deck many times before. I mean, I really shouldn't need to tell you how amazing Bajoran Resistance Cell is anymore. With the announced errata, it will still be great, but players may actually stop and think about whether it is still the right choice for their decks. In this case, I believe the answer would still be yes, in no small part due to the restrictions on other Federation personnel on Federation Flagship: Relaunched. That, plus the incredible draw potential of the Cell makes it still a great choice for this deck, even if it is a bit less flexible.

Khan! Made quite the... splash, shall we say, when it was revealed, but this is the first time we've seen it in a winning deck. Personally, I think that means the jury's still out on it - it doesn't have to be dominating the tournament scene to have a repressive effect on the decks people worry about. Typically mirror quadrant decks, where the mission point values are low and the bonus points are harder to come by than just mission specialists and go, are the ones that people are concerned about, and we haven't exactly seen those swarming the top spots recently either. I'll be interested to see what happens this Regional season.

Second Edition Canadian Nationals winner Michael Van Breemen
Title: Twice as Big Means Twice as Good... Right?
Headquarters: Prevent Historical Disruption
Deck Size: 70 cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 70 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Standard Attrition

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

Reason I chose the deck - I didn't, Amber did. I gave three deck ideas - perpetual battle/ship destruction, TNG no-dilemmas and what I played. Plus, whenever the new range mission achievements go through and if they're back-dated then i'll get the all range achievement too.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Decks that I was expecting to face - I put Ken at 70% odds at playing Relativity, 20% on playing Terok Nor deck mill and 10% something else. I knew what Amber was playing and if Bren was playing I knew what he was playing. That just left Richard (if he was playing), J (if he was playing) and Justin (no clue what he was going to play). Generally, as long as I wasn't facing Borg assimilation or Maquis lockout, I was going to be okay.

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 most everything at this point but this was my first big-range deck attempt. I did get to use both functions of Hurried Departure against Justin (hadn't drawn my damage removing interrupts yet) in order to fly my damaged Relativity to Sha Ka Ree.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
I got a lot of use out of my skill-changing interrupt on planets to get around Rogue Borg Ambush for game wins (making it my MVP) but I never used the other interrupt (either wasn't in my hand when needed or weren't needed as I wanted to replay the person from Hard Time.)

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Beyond that, it's pretty much the same as any other Relativity deck so there's nothing otherwise out of the ordinary.

My Commentary:
I think my favorite part of achievement hunting is when achievements lead us to use cards we might not have otherwise. Doing so is particularly sweet when you end up winning anyways. The first time I managed to beat Len, I was playing a deck with A Silver Age dilemma pile; there are many dilemmas that are just not quite good enough for routine use, but still have life in them. That achievement nudged me to play with them, and the Len's inability to predict my dilemma plays was a factor in my win.

Likewise, Michael's draw deck here includes a lot of underused cards from recent sets, and it uses them to good effect. Perilous Proposal in particular seems very potent for a deck that can play the Lucasian Chair for cheap even before solving a mission - replacing skills in dilemma requirements gets around various forms of skill gain hate (like Psychokinetic Control), and shores up a perennial weakness of the Relativity faction. Emergency Repairs looks to be a great utility tool, reducing the need for tech like Exocomp or Torres while providing other situational benefits too. Both of those can be used effectively by Voyager too, though - I'm very interested in how effective Relief Efforts was, since that can't really be tried with our five-space friends.

Speaking of sticking it to Voyager, one benefit of having a 3-span home mission is that you can build a mission set with a total span that even Voyager can't reach. Voyager decks have long relied on Well-Prepared Defenses, and immediately flocked to Brave Words when that dilemma was released. Michael's deck, however, has Voyager cornered when it comes to both total span AND total points. It is impossible for Voyager to best his tallies in those categories - in fact, only Khan can tie him, and even then only on total points, not total span. That's okay though, I think we can give Khan that one.

Second Edition Russian Nationals winner Nickolay Korotya
Title: Future is here! v1.6.5
Headquarters: Prevent Historical Disruption
Deck Size: 83 cards
Deck Archetype: Control Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 54 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Standard Attrition

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

I hoped to play with one of the new (for me) deck archetypes – e.g., I considered using Common DS9. However, as I spent the whole week before tournament in bed with a flu, I had less time to practice new stuff. So I decided to use my “main” deck – big Relativity.

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 do have a bit of experience with this deck, indeed – that was main reason for choosing it this time :D I crafted its first iteration back in 2013, and it performed quite well in 2013 & 2014 (1st place on Euro 2013 day I, first place on RU Nationals 2013 & 2014, and some other wins). In 2015, when the global meta became faster, I felt that Relativity is getting a bit too slow, and is falling from Tier 1. However, this time the deck proved that it still can win tournaments vs. serious players and has a good chance even vs. new fast decks.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
1. Main problem for Relativity now is uber-fast decks like Common DS9 or all-space Voyager – with a bit of bad luck on dilemma draws, they actually can grab a win pretty quick.
2. As Relativity has no captive-rescuing cards (due to wording of Rescue Captives/Relativity ship), I am a bit wary of lucky/fast capture decks. I say lucky/fast because I've managed to win all 2 or 3 tournament games vs Capture Cardassians over the years – usually I manage to outspeed them before they can get my people in brig. So this fear is theoretical only for now :D
3. In general, I intended for this deck to be versatile, able to perform decently vs. most types of tournament decks & dilemma piles. So I have no "finger-crossing white or black list".

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?
Yes, I tend to use 2 situational cards: Exocomp & B’Elanna, which should help vs. relatively rare (but quite devastating) ship destruction decks. And this time Oleg was playing one of these! But due to extremely unlucky dilemma draws on his part, my ships have not got any scratches at all, so these cards weren’t played :( As for exceeding expectations, “normally useful” Uninvited was surprisingly shining this tournament; but this card is anything but situational – it’s used in every other deck.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
This is a hard question, as there are many great cards in this deck, which can turn the tide of a game. Kirk OT, Chakotays, Cluttering Irrelevancies... However, as MVP I would nominate plain simple Data, Lucasian Chair – as he works for 2 people literally in every mission attempt over all games.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Relativity is pretty fun deck type! I hope to see more new cards for it, so I could win Worlds one day with it :thumbsup:

My Commentary:
Oh boy, it has been a while since I've seen Baxter, Wandering Security Officer in a Relativity deck! He's one of those tech cards that is only really at home in on of these sprawling control Relativity decks - smaller midrange or speed solvers simply won't care about his ability to recur events, since he needs a use of Temporal Transporters to even get into play, and isn't hugely impactful while he's there. But in a deck that has teched in all these events that help in specific match-ups, being able to get those events back can be game-ending. Like, one Firestorm can be devastating to an Unfair Comparison-based deck, but being able to keep recovering it with Baxter means that you simply will not need to care about 8-cost dilemmas. That's a pretty nice insurance policy.

I've glowed about The Manheim Effect in this series before, but seeing it with Baxter made me want to talk about it again. The effect that Baxter has on tech events, that's what Manheim Effect does for tech dilemmas. Facing two Moral Choices is frustrating for blue decks, but Manheim can keep them coming, especially if Alvera Tree Ritual isn't out yet. And then, you guessed it, Baxter keeps The Manheim coming, which keeps the Moral Choices flowing... now I want to play this deck (even if Baxtering Manheim is perhaps a bit too resource intensive to be sustainably worth it). I'd probably put another Baxter in though.

An interesting feature to Nickolay's build is the heavy investment of card-draw interrupts. We see both Fajo's Menagerie and the similar Historical Monitor. Again, these are inclusions which, perhaps counter-intuitively, wouldn't benefit smaller Relativity decks - after all, isn't the speed renaissance we've been experiencing due to the variety of free draws we've received in recent expansions? Well, yes, but Relativity functions fundamentally differently from most decks, due to cheating high-cost cards out with Temporal Transporters. While Relativity isn't slow, simply getting more cards in hand won't actually allow you to spend your counters that much faster - except in a build like this one, with all those cheap events. Dumping those from your hand each turn will benefit from a few good hand refills, and that's what this deck has.

Second Edition British Nationals winner William Hoskin
Title: Starfleet London
Headquarters: Earth, Humanity's Home
Deck Size: 54 cards
Deck Archetype: Control Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 32 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Standard Attrition

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

I decided to play this deck after coming 11th with it at worlds. I felt that I should have done better with it and wanted to give another run out against solid opposition. I'm not about to turn up to a local with, what I think could be, a deck that's a world beater. Nationals seemed like a chance to give it another go.

Starfleet was at the top of my list, but I had a Klingon deck that I know inside and out that did me a solid at the US Continentals earlier this year. There are a couple of other decks that I'm tinkering with at the moment and once I have the proportions right should KO a few people.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Knowing most of the field I was expecting Dominion (Nick), SF (Danny), Fed Dual HQ (Stuart), something Blue probably Cadets (Andrew) and I had no idea what Thorsten was going to bring. Turns out I was wrong about most people.

I wasn't looking forward to facing Stuart's Dual HQ Fed deck, and I always seem to struggle against Andrew but all in all there was nothing that I didn't want to face more than a Borg assimilator.

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 version of this deck at Euros, found a couple of big issues, solved them, moved onto Worlds, felt that I let the deck down with some of my dilemma plays and decided to give it another run at Nationals. There are some tweaks I need to make and a rethink on the dilemma pile but overall the deck seems to be there or there are outs.

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?
There are a couple of cards that can be useful depending on the situation but most of the cards lead into one another. Vulcan tricorder is a great defence against caretakers guests and a couple of newer dilemmas that require cards in the discard pile oh yeah, and against anyone playing certain skill dilemmas. Maybe I should add another one of them.

In terms of other changes I think I would add the new SF Shran, another tricorder and change one of the enterprises.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Archer has to be the go to MVP, the amount of times my opponents had one or two dilemmas to choose from rather than seven or eight as Archer just burnt through the random selections. There has to be a few honourable mentions though, T'Pol (unstopping), Logan black (major skill gap filler, or should that be Admiral skill gap filler ;) ), the 8 cost event who's name escapes me (more unstopping).

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I hope you enjoyed the read.

My Commentary:
Starfleet is an affiliation that I feel is getting really close to having the overwhelming toolkit of, say Romulans or Klingons, but they haven't quite become as oppressive as those affiliations. Like the Klingons, they've got incredibly powerful abilities baked into their personnel - even Klingons, who have personnel like Gowron, Sole Leader of the Empire and William T. Riker, Exchange Officer, can find themselves jealous of the abilities on the various Jonathan Archers alone. Like the Romulans, they have a (fortunately, only semi-)reliable means of activating At What Cost?, all the while having verb control cards that both affiliations can only dream of. What then, does Starfleet not have?

Starfleet can't download, and as long as it stays that way, I think they'll remain a very sturdy, reliable, and balanced competitive faction. Because Starfleet has so many tools without any of them feeling particularly unfair (with the possible exception of the Archers), they're also one of the few affiliations for whom it is easy to build a deck that has no one-sided match-ups. Starfleet builds tend to be very defensive simply due to the effects on their powerful cards, so as long as you include answers to speed decks you should always feel like you've got a shot at winning regardless as to what you see on the other side of the table.

Now, Will's particular build here doesn't include many anti-speed cards, but that's fine, depending on what you expect to face. Cards like In Development are great when you're up against a wall of weenies, but they can easily be dead weight when up against the types of decks that Will listed as potential foes. And though he was wrong about the specifics of the decks he faced, he still made the right call about the types of decks he'd face, which we've seen again and again in this series makes all the difference when it comes to winning or losing.

First Edition Canadian Nationals winner Kenneth Tufts
Title: Quick adn simple Kazon Solver
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Play Engines: Kazon Collective, Home Away From Home
Draw Engines: Process Ore: Mining, Ancestral Vision, Kivas Fajo - Collector
Bonus Point Mechanics: Process Ore: Mining, Assign Mission Specialists

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

So Saturday night after all that days event finished I went hum I guess I should build a 1e deck, (the last two weeks have been crazy busy so the "try and build it early" plan failed)... I was trying to focus on achievements where I get some progress from play hits, which as you might imagine is a dwindling pool for me, so I looked at affiliations where I needed work towards play 10, and didn't have much in the way of extra specialized restrictions to make design and building the deck faster. That last bit eliminated KCA since I need to try with NOR based for them, and left primarily a duo of DQ decks (Vidiian & Kazon). I thought for a moment, flipped a mental coin and then decided you know what would be fun to take a swing at Kazon Solver type deck, I've been saying I feel they are viable now just were always over shadowed by their battle cousins, and did just that starting at midnight I threw together a simple basic Kazon solver deck, had it assembled some time after 0400 then went off to bed, setting my alarm for 0800 to get up and make a tone of breakfast for every one coming over for the days events, got to start the day right.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I'd like to face other DQ decks, as long as they were not set up for battle, (I ran one ship only with the seeded Voyager), and had a couple of neat tricks that might let me mess with DQ players, like throwing a Kazon bomb at them, also not having to go to 140 points would be a nice bonus as the deck, has a VERY hard time doing that with only 3 missions (I did have one path to it but it needs 5 turns of mining and nothing going wrong so is unrealistic). I hoped very much not to face any deck that could destroy my ship, or anything hyper fast with the tech to deal with my dilemma combos, luckily I used a bit of a feint with them making it look like I was running the space combo from my Hiro holo decks of late and that may have made people hesitate before going space making sure they had the right stuff in play, buying me a turn in games.

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 several other DQ solvers, though this deck took a little from them, and used some standard DQ tricks, it did move more away from them them most due to how Kazon work. I did learn something new, I learned that Kazon solvers are actually even better then I thought - I found I cut through dilemmas even easier then I thought I would, and the deck was a turn or two faster then I expected, making it a very viable option for tournament play. I also learned luckily before I did it that you never want to place ancestral visions on the Repair Memorial mission, I had planned to stack visions and PO: Mining there but had to split them up. I learned one last thing, and that was when you plan to semi abuse the PO:mining into Nano-Probe res trick you reallllllllllllly need to include at least one blue icon Borg in your deck, they ended up begin just dead cards to fuel mining.

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 had some both Kevin Uxbridge and Nano-Probe res, Nano-Probe would get cut unless I added a blue Borg or two - probably better to just cut the reses. Kevin on the other had should probably get an extra copy; I drew it early in both games and it directly led to both wins imo, one because the DQ holo deck has minimal back up plan to losing holo-projectors and it definitely bought me the turns I needed to not lose that game, and against Richard to protect my early red shirt that just ate the dilemma combo up fast while giving me 5 points to counter what I would later lose to the OOF!

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Kevin Uxbridge as noted above in my situational card section was clearly the MVP, directly leading to my wins. when people get to complacent in the safety of events and interrupts tech in those good old counter spells it will cost you some points but can and will win you games.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Kazon Solvers FTW!!!! & YaaM was a better card than rule, it was more balanced when you needed to spend a card draw at least to make DQ players need 140 more points to win, As a rule I would much rather see it adjusted down to represent this lessor cost and be 130 points, it gives more options for a reasonable 3 mission win, to compete with the easy AQ two mission wins available.

My Commentary:
First things first: as a player who dropped 1e like a hot potato when the delta quadrant factions came out, I have to admit I've watched their CC-era fall from grace with a certain sadistic glee. I do not miss their reign of terror, and any time anyone wins any event with them there's a voice in the back of my head that still says "See, they're still too good! Nerf them to the ground this time - TO THE GROUND!" But then a really good player like Ken says that they could even stand to be unnerfed a bit (see his comments on YaaM above), and I recognize that I may not be entirely objective about the matter. Part of the joy of First Edition is the Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations it represents, so I suppose I can willingly coexist with the delta factions. I need achievements too, after all.

As for this particular deck, Ken's right that it does share significant similarities with his recent Hirogen and Vidiian solvers. The draw engines are similar, though with the addition of Kivas Fajo for additional, card-play fueled draws. Spending your card play on draws hurts for battle decks that want to play a bunch of ships, but these peaceful, solving Kazon don't plan to ever play anything besides their (stolen) Voyager. We see multiple helpings of the dilemma-busting Dr. McCoy, who pulls double duty in these DQ solvers because his special download can fetch a mining-capable geologist.

One major difference between this deck and Ken's other DQ solvers is that he actually runs stealable missions in this one. That's almost certainly a concession to the aforementioned You Are a Monument issue - trying to get to 140 points, as Ken mentions, is hard for DQ to do under normal circumstances, but to do so when sticking to missions under 40 points is an exercise in frustration. That said, the relative scarcity of DQ decks (and greater difficulty of traveling to that quadrant) means that there is less risk to running stealable DQ missions than AQ or even MQ missions. And, well, maybe the DQ factions can just suffer a teeny bit more?


Discuss this article in this thread.

Back to Archive index