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The Road to Worlds: Austrian Nationals

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

15th December 2016

First Edition Austrian Nationals winner Johannes Klarhauser
Title: Help me Mrs Medlicott, I don´t know what to do, I´ve only got three bullets and there´s four of Mötley Crüe
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Play Engines: New Arrivals, Dominion War Efforts, Nanoprobe Resuscitation
Draw Engines: New Arrivals, Study Divergent History
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists

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

In our last local tournament, I failed miserably when I tried to play something interactive (capture for Prison Compound bonus points), so the decision to go back to a solver was easy. The Admiral Kirk/Nanoprobes Federation Allstar approach has served me reasonably well this year, but I didn't want to repeat the six-planet setup. The only other deck I considered was a Starfleet deck using the new Emperor Test objectives. I didn't have enough time to test it properly, but I played a pickup game against Peter Ludwig's deck after Nationals. I won on turn five or six, so I think there's potential.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Not an achievement, but my goal going into this tournament was to, for the first time in my 1E career, steal a mission in an OTF complete tournament. I fully expected Stefan Slaby to bring his alpha quadrant Voyager deck, so I teched to steal an unprotected Earth on turn 2. Both Peter Ludwig and Johan Skoglund have beaten me in the past with decks that used Earth for different shenanigans, so I hoped one of them might run Espionage Mission, too. I had no idea about Julius and Martin, and Stefan De Walf is too unpredictable anyway. I hoped not to face battle or Borg.

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?
It was the first time I played this deck. I had used the basic play and draw engine of New Arrivals/Admiral Kirk/Jean-Luc + Nanoprobes twice this year in my all-planet deck, but this deck now has more draws, more plays, more cheating options. I learned that the TOS special downloads can work far better that I had expected.

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?
If I remember correctly, the two personnel that I never managed to get into play were Kes and Christopher Pike; I never used The Gift or Dig, but would not cut them. All the TOS cards and their special downloads exceeded my expectations. What I hardly ever used was Assign Support Personnel after the first download of a mirror quadrant guy, so Dominion War efforts was not always worth it. I still like the flexibility to easily access certain skills (Aramax against Chula: The Game or Scientific Method, Daro for Spatial Rift, Garbage Scow or LOL Yichu'! (I think I faced it in all but one game and always beat it), Derell for LOL Yichu or Linguistic Legerdemain, Jerax for Medical Crisis, and so on.)

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Starship Enterprise, as a representative of all the TOS download tech. My favourite move was using Warp Speed Transfer to let Starship Enterprise come to the rescue and bring two personnel (+ possibly equipment) into the mission attempt OUT OF NOWHERE!

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Peter Ludwig really needs to work on his dice rolls.

My Commentary:
Nanoprobe Resuscitation has seen a resurgence as a major play engine since we got Process Ore: Mining as an easy way to set up the top of your discard pile. This deck shows us another reason to break out the 'probes: Reunite Legends. We now have a way to guarantee that Admiral Kirk will be in play on turn one, and his discard is even more flexible than Mining. I'd imagine that the combination of both Kirk and Mining would be very intimidating, potentially setting up for 'probing on both your turn and your opponent's turn (and not popping New Arrivals), but Johannes shows us that getting that fancy is simply non-essential.

This style of slim solver has been been popular lately, with no card-play draw engines and a modest number of play engines. These solvers have very much preferred personnel quality over personnel quantity, and I've already spent many words in recent years singing the praises of the download-rich TOS personnel. What this deck does differently (and I am quite impressed with) is effectively pair Dominion War Efforts and New Arrivals. It's not new to combine those two engines; it is somewhat obvious to combine a play engine that doesn't play "for free" with New Arrivals. However, it has been uncommon to do so in one of these modern slim solvers, where the Cardassian Support Personnel are also the universal personnel that you play for free with Arrivals - it is a great way to make the Support Personnel who you draw not feel like a wasted draw.

It's also been a while since I've seen Mavek show up in a deck, and I don't think I've ever seen him in a deck that doesn't plan to cycle him with Crell Moset for recursive equipment downloads. Correct me if I'm wrong though, but he still may be able to download equipment multiple times here. Since Nanoprobes states that you may "report" the personnel, I believe that counts for Mavek's "when you play" text, so any time he dies you can 'probe him back to get another free equipment. Right?

Second Edition Austrian Nationals winner Julius Melhardt
Title: A River Runs Through The Common Cause 2.0
Headquarters: Mouth of the Wormhole, Deep Space 9
Deck Size: 61 cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 44 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Chula Attrition

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

We decided to play Nationals for all three games and I attended them all. I’ve already played a first version of the deck a month before. It was fun playing and really strong, so I decided to give more deck building love to 1E – without success at all – and just made some minor changes to the deck.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I hoped to face a Cardassian capture deck like Steve played last time – I’ve put Rescue Captives in it especially for that. Beside of that, I always hope to face something new. I was so glad not to face Voyager 5-space again!!!

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 it once and saw a similar one before Worlds played by Josef Lemberger. I was impressed about the speed this deck has. This time, I’ve learned that, because of the use of Visionary (more details about that below), I can put in more “Meta-cards” like Rescue Captives because they aren’t even dead draws.

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?
Again Rescue Captives against capturing. I’ve already played the deck only with Danube-Class ships, but this time I was once again surprised how strong those tiny little ships really are – I only had to change my way to fly a little bit. Probably I won’t use Security Drills again – the only cheating card I’ve never used in 2 events and 6 played games…

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
In a deck like this a lot of cards are very important – Common Purpose and Common Cause of course, Muniz for the quick draws, the cheating interrupts – but THE card of my deck is Visionary - a forgotten treasure, especially in this deck. Every draw can be immediately discarded, Muniz, Common Cause, or Indebtedness to draw again, of course with the once per turn limitation. But because Visionary is non-unique, you can use it three times. So, you can use cards like Rescue Captives – if you play against a Capture deck you are happy, if not you simply discard it. The same with multiple copies of unique personnel and ships. The already fast deck becomes even faster!!!

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
This deck managed to be as quick as a Ferengi - Par Lenor – Cost 9 Rule deck, it managed to compensate the “Lack of Brain” the player had when giving the opponent’s Relativity a Planet dilemma in space and Chula: The Precipice when attempting with nine, all the Interrupts have their right to be in the deck and are useful, the personnel are so strong you almost don’t have to care which ones you already have in play when you start your first mission attempt…

My Commentary:
We've seen many, many DS9 speed decks that utilize the Common cards in order to generate a huge tempo advantage this year, but this one's a bit different. Often these decks run 35-40 cards in order to reliably set up early turns of of heavy Common abuse and build a huge board, while relying on things like the Xhosa in order to stay in the game versus a discard deck. Well, as we've seen in results like that of the American Nationals, sacrificing that much sustainability in favor of reliability leaves one notably weak to a discard and kill-heavy strategy. If you'd like to avoid that sort of thing while still playing a very fast deck, Julius' deck may be the one you're looking for.

The density of Non-Aligned cards in this deck is also lower than we're used to, but bear in mind that we're not as all-in on early Common activation here. Instead, this deck strikes a balance between setting up the Common cards and providing fuel to the original DS9 free-draw-source: Enrique Muñiz, Dependable Troubleshooter. Back when DS9 was seen as a more midrange or control option, largely defined by its access to Holding Cell, Enrique was simply a nice value tool that could net a few free draws here and there. But now that the Common cards have boosted DS9 into the speed stratosphere, Enrique has a place of honor in a larger-sized version as an alternate or supplemental route to refilling your hand after dumping all those low cost chumps.

If you frequently read this article series, you likely know that I am thrilled to see uncommonly-used cards sneak into these competitive, winning decks. Here, we have a fast DS9 deck with not one, not two, but three copies of Visionary. So cool! Visionary is definitely not a speed deck card, but I did just spend two paragraphs talking about this deck trading reliability for sustainability, and Visionary (and Indebtedness) is a nod back in the direction of reliability. Twelve cards in the deck are duplicates of uniques that are easy candidates for cycling on the hunt for the specific card you want. Of course, there are just some games where it is Holding Cell or bust (Cardassians spring to mind), in which case you're just happy to discard any old card which isn't Holding Cell. Very cool.

 


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