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The Road to Worlds: MN and DC Regionals

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

11th May 2017

Second Edition Minnesota Regional winner Kevin Jaeger
Title: Null Space Wave Colony 1.2
Headquarters: Prevent Historical Disruption
Deck Size: 57 cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 34 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Skill wall attrition
Victory Correctly Predicted By: kingmj4891, Mogor, Bosskamiura, Danny, TReebel, Monty42, Armus, KillerB, Brak_, Marquetry, Fritzinger, Hoss-Drone, The Ninja Scot, LORE, TyKajada, rsutton41, Honest

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

- I chose to go with this relativity deck for several different reasons. The first is because I enjoyed it enough the first time I played it that I wanted to run it again. Second, it is a fairly straightforward deck and I just felt like playing something a bit more straightforward. Third, relativity is a faction I I’ve only played once or twice before and so there’s still some enjoyment from the newness of playing them.
- The only other deck I considered playing was an updated version of the Dominion infiltration deck I played at the North Dakota regional last year. Since the rules committee destroyed the usability of set up, its taken some time to figure out how to make it work again at roughly the same power level. I’m sure I’ll bust it out at some point.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
- I don’t know that I was hoping to face anything in particular. Relativity naturally has an edge when facing kill piles and this deck in particular likes to face any dilemma pile that is dual dilemma heavy. The decks I didn’t want to face was anything that was loaded up with skill cheaters or Bridge Officers test since I was running the heavy skill wall 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’ve only played relativity in a tournament once before and that was a league event and I played the prior iteration of this deck. I think I may have played relativity once in a casual pick up game but I’m not certain. I have built other people’s relativity decks to test against though, but I don’t consider that “playing” the deck.
- I learned that the deck doesn’t have to draw the AWC? to have a strong mid-late game. Against both Nat and Justin I didn’t see a single AWC? even after going through the majority of 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 would say that the copy of Tampering with time is pretty situational. I dropped it for 0 cost on turn 1 against Justin and it allowed me to get a feel for what to expect. It can also set the top of the dilemma pile for Field Studies but at the end of the day, if I don’t draw it or play it – no big deal.
- Enterprise J was absolutely clutch against Nat giving me enough boost to undo his attribute reduction dilemma pile’s effect and get enough integrity cobbled to together to solve Aid Lost Colony at the end of the game.
- Every card in the deck has earned its keep in one way or another. If anything I would potentially consider adding another card or two if a strong enough case was made it is necessary.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
- I would actually say that the MVP from the weekend was Geordi La Forge: Retired engineer. Twice he got through an Issue of Trust and twice he followed it up by nuking the Gomtuu that followed it. The first time, against Mark, it was critical in pulling me back into the game after a slow start.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
- Not really. Just want to remind everyone that later this month is South Dakota Masters. I’m really looking forward to hosting this event and I hope people are doing what they can to come attend!

My Commentary:
I was very behind on my spreadsheet maintenance, which I'll guiltily admit is part of why you're seeing the forum predictors instead of the old "see also" field. In my defense, I usually talk about previous decks down here anyways, and I also wanted to encourage prediction participation, even when there's no contest going on. Well, this week, I got back on that spreadsheet horse and filled in the events since Worlds (yes, very behind), and to my surprise, we've already had two other Relativity winners since then. I guess I've been stuck in the 2015 mindset that Relativity was the faction to play if you wanted to get second place, but things have changed.

What's interesting is that the thing that hasn't significantly changed is the card landscape for Relativity decks. Looking at the draw deck here, the only newer cards are Harry Kim and Miracle Working. Both add some draw reliability, which is certainly nice, but is unlikely to be the main factor that has pushed Relativity into that first place spot more often these days. No, I posit that the main factor is time. Compared to the other factions in this game, Relativity decks have hardly been around for any time at all, and I think that we're just starting to see people become more comfortable and confident with playing them.

I'd also like to point out the new dilemma pile archetype here. Well, it isn't new to the game, but new as a category in this series. Historically I've categorized these piles as just standard attrition, since that's what the body of the pile is, but with the rise of decks that are countered by skill tracking and the use of dilemmas like "Rapid Progress" and Dead Ringer, I think it is time that piles that tech against those decks stick out in some way. We probably need a catchier name for this category - I'm open to suggestions. I'm also in the market for a name for the style of attrition pile that uses a lot of the Unfair Comparison-type dilemmas (6/8 costers), without actually using Unfair Comparison.

Second Edition DC Regional winner Phil Schrader
Title: Make America d8 Again
Headquarters: Mouth of the Wormhole, Deep Space 9
Deck Size: 38 cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 36 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Standard Attrition
Victory Correctly Predicted By: prylardurden, Monty42, jadziadax8, Marquetry, Fritzinger, Hoss-Drone, TyKajada

My Commentary:
For the reason why I was updating my spreadsheets, look no further than this deck. It definitely felt like I was getting to 5-Space Voyager levels of repeat-reviewing when it comes to DS9 Rainbow. I have only reviewed a version of it once since Worlds (and it was very much a variant), and it turns out only three other times during the 2016 season. Of course, once was for winning Worlds itself, and once was for Phil himself playing a nearly identical version at GenCon Masters. I don't have much to add to those reviews: it's a deck, it's fast, you play it fast, and then hopefully you win first. I will say though that it is one of those decks that are countered by skill-tracking and variable skill walls (mentioned in the review above this one), and one reason why expect to see such piles increase in prevalence.

First Edition Minnesota Regional winner Kevin Jaeger
Title: 7 kinds of smoke
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Play Engines: Hall of Magistrates, Federation Flagship: Relaunched, Nanoprobe Resuscitation, Holodeck Door
Draw Engines: Temporal Shifting, Finally Ready to Swim, Operate Dilithium Gulag, Federation Flagship: Renewed
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists, Arbiter of Succession, U.S.S. Enterprise-D (Battleship)
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Me, Mogor, Bosskamiura, sexecutioner, Armus, prylardurden, TReebel, scox, LORE, The Ninja Scot, TyKajada, rsutton41

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

- I really just wanted to play something brand new, something I’d never played before, using cards I’ve never played before and in particular, cards from the newest set. A secondary reason would be that I wanted to test out one of my straight mission solver options for Continentals in MN coming up in July. You, Justin Ford, and a host of other people only talk about Kevin the battle guy and forget that I was playing turn 2 win mission solvers back in the day.
- The other deck I was considering playing up until some weeks ago was a Starfleet mirror based two mission win deck you can see here: http://trekcc.org/1e/decklists/index.ph ... 5d450edc95 I don’t mind showing everyone this list because recent errata (and the peekaboo dilemmas) have thrown it for a loop and it will take some work to make it a useable deck again. Once those things came down, it seemed more fun to work on finishing the deck I did play vs. trying to sort out this one’s problems. Granted, those problems are far from difficult or insurmountable. If I have time over the next three weeks I plan to work on them and possibly have it ready for South Dakota Masters.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
- I never know what to expect from the MN players when it comes to 1e. Huth is my borg protégé so I figured I would face that at least. I was hoping he would stick with the deck he played at Chicago Nationals though and not switch back to Disrupting the Timeline. My feds don’t like that if I cant get them back to the time location on my turn before he probes on his turn. So that was definitely something I was hoping not to face but did. I was lucky I went first and had a decent opening hand otherwise I lose that game. I probably lose that game 3 out 5 times because it can move as methodically as mine does. It was a great game and a true measuring stick for the deck. You don’t know how good a deck is unless you play against the best and in this case I got to play a worlds finalist and the deck that got him there.
- I was hoping to just face a wide variety of dilemma combos so that both me and this deck was put through our paces. I find 1e is a lot more fun the more different things you face.

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?
- As I said I’ve never played this deck in a tournament before since most of the deck is cards that just came out. I had only 1 playtest game against Mark to make sure the deck would flow at a proper speed and give me a chance to practice the critical decision making of which cards to pitch and when to Finally Ready to Swim.

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 HQ: Defensive Measures and the Temporal Investigations are really the only situational cards in the deck. The former is just to protect against the opponents who try to steal Pegasus or Journey before I can solve whichever is closer to Narendra III and the latter is just an icing on the cake bonus I get for opponents playing AU to the AQ. I did get 2 bonus draws against Jeremy when he played the new AU drones so that was something. The smoke bombs and the Gift meet the definition of being situational (since you don’t always use them), but I don’t consider them as such because they are the deck’s primary mission strategy and therefore, not situational in my mind. I didn’t use either The Gift or Vic Fontaine’s downloads in any of the rounds but that was more chance than anything.
- The Klingon Imperial Court was just a psych out card meant to capitalize on my reputation as a capture guy. That will come out in the next iteration and will be oddly enough replaced by a copy of reflection therapy - a capture related card I can get via internment via Prosecutor Orak. Lawyers up baby.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
- Co-MVP to Anastasia and Smoke bomb as each are only good with the other.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
- Not really. Just get yourself to South Dakota May 27-29th for the Masters event!

My Commentary:
It's true, Kevin's not just a battle player, you don't get to be as dominant as he is in both games by being a one-trick pony. We have relatively few high-level interference players in competitive First Edition Star Trek card games though, so it has become easier to get a reputation as "that guy." And, as Kevin notes in his interview, that can work to your advantage. In a speed match-up, if you're being overly-cautious because you fear death and destrction, you can suddenly find yourself irreparably behind in speed when your opponent only needs two missions to win the game.

With the recent errata to Habit of Disappearing, there's been a lot of talk in the forums about whether the real problem card was Habit or Nanoprobe Resuscitation. I'm generally on the side of Habit, the low downside, seedable, unconditional draw engine being the problem, though that doesn't necessarily mean I think it needed to be changed. The reason why I bring this debate up is that, while Resuscitation certainly is a powerful card, it would be a shame to stop seeing clever combinations like the one in this deck for activating it. I mean, using Finally Ready to Swim and a single non-22nd century play engine as a way to fuel the discard pile with Nanoprobe targets? That's clever. I like seeing stuff like that.

I'd also like to point out another situational card: Open Diplomatic Relations. There is currently a way to seed Treaty: Federation/Klingon for only one seed slot: seed Reshape the Quadrant, which downloads Combined Task Force, which in turn downloads the treaty. In fact, also from the 50th Anniversary set, there's also Facilitate Peace Talks (though that requires that one of your missions is Khitomer). That said, it is quite reasonable to still use ODR, since this particular treaty is a Federation one, which makes it a very juicy target for Lance Cartwright's ability.

First Edition DC Regional winner Brian Sykes
Title: One Man Can Conquer the Future
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Play Engines: Halkan Council, Imperial Intimidation, Protect the Timeline, Nanoprobe Resuscitation
Draw Engines: Imperial Intimidation, Agony Booth, Process Ore: Mining, Study Divergent History
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists, Reap All the Glory, Fear Will Keep Them In Line
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Mogor, Armus, kingmj4891, TReebel, The Ninja Scot, TyKajada

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

I definitely wanted to play some flavor of Terran Empire. After winning with KCA last year, I was an Empire win away from the coveted 'Goateed' title, and since I get so few opportunities to play these days, I didn't want to waste the opportunity to gain that particular honor. Once that first decision was settled, I looked at which Sub-faction would be the best to roll with. The problem is that while each sub-faction (Station, HQ, Empire) had its strengths, each also had some pretty glaring holes. Despite the in-game factors, I settled on a Halkan Council build because my 4 year old loves the TOS Episode Mirror, Mirror and since he was coming along as a spectator, I figured he'd enjoy seeing his dad run around with Mirror Kirk on the ISS Enterprise. What I'm happy with was the way that I was able to splash in some 'present day' Terrans to fill some of those gaps in a way that fit nicely with the rest of my deck.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Given the early game vulnerability to battle, I was totally fine with nobody coming in with KCA. I ended up facing three solvers and when my opponent and I each do our own thing, I like my chances a lot better than when somebody gets uppity and feels the need to get into my business. I figured the Time Travel mechanics would protect me in a pinch, but it would also limit my draws to Study Divergent History.

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 dabbled with a netdecked Ken Tufts original a couple of years ago, to disastrous results, but this deck was so different from that there's hardly a comparison. While I hadn't played this specific deck type, I understood the theory of it thanks to some advice I've gotten from other players. Combine that with my 1e instincts and I figured it out well enough.

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?
Based on what I was expecting to see, I went old school and added Kevin and Amanda. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably leave them out. They just didn't see a lot of use.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
The triumvirate of Jean-Luc, Admiral Kirk, and James Tiberius Kirk really combined to make my deck go. Honorable mention goes to Classic Communicator, which is clutch when JTK [DL] it in the middle of an attempt to pass a tough dilemma - that got me through a mission in two of my three games. Also to Transporter Mixup, which got me a fifth mission specialist (either Angelo Tassoni or Hogan) when I needed it. The ability to swap universal personnel for ANY opposite-quadrant universal personnel is very underrated in my book.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Good ideas come from many places, and much like my deck last year, I received some very valuable advice from some other really good players that allowed me to take my initial design, which was bloated and inefficient, and refine it to where it was competitive.

I would be remiss if I didn't give a hat tip and a thank you to Michael Van Breeman and Jason Drake. Jason was on vacation for most of last week, but the one PM that he sent me gave me several things to think about, including the idea of splashing a token alpha quadrant mission to draw a good dilemma combo and/or make winning easier. MVB showed me the awesomeness that was Reunite Legends in getting a second ship out and easy access to Admiral Kirk. It also allowed me to splash a couple of other [CF] personnel to fill a few skill gaps.

Finally, I have to give mad props and a big Thank You to Matt King. He and I went back and forth for several days before the event kicking ideas around, cutting bloat, and basically making my deck better. His advice was invaluable and one of the main reasons I was able to field a competitive deck. It's been my experience that decks that are built collaboratively tend to be better than decks one person builds alone (at least in my case), likely due to the complexity of the game and the thousands of cards and card interactions that are out there - nobody can see everything, but having multiple sets of eyes on something allows you to see more.

My Commentary:
Reunite Legends downloading the Enterprise-A, then chaining into Admiral Kirk is certainly the more common means of activating Nanoprobe Resuscitation these days, but surprise factor isn't the only reason I have a fondness for decks that use Resuscitation as a play engine. There are a whole lot of personnel in this game that cannot play for free with any play engine, and so, even if they are otherwise decent personnel, they don't end up seeing much play. Play engines like Resuscitation, Imperial Intimidation, or T'Ong drop from a few weeks ago are the rare way to allow those cards to see play.

... that said, we end up seeing a lot of familiar faces in decks that use the blank check play engines. I'm not sure we really need to see Dr. McCoy in more decks, but I certainly can't blame anyone for using him when they have the opportunity. When the pool for a play engine is [ALL COMPATIBLE CARDS], you aren't going to see a lot of variation in the contenders. I just get wistful when I go to Nick Locarno's page and see "Recent decks using this card: (none)".

I usually have to look up a whole bunch of cards when I review a mirror deck - since I personally don't like the mirror universe content from the show that much, I've never played the mirror factions before. At this point, I mostly only need to look stuff up for a reminder though, since I've reviewed multiple of each flavor of mirror faction, but when I got to Renewed Life I didn't have a clue what it did. Looks really powerful, an OTF-legal Distortion of Space-Time Continuum, but you've got to use universal missions... but Brian has all unique missions. Then I thought about it, and two of those combo dilemmas see a lot of play. Many interference decks rely on the combo scow with Mission Debriefing to get a cheap auto-stop; this one card could easily win the game in such a match-up. I like it.

Online Regional Update: this round is a bit behind in both 1e and 2e, but it looks like only one player will be undefeated going into round 5 in both editions (Jon Carter for First Edition, Tyler Fultz or Andrey Gusev for Second Edition). Those players are definitely favored to win at this point, but one misstep in this last round could bust things wide open

Also something to keep on your radar, the second heat of online regionals begins Monday, May 15th. Sign up for the First Edition or Second Edition regionals; there's also talk of Tribbles online regional.

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