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Strategy Articles

The Road to Worlds: Massachusetts Regional

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

25th May 2017

Second Edition Massachusetts Regional winner Lucas Thompson
Title: Serenity
Headquarters: Quatal Prime, Quiet Mining Colony
Deck Size: 70 cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Interference
Dilemma Pile Size: 42 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Skill Wall Attrition
Victory Correctly Predicted By: jadziadax8, Mogor, pfti, KillerB, kingmj4891, LORE, TReebel, Marquetry, The Ninja Scot

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

There were a couple Maquis achievements I could get with the new HQ, but I also wanted to do something fun win them. I went with Smuggling Run in part because I mistakenly thought it played on missions and would synergize well with Quatal Prime, and would also work well with Biogenic Weapon blocking off missions. I eventually realized my mistake, but by then I was sold on Smuggling Run's ability to pad the point count for a slow deck, and it worked well with the Defiant plan too.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
A blazing fast deck would be rough for this deck, which is why I opted for a skill wall pile. I figured slower decks would be hurt more by Shankar and Stalling for Time, so I could afford to use a pile that slower decks would be better against. Controlling tools like Operational Necessity helped the pile work even against decks that should be better against it. Athos IV decks tend to use Alarming Rumors over Operational Necessity for the increased denial flexibility, but I was very impressed with Necessity's power.

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 constructed Maquis once before, and it was a netdeck of Geoffery Peterson's worlds 2011 deck. I didn't understand why he'd used an attrition pile with it before since the conventional wisdom is to use Maquis with a kill pile in order to double down on the resource denial, so I changed the pile up back then. I get it now though, playing Maquis denial with an attrition pile can smooth out some of your expected match-up results.

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 didn't expect this to be the case, but it turned out my non-Defiant ships were all situational - I never played a second ship in the tournament. The Cosette has amazing range, but with all my missions in the same region, I got more benefit out of being able to unspend one of my opponent's counters.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Shankar showed up in three of my opening hands while going first each time, and in the fourth game I played him on turn two after downloading him with Amaros. Nuking the opponent's opening hand before they have a chance to play is demoralizingly powerful.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
The deck felt way too big, but I'm not sure what I'd cut. The Smuggling Run package definitely made sure that my modified games against slower players stayed won, but was never quite enough to seal the deal - counting on 3 runs for a two mission win, even with the ability to recur it with Kasidy, was a bit too much pressure on the mechanic. Especially with Shankar nuking the early hands, I was usually able to score two runs early, and then would have to go solve missions while I waited for another Run or a Kasidy. Then I'd hit the late game and would be in a position where my opponent could either nuke my Runs or would ahve enough ships in play to threaten to block the Runs (especially since I could never afford to have a solving crew and a Smuggling crew out at the same time). A Habak or two for point back-up could have helped, but might have just been more bloat.

Considering Shankar's effectiveness, I would also consider using the full Shankar/Organized Terrorist Activities/Allegiance package, though I think I would need to drop the smugglers in order to do so. It would probably be worth it in terms of deck effectiveness, but then my friends would never play cards with me again. Also, the smuggling was fun and thematic, I might try another smuggling deck in the future using some other HQ so I can use more of the new smuggling cards.

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