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Strategy Articles

The Road to Worlds: Canadian Nationals

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

9th November 2017

Second Edition Canadian National Championships winner Michael Van Breemen
Title: GQ Escaping Detection
Headquarters: Romulus, Patient Stronghold
Deck Size: 97 cards
Deck Archetype: Control (Interference)
Dilemma Pile Size: 91 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: All of the above
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Me, prylardurden, Marquetry, rsutton41, The Ninja Scot (himself)

My Commentary:
I'll admit, when I first laid eyes on this deck, I was a bit overwhelmed at the size of both the draw deck and the dilemma pile. That said, Romulans are notorious for their downloading abilities (particularly Tal and The Viceroy), so if anyone can handle a deck of that size, it's got to be them (or perhaps Borg). Imagine my surprise at seeing only one copy of Tal and the premiere version of The Viceroy!

I'm glad the deck is so big, because the size allows for some fun stuff. The two Romulan decks at Worlds day one used the Face of the Enemy Romulus, but largely for cheap D'deridexes (though Daniel did use the text to ferry Shinzon over to me at one point. This deck, on the other hand goes all in on interference-y Romulan cards, like the T'Met and Imperial Entanglements. Cards like Premiere Sela can really throw a wrench in your opponent's dilemma-busting plans, even with the proliferation of the intelligence skill since then. The Romulan Impersonator can even show up for free with Imperial Entanglements and then return to a hand that he was never in to block a mission completion!

Buried deep in Michael's dilemma pile are three copies each of Pattern Loss and Underlying Influence. Having a deck with good offense can be a big boon to any dilemma pile that seeks to punish skill holes - which with three copies each of "Rapid Progress", Counterinsurgency Program, AND Infinite Diversity is part of Michael's plan. Not only can the aforementioned Sela help to shut down the abilities of personnel like Gav and Silik, but Covert Relationship also appears in triplicate here. Being able to examine every personnel in an attempt before picking dilemmas is a huge advantage when you've got multiple ways to lock down an attempt that is missing any of the non-rare skills.

Other fun stuff includes Brinksmanship, which I don't see much these days, but was a staple in my Romulan solvers in the Strange New Worlds era. Sure, you could Power Shift through Gomtuu, but those points could make a big difference versus, say, a Gamma Dominion solver - why not just discard any card from hand instead?

First Edition Canadian National Championships winner Kenneth Tufts
Title: The Wisdom of Surak is Great and vast
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Play Engines: Protect the Timeline, 22nd-Century ShiKahr, Space-Time Portal
Draw Engines: Live Long and Prosper, Finally Ready to Swim
Bonus Point Mechanics: Kir'Shara, Seek Hidden Reliquary
Victory Correctly Predicted By: None (though, to be fair, he didn't preregister).

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

So I was considering playing SF MACO again, I really have fun with them and they are kinda crazy HOWEVER, I strongly suspected/knew at least two and possibly three people would be playing a variation of that deck, and I just did NOT want to have the event have THAT many duplicated 6 missions games at it.

On Monday I was going to build a deck, and I was thinking of doing a Vulcan one to try out the new stuff, then Kurtis wanted help to build something new and he liked the sound of Vulcans. We got together and built his deck, it fit in with what I was thinking of doing, but I wanted to mix it up a bit, so while his was two mission win with a set up for VERY reliable draws with PO: Mining, I took mine towards more dilemmas, dropping the AMS and outpost and PO: Mining and going for a three mission game with LOTS of point padding. I decided that was what I had time to put together before the weekend and did so.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I wanted to face decks with dilemmas that need skills because IDIC: WoS is strait up crazzzzzzzzy strong, I might not be as fast out the gate as some but I planned to catch up with never failing a skill dilemma ever between mindmeld and skill cheating. Battle could be BAD for me so I did not want to face that, though I did have a time location to hide at and with just the right space line options to potentially do a three mission in one turn sweep out, from hiding.

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 experience, it's a totally new deck to me, only recently made possible by new cards. I learned a few tricks about what personnel are best to put the Katra on and I learned I need to tweak a few ratios a bit and Kurtis showed me a dilemma I NEED to be playing with.

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?
It's a slim solver, every card has a pretty solid reason to be there, and each was used for its one or more purposes in one or more games.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
It's VERY close between IDIC: WoS & only Logic. IDIC: WoS was huge in every game for silly skill cheating, saving me several turns in almost ever game to pass Friendly Fire, however Logic made super teaming in space MUCH safer as I could never hit Cytherians if I just kept naming it, and it ate it against Justin so that was HUGE.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
The skill cheating in this deck combined with only Logic is just RUDE, I kinda like it ;)

I learned a few holes I need to shore up, and some ratios I need to adjust a tad, but this deck or any variation with IDIC: WoS scare me a LOT, dilemmas were but mere suggestions at a hope of slowing me down, I believe I solved EVERY mission on the first attempt, only slowed down by having to get to the missions, to attempt them, it's a category of deck to watch out for in the coming 1e seasons in my opinion.

My Commentary:
I recently had an opportunity to try out a deck that used IDIC: Wisdom of Surak when Michael Van Breemen lent me his version for day two of the World Championships (thanks Michael!). It was a much different deck than the one we have here, but I still got a feel for the power of mid-attempt skill-cheating in a First Edition deck.

Of course, being able to generate skills (mid attempt) is much more commonplace in Second Edition decks, but you also have the chance to pick dilemmas on the fly there too. In First Edition, you can't choose to use different dilemmas once it becomes clear that your opponent can break through those skill-based walls you've got. As a result, most of the backwards-compatible Second Edition skill-cheating cards (like Rule of Acquisition #33) were changed to be used prior to facing dilemmas rather than being usable during attempts. Why the seeming change of heart?

One of the main advantages of a new affiliation is that they can receive new, powerful abilities without needing to worry as much about stacking those abilities with all of an existing affiliation's tricks. For example, if Wisdom of Surak-style skill substitution were given to Obsidian Order Cardassians, we'd need to worry about it showing up in decks that can dial new Order personnel with We Need You Here. And then there's the issue of stacking Cardassians with any of the different affiliations that they can join with via a treaty.

These issues are skirted by giving this powerful trick to an affiliation that is being built from the ground up to include it. Vulcans can only ally themselves to factions that the designers of Live Long and Prosper intended them to, and there are no We Need You Here-type ways to dial the people that you want. That's why I'm intrigued by this very slim version of the deck that Ken used, and if I'm going to try Vulcans again, this deck is probably where I'd start.

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