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Strategy Articles

The Road To Worlds: Texas Chainsaw Masters 2

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

15th November 2018

First Edition winner Benjamin Hosp
Title: The Seattle Sociopaths
Deck Archetype: See Below
Play Engines: The Regent's Flagship, Emblem of the Alliance, They Call Themselves the Maquis
Draw Engines: Supplant Opposite, Pride of the Fleet, Historic Coming Together, Process Ore: Mining, Study Divergent History
Bonus Point Mechanics: Historic Coming Together, Process Ore: Mining, Valuable Prisoner, Disguise Encroachment
Victory Correctly Predicted By: DarkSabre.

THE HOSP's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used?

The Regent’s Flagship is a great deck type that gives you a lot of disruption options that you can potentially do at the same time as you’re attempting missions elsewhere on the board. Mostly, I had no confidence in my ability to guess what most anyone else would be playing, and I wanted to have the ability if everything else was going wrong to at least have the option of taking my big ship or a fistful of people and hand weapons and go shoot something. Shooting something always makes me feel better.

What other decks did you consider using?
Borg also have a lot of options in terms of ways to do disruption, but I’m not good enough with them to do so reliably. Starfleet is good but it’s hard to go find something to punch if you’re losing and frustrated.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck?
Small decks without a lot of ships and small ships.

What decks did you hope not to face?
Decks with big powerful ships like Borg or the other [1E-DQ] bad guys who don’t need to worry as much about the Regency 1 turning up and shooting at them.

Prior to this tournament, did you have much experience playing this deck (or decks like it)?
I can never play the same thing twice in a row, but the only deck I’ve actually won a tournament with in years is Regents Flagship.

Did you learn anything new about it when you played it this time?
Stealing Vanquish Enemy turned out to be such a viable option that I realized I should really be seeding it myself. I already have a BBSD to protect it, and Smiley’s download of Tinkerer makes it very easy to manage the damage the mission puts on your ship, even if your opponent also has a BBSD.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)?
Quantum Slipstream Drive was intended to mainly be useful for traveling to the Delta Quadrant to shoot at Voyager...

Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations?
...but it ended up being very useful in lots of contexts and added a lot of flexibility about how to move around.

Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
Maybe some dilemmas, or maybe the Ya’vang, but there weren’t really very many times I drew a card and was disappointed to see it (other than turn 1 downloads that didn’t fit in the Q’s tent.)

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Maihardu has some weird skills and attributes that don’t show up on many other [KCA] people; he came in handy for at least one dilemma every game, even if it was only as a personnel with higher integrity than Smiley so I could beat Rules of Obedience.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?

My Commentary:
Normally, I'd jump to calling any deck with seven copies of Quantum Slipstream Drive an interference deck. And, I mean, it is, but it can just as easily use the tools it has to be a very flexible and defensive solver. Even if your opponent, for example, were doubling Captain's Log on the Enterprise using Guinan, making for an unappealing tactical target, this deck can just as easily switch gears and turn to dismantling your dilemma combos. I know, because I got to face this deck twice in one day (once in swiss, once in the final confrontation).

It helps that the personnel are have a very high skill density, and often walk through popular filter/wall dilemmas like Spatial Rift and Rules of Obedience. Even if you do stump them on something (I got a stop from Medical Crisis in both games), the dial-a-skill flexibility of We Need You Here and Supplant Opposite won't let them get stopped for long. "I report Rom to Ore Processing Unit and draw a card and he gains Medical" is something that happened in both games.

I don't want to sell it short as an interference deck though. A Captain's Logged Regency 1 is beefy, and those Quantum Slipstream Drives mean it can be anywhere you thought you were safe. Worse, it'll likely happen right after you got damaged and stopped by Disgraceful Assault (boosted by Historic Coming Together) (I Genesis Effected Disgraceful Assault in game two, only to do it to the space mission where he didn't put one). You're not safe on planets either, with a bevy of easily downloadable Hand Weapons. Even Niall's Genetically Engineer super-men had trouble with Mirror folk who were dual-weilding Disruptor Rifles.

This is just a solid, well-rounded deck. The lack of reliance on a card-play draw engine gives it a ton of flexibility to do whatever it needs to do to deal with the opponent at hand. In closing, I just want to remind everyone: please put a Transporter Skill personnel aboard your ships for planet attempts.

Second Edition winner Michael Van Breemen
Title: I just want to solve missions
Headquarters: Cardassia Prime, Hardscrabble World
Deck Size: 63 Cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 40 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Wall-Heavy Attrition
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Bosskamiura.

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

I chose the deck because it was still mostly together from Worlds and I was curious to see what would happen if I took a deck that people expected me to play and if I could play around whatever they came up with. I didn't really plan on playing anything else.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I didn't want play against anything interactive - leave my hand, my draw deck and my personnel alone and I'm probably going to win. Beyond that, decks that have lots of wall cheating (Bridge Officer's Test, Central Command, etc.)

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 draw deck doesn't really have situational cards in it so much as essential cogs - Casualties of the Occupation for overall attribute boostage that doesn't go away for the turn, AU Bajoran cards for the skill gaining for Elim and the fuel for the Casualties, Tacking for blowing up events, Central Command/Enemy of my Enemy to turn mission attempt stops into mission attempt solves and the various Cardassians to do my bidding.

The dilemma pile was modified slightly from Worlds to make it HoF complaint - no Issue of Trust, Personal Duty, etc. - but there's always Put to the Screws but basically it's to punish you for not solving walls.

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 this before so... not really. I've played around with versions of this for achievement purposes (Ferengi/Cardassian, Bajoran/Cardassian dual-HQ achievements) and it's always been successful for me in one fashion or another. Honestly, the only thing that I'd consider changing would be to add a third Tacking into the Wind to the deck.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
As far MVPs, I think that each round had a different one -

Round 1 against Steve - Casualties of the Occupation. He used Paenol to lose 20 points and a hand weapon to counter my interrupts but no TCS meant that I could three person solve my two planet missions for the win.

Round 2 against Phil - Tacking into the Wind, blowing up Coordinated Counterattack, enabling me to get two missions solved before he could get a second mission solved (and with me having 7 Species 8472 dilemmas in my core.)

Round 3 against Maggie - Low span missions, allowing me to attempt multiple missions in a row as my dilemmas weren't stopping her almost as much as mine weren't stopping her.

Round 4 against Ben - Elim/Enemy of my Enemy, allowing me to get past his Transporter/Archaeology pile.

Round 5 against Lucas - Central Command/Casualties - Central Command's existence forced him to give me multiple Swashbucklers while Casualties made it more difficult for him to give me something other than a wall to prevent my solves.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I'd love to have more to "say" but as you well know, "talking" isn't something I currently do nowadays.

[Note: Mr. Van Breemen was unfortunately ill all weekend, but, in the spirit of turning lemons into lemonade, at least we had a fun side-game of charades during our games!]

My Commentary:
As it turns out, I actually got to play against the eventual winner twice in both editions. While neither game was particularly close, I'd like to endorse three copies of Swashbuckler at Heart as essential for any Hall of Fame format event. Actually, they've been effective enough in complete constructed (and Cardassians have too) that I think I'll be increasing my use of that dilemma across the board.

Of course, Swashbuckler on its own isn't quite enough for this deck. Ultimately, you need some way to eventually deal with those interrupts more permanently, or you'll need to bury every mission in dilemmas just to have a chance of stopping attempts. Useful in this regard is some sort of killing-focused dilemma strategy, like the two decks which beat it in Australia used (Greg's Romulans and Amber's Starfleet). Cardassia's kill prevention is much less reliable than their other tools, and they lack the card advantage tools to recover from kill piles as efficiently as some other decks (though, in this deck, Tain and ship-discarding Damar help out a lot in that regard.

That said, Cardassians aren't just about the interrupts. Their personnel carry some very powerful abilities that you'll need to play around too. Telle is a monster who can turn those Swashbucklers against you by using them to replace more impactful dilemmas on subsequent attempts. Mila makes interrupt-based interrupt denial a lot less reliable. Dukat and Crell Moset and Elim Garak fuel themselves with mostly the same non-Cardassian personnel (and ships), and make attrition dilemmas and wall dilemmas alike much less effective.

Those last three bring us to the last major tool this deck has: Casualties of the Occupation. Sure, kill everyone, prevent the interrupts, great, but you'll need event destruction too in order to prevent the Cardassians from running around and microteam-solving with three and four personnel. All without the risk associated with a second HQ. Good luck!

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