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The Road to Worlds: Regionals 2019 Week 8

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

23rd May 2019

Second Edition Manassas Regional winner Phil Schrader
Title: Plowing Through Your Delta Regions (HoF)
Headquarters: Caretaker's Array
Deck Size: 58 Cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 42 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Unfair Comparison

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

I thought about several decks before finally settling on Nox - Dominion Tykk, Artifact Thieves, and NeuDom Harried & Harassed were among my top other choices. I ended up settling on Nox mostly because I love the way the deck plays, wanted to get someone with the recent Chell card (got Ben with it), and the fact that the once or twice a year I play the deck no one seems to remember the skills and abilities on the personnel.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I didn't really have a particular deck type that I was hoping to avoid or face in the tournament, but I was worried when I saw that Ben was fielding the new Assassin sniper rifle and I had nowhere to hide to avoid losing my peeps.

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 have played the Nox crew on and off for about five years now and just love the way the deck plays. I've had some pretty good success with it, and even won a Masters with another version back in 2017. I don't think I learned anything new this time around, but it's refreshing to pull the deck back out every so often to see if I can still play it well.

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 only "situational" card that I added would be Chell, but he was going to be added no matter what the case. Interrupts are a pain in the ass to deal with and even being able to nullify one was good.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
This time around, I'd say the MVPs were Interspatial Fissures and Ruldoph Ransom. In addition to providing necessary Nucleogenic Fuel, I actually got to use Fissures twice for the text on the card and I took pride in using it to get by Ben's Divergent Goals by sharing Biology from the three people selected by the dilemma to the larger crew on the mission attempt. Ransom earns a nod this time since it's probably the first time in a tournament I've used him more than once to allow me to solve missions against both my opponents.

What time are you arriving for my Regional next weekend?
Unfortunately I won't be able to make it. I have the final walk through for my new townhouse this coming Friday and I need to coordinate moving and other matters with the property soon thereafter. I'm going to try my best to get to Atlanta, so hopefully we can match up there, drink some good beer together, and enjoy some board games!

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I've heard rumblings on this forum that some people think 2E is getting stale. Maybe it's that we have moved to playing predominately HoF format here on DC, but it seems like no one brings the same deck twice to tournaments around here. We don't do them very often, but we always find a way to keep it fresh. If you are finding the game boring for whatever reason, try something new. It may not be a T1 deck, but there are plenty of viable affiliations and decks out there that can be fun to explore.

I'm not sure there's anything specific about this deck I need to add that hasn't been said before. If you're considering giving this deck a whirl, please do! It's fun to have personnel with ALL THE SKILLS (looking at you Thompson) and being able to shut down Well-Prepared Defense (just ask Ben) by having a suite of high-point missions.

My Commentary:
One of the strengths of an Unfair Comparison is how flexible it can be. At its core, it can work like any attrition pile; while in a Chula pile, you're aiming to get cheap stops by stacking The Game, an Unfair Comparison pile sets up the whole pile to make a 2-cost 3-stop dilemma hit routinely. And any time you can stop three personnel for two cost, you can make bad things happen for your opponent.

In standard attrition piles though, those "bad things" are typically limited to nasty planet and space dilemmas like V'Ger or Greater Needs. Those dilemmas can show up here too, since they are just generally cost effective for what they do. But Unfair Comparison Piles don't stop there. Since you're already using a bunch of events to fuel the "events in core" cycle of dilemmas, you can also use your cheap stops to fuel those. Now you're not just threatening to block interrupts or future mission attempts, you can start whittling away your opponent's personnel, perhaps even aiming for destaffing. Once your opponent is in a situation where they need to play a whole additional ship and staff it just to get reinforcements, you've put yourself way ahead.

Unfair piles don't just rely on the events in core dilemmas, they also usually get access to the 40-point mission dilemmas, which are brutal on low-cost decks. Sure, a weenie deck doesn't care as much about kills, since they can just replenish those personnel next turn. But when Unfair Terms into Whisper in the Dark kills six personnel for only two dilemmas under the mission, replenishing is suddenly a much bigger hill to climb.

Ultimately, what makes the biggest difference in this pile's flexibility is the individual impact of each of the dilemmas. When you draw 8 dilemmas, but you only need two of them to stop the attempt, that means that you had more flexibility to draw situational dilemmas. Those 40-point mission dilemmas won't do much against a cost-cheating [Pa] Klingon deck, but that's not a big deal because the rest of your pile will pick up the slack there. And if you encounter one of the five decks to include Desperate Sacrifice in the last three years? Well, Unfair Comparison and V'Ger still work just fine.

Second Edition German National Championship winner Benjamin Liebich
Title: And force my friends is violence. The supreme authority from which all other authorities derive v3.0
Headquarters: Qo'noS, Heart of the Empire
Deck Size: 55 Cards
Deck Archetype: Interference (Battle)
Dilemma Pile Size: 30 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Kill

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

Well what can I say, dead men tell no tales. I've been toying around with different deck ideas but something that Brian Sykes said really stuck with me. Our meta is ripe for the kill. Around here 90% of the time people play standard attrition piles. Cardassians right now are awesome at beating those with The Enemy of my Enemy and The Central Command so I was expecting a lot of Cardies to show up and low and behold they did.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
In addition to Cardies I also anticipated people might be playing Voyager or Relativity which really play into the strengths of my deck. I expected Phil to play Dominion which are a bit problematic to handle because of their strong ships and possibly Spiteful Strategy but that was really the only match-up that concerned me but he chose Cardies anyway. Since kill piles are rarely played around here, people (except Matthias and Tjark) packed little kill prevention which is tough when you can reinforce the kill pile with a little All-Out War.

You recently won a Regional with a Klingon battle deck, but you made some significant changes to the deck. What changes were the most beneficial? Which changes were the least useful?
That deck was a little irregular because that Regional was in Virtual format. This version of the deck is much more to my liking and and more like the ones I used to play. The one significant change I made to previous versions was the addition of Pulling Rank and Standing Your Ground. Since the deck sports a lot of Generals already I thought it might give me a little more flexibilty, not spending bonus points on All-Out War but it turned out to just be a lot of dead weight. I hardly ever used them. In hindsight I should have left them out in exchange for a third Noble Cause and 3 copies of Filuz cuz I did have a couple of staffing issues at certain points.

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'd really like to put a little more emphasis on the Harried And Harassed/Once More Unto The Breach combo. Anybody who plays Cloaking Device ships should really take a good hard look at this because it is just a BOMB! Add the flavour of Parallel Course and you get the chance to return Once More Unto The Breach, should your opponent decide to move away for reinforcements.

I would consider adding one or two Equipment Malfunctions to the dilemma pile cuz my only loss of the tournament against Matthias came largely due to the fact that he managed to play two ETUs relatively early in the game which really threw me a curve ball.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
As I said before there's no particular MVP card. I do however want to mention The Shroud Of The Sword this time which, in combination with No Peace In Our Time and the I.K.S. Vorn, allows you to have a bunch of Cunning 10 Treachery Klingons running around which I consider BADASS!

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
For once I read the meta right. Cardies are just begging to be killed.

My Commentary:
Indeed, kill piles are a great antidote, if Cardassians are what plagues you. They have access to very little in the way of kill prevention (though their stop prevention is top tier), so grinding out their resources is a very reasonable plan. They'll even help you out by milling their own deck to limit their recovery options! I still recall a game from 2014 Worlds against Timmons, where his Romulan discard deck got me down to a single personnel in play before the end (it was Evek).

One thing I like about this particular battle deck is its flexibility (theme of the week!). On the one hand, there's A Chance For Glory, which aims the deck towards a two mission win. That's great, especially when working towards that goal also puts dilemmas under Delta Pavonis. When you win with two missions, and one of those missions gets free dilemmas beneath it, you're starting to look at more of a one and a half mission win.

On the other hand, sometimes you need to interfere with your opponent's strategy more than you need to advance your own. That's where cards like All-Out Warcome in. Killing three with one blow really helps to supplement the deck's kill dilemmas, and not just the "events in core" cycle. Once More Unto the Breach may only have a single kill, but it's attached to an all-stop. When you follow that up with three more kills with All-Out War and the promise of more, that's bad news for your opponent. Especially since, if they try to move their ship away from your battleship, Parallel Course will return overcome dilemmas to your pile.

And, whichever strategy you find you need to focus on, there are cards in the deck that help you keep it going. Ben's on record in the interview saying he wasn't impressed by Standing Your Ground, but that's far from the only trick. The Bortas is there to help you dig for just the Maneuvers you want (and having Kromm aboard lets you play them on the cheap), and Noble Cause recycles the Maneuvers you used. Either way, you've got all the fuel you need to react in-game to your opponent's strategy, and adjust your game-plan appropriately.

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