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North American Continental Championships Weekend Tournaments Report (Part 1)

by Kris Sonsteby, Freelance Writer

6th July 2009

Good evening, ‘Trek fans! For my longtime broadcast partner, Matt “The Original Champion” Frid, I’m Kris “The Old Pro” Sonsteby welcoming you to another edition of T2E Confidential, the only show that brings you, the audience, through the ropes for an 'up close and personal' look at the game’s greatest superstars. This week, in a first-of-its-kind three-part episode, we’ll be taking you behind the scenes for a player’s perspective on the recently-completed North American Continental Championships, starting with Friday’s “last chance to win a seat at the summer dance” qualifier and ending with the final tallies from Sunday’s Day 2 double elimination shakedown. So, without further ado, let’s step right into the action that unfolded on Friday night, as narrated by yours truly.

North American Continentals officially kicked off at about 4:30 p.m. Central time on Friday when I picked up Michael “MVB” van Breemen and Raymond “The Ray-ted R Superstar” Linton at their nearby hotel so we could all meet up for dinner with Nat “The Beast From the East” Kirton and Jeremy “The Razor” Benedict for some down home BBQ at Famous Dave’s, followed shortly thereafter by the four-round Friday night tournament slated to start at 7 p.m. We arrived a little early, and seeing as I had already earned a Round 1 bye for Day 2 on Saturday, I decided to run my new, solid yet unrefined Cardassian deck in order to use the gig as a chance to test out a couple of different dilemmas, keep my other decks under wraps, and just generally get a feel for the weekend’s meta. Little did I know my deck was in line to take some heavy fire on the night, as I was paired against three of the toughest opponents in attendance...

Round 1: Kevin “The Champ” Jaeger’s Klingon Delta Quadrant Solver – Are you serious? My first game on the weekend and I’m matched up against the reigning World Champion, who just happens to be running the deck he used to win the South Dakota regional? Talk about starting things off with a bang! After we laid out our missions and the game started, I kept asking myself, is this actually happening or is it really still Thursday and I’m just caught up in a twisted nightmare? Needless to say, the game itself wasn’t worth the hype as I failed to deliver in this headlining match because my Cardassian deck drew pretty poorly early on -- no Dukat (Prefect of Bajor) or Crell Moset (Notorious Exobiologist) until turn six -- and Kev just steamrolled through his two 40-point missions with a double B’aht Qul Challenge for the win. I did manage to complete Kressari Rendezvous to make the game somewhat respectable, but by all accounts, it was a no contest. Thank goodness I at least picked him for my fantasy team so it wasn’t a total loss!

Round 2: Bye – As the second round pairings were announced, I couldn’t recall hearing my name at any point, and was completely stunned to hear I had earned a bye. For the first time in my ‘Trek-playing career, I was quite literally speechless! I recanted to the crowd of 18 other paired-up players that I couldn’t remember the last time I had ever received a bye outside of the first round, and drew a huge laugh when I shouted that I was at least going to use the time wisely to run home (all of three minutes away) and fix myself a stiff drink to celebrate!

Round 3: Barry “The Genius” Windschitl’s Borg All-Planet Solver – After returning for the next round, I was matched against my longtime protégé, Barry, but as I looked across the table at his missions, I was completely confused, which incidentally had nothing to do with the alcohol! I didn’t see a single space mission on his side of the table and had no idea how he could win without completing one. As I pondered that over the course of the first couple of turns, I finally realized one of his options was the Genesis Planet, and then the light bulb went on... complete all planets, but turn one into a space mission. Gotcha. Well, this game started off great for me and poorly for him as on turn three, he seemed to be searching for something (drawing all seven counters) while I was out attempting my regionalized space mission with seven personnel, including the people-eating Dukat mentioned above, a Privileged Legate named Parek, and a Comfort Women (with Non-Aligned personnel) in hand. Barry held me off in space for a turn or two, and eventually scored his Genesis Planet by turn six or thereabouts, but following my weapons sale near Cardassia, it was all down hill for him as B-4 (Dangerous Simpleton), Data (Loyal Brother), Lemec (Posturing Negotiator), and Persis (Loyal Daughter) all came marching into play and I easily completed Evacuate Colony (with Dukat’s help) and Survey New World with a four-person crew for the win.

Round 4: Steve “The Full Nelson’s” Mirror Starfleet Troop – I had never seen a Mirror Starfleet deck in action before, much less see Steve run anything like it, so this made for a very interesting final round matchup. The die roll set the tone as I (for the third straight time) ended up going second, knowing I would have to draw well to combat Steve’s turn advantage. Thankfully, I drew pretty well again, this time getting a Cardassian Protectorate in play early to continually spend counters playing personnel instead of drawing, which lead to another third-turn space attempt. Following some Crell and Dukat shenanigans, Steve ended up only stopping my two worst people, which in turn left me with five peeps and exactly 31 remaining Strength, enough to complete and move on. While I toiled away at completing Evacuate Colony, Steve punched through his space mission and headed out to his first planet, where his evil comrades were promptly greeted with a Hard Time and An Issue of Trust. After completing what in essence is the planet version of my space mission, I double teamed my last mission (which has requirements eerily familiar to the first two), picking up the win when the super crew of three Guls and a Legate decided to be “comforted” by the short-bus-riding robot. If that description sounds a bit like the start of a bad joke, it probably was to Steve, as the loss knocked him down in Friday’s final standings and scored me a first-blood victory in what would become a two-out-of-three-falls encounter over the weekend.

As the remaining games slowly wrapped up and players began to scatter in order to tweak decks for Saturday, I couldn’t help but feel somewhat accomplished in how a deck that I hadn’t put nearly enough time into refining had effectively finished 3-1, which was good enough for 5th place out of the 19 participants. It definitely wasn’t the best deck trotted out on the night (as that award was reserved for Nat’s Ferengi speed deck which Mike played while Nat ran Goval again), but it did well enough to give me a great deal of confidence headed into Day 1, which was all I was really hoping for.

Well, that does it for this first of three edition of T2E Confidential. Tune in next time for more details on how the North American Continental Championships played out, and to see if The Big Goodbye’s home field advantage would carry through the rest of the long ‘Trek-playing weekend!

-djl-


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