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The Road to Worlds, Australian Continental Championships Review

by James Hoskin, Director of Organized Play

8th July 2010

Even though the Regional Championships are over for another year, the Road to Worlds continues on. The Australian Continental Championships took place this past weekend. Here's what happened:

Thursday 1st JulyFriday 2nd JulySaturday 3rd JulySunday 4th July
Australian National Championships
Second Edition
(Infinite Diversity Draft)
The ArtHouse Hotel
275 Pitt St
Sydney, NSW 2000
Australia
[Results]
Australian Continental Championships
First Edition (OTF)
Good Games Burwood
195A Burwood Rd
Burwood, NSW 2134
Australia
[Results]
Australian Continental Championships (day one)
Second Edition (Standard)
Good Games Burwood
195A Burwood Rd
Burwood, NSW 2134
Australia
[Results]
Australian Continental Championships (day two)
Second Edition (Standard)
Good Games Burwood
195A Burwood Rd
Burwood, NSW 2134
Australia
[Results]
Side Event
Second Edition (Standard)
Good Games Burwood
195A Burwood Rd
Burwood, NSW 2134
Australia
[Results]
Side Event
Second Edition
(Race to the Alpha Quadrant)
Good Games Burwood
195A Burwood Rd
Burwood, NSW 2134
Australia
[Results]

Whoever thought it a good idea to start the 2010 Australian Continental Championships weekend with a Biermeister has set a new standard for devious thinking. This tournament, whose results have yet to be entered, was scheduled to be four rounds. Of the various wild, drunken stories circulating as to the reasons this became a three-round tournament, the least credible is that they got thrown out of the venue for being too rowdy. The most credible is that they started late and the venue wanted to close early. Other reasons include mention of alien invasions, the bar being drunk dry, and someone getting the urge for 30 Chicken McNuggets. There was apparently one sober player, so we can all hope that one day the true story will eventually be told. My sources (Kieron's forum post) tell me that Robert Dawson (TBT) and Luke Roberts (Von Luthius) tied for first place, despite Luke missing the first round.

Australian National Championships: Hot on the heels of the Biermeister draft the previous day, came the Nationals draft. Twelve players participated in what was scheduled to be a four-round tournament. Once again, only three rounds were played. The two undefeated players due to face-off in the fourth round were Kieren Otton (Honest) and Shane Brierley (Shanebrier). Both were playing a combination of [Fer] [TNG] Ferengi / Next Generation, and had it not been for the unknown reason (hangovers?) that prevented them from playing a fourth round, I'm sure it would have been a fantastic game. As it was, Shane's first round modified win meant that Kieren was crowned the 2010 Australian National Champion.

First Edition Continental Championships: The results have yet to be entered, but from the looks of things, this planned two-day event was condensed down into one tournament. After four rounds; Matthyas Kiraly (stoovie), playing Federation / Vidiian / Non-Aligned; edged out Robert Dawson (TBT) to claim the title. One story you can hear about in Mike Nugent's interview is his tale of 30 Jem'Hadar and two Vorta (both of which had Medical) aboard a ship. One Vorta got removed by Spatial Rift, and the second was removed by Hippocratic Oath, before Tarellian Plague Ship, which requires Medical, wiped out the entire crew. Ouch!

Second Edition Side Event: After three rounds; Kenny Nguyen (blinkkite), playing [Bor] Borg, was victorious. He finished ahead of Michael Lou (rcharo), playing [Baj] Bajoran. No other information has yet to surface on this tournament.

Second Edition Continental Championships (Day One): 19 players participated in this six-round tournament. Aside from the four players that dropped out, each and every one of the remaining 15 players managed at least one win. At the end of the day, reigning Continental Champion Chris Clarke (ZodoJats) was top of the pile with six full wins. Chris played a [Baj] [TNG] Bajoran / Next Generation deck. Keeping it in the family was Lee Clarke (LCJK) who, having suffered just one modified loss, finished just behind his brother in second place. Other decks featured in the top eight included [Voy] Voyager with Tragic Turn, [TOS] Original Series, [Kli] [Car] Klingon / Cardassian, [Car] Cardassian, [Fed] Federation with a splash of Brunt (FCA Liquidator), and [Baj] Bajoran Integrity. The third installment of the live commentaries featured several players expecting to run into Tragic Turn dilemma piles. We will have to wait for the deck lists to be posted to see whether their fears came true.

Second Edition Continental Championships (Day Two): Literally minutes of searching the Internet have left me none the wiser as to how a Modified McIntyre bracket actually works. Still, it has lots of pretty lines and stuff. The first round saw Lee Clarke (LCJK), playing [Voy] Voyager, beat Shane Brierley (Shanebrier), playing [SF] Starfleet; Chris Clarke (ZodoJats), playing [Rom] Romulan lock-out beat Robert Dawson (TBT), playing [Kli] Klingon Kruge; Kenny Nguyen (blinkkite), playing [Bor] Borg beat Kieren Otton (Honest), playing [Fed] Federation with Brunt; and Daniel Hyde (zephrem), playing [Dom] Dominion beat Matthew Townsend (thac0276). The second round saw Daniel beat Robert, Kenny beat Shane and Chris and Lee both receive byes. The third round then saw Lee beat Daniel and Chris beat Kenny, to set up a final between the brothers, and top two seeds, Chris and Lee Clarke. In a surprisingly quick final confrontation, Chris beat Lee 2-1 to retain the title of Australian Continental Champion. He then consented to a quick interview:

Editor's Note: The text of the interview below is presented exactly as typed by the parties involved.

Q: Congratulations on your win! Going back to day one, why did you decide to play [Baj] [TNG] Bajoran / Next Generation?
A: My current Bajor/TNG deck is probably my fastest deck right now, and has a lot of tools to utilize against any matchup, so it's good for a day one deck.

Q: How does the deck work?
A: The deck has two key parts. It uses Guinan (Listener) and Kira Taban (Husband and Father) for a double At What Cost? before the first mission plus Lwaxana Troi (Extravagant Ambassador) and These are the Voyages for efficiency. It also has lots of dilemma manipulation tricks. Mot (The Barber), Vic Fontaine (Vegas Crooner) and Running a Tight Ship are staples, plus Field Studies and even Aggressive Solutions (only really useful as I'm playing double headquarters, so no matter where the dilemma goes it's useful). Also, Bajor is fantastic for recycling cards from your discard pile. One copy each of Ranjen Koral (Student of B'hala), Kira Nerys (Lela), Vash (Treasure Hunter) and Mardah (Quite a Writer) means that I can get any cards back easily whenever I need them - Field Studies, Rescue Captives, In the Pah-wraith's Wake, whatever.

Q: Did you add any specific cards for this tournament?
A: I added a Rescue Captives and a Power to the Shields for anti-capture and anti-Kruge tech. Power to the Shields (and Evasive Maneuvers) are incredibly under-utilized cards, especially in [Voy] Voyager decks. A well timed Power to the Shields turns a game-losing Kruge into a waste of a turn for the [Kli] Klingon player.

Q: A lot of players expected to face Tragic Turn dilemma piles at the Continentals. Did you have a plan to counter it?
A: My plan was to put enough dilemmas under and/or use enough tricks so that (with Original Thinker Kirk too) they wouldn't be able to actually play that many dilemmas against me, and Tragic Turn would be a pretty big burn on the counters. Aggressive Solutions was a key card for that matchup too.

Q: You won all six games on day one. Were any of them particularly close?
A: Definitely. My closest matches were probably against Kenny's [Car] Cardassians and definitely against Shane's [Voy] Voyager/Tragic Turn deck. Kenny is a great player, and he's really honed his deck. My dilemma pile was teched against the [Fed] Federation, which made his copies of The Central Command all the more potent. Fortunately, my Rescue Captives (twice thanks to Ranjen Koral) saved me from any captive nonsense - discarding a card to play James T. Kirk (Original Thinker) the turn after Evek (Agent of Cardassian Justice) captured him, sounds good to me! - and [TNG] Next Generation microteaming did the rest. My game against Shane was epic. His [Voy] Voyager deck is definitely a mean beast, combining Chuckles madness with every dilemma helping event you can think of. Giving him 5 points with Guinan only helped his speed. Thankfully a double Where No One Has Gone Before (!) slowed him down a lot at the beginning (although he just spent those turns playing more events - oh, and Party Atmosphere was making them cost -2!). I had just enough tricks to win by one turn (thanks to Uninvited and Outmatched), having used Original Thinker Kirk half a dozen times and Aggressive Solutions putting just enough dilemmas under my last mission to microteam. I attempted with six personnel, and used Running a Tight Ship, with ten or so dilemmas under the mission, and I still only just completed it.

Q: Were there any bad match-ups for your deck?
A: The biggest reason for my deck choice was resilience. [TNG] Next Generation is as fast as any other deck, it has heaps of dilemma manipulation, and I felt I had just enough tricks to deal with the kinds of disruption I expected. There weren't really any bad or surprise matchups.

Q: For day two you switched to [Rom] Romulan. What were your reasons for this?
A: Going into the tournament I had no intention of playing [Rom] Romulan. I had devised a funky other deck that (as far as I know) nobody has ever played before, and I was preparing to unleash it on the world. At the end of day one I saw which players I was likely to play on day two. Two of them had played strong [TOS] Original Series and [Voy] Voyager decks - the exact two match-ups that were worrisome for my surprise deck. So after day one I had to scrap my deck (though it would turn out I didn't play either [TOS] Original Series or [Voy] Voyager - aside from my brother - so my deck would have worked just fine). I turned to a [Rom] Romulan deck because I felt it would take people by surprise, and it was well suited for likely matchups.

Q: How does the deck work?
A: My [Rom] Romulan deck was a pretty straight Far-Seeing Eyes deck. I use Getting Under Your Skin / Prejudice and Politics for points; then Far-Seeing Eyes, Discovered, Sorus, Clear Ultimatum, etc. for skill removal. Then I can bounce a wall dilemma to lock my opponent out while completing missions with Wariness.

Q: Knowing who you were likely to face in day two, did you add any specific cards to your deck?
A: I tried to tech it a little for [TOS] Original Series and [Voy] Voyager (for example Sela (Mysterious Operative) to use against the [TOS] Original Series upgraders and [Voy] Voyager Chuckles brothers). More importantly, I took out a couple of cards I would usually play, as I thought they wouldn't be useful in my matchups. In my hurriedness, I decided to take out Dignitaries and Witnesses - bad mistake!

Q: Was facing Tragic Turn a factor for you?
A: My main goal was to set up a lock. I felt like if I succeeded, I'd probably only need to do one mission to just get more points than my opponent. I figured Wariness is enough to deal with Tragic Turn pretty comfortably, He Wasn't Nice and Secret Identity are about all that is in those piles usually that could hurt me.

Q: Were there any players you didn't want to face? Or that you were glad someone else knocked out for you?
A: Going into the day there weren't really any players I didn't want to face. However, when I found out that Shane Brierley (Shanebrier) had brought a [SF] Starfleet Future Enterprise deck, I was glad Kenny Nguyen (blinkkite) had taken him out as it can be pretty tough to get rid of all the needed cards in time.

Q: How were your games on day two?
A: Thanks to the Aussie-rules style system, I only played two games before the final. My first game was a dream perfect matchup. Robert Dawson (TBT) was playing a [Pa] [Kli] Past Klingon Solver with lots of Kruge (Instinctive Commander) support - just not a lot of Exobiology support. After two Far-Seeing Eyes and a little more tinkering I'd removed all event destruction and Exobiology - 'lock'. I scored 5 points and we called it a game. Game two against Kenny Nguyen (blinkkite) was another thing entirely. He was playing big [Bor] Borg x3. From what I could tell he was using every card in a regular [Bor] Borg solver, plus every card needed for assimilation, plus a million events to support a mean Tragic Turn pile - yikes! On my first Far-Seeing Eyes inspection I realized it would be a super tough game - Why did I remove Dignitaries and Witnesses? Argh! He had eight or nine Exobiology, Borg Queen (Guardian of the Hive) to get Exobiology back should I Secret Identity one mid-attempt, three copies of Bridge Officer's Test, three copies of Knowledge and Experience, recurring Two of Nine (Transtator Drone), etc. It was an extremely tough game. I used Far-Seeing Eyes four or five times, as well as Discovered for other things, and only just got rid of all his Exobiology by the time he had practically completed his second mission. That sounds good, but this all happened and there was only 15 minutes left - and I hadn't even attempted a mission yet, and had barely anyone of value in play. I super hurriedly played a few four-cost personnel, and thanks to Wariness managed to squeeze in a couple of missions before time. The additional points from Getting Under Your Skin helped me secure the win. Tough, tough game. I think we both made some big mistakes (I'm sure I did), but it was a great game of Trek, and Kenny deserves a lot of praise for really knowing his stuff and playing a deck that totally took me by surprise. Although it would have been a lot easier had I played a certain other dilemma...

Q: That just left your brother in the final. Did that make things easier or harder?
A: At every tournament I go to with my brother, our goal is to get first and second. But who gets what is a lot less important. Once I'd made the final, and discovered my brother clinched his game by a turn, I relaxed a lot. Weirdly, we hadn't played on day one, so this was the first time we met in the tournament. When we play each other, we play super quickly - even with a Far-Seeing Eyes deck; three fifteen minute games. After playing several super close games on the weekend, it was good to sit down without as much pressure. We knew each other's decks pretty well, so it basically all came down to the draws. He got a good start game one, completed Inversion Mystery, named Telepathic Deception, and just creamed me. Games two and three I got the better hand (including using Sorus to discard Finding Our Way from an opening hand!) and set up locks before he could complete Inversion Mystery. When I got more points than him, we both knew each other's decks well enough that we didn't have to play it out any further. A 2-1 victory in the best of three. It could easily have gone the other way.

Q: Congratulations again! Do you have any final words?
A: It was a great tournament. Thanks to all those who showed up, and Matthyas for running the event. Next year I'm going for the hat-trick, but there's increasingly tough competition down-under, so it will be difficult.

Thanks Chris!

Race to the Alpha Quadrant Side Event: I'm not entirely certain whether this tournament took place or not. We'll have to wait and see if the results get entered.

Byes

This week, two players won a Day One Round One bye into the Continental Championships:

• Kieren Otton (Honest), winner at Australian National Championships
• Robert Dawson (TBT), fourth place (bye handed down) at Australian National Championships

Two players won a Day One Round One bye into the World Championships:

• Chris Clarke (ZodoJats), winner at Australian Continental Championships
• Lee Clarke (LCJK), second place at Australian Continental Championships

And, one player won a Day One Round Two bye into the World Championships:

• Chris Clarke (ZodoJats), winner at Australian Continental Championships

Congratulations to everyone involved. These bye winners have been added to the list of current bye winners for the Continental Championships and the World Championships here.

Your Feedback

In an effort to improve our plans for the 2011 Regional Championships, the Department of Organized Play would like to hear your thoughts on this year's Regional Championships. Whether you have something positive or something negative to say, we would like to hear from you. See this post in the forums for more information.

Next Time

The European Continental Championships are but a few weeks away. You can expect a preview of the whole weekend in the week beginning Monday, July 19th.

Have an opinion about this article? Post it here, or contact the author!

-djl-


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