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The Road to Worlds, European Continental Championships Review

by James Hoskin, Director of Organized Play

29th July 2010

Last weekend saw a modest number of twelve players attend the European Continental Championships in High Wycombe, England. Sadly there were no dedicated First Edition players, so we ended up playing Second Edition for the entire weekend. Here is what happened:

Friday 23rd JulySaturday 24th JulySunday 25th July
6:30pm: European Biermeister Championships
Second Edition (Standard)
The Falcon
9 Cornmarket
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire
HP11 2AX
United Kingdom
[Results]
10am: European Continental Championships (day one)
Second Edition (Standard)
Bucks New University Student's Union
Queen Alexandra Road
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire
HP11 2JZ
United Kingdom
[Results]
9:30am: European Continental Championships (day two)
Second Edition (Standard)
Bucks New University Student's Union
Queen Alexandra Road
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire
HP11 2JZ
United Kingdom
[Results]
7pm: Side Event
Second Edition (Infinite Diversity Draft)
The Falcon
9 Cornmarket
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire
HP11 2AX
United Kingdom
[Results]
10am: Side Event - The Losers Cup
Second Edition (Standard)
Bucks New University Student's Union
Queen Alexandra Road
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire
HP11 2JZ
United Kingdom
[Results]
1pm: Chairman's Challenge
Second Edition (Standard)
Bucks New University Student's Union
Queen Alexandra Road
High Wycombe
Buckinghamshire
HP11 2JZ
United Kingdom
[Results]

European Biermeister Championships: The weekend began with an attempt by Will Hoskin (Gumbo), playing [TNG] [NA] Androids, to get as many of his competitors as drunk as possible so that they would be unable to compete at day one of the European Championships the following day. Unfortunately for Will, his plan didn't work. Soren Ramme Nielsen (s_ramme), playing a [Kli] Klingon solver; Peter H. Møller (Peukon), playing a [Maq] [NA] Hologram deck; and Stuart Motley (Damulak), playing [Car] Cardassian Capture; all drank just as much (if not more) as Will did. Elizabeth Bijker (LizzyB), playing [DS9] Deep Space 9, was sightseeing the next day; and Auwerd Bijker (Auwey) was also trying to get everyone drunk with his "Up the Ante Stratagem." This involved him playing Up the Ante by itself at planet missions, so that his opponent would win and be forced to drink more beer. If he didn't draw Up The Ante, the remaining 17 dilemmas in his pile - all copies of Infestation - were all playable! In what may be the quickest game ever, Auwerd's second round loss to Elizabeth took just four and a half minutes. At the end of the day, when the lights were dimming, Soren emerged victorious. He is the fourth nationality to win the European Biermeister in the four years it has been run. Congratulations Soren.

European Continental Championships (day one): Six of the twelve players in attendance had flown into the country for this weekend, while the other six were all home-grown. While the first round was underway, I looked around the room and prepared to jokingly tweet "The European Championships have begun. Comprising six of the best players in Europe - and six English players". I didn't know just how prophetic I was being. After three games, the bottom five players were all English. Meanwhile at the other end, Vladimir Vrbata (vlasopes), playing an [TOS] Original Series deck titled ""My God! That's a big ship." "Not so big as her captain I think." EC version"; and Soren Ramme Nielsen (s_ramme), playing a [Voy] Voyager deck titled "I'm the Biermeister!", were both undefeated. They faced off in the fourth round, and while Vladimir did win, he could only manage a modified win against Soren. Also in the fourth round, Nicholas Yankovec (nickyank), playing a [Dom] Dominion deck titled "Domination 2010", threw away his 80-75 lead over Will Hoskin (Gumbo), playing a [Rom] Romulan deck titled "Euro Wariness 2010", in the last minute. Nick completed a mission to take the lead, and then decided to lose 5 points to destroy A Few Minor Difficulties. Time was then called, and Nick realised that he didn't have enough Range remaining on his ship, so the game finished in a 75-75 tie. The fifth round saw Doug Hughes (gtdoug), playing a [Rom] Romulan deck titled "Romulan Surprise!", complete a mission and subsequently Power Shift all his points away at the next mission attempt. That's how you lose 100-0 in style! After a gruelling seven rounds, Vladimir was undefeated and took the first seed for day two. Just behind him was Thomas Schneider (thsch), playing a [Bor] Borg deck unimaginatively titled "Borg"; and Tyler Fultz (DJstormtrooper42), playing a [Fer] Ferengi deck titled "Chew My Food Before I Eat It!". Final standings and every deck lists can be found on the tournament results page. You'll note that Will was the only player who played at the Biermeister and this tournament who didn't qualify for day two. I took great delight at pointing this out to him!

Infinite Diversity Draft: During the Biermeister, Peter and Soren had mentioned that they had never played in an Infinite Diversity Draft before, so a tournament was hastily set up for them on Saturday evening. When I wasn't being called over to make rulings during day one of the Continental Championships, I was cutting up cards for the draft. I was being a perfectionist though and an average of five minutes to cut up a sheet of nine cards meant that I didn't manage to cut up everything I wanted to. Still, we ended up with five "Classic TNG" sets and three "Dominion War" sets. Happily only eight players wanted to play, so this worked out well. A quick run through of my experiences at the draft can be found on the forums. After three rounds, in which we were all getting increasingly tired, Stuart Motley (Damulak), playing [Fer] [Rom] Ferengi / Romulan, was undefeated and won the tournament. Of particular interest to note is that the bottom four finishers all played [Kli] Klingon. Not that I'm blaming them on my poor performance or anything...

European Continental Championships (day two): Much to the disappointment of alternates Nick and Will, all eight players turned up for the second day of the European Continental Championships. While Nick and Will went off to start their own tournament (see the Losers Cup, below), the players began their best-of-three matches to determine who would definitely receive one of the fantastic trophies available for the semi-finalists. The full bracket and deck lists can be found on the tournament page. Auwerd Bijker (Auwey) had stayed up half the night building his [Rom] Romulan deck in a bid to beat Vladimir Vrbata (vlasopes), playing [Bor] Borg, but it wasn't to be as the top seed won his match 2-0. The second quarter-final saw the two players from Denmark, Soren Ramme Nielsen (s_ramme) and Peter H. Møller (Peukon), face off against each other. Both were playing [Bor] Borg. Peter played an assimilator, while Soren played a straight solver. Soren won the match 2-0. The third quarter-final saw Thomas Schneider (thsch), playing [TOS] Original Series; up against Steve Upton (nagisteve), playing [Car] [Rom] [NA] Cardassian / Romulan / Non-Aligned. Thomas won the match 2-0. The final match saw Tyler Fultz (DJstormtrooper42), playing [Maq] Maquis; against Stuart Motley (Damulak), playing [Dom] Dominion. As with the other three quarter-finals, the top seeded player (in this case Tyler) won 2-0. The first semi-final saw a German, Thomas, play an adopted German, Tyler. Tyler's [Maq] Maquis tricks were just too much for Thomas, and having lost the first game, he conceded to Tyler in the second game when he had no personnel in play with just 15 minutes left to play. The second semi-final saw reigning champion Vladimir play Soren. Both were playing [Bor] Borg, although this time neither was trying to assimilate each other. Both games went to time, and both victories went to Soren. That meant a final of Tyler's [Maq] Maquis against Soren's [Bor] Borg. Tyler used all his [Maq] Maquis tricks in the first game and was able to prevent Soren from playing a meaningful number of personnel. In fact, once he did have enough personnel to make a mission attempt, Tyler de-staffed his ship the following turn, and the game was effectively over. In the second game, Soren quickly downloaded three copies of Quintessence, and was using all three copies to download the personnel he needed. Unfortunately for him, Tyler was using both Alarming Rumors and Cascade Virus to prevent those downloaded personnel from being played, and any that did get played were returned to hand using Stalling for Time. Tyler did lose his hand twice to The Dreamer and the Dream after failed mission attempts, and this gave Soren a couple of turns worth of being able to play the personnel he wanted, but that wasn't to be enough. Soren did complete two missions, but Tyler was always ahead of him in the game, and eventually completed his third mission for the win. Tyler Fultz is the 2010 European Continental Champion!

The Losers Cup: The four English players that didn't qualify for day two needed something to do on Sunday morning, so they set up a losers tournament for themselves. Being the losers that they are, each one of them suffered at least one loss. After three rounds; Nicholas Yankovec (nickyank), playing [Dom] Dominion; emerged as the cream of the cra, er, losers, while Will Hoskin (Gumbo) finished last, and shall hereby forever after be referred to as the "biggest loser ever."

Chairman's Challenge: Steve Upton (nagisteve) generously donated a Necessary Evil uncut foil sheet, which added a big incentive to win this tournament. At least two players were willing to offer money for the sheet, but Steve donated it anyway. That meant some frantic building of virtual dilemma piles (as required for the challenge), and some very questionable-looking virtual cards. Seven players played over four rounds for the honor of winning the Chairman's challenge, and the uncut sheet. Which prize was a higher priority was never in doubt, but to spare our esteemed Chairman any blushes, we'll say it was the title of Chairman's Challenge winner. shifty The virtual dilemma piles made for some interesting games. Not in the least because Necessary Execution is not a virtual dilemma, so everyone was attempting their planet missions first. The most popular virtual dilemmas were Breaking the Ice and We'll Never Know, so decks that had (or could gain) Geology and Science fared the best. After four rounds, three players were tied on ten victory points. Auwerd Bijker (Auwey), playing [Rom] Romulan skill-lockout, was undefeated but only managed two full wins. While, Stuart Motley (Damulak), playing [Kli] Klingon battle; and Nicholas Yankovec (nickyank), playing a [Dom] Dominion solver; both had one loss and three full wins each. Strength of schedule resulted in Auwerd being named the winner, and taking home the uncut sheet (and the much more prestigious title of Chairman's Challenge winner!)

After the tournaments were over, new European Continental Champion (and celebrity) Tyler Fultz consented to a quick interview:

Q: Congratulations on your win. You played [Fer] Ferengi on day one. Why did you pick them?
A: I was tired of playing [Car] Cardassians, which were my other option, and I felt this deck needed to be avenged after its disastrous performance at the German National Championships last year. The release of the [Pa] [Fer] past Ferengi in Allegiance made that possible.

Q: How does the deck work?
A: Step 1: Use Ferengi tricks like Par Lenor (Lascivious Emissary) to spend a ton of counters turn 4-5. Step 2: Use Rom (Professional Soldier) to swap all the Rules in your hand with the interrupts beneath Fereginar. Step 3: Prevent your opponent from using Secret Identity to remove Reyga (Young Scientist) with The Play's the Thing and Ulis (Unidentified Pirate). Step 4: Use Reyga to wreck your opponent’s dilemma pile.

Q: Did you add any specific cards for this tournament?
A: I started using Straight and Steady. While the deck has no [SF] Starfleet personnel, I can still download any zero-cost card. Rule of Acquisition #6 is the usual target.

Q: How were your day one games? Did you have any close games or tough match-ups?
A: Some good, some not so good. I played one game against a Tragic Turn deck, which was close to an auto-win. Poor Soren just wasn’t going to kill anyone once I had three copies of Grish and Ulis (Unidentified Pirate) in play. In my game against Thomas, his [Bor] Borg just walked all over my dilemmas and assimilated Tuvok (Coldly Logical Soldier), which really hurt, but the game was still "1-turn close" in the end. Playing against Vlad’s [TOS] Original Series was also a close game. I was amazed at their ability to always have the skills and attributes needed. In the end, I made some mistakes and Vlad capitalized on them for the win.

Q: On day two you went with [Maq] Maquis, why did you switch?
A: The [Maq] Maquis had been very successful at this year's German nationals. I just couldn’t keep such a powerful deck in the box.

Q: How does the deck work?
A: A combination of [Maq] Maquis tricks, Aid Legendary Civilization, All-Out War, the U.S.S. Defiant (Stolen Warship) and a dilemma pile that focuses on returning personnel to hand typically results in my opponent having no personnel in play and no cards in hand about mid-game.

Q: Knowing who you were likely to face in day two, did you add any specific cards to your deck?
A: I knew I would face an [TOS] Original Series deck in at least one of the rounds. I was also worried about [Kli] Klingons. Both have the ability to play high-cost personnel for cheap and get around the [Maq] Maquis. I added an extra Moral Choice, Shocking Betrayal and Full Security Alert to counter them.

Q: Were there any players you didn't want to face? Or that you were glad someone else knocked out for you?
A: When Vlad arrived unannounced on day one, everyone was worried. Vlad has a reputation in Europe for being an intimidating and dominant player, which he certainly deserves. When Soren knocked him out on day two, I was relieved to say the least because I wasn’t prepared to face his [Bor] Borg.

Q: How were your games on day two?
A: The [Maq] Maquis worked beautifully. I only shuffled my dilemma pile once. Thomas forfeited our second game when he had no people in play 45 minutes in.

Q: Do you have anything else to add?
A: Thanks to all the players and judges who made Continentals a success. It was great fun and those who didn't come missed out. Also, people on the message boards have erroneously labelled me an American - for Trek purposes, I'm German. Finally, it’s time the talk about [Maq] Maquis being one of the weak affiliations can stop. That being said, the secret is out now and people are going to be prepared at Worlds. I better go prep...

Thanks Tyler!

Byes

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

• Tyler Fultz (DJstormtrooper42), winner at the European Continental Championships
• Soren Ramme Nielsen (s_ramme), second place at the European Continental Championships

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

• Tyler Fultz (DJstormtrooper42), winner at the European Continental Championships

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

Next Week

A preview of the North American Continental Championships. As I'll be flying out for the event, next week's Road to Worlds article will be posted earlier than usual.

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