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The Road to Worlds 2011, Week 4

by James Hoskin, Director of Organized Play

21st April 2011

This is a weekly series that aims to preview upcoming Regional tournaments, review Regional tournaments that have just taken place, highlight winning decks, interview players, and more. Last week's article was The Road to Worlds 2011, Week 3.

How can you contribute to this series? First and foremost, I am relying on results and deck lists being promptly entered into this site. I can't write about them otherwise. Other ways you can help include taking photos, interviewing players, writing previews, and providing background information. Any other way to help the community be a part of your Regional tournament would be appreciated, too. Contact details are at the end of this article.

Week 3 Review

Saturday 16th AprilSunday 17th April
Second Edition (Standard)
Sickbay
Kurt-Weill-Straße 41
D-06844 Dessau
Germany
[Results]
Second Edition (Standard)
Round Table Pizza
2960 Treat Boulevard
Concord, CA 94518
United States
[Results]
First Edition (Official)
The Geek Shack
Zinkenbaumstraße 29
92676 Eschenbach
Germany
[Postponed]
Second Edition (Standard)
College of DuPage
Student Resource Center
425 Fawell Boulevard
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
United States
[Results]

Sickbay: The first Vandros IV Regional of the year attracted eight players, including reigning Second Edition World Champion (and my pick to win), Tobias Rausmann (garetjax). He was playing a version of the Damaged [SF] Starfleet deck he used to win Worlds, but that wasn't enough to win this Regional. Johannes Klarhauser (Kaiser), playing an [TOS] Original Series deck titled "For K and D", beat Tobias in the first round and went on to win the tournament. This was his second Regional Championship title, having won his first back in 2008. It almost wasn't to be though. Sebastian Kirstein (Caretaker's Guest), playing a [Kli] Klingon battle deck, was undefeated over his first four rounds - beating both Johannes and Tobias in the process - but missed the final game, and his chance to win the title. The most popular affiliations on the day were [Rom] Romulan, used by three players; followed by [Kli] Klingon, used by two players. Two deck lists and one tournament report can be found on the tournament results page.

Statistics from Sickbay:

Total achievements awarded9
Most achievements wonJohannes Klarhauser (Kaiser), with 4
Average achievements per player1.1
Biggest ratings gainSebastian Kirstein (Caretaker's Guest), up 55 points to 1765
Average rating of all 8 players1591

Round Table Pizza: The results for this Risa Regional have yet to be entered. When they are, a review of the tournament will be added to this article.

College of DuPage: 14 players - a record for the venue - took part in this Second Edition Deep Space 9 Regional. Last year's winner, and my pick to win, Michael van Breemen (The Ninja Scot) continued his impressive recent form (now at five tournament wins from eight this year) and won the tournament undefeated. Michael was playing a [Kli] Klingon deck titled "Past, Present and Win" and, after 13 other players had tried and failed, became the first player to win with this year's most popular affiliation. Michael's fiancée, Amber Mitchell (Marquetry), took second place with her [SF] Starfleet deck titled "Starfleet in the Expanse". Eleven different affiliations were represented at this tournament; the most popular being [Rom] Romulan, played by three players; and then [Car] Cardassian and Earth (Home of Starfleet Command), played by two players each. Special mentions go to fifth place finisher Casey Wickum (MrCub21) and eleventh place finisher Eric Bieche (biecheer) for being the first players this year to play Earth (Home of Starfleet Command) in a Regional. Nine deck lists and six tournament reports can be found on the tournament results page, and an interview with the winner, Michael van Breemen, is below.

Statistics from College of DuPage:

Total achievements awarded17
Most achievements wonJoshua Sheets (prylardurden) and Jason Bales (jbales1974), with 3 each
Average achievements per player1.2
Biggest ratings gainAmber Mitchell (Marquetry), up 35 points to 1569
Average rating of all 14 players1517

The Geek Shack: This First Edition Vandros IV Regional was cancelled due to a lack of players, and will be rescheduled for late May/early June. When an exact date is known the schedule will be updated, and players notified in the Regional Championships forum.

Interview

This week, Michael van Breemen (The Ninja Scot); 2008 First Edition World Champion, four-times Second Edition Regional Champion, and the reason that Transport Crash Survivors exists; steps into the spotlight.

James: Congratulations on your win Michael. In preparation for the tournament, what decks were you considering playing?
Michael: I had a total of six decks that I could've played - a [Fer] Ferengi uber-tons of counters deck, a [Maq] Maquis deck, a Cadet deck, the [Kli] Klingon deck, a fun [TNG] [DS9] Next Generation / Deep Space 9 4-cost deck and a nutty [DS9] Deep Space 9 Tongo deck. I also have my Continentals deck planned out barring any ruling changes up until then, but it's not going to see the light of day until then.

James: What decks did you expect to face?
Michael: I was expecting Cadets, Damaged [SF] Starfleet (since that's what Amber was playing and I was expecting to have to play her at some point, since I've played her more than anyone else in the world at this point), [Bor] Borg, Vintner and [Car] Cardassian Capture. And, at least three people playing a killing Tragic Turn pile. I never saw Cadets. I never saw Vintner or Borg although one was present. [TN] Terok Nor was a possibility but if it was, my dilemma pile was ready for it.

James: Why did you play Klingon B'aht Qul Challenge?
Michael: Because I expected my people to die and if they're dead, then I can get points from them; and I only have to get my people killed twice. With The Sword of Kahless, I can complete Brute Force with four personnel; and with the right personnel, I can complete Secure Strategic Base and Investigate Alien Probe with four as well. Like people would often do to me - give me sacrificial lambs to kill to pile the dilemmas under so that the real team can go in and clean up. Plus, I wasn't sure that I'd see a lot of people with 40 point missions so it wasn't like I was going to lose at it either. If they countered it, it wasn't like it was the crux of the deck either. It helps get around Casual Recursion and the Phoenix (Risen From the Ashes) and it gives me a possible two mission win, both of which makes it a good reason to be in the deck. Also, the expression of "What on Earth are you doing now?" is something that I've learned to enjoy over the years.

James: Was there a particular reason why you didn't play your trademark 20 card Tragic Turn dilemma pile?
Michael: My fiancée was playing Damaged [SF] Starfleet and that makes my pile cry if I can't get rid of Archer. Granted, I know that I could've added Secret Identity and/or The Caretaker's "Guests" to it for that purpose, but I figured since people knew that I was coming that people would tech around it - and a good number of them did. I saw Assess Contamination, Ezri Dax (Resourceful Counselor), Medical Teams, Donatra (Honorable Commander), James T. Kirk (Original Thinker), U.S.S. Sao Paulo... It was like people thought that I was going to kill them or something.

James: Did you have any tricks in the deck and/or dilemma pile?
Michael: The dilemma pile was mostly about stopping a large number of people with one dilemma, then hitting the stragglers with stuff that doesn't stay under - The Dal'Rok, Hard Time, Polywater Intoxication, etc. I figured that if I was seeing Cadets, which could get out faster than I can, that the best thing would be to slow that down with cards like In Development and Coolant Leak. The copies of Swashbuckler at Heart were in there for extra draws and to take out things like The Central Command and Ruling Council along with Grav-Plating Trap if I was going to try my two-mission win. Secret Identity/The Caretaker's "Guests" was to take out specific people on the chance that I could actually remember how to skill-track (which I tend to forget as I'm too focused on what I'm wanting to do as opposed to who my opponent reported into play.)

In the draw deck, I didn't really have any tricks. I liked that Nu'Daq could let me get back a B'aht Qul Challenge which was how I got to play it four times in a turn. I liked that Genetronic Treatment helped add cards to the discard pile, especially since I seemed to have a lot of Medical to call upon to pull it off. That was my main Tragic Turn counter, simply preventing the initial kill was important (except when your only Medical at the time is on a Holding Cell, but I digress.) William T. Riker (Exchange Officer) is always handy to have around but I didn't really use him all that much. I used him to get extra instances of Security at Brute Force to complete it a turn earlier and once at Investigate Alien Probe for the same purpose. I maybe got to use the Sword once and it was just thrown in there just in case - just like Bridge Officer's Test which I never played.

James: You only had one space mission. You didn't have any event destruction, and your only interrupt prevention looked to be Swashbuckler at Heart. Did you think that these factors wouldn't be an issue?
Michael: I didn't think that it would be that much of a factor. I was counting on not seeing [Maq] Maquis because of their perceived slowness and because in general, the meta is more about solvers than it is about control. After all, you want to have full wins and not modified wins. It's understandable and if your deck can't get those full wins, it's probably not going to do well in a regional and as such, why would you bring it? I find that I often don't put as much in the way of counters in my deck that I'm "supposed" to. I'm supposed to have used the 40 point Delphic Expanse mission so that I could play Trellium-D so that I can blow it up with Grav-Plating Trap, not to mention have a second space mission. I'm supposed to use Relentless so that I can prevent stops. I'm supposed to run three 40-point missions and complete two of them for the win with Baht-Qul Challenge. I should have used Kruge and a killing dilemma pile for defense. It might be befuddling, out of place, at odds with a different meta environment than what is played in other tournament scenes but for this one, I think I made the right call.

James: Did you have plans to deal with Tragic Turn, Legacy, Borg, Capture, Cadets & Klingon battle?
Michael: Tragic turn - Everyone is expendable. Use Genetronic Treatment to prevent the initial kill and, after all the consumed dilemmas, complete the mission on the next turn with a small team.

Legacy - Roll the dice and see what happens. I don't know the exact ratio of skill/non-skill dilemmas (James: you had 47% skill dilemmas) but I know that it wouldn't have been a gimmie. Plus, because it doesn't bounce back and it isn't a guarantee that you'll win when you play it was enough of a deterrent not to see it.

Borg - Be faster than they are. Go for the two mission win and stall them at Assimilate Resistance. Enhancement drones don't like In Development for example.

Capture - Nothing in particular, just be faster. I wasn't against getting a really large hand in order to get past a Broken Captive if necessary, plus it fuels my discard pile so that I can use B'aht Qul Challenge for the two mission win.

Cadets - My dilemma pile stops Cadets. In Development, Coolant Leak, Personal Duty all make Cadets sad at Practice Orbitial Maneuvers and as far as other missions, I should complete my missions with four or five personnel while they're sending in seven to nine and are being stopped by one dilemma and losing one or two in the process.

Klingon Battle - Don't get killed so that Kruge can't work. I've never seen Klingons in Chicago except with Alexander Rozhenko (K'mtar), so I wasn't expecting to see it. Again, go for two mission win if you can or just limit the number of people who are exposed at any one time. Planet first, fly ship back home. Rinse, repeat.

James: How was the tournament for you?
Michael: Good. I had a great time, was laughing through almost every game about any number of random things. We got to hang out afterwards at Red Robin and just be around a group of fellow geeks/nerds/insert whichever term you think most appropriate. That's what I like almost as much as playing the game itself.

James: Who was your toughest opponent?
Michael: I was more worried during Josh's game than anything else because I had gifted him Assess Contamination due to my inability to remember who he had played. He had just stopped my ship with Outclassed and I lost my hand which meant that I had to complete three missions. I'm holding him off but we're at two missions a piece when he gets to Transport Crash Survivors. I slam 15 at Brute Force (because after all, it's the name of mission...) and joked that he didn't have Fractured Time. Turns out that he did... he just never drew it. I'm not sure that I would've been able to recover if he had.

James: Now that the tournament is over, how would you improve your deck?
Michael: It depends on where I play it next as to whether I add more counters, change missions around; but I know that I would want to play the deck better. If I'm going to use B'aht Qul Challenge, I'm going to want to download with Mara (Science Officer) far more than I was doing. Dilemma pile wise, I would definitely tweak it some more. Not exactly how yet but my non-Tragic Turn piles are always in flux. And of course, do better at personnel tracking for skills.

James: This win sees you move up to 12th in the world rankings. Do you ever see yourself cracking the number one spot?
Michael: Barring winning Worlds, it would take a lot of people to lose a lot of games in order to accomplish that. Still, that would make me the first player to be a World Champion of both First Edition and Second Edition which would be cool. That being said, cracking the number one spot isn't something that I'm actively searching for whatsoever. I'm just trying to win games and have fun, not necessarily in that order.

James: Do you have anything else to add?
Michael: Thanks for everyone that made the event possible, I'm glad that I was able to make it. Congratulations to Amber for getting second and snatching the bye for Continentals. And thanks to you for the chance to chat. Hopefully we'll do it again in the future.

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, Michael.

Byes

This week, three players won a Day One, Round One bye into the Second Edition Continental Championships:

• Johannes Klarhauser (Kaiser), winner at Sickbay
• Amber Mitchell (Marquetry), second place at College of DuPage
• Brian Gondek (Escape Artist), third place (bye handed down) at College of DuPage

Congratulations to all players, and I wish better luck to anyone who didn't make it this time. These bye winners have been added to the list of current bye winners for the Continental Championships and the World Championships here.

Deck Statistics

With no First Edition Regional Championship tournaments taking place this week, the statistics haven't changed.

The most popular First Edition affiliations are currently:
1. Multiple AffiliationsUsed by 2 (25%) players
2.[Bor] BorgUsed by 1 (12%) player
2.[Car] CardassianUsed by 1 (12%) player1 Regional win
2.[Fed] FederationUsed by 1 (12%) player
2.[Kli] KlingonUsed by 1 (12%) player
2.[NA] Non-AlignedUsed by 1 (12%) player1 Regional win
2. Terran EmpireUsed by 1 (12%) player

22 players at two Second Edition Regional Championship tournaments this weekend, makes for an average of 12.3 players per tournament. While [Kli] Klingon may have taken the top spot outright after holding it with [TOS] Original Series last week, [TOS] Original Series is now the affiliation with the most wins. The most played affiliation this week was [Rom] Romulan, played by five of the 22 players. The best performing affiliation so far is still [TN] Terok Nor, averaging 13.7 victory points per player; followed by [SF] Starfleet at 13.3 victory points per player and then [Bor] Borg at 12.9 victory points per player.

The most popular Second Edition affiliations are currently:
1.[Kli] KlingonUsed by 14 (14%) players1 Regional win
2.[TOS] Original SeriesUsed by 12 (12%) players3 Regional wins
3.[Rom] RomulanUsed by 10 (10%) players1 Regional win
3.[TNG] Next GenerationUsed by 10 (10%) players
5. Multiple AffiliationsUsed by 9 (9%) players
6.[Bor] BorgUsed by 7 (7%) players2 Regional wins
6.[Car] CardassianUsed by 7 (7%) players1 Regional win
6.[SF] StarfleetUsed by 7 (7%) players
9.[Fer] FerengiUsed by 4 (4%) players
10.[DS9] Deep Space 9Used by 3 (3%) players
10.[TN] Terok NorUsed by 3 (3%) players
10.[Voy] Voyager/EquinoxUsed by 3 (3%) players
13.[Dom] DominionUsed by 2 (2%) players
13.Earth (Home of Starfleet Command)Used by 2 (2%) players
13.Unknown AffiliationsUsed by 2 (3%) players
16.[Baj] BajoranUsed by 1 (1%) player
16.[Maq] MaquisUsed by 1 (1%) player
16.[NA] Non-AlignedUsed by 1 (1%) player

Week 4 Preview

The complete schedule can be found in the article Regional Championships Series 2011 Schedule. There are four Regional tournaments this week:

Saturday 23rd AprilSunday 24th April
First Edition (Official)
Rusty’s Pizza
3731 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
United States
[Discuss] [Pre-register]
Tribbles (Standard)
Rusty’s Pizza
3731 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
United States
[Discuss] [Pre-register]
Second Edition (Standard)
Loyalitetsbureauet
Jens Baggensen Vej 47
8200 Aarhus N
Denmark
[Discuss] [Pre-register]
Second Edition (Standard)
Super Games Inc.
Suite 134
11060 Alpharetta Highway
Roswell, GA 30076
United States
[Discuss] [Pre-register]

Rusty’s Pizza: This First Edition tournament is one half of a double header in the Risa Region on Saturday. It is also the first Regional to be held in Santa Barbara, California. There has never been a Continuing Committee sanctioned First Edition tournament in the area, so predictions are going to be tough. That said, nine players have pre-registered for the tournament so far, so the chances of this tournament getting sanctioned are very high. None of the players pre-registered seem to favor one affiliation over another, so there is no meta help there. The player with the highest win percentage (59%), and the highest rank (13th in the world), is Rogue Shindler (SirRogue), but the player on form (with two out of four tournament wins this year) is Thomas Kamiura (Bosskamiura). Thomas is my pick to win.

There are no past Regionals results at Rusty’s Pizza.

Rusty’s Pizza: This Tribbles tournament forms the second half of the double header. The same nine players that have pre-registered for the Frist Edition tournament earlier in the day all plan to stick around and fight it out for the title of Tribbles Regional Champion too. This being the first year the Continuing Committee has sanctioned Tribbles Regional Championships, there are no past results to look upon. In fact, the only way to measure any sort of performance is to look at the Tribbles player ratings. Of the pre-registered players that have participated in more than ten Tribbles tournaments, Dan Hamman (SirDan) has the best record having won 26% of the 38 tournaments he has played in. However, Thomas Kamiura (Bosskamiura) edges out the others with the highest average of 288,568 Tribbles scored per tournament. I predict Thomas will win this tournament too.

There are no past Tribbles Regionals results.

Loyalitetsbureauet: This is the second year that this Second Edition Omarion Nebula Regional is being held. Last year saw nine players participate using seven different affiliations. This year, twelve players have pre-registered so far. The eight Danish players will be joined by one from Germany, one from the Netherlands and two from the United Kingdom. The local favorite has to be Soren Ramme Nielsen (s_ramme). He was the runner-up at the 2010 European Championships, and has won the last two tournaments he has played at this venue. The international competition comes from Johannes Klarhauser (Kaiser), runner-up at the 2008 European and World Championships; Peter van der Helm (Helmp), quarter finalist at the 2010 World Championships; Nicholas Yankovec (nickyank), runner-up at the 2004 European Championships; and William Hoskin (Gumbo), my brother, who has never come close to winning anything :D. My pick to win is the "master" of [Bor] Borg, Soren.

Past Regional results at Loyalitetsbureauet:
2010, won by Morten Sandberg (LessQQ) playing [Voy] Equinox.
2009, not held.
2008, not held.

Super Games Inc.: This Second Edition Cardassia Regional will be the first Regional tournament to be held in Georgia, after the local playgroup started sanctioning tournaments just four months ago. Since they started, they have averaged around five players per tournament. Attendance at this Regional should be higher though, as Nathan Wineinger (Naetor) reports a group of players from Birmingham, Alabama is making the trip East. Nathan is the highest rated pre-registered player by some margin (177 points) and, having managed four wins and two second places in his last six tournaments, is my favorite to win.

There are no past Regionals results at Super Games Inc.

Next Week

Having maintained my record of predicting at least one winner each week, my record now stands at 36% (4 out of 11) correct. I hope Thomas, Soren, and Nathan don't feel the pressure! Also featured: a review of the four results from week four, another interview, and a preview of the four Regional Championships taking place in week five.

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