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Warp Speed! A Guide to Voyager Sealed Deck Play, Part 2

by Danny Nuttall, Guest Writer

20th June 2011

Welcome back!

Hopefully you have come across this article having read part 1, which dealt largely with deck construction strategies. However, just in case you’ve skipped straight to the ‘meat and veg’ of the series, I’ll take this opportunity to reiterate that this exploration of Voyager Warp Speed play is written by a beginner, for beginners. This segment reveals how the deck performed, what strategies my opponents adopted, the pivotal cards and moments in each round and, finally, changes made to the deck between games and the reasons why I felt they were necessary. Once again, I hope you enjoy the article and invite you to comment on any aspect of it in the forum thread.

Round One: versus Timo

After writing part one of this article and putting my deck together, I was pretty confident. I had nothing spectacular to call upon in my draw deck and, at best, a rather average selection of Dilemmas but nonetheless I was happy with the streamlined build and purposefulness of the Personnel I had selected. Boy, round one proved to be a rather brutal way to be brought back down to earth!

Timo had constructed his deck based on a completely different principle. Like me, Timo's card pool wasn't blessed with the ability to play free cards and get at missions quickly (the absence of Vidiian Sodality was something we both lamented) and his personnel were not particularly strong either. What he lacked in these departments, he certainly made up for with ships. Building his deck to the one obvious strength of his card pool, Timo had several ships in his draw deck whilst also including U.S.S. Voyager and Blue Alert amongst his seed cards.

Shortly after a dilemma stopped me in my tracks (Kazon Bomb, which I foolishly walked into with a crew complement of seven, despite only two Security on board), the fleet Timo had amassed made its way to my outpost. U.S.S. Voyager and Delta Flyer made light work of my U.S.S. Equinox and, shortly afterwards, Timo's very own Equinox and a pair of Kazon Raiders joined the party to destroy my outpost. In all honesty, I just hadn't considered this as a viable strategy for Warp Speed sealed deck, but Timo certainly showed me my error here. Always keep an open mind when constructing your deck, no matter what the tournament type!

Timo's all-round play was impressive and I certainly learnt a great deal witnessing this one-sided match-up. I say witness, as I was forced to watch most of the proceedings following the destruction of my ship and outpost!

Notable strategies adopted by Timo were to place an Ambush Ship mission close to my outpost (so that the range of five needed to pass reduced my mobility); redshirting to deal with tricky dilemmas (comparatively, my own Kazon Bomb was only able to kill off a single insignificant personnel card due to this); and, finally, Timo tried to make use of as many 'stopper' dilemmas and events as possible. Slowing your opponent down, even if it is only for a single turn, can be critically important in such a fast environment - particularly in Timo's case, as he was trying to build a fleet of ships and overpower his (often) faster opponents.

Changes to deck, following round one:

Reasons for changing the deck: Without being able to replicate Timo’s strategy (not that I would have wanted to, necessarily), I did learn the value of having multiple ships in a Warp Speed draw deck. Timo was able to piece together a destructive armada rather rapidly. He would also happily leave ships along the space line, with minimal crew complements, moving one ship at a time and beaming important personnel to another that was yet to expend its range for the turn. This allowed Timo to cover a vast distance over the course of a single turn and increased the speed of his deck considerably.

Round Two: versus Bashir

Well, if I had been taught a lesson in round one, the main thing I learnt against Bashir is that I'm a total scrub when it comes to playing STCCG!

The changes I made to my deck worked very well overall. I deployed a shuttle onto my Kazon Raider early on and used the additional maneuverability and versatility to good effect. I was also able to redshirt both a planet and space mission in one turn; as a result, I discovered what I was up against and assembled the personnel I needed to progress.

The Phage also came in very handy at one stage. Bashir, having built up a sizeable crew, attempted his planet mission with three Vidiians amongst a number of other Personnel and equipment cards.

Knowing that he would have to face my Hanonian Land Eel, I used The Phage to kill Losarus, leaving Bashir without the Science personnel he needed to get past my Dilemma. Although Bashir thought it was a rather random card to include, I think the chances of you coming up against Vidiians are very high in Warp Speed sealed. Even in the rare instance that The Phage is a dead card in your hand, you typically draw at least two cards a turn, making it unlikely that holding The Phage will restrict your options.

Then, just when I found myself in a winning position, I made a terrible error.

Bashir handed the turn over to me. My Kazon Raider was already at my solitary space mission (also my outpost location) with a crew containing Science, Security, and forty-two of the fifty-one strength I needed to get past Hanonian Land Eel (yes, we had both been lucky enough to pull this powerful Dilemma from our packs). I also had enough Security to deal with a Kazon Bomb, Equipment at the ready should I encounter a Common Thief, and a plethora of other useful skills. It was all looking so, so good.

I had also thrown a redshirt at Salvage Operation and knew, therefore, that I was up against Implication, but Tuvok and a bunch of his most cunning friends were ready to take that down too.

In my excitement (actually, it wasn't excitement at all – just sheer absent-mindedness) I played Nimira and then instantly beamed her to my Kazon Raider, thus moving into the orders phase. To say I wasn't impressed with myself is an understatement! I was now unable to add a second personnel card to the action, which left me unable to reach the magic total of fifty-one strength needed to defeat Bashir's Hanonian Land Eel.

I duly completed Salvage Operation and passed the turn, only to see Bashir breeze past my Dilemmas and complete both a space and planet mission in a single turn. What a numpty I am! Despite this, I was much happier with the draw deck and this was a far closer match than my first round versus Timo.

Changes to deck, following round two:

Reasons for changing the deck: I didn't realise the outpost was able to download the Kazon Collective, until Bashir played these cards against me! My lack of familiarity with the Voyager set was becoming more and more apparent. As I told you, I'm a total scrub!

Round Three: versus Warpaw

At best, I could now only achieve a tournament record of 2-2 which was, naturally, disappointing. I tried to forget the nightmare mistake I'd made in round two and turn things around, but that wasn't going to be easy against Warpaw – a good player who had a 1-1 record going into the match.

The round pivoted on two key cards, one of which often defines the outcome of matches in this format. Firstly, Hanonian Land Eel once again proved itself to be a substantial obstacle to my opponent, in this game preventing Warpaw from completing his planet mission for several turns.

Both The Phage and Male's Love Interest combined to ruin Warpaw's second attempt at the planet mission and, together, these cards worked well with the land eel - buying enough time for me to build a substantial crew. Sadly, redshirting my missions was no longer an available strategy as Villagers with Torches had already killed Ril when she bravely tackled a mission on her own on only my second turn.

Even more crippling for Warpaw was Kazon Bomb. Although only a common, the power of this card is immense. Also, because of its rarity (commonality?), I would argue that this card defines the Voyager Sealed Deck environment as you are likely to face it in every round. Being prepared for Kazon Bomb is not always something you can be, but certainly something you should always try to be! In this particular game I had placed Kazon Bomb underneath Warpaw's closest space mission and was delighted to see the ensuing explosion take out four of his Vidiian Interceptor's best personnel. Warpaw was left with both a failed mission attempt and, more importantly, a stranded ship and crew. As the bomb kills all personnel with strength less than seven, Vidiians are particularly susceptible to its effect and Adam was unfortunate enough to be left with only two Kazon personnel.

My Dilemmas had been so effective in the early stages of this match that I had the rare luxury of time, which I spend building up my forces. Eventually I had three Security personnel present to negate any Kazon Bomb Warpaw may have seeded, all the skills needed to complete both a planet and space mission, and numerous other useful support skills in this format (Law, Navigation, Leadership, and so on). I made light work of the Dilemmas placed underneath Stop Bombardment, but walked into an avalanche of high-quality obstacles beneath Reinitialize Warp Reaction. Hull Breach rather fortuitously killed two of my three Security; Macrovirus took care of one of my Haloks; and Kazon Bomb then slaughtered half of my remaining crew. Not quite a complete disaster – but not far off!

My remaining personnel were joined on the following turn by two friends who, rather conveniently, possessed the remaining skills I needed to complete my space mission. This was only possible thanks to the extra range and versatility offered to me by a Kazon Shuttle, which I had reported to the Raider a few turns earlier.

Yahoo! Off the mark!

Changes to deck, following round three:

Reasons for changing the deck: During this round and a practise match against Nava, both games finished with me holding a pair of Kazon Shuttles in my hand. The added versatility and speed was still important, but as I’ve mentioned a few times now you will tend to draw your deck quite rapidly in Voyager Warp Speed games and so I felt it was better to run with only two shuttles and a thinner draw deck overall rather than run the risk of having multiple ‘dead’ cards in hand.

Round Four: versus Lee Carver

Lee's deck wasn't the strongest, to be fair, particularly when it came to mission selection. Like me, Lee also had a Tuvok and, if you can believe it, a Hanonian Land Eel. His missions, however, also required a number of different skills to complete, with some of them quite difficult to come across in Voyager Warp Speed – particularly in multiples. Study Interstellar Colony was quite indicative of this, requiring Lee to have both exobiology and anthropology. Aftermath was Lee's solitary planet mission and, as you can see, the skills required for both of these missions are likely to require completely different personnel cards to achieve them. This was unlike the missions I based my deck upon - Halok alone was able to contribute to all three of them. Certainly Lee expressed his discontent with such a poor pool of mission cards!

I could almost write this match-up report as follows:
“See round three, versus Warpaw”.

The critical cards were once again Kazon Bomb and Hanonian Land Eel, with The Phage proving itself to be particularly useful against Lee. Kazon Bomb killed half his Vidiian Interceptor crew and left his remaining personnel stranded, as the weak Vidiians succumbed to the blast. One notable victim was Sulan, who would have contributed some of the harder-to-find skills to all three of Lee's missions. The Phage allowed me to kill Hophalin, which once again made the Hanonian Land Eel more effective whilst simultaneously reducing the number of physicians Lee could call upon to complete Aftermath.

Again this bought me enough time to amass a sizeable crew, overcome a Hanonian Land Eel (which stalled me for a couple of turns as I foolishly attempted the mission with fifty strength in total, not fifty-one!) and prepare for some nasty dilemmas. Thankfully, I was able to overcome both missions and all dilemmas in one turn, with a hand consisting of two Kazon Shuttles and my spare Kazon Raider – I just didn't need the extra speed and mobility after the hugely destructive impact of my own dilemmas.

Another win, to bring me back level; 2-2 was my overall finish.

Reflections 2.0

The final tournament standings:

Place Name PTS Decider
1 Bashir 10 95
2 Nava 10 70
3 BHosp 9
4 Timo 8 65
5 Nuttersuclan 8 30
6 James 8 25
7 Chris Coyle 8 20
8 SirRogue 8 -50
9 Mark 7
10 Warpaw 6 FW
11 Chris Lobban 6 FL
12 Lee Carver 4

Congrats to Bashir on the victory – it came down to the last round against Bhosp, where the winner would take all the glory! Thanks also to Nava for the sterling effort organising the tournament whilst also working on an update to the 1e LackeyCCG plug-in. Your efforts are much appreciated, my German brother!

On a personal note, I guess 2-2 and a finish of 5th overall isn't too bad for my first-ever STCCG tournament, particularly as I was 0-2. Still, I'm left thinking, "what might have been," had it not been for that stupid error in round two. The line between victory and defeat can be quite fine at times!

I'd like to thank each and every one of my opponents, too. They all had far more experience with the game and with LackeyCCG, but were patient as I fumbled my way through the program and were gracious in either victory or defeat. I really couldn't have had a friendlier or more welcoming introduction to the 1e community – take a bow, gentlemen!

I hope you've enjoyed this short series, but for now, that's all folks!

Regards
Danny (aka nuttersuclan)


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