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Strategy Articles

Second Edition Dilemma Popularity 2017

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

3rd August 2017

The Sample

I used the top 3 dilemma piles of every standard constructed regional with 8 or more people, the top 2 of every regional with 6-7 people, and the winning dilemma pile of every regional that had 4-5 attendees, for a total of 42 dilemma piles reviewed. I tallied both the total number of appearances of each dilemma in those piles, as well as the number of decks each dilemma appeared in.

The Data

The following charts express the percentage of those 42 piles that included each listed dilemma at least once. That way, having three All-Consuming Evils in every consume pile won't make it look like such piles are more common than they really are. Here's a link to the raw data.

The next charts compare this year's data to the data from the last five years. I only used the top 40 duals, and the top 20 planet and space dilemmas here for brevity.


Last year, I had mixed feelings about Hard Time's first challenger since An Issue of Trust being Moral Choice. I'm much more excited about the two dilemmas that are tied with Hard Time this year: Timescape and Secret Identity. The cause for Timescape's rise is obvious: this year we've had a variety of powerful speed decks, and even when In Development won't have an effect on them, Timescape will. Multi-teaming is at an all time high, and the best tool for fighting it is still the original. There has also been a significant increase in the number of copies per pile, with the average deck that included Timescape using 1.5 copies of it.

Secret Identity is a little subtler. It has always been a top contender, it just has never hit the number one spot before. I've noticed that its primary competition, The Caretaker's "Guests", has seen diminishing use over time (only 4 decks used it this year), and Secret Identity may simply be taking its place in piles. There has also been a significant rise in dial-a-walls like Rapid "Progress", and with those dilemmas there is also a need for dilemmas that will reveal the team. Standard Attrition piles don't always need Secret Identity, but ones that use Rapid "Progress" do.

I'm very happy to see An Issue of Trust drop to being tied with 5th place, an all time low! This drop is likely due to (a) an increasing number of counters to it and (b) there is a wider vareity of mid-cost dual multi-stop dilemmas. It still has an edge in that most of its competitors don't require a skill, and against the right deck it can still stop a very large number of people for only 3 cost (whereas, say, Becalmed will always have a maximum limit of three, and AIoT is more predictable in effect than Chandra or Intimidation).

Necessary Execution use has gone way, way up. I suppose it is in part a response the the propensity for decks that use Aid Legendary Civilization (like the Jaeger Bomb) to go planet first. It also fits in well with the rise of the dial-a-skill walls - if you've got plenty to spend on that first planet attempt, even if your opponent has already solved a space mission, getting to look at the crew and kill one before naming skills on Rapid "Progress" is very strong.

Looking at the year-by-year chart, there's a big spike pretty far down the duals - Pitching In's use continues to decline from its peak in 2013. What's interesting is that, despite the popularity of weenie builds like Rainbow DS9, all the anti-weenie cards (In Development, Coolant Leak... well, not The Dal'Rok, that's up) are in decline. I'm not entirely sure why; though they aren't much use against a Jaeger Bomb deck, they are still pretty useful against many other decks. Interestingly, while its prevalence has gone down, In Development's copies-per-pile stat has gone way up, from 1.17 to 1.67.

The "Lucas Was Wrong" award goes to Becalmed, which I was certain was going to be a top dilemma this year. I still think it is very powerful, but while it is absolutely brutal against Klingons or the Dominion, it doesn't have nearly as much effect on weenies, and Romulans can usually wait to Power Shift until after they face this dilemma. That said, if you find yourself playing in Germany, I'd be sure to run three copies of this card.

Infinite Diversity Awards

Finally, I've once again tracked the dilemmas that only one person used in the whole sample. Here are our IDIC winners:

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