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The Road to Worlds: Regionals Week 2

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

12th April 2018

Second Edition Maryland Regional winner Brian Sykes
Title: Hall of Rainbows
Headquarters: Mouth of the Wormhole, Deep Space 9
Deck Size: 56 cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 40 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Chula Hybrid
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Resistance-is-futile, LORE, Armus, GooeyChewie, monty42, Honest, Fritzinger, pfti, and Latok.

Brian's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?

There were three main reasons for choosing this deck:
-I wanted to try something new (for me at least)
-I wanted a shot at a Finest Crew achievement I didn't have yet
-I wanted to play with Heightened Perception, which is one of my favorite cards in the whole game and yet very rarely actually makes it into my decks.

Other decks considered were Manassters Cardassians, which is until this past week was the only 2e deck I had completely built, Five Space Voyager and Lego Set Starfleet. I had working versions of both from previous tournaments and needed both Finest Crew achievements. I didn't have a lot of time to build and test, but I was able to get the basic concept of the DS9 deck in the deckbuilder on the train to and from work, so I just printed out the needed cards and threw it together Friday night, wrapping up around 2AM Saturday morning.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I didn't want to face Legacy, since my dilemma pile had a lot of non-skill dilemmas, but when my fine year old son wanted to play, I built him a Legacy solver because it's easy to play.

I also didn't have any great answers for Species 8472, and having played them a few years ago, I know how sneaky good they can be against an unprepared opponent.

Prior to this tournament, did you have much experience playing this deck (or decks like it)? Did you learn anything new about it when you played it this time?
I'd played DS9 Mouth of the Wormhole a couple of times before, but it was far from my regular fare. I've played more DS9 Earth, and while I was familiar with most of the feds, I had to learn some new names and skills/abilities on everyone else. The main thing I learned was that while Heightened Perception plus a Chula Pile is great, all of these randos aren't so great at solving missions. My games against all of my opponents were knock down, drag out dilemma pile slugfests.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)? Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations? Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
Krim was Cash Mad Money against BenHosp's TOS Battle deck when he took out two Prefix Codes after I completed my first planet mission.

Other than that, the script was pretty simple: Play Heightened Perception for cheap, protect it, and then play people and do missions while you optimize your dilemma throws to minimize the number of dilemmas overcome per attempt.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Heightened Perception for all of the above reasons. Also, assists to Delivery Boy for making it cheap, Defensive Upgrades for protecting it, and Anij, for downloading it.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I couldn't help but think of Maggie's Dead Stop article on self-rescuing princess Jadzia Dax every time she was selected to die (which was more than a few times against Phil's 8 point pile). Her and T'Rul are hard to kill, so they make a great team, especially at Avert Danger. Unfortunately BenHosp was able to kill her when he played Dereliction of Duty in front of a killer dilemma - spores are no fun!

Overall the deck was fun to play and it was great seeing Heightened Perception tech do its thing again - it had been awhile.

My Commentary:
Sometime last year, I went on strike when it came to analyzing DS9 Rainbow decks - particularly ones which were just carbon copies of Kenneth Tufts' version. Well, I've got good news: this is not that deck! Not only does it have the Chula/Heightened Perception tech (last time I saw that was Fultz's 2014 Worlds deck), but there are all sorts of other situational tools. There are even two copies of Grav-Plating Trap, first time I've seen those in a DS9 deck since Holding Cell came out! I suspect that the six DS9-icon requirement is part of why we're seeing it here, but the other side of that choice is likely two fold: the equipment was already there for the synergy with Jake and Nog, and every time you Grav-Trap something you put two different card types in your discard pile for Dyson Sphere.

Of course, the common cards are still there for their immense drawing power, supplemented by the Drawing King himself, Enrique. But the cost curve is significantly higher than the average speed deck, so those hand refills won't be needed quite as often. In fact, looking at the ships, the cheapest of the four present here is the six cost Akira. But hey, if your opponents are running Outclasseds to counter Starfleet decks (among other things), two to three counters once per game to essentially buy yourself a whole extra turn seems like a steal.

Croden is a card that I've often passed over while deckbuilding, but I like him a lot in this deck. There are just enough cards that cost four or more to make that side of his text useful (like the ships and Heightened Perception), and it's nice to have some point insurance in any Dyson Sphere deck. We're also looking at a deck with Krim, and a nice extra five points here and there won't go to waste. Still, his attributes are poor enough that even then I'd pass him over, but in this deck you've also got Defiant Worf to boost him, which might just be enough.

Second Edition London Regional winner William Hoskin
Title: Wholey Holograms
Headquarters: Grid 296, Holographic Training Facility
Deck Size: 60 cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 40 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition
Victory Correctly Predicted By: bosskamiura, prylardurden, Resistance-is-futile, LORE, Armus, Hoss-Drone, BCSWowbagger, pfti, and Latok.

My Commentary:
When Danny posted in the predictions thread that Will won with Holograms, there were a few comments to the effect of "wow, impressive that you could win even with Holograms!" However, I feel like Holograms are a faction that has been sneakily becoming very good. Sure, they started out without their own home, but even in the beginning they had some useful tools. Iden generates a lot of free draws throughout the game, especially considering that holoprograms are essentially extensions of your hand due to The Doctor. Those holoprograms in turn make the Holograms (a) cheaper and (b) beefier, which stack on top of the high attributes some of them already have. And even before Holograms were a faction of their own, they were synonymous with powerful skill gain from Cluttering Irrelevancies.

I'd say the biggest single power boost to Holograms came in Unnatural Selection in the form of Deleted Subroutines. In one swoop, it shores up the one attribute deficiency that Holograms have, and provides protection from many nasty dilemmas that target specific skills. The obvious application is An Issue of Trust, sure, but that's not all; I've read multiple tournament reports wherein the Hologram player made The Clown: Guillotine whiff by using this interrupt. Additionally, unlike Klag or Neral, it's a surprise, and can't get blocked by the new Dereliction of Duty.

Since then, they've also acquired another attribute boost in the form of Intelligent Design, and broader skill gain from Mobile Emitter. These cards haven't added new tools to the Hologram arsenal, but have broadened the ability of Hologram decks to do the things that they are good at. Perhaps equally important are the holograms we've seen in the last few sets (like Olamu, Hippocrates Noah, Dar, and Moriarty) who fill up perennial Hologram skill holes, making them feel like more of a real faction.

First Edition Maryland Regional winner Brian Sykes
Title: The Power of Logic and Diversity
Deck Archetype: Interference
Play Engines: Protect the Timeline, 22nd-Century ShiKahr, Drone Control Room
Draw Engines: Finally Ready to Swim, Remote Interference, IDIC: Power of the High Command, Temporal Almanac, Diverse Experiences, Temporal Investigations
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Me, Armus, GooeyChewie, monty42, Hoss-Drone, and scox.

Brian's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?

After losing to BenHosp's Starfleet solver at Manassters, and watching MACOs take first and fourth place, I drew the conclusion that any speed solver is at best a race in a [22] meta. As such I wanted to find a way to build a solid solver that could also slow down Starfleet and Vulcans. I decided on Vulcan pretty early in the process, mainly because I also wanted to see if they were viable with Wisdom of Surak banned, but the specifics took awhile to figure out.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I was hoping not to face Dominion slice and dice, and Romulans could be problematic with their ability to ignore my minefields. Borg can be annoying, but can be outmaneuvered. Other than that, I didn't see a lot of bad match-ups.

Prior to this tournament, did you have much experience playing this deck (or decks like it)? Did you learn anything new about it when you played it this time?
I wanted to build something new and (reasonably) original. One thing I learned is you can't have enough minefields in this deck. Between the defensive capability they present and the card draws they provide, they are invaluable. The deck could also use another drawing engine, though I'm not sure exactly what that would look like.

Bottom line: it's a solid concept, but this specific deck could definitely use a few tweaks to make it competitive at the tier one level. It's close, but there's room for improvement.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)? Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations? Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
I added a single copy of Fire Sculptor to the deck to combat MACOs. I didn't draw it against Phil, who was the only MACO player in the field, and I was able to win that game anyway. It's still a great situational card, but whether or not it's worth keeping in is a meta call.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
The last seed card in turned out to be the most clutch: UFP: One Small Step is totally amazeballs in this deck. Seed it at Vulcan, put Romulus and Vulcan on opposite ends of the space line and move around the minefield spam with ease. Totally game winning.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Like I said above, there's room for improvement, but I was pretty happy with this deck's performance especially since it was a first time out.

One of the main reasons I was able to do so well is that I got some key strategy points from a couple of guys:
-James Heaney (BCSWowbagger) pointed out the utility of free play Minefields, and was the reason that every mission in my deck that could have a Romulan icon did.
-Kevin Jaeger (Hoss-Drone) took my initial draft and totally Emiriled it up (BAM!) with some second and third order pieces of tech, discussed meta and matchups, and helped me make a good deck really solid. Big shout out to Big Kev for the assist on that one.

Once again, my collaboration model of deck building paid dividends with another 1e Regional win. I think it's great that other players are willing to take time to assist others with deck building and I'm grateful to everyone who has given me deck advice, both past and present.

My Commentary:
We've seen plenty of Vulcan decks in this series in the last year, but this is the very first time we've taken a look at a deck that isn't based on the Syrranites. The High Command Vulcan faction still has all those skill and stat rich Vulcans running around, but instead of skill-cheating, they focus on spaceline pollution. IDIC:PotHC gives you two draws every time you play a Scheme-icon cards, essentially turning them into mini Kivas Fajo - Collectors with the side effect of cluttering the spaceline.

Brian already waxed poetic about Romulan Minefield, so I won't add much about that scheme card here. I will note that, when I researched the cards for this article, I realized that IDIC:PotHC and Romulan Minefield can also be played in a pure Romulan deck, which could be pretty fun (and defensive). You'd lose the ability to hop around the time locations with UFP:OSS if it is a non-22 Romulan deck, but it could be worth it if you fear battle decks enough.

Anyways, I'd like to look more closely at the other two scheme cards in this deck. You're Not Ready seems really valuable, since I find myself often using my first dilemma of most combos forcing the opponent to bring a real away team. With Not Ready, you're not even using a seed slot to accomplish the same thing. Now, on the other hand, you'll need to draw into it and play it if you want to rely on its anti-redshirt effect, so you may need to hedge your bets some with your dilemmas if you're only running one like Brian is in this deck.

Strange New World's power is quite apparent to me as a Second Edition player - Maquis decks love to use this effect to lock players out of missions after killing off all the Law in the opponent's deck in the other game. Vulcan decks don't quite have the same Law-killing potential of Second Edition Maquis decks, but when you get two draws just for playing it, a single copy is worth it versus some Law-poor factions as situational tool.


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