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The Road to Worlds: Regionals Week 8

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

24th May 2018

Second Edition Minnesota Regional winner Nat Kirton
Title: It's Just This Little Something I Threw Together Called: Fruity Cocoa Cinnamon Sugar Frosted Honey Marshmallow Berry Waffle Pops, With Clusters 2.0
Headquarters: Ferenginar, Financial Hub
Deck Size: 44 Cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 20 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Legacy
Victory Correctly Predicted By: LORE and Hoss-Drone.

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

This is one of my favorite decks to play, although I also considered using a DS9 (non-Rainbow) solver. I also thought about running Cadets, as that hasn't seen a lot of local play lately. Ultimately, I played Ferengi based on the time I had to prepare.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Having not played a lot in the last year, I wasn't sure. Kill piles tend to struggle against this build though. Romulan interference would probably have been a bad matchup.

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 built the deck 4ish (?) years ago and most recently played it two years ago, and I've test drawn it hundreds of times so I am pretty familiar with it. Being the deck's designer, I have learned that there are times you simply have to "go for it" and draw up for the next piece of the puzzle. It is designed with inherent risk, but sometimes you gotta risk it to get the biscuit!

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?
The most situational card in the deck is Feast on the Dying, which I admittedly never used. Even still, I'd probably leave it in.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
The deck is very synergistic from the draw / play engine, Grish to Zek, etc. However, Worth the Price gets a mention as being worth the price, as that got rid of Unexpected Difficulties for no benefit to my opponent. This card would have come in handy if I had faced Biogenic Weapon or the like. The Baxial was a life saver against Mark, so I suppose that gets a mention too.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
The best part of the deck is the look in your opponent's eye when you spend your 43rd counter (yes 4-3) on your 3rd turn.

My Commentary:
Nat has run this deck (and ones like it) a few times, and I'm happy to get a chance to review it, because it is a unique, fun, and powerful deck. The basic engine we're looking at is using Treasured Collectibles to cycle Alien Gambling Devices that you've played for cheap with Martus Mazur in order to get a bunch of free counters to spend. That's a pretty good deal! In addition, event-nuking machine gun Brunt is gone in exchange for the one that gives you 5 points (with DaiMon Solok for backup), and you can burn all of those points away on At What Cost? I imagine it is very easy for this 44 card deck to burn the whole way through in most games.

The draw deck is just part of the picture here though. Equally potent is the wall-rich dilemma pile. It's slim at the minimum 20 cards, but if you don't smell Terok Nor coming, a small pile can really give your opponents headaches. For Ferengi, Acquisition doesn't seem that valuable in a personnel's skill list since it shows up on nearly everyone in the faction. But when a non-Ferengi opponent is staring down a Pawn Against Pawn or a Unwanted Guests that requires possibly even multiple levels of Acquisition, all of a sudden having Acquisition on everyone seems pretty useful. Back those dilemmas up with three Legacies and some other good attrition dilemmas and this dilemma pile will serve up a whole lot of single dilemma stops.

Now, there are some serious skill holes in the draw deck, that could similarly be exploited by a prepared opponent. The complete lack of Archaeology particularly stands out, especially in light of one of the other decks we'll be looking at this week. That's where Rule of Acquisition #33 steps in, the other way in which it really isn't so bad that so many Ferengi have acquisition. Traditional skill gain might be inadequate when you have no Archaeology and one Geology and want to pass a boosted Captain's Holiday, but Rule #33 just lets you walk right through.

Also, I wanted to give a quick shout-out to Kris Sonsteby, who actually sat down with Nat and did the interview. Thanks for going above and beyond!

Second Edition Orlando Regional winner Daniel Matteson
Title: What Was Lost Can Be Found Again
Headquarters: Founders' Homeworld, Contingent Refuge
Deck Size: 50 Cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 44 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Pattern Loss/Underlying Influence
Victory Correctly Predicted By: LORE and Hoss-Drone.

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

I looked for play achievements I didn't have yet, and isolationist Dominion was one of them. I also considered Terok Nor dilemma mill, which I ended up playing on the next day in West Melbourne to less than stellar results.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
As a general rule, I have difficulty adapting my play style against a strong interaction deck (capture, combat, etc.) and so I generally hoped I didn't have to face many of those.

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 played a similar deck right after the new Dominion headquarters and the Stakoron missions were released with Strange Bedfellows, but the achievement must not have been around then. The Pattern Loss/Underlying Influence dilemma pile was new to me, but I didn't get to draw either dilemma often enough for them to get much use. (Surprisingly, I wasn't the only player to use that pile.)

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?
Escape and Explicit Orders got used a lot more often than I expected they would (especially the latter), and surprisingly, the Crippling Strikes were not very helpful (and the single A Long Road didn't get used at all). Overall, I was drawing way too many interrupts in my opening hands and getting stuck having to discard them (so I wouldn't discard my ships for Tactical Disadvantage), so they would have to be trimmed.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Friction, Friction, Friction. In my first round I played Crom for his downloads (and even got him killed and replayed) before playing Friction, but in subsequent games I was worried that in turning off Crom's enters-play ability, Friction would hurt me more than it would my opponent. I was totally wrong. In nearly every game I played it early and would get told afterward that it was devastating to my opponent, turning off essential abilities needed to make their decks work.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
This event certainly didn't go how I expected, but turned out well in the end. What I expected to be a simple solver ended up something of a speed deck (and even without Mobilization Points) as only one player was even able to solve a mission against me. As noted before, the Friction was strong in slowing my opponent, but there were a number of key cards that helped me punch through missions, such as the Stakoron cards, Underlying Influence, the two Jem'Hadar 'excluder' personnel, and even Odo.

Thanks to Rick Kinney for hosting us and putting on a great event!

My Commentary:
Much of this draw deck is pretty standard fare for a Gamma Quadrant Dominion solver, but there are some nice tech choices to take a look at. I used to be confused when I'd see the Tykk show up in a deck that doesn't plan on battling, but the simple ability to play Breen aboard is usually worth the slightly lower stats than the Warship (for the same cost). And if you're running three Tactical Disadvantages, then absolutely, add a Tykk! Then you'll be able to Drop a Draz in order to reactivate your Hyperspanner if your other Engineers get removed.

We'll often see either Spiteful Strategy or Mobilization Points (or rarely, both) in the event slot, but here we don't see either. I've generally found that the speed increase from Mobilization is actually pretty mild unless you get a couple pretty early on, so I like that Dan has made a different choice here. Instead, he has chosen to use 3 copies of Escape in order to protect his investment in his personnel. It's going to be devastating to bury a mission in consuming kill dilemmas only to see the high strength personnel live to micro-team the mission next turn.

The highlight for me, here, is the dilemma pile. Similar to Nat's pile, there are a bunch of wall dilemmas that are dependent on the draw deck. This time, instead of Pawn Against Pawn and Unwanted Guests, we've got Gorgan, Tactical Disadvantage, and Know Thy Enemy. That package looks to be a great complement for the Underlying Influence and Pattern Loss group of dilemmas, because they'll buy you plenty of time to draw the pieces of the dilemma combos. While Gorgan and the like depend on what your draw deck is serving up, Underlying/Loss relies a great deal on how your dilemmas draw. If you're drawing something like Disgraceful Assault before you've gotten Pattern Loss on the mission (or vice versa), you'll want for something like Tactical Disadvantage to carry you until you do.

Second Edition Corbett Compound Regional winner John Corbett
Title: Alabama Chicken Death Camp
Headquarters: Earth, Lush and Beautiful Home
Deck Size: 52 Cards
Deck Archetype: Control Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 43 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: 8472
Victory Correctly Predicted By: prylardurden, pfti, bosskamiura, monty42, Armus, Fritzinger, and Latok.

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

I built a Standard 8474 deck a month before deciding on a Texas Regional here at the Compound. The challenge of seeing if 8472 was viable in Hall of Fame interested me. A few weeks back you interviewed Phil Schrader who won a VA Regional with 8472. However, his 8472 win was fake news since he couldn't get 'true' 8472 wins. Doing 3 missions with 8472 is shameful. But the only good thing he talked about in that interview was swapping out OT Kirk, which is boring, for Gangster Kirk, which is fun. Fun is the only reason I need.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
In the Phil postgame you called 8472 "anti-interference". That's might be true, but facing speed isn't much of a problem either. And with a field of Corbetts it was going to be all speed decks.

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 played it at an Atlanta regional two weeks prior. I just happened to be rolling through. Only scumbags like Brian Sykes play 8472. I always told him, like Maquis (old school Athos IV), 8474 was no fun to play and no fun to play against. So the only thing we learned was that I was right... about 8472... and Brian Sykes being a scumbag.

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?
Diversionary Tactics. In HoF format Cardassian is really strong with Central Command. You need interrupt prevention. TOS Sisko is the best prevention in the game, but can only take one bullet so Diversionary was the backup. And even if no Cardys show up, you can use it in an emergency to get a personnel back.

No cards exceeding expectations. Gangster Kirk went as expected, giving me 7 draws in one game, but at the time I had a 7 card hand.

I might not include TOS Worf again. I didn't have him in my original build, but saw that Phil's deck packed him. I only put him in for Biogenic Weapon defense. In Atlanta 2 weeks before this matchup happened, but Worf wasn't out in time to stop the terrorism. Luckily Nilz Baris can solve problems.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Your Russian interview named OT Kirk as a MVP and my heart was sad. Thank god HoF makes you think outside the box. Each of my games had a different MVP. Round 1, Richard Daystrom saved my ass from an Archiac Snare. Round 2, TNG it was Roadblock and Nilz making Chula: The Game not much of an issue. That game also saw Helen Noel remove a pesky Neccesary Execution. Round 3, against a 9 year old with pure Hologram speed I had to be a cheesy bastard and use Leonard H. McCoy twice to keep the dilemmas flowing.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Whenever somebody wins with TOS 8472 somewhere in the distance Brian Sykes is smiling like Mr. Miyagi at the end of The Karate Kid.

My Commentary:
John's right, 8472 decks aren't just good against interference decks. I mean, if they were only good against interference decks, it'd be a pretty bad deck based on how rarely we see interference decks, right? It's just that it's good against meddling decks in a pretty unique way. Even a similar deck, like Michael Van Breemen's TOS two mission win deck isn't quite as resilient in the face of a control deck that has answers to things like the essential Field Studies. In theory, that deck will only face dilemmas at one mission, but it needs its events to go unmolested in order to make that happen. 8472 decks just need to solve one mission, and no amount of event destruction will get in the way.

I suppose though that 8472 decks are just different with regards to what exactly will interfere with their plans. Having a bunch of double Honor personnel will be problematic, since they bust through both Commanding Presence and On Guard. It's interesting that high skill density on its own is not enough - Romulans have really good skill density, but few doubled skills other than the Treachery on Dubious Decoy. Effortless or surprise skill gaining can be very useful, as you'll either run the opponent out of Unusual Simulacrums or lull them into not using it. These are just things that tend not to show up in interference decks, while the verb denial tools often do.

Interestingly, neither of those tools typically show up in pure speed solvers. The decks that are just trying to get mission skills out and at missions as fast as possible tend not to have the needed doubled skills either, and can't generate them as easily. It tends to be the more midrangey, slightly-but-not-purely defensive decks that have the easiest time with 8472 decks, and I like it that way. We see a lot of speed solvers and control decks in this article series, and it's nice to have a deck out there that plays rough with those deck types.

Second Edition Space Coast Regional winner Ted Reebel
Title: Equinox 2.0
Headquarters: Caretaker's Array
Deck Size: 61 Cards
Deck Archetype: Control Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 43 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Unfair Comparison
Victory Correctly Predicted By: prylardurden, LORE, and Fritzinger.

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

I chose to play this Deck because it was something that I felt fairly comfortable with and is a deck that I have won with in the past. I had thought about using the TOS/8472 deck that I played the day before in Orlando but decided not to and play something different since I knew I was going to be facing most of the same people that I faced the day before in Orlando.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I mainly hoped to face off against decks with little to no Event prevention/destruction, and really didn't want to see heavy event hate.

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?
Yes I had played this deck on numerous occasions including Worlds last year so it was something that I felt very comfortable with.

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 think that I would have to go with Standard Orbit, While it is not always useful those games against a deck that relies on downloads It can be pretty troublesome.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
I think it is a tossup between Security Drills which was amazing against Dereliction of Duty, Pattern Loss and Underlying Influence and Delirium which was a big help in getting some key stops late in a few of My games.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
One thing I will say is that if You aren't prepared for this type of deck once it gets setup it is really tough to slow down.

My Commentary:
Before Pressing On, I wasn't seeing a whole lot of Equinox decks running around, particularly at major events. Regular Voyager decks just seemed more... robust, with more tools, more options, and boy did they take off with Homeward Bound.

Pressing On isn't Equinox's Homeward Bound though. It's definitely a powerful tool, but not quite that powerful. More than anything, it helps build a niche for Equinox decks - Equinox Doctor was already a great anti-killing tool, and Pressing On helps solidify defense against kills as an Equinox strategy. That's and especially good area to be strong in when you're picking who to use for a tournament that is a Regional or higher. That's where you often see the kill piles trotted out.

Equinox has profited from a couple other recent cards. Seska isn't just a pretty face - with her steep cost reduction, she's a great target for These Are the Voyages cycling. That's a big deal since Equinox doesn't have the access to Miracle Working that Voyager does. She also helps cement Equinox as a good affiliation to play if you suspect your opponents are going to use a bunch of anti-weenie dilemmas, since many of the Equinox mains cost 3. That gives you a little leeway to use personnel like Ru'afo, whose cheap cost demands that you use a bunch of Treachery personnel. That's easy in Equinox, since (a) you have to and (b) they don't fear An Issue of Trust as much thanks to Marla Gilmore.

To round it off, we've got a fairly standard Unfair Comparison pile (though that Polywater Intoxication in there is a pretty spicy inclusion). Unfair Comparison piles have been doing pretty well lately, if you can afford to include the events and 40 point missions that make them run. I like seeing the Shaken Confidence outside of a Paranoia deck - against the right decks, it is easily worth the full cost.

First Edition Minnesota Regional winner Kevin Jaeger
Title: Post Dissident Garrison
Deck Archetype: Interference
Play Engines: Dominion War Efforts, Internment Camp 371, New Arrivals, Reward From the Founders
Draw Engines: New Arrivals, Awaiting Trial, Deyos
Bonus Point Mechanics: Training Ring, Assign Mission Specialists, Victory Is Life
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Me, Armus, pfti, bosskamiura, Hoss-Drone, Latok, and The Ninja Scot.

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

MN is a tough place to play and when it's competitive season I bring my best stuff. I had considered briefly bringing a Romulan Minefield deck I have been working on. It's not quite to where I want it though. I also had my smoke deck with me in case a lack of sleep or other health issues dictated I play something requiring less focus and concentration.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I don't really hope to face anything with this deck. I take every game as it unfolds. I never know what these guys will try and do to counter me. As proven by the fact I Uxbridged in multiple rounds - once by Huth playing borg and Heaney seeding no doorways so he could seed a bunch of Computer Crashes. I'm always on my toes in this meta. It's fun.

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?
The Temporal Benefactor stuff + 22nd century dudes really upgraded the solving power of the deck as proven when, in order to beat Huth after time called I played Sarin to join Trevix in play to now have 5 of 6 QI outcomes covered instead of praying to the dice God to give me a 5 or 6.

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?
There are a lot of situational cards in the deck this time around. Quark's Rods, the Armus dilemma download, Sleeper Ship, the Time Pod Ring, the Disrupted Continuum tech, Stone Knives and Bear Skins, Out of Time, Ometiklan's ability, Hidden Fighter......

None exceeded my expectations but I'm not sure if Out of Time makes the cut for the next iteration.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Quantum Slipstream Drive and Nanoprobes as co MVP as always. They just make this deck so dangerous, flexible... and resilient.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Heed the notice that the comfort women tech doesn't work but it's an easy fix while keeping the deck and strategy fully in tact. Pull the Comfort Women, the 3 Bajoran, their phasers and kukalaka and Out of Time. Move the captains order events, a Ketracel White, and the rest to the tent. Remove the Out of Time. Add Ari x3, a Hidden Fighter and another probes to the deck. Add a 12th dilemma or a battle bridge deck.

My Commentary:
Remember when I whined about Enemies of the State in my review of Michael Van Breemen's US Nationals deck? Well, imagine a scenario in which that card stops your attempt, and then your people are wiped out by bloodthirsty Jem'Hadar after being stranded out in the open. That's what's going on here. You don't even need to Post actual Garrisons anymore, they just pop up when you attempt missions.

Now, with Comfort Women not working as Kevin intended, he's only got one full group of dissidents to download, but I'm not surprised to find that one download was enough. With the constant threat of Quantum Slipstream Drive-ready Jem'hadar assault squads, I'd probably try to turtle until I've got the crew I'm sure has the best chance to solve. And it would fail, and that would be it. Sure, Kevin's Dissident team is slightly lower in integrity than the triple Ari or triple Tadim with Lower Decks team, but more than 29 integrity (27 without Lower Decks) on three personnel is still an extremely difficult task.

As a side note, I think it is some hilariously cool synergy that the three Dissidents Kevin gets with Enemies will then allow Awaiting Trial to play for free in this largely Dominion deck. With the seeded Captured (plus the one it looks like Kevin was often able to get with Skalaar), that's an easy draw engine for him to take advantage of.

While we've all been getting Temporal Investigations with our Temporal Conduits, Kevin's got another plan. What card could give him serious headaches? What card stops the Invasive Transporters from pouring Jem'Hadar warriors into your ships? What card might give you a fighting chance? Transport Inhibitors! That's it, you're safe! You might finally beat him this time!

Nope. Stone Knives and Bearskins appears. It's super effective.


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