What's New Dashboard Articles Forums Chat Room Achievements Tournaments Player Map The Promenade Volunteers About Us Site Index
Article Archives
First EditionSecond EditionTribblesAll

All Categories Continuing CommitteeOrganized PlayRules CommitteeDeck DesignsVirtual Expansions
Card ExtrasSpecial EventsTournament ReportsEverything ElseSpotlight SeriesContests
Strategy Articles


The Road to Worlds: Regionals Week 14

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

6th July 2018

Second Edition Atlanta Regional winner Greg Hodgin
Title: I welcome our new robot overlords
Headquarters: Unicomplex, Root of the Hive Mind
Deck Size: 99 Cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 57 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition
Victory Correctly Predicted By: prylardurden, LORE, jadziadax8, bosskamiura, Fritzinger, and The Ninja Scot.

Greg's Commentary:
Why did you choose the deck that you used?

I took an older Romulan deck to Continentals and got wrecked so I went back to the Borg deck I'd been tinkering with for a while. It was the right choice.

What other decks did you consider using?
Well, it was either the Borg, GQ Romulans or Voyager. Glad I stuck with what I did.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck?
Slow, methodical decks are always the best to face against the Borg, along with Chula piles if at all possible. Always fun to face those.

What decks did you hope not to face?
Kill piles can really put a crimp in this deck, and control decks are absolutely a pain.

Prior to this tournament, did you have much experience playing this deck (or decks like it)?
Oh yeah, I've been honing this deck for years and it's becoming a great deck to pull out and run.

Did you learn anything new about it when you played it this time?
Actually, I did: I'm going to swap a mission or two out as the deck isn't optimized for the missions that are in it right now, but that's easily repairable.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)?
Not really; the deck hangs pretty well together and there weren't too many situational cards to begin with.

Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations?
Two of Two is a great drone, and he's going in the deck from now on. Basically an Adapt that can attempt missions.

Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
Possibly Unimatrix Zero: never came out, and Standard Punishment doesn't work without it, so both might need to come out. Still chewing on that one.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Two, actually: Tactical Disadvantage and Back to Basics (dilemmas, but still!). In one game I got 6 1-card full stops against an opponent. You just can't beat that kind of efficiency, dilemma wise.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
The intimidation factor alone is well worth playing this deck: slapping almost 200 cards onto the table makes peoples' eyes get big, and the deck can get what it needs, when it needs it (usually). I'll be refining it more!

My Commentary:
We took a look at a prior version of this deck when Greg won the Georgia Masters event back in February of 2016. At the time I found it notable because, while assimilators had recently seen a renaissance, Borg solvers were widely considered dead. Borg solvers still aren't something you see commonly, but again I've seen a drop-off in Borg-playing since the errata to Knowledge and Experience in August 2016.

Since Greg last won with this deck, I've had a chance to play around with some Borg solvers, and I think Greg is spot-on with his MVPs. A lot of a Borg solver's strength comes from its easy ability to set up those two wall dilemmas, Tactical Disadvantage and Back to Basics. For Tactical Disadvantage, barring very rare circumstances, Borg only ever need to play one ship per game, and all of the rest can be held back. Often, you'll find yourself in a position where even one big ship will be enough to win a Tactical fight. And for Back to Basics, as long as you draw into any interlink drone, just start slamming your personnel against your missions, being sure to interlink away at least 14 personnel and ships. You can always shuffle the important interrupts back into your deck with the Observation Drone when you solve (interestingly, Three of Nine is absent here).

The other major factor in the effectiveness of Borg solvers is the quality of their dilemma-busting interrupts. And it isn't just Knowledge and Experience (though that one's plenty good), it's also Analyze and Adapt. Dilemma piles these days are just full of variable skill walls like "Rapid Progress" and multiple copies of effective dilemmas like Intimidation. Being able to force the opponent into hedging their bets when they give you dilemmas that are otherwise very potent (especially against Borg) goes a long way towards winning. Though Greg wasn't pleased with Standaard Punishment, I agree with his choice to look for something to replace Ascertain, since that is the weakest part of the Borg interrupt suite.

Second Edition Manassass Regional winner Phil Schrader
Title: The Only Good Cardassian is an Intelligent One
Headquarters: Cardassia Prime, Hardscrabble World
Deck Size: 50 Cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 33 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition (Chula)
Victory Correctly Predicted By: LORE, jadziadax8, bosskamiura, Fritzinger, and The Ninja Scot.

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

I've been trying out several HoF decks over the past couple months but settled on Cardassian Intel for it's speed and flexibility. The ability to draw tons of cards (Tain / Damar) and the powerful interrupts available make the affiliation really strong in a format without Personal Duty and An Issue of Trust.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I don't think there's any particular deck types that I was hoping to face, but I was hoping to avoid anything with Damaged Archer since I was using a Chula dilemma pile.

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?
It's been a while since I've played Cardassian, I think the last time I played one was an old AU Garak / Assess Contamination deck, and I re-used the Garak / Rokassa tech in this version too.

The main new thing I learned was that The Enemy of My Enemy is a very powerful card. I think I used it at least 3-4 times to be able to solve missions that I would have normally been stopped at.

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 was able to use Mila and Molly O'Brien in a few games to either deny and Uninvited or protect my own interrupts. I used the Tacking Into the Winds in the deck more than I thought since I tended to deck out a lot faster than anticipated. I don't know that I've ever used it to recycle people or ships before.

I think the deck is very tight as is, so I wouldn't add or remove anything just yet.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Either The Enemy of My Enemy because of its ability to power mission completions multiple times or Enabrin Tain for his amazing card draws.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I love Cardassians and they look to be very powerful in HoF. In most games I was able to field a 7-8 person attempt on Turn 3 that had a decent chance of solving a mission.

I need to thank Kris Sonsteby and Brian Sykes. I used Kris' Cardassian deck from earlier this year as a shell and built it out to the final form I played today. I consulted with Brian a bit on some personnel choices, most notably the inclusion of AU Garak instead of Set 1 Garak.

My Commentary:
Well, another Hall of Fame tournament, another winning Cardassian deck. To be fair, they've been on fire in Standard Constructed tournaments as well, ever since The Enemy of My Enemy come on the scene. But Cardassian dominance has been almost complete in Hall of Fame events, so if you're going to one, go prepared. How do you prepare for Cardassians? I'm glad you asked.

(A) Don't stop. Cardassians don't get stopped. Between The Central Command and Prefect Dukat (though Phil didn't use him here), Cardassians devour standard attrition piles. Against a deck like this one, without Dukat or Moset, attrition piles that deliver stops piecemeal (like Chula piles) are slightly better, but still not terribly reliable. Instead, kill them. Capture them. Assimilate them! Their only native kill prevention is Crell Moset, though he's less likely to see due to his cost and because he's only effective against dilemmas that cost three or more.

(B) Don't count on skill walls. The Enemy of My Enemy is great at breaking though things like "Rapid Progress" or Dead Ringer. If Parek's in play, things get even worse, since he's a valid target for Enemy's skill gain. And if Alternate Universe Garak is out, abandon hope. Of course, you can't exactly count on non-skill walls like Tactical Disadvantage because Cardassian decks love their ships, and The Central Command basically acts like Bridge Officer's Test for Cardassians. And that brings us to:

(C) Prevent interrupts. A lot of the power of Cardassia comes in the form of its powerful interrupts. Prevent them. Personnel like Staffer Sisko are the best way to do so, because Mila is there to prevent interrupt-based interrupt prevention. Fortunatley, most interrupt-based interrupt prevention, like Grav-Plating Trap and Lustful Distraction, have costs, so AU Molly won't be able to block them.

First Edition Manassass Regional winner Austin Chandler
Title: And You're Back... You're Back for More
Deck Archetype: Solver
Play Engines: The Regent's Flagship, Emblem of the Alliance, They Call Themselves the Maquis
Draw Engines: Study Divergent History, Pride of the Fleet, Historic Coming Together
Bonus Point Mechanics: Historic Coming Together
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Me, prylardurden, pfti, DarkSabre, scox, bosskamiura, sexecutioner, Fritzinger, and The Ninja Scot.

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

I wanted a deck that gave me a good draw mechanism and was different than what everyone usually plays in our area. Didn't want 22nd century so I wanted to go with a KCA deck. I saw Kris' twist with the Maquis and decided that it fit my bill.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Was hoping not to run into 22nd century just because tired of facing them.

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've played this style of deck casually but never thought of crossing it with the Maquis.

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?
Historic Coming Together I didn't think would be so amazing but it saved me each and every game with the cards I drew from it. Also They Call Themselves the Maquis was incredibly important for skills those personnel brought to the table.

Captain B'Etor & Captain Lursa were able to hold off God which happened at a huge moment during one game.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
I'll have to nominate two cards.

Definitely Historic Coming Together. I lost the Regency 1 in the first two games and without this card I wouldn't of been able to draw up cards and complete the missions that I needed.

Also DNA Clues. I coupled it with my medical dilemmas and that stalled my opponents enough in three of my games that I was able to get the win.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
It's a solid deck but the right dilemmas can hamper this deck. I got stopped by Faux Pas and Quantum Incursions. Badly. I enjoyed playing it and gave me some great ideas for the future.

My Commentary:
While waiting for Austin to post his decklist, I was secretly hoping it would be a Dominion deck; he's a known Dominion player, he said he wasn't playing 22nd century, and I was excited to see what he'd do with them. While this isn't a Dominion deck, I'm thrilled that it isn't a deck with Temporal Benefactor, Romulan Minefield, Drone Control Room, or even any 22nd century cards at all!

The Regent's Flagship decks have a lot going for them. First, you start out with one of the biggest non-Borg ships in the game in play, and then you get to download its commander (who then downloads lots of other goodies). I've written a few times about the strength of being able to engage in attacks of opportunity, and this set-up certainly provides you with the opportunities you need. And, with that Stolen Cloaking Device download, you can also strategically avoid giving your opponents opportunities to hit you.

Mirror decks also have access to some of the best card draw options in the game. This deck feeds three whole free play engines without the need of any card-play draw sources. Study Divergent History can net up to two draws a turn for a single seed slot, and Pride of the Fleet doesn't even need a seed slot at all. Then there's Historic Coming Together - we've looked at some Regent's Flagship decks last year that don't even bother with Divergent, and just rely on Fleet and Historic for draws!

This deck has all of those tools, and Austin was still able to seed 22 dilemma (or at least dilemma-like) cards. Being able to flex up to four-card combos can really stall out an opponent. Indeed, Austin calls out DNA clues, and that reminds me: I haven't seen McCoy in a dilemma pile in quite a while. He just doesn't fit very well in your standard 22nd century deck; maybe it is time to target that weakness?

Second Edition Southern California winner Thomas Vineberg
Title: Excelsior Jem'Hadar Strength Solver [Excelsior 1.1]
Headquarters: Founders' Homeworld, Home of the Great Link
Deck Size: 35 Cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 30 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition (Chula)
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Fritzinger, Latok, and The Ninja Scot.

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

I generally prefer to build from the ground up rather than copy from existing decks. But I hadn't played in a 2E tournament in over a year, and was short on time to analyze the Excelsior format or build anything.

After looking over Fritz Meissner's article and designs, I went with his Jem'Hadar strength solver as a type that I was relatively familiar with. 4- or 5-man teams, 9-9-9 ship and the Remata'Klan/Arak'Taral combo were selling points. The format (with no Gomtuu, Issue of Trust, or Personal Duty) also seemed to play to its strengths.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I was not familiar enough with what was in the new Excelsior to have specific hopes or expectations. For the sake of variety, I was hoping that not everyone copied the same deck, because it seemed really good.

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 had not played Dominion since before Mobilization Points was released, so I was pleasantly surprised that it made some of the costlier unique Jem'Hadar worth playing (Amat'igan comes to mind in particular). Also had never used Chula: The Game, so that was a learning experience.

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 deck seemed very streamlined, every card with its purpose. Not having played it before, I didn't want to risk interrupting its flow by adding anything else.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Remata'Klan is still as strong as ever. On the dilemma side, Chula The Game is obviously the linchpin.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Big thanks to Fritz for sharing his deck and strategy notes. I added/swapped a couple of dilemmas but otherwise it's identical to his design.

My Commentary:
This is the same deck as the one from week 9; what I said about it then is still true. In a format with limited stop prevention, attrition will be the king, and Chula's going to perform very well in that environment. I did miss last time that The Chandra's not available in Excelsior format, so at least Chula piles will be a little less reliable. It does look like Karina, Hindering Analyst is around though, so maybe it is time to break out the Romulans if you're looking to go Chula-hunting.

However, without Power Shift around, one area in which the Romulans won't be able to compete is raw attribute power. Stop prevention is only one angle from which to attack attrition piles - in much the same way that prevention makes the dilemma choosing player overthrow, having high attribute values on your personnel does too. Whether it is because you fail to stop a personnel or two, or because you just need to stop more than average in order to prevent the solve, you're going to run into the same problem - the mission gets more buried. Where Jem'Hadar have the advantage is that they can threaten a micro-team solve sooner with those eights in the strength spot.

The place where TV made changes was the dilemma pile, and I like the changes he made. A Taste of Armageddon and Simulated Prey are out, but you wanted to use those Uninviteds to fetch The Games rather than net a second kill on those dilemmas anyways. He Wasn't Nice shows up (and can be fetched with the aforementioned Uninvited), and is a great way to deal with the few stop prevention sources (Karina and Crell Moset). I like seeing The Needs of the Many too, since it'll be nice in the mirror match - you won't often be able to dump those Uninviteds mid-attempt to avoid the stops. And though In Development came out of the pool for Act II by popular demand, Slightly Overbooked will have much the same effect most of the time - definitely worth it even at four cost.

First Edition German National Championships winner Stefan de Walf
Title: Alpha Quadrant
Deck Archetype: Interference (battle)
Play Engines: Protect the Timeline, Smugglers' Rendezvous
Draw Engines: IDIC: Power of the High Command, Temporal Almanac, Temporal Shifting, Finally Ready to Swim, Remote Interference
Bonus Point Mechanics: Assign Mission Specialists
Victory Correctly Predicted By: Me, LORE, Hoss-Drone, KazonPADD, BCSWowbagger, and bosskamiura.

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

I once again had very little time to properly prepare for this, so I did not manage to build something new. I liked how well the deck performed in Sweden and and just decided to try out some alterations. I added Vulcans since I was not too happy with the personnel selection before and I tried IDIC to fetch the Vulcan ship + commander instead of seeding the Husnock ship. Also, this allowed me to spam some Minefields to make the deck more obnoxious, so that seemed fair. I think it is a long way from being a streamlined version - I liked the Vulcans, but Husnock instead of IDIC/minefield seemed better. I also totally forgot about the Reunification option and some other stuff that is possible for this deck.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I once again hoped to face 22nd decks and peaceful decks that I can bully. I was not too happy to face decks with more fire power (like Paddy's deck) or decks from other quadrant / time lines. Even though I felt like my deck also does quite well in regards of speed solving, I think Alex might have been a hard match-up for me, so I was happy with not having to face him for once.

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?
Played basically the same deck as in Sweden, just with better personnel. I was amazed once more how good 22nd personnel really are - I get this quite often with Starfleet and Vulcans: I attempt with some people, a freak dilemma comes up I did not really plan for this attempt and my personnel actually have no problems clearing it.

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?
Did not pack too much. I had Lower Decks and Kevins in there back from Sweden but this time my deck somehow felt a bit bloated and I had some issues getting through the deck to guarantee the cards at the right time. Of course, HQ: Defensive also is an important card in the deck, which I did not need this time.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
This goes to Daniels this time. Special downloading Out of Time is huge with the 3 time locations. It allows for quite liberal attempts. But, as in Sweden, the Raptors in combination with Camouflage also did a lot of work, again.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
No, but I once again want to thank all participants. Thanks so much to Johannes and Barbara for being awesome hosts and enduring us. I loved the pool! Going to the pool actually beats inter-round naps. Thanks to Peter for organizing the keg, it was put to good use! And a big thanks to all our friends from across Europe for flying in for this event. Looking forward to the next one.

My Commentary:
Though the personnel selection has changed significantly (for example, it is now a Romulan/Vulcan Treaty deck), this is largely the same deck as the one Mr. Rohr used at the Swedish National Championships in Week 6. And that makes it also pretty similar to the Starfleet/Vulcan Treaty deck that Kevin Jaeger used in Week 10. That's largely due to the magic of Smugglers' Rendezvous. Using it does limit you to two free plays per turn, but the resulting increase in flexibility seems to be completely and utterly worth that limitation.

Though you're only playing your personnel to the one Time Location, you can easily move them around with the UFP: One Small Step that Tellarite Trading Post downloads (which, in turn, is downloaded by the Rendezvous. Using that means of non-spaceline-based movement, you can completely circumvent the Minefield pollution you're applying to the spaceline, even without using Romulan ships. I'd imagine we could even see a Klingon/Romulan or Starfleet/Klingon version of this deck, if you wanted to add in some of the 22nd Century Klingon capture stuff for more harassment.

Good news though: that Romulan Minefield was just added to the Official Tournament Format ban list yesterday. While this deck doesn't need the card to function (or even the draws from it - look at all those draw engines), it will make it a little easier to play around. I recommend heading to the forums for a good discussion about the problems with the Minefield, and what people think the fix should be.

One final note: as a Second Edition player, it is still really weird to see multiple copies of Rock People in a decklist. I know the conversion made it a good dilemma - I've even used it myself. It's just... still weird to see it being useful.


Discuss this article in this thread.

Back to Archive index