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The Road to Worlds: GenCon Masters

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

10th August 2018

First Edition GenCon Masters winner Sean O'Reilly
Title: Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to their own
Deck Archetype: Interference
Play Engines: They Will Be Coming, We Are the Borg, Awaken,
Draw Engines: Temporal Investigations, The Traveler: Transcendence, We Are the Borg, Surprise Party
Bonus Point Mechanics: Add Distinctiveness
Victory Correctly Predicted By: bosskamiura, BCSWowbagger, Latok, and rsutton41.

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

Many recent championship-level winning decks used either Starfleet or Vulcan affiliations. I thought one way to counter these decks would not to "out race" them but to make their personnel work for me via assimilation. After all, if you assimilate a unique personnel, they cannot play another copy.

I originally was going to play a Borg assimilation deck at Nationals in Chicago, but I was not able to attend due to unforeseen expenses. One I determined I was not going to Chicago, I knew I was going to play this deck in Indianapolis.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I figured the easiest decks to face would be any Alpha Quadrant deck since I use They Will Be Coming.

The hardest would probably be Delta Quadrant decks, a Mirror Universe or Dominion deck (as I would have trouble getting to their personnel) or a deck designed to quickly attack my personnel (which could be a problem until I built up my hive.)

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 have played lots of 1E Borg decks since the affiliation debuted in 1997 so I know how to win with them. The difference is this is the first time I ever played a Harness Particle 010 deck. I always was discouraged to play this deck in the past because it was too difficult to build an outpost in the Alpha Quadrant.

By seeding Strategic Base and Construct Starship to get download your Transwarp Hub, you can draw three cards (which can be used to download [BO] cards or a Drone) and have an easy way to complete Harness Particle 010.

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?
When I first thought about doing a Borg assimilation deck before it merged into a Borg Assimilation/Harness Particle 010 deck, I thought about using Weyoun of Borg with four copies of Construct Depot. This would give me the benefit of Service the Collective without worrying about my opponent stealing my universal mission.

However, when I decided to make Harness Particle 010 my major focus and Assimilate Species a secondary objective should I need to slow my opponent down, I searched for nebula missions in the Alpha Quadrant and found the perfect one to use: Analyze Radiation.

The 5 span on the missions would discourage an opponent trying to come attack me or steal it. It also would make Cytherians a very long trip for an opponent.

The other good thing about Analyze Radiation is it allowed me to play five of my missions together (the fifth being Insurrection). This gave me more control of the spaceline and gave me a legal spot to download a Transwarp Hub.

In three of my four games I was able to seed an Analyze Radiation at the end of the spaceline. This allowed me to seed my Borg Tactical Cube (via They Will Be Coming) at the same location as Strategic Base.

One situational card that came in handy was Call for Reinforcements. I was able to download a [Univ] Borg Sphere to my Cube. I used the Sphere to scout missions without using my entire hive. This proved valuable when I hit Cytherians. I was able to immediately use the game text on the Transwarp Hub to move to the other end of the spaceline (where I had seeded a Transwarp Network Gateway) to get rid of the Cytherians. Then I continued scouting with the Cube as not to waste a turn. On the next turn I simply moved my sphere back to the Transwarp Hub.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Requisitions Drone. The ability to download Bynars Data Transfer to manipulate my draw deck to make sure I would successfully probe the first time for Harness Particle 010 cannot be overlooked. It is such a powerful effect one of my opponents downloaded The Juggler to make me shuffle my deck (his plan failed when I used Borg Data Node to glance at the top card of my draw deck and saw a Borg Queen there).

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
For players who might want to try this deck, they should know the set up to get everything rolling takes a few turns. You need to:
*Download your outpost (required for Harness Particle 010).
*Get one copy of A Change of Plans in your hand (so after you scout for Establish Gateway you can change it to Harness Particle 010).
*Make sure you have a Requisitions Drone in play (to manipulate your deck for a successful probe).

If you do decide to attack your opponent there are plenty of cards in the deck to increase your personnel's strength (First, Eight of Nineteen, Six of Twelve, Nine of Fifteen and Lower Decks), and cancel a weapon bonus an opponent's personnel are receiving (Adapt: Modulate Shields).

Finally, always remember RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

My Commentary:

Note: This was written prior to receiving Sean's interview questions, so you'll notice we covered a few of the same things.

First Edition Borg!

We'll start with my usual step one: could I identify this deck as a Borg deck in the mission phase? This is a relevant skill because Borg decks require you to really rethink your dilemma combos, and Borg decks are not always obvious from the mission phase.

Well, this deck could be an Enterprise-E/Son'a deck, but Vulcan feels a little odd to see. That said, there's no pre-made Vulcan counterpart, so I wouldn't necessarily be thinking Borg. What would get me worried is four copies of Analyze Radiation - it's stealable, so we rarely see it in general, and it is a nebula. Nebulas always make me think Borg due to Harness Particle 010, especially when they're uncommonly seen missions otherwise.

The advantage for Sean with this mission is he can seed them all next to each other, and being a universal mission in a region, that increases his odds of being able to seed them near the end of the spaceline. That way he can get to them more easily from his They Will Be Coming starting point, and that's also going to make it very difficult for his opponent to know which he'll try to harness a particle at.

Often, Harness Particle decks will seek to assimilate a homeworld after the particle, since that's a pretty quick route to 100 points. Sean is a little more bloodthirsty than that here. He doesn't want your homeworld - there's no Assimilate Counterpart to be seen either. No, he wants your personnel. All of your personnel would be nice. The more the merrier; if all goes well, the Add Distinctiveness points will supplement the doubled Assimilate Planet points, and he gets a two mission win anyways.

Second Edition GenCon Masters winner Richard New
Title:
Headquarters: Romulus, Patient Stronghold
Deck Size:
Deck Archetype: Interference
Dilemma Pile Size:
Dilemma Pile Type: Kill
Victory Correctly Predicted By: (Didn't preregister.)

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

Just like our Northern California Regional, this deck the tip of my spear, so it really wasn’t much of a choice. I was willing to bet we wouldn’t go past four rounds, but even so, this deck can be risky, as it tends to get mod wins, not full wins. One of them this time was from a tap out, which gave me the point advantage after the slugfest with Phil.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I suppose speed is always a concern, but I have ways of holding them off while I get my main strategy up and running. I love going up against DS9. Their 1-span headquarters is even better for me than it is for them.

Decks that can prevent interrupts (especially with personnel) or are good at kill prevention can be a headache. Phil’s microteaming Jemmies made me nervous. I’m used to being able to kill down to an incomplete mission pretty easily. I’ve never really faced a battle deck and I make myself a target hanging out at the opponent’s missions.

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?
Yeah. This has been my pet project for awhile. I’m going to start farming a new idea though. See what grows.

I learned, thanks to Phil, that Archaic Snare affects me too. Pairing that with Imperial Entanglements or adding Engage Cloak might be a way around that. I ended up abandoning a ship. I learn something new every time I play 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?
I added Deep Hatred and Secret Agenda to help deal with cheaters and verb destruction/prevention. Deep Hatred is even more useful than I thought, allowing me to look through a deck for any upcoming hurdles. But really, most of the interactive part of the deck is pretty situational. What dilemmas do I grab when I have a permanent ship versus an Imperial Entanglements ship? And what interrupts do I have in my hand makes me rethink the four personnel for Imperial Entanglements. Everything has a place, so nothing really gets dropped.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
This time around? TR-116 Rifle. There was a game I used it almost every turn to take out an extra headache before it became one. That card was preventative Advil.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
We have to be careful in our community to not jump on the bandwagon of the first and loudest voices. Tyler and his team did a great job breathing new life into the original Romulan strategy. Many dismissed their efforts without putting in the effort of assembling the pieces themselves. We put too much emphasis on the deck-breaking cards and not enough on synergy. (I’ll just leave this soap box right where I found it...)

My Commentary:
We last took a look at Richard's Romulan interference deck in week 11, when he won the northern California regional with it. This event gave him a chance to play it in a different meta (though he faced local Herman Chan in round two), and it definitely performed for him.

From the GenCon thread on the forums, Sean O'Reilly described his experience with the deck thusly: "I wouldn’t call it newRomulan but Romulan Assassins - they weren’t skulking but trailing behind with a very big gun". One thing I like about the deck is its flexibility - you can be more or less aggressive with the lurking based on your needs in each round. Against a speed deck? Don't worry, the Imperial Entanglements will help you keep up until you can get a ship of your own ready to lock some missions down. But against another control deck, you'll have plenty of time to set up a ship to be a target for Harried and Harassed - which is just as well, since your Entanglements would likely get cancelled in those matches.

Warp Speed Transfer is gone in this iteration of the deck, and while I miss it, it has been replaced by the essential Secret Agenda. Agenda is great for getting interrupts into the discard pile so they can be weeded out by Deep Hatred - before they are even used. But perhaps more importantly, it is the best option that pure Romulan decks have for dial-a-skill. Classic Romulan decks have access to Non-Aligned characters like Gav and Silik (though they prefered pre-errata Navaar), but in a New Romulus deck they just aren't an option. And with so many "Rapid Progress"-using players out there, I'm stocking a Secret Agenda or two myself.

The Dilemma Pile, on the other hand, has not changed at all - and (other than Richard and Phil's aforementioned discovery about Archaic Snare) I don't see much reason for it to change. It's a very tight pile at 29 cards, so you'll be able to draw those essential dilemmas (Breach, Unsound Logic, Harried and Harassed) precisely when you need them. Most attempts will be stopped with a single dilemma under - even facing against Terok Nor Mill, I doubt this pile would let you down.


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