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The Road to Worlds: Regionals 2019 Week 10

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

6th June 2019

Second Edition Online (is a) Regional winner Jon Carter
Title: 2Q 2Klingons
Headquarters: Qo'noS, Heart of the Empire
Deck Size: 40 Cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 34 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Underlying/Loss

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

What other decks did you consider using? I saw Killer B saying the q missions are fun, so I decided to try it. I am still not a comfortable deck builder in 2E, so I netdecked this from Hosp because it looked fun

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Relitivity destroys this dilemma pile, otherwise I felt pretty good. I turned out this deck had little answer for Klingon microteaming.

Did you use any situational cards (cards that you wouldn't expect to be useful in every game)?
The deck is fairly tight due to the 40 card limit. So most every card is used every time you can.

Are there any whose usefulness exceeded your expectations? Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
Teaming up both ships for 4 person solves was kind of awesome. It really put pressure on dilemma piles. I don't think there is a card I would remove.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Reprimand. I dropped all three on MVB on one turn to shut down his Cardassian shenanigans and this bought me the time I needed to win that game.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
It was a lot of fun. Good deck Ben.

My Commentary:
I've been following this deck for a while, but haven't had a chance to review it because it kept doing well, while not quite taking the top spot. Thanks Jon!

It's interesting, my first instinct when looking to make a Q-mission 40 card deck was to think about solvers. You're only recycling the people, not the events and interrupts, so it didn't occur to me to build a deck that, like this one, aims to do things like battle. Earlier versions of this deck even had a few copies of Ja'chuq to capitalize more on the battle elements of the deck (the personnel version of that card, Kerla, is still around though).

This latest iteration is more like a solver that uses some battle to get around the corner, somewhere in between my instinct and Ben's initial instinct. Building the deck this way allows the deck to be thin enough to guarantee the timely draw of Bah! and B'aht Qul, while still not risking losing all your personnel to, say, a focused kill dilemma pile. Of course, those 10-points cards aren't the only ones you want to draw into quickly: you'll also want those Reprimands. They are the only interrupt and event nullifier that's active before you've even had a turn so a slim deck that runs 3 is going to be able to have things on lockdown.

One card that stands out to me is Special Modifications. In many decks, adding a Command star to staffing requirements would be back breaking, but Klingons (as well as, say, Cardassians and Romulans) don't mind too much. What you get out of it is pretty important for a Q-missions deck: 10 range ships. Both the Negh'Var and the Vorn are 9 range (most of the time, anyways), which is good, but the jump from 9 to 10 makes a huge difference. 9 range ships can fly from a 3-span space mission, to your HQ, and out to a 2-span planet mission - that's good, but it just doesn't compare to being able to fly home from space and then back out to space all in one turn. That's extra essential when you've only got two ships in the whole deck!

Second Edition San Diego Regional winner Johnny Holeva
Title: Big Fat BORG Deck - JUN 2019
Headquarters: Unicomplex, Root of the Hive Mind
Deck Size: Big Fat (90 Cards)
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: Big Fat (60 Cards)
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition

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

I've enjoyed playing big Borg decks for a long time now. Borg Queen Drone Swap along with Unyielding/Interrupt support keep the Borg in Tier 1 for dilemma busting, as far as I'm concerned. I was inspired to mix up my usual mission set by Michael Van Breeman's Masters-winning Borg deck from earlier this year. There's terrific synergy with the 50 point missions and the dilemma pile. (note - MVB's deck takes the synergy to "11" - my deck sort of just overlay's some of those ideas on to a Borg deck I'm comfortable playing)

As this seems to be the swan song for 2E in San Diego, I really didn't consider another deck. The Borg have always been my favorite affiliation to play in 2E and I wanted to be sure to play them one last time.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Planning for this tournament and what I would play against was NOT time well spent. Nate and JD pre-registered. Nate always comes with a top-notch deck and you never know what JD will bring. Week of the tournament, Nate could not play and unregistered, and JD's daughter Amelia registered. At least we sanctioned!

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?
Many years of experience playing Borg. After playing my current dilemma pile, it was probably too large but it worked. I drew Back to Basics at just the right time (x2) against JD's Maquis and my dilemma variety was able to (barely) contain all of the low cost TOS personnel in Amelia's deck.

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?
Two of Two doesn't get a lot of headlines, but he causes headaches for the opponent when it comes to dilemma play. I like that. I might try to find a way to squeeze back in the third Bridge Officers Test - BOT got me my first mission solve against Amelia.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
MVP? Always the Borg Queen and her Drone swapping ability. Gameplay and Trek-Sense design perfection.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Concerning the deck, I'd like to thank MVB for the mission selection inspiration. If I could, I'd like to thank JD Ashley and Amelia Ashley for coming out to play 2E. The game has winded down in San Diego (most of the people are still here, they just don't want to play the game), but I still enjoy 2E and playing against JD and Amelia made for a super-fun afternoon. I'm not sure where the road goes for 2E now, but if these were my last 2E games… I'll be okay with that.

My Commentary:
If you're unfamiliar with Johnny's deck building style, the names of his decks says it all. They (almost) all start with Big Fat, because he's a player who likes his options, and doesn't like to run out of them. The great news is, Borg is a particularly good affiliation for that type of deck builder. They have great access to the cards in their deck, and lots of different tools they can put in there.

Though there are sixteen events and interrupts in the deck, they still represent only 18% of the total deck. They're all powerful ones, like you'd expect from a Borg deck; Ascertain chews up skill-based piles (even when skill gaining is prevented!), and Unyielding is invaluable against attrition piles. Most of the verbs in this deck aren't Borg specific, though that doesn't mean they are any less powerful. I don't think anyone needs to be told how impactful Bridge Officer's Test can be, and I just got done swooning over Reprimand. Then we have some Surprise Parties and Miracle Working to help us get there.

The verbs are good, but the meat of this deck is the personnel. All these years later, Guardian of the Hive Queen is still one of my favorite cards in the game. The way she interacts with the interlink ability managed to make Borg feel different from other affiliations, while still using the same rules as everyone else. For those not in the know, here's how she works: you run into a dilemma that you don't have the skill for, but one of your drones in your deck does. So you use one of your drones with an interlink ability as many times as you need to in order to get the relevant drone in your discard pile. Then, because all drones are just cogs in the Borg machine, you swap that drone for one you have in play using the Queen, and pass the dilemma.

So that's the reason why this deck is relatively light on verbs, but very personnel rich - as you interlink away your deck, those verbs only come back when you use Three of Nine (also a drone!). While the personnel come back easily, either through Queen swaps or when Back to Basics shuffles them back in, the verbs will only come back slowly - you won't ever get to use that many anyways. But since 57 out of those 62 personnel are drones, they could all be useful sometimes, and, like I said, Johnny likes his options.

Second Edition Orlando Regional winner Eric Robinett
Title: Brandy Corbett's Creative Limitation Deck
Headquarters: Romulus, Seat of Power
Deck Size: 40 Cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 32 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Chula Attrition

Eric's Commentary:
I haven't played trek in some time, so I was and still am unfamiliar with new sets and errata. Michael Shae invited me to Continentals, and Rick Kinney took the opportunity to lure me back to the local scene. I asked my friend, John Corbett, for some advise on an easy-to-pilot but competitive deck to run, and he suggested a deck that Brandy Corbett had recently won a tournament with: dissident Romulans with Q missions. I practiced with it last month without looking over the deck, and was absolutely destroyed, but with a little brushing up on game mechanics and understanding the synergies I was able to pull off the regional win.

Why did you choose the deck that you used? What other decks did you consider using?
John Corbett suggested that I use the deck: I did not consider any other decks.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I have no experience with the current meta, so I have no input on these questions.

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 the deck once before where I learned many new things, but nothing new was gleaned playing it at the regional.

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 used Miramanee, Loyal Priestess to destroy a Biogenic Weapon on Deneb Approach. Shran, In Archer's Debt was very useful in keeping the dilemma count low on my opponents missions. I wouldn't remove anything unless there was a card that was strictly better, because the list is very tight with a 40 card deck.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
I would like to nominate co-MVPs Karina, Hindering Analyst and Ruwon, Hindering Analyst. Depending on the opponent's dilemma pile one of or the other really shines.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
The Chula dilemma pile makes for efficient stops, and the unstoppable Romulans sneak through for quick mission solves.

My Commentary:
This is a cool deck to see! This deck was likely originally designed as a Hall of Fame format deck, but Romulans have only lost one card to the glory of the Hall. That card is Power Shift - looking at the deck, I'd assumed they'd lost Getting Under Your Skin as well. But the deck wasn't built around the cards the Romulans lost in the format, it was built to make a new way to play Romulans, and I think that's why I like it so much.

Most competitive Romulan decks these days are built around optimizing the point gain from Prejudice and Politics and Getting Under Your Skin, then spending those points on At What Cost? and Power Shift and other stuff. This deck asks the question: if Power Shift is gone, how important is all that other stuff? Prejudice and Politics doesn't hit every time - it'll hit about 32% of the time if you were to play it against this deck, which is probably at the low end of competitive decks. So, if you're giving the opponent two draws for every time you get to play At What Cost?, and that's on the low end, you're still coming out pretty far ahead on the math. And you're also not running all those other, more situational core events for fuelling Getting Under Your Skin, so you can just pump that card advantage directly into your extremely powerful personnel.

Of course, you might not need to: there's a copy of Alternate Identity here. In a pinch, that can be used for some card advantage too. Just spend one counter on Noram, then, once your draw into Donatra - voila! You now have a 5-cost Behemoth out, ready to bust you through a dilemma that doesn't require a skill. This technique also works for those Hindering Analysts who do such a good job of preventing stops and kills.

This deck also has some fun tools for putting the kibosh on interrupts. Repurposed Transmission is rarely going to cost zero in this deck (there are only 5 dissidents total), but it doesn't need to in order to be useful for blocking a The Enemy of my Enemy. Then you've got Molly O'Brien, who can nuke any interrupt that doesn't have a cost (like, say, Uninvited). But my favorite here is Subtle Influence - you've got to wait until you have six [Rom] personnel to use it, but adding the cost of discarding an interrupt in order to use an interrupt can really slow down an interrupt-happy opponent.

Second Edition Space Coast winner Ted Reebel
Title: Relativity (Updated) 1.5
Headquarters: Prevent Historical Disruption
Deck Size: 51 Cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 36 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition

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

I chose to play the Deck that I did because it was something that I was familiar with and have had success with in the past. Didn't really consider playing anything else for this event.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
Wasn't really hoping to face any particular decks. Was really hoping to not face any kind of Battle/ interaction 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?
Yes I have played variations of this deck quite a bit in the past and have had success with it. Didn't really learn anything new about the deck

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 would probably say Grav-Plating Trap.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
I would probably say it would be a toss-up between Data and Barclay, With OT Kirk getting an Honorable Mention.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Only that the deck performed as well as i could have wanted it to.

My Commentary:
I feel like there's something special about Relativity as an affiliation that encourages people to experiment more with it than they do with other affiliations. I've reviewed the exact same Jaeger Bombs and Rainbow DS9s multiple times, but when I get a Relativity deck, it's (usually) tailored to the person who is playing it. What that quality is that brings out the creativity in people is, I don't know, but I want to find out and bottle it.

I suppose it helps that the personnel selection rarely changes - the pool of available [Fed] [Fut] personnel is relatively small, so each deckbuilder doesn't have very big choices to make. Especially considering the staffing requirements on the Relativity, you can't even use too many of the Revised Holograms, so even the selection within [Fut] icon personnel is restricted. And from there, the mission choices are also fairly prescribed. With a limited personnel selection, your mission selection isn't going to be huge either. And yet, despite those restrictions, I still see people doing things like working the Stakoron missions in, or, in this case, using personnel like Cytherians-enhanced Barclay as one of the few non- [Fut] personnel.

Of course, variations on mission and personnel selection aren't the only places I see changes in Relativity builds. Perhaps in part because the personnel and missions (and ships, I suppose) are so restricted, I see a lot of variations when it comes to events, interrupts, and equipment. I've written extensively about the use of Christening and Tacking Into the Wind in Relativity decks - the short version is: use them! This deck opts for three of each, which is common outside of very minimally sized Relativity decks.

This deck also has a healthy selection of equipment, which fill in some of those [Fed] [Fut] skill deficiencies I mentioned. They also fuel a full playset of Grav-Plating Traps, which fills the interrupt prevention needs of the deck. This deck also uses Curious Companion, which I don't see much outside of Ted's and Greg's Relativity builds. But given the prevalence of event prevention these days, I'm having trouble imagining running a Relativity deck without it. Sure, the 5 point scoring is going to be very situational, but in most games you're going to be at risk of losing your Temporal Transporters to a Grav-Plating Trap or a Reprimand. Being able to get that Transporters back, even in a deck that is heavy on [Fut] personnel like this one, can really save the day.

Second Edition Northern California winner Jeremy Commandeur
Title: Keep it Simple Klingons
Headquarters: Qo'noS, Heart of the Empire
Deck Size: 35 Cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 53 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition

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

Klingons are my favorite and I wanted to play a speed deck. I consider myself a mediocre 2E player. I tend to do better with small uncomplicated focused decks. I was tinkering in the deck builder with 2 cost personnel with an attribute >6 and built this deck around that. Locally there have been a lot decks focused on killing personnel, so a bunch of expendable 2 cost folks was my ticket to surviving mass casualties.

Other decks I considered were Treachery Klingons, Mirror Klingons, Khan, and even the new Starfleet stuff.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I was hoping to play against Tragic Turn or other decks focused on killing my crews. With 2x Keevan and lots of cheap people I could take the hit and keep going.

Sure enough my first game I played against Ethan’s mirror Zephram Cochran deck that started beating me up early on. Even with my 6-7 strength personnel I lost my first away team battle. Ethan then solved a mission and played Zef’s shotgun, Varon-T and Stone of Gol all on the same turn. He then proceeded to wipe out almost an entire away team. Ethan also had Dimensional Shifting so my ships were not safe. I used Keevan three times in this game. I used both copies, and then I killed a key personnel for Ethan that was valuable enough for him to give me Keevan back.

My third game was also against a kill deck. Richard New’s Romulan control/assassins deck. I attempted a mission turn three to put the pressure on and quickly had five guys dead in the discard pile. Tacking into the Wind shuffled in almost the full 10 cards and Keevan while Aceton Assimilators worked hard to counter kill dilemmas.

The deck I was dreading facing was indeed one of Richard’s Romulan control decks. Having suffered through years of playing against 1E Anti Time Anomaly lock decks, I’m not a fan of having no choices to make. Any game that allows a player to get to zero choices is suffering from poor game design.

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?
Because I consider myself a mediocre 2E player I tend to build simple solvers like this one. This particular deck I had not yet played, but I have built a couple of similar decks focused on 2 cost personnel for other affiliations. I have also built a couple of decks that used Self Replicating Roadblock for great effect. This was the first time I combined Self Replicating Roadblock with Aceton Assimilators. That was a fun combo to disrupt my opponent’s dilemmas.

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?
For this deck, Grav-Plating Trap is fairly situational. I’m probably going to let you have your events and keep my equipment in play to help me solve missions. Grav-Plating Trap is really there to prevent me from getting locked down or stalled by something like At An Impasse.

One of my favorite situational pieces of old school 2E tech is M’vil. She doesn’t seem to get much love but she is great in speed decks. Either you get to take out an event that makes your opponent faster OR you stall cards out of their hand and slow them down. Since I’m going for speed, every little bit helps. You basically get a 1 cost personnel that is immune to weenie dilemmas.

Intimidation exceeded my expectations, I stocked it in case anybody played the new Starfleet deck and it wound up great against the Romulans and the evil hand weapon humans.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Hmm, either Keevan or Aceton Assimilators. Probably Aceton Assimilators. I was counting on attempting a mission third turn so I could see some of my opponent’s dilemmas before they made their first attempt. That way I could could make an accurate Aceton Assimilators prediction right away.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Only that I read this series in preparation to build this deck. My draw deck was pretty much a simple solver that I know how to play. However, my dilemma pile was heavily influenced and informed by recent winning decks profiled in the road to worlds. I’m not great at figuring out what dilemmas are strong for the meta right now, but Michael Van Breemen, Maggie Geppert and others are. I tried to do my homework and apply that to a new dilemma pile.

My Commentary:
So, all that in my last review about restriction breeding creativity? Well there aren't many affiliations that are less restricted than Klingons, and look at this beauty of a deck. I haven't seen one like it in this series, which is a true treat for me. It's got Klingons, and its missions require strength, and the rest is pure ingenuity.

Starting with the missions, we've got the commonly used Provoke Interstellar Incident, but the rest aren't seen often in Klingon decks - usually, they're going back to the Brute Force or Diplomacy missions well. Instead, here PII is followed up by two 35 point planet missions that keep the skill mix quite tight. Those three mission just require Leadership, Security, Navigation, Biology, Medical, and Officer. That's not many skills, and they're ones that Klingons have in abundance, and often show up on dilemmas.

Because of cards like William "Exchange Officer" Riker, which only work on Klingon personnel, Klingon decks rarely have many Non-Aligned personnel. Maybe one or two here or there, to fill skill gaps, or list Acquisition before Anthropology. It was a problem Charlie and I were facing when designing the Klingon side of Shattered Mirror - we worked on making a new Qo'noS, and part of the problem was that forcing Klingons to forego Non-Aligned personnel didn't seem like much of a cost. But here, instead, Jeremy has gone without Gowron and Relentless, and made great use of some high-strength skill-rich Non-Aligned personnel. Piles with Underlying Influence are usually rough for Klingons, but with a few Berilds to back up your M'Vil they suddenly don't seem as intimidating.

While creativity is the first theme for this week, the second theme is deal with interrupts already! There are five decks this week, and every one of them runs three (precisely three) anti-interrupt cards. If that's not a theme, I don't know what is! This deck has opted for equipment which fuel Grav-Plating Traps, which showed up at the same frequency as Reprimand. In his interview, Jeremy pointed out how useful Keevan was in preventing kills (it's easy to forget that he can work against, say, all the kills on Whisper in the Dark), but he also has some skill equipment in there too. He's quite light on Diplomacy, so I imagine that Universal Translator came in pretty handy too.


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