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The Road to Worlds: Regionals 2019 Week 11

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

13th June 2019

Second Edition South Dakota Masters winner Kris Sonsteby
Title: Billy... Lets Finish the Game
Headquarters: Earth, Home of Starfleet Command
Deck Size: 42 Cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 26 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition

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

I had considered playing Riker / Sword, TAIN, or my San Diego Masters winning TOS speed deck but ultimately decided on Cadets as I felt I did not do the design justice when I last played it Online back in November. I figured my discounted 6-costers would help me hang in there against Kevin's Jaeger Bomb deck should he be playing and that the Phoenix would tilt the remainder of the field.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I do not really fear any designs out in the wild, but hoped to play against kill piles since they tend to flood missions with overcome dilemmas and my personnel are so much cheaper on average than everyone else's. Unfortunately, the dilemma play of all of my opponents on Sunday was top-notch and I was routinely only picking up one per attempt. However, I was also constantly returning the favor as they all struggled to pass the poorly designed wall Nothing to Lose.

As a cadet connoisseur, is DS9 Earth now your favored cadet HQ? If so, what sets it apart from TNG Earth?
I switched over to DS9 Earth initially because of pre-errata George Primmin and due to better mission skill coverage on the 2-cost folks like Paxton Reese, Benjamin Sisko, etc. I have stuck with them ever since simply because they tend to have greater species diversity than TNG Earth for Intimidation while still avoiding common filters like An Issue of Trust, Adopted Authority, and Personal Duty. However, with each passing set TNG continually closes the gap, and now that they have Edward Jellico it might truly be a coin toss over which HQ is better. For me, DS9 Earth still gets the nod simply due to Melora Pazlar’s ability to essentially morph into a 14 cunning beast.

If cadets had won in the Will of the Collective polling (which it nearly did), what would you want that non-unique cadet to do?
I would have wanted that Cadet to fill the obvious skill holes that the main cast lacks – Archeology, Biology, Medical, etc. I mean, even doctors went to school at some point, right?

Are there any cards whose usefulness exceeded your expectations? Were there any that you wouldn't include if you played the deck again?
The only card I am kind of waffling on is the U.S.S. Oberth, as I never seem to draw it in my opening hand and the 7-range put me in a bind a few times this weekend. I might go back to using the U.S.S. Excelsior, but that would probably be the only change. Everything else serves a purpose at least once every couple of games, whether the card is an old standby like Endangered / Gideon Seyetik or a new addition like V'Ger / Seven of Nine.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Melora Pazlar, hands down. I solved a mission because of her in all three games, including the critical 2nd mission during Round 2 which put me ahead on points against Preston after time expired. Without her, I am certain you would be interviewing a different member of the Money, Inc. stable right now.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Not really, but I would like to take a second to thank Kevin Jaeger for opening up his home for Masters weekend and the South Dakota crew specifically for the series of great games throughout. We had a handful of last minute cancellations and both Kevin and I were extremely disappointed by the turn out as a result, but that did nothing to hamper the spirits of the local guys nor diminish the competitiveness of the three events. To that end, those who could not make it for one reason or another certainly missed out. The draft was FUN with a capital F. And whether we were playing STCCG, Tribbles, Archer, DC Deckbuilding, or Cards Against Humanity, it was a blast. I cannot wait until for Masters to head West once again!

My Commentary:
While Cadets have historically been a powerful faction, I can't actually recall a time when I've been in the position of reviewing a Cadet deck. They've won World Championships as far back as 2007, and they had a burst of popularity in 2011 with a two-mission win variant that eventually led to errata for Restore Errant Moon. This deck is more akin to Caleb's 2007 deck: it's aiming to play a lot of people, and use them to solve missions quickly.

It even uses the same card advantage engine: 6-cost Lwaxana and Bashir, combined with These are the Voyages. Targeting a Lwaxana (who is worth about 1.5 counters, has a printed cost of 6, but you're only ever going to pay 1 for) with Voyages doesn't just net you a few extra draws for very little investment, it also sifts through a significant portion of your 42 card deck. That means getting Surprise Party up an running early. That means getting both the Phoenix and Astrometrics Lab, so you can make your opponent need 10 more points to win. That means getting the Kirks you need against wall-based piles.

New to Cadet decks are a few recent cards. Seven of Nine (Immersed in Chaos) is the fist new Cadet in years, and she offers a few skills that weren't available before. I noticed that Kris was running two copies of Nothing to Lose in a tight 26 card pile, so I went looking for Acquisition in the deck. That's when I realized that one classic Cadet didn't make the cut: Nog (perhaps because Seven's stats are better and she has two of the same skills?). His dilemma scouting ability hasn't aged well in a game where many decks run Alvera Tree Ritual and that 5 cunning is a little... unflattering.

The Oberth also wasn't available back in the day, and can provide a nice turn one boost. Because low-cost decks need to refill their hands more often, those draws the science vessels provide are more likely to be impactful for them. Furthermore, with a two span space mission in the same region as your headquarters, you're not going to need more than 7 range on your main ship until the midgame - at which point you can play another copy or a Qel'Poh to help with the personnel shuttling. Edit: It looks like, perhaps, the Oberth did not quite perform up to expectations.

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