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The Road to Worlds: Regionals 2019 Week 13

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

27th June 2019

Second Edition South Africa winner Owen Swart
Title: Slipstream Commanders
Headquarters: Earth, Cradle of the Federation
Deck Size: 37 Cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver (slipstream)
Dilemma Pile Size: 35 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Chula Attrition

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

I was looking to find something that was able to complete a single mission quickly, and pile on enough bonus points to satisfy the 50 points required for a Slipstream win.

I considered a Starfleet deck, but that proved too slow in testing. I also tried a FedTOS deck, but that proved too unreliable on the points. I then settled on a FedTNG deck using one or more of the U.S.S. Enterprises with their built-in bonus points as the key.

I found it by accident. At a practice session, I was digging through my bag and found on old deck box I didn't recognise. I shuffled it up and played it. I later remembered that it had been the Excelsior Federation Starter. Although it needed some work, it had the bones of a solid Slipstream deck in there.

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 face either decks that hadn't been optimised for Slipstream, that would be too slow, or would require multiple Mission completion to hit the point threshold.

I was hoping not to face decks with a similar strategy to mine (high speed solver with bonus points), as I wasn't entirely confident that mine was as fast as it could be. As it happens I did face such a deck in the first round.

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 used to run a similar deck years ago, stacking bonus points from the U.S.S. Enterprise-D and E with high-cost missions for an efficient two-mission win. That's where I got the idea.

The key lesson I learned was not to waste card draws on unnecessary redundancy. I took out cards like Guinan, Listener, Daneeka and Mission Accomplished. While each provide bonus points, in Slipstream they were adding more than I needed. Between the ship and the Mission Evaluate Soloton Wave I had all the points I needed.

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'd never been all that impressed with Jean-Luc Picard, Genial Captain, but in this deck he surprised me with how useful he was. His ability to download an Enterprise-D shaved multiple turns off getting a ship in play, and probably won me the game at least once. In a non-Slipstream game I'm not sure I'd rely on that so heavily, but here it was exactly what I needed.

There were a couple of cards I wasn't particularly happy to see. Deanna Troi, Ship's Counselor, Wesley Crusher, Prodigy and a couple of others didn't seem to do much more than add to the Attribute count. But I suppose they could have been useful if I'd faced different Dilemmas. If I were to make changes, they'd be the first to go.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Captain on the Bridge was vital. if I hadn't been able to deploy Reginald Barclay, Exceeding Limits, William T. Riker, Skilled Commander or Beverly Crusher, Encouraging Commander directly to the ship, and at reduced cost, I would have wasted multiple turns returning to Earth to pick up crew. The two-nacelled Enterprise-D doesn't have the range to make the round-trip in one turn, and the future Enterprise-D doesn't have the right bonus point setup.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
This was my first time trying the Chula stack. It was shockingly effective, to the point where I almost felt bad. I'll be adding it to all my decks until the meta breaks it!

I'd be curious now to try this deck in a Standard game and see if it can make it all the way to 100 points.

My Commentary:
The South African playgroup has been enjoying the Slipstream format recently. The format makes for faster games and shorter tournaments, which decreases the barrier of entry for new players. The rules for the format aren't complicated either - the whole entry for it in the Organized Play Guide is a mere three sentences long: "These rules offer players reduced victory conditions for quicker games. A player wins when they has 50 points and has completed at least one mission of any type. The time limit for each round in Slipstream is 30 minutes. Differential is capped at 50 points in Slipstream tournaments."

Fritz Meissner, the group's organizer, recently wrote a great article the most popular and powerful missions in the format. As you can see, routes to winning with just one completed mission dominate the format, and this deck is no exception. The Diplomatic Envoy version of the Enterprise-D can turn any 40-point mission into a one-mission win for slipstream, and Evaluate Soliton Wave is a great mission to choose. It has a lower-than-average attribute requirement for 40 points, and its gametext is activated by the Diplomatic Envoy.

Owen calls out Captain on the Bridge for its ability to supply reinforcements, which, while critical in any deck, is even more important in slipstream. Space is a popular place for one-mission-win decks to go - since there's no ban-list in the format, Necessary Execution and Neural Parasites are still risks - and space missions carry big span numbers. In a short game, one where the speed that you get that one mission done is paramount, and it often matters which specific, unique ship you do it with, losing a turn to fly home and get reinforcements can lose you the game. I might even go further and recommend some back-up options like Inspiring Leader or Astrometrics Lab. That way you're not spending any turns twiddling your thumbs at your Headquarters while your opponent is working on winning the game.

A Chula-based dilemma pile is also more potent in the Slipstream setting. In normal games, if you stack several copies of The Game on one mission, you need something like The Manheim Effect if you want them back. In Slipstream, that's just not a concern - go ahead and stack away on that first mission! That said, if your opponent has a flexible deck (which could, say, get 50 points off more than one of their missions), you might still be in a bind (and Manheim wouldn't help you there anyways). That said, in a format that goes to one mission solved, I think making your opponent switch missions still a winning strategy.

Both of our Continental Champions this week used decks that we've seen several times in this series; instead of analyzing the decks again, I've opted for a more gameplay-focused set of interview questions. I hope you enjoy!

Second Edition European Continental Championships winner Stuart Motley
Title: Preposterous Niners 2019
Headquarters: Earth, Cradle of the Federation and Mouth of the Wormhole, Deep Space 9
Deck Size: 50 Cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Combo Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 44 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Chula Hybrid

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

I Haven't played much at all lately, some last minute deck building yielded a Klingon Treachery deck, but just wasn't going to work. So I returned to old faithful that everyone comes to expect from me.

What was your toughest match-up of the weekend, and what made it so difficult?
The modified win against Danny was difficult, I had to change strategy slightly to play against his deck, making my deck slower at the cost of Sloan blowing up his events.

Which match was the easiest, and why was it less difficult for you?
The other three games, the deck did exactly what it was meant to do and played a lot of quality personnel at speed who are just so good at completing their missions. The game against Stefan was the only game I played two ships out. I suspected that Voyager was coming to blow me up at some point but it didn't happen.

Do you have any fun stories to tell from the games you played?
I made a series of errors against Josef and was a long way behind early on in the game. He was a Mission Accomplished away from a two mission win before I had even done a mission. I think it was 95-5. I would say I was lucky to come back and completed all my missions quickly and win in a game I should not have won at all. I got to know Josef during this game, he's such a nice guy.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
The Combo of Ezri & Julian is just so strong against kill piles and the addition of George Primmin to help against stops like chulas (why have I not used him before???) is just awesome. There's a number of Hosts to use as well so The Rite of Emergence is quite strong too. Take your pick from those four!

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
I'm a bit predictable playing this deck a lot over the years with a few changes here and there but it just seems to play so well. It does a bit of everything! If anybody has a spare Risa 0VP231 from Worlds 2017 please get in touch, its the only mission out of them all that isn't foiled. It would feel more complete.

Second Edition North American Continental Championships winner Michael Van Breemen
Title: New Errata, Same Result
Headquarters: Cardassia Prime, Hardscrabble World
Deck Size: 64 Cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 40 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition with Underlying Influence

MVB's Commentary:
You told me you didn't pick this deck for any achievements, and having seen it I'm forced to admit that's true. What did lead you to picking this deck, and were there any other decks you considered playing?

Honestly, there was an achievement that I was going for but it wasn't deck-specific for. I wanted to get the 2000 Rating achievement because I was so close to that and, with this tournament being so rating-valued, I wanted to play the deck I felt most comfortable for this.

Other decks that I thought about -
Starfleet Trellium-D kill pile
Bajoran Microteam
Klingon Riker
5-Space Voyager

What was your toughest match-up of the weekend, and what made it so difficult?
Day 1 - Normally, I should pick you since you're the one that I lost to (grumble, grumble, awesome opening turns on your part) but I think Jon would be the one because he would've guaranteed won next turn (plus working around multiple Original Thinker Kirk's always makes this tough.)

Day 2 - Greg. I can cheat through stops, through missing skills but other than Crell Moset, I can't cheat through death. Plus, screwing up the turn before almost made me lose the whole game (leaving a mission skill behind when I know that I'm not going to encounter a dilemma was just stupid on my part.)

Which match was the easiest, and why was it less difficult for you?
Day 1 - Honestly, I don't think that there was anyone that was any more or less difficult for me. Sometimes the dilemma pile was working, other times it wasn't and it was only the speed of the draw deck that allowed me to go faster and pass them.

Day 2 - Will, simply because he had the worst opening hand of a Voyager deck I have ever seen. Other than Finding Our Way, drew the rest of his counters and nothing got played.

Do you have any fun stories to tell from the games you played?
Well, our games are always a hoot but nothing in particular came to mind. With Scott, it was the magical appearance of Chell that was a hoot. Nic, it was the game of will Jellico take out my toys or won't he? Greg, my favorite part was using Dreamer to take out all three of his Reprimands at once (although he certainly wouldn't consider that as fun). Jon, it was who can go faster than each other and me knowing every card in his draw deck. I tend to be a chatter as I play but frankly, it's all stream of consciousness so I don't know what I'm talking about or remembering it either.

During Day 2, I don't remember anything in particular during my game with Will that I'd deem necessarily fun (not that Will isn't fun, he was just not happy with his bad start) In our game, it was fun to see the Cardassians doing their capture stuff whereas my deck doesn't. Plus, it's always hilarious when you can play Adopted Authority twice and it stops two Cardassians to prevent a solve. As for my game against Greg, I was frankly concentrating too hard to remember anything specifically fun, especially after screwing up the second to last turn.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Central Command/Enemy of my Enemy celebrate their co-MVP title with Garak/Mila/Casualties of the Occupation in a strong supporting role.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your deck?
Nope, the deck is still strong.

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