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The Road to Worlds: Texas and Online

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

30th October 2019

Second Edition Texas Invitational Tournament (Rounds 1-4) (Rounds 5-8) (Rounds 9-12) (Rounds 13-15) winner Michael Van Breemen
Titles: Pacifist, Keep It Old-School Simple, Trelli-death, No Acq Ferengi

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

Since this event was both a round robin event and that we could change the decks that we played, I ended up playing four decks - one that I could play against those who rarely played to those that were more competitive and everyone in between. So, I played a no-Acquisition Ferengi deck with an Archaeology/Transporter pile, a Klingon Riker deck with some Baht-Qol Challenges, a TNG two-mission win with Risa, Mediate Peace Treaty and Baht-Qol Challenge with Worf and a Hazardous Materials/Delphic Archer deck.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your decks? What decks did you hope not to face? What was your toughest match-up of the day? What made it so difficult?
I didn't really have a preference in terms of what I did want people to play. I didn't want to face interaction which was a concern due to the new set that just came out. I didn't want to face Maquis (I had only one deck with event destruction/removing) or much in the way of kill piles. The hardest game was playing against Neil's Romulan discard deck, especially since I had no discard pile recovery method at the time.

Prior to this tournament, did you have much experience playing these decks (or decks like them)? Did you learn anything new about them when you played them this time?
I've played these decks before and didn't really learn anything new (although I should've had at least a Maneuver event for Klaa in the Klingon 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?
Starfleet had Damaged Reed to prevent engagements in the Delphic Expanse along with Spatial Reconfiguration to make missions Delphic Expanse to avoid battle, Mediate Peace Treaty for my TNG deck to avoid battle. I did have K'wov instead of Kahmis for the Leadership/Security Klingons with extra Clutterings for skills that I didn't have (or an extra Leadership for Bridge Officer's Test) Morik for the Ferengi deck is what made the deck work.

Strangely enough, all four decks had cards that cost more than seven.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your decks?
Don't have one.

What was your best play of the tournament?
It wasn't my play but Nick did break our 95-95 tie by hitting me with Oh No! before getting the win over me (Guinan hadn't shown up yet)

My Commentary:
Pacifist: The obvious piece of anti-battle tech here is Mediate Peace Treaty: it just prevents battle. That's not all that MVB has up his sleeve here, though. Being a two mission win deck cuts down on the number of turns that you'll be out in the open and vulnerable (especially with MPT as one of those mission. Sure, you'll need to build up a bit longer in order to get the pieces you need for the extra points, but that's a good anti-battle strategy in an of itself. Additionally, most battling cards are events, so robust event prevention (in the form of Reprimand) will also keep him safe. And, if you still get caught out at Risa, your opponent better have weapons 12+, because the new Geordi's around to boost the Enterprise-D to 12 weapons.

Keep It Old-School Simple: I can't think of many decks with as much staying power as the classic Klingon Riker/Sword solver. It has such effective skill cheating and stop prevention and wall-busting that I can't really imagine it going out of style. This deck has a few interesting uniquenesses to note. Rule of Acquisition #141 is here entirely to fuel Gorgon (just like it does in Pacifist) - it's just that good to have an impassable wall (and 141 doubles as a way to pass someone else's Gorgon). K'wov's value has recently risen with the arrival of Nothing to Lose, and he was already quite good because of Cluttering Irrelevancies. New arrivals Duras the Elder, Klaa, Kortar, and Vekma seem to be fitting in nicely too.

Trelli-death: Starfleet is an affiliation that hasn't lost much in Hall of Fame format on account of most of their power cards being virtual. Trellium-D has lost its buddy Grav-Plating Trap, but otherwise the gang's all here. Lustful Distraction and Reprogrammed are taking care of the anti-interrupt heavy-lifing instead, and Fajo's Menagerie still happily uses Trellium as a draw engine. This deck sports the most unique pile of the four: it's a kill pile, featuring Hazardous Materials and the interrupt-fueled kill dilemmas A Taste of Armageddon and Simulated Prey. The pile goes heavily for the anti-planet-first dilemmas (Necessary Execution and Neural Parasites), preying on people who are trying to avoid running into the Hazardous Materials buzzsaw in space.

No Acq Ferengi: Most Ferengi decks have some sort of resource engine generating tons of extra counters, often using Rule #141. Not this one though! Instead of burning the event for a boost of 9 counters (or discarding it to stop someone with Gorgon), this deck uses it to pump Morik up to a 13/14/14 beast. All you've got to do is swap it into play with the cheap Rule #76 or #6. That's not to say that this deck is completely without a resource engine: Rule #6 is great at generating extra draws, at the cost of playing a few Ferengi chumps that you can stop. It can be a little awkward to move your draws to the order phase, but it can really speed you up a lot.

Second Edition Online Masters winner Michael Van Breemen
Title: New Errata, Same Result.1
Headquarters: Cardassia Prime, Hardscrabble World
Deck Size: 66 Cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 41 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Wall-heavy Attrition

MVB's Commentary:
Congratulations! It sounds like you used a deck similar to your worlds deck for this one?

Almost identical, some slight tweaks between them but the premise is the same.

Actually, you know what, let's just interview on this one. Cardassians have definitely reached (and possibly exceeded) 5 space Voyager levels of fatigue for me, at least from the reviewing perspective. Do you feel kind of stuck playing them since they're so good? Or are they fun enough to play that they're still fresh each time?
I wanted to play something that I thought would win Worlds so I played it there. I played this deck because I frankly didn't have the time/energy to make something completely new. That being said, it won in different ways for the first two rounds before eventually encountering little counters in the final three rounds (which, IIRC were all Relativity decks.) I don't necessarily find them fun to play but I do find it interesting when decks are teched against it and how successful they are at it.

If you were in charge of making a change to a card in this deck, which card would you pick, and what would you do to it? Are there any other cards you'd change?
There's a number of strong, powerful cards in this deck (Central Command, Enemy of my Enemy, Casualties of the Occupation, Garak, Telle) but off the top of my head, I'd go with Casualties of the Occupation requiring you to command Bajor or Enemy of my Enemy lasting until the end of dilemma.

And, on this theme, are there any cards you wouldn't change? Could either be because the cards are such iconic Cardassian cards, or you like the way they play (or some other reason that I'm not considering).
Garak and, to a lesser extent Telle, are fine as they are. Dereliction of Duty/Secret Identity/Caretaker's Guest are good detriments to most personnel's power scale. But the verbs are certainly more powerful than most (if not all) any other affiliation has available.

If you were going to play in a high-stakes tournament tomorrow, and you knew for certain that everyone else was going to play this deck, what deck would you choose to play in order to counter it?
I might play the same draw deck (except adding some One-Upmanships because that's just awesome in mirror matchups) but I'd go for a kill-based dilemma pile. That eliminates the power of Central Command so you'd only have to cancel the Enemy of my Enemy's. I'd also swap Dukats with the NA Dukat to remove personnel from their discard pile to help deal with Enemy of my Enemy's and/or Casualties of the Occupation.

Anything else you'd like to say on the matter of the deck's power?
If you take out the interrupts, Casualties can still get missions solved with three people. If you take out the events, the interrupts takes care of the solving. It's hard to take out all of it.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your experience?
Nope, other than I'm glad that there are more high-level events available to be played in.

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