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The Road to Worlds: Space Coast and Australia

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

14th November 2019

Second Edition Australian Continentals winner Kieren
Title: Fossilised Sentimental Deck
Headquarters: Earth, Cradle of the Federation
Deck Size: 53 Cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 36 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Attrition

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

We hadn't played for most of the year, so I wanted something I knew was easy, consistent and familiar with. I used a Cardassian Capture deck in the last few events, but it's a little slow to get going and requires a little more brain power (that I didn"t have spare). So TNG got the nod.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I didn't really hope to play any type of deck. I was wanting to not play Romulan decks (or decks with Intel and Treachery) as my dilemma pile struggles against them (even with an issue of trust)

What was your toughest match-up of the day? What made it so difficult?
Greg's Klingon Battle deck was the toughest deck, luckily for me it took a while to get going. Greg is also a much better player than me, so I probably jagged that win. Walzo's TOS deck also went within a turn of more than likely winning.

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 this deck a lot, and it's ilk are the type of decks I go for when I need to play something comfortable and solid. I have had most of my best games with TNG. So yep, plenty of experience with it. I also learned that it is better to be lucky than good.

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?
Yep, I tried Jellico, and he was quite good. I needed event removal, so Sense of Obligation got the nod, and I was happy to see it most times (even though I didn't always need it, it is nice to know it is there).

I built the deck a while ago (save a few changes for the new cards) so in the meta now I would take out A Klingon Matter from the pile and drop in something else new. I was always happy to see The Phase when I drew it, so maybe another copy of that (never fired BTW, just a regular 2 cost stop)

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Probably an Issue of Trust was the most effective card I had. Lucky meta pick going 3 with them.

What was your best play of the tournament?
Against Pete (I think), swinging for the win with a dummy team. Pete played a few dilemmas, second last one was Secret ID. Picks a Fed guy, I go and get Kirk, bounce him to overcome the last dilemma, then solve.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your experience?
It was really good to get the band back together. If I had gone 0-5 I would have had a great time. That Greg and Pete made the effort to travel interstate to be involved was very gratifying. Steve driving for 3 hours to play was also a great effort. Hasn't quite reinvigorated me to start pumping the game again, but it is a start.

My Commentary:
When I've looked at well-performing TNG decks recently, they've tended to fall in one of two camps. They're either weenie speed decks or decks that cheat out high cost personnel with Disadvantage into Advantage and/or Common Ground. The idea behind them either being you're outracing the weenie hate, or you're beating it by getting out big people easily. What's exciting about this deck is it doesn't fall into either of those camps - neither of those cost cheating options are here. No, other than At What Cost?, you're just paying face value for your medium cost people.

I think that really works to the deck's advantage. The downside of the TNG cost cheating options is that they're symmetric, and there are a lot of popular decks that can take just as much advantage of them as you can. And the downside of weenie decks is low-cost personnel-hate is very common in the form of In Development or the 6-cost dilemmas. This deck side-steps all that by focusing on three-cost (58% of the deck!), skill-rich personnel that just slip right past the weenie hate but don't also enable the opponent to drop Donatra into play for free.

I'd like to highlight a particular three cost personnel I'm excited to see. He's great at returning dilemmas from beneath an opponent's incomplete mission, but it isn't Shran (who does also appear here). Earth-icon Sarek has, in addition to nice attributes and skills, a "symmetric" ability that returns dilemmas, they just have to be Consume or Persistent. The use of those keywords these days is low enough that there's a good chance of him not being symmetric, and really increases the value of those already nice one-cost stoppers. Not only can their stops not be prevented, but Sarek makes them bounce just like their more expensive brethren.

Another point of interest here is the dilemma pile. Kieren points out that it's a little polarized (better against non-Intel/Treachery-rich affiliations), and that's a language I speak fluently - often I find my piles either running over people or being very ineffective (see: my match-ups this past weekend). But even more interesting here is the planet/space/dual balance. Fully 44% of the pile is planet or space, which is rare these days. What works well here is the planet and space dilemmas fully leverage the fact that they're naturally lower cost than duals, and have a great stop to cost-ratio. It helps against Dominion Stakoron decks to have good non-dual options, and it helps against everyone else that, even if you draw fewer usable dilemmas, they make up for it by stopping efficiently.

Second Edition Space Coast Masters winner Daniel Matteson
Title: An Internal Matter
Headquarters: Earth, Lush and Beautiful Home
Deck Size: 53 Cards
Deck Archetype: Speed Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 35 Cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Kill

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

I knew that Cardassian decks have been very strong at high level events lately, even after the errata to The Enemy of My Enemy. I had a feeling I might encounter at least one (I didn't) and chose a TOS deck as it contained plenty of interrupt prevention (Benjamin Sisko and Coordinated Counterattack) and was a deck I already knew how to play fairly well, featured a little versatility and some speed. I considered running Cardassians myself, and also Relativity and Romulans as I've had good results with them at other high-level events.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I generally don't like interaction decks. I'll play around them as best I can, but keep your battle and your assimilators away from me and let me get my missions done, thanks.

What was your toughest match-up of the day? What made it so difficult?
Eric Robinett's Borg deck, despite not really getting off the ground on his own side of the spaceline, stressed me out the entire game. I always get nervous against Borg players, as I don't fully understand what they can be capable of or how to play around them. In addition, his dilemma pile was primarily a kill pile, which I didn't have a lot of defense against aside from some skill cheating.

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've played and won with TOS fairly often, but this might be the first time I ran it without Aid Legendary Civilization which changed up the skill set some. Also, I chose to run a consume/kill pile which I was not very experienced in running at all.

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 ran Coordinated Counterattack specifically against Cardassian skill cheating (which I didn't encounter), and I ran Code of the Ushaan, Klingon Tea Ceremony, and Icheb, Genetic Weapon against Borg.

By the way, Icheb actually got assimilated in one game. That's something I've never seen before.

Also, before it gets pointed out to me, yes, I included a Sarek that I didn't realize I couldn't play to my headquarters when I built the deck. However, he stayed in my hand long enough to pass a Royale Casino: Craps dilemma, so it wasn't all bad.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Dereliction of Duty. This card is sooo good. So many personnel just got completely shut down during mission attempts with this in play.

What was your best play of the tournament?
Against Eric Robinett's Borg deck, I managed to destaff his Borg Sphere in an early mission attempt. Struggling to find another ship to get into play, he used Two of Nine's order to download a ship, but as I had Klingon Tea Ceremony in play and he had already downloaded a card that turn, he was forced to put the ship on top of his deck. I started my turn, drew Josephs, and played it at full cost to mill the ship into his discard pile. He didn't get another ship into play the rest of the game.

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your experience?
I'm thrilled I was able to win a major event against such tough competition, from both local players as well as travelers. I want to thank everyone that made the trip out to Space Coast Masters, and hope everyone else had a fun weekend as well.

My Commentary:
This is another deck that I feel splits the difference between two traditional builds. If you were to cross-breed Ben Liebich's Koblenz Masters deck with Kris Sonsteby's San Diego Masters deck, you'd get something that looks like this deck. It has the control elements of Ben's deck and the speed elements of Kris' deck, and that's a scary combination.

With a deck like this, you get out of the gate real fast with the draws from the TOS headquarters text and Rigel X. With 38% of the deck being one cost (or less!), those draws help refill you with cards that you can just drop right on the table. Three Oberths also help with the early draws, but with a fast deck you really want a bunch of cheap ships anyways. Timescape is the bane of decks that want to be attempting with 2-3 crews early on, and the way to beat Timescape is the ability to crop dust multiple missions in the same turn. And you don't really worry too much about your personnel dying when you can just resurrect a mission worth of them by solving Starbase 718.

You take the board early, and the control elements really gum up the works for the opponent. Sisko and Worf take turns beating up on the opponent's verbs, and Coordinated Counterattack directly block skill gain. In the meantime, Kirk makes the opponent overthrow dilemmas, which is a futile strategy against a deck that can flood the board. For good measure, assimilation is futile with Icheb around. Go ahead, try to assimilate, make my day.

This deck's highlighted personnel is Non-Aligned Dukat. He hasn't seen as much play since the arrival of Metron Arena, but really, there's a lot of reason to want to wipe out just the verbs from the discard pile. He's great against Cardassians (who don't use Metron), systematically removing the best targets from The Enemy of My Enemy (and preventing Ocett from resurrecting The Central Command). And even against Relativity (who does use Metron), you can get a decent amount of mileage out of intentionally stranding key personnel on Metron, forcing the Relativity player to choose between running over to pick those personnel up or try to fly to another mission.


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