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Strategy Articles

The Road to Worlds: NYC Masters

by Lucas Thompson, Ambassador

19th March 2020

Second Edition NYC Masters winner Michael Van Breemen
Title: Five Space Hasselhoff
Headquarters: Caretaker's Array (Don't let the deckbuilder lie to you, it's just that one.)
Deck Size: 70 cards
Deck Archetype: Midrange Solver
Dilemma Pile Size: 60 cards
Dilemma Pile Type: Wall-Heavy Attrition

MVB's Commentary:
You rose to the challenge of playing a hall of fame format deck in a standard tournament. Are there any adjustments you made to the deck knowing that you would be facing standard-legal decks?

Honestly, I made the deck assuming that everyone was playing Hall of Fame decks so I didn't think that there would be standard decks. But, I will always try to get extra "achievements", even if it's not in the achievement system.

What sorts of decks were you hoping to face while playing your deck? What decks did you hope not to face?
I didn't want to deal with battle decks or lockdown decks. Beyond that, I didn't really have a preference. It simply would be what it was going to be.

What was your toughest match-up of the day? What made it so difficult?
Hosp and his ship-relocating tech would be very bad against my deck, especially if I attempted on Voyager so that was all-Delta Flyer attempting and, if I hadn't gotten Harry Kim, Diligent Ensign[card]relatively early, I would've been far more cautious in attempting missions. I knew that he couldn't use one of his relocation tricks but I couldn't remember what the requirements were on that [card]Artificial Wormhole dilemma so I named that with Inversion Mystery.

Robin was playing my deck from Day 1 at Worlds so I knew exactly who was in play, their skills/attributes, etc. I know that it's harder to deal with if you didn't know though.

Chris' Romulans I was hoping to outspeed (not to the extent of solving Inversion Mystery on turn 2 but I wasn't complaining either...) personally, I think he was just having a problem finding people to play but taking out his Unsound Logic and lack of a permanent ship (only Imperial Entanglements had ever gotten a ship into play.)

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?
Not specifically, no in terms of learning anything new. I've played this type of deck before though.

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?
Nothing necessarily situational got played but they were in the deck. Since I used the extra-card drawing with B'Elanna Torres, Chief Engineer, I needed a means to repair my ship so I went with Making It Work which seemed to suit me just fine, even though I never used it. Same withAstrometrics Lab - never got played but I'd still leave it in case of Crippling Strike not to mention extra means for more Fontaine discarding fun. I don't know if I would get rid of any of the cards in the deck but I probably should.

What would you nominate as the MVP card from your deck?
Probably Inversion Mystery but in the running is the following Quartet -
Finding Our Way
Seven of Nine, Efficient Analyst

You discard Fontaine to download a Voyager-icon ship, getting two card draws. Next, you discard the non-needed ship from hand with B'Elanna, getting two more cards. Lastly, you use Seven to see the top two cards of the deck and re-arrange accordingly but it's very effective when it works (worked at least once in every game at some point)

What was your best play of the tournament?
Solving all four missions against Hosp in the same turn - solved Inversion Mystery, moved to the Orbitus Cluster, solved past a game of Craps for the mission, then used Harry to return him to hand to move the Flyer to Repair Null Space Cataplut, solving that after getting some stopped in the process, sending the ship to Cartaker's Array where he simply tossed two planet dilemmas to end the game after playing Homeward Bound to unstop everyone. I doubt I'll ever get to pull that kind of thing off again

Do you have anything else you'd like to say about your experience?
I'm glad that everyone who did come had a great time and that next time, hopefully there won't be a worldwide pandemic operating at the same time.

My Commentary:
Alright, well, I guess the place to start here with this five space Voyager deck is with... Fontaine. Yup, the Bajoran-affiliated alternate universe-iconed Human shows up here and was even called out as a key player. That feels a bit odd.

As a member of the design team on the set Fontaine debuted in, I can illuminate the intent behind him. The idea was to promote the use of the flavorful cards for Mirror Bajor decks that came out in Shattered Mirror. But, in order to be a perk to those cards, he kept also promoting other cards, ones that needed no help, like mirror Garak or The Central Command. And, twisting to avoid those cards, Fontaine went through many, many revisions. Eventually, this version was settled on as the design team worked with testers to try to get to a spot where he wouldn't directly help cards that were already problematic; though as we can see here, his current incarnation could probably have used more time in the oven.

This is actually one of the pitfalls of top-down design. Sometimes, when you start out with a specific character in mind, that character can be quite inspiring when it comes to ability text. Take Edward Jellico, who was also designed in a top-down approach. He was very inspiring, and the process of designing his card was generally pretty smooth. Fontaine, on the other hand, was anything but smooth - the hand weapon download was an easy fit, but trying anything else with him ended up tortuous, and I'll admit that I'm not thrilled by the final product in hindsight. I'd be happy for him to see some sort of errata, either making the card draw dependent on commanding AU Bajorans, or ditching it altogether.

His partner-in-crime, Chief Engineer Torres, is an interesting case study in card balance through the card title system. In a vacuum, she's incredibly powerful: 1.5 cost for 3 skills and excellent attributes (6/6/7), and an ability that provides absolutely crazy card advantage. You'd expect her to be in every single Voyager deck, defining how you build them in terms of maximizing the draws from her ability. But, if you use her, you're not using her damage removal version. And, while damage-removal isn't exactly as bonkers as the card draw ability, it is pretty scarce within the set of Voyager cards, providing a nice balance with herself. Sort of like the character's own Klingon and Human halves.

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