"Evolution of a Deck" 1: Swedish Borg regional winner | openCards

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"Evolution of a Deck" 1: Swedish Borg regional winner

    This Interview with Anna Anderson was hold by openCards user Tribble.

    TV: Hi everyone. Today we start a new interview series at openCards called "Evolution of a Deck" where we’ll discuss the shenanigans behind decks successful at recent Regionals with the players behind those decks. Our first interview guest is Anna Anderson from Sweden who won the Östersund Regional with a Borg Solver leaning heavy on bonus points from "Distant Exploration" and "Expand the Collective" to manage a quick two-mission win. With Anna is her boyfriend Torbjörn Lindquist who perfected the deck (because of time constrictions on Anna’s side). They will both answer to my questions.

    As with all "Evolution of a Deck" interviews I strongly suggest readers to check out the decklist before, and especially if they’re not familiar with the affiliation(s) played, just build that deck and do some test games with it to become acquainted with it. That’s what I always do before I conduct the interview.

    Decklist: Borg Two Mission Solver

    TV: Hi Anna, congratulations for winning the Regional. Hi Torbjörn, kudos to creating the winning deck. How long are you two playing STCCG?

    AA: I started playing at the release of CtA.

    TL: I started right after the release of Voyager for first edition.

    TV: How would you describe your local STCCG community, especially regarding the changes in the last few years?

    TL/AA: The community in Umeå, where we lived until recently, has been somewhat declining the last few years, from around 8 to 12 people in the tournaments to about 6 to 7, on a good day. Torbjörn was one of the two TDs there, and since we moved the other TD had not had the time to have any tournaments there. In Östersund, where we live now, STCCG is a new thing. Only one of the players here owned cards two months ago, but the community here is now growing again.

    TV: Alright, let’s get to the gist of the matter. May I assume that the combo of the Annexation Drone, those necessary alpha missions and "Distant Exploration" was somehow at the beginning of the deck idea?

    TL/AA: You are almost spot on. We like Distant Exploration and I (TL) wanted to build a borg deck around it, and so Annexation Drone was an obvious card for this deck.

    TV: The first thing I recognized about your deck is that it’s rather slim compared with other Borg decks leaning on all those download mechanisms. Was that a conscious decision right at the start (maybe connected with your typical deck size) or something that developed later on?

    AA/TL: It was not an early choice, but when it was built, we felt that it would be interesting with a slim deck with few "discard the top card"-cards and lots of downloads and foresight to always get what you want.

    TV: In my test game with your deck the number of ships was a slight problem, but maybe I should have downloaded "You’ve Always Been My Favorite" instead of "At What Cost?". Did you encounter any problems with the number of ships during your experience with this deck?

    AA/TL: Using Foresight early (one of the cards usually downloaded with Fourth), you are almost always certain to get what you need including ships.

    TV: What would be the typical top - let’s say five cards on your "You’ve Always Been My Favorite"?

    AA/TL: 2xDistant, 2xAnnexation and You've Always Been My Favorite or At What Cost is quite common.

    TV: Was the inclusion of "Adapt" somehow related to experiences with your local playing community (as it didn’t do much against my dilemma deck)?

    AA/TL: The local players have bought mostly Reflections, and so multiple dilemmas are quite frequent and Adapt was thought to be nice. As it turned out it was not used during the Regionals though.

    TV: The first "non-drone" to be downloaded with (forget to check the card name, please insert) would probably be Locutus because of his nice bonus points mechanics. But why did you choose the new "artifact"-Queen apart from her ability to staff the Queen’s Borg Sphere?

    AA/TL: I would say there were two reasons. One, never tested her before. Two, since the deck uses so few "discard the top card"-cards, the drone swapping Queen did not feel as good as it usually does.

    TV: I assume you try to play a second ship as soon as possible (which didn’t work in my test game, because I’m too dumb for Borg). But what are your favorite missions and on which of those would you rather not play "Expand the Collective"? As "Expand the Collective" is non-unique, do you play multiple copies on the same mission just to get those extra points?

    AA/TL: If Sphere 634 is played first, usually it isn't needed, since it has range enough to get to the alpha quadrant and back each turn. The two missions always solved in this deck were Assimilate Resistance and Plot Invasion, playing all three Expand the Collective on Assimilate Resistance. But Historical Research was a real success with the possibility to download Annexation Drone or Fourth as needed if going second.

    TV: The bit about Historical Research goes without saying, it’s one of the most popular missions nowadays. Let’s focus a bit on your dilemma choices. It is rather striking that you only use multiple copies of three dilemmas (Gomtuu, Urgency, Pinned Down). Since you already mentioned that the Östersund crowd often use multiple copies of the same dilemmas, was that another conscious decision to diversify and thus escape strategies used often locally (like your own "Adapt")?

    AA/TL: This way of building the dilemma pile is a heritage from when we lived in Umeå. Havn't really played enough games to adapt the dilemma piles to the environment here yet (adapting the dilemma pile is one of the most challanging parts of STCCG).

    TV: You also use very little high-cost dilemmas, apart from my own favourite planet-based killers "Necessary Execution" and "Assassination Attempt" the only 4-costers are the new Chula-card and "Old Differences", which isn’t even a real 4-coster because of its gametext. Has that something to do with the speed characteristic of your deck, which puts the priority more on "guaranteed hinderance" than "as few overcome dilemmas as possible"?

    AA/TL: Partly it is like you say, and partly it is because many high-cost dilemmas in the pile has caused us problems when it comes to drawing too expensive dilemmas to be able to play. And beside that, one of the best decks faced in the tournament solved missions with 3-5 personnel, and 4-5 costers are not very good then.

    TV: One final point I noticed is that your dilemma pile is not high on "typical" combos. There’s only one "Tragic Turn" and a "Dreamer" in it, but not those cards often seen alongside those cards. Am I missing something here?

    AA/TL: Unfortunately we haven't put as much focus as we should on the dilemma pile building, and that is where we can improve our deck building skills the most.

    TV: Alright, this should have been enlightening to our readers, thanks for sharing your insights. Since we want to promote the European Continental, I more or less HAVE TO ask the following question: How are the chances of Anna using her day 1 round 1 bye in the EC, and would those chances get better if other Skandinavians (I know of some Danes who plan to come) would car-pool with you? This is your opportunity to motivate possible chaffeurs...

    AA/TL: We would love to go, but unfortunately the chances are slim to none, at best. We both got fairly new jobs and don't know if we will be able to go for that reason, and the move has costed us some money. Car-pooling with the Danes is not really an option, since we live some distance to the north (almost 1000 km from Malmö).

    TV: Pity! But nonetheless, thanks for your insights.

    Alright, I'll try to put together more such interviews in the remaining weeks til EC 2008, so keep watching the skies...