why didn't anyone tell me I totally misnumbered the last Classic COTD? The Tox Uthat was not #12 (rather #11) , this one is :
Classic COTD #12(really!)
For those of you playing Magic, this card might have a striking similarity to the Jester's artifacts. It manipulates the deck of the unlucky opponent in a way that will really screw her. That is if you get it to work right and that's not at all easy.
You only get ten seconds which will usually not be enough to take a real look at the cards so you will rather need a more sensible way to process about two to three cards a second (thus making sure your opponent won't draw anything useful in the next turn or so).
First, practice flipping through the cards in an order you are not used to. For maximum efficiency you will want to go through the deck from the top to the bottom which means once you turned it over to face you you will need to take a look at the bottom cards first, a hand movement which is rather unusual. Or if you feel really confident you can make it through the deck, you can flip the usual way, but you'll need to be very sure about what to take.
To ensure maximum processing speed, you will need to concentrate not on specific cards but on certain card types. Best for this is to go for the personnel and ship cards, hoping to place them all at the deck's bottom. Thus, you not only cripple your opponent's ability to score points, you equally importantly deny her the ability to get her Betazoid Gift Box and thus reshuffle her deck, upsetting your carefully gained advantage. And the "personnel plus ships" strategy will also be easy to learn as these cards do stick out from the rest because of their unusual layout and thus is one that can be implemented even with bottom-up flipping. Go through the deck, swiping out every card that is not personnel or ship. Once the ten seconds are over, take the swiped cards and put them on top of the deck. (Remember, the ten second limit is the limit in which you may actively look through the cards, the restacking is not included, so just flip them on the table.) This way, if you don't make it all through, you still have filtered the 75% or so of the non-personnel cards to go on top and you will only delay your opponent for 12 turns instead of 16. Too bad ;-)
This strategy, while by far the most powerful, however requires you pull it off very early. So you will need to find a way to solve a mission in the first three turns or so, to ensure your opponent will never get a lot of personnel. So it's best suited for a fast deck (usually Fed or, with the latest QC additions, possibly Romulan) that has a number of missions doable by a lone personnel. (And then it only takes some bluffing to get through a mission of your opponent with Thought Maker and a mis-seeded Dilemma underneath and score on your first turn, using the card right away).
Now what if you don't get it early and your opponent already has all key crew on the table? In this case, you'll obviously not want to do the above practice as it won't help you too much. Instead, you'll be best off by just using the reverse flipping method (look at the topmost cards first) and taking out whatever you think is powerful. Like Kevins, Amandas, card drawing tools, etc. You'll not make it through the entire deck but you at least assured that the person on the other side will have bad draws for a few turns. Or until she gets her Betazoid Gift Box and reshuffles.
And when you're unsure about what to do, I warmly recommend you another card: Jaglom Shrek - Information Broker. You get twenty seconds to look through the deck (do it on your own turn). Then reconsider what you have just seen, make a plan (your opponent can't do much - it's your turn), mentally revisit the approximate card order and then go for it. You'll be operating at peek efficiency.
Advanced players with a sharp eye will also be on the lookout for a few certain cards they would not want to see on top of the deck, namely
And if you intend to use the Thought Maker in a tourney, as I said, practice. Build a stack of 33 cards (40 card draw deck minus 7 card starting hand). Make sure it's composed of a usual card mix. 15 personnel, 4 ships, 7 events, 7 interrupts. Sleeve it as you would do with a tournament deck. Shuffle. Now put yourself under pressure and separate it in various ways, trying to average around or below 9 seconds. This way, you'll make it in a tournament with a second to spare. Once you go below around 8 secs, add some Jugglers and Kivas and practice the advanced sorting. It is doable, but it'll take you a few hours to get comfortable. Note that usually you won't get to see 33 cards in real play as few players play with less than 20 seed cards, but it doesn't hurt to practice the worst case.
(I just tried, never having practiced much myself. I had 3 runs of 9 secs, one of 11 and one of 12, making a total of 5 errors - left 3 cards in that should have gone out of and took out 2 that should have been in the "useful" half. Just okay for a pro, but I'll need more work on it.)
End result: The most professional card in STCCG. Devastating in the hands of a high-level guru who knows every card from sight, nearly useless in the hands of a beginner.
- Jaglom Shrek + Thought Maker: Some added confidence you'll use it to the max.
Wesley's rating: 4.0 + X (*) Allen's rating: 4.3 Cole's rating: 8.0 Data's rating: 8.0 Gowron's rating: 5.0 Hal's rating: 10.0 Jack's rating: 8.2 Lakanta's rating: 8.5 Nanite's rating: 7.0 Nouwa's rating: 8.5 Picarde's rating: 8.5 Q's rating: 9.0 Ranger's rating: 6.6 Ray's rating: 6.9 Tania's rating: 5.0 Tony's rating: 8.0 Wa'Qah's rating: 9.0 Drew's rating: 8.5 ---------------------- AVERAGE RATING: 7.6
(*): X is your play level: 0.0 - absolute beginner, 1.0 - played twice, 2.0 - casual player, 3.0 - average player, 4.0 - consistent, 5.0 - senior strategist, 5.5 - Wesley, 5.8 - Q, 6.0 - Tom Braunlich ;-) For averages, I used 7.0.
And no, I don't draw the backward conclusion from the ratings some people gave me to their play level. ;-) That one would probably be invalid (though I was quite good in predicting who'd rate it higher or lower)
PS: Those of you who know me: There is usually a "special" in any issue whose number is divisible by 25. This one is hidden. But it's there. Guesses to my email address ;-)
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Wesley Crusher, the new STCCG Lord
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