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Matter of Time: Guardian Angel

by Johannes Klarhauser, General

15th February 2013

TalunoBajorans have a long history of struggling with their ships. Where other affiliations had rides that provided the crucial Range of eight (8) that is necessary to fly back and forth between a headquarters and a planet mission (e.g., the non-unique [Kli] I.K.S. Vor'cha, the [Car] Galor, the [NA] Mercenary Ship, or the infamous [E] U.S.S. Excelsior, which continues to be a very popular ship even today), the Broken Noses were stuck with Bajoran Scout Vessels, Assault Vessels or Bajoran Interceptors.

Other early ships were very situational - the Baraka uses points as fuel, the Talnot protects events, the B'tanay...er...um...well...was developed to be used with Gorgan some years later. It was't until the Vedek Assembly Transport (VAT) was released that the Bajoran had access to a ship that could reliably be on eight Range without having to use help from verbs like Astrometrics Lab or Quantum Slipstream Drive. Still, keeping all three Keywords alive aboard the ship can be difficult, and even if you do, chances are that an Outclassed will still hit the ship unless you started your turn with the VAT at that mission. Eventually, the Xhosa (Sponsored Transport) made life a bit easier, though it also is susceptible to Outclassed.

With Matter of Time's Taluno (Guardian), the Bajorans get a third ship of the Perikian Class to add to their fleet. But whereas in the case of the Kitara and Kira Nerys (Blockade Commander), or the Te'nari and the Bajoran Resistance team it was only the ship that received an attribute increase, the Taluno provides a rare boost to both attritubes of the ship itself and a number of personnel: each General you command also gets a bonus of +2 across the board. (The concept of one card affecting ship and personnel attributes alike goes back to the early days of STCCG: Second Editon; the I.K.S. Qam-Chee, from the Energize expansion, also affects personnel and ships alike.)

Line of Defense To activate the attribute bonus, you have to have Line of Defense in play. This card has never seen much play, for several reasons:
• Unless your opponent wants to attack you, Shields are only needed when facing a number of rather obscure dilemmas (e.g., Crippling Attack, Graviton Ellipse, Difficult Rescue) and some slightly more popular ones (Left Behind, Quantum Filament), but even those two have skill-based alternatives to beat them.
• If your opponent plans on starting engagements against your ships, he will make sure he can win his battles (e.g. by hitting you with Prefix Codes; by using ships that can be boosted like the U.S.S. Reliant (Part of One Big Happy Fleet), I.K.S. Rotarran (Ship of Tears); by stocking Point Blank Strike and similar events.) A mere +2 to Shields will usually not be enough to make a difference (especially not for low-tech [Baj] ships).
• It limits your choice of missions if you want to have maximum protection.

However, the Taluno now allows a player to effectively get double use out of Line of Defense. At missions with the [Baj] icon (e.g., Protect the Escapees, Kressari Rendezvous, Acquire Illicit Explosives, or the Insurrection-proof Honor the Fallen or Defend Evolutionary Link) the Taluno is a respectable 8-9-10 (and gets by Outclassed thanks to its Weapons!), that is in the same ballpark as Defiant Class ships.

Hazar Now Line of Defense is an event, and events tend to be destroyed. Thankfully, the Taluno has a built-in fail-safe that lets you take back Line of Defense from your discard pile when your opponent tries to get rid of it. If you do not want to do that (perhaps because of Emanations), you can instead take any [Baj] card from your discard pile back to hand (e.g., the B'tanay for Gorgan..no? OK, maybe one of your useful personnel, like Hazar.)

Huh? Who? Hazar? But you said "useful personnel"...

Indeed! Let's have a look at the personnel that benefit from the Taluno's boost: The [Baj] affiliation has only two different Generals: Krim (Thoughtful Tactician) and the non-unique Hazar. While Krim has been a staple in many [Baj] and [DS9] decks thanks to his [CMD] icon, versatile number-of-the-beast attributes of 6-6-6, and of course his useful ability, Hazar never seems to make the cut. And why would he? At the same cost, he provides almost the same skill set as Krim (only giving up Honor for Transporters), but has lower attributes across the board and an ability that is a lot less useful.

The Taluno, however, lets Hazar shine. Suddenly you have access to a non-unique personnel that can reliably be at 7-7-7 and who cannot be hit by the bane of many a Bajoran deck, An Issue of Trust. In fact, between him and Anneli (whose bonus will be active when you have Line of Defense in play), you have two useful non-uniques that provide great all-around attributes and fit equally well into Integrity and Strength-based Bajoran decks. And who knows, maybe even Hazar's Render Assistance-like ability might actually be used at some point..?


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