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Strategy Articles

Thunder Road: Born to Run

by Mike O'Shogay, Staff Writer

25th June 2013

CromI have heard many times that there isn't enough deck analysis and deck breakdown out there for players. 'Why did you use this card over others?' and such... With this article series, I plan to take a deck that I have built and breakdown the choices that I made for each card in the deck with some dilemma theory and examples included. I think all of this is good for newer players and players looking to get into more competitive Second Edition. Even if my decks are terrible, at least my reasoning is out there.

A little about myself…I’ve played Star Trek: CCG since First Contact for First Edition, all the way through the current day for Second Edition. We played casual in our play group for most of the time. During the Continuing Committee era, we got more competitive and started going to tournaments.

As for what I have accomplished…not a whole lot really; took 1st place on day 1 of NA Continentals in 2009, and placed 2nd or 3 rd in some of the largest Regionals from 2010 - 2012. Is that good enough? Probably not, but I’m all there is right now for a complete deck breakdown.

Why listen to what I have to say? What have I accomplished? You might be asking yourself. Well, I’m putting out the reasoning behind the card choices I make, which I haven’t really seen done on this website before.

This opening might sound familiar... that’s because it is. I subscribe to the old comic book adage; “Every comic book is someone’s first comic book,” and as such I’ll start each article the same.


The last two Regional seasons I‘ve played the same basic deck.  Donatra Smash has treated me well in the past and I figured it was time for a change.  I went into this Regional season a little disillusioned and wanting to do something different.  The past few sets really have given me nothing that I’ve wanted to play with, save for a few dilemmas here and there. 

I remembered that Dominion got a blockbuster personnel in Crom, Open-minded in Lineage.  So, to derive the greatest advantage from his ability, I made a small deck to allow me to draw into him more often early and in turn thin the deck with use of his ability.  Crom allows a player to download some of the strongest personnel in the game like Remata'Klan, Unit Leader and Odo, The Great Link's Savior.  By weeding the personnel out of the deck, I was able to draw into ships and verbs faster.

This deck runs a very tight skill set for missions: seven skills in total, all in the Alpha Quadrant, and all requiring Strength.  All the missions can be completed with 5 personnel at the least so Transport Crash Survivors isn’t in the deck.  There is only one mission affected by Insurrection which is Survey New WorldSurvey New World can also be used to recycle Crom, Open-minded for more downloading/deck thinning late game. 

So now I had a plan of what I wanted to play for the Iowa Regional which is a small Dominion solver that could have an explosive early start and enough staying power to get through missions.  It isn’t the strongest deck out there but I did not and still don’t care.  I just wanted to play with something different, and this definitely qualifies.



Instead of presenting a completely different dilemma pile archetype, I will show you the changes I have made going into regional season to my current dilemma pile.  The pile utilized here is from the list I posted in my first article.  I have made only a small number of changes to help shore up weaknesses and to update it to fight a different meta than the local one. 

This dilemma pile has very good matchups against some of the best personnel cheaters in the game right now.  As tech against Reyga, Young Scientist, Donatra, Honorable Patriot, and the new dilemma from Matter of Time; Overburdened, there are only 5 out of 30 dilemmas that cost 1 or more and don’t require a skill.  Against Legacy there are only 13 out of 30 non-skill dilemmas - so the matchup there isn’t great, but it isn’t unbeatable either.  Against Jonathan Archer, Damaged Captain he can use his excluding ability on just 3 out of the 30 dilemmas. 

While only three changes from the previous version might not seem like a lot, on the whole they help stabilize the pile better against the biggest weaknesses I’ve seen with it.


The first change I made to the dilemma pile was to give me a full set of Secret Identity.  I usually never like to run three copies of anything in dilemma piles, as I like a diverse defense.  In this case I added my 3rd Secret Identity and dropped He Wasn't Nice.  While being a second way to remove a personnel from the attempt, I expect some kill prevention to be played and Secret Identity bypasses that.  It also can pitch an opponent’s Navaar, Experienced Gift, Chakotay, Bridge Between Two Crews, Revised Chakotay, Imposturous First Officer or even Silik, Chameleon

I decided to remove Honorable Pursuit from my list in favor of my favorite dilemma from Matter of Time: Ingenious Jury-rig.  Unlike Honorable Pursuit it costs 3 as opposed to 2 but it also doesn’t go under the mission after it’s faced.  It goes to the opponent’s core where it works double time stopping shenanigans like Leonard H. McCoy, Chief Medical Officer, Shran, In Archer’s Debt, and Bold Plan.  With it being a wall dilemma that doesn’t go under the mission, I was hard-pressed to not put a pair of these in the dilemma pile, but didn’t want to make another cut. 

The last change I made was to remove Agonizing Encounter and add a second copy of Timescape  to the dilemma pile.  Agonizing Encounter is an awesome multi stop dilemma but I felt the dilemma pile needed a little more utility instead.  What it needed was an additional way to deal with opponents multi-attempting.    Without the inclusion of Transport Crash Survivors (as I will be micro-teaming) I felt the dilemma pile needed another way to limit how the opponent can attempt missions.  This led to the inclusion of a second Timescape.



Provoke Interstellar Incident
Penetrate Enemy Lines
Mine Vendarite
Survey New World
Founders' Homeworld, Home of the Great Link

Much like my previous articles, the mission set for this deck is pretty boring, but does help enable a couple of great personnel for the Dominion.  Since all of these missions are in the Alpha Quadrant and all of them require Strength Crom, Open-minded is an auto include in this deck.  He is the Dominion Jean-Luc Picard, Vintner by letting you download any 3 Dominion personnel so long as they are different species, which in this deck isn’t hard at all.  This mission set also enables Gelnon, Aloof Tactician as every mission is in the Alpha Quadrant.  This deck has a decent amount of 3 or 4 cost Jem’Hadar and Gelnon, Aloof Tactician helps you get them into play for free. 

While Provoke Interstellar Incident helps against multi-Headquarters decks it is also a very easy mission for Dominion to complete.  With three easy skills and a Strength requirement of 34, I can complete easily with just five personnel.  There are a few low Strength personnel in this deck but the enormous glut of 7s and 8s easily offsets those. 

One big weakness to the Dominion is the lack of an ability to gain a card advantage on the opponent.  Federation gets Lwaxana Troi, Extravagant Ambassador to use with one of the most undercosted cards in the game, These Are The Voyages.  Other affiliations get Julian Bashir, Rebel Captain to use with These Are The Voyages.  Dominion can’t use Lwaxana Troi, Extravagant Ambassador without going 2 Headquarters.  Julian Bashir, Rebel Captain, while really good on his own, usually costs 3 and has only 6 Strength.  So he isn’t a good fit either. 

Penetrate Enemy Lines is a mission that can refill your hand when you complete.  This mission isn’t a necessity but does help shore up one of the Dominion’s weaknesses.  The skill requirements on this mission are easy as well with a Strength requirement of 34, so this mission is also very easy to complete with 5 personnel. 

The next mission is only in the deck because of the exiguous amount of skills required to complete.  Mine Vendarite only requires 2 different skills and has a Strength requirement of 34.  This is another very easy mission to complete with 5 personnel. 


The last mission I decided to include is Survey New World.  This mission has a dual purpose in the deck.  First of all, it is another very easy mission to complete with the possibility of just four personnel doing the deed.  This is the only mission that can be hit by Insurrection but even then the mission can still be completed by 5 personnel - so it isn’t a total loss.  The second purpose of the mission is, if necessary, you can send Crom, Open-minded as a lone attempter in hopes that he’s able to be put on the bottom of your deck.  If he is you get another opportunity to replay him.

The biggest flaw with playing all missions in a different quadrant from your Headquarters is that it’s very difficult to move back and forth between home and your missions.  It is very important to get a second ship out as fast as possible so you can have your personnel out attempting the very turn you play them. 


The basis for this deck is a Dominion speed solver with a touch of Crom, Open-minded for some card advantage power.  He is the point and enabler of the deck.  His ability to download three personnel is a great ability to help make up for a lot of the decks weaknesses.  The Dominion has a lot of very powerful personnel and he lets you get to them faster. 


Crom, Open-minded lets you get pretty much get whatever personnel you didn’t start with in your opening hand that you need.  If you draw a ship in your opening hand just draw a card and play your ship.  On the second turn play your Crom, Open-minded and get Gelnon, Aloof Tactician, Lam, and Arak'Taral, Suspicious Second.  When you play Gelnon, Aloof Tactician, download and place Remata'Klan, Unit Leader aboard your ship then play Lam stopping Remata'Klan, Unit Leader.  In that one turn you played 11 counters worth of personnel.

If you don’t start with a ship in hand, play Crom, Open-minded downloading Ixtana'Rax, Honored Elder, Odo Founder, Adept Imposter, and Deyos, Ruthless Administrator(to help against Gomtuu Shock Wave.)  After playing the first two personnel I listed, you now almost have all the skills necessary to complete each of your missions. 

In addition to all of this, if Crom, Open-minded is killed by a dilemma or hit by Hard Time it’s really only a benefit to you and a detriment to the opponent.  He is one of the best personnel the Dominion has available to them and allows for ridiculous things by unabashedly sculpting your hand the way you want it be.  



The Dominion are very susceptible to a lot of dilemmas like Personal Duty, An Issue of Trust, and Gomtuu Shock Wave.  Unless you have a plan against these popular dilemmas, you are bound to lose to them.  There are a few ways to hedge your bets against them.

One way is to exclude personnel from random selections.  Arak'Taral, Suspicious Second and Remata'Klan, Unit Leader do just that.  They can exclude up to two personnel from random selections which involve them both.  Each has vital mission skills and 8 Strength.  As an example, here is howthis works against Personal Duty: since both are included in the selection, you can use Remata'Klan, Unit Leader to exclude say Deyos, Ruthless Administrator and then right after that use Arak'Taral, Suspicious Second to exclude Remata'Klan, Unit Leader, thereby saving two Leadership personnel that would have been stopped otherwise. 

Now if you have Odo, The Great Link's Savior in the rest of the selection and another personnel is chosen to go on, you can give an opponent 5 points to prevent Odo, The Great Link's Savior from being stopped.  This means that three additional Leadership/Officer personnel, that the opponent was counting on being stopped, continue on the attempt.  Your opponent is probably counting on that and will have to overthrow dilemmas to stop you which will work greatly in your favor late game. 

Excluding from dilemmas is fine, Stop/Kill preventing is fine, but how do you get past Gomtuu Shock Wave?  There are a couple ways to do this and one is Deyos, Ruthless Administrator.  Since this deck uses a good number of Changelings and Vorta, the Integrity isn’t very high on a good segment of the personnel in the deck.  Deyos, Ruthless Administrator helps you change the parameters of the dilemma to Cunning instead of Integrity.  This deck has only 4 different personnel with Diplomacy but does pack a very nice cheater to be able to help with that part specifically.

Explicit Orders is one of the best cheaters the Dominion have available to them; especially because the first time you play it your opponent is probably not expecting it.  You have plenty of different species to work with in the deck so finding a different species personnel to discard for this Interrupt shouldn’t be difficult at all.  A good use for this card is if you draw into multiple copies of Crom, Open-minded, he has Diplomacy to help against Gomtuu Shock Wave and can also give someone Leadership which is needed on two of your missions. 

Understanding the meta is a big portion of being successful at Star Trek CCG.  This deck boasts a couple cards to help against Tragic Turn piles and All-Consuming Evil piles.  The most obvious choice against either of these deck types is Escape.  It stops the personnel to be killed and doesn’t allow for Tragic Turn to double up in that instance.  Odo, The Great Link's Savior is also very good against these piles since he is un-killable.  Just having Odo around can encourage an opponent to overthrow dilemmas in order to deal with him. 

Lastly a multi-purpose card that also helps deal with these kill piles is Tacking Into the Wind.  In addition to it being a floor wax it’s also a dessert topping.  It can help you recur up to 10 personnel killed by putting them on the bottom of your deck, such that late game you aren’t running out of personnel.  It also can be used in a pinch to destroy a problem event on the table or even to download you a ship if you should need one.   


Not Odo

This deck boasts a bevy of Jem’Hadar.  All have 8 Strength and all have mission skills.  The deck already has plenty of Leadership but Kudak'Etan, Arrogant First; Ixtana'Rax, Honored Elder; and Limara'Son, Fierce Soldier all have Astrometrics and Navigation - the former skill being required on one mission and the latter on two.  Talak'talan, Keen Third, while rather expensive, is a very unique Jem’Hadar. He has Diplomacy which no other Jem’Hadar has, and he also has both Astrometrics and Security - which are mission requirements. 

There are three copies of Tozara'Kesh in the deck for a couple reasons.  He is a 2 cost personnel, 8 Strength, and he has 2 mission skills necessary for Survey New World.  The more 8 Strength personnel in the deck the more frequently you will draw into them, allowing mission attempts with smaller amounts of personnel.  Both Lam and Odera'Klen were added to the deck to allow for a three personnel play with Crom, Open-minded.  Since he costs 3 and downloads another 3 cost personnel you can still play at least 1 more personnel.  Lam and Odera'Klen also both have very good attributes and mission skills. 


Another way to abuse Crom, Open-minded is to download Pran, Thot.  Late game with a lot of residual duplicate cards in hand, you can play him at essentially no cost to you.  Best case scenario: you play Pran, Thot discarding your second copy of Remata'Klan, Unit Leader and your opponent has to discard their hand full of reactionary Interrupts.  It’s just a neat little trick. Plus he has decent attributes and mission skills.

I previously went over Gelnon, Aloof Tactician and explained how useful he can be by downloading and placing any Jem’Hadar aboard your ship.  Another way in this deck to be able to gain more advantage is Surprise Party which will net you 1 additional counter every turn which is the difference of playing a 3 and a 4 cost personnel and playing two 4 cost personnel.  While being a personnel who costs 0 after you complete Penetrate Enemy Lines, Breen Founder, Persuader also has a lot of good attributes and dilemma busting skills. 

These last four personnel were put in to help fill skill gaps.  Weyoun, Instrument of the Founders and Kilana, Dissembling Envoy both have Diplomacy to help pass dilemmas.  Weyoun, Instrument of the Founders while with a Founder gets attributes +2 and gains Security.  He also has Intelligence to help against Rogue Borg Ambush and, along with Kilana, Dissembling Envoy, they have Diplomacy for Gomtuu Shock Wave.  In order to help keep the species diversity and also to help try and keep the cost of the deck down I chose both Founder Agitator, Elusive Assassin and Odo Founder, Adept Imposter as they are Changelings with Security and they both cost 2. 

The Dominion have a lot of great ships, but to keep this deck simple I chose 3 copies of Jem'Hadar Warship.  I chose not to go with U.S.S. Defiant, Commandeered Warship as now it only can move one dilemma at a time.  This deck doesn’t need to be slowed down anymore and adding this ship would only accomplish that.  So for this build I chose not to run it but it does have its place in Dominion decks. 

Really Big


As I sit here writing this article almost a month before our Iowa Regional I can only wonder to myself if this deck will be a good choice for the tournament.  This deck could just be terrible or it could be awesome.  Recently I saw a discussion on Kevin’s Blog on the Star Trek CCG Second Edition message boards about why certain decks are played.  A player’s success is based on, in my opinion, mostly player skill.  The ratio is somewhere probably about 55%-60% player skill, 25%-30% deck build, and 10%-20% luck.  So in my eyes better players will keep winning. 

As far as why certain affiliations get played…Well the most consistent affiliations get played the most, the ones with the least variance on how they play.  Which are the ones with the strongest most consistent plays.  Which unfortunately really haven’t changed in about 4-5 years.  The best affiliations in this game are still; Borg, Klingon, and Federation(almost every flavor).  Until some power cards on the level of Knowledge and Experience, William T. Riker, Exchange Officer, or even Chakotay, Bridge Between Two Crews get printed with more frequency for these “weaker” affiliations, this will always stay the same.

I think the meta has stabilized too much.  It has become a very stale environment and I think the game is worse for it.  It is time for Bajorans, Dominion, Terok Nor, and Cardassians to have their day in the sun. 


I plan on writing this as a series and as such I will be going over a lot of different decks I have together from Maquis Disruption with a Tragic Turn Kill Pile, Starfleet At What Blast, more Romulan shenanigans and even one or two traditional decks. For some of the decks I use the same dilemma pile but will always detail something about them, such as: combos, theory, or even examples of different types of dilemma piles like a Tragic Turn pile.

For any suggestions, questions, or concerns please PM.  Deck List can be found here.

Discuss this article in this thread.

Tournament Record:

This deck is currently eligible for the following family or families of achievements:


Print DecklistPrint ChecklistCopy DeckDownload Into DeckPADD

3S92•Founders' Homeworld, Home of the Great Link
23V29•Mine Vendarite
8U62•Survey New World
26V24•Penetrate Enemy Lines
28V23•Provoke Interstellar Incident

Draw Deck (37)
0VP871x •Surprise Party
25V162x Tacking Into the Wind
1R1272x Escape
5P193x Explicit Orders
16V342x •Arak'Taral, Suspicious Second
17V571x •Breen Founder, Persuader
26V283x •Crom, Open-minded
13U551x •Deyos, Ruthless Administrator
5P271x •Founder Agitator, Elusive Assassin
6P461x •Gelnon, Aloof Tactician
6P471x •Ixtana'Rax, Honored Elder
3S1581x •Kilana, Dissembling Envoy
0P91x •Kudak'Etan, Arrogant First
13C571x Lam
3U1601x •Limara'Son, Fierce Soldier
3C1641x Odera'Klen
14R722x •Odo, The Great Link's Savior
4R1301x •Odo Founder, Adept Imposter
13R581x •Pran, Thot
3R1662x •Remata'Klan, Unit Leader
14C731x •Talak'talan, Keen Third
3C1683x Tozara'Kesh
3U1701x •Weyoun, Instrument of the Founders
3C2033x Jem'Hadar Warship
Dilemma Pile (30)
10R22x An Issue of Trust
26V21x Conflict of Interests
23V31x Coolant Leak
6P21x Dignitaries and Witnesses
6P62x Hard Time
21V31x In Development
22V61x Infinite Diversity
28V21x Ingenious Jury-rig
24V61x Insurrection
14C71x Moral Choice
22V82x Pitching In
18V51x Polywater Intoxication
3U263x Secret Identity
15V71x Show Trial
18V61x The Captain's "Guest"
2C252x Timescape
12C51x Excalbian Drama
24V51x Greater Needs
2U171x Picking Up the Pieces
21V61x Pillage and Plunder
3R121x Gomtuu Shock Wave
1R421x Personal Duty
21V91x The First Duty
7R151x Where No One Has Gone Before

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