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Freedom is Slavery

by James Cream, Staff Writer

22nd November 2013



When the Deep Space Nine expansion released back in 1998, I was there buying packs as fast as I could find enough change. This series was still on the air and a favorite of mine. So not surprisingly, I wanted to play with my favorite characters. However, it was a while before I tried either of the new affiliations. I used the excuse of not having enough cards for either deck for quite a few months while simply shuffling the new Federation, Romulan, Klingon, or Non-aligned cards into existing decks.

But inevitably when I did try one of the new affiliations, it was Cardassian. What made me want to build that deck was having the Central Command and Ore Processing. A free play point and a fixed draw engine were two very new things to me and they made figuring out how exactly sites work worth the effort.

Terok Nor

Where You Should Have Skipped to and Started Reading From

When playing Cardassians, I have almost always utilized a Nor. There are simply too many benefits of having one. From the clutch Ops download to the quick and easy capture related cards of Security Holding Cell, the nor seems to be central to the Cardassian affiliation. But they have always had one flaw: Deep Space Nine. That is, the best nor is not really available to the Cardassians since a Bajoran player will always get the opportunity to seed their version of this key facility before the Cardassian player can seed Terok Nor. 

For this reason, there are two main ways to plan a nor based Cardassian deck: build it good enough to take over Deep Space Nine OR simply run a common Nor. Emissary gives us a third option: let them keep their space station. This deck is built as a solver which is focused around the Bajor region and Terok Nor but can still function even when the opponent happens to bring Deep Space Nine.

There are currently three major Cardassian deck types: TNG, DS9, and ALL IN. This deck, which is a rebuild of my Black is White deck using the new cards from Emissary, is of the newest type: Deep Space Nine.

Reporting Engines:

The Central Command

Of all the Headquarters in the game, The Central Command is arguably the best in terms of diverse skill availability. Although most of the personnel who report for free here have either the VIP or OFFICER classification, just like all of the HQs, many of them also have Classifications as skills and this includes  2+ each for SCIENCE, MEDICAL, ENGINEER, and SECURITY. Some of this wonderful skill diversity is lost when the affiliation is split between the Next Generation and Deep Space Nine property logos. But perhaps the benefits of that deck building decision can outweigh the drawbacks.

I Miss This Office

One of the immediate benefits of choosing to focus the deck on the Deep Space Nine property logo personnel and ships is the new Cardassian reactor core play engine. This card allows a very wide selection of personnel to report for free (once per turn), many that I have not had outside a binder in quite a long time. Most impressively, any Cardassian personnel with a staff icon can do so. But they may also report for free if they happen to mention Terok Nor in their lore. This adds; the new Investigator Odo,  Elim Garak, and two of the personnel who already report at the HQ: Dukat and Rusot. It also apparently includes three of the five Mirror Quadrant Cardassians.

The real benefit of I Miss This Office is that it allows those free reports to occur at Terok Nor OR a Cardassian Outpost if the opponent has seeded Deep Space Nine. That is, it has essentially eliminated the one biggest flaw of using Terok Nor in a Cardassian deck. It even does the vafour of downloading that outpost into play if the seeding of Terok Nor has been preempted, thereby saving a seed slot.

I Miss This Office

Dominion War Efforts + Assign Mission Specialist

An old favorite, this download and play engine which costs too seed slots guarantees that your General Quarters quota will be met each turn. Once you exclude all Cardassians who have the Voyager or TNG logos, there are nine personnel who qualify for this (including two MQ personnel and two new personnel in Emissary). Assuming that at least one turn’s download limit will be spent on Defend Homeworld, that gives ten turns worth of guaranteed personnel.

As you may have noticed from the decklist, many of the personnel who qualify as Support Persons are included in multiples. This is because most of them can be played for free if drawn using I Miss This Office and because Assign Support Personnel can still download each of these personnel into play (once each turn and once per game per card title) even if there is already a copy in play (unlike Assign Mission Specialists).

Terok Nor (sometimes erroneously referred to as Deep Space Nine)

The six choice sites for the deck offer a good number of benefits. Ops allows a player to download a personnel of their choice to a compatible site, Ore Processing Unit and Cargo Bay are draw engines, Promenade Shops can be a draw engine but is mostly just there to allow an Ops download of Mila (when one really needs a quick Transport Inhibitor). The remaining two are simply free reporting points. Garak’s Tailor Shop only allows Garak himself to report for free, but it can also offer a point of entry if the opponent happens to be playing Deep Space Nine. Docking Ports is a free reporting site for all of the ships in the deck, while it is a Cardassian (or Cardassian compatible) station. One of the reasons that there are so many non-aligned ships in the deck is that only they can report for free to Deep Space Nine (if the opponent happens to be playing it) and they will also have a much easier time performing Cargo Runs (if the opponent manages to hold it).

Emblem of the Alliance

Honestly, this card is only in the deck by circumstance, but an added benefit of having it around is that both Security Chief Garak and Overseer Odo are Alliance Leaders and can each allow other mirror personnel in the deck to report for free (to your AQ Cardassian compatible facility since Crossover is seeded). This could potentially be a benefit, but it’s real reason for inclusion is that it comes free with the corresponding mission AND nabs a free The Art of Diplomacy (both downloaded during the seed phase) which can get your personnel a free gun later in the game.

The Missions


The reasoning behind my choice of missions should be fairly obvious: they all fall into just two regions. Usually this means that only one or none of the opponent’s missions will be breaking up those of this deck while it is quite common for all of the player’s missions to be separating the opponent’s. In addition, missions within a region can be placed in nearly the arrangement of choice by the player. I usually opt to set this up with a reasonable range but good number of missions between Deep Space Nine and the Central Command for the cargo runs. The mirror quadrant Bajor is essentially zero range away from any AQ Bajor Region mission with Multidimensional Transport Device allowing beaming between them.

You might be wondering how exactly one intends to complete Mirror Bajor, as its requirements are on none of the personnel in this deck. But don’t forget that it is a Homeworld and can therefore be attempted with the very easy (for this deck) requirements on HQ: Secure Homeworld. (Edit: It has been pointed out to me that this does not work in this deck, as the Glossary states that the personnel who match Mirror Bajor for the purposes of Defend Honmeworld are the Mirror Bajorans exclusively and not the whole KCA. This deck only has one Mirror Bajoran and therefore will have a hard time solving Mirror Bajor. However, I don't see this as a major issue, as it is the least desirable mission to solve regardless. A For Cardassia! boost for a HQ: Secure Homeworld targeting Cardassia is far more enticing.)

The Draw Engines

New Frontiers

When building this deck, I opted not to go the full capture route, although timely capture of key personnel is still an option. This is mainly because I don’t actually have the opportunity to playtest this deck (the cards don’t all exist yet and I am sadly not a playtester). It is my opinion that a full capture strategy requires a very well-tuned deck.

However, this also means that I cannot rely on the solid Articles of Jurisprudence as a draw engine. Instead, I have opted to use New Frontiers as my primary draw engine. This card works similarly to the second function of War Council (which would be GREAT for this deck) and Let’s See What’s Out There in that it has a requirement (four DS9 personnel in the wrong quadrant) to be played and then draws four cards for the cost of a card play. I have always considered ‘1 card play = four card draws’ to be an excellent deal and will utilize this readily. This can be accomplished in one of two ways: by either getting four of the MQ Cardassians into play via Crossover OR by beaming four AQ Cardassians to Mirror Bajor using Multidimentional Transport Device.

Cargo Runs

Because the main draw engine might take a couple turns to set up, the early draws in the game are done by running cargo. A cargo run is performed by bringing an equipment from one facility to the Cargo Bay on a Nor. Then the player can draw a card for each mission passed. This works well if the missions being crossed have short spans or if the ship has an excellent range. The Xepolite Freighter has one of the most impressive range’s in the game, although one will have to find a non-aligned personnel to help fly it. To ensure the likelihood of pulling off a cargo run early, I have included a decent number of personnel who can download equipment, a decent number of freighters, and a decent number of personnel to staff those freighters (non-aligned in many cases). The most likely person to download with Defend Homeworld would be Security Chief Garak because he nets a Cardassian PADD to use on the first Cargo Run but if one is lucky enough to get another person who brings a non-hand weapon equipment, then one could always choose Overseer Odo and get the Ore Processing going early as well.


Crossover is a great card as it allows a player to report MQ personnel to the AQ thereby adding many more skill options. But it also has a secondary function that is sometimes overlooked. It allows a player to get a free Multidimentional Transport Device when they report any of a list of personnel. Included on that list are two personnel found in this deck: Ezri and Quark. If the player happens to draw either of these (or download Quark to the Cargo Bay) then the Multidimentional Transport Device comes as an additional free gift and then can be used to run Cargo.  

An additional benefit of the Cargo Runs, that is not commonly seen is that this deck can actually run guns. That is because my good friend’s Zef’no and Boheeka have a respectable lack of morals and their respective ships; the Calondon and the Bok’Nor allow a player to perform cargo runs with guns. Because this takes a little more to set up, it is more likely to occur late game. But don’t forget that The Art of Diplomacy is offering a free gun, whenever you want it and just the right ship (via Ops and Docking Ports) or Smuggling personnel (via Cargo Bay) can be fetched right into play for the reasonable cost of a card play and any further card draws that turn. This isn’t too bad mainly because the Cargo Run itself shouldn’t occur until the next turn and also because the next draw engine occurs at the beginning of the turn.  

Process Ore

One of the best general draw engines, when set up this allows a player to both cycle cards back under their deck from the discard pile and draw new cards to replace poor draws (e.g. cards that can be downloaded from the deck). It also occurs at the beginning of the turn and thus avoids any ‘no further card draws this turn’ punishments. Overseer Odo can download the key card needed to run this AND operate the ore processing machinery himself.


Because not all of the cards in this deck have been yet revealed, I have proxied in a few obvious fakes. War Council (mentioned earlier) is banned in OTF (but would very well in a Cardassian deck in any other format). Similarly, Evek (Premiere) is not actually in the deck but rather is acting as a proxy for another Gul yet to be revealed. When those cards are spoiled, this deck will be updated.

I don't know about all of you, but I am looking forward to playing the Cardassian affiliation again. Don't be surprised if I choose to bring capture or go with a straight solver - I'll be trying out both shortly.


Discuss this article in this thread.


Print DecklistCopy Deck

This deck is legal in the following Card Pools:

This deck is legal in the following Rules Sets:

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

Mission (6)
S1x Acquire Illicit Explosives
29 V1x Alter Records
S1x Characterize Neutrino Emissions
41 U1x Disrupt Alliance
S1x Kressari Rendezvous
35 V1x Orb Negotiations

Seed Deck (30)
2 C1x Alice
1 V1x Cardassian Processing
R1x Cytherians
5 V1x Dead End
5 R1x Denevan Neural Parasites
60 VP1x Denevan Neural Parasites
R1x DNA Clues
5 R1x Ferengi Infestation
R1x Founder Secret
C1x Friendly Fire
8 V1x Hard Time
C1x Hazardous Duty
12 P1x Male's Love Interest & Plague Ship
6 V1x Medical Crisis
19 VP1x Personal Duty
10 V1x Precision Piloting
17 V1x Subspace Shock Wave
25 R1x The Cloud
U1x The Higher... The Fewer
10 V1x Trilithium Raid
93 VP1x Q's Tent: Civil War
34 VP1x Space-Time Portal
18 C1x Dominion War Efforts
R1x Central Command
R1x Terok Nor
32 C1x Crossover
29 U1x Q the Referee
30 V1x Reshape the Quadrant
2 VP1x Tribunal of Q
39 C1x Assign Support Personnel

Site (6)
C1x Cargo Bay
C1x Docking Ports
R1x Garak's Tailor Shop
C1x Ops
U1x Ore Processing Unit
U1x Promenade Shops

Draw Deck (69)
U1x HQ: War Room
15 V1x HQ: War Room
33 C1x Emblem of the Alliance
6 VP3x Handshake
26 V1x I Miss This Office
37 R1x The Art of Diplomacy
67 R8x War Council
U1x HQ: Secure Homeworld
30 V1x HQ: Secure Homeworld
R1x Aamin Marritza
58 C2x Aramax
C1x Ari
U1x Benil
R2x Borad
C1x Dakol
R1x Danar
51 V1x Darhe'el
U1x Dejar
C2x Derell
59 C2x Dorza
R1x Dukat
27 V2x Emok
32 V1x Evek (Homefront II)
R1x Gilora Rejal
U1x Hogue
53 V1x Investigator Odo
55 V2x Jerax
C1x Jural
P1x Legate Damar
58 U1x Mila
60 U1x Overseer Mardel
27 VP1x Rusot (Things Past)
61 R+1x Security Chief Garak
R1x Tekeny Ghemor
34 V1x Toran (Homefront II)
R1x Turrel
61 C1x Vornar
7 V1x Overseer Odo
26 V1x Agent Garak
R1x Garak
58 V1x Quark (Emissary)
40 V2x 0413-Theta
U1x Evek
68 VP1x Ezri
103 R+1x Fontaine
R1x Zef'No
101 U2x Bok'Nor
R1x Groumall
38 P1x Calondon
C3x Xepolite Freighter

Q-Tent Side Deck (13)
C1x Cardassian Disruptor
U1x Cardassian Disruptor Rifle
C1x Cardassian PADD
C1x Klingon Disruptor
19 C1x Multidimensional Transport Device
12 C1x Transport Inhibitor
U1x Lower Decks
C1x Cardassian Outpost
R1x Baseball
47 U1x For Cardassia!
U1x Process Ore
R1x Natima Lang
C1x Ulani Belor

Q the Referee Side Deck (13)
U1x Temporal Vortex
17 V1x General Quarters
U1x Mirror Image
20 V1x You Are a Monument
U1x Access Denied
31 C1x In the Zone
27 U1x Obelisk of Masaka
8 P1x Strategema
U1x Oof!
U1x Scorched Hand
U1x The Juggler
U1x The Wake of the Borg
41 U1x Defend Homeworld

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