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Dominion Basics (Part 5 of 5): Mission Solving and Multi Quadrant Expansion

by Andreas Rheinländer (Dukat), Freelance Writer

17th February 2018

Introduction

This article will deal with two important issues. The biggest of them both is the most delicate one: solving missions when playing a Dominion deck. The second one will go deeper into detail when it comes to playing the Dominion outside the Gamma Quadrant or even being scattered among two (or more) quadrants. In previous articles, the basics of playing such decks have been illuminated. This article, the last of the Dominion Basic Series articles, will discuss some more advanced aspects. As stated in the first article of this series, after this article, I will continue with the “Dominion Advanced Gameplay” series which consists of three articles.

Dom Hierarchy

I.) Dominion Mission Solving

One of the most challenging aspects of the game is to attempt and solve missions smoothly. Building a battle deck is relatively easy compared to assembling a crew or Away Team providing the highest chance of getting through a dilemma set without much of a delay. The Dominion makes it even more challenging to do so, since they have only two easily useable cards to “cheat”: Dominion Hierarchy and Explicit Orders. Both of them however have certain requirements that are not easy to meet: Dominion Hierarchy requires a Vorta, a Jem'Hadar and a Founder, Explicit Orders requires the player to discard a personnel of a certain species from hand. Also, the Dominion has no ships allowing them to download personnel into a mission attempt and they have virtually no cards allowing them to download cards into a mission attempt in order to get around certain dilemmas (except for Founder Leader). There is another way to do so, being discussed below. Their strengths and weaknesses have been discussed in previous articles, so this one will show how to make use of them (even the weaknesses, in a sense).

A) Personnel types and how to treat them

a) Vorta

When it comes to mission solving, it is important to begin with the most important rules. Rule #1: Never risk to lose (or squander) a Vorta. Vorta are essential. They are required to use Dominion Hierarchy, they are the matching commanders of all Dominion ships (using VR Headset), they “ration” Ketracel-White … and so on. The list is long. Therefore, using one of them more than necessary is not a good idea. This leads to ...

Rule #2: Only attempt a mission including a Vorta if you have a second one in play in a safe place.

Which brings us to ...

Rule #3: Never use Deyos in a mission attempt – no matter how much you THINK to be safe.

Nowadays, there are many cards to place additional dilemmas under a mission – even one free of dilemmas (e.g. All-Consuming Evil) – or other ways to interfere with a mission attempt. If he dies, the only way to regain him in time would be by using Homefront (because in most cases, Defend Homeworld would be used at the beginning of the game) which I do not recommend in a standard deck because it suspends the game text of the Great Link – which affects playing Founders for free and keeping Ketracel-White from counting down on planet. In essence, Deyos is to be kept out of any mission attempt. It is best to simply keep him aboard a facility. He should not even be on a ship, even if docked, since there are a lot of ways to grab personnel aboard ships, but facilities are harder to get aboard.

b) Founders

Our beloved shape-shifters are the key to solve a mission. They play for free and provide virtually any necessary skill – even though never on one card. It is more than that: they can be prevented from dying using Jem'Hadar Sacrifice and they can escape a mission attempt using Flight of the Intruder. In addition to that, once per game, the Founder Leader can replace any Founder present with ANY OTHER ONE suspending play using Shape-Shift to discard one and download another one. Therefore, the ideal combination of Founders is: Founder Leader (because of Shape-Shift), Leyton Founder (because of Flight Of The Intruder) and at least one other for the purpose of being discarded using Shape-Shift.

The more, the merrier because during a planet mission attempt they can ALL be returned to hand using Flight Of The Intruder if anything goes wrong.

c) Jem'Hadar

Jem'hadar Sack

If there were only one Founder, the motto of the Jem'Hadar could be: “We live for the one, we die for the one”. They are the cannon fodder of any Dominion player – especially universal Jem'Hadar. Since a normal Dominion deck consists of a lot of them plus a lot of Young Jem'Hadar, a decent way to start a mission attempt is to take some Young Jem'Hadar and run into the first dilemma. If they die, they die. There should always be enough of them available.

A bit of another issue are unique Jem'Hadar. They cannot be downloaded or played for free and should therefore be treated with reverence. Especially those with certain special skills like Ixtana'Rax or Goran'Agar.

There are two very special ones amongst universal Jem'hadar worth being discussed: Amat'Igan and Meso'Clan. They both carry a special download. Neither of those is better than the other, they both are specific to certain situations! Security Sacrifice allows a SECURITY personnel to replace ANY other personnel randomly (!) selected to die. This one is good to save important personnel from random selection dilemmas. Jem'Hadar Sacrifice allows a Founder to be saved by sacrificing a Jem'Hadar. The important difference is that this Founder does not have to be randomly selected: this card also works with an opponent's choice of a Founder. But it is more specific; a Jem'Hadar has to replace a Founder. However, if an Emergency Transport Unit is part of the mission attempt, such a Jem'Hadar could be saved too. Therefore, it can be wise to chose missions solveable by all the Founders in the deck, always having those important Jem'Hadar in that mission attempt as well as an E.T.U. Even if the opponent tries to filter out those Founders, there is Security Sacrifice, Jem'Hadar Sacrifice, Shape-Shift and Flight Of The Intruder to keep those Founders alive and well until the end of the mission attempt. Be aware that Flight of the Intruder does not work with cards like V'Ger since they would destroy the entire ship. 

B) Approaching complex dilemmas / dilemma combinations

This chapter will deal with timing certain actions right. It will be discussed using Medical Crisis as an example, for two reasons: first, Medical Crisis requires MEDICAL which is quite rare among all personnel in the Dominion. Even future expansions will probably not flood the market with dozens of new cards having that skill. Secondly, it is a filter-wall. It first stops and then leaves a wall – every time.

It shall be assumed an away team consists of the Founder Leader, a universal Founder, some Jem'Hadar and one Vorta. Even (in this case especially) without any MEDICAL or Biology in that away team, this dilemma can be passed. It requires Dominion Hierarchy in hand or downloadable, being used on a Vorta to give him or her Biology. When the away team hits the dilemma, one MEDICAL is stopped. Since stopping is no wall-kind requirement and under the assumption the Vorta in this away team does not have MEDICAL, no one is stopped. Now the second part of the dilemma is resolved.

To get past it, the Founder Leader's special download will need to be activated. Download Shape-Shift and replace the second Founder with Bashir Founder. He provides those two MEDICAL as well as one Biology. The Vorta already got Biology.
Based on this example, it is always recommended to take two Founders (as mentioned above) in an Away Team, so that the second one can be replaced.

This is the first example. Let's explore another one. This time, let's increase difficulty. Let's assume there is a crew consisting of Founder Leader, Leyton Founder, a universal Founder, Ixtana'Rax, Amat'Igan, Meso'Clan, Azet'Izan, 3x Limara'Son, Luaran, and 4 Young'Jem Hadar. The target mission is Construct Depot with an Establish Dominion Foothold seeded. There is a facility placed there and Angelo Tassoni is aboard it. Your hand consists of Victory is Life, Dominion Hierarchy, Explicit Orders, Weyoun, and Ikat'Ika. The mission could be solved for 50 points, therefore. Luaran only needs another two Navigation to solve the mission, but since she is unique, she needs to be kept safe. There are two ships docked at the facility. The dilemma pile under the mission consists of Cytherians, Definitely Not Swedish, Kelvan Show Of Force, and V'Ger. The idea behind it is obvious: catch a ship, than prevent an opponent from being able to pass V'Ger. This brings me to: 

Rule #4: NEVER attempt a space mission outside the Gamma Quadrant with a fully staffed ship containing all of your personnel.

Luaran

There are so many nasty ways to “empty” such a ship. Once it is empty, you cannot get your ships back because all but Alpha Attack Ship / Enhanced Attack Ship are native to the Gamma Quadrant, same goes for Founders and Vorta (well, except for Weyoun 6). You can get your Founders back and report them using In The Bag, but this requires you to have such a card in hand. The best way to minimize losses in such a way is the following: when working from a Gamma Quadrant homebase, Attack Ships downloaded should always be the Enhanced Attack Ship. Luaran can report aboard. Once she dies, she can reported again – regardless of the quadrant.

Secondly, Young Jem'Hadar are the best to be used for red-shirting missions, since they can also report regardless of quadrant using Jem'Hadar Birthing Chamber. In the case at hand, attempt a mission aboard your smaller Alpha Ship with one Young Jem'Hadar aboard. He cannot staff the ship, therefore it does not have to move away! After that, you have one ship left. Let's say you do not have a Space-Time Portal on table and you are in a hurry. In such a case – as usual – you have to at least try. You go in and the following happens: You encounter Definitely Not Swedish. Your opponent downloads Strict Dress Code and Don't Call Me Ahab. He stops Ixtana'Rax and since you do not have a Diplomacy personnel to be sacrificed, the mission attempt continues. Next comes Kelvan Show Of Force: your opponent makes the best possible choice – he selects Luaran and Founder Leader (the two most viable personnel in this crew). He gets Luaran. There is no way to save her, but this is no problem – you do not want to solve the mission anyways because you want to have Ayala included to get the 5 extra points. On the other hand, you cannot use Dominion Hierarchy anymore, but there is always Explicit Orders. The next dilemma is V'Ger: you neither have Diplomacy, nor Anthropology. Download Shape-Shift and replace the universal Founder with Krajensky Founder. Use Explicit Orders to discard Ikat'Ika. Now there is Anthropology, Diplomacy and Computer Skill.

So, how to conclude this? First of all: it is not necessary to have all the personnel to solve a mission as long as a mission specialist is waiting. Secondly, whenever possible, try to create a situation in which your opponent is never able to eliminate ALL of your options. In this case, as shown, it was irrelevant whether Luaran or the Founder Leader is chosen. Always try to keep at least three possible ways to get your hands on skill or personnel. The more ways, the better.

C) Crews and Away Teams - The Difference

Rule #4 specifically goes for space missions. This is because Space dilemmas are mostly more game disturbing. They can destroy ships and ships are required to attempt a space mission. Planet dilemmas have the ability to kill big Away Teams, but as it has been shown, possibly dead personnel is not a big issue with the Dominion. Being stranded outside their native quadrant, unable to get reinforcements in time – that is the biggest issue.

Est Dom Foothold

Especially ships native to the Gamma Quadrant should be held dear, since they cannot be replaced easily (you need a crew in the Gamma Quadrant to staff them and bring them over). As a general rule, planet missions are easier to solve for a Dominion player. There are not so many things that can go wrong. However, the idea of just putting only two space missions and four planet missions in a deck is also not recommended. There are players who are very good at taking advantage of that by “blocking” those space missions. They are hard to solve as it is, increasing the number of dilemmas there can make it impossible to solve them. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a 3 to 3 ratio of space and planet missions (unless there is a specific reason to do otherwise).

D) Conclusion

It has been shown that it is possible to “work” around dilemmas, but timing is of the utmost importance. More than that, one needs strong nerves because in most cases, you have to wait until the time comes. That goes, of course, for other deck types as well. However, since the Dominion has some certain weaknesses (as shown in previous articles), they can be hit harder in case something goes wrong. Even future expansions will probably not change that massively due to the specific nature of the way the Dominion affiliation was designed. The only other affiliations who are also special in this way are the Kazon and the Borg.

II.) Multi Quadrant Expansion

It has been shown in previous articles, as well as the earlier half of this article, that the Dominion is quite capable of working not only in their native quadrant, but in every other one as well. The second half of this article will take everything else said before and combine it into a general guide showing how to play the Dominion outside the Gamma Quadrant. There are two ways to do so: by starting in the Gamma Quadrant and adventuring into another or by starting directly in another quadrant.

A) The Gamma Quadrant Homebase Case

Much has been said about this, but there are some aspects that need to be highlighted. Whenever starting in the Gamma Quadrant and traveling to another quadrant, the ship used to do so is mostly the “flying homebase”. It should never be part of a mission attempt and should always be protected at any cost.

What ways are there to travel? Since, in most cases, it is a one way ticket, there are two possible ways: using Wormhole Built-In Missions or the classic Bajoran Wormhole way. However, if the target quadrant is the Delta Quadrant or the Mirror Quadrant, getting there would require additional seeds cards. The easiest way to get into the Delta Quadrant is by using Changeling Research II and Aftermath II, the best way to get to the Mirror Quadrant is by seeding Ultimatum (picking up two equipment cards on the way) and downloading Bajoran Wormhole, then Bajoran Wormhole: Mirror Quadrant and then Bajoran Wormhole.

B) Stranger In Another Country

Gaps

The second way is to start playing the Dominion in the Alpha or Delta Quadrant. This requires a seeded Non-Aligned or Neutral facility with a copy of Spacedoor seeded on it. Momentarily, there is no such thing in the Mirror Quadrant, so the Dominion will have to travel there from the Alpha Quadrant. In all three cases, being in another quadrant allows one to seed Establish Dominion Foothold at any mission, increasing its points by 10. Using mission specialists and Victory Is Life makes it easy to get one's hands on a 50 point mission. In the Alpha Quadrant, this can make it a two mission win.

In the Delta Quadrant and the Mirror Quadrant, it is always at least a three mission win. No matter if Alpha or Delta Quadrant, the first steps are always the same: 1. Download a Dominion ship, 2. Download Deyos to that ship, 3. Jem'Hadar Birthing Chambers played as a card play (or, in the Alpha Quadrant, being downloaded using Ultimatum). After that, Young Jem'Hadar can be played for free. Also, Breen can be played aboard the Breen Warship which can also be downloaded to any compatible facility in any quadrant using Spacedoor.

Such decks, especially in the Delta Quadrant, are always slower than normal decks. So what reason is there to play them at all? First of all, in the Delta Quadrant, they can be combined with all the Non-Aligned DQ personnel – still offering all the merits that the Dominion, especially the Jem'Hadar, have. Secondly, the Alpha Quadrant has always been the center of the game (nowadays even more so). The Delta and Gamma Quadrant make for a wonderfully quiet place (especially these days). A small spaceline can be an advantage, especially when using self-seeded dilemmas like Cytherians. Other than that, a small spaceline allows ships to travel more safely, making some dilemmas not useless, but weaker still (especially self-controlled dilemmas).

Aiming for such a deck is therefore never an “isolated” decision, but always part of a big picture – especially when building a deck which “crams” the spaceline. In such cases, it is a good idea to have a non-Alpha spaceline of three missions, making the Alpha spaceline nine cards long. Then, all the nasty additions can be made: The Nexus, self-controlled dilemmas, Gaps In Normal Space, and so on. No one would like to actually be part of such a spaceline, but luckily: only the opponent has to deal with all the “gifts” one places there for him or her.

III.) Closing Words

This article is the last of the Dominion Basics Series. This series will be followed by the “Advanced Gameplay Series” which consist of three articles. Those articles are meant for players who have read the Basics Series or for those already familiar with the Dominion.


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