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Strategy Articles

Klingon Week: Top 5 cards

by James "RedDwarf" Hoskin, Staff Writer

24th June 2008

Ever since Second Edition's debut in 2002, the Klingons have been a force to be reckoned with. They started out with a wide variety of cheap multi-skilled personnel and the ability to turn any Integrity or Cunning requirement into Strength with Warrior's Birthright, and they haven't looked back since. Most subsequent releases have seen them focus less on completing missions and more on battle. Whether you want to battle for points, battle for dilemmas or even just battle for kills, the Klingons are masters at it. As usual, this makes picking my top five cards very difficult, so I have tried to focus on both aspects: missions and battle. Here, in no particular order, are my Klingon top five cards:

Kruge (Instinctive Commander)
I fully expect to see this card appear in everyone's top five list, because Kruge's ability to commandeer a ship has changed the way people play the game. If you are playing an opponent with a Klingon deck, you can no longer afford to leave your ships where they might be attacked. All your opponent needs to do is spend four counters to play Kruge and an engagement event from his or her hand before flying to your ship's location. Being Klingon, they should have no problem winning the engagement, so you need to make sure that you keep at least five personnel aboard your ship at all times... otherwise you will lose it. Of course, if your opponent is playing All-Out War and Ferocity as well, then you need to keep at least nine personnel aboard your ship at all times. Suddenly, having two ships in play is a huge risk. Even attempting a space mission could set you back many turns if your opponent can kill off a couple of personnel with dilemmas. Talk about a game-changing card.

Guidance of the Council and Alexander Rozhenko (K'mtar)
These two cards, released in Reflections 2.0, helped to bring about a whole new (loopy) deck type for the Klingons. When you play a Diplomacy personnel, Guidance of the Council lets you download a Chancellor or High Council Member. As the majority of the personnel with one of these keywords have Diplomacy, you can see the basis of the download loop. If you then include K'Tal (Senior Council Member), because he lets you download an event when you play a personnel with the Chancellor or High Council Member keyword, the loop starts to get bigger and better. Finally, Alexander Rozhenko, finishes the loop off. Aside from giving you two potential downloads (because of his Diplomacy and High Council Member keyword), he also gives you two more downloads providing that each of your missions requires Diplomacy. With a deck based around these cards, you need never draw cards again – at least until you run out of High Council Members to play.

The Sword of Kahless
Any time you see a Klingon deck with Investigate Alien Probe as one of its missions, you can be fairly sure that The Sword of Kahless is going to be played. To do so the Klingon player must complete a mission requiring Acquisition, Anthropology or Archaeology; and Investigate Alien Probe is by far the easiest to complete. Once the sword does get played, all Klingons and Honor personnel lose two Integrity but gain one Cunning and two Strength. Strictly speaking, you don't even need to be playing Klingons to take advantage of this equipment, because it affects Honor personnel as well. It lets virtually any deck complete Strength missions with fewer personnel, and as a bonus, it improves your chances of winning combat as well.

William T. Riker (Exchange Officer)
This card, released in Necessary Evil, makes my list for nostalgic reasons. I remember the 2004 World Championships being dominated by Klingon Riker decks because, at the time, he was the best skill cheater in the game. While he could only gain a skill from a Klingon present, I used to love combining him with The Promise to gain a skill from a personnel in my hand. I would use Riker to discard the personnel from my hand (gaining some skill in the process), before playing The Promise to add that skill to a personnel attempting the mission. If I then needed to keep that skill until the end of attempt, I would use Riker again. I remember the only problem being that I would keep running out of cards in hand. The release of Reflections 2.0 saw Urgency put an end to the Klingon Riker madness, but it was fun while it lasted.

Korath (Duplicitous Tinkerer)
The final card on this list is an event-destruction machine. When you play a non-Hand Weapon equipment, Koroth lets you destroy an event. It's that simple. He doesn't even need to be at your headquarters mission when you play the equipment. I prefer to use the Emergency Transport Unit with Korath. Not only can you prevent a personnel from being killed, you also get to destroy an event the following turn as well. I have found that this combination also affects which dilemmas your opponent chooses. They know that killing one of your personnel will result in them losing an event, so they try to not kill personnel. I think Korath is the second best event destruction in the game, bettered only by Two of Nine (Transtator Drone).

Being Klingon week, there should be lots of honorable mentions, but I'm only listing three. The first is All-Out War because it kills three personnel if you win the combat or engagement it starts. These days, it is fairly easy to score five points, so it doesn't cost much to play either. The second mention this week goes to the I.K.S. Ning'tao, because its ability is very useful in a ship-destruction deck. While both versions of the Prometheus are better, this ship paved the way several years earlier. The final mention goes to a mission: Rescue Prisoners. The skills required can be found on Kahmis, it only needs four or five strong personnel to complete, it allows you to retrieve a personnel from your opponent's brig when you complete it, and it is only one span so you can fly to and from it with ease.

Which cards would you pick in your Klingon top five? Let us know on the message boards here.

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