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Strategy Articles

Cardassian Week: Top 5 Cards

by James "RedDwarf" Hoskin, Staff Writer

29th April 2008

Picture the scene: It's Friday the 18th, April 2003. A young, inexperienced player, with only one Second Edition tournament under his belt, turns up at Gen Con UK. He's clutching a Cardassian Capture deck and a Klingon Birthright deck in his hands, and looking nervously around trying to spot the Decipher tournament area. Now, fast forward four days, and that same player is leaving the convention after the final day. He has won the UK Territorial, a Maiden Voyage and the team tournament, and he's feeling rather pleased with himself. So much so that he decides he needs some quotation marks in his name – and James "RedDwarf" Hoskin was born.

Since that convention, Cardassian decks have held very fond memories for me. Much like a Borg assimilator, I do enjoy playing a Capture deck that can cripple my opponent. And now, in no particular order, I present my Cardassian top five card list:

Elim Garak (Crafty Underling)
I think it is fitting that the best character in the television show should become the best personnel in the game. Whether you use this version or Elim Garak (Agent of the Obsidian Order), the ability to gain skills while facing dilemmas is just too good to overlook. Gaining a skill, while facing a dilemma, is good. Gaining a skill of your choice, while facing a dilemma, is better. Keeping that skill, until the end of the mission attempt, is even better still. All you need is a supply of Alternate Universe-icon personnel in your hand, and Garak makes any skill-based dilemma irrelevant. I also like to combine him with Aamin Marritza (Honorable Patriot) for even more skill gaining shenanigans.

Tribunal Sentencing
This is easily the best Punishment card in the game. Provided that you have at least one of your opponent's personnel in your brig, for each copy of this event in your core, that opponent has one fewer counter to spend each turn. Now that there are numerous dilemmas that can place personnel in your brig, you don't even need to dedicate valuable deck space to capture cards. I like to use a combination of Madred (Calculating Captor) and Broca (Grovelling Lackey) to get multiple copies of Tribunal Sentencing into play early, and then sit back and wait for my captive. I have also been known to play Molecular Reversion Field, with the aim of reducing the number of counters my opponent can play even further.

Jasad makes my top five because of two simple things: his ability is unlimited, and he is non-unique. Any capture deck should have several different Capture and/or Punishment events in play, and whether you need increased ship attributes for offence or defense, Jasad is your man. In particular, I remember one game when I was playing a Klingon ship-destruction deck and my opponent had two copies of Jasad sitting aboard the Prakesh. The ship had just been stopped by Gomtuu Shock Wave, and thanks to four different Capture/Punishment events in my opponent's core, I was sitting there trying to work out how to achieve 19 weapons – for two separate engagements in the same turn!

I've only ever seen this ship played in one deck. However, the idea behind that deck was so absolutely awesome that the Naprem made my top five list anyway. I was in Ireland two years ago, playing in a Territorial Open Championship, when Derek Barry introduced me to his "machine gun" deck. It uses the Naprem and Pseudopod to kill every single one of your opponent's personnel on a planet mission. I can not underestimate how truly awesome this deck is. That reminds me, I must resurrect my version of the deck for this year's championship season.

Enabran Tain ("Retired" Spymaster)
The final card in my top five can be described as a card drawing machine. Provided that all your missions require Intelligence, when you play Enabran Tain you can draw up to seven cards. Admittedly, you then have to discard two cards from hand afterwards, but you still end up with more cards in hand than you started with. When coupled with High Command "Motivation", which allows you to kill Tain at the start of your turn, you can easily speed through your entire deck in just a few turns. Throw in a bunch of 0-cost events and cheap personnel and you've got yourself a Cardassian deck that you should be able to burn through in three or four turns.

As usual, my top five isn't really a top five, and I have some honorable mentions. First, Kressari Rendezvous because it is a mission in the same region as the Cardassian headquarters, and is very easy to score 45 points from. Second, The Cost of Freedom because it gives you the opportunity to complete missions with just three personnel. See my recent article for more information.

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

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