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Intimidate, Threaten, Deter

by Fritz Meissner, Ambassador

26th September 2019

I have a favourite 2e deck that places dilemmas under my missions when I win ship battles. It possibly has less upside than the ship destruction style of battle, but is also far less risky. It'll never ruin my opponent's game in one move by sending their ship with 9+ personnel on it to the discard pile, but it also won't ruin mine if the plan doesn't work.

When I play this deck, I always have a choice: do I try to hide my plan from my opponent, so they can't play around it? If my opponent sees it coming, they'll save the space mission for last and go planet first. At planet missions they have the option of dropping some people on the planet and then returning to their HQ with the ship where it is safe from battle. No battle = my deck has to struggle without the assumed advantage from winning battles.

Despite this upside, there is a significant cost to hiding battle plans: the cards that I need in multiple (in order to have them when I need them) will clog my hand and I won't be able to draw the other cards I need while I'm waiting for my opponent to fall into the trap.

As of Sacrifice of Angels, I'm making the choice to not hide my plans. Instead I'm going use intimidation to my advantage, to try and make my opponent make choices that are outside their intended gameplan.

Strategic Tug-of-War

Enter Strategic Tug-of-War, which gives me the option to draw cards or play extra personnel when I win an engagement at a specific mission. If it works out, the upside is clear. Even if it doesn't, it sends out a strong signal: "I have a plan to do mean things HERE". Which could mean my opponent leaves that mission after an attempt or two and moves somewhere else to start from scratch. All I've spent is one counter for the benefit of slowing my opponent down by a turn or two.

Another upside is if my dilemma pile can somehow benefit me disproportionately at planet missions. This can mean just using more planet dilemmas than usual, or it can mean skewing towards dilemmas that are nastier when there is no ship present or no planet mission has been solved. The most obvious case is Necessary Execution.

Here's a deck that I originally built for a regional after the Zero Hour expansion brought us Delta Pavonis. I abandoned it before the event because it was too inconsistent, but I feel good about it now, thanks to Sacrifice of Angels.

The plan is to spend several turns attacking my opponent's ships with the U.S.S. Defiant, Commandeered Warship. Two to three of those engagements will be initiated using The Dominion Will Prevail. Together with Delta Pavonis, I'll get at least eight dilemmas underneath my missions for free. There are new SoA cards that will give me a few other benefits too, but I'll come back to that later.

Each turn, I'll use Lamat'Ukan (my first target for download with Gelnon) after winning to unstop the Defiant and either attempt missions or shift dilemmas to where they're most useful using its order ability. My favourite trick is to solve Delta Pavonis which is normally piled deep in dilemmas, then stop the Defiant to shift a dilemma to a new mission on the same turn.

Delta Pavonis requires Cunning > 40, and the Jem'Hadar will need lots of free dilemmas to solve it. The other missions are a different story. If I attempt Survey New World with two teams of four and there are already 2 dilemmas underneath it, my odds are pretty good of my opponent not drawing anything useful on one of the attempts. The same goes for Empok Nor. Provoke Interstellar Incident rounds out the trio of strength missions with easy skills for the Jem'Hadar.

As for my opponent hiding, they can only do that for so long before they venture out. When I have my Defiant crew (Lamat'Ukan plus two command stars - very easy to assemble in three turns), Crippling Strike comes out. It keeps them from returning home after dropping off crew at a planet. You can download it with Sensor Sweep and get it back with A Long Road. Even if my opponent brings in multiple ships, they'll probably end up abandoning one where I can continue attacking it for the rest of the game.

I've already discussed Strategic Tug-of-War. Also new are Disable Shields and Target the Main Generator, two of my favourite cards in this set. These two are 1-cost manuevers that let me start engagements. That's the cheapest I can pay for that in the game, currently. There's almost never a time when they will clog my hand because I can't spare the counters.

With these two I get a massive draw boost if I win. That's good for refueling after dumping my hand, and great for finding the big personnel I want to place with Strategic Tug-of-War.

The final text on each card is interesting: they give benefits even if I lose. Disable Shields appropriately reduces the shields on the target ship. The -4 is fantastic for bringing my opponent's big ships into striking distance of smaller ships like the Subek'Somac. Target the Main Generator returns a personnel to hand, which is less relevant in this deck. Since the card is already cheaper than other cards with similar benefits that only occur when I win the engagement, it's hard to see that as a downside.

Two other small benefits that the new cards bring to the deck:

  1. One cost events are good for Turan'Ekan who is another staffing icon for (essentially) one counter.
  2. All the maneuvers require only Officer to start engagements, a small but meaningfull simplification in the early setup of the Defiant.

And some other points to remember:

Finally, the dilemma pile is intended to hit hardest at planet missions, with 3x Necessary Execution and Neural Parasites and a few dilemmas that relate to battle, e.g. Brink of War. You may find some other dilemmas in Sacrifice of Angels to add to this pile :).

Good luck and have fun!


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Decklist

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Missions
Headquarters
3S92•Founders' Homeworld, Home of the Great Link
Planet
42V5•Empok Nor, Deadly Salvage
8U62•Survey New World
Space
40V23•Delta Pavonis, Secure Expansion
28V23•Provoke Interstellar Incident


Draw Deck (42)
Event
0VP2002x Christening
49V162x Disable Shields
33V111x •Expedient Opportunity
49V272x Strategic Tug-of-War
49V281x Target the Main Generator
10R353x The Dominion Will Prevail
Interrupt
10C381x A Long Road
33V233x Crippling Strike
1U1381x Sensor Sweep
Personnel
Dominion
16V341x •Arak'Taral, Suspicious Second
26V291x •Draz, Overeager
39V91x •Dukat, Dominion Puppet
7U601x •Duran'Adar, Attentive Sixth
31V321x Edan'Atal
26V311x •Founder Instigator, Unmasked
0VP803x •Gelnon, Aloof Tactician
3R1551x •Ikat'ika, Honorable Warrior
6P471x •Ixtana'Rax, Honored Elder
0P91x •Kudak'Etan, Arrogant First
6P481x •Lamat'Ukan, Resourceful Third
14R721x •Odo, The Great Link's Savior
0VP1201x •Odo Founder, Adept Imposter
3C1683x Tozara'Kesh
8C702x Turan'Ekan
40V301x •Weyoun, Shrewd Strategist
Non-Aligned
0VP991x •Ezri Tigan, Soldier of Fortune
Ship
Dominion
25V531x •Subek'somac, Alpha Attack Ship
0P183x •U.S.S. Defiant, Commandeered Warship
Dilemma Pile (28)
Dual
29V12x Adopted Authority
0VP1111x An Issue of Trust
40V21x Brink of War
0VP1761x Chula: The Chandra
30V41x Discommendation
1S251x Equipment Malfunction
0VP91x Hard Time
40V51x Harried and Harassed
37V31x In Development
26V41x Intimidation
0VP1671x Moral Choice
47V32x Nothing to Lose
0VP2061x Pitching In
0VP1021x Swashbuckler at Heart
0VP1501x The Dal'Rok
0VP1031x The Dreamer and the Dream
Planet
24V41x Galileo Grounded
10C123x Necessary Execution
12R131x Neural Parasites
3U251x Rogue Borg Ambush
12U191x Vault of Tomorrow
Space
0VP891x Gomtuu Shock Wave
8R131x Outclassed
0VP331x Personal Duty


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