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Strategy Articles

Taking Care of Holograms: A Decklist

by Benjamin Rostoker, Caretaker Set Designer

8th October 2021

Olarra, Chariot of Light

"In the dark times, we were enslaved by men of flesh. But then another man, a man of light, arose and slew the mighty Alpha. He gathered his people unto him and delivered them to freedom." In “Flesh and Blood” Holograms, gifted with sentience by the Hirogen to make them more interesting prey, manage to stage a rebellion and commandeer a ship under the leadership of Iden in hopes of finding a promised land where all Holograms could live free from fear or enslavement. In the game, the Holograms likewise stick to their lone ship as they travel in search of points, attribute boosts, and fuel for their powerful Holoprogram cards to give them an edge over their biological opponents.

Hologram decks have traditionally had a ton of trouble standing on their own two feet without needing a large Species 8472 component to serve as a crutch to make them more competitive. Even with that, they tend to not do amazing in tournaments. One of the goals of Caretaker was to give them a series of tools and personnel to offer them greater gameplay diversity and the means to have an easier time competing on their own. Thematically, this takes the form of cards that represent some of the darker sides of Iden's photonic revolution as well as access to borrowed Hirogen tech from “The Killing Game” to give those flesh and blood lifeforms that have hunted and abused their kind a taste of their own medicine. Hopefully, this deck inspires you to see for yourself if we've been successful in this endeavour.

Implant Neural Interface

For Those New To Holograms: The Basics of Holostacking and Holoprograms

Since Hologram decks generally haven't seen much play of late, let's start by looking at how they tend to work in general before going into detail on the deck list itself. The primary means of stacking up cards on your Holoprograms is going to be through Settle Holographic Colony, which gives you a free draw (regardless of whether you have a Holoprogram in your core, like on your first turn) and then a free placement on a Holoprogram using any card in your hand. This ability only works if you don't control any non-Hologram and is therefore a major reason to never attempt to cheat out or steal command of one. Iden exists as a secondary stacker; he can add to multiple programs at once, but slowly and only with Hologram cards. Regardless, your best targets for cards to offer up to your Holoprograms are generally extra copies of unique personnel or ones with back-up skills (as We Require Your Expertise, Mobile Emitter, and Moriarty can all make use of them), events you don't see a need for anytime soon like superfluous Holodeck Archs, extra copies of Olarra, and Holodeck Safety Protocols (since they can be played from there). Photonic Turncoat and Implant Neural Interface represent a new way to get cards of your Holoprograms by taking opponent's personnel 'captive' on them. Lonzak can do the same, but since he represents a one-for-one swap, you won't actually be gaining any progress towards Holoprogram 'completion' (three or more cards on the program) outside of Sainte Claire Wargame's unique qualifier. Generally, barring any additional stacking boosts like mission completion rewards or things like Implant Neutral Interface, it tends to take about three turns to fully complete each Holoprogram's three card requirement.


Just like in Star Trek, each Holoprogram does something completely different. Prior to Caretaker, two Holoprograms were regularly used: Photons Be Free for cost reduction and Hunters' Training Program for attribute boosting. With Caretaker, we now have Ha'Dara Simulation that offensively reduces attributes and Sainte Claire Wargame that generates points each turn if an opponent's personnel is part of its collection. While all the Holoprograms are helpful in nearly any situation, which you actually end up using will generally come down to personal taste, what kind of deck you expect to face, and which you can draw out via chance or download with Holodeck Arch.

With those basics out of the way, let's move onto the deck list!

The Draw Deck and Caretaker

For this deck, start by doing Subspace "Sandbar", enabling use of your own Holograms (as well as any you liberate from the enemy) on your Holoprograms. The Diplomacy requirement shouldn't be too hard to come by as you have several uniques (like Reg) in addition to the ever-handy Automated Server. After that, Settle Holographic Colony is generally your best bet for a two mission if you've managed to get your Sainte Claire Wargame up and running early enough, or else you can continue on to either Liberate Photonic Servants or Investigate Unknown Element for a three-mission win. When trying to go for a two mission win, your best bets for snagging someone for Sainte Claire Wargame is via your dilemma pile and by placing Implant Neural Interface on some of the opponent's most likely to be attempted missions. Remember that when you fire off an Implant, it'll only be looking at currently unstopped personnel left in the failed attempt, so if you're really counting on it, you'll probably want to use attrition and filtering dilemmas as opposed to full stops. You should also note that Implant Neural Interface doesn't have a restriction that the mission must have no overcome dilemmas. If you wait until an opponent signals their intent by attempting a mission, you run a greater chance of their being caught in the trap.

Lonzak, Loyal Henchman

In addition to the new missions, Holoprograms, and holocapture tech, Caretaker also offers up a slew of new Hologram personnel and a new interrupt, featured in this decklist. Doctor Chaotica has the relatively rare Hologram skills of Leadership and Law and can outsmart death itself via Holoprogram stack discarding. His second-in-command, Lonzak, in addition to being a rare Hologram Officer, is best used as your chief of security, stalking and taking prisoner Assassins, Infiltrators, and other various trouble-makers who sneak their way onto your lone ship or slip in amongst your crew. If you require help in a real battle, or if you're worried about dilemmas like Rogue Borg Ambush or those with high strength requirements, Chaotica's minion Satan's Robot is also here to help as a living weapon for his photonic friends. Lastly, this deck runs a mix of the old Cluttering Irrelevancies and Caretaker's We Require Your Expertise as skill cheats. The former gives you any skill you could want but only lasts for a dilemma while the latter gives you whatever skills you can extract from an opponent's personnel on your Holoprogram or in your brig until the end of the attempt - though, unlike the former, it gives neither a stat boost nor a 'save' via bouncing the target personnel to your hand (which happens even if they're killed or captured in the meantime) at the end of your turn.

Satan's Robot

Of course, this is just how I built this deck. You've got plenty of options if you want to adapt this deck to better suit your playstyle and taste. You could swap out The Doctor, Brilliant Template for a The Doctor, Emergency Command Hologram for some rarer skills and repair capabilities in return for having to rely solely on Subspace “Sandbar”'s completion for the ability to play off of your Holoprograms. You could change up the Holoprogram selection by swapping, dropping, or investing even more card slots on your favourites with the assumption that some are going to be destroyed no matter what. You could choose different missions or change out whole swathes of the Hologram roster for inclusions like The Devil, Fearsome Illusion or more of the various medics on offer (during playtesting Tjark, for example, crafted a neat deck that went heavily into Medical Holograms with the goal of boosting them with New Earth, Quarantine Infected Crew). You could add in even more copies of Arena and Hippocratic Oath to your dilemma pile for Lonzak to be fully promoted from Security Guard to Kidnapper, or even cut most of the holocapture stuff entirely by dropping Implant Neural Interface and Sainte Claire Wargame to focus on mission completion. With the power of the Holodeck at your disposal, anything you put your mind to is possible!

The Dilemma Pile Strategy and Caretaker

Photonic Turncoat

This pile is fairly standard outside of the new Photonic Turncoat to help you holocapture personnel (Wargame in particular). Holodeck standards like Intelligent Design and Shawdowplay are also included, the former of which is the best way to reliably start stacking up attribute bonuses for your Holograms. A copy of Tak Tak Negotiations is included as a good tool to fish out a copy of Reg or Anastasia Komananov as needed, along with copies of Sylvia and The Killing Game to augment We Require Your Expertise via the brig. Lastly, there are discard dilemmas like The Clown: Ultimatum for trying to get rid of any event destruction or interrupt prevention the opponent might be holding onto.

Discuss this article in this thread.

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


Print DecklistPrint ChecklistCopy DeckDownload Into DeckPADD

36V20•Grid 296, Holographic Training Facility
10U50•Investigate Unknown Element
25V22•Settle Holographic Colony
25V20•Liberate Photonic Servants
56V30•Subspace "Sandbar", Contact Photonic Lifeforms

Draw Deck (54)
49V131x •Code of the Ushaan
56V141x •Ha'Dara Simulation
25V103x Holodeck Arch
25V111x •Hunters' Training Program
56V152x Implant Neural Interface
56V171x •Sainte Claire Wargame
25V162x Tacking Into the Wind
7U392x Cluttering Irrelevancies
29V291x Deleted Subroutines
56V183x Holodeck Safety Protocols
56V212x We Require Your Expertise
7C651x •Dr. Leah Brahms, Holographic Representation
20V181x •Equinox Doctor, Unethical Medical Hologram
13U723x •Revised Chakotay, Imposturous First Officer
13U731x •Revised Doctor, Mass Murderer
13U751x •Revised Kim, Interrogator
13U782x •Revised Seven of Nine, Shock-Trooper
56V542x •Reg, Inside Man
18V352x •Anastasia Komananov, Russian Seductress
21V153x Automated Server
7U993x Calisthenics Opponent
56V581x •Doctor Chaotica, Ruler of the Cosmos
21V172x Garren
38V381x •Hippocrates Noah, Visionary Mastermind
25V451x •Iden, Lustrous Demagogue
39V141x •James Moriarty, Awakened Nemesis
25V461x •Kejal, Radiant Mender
48V161x •Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Man
56V601x •Lonzak, Loyal Henchman
56V621x •Satan's Robot, Dangerous Minion
25V471x •The Doctor, Brilliant Template
7A141x •Vic Fontaine, Vegas Crooner
25V481x •Weiss, Glaring Tactician
25V543x •Olarra, Chariot of Light
Dilemma Pile (54)
41V12x Aceton Assimilators
0VP1112x An Issue of Trust
12C11x Arena
14U42x Chula: The Chandra
13C91x Fractured Time
24V61x Insurrection
34V53x Intelligent Design
26V42x Intimidation
14C72x Moral Choice
47V31x Nothing to Lose
22V81x Pitching In
56V42x Plans Within Plans
3U262x Secret Identity
27V31x Shared Hallucination
56V113x The Clown: Ultimatum
29V131x The Needs of the Many
31V112x The Weak Will Perish
24V51x Greater Needs
6P62x Hard Time
10C121x Necessary Execution
2U171x Picking Up the Pieces
3U251x Rogue Borg Ambush
26V93x Shadowplay
56V61x Suspicion
14R162x Sylvia
56V71x Tak Tak Negotiations
15V91x We'll Never Know
12R42x Distress Call
6R122x Gomtuu Shock Wave
6R421x Personal Duty
56V33x Photonic Turncoat
56V122x The Killing Game
7A31x Where No One Has Gone Before

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