This article represents the first in a series of 8 to make all my knowledge and experience accessible to anyone so they can have as much fun as I have playing the Dominion over the past few years – one of the most complex but interesting affiliations. Each article will cover a specific topic.
The first 5 articles (which include this one) are to be considered basic introductions to elementary aspects unique to the Dominion, like draw engines, play engines and mission solving. The others will cover topics that I consider advanced gameplay.
Everyone who has a question may contact me via private message over the forums. I will gladly answer any question.
Some people may ask why anyone should write 8 articles about a single affiliation. Well, first of all, I consider the Dominion one of the most complex affiliations (right after the Borg) due to their unique characteristics as well as their diverse strengths and weaknesses (which do not balance each other out). To begin with, let's have a look at the basic aspects. (Don't worry: all of them will be explained more fully in later articles).
- in theory, the Dominion can play an unlimited number of personnel cards for free (universal Jem'Hadar and Founders)
- they can seed a universal mission that cannot be stolen (Construct Depot)
- Jem'Hadar have very high printed attributes (an average of 7 Integrity, 8 Cunning and 9 to 10 Strength)
- the ability to solve any planet mission (and profit from special game texts) whilst ignoring those missions' requirements and overwriting them using Subjugate Planet
- equipment plays for free at Remote Supply Depot (which can be built in any quadrant)
- universal Jem'Hadar can report to any quadrant (using Young Jem'Hadar who can report in any quadrant using Jem'Hadar Birthing Chamber)
- any number of non-weapon equipment cards can be seeded (using Primary Supply Depot which, contrary to any other facility, can be seeded more than once)
- equipment can be protected from Disruptor Overload using Gurak'Urak
- a special way of slowing down any non-Jem'Hadar deck (Friction)
In addition to that, the Founders are perfectly suited for infiltration and Jem'Hadar personnel have no problem with SECURITY and space mission-related skills (Navigation, Physics, Astrophysics and so on). All of this sounds good, at first. However, anyone will quickly realise there is a price tag attached.
- Jem'Hadar depend on Ketracel-White – if a player uses White Deprivation, any Jem'Hadar not equipped with a supply of White will attack any personnel present
- The entire Dominion personnel selection represents a strict hierarchy:
- the Jem'Hadar have no Law and no MEDICAL personnel. Only one Jem'Hadar has SCIENCE and only one has Diplomacy; in addition to that, very few Jem'Hadar have Biology (only one First Edition Jem'Hadar made by Decipher has it - Goran'Agar)
- no Dominion-affiliation Vorta has Honor (and all of them have low Integrity and Strength and only one does not have Treachery) and no Vorta plays for free; however they are vital for rationing Ketracel-White
- playing Vorta for free is only possible using Reward From The Founders
- no Founder (except for Odo) has Honor; all Founders (Odo not included) have Integrity lower than 5
- each of the three parties (Jem'Hadar, Vorta, Founders) - when played without the others - always has a lack of certain skills
- In addition to that, when it comes to mission solving, the Dominion often has to rely on non-Gamma Quadrant missions (whilst virtually all Dominion personnel are native to the Gamma Quadrant):
- Gamma Quadrant missions have a very high span
- most Gamma Quadrant missions are very hard to solve for the Dominion
- Internment Operations is the only mission requiring only skills and attributes easily accessible
Now, when comparing those two sets of characteristics, one could think they cannot be equalized with each other – and that is what makes the Dominion hard to play, sometimes. However, once one has found out how to embrace their strengths and how to attenuate the results of their weaknesses, it is not only fun to play the Dominion, but a solid Dominion deck can actually be competitive in many ways (and even beat solid advanced Delta decks).
This article series will describe how to do so – in the hope that more Dominion decks will appear in the future on tables, at tournaments and maybe even at Worlds some day.
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published by TrekCC