Thursday, 12 December 2013

Cardassian Week / Breen Week pt 1 / Dominion Week pt 4

The Breen are pretty suave...

Today we continue Cardassian week by looking at a Breen Ship! WHY DID THEY DO THIS? I think the Dominion, so far, has been mishandled. I would have kept the Cardassians as a play alone faction. I get why they threw them together, but if we're getting a Bajoran faction at some point, I don't get why they just couldn't split these guys up, or put two faction pics on the upgrades - that wouldn't have caused too much confusion. Anyway, my gripes aside, let's look at the Gor Portas.

I think this is probably one of the best sculpts in the game right now, but I probably haven't played with one since the first few play throughs of the game.

Gor Portas (Breen Battle Class)/ Dominion Starship (Breen Battle Class)
Front Firing Arc: 90° Rear Firing Arc: NA
A: 3
E: 2
H: 4
S: 4(3)
Although you much be Target Locked on a ship to fire a Torpedo at it, you do not need to discard your Target Lock when doing so.
Actions: Evasive Maneuvers, Target Lock, Battle Stations
Upgrades: Weapons, Weapons, Weapons, Weapons, Crew
Points: 26 (24)

A few things that stand out pretty quickly. Three weapon slots! Okay guys. Rule of Acquisition #301:

Don't put more than one weapon upgrade on the Gor Portas. 

You guys can disagree with me about some things, but my goodness, not this one. Don't make your Gor Portas cost more than 30ish points. It doesn't have that great a movement dial, it doesn't have that great of a hull/shields, and it has no cloak. This thing is going down pretty quickly without some other defensive upgrades. Additionally, it has no tech slot, so even if a cloak comes out at some point that could be thrown on any ship, this ship ain't getting it. Only one crew slot means that you can throw Sulu on the ship, which isn't that bad of an idea.

It doesn't even scan and only has 3 base attacks! This gets worse and worse. So how do you make the best of a bad situation? You're probably tempted to kit out your Portas with a whole bunch of upgrades. Remember rule #301. I've never seen one of these things last enough turns to make more than 1 weapon count.

Finally, most dominion weapons don't need a target lock to use. WHY DID I SPEND THOSE TWO POINTS? For an extra shield? It's just not that good.

So, I suppose you guys know where I stand on the Gor Portas. I could be wrong, but this thing doesn't have the actions, doesn't have the upgrade bar, and doesn't have the stats to be worth investing into. Even if you threw some of the federation torps on this thing, it doesn't have a rear firing arc, so you dont even get that functionality.

Not impressed.

Tomorrow: The Breen come out to play!


  1. This is a tough one. As you say, the ship isn't the most survivable or the most offensive. For it to really shine you need to take the energy dissipator AND something else to make use of the ship text. Frustratingly, its base 3 attack dice makes it really difficult to land a hit without a buff from a friendly ship/captain, or being in close range. I've used it with some success, but it usually doesn't survive a full match, which is a hard pill to swallow when you're looking at 30+ points to make it usable.

    1. Being at close range with the ED doesn't help, secondary weapons don't receive range bonuses or penalties. The follow up shot with your primary attack sure does though, and even 4 dice is no joke to shieldless, cloakless target.

      Donatra is probably the easiest and most economical way to boost to 4 dice, and the effects of an ED hit are so alarming that taking Nivek or even Scotty in your crew slot might be worthwhile.

      I find running Breen with ED requires using nothing but Breen with ED. One ship is easy to avoid or kill. Three are not - but they still struggle versus cloaks and Sulu.

  2. Several points:

    First, the ship does have Scan. Sounds like you're using the erroneous HC Realms writeup, which claims it has Battlestations but not Scan, where the reverse is true if you look at the card. Mind you, it'd probably be better if it was the other way around, but you get what you get.

    Second, the Excelsior comes with a cheap Fed captain who gives you a tech slot, and several Flagship cards grant one as well. If you really want tech on a Breen it can be done, it'll just be a pain. You could even install cloak, but at 10 points for a non-Keldon it isn't worthwhile. A cheaper but much less effective choice would be Tetryon Emissions, aka the Poor Man's Cloak.

    Third, you certainly don't want to fill all those weapon slots with anything that exists at the moment. Not arguing that. However, taking one or two is the only way this ship is going to be worthwhile, unlike (say) Klingon hulls, which run fine naked. Best options I've seen used:

    -The signature Energy Dissipator is the obvious choice, and can be a game-winning ship-killer if you can land a hit even once. If you're going to take Breen at all, bring EDs for them and build your fleet around getting them to hit. That means finding ways to boost the attack dice and action efficiency of the EDs, and/or debuffing enemy defenses. It's still hard to get an ED hit against Cloaks - Feds and other Dominion fleets are generally easier to connect on.

    -Dorsal Weapon Array is cheap enough to consider as a contingency (especially with Thot Gor) because it really helps with the poor firing arc and mediocre maneuver dial.

    -Forward Weapon Grid is a bit too expensive, but has some combo potential with Energy Dissipators, where you throw one die at the ED target (which is ineffective this turn anyway and probably doomed) and a four die strike at something else.

    -Dominion Photon Torps are the hardest-hitting in-faction follow-up weapon after an ED strike. They're also the only range 1-3 Torp, which makes getting off shots easier, especially on Gor Portas.

    -Klingon Concussion Charges, while pricey, are your best bet for stripping cloak tokens off a problem target and leaving it open to the rest of the fleet's guns. Sadly, they aren't torps and don't benefit from Gor Portas' text.

    No matter which weapon or combo they mount, the Breen ships' effectiveness all comes down to getting those special weapon hits. To make it work, you need both attack buffs/defense debuffs and as many opportunities as possible. Using your crew slot cross-faction for Lojur is a good way to get another back-to-back shot out of an ED or torp.

    Fourth, regarding the Gor Portas herself, you said

    "Finally, most dominion weapons don't need a target lock to use. WHY DID I SPEND THOSE TWO POINTS? For an extra shield? It's just not that good."

    You spent those two points so that you could fire your Photon Torps, see what you got for results, and then spend your target lock for rerolls on everything that didn't hit. There isn't another ship in the game that can do that right now. That and a shield are arguably worth two points, although you have to pay 4-7 points for a weapon upgrade to benefit. This works best with one of the big attack buff tricks (Scan + Spock, Dukat or Picard for Battlestations, etc) but they do drive costs up on a fairly fragile ship. Leaving the Gor Portas as a long-range torp sniper (with Lojur, probably, or maybe Drex) rather than charging in with an ED is a feasible build, especially with Dukat as captain.

    All in all, I find Breen are weak against cloaked ships but otherwise worth their points. Unfortunately, the tournament scene makes "weak against cloak" fatally noncompetitive right now, and probably for the foreseeable future. If/when we see a weapon upgrade designed to hose cloaks they may be worth playing in fleets. Until then, I'll save them for killing Feds and other Dominion ships.

    1. "You spent those two points so that you could fire your Photon Torps, see what you got for results, and then spend your target lock for rerolls on everything that didn't hit. There isn't another ship in the game that can do that right now."
      The Ch'tang can do that w/o needing the Torps, but it must be cloaked and only has 3 hull. We all know how easy it is for a 3 hull cloaked ship to die with a bad defense roll.

    2. Too true. They pop like balloons with one whiffed roll. Love it when my opponents bring B'Rel class hulls instead of Vorchas or K'Vorts. Makes them sweat on every volley.

      But really, sans torps, any ship can use Target Lock to reroll everything. The Ch'Tang's nice because it can emulate a lock while still re-cloaking every round.

    3. You still need a Target Lock to fire the torpedoes on a Gor Portas. Assuming that you aren't going to have a target lock on the first pass at range 3 against cloaked ships, you're probably going to be within range 1 on the turn after the first pass. You'll therefore be at 4 attack dice anyway.

    4. I come around on the two weapons on the Gor Portas when it comes to the Energy Dissipator. Just wait for tomorrow!

    5. When you're asking yourself whether you're going to run a named Gor Portas, I think you actually have to first ask whether your list needs photon torpedoes. If it doesn't, you don't need a named Gor Portas. Is this a chicken/egg scenario? Which comes first, the Photon or the Gor Portas?

    6. Well yes, the photons are always iffy, especially with the Keldon giving us an easy 5 die option. OTOH, if you're running a triple-Breen-with-EDs fleet, your slot layout is so tight it's sometimes hard to spend all your points efficiently, especially if you're playing in-faction only - at which point saying the heck with the card text and just paying two for one more shield isn't a terrible choice. Heaven knows you don't need/want to fill the weapon slots...

  3. The Gor Portas with Sar (+1 defense die), Sulu (+2 defense dice & battlestations -> evade) and Clark Terrell on a nearby support ship rolls and incredible 6 defense dice while keeping it's shields up.
    Attacking one of these beasties lead to my rule about Sulu: "Don't shoot at Sulu"

    Sar would be so much nicer if he wasn't always shooting last though.Even just make him a skill 5 would be worth it. As a 2 his only marginal. Good for the Dominion but probably not worth it for anyone else.

    1. Sometimes having a low skill captain in the fleet is a good thing. Gives you a ship to jam with early, blocking up enemy movement to force collisions and using upgrades early (although that doesn't help much on Breen - no Ferengi EMP or Muon Waves on those). Shooting late stinks but if you have to do so, having a defensive captain ability is nice.

      Note that anything a Breen can do with Sar and Sulu and Terrell can be done much better on a cloaked ship, especially if you're running Martok somewhere to order Sulu to act for free. And Gul Evek is even better than Sar when rolling a handful of dice. 6 defense dice with one battlestations conversion is good - 9 dice with rerolls on all blanks and a conversion is godlike.

    2. Dave, this idea is worth exploring. If you come up with a list that uses that kind of Gor Portas effectively, post it up.

  4. Rich Mcgee, have you thought about becominga offical writer for this blog. You comments today are at least as long as the core aritcle and you have good grammar. Think about it.

    1. Nah, I only natter on about subjects that really interest me. When we're done pointing out how disappointing Dominion is, I'll be out of material aside from the odd screwball fleet build. Not easy playing these chumps, but they were the one unclaimed faction in my circle when I started up. Figured out why in short order. :)

    2. Like I've said, I'm always looking for articles. I've been a tad busy lately which is why some of the articles have been a bit short. Also, it's hard to not get ahead of myself and jump right into advanced lists and strategy. There will be plenty od time for that when I run out of stuff to review.

    3. It's also hard to write a really long article about some of the more terrible upgrades, which is why I'm not going through them one by one.

      Also, my apologies for not addressing the comments quicker. I can't access the blog at work, and have to wait until late at night to get around to the comments from earlier in the day.

    4. Did Lewiser make a crack about my grammar? Why I aught'a!

    5. "It's also hard to write a really long article about some of the more terrible upgrades, which is why I'm not going through them one by one."

      This is going to be a quick week for you. No Cloaked Mines or Engage in the Dominion mix, and even Dukat is no Picard or Martok. :)

      The Energy Dissipator is certainly worthy of good hard look, but it's not in the same league as any of those cards due to the limited utility against anyone running high-defense builds. You can apply buff support to make it more reliable, but the costs skyrocket - and it isn't cheap to begin with.

    6. I am not cracking on anyone's grammar here. I just hate articles with poor grammar, like a formal report on the "roll of the US Army" when the word "Role" should of been used.

      As for the Dominion my local Meta has the Dominion as the Number 2 player behind myself. It is a small 6 man Meta though...

    7. Dominion can still win games, skill counts for a lot - but is your meta in-faction-only, or are the tourneys sloshing factions? The current Dominion ships' weaknesses can be mitigated when sloshing, but because so much of the really hot stuff comes from other factions they wind up paying more than the other factions do when it comes to cherry-picking, which still leaves them struggling. Haven't been able to decide whether I feel better playing Dominion one way or the other - but my track record's far better when using any of the other factions' ships as the core of my force, despite having the most experience with Dominion.