Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Tactical Officer and Tomalak- working through the Valdore

Tomalak looks like he's on Thunderbirds

Today we're going to look at some of the upgrades from the Valdore expansion. We've already covered why Donatra is a fantastic captain. Passive abilities, in theory, are strictly better than abilities requiring an activation as they use up none of your action resource. If you look at your one action per ship per turn as a resource, then you should get to why passive abilities are just so much better than abilities requiring an activation.
Tactical Officer is a 3 pt romulan crew upgrade with the following ability: When removing your target lock from an opposing ship in order to reroll your attack dice, you may re-roll each attack die an additional time. 

An important thing to note is that you can't reroll a reroll unless you have text that explicitly allows you to do so. It doesn't come up very often, but people sometimes forget this particularly rule. Tactical Officer lets you play around with rerolls if you've already taken target lock. Don't use Tactical Officer on a ship with secondary weapons- that should be obvious. Tactical Officer is great if you like using target locks. Often, I find that Target Lock is the absolutely last action I'll take. If you're not going to get shot up, Target Lock is great- otherwise, I typically go for something else to hedge my bets. 

Tactical Officer is a fantastic passive ability that is situational- you need a target lock to use the ability. No real issues here, all passive abilities are situational- Donatra needs a friendly at range 1 to activate. Just remember that these 3 pts will not always be online, unless you're taking a target lock every turn. 

Is Tomalak the least played Romulan captain in the game? My goodness is he terrible. He's essentially Range 3 scan. Your Valdore doesn't come with scan, and Tomalak is a great way to get the basic ability, with non of the token shenanigans. He's also skill 3, so I guess he hasn't figured out how to translate his ability into a scan token. I've never seen him played in a competitive match. 

So the question for today is- which one of you wonderful people can come up with an innovative use for Tomalak? I haven't thought too hard about it, but maybe you guys are just wrecking face with an amazing Tomalak build. Let me know!


  1. Tomalak on the Exesisor with spock might be good. Keep away from your foe and take reduced defense shots with higher chances to hit. All passive abilities too. It's not half bad.

  2. Sometimes I rather wonder if the point formula for the game couldn't have done with some more refinement. For 2 points I have quite a few options across the different factions. Speaking strictly of the Romulans, Mirok is not only one skill higher, but his ability is far less situational. There are several examples of this across the board. I understand that not all cards can be amazing, but if the point values were a little more representative I think we would be seeing builds that include Tomalak over Mirok, and also promote some different strategies for the factions.

  3. I think you're probably right. I generally expect early releases to have odd point values as the designers figure out the right balance- see: MtG's early years. The point values in this game aren't that far off where they probably should be.

  4. "Don't use Tactical Officer on a ship with secondary weapons- that should be obvious."

    That's a bit broad. There are secondary weapons that don't require you to spend your target lock to use them (although I don't recall any in faction for Romulans yet) and he works okay with them, generating better average results than Spock + Scan does. You can gamble and reroll your hits to crit-fish with Magnetic Pulse, it works on both parts of the split fire shots from a Forward Weapons Grid, and it's another way to ensure you make it as hard as possible to avoid an Energy Dissipator hit.

    "Often, I find that Target Lock is the absolutely last action I'll take."

    Try playing Breen and Cardassian Galors and you'll change your tune. Barring scan-friendly upgrades (and none of the native ones for that are anywhere near Spock-level) Target Lock is by far their best offensive option, and they need to score hits fast to survive at all. Of course, if your opponent is staying under cloak regularly you simply can't lock, but at least they aren't shooting at you as much in that case.

    "Tomalak on the Excelisor with spock might be good."

    It's good because of Spock more than Tomalak and the Excelsior lacks the attack stat to really be a 33-point threat, but I think you've hit on the best way to get mileage out of his text. You want to get a range 3 shot with an actual Scan running to debuff the defense as much as possible, and if possible you want to do that repeatedly, maybe by jamming enemy movement with other ships or just flying really well. Is taking one or two shots a game with one extra debuff die worth 2 points and being stuck with skill 3 on a ship? Probably not - but at least you'll never be tempted to put most secondary weapons on his ship. :)

    1. Further thought, Tomalak probably works best on Cardassian Galors. The broad arc makes it slightly easier to find things to shoot at range 3 as stuff circles, they have high-ish attack dice so don't need secondary weapons, you don't have to spend actions re-cloaking after each shot, they have some Scan-related upgrades that aren't terrible, and closer ships with EM Pulses might be able to set you up for further defense debuffs.

      So yeah, yet another horrible captain for Dominion, and this time we get to pay cross-faction penalties for him. Great. :\

  5. Target Lock is possibly the best of the 4 basic Actions: Evade, Scan, Battlestations, Target Lock. It is definitely the best offensive action of those. The ability to reroll misses is always a plus and gives a chance to roll additional crits, which Battlestations does not do. Without the crit possibility Target Lock & Battlestations be about equal in number of hits generated. IRW Valdore + Toreth + Tactical Officer + Target Lock is brutal ship for only 37 points. It's very easy to get 5 or 6 hits, with at least 1 crit, with that combo.

  6. I don't know if Target Lock is better than Battlestations, but a Battlestation'd Target Lock is a pretty fantastic way to blow up a ship. The combo you mentioned is a pretty amazing combo, granted, there's just a bit too much that can go wrong on the first pass- not being able to target lock a cloaked ship, that it's not an auto-include combo from my perspective.

    1. The only part of the combo that's dead without a Target Lock is the Tactical Officer. Toreth still converts hits fine, and the Valdore should be throwing 4-6 dice reliably, which gives a decent chance of denting a foe with a crit even through cloaks. Paying 3 points to add the Tactical Officer is worth considering if you're looking for more offense.

      The real problem is action efficiency - a cloaker wants to recloak after each shot (barring Advanced Weapon Systems) and the Tactical Officer wants you to Target Lock all the time, so you're either sacrificing cloak or offense. Tactical Officer works best on high skill captains, who can see what the enemy has done before having to make the hard choices - or with Picard or something else that grants a free TL or Cloak action, which eliminates having to make that choice at all.

  7. Target Lock and Battlestations are pretty similar offensively for raw number of hits, but they have a lot of other differences that make them different animals, mechanically. Lock is harder to apply versus cloaked ships and (for lower skill captains) potentially being out of range of a later-moving ship, has no defensive benefits, but lingers around if not used and improves the odds of crits a little. Battlestations is much easier to employ, and has the potential to boost either offense or defense, which helps when you don't have initiative, but it generates slightly fewer hits and crits and goes away at the end of the turn (if not sooner).