Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Jem Hadar Attack Ship Review- Captains

Weyoun, thinking of the Uhura/Weyoun Combo...

Today we are going to continue our review of the Jem Hadar Attack ship and take a look at the captains that were included in the expansion. They've been discussed quite a bit, and I think they have some neat practical applications, but it's very difficult to see how they can be both great AND efficient at what they do.
First up, we'll take a look at the heavyweight- Weyoun

Weyoun (Dominion/5th Wing Patrol Ship Expansion) 
Captain Skill: 6
Disable Weyoun to prevent 1 of your [Crew] Upgrades from being disabled or discarded this round.
Cost: 4
Elite Talent Upgrades: 0

Weyoun has a very unique ability. He disables to allow one of your crew upgrades to do their thing without having to be disabled or discarded. That's a pretty powerful ability. Most of the time, the disable/discard modifier is applied to a card because their ability would be too good without having some kind of drawback. In the case of the disable drawback, it's that you'll need to spend an action to re-equip the card, and then you can use it at your leisure again. The discard stipulation is reserved for those situations in which it would be (mostly) insane for you to use the card over and over again. I look at Uhura as one of the cards that, if given the ability to stick around, would be game shattering. The ability to completely dominate the movement phase is practically as good as waving a bit "I win" sign in front of your opponent- which is why you have to discard Uhura when you use her. That being said, is Weyoun good enough to turn Uhura into something that would absolutely dominate?

Possibly. You'd have to make sure that you're spending your action to keep Weyoun up and able to keep Uhura from discarding- so you're going to be down an action. That being said, there are plenty of ways to get free actions in the game currently, with lvl8 Martok and Flagships, you should be able to reliably get the extra action you need to take advantage of Weyoun's drawback. Because it comes up so rarely, I'm a bit rusty on whether disabling Weyoun would cause your ship to revert to the lowest skill possible, so someone will have to fill us in on that. 

There are dozens of practical applications for Weyoun, I'm just not sure that they get better than Uhura. Of course, I haven't played a whole ton of games, but Uhura is the same cost as Engage, and is hands down a better card. This is one of the better applications, and you should seriously consider her inclusion in a list looking to take advantage of Weyoun's ability. Furthermore, I think you should equip your biggest, baddest ship with this combo, as getting out of and still getting to fire is going to make your opponent HATE this combo. On paper, this is pretty nuts. I haven't really tested it, but I think it's probably pretty nuts in game as well. 

Finally, we have the other Dominion Captain. 

Luaran (Dominion/5th Wing Patrol Ship Expansion) 
Captain Skill: 3
One of your Dominion Upgrades costs -2 Squadron Points.
Cost: 2
Elite Talent Upgrades: 0

Ugh. I don't know- she's a free lvl 3 captain. it's not bad, if you're playing it tight and need an extra few skills. She should be auto include if you're looking to run a ship, an unnamed captain and a dominion upgrade. That's about all I can say about this card. 

Tomorrow, we'll look at the crew.


  1. When a captain is disabled I think he becomes skill 1 and can't use his talents or text.

  2. That's correct, a ship with a disabled captain is skill 1 (or zero if you've suffered a Communications Failure critical) and has no captain's text. You also can't use his elite skill, but Weyound doesn't have one in this case.

    This can easily become an advantage, because it means Weyoun will (barring Martok re-enabling him in the same turn) act at skill 1 next turn, letting him move first to jam or avoid collisions, then re-enable and still fire at skill 6.

    As good as Uhura is, there are many other competitive options. Consider:

    McCoy = free Scotty or Sulu every round or so, expensive but incredible action effectiveness for offense or defense, respectively.

    Romulan Pilot = free-action Scan and make a second green maneuver? Strictly better than Engage, and only 2 points.

    Miles O'Brien (starter set) = disable any enemy upgrade with every use at range 1-3, regardless of shields or cloaks, for 2 points?

    There's also an upcoming Jem'Hadar discard crew for 4 points, which discards to force an enemy to reroll any number of attack dice of your choice. Reverse target lock is a pretty strong defensive power, and much better when Weyoun could let you reuse it or (in a pinch) use it on two different attacks in the same turn.

  3. There ARE many competitive options, I just don't see them being anywhere near as good as Uhura. McCoy is just an enabler.

    Romulan Pilot is only strictly better than Engage in the context of Weyoun. I think there's a decent argument here that Romulan Pilot is better than Uhura, but not by much.

    Miles O'Brien doesn't come anywhere near Romulan Pilot/Uhura. Movement manipulation is, in my opinion, the best upgrade set in the game- It's not that great all the time, but Engage still reigns supreme for me.

    That new Jem'Hadar crew, however, looks to be nasty.

    1. Movement manipulation is only relevant once the ranges start to drop - on the first exchange or two of fire you can't arrange unanswered shots against a competent opponent no matter how much you wiggle around with In'cha, Enage, Uhura, etc. Once you're in close it's a trump, yes, but not immediately unless you have some very strange terrain layouts going on.

      Because of that, you have to ask yourself if you're going to actually get to use your movement tricks. If I see Engage on a ship, it gets killed ASAP, before it gets close enough for it to matter. With an offensive build, that's often going to be the first turn of shooting, and almost never later than the second (when Barrage of Fire gets into range, amongst other things).

      IME movement tricks win late game for you, but only if your enemy lets them live that long or is just incapable of killing them fast enough - in which case you may not have needed them to win anyway, since he was clearly lacking sufficient offense in the first place.

      And re: Miles - he'll turn off anything but a captain out to range 3, including Engage and Uhura and Romulan Pilot. With Weyoun he'll do it at least twice. With Martok to re-enable Weyoun, he'll do it each and every turn, shutting down whatever he wants and daring you to spend actions to re-enable things. You can pack the Miles/Weyoun combo onto a Romulan Science Vessel for 20 points (23 with Cloaked Mines in the tech slot) while Martok gets parked on a big offensive ship where his skill will mean something. Science vessels don't have much to do with their actions once cloaked, so using Miles or re-enabling Weyoun is an easy choice.

      That's a solid control trick for any fleet, and can act as a silver bullet against all sorts of shenanigans. The only time it's dead is against fleets with no upgrades at all, and if the rest of your fleet can't handle that sort of thing you're doing something wrong.

  4. Movement manipulation is always relevant. There is no time that movement manipulation is not relevant in a game where movement manipulation is present. The only thing that stops you from movement manipulating is two ships bumping. Otherwise, I use it each and every turn I can. In the initial turns, I use it to make sure that I cover the initial distance as quickly as possible. By the time the opponent gets to range 3, I can usually get out of most arcs and/or get into range 1 and/or get past a particularly hairy situation. If you're sitting at range 3 with a 50 point Engage Enterprise and facing two klingon ships, I think terrible plays with the biggest advantage in the game got you there- not your build.

    Saying that you're going to kill off an Engage build ASAP is all fine and dandy in the abstract- if you're able to kill off an Engage ship quickly, you either really did a great job of predicting where he'd be (possible) or you're not facing a particularly adept opponent (more likely). In my experience, Engage fights go on a long time.

    That being said, if you've worked specific Engage/movement counters into your build, you can turn it right around. Usually, those counters leave you open to straight up attack builds, which is why the counters aren't seen very often in any kind of competitive play. You can bring a Weyoun, Miles, Chang etc., build, but the Klingons are coming and they don't care one iota about your shenanigans. You've thrown 23 points at a problem they don't have, and they have 100 points of pure attack. That's why these counters aren't very good when you're planning your tournament lists- Klingons define the meta, and even if you don't come up against Klingons very often, you have to plan to face them. 18-20 attacks per turn, with almost no upgrades, would love you to take counters to stuff they don't have in their list.