Lore the Trickster – Collective OP 1

Star Trek: Attack Wing is not my primary game by any means, but it’s probably what I have played more than anything else lately, as it had the most ongoing support at my home store out of what I currently play. I picked up the game about seven months ago, and knowing both that some of the older ships were becoming hard to find and that the Borg were soon to be released, I committed blindly to the making the Borg my go-to faction. Since their release, a lot of players have claimed that the Borg ships are overpowered and broken, especially the Borg Spheres, and I honestly tend to agree.

The Borg Spheres pack as much of a punch as anything else in the game and have massive hull and shield reserves in exchange for having zero defense dice. Their limited movement options are extremely effective, being able to take white maneuvers in any cardinal direction, in exchange for the inability to take banking and turning moves off of those four cardinal directions, as opposed to all other factions’ ships having to move forward/turn in each movement, or possibly putting a lot of resources into being able to back up. The Borg Cube maneuvers just the same as the sphere. It has less options for moves so it appears slightly slower, but it covers basically the same distance thanks to its’ larger base. The stat line for each of these ships is near identical, with a couple more hull points for the Cube. Both ships’ odd movement patterns are enhanced by the fact that each of them has a 360 degree field of fire.

The Borg don’t take many upgrades on their ships unless you’re running a one ship list, because they’re all very effective, but also very expensive. Their captains have neat abilities (pseudo target locks without an action from the Sphere’s Tactical Drone, free actions from the Borg Queen), but with a usage limit (drone tokens). Essentially, they’re Attack Wing the embodiment of RPG min-maxing, dumping attributes that you hope not to have to use much in exchange for pumping up the ones you need in order to win the fight. I had participated in a couple of events at the tail end of the Dominion War events with two Borg Spheres in my list, but the scenarios since the release of the cube had not been conducive to its use (until Collective OP 3 that is, more to come on that later), so most of the time since I purchased my Cube it has served as a paperweight that will eventually come to life and assimilate everyone when we least expect it.

The Soong expansion introduces a Borg ship which doesn’t work like the others The Soong represents a splinter group, in game terms they are both Borg and Independent. Its movements are fast, and follow traditional patterns (it turns and banks rather than spinning). It also only has a 90 degree forward field of fire, although it hits just as hard as the other Borg ships.  The crew is mostly cheap and expendable, the upgrades are interesting and expensive. The Soong was released around a week or so before our first of three Collective OP series kicked off, and I planned to put its cards to good use, even if I can’t justify using the ship itself for the mission at hand.

With that being said, for the first event of The Collective event series, I wanted to bring the big guns. I started playing Attack Wing OP events about halfway through the Dominion War series, and didn’t have a chance to catch up in the overall event standings. I wanted to make sure I was in the running for The Collective’s grand prize, Assimilation Target Prime. The first scenario, for those who haven’t played it, involves a neutral Borg Cube Token (BCT) which assimilates upgrades from nearby ships or shoots at them if there are no remaining upgrades to steal, and then moves in a random cardinal direction, so long as there is at least one ship in that direction which it could attack. Players cannot attack the BCT, and instead are attempting to eliminate each other’s ships from the game and be the last one standing. One important strategic consideration is that you get bonus points for the campaign results for eliminating your opponent yourself (as opposed to letting the Cube finish off their last ship). We used the 90 point list +30 point blind booster rules without exchanges for this event series, and the first two events were classified as Faction Pure.

My list for this first event started with the prize card of the Soong expansion – Lore, leader of the Soong’s rogue Borg. He is an Independent captain with a decently high Captain Skill of 7, he allows you to bring along an extra crew member, he can discard crew to gain attack dice, he has one Elite Talent slot, and he can ignore faction restrictions and faction penalties when selecting Elite Talents. Our group normally runs all our events as “Faction Pure” – you can mix factions among your fleet, but all of your upgrades must match the faction of the ship carrying them. Lore represents a way to bring Elite Talents that I would normally not have access to, and would let me combine cards that no other captains can under this rule set.

I spent all week browsing through all the Elite Talents available, and I found two that I really liked as a matching pair, so I committed to bringing a flagship card that would grant me an extra Elite Talent. I was on the fence about the cost of The Weak Will Perish, as no official word was available at the time regarding whether Lore ignored its’ +5 point cost restriction, but cleared it with our TO in advance. It was later officially ruled that The Weak Will Perish costs 10 points for Lore, so in retrospect I would probably drop Joachim if I wanted to fix that and clock in at an even 90 points.

Lore the Trickster

Borg Sphere 4270 – 40
Lore – 4
The Weak Will Perish – 5 (from the Species 8472 Bioship)
Once More Unto The Breach – 5 (from the I.K.S. Kronos One)
Goval – 1
Joachim – 4 (from the U.S.S. Reliant)
Feedback Pulse – 8
Subspace Distortion – 6
Transwarp Conduit – 6
Flagship Independent [Klingon] – 10
Total: 89 points

For those wondering about Lore (Independent) on a Borg ship, don’t forget that assigning a ship as an Independent Flagship makes it dual faction of Independent and its’ original faction.

The concept here was to build one ship which could avoid the BCT’s attacks as long as possible, gain a positional advantage on the enemy even if it had to sacrifice an upgrade or two to do it, and deliver a punishing alpha strike at the right moment to take the enemy off the board and pick up those bonus points.

Transwarp Conduit, a Borg upgrade from the Soong, played a large role in gaining the positional advantage. This upgrade allows you to take a turn to warp to any other position on the board (outside range 1-3 of enemy ships). My tactic of choice was to send my blind booster ship on a suicide run (I pulled the Dominion ship that can get bonus attack dice if its’ shields are destroyed), and then warp the Sphere behind the enemy, keeping them between my Sphere and the BCT. Subspace Distortion (action; for this turn treat your agility as equal to your starting shields, reroll up to your active shields in dice each time you defend), also from the Soong, and Feedback Pulse (attacker takes half damage from the attack, cancel the other half) both allowed me to cancel a large amount of incoming fire when I wasn’t able to stay behind my opponents after warping or if I needed to start the game going head to head.

Survivability and maneuvering aside, the real kicker to this list was its’ punishing alpha strike. With the Sphere’s 8 attack dice as a flagship, Once More Unto the Breach allows two attacks of 7 dice each. I would also potentially be able to discard Goval via Lore for an extra die, and if splitting the attack with Sphere 4270’s ability at close range, you can potentially get 10 dice in a single attack (with another attack still to follow), and The Weak Will Perish gives you a double reroll on the attack of your choice. The flagship card gives you the ability to take a free scan token, which does end up applying to both shots and both ships when you’re splitting fire too, so that cancels up to 4 defense dice by itself. Oh, and to make matters worse, Joachim lets you choose between two cards every time that ship assigns a critical hit; I actually ended up choosing a Stunned Helmsman (cancels the ship’s next attack) over a Warp Core Breach (inevitable eventual death) at one point, knowing I would have a kill shot the next turn. I was a little surprised that Joachim didn’t come in to play more often, but I was usually tearing straight through opposing hulls in a single shot, so it didn’t really matter what the critical hits were.

This list went 3-0 on the day, with the only scary moment being when I got cocky and went head to head with a Federation fleet rather than warping behind it. I forgot about the Auxiliary Power Token coming from Feedback Pulse until the next turn, and I had already revealed and used a white maneuver. Concentrated fire from the Feds brought down my shields and dealt a single critical hit, which happened to be another Auxiliary token. I dropped one token and killed Voyager the next turn, but took another critical which was yet another Auxiliary token. But my opponent’s good luck ran dry, and the next couple of attacks couldn’t quite finish off the Sphere’s hull before I could clear the rest of the Auxiliary Power Tokens and warp across the board to safety with my Transwarp Conduit, knowing that I had scored more with the Voyager kill than I gave up with my Dominion ally.

Looking back on it, I never had a chance to use all of my upgrades in the same match. In fact, as it turned out I never used the Subspace distortion at all. But I had a surprising amount of flexibility available to me, and Lore always had something in his bag of tricks to deal with the situation at hand.

Our store runs at least two instances of every Attack Wing OP, but there wasn’t any point in bringing this list to the second series. Instead, I took the least Borg-like action possible: I had mercy on my opponents, played nice, and left this list at home.

– The Tabletop General

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