I.S.S. Defiant preview

Well now, here’s a fun one for you. The first Mirror Universe ship for Star Trek: Attack Wing that will be available to buy directly at retail, the I.S.S. Defiant, has been previewed (and then removed, maybe this was leaked early) on StarTrek.com today, and it’s got some neat tricks in store.

Like it’s prime universe bretheren, the U.S.S. Defiant, the I.S.S. Defiant weighs in at 24 points,  and is the very definition of a “tough little ship”. While the Federation version laughs off critical hits, the Mirror Universe Defiant can take an Auxiliary Power Token to ignore a hit result, and now we see why the Enterprise NX-01‘s Enhanced Hull Plating was restricted to Federation ships only. The Mirror Defiant has one less shield available, but it hits a little harder, and that’s a tradeoff that I’ll gladly make.

Ship-USS-Defiant                        Mirror ISS Defiant

On a side note, I’m not the type of person to type “lol” lightly, as I believe that most people do not actually “laugh out loud” when they type it. But comparing the two ship cards side by side did get an audible chuckle out of me thanks to the fact that the silhouette image in the bottom left of the card has actually been “mirrored” between the two versions.

Jadzia Dax makes an appearance here in a minor supporting role. She’s a relatively cheap crew member, with synergy with the Defiant’s damage-shedding abilities, discarding to prevent one hull damage (as if the game designers were saying “Save her for a crit, dummy!”). It’s a simple card, with low cost, doesn’t require any actions to use… If you have the points to spare, what’s not to like? She’s also a good candidate for synergy with Captain Benjamin Sisko, when we get to him later on.

Mirror Jadzia Dax

I admittedly don’t know my Star Trek lore very well, but the majority of the crew of the I.S.S. Defiant seems like tech-starved gremlins, hungry for anything they can get their hands on. While the ship itself has no Technolgy upgrade slots, both Captain Miles O’Brien and crew member Jennifer Sisko add slots to the ship. Additionally, Ezri Tegan can be discarded to steal a Tech upgrade of up to 5 points, and Rom can be discarded disable up to two Tech upgrades, none of which is hindered by cloaking or shields. Gremlins I say! Meanwhile, not limited to Tech, Jennifer Sisko disables up to two enemy upgrades immediately after deployment, a new and questionably useful mechanic. Other than potentially slowing someone down slightly while they re-enable these upgrades before entering combat, I don’t see how this is really all that useful.

Mirror Miles OBrien                                  Mirror Rom

Mirror Ezri Tigan                                   Mirror Jennifer Sisko

But enough about stealing/disabling hi-jinks, lets get to laying down some damage. Multi-Targeting Phaser Banks give you the ability to take two target locks at a time, useful if you’re unsure which of multiple potential targets will be in your firing arc. Quantum Torpedoes make an appearance, no difference from the prior version other than the faction. Aft Phaser Emitter is actually a decent card for flexibility in a pinch, a 1 point weapon that disables for an attack for 3 dice at range 1-3 out of your rear arc – it won’t be something you use every game, but for 1 point, why not? Strafing Run, on the other hand, should get you laughed out of town for equipping. It is a 5 point discarded Elite Talent (Oh how we love those) which costs your action for the turn and allows you to take a primary attack with 4 dice as though you had a 360 degree firing arc, so long as you moved a maneuver of at least speed 3 that turn. Flavorful? You bet. Sounds fun? Absolutely. Worth it? Not a chance!

Mirror Multi-Targeting Phaser Banks                                    Mirror Quantum Torpedoes Mirror Aft Phaser Emitter                                     Mirror Strafing Run

I saved the best for last, ladies and gentlemen. The Defiant earns its’ name with the final three cards. Captain Benjamin Sisko is the first captain to provide an Elite Talent upgrade slot for less than three points available at retail (Previously Data and Magnus Hansen did it, but are only in OP prize ships). His ability screams “I’m throwing everything I have at you” as he stuffs Crew, Tech, and other Weapons into the torpedo tubes to do all the damage he can. I especially like this with the Aft Phaser Emitter, making that cheap little utility card have a second usage, even if it’s already disabled! Jadzia Dax is another potential cheap discard candidate, if you’re more concerned with dealing damage than preventing it.

Mirror Benjamin Sisko

Julian Bashir is one of my favorite tactical usage cards in quite some time. His ability is incredibly powerful, and best described in gaming terms as a “taunt”. It forces an enemy to target his ship or not fire at all for that turn, and roll two less attack dice in the process. For only two points, keeping in mind that the Defiant can shrug off one hit on its’ own on top of the reduced dice, that is a priceless ability, and well worth the discard!

Mirror Julian Bashir

And then there’s the finishing touch, the reason why Sisko’s cheap Elite Talent slot is so useful: Rebellion. This is a 5 point discard that I will take in a heartbeat and not think twice about it, and that’s saying something. Rebellion is all about “in your face” defiance, operating solely against bigger ships (ships with greater hull value than your own). It is discarded while you are defending to take two attack dice away from the opponent, and gives you a free primary weapon attack as return fire. Check with your local T.O. until an official FAQ ruling is given, but the way I read this, it may work even if you’re destroyed during the attack.

Mirror Rebellion

Chain Rebellion together with Bashir on the I.S.S. Defiant, with Sisko as Captain and Jadzia Dax as your other crew, and you can force another ship to attack the Defiant rather than an easier target, reduce incoming the attack dice by 4, cancel up to two of the remaining damage coming in, and then attack twice in the same round! That’s crazy good!

The I.S.S. Defiant has me pumped up for a Mirror Universe fleet, and has made up for some of the slight disappointment I felt with Chang’s Bird of Prey. Now I just need to see that Scimitar!!!

– The Tabletop General