When a new player enters the game of Star Trek Adversaries they are faced with a big decision. Federation or Klingons. At the time of this writing we know that Romulans are on the horizon, but they are not here yet. Some of us just want to play our favorite characters from the Star Trek universe, which is perfectly reasonable. For the rest of the players the choice is much more difficult. It is very hard to switch affiliations until a player has played the game long enough to build up enough cards from the other side. I am still not able to effectively do this. I am pot committed to Klingons at this point in my Adversaries career.
Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each side, so maybe we can help make this decision a little easier for a new player.
The Federation is about diplomacy and exploration. That’s not to say they don’t have some great aggressive options, but often times they tend to lean towards a more mid-range and control type of game play.
First off, the Federation has many more legendary cards available to them. 41 to be exact. This may sound intimidating, but you don’t need all of them. Only three can be put in a deck at once and you can find the ones that fit your play style the best and make those a priority for crafting and then collect the rest at your leisure.
The Federation also has many ships with the Guardian ability, which is great to protect your more important ships, like any of the Enterprises. They have options at every energy cost for guardians.
The Federation have some abilities that are exclusive or predominantly theirs. For example, they have many cards with abilities that trigger on Retreat. If you think this mechanic is interesting, there are 3 flagships that can take advantage of it very well. The Intrepid, Miranda and Excelsior. These tend to be more tempo style decks, where they take advantage of the flagship abilities and the ships to use the Retreat mechanic to generate more resources and tempo over the course of the game. These are not aggressive decks and can be more difficult to learn and play. They can be very fun though, since you are very active during your turns.
Modulating Shields is also unique to the Federation, minus a couple of neutral cards. The Constellation is the only flagship to work with Modulating Shields. If you like a more mid-range value style of deck, this could be a good choice. This works off of shielding your ships to get multiple trades from them and just outvaluing your opponent over the course of the game until they can’t respond effectively anymore.
Jamming is another predominantly Federation ability that has a similar play style to Modulating Shields. It plays a little differently, but the concept is the same where you want to get more value from your ships since they can attack without fear of return damage.
If you want to play a more aggressive style with the Federation you can play a deck that focuses more on Haste ships using the NX Class or the Constitution. The Federation has many ships with Haste and can deal a lot of damage very quickly. Most of the Federation Flagships are about board control, but this does give them some excellent aggressive deck options.
Also, with so many legendary cards available to them, there are great options for any deck style. As far as crew cards go, Riker and Chakotay are great at controlling the board. Worf and Chekov are fantastic aggressive damage dealers. Tuvok is a must for retreat decks, and cards like Dax and T’Pol are great at generating card advantage. They have something for everyone. The choices are great, but at the same time, can be a little overwhelming for new players holding a Legendary Replicator.
The Federation have great options if you enjoy more of a mid-range, value-oriented or control play style. They also have some more challenging decks to play that may appeal to veteran CCG player. They also have great aggressive options if you still like to go face, but want to be able to play with all of your favorite Star Trek characters.
As we all know, Klingons are great warriors who are more singly focused on combat. This is generally how their cards play also. They don’t have any cards with Retreat, since a Klingon would never run away from a fight, and they don’t hide behind shields.
While most of the Klingon cards lend themselves well to an aggressive style of play, with a lot of combat, they do have some good tempo and control options. They are very different from the same style of decks on the Federations side though.
The Qoj is a great Flagship for building a value oriented deck. This lets you bring a ship back to your hand, so you can activate the Deploy effect multiple times and generate extra value from them.
The Vor’Cha basic ability deals the most direct damage to a ship, with no conditions. 2 damage to any enemy ship. The core cards also generate extra Auxiliary, and along with cards like Kor or Kahless, you can take advantage of that ability very often. This can help keep the board free so your powerful stealth ships can reveal themselves at the opportune time to strike for big damage.
Speaking of stealth ships, the Sarcophagus and Bird of Prey DSC both take advantage of ships with a Cloaking Device very well. Most Klingon ships with a Cloaking Device have very aggressive attack values and since they can’t be targeted right away you can build up quite an offensive. These can be very fun decks that are generally easy to build since there are so many ship options.
The last thing the Klingons can take extra advantage of is Core Breach. This allows you to sacrifice one of your ships to try and manage the board while generating resources for yourself. This is similar, in a way, to the Federation Retreat mechanic in that you are giving up a card on the board to generate extra value or affect the board itself. The Raptor and K’Vort Flagships both take advantage of this in different ways. The Raptor can allow you to use this as a more aggressive ability, dealing damage to the opposing Flagship whenever a Core Breach triggers. On the other hand, the K’Vort can generate great value and card advantage with its special ability which generates a 2/2 ship that draws a card and reduces it’s cost by 2.
Most of the Klingon legendary cards either kill things directly, help you kill things faster, or help deal extra damage. Crew like Kor or Kahless both add great attack values while generating you extra Auxiliary. Lursa and B’etor are both incredible value cards that you can continually play throughout the game. Also, ships like the IKS Chang and IKS Duras, both at 4-energy, are two of the best aggressive ships in the game for their cost and the Duras can double as a great board control card since it comes back every time it dies.
The Klingons have some great aggressive and interactive deck options that fit many players play style very well while still offering some great board control and value decks. The Klingons rely more on making great trades and keeping your opponent on their heels to deal with your threats. Their lower cost ships are more aggressively stated allowing you to get more value from your trades, and get extra damage in when their defenses are down.
Which will it be? The diplomacy and exploration of the Federation or the cunning and aggressiveness of the Klingon Empire?