Twilight Imperium: The Yssaril Tribes

From the strategy guide written by Stefan Sasse

Racial Ability:

  • During Strategy Phase, you may look at the AC of any one player
  • You are allowed to skip your turn, but not twice in a row
  • You draw one additional AC during Status Phase and are never restricted in the size of your hand.

Starting Techs:

  • Antimass Deflectors
  • XRD Transporters

Leaders: Agent, Agent, Admiral

Representative 1: Zo Cou (C)  +3. When voting, you may discard any number of AC to gain an equal number of votes.

Representative 2: Ne Ruk (S)  +0. Assassinate and then return this Representative to hand. You must abstain.

Representative 3: So Ata (S)  Choose a player. His total votes are reduced by half (rounded down).

Racial Tech 1: Shuttle Logistics (3)  During Status Phase you may move your GF from one planet you control to another planet you control in the same or an adjacent system; neither may contain enemy ships.

Racial Tech 2: Mageon Implants (4)  When looking at the hand of your opponent’s AC using your racial ability, you may steal one card of your choice and put it on your hand.

Starting Units:

  • 5 GF
  • 1 PDS
  • 2 Carriers
  • 1 Cruiser
  • 2 Fighters

Trade Agreements:  2,1

Homesystem:  Retillion (2/3), Shalloq (1/2)

Flagship: Y’sia Y’ssrila (9 / 7×2 / 2 / 5) This ship may move through systems containing enemy ships.

The Yssaril don’t just look like Gollum. In many ways, they act like him. They are sneaky and mean, but they don’t look really dangerous until they bite you from behind. Yssaril bide their time, broker with information and use it to their advantage to make their move when they know the odds and no one can do anything about it. Oftentimes, the Yssaril are considered an overpowered race, and they are certainly very strong.

This they achieve mainly with their first racial ability, the skipping option. Every other turn you are allowed to skip, and if there is not some urgent matter there is really no reason not to do so. Skipping will force your enemies to act before you do, use Strategy Cards before yours and to show their intentions before you do. It is almost impossible to outstall the Yssaril. This ability also has the additional benefit of being able to withhold a crucial Secondary until it’s of no use to anyone anymore.

Your second racial ability allows you to know the complete hand of AC of a player in the Strategy phase. Since you can only get new cards during the Action Phase with the Assembly SC or Secondary of Bureaucracy, this shows you a good picture of the possibilities your enemy has in the upcoming round.

Your third racial ability really shines. Not only do you get an additional AC every Status Phase, you also have no hand limit for them and can build up real piles of AC. This skyrockets the cost of attacking you since it is clear that you can raise havoc just with your AC very quickly and easily.

As compensation, the Yssaril racial tech “Shuttle Logistics” is not exactly good. You may transfer GF in Status – fine and useful sometimes, but most times it’s no big deal since the distance you can cover with this transfer isn’t really good and it doesn’t work under siege when it’s needed most. Their second racial tech, “Mageon Implants”, on the other hand, is so good it almost can’t be used. I addition to looking at the enemy’s hand of AC, you may steal one of them. Every round. Your hand does not even get bigger by that, but unproportionately mightier, too. In the only game so far I played as Yssaril with the latest expansion, all other players on the table told me that if I ever researched that one, they would gang up on me and shoot me off the board. I didn’t research it. And I strongly recommend harsh retaliatory action against any Yssaril who attempts to do so.

Their HS is ok; nothing out of the ordinary. The influence from Retillion can’t be used for Leadership since too many resources would go to waste, though the building limit you can achieve is ok should you not be able to find another suitable system. All in all the Yssaril have a real legitimate reason for expanding – one just has to look at their HS.

Their starting forces, on the other hand, seem nearly overpowered. The Yssaril boast 5 GF, 2 Carriers to transport them and decent protection too. They can expand real quick with this setup, especially taking into account that they also have both Carrier techs right from the start. Your initial expansion will be fast, and you can get to systems in the first two rounds where most of your opponents can’t.

Their Leaders aren’t really good, at last. The two Agents are surely thematically fitting and can help to tip the scales of an AC war even more to your advantage, but in the end you can’t really do more with them then let them rot on the homeworlds until they are needed. Your Admiral won’t decide a battle in most cases, so he will sit on your starting Cruiser and then later transfer to some big ship. All in all, the Yssaril don’t shine on this account.

The Representatives of Yssaril lack a bodyguard, which makes it easy to ban them from the political process entirely if they grow too powerful, especially in regard to AC and the option of discarding cards to win a crucial vote (like “Voice of the Council”). This weakness can be exploited by other players if the need for strong action against the Yassril arises.

Their flagship is more or less overpriced. Its ability to sneak through an enemy force and unload GF on hardly defended planets is nice, but the price you pay for this is way too high in my opinion.

The Yssaril are masters of stalling. Since you can skip any second round, there is practically no chance to ever force the Yssaril into stalling before you have to (except when they don’t have any CC left, but that’s unlikely if the Yssaril player is no complete newbie). So, what’s the stalling good for? You can always see what your opponents are doing before you move. Except for actions taken directly against you (in which case you might consider not to skip), this is very valuable. Bubble victories always require a clear path, and that is best given if no one else can take actions any more. Plus, the Yssaril are the only race with a realistic chance of withholding a given SC the complete round, only letting them take part as they already have passed. These powers are not to be taken lightly.





4 thoughts on “Twilight Imperium: The Yssaril Tribes

  1. These guys are insane. Totally a “what were the designers even thinking?” case.

    The stalling ability and peeking at other players’ action cards alone would make them a great race, even when considering their crap homeworld. But the Mageon Implants and 2 starting carriers with XRD tech are just overkill.

    Seriously, why in the world did they get to start with XRD? The only other race to get that are the Saar, who have almost literally no other strengths to them (mobile stardocks looks great on paper, ends up hardly coming into use) since starting XRD really is that good. Yssaril get that ON TOP OF the best special abilities in the game.

    I’m surprised the designers didn’t just give them a 6 resource homeworld to boot.

  2. The part “the only race with a realistic chance of withholding a given SC the complete round, only letting them take part as they already have passed” is not accurate. You can still participate in the secondary action on another player’s strategy card, even if you have passed already, as long as you have a strategy command counter to spend.

  3. It’s accurate in the sense that you can withhold a card until all other players have expended the resources necessary to participate in its primary or secondary.

    Ex – Yssaril takes Political. Players will delay exhausting planets until after the vote if Political is out there. Yssaril’s skip ability forces players to build or purchase tech, which allows the Yssaril player to essentially control the vote.

    Same thing can be done with Logistics, Technology, Imperial and probably a few others.

  4. I have been playing for 10+ years at this point and I agree that they are strong but I think people put their skip ability to to high a standard. Skill becomes far more important then the ability as you play and more then a little luck. We recently had a game where they had two empty systems next door and were surrounded with systems with no build capacity (2 production planets) they ended up playing a very diplomatic game and managed to squeak by at the end with a win (three other players would have had the win next turn). He played the action card game and used them as a deterrent and made not a single attack the entire game until the last round of his last turn where he invaded a planet and killed a single ground troop. He didn’t skip many turns toward the middle and end of the game because he had things to do but at the start he skipped many rounds in order to stay viable because he couldn’t build.

    While I don’t disagree they are a good race I have seen many other races win over my time playing then I have them. Player skill is far more important then racials and anybody saying otherwise needs to learn how to play.

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