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I can't win even very 1st mission as Klingon. Pirate ship just destroys me. I can't outrun or outmaneuver it and it has better weaponry and shields, so can't go to knife fight either.

Playing medium era on commodore.

I could use some tips. I've read a comprehensive guide, but it doesn't help in this situation.
Ah, Klingon frigates. Much nicer than Lyran frigates, usually have a leg up on their Romulan and Fed counterparts.

So there's three things to note with these:
-Secret fourth one

Drone-ways, you have a lot of options. Big missiles, speedy missiles, slow missiles, and small missiles, as well as medium-size and -speed. You can pick one of three speeds and one of three sizes, which will impact your missile COST, SPEED, and DAMAGE.

This taps into RANGE. Klingons have two sorts of ships; "I'm going to keep you at range 15 for the enitre match haha lol" and "I will now erase your face like a maul or a mace". Ships and captains that like the first thing need SMALL, FAST, and EXPENSIVE missiles. Ships and captains using the latter should go for BIG, SLOW, and CHEAP missiles instead. Adjust your payload accordingly!

Power-wise, Klingons need to be good at rotating shields, managing ECM/ECCM if fighting at range, and they MUST have enough power to run around OR overload disruptors.

Face-eraser Klingons should go straight for the jugular when attacking, and try to overtake the foe's rear because BIG and SLOW missiles move slower than a Lyran trying to reload. Trust me I've tried.

Some Klingon frigates can *cloak*. Use face-erase tactics here and cloak between strikes. Have some extra energy? Toss on a rank or two of ECM and/or boost engines and have the foe waste their point-defense as you come out.