Who would win, the Borg or the Dominion?

star trek has introduced a plethora of interesting and diverse alien races over the many years since Gene Roddenberry first introduced audiences to the wild and wonderful universe in the late 1960s. While some of these races were only shown in passing and were often shrouded in unsolvable mysteries, there were many that played important recurring roles, such as the Vulcans and the Klingons playing important roles as either friend or foe.

Some of the franchise’s most memorable antagonists were the Borg, and while they have changed greatly over the years, they remained some of the most feared and dangerous foes the Federation had ever faced. That was until the Dominion appeared in the events of space 9, which nearly wiped out Starfleet and much of the Alpha Quadrant. Despite their quadrant-shattering war that stretches far and wide across Federation space, they have never been shown facing off against the Borg. This, of course, begs the important question: who would win in a fight?


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On paper it might seem obvious that the Borg suffered a major defeat at the hands of the Federation and the Dominion almost wiped them out until the tables turned very late in the war. However, the truth is a bit more complicated. As powerful as the Dominion was, it had one major disadvantage over the Borg, specifically something unique to the Borg race (if you can call it that): assimilation.

The Dominion’s greatest strength, meanwhile, lies with its leaders, the Founders. They are a shapeshifting alien race of organic changelings, but interestingly they are not comfortable in a physical form. They exist as a common entity, a sort of connected hive mind that looks suspiciously like a large lake of viscous jelly, only on rare occasions assuming physical “bodies” and separating from the hive jelly.

Their existence as massive shapeshifters gives them a great advantage over other beings. They are able to adapt and challenge potential predators in various ways, and by bonding as a hive mind, they are able to learn vast amounts of shared knowledge and experience to create tremendous and almost unparalleled intelligence. This, combined with their natural strength and speed, gives them another advantage in battle, but they have one major weakness. They are not invincible and can be afflicted with diseases that prevent them from transforming. They are also just as vulnerable to energy weapons as other organic races. While they are seen as gods by many who serve them (something of a sign of evil in Roddenberry), they are weak to many of the same things. The Founders are also anything but divine when it comes to their ability to feel emotional deficiencies like stress, greed, anger, and melancholy.

All of these weaknesses can be targeted by their enemies, but they are unlikely to ever find out about them. The Founders are so steeped in myth, legacy, and worshiped as gods that it would be highly unlikely that anyone would openly discuss what could potentially harm them. Even the Vorta, their right-wing species who might know, would likely not reveal this weakness as they are a strong-willed race.

This is where the Borg’s assimilation advantage comes into play. All it takes is for one of the Vorta to be brought into the Collective, and all of the Founders’ secrets would be revealed and exactly how to bring the Founders to their knees would be revealed. With the knowledge of the Vorta and Jem’Hadar absorbed by the Borg, the Founders would have been helpless, either assimilated or snuffed out by the Borg’s raw firepower. Whether the founders can actually be assimilated has never been addressed in canon. It is quite likely that they cannot do this due to their shapeshifting nature and natural state of being non-corporeal. However, they could still be destroyed fairly easily due to another deficiency the Founders have towards the Borg: a single point of failure.

This is a term often used when talking about computer programs and algorithms, which is why it’s ironic to use it for the founders rather than Borg. A single point of failure refers to a single point of a system that, if it fails, brings the entire program with it. For the Dominion, that single point of failure is the Founders, or more specifically, the individual changelings they send out into the universe to gather information and gain experience to share with the Hive Jelly. With the exception of DS9’s space cop Odo, their function is to go out, collect data, and then return to the connected mind. By infecting just one changeling with an effective disease, they could become a carrier that would infect and eventually rejoin the rest of the collective.

It’s important to note that while the Borg didn’t possess the same flaw at one point, the introduction of the Borg Queen in the movies and unpopularity completely ruined this Traveller TV series. While defeating the Queen would severely handicap the Borg, it would not cause their entire race to collapse. It was confirmed that without central leadership, the Borg would still exist (perhaps until a new queen is elected). Furthermore, all of these military weaknesses don’t even take into account that the Dominion would lack the same weapons to even take on the Borg. So advanced and versatile is Borg technology, being the Frankenstein of hundreds of different races fused into one, that it took the Federation years of very specific study to assemble primitive weapons that would work against them. The Dominion most likely lacks these weapons. Of course, everything would change if the Dominion somehow got their hands on war criminal Captain Janeway, who has proven on numerous occasions to be the queen of Borg victory (although that’s more down to poor writing than actual skill).

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