To me, a dominant strategy (in the sense of a specific technology being a must-have in order to avoid losing) is a symptom of poor design. Fortunately, it's also pretty rare in my experience.
I think that your interpretation of dominance is overly narrow. If we're talking about lasers always being better than projectiles, then lasers dominate projectiles because there's never a reason to choose the inferior technology. But the strategy space in a game is far larger than choosing Tech A or Tech B. In Galactic Civilizations II, Death Rays are vastly dominant over all other weapon technology in terms of performance, and by the time you can get them cost is mostly irrelevant. But games rarely get to the point that you could research Death Rays without either losing to another player or explicitly passing on other opportunities to win in other ways.
It's generally not about Tech A vs. Tech B (though that choice exists as well), it's about advancing to the next tech level OR expanding to a new city OR building up a fleet OR increasing your espionage abilities or any number of other things. Tech-turtling may well lock you into Tech A vs. Tech B scenarios, but few games lock the player into a tech-turtle play style in the first place.