I need to talk about the Mandalorian Gauntlet squadrons that are going to come with the Chimaera expansion for Star Wars Armada. First off, I’ll admit that we can’t fully see all of their information, but it’s not what we can’t see, but rather what we CAN that’s giving me some cause for both excitement and concern.
First off, in terms of balance and symmetry, the Empire has been down a ship since the core set. Now with a refit of the Imperial Star Destroyer, it likely feels like the Empire may be down TWO ships, if you look at this as still being the same model, despite the new versions. So I’m pleased to see that the Empire is actually gaining a +1 advantage in terms of squadrons.
I’m also happy to see that we aren’t getting bombarded with squadron packs this time around. This game, for me, has always been first and foremost, about ship-to-ship combat, with squadrons simply one aspect of many. But for a long time, it felt as though squadrons had so many more options than even ships. So I’m happy to see only a single squadron make it into the game this time around. I’m not against adding new squadrons, I’d just like the variety of squadrons to better reflect the points limit on squadrons of 1/3rd your fleet. I’d effectively like for you to have twice as many ship options as squadron options. This wave reflects that balance.
The Squadron itself looks strong. With 7 hull it’s not going to be eliminated easily. There are two included in this pack, seemingly a generic and Gar Saxon. Saxon appears to have Rogue and another keyword which I had originally mistaken for Escort. The symbol is roughly similar to Escort but clearly something else. If this new keyword is strong I have to wonder if it is also on the generic. We haven’t seen the dice yet, but we can expect them to be strong considering the reputation of Mandalorians and their ships. I’m expecting these new squadrons to be amazing.
But I am slightly worried about this new Gauntlet squadron’s cost. Not the points cost, but rather the $50 price tag on the Chimaera expansion itself. If this turns out to be one of the best squadrons, that will effectively incentivize some people to buy three of them to run 6 Gauntlet Fighters. If that proves to be a winning strategy, it represents a very uncomfortable trend for this game.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there won’t be much incentive to take more than two. Hopefully even if there is, we can just borrow one or two from a friend. The worst case scenario would be for their point cost to warrant you taking 8 or 9, then some one buys 5 Chimaera expansions and wins worlds with a build that some might consider pay-to-win. I hope that won’t be the case.