Armada Nunchuck Expansion v1.0 Is Ready!

The Nunchuck Expansion is finally ready!

 

This expansion is a title-only expansion that has multiple new titles for every ship in Star Wars Armada!   It is NOT official and NOT tournament legal.  This was a project of mine and it’s now available! This expansion is free to everyone!  Download the FULL PDF here!

This is version 1.0.

If you like this expansion and want to support me on Patreon – hey that’s always an option!

Armada – Nunchuck Expansion Preview!

What is the Nunchuck Expansion?

The Nunchuck Expansion is a free expansion for Star Wars Armada.   It consists exclusively of titles for existing ships, which will showcase new strategies and new options for ships that only had limited roles.  The Nunchuck Expansion is NOT an official product and is not tournament legal.  I am designing the expansion and will be releasing them right here on crabbok.com.

Here are a few samples of just a few of the Imperial Titles that will be included.

Some of the details are still subject to change, and I’ll be letting my patrons on patreon vote on some of the names as well!   Let me know what you think!

Winners and Losers of the April Armada FAQ

With any major new FAQ and Errata there’s always bound to be a major shake up in the meta.   Today I want to discuss the winners and loser of this change, and how the meta may change moving forward.

Losers:

Some changes were good overall, like the change to Strategic Adviser and Biggs.   But ultimately, some things really got hurt.  Lets talk about the biggest losers.

Relay

Relay got hit hard, but in a way that makes perfect sense.  Now it simply extends range rather than making squadron range infinite.  Most would agree that this makes great logical sense, but this does hurt those fleets that were designed to exploit the old way of keeping ships far away from the fight, and removing all risk of their carriers taking fire.  The Lambda is probably hurt more than the VCX, considering it has twice the Relay value, but the entire strategy of using Relay now has to change to include some risk, keeping your fleet together, and keeping your carriers in the fight.

Gallant Haven

This one wasn’t as widely abused, but when it was used it had the potential to be significantly overpowered.  The power came from unique squadrons with the brace token.  Even if a friendly squadron was hit for two damage, they could just brace and reduce it to one, then having Gallant Haven reduce that one to zero.  And if you had Jan Ors nearby, you didn’t even need to have your own brace token, since you could “borrow” hers.  This title now will still help for larger attacks, such as three or more, but it will no longer stop the small damage from going through.

Yavaris

While Yavaris wasn’t changed too much, a very common crew combination certainly was.  Using Flight Commander and Fighter Coordination Team together, would allow you to delay your squadron command until after moving, and also after you gave your squadrons a free speed-one move.  It allowed you to partly ignore the restriction that came with this amazing ship.  But that isn’t the only nerf to Yavaris.  The relay nerf also hurts Yavaris more so than any other carrier, in that most Rebel Fleets that use Yavaris, often find that it’s the first target for the enemy fleet.   No more, can Yavaris dish out squadron double-taps from the rear ranks and relative safety.

Avenger

While not the worst nerf, the Avenger’s new requirement to exhaust will actually affect it in multiple new shooting scenarios.  The first case is the common use of boarding teams, where you have a double arc on the defender.  An enemy flagship, at full strength, would seldom be able to survive.  Another case is when using Gunnery Team, where you’d be shooting on multiple targets that may have spent some tokens already.   But a third scenario is when using the Advanced Gunnery objective and you were actually able to attack from your front arc even against the same ship twice.  At least in the case of this nerf you can still use it’s ability once, which still allows it to be used, and it will still probably be the most widely used Star Destroyer title.  Probably.

The Third Flotilla in Your collection

This was the one that bothered me the most.  Restricting flotillas to a hard cap of only 2 per fleet has a ton of implications.  First off, everyone who bought 3 or more are now unable to use them unless it’s a strictly casual game.  Second, those flotillas are now much less useful, in that they can no longer hang out around the edge of the board, supporting your squadrons, even while your ships are dead.  But another implication is that future flotillas are now at a disadvantage.  If FFG makes another flotilla in the future, you’ll have a hard time deciding on which 2 you want to use, considering the utility that GR-75s and Gozantis offer your fleet, it may force players into an uncomfortable decision.

Winners

When some things get worse, sometimes other things get better by proxy. Let’s take a look at the biggest winners that result from these changes.

Hera

With all of the VCXs and Lambdas getting nerfed, Hera remains the one that was untouched, keeping her original balance and power level.  Her ability still is able to ignore distance from ships, and she now has more of a unique ability when you consider that her counterparts with the nerfed relay are restricted to staying close to the fleet.   All rouges, actually, are winners here, but Hera is by far the biggest winner from the group, being able to still provide that autonomous activation to squadrons who lack rogue.

Boosted Comms

Boosted Comms started to see less and less play once relay came out.  It almost became irrelevant.  Now it is back and better than ever.  Considering it stacks, in a meaningful way, with relay now, you can layer these two extensions together and still get some distance between you and your squadrons if you really want to.   I expect to see more of this card in the future, especially on Quasars.

Centicore

Another upgrade that may see more play as a result of the relay nerf.  Centicore never saw alot of play, and one main reason for that was that relay was just so much better.  Now it can potentially help fill some gaps left by the nerf, giving squadron based fleet greater flexibility in activations.  And since fleets will likely be flying closer together now, you are more likely able to take advantage of this one.

Other Boarding Parties

Since Avenger’s slight nerf, Boarding Troopers might get taken a bit less, and therefore we stand a chance of seeing other boarding party cards showing up.  Cham Syndulla and Darth Vader might see a small rise in play in the coming months.

Ackbar

The nerf to flotillas is good new to slow-moving fleets, especially Ackbar fleets.  That classic broadside fleet that was never able to chase down distant flotillas will now have an easier time securing victory.  Additionally, Ackbar fleets have some extra flexibility in that Home One isn’t quite as crucial, in that you no longer HAVE to destroy enemy flotillas, so that one accuracy, while still great to have, isn’t quite as crucial as it once was.   Perhaps now we’ll see more Ackbar fleets with only Assault Frigates?  Same goes for any red-dice heavy list honestly.  Imperial Cymoons and Arquitens based lists will have similar flexibility, in that they won’t absolutely need that accuracy for flotillas as much.

 

Ultimately, only time will tell how these changes will fully impact the game moving forward.  All in all, I feel they are largely Quality of Life changes, meant to reduce negative play experiences and some “cheese” factor.  You can head over to the Armada Errata Page for a summary of changes, and links to all relevant documents.

Squadron Foundations – From Planning to Deployment

Squadrons are an crucial part of virtually every game of Armada.   Weather you are going heavy on squadrons, light on them, or focusing more on dealing with enemy squadrons, they are something that every build needs to consider.   In this article I’m going to talk about some of the cornerstones of a squadron build.

Plan

The first thing you need to do is figure out an overall plan of what you are trying to accomplish by adding squadrons to your fleet.  This will help guide how many you need to add,  what keywords you’ll want to include, and what overall point cost you should be shooting for.

One common strategy is to bring some bombers.   Bombers are most effective at hurting your opponent’s ships, but they tend to be weaker when compared to enemy fighters, so you’ll want some supporting squadrons as well.   You may want to consider some Escorts, for example, which will increase the number of squadrons you’ll have to bring overall.  Bomber-Heavy builds tend to usually run alot of squadrons and push very close to that 134 point limit.

Perhaps you only want to bring a few squadrons, merely to help slow down your opponent’s squadrons from hurting your ships.  A handful of TIE Fighters or Z-95s will usually do the trick, but you’ll generally want an even number, since you’ll get more of a deployment advantage by having multiples of 2.   In these cases it can be a good idea to bring at least 2, but perhaps even 4 or 6 if you want a more versatile fleet.

Synergy with Rest of Fleet

Once you have a plan you’ll want to make sure your selections match up to the rest of your fleet’s capabilities.  Make sure that your ships can actually activate your squadrons.  You wouldn’t want to have only Arquitens, or CR-90s and also have 12 Squadrons to support.  Ideally you’ll want to have your carriers, (generally ships with higher squadron values) be able to activate nearly all of your squadrons if they all performed a squadron command.   If you aren’t running carriers, you could also consider running a pair of squadrons with the Rogue keyword, which wouldn’t require squadron commands.

You may also want to add some upgrades to your fleet that enhance your squadrons.  A Bomber Command Center staying near your bombers can have a tremendous impact on your offensive capability.  Similarly, adding Instructor Goran to an Imperial Fleet that also includes Dengar, can have a very high boost on your fighters’ ability to counter attack.

Variety

Adding a variety of squadrons to your build will greatly enhance your flexibility and allow you a greater chance of overcoming most fleets that you face.   Any fleet that has for example, only bombers, might suffer due to their lack of offense to other squadrons.  Any fleet without even a small squadron force, won’t have much to defend against a swarm of enemy squadrons and will quickly face what is often known as “Death by a thousand cuts”.

Intel is one of those keywords that really gives you tremendous flexibility, in that it can prevent a single enemy from locking up your entire squadron force.  It helps bombers attack ships and avoid interruption, and keeps your fighters mobile.  Relay is another keyword that gives you the ability to stretch your squadrons further away from the safety net of your ships.    Adding multiple keywords to your fleet allows them to stay flexible and effective.

Deployment 

Most of the time it is best to include even numbers of squadrons, due to the fact that you deploy them in groups of two.  If you have enough squadrons, you can out-deploy your opponent and delay your important ships until the end.  This is known as Deployment Advantage.  Deploying 2 squadrons, in place of a ship, is one of the biggest advantages in the early game, and it’s a mistake that many new players tend to make, by forgetting their squadrons until the end.  It is almost always best to save your biggest ships until the end when you deploy, and taking larger amounts of squadrons allows you to delay your ships, gives you intelligence on where your opponent is deploying, and allows you to protect your valuable ships.

If you are interested in more information on how squadrons can influence deployment and give you deployment advantage, check out this video demonstration!

 

 

More painting!

Armada Wave 7 has finally come out and I’ve made it a point to paint at least ONE of each of my rebel ships.    Since I recently did one of each Imperial ship I decided I’d follow up for the rebels with an Oceanic theme to represent the fine Mon Calamari people, but accent it with some flames to represent burning oceans, or their fighting spirit.

Picture of painted rebel ships
Some of the first rebels I did with the “Blazing Oceans” theme.
More Painted Rebel Ships
Another Batch, including Wave 7’s MC-75. I didn’t give the MC-75 the flames yet, not sure if I will.
Close up of MC-75
The MC-75’s Armor was fun to do, taping off everything else, and multiple layers of light grey and mixtures of darker black and hints of blue.
Picture of all Armada ships, painted.
Here’s all of my airbrushed ships.

Scanned Images

I’ve had a few requests for Scanned Images of the Wave 7 cards and tokens as well.  My scanner isn’t the best, but hopefully this will work!

Armada Wave 7 in hand!

Armada Wave 7
Look what Santa Brought!

It was just a normal night, in fact I was getting ready to play some Armada with a friend.   When suddenly, my doorbell rang.  It was late, and the kids were already in bed.   Curious as to who could have been at my door this late, I opened the door to see that nobody was there, but instead a package was laying at my door!  FFG had sent me these two ships to review!   I showed my friend and immediately we knew that the game we wanted to play was going to have to wait so we could dive right in to these expansions!

Armada wave 7
The Profundity and Chimaera are gorgeous!

First the Chimaera – I was really pleased at the fact that the paint job is on both the top AND on the bottom.   A really nice touch.  This expansion really does a lot to emphasize large ships and make them more competitive, which has been one of my top complaints in the game so far.   Additionally, the explanation of raid tokens that comes with the rules, clears up all of the speculation as to how we can get rid of them.   You can either spend a command token to get rid of a matching raid token, (Making commanders like Tarkin and Garm more useful) or you can spend an entire dial, to get rid of ALL raid tokens.   Additionally the Gauntlet Fighters are gorgeous, and Gar Saxon’s ability to finally harass squadrons with Intel or Relay, begin to address my other concern with this game, in the form of Relay.

Another thing that is great about this set is the fact that it comes with enough new Star Destroyer cards to outfit itself and 2 additional Star Destroyers, so you can take 3 brand new ships into battle using the cards that come with this expansion!   Considering that you get all that plus two new squadrons, this is one heck of a value for a single box!

Now the Profundity expansion was really something special.   First off, I think this ship may be the best looking ship the rebels have in game up to this point.   Honestly, it is just jaw-dropping.   Like the Chimaera, it comes with lots of good cards that will really help large ships, and some duplicate cards that means rebels players won’t have to buy the Chimaera just to get a copy of Strategic Adviser.

Additionally, cards like Bail Organa offer a asymmetrical counter to cards like Governor Pryce.   And considering new Hyperspace Jump mechanics, that show up with the Profundity title and Admiral Raddus himself, the rebels gain a unique tactical advantage in their ability to deploy ships almost anywhere on teh battlefield!  With an emphasis on large ships and tokens, this looks to be a truly amazing ship!

Is this going to be an amazing wave or what?

Here are some higher rez pictures of the unspoiled cards:

Type O Negative Fleet

Growing up, my favorite band was Type O Negative.  This was a major influence on me and why my favorite colors are black and green.  (Also helps that Luke in ROTJ was basically those same colors as well).  So when I got an Airbrush for Christmas, my first major project was going to be to repaint some of my Armada ship that I’d previously screwed up on and wanted to repaint them.

Here’s the video of the Livestream if you are interested:

The end result wasn’t half bad.  Here’s how they came out.

So the next day I went back and added some details.  I did some panels in grey, and then added tiny white dots where I thought lights should be.  I think it came out pretty good!

Here are some more closeups:

This is part of the reason I’m now trying to manufacture reasons to use these 3 ships in a list!  Might have to repaint some squadrons soon!

Taking a look at Raddus

At the time of writing this article, we still haven’t seen a good preview of the Profundity expansion so I’m doing this all based on what little we know about Raddus. 

So Raddus hasn’t seen a whole lot of attention yet in the big hype train surrounding Wave 7 for Armada.  I’d say primarily because of 2 mains reasons.  First, Thrawn’s expansion, the Chimaera, has gotten most of the attention thus far with several articles, and Secondly, Raddus at a glance, appears to give us something we already have access to – a Ship warping in.

Now we’ve already seen a similar mechanic when it comes to the Yellow Objective, Hyperspace Assault.   I think that I wasn’t initially too impressed with this commander because of that.   It didn’t feel “fresh”.   It didn’t feel “new”.  But once I looked closer I realized this guy is far superior to that objective and has an awful lot of versatility.  In fact, I think Raddus actually takes the place of “Top Strategic Master”, whereas most people may have expected that title to go to Thrawn.

Raddus Bomb

We know now (thanks to the latest FAQ) that you will lose the game if you deploy 0 ships, so you’ll need to start with at least something perhaps a cheap small ship.  But the Raddus Bomb is a strategy that involves having multiple ships deploy at the same time.   If you are using Hypserpscae Assault you can effectively have Profundity dock a CR-90, and have an Assault Frigate off the map with Hyperspace Assault, (Have that Assault Frigate equipped with Rapid Launch Bays – docking 3 B-Wings, plus your 3 from hyperspace assault), and effectively surprise an enemy with your Assault Frigate warping in with 3 Squadrons, (then it can do a Squadron command and deploy it’s own docked squadrons for a total of 6), then Warp in Profundity, and then deploy a docked CR-90.  This can be a really fun way to go, but you run the risk of having your lone ship destroyed BEFORE you deploy everything else – and if that were to happen you’d instantly lose.

I’ve looked deeper at Raddus and think that more subtle usage of his ability might be a more effective approach to bringing him into games.

No Size Restriction

Raddus is better than the Hyperspace Assault objective’s benefit for a multitude of reasons.   First, you aren’t restricted to only small and medium ships, which means you can take that loaded up LMC-80 and surprise your opponent with it.   LMC-80s make for excellent flanking ships, with the ability to move at speed 3, take gunnery teams, and hit you just as hard as an Imperial Star Destroyer, being able to surprise an enemy with one of these is going to feel great!

No Deployment Disadvantage

Similar to how Governor Pryce allows an Imperial Star Destroyer to gain an advantage by activating last, Raddus can act alternatively for the Rebels, and allow you to DEPLOY last.   By using his ability during the FIRST turn of the game, you’ll effectively have the final deployment.  This is perfect for flanking ships, but also it allows you to adapt to any objective that might want you to put a ship somewhere without broadcasting your plan to your opponent during setup.  Also, if you deploy that big flanking Spinal Armament, Gunnery Teamed MC-80 Liberty at the start of Turn 1, you can gain 2 smaller advantages as well, in that you A) can push it past the normal deployment zone a bit, and B) won’t suffer from the penalty of not being able to activate it first.

This is especially powerful if you end up being first player, as you’ll have an MC-80 that may end up deploying at it’s furthest forward spot, past another forward ship, and at speed 3.  This will put it in prime position to shoot first on turn 2.   You might even find yourself in a position to destroy two enemy ships at the start of the second turn this way.

Speeding Up the Slower Ships

Another option is to take a Home-One style MC-80, and drop it at the start of turn 2, directly in the path of your enemies.   Set one of your smaller ships to speed 3 or 4, and get them close enough to the enemy fleet that a large ship deploying at that point will really screw up their plans.  It’s a tough enough ship that it can take a beating and survive for a turn or 2, and it’s large enough that it’ll likely cause some bumping.   Bonus points if you can force enemy flotillas to bump!  Then when you do activate it, you’ll have those tremendous powerful side arcs in close range of your opponent’s ships!   The best part is that you’ll be able to choose where you place the MC-80 so you might even end up with both side arcs having a great shot!  You can also probably leave off certain upgrades like Engine Techs, since getting into position will be done for you already at that point.

Rise of the Interdictor

One side effect of Raddus is that the Interdictor will likely see new life.   I don’t think the Interdictor is bad, or has been bad, but it’s certainly not a power player in the top lists, and it’s more of a niche ship that seems to do best in objective-focused lists.   Now it’s going to have a new purpose with the GX-7 Grav Well Projector

The latest FAQ has stated that these projector tokens remain in place for the entire game.  That means that enemy ships that “deploy” after the start of the game, are also vulnerable to the effects of the grav well projector.   Having your 150+ point MC-80 deploy, and get set to speed zero is a real problem, especially when you can’t activate it first.  That means your opponent will get at least one chance to shoot you, and you will NOT be allowed to spend any defense tokens.  This could allow even the strongest ship to potentially be killed in a single attack.   It may be a good idea to bring along Lando Calrissian just in case this happens.  The good part, is that these tokens have to be placed before deploying fleets, so that still gives Raddus a fighting chance against Interdictors.

But will we see fleets with multiple Interdictors in the future?   I doubt it, but with the release of Wave 6’s Disposable Capacitors, Interdictors are stronger and can actually deal out some damage even at long range now, so it might just be a thing, depending on how prevalent Raddus becomes.  Counters are a good thing – they keep one list from running wild – and even though I doubt we’ll see double Interdictor Lists become widespread, it’s nice to know that there are some effective measures to stop this master Mon Calamari from running amuck!

 

Wave 7 was just sent to the printer finally – so it’s looking like we might actually have them in our hands at some point in the forseeable future!   My hopes for Q1 are small, especially since FFG deliberately said “Early” 2018, as opposed to Q1.   I would bet on a July release at this point.

 

Governor Pryce, First Impressions

We got another article today about Armada’s Wave 7 from the new article today, from FFG.  In it we got a very interesting glimpse of a new officer, designed by 2015 World Champion Jonathan Reinig, Governor Pryce.

Restrictions – She cannot be used on small ships, and at first glance, seems to be very powerful on an ISD.   No longer will 2 or 3 ship lists feel quite so pushed to add flotillas in place of squadrons or upgrades.   Well, that seems to be the idea at least.  I feel like the hope here, was that a two ISD list would be able to delay one of it’s activations until the end, forcing an opponent with say, 4+ ships, to move them all into engagement range, and giving Pryce’s ISD the lion’s share of targets.   That might work for casual games but I think there are some problems here, beyond the fact that it can only be used once.

Broadcasting Your Plan

The good people over at CannotGetYourShipOut tend to often emphasize the risks when you basically tell your opponent what you are planning to do.  Here is a perfect case where you are doing just that.  If you select the ROUND 3 token, for example…. your opponent knows that you are planning for round 3 to be your power turn, and can typically adjust their tactics accordingly.  If this were the case, an opponent could simply wait for you to move Pryce’s ship turn 2, then speed up to put all ships in range, ready to shoot at the start of turn 3.   (Also there may be some shots fired turn 2 as well).

MUST can be a Bust

This card says you MUST activate at the end of the chosen turn.   Which means if you’ve only got a 2 ship list and have activated your first ship, you have to just sit there while your opponent activates ship after ship, slugging Pryce’s ship with volley after volley…. and THEN moving out of the way.  If her ship even survives, it may not have any good shots left against an experienced opponent.  If this didn’t say “Must”, then at least you could REACT to an opponent’s ever-changing strategy – but in this case your hands are tied.

Squadrons

Heavy carriers might be a smarter move when assigning Governor Pryce, as you’ll be able to stay a bit farther away and still get some versatility out of the squadrons that you activate.  However, great carriers like the Quasar tend to want officers that will give some nice synergy with  their squadron abilities, like Wulf Yularen, or even Admiral Chiraneu.  Also, a quasar is cheap enough that it probably is never going to run in a 2 ship list, or really fear for activation disadvantage quite like an ISD will.

So which turn SHOULD you select?

First thing’s first – before you select a turn with Pryce, you are going to have to read the battlefield.   You are going to look at where your opponent placed ships, how far away they are, and what speed they are at.   You are going to have to look at their ability to modify speeds beyond simple navigation commands, (Ozzel, Flotillas with Comms Net, etc).  And you are going to have to think about what offensive capabilities they have.  Do they need to be in close range?   Are they most effective at long range?  All of these things are going to factor in to your decision.   But the simple answer I think, in many cases, will be to select turn 2.

Why turn 2?

Turn 2 may turn out to be the optimal turn primarily because it won’t give your opponent as much setup time to exploit your inability to activate.   You don’t want a fleet of MC-30s to be able to boost up to speed 4 and all jump into close range of Pryce’s Star Destroyer and attack with impunity.  You don’t want a 7 activation list to be able to take 7 separate shots on your front hull zone before you can react, and you certainly don’t want those shots to kill you before you get to use a ship that you likely have 130+ points invested into.  In some cases where the opponent’s fleet is slow, and they deploy at speed 1, you will probably feel safe to select turn 3…. but in most cases Turn 2 will probably be the safest bet.

 

In closing I think this is a step in the right direction for large ships.   It’s not good enough on it’s own, and I think it would be 10x better if it allowed you to ignore the card’s text and activate as normal if you needed to, however it is interesting and different, and addresses an important weakness of large ships.   I’ll certainly try it out at some point.