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.

 

 

Contest Finalists!

It’s been a great contest with over 60 submissions!   I’d like to thank everyone who entered!   Submissions are now closed, but you are still more than welcome to add some more paint jobs to the forums if you simply want to share!

I’ll be announcing the winner of the Legion Core Set, as well as the winner of the door prize in the next day or 2, so make sure and check back often!

I’ll be narrowing down the paint jobs soon, but here are some of the finalists:

 

Here are some thumbnails of the submissions we got over on the forums!

 

 

The Original Blue Objectives

The Original Blue Objectives

This third installment of objectives are dealing with the original blue objectives that come in the Armada core set.  I also have covered reds and yellows, and will soon be covering the objectives in the Corellian Conflict as well.  Lets get started!

This one is a simple points race.   You land a ship on an obstacle, and you can gain a victory token.  It also has the clear benefit of allowing the 2nd players ships complete immunity when landing on asteroid fields and debris fields.  There are some common questions with interactions here that have been answered in the FAQ as well.  First – Grav Shift Reroute moves these obstacles, the tokens move with them.  Second – Squadrons with Strategic are allowed to move tokens off these obstacles.   In that case, the tokens must be placed back on an obstacle before it can be removed for scoring.   And if a ship lands on an obstacles with multiple tokens, you only remove one token each time.  See the Armada Errata page for a link to the latest FAQ.

Why you should include it:

One thing that’s nice is that you’ll get the ability to move through obstacles unhindered and your opponent won’t.  Large Based ships can certainly take advantage of this.  Also, if you are running Grav Shift Reroute you can pull some of these obstacles closer to yourself to make collecting them easier.   This doesn’t give a ton of points though and isn’t terribly strong, but it also typically doesn’t help your opponent either.

If you are 1st Player:

If you’ve got Jaina’s Light in your fleet, is usually a sure thing to select this objective, because you’ve already got a ship that can land on those obstacles without taking any punishment!  Also if you are running an Interdictor with a Grav Shift Reroute of your own, you may be able to reverse the placement of some of these rocks and pull them closer to yourself, giving you an advantage.

 

Another points grab, but this time it’s winner-take-all.  Flotillas have made it easier than ever to send a ship after one of these objective tokens.  Years ago, this objective used to be very bad for Imperial players who tended to run a Demolisher, and either VSDs and/or ISDs.  An Imperial Player typically could NOT afford to send any of his or her ships out chasing after objectives, so this was an easy pick for rebels running a lone CR-90.  Nowadays however, flotillas are so common that this becomes a more risky objective to take, as it can easily be turned against you.

Why you should include it:

If you’ve got several Strategic Squadrons and ways to give them extra movement, such as Squall, Fighter Coordination Team, or Adar Talon, you’ll have a much easier time of quickly grabbing three tokens.  As 2nd player you’ll be able to place 3 out of the 5 tokens, so be sure and place them in such a way that you’ll be able to get to them before your opponent.  You also want to ensure that you can keep your objective ship alive.  For Empire, consider something like a Gozanti with Minister Tua and Electronic Counter Measures.  For Rebels, a Bright Hope with Major Derlin would prove incredibly hard to kill.  Fast ships like Raiders and CR-90s also can make for good objective ships.

If you are 1st Player:

If you’ve got more Strategic than your opponent, and think you can get to those objective tokens before your opponent can, then you can turn this against him or her.   Alternatively, if you’ve got a force that can quickly kill their objective ship, then you can also stop them from collecting points.  A swarm of CR-90As with Turbolaser Reroute Circuits for example, can quickly move into striking distance and concentrate on a lightly defending objective ship.

 

A classic objective of telling your opponent which way they should approach.   This one used to get used a ton before Strategic came around.  Now it’s quite risky to use this if you don’t also bring in some Strategic Squadrons of your own.

Why you should include it:

If you’ve got Dodonna, you can trigger his ability if your opponent trips one of these mines and rolls a crit, so that is a very fun part of this objective.   It also helps you generally control which ways your opponent can come into the fight, so if your fleet is very vulnerable to flanking this one can help.   You’ll probably want to include some Strategic into your build, just in case your opponent has some Strategic of their own.  And if not, it helps to re-purpose those mined that your opponent managed to miss.  It’s great to push them again and again!  Also, keep note of your opponent’s build.  If they don’t have any strategic, you might even consider putting many of these mines closer to the center of the board so you can push them all directly into your opponent regardless of where they deploy.

If you are 1st Player:

If you’ve got several Strategic Squadrons and your opponent does not…. then absolutely pick this one.  Nothing is more satisfying than pushing the 2nd players mine field back on themselves!

 

In my opinion, this one is by far the best of the original blue objectives.  This one is especially helpful with modern fleets that might only run 2 or 3 activations.  I also think this will be especially good in the future, with Wave 7’s new large ships.  It punishes the 1st player by making them deploy EVERYTHING first.  It takes away any deployment advantage they had.   And it allows rear shots to reward both of you with victory points. Rear shots SHOULD be easy since you can see where your opponent is setting up.

Why you should include it:

This one is great for any list that has a big deployment disadvantage.   3 or less ships, for example.  This list can also be very nice if you’ve got a good number of squadrons that aren’t likely to get engaged and locked down.   Squadrons with Rogue are particularly nice here, but Intel will easily help your squadrons get rear shots.   Maneuverable ships will also help you sneak around slower ships and get those rear shots as well.

If you are 1st Player:

If perhaps you were going to have a deployment disadvantage either way, then you really didn’t lose much by selecting this one.   Perhaps you are running a 2-ship build heavy with Squadrons?  Just set up in the middle and adjust accordingly – hoping your squadrons will get you a ton of victory points.  Make sure you get those rear shots!

 

Hope you enjoyed my breakdown of the basic blue objectives!   I’ll be covering the Corellian Conflict soon so check back often!

The Original Red Objectives

The Video – In case you prefer.

A long time ago when Armada was still new, I had started doing a series of videos on objectives, but never finished them.   I’ve decided it’s time to revisit Objectives and I’m going to start out with the Original Reds!  These first four are the originals.  The Classics.  They came with the core set and everyone should have them.  I’ll also be covering the objectives that come in the Corellian Conflict at a later date.

 

Advanced Gunnery is a dangerous objective to take, as it can benefit both you AND your opponent.  It also tends to be risky because it gives a benefit to your opponent as well, and if you are unlucky they may kill your objective ship and get a huge extra chunk of points. Also, with most heavy-hitting ships, you want to add gunnery teams, and this objective specifically won’t work with Gunnery Teams, because Gunnery Teams deny you the ability to attack more than once out of the same arc.

When should you include it:

One of the most common reasons to include this card is if you have a heavy firepower ship that does not, or can not, take Gunnery Teams.   This might be the case if you are running an Ackbar Build with an (H)MC-80.  MC-80s tend to be good targets for this, because they are tough enough to hopefully survive.  You can also consider running this on an Imperial Star Destroyer if your weapons team is occupied by something else, perhaps a boarding party.   Though most of the time if I’m running an ISD, I will often use Gunnery Teams instead of taking this objective.

If you are 1st Player :

Usually you don’t select this one.   However, if you’ve got a tanky ship that simply couldn’t take gunnery teams…. and you feel confident in being able to use this benefit better than your opponent, feel free.  It is important to note, that while the 1st player’s objective ship doesn’t get quite as good of a benefit as the 2nd player’s objective ship, you CAN still potentially attack the same ship twice if you are first player – You’ll just need to get that big firing arc into a position where it can attack two different hull zones of the same ship.

 

Opening Salvo is a favorite of mine.  It is one of those that gives something to both players, but really benefits fleets with a lot of ships.   It also offers the 2nd player the rare opportunity to throw black dice at long range – which can lead to some interesting combos.  One key point here is that you MUST discard your objective token the first time you attack a ship, so you actually may find yourself skipping your attack if it’s against a ship you don’t feel comfortable wasting your bonus, while shooting – (Perhaps a Gozanti with Tua and Electronic CounterMeasures).  This one also gives half score to players who manage to damage but not destroy enemy ships at the end of the game.  Great for those Star Destroyers who manage to avoid death, yet still take some damage.

When you should include it:

You absolutely want to include this in high ship-count lists.   If you are running 5 or more ships that can shoot (Sorry GR-75 Medium Transports), then this is usually a good bet.   It’s also nice to include this one if you’ve got specialized crit cards in your build, like Assault Proton Torpedoes, as you’ll now have an easy way to trigger those at long range.  It also helps to have some dice mitigation since you’ll be adding lots of dice here, so cards like Home One, Darth Vader, Ordnance Experts, and Leading Shots may be helpful as well.

If you are 1st Player:

If you have less than 4 ships you’ll most likely want to skip this one.  If you DO take this one you’ll generally want to have a lot of shooting ships.   If you have more shooters than your opponent, then I’d say absolutely go for this one.   Keep in mind you’ll only get red dice added to your first attacks, but that can be fine, especially if you’ve got Turbolaser Reroute Circuits equipped, or if your commander allows you to make the most out of those extra dice, like Darth Vader loves to do.  Also, since your are first player, at the start of each round you may want to prioritize attacking an opponent’s ships that still have an objective token, denying them both an activation and a powerful shot.

 

Most Wanted has literally made the difference in games that I would have lost otherwise.  The key with this card is that it lets the second player make both choices.  It does two things – It allows the 2nd player to pick one of the 1st players biggest ships that will end up being worth double points, (while picking one of their own least-important ships), and also gives extra dice to attacking ships that go after said objective ships.   Also this card has been errata’d in the official FAQ – under the SPECIAL RULE, it only allows SHIPS to add 1 die of any color, not any attacker.

When you should include it:

To make this card really shine you’ll need 2 things.  First, you’ll need some decent ship to ship firepower.   Several shooters would be good, since each ship that attacks the enemy objective ship will gain the bonus die.  Also, you’ll need a cheap ship, preferably a flotilla, to make your own objective ship.  This will minimize the impact if you lose it, and if you opponent gets bonus dice when going after a ship that isn’t exactly crucial to your build, then so be it.

When you are 1st Player:

This is one that a 1st player seldom wants to pick.   The only times you will want to chose this one are when your opponent won’t really get much out of it – weather they forgot to include a flotilla, or all of your ships are cheap and relatively worthless, (Hammerhead/CR-90 Swarm perhaps?).  Now if you happen to have a Hammerhead Swarm and your opponent has 3 Imperial Star Destrors plus a few TIEs, you actually might want to pick it!  You have to estimate that your opponent will pick his or her least valuable ship and your most valuable ship, and that both may get destroyed and ship value doubled.   If after doing the math, you still come out on top, then you might pick this one.

 

Obviously Precision Strike is meant to emphasize bomber-based fleets.   But at a second glance, you don’t need bombers to make it work.   (It just helps).  It’s going to give the 2nd player a concentrate fire token to each ship, which means if you are running a token-based commander like Tarkin of Garm, you’ll see very little benefit from this first part…. but the key is in the victory points that can be racked up.  This one has also become significantly more impactful since the core set wave, since we’ve seen new things that can really aide the bombers, such as Bomber Command Center, and Intel – really making it easier to rack up the points.  However, this card also offers very little as a bonus for the second player – and if you take it you run the risk of facing another bomber-based fleet

When you should include it:

If you have a significant investment in bombers, you may want to consider taking this one.   You’ll also need some anti-bomber mechanics as well, in case you face a ton of Y-Wings or TIE Bombers – because you absolutely don’t want the 1st player getting more points out of your own objective than YOU.  Your ships can also score points here, so agile, maneuverable ships like CR-90s are capable and tend to fit into bomber lists with ease.

When you are 1st Player:

If you have bombers.   Especially if you have more bombers than your opponent.   Any time you can turn your opponent’s objective against them, it’s going to be one heck of a ride!   Also if you have an effective way to deal with your opponent’s bombers, this might easily be the best objective to pick.  If you have few or no squadrons at all, then I’d strongly suggest passing on this one.

 

 

That wraps up the original red objectives!   Check back soon because we’ll be taking  a look at the rest of the core set’s Objectives, and then diving into the Corellian Conflict’s new ones after that!

Painting Contest Update – Door Prize added!

I’ve had so many entries that I’ve decided to include a door prize!  This one is open to all of my youtube subscribers and as a bonus, everyone who enters the painting contest also gets a bonus chance to win the door prize!  It’s a $20 gift card to Miniature Market that you can use for an expansion of your choice!

I announce it in the video below.

The video itself is about all games in general.   If units had no printed point cost, do you think that would help the need to errata cards all the time?

Dare to go Squadron-less?

Video if you prefer not to read the article.

 

It can be very tricky to go without squadrons.  Essentially, any list that doesn’t include any squadrons is taking a huge gamble, and it usually isn’t worth the risk.

Taking even two TIE Fighters or Z-95s is a minimal investment of points, and can make a huge difference when you are facing a squadron heavy build.  This is a major reason why you simply don’t see many squadron-less fleets these days.   It’s just too easy to spend 14-30 points to ensure that you are at least mildly prepared to deal with a majority of lists…  and since virtually every list out there uses squadrons at least in part – it’s almost a given that you HAVE to take some squadrons.   Almost…

But going without squadrons can give you all sorts of awesome benefits as well!  Lets talk about some of the benefits.

Single Strategy – For starters, you can build a singular strategy around your ships – weather it’s a full-blown broadside list, a hard charging Star Destroyer list, or something else designed without squadrons in mind, you can focus more on a single idea.

Command Dials – You only have to worry about planning 3 commands, instead of 4, effectively reducing the choices you have to make, and giving you less chance of picking something wrong.  (Although this is also a double edged sword if your opponent is running slicer tools – more on that later).

More Points! – The most obvious benefit is that you have more points to spend on the bulk of your fleet!  That means more ships, more activations, more dedicated anti-ship firepower, and more points for upgrades!

If you want to make a squadron-less fleet work you are going to need to embrace a few key concepts.

Survive – You need to be able to withstand lots of extra poke damage.  A-Wings like to poke and they are cheap.  B-Wings with bomber command center and Yavaris are the worst.    You won’t have an easy way of shutting these squadrons down, so you’ll need to outlast their barrages.   And if you manage to get rid of their ships, the remaining squadrons STILL get to shoot during the squadron phase, since the winner isn’t determined until the end of the round.   You might defeat your opponent only to have their remaining bombers finish you off as well.

Chase –  Relay has been a tremendous boon to fragile carriers.  Flotillas, Quasars, and even a really mean Yavaris can now hang in the back and issue commands from safety.   You’ll need some speed to be able to chase them down and take them out. Try to use ships that can go faster than speed 2.

Table – When your opponent has serious squadron power, the best way to shut them down is to table them.  This isn’t always easy, due to flotillas using scatter, or a single Star Destroyer running engineering every turn.  You’ll need to have a list that has the speed and firepower to catch every ship and table them.

Kill the Flotillas – Since you have no squadrons, it’s especially harmful if an opponent hits you with Slicer tools, so if possible, activate your 1-Command ships first, and prioritize killing those flotillas if you can.  They activate squadrons, can be housing a Bomber Command Center, and are hard enough to kill – you don’t want them getting away and using Relay to finish you off.

Be prepared to lose badly– Even a really well designed fleet with no squadrons is going to lose.   Alot.  If you are going to do this, keep that in mind.  You are gambling here.   Winning will be fun, but facing a swarm of bombers will hurt.   And people run them often.

Bad Ideas

Some ideas tend not to work too well.  Even though at first glance, they might seem like a winning solution for a squadron-less build.

Quad Laser Turrets – A single counter die is only going to do an average of half a damage, each time you are attacked.   This on it’s own isn’t enough to stop a bomber build, especially considering how most bombers have high hit points.  This need to be paired with other cards to work better, and also need to be on every ship.

Cluster Bombs – It sounds attractive, but it’s also expensive to get enough of them to outfit your whole fleet.  Plus it’s a one time use.   On the plus side it can’t be braced or scattered, but chances are, a low health Tycho will simply fly away or go after a ship that has already spent it’s bombs.  As much as I’d like to try to really try these in a heavy environment, there simply isn’t enough reason to use them now.

Single Raider with Impetuous – This title isn’t “bad” but if you are expecting a single raider with this title to stop the enemy squadrons you are going to be in for a disturbing truth.  Enemy squadrons will almost never put themselves in a position for you to shoot at them if this is your one threat.  Either they’ll activate during the squadron phase (after you’ve already gone), and fly out of your firing range, or they’ll activate ahead of you with a squadron command.  To make this title really shine, you need some way to lock down enemy squadrons, and for that purpose you should have chosen the Instigator.

Quasar 2 – The red anti-squadron die is unmatched currently in terms of range and number of squadrons it can hit.   And sure, you can give it Kallus to potentially hurt aces – but at the end of the day you are taking the game’s best pure carrier, and not bringing any squadrons for it to….. “carry”.  I just have a huge problem with that level of inefficiency.

Ideas that can work:

Lets talk about a few ideas that are more reliable and have a better chance to be effective in a variety of circumstances.

Raider 1 – The Raider 1 is a great ship, possibly the BEST ship in the game for this purpose.  It is fast.  It can roll 2 black dice.  It has two titles that specifically deal with Squadrons.  It can take the perfect combination of Flechette Torpedoes and Ordnance Experts to seriously lock down any large group of squadrons.   Consider running several of these.   Best part is they still work well against ships, unlike some other anti-squadron specific options.

Kallus – Dude is amazing for dealing with squadrons.  Combos well with Flechettes but works just as good without them.   And you get to pick the color – so if you really need that accuracy to stop the scatter, or you want the reliable damage from the black, or maybe you are going for the hail mary red die with the double hit… you can chose whatever you need!  And he’s only 3 points, so even if you end up not facing uniques it’s not a terrible waste.

CR-90A – It has alot of things going for it that help make up for the vulnerability that having no squadrons will give you.  It’s fast.  Very fast.  It has alot of red dice, so it can reach pretty far.  It has access to some good upgrades like the TRC.   And it’s cheap.   You can run a ton of them and squadrons will have a hard time keeping up with you, while you pelt their carriers from long range with TRC blast after TRC blast.

Toryn Far – If you are going rebels, you likely aren’t going to mass ships with double black anti squadron dice – so you’ll probably get alot of use out of her.   As a bonus she also helps make Quad Laser Turrets slightly better, so if you are on the fence about that idea, she can help push you over.  And she works against ships too!

 

Every time I try a list with no squadrons, I always know that I am taking a huge gamble, but i suppose that’s part of the fun.   Ideally you hope to get paired up against someone with a counter-squadron build – perhaps someone with a handful of non-threatening squadrons – perhaps with escort, or counter.  But if you can pull off a win against a heavy squadron list – it’ll be worth the anxiety!  Happy Flying!

 

Concentrate Fire – My Favorite Command!

I suppose the title says it all here.   Concentrate Fire is probably my most heavily used command and I just love it, but it’s not perfect.  Maybe I favor it so much because I tend to enjoy games that end quickly?   Maybe it’s an aggressive play style?   Maybe I’d rather destroy an enemy ship before it can shoot me back?   You know what they say, the best defense is a good offense!

I actually think it has something to do with the types of lists I fly.  I used to really favor the CR-90 with Turbolaser Reroute Circuits, but have since gravitates more towards being a serious fan of the Arquitens.  What do a lot of my favorite lists have in common?

Small Ships

Small based ships tend to have a lower number of attack dice, and they also tend to cost a lot less than medium or large ships.   The types of small ships I tend to fly most often are ships that are cheap and have red dice in multiple firing arcs.  A CR-90 with a concentrate fire, can effectively double it’s side arc dice at long range, or add 50% to it’s front shot.  That’s not a bad amount of firepower if you’ve got some way to counter the risk of rolling blanks.  The Arquitens on the other hand, also can double their front shot, but only gain 33% to the side shot.   However, either ship can run TRC to mitigate a single bad result, but the Arquitens have the unique advantage of being Imperial and therefore having access to Vader – an incredibly strong commander where Red Dice are concerned.

Large Ship Disadvantage

Large Ships using concentrate fire, on the other hand, have a significant disadvantage when compared to small ships doing the same command.  A Large ship may be rolling anywhere from 4 to 10 dice already, and getting one extra just isn’t that much of a big deal.  At long range, an ISD may only add 20% to it’s dice count, which is much less, but the closer they get, the less impactful a concentrate fire command feels.   Imagine rolling 8 dice and your command only gives you one more…   Typically by the time an Imperial Star Destroyer, or Liberty MC-80 gets you within medium range, you are going to die regardless, so one extra die isn’t going to matter much.  For large ships, navigation is often far more valuable, considering they can use it to ensure they line up shots and guarantee using the dice they already have.

My Wishlist

How would I fix this balance?  Any fix I come up with for this would have to make Large ships more desirable than they are now, in my mind, while not making medium ships overpowered since they have the ability to take disposable capacitors.  I think a new commander or new officers could help this idea out.

Admiral Lee would act similar to Motti for the rebels.  This is only a rough example for the card, he may have to cost more, and I may have to scale back his benefits… perhaps providing nothing for a small ship in this case.   Maybe an extra reroll for medium, and an extra die for large… but this is just to get the ideas flowing.

For the Empire, I went with a single ship option.

I made him an officer and costed him at a whopping 15 points.   He can give an ISD 3 additional dice when doing a CF, so a total of 4 extra dice for a long range attack.   I might have to make him Large Ship Only.  Something like this would really make an ISD threatening!  But I fear if he’s not restricted to large ships, people might simply put him on a Victory and call it a day.

 

Either way, as it stands right now, I feel Concentrate Fire is best and most efficient on small ships, and since you can field so many MORE of them, it adds up to ALOT more dice overall.   I would love to see some serious incentive for Large Ships to start taking Concentrate Fire more reliably!

 

Rapid Launch Bays – So Delicious!

Rapid Launch Bays has easily got to be one of my favorite cards in the game.  It  allows squadrons to be carried into battle on board a ship and “Launch” directly into the heat of combat.  And while it’s not exactly a “New” card, I do want to talk about just how much I love it!

One of the early things I didn’t like much about Armada, was that enemy fleets had to start the game with squadrons deployed.  Considering that some squadrons are fast, and some are incredibly slow, it never made that much sense to be.  Why would rebels launch A-Wings and a YT-1300 both at the same time while being at maximum distance from enemy contact?  When this card came out it was a breath of fresh air.  Finally, I could have a more thematic battle, with ships launching directly into combat.

Flight Commander is practically an auto include on any ship using Rapid Launch Bays.   It allows you to MOVE first, get into position, THEN drop your squadrons, and immediately shoot.   From a certain point of view, it allows any ship to be as dangerous as a Demolisher.

The usage of this card was also clarified recently.  You don’t actually have to activate the ships that you deploy with this card – allowing them to shoot and move so long as you activate them afterward with some OTHER ship.  You have options!   You can drop some X-Wings, activate ONE of them, perhaps one other ship, and leave the rest of your deployed ships for another activation or perhaps even the squadron phase.

My favorite squadron to use with Rapid Launch bays is probably B-Wings.  Their speed of 2, originally made them incredibly difficult to use effectively.  As a bomber with 2 anti ship dice, you REALLY want these guys up close and personal to enemy ships, and Rapid Launch Bays gives you the ability to deploy them right where you want them.   If you position yourself correctly, you can even drop these trusty bombers so they avoid enemy engagements, allowing them to ravage your enemy’s hull right away!

You can combo this with the Yavaris if you play your cards right.   Dropping some B-Wings at close range of an enemy flagship that has already activated, might be a situation where you want to leave the B-Wings un-activated, if you’ve got a Yavaris nearby that can allow those now close-range B-Wings to double tap.  This is a risky move though, because to do this means you are giving your opponent a chance to react, so you may find your Yavaris destroyed, or your B-Wings engaged by hostile squadrons before they can bomb the enemy flagship. So if you plan to drop your prized bombers in your opponents face, you need to consider how your opponent will counter them before you waste an opportunity to hit them directly.

Rapid Launch Bays can also be used against pesky squadrons.  Suppose you are playing as the Empire and your opponent has a named A-Wing that is stopping all of your best laid plans, and is able to Scatter when you try to attack them, narrowly avoiding death!   Dropping a Boba Fett at range 1 of the enemy’s most annoying squadron might yield you a great opportunity to deal an unavoidable damage, which might be just what it takes to finally get rid of Tycho Celchu or Shara Bey!

 

I generally try to use Rapid Launch Bays on ships that can drop 3 or more squadrons, but also ships that have the mobility required to get them into a good enough position to do so.  Flotillas aren’t bad in this case on either side. It gives them some threat that they may not have otherwise had, and their speed, mobility, and squadron value while all being mediocre, are all balanced well considering their low cost in this case.

For the rebels, I’ve found the Assault Frigate Mk2 tends to be the most well rounded carrier, and works very well as a Rapid Launch Bay platform.  The Empire has several options, with the ISD 1 having the largest potential capacity.  I’ve even tried to use the Raider with Boba Fett before, as a single option, and while not optimal, it still works somewhat interestingly, due to the fact that you can stock a squadron token and still use it, rather than needing to plan a full squadron dial to make this work.

So between the form and the function, Rapid Launch Bays is one of the best upgrades in the game.  It makes the battles more thematic, and really can change the tempo of the way squadrons perform.   I love it and I hope you do to!

 

 

 

Ackbar Nebulons – Turning Taboo into Terror

A few weeks ago I was getting ready for an Armada tournament, and I posted on facebook that I was planning on trying a new build, and that it would be “outside of my comfort zone”.  In jest, a friend said that I should be flying Ackbar Nebulons.  This post received several ‘likes’, and a few follow up comments urging me to fly Ackbar Nebulons.  Clearly, I was being mocked.   Or was I?  I decided at that moment that I would put some work into an Ackbar Nebulon list to spite them all either with shock or dismay.

 

Why is this so taboo in the first place?

Generally you want to enhance your biggest strengths, rather than simply offset your weaknesses.  Some times players try to fill in a ‘gap’ in a ship to make it more well rounded, but most of the time in a short game of only 6 turns, championships are won by those who tend to focus more on a ship’s specialty.  Pairing Ackbar with Nebulons is breaking that rule completely down the middle, by not simply enhancing a weakness (the side arcs) but also by crippling the biggest strength (the front arc).

Nebulons want to be pointed directly at the enemy.  Their 3 shields, and 3 red dice are as tough as a Victory Class Star Destroyer when at long range – but they are so weak on their sides they are a great example of a glass cannon.   One well-placed Raider can take down a Nebulon with a single activation.

So how can it work?

To make it work we have to look past the obvious strength of the front arc and look at how that actually limits it.   Anyone who has spent time trying to fly a Salvation, knows how frustrating it can be to NOT have a front shot with that narrow front arc.

That strong front arc, is so narrow that we can flip the entire mentality of this ship by pretending like we WANT to shoot out of the sides.  Why?  The sides are huge – we will ALWAYS have a shot.   And for the few times we don’t – well that’s fine the front will work in those cases.

Another strength here is that they are cheap.   Typical lists with Ackbar will only have 3 main attacking ships.  Here we can get 5 or more with ease.  Cheap allows for that, and allows for upgrades.   Lets talk about upgrades:

Upgrades:

The main upgrade you’ll want to consider is which Turbolaser you want to use.   Typically, I would suggest running with Slaved Turrets.   They are cheap and this is one of the best ships to use them on.

A fleet full of Nebulons running in a line, can ensure that nearly all of their ships will have a side arc on a target.   Declaring Ackbar is also going to rule out your front and rear arcs anyway, so you are likely only ever going to get ONE shot to begin with.  So now you’ve transformed one red die, into four (or five if you’ve selected a concentrate fire command, which in this case you’ll probably want to do a lot).  Five red dice out the side is pretty nice – and consider that against your front arc, which at best could match that, but not beat it.

The ONLY thing you lose this way, is the ability to take two shots.   A typical Nebulon doesn’t ever get two GOOD shots regardless.   And in the rare case that your enemy is directly in front of you and no side-arc is possible – well that is no problem at all.  Just use your front arc, slaved turrets and CF command and you still have the same amount of dice.

Oh and there are still titles available – you don’t have to run them as generics. Consider this fleet:

Nebulon-B Support Refit + Slaved Turret

Nebulon-B Support Refit + Slaved Turret

Nebulon-B Support Refit + Slaved Turret + Salvation

Nebulon-B Escort Frigate + Slaved Turret + Yavaris

(Flagship)GR-75 Medium Transports + Admiral Ackbar + Adar Tallon

Squadrons:

2x VCX-100 Freighter

Luke Skywalker

Biggs Darklighter

Jan Ors

Here is a fleet that is actually pretty versatile and can prove to be very deadly.  First the squadrons – it’s only 88 points but we are taking good advantage of them.  The GR-75 can activate early, getting Luke to get into position and then readying him with Adar Tallon.  Then when Yavaris activates, Jan can move in if needed to free-up Luke, and Luke can shoot twice.   This lets Luke shoot 3 times per turn.   Biggs and Jan will both help keep Luke Alive, and the VCX-100s will allow both Yavaris and the GR-75 to activate from relative safety.  Luke will be a major threat here, even without having a Bomber Command Center close by.

And as for your ships, you just fly them in a line and go keep the Concentrate Fire command dialed up.   You’ll probably want to lead with the Salvation, to discourage an enemy force from getting in front of you.

 

But suppose you want to go with Enhanced Armament.

Now it gets more expensive.   Each upgrade costs 10, but this does have the obvious benefit of allowing you to attack twice.  Assuming you are able to double arc an enemy at long range, you can now shoot 3 out of the front and 2 out of the side.   That alone isn’t particularly noteworthy on it’s own.   What is clearly the better case is to try and do the “Ackbar Slash” on your enemies now: Attacking one ship on the right, and one ship on the left – getting full bonuses now on both attacks!  This does require that you fly your nebulons directly in the middle of your opponent’s ships, and that is pretty much the tricky part – because you will almost certainly be dead as dirt doing that.

But what if you manage to survive?   Assuming you keep your front pointed directly at an enemy, you may end up being able to force them to fire at your front with 3 shields – and using your double braces you may be able to survive.   If you can manage to get a shot after a forward facing enemy closes in on you, it may be possible to double-arc them from EACH of your sides.   This is the absolute best case scenario and would require you being first player in order to pull off, because you are almost certainly dead if you don’t kill them.

In this case a Neb can declare Ackbar and get two side shots on the Star Destroyer.  Enhanced Armament, Ackbar, and being close up allow the use of all of the extra dice available here.  Four red and one Blue on each side, plus a concentrate fire depending on where you need it will add up to 11 total dice.   Not a bad deal at all from a 61 point ship!  (51 plus 10 for Enhanced Armament).  And if the star destroyer survives you can just ram them! And if you cannot manage a front double arc shot a side version should be significantly easier.

 

Here’s a list trying this out.

Nebulon B Support Refit + Enhanced Armament (61)

Nebulon B Support Refit + Enhanced Armament (61)

Nebulon B Support Refit + Enhanced Armament (61)

Nebulon B Support Refit + Enhanced Armament (61)

Flagship -Nebulon B Support Refit + Enhanced Armament + Lando Calrissian +Admiral Ackbar (103)

Squadrons – 3x YT-2400

Five Ships – Five Shooters.   The Squadrons have Rogue so you won’t have to worry about squadron commands, and they are well rounded enough to at least slow down most squadron based threats.  Lando will help prevent Ackbar from being taken out too early.  The rest of the ships you just fly directly at your opponent trying to get as many double side arc shots as you can muster!

 

The strength of this fleet is that with those ultra wide side arcs you’ll be able to shoot at pretty much everything.  If nothing else this type of fleet should be fun!   Imagine charging these unlikely heroes at your enemies!   If you can manage to get a few double side arc Ackbar shots it will be so satisfying your opponent may just stop the game and come shake your hand!

 

Large Ships Need Some Help

 

The Imperial Star Destroyer just doesn’t scare me that much anymore….

So I recently played in a small-ship only tournament for Armada.  Although I wasn’t thrilled about having a restriction on list building, considering Armada has a relatively small collection of ships to choose from to begin with, I felt comfortable regardless, since so many of my competitive lists tend to mostly be small ships anyway.  Here is a video of the tournament for those who are interested:

But this got me thinking why I haven’t been using medium or large ships lately regardless.

Activations:

The biggest advantage I typically see is that having multiple small ships allows me to have a ton of activations.  I like to run with 5 or more, and often can manage at least 6.   This, combined with an initiative bid will usually allow me a ton of flexibility in terms of activations, and allows me to often double-tap an enemy ship with a last activation, then first activation.

Missed opportunities:

Having a large ship with 120 – 150 points all in one spot can be a really dangerous place to be.  Suppose you end up with a crit that says “You cannot attack at long range” – you might be completely ruined for the rest of the game, depending on the fleet you are facing.  Or if you find yourself with no enemy ships in your primary firing arc, you end up getting stuck shooting out of a sub-optimal side, and it can be a huge missed opportunity.  When you are putting almost half of your fleet points into one ship – missing a big shot with it is devastating.

Firepower:

Small ships can have almost the same amount of firepower as large ships.  Consider an Arquitens with enhanced Armament and concentrate fire.  That’s five dice at long range for only 64 points.   And that’s only one arc.  If you are lucky enough to double arc (left and right) you might manage 9 dice from a 64 point ship!  The Aruitens in this case work best with Vader as commander, and while this is effective, it does require a more expensive commander, and deprives you of the flexibility of using someone else like Jerjerrod or Motti.  So if I can get the same firepower as an Imperial Star Destroyer for about half the points.   Sure the ISD can potentially fire twice if it has Gunnery teams, but I could instead just bring a second Arquitens at that point, and not even have the same-target restriction that gunnery teams gives.  And while the ISD is a difficult target to kill, I could argue that a swarm of small ships are even more difficult to fully kill.

A TRC-90 for only 51 points, while not having the same dice as an Arquitens, still has consistent damage and doesn’t require any specific commander to excel. Four of them come in at 204 points and leaves you plenty of room for other ships.  You could potentially run SEVEN of them, and still have points left over for some squadrons.   They are just able to pack so much more firepower per point than Large ships, and they are so maneuverable as well!

 

At Long range, small ships can do ALMOST the same damage that Large ships can do.   And because they tend to be fast and maneuverable, small ships can more easily KEEP the battle at long range without getting stuck in close range.  I feel like Large ships need something to make them formidable again.   Medium ships have a little bit of help with the inclusion of Disposable Capacitors in Wave 6’s Quasar Expansion, but that also can go on small ships!

And what’s worse, it isn’t allowed on Large Ships.  (A real shame in my opinion).  Large ships need some help if I’m going to ever want to bring them to a tournament again.