Thursday, 12 February 2015

Join the Rebellion! (Or Don't, Y'know Cos They Suck)

So last time we explored what it will what it will be like to wield the ultimate power of the Imperial Navy, bringing powerful but slow ships into battle and winning through sheer crippling force. However Armada is shaping up to be as diverse as it is magical (cue fanboyism), and below are a couple of ship builds that I think could cause some serious problems for even the most experienced of Imperial tacticians.

Where the Imperial forces are limited to two capital ships the Rebellion has been given a more diverse range of craft to bring to battle. Let's begin with what's probably the... third?... most recognisable Rebel starship (not fighter craft) there is.

The Nebulon-B Escort Frigate is actually a bit of a symbol of irony in the Star Wars universe. Originally designed to be used by the Empire to combat Rebel snubfighters, far more of them ended up being used by the Rebellion than by the Empire... Even though the Empire paid for pretty much every single one manufactured... Blame the bureaucracy.

The Nebulon-B (which the insufferable Crazy424 refers to as "the medical frigate") is an interesting ship in Armada. With arguably better defensive tokens than any other ship currently released, and a forward shield value the equal of a Victory Class Star Destroyer, the Nebulon-B gives Rebel players access to a ship that can work as fighter-support, as a mid-range dueler, or even as a cheap and hilarious doom-ship (the last of course depends on the collision rules, but that bears further investigation). With 5 attack dice from two different hull sections the Nebulon-B isn't a ship to be easily dismissed or ignored - no Imperial admiral would be able to ignore a Nebulon opening fire at close range. However I believe the real utility for the Nebulon-B can be seen in its role as a support ship.

The above build is designed to support your powerful snubfighter squadrons. Raymus Antilles allows you to activate up to THREE squadrons when revealing the Squadron command - this can make the difference between engaging a pesky TIE squadron and allowing your bombers a free run at that enemy Star Destroyer and losing those two attack dice that you NEEDED to win the game. Enhanced Armament means this Nebulon-B isn't just there to back up your squadrons - you have a significantly powerful set of attack options with up to 6 dice being thrown around every turn. The Yavaris title means that should you activate all 3 of your selected squadrons they can each attack twice if they don’t move - ideal for clearing large ship screens once the battle has joined in earnest. You might get caught in the thick of it, but that would also give you a good opportunity to make use of the two dice anti-fighter armament the Nebulon-B Escort sports.

But let's move on to a ship that isn't so familiar to your 'casual' Star Wars fan.

Seen for the first time in the PC title Star Wars: Empire at War (fantastic game by the way) the Assault Frigate Mark II is a powerful option for the Rebel admiral who wants the chance to go toe-to-toe with a Star Destroyer. With engineering, squadron (in the case of the B option), and command values (as well as an upgrade bar) equal to the Victory Class Star Destroyer, the Assault Frigate has everything it takes to face off against the might of the Imperial fleet. Defensively it is capable of taking as much damage, however it loses offensive power to be significantly quicker than the Victory. FFG have given you a range of ways to play this ship, however again I believe the power of the Assault Frigate is in trading blows with Imperial ships while being able to bring the superior Rebel fighter craft into the fray.

It’s reasonably expensive but the Assault Frigate Mark II B gives you the opportunity to play the range game with Imperial ships - a game you’re more prone to win. Giving the Frigate Gallant Haven means your fighter craft are well supported moving into combat - and that they stand a good chance against Imperial swarms as they’re reducing any damage taken by 1. Adar Tallon allows you to double activate a single squadron - basically one squadron can move then shoot (or the other way around) rather than just one of the two. With Enhanced Armament you also have 5 attack dice on each side section and you’ll be using your maneuverability to stay side-on as long as possible. Keep in mind FFG have yet to reveal any of the 'shield' upgrade cards... Chances are once they do this build has the chance to become more durable than any Victory you may go up against.

We'll end this post with an icon.

As the first ship seen in the Star Wars universe the CR90 Corellian Corvette holds special significance to many fans. Elegant and powerful, this ship has not been let down by FFG's rules design team, and comes in as the least expensive ship among what is currently announced. For just 39 points you get a fast and reasonably durable ship which can throw 5 dice around at medium range and change tactics at the drop of a hat. But the beauty of this ship, more than any of the others available, is that it can fill ANY role.

This build allows you to skirt the outside of the battle and work in conjunction with one of the big ships, say an Assault Frigate. Leia’s ability is to be able to change the top command on a friendly dial within range 1-5 to whatever your dial is - as the corvette has a command of 1 it means you can respond turn-by-turn with an Assault Frigate following your lead if you really need to, rather than having to wait 3 turns for your commands to come into effect. Jaina’s Light means you will completely ignore obstacles and can take advantage of their protection, whilst still whittling away at the enemy from afar. Engine Techs give you the opportunity to clear the enemy guns and start chipping off shields at the rear. There is a cannon slot you can take advantage of, but that’s discretionary of course, as well as a shield slot to make you even more of a dick to kill.
One of the things that captured my imagination with the Corvette however was its cost - or rather the lack of. Now I have no intention of starting a Rebel fleet, however for those of you that are, I give you my monster:

CR90A Corvette 44 (77)
Mon Mothma 30
Tantive IV 3

CR90 Corvette B 39 (41)
Jaina’s Light 2

CR90 Corvette B 39 (45)
Dodonna’s Pride 6

CR90 Corvette B 39 (45)
X17 Turbolasers 6

CR90 Corvette B 39 (45)
X17 Turbolasers 6

CR90 Corvette B 39 (45)
X17 Turbolasers 6

This. Is. Ridiculous. 30 attack dice if you plan properly. Maximum use of your defense tokens. A fleet of the most maneuverable and reactive ships available. I'm not even going to go any further because all it will do is make me cry. I pray I never see this build in action (for reference the upgrades are below).

If you have any ship builds you're thinking of and want to share them please let us know in the comments below!

Until next time, when I see what else I can come up with, make good choices!



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