|Gotta make this beauty work!|
First, I want to say that I really like the fact that the MC-80 Liberty-class ships offers a really unique playstyle to the Rebels. I think in order to get this article right, let's first talk about what I like about the ship, followed by its weaknesses.
The first thing I like about the ship is that it is fast. Having speed-3 automatically makes this one of the faster ships that Rebels have, especially when you consider that it's on a large base and has the firepower roughly equal to an ISD-II, or an Ackbar Home One. Not only is it a naturally fast ship, but it also has the option to take Engine Techs; thus making it currently the fastest ship in the game of this size. With a few maneuvers queued up, you can get this ship from one side of the map to another; making it a capital ship flanker that is unlike anything in the game right now. With Madine as your commander, you are more than capable of doing some outrageous amounts of maneuvers if you have Engine Techs on the ship.
The second thing I like about the ship is that its armament is quite unique. Not the fact that it comes with 4 reds and 3 blues, any idiot can tell you number stats, but it's about its unique layout of two Turbolaser upgrade slots. From a design standpoint, it is crystal clear that the ship is meant to be a pure damage-dealer with a minimalist view of protection. What does this mean exactly? I think it means that you should look into combinations to do as much possible damage as possible with interesting upgrade options. For me, the setup of having Mon Karren and XI7s is more than enough to carry the day. However, some people will prefer upgrades out there that might offer a little bit to their game depending on what they want to accomplish. For example, Dodonna might be able to take advantage of the same configuration above but add XX-9s to additional critical shenanigans.
I don't really see a third point going for the ship here, but I want to elaborate a little more on the cute little things this ship can do when it comes to damage. I've already mentioned the Mon Karren title, but I want to revisit this for a second so everyone knows that I'm talking about one of the best damage-pushing titles in the game. What this title does is that it allows you to virtually shut down every single defense token outside the first one with no other conditions. It's like a non-specific Avenger, or a less restrictive HTT. When I first looked at this title, I was completely blown away. Let me provide a few damage examples here:
Example #1 - Shooting at ISDs or MC80s with Mon Karren and XI7s.
Round #1 - Let's say you roll 8 damage. Regardless of ECM or accuracy, you IO the Brace. He has no choice but to Brace and take 4 damage directly to shields. If you did 9 damage and there was a crit, not only would he be unable to Redirect, but he would also take the crit because he can't Contain.
Round #2 - Second round of combat without the Brace available. Let's say you make the same roll. He can only choose to Redirect or Contain, but since Redirect will only negate one damage because of XI7s, he wisely chooses to Contain, but eats 8 damage directly to hull. Since you IO'd the Contain, it is gone for the rest of the game.
Example #2 - Shooting at a MC30c with Mon Karren and XI7s.
The example here is less technical and more about application. When you shoot at this ship, which has tons of shields all around, you are basically forcing it to give up its most powerful defensive traits. XI7s already completely with Redirects, but now you're pushing in 1 extra damage every time because he can only choose to Evade. This is a free one damage. Against CR90s, the effect is even more extreme because it doesn't have as many shields as the MC30c. The effect on the Raider is more devastating because now, if the target chooses to Brace, he might have to eat that double-hit red dice without the Evade.
Example #3 - Shooting at Demolisher, or Assault Frigate MKII.
This example is the most painful, because typically, the GSD or MKII need all of their tokens to evade big damage. If you roll big on any of these guys, expect them to take some absolutely horrendous damage. While Redir is the weakest here, not being able to shake off hits with an Evade on top of Brace will be extremely deadly to these kind of ships. This means that the Brace itself, will be weakened even if it's already used.
So why XI7s still on this ship after Mon Karren? Because it gives you power over Redirects. In the first example I gave with the ISD-II, if you didn't have XI7s, instead of pushing 8 damage in round #2 of shooting, you would have only pushed 5 because 3 of them would have been Redirected on the side. The effects are even worse on the Home One because they have even more shields than the ISD. Not just that, but in Round #3, instead of killing your target, they will repeat the same process even after IO so you willy be ale to push damage depending on how many shields they have left on the side. The results vs. the MC30c would be equally as infuriating because of their ability to just throw the majority of your damage away.
|It's a trap! Don't do it!|
Therefore, the first Turbolaser upgrade you should have on your ship is the XI7s, no question. When it comes to the second TL upgrade, I will argue that you don't really need it, but if you really want to push damage, I would take the XX-9s. In the first example that I gave about shooting the ISD-II, you can clearly see that even though you pushed 8 damage through the second round of shooting, he can still Contain. Now, let's say you get to ignore the Contain because you have XX-9s, what does this mean? It means the possibility of spilling in more damage within your limited lifespan. I say this with all due respect to the ship because I see it first and foremost as a Battlecruiser more than a true Battleship. It moves fast, shoots hard, but is fragile as all hell without a Defensive Retrofit and piss-poor protection from the side. In World of Warship terms, this might as well be a Hindenburg when looking at it from the side. While some people are really hard about the Quad Turbolaser Turrets because they're the new hotness, don't be fooled: They're a 10-point redundant upgrade that can be ECM'd and have a specific condition in where you have to roll a red accuracy. GTFO, I would rather take XX-9s to push through Contains any day of the week; especially when the Interdictor has two of them.
Lastly, this brings me to the last point that I want to make about the ship: It's really frail. When you have no ECM, you are at the mercy of accuracy dice and that can mean a ton of damage coming your way. When you look at the double Brace, some may find this to be really good. In a way, it is, because you have redundant systems to use against bigger targets that shoot at you, but let me tell you right now that that is not your biggest concern. The biggest threat to the Liberty will be fast movers with reliable damage like TRC90s, and squadrons. Bombers will seriously mess your shit up because you don't have the Redirs or shields on the sides of your ship to mitigate that kind of damage. If you see bombers on the table, your best course of action is to fly in there face first and blow everything out of the water because your days are truly numbered. Fast-moving TRC90s will also cause a serious problem to this ship because they will be putting damage into the hull super quick. I really think the 2 shields on the side and the sole Redirect will be the death of the ship in the Wave 4 meta, but I'm determined to give it quite a few games on the table before I call it quits.
So how should you use this ship? Well, I intend on using like as a capital ship flanker. Use Madine as your commander and try this ship out with Engine Techs and/or the max damage package with Mon Karren title, XI7s and XX-9s. Engine Techs will make sure the ship points face-first at the opponent while being fast enough to one-shot and chase down even the most annoying TRC-wielding ships on the table. Madine will allow the ship to turn on a dime when you want it to, and if you position well enough, you might be able to seriously mess some shit up while pointing your 5-shield face at them. The key to survive in this case would be to make sure that the only sources doing damage to you will be from the front.