Saturday, November 28, 2015

Armada: MC80 Assault and defensive retrofits

This particular space fish has no equal.

Over the last couple of weeks, I've been experimenting heavily with my MC80 and I think I'm in a very good place with it.  I'm consistently able to fly the damn thing well as long as I'm hitting those navigate commands and taking advantage of my Engine Techs.  I might have said this before in the past, but if you guys haven't equipped your MC80 with the Engine Techs upgrade before, you're really missing out.  Being able to move use your navigate in conjunction with techies will allow you to make a relatively tight 90 degree turn.  The pseudo speed-3 also comes in play in a huge way when you're trying to play the keep away game, whittling your opponent's ships down from long range or separating yourself from his bomber force so you can deal with his ships more readily.

The command ship's big brother.

I've been toying around with slotting in my MC80 Assault Cruiser over the command and seeing how double defensive retrofits can play out.  The meta is really experimental right now and surprisingly, I'm not seeing a lot of XI7s across the field (except for yours truly).  People are busy trying the good stuff like Heavy Turbolaser Turrets and other goodies, but if you read my posts in the past you know how much of a hard on I have for Intel Officer + XI7s.  It is, in my opinion, the ideal damage dealer combination if you want to push damage to hull ASAP.

Let's get back to the MC80 Assault Cruiser really quick and see what kind of ship is it compared to the Command variant.  For one, it costs more: 114 vs. 106 points.  This 8 point gap is actually pretty huge because it's the difference between an Intel Officer or close to an A-Wing depending on how you looking at it.  The biggest difference between these two variants is how the armament is configured.  The Assault variant comes with 6 reds with Ackbar at long range broadsides vs. the Command's 5, but in exchange it loses out on a blue.  This means that with red dice, your numbers can get a lot more swingy depending on on the rolls.  Roll a lot of reds and the gods might smile upon you with multiple double hits, and at the same time, there is 25% chance of rolling straight blanks.  Blue dice provide guarantee results, but there's no damage spike in there like the double hits.  I guess it's a great thing that I can always trade a blue to re-roll some epic fails on my reds in case I need it with Leading Shots.  Lastly, while the squadron value of the Assault is lower by 1 (3 vs. 4), the ship gets two defensive retrofits instead of the single one that the Command variant sports.  It's safe to say that for me, the offensive slot basically sits unused most of the time.

A closer look at dice probabilities.

Personally, the defensive retrofit slot is one of the strongest slots in the game.  The vaulted Electronic Countermeasures is located in this slot and so is the game-changing Advanced Projectors.  With ECM, the ability to nullify someone's accuracy dice so you can safely Brace an incoming attack is absolutely huge.  Every time I see an enemy ship without ECM equipped, I seriously pity the person when I'm unleashing a full broadside with my MC80.  When you're capable of pushing 8+ damage through with XI7s, locking down your brace without an ECM is considered a death sentence for most ships.  If you have a defensive slot, it's absolutely crucial you take ECM first before anything else.

Should really read first, second and maybe.

Now comes the second choice for the Assault Cruiser.  Do I take Advanced Projectors or do I look at something like Redundant Shields?  The way I look at Redundant Shields is this:  I'm paying 8 points to heal back a shield a turn, or pretty much an engineering token with less versatility.  This means that I'm possibly looking at paying 2 points per turn if combat is going to start on Turn 2 and last until Turn 6.  I might be saving myself 4 hull points worth of damage with 8 points spent, but I'm not sure if that's as flexible as Advanced Projectors.  Right now, having APs is pretty damn useful vs. the majority of the lists I'm seeing out there.  People are trigger happy with TRCs, playing around with MC30s and Raiders, as well as rolling around with Fireball builds (Firespray/Rhymer Ball),  Plus, with the extra 100 points, people are putting down more ships than before and the trusty Gladmolisher is still doing its job just fine.  Most of the big hitters I've seen people field (like the ISD) are either rolling with XI7s or HTTs depending on what flavor of the week.  Realistically though, only the big damage dealer on the other side of the table is sporting the anti-AP XI7s, so everything else is fair game for this amazing upgrade.

My semi-squadron heavy list with the MC80 Assault Cruiser looks like this:

Author: HERO

Faction: Rebel Alliance
Points: 391/400
Commander: Admiral Ackbar

Assault Objective: Advanced Gunnery
Defense Objective: Fire Lanes
Navigation Objective: Superior Positions

[ flagship ] MC80 Assault Cruiser (114 points)
-  Admiral Ackbar  ( 38  points)
-  Home One  ( 7  points)
-  Intel Officer  ( 7  points)
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points)
-  Electronic Countermeasures  ( 7  points)
-  Advanced Projectors  ( 6  points)
-  XI7 Turbolasers  ( 6  points)
-  Leading Shots  ( 4  points)

Assault Frigate Mark II B (72 points)
-  Intel Officer  ( 7  points)
-  Gunnery Team  ( 7  points)
-  Electronic Countermeasures  ( 7  points)
-  XI7 Turbolasers  ( 6  points)

1 Dash Rendar ( 24 points)
1 Tycho Celchu ( 16 points)
5 A-Wing Squadrons ( 55 points)

Check out this sick initiative bid at 391.  With this setup, I'm basically looking to Navigate, Squadron, Navigate..etc to take full advantage of the Engine Techs to keep up the long-range firefight until things settle down.  With 3+3 on squadron commands, I can send in Tycho and the boys to do the initial heavy lifting while Dash joins in the fight on the squadron phase with his Rogue.  The game plan here is simple:  Alpha strike enemy bombers and eliminate enemy ships with your MC80 and MKII from range.

Sounds simple enough right?  What do you think?

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