Saturday, November 21, 2015

Armada: Raymus Antilles vs. Intel Officer

I will come back more powerful than ever.

I'm going to get down right into it and say it:  Raymus Antilles might be one of the best bridge officers in the entire game.  He costs 7 points and he has arguably the most powerful ability when it comes to managing command effeciency.  What he does for you is simple:  Whenever you reveal a command, you may gain a matching command token without spending the command dial.  This means that you can spend both the dial and free token immediately, reaping in both effects for free.

Too good.

In short, he can do the following things:
  • If you do Navigate, he can increase or decrease the ship's speed by two while still increasing a yaw by one.  If you have Engine Techs, you can basically keep the token to activate Engine Techs twice without having to issue another Navigate command due to the free token.  If you have Nav Team, since you're spending a token, you can now increase or decrease your ship's speed by 1 and change the yaw twice on the reveal instead of holding onto a token.  This can make something like the MC80 move in a way that is otherwise impossible for its size.
  • If you do Squadron, you can now activate one additional ship on top of your current squadron number.  That means the MC80 Command can activate 5 squadrons without having to buy into Expanded Hangar Bays (which costs 5 points by itself), or can activate a ludicrous 6 squadrons if you have Raymus and the bays.  That's just insane value right there.
  • If you do Concentrate Fire, you can now throw an extra dice into your pool and re-roll one as an added benefit.  This is a straight damage improvement while making your shots more consistent at the same time.  Given how many critically activated effects are in the game, this can potentially turn a crappy blank into a game-saving accuracy or crit trigger.
  • If you do Repair, you are flat out getting an extra shield.  An engineering value of 3 will immediately reap in 5 points to spend on stuff while a engineering 4 will take in 6.  Something like the MC80 can immediately bring back 3 shields with Raymus in the bridge (4 base, 2 from token, 6/2 for 3 shields).  That's crazy good in sustained fights where you absolutely need to survive and tank the extra shots.  It also helps mitigate a lot of the incoming hull damage presented by XI7s.

So from reading this, you're probably thinking that Raymus is the staple officer to go to when you're playing Rebels right?  I would say that 90% of the time, it's a resounding YES! because he flat out gives you a more powerful command dial.  No matter what dial it is, he just outright improves its effects and at times, makes it so you can do things you wouldn't be able to do.

Who's your daddy now?

For me and my lists, there's only one other upgrade that can contest his spot and that's the Intel Officer.  When I look at this dude, I see straight damage potential and control.  For something like the MC80 and Home One for example, aside from a few lucky rolls, you can't risk having your shots be braced because you didn't roll an accuracy.  Or worse, your oppoenent has an ECM and he can just flat out negate your accuracy regardless of how many of them you throw on the brace.  So what do you do in this situation?  You take your one huge ass shot and you tell him if he braces, that's all he's going to get for the rest of the game.  This type of pressure and control is something that Raymus simply does not offer, despite the fact that he can do everything else.

From here, I think it really comes down to personal preference.  Do you take the jack of all trades or do you take a control bully?  For big ships like the MC80 who really likes to throw one huge hand of dice and can only really make one shot per turn normally, that shot really needs to matter.  I can see Intel Officer being a staple on Ackbar's flag, but maybe less so on other ships with the Home One bonus.  If you're running squadron heavy or you're not really looking at the damage output of a solo ship, then I would say Raymus should always be on your most action-oriented ship.  He's simply too good to leave out of your Rebel list.

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