Thursday, December 3, 2015

Armada: Buy Engine Techs on the MC80

This Liberty is doing it right.

I've been flying the MC80 exclusively since Wave 2 got released on Vassal and the one upgrade I will never leave home without is Engine Techs.  Out of all the upgrades that you can possibly take on the MC80, if I was to drop everything else, I would still take Engine Techs.  To me, it's probably on the same level of Gunnery Team for the ISD-II.  It's just something so intrensically important to the design of the ship that as soon as I buy the ship, I slap Engine Techs on top of it.

If you really think about it, regardless if the upgrades you take increase your damage or buff up your defenses, Engine Techs has the ability to do both.  The navigate command is arguably the strongest command on a ship like the MC80.  You have tremendous reach and coverage with your side arcs and by spamming Navigate dials, you will always be able to use techies to move you up an additional click.  The reason why the dial is so important is the fact that the MC80 has two 1-click speeds.  Set it to speed-2 and never look back because the navigate command will allow you to double click yaw on either speed-1 or 2.  With Engine Techs on the trigger, the MC80 can do a 90 degree turn which otherwise wouldn't be possible.

On a ship with two gigantic side arcs, you really need to put those sides to good use, especially if you're running Ackbar.  You don't have Gunnery Teams so this forces you to play smart.  Hell, it forces you to play smarter than smart because if you're not shooting from both sides of your ship, you're basically flying half a ship.  The front shots are abysmal compared to what you can do with 8+ dice flying out from both sides of your ship, so it's absolutely pivotal you can set those shots up.  How can you do this?  The only way you can do this is by being able to move, and being able to move well.  This is why most of the commands I issue to my MC80 are just nav.  Queue up one on the first turn to take a token if you're not planning to move far, or if you're second player, then nav the next turn for a game-changing angle and placement, and then nav again to keep the train moving and grooving if he's closing faster than you would like.  Of course this is just a loose example of the things you can do, but it show cases your ability to set up shots, escape arcs and move out of range of return fire.

Once you go techs, you never go back.

Not taking Engine Techs will result in just outright frustration.  If you're planning to just sit back and roll dice without thinking about positioning in a game like Armada, you're probably going to lose pretty decisively.  Armada is a game that favors those who come to the table with a plan, being able to execute on that plan despite what his opponent is doing, and changing plans if things go awry.  Having techies on ship is one of the many ways you can accomplish the latter since maneuvering means absolutely everything in this game.  Being able to guarantee double broadsides (known as a slash) is a skill.  Being able to shoot and move out of firing arcs is a skill.  Being able to shoot and then move out of range is another skill.  All of these skills require good positioning, and there's less chances you can do that by only going speed-2 max speed.  In fact, being able to shoot your full broadsides at your enemy and then moving 90 degrees out of his arc of fire is impossible without techs.  This can be the difference between an excellent play and a dead ship next activation.

Story time:  Today, I played my friend Adam who had double ISDs; running an ISD-I and ISD-II.  I was able to get a broadside shot with my MC80 into one of his Raider-Is and blew it to hell before burning and turning a full 90 degrees out of front arc of one of his ISD-I.  Next round, I slashed both ISDs with both broadsides and then engine teched again out of the ISD-II's front arc by a hair. Next turn, I shot the ISD-II from the front, and then used my Engine Techs again to move completely out of range of return fire.  I was then able to finish off the ISD-II with my Assault Frigate.  None of the above could have been done without Engine Techs.  Absolutely none, zero parts of that story.  Did my MC80 contribute heavily in taking down 2 ISDs and a Raider?  Absolutely.  It even managed to survive to the end of the game with just 1 HP left.

Do yourself a favor and take Engine Techs as your first upgrade on the MC80.  It will change you.  Before you take XI7s, or Raymus, or Intel, or even ECM, buy the techies so you can move like I can move.  You will never regret it unless you're taking the MC80 specifically as a fleet carrier.  Then you can move speed-2 all you want.  Realistically, if you're just planning to do that, you might as well take a MKII with Raymus with Boosted Coms (3+1 squadron activation from long range).  You'll save yourself a lot of points that way and can still move speed-3.

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