Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Armada: ECMs are now meta mandatory

Don't get blasted.

This public service announcement doesn't just apply to just Imperial Star Destroyers, but basically anything in that game that needs staying power.  For something as expensive as the new capital ships, both the ISD-II and both MC80 variants can take defensive retrofit upgrades.  This must be Wave 2 creeping up and surprising the newer players on the block, but for some reason I'm still seeing players run around with no ECM on their ships.  You know what happens when a plane doesn't take any sort of countermeasures in real life?  It gets shot down by a missile.  Do you want your big expensive flagship to go up in smoke?  No, so let's continue.

ECM, in short, is insurance for your brace token.  Brace is the strongest defensive action you can take when you're dealing with ships that can throw out 8+ dice on the attack.  With Ackbar MC80s and ISDs running around in the mix, and in a meta where there's all kinds of ways to re-roll dice via Vader, Screed, Leading Shots, and SW-7s, there are going to be a LOT of damage being dealt.  As most of you know by now, XI7s completely neuters the effects of Advanced Projectors.  This makes this particular upgrade extremely unreliable when you're fighting against ships with massive amounts of dice equipped with XI7s.  What about Redundant Shields?  It might be useful for some builds, but it's not going to save you when damage is being rolled.

Just as an example, this happened the other night:  I threw out 8 dice at my opponent from the MC80 Command throwing 5 reds and 3 blues.  Keep in mind that my MC80 is geared for combat, so it's running Intel/XI7s/Leading Shots.  I roll the dice and it came out to be a monstrous result.  I have 1 blank in my reds, but I'm staring down at 2 hits, crit, 2 hits, blank, accuracy on my reds and hit, crit, accuracy on my blues.  This is already 7 damage on the volley and with my Leading Shots modification, I pulled out 9 total damage because I only need one accuracy with my setup.  My opponent doesn't have ECMs so I lockdown his Brace entirely and threaten his Contain with my Intel because his Redirects are utter crap with my XI7s.  He goes from a full ISD with four shields to 4 damage cards on his ship.  Needless to say that after everything else has gone, next turn I blow away his ISD with my MC80.

Now, let's say that he was smart and had ECM.  Even with an accuracy on his brace, he would ECM it to activate the the token to turn a 9 hit shot into 5 (if I rolled 8 hits, even better!).  With redirect, he would save 4 hull on the ship which would have given him another activation to shoot with Gunnery Team and two ships in his front arc.  Do you know what kind of impact that might have had over the game?  All because of not having his brace available?  Being able to brace when needed is absolutely needed when there's so many dice floating around the battlefield.  If you can't brace, you're going to die.  If you die, you're not going to activate so any battlefield strategy you have will not come to fruition, period.  Dealing damage to ships is king in this game and dead ships don't do damage in return.  Even with Intel Officer running around, you can bet your ass I will brace firepower of that magnitude.  That one turn might be all you need to turn the game around and save it from certain defeat.

Do yourself a god damn favor and buy ECM on any ship that can take it.  Start with your most important ships and go from there.  If you don't, don't bother playing in the new meta because the damage really is that severe.  Think about your men if nothing else.

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