Sunday, January 1, 2017

Armada: Wave 5 ships and upgrades

More options the better!

When it comes down to Wave 5 ships, I really don't think they're going to change the meta all that much.  The one thing that I enjoy about this game and each wave that FFG puts out is that regardless of power level, they're going to provide comfortable options for players to explore and experiment with.  For now though, I don't think they're too crazy to write home about.  It's going to the be the unique squadrons that do the most work, especially those on the Rebels side and I'll get to that later.

The Imperial CL is a pretty good ship,but it's one of those ships that are not really cheap enough where you can take a whole bunch of them and utilize them like the TRC90.  The best upgrade to take on the Arquintens IMO is to equip it very similar to a TRC90:  Give it the Captain Needa and replace the Contain so you can feel comfortable taking the TRC with it.  This will bring up the price a messily 9 points; putting the cheapest variant of this particular configuration to 63 points, but this is exactly what you want to do with this ship.  It's not durable enough that you can give it too many upgrades, and it's not powerful enough in stock weaponry like the Gladiator or MC30c where you need to give it upgrades to make it effective.  It fits comfortably in a section where all you need is Needa/TRCs on one of these ships for damage consistency, or you want to slap on Dual Turbolaser Turrets and just call it a day.  Another problem I see with the ship is that it can put out some reliable broadside-based red dice, but doesn't have enough Evades to consistently use TRCs (which is the best damage upgrade for these kind of ships).  Of course, if you really want reliability with this ship, you'll take Vader, but I'm not a Vader fan because I don't think he's cost-effective.

Now when we look at the Phoenix Home capital for the Rebels, I'm not so sure I see a ship that has a place in the current meta.  Hear me out for a sec here:  The ship itself is not bad, it's kitted out with some decent upgrade options and it has a solid defense token spread.  The main problem I see with the ship is not in its ability to deliver fleet-wide bonuses, it's the fact that it's a solid mainstay carrier in a faction that already has great carrier options.  Both the AF MKII and MC80C are very good in the current meta because of their durability and great title options.  Everyone has a giant hard-on right now for the Gallant Haven and for good reason, but more on this later.  What's important to note is that the Phoneix Home is a solid ship, it's just a cheaper alternative to other great carrier options in the Rebel fleet, but it lacks the noteworthy titles and durability.  Not having ECM is just really painful.  A really quick note about the fleet-wide abilities that the ship can muster, they're good, but not good enough to justify taking the ship specifically to benefit the rest of the fleet.  Maybe if we're playing larger point games like 500 or 600 points that having a ship that can buff the entire fleet is great, but neither the movement or shield options are exciting for me because commands can just do it better.  Most of the time, you don't want the entire fleet to move or heal, you only want one ship to do it.  The increased speed on all squadron activations is really nice for Rebels because most of their stuff floats around 3.  With all the FCTs floating around to keep pushing the slower fighters up, this is one of the best buffs in the game to get everything moving.

As for upgrades and commander options, I'm only really excited about a couple of cards here.  Minister Tua is great for enabling ECM on ships that otherwise wouldn't have the option, but she goes against a philosophy I have with fleet building which is to not take superfluous upgrades on something that doesn't really need it.  While this is a great upgrade option for the ISD-I or Interdictor, you still sacrifice an officer slot to take it so be careful not to go too overboard.  Reinforced Blast Doors is another one of those cards that look really great when you first look at it, but it's a defensive slot card that competes with ECM and ECM will almost certainly prevent more damage per game than RBD.  One thing to really keep in mind is that the ability to prevent damage will always be stronger than healing damage.  Besides, I think the only ship in the game that can really take advantage of this card right now is the MC80 Assault variant.  Since it's the only ship in the game currently that has double defensive slots and thus can dual-wield ECMs and blast doors, this is a great upgrade.  On the same note of defensive upgrades, we have Damage Control Officer.  This is a solid upgrade because it stops things like APT dead in its tracks and gets you more mileage from your Contain, but there's a pretty limited list of ships that can really utilize this card and it also takes up an officer slot.  Major Derlin is another one of those defensive upgrade options, but he's a limited use version of Bright Hope that is 7 points and takes up an Officer slot.  Yeah no, I'm going to pass on this one being too useful.  Last, I want to talk about Rapid Launch Bays.  What can I say?  It's a great card and it allows you to dump your B-Wings or other speed 2 crappers in front of people and just go to town.  AFAIK, there's a current debate right now going on the forums whether or not you can activate with squadron, deploy, and attack in the same activation using RLBs.  If this is the case, then this card is amazing, if not, then it's only OK because you'll be dumping your B-Wings out and then waiting a bit before you get to go to work.

Lastly, let's talk briefly about commanders:  I'm not feeling Moff Jerjerrod because honestly, Nav commands are king and you'll get more mileage out of someone like Motti because he's right there.  As for Commander Sato, a bit of mixed feelings on this dude.  He's pretty much a blank card if you can't get your fighters to connect with the enemy ship but once you do, the guy is pretty insane.  This gives you two real trains of mentality here and that's if you want to enable him early, and throw some Phoenix Squadron A-Wings in there (Tycho comes to mind here), or do a deathball with some Gallant Haven craziness and just have him roll in deep and then go to town.  Either way, he's not active for the first couple of turns in the game and that doesn't quite sit well with me.  Not to mention if all of your squadrons get dead, he's pretty much a blank card again.  Sato is definitely one of those polarizing commanders where there's multiple ways to disable him, but once he's active he's really good because he allows all kinds of ranged shennigans e.g. long-ranged black-swapping APTs with MC30cs.

Next stop: Wave 5 squadrons!

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