So on that note: let's do a ship review of the Nebulon B.
|Fun fact: when Eric and I got into this game, we referred to the Support Refit as the "Garbage Truck" variant. Why would you cheap out on points when you can command more squadrons and have better AA? Ah, youth!|
Then you look at the side arc. One shield is a gateway to Sadness Town by way of the Damage Cards on Your Ship Train. We all hate that train. The 1 shield on the sides is certainly.... existent. But it does not protect you from a significant amount of damage. The 2 brace tokens help that a lot, but if an enemy ever rolls 2 accuracies on you, that could be trouble (and with Cymoon ISDs able to take both H9s and Quad Turbolaser Turrets, this isn't impossibly difficult anymore....). It comes with Enhanced Armaments, but I wouldn't use them together. The smartest way to use a ship is not to necessarily improve a bad/mediocre part of it and instead maximize what it IS good at. You CAN make the Support Refit a carrier, but why wouldn't you just use the Escort Frigate? You can fire some OK dice out the side, but wouldn't you rather improve the front arc? (We'll get to HOW in a bit....)
So how do you generally use them?
I see (and have done this myself, so you're in good company!) people start their Nebs waaaay too fast and then when they get shot early turn 3 and killed, they get sad. Sadder if they moved from out of Long range (where they didnt have a shot) turn 2 into Black dice range turn 3, and the saddest if they never got a shot off. If you're bringing the Salvation, I cannot agree harder with Shmitty and its use as a flanker/finisher. Start it at speed 1 (especially if you build it like I have below!), potentially even near the back of your deployment zone. You're using it to finish off whatever is left of a ship after your others have evaporated the shields of it: you don't want to bring it in to attack until turn 3 or late turn 2, at the earliest. The longer you can keep it out of battle, the better it is to bring a fresh ship in! If you're bringing in a squadron command ship (Hi Yavaris, we'll get to you in a minute), that's a different plan entirely.
The other thing you can do NOW that Quad Battery Turrets is out is to start your Nebulon at speed 1 and KEEP IT at speed 1 for most of the game. The ability to throw 4 dice (3 red, 1 blue) for 56 total points is CRAZY nice. You need to ensure that you're not getting swarmed on the sides and taking heavy fire on those big side arcs, but we'll talk about that below. You can add Engine Techs to manipulate their location while still remaining at speed 1, but I'm mainly stealing that idea untested from Tarquitens, and as the Neb maneuver chart isn't as good, I can't super recommend this. Maybe it works better in testing than I would think, though?
Their speed 2 chart isnt great, and their speed 3 isn't AMAZING. But when you need to get past a ship, that speed 3 chart can actually help you out some. Just be careful you don't end in an arc that results in you taking a bunch of dice in the side! As a Rebel, your job is to either NOT be in the arcs that cause you the most harm, or to be out of them before those ships can activate. With that speed 3, given 2 clicks, you can turn relatively well, but you'll need to use ACTUAL nav commands to get it back in the fight. The OTHER side of the Neb, the rear, has 2 shields. Again, its not much, but it may be just enough to keep your ship alive, especially with the 2 brace tokens.
|We can file this under "Situations your Neb should hopefully NOT be in."|
|I am not fast....|
Well, Nebulons generally want to either have a ship in their front arc or in their back; their shields are strongest there and most able to take damage, especially with their 2 brace tokens (and no redirect!). They want to be able to speed up if necessary in order to hop a ship that's waiting for them. Alternatively, they may want to even slow down to keep a ship in its front arc for one more turn. Having a Nav token to drop speed is helpful there too. Similarly, Nebulons have those horridly shielded side arcs, and they have Engineering 3. A token would provide Engineering 2, for a total of 5 if used together. That's enough to repair 2 shields and move 1, OR it's the perfect amount to heal 1 damage and repair 1 shield.
Let's do some math together. Yes, math is fun. So a brace token halves the damage coming in. Which means that 2x damage becomes x total. When damage goes against a Nebulon's side, that's 1 against the shield and the remainder into the hull. IF you can keep the Nebulon at long or medium range (re: NOT CLOSE), the defense tokens can remove or reroll dice. So that can potentially even get rid of another damage or 2. But because of the brace tokens, each point of damage that goes against the shields is really TWO points of damage (assuming you get to brace them). Each point into the hull is TWO points into the hull, halved. So when your opponent fires 4 damage into you, bracing it down takes it to 2, 1 into the shield and 1 into the hull. If you can keep an Engineering token around when you reveal an Engineering command, you can heal the damage that just happened AND repair the shield, meaning their work requires even more effort to kill your Nebulon. So long as you keep your shields repaired, the Nebulon's 2 Brace tokens CAN keep you alive much longer than you think they would. This won't necessarily help you if (again) Avenger shows up in your face, but recognizing that and running away will come in time and with proper use.
However, you NEED to keep those shields up as long as you can. As soon as they have a firing solution on your naked side arc, you're in for some problems FAST. Peltas with Shields to Maximum! or ships with Projection Experts (heck, potentially even other Nebulons!) to restore them help a LOT.
There's 3 titles for Nebulons, and they all perform incredibly different functions with very different builds. Nebs have 4 spots including the title, and while you CAN put upgrades on all of them, i'm not sure i necessarily would, personally.
Opening Salvo or Commander Sato, black dice with Hit+Crits are 3 total damage coming from the front of your ship. It doesn't improve the side or back arcs, and it doesn't improve the overall crappiness of Red Dice (still got those 2 blank sides, and that accuracy) when you want pure damage. This is the flanking ship that Shmitty talks about.
General Upgrades/Versions seen on the Salvation.
Raymus Antilles/Intel Officer/Skilled First Officer
Raymus Antilles is in there because when he Concentrates Fire, he adds in one dice and with his token he can reroll another dice in the pool. The effects have to happen on the same attack roll (You can't add a dice to the front and use the token to reroll a side shot die), but you CAN reroll the dice you just added in. Another option is to use Intel Officer. With one great front shot, you want to make that front shot COUNT. You don't want them using the Evade token to get rid of your Crits, or you don't want them bracing to reduce the damage. And the last option is Skilled First Officer, which is great on all command 2 ships.
As for Turbolasers, there are several options. I'll outline the majorly used ones:
Spinal Turbolasers: 4 red dice in the front, 3 in the rear. Concentrate Fire turns that into 5, better than a basic ISD front arc at a significantly reduced cost. Downside is the 9 points of cost.
Turbolaser Reroute Circuits: Turn one red dice into the Crit you want it to be. The downside here is that if you ever want to use your Evade for defense, the Evade is gone for good. It eliminates the use of it as a defense token, so you're dependant on 2 braces to keep you alive. I'm not a huge fan of that. On a Rieekan version, this is usually discarded on the turn you're dying/dead, because you know you're not getting another chance at it.
Slaved Turrets: 3 points cheaper than Spinal Turbolasers. You're restricted to 1 attack, and that is a MAJOR downside, even with a weaker side arc. This one hasn't been used as much since Wave 5 brought us....
Dual Turbolaser Turrets: It's an informed reroll. If you're concerned about one arc (like you are with the Salvation!) then it's a great use for it. If you get use out of it from the side arcs, super, but you're intending to save your front arc and get dem crits.
Quad Battery Turrets: The new wave 6 hotness. So long as you're rolling in slower than the ship you're attacking (where Nebulons are happy to be!), you get an extra blue dice, that has something helpful on EVERY side. If it's an accuracy, you lock down whatever token is going to inconvenience your red dice. If it's a hit, it's a hit. If it's a crit, though, it's that same 2 hits, so long as it's out your front. Every side of the die is great for your Nebulon, even if it's "just" a guaranteed hit.
Under Salvation, slow rolling in with Quad Battery Turrets is both cheap and great. Concentrating Fire for 3 red and 2 blue dice is freaking sweet. It's potentially even 3 red and 3 blue against a Most Wanted Ship. That's a VSD-II's output for 2/3 of the cost! So nice. And as Quads subtly force you to go slow, it'll keep you ALIVE and firing longer, which is just what you want on your ship! It's an upgrade that both makes you better at killing and forces you to keep yourself alive through playing better, for the low, low cost of 5 points. Give Quads a try.
I'll say that I often have a love/hate relationship with Salvation. The cheapest version, with just the title and Quad Battery Turrets, run under Leia, is a total of 63 points. Sometimes you'll spike and hit 10 damage! Sometimes you'll hit 2. It's a gambling strategy, and it's all in how willing you are to BE that gambler. You'll remember the spikes on either end of the spectrum, but it should over time even out to be 5-6. Theoretically, haha.
Motti wakes up in a pool of sweat that Keyan Farlander and 2 friends will get activated twice in his unshielded front arc. As of the Wave 7 nerf, you can no longer move a squadron during Yavaris's activation and get to use its ability. However, as this is going to make several points further along clearer, let's talk about what WAS.
Yavaris on the Escort Frigate
Fighter Coordination Team (FCT)
How did it work? It was a combination of all 3 things. Yavaris let your squadrons attack twice if you didn't move, which is great if you're already engaged with squadrons or a ship you want to shoot. If you're NOT, though, it's not as good. But with the FCT, (again, the way things USED to work!) after your ship moves, you could move (on Yavaris) 2 unengaged squadrons distance 1, which can hopefully let you get them distance 1 of that ship you want to hit.
And what Flight Commander does is lets you trigger your squadrons AFTER your regular attack and move. In general, this lets you put your regular ship damage in and take out some shields and force him to use a defense token or two to not take as much damage. He has squadrons to deal with coming up afterwards, so he might not spend tokens to save them for that. But with Yavaris in particular, FCT used to let you move that squadron that wasnt engaged with a ship or squadron into engagement.... so then it can fire TWICE because of the Yavaris ability. But this only works because FCT happens AFTER you move. Flight Commander ALSO triggers after. So you got to move things in and then shoot with them twice.
|Your huckleberries. This was cooler than Image Searching a pic of generic tombstones|
I've played Yavaris in The Before Times, when FCT or Flight Commander didn't exist, and it was still super good back tehn. You didn't need those upgrades back then, and you don't necessarily need them now. Heck, just slapping Yavaris on a naked Nebulon is still a halfway decent call (I say, debating doing it myself soon)! The BEST way to improve on Yavaris is finding a way to get a squadron token on it, so you can activate a third squadron with it. 3 B-wings activated twice are equivalent to 6 B wings. That may not take down a Motti ISD without some bananas rolls and crits, but it'll put a heck of a hurting into it. Back in the day, I used to run Raymus Antilles on Yavaris, and that's still a good call as well for a basic build, too.
|more, More, MORRRRRRRRRRE!|
I will say, the common problem I see/have as well with Yavaris is that there comes a point around turn 3 or turn 4 where you're activating it and you NEED to get Yavaris out of the situation its in (say, front arc of an ISD-I). If you have a maneuver token, you've got an OK ability to try to run. But if you slowed down earlier in order to stay in the front arc of something.... what it may mean for Yavaris may actually be starting at speed 1 or speed 2 deploying further back in your deployment zone... or finding a way to feed MORE tokens to the Yavaris so it can both maneuver speed and command 3 squadrons a turn (the Tantive IV? A Comms Net GR75? Garm bel Iblis? Hondo Ohnaka?).
The alternative is to just accept the fact that Yavaris is going to die doing what it does (I've become less of a fan of this plan as time goes on, but I'd rather just try to keep my stuff alive). IFFFFFF you can take out more points than its worth to kill something with it, than it's a good trade. Piece trading, for all you chess monkeys out there. Don't trade it for something that doesn't hurt the enemy's plans doing so; as the ability to activate squadrons twice a turn is insane. Getting 2 6-dice shots from Wedge, rolling against an ISD arc with Keyan or Nym twice..... Rebels have some GOOD uses for this ship.
As I've made some edits to this section after the 2018 FAQ, expect more minor edits to this section as time and experience go on. Draven in the officer's chair? Sure, potentially worth trying (actually, I may have to try that out myself...)
Redemption (either chassis)
Turbolaser Fix to provide SOME offensive output (probably Quad Battery Turrets? Probably?)
Raymus Antilles is the general best officer here, as with the dial, token, and title, you get 6 engineering points. Ahsoka Tano or Leia could potentially both fit in there, but they're not a necessity. What this ship does is lurks in the back and keeps passing shields towards bigger ships that need it. With the title and Projection Experts, you can use 2 of your six Engineering points to push shields to another ship, and then use the remaining 4 points to heal one of the shields you just pushed. While it's certainly something you CAN do, with the advent of Comms Net flotillas and the Shields to Maximum! Pelta, there's not many major reasons to use THIS repair bot any more. The Pelta does a much better job of it, as especially with the Shields to Maximum! trigger you can push 3 shields back onto a ship (1 from the Fleet Command, 2 from Projection Experts), doing what this ship does only better (and on a slightly more survivable chassis than the Nebulon). In either case, you CAN fix your ships, or you can focus on making sure their ships are dead. Why heal damage when you can just prevent damage by killing them?
|We'll take ALL the damage off his ships! By killing him!|
Take the Yavaris or the Salvation instead.
Commander Sato: Loves the potential of the Salvation, but I must recommend caution in your list because black dice DO have 2 blank sides on them. Raymus Antilles for a reroll on the dice or Targeting Beacons for rerolls. Much like a lot of Sato, it can be really good or really unlucky.
General Rieekan is great with the Yavaris and the Salvation. Getting to do their thing one more turn before they go out in a blaze of glory/by ramming that ship for one final damage is always fun.
Garm Bel Iblis: Free tokens are great, and starting your ships with a Maneuver and a Concentrate Fire (Salvation) or Squadrons (Yavaris) work super well together.
Dodonna: Salvation with the ability to choose your crit for the damage is always delightful.
Cracken isn't one I would use too often, as having to stay at speed 3 runs into that same problem we talked about earlier with the turning. You COULD use it as a finisher, but then you're dependant on speeding up at the right time to get Cracken's benefit.
Mothma runs into the problem of having only one defense token that gets her bonus. It's a nice insurance policy, but you can do better with her.
Ackbar you CAN, but you're dependant on firing out the sides of an underdefended TWO sides at something that wants, especially with titles, to be firing from the front. Theoretically, the Redemption might be a good spot here, but Ackbar has many other ships that work just as well for cheaper or do their job better, especially with steering properly. Pick a different ship is my advice.
General Madine: I've heard of people using either version with him to get those extra clicks of turning when necessary. I'd rather use the CR90 for cheaper and more maneuverable, or the MC30 for more hitting power. I don't think it's that great with him, sadly.
Leia: Great. She works very similarly to Garm, but she keeps them alive SUPER well. The 5 engineering points is, as I mentioned above, really helpful at healing a damage and repairing a shield on whatever Nebulon you brought with her. Under Leia, they get the combined Raymus Antilles effect (so an extra squadron for Yavaris or an extra dice and reroll for Salvation) along with a stronger officer candidate for them (Flight Commander and Intel Officer, respectively). They can get some POWERFUL attacks under her and if you engineer at the right time (something I'm trying to get better with) you can keep it alive and deny them the points for killing it. High marks for recommendation!
It's not the easiest ship to pilot, but my earlier comments about Jousting with it, and it's weirdish turn radius reminds me a lot of the Knight in chess. Trade up with it to get the enemy Queen or Rook and you've got a good ship. Don't move it past where it's able to attack from; let them come towards you as much as you can, and you'll be able to threaten well above your weight class with this ship. Having a knight's shield (Engineering token) that you can put up when in danger (repairing your shield.... this metaphor is getting away from me!) helps a lot, too. Get out of position with it and much like the knight in chess, it'll take you several movements to be threatening the same area/ship. Keep this one threatening, but near the back, and you'll do great with it.
|You've got two empty halves of coconut and you're bangin' 'em together!|