|Yup, this is why we're all in this game: A CR90 fleeing some unknown ship of some type or another|
So let's start with some pictures of what we're talking about.
|Are they Corellian? Are they Alderaanian? Who cares, they're AWESOME! (Guitar solo)|
They both have 4 HP, and 2 shields across everywhere but the rear. With no brace tokens, and just one redirect token, this is a ship that does NOT like taking damage. Its engineering of 2 also isn't ecstatic about FIXING damage, as you'll need to have a token and a command to get rid of any faceup damage.
Luckily, they have 2 Evade defense tokens to let them try to not take damage, and they have a 1-command stack. The ability to change what they need to do (Engineering! Concentrate Fire! Navigation!) on a dime lets them fill many roles in many fleets. Their squadron value of 1 isn't good, but it.... exists. Again, there's 3 better commands for them, use those instead. The A version has a Turbolaser Slot and some red dice, and the B version has an Ion Cannon Slot and only blue. Other than that, identical.
So how do you run them? Use their nav chart. At speed 2 with a command dial, they're equivalent to Raiders, and at speeds 3 and 4 they're much better than raiders, with an extra click at the end there. Plus, with the dial used at the right spot, that's potentially TWO spots you can have 2 clicks at, which can put you right where you need to be. What CR90s do has often been referred to as Kiting, "to kite", in which they throw their dice and flutter away from your ships like a kite in the wind. THAT, do that. You can't handle sustained shots, and you REALLY don't want to be in the front arc of ISDs, so don't be there. Shoot, then scoot. Fire, then flee.
Generally, start them at speed 2 or 3, and move them later in the turn if you can. You're going to want to end turn X at (preferably) red range or further from your opponent's ships. When they move in to your range at turn X+1, fire, and repeat. See the pictures below for an example of what I'm talking about. This holds true for the CR90A. CR90B's have a similar idea, but... we'll get to that.
|The CR90 started outside of the ISD's arc, so it was unable to be fired on at that time. The ISD had to move in closer in order to fire on it.|
|Pulling a Nope and getting out of there after firing on the ISD.|
There are 3 titles that the CR90 has, although competitively you often only see one. Let's start with that one:
|Stuck between a rock and a hard place. Yes, I'm proud of that pun.|
|The Pride of West Yavin 4! Go Wildcats, or whatever team name our school has!|
|Titles I swear exist, Volume 2.|
|I think he choked on his aspirations.|
1) You reveal a command. Raymus Antilles says "Here, have a token."* Tantive IV passes it to someone else.
2) You resolve the command, taking it as an actual command, or taking it as a token. If you take it as a token, again, the Tantive IV passes it to someone else (if desired. Maybe you want to keep it for yourself!).
The reason I have that * in there is that if you have Asoka Tano in there, she would want to change the token to something else HERE if you wanted to pass the tokens to the same ship (say again, that H1MC80). I like the idea of the title, but finding 10 more points on TOP of a basic CR90 build (below) is not an easy thing to find, especially when I can get the same double tokens passed for 40 points (2 basic GR75s with Comms Nets) which ALSO gives me 2 ship activations as opposed to the Tantive IV's 1. The Tantive DOES have better firepower than the 2 together though, and it works better under Ackbar and in Corellian Conflict.
The thing about the title is that it's basically a Veteran Captain in Title form.
|My name is Placeholder Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to receive a token!|
|"Size matters not"|
Common Upgrades and Usage
Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (TRCs)
|Scourge of the Imperial Navy!|
There's one upgrade found on CR90s most of the time, and it turns them from minor annoyances to murderous little jerks. Red dice are the most fickle dice, so being able to manipulate them and turn sides to Double Hits can just cause angering amounts of damage. Rolling out the side, if the blue dice gets a hit, the red dice makes it 3 damage out the side. 3 damage that needs to be redirected or braced and just like squadrons, 3 damage getting braced goes down to 2 and it is frustrating to deal with. Now imagine them in swarms with several CR90s using these! Possibly even with Intel Officers (see below)!
TRCs turned CR90s ON when they showed up. Because it's not a tap effect, it just alters a defense token to the Red side (or discards it), the ability to do it twice allows you to all but be sure your ship is doing SOMETHING. The basic ability to guarantee minimum 4 damage from a CR90 double arcing your ship if an opponent lands near you (you're letting them come to you and then running away like I advised, right?) is such a pain to deal with, as bracing twice not only gets rid of the token, but they're doing it again next turn. The damage comes in such small amounts that it's hard to use defense tokens effectively.... just like squadron fighting! These upgrades are so commonly seen on CR90As that they'll often be referred to as TRCR90s. It's 51 points of great support that'll plug into most lists and does a job very well. They add in damage on ships either early in the turn, forcing them to consider spending defense tokens or leaving unshielded parts of the hull, or they add in later when your other ships have gone, causing the unshielded opponent ship to take more damage.
|And here's that same CR90 firing and using the TRCs out of both arcs (before it ran as in that picture above). Enjoy your 7 damage, ISD!|
Every other (non title) upgrade usually found on CR90As is just for doing what it does better.
|Fun fact: running 4 of these on 4 CR90s is considered a potential war crime in parts of Russia.|
I also usually recommend using them on the front arc shot, but you do you. Target Evades first on ships (so they can't get rid of your Double Hits), then go for the Brace Tokens (so they can't minimize your damage). By the time you get rid of both of those, the Redirects are nearing the end of their usefulness, but they should be your next targets. If after all this, they still have a Contain token? Go for that. If after all that their ship still isn't dead and you feel sad that your Intel Officers aren't working anymore, well then I'm sorry Motti's Reinforced Blast Doors ISD is giving you trouble. Make sure, given the choice of tokens you have, that you target a Green (Ready) defense token. Any Red token they have is already going to go away if they use it again.
|"Adventure, excitement. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless!"|
Common Upgrades and Usage
SW-7 Ion Batteries
The benefit of the SW7s is that they turn every dice the CR90B rolls into a hit. Roll 3 accuracies? It was 3 hits all along! Roll 2 hits and an accuracy? It's an accuracy (hunting flotillas?) if you want or 3 hits if you need it. It ensures that no matter what you roll, you're guaranteed damage into the ship you're firing on. Furthermore, if your opponent tries to make you reroll (Lando, their own Evade token), you still roll 3 damage. Even if you reroll into those 3 accuracies, they aren't spent (based on timing windows), and then here comes 3 damage. Lando becomes useless here, which is news to make a lot of people happy.
The common way I've seen CR90B's used is under Rieekan. Rieekan starts in medium range with the CR90B, rolls 5 total damage (6 if concentrating fire! 8 if under Most Wanted!) and then rams into the face of the opponent ship you need stuck in place. Start of next turn, roll that damage (definitely concentrate fire here!) and ram him again. He's going to ram your ship, and you're going to end up ramming him. So 44 points of ship just did 5/6 (rolled) + 1 (ram) + 6 (roll, CF) + 1 (ram) + 1 (ramming a dead Rieekan ship). 14 minimum damage to your ship, 3 of which went straight to the hull through ramming. PLUS, you've got the enemy ship stuck in place, so by now you've hopefully gotten your other ships into place as well. Do that with 2 of these, and that's the 14 from the first one and then 12ish from the second (rolling and ramming, in some fashion). 26 damage, 88 points. That is horrifying.
You can do a similar trick with most other commanders, but I would ram the first time and then run away at the start of the second turn. It's a cheaper MC30 bombing run (we'll talk about those soon enough, I promise), but you need to get away fast. ISD front arcs are, as I'll restate constantly, not somewhere to spend your time.
To enhance that ramming ability, there's 2 upgrades that are starting to see play on CR90s.
|Whoa-oh Black Betty, bam-ba-lam|
You can also add in Reinforced Blast Doors (RBD).
|Not just for MC80s anymore!|
I'll note that RBD can go on a CR90A, but you're not usually ramming much with them, so I don't necessarily think it's super worth it. Putting your commander on Jaina's Light, though, means it's not a BAD idea to have RBD on there.
As for other upgrades, here's a picture of them all! Let me then explain afterwards why I don't like them on CR90Bs!
|Here's the story... of some blue upgrades.... that were bringing up three very lovely girls!|
NK-7 Ion Cannons: Ripping away defense tokens are GREAT! But 10 points for it to potentially roll a crit, to let your opponent choose and remove one of his defense tokens (THEIR CHOICE, NOT YOURS BOOOOOO) isn't as great as it could be. You have to hope you roll correctly, but you also get stuck dealing with those occasional rolls where instead of Crit/Hit, you get Hit/Accuracy out of your side arc (I'm going to refer to this below as CHHA, for ease of shortening the writeup). Not great, when you could have had a guaranteed extra hit from that arc instead (by using SW7s). Or even worse, Accuracy/Accuracy. Because of how defense tokens work, too, remember, you choose the critical effect AFTER they choose what tokens they'll use. So by paying 3 points MORE than an Intel Officer, I get to tell an opponent that he's forced to spend/use a Defense Token for my damage. It DOES remove a token, but they still get to use it. If your opponent is smart, he'll use it anyways so he gets some use before it vanishes. I may have ripped away a Brace token, but look at everything that had to happen:
- I had to be in range and not dead
- I had to roll the crit
- And still have it in the pool after their defense tokens were spent (guess what their Evade is going to target first!)
- And I need to find a way to capitalize on that in future turns, else I've just made them discard a defense token for no reason. My ships have to be waiting to strike the ship again.
Overload Pulse: CHHA, and the fact that putting Overload Pulse on a ship telegraphs your movements and intentions. Eric covered it more extensively, but don't use Overload Pulse.
High Capacity Ion Turbines: Sweet! an Extra Dice out the side! Which you'll use.... what, once or twice all game? If you concentrate fire, you go up to 4 blue dice, and you can then add 2 more reds if you have Ackbar, but this is a lot of setup for a very handwavey overdone plan that could be made better elsewhere. If your CR90 is in a place where you're firing out of both side arcs at the same time, that is a CR90 that should probably get out of that location FAST, before it explodes. If you have 2 medium ships in range, that means you're in range of 2 medium arcs yourself. That... is not an ideal way to stay alive. And since you're not getting a crit effect here, why not spend 4 less points and just use SW7s? CR90s are command 1, you can easily Concentrate Fire on the turn you need to, and on the ship you're hopefully double arcing.
Ion Cannon Batteries: I want to like this card. But maaaaan, CHHA. If I had to pick a different upgrade to use, it WOULD be this one, as its abilities are very good. Removing a Command Token or an extra shield? Great! But you have to realize that you're going to have some turns where you roll like crap and there really won't be anything you can do about it. There's a potential plan where you either play Opening Salvo or Targeting Beacons, but that's dependent on your opponent picking your Red objective. Not a great plan.
Leading Shots: So you remove one dice to reroll the other? This fixes Crit/Hit, Accuracy, Accuracy or Accuracy, Accuracy. It doesnt fix Crit/Hit and Accuracy out the side. Why not pay a point more and get those SW7s?
MS-1 Ion Cannons: You exhaust an upgrade card. Right now, that's helpful, but CHHA. If you're trying to keep the ship cheap, what do you need the 2 points more for than SW7s? And you don't even know if your opponent is going to bring anything like Engine Techs, Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams, or Electronic Countermeasures! It's an interesting idea, but it's just not something you can plan on using against your opponent as much as Ion Cannon Batteries or the Pride/SW7 combo.
|Wedge blew up the Second Death Star! And I helped!|
Commanders that love the CR90
Dodonna: TRCR90s can pull crits with their shots, triggering Dodonna's ability, and the Pride SW7 combo is a bargain bin MC30 with APTs on it.
General Cracken: Cracken LOVES TRCR90s. They let him use his ability while still running everywhere you need them to be. A common version of a Cracken list is a Bright Hope GR75, 4 TRCR90s, and 8 YT2400s. Zoom everywhere, shoot everything.
Mon Mothma: Both CR90s, actually. Because of her ability, she can use the Evade tokens in closer with the CR90B, and the CR90A is a great lifeboat for her on the Jaina's Light.
General Madine: TRCR90s love navigating. Why not make them better at it?
Rieekan: CR90B ramming, and TRCR90 shooting. One of the last Regionals this season was won by a CR90B ram list with Engine Techs and Reinforced Blast Doors. It is... certainly a list, but we'll see what happens now that Wave 6 has been REVEALED!
Sato: Sato is one of the few people who can run basic CR90s with no turbolaser upgrades (or with Enhanced Armaments, potentially? I'm exploring the idea...). By changing out the red dice for black dice, you can be flinging black dice from your side arc (2 with Enhanced Armament), which don't want to be using Red Dice manipulation from TRCs. You can also use the Dodonna's pride on a CR90A at long range, but.... why pay more points if you don't need to?
Admiral Ackbar: 3 red dice out the side of a TRCR90? YES PLEASE! And if you put it on the Jaina's Light, you're able to fire through your own ship with your full battery! Ackbar loves using TRCR90s to run all over in between his slower, bigger ships.
Why not Garm? Because his benefit of 1 token isn't as strong as if you could put in a ship with 2 or 3 command value, to get the most tokens for your buck. I'm not saying "Don't take these with Garm" so much as "there's got to be better options for you."
|Sailing away from any troubles it finds|
As much as I joked at the beginning of the article about how the CR90 is everyone's first ship, it is a pretty great building block for most lists. Cheap to upgrade, works well with most commanders, and self-reliant enough that you don't need to worry too much about supporting them, they're a great way to finish out a list and add in one more ship that can deal great supportive damage.