Thursday, March 30, 2017

Know Your Enemy/Commander's Corner: Garm bel Iblis

So if I'm going to write a post about how to build a Rebel fleet for cheap, the smart thing to do would be to get that Commander write-up written.  Garm is not an admiral seen all that often anymore, and that's a crying shame.

It's like they gave my Dad a wig and a weird space bandolier.  Go get 'em, space dad!
So as in all the times I do this, let's throw the card up first.
Fun fact: in the fluff, Garm went off and fought his own Rebellion because he was mad at Mon Mothma.
So you're starting the game with tokens based on your Command.  Your 3 dial ships get 3, your 2 dials get 2, and your 1 dials get? You guessed it, 1.  What does that mean for you?

Why should you play him?
First, any actions you take turn 1 (most likely Navigate, but depending on objectives it COULD be Concentrate Fire or Squadrons maybe?) are actually getting used.  Most games, you'll want to take the token turn 1 to set up your future actions; your big ships might want to store a Navigate token or an Engineering token, your carriers/slash Liberty-class Actual Liberty might want to store a Squadrons one, etc.  But turn 1, you don't need to store anything, you're already prepped and ready to go. Go forth and wreak havoc.

Second, you get more tokens on turn 5.  Most likely Engineering is one of them, in an effort to keep your ships alive.  Maybe you want to Navigate out of harm's way (not Garm's way, ha ha haaaaa).  Maybe the Yavaris needs to throw out one more Squadron next turn to end that ISD? Maybe Salvation has a ship set in its sights and you need to ensure that you're getting the Red Crit you need to finish it? You get to decide them all turn 5 (Try to live that long!).

Third and last, you end up doing more things in a turn with your ships than you thought possible.  In one turn, your Liberty can regenerate 1 shield (with its token), send out 2 squadrons (with its 2nd token), change its speed by 1 (3rd token) and add a dice to its forward attack (dial, finally, haha!) That's a CRAZY amount of things it can do in one turn just from tokens and that makes Garm unpredictable, as you never know when or where or HOW he'll use those tokens.

Unrelated to token generation, Garm is also the second cheapest Rebel admiral, and he's worth considering as a general choice.  He helps a lot of your ships get the most out of what they can/want to do each turn, while still giving you more points to put stuff into your list.

Garm also doesn't necessarily NEED one type of ship, so you can build diverse lists with him.  Ackbar wants side shots more than front ones, Mon Mothma wants ships with an Evade token, Cracken wants smalls or mediums that can go speed 3, but Garm will take anything.  When you're off fighting your own Rebellion, you'll take anyone you can get.
Seriously, every picture I find of him has that bandolier thing.  And the mustache stays the same all the time!  I assume this is from his younger days on Corellia.  I'm just going to start posting pictures of other Space Dads now, and see who notices.
Speaking of the tokens themselves, let's talk a little about them all.  We all know what we can do, but how do you choose what you want to get with them?  Let's go through them all and determine what to take.
  • Navigate Token - This is the default token most ships take Turn 1 (in a non-Garm list).  Eric and I have talked about how important maneuvering can be, and being able to increase/decrease speed at will is usually very important for staying in range or getting out of a bad range.  I'd make it the first token I pick every game for each one of my ships.
  • Repair - Repair is a strong choice.  Any ship with an Engineering of at least 3 can use one of these tokens to regenerate a shield (4 and 3 divide in "half" to both equal an Engineering value of 2, as we round up) or move 2 shields around.  Repair is really good, and can keep ships of yours alive.  Not a bad choice for your second token.
  • Squadrons - Turn X squadrons commanded into X+1, or push 2 with the Liberty, or let Yavaris be a bigger monster as often as you can.  If you've got a carrier or a 3 command ship, squadrons is a good choice for a token.
  • Concentrate Fire - I don't want to call this my least favorite, as I can still reroll one dice, but the problem with the token is that I have many other dice reroll effects.  Black dice ships have Ordinance Experts and many of your big ships have Leading Shots slots. I'm not saying "Don't take this," so much as consider if it's the best for you.  This advice may be ignored for the Salvation, or any other ship built around long range damage (Liberty Class MC80s that aren't the Liberty title)
Leading shots! Shots! Shots! EVERYBODY!
Common Builds
Before we get into the ships, there's one upgrade that I would almost consider near mandatory for Garm now that she's out.
Agent Fulcrum reporting for duty
With all the different tokens you're passing out, and all the different ships you'll want doing different things, you're likely going to end up in a case where you have the "wrong" token for what you need that turn.  Yavaris might DESPERATELY need a Navigate token to get out of the Demolisher in its side arc; your MC80 might need a squadron token to engage the bombers that are threatening it far too closely... Well then you exhaust Ahsoka and change the token to what you need.  With ALL the tokens you have in Garm's fleet, having this Get Out of Jail Free card is incredibly helpful.  A lot of Rebel fleets love having her as insurance, but Garm REALLY enjoys her.  Get the Liberty title to actually be useful every turn! Use your Pelta every turn to your full advantage!

Garm has a lot of ships he likes and can build around.  Generally, the ships Garm goes for either do their job better with the tokens (ie, extra squadrons pushed from your carriers) or can do 2-3 things a turn with the tokens.  Hence, he usually likes Command 2 and Command 3 ships, such as:

Assault Frigates
Garm comes packaged with the Assault Frigate, and it is his ship to run.  3 Tokens let the Assault Frigate move at a much higher level than expected, letting the ship do all sorts of things at once.  You can regen a shield/move 2 as needed, push an extra squadron, change an extra speed amount, or reroll a die.  Garm takes the generalist approach of the Assault Frigate and gives it the ability to do more each turn.  The wave 2 usual list had Garm and 2 Assault Frigates, and it WORKED.  They went from beaters to suped-up muscle cars and they were deadly.  No reason to leave one behind here!

Nebulon B's
Garm loves all 3 Titles.  With the squadron token, the Yavaris is ready to go turn 1.  Move it into position and get those squadrons ready to move.  The Salvation loves a reroll on those red dice.  And the Redemption, if you have Engineering Team on your other ships can give those ships, with an Engineering token too, potentially 7-8 Engineering points.  It's a very janky combo, but the Redemption can give you and your ships the ability to live super long.  In this case, I would use the Redemption as a trailer (hi Shmitty!) and not necessarily the Salvation.  It could almost be a second trailer, coming in after the Salvation to fire on whatever was left if you wanted.

This is JUST like my day job, I promise.  I can't tell you the number of starships I've repaired every day.
Garm likes all the different Fleet Commands that the Pelta can put on it.  With Garm, though, you'll definitely want the Phoenix Home title or a Veteran Captain to ensure you can get all the tokens and Fleet Commands you want/need.  You may not necessarily need the Pelta commands every turn, but you'll have the option of using them every turn.  Garm is also one of the ones that I like for Shields to Maximum!, the Engineering Pelta Command.  If you use it turn 3 with your starter token, turn 4 with another token (from Ahsoka!), that lets you use a token for it turn 5 and discard the card turn 6.  That's 4 shields healed on each surviving ship a game... provided you can survive.  If you can combine this with Redemption and their own Engineering token on the ships themselves, that's a shield and a damage healed every turn.  That is super nice.  Just make sure to stay alive for it all, haha, and that you're actually doing damage.  You can keep regenerating a bunch of health every turn with the Pelta and Redemption and Engineering teams and and and..... and how are you doing damage? Keep THAT in mind when you're building this Engineering heavy fleet.

The LMC80 mainly is only going to want to try one title under Garm, and that's the Liberty.
The wings make it fly faster.
The other titles, while good, don't benefit as much from Garm as the Liberty  (From now on, for the rest of this part, consider me to mean the Liberty title Liberty, else this is going to get confusing, haha).  With Ahsoka and the 3 starting tokens, you can fire off 2 squadrons a turn for turns 2, 3, and 4, and then do it again on turns 5 and 6.  The one thing I will say about this plan is that it's MUCH better to just use the title to fire off the squadrons.  DO NOT try to turn the Liberty into a carrier, when you can do it significantly better with the H1MC80.  Yes, you can put a whole bunch of upgrades on the Liberty (Flight Commander, Flight Controllers, Fighter Coordination Team) to get it to be a GREAT carrier.... for 2 squadrons, maybe 4.  You can put everything but Flight Controllers on a H1MC80 and get a better version of this entirely.

Also, look at the Liberty's movement diagram.  It looks at the VSD jealously.  If you're pushing squadrons with your dial and your token for 4 squadrons a turn, you're going to get shot in the sides by ships that you'd rather have had in your front arc.  For a 3 point upgrade that lets you push 2 squadrons a turn, it's great! Just don't treat it as the start of your brand new carrier and you'll be fine.

I love the H1MC80 with Garm.  It has enough health to survive most attacks, great side shot dice, and a wonderful carrier ability (if you pick the Command version) that lets you fire 4 squadrons off, or 5 if you use your token.  Garm is a great fan of the Independence title....
Titles I swear exist, volume 3
With the title, you'll want to be throwing your squadrons (B-wings) of whatever type you choose (B-wings) forward turn 1 (after you use Flight Commander and potentially Fighter Coordination Team on your B-wings).  And as we've seen from my multiple squadrons posts, you want to command your squadrons in order to get the most out of them.  So how are you supposed to both Command your B-wings turn 1 and then the turns after that, annnnnd still make sure you're in range to do good damage with your ship? Putting Engine Techs on your MC80 and then triggering it as needed with a Navigate token is GREAT, and you can do that repeatedly with Ahsoka's help.  Fling your fighters as needed every turn (with all those squadrons and the Independence title, Squadrons should weirdly be the default dial setting) and let the Galactica your MC80 follow up the damage into the ship you're firing on.
To steal from Kris Straub, I've always been Team Edward
Anything He Doesn't Like?
The easy answer here is that he's not ecstatic about Command 1 ships.  With only one token they can store, that's not easy to fire off several different roles in one turn.  So CR90s aren't amazing choices with him, as you can (say) Concentrate Fire and change speeds in one turn.... but you can do that relatively well with ANY Commander.  Theoretically, you could take the Tantive IV-Raymus Antilles combo I mentioned here to act as an EXTRA token source, but you more likely than not don't ACTUALLY need to fire every token off every turn.  Combine that with the fact that you also can't guarantee that you're getting the right tokens every turn (if they already have an X token, you can't give them another!) and I'm not a fan.

I also haven't run Garm with MC30s.  With the fact that you're navigating with them more often than not, and the smartest builds for them already handle needing the Concentrate Fire reroll (IE, you put Ordinance Experts on them).  You don't want to squadrons with a squadrons 1 ship, so the only thing you have left is Engineering.  And if you're using them right, they can Engineering when they're not in danger/when they're not navigating away from problems.  They just don't need the tokens for extra help, so it's not that beneficial in my mind.

He DOES like flotillas, though, as he generally does like squadrons and pushing bombers around.  So Bomber Command Center is actually worth it.  Take a squadrons token top of 1, and then Navigate them into position for when you need to strike with your squadrons turn 2 with 3 squadrons (2 base, and 1 more with the token)

So why did I put a CR90 in the starter fleet with Garm then? So people can get a handle on piloting them well.  The earlier you can pilot them, the better, even though Garm doesn't do MUCH for them.  A free Navigate token turn 5 is nothing to sneeze at, too, though.
I mean, it's in the trailer, it's not a spoiler in that case.
How do I fight this guy?
The benefit of Garm is his tokens.  If you can take out the ship Garm is in before turn 5, he's not regenerating any new tokens for those ships.  The OTHER thing to note is that beyond the tokens, Garm's ships don't DO much else beyond their normal abilities.  They have the tokens, but unlike some of the other Admirals (Mothma affecting the Evade token effect distance, Madine's navigating ability, Sato's ability to change your dice up if you have a squadron near, etc) none of the ships change their basic abilities or profile.  The upgrades may change, but they run how they always do.  Just more enhanced and topped off in their abilities.  Fight them the same way you'd fight any other Rebel ship.
Danger Will Robinson Wedge Antilles? Sure why not.  I'm running out of Space Dads!
Final Thoughts
Garm hasn't been seen as much recently considering the new Rebel Admirals and their abilities to change the nature of how the ships work.  But I promise that once you get an Assault Frigate to command 3 squadrons a turn, change its speed by 1, heal a shield, and reroll a red dice against a ship, you'll change your tone about his abilities.  Give him a try, see how he does for you!

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