Monday, April 10, 2017

H1MC80: Space Hoagie of DOOOOOOM!

I had said before that I got into this game to play with squadrons.  And that is a mostly true statement.  However, there was one other ship that I always loved watching in the Original Trilogy.  It had power, it had Command, it represented for me the powerhouse of the Alliance.  Admiral Ackbar led from its bridge; it's the MC80.
It looks like a sandwich.  An ANGRY sandwich!
So as in all of these, let's start out by looking at the base stats.
The VSD looks at that movement profile jealously.
So in similarity!
  • 3 Command stack!
  • 4 Engineering, best the Rebellion can get!
  • 1 Brace, 2 Redirects, and a Contain
  • Max speed 2* (we'll get to this)
  • Incredible side attacks! Technically present Front and Rear attacks!
  • Legitimate AA attacks against squadrons
  • 8 health, which is not a lot, but its the most the Rebellion will give you.  Goes along great with...
  • Shields for DAYS.  4 in everything but the back, and that's got a full 3
How do they differ? We'll get there in our breakdowns and what they usually bring to the party.  With BOTH of them, you want to get as many ships in your side arc as possible.  You can't take Gunnery Team, but you CAN put Advanced Gunnery in your list, and it's a GREAT target for it.  Just try not to get it killed.

Remember like 5 seconds ago where I put an asterisk on the Max Speed 2? Well with Engine Techs (which both versions can take!) you can turn them into speed 3 on select turns.  You can't get them there every turn without either constantly Navigating or a Comms Net Flotilla friend, but you can do it on the IMPORTANT turns.  It's not necessarily an auto-include, but it's a great choice.
Make sure to yell "Cruisin!" in that Cruisin USA voice to let everyone know you're going extra fast.
Upgrades that ARE auto includes on the MC80 are a title (we'll get there) and Leading Shots.  These ships depend so much on damage from their side arcs that you NEED to ensure they can get it.  Some people may say that Leading Shots isn't necessary; you can get better with High Capacity Ion Turbines or SW7s or whatever.  I want you to look at this picture I took of a roll WITH ACKBAR and you tell me that Leading Shots isn't necessary.  Then realize it could have been WORSE.  Put Leading Shots on there, your dice will thank you later.
That's right, 6 accuracies.  I rolled it against a Raider, and locked down all its defense tokens twice.  IT DIDN'T DIE.  You think this is bad, though? I've seen WORSE rolls.  Put Leading Shots on there.
The other fun thing about Leading Shots is that it works on all attacks.  So, when you end up using your AA dice to hit your opponent's squadrons, if you roll badly with your first attack, you can give up one of the dice in order to reroll the other one, getting SOME damage there.  Not something you need/can use all the time, but hey, every little bit helps, right?

I will also point out that their 8 hit points is 3 less than an ISD.  While not seeming like a lot, it's substantially less in reality.  They will NOT win fights against an ISD without working for it.  XI7s in your build, lucky crits, help from other ships (easiest and best way to do it in my mind!), Advanced Gunnery out the side arc into the ISD, or last activation attack/first activation next turn, these all can work.  Just don't expect in a straight out slugging match to win, because you won't.  That's how game balance works.  Ackbar might have a shot, but the traditional Ackbar build has several of these working for him.

As for Commands with these all, it will roughly depend on your build in a way, but you generally do NOT want to be Concentrating Fire with them.  Eric's point from the VSD article about not using Concentrate Fire is pretty applicable here.  You CAN Concentrate Fire, especially if you throw a Defense Liaison on the ship to get out of trouble fast, but just make sure you don't keep Concentrating Fire every turn and ignoring where you're navigating to or what your health is.  Smarter plan in my mind is to just Navigate more.  Navigate to keep your arcs where you want them, navigate so you don't get stuck in place.
Officers I swear exist, Volume 1
Speaking of, that's a very common problem with the MC80.  They don't have a great maneuver path, so Raiders getting parked in the front of an MC80 can result in a dead MC80.  The Raider holds it down and the ISD comes along and beats the lunch money out of the MC80.  Another reason to put the Engine Techs on there is to guarantee 2 damage to that Raider parked in its front by ramming it twice.  Demolisher will often park there too, and it's a TERRIBLE place for it to be, because you just can't hit it.  Eric has gotten really good at parking Demolisher there, sadly for me, haha.

So there's 3 titles, and all actually have some uses! They all end up focusing your ship towards acting in a different pattern, but they all have value.  First up is the traditionally seen:

Kitten MC80 dreams of murder all day!
I talked about it in the Ackbar article, but in short, use Leading Shots at long range, or add in a black die for more damage because you can.  It's a great upgrade, and if you're throwing in an MC80 (as much as one can "throw in" a 106 minimum point investment for the ship itself....), it's a great bonus for it.  People love trying to Concentrate Fire with the Defiance so you can have 2 black dice in the pool but I'd personally rather be Navigating and getting that more Black Dice next turn against the opponent's ships.  It's a great bonus that helps you every turn... so long as you have Defiance around to go after your other ships!  The Defiance Assault Cruiser generally stays on the side, but can very easily start wandering into the thick of things, being sure to keep repairing every turn to mitigate damage being done to it.

Home One, the second title, is one of the many suggestions people have for fighting flotillas.
Blanks count as dice you can change! But not Black dice, they don't HAVE an accuracy side.
Giving you free accuracies on all your attacks, provided you're in Range 1-5, the Home One title is great if you can get several ships use out of it.  It's better with more ships, especially since it doesn't ACTUALLY help itself (weirdly...).  Home One usually wanders into trouble, trying to stay in Range 1-5 of several other ships.  It turns into a full Flying Circus thing, where you have to keep in mind where all your ships are and how to profit off this 7 point investment.  It also usually means that you end up needing to activate ships in a potentially weird order until you get better with it.  If I need to have Home One move forwards to get an accuracy for my other ship, you have to evaluate whether or not your other ship NEEDS that Accuracy to do work or not.  The usual run for this is Home One and several TRCR90s under Ackbar, but other builds can work too.
Have you met my good friend B-wings?
If you wanted to focus on being a carrier, Independence is a GREAT title.  I covered it before in the LFC article a month ago, but its still around.  Push your squadrons Speed 4 to get them into the fray faster.  If you aren't taking a Pelta with All Fighters Follow Me! then it gets work done in its own way.  The Independence is throwing fighters most, if not all turns, just putting bombers into range to do all the damage necessary.  Engine Techs is a very helpful addition here, as is Boosted Comms to keep all your squadrons in range of command.  Garm and his tokens love this.  Look for a little more about this in the Command Cruiser Build below.

Assault Cruiser and Builds
So you want to smash things with the Rebellion? Nickel and Diming not for you? Well try the Assault Cruiser!
The Assault Cruiser has started to come into its own.  With an extra red dice out the sides and 2 (count em, TWO!) Defensive Retrofit slots, there used to be very little reason to take this version of the ship.  Then Wave 5 came out.
What up.
Reinforced Blast Doors brought new life to this ship.  The 8 health the Assault Cruiser has suddenly "improved" to 11.  Its only face down damage, but with an extra slot left over for Advanced Projectors or Electronic Countermeasures (your choice), it had the ability to withstand a lot more than expected.  With a few other upgrades and correct piloting/commands, this ship just won't DIE.

MC80 Assault Cruiser (114 points)
Defiance  ( 5  points)
-  Walex Blissex  ( 5  points)
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points)
-  Electronic Countermeasures  ( 7  points)
-  Reinforced Blast Doors  ( 5  points)
-  X17 Turbolasers  ( 6  points)
-  Leading Shots  ( 4  points)
= 154 total ship cost

That is 154 points in this potential build (DO NOT TAKE ME AND THIS BUILD AS GOSPEL!), yes.  It also has all sorts of ways to win fights.  Walex Blissex is both a soft counter to Intel Officer and Sloane and also a way to get Defense tokens back when needed.  3-4 spends of a brace token can reduce a LOT of damage coming at you.  The Reinforced Blast Doors and ECM let you shrug off a lot of damage (ECM can also be Advanced Projectors, if you're more worried about fighting squadrons).  XI7s ensure that whatever damage you put into a ship is staying where you put it, and the Defiance title does what it does.  The Defiance can also be the Home One, but at 154 points (becoming 156 with the H1 title) you need to have a good reason for your other ships to have the title.  Remember, you want more ships to make it actually worth taking.

You can also substitute in a Damage Control Officer instead of Walex Blissex, or Quad Battery Turrets over the XI7s, etc etc.  It's your ship, build it how you want.

Command Cruiser and Builds
So many squadrons, so little time.
The Command Cruiser is usually more based around squadrons.  With one more squadron it can push and an Offensive Retrofit slot, this one usually ends up spending many of its orders pushing squadrons around to supplement its attacks.  Yes, it has one less Red dice than the Assault Cruiser, but the ability it has to push squadrons CANNOT be underestimated.  For example:

[ flagship ] MC80 Command Cruiser (106 points)
Independence  ( 8  points)
-  Flight Commander  ( 3  points)
-  Fighter Coordination Team  ( 3  points)
-  Boosted Comms  ( 4  points)
-  Electronic Countermeasures  ( 7  points)
-  X17 Turbolasers  ( 6  points)
-  Leading Shots  ( 4  points)
= 141 total ship cost

Watch a typical activation with this ship.
  • Independence activates, reveals a squadron Command
  • It fires, dealing X damage out of its side arc to a ship and more out of its front.
  • Independence moves, and then Fighter Coordination Team moves 4 B-wings along with it Speed 1.
  • The B-wings NOW activate (thanks Flight Commander!), and can move 2 and attack or 4 to set up for next turn's attack on some other ship.  If they attack, that's 4 Black and Blue dice attacks on the same ship, which (presumably) just had a side arc of 3 Blue and 3 Red at it.  So a grand total of 4 Black, 7 Blue, and 3 Red dice coming at a ship, with most of those not really well able to redirect/deal with.  At best, your opponent's ISD has no shields left and is not in a good spot for next turn.
So you moved 4 B-wings either 3+ and attacked with them or 5+ to attack next turn.  How's that sound? Sounds great to me!  Home One can go on this ship as well, but as always, it needs to be worth using the title.  If you're looking to save points, you can cut the XI7s and potentially the Independence Title, but you're going to need to test these all out to see what you need in your meta.

You don't NEED to build for squadrons with this, but the real question is that if you try to turn this into the angry murder assault cruiser for cheaper, why wouldn't you just build the Assault Cruiser and put the second Defensive Retrofit on there? Better attacks, better damage from Long Range, and a better chance of survivability.
More squadrons! More!
Dodonna: Sure loves the ability to put a bunch of damage into ships, hopefully getting a Face-Up Crit.  Sure also loves pushing squadrons a bunch too.  He can use either, but he tends towards the Command Cruiser just to push the squadrons he's usually bringing.

Garm bel Iblis: Oh yeah.  Extra tokens, pushing 5 squadrons and Engine Teching and repairing and all the fun stuff you can do.  Again, usually the Command Cruiser to push the squadrons he's bringing.

Rieekan: Yup.  Nothing better than a Defiance Assault Cruiser that not only doesn't die but gets a last shot on the way out.  Or pushing squadrons like crazy with him, again, on a ship that is the strongest the Rebel Alliance can offer.

Sato: He can use it yeah.  With all the squadrons Sato wants, he definitely appreciates pushing them all.  Sato also can use a weird hybrid of the Command Cruiser and the Defiance Title to just roll 3 black dice with Leading Shots (one from the title, 2 from the Sato change).  He can also use the Assault Cruiser to push 3 squadrons and throw 2 Red, 2 Black, and 1 Blue (4 red base, add in a Black Defiance dice, change 2 of those reds into a Black for damage and a Blue for the Leading Shots Reroll.  This is a very handwavey way to get a slew of dice into your opponent's ships, and I can't say I recommend it immensely.  I can see the benefits of the H1MC80 with Sato, but I can understand not taking it as well, as it's a very points heavy ship and Sato has his own points heavy issues.

Ackbar:  He's become the main user of the Assault Defiance.  6 Red Dice out the Side with Leading Shots from Defiance? Ohhhhh yeah, that's some fun stuff.  It's a lot of points, but it is AMAZING fun when it works.

So who doesn't want it?
Cracken: This isn't a Small or Medium ship and it can't go speed 3. No.

Mothma: What Evade Token? No.

Madine: Weirdly enough, Madine doesn't help this as much as you'd want.  The LMC80 with Madine survives because it keeps Navigating around, putting its front and best shields towards your opponent.  The H1MC80, while certainly appreciating the extra movement, doesn't get as much turning.  Madine improves the turning of it at speed 2 by an extra click above the normal, but I've generally found that the MC80 doesn't need THAT much help turning.  It appreciates it, don't get me wrong, but it doesn't need it/appreciate it as much as other ships.  You can use him, but I'd find another Commander who does it better.  Navigate an extra turn or 2 more and you're probably better off here.

Leia Organa: It's a lot of points when Leia wants ships that can change commands on a dime/every turn to make the best use of her ability.  You CAN, but I WOULDN'T just to get more small ships in and do better with Leia and her ability.

Final Thoughts
The MC80 is a great all around ship capable of dealing a lot of damage and also potentially able to actually survive a base ISD's Front Arc for one attack (ie, not Avenger Boarding Teams).  Just don't take 2 Front Arc attacks, you'll do fine.


  1. ive been running the hmc80 command cruiser in our league under sato with good results. it does a great job anchoring the list, spamming squadrons dials, and doesnt die (and get scarred). the meta is very squadron heavy, so its nice to be able to activate 5 (plus one twice - thanks adar!) and really lay into a ship with bombers. realistically you could get more swapped out black dice with other ships for maximum sato dice swapping, but its just so much hardier than the assault frigate, it lends itself to campaign play.

    1. Nice! Everyone keeps telling me to throw Big Ships at my Sato problems, so maybe i should ACTUALLY try that, haha..... thanks!

  2. I can't stress enough Sato + Defiance Command Cruiser + SW7 Ion Turrets. Add/swap blue dice all the time and get SIX guaranteed damage (on top of whatever your one red gets you). Bonus XI7 on top of it, so you never care about locking out Redirect. Leading shots would have been nice if you're skimping on points but this is worth the money. I'm building this now for my next Corellian Conflict and I think the Empire is gonna cry. A LOT. I can't wait.

  3. I've had great fun experimenting with engine techs and hardened bulkheads on the command cruiser since wave 7 came out. HIEs have also been fun. Have you guys tried the pickle-ram yet?

    1. Comments I just saw, sorry. I do like the pickle ram with hardened bulkheads, just smashing through all your problems, haha!