Monday, May 22, 2017

Alpha Beta Charlie PELTA!

We slowly move our way into wave 5.  We, being a royal we, as Eric already did his bit on Jerry and the Arquitens, and I still need to get through the Pelta and Sato.  Today, we hit the Pelta, and hopefully I can get Sato soon enough.  When I.... get to him.  (He's hard to write, OK!) I can promise I'll have him done before Wave 6 shows up (I'm running out of new stuff to write about, haha!) but for today, the Pelta.
I'm almost an angrier looking CR90! Rarrrrrr!

Two VASTLY different ships in a 4 point different frame
So we have the Assault class, which has black dice, and an additional black dice in the flak, and the Command-class, with 2 more squadrons to command and blue dice.  The Assault Class comes with an ordnance upgrade, while the Command-class comes with an Offensive Retrofit.  They share:
  • Max speed 2, but with a Support Team slot they CAN fake speed 3 with Engine Techs
  • 2 clicks speed 1, one each speed 2 (which helps with that Engine Tech movement)
  • A 3-2s-1 shield pattern and the sampler platter of defense tokens
  • 4 Engineering and 5 health to stay alive, 2 Command to make it slightly easier to do so
  • The Fleet Command Slot
Before we get ANYWHERE with the Pelta, let's talk about why you're using it.  It's a barely upgunned CR90 without a turbolaser slot anywhere, combined with shields that are less than ideal for staying alive.  The REASON you're using it is for the Fleet Commands, so if you somehow have built a list without a Fleet Command on your Pelta, go back and put one on there.  Or remove the Pelta, one of the two.  Each of the Fleet Commands needs to be activated at the start of the turn by spending a token or discarding the card.  Don't be afraid to discard the card mid-game if you need to, if it gives you the win.  I usually see dead Peltas before the card gets discarded, when it might have helped having it discarded instead of using a token to spend it instead.

There's only 3 different fleet commands, and they all do different things:

An ISD and a SSD out the side window? One shield will be enough.
Shields to Maximum! (AKA StM) gives all your ships a free shield back when they activate.

Yes, fighter blob. Follow the CR90 in that's CLEARLY in your list, commanding you with its squadron 1.
All Fighters, Follow Me! (AKA AFFM) lets your COMMANDED squadrons move 1 distance click more.  So B-wings are speed 3, X-wings are speed 4, and A-wings remain speed 5.  Get the jump on those TIE fighters though, at speeds they didn't expect.  E-wings get to be speed 5 with Snipe, so you can hit anything FROM DOWNTOWN! (Kids, there was a video game when we were young called NBA Jam.....)
I'm willing to wait for it.... wait for it.... wait for it....
And Entrapment Formation! (AKA EF) lets your ships change their speed during the Determine Course step.  This happens AFTER you've done all your attacks, and it combines with a Navigate Command, to get a full 2 steps in the speed profile if desired.

These all do VASTLY different things, so in our builds section we'll talk about putting these in, along with the fleet that actually wants to use these.

Title
There's only one, and it is mighty nice.
Feeny! Fee-hee-hee-heeny! MR. FEENY! Wait, Phoenix, not Feeny.
So the MAIN benefit is that you get an additional officer slot.  As there's so many great Rebel and neutral officers, finding ships to keep them all on is not an easy task.  This makes things a little easier.  The extra command tokens bit isn't the most helpful right now, but combining it with Ahsoka Tano, you can be powering up the fleet commands for most of the rest of the game.  I have my suspicions that when Hondo comes out, this will help more, but we'll likely need to wait until Friday to see, won't we?  It's not an auto-include, but there's a lot of great Rebel officers that can go in here (And yes, we'll be doing an article soon enough about the available officers for each side.  Given this blog is what we WANT to do, I may even get that done BEFORE the E-wings or Z95s. We'll see).

Assault Class Builds
If someone is putting a Raider that close to your Pelta, it DESERVES to get blown up by it
So the Assault Class is cheaper, with stronger flak and dice, but they're in close range.  Which means that you're not going to be going super crazy murdering everything UNLESS you get into close range with them.  The first point I'll say for this is that you do not want AFFM on this ship.  You have a squadrons 1, if you're commanding a bunch of squadrons with it (enough and the specific types that desperately want extra speed (yes, i mean B-wings)) then you want the Command class.  See below.  So the Assault Class wants either EF or StM.  EF is great in that you can let your other ships concentrate fire as needed and change speeds to get where they need to, or you can jump 2 speeds with them if you give your other ships a navigate order.  I've heard of two ways of using EF.  First you use it to rocket your ships into place and then slow down when you're in your opponent's grill, or you come in slowly and then jump forward and rocket in when it's best for you to do so.  Both work well, it's going to take some play time to figure things out and what works best for you.  It is fun, letting you move ships all over the place and jump them to spots that your opponent didn't see you getting to.

Note, though, that EF does NOT count as a navigate order, so if/when you attach Engine Techs to your Pelta, it does NOT trigger (nor does Madine) unless you ALSO spent a navigate order/token.  I will say, that putting Engine Techs on the Assault class is a fun choice.  Navigating with it and using Engine Techs gives you 2-1-2 or 1-2-2 clicks as needed in order to get to wherever you need to mess up an opponent's ship or squadron.  It also (if you use a navigate command) gives you a Raider-like 2 click-2 click move, which is just fun.  Turn 90 degrees!  So I usually suggest putting Engine Techs on it, but I can understand not doing so (because points).

As for the Ordnance slot, I'm very torn.  This is the only Rebel ship that can take Flechette Torpedos (and make use of it), but without Leading Shots or anyway to reroll the black dice against squadrons, you're entirely at the mercy of how well you roll.  When facing a LFC group of aces under Rieekan, that's not comforting.  If you think you can roll well, though, go for it.  Normally, I'd rather just have the upgrade on Raiders.
I come in the Rebel ship pack! And am desired by Imperial commanders, because FFG wants your money!
External Racks is going to be nice for them, but it's not out yet, so we can only stare longingly.
Soon......
As for other ordnance upgrades? Ugh, you CAN, but even with Sato, you're trying to roll 2 black dice at long range and hoping they roll into what you want.  Not for me and my tastes, sorry.

If you want to put StM on here, it's a similar build, though I would probably use Projection Experts over Engine Techs.  Just keep regenerating shields all over the place with your ships.
The fish friend on here combines with the Shields to Maximum fish friend! All the fish friends!
What fleets want this?
If you're going EF, you want a bunch of ships that Navigate a fair amount and change speeds often enough.  MC30s, CR90s, I'm betting Hammerheads, Nebulons love them, LMC80s, Assault Frigates, etc.  If you're going StM, you want friends who love having shields back and stay alive because of those shields.  MC80s (both types), MC30s, CR90s, Nebulons, Assault Frigates.  There's a lot of overlap, but keep in mind which one you're using and HOW you're using it.

I can imagine a fun build with StM, a Redemption Nebulon, and a few other friends there to just repair a whole bunch of damage fast.  Put Leia in there when she comes out, that's going to be hilarious, just gutting your way through all sorts of damage that should kill you.  I can also imagine a fun build for EF where everything starts at speed 1 (out of range of the new Disposable Capacitors on those Victory-IIs that are back in fashion now) and takes a navigate token.  Turn 2, everything navigates again, and with EF, the navigate token, and the navigate order, that's a potential 3 speed change (up to speed 4 if they can take it) in one shot.  Dispose THESE capacitors, Imp nerds!
I am whiny because I bought a Quasar, assuming there would be cards I wanted inside it.  There generally are NOT.
Command-Class
To quote Ghostbusters 2: "Command me, Lord Vigo! Command me!" What's Peter MacNicol been up to, anyway?
 So it's a similar ship, and you can put any of the Fleet Commands on here.  Your AA isn't as good, but your squadron commanding is better.  Combine THAT with the Offensive Retrofit slot (Boosted Comms or Expanded Hangar Bays) and you're commanding a bunch of squadrons here, so this in general turns into the Rebel carrier.  I know a lot of people wanted a Rebel Quasar title because of the show, but the Pelta does the job already.  Expanded Hangar Bays, AFFM, and Fighter Coordination Team can have you pushing 4 B-wings for greater than speed 4 (1 free from the FCT, and then 3 from the AFFM), 5 if you use a Raymus token to do so.  4 B-wings solves a LOT of problems from ships.  Otherwise, the ship performs much like the Assault Class, with different dice.

Given the differences, in general, I'd say that if you're using AFFM use the command class.  If you're not planning on commanding squadrons, use the Assault Class (this can change, of course, depending on commander choice and what you need in your list and what you NEED the ship to do, but eh, it's general enough).  I can see using StM here as well, though, with the Projection Experts combo, as you'd rather stay out of close range and throw more dice from far away, NOT taking damage as much as you can with your Pelta.  With as much as you're maneuvering with the EF one, I lean towards the Assault Pelta for points, especially if you can get in close and push a bunch of black dice into your opponent.

As for other Offensive Retrofits (this being the only one that can take them), we don't know Quad Battery Turrets yet (coming in Hammerhead and Quasar packs: expect my HOT TAEK Friday, assuming the preview shows up then), and the rest are rather the same as on any other ship.  Let's briefly mention Rapid Launch Bays, though.
The card so convoluted it needed an FAQ AND a follow-up email!
It's not good.  After clarification, you can deploy your set aside squadrons and activate whoever you want in range (be it those set-aside ones or other ones that need to go first in order to not die), so that helps it, but it's still not a good plan.  Let's talk why:
  • First, you're removing deployments from your side of the table.  At BEST, you pull 3 squadrons.  If you're playing Hyperspace Assault, you can then pull another 3.  So you've removed either 3 squadrons or 6 and a ship.  That's a deployment and a half or 4 deployments.  Just for the opportunity to dump them all out and hit a ship with them in one go.  Why didn't you just command your B-wings better and jump your opponent with them when you needed to, instead of spending MORE points to REMOVE your own deployments?
  • Second, this is INCREDIBLY telegraphing to your opponent that it's coming.  So they will target that ship first.  If the ship dies, the squadrons don't pop out.  They are dead, and your opponent gets points for them (or they don't deploy at all, which is effectively the same).  You may be able to jump your opponent with this once or twice, but people WILL start to see this coming, and target the Pelta (or whatever ship you have this on) to kill it before they pop out.  Let's say you get the DREAM! You fire a bunch of dice from your Pelta into Demolisher (that is somehow in range and hasn't attacked you??????) and then you drop off 3 B-wings with a Flight Commander.  Do you think your opponent is going to let that happen again? I doubt it, personally, and that's why I'm not sold on it.  If I see you have a ship with Rapid Launch Bays and remove some B-wings for it, I'm going to throw as much long range damage as I can at it, trying to kill it fast.
  • You also NEED to either LAND in range of a ship (with Flight Commander on the ship) or start the turn in range of one, and you also want to make sure that you outbid and go first against it so you can hit it with those squadrons AGAIN.  That's a LOT to put together for a janky B-wing explosion bomb.
  • Again, you're removing deployments! Stop letting your opponent see where more of your stuff is before they have to put things down!  You don't necessarily win a game with good deployment, but you CAN lose one with bad deployment!
If you're determined to make Rapid Launch Bays work, here's how I would do it.  Command Pelta, Flight Commander, Rapid Launch Bays, and Engine Techs.  Pair it with Yavaris and a BUNCH of squadrons to have the Pelta move in at speed 3 (with the Engine Techs) and then move in Yavaris afterwards to clock whatever ship you're fighting with double attacking B-wings.  This is not a great plan, but it could be fun for you.  I have no real interest in doing so, so this is all speculation.  I needs my deployments.

Aggravatingly, the stupid Quasar might actually be OK with Rapid Launch Bays.... if you don't mind AGAIN losing deployments with your (let's say) TIE bombers

Speaking of, let's talk officer(s) and who to put on your Pelta. The EASY answer is to just throw Raymus on there, but then he's not elsewhere, and he costs 7 points, oof.  Combine him with Ahsoka Tano, however, and you can get tokens for DAYS.
For someone who died after like 2 minutes, he sure sees a lot of play.
The thing to note is how often you're planning on using the Fleet Commands.  Unless you're using Garm, no one is using these turn 1 (and it's an interesting counter-idea to Konstantine and/or Interdictor shenanigans, but that's a question of how often those show in your meta).  So you're using these turn 2 onwards.  Let's take these one at a time.

AFFM lets you jump your squadrons up one speed faster.  I find that I typically need this turn 2, and then maybe turn 4 and 5.  Turn 6 there's not often a lot happening, and I'm usually navigating away or engineering or something like that.  In general, I'm not often commanding squadrons turn 6.  Which usually means I can pitch AFFM turn 5.  And on turn 3, I've usually got either my squadrons in the middle of the fighter scrum, OR they're within normal range of a ship (this is what I've found, I'm not saying it ALWAYS is like this) they can attack.  So you don't necessarily need it turn 3 either.

What I'm getting at with AFFM is that you can possibly cheat it out with a Veteran Captain.  Take a squadron token turn 1, use it turn 2 for AFFM.  Have the captain activate as needed to get it again, and then push your squadrons turn 4.  Turn 5, discard the card, and you saved yourselves 4 points this game.  There's a LOT you can do with 4 points.
Hi, I'm the generic cousin, Roy Antilles
It's similar with StM.  You REALLY aren't going to get significant benefit out of it until turn 3 at best (shooting starts turn 2.  Yes, you can end up with Rhymer and friends hitting you turn 1 with the new Quasar.  Bring a better screen of fighters then, or, as heretical as it is to say this, deploy them later if you have to).  So you need an Engineering token turn 3, turn 4, turn 5, and potentially turn 6.  Or, you can hope to live with doing it turns 3-5.  So you discard it on 5, captain for the token for turn 4, and store it up turn 1.  I can't claim this WILL keep you alive, but I will state it saves you points.  If you're commanding a crazy amount of squadrons or trying the Projection Experts plan, then yeah, go Raymus Antilles.  But if you don't NEED that many tokens, his generic cousin Roy helps you out enough.  If you're doing the Projection Experts plan, then yeah, go with Raymus.  But if you're just adding shields each turn? Roy!
Just don't take him off the grid.....

EF is its own beast.  I can't claim to be completely knowledgeable about how your game is going to go and deployment and and and AND! But you really need to ask yourself if you need to use it EVERY turn between 2 and 6.  I can't answer that for you, it's all game state and knowing your commands and everything.  I would THINK, however, that I'd be right on just using VC Roy.

As for other officers? How close are you to battle, what do you need? Toryn if you're in close, Flight Commander if you're pushing squadrons, Ahsoka if you want to futz with command tokens, Adar Tallon if you want to push MORE squadrons, etc.  I just wanted to make my point about Roy and get out.

Commanders
The EASY answer is that almost everyone can use them and vaguely likes them.  Let's talk about what each commander wants, fleet command-wise.  You're building the ship based on that, after all.
Dodonna - AFFM, EF, or StM.  Depends on how you've built your list.  AFFM is fun with choosing crits like crazy though.
Garm - All 3, though I can see StM working well with him and some Assault Frigate and MC80 friends.  Biggs has a list that he's built with StM....
Rieekan - Generally AFFM or EF.  AFFM if you're going fighters, EF if you're going rammer-spammer (CR90B's with Reinforced Blast Doors and Engine Techs)
Mothma - EF or StM.  You've got a bunch of fast little biters running all over, either get them better at being fast or staying alive.  Keep in mind that the Pelta is good, but it's not where I would put Mothma (too slow, too easily eaten by Demolisher IMO).
Ackbar -EF or StM.  I'd probably recommend StM as you don't generally need to navigate AS much with Ackbar, you just need to potentially navigate out of problem spots.  Ackbar is in a middle range of "can take it, but can do fine without taking it."  He's not in full on "doesn't want it" but he's close, I'd say.
Sato - AFFM.  To a lesser extent, EF, but you need your squadrons hitting ships with Sato, or at the very least getting near to them to be able to use your ability.  If you have fast enough fighters, sure, go to EF, but I'd lean towards AFFM myself.
Ooo, fancy pants picture
Who doesn't use them?
Cracken and Madine.  Cracken because you can't get to speed 3, you can only fake it with an Engine Tech.  Madine because since it's max speed 2, it's just NOT maneuverable enough to get into the nooks and crannies you want, even IF Madine gives it 2 clicks everywhere with a navigate dial.  I could maybe see Madine with StM (since I keep running out of shields and dying with him!) but I haven't personally tried it out.

Final Thoughts
While the Pelta currently doesn't see use all that often outside of being a carrier with AFFM, I think the time is ripe for some crazy fleets that use the Pelta's other abilities, especially given that the Empire is getting a bump next wave.  Start playing around with the abilities, and see what fun new things you can discover from it! StM and EF are well worth building around, and I haven't seen anything from them yet... but I'm quite interested in seeing how things go!