|Cute and cuddly, sure, but kitten claws will cleave through solid steel!|
|Princess Monster Truck is not a kitten, she's all grown up!|
|Aww look at his cute pink and purple paw prints sock with a tiny kitty IV in it!|
Anyways, enough about cats!
|It's not a cat picture! This is actually an Armada blog and not a middle-aged woman's Facebook account!|
You know the drill, it's bullet points "let's talk about what this thing does overall" time:
- With Command 2, the Arquitens isn't too ponderous to command and it can hold enough command tokens to stock up on the odd turn it doesn't need a dial.
- In general, if you can get the Arquitens some spare tokens, it will generally want a navigate token and either a repair or concentrate fire token.
- Engineering 3 is average for a Command 2 small ship. It's not great but it's still enough to fix a bad face-up crit or regenerate a shield and move a shield to bring a depleted hull zone back up to maximum shields.
- One evade, two redirects, and a contain token offers an interesting defense token suite. Compared to something like a Rebel CR90, the Arquitens can handle itself much better at shorter ranges due to duplicate redirects and a contain, but it's not as proficient at dodging attacks at long range due to only one evade.
- 5 hull is again pretty standard for a Command 2 small ship.
- 8 total shields (2 in each facing) is also average for an Imperial Command 2 small ship (the Gladiator has 8, it's just less in the rear and more in the front).
- 3 red dice on each side and 1 + a helper dice out the front and rear is significant for an Imperial ship in two regards:
- It means the Arquitens is one of the few Imperial ships (the other being the Gladiator, which is designed for a much different role) whose side arcs are superior to their front arcs.
- The Arquitens is also the only Imperial small ship that's designed to excel at protracted long-ranged combat, something its Raider and Gladiator co-workers just don't do.
- When used under ideal circumstances, this allows an Arquitens to move ahead and keep turning inward to keep enemies in its side arcs while focusing on concentrate fire commands.
- When used under poor circumstances, this means the Arquitens' end destination is extremely predictable and you get to watch horrified as your Arquitens sails to its inevitable death and all it can do is swivel at the end to show off before exploding.
The Arquitens is designed to be used on the outskirts of a battle, orbiting around the sides and throwing in red dice at range like a smaller more skittish Rebel Assault Frigate. It doesn't really have the defense token suite, nav chart, or dice batteries to reward you for getting any closer to your target than necessary, and long range is all that's really necessary in most cases. The good news is it's not expensive for what it does and nothing else in the Imperial fleet really performs a similar role, so it's fairly unique.
The Arquitens is pretty durable when used in its element. It handles long-range red dice coming back at it pretty well with its defensive stats and defense tokens (particularly the evade). The defensive retrofit slot can further improve on that, but we'll get to that later. It is not, however, designed to handle serious attacks from enemy combat ships at medium or close range, where its lack of a brace becomes a problem very quickly. Neither will it last particularly long against swarms of bombers given its unimpressive flak and the fact that smart bombers will attack it from its on-target side arc, making it choose between its good anti-ship attack or "meh" anti-squadron attack. In short, try to keep it away from serious threats and keep harassing your targets. You probably have a lot of experience with Rebels doing this to you with their smaller ships, so use that right back!
Let's talk briefly about its arcs. Namely:
It's not impossible to double-arc targets with an Arquitens but due to its inflexible nav chart and narrow front arc I find it much more difficult than doing so with a CR90A. You can also sometimes find that your attempts to double-arc something combined with the Arquitens' weird nav chart mean that you end up moving closer to that thing you really shouldn't have moved closer to:
|The good news is you got in a double arc. The bad news is so does he and all you can do is turn to hopefully shoot where he'll be next turn if you don't explode. Spoilers: you will explode.|
|You only got in your side arc, but you end in his AND you'll be able to shoot him out your side arc next turn. Turns out being alive is pretty swell! I apologize to any offended nihilists.|
Under ideal circumstances, the Arquitens will be choosing between navigate and concentrate fire commands most of the time. Navigating in particular is very important when done at crucial moments. Adding yaw prior to the last joint can make a large difference in your destination (and avoid certain death) and changing speed helps a lot - going too slow you may not get in as many turns of attacks as you stay out of range early on, but going too fast can leave you sailing right out of range of your targets after attacking; therefore having some control over both speed and yaw helps the Arquitens a lot. Otherwise, concentrating fire helps up your "not too shabby" 3 red dice up to "wow, I need to take this seriously" 4 red dice. It's weird how much a difference 1 red die can make there but it's borne out in practice for me by increasing average damage, improving fickle red dice reliability, and stacking well with various turbolaser upgrades (we're getting there!). Repair commands can help in specific circumstances but generally I find my Arquitens is too busy navigating and concentrating fire to really get a lot of value from 3 repair points more than once per game. It can be useful on occasion to use those 3 repair points to regenerate a shield and bring one shield around from your "facing the table edge" hull zone or to fix a bad critical effect, though. I do not recommend squadron commands at all with the possible exception of the Command Cruiser, which we'll cover later: you're just too busy doing other things.
Both Arquitens titles are specialized enough that they're not "no duh" titles like Demolisher, but in the right fleets they do just fine.
The Centicore title turns the Arquitens more or less into a super Relay 2 ship but without the nerfed Relay restriction of needing to be at command range of the squadron-commanding ship. This can be helpful, particularly for Gozanti Cruisers or other Squadrons 2 ships, as a means of safely commanding squadrons a bit closer to trouble than you'd like, but it's the kind of thing you really need to build a fleet around to get mileage from. If you do, just be careful - if you get sloppy with Centicore, it's not too tough to destroy an Arquitens with a concerted effort and your Squadrons 2 ships that were relying on it will be out in the cold. It's particularly helpful with "free commands" commanders like Thrawn or Tarkin that can allow your ships to do their own thing but also issue "free" at least partial squadron commands through the Centicore.
Hand of Justice has a neat benefit, but it's important to note a few things:
- It triggers prior to revealing Hand of Justice's command
- It only works on another friendly ship, so it can't help itself
- If there are no targets upon activation with spent (red) defense tokens, it does nothing
- Turbolaser Reroute Circuits on another Arquitens in your fleet that will be hanging out with the Hand of Justice, so you can flip the spent evade back to readied later.
- Darth Vader as a commander, who will want to spend ship defense tokens as much as possible and therefore the Hand of Justice can help minimize some of the self-inflicted damage.
- Electronic Countermeasures on a ship with a single brace (usually a Tua-assisted VSD or an ISD) or Electronic Countermeasures with Tua on a particularly annoying Gozanti. In either case, you get a high-impact defense token that can be used twice a turn without trouble and has some insurance that it gets to be used with some regularity.
|Is it just me or does this space triangle appear to not be painted flat gray?|
Yep, this sure is basically the Arquitens we've been talking about so far. Please note the short-ranged black flak dice and black dice in the front and the back as well as the Squadron 1. Don't expect it to help with flak unless the squadrons are going after it specifically and don't expect your front or rear arcs to do much unless your target is worryingly close. Effectively the black dice on the Arquitens-class Light Cruiser are for emergency use only. The Squadrons 1 makes it terrible at commanding squadrons, so please don't.
You have an awful lot of good options here. By default I would always equip a turbolaser upgrade with one possible exception (under Builds, we're getting there!). Dual Turbolaser Turrets come with the Arquitens and they're a solid and affordable turbolaser upgrade which I would consider the default turbolaser for the Arquitens. They're effectively an informed red dice reroll you get to use on one attack, and it's not uncommon for Arquitens to only get one attack. Because red dice are fickle (with 2 blank sides and one accuracy side that doesn't do much unless you roll some decent damage with it), anything that gives you more red dice control is great.
Speaking of dice control, Turbolaser Reroute Circuits are a good choice if you've got some means of getting around their downside of exhausting your only evade token. Captain Needa on an Arquitens or Hand of Justice on a partner Arquitens help here.
Simply adding another die is worthwhile if you have some external source of dice-fixing (like Vader as a commander or Intensify Firepower! on a Cymoon or Chimaera ISD) you have two contenders in this regard. The first is Enhanced Armament for the extra no-strings-attached red die out each side, but the 10 point price tag can be too pricey (...for everything, much less a cheaper Arquitens). If you're content with only getting one arc attacking each round (which is fairly common for Arquitens anyways), Slaved Turrets can work just fine too as a cheaper Enhanced Armament.
I recommend the Reinforced Blast Doors the Arquitens comes packaged with whenever you've got the points to spare and the need to make a particular Arquitens more durable, usually if it's got a clutch title or special role (like flagship). The other defensive retrofits are generally more expensive for a similar end benefit (and there's no brace to protect with Electronic Countermeasures so that makes it less valuable). I do see some Arquitens drop before they get a chance to use their Reinforced Blast Doors, so it's important to note that it's perfectly fine to deliberately take some hull damage before your shields are gone. Especially with the Arquitens' contain token, you will have some opportunities to tank hull damage early on instead of pushing it to neighboring shielded hull zones, keep it face-down due to your contain, and then remove it with Reinforced Blast Doors. If you use up all your shields first and then start taking hull damage, it's quite probable that your poor Arquitens is going to be destroyed before it gets an opportunity to use its RBDs, so embrace that optional hull damage when it's safe to do so!
Three officers come to mind pretty immediately, and two of them are quite cheap! Skilled First Officer remains a solid 1-point choice for any Command 2 ship and if you're not filling the Arquitens' officer slot with anything else, the flexibility there can help tremendously. Specifically, I find when my Arquitens die it's often because I was one turn too late in giving a crucial navigate or repair command. A Skilled First Officer is a great 1-point investment to get around that problem. Captain Needa is recommended especially when using Turbolaser Reroute Circuits so you can upgrade to double evade double redirect tokens, but he's also just a solid all-around officer for an Arquitens. Two evades is much more annoying to deal with than one, provided you can stay at long range. Finally, the Intel Officer is the big expensive officer option but he's great for making your Arquitens' attacks "stick" by going after solo defense tokens, and he doesn't mind that the Arquitens usually only gets one attack.
Dual Turbolaser Turrets + Skilled First Officer
That's it, really. I explained above why I like both of these upgrades and it's effectively my default "cheapo" Arquitens for most occasions.
Captain Needa + Turbolaser Reroute Circuits
It's pretty darn self-sufficient and it'll do more overall damage than the Barebones Arquitens but without the Skilled First Officer you run the risk of having that "one turn too late" navigate/repair command that could've saved your bacon, so I find I like running this one better with nav-enhancing commanders like Ozzel or Jerjerrod.
Intel Officer + Slaved Turrets
Big Shooty is not cheap at 67 points but it's 5 red dice out the side arc (with concentrate fire) and a strong defense-token-screwage effect from the Intel Officer. This build works best with Vader for the rerolls and can produce a surprising amount of damage that way.
|Never mind, we're back to our comforting gray triangles. Phew, I was scared.|
Okay, so for 5 points, our Light Cruiser becomes a Command Cruiser and gains the following:
- Replaces the front and rear black dice with blue dice
- Replaces the black flak die with a blue flak die
- Squadron value increased from 1 to 2
- Gains a support team slot
Downside: Most of the stuff you're buying doesn't really enhance what the base Arquitens wants to do in the first place: stay at long range and shoot ships from its side arc(s). The support team slot certainly isn't bad, but if you're not getting some benefit from the other improvements too, you're spending 5 points so you can now spend more points on a new upgrade.
All that said, there are some compelling reasons to consider a Command Arquitens, which we'll cover straightaway in "Builds." Otherwise, my opinion on their upgrade options is the same as the Light Cruiser.
Baby's First Flagship
Engine Techs + Reinforced Blast Doors + Captain Brunson + your choice of additional upgrades
Baby's First Flagship is basically a way to get a scooty small ship into a fleet for your commander to drive. Other imperial small ships don't generally make great flagships due to some combination of being shorter-ranged and/or fragile, which means your commander is either living life extremely dangerously...
|I guarantee you I've used this gif before and I guarantee you I will use it again.|
In general, Baby's First Flagship is worth considering in a Swarm/MSU style fleet where having numerous combat ships/activations is important as well as in fleets where you don't want to paint a giant target on your super-upgraded large ship by making sure your
|For real, like how many more castles would you say?|
Engine Techs + Quad Battery Turrets + Skilled First Officer
Named originally for a specific fleet build originally brought to light by Thrindal on the FFG forums that combined Tarkin, a Cymoon with Intensify Firepower and the Sovereign title, a Gozanti, and two Arquitens outfitted as above, the "Tarquitens" build tries to solve both the "weird maneuvering" and "kind of weak firepower" Arquitens problems at the same time. Effectively, the Tarquitens needs an easy supply of nav tokens or dials plus it will be doing concentrate fire (or rarely repair) for itself. The Tarquitens is looking to stay at speed 1 while using Engine Techs constantly for a pair of double-click moves that allows it to safely set up double-arcs (normally pretty difficult for an Arquitens to do safely) while triggering Quad Battery Turrets on each attack. Combined with a concentrate fire, that means enemy ships are taking a 3+1 dice attack followed by a 2+1+1 dice attack (assuming medium range out the front, otherwise minus 1 die) for a total of two 4-dice attacks, which adds up more quickly than you'd think. Because the Tarquitens is reliant on getting this trick pulled off consistently, it's really only viable with Tarkin or Thrawn, but it's a fun if expensive build.
Commanders that synergize with the Arquitens Cruiser
Before I get any further on this one, I want to cover one of the big drawbacks of Arquitens in case it wasn't already clear: Arquitens have weird nav charts and their damage output is consistent (if used well) but generally kind of mediocre. That said, you're looking for a commander to help you fix one or both of those problems to really make the Arquitens shine. Let's get to it:
Grand Moff Tarkin
As I already covered, Tarkin's a fun combination with the "Tarquitens" build that can help solve both the Arquitens issues, but the price tag gets expensive.
Arquitens Cruisers actually brought Vader back from the binder prison he had been consigned to for a few waves, thankfully. With 4 defense tokens and a good number of red dice for their cost, Vader and the Arquitens go together very well. Just be mindful to navigate frequently enough and don't get addicted to using concentrate fire at all times!
Moff Jerry and Arquitens are made for each other, which is why they come bundled together. You know all that complaining I've done about the weird nav charts Arquitens get and how it's basically a stick with a swivel on the very end? Jerry does amazing things for the "selfie stick" movement of the Arquitens and substantially improves their maneuver options at the cost of one shield point (usually taken from the side facing the table edge that won't normally get attacked anyways) and zero command dials/tokens. Reinforced Blast Doors can help you make up for the durability losses Jerry inflicts on your Arquitens if necessary, and Jerry is so cheap that you should have some points lying around for them if you want them.
Grand Admiral Thrawn
Arquitens want to nav and Arquitens want to concentrate fire but they can't usually do both of them together. Except when they can because Thrawn. Thrawn also provides some options for Command Arquitens to utilize their Squadrons 2, especially through a Relay squadron or a Centicore Arquitens - normally, your Arquitens are too busy doing other things to bother commanding squadrons, but Thrawn gives them an easy out if you build for it!
The Arquitens is a neat little flanking long-ranged support ship that Imperial players had been longing for since wave one. Using it is a bit tricky, particularly with its weird nav chart, broadsides focus, and odd arcs, so don't give up on it if you're not wowed in your first few games.