As promised in my Gladiator-class Star Destroyer review, it's past time to talk about the different ordnance upgrades and which you should consider for your ships.
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- Upgrades that add black dice.
- Upgrades with a black critical effect.
- The weird stuff.
The short version is that the dice-adding upgrades are generally superior for ships with less inherent black dice (as they have lower odds of hitting the crit) and/or ships that have means of reliably messing with defense tokens (like a ship with an Intel Officer onboard and/or H9 Turbolasers) so that the extra damage doesn't get reduced as easily. Black critical upgrades are more effective on ships with more inherent black dice (as the chances of triggering the crit improve) and ships that are agile enough to consistently line up two arcs on a target, to hopefully trigger that critical effect twice in one activation. The weird stuff is its own special case, but the first two are the biggest division. Without further ado, let's cover ordnance upgrades!
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- Because the damage from ACMs is dealt prior to the damage pool being resolved, this can have ramifications on how the defender's redirect defense token is resolved by removing some shields.
- ACMs are otherwise just regular damage and so anything that hits the hull will be facedown.
- Because ACMs exhaust to use, you can only use them on one attack - otherwise, they'll be exhausted and can't be used on a second attack.
- Effects that exhaust upgrades, like MS-1 Ion Cannons, can exhaust them prematurely, meaning they won't be able to do anything. Those types of effects are rare, but be aware that can happen.
- For +1 point, ACMs deal twice the damage of APTs, although the damage is dealt to neighboring hull zones and is facedown if it hits hull.
- ACMs also combine well with fleets using Heavy Ion Emplacements, as they'll hit hull zones that are shield-light or even shield-empty (due to earlier HIE attacks), dumping damage into the hull very quickly.
- ACMs are strong against ships that have redirect tokens, especially those that have enough hull points to survive a blitz with APTs. Generally with those kind of ships, you're going to need to chew through the shields in the neighboring hull zones before killing that ship anyways, and ACMs accelerate that process.
|Just melting a Gladiator there. Really raises the ol' morale when you put this on a Gladiator.
- Assault Proton Torpedoes are a black crit effect, which we covered earlier.
- Because the APT effect happens right before the regular damage pool is resolved, it can have some unpredictable effects on damage resolution.
- For example, if the APT crit applies a Projector Misaligned card faceup against the defending ship, you could completely remove all the shields from a hull zone the defender was planning to transfer damage to with a redirect token they spent earlier.
- APTs don't care about shields, they just do that extra damage card faceup to the hull, regardless of shields.
- Just like ACMs, APTs exhaust on use.
- APTs are the cheapest black crit upgrade that adds damage to the defending ship.
- APTs are stronger against ships that lack redirect tokens, because they just straight-up add damage regardless. ACMs will make a difference once they chew through the shields, but APTs make a difference immediately.
- They also work well when combined with upgrades like XI7 Turbolasers that make redirect tokens less effective.
- APTs love being used with other effects that interact with faceup damage cards like General Dodonna and Precision Strike.
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- Remember you can only have one Modification upgrade per ship.
- Because Expanded Launchers adds 2 black dice to your front hull's battery, they're effectively added to the cardboard in the front hull zone, will be added to the initial attack dice roll, and help for objectives like Fire Lanes, unlike add effect upgrades like External Racks.
Expanded Launchers is a pretty straightforward upgrade: it can be extremely destructive but it is exorbitantly expensive. If all you want is a few more black dice on a ship that's likely getting in one or two serious attacks and then jetting away (like a Raider-I or MC30), External Racks is often the superior option. Ships with larger inherent black dice batteries are usually better served with black crit upgrades, and all of the alternatives I've mentioned so far are substantially cheaper.
Where Expanded Launchers have a place is on ships that have some means of getting multiple attacks from their front arcs in a typical game and have some means of guaranteeing accuracy results and/or removing or preventing the defensive use of brace tokens (such as Intel Officer, Boarding Troopers, Sloane, etc.). Getting multiple front-arc attacks at short range over a game is usually the more difficult task, which is why you'll usually see Expanded Launchers mostly on heavily-upgraded Demolisher Gladiators with Intel Officer and the occasional large ordnance ship like a Kuat ISD or MC75. That said, the high points cost is a turn off for many, so Expanded Launchers is generally a rare sight.
|I still feel like FFG stole some Tau artwork back when they were hooking up with Games Workshop...
- External Racks is an add effect and is used during the "Resolve Attack Effects" step.
- External Racks can be used on any attack made at close range.
- Yes, that includes against one squadron.
- Remember that discarded upgrade cards are turned facedown and still count for points if their ship is destroyed.
- It's important to note that Flechette Torpedoes are used during the "Resolve Attack Effects" step of attacking, prior to the defender being able to spend defense tokens. This means that it can't be dodged by scatter aces as the die is spent before they can scatter.
- Because you spend the black die, it is removed from the pool and won't contribute any damage (as the black crit sides also have hits on them, you're always giving up a possible point of damage to use Flechette Torpedoes).
- Per FAQ, toggling a squadron's slider mid-attack (say if you used Quad Laser Turrets and Agent Kallus to get a black die Counter that you could then spend with Flechette Torpedoes) effectively does nothing. That squadron will still complete its activation normally.
- Does my fleet need some extra oomph against squadrons, particularly squadrons that are difficult to destroy quickly, like high-hull squadrons and/or ace squadrons?
- Do I have a ship with an ordnance slot?
- Does that ship have at least one black flak die, and preferably two?
- Some means of getting up to two, like Agent Kallus, can be acceptable as well.
- A source of rerolls (Ordnance Experts and/or Leading Shots, for example, depending) is also quite helpful.
- Am I really sure that's the best use of my ordnance slot?
|...and nine months later, a baby squadron is born!
- Medium or large ships only (yes, I realize it says so right there, but people ask about putting this on Raiders or Peltas way more frequently than I would've thought).
- Your extra black anti-squadron flak attack is in all respects a regular ol' black die flak attack, which means it can target every enemy squadron in that hull zone and only attacks at close range.
- It also works with anything that triggers on an attack, such as Agent Kallus or Ruthless Strategists or the like.
- Ordnance Pods exhausts to use, so if it's preemptively exhausted it can't be used.
- You can use your Ordnance Pods attack to go after a single proximity mine if you like.
That said, there are some niche builds usually trying to leverage Kallus/Draven and Ruthless Strategists where an extra anti-squad attack can be quite useful, typically on an MC75 or VSD-I, as a flak boat in a bomber-heavy fleet or as a flak specialist in a no-squads fleet (without Ruthless). It's a more mainline kind of upgrade in Republic fleets: they're happy to put Ordnance Pods on an Acclamator to bring its flak up to worrisome levels and it was only really competing with External Racks there regardless.
|Quick, we need some really generic space torpedoes!
- Remember you can only have one Modification upgrade per ship.
- Just like Expanded Launchers, Rapid Reload extra dice to the battery armaments of the specified hull zones.
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- Wide-Area Barrage is a black crit effect, which we covered earlier.
- The ship or squadron chosen must be at close range of the defender, which means the extra damage can be applied to something quite far from the attacker in the right circumstances.
- It's important to note that the WAB damage is half of the black die hit icons in the pool, not half the black dice damage total.
- Because all black crit icons are accompanied by a hit, that means all non-blank black dice count towards this.
- The damage dealt by WAB is not an attack in and of itself and doesn't specify a hull zone. This has a few ramifications:
- Defense tokens can't be used against this damage.
- When a ship takes the damage, its owner chooses which hull zone the damage goes to and then resolves the damage, with shields absorbing damage first like usual.
- No critical effect can be applied to non-attack damage sources, so any cards that hit the hull will be facedown.
- WAB does not specify an enemy target, so you could use it against your own ship or squadrons if for some reason you wanted to.
In most cases, WAB just won't produce quite enough value to merit giving up more direct and effective black critical upgrades to use it instead, but there's one major exception and his name is Commander Sato. Commander Sato can use his ability to get an awful lot of black dice in a pool, which can create large bursts of WAB damage, especially on a big ordnance ship like an Ordnance MC75. Because opponents are clearly not keen on Sato's ability triggering easily, it means there will usually be squadron dogfighting going on near their ships, which means the WABs will usually at the very least have squadron targets if you don't have ship targets. It all comes together very nicely.