Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Imperial ship review: Gozanti Cruisers

Waves 3 and 4 effectively came out at the same time, making them less of two separate waves, but we're obligated by FFG release terminology to treat them sequentially. Thus let's continue past wave 2 and into wave 3 with the Imperial Gozanti Cruisers!

The U-Haul of the Empire, now with mom's attic for extra overhead storage space!
So... it's not a triangle?
The only real differences between the two Gozanti variants are the Assault Carriers upgrade their flak to a blue die and their front arc to a red die compared to the basic Gozanti-Class Cruisers. We'll talk a bit more about them later, but most advice that can go for one can apply to another. The cheaper Gozanti-Class Cruisers are widely considered the "default" Gozanti, so I'll mostly be referencing them when I use the term "Gozanti."

Flotillas are largely defined around their fleet support upgrades, which I've posted about today as a companion article. Please give them a look-over!

The defining traits of the Gozanti, just like the Rebel GR-75, are they are extremely cheap, they're very cost-effective at commanding squadrons (although only a base value of 2), and they come with a scatter defense token, which is a big part of keeping them alive - their low shields and hull aren't going to do much for them in a serious fight.

Let's talk about flotilla special rules before we get any further
Flotillas have 4 special rules that apply only to them:
  • When a flotilla overlaps or is overlapped by another ship, the other ship only takes a facedown damage card if it is also a flotilla.
  • Commanders cannot use flotillas as flagships. They need to use a real ship.
  • You cannot have more than 2 flotillas in a fleet.
  • If one fleet has all of its non-flotilla ships destroyed, that player loses at the end of the round.
The final two rules technically only apply in tournament games, but it's been my experience that most players in casual games assume that tournament rules and restrictions apply to pick-up games unless the players involve agree otherwise beforehand. Keep these restrictions in mind throughout the article - flotillas are useful as support ships but you can't bring enough of them to really carry a fleet.

Basic usage recommendations
As a flotilla, the Gozanti has a lot of small jobs it can do. These include but are not strictly limited to:
  • Providing an extra activation for cheap.
  • Assisting the fleet with its fleet support upgrade.
  • Commanding a small number of squadrons at a very affordable price at a moment's notice due to Command 1.
  • Assisting friendly squadrons against enemy squadrons with its flak.
  • Assisting friendly ships against enemy ships with its anti-ship attacks.
  • Blocking in ships when absolutely necessary by getting in the way.
For such a low cost, a Gozanti can do a lot of things! The trick with the Gozanti compared to its cheaper Rebel counterpart, the GR75, is that you're paying extra points for anti-ship dice. If you don't use them, you effectively just overpaid for a GR75 by 5 points. If you do use them, you're risking your Gozanti's life by getting into medium range, so be careful to only use the Gozanti as a combat vessel when it's actually safe to do so. I will say that it usually isn't too difficult to catch an approaching enemy with a double-arc and a concentrate fire dial. 2 blue dice out of one arc and one from the other isn't going to astound anyone but it is a cost-effective way to get a few damage to stick to an enemy ship before you hopefully beat feet and get your Gozanti out of harm's way. I've finished off crippled enemy ships with a Gozanti before and it's satisfying if rare.

Don't neglect the Gozanti's flak, either. When circling a dogfight you can assist your fighters with a black die, which 75% of the time will deal one damage to an enemy squadron. Your rear arc can't attack ships but it can still flak squadrons! You're not going to be doing the big flak damage a Raider could do, but for a low cost you can still get a lot of value from Gozanti flak.

Gozantis when exposed to too much fire can suddenly disappear, so be careful with them. In general flotillas survive by using their defense tokens against long-range attacks to avoid the worst of it; small attacks can be shrugged off by the evade token and larger attacks can be neutralized by the scatter. This starts getting iffier once you get to medium range for a few reasons - first of all, your evade becomes less effective. Secondly, your opponent will often be rolling more total dice and blue dice are available. Blue dice are the devil when you are a flotilla, as they have the highest odds of rolling an accuracy result which can shut down your scatter plans pretty quickly,

A final thing to point out about your fragile Gozantis: be careful of getting rammed. Because Gozantis are flotillas, they only inflict damage to overlapping/overlapped flotillas but otherwise they are the only thing taking a face-down damage card when a ship-on-ship overlap happens. I personally enjoy ramming flotillas with something like a Raider, then the flotilla finds it can't get away from the Raider and overlaps it again and then it will get finished off next turn by the next instance of overlapping, all at no damage cost to the ramming ship and without the scatter token coming into play.

Okay so all that sounds pretty bad. The good news is with the right flying technique it's not too tough to keep your Gozantis safe. First and foremost, I recommend keeping your Gozantis at long range (or even better, not in range at all) of enemy ships. I also recommend keeping your Gozantis in the same arcs that enemy ships want to use to attack your "real" ships - they'll often prioritize putting damage into your more expensive ships both because those ships are more threatening as well as because the threat of the scatter token remaining free makes them not want to potentially waste an attack on the Gozanti. If the Gozanti is the only target in an arc, though, there's no harm in throwing an attack its way just to see if it sticks.

I've found two basic deployment strategies tend to work well:
The first is deploying your Gozantis facing towards the enemy with your other ships but at a lower speed (for example, if your main combat ships are starting at speed 2, set your Gozantis at speed 1) and/or further back towards your table edge (so that even when going the same speed they're behind the front lines if only by about one small ship length). This allows your combat ships to present a more immediate threat and sometimes provide obstruction for your Gozantis. Your Gozantis can still support your combat ships more immediately and they can more consistently get in flak and/or anti-ship attacks by being closer to the fight. If it turns out that the local part of the battle is a bust, they can usually book it with a navigate command to turn out of the fight into the flanks, but sometimes it's simply too late. This first method is more dangerous for Gozantis but provides them more opportunities to directly contribute to the fight with flak and anti-ship attacks.

The second is deploying your Gozantis on the flanks or in the rear of your fleet facing the flanks. The idea is your Gozantis will naturally circle on the outsides of the conflict and thus avoid too much attention. You generally need some means of keeping the Gozantis relevant through additional points expenditures (like Comms Net, Boosted Comms, or a Relay squadron or two) or else they will only contribute to the game by being an empty activation, but this method keeps them safest.

You can also go for something of a compromise option and see how the game plays out in the first two turns before deciding exactly where those Gozantis want to be:

The last basic recommendation I'd like to cover is inside turning. Gozantis have their clicks earlier in their nav chart, which allows them to consistently perform inside turns while at speeds 2 and particularly 3. This can be extremely useful for getting them to where you want them to go without having to mess around with nav commands too frequently. With a nav dial, however, adding an extra yaw to the first joint at speed 3 can result in a tight inside turn to get out of trouble.
Not today, Satan!
So there's a Suppressor Refit Interdictor and a Suppressor title Gozanti and they both like to mess with people? Confusing!
Suppressor rules bullet points:
  • Exhausting a token means flipping it from green (readied) side to red (exhausted) side. You can't further exhaust an already-exhausted token, so you can't discard red tokens using Suppressor.
  • The title triggers at the end of every enemy ship activation, provided that enemy ship ends its activation at distance 1-3 of Suppressor.
    • It's easy to forget this trigger and the only way to remember is practice and thoroughly kicking yourself every time you forget.

Suppressor is a fun little annoyance Gozanti title that naturally pairs well with Slicer Tools, as that Gozanti is going to be diving into trouble to harass enemy ships so you may as well double down. Suppressor is particularly good at harassing enemy flotillas by exhausting their scatter defense tokens, but it's also happy to exhaust any other one-of tokens, usually braces, on other ships. Your opponent is going to prioritize removing this annoyance from the board so you need to balance your desire to impact the game early against your desire to keep Suppressor alive and find the most effective method of utilizing it.

I love his little red Lucha mask.
Vector is pretty straightforward. The important thing to always remember is it doesn't work on Heavy squadrons and you can't go above speed 5 (as there is no speed 6). You can achieve some silliness with it by using it to jump Firesprays up to speed 4 to pounce on a ship that thought it was safe, but it's generally used to make speed 4 TIEs (Advanced, regular Fighters, Phantoms) and Jumpmasters move at speed 5 or to give a bit of a boost to Rogues when they need it (like Boba Fett or Bossk, for example). I'm not a huge fan of the title but for 2 points it's not a big deal either way. You will need to choose whether you're pairing it with Expanded Hangar Bays to cover more squadrons "fire and forget" style or Boosted Comms so you can continue to command those squadrons you sent flying far away again in the future.

We've already been talking about the Gozanti-Class Cruisers above, so there's not much else to say specifically about it. Let's get right to the builds considerations:

Generally, you should be looking to keep Gozantis cheap and not go overboard on upgrades but there's always an exception to that rule somewhere in the right fleets. Just be careful not to get carried away unnecessarily - upgrade points generally go further on other better ships.

Thankfully, Imperials finally have enough officer options to rival Rebels for flotilla officer seats. You've got many to choose from:
  • Hondo is a classic flotilla officer for only 2 points and goes great with any fleet that needs a sudden burst of tokens beyond what you can normally provide. In a pinch, you can use Hondo to give a combat ship a token it wants and give your second token to a nearby Comms Net Gozanti. The Comms Net Gozanti can pass its token over to that combat ship (effectively giving it both of Hondo's tokens) while keeping its dial for itself that round. This can be helpful for keeping nav dials to save yourself from sudden death.
  • Admiral Ozzel has synergy with a number of objectives that start objective tokens close to the deployment zone, such as like Intel Sweep or Capture the VIP as he can give your flotilla that little nudge, allowing you to start collecting tokens on the first round without having to fuss with a Lambda for Strategic. Even if you aren't playing an objective he jives with, it's 2 points for a speed-1 double-click maneuver prior to the game starting, which can set your flotilla up for a in a better position.
  • Admiral Titus is an increasingly-useful officer in the right fleets, specifically those using speed-screwing objectives (such as Rift Ambush) or other tech, but his effect only triggers the one time at the start of the game. He's a great fit on a Gozanti where he's harder to justify on a combat ship.
  • Commander Beck is good for a Gozanti that wants to do a little bit of everything, usually those that intend to primarily operate as carriers but would like to sneak in the other commands at token strength occasionally, or for a Comms Net slave that's going to be focusing on turning dials into tokens for another ship but wants to still get some options for doing its own thing when it needs to.
  • Commander Woldar is an Imperial poor man's Toryn Farr, but he's what we've got and he's generally best on a Gozanti for similar reasons as to why Toryn is best on a GR75. Keep him close to the fight but not so close he'll get killed, just like Toryn.
  • Commander Vanto is an expensive way to upgrade a Comms Net Gozanti into a mixed role support ship/helper bot. By getting one free token every round (so long as you resolve a command), you shouldn't have too hard a time keeping the command tokens flowing while you do your own thing.
  • Officer Vader is 1 point of choking fun and he belongs on a Gozanti, usually with Comms Net, orbiting around your fleet killing your officers on Zoom calls for rerolls. He's quite difficult to justify on a combat ship but on a Gozanti in the right fleet he's golden.
Fleet Support
Unless you have a really good reason, give your Gozantis Fleet Support upgrades. For the most part, Comms Net is the default option here at only 2 points, but Slicer Tools and Bomber Command Center are solid choices as well.

Offensive Retrofit
It's perfectly fine leaving this slot empty to save points, but there are a few options worth considering:
  • Boosted Comms. For Bomber Command Center Gozantis, Boosted Comms can help them stay relevant for bossing around bomber squadrons while still being in BCC buff range and hopefully outside of effective enemy range.
  • Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams are oddly effective on flotillas, although the upgrade itself clocks in at 6 points. Being able to zap navigate tokens off of enemy small ships or slow them by 1 can really add up if you've got enough speed debuff tech across your fleet.
  • Reserve Hangar Decks. 3 points of "actually that TIE is still alive" is 3 points well spent. If you're bringing generic Swarm squadrons, RHDs on your Gozantis is a high priority.
Cheap and cheerful
Comms Net and a cheap officer
This is my default Gozanti and it's a steal at 26-27 points. It commands squadrons, it adds some dice here and there, it passes tokens to other ships, the officer provides a small benefit, it's swell.

Bomber buddy
Bomber Command Center + Boosted Comms
This one is getting more expensive at 35 points, but it's pure bomber goodness. One or two of these in addition to some other squadron command muscle and your bomber cloud is ready to rock. Just do your best to keep them safe while covering as many bombers as possible.

The Gozanti-Class Assault Carriers are very similar to their cheaper cousins and have similar usage recommendations. Due to their longer-ranged flak and anti-ship front arc, they like being placed in your ship battle line and contribute to combat more frequently than regular Gozantis do.

Assault Carrier Gozantis are effectively "deluxe" Gozantis that invest 5 points towards a bit more combat prowess. They're happy to receive concentrate fire commands to fling 2 red dice out of their front arc, which when you think about it for 28 points is really not that bad (just watch out for obstructed targets, which they cannot attack in the first place as their initial red die is removed and then the attack is canceled). Assault Carrier Gozantis have more synergy with the Most Wanted and Opening Salvo red objectives because of their front red die attack, and it can get very silly with a concentrate fire dial thrown in (1 red die + 2 black dice from Opening Salvo + 1 more black die from concentrate fire).

The blue flak dice doesn't do damage with as much regularity as the black flak dice (50% versus 75%) but the extra range can help, so I consider them about even in that regard.

Basically if you have a few points to spare and you want to add a bit more long-ranged oomph to your battle line and have nothing better to spend it on, I'd consider upgrading a regular Gozanti to an Assault Carrier Gozanti. In general, that's really only the case with Romodi, but your mileage may vary. In particular Assault Gozantis like Intensify Firepower, guaranteeing at least one damage out of that red die. The dice profile doesn't really jive well with the in-your-face Slicer Tools style Gozanti, but the other Gozanti builds from above work just fine with an Assault Carrier Gozanti and so I'll be skipping the upgrades and builds section, as those detailed above are just as applicable here.


  1. Is there any need for an update towards the FAQ from April 2018?

    1. I actually did update it a little bit to include the "no more than 2 flotillas" rule and that they no longer prevent tabling. I went over the rest of the article and felt like it still stood up pretty well post-nerf. In general I was never super keen on running more than 2ish of them at once and so thankfully I didn't need to go back and revise a lot after the nerf.

    2. Might want to tweak the final paragraph where you talk about fleets with 3+ Gozantis. Otherwise, a great article, as usual. :)

    3. I swear there's always something I miss when some errata rolls around, even a year out ;). Thanks. It's been fixed.

  2. Hi, just want to be sure I'm reading aright the Suppressor title. if a defence token is already red, can I exhaust it to cause it to be cast away (I'm in two minds!)

    1. No you cannot. Exhausting turns a green token red, it can't discard a red token (that would be spending, like Sloane or boarding troopers do).

  3. Hi, great update to the article! Wanted to mention that the Assault Gozanti gets some new legs with Romodi as its obstructed shots can roll up to 2 reds or even 3 reds with Concentrate Fire:)

    1. Yep, that's true and I give Gozantis some mention in the Romodi article. The 5 point premium on Assault Gozantis means it's not uncommon they get demoted to regular Gozantis when I hit points crunch towards the end of building a Romodi fleet, but if you can squeeze them in they can get some work done there for sure. Living the dream is a double-arcing obstructed Romodi Gozanti with a con fire dial against a Most Wanted target. 4 dice + 3 dice!

  4. I have found parts resupply is great on a flotilla if you have a isd with sovereign.