Sunday, June 13, 2021

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
  • Incredible side attacks! Technically present Front and Rear attacks!
  • Legitimate 2-dice AA attacks against squadrons
  • 8 health, which is not a lot, but its the third 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 ships in your side arc as strategically often 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.  With the exception of the Starhawk, these are probably the tankiest ships in the game.  The Assault can take 2 different defensive retrofits and just tank through all sorts of damage.

I will 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 one-on-one 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 a large ship, you want to be doing everything, of course, and its navigational pattern isn't TERRIBLE, but actually using the Command is mighty helpful and will let you turn much more sharply.  Engineering is great as well, moving shields out of arcs that aren't being shot into ones that are.  And you've got a good squadron value, too, so you might want to be using THAT.  I can see AN argument for concentrate fire, but realistically, the other commands are better for you most of the time.  Default to nav to get your best arcs on track.

Speaking of their navigating, 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. Demolisher will often park there too, and it's a TERRIBLE place for it to be, because you just can't hit it strongly enough to discourage that.  Eric has gotten really good at parking Demolisher there, sadly for me, haha.  Make sure with the rest of your list you have a potential way of dealing with anyone who wants to lurk in that arc.  Generally you want to be navigating sideways while also inwards; don't just charge straight into battle with them as you'll end up getting stuck and killed.

When you're using them, you're often going to want to have them usually on the outskirts of the battlefield, firing dice inwards at incoming threats.  However, you need to deploy and move them in such a fashion that they're actually able to impact the battle while not being so close that they get shot multiple times and die.  It's a balancing act, but one that's doable with enough practice.  Just get that practice in, as that large ship being part of the battle or not will FULLY decide games.  You'll likely want to double arc, in order to get decent damage out, but make sure you have a pathway out or through your opponent if you attempt this.  Since you're skirting sideways more often than not (to prevent getting anything caught in the front arc), the H80 tends towards Ackbar lists (but doesn't have to stay there entirely!).  I'll refer you to that article for some more navigational tips.

There's 3 titles for the ship, all focusing on different aspects of it.  First up is the traditionally seen:

Kitten MC80 dreams of murder all day!
The reason this is traditionally seen is that it can help fix your attacks or improve your output.  By adding in a blue with a long range (red dice only) attack, you can then use Leading Shots at long range.  Or you can add in a black die for more damage if the rest of your dice are "fine" (slash if you're already IN blue range).  See Eric's Attack Sequence article for a better breakdown for how this all works.  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 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.
Blanks count as dice you can change! But not Black dice, they don't HAVE an accuracy side.
Home One is one of my favorite titles, providing some more dice correction on your ships.  This helps Ackbar out a lot, allowing him to guarantee at least ONE of the dice he adds in is going to contribute.  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 often can mean that you end up needing to activate ships in a potentially weird order until you get better with its placement, so long as you stay within range of Home One.  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.  Personally, I feel that so long as you're getting at least two other ships usage out of Home One, you've gotten good mileage out of it.  Otherwise I might personally look back at Defiance.
Have you met my good friend B-wings?
If you wanted to focus on being a carrier, Independence is a... title.  The ability to push your squadrons Speed 4 to get them into the fray faster is nice, but they can't attack.  There's so many other upgrades that have come out since this title appeared in wave 2 that I really can't recommend taking it.  Defiance is 3 points cheaper and leads to a better all-around ship, even IF you put in all sorts of other squadron based upgrades.  Pass on this one, guys.

For more on the MCEF title/task force that comes packaged with the MC75 but can go on the HMC80, please refer to the Rebel Upgrades article.

Assault Cruiser and Builds
The red ones shoot fasta
The Assault Cruiser was the first ship in the Rebellion to have dual slots.  There have been several since then, but this is the first.  And with 2 Defensive Retrofits, you can tank a LOT of damage.  End of the day, you still have only 8 health, so make sure the 2 you choose will be the correct two for keeping yourself alive and ticking.  You've got the best potential long range damage in the Rebellion with 4 red dice, though dice correction is always helpful.  When these get added into lists, they tend towards full Christmas tree upgraded, with all the trimmings everywhere.

You'll likely want either someone to help keep you alive (Walex Blissex, Lando, DCO, Expert Shield Tech) or someone who helps you do your job of killing things better (Raymus, Agate (officer),, Intel Officer).  There isn't a specific answer of "offense or defense" that's best, it's all in how you play.  This ship is generally so points heavy that the only things I DON'T recommend on it are officers that can be placed elsewhere in your fleet - Hondo or Ahsoka for example.  Otherwise, whatever officer you need to get your plan to go off is probably good.

Support Team:
Generally Engine Techs.  For other options I might refer to the Command cruiser below.  But you're much more about offense than squadron commanding, so I'd suggest Engine Techs to get you where you need to be.

Defensive Retrofits:
There really isn't a bad call here, so long as you understand each of their limitations, addressed in the article itself.  Your first choice is likely Reactive Gunnery, which means your other choice is some version of Advanced ProjectorsElectronic Countermeasures, Reinforced Blast Doors, and Early Warning System.  They're all good, I just definitely recommend filling both of them.  If you're only using one, take the Command class below.

Ion Cannons:
It's Leading Shots. I'm sorry it's boring, but you have red dice, the least behaving of all 3 colors.  You can make other arguments for the Command below.  You can TRY Point Defense Ion Cannons and hope your dice behave, but that's your call for sure.

Many options are decent here, but I like using Quad Battery Turrets just for a second chance at that  Leading Shots reroll if necessary.  Getting an extra blue dice at long is mighty nice and helpful, just to ensure you're getting the damage you want.  It also subtly makes your opponent come in slow, which only helps aid your survivability.  As for other options, XI7s is an option, but I'll refer you to Eric's article about it.  There's a fair amount of ships right now that go speed 2 at their fastest (Starhawks, Munificents) such that you might not get QBTs to trigger.  If you want another option, LTTs isn't a terrible choice, but I still feel like I'd rather have QBTs and add a dice to each of my attacks.  If you're going salvo dependent (Reactive Gunnery and potentially Agate commanding) may I suggest DBY-827s?

Angry Anglerfish (155 points)
Walex Blissex
Electronic Countermeasures
Early Warning System
Leading Shots
Quad Battery Turrets
Engine Techs

This ship 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 Early Warning System and Electronic Countermeasures let you shrug off a lot of damage and are the best ways of covering both your bases, though Reinforced Blast Doors isn't a bad choice if you need the points elsewhere.  I'd likely replace EWS with Reactive Gunnery if I wanted to Salvo a lot here (to which I'll refer you to the Ackbar article for THAT timing window discussion.) All the other upgrades are on there for the reasons stated in the above paragraphs.  The Defiance can also be the Home One, but at 155 points (becoming 157 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 that actually worth taking.

Salvo Ship, Screw Squadrons (148 points)
Reactive Gunnery
Advanced Projectors
Point Defense Ion Cannons
Linked Turbolaser Towers
Engine Techs

You've got 2 things coming together in this build.  First, you're trying that salvo plan I had mentioned before, with Reactive Gunnery.  I added on some anti-squadron tech (Expert Shield Tech and PDIC) to make sure you can get in there and hit their carriers before your MC80 explodes.  Advanced Projectors is something I've been playing with, but I think has some decent legs on an HMC80.

Command Cruiser and Builds
So many squadrons, so little time.
The Command Cruiser is often more based around squadrons and used as a carrier.  With one more squadron it can push (Squadrons 4 is the strongest base squadron pushing ability the Rebellion has) and an Offensive Retrofit slot, this one usually ends up spending some of its commands pushing squadrons around to supplement its attacks.  But there's a few other options as well.

The officers remain the same.

Support Teams:
If you're doing squad commands, I've seen Fighter Coordination Team do some good work here (in that it helped Nathan win Worlds).  Engine Techs is still good, but I can see the merit of Fighter Coordination Team.

Offensive Retrofit:
If you're doing a squadron based list, any of the squad upgrades can work here.  Boosted Comms if you want to remain on the edge, Expanded Hangar Bay if you need to push 5-6, or ATN if you have en masse Y-wings/VCXs.  As my usual statement goes, Proximity Mines is good, presuming you have several other copies of them in order to make them worth it.  If you're doing an Agate build with salvo, you CAN do Flak Guns but I'm not incredibly ecstatic about the idea.

Defensive Retrofit:
Usually just down to Electronic Countermeasures, but with an Agate build I can see using EWS, Advanced Projectors or Reinforced Blast Doors.  I wouldn't use Reactive Gunnery here, as you're relatively squishier than you'd expect, and some good defense will really help you stay alive.  But if you really want to salvo...

Ion Cannon:
Leading Shots is good as always, but if you can get several sources of rerolls, I've actually had good luck with a blue critical effect here.  HIE is the gold standard, but Ion Cannon Batteries isn't out of the question for that matter.  See the builds section below for more on this.

Quad Battery Turrets is my usual, again, just based on the fact that I can't get above speed 2, and I wouldn't use XI7s if you're doing heavy squad pushing with the ship.  If you have salvo dreams, DBY-827 is AN option.

Carrier Carp! (136 points)
Flight Commander
Boosted Comms
Leading Shots
Electronic Countermeasures
Quad Battery Turrets
Fighter Coordination Team

So this ship is built to carrier, and carrier well.  First you flak all of your opponent's squads, then you send in yours as a followup, and move some others along with FCT.  It's leaning very heavily into squadron heavy, so make sure your squadrons are clearing theirs out in order to start attacking ships.
More squadrons! More!
Deceptive Dogfish! (145 points)
Expert Shield Techs
Heavy Ion Emplacements
Electronic Countermeasures
Quad Battery Turrets
Engine Techs

So this build is a bit weirder.  You've made effectively an almost as tanky-HIE Interdictor, but with less dice control than the Empire can boast.  What this does have is the ability to put out more damage as needed, WITHIN REASON.  Quad Battery Turrets and Defiance can both add blue dice, and you're basically hoping that one of these gets the critical you need for the HIE to trigger.  It's not guaranteed, and your total damage output is at the mercy of your red dice and what they do, but if you trust your dice it can be brutal.  Make sure Toryn Farr is nearby, and if you can get a con-fire token on your ship as well that helps.

Return Fire! (129 points)

This is not one I incredibly recommend, but if you want a challenge, put Agate on here and send this thing in for angry attacking and salvoing back. You'll need to use her ability if your tokens get locked down, but you can get 1 red and 2 blue back at long range every salvo back. It's very squishy but it's also much cheaper than anything else I've recommended here.  I don't post this as a "you should definitely try this!" So much as a "well, here's the end state of all my zany ideas, good luck."

And then swim away, like a fish!
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.  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!

  4. With regards to the Independence title. Wouldn't this be good be to use on turn 1 with B-wings? Push them into the fight and then hit them on the second turn?

    1. Back in the day, yes. Nowadays with access to All Fighters Follow Me, Fighter Coordination Team, and officer Wedge, there are just so many better options for giving your B-Wings a speed boost that don't come with the same amount of drawback.

    2. I've got two ideas for a 400 point Rebel bomber fleet. One uses the Phoenix and a Gallant Haven and one uses the Independence. The Phoenix can use AFFM but its comparatively weaker offensively and defensively. The Independence seems a way to have a ship that can duke it out with star destroyers rather than evading them.

    3. You can still use Fighter Coordination Team on the HMC80 instead, and with Squads 4 the Command HMC80 gets a lot of work done for less points and more flexibly with less setup. If it's good enough to win Worlds 2 years ago, it's good enough for you ;).

      All Fighters Follow Me is fine but definitely more setup and may not be necessary. It's usually clutch for 1, maybe 2, rounds and can be used just fine on Flag Bridge or Liberator as a one-shot upgrade if you think you'll want it. Fighter Coordination Team is much more of a workhorse type of upgrade.

  5. Thanks I'll have to test out my Independence bomber fleet soon. Thanks for all the articles. They help out a lot figuring out what works and what doesn't.

  6. What do you think about SW-7s and LTT on a command version w/out Ackbar?

    1. I'm not opposed, why not the Defiance HIE option?

    2. Defiance would be great. I was just thinking of more dice control.

  7. Admr. Agate on either version is really nice for a double brace, salvo, or evade (if you see an Onager)- and with the double defensive retro, you can take Reactive Gunnery for an easier Agate-token choice and because it's Agate, she is her own ECM freeing up the second slot for Advanced Projects or EWS.

    Then, I think the choice comes down to the rest of your fleet - Comms Net? Ahsoka? Tantive IV?. You get repair tokens to MC80 consistently with any of those, que up a few Repair dials maybe round 3/4, then I'd do AP over EWS.

    Agate on this ship really opens up a lot of possibilities.

  8. Should the Exodus title be covered here?

    1. Because it's an upgrade that can go on multiple different ships, it's covered under Rebel upgrades instead:

  9. Hey I've just learned about Armada being a thing! I'm a huge rebel fan, especially with the classics like Home One, Nebulons and Corvettes! Do you or your blog have a list for a new player based around an MC75 or this ship?

    1. We do, actually!

      We don't tend to have a lot of fleet lists posted (as communities differ and the meta changes, etc.) but we do have recommended starter fleets and the Rebel one has an HMC80.

    2. I'm not looking for meta exactly, me and my friend are the only two that play haha. If I wanted a fleet based around an mc80 thats considered "upgraded" would you have any suggestions or other materials I can use?

    3. I think the starter fleet is a good place to start, honestly. Makes good use of your early stuff and gets you a feel for the game. After that you can decide which way you'd prefer to go. You generally see HMC80s most as a durable carrier flagship in squadron-heavy fleets or as a tanky battleship in Ackbar fleets and it does fine in either role.