Monday, April 10, 2017

MC30: The Curse of the Flying Hellfish!

The Mon Calamari people brought a lot when they joined the Rebellion.  Specifically, the 3 best ways to murder other ships.  Let's jump into today's ship review with the MC30, the angriest fish ship in the smallest package.

Artist's Representation
Basic Stats
With the exception of the color of dice, these ships are identical.  The Scout MC30 has long range red dice, and the Torpedo one wants to get near to you, unable to even start damaging you until Blue Range.
This will not be the last fish joke.

Both ships have:
  • Command 2
  • Engineering 3 (just enough to heal a damage/crit they don't want!)
  • Squadrons 1 (so don't command them with the MC30, you have better things to do)
  • 2 Black dice in the Front, 3 in the sides.  If you can double arc someone, that's 5 black dice!
  • 1 Blue AA dice
  • A title slot, officer slot, Weapons Team, Defensive Retrofit, Ordnance Upgrade, and Turbolaser slot
  • 3 Shields everywhere but the back, where it has only 2.  The only Rebel ships with more shielding are the Assault Frigate and the H1MC80.  We'll start to hit THOSE later today.
  • Decently maneuverable 1 and 2 speed engagements, but using a Navigate at Speed 3 is where they both SHINE.
  • Speed 4 takes them right back down to sadness town, with only 2 clicks, at speed 2 and 3 respectively.  They like going fast, but probably preferably not THAT fast
So what does that all mean?  How do I use this ship to fight my opponent and blow up all his stuff? It's just like Demolisher, right?

Sadly no, it's not just like Demolisher.  You're going to need to do a few things to both attack with it and keep it alive.  You really do not want to be pushing squadrons with this guy, but all the other commands are viable.  They really like Concentrating Fire and Navigating, in my opinion.  Without a Brace Token, however, you're going to need to do a few things to survive.  Namely, don't get hit 2-3 times from an ISD's front arc, expecting to live easily.  Because they depend so much on their Redirects to stay alive and take the damage on the shields (and not the ship itself!), they are BADLY hurt by XI7s.
Boo hiss booooooo, stop wrecking my ship!

Minimal Primer on How to Black Dice (the Rebel way!)
11/3 edit! First, go read this article from Eric on the topic, then feel free to come back here and watch me muck it up and make more fish jokes.  I'll hit some of the important notes from the Rebel perspective here though.

First, have a bid.  It doesn't need to be a lot, you don't need to have one every time, but until you understand them better, start out with a bid.  If you can go first with these ships, you have a much better chance of getting the best attacks in with them.  Later on, you won't need as much of a bid (or a full one at all), but for your first few games, try a bid out.  Black dice ships LOVE being able to go first and just wallop a ship with as many dice as you can.  I'm not saying you always need a bid (I've run them like that before), but if you're new and you want to try running them easier on yourself, get a bid in there.

Second, if you're focusing on Black Dice and their damage, have both Ordnance Experts in your Weapons Team slot and an Ordnance Upgrade in your Ordnance slot.  You can use Assault Proton Torpedoes, Assault Concussion Missiles, Expanded Launchers, or External Racks.  Focusing on Black Dice means you want to be doing damage with them, and you're going to need to be in close with them.  Try to find the points to fit in the upgrades; those Ordnance Upgrades make your crits do extra damage.  When (most likely) your ships get their one or two turns of attacks on your opponent, you want to be doing as much damage as possible.
In this example, the Teeth are the ordnance upgrades.  Waiting hangrily (Hungrily AND Angrily!)
Third, bring more ships.  You'll want ships to delay you having to activate if you can.  Let the other ships move, let your opponent attack you and come in, and THEN move your black dice ship.  Let them come to you first for two reasons.  First, if they move into close range of you, you can get a free black dice attack on them.  Second, if they don't, you can move your ship to be in the best position to attack them next turn (and you can go first, because you got a bid together, right?).  You don't need to bring 5-6, but definitely at least 4.  3 is not really a great plan either in my mind.  While your build with Home One and TRCs and Expanded Launchers and Ordnance Experts and all that is great, having 2 ships means your opponent is generally just going to try to wait for you to be forced to activate and then shoot you, potentially dead.

Fourth, you're going to want to try double arcing with these.  Getting one side arc is helpful, but getting a side arc and a front arc (or 2 side arcs!) is much more powerful.  There's twice as many chances of black crits occurring, and twice as many attacks that the ship may want to mitigate the damage against.  Creating a hard sell for them and making it difficult to choose WHEN they brace or redirect or what have you is the best way to get something out of your black dice ships.
At the very least, try to get those side ARRRRRRRRCs at range.
Lastly, have a way for your black dice ships to surviveDemolisher, while amazing, can zoom in and clock someone after it's shot, allowing it to stay out of range of your opponent's guns.  You do not normally have that ability (we'll talk locations and speeds with regards to each ship below), so you'll need to have some defensive tech upgrades to prevent/mitigate damage.  Like, say, the MC30 titles....

There are two, and they're both good first steps in How You Keep the MC30 Alive.  First up, the lesser known title!
You know those defense tokens that are like, double defense tokens?
The Foresight has a great effect, allowing you to cancel 2 dice at longer range or reroll 2 at Medium.  Or with Mothma, cancel 2 at medium and reroll 2 at close.  This is a great way to just cancel out and remove dice that you don't want hitting your ship.  Being able to redirect to 2 different hull zones is good too, allowing you to take an extra (potentially) 3 damage on your shields (if you're hit on the front) before taking it on the hull.  Because of the slightly limited usage of the Evade tokens, and because XI7s still exist, you generally only see this either with Mon Mothma, or with Scouts that are designed for a purpose that isn't based around the Black dice.  Still a great title, just not as great as....
The Admonition, let's begin! The Admonition, look out sin!
The Admonition is almost the standard title on an MC30, taking it from good to amazingly survivable with this.  The title says you can "discard a defense token," not spend.  So they can accuracy away everything you've got, but you can still discard ANY of your defense tokens (even the accuracied ones!) to cancel out dice.  This does, however, lead to situations where you're writing checks your lack of defense tokens can't cash.  I can't say "Discard X first" as it's all going to be situational.  Just make sure you keep a Redirect alive to push damage around your shields if you can (ie, don't discard your 2 redirects as your first 2 defense tokens).  Further fun! You can do this on any attack, so even if you're playing against an Advanced Gunnery ISD at Long Range, it can sure attack you twice and you can sure cancel a dice on each attack.

Furthest fun! Because you (the defender) choose the order of how things go during the Spend Defense Tokens Step, you CAN spend the Evade like regular (reroll or cancel a dice) and THEN use the Admonition effect on that token to cancel a dice.  So long range removing 2 dice is super fun! You're also out a defense token, the only way you actually HAVE of staying alive! Don't overdo this!

This title is frustrating to play against, so long as you keep having defense tokens.  Walex Blissex isn't a bad inclusion for the title, if you can find the points.  For that matter, so is Lando Calrissian.

Scout Frigate (the Red One) and Common Builds
I sure am waiting peacefully here! I'm friendly and not a threat to anyone!  Ignore Admiral Ackbar over there!
So the Scout Frigate generally sees use with a few Commanders.  When you use this one, the general suggestion is to throw TRCs on there, turning it into a sideways VSD.  Scoot around the battlefield, throwing damage (and shade, haha!) at your opponent's ships.  The black dice act as a deterrent almost, daring your opponent to come closer.
Fun option during games! Sing this repeatedly and watch your friends tremble in frustration!  Or maybe they're trembling at my singing...
Building for TRCs and attacking with them generally means that I recommend Gunnery Teams...especially with Ackbar.  But we'll get there with the Commanders section.  This one is not as often seen, as you're at 2 different paths, either wanting Gunnery Teams to throw dice out the same side, making this act like a cheaper, better turning Assault Frigate, or Ordnance Experts, to make your black dice actually DO something when you roll them against whatever shows up close to you.  If you build it cheaper and not focusing on the black dice (treating them as a deterrent), then you're skirting the battlefield.  If you want to actually use them, treat them like a Torpedo Frigate that can put damage into you from long range (below).

Torpedo Frigate (the Blue One) and Common Builds
He's firing out of both sides SOMEHOW.  Do you know how hard that is to coordinate? 

The more traditionally seen MC30, the Torpedo Frigate has come into its own recently as a flotilla killer.  To get anything going with this guy, you're gonna need to get in close and face some damage.  If you want to just use them at Medium range, may I recommend using a CR90B for about 20 points cheaper? Save you some points for other ships!  So you're DEFINITELY focusing on the black dice here.  Which means using those Ordnance Upgrades I linked to earlier, and Ordnance Experts.

Now with all those dice coming in, how do you kill flotillas? Blue dice only have 2 sides with accuracies, how do you ensure that you roll them?
Wave 1's most dangerous in retrospect upgrade!
H9s have become the de facto upgrade for MC30s, shutting down whatever defense token your opponent wants to use.  It's an Insurance policy (to be sure you get an accuracy if you don't roll one), but it is one HECK of a policy.  Soon as a flotilla gets into a side arc, that's near guaranteed death.  The benefit of it is that its still applicable against most other ships you want to fight.  It can shut down the Brace on ISDs/VSDs or the Scatter on flotillas.  It's become a very strong upgrade that no one expected when wave 2 and MC30s showed up.

As for the common builds, the basic build comes down to a few things:
MC30 (63 points)
 - Title (usually Admonition, 8 points)
 - Ordnance Experts (4 pts)
 - Ordnance Upgrade (3-13 pts)
 - H9 Turbolasers (8 pts)

If you're feeling fancy and have the 1 pt, Skilled First Officer is a great Officer.  Lando for 4 points will keep you alive even longer.  I've played the Expanded Launchers/External Racks-H9 Turbolasers combination, and it is EVIL.  4 black dice and an Accuracy out the front, 3 Black and 2 Blue with a GUARANTEED Accuracy there results in some intense damage to enemy Star Destroyers when you lock the Brace down on both attacks.  Can't use Electronic Countermeasures against them both!  I've dubbed that one the Scooty Puff, because Futurama jokes.  Try it out, it's super fun, even if it IS 90 points or so...
In a thousand years, we'll get right on it.
The general usage recommendation here is to wait on the outskirts for several ships to move into range, absorbing damage as much as you can.  When its the end of the turn, move in and either double arc one of those important ships or get side arcs in on two different ships.  Make sure if you do get your side arcs in on 2 different ships that you should (barring awful rolling) be able to destroy them both.  Remember, a dead ship is worth more than 2 injured ones.  So split 2 flotillas! Probably don't split 2 ISDs, except maaaaaaaybe under Ackbar.  Maybe.  Then at the start of the next turn, fire and flee.  Shoot and scoot.  Heave and leave.  Bust a move and then a groove? Get out of harm's way as much as you can.  If you're firing on a Rebel MC80, do what you can to end up NOT in that side arc.  If it's an ISD, not in the faaaaaaaaaaaaace!  Then either move towards your next target/prey or try to circle back around to hit something else/that same ship if it didn't die.

Most of the Rebel Commanders like using the MC30 in some capacity.  And it works well under them all.

Dodonna: Dodonna works well with either one.  Using the Scout, he'll want TRCs on it to keep getting the Crit damage on things from long range, or he loves APTs on the Torpedo.  He loves APTs on the Scout too, but you start getting points heavy FAST on them.

Cracken: He certainly can use them, and he can make use of both of those titles.  I don't have MUCH experience with Cracken, but the MC30 is right in his wheelhouse of speed 3 and having attacks obstructed against them.

Mothma: LOVES them.  Loves the Foresight.  Loves the Admonition.  Loves their defense tokens at short range, just wrecking attacks coming in at her.  Loves Torpedoes, loves Scouts, loves using them.

Rieekan: He comes with the ship, he better love it! Rieekan lets them get one more attack against your opponent's ship before it explodes, and also get a free ram in there too!  When you first start using them, I definitely suggest Rieekan be your starting Commander until you get a handle on them.  Black dice ships are so different from the rest of the Rebellion's Red Dice shooters that they take a bit of time to get good with.  Be careful when using them though, that you don't get the first player attack and then remain in range to get shot.  If you're hoping to remain in close to get a good attack on your opponent twice, be careful he doesn't kill you when you could have gotten away instead.  One shot and a living ship is usually better than one shot and 2 ram damage (one from you into him and one from him into you! That's half your MC30s health!)

Ackbar: Ackbar loves BOTH, weirdly enough.  He can throw 4 red dice out the side of a Scout frigate, or he can throw 2 Blue and 2 Red out of a Torpedo.  The OTHER upgrade plan you can do with the Torpedo is to put Enhanced Armaments on them in order to create a Red Dice range to add Ackbar's 2 Red dice for.  Ackbar with an Enhanced Armaments Torpedo can roll 3 Red, 2 Blue, and 3 Black.  THAT is the front arc of an ISD, and it is a heck of a monster to face.
You're a give-em'-hell daredevil with a never-say-die attitude and a fourth-grade education! You could have made sergeant!
Madine: Madine really enjoys them.  Adding in 2 clicks to their speed 3 movement makes them able to get to almost anywhere you want them.  Putting the 2 clicks at speed 4 makes their speed 4 dial work like the regular MC30 Speed 3 with an extra speed ahead.  They can get ANYWHERE and fire on a lot of your opponent's ships.  Madine makes an already pretty dang maneuverable ship even MORE maneuverable.

Sato: Sato actually wants the Scout Frigate.  Throw those red dice at long range and turn them into black dice, and then use the Black Crit upgrade you have equipped to trigger APTs or ACMs at long range.  A little janky, but wiping shields or throwing free Long Range face up damage is just amazing fun times.

So who doesn't want it?
Garm Bel Iblis: He CAN do it, but as I said in THAT Garm article that he prefers other ships.  The MC30 will take a Navigate and probably an Engineering, which, while OK, are definitely things you can more easily do by themselves on the first turn or two with the MC30.

Leia Organa: I like Leia, and I'm still trying to wrap my head around her, but MC30s get points heavy FAST, and I don't think Leia can "fix" the issues it runs into well enough to take off any of the defensive tech or the Ordnance Experts.  I've seen people run them under her and do well, but I feel that's more a product of the fact that MC30s are good ships more than that Leia is a good commander for them.  If you want to run them with her, I don't begrudge you that.

Final Thoughts
When I made mention of the MC30 a few weeks ago in the LFC article, I called them a sock full of quarters that you can use to beat your opponent with.  I hope this article giving my two cents on them provides you with the change you need to help nickel and dime your opponent's ships to death.
I had several more monetary based puns, all of them terrible! Penny for your thoughts on why you're pulling me?


  1. Nice article, loads of helpful advice as usual. One tiny complaint though, it's ordnance, not ordinance ;)

    1. Yeah, I caught and fixed that one earlier (refresh the page and you'll see) and John has since been educated in the differences between legal decrees and explosives. ;)

    2. Legal decrees are only explosive when Phoenix Wright throws them out into the court?

      But nice catch, yes.

  2. Good read. Quick correction, though: ECM still allows you to use a token no matter how many accuracies they put on it.

    1. Actually I think there was a misunderstanding. John is referring to using H9s for guaranteed accuracy against a brace token on two separate attacks. ECMs can only work against one of those two attacks. I'll clarify it so it's more clear as to what he means.

  3. Is it possible to spend a token to it's red side and then also discard that same token with the admonition title?

    1. Unless I missed a FAQ somewhere, yup! Ain't that mean?

  4. Thank you guys for this blog so much! I just recently started playing Armada and this blog has really helped decrease my learning curve.

    One question I have is about the Admonition title. I’m still not quite understanding why Admonition is used more often competitively than Firesight. Could you guys point out the reasons for this being so? Thanks!

    1. Admo can work in close range (you can still discard the token to remove the dice) where it wants to be (in order to throw black dice), while Foresight (unless under Mon Mothma) isnt as good at Medium range for the Evades. Plus, even with MM in close, it's a reroll of their best damaging dice (slash crit), which can still result in damage (reroll into 1 or reroll into that same hit+crit on opposing black dice, for example). Admo just tells it to disappear, which can remove 2 damage from the pool, period. That 2 damage can often be the difference between a dead MC30 and one that's walking wounded (but still gets to shoot!)

      Foresight is good, it just suffers when you get in a closer range is all. And since they're priced identically, most people go with the one that works ALL the time as opposed to MOST of the time.

  5. I'm sure it's boring to answer the same questions about Admo, but can I spend a Redirect then discard it with the title? And why?

    1. Yes you can. When you spend the redirect for its regular effects, you are spending a defense token and that works just like normal. Then you can discard it with the admonition title for the admonition effect. There's nothing stopping you from using the same token twice (note this is different than spending it twice, it's a spend and a discard), provided it is being used for different effects.

  6. Those H9s on the MC30 cannot not be over exaggerated on their usefulness. Two shots into the side of a Dictor' last night would've been braced down from 4 to 2 and 5 to 3, respectively.

    Four damage that doesn't evaporate into the defense tokens helped to knock that guy around.