Saturday, December 19, 2020

LMC80: Battle Cruise Crazy (Just Be Glad It's Him, Not You)

Well, we're on our way into Wave IV now, as we pretend that Wave III and Wave IV are separate.... and that they demand the majesty of Roman Numerals.  Let's hit the OTHER 8 health Rebel ship, the LMC80!
The ANGRIEST lawn dart
Basic Stats
The fastest Large Base the Alliance has to offer!
What do they share?
  • 8 health
  • Command 3 - plan your turns out, else you're gonna run into some troubles (I speak from experience!)
  • Squadrons 2 - so you really SHOULDN'T be using a dial to command squadrons with it (we'll get there with the titles!)
  • Engineering 4 - Able to heal a fair amount, with the non-Interdictor standard strongest
  • A very different navigational pattern than anything the Rebellion has seen before (we'll get here too)
  • Crazy dice in the front! Not so much in the sides or rear!
  • Crazy shields in the front (5!) Not so much in the sides or rear!
  • 2 Brace tokens and a Redirect
  • A Weapons Team slot, a Support Team slot, an Ion Cannons slot, and 2 (TWO!) Turbolaser slots.
It seems like a very straightforward ship... in that you want it pointing STRAIGHT towards your opponent while still double arcing, a yuk yuk yuk.  The ship does SO much damage with its front arc, it's like a bigger Nebulon with a slightly worse turning but better shields and health.  A large amount of complaints when this ship came out were that you were paying almost as much as a Star Destroyer for a worse Star Destroyer.  BUT! Don't think of this as a Star Destroyer.  At most it says Star Cruiser, anyways.

Before we begin breaking them down, let's discuss what the LMC80 exists to do.  As a Battle Cruiser (and a Star Cruiser), it's there to smash little ships and run away from the larger ones.  It has enough firepower to smash its way through smaller ships, and it has the speed to shoot and then run away from VSDs and ISDs.  If you try to go toe-to-toe with an ISD, you're gonna have a bad time.  If you team up on it with some friends, you'll do great! Sort of!

The LMC80 also lacks a Defensive Retrofit, so there will be no Reinforced Blast Doors or Electronic Countermeasures for you.  One of the main points we'll talk about here are what turbolasers to put in your 2 slots there.  There's a lot of great combinations you can have, with different ones and versions all clamoring for spots.  We'll get here in the builds, but as the only Rebel ship with 2 turbolasers I can definitely recommend using BOTH of them.

The main concern, no matter what you do with and how you build this ship, is Navigation.  That profile is..... different, but it's workable.  Much like a VSD, Navigation should be your default command most of the time.  But you're going to NEED Engineering later in the game.  To quote Eric from the VSD article:
Navigate constantly unless you have something better to do. Remember those speed chart problems I mentioned earlier? Maneuverability in particular is a huge problem for VSDs and by using Navigate commands to increase your yaw (and change speed when necessary) you are doubling your yaw. The significance of doubling your yaw cannot be overstated and it helps the VSD keep its front arc on targets and to some extent avoid trouble. I encourage you to think of it this way: if you use a Navigate command to keep a target in your front arc when you otherwise would not have been able to do so, you just used a better Concentrate Fire command - at full dice range, you get twice the dice from a front arc attack vs. a side arc attack and even at red dice range you get 1 more dice overall, the same as Concentrate Fire but much more likely to be in a situation where enemy attacks are directed at the front hull zone where you can redirect more effectively (to either of your 3 shield sides).
You're in a similar spot with much worse sides.  You're likely going to want to redirect FROM your sides to the front, because 5 shields versus 2.  But if you brace a 4 damage shot down to 2 and redirect it, that keeps 5 shields in your front for your own use.

To help with the Navigation issues, Engine Techs and Nav Teams does a LOT of work in keeping this thing turning right.  With Engine Techs, not only can you turn slightly better if needed, but you can be almost anywhere you need to be.  Going speed 2 and using a Navigate token (or command) can let you be speed 2, speed 1, effective speed 2 with an extra click (drop down to 1, use the Engine Techs move to turn a click again), speed 3/effective speed 3 (jump up or use the token to trigger Engine Techs), or speed 4 (jump up and then use Engine Techs). This puts you in a LOT of different spots that can threaten your opponent's ships.  I'm not saying Engine Techs is mandatory, but I have a hard time building this ship without it, especially as a potential speed 4 large ship is unheard of in the game.  A minor note about that (from the comments below): the only way to adjust the speed 1 maneuver (currently) is through Jerrjerrod, so you can't turn 2 clicks with the Engine Techs move; you'll need to do it before (in that first or third maneuver joint, if you want a second turn there!)  The benefit of Nav Teams is that you can turn even better with nav tokens (Garm) or things that act like tokens (Leia).  I've tried the Nav Teams plan and it works out VERY well; it was a significant part of shmitty's Dumpster Fire list and is worth trying.

The basic strategy for using this ship is to keep applying damage from the front arc to whatever you need it to.  Your front arc is SO HUGE and your potential damage from there is SO GREAT that you just badly want to fire out of it as many times as you can.  It also forces your opponent to be aware of it and change how he deploys and attacks you.  Your opponent's Raiders, CR90s, and flotillas do not want to lurk in its front arc for long. The weapons team slot has several options, but I definitely recommend filling it for whatever job you have the Liberty doing.

So the best way to consider the Liberty is something halfway between an ISD and a VSD.  Navigate like the VSD wants, with the firepower of almost an ISD.  Given the points cost of everything, too, it should behave like something in the middle.
Moe, Larry, and Curly
The VSD-II costs 85 points, the ISD costs 110-120 points, and our LMC80 is 96/103, in the middle.  It should be better than a VSD (and it is! Faster speed, more base front arc dice!) while still not being as good as an ISD (and guess what? It isn't.  Not as good a squadron ability, not as many HP or shields).  So it's somewhere in the middle, which ALSO helps you figure out how to use it.  You wouldn't throw a VSD-II at an ISD on its lonesome, so don't do that with your LMC80 and you'll be fine!

Titles
There are 3, with various uses.
A con-fire token lets you speak to the defense token's manager, watch out for Mom Karren
Mon Karren is the title everyone was excited about when it came out, and it's well worth it.  Pair it with a great critical upgrade (XX-9s or HIE) and you give them either the terrible choice of only bracing ~7-8 damage (and letting the crit trigger) or containing the critical (provided you have a Damage Control Officer) and eating that 7-8 damage shot.  The issue I've seen with this is that when building it, people end up usually throwing this on and XI7s and H9s just to ensure that if you can lock down a Brace on an ISD, they can only redirect one and then they have to take the rest.  That's.... a plan, yes.  The PROBLEM with that, is that you're overdoing a lot of what makes it good, and you're not really using the ship for the way it was intended.  I've had success using Mon Karren, but you want to be getting a critical off.  The title has a lot of great use, preventing braces and redirects at the same time, but don't overdo it in an effort to make sure something is extra dead.
Should I kill my dad, Darth Vader's head? Uhh, do whatever you want, I'm SUPER DEAD!
If you DO put Mon Karren on, I'd build it such that you're just adding dice and damage as much as you can.  Spinal Turbolasers, SW-7s potentially, etc.  You don't WANT Accuracies, as the title is trying to prevent smaller ships from using their other tokens that would keep them alive.  If Demolisher has to choose to redirect the massive damage or brace it down and only take a few to the hull, that's a GREAT spot to force it to go into.  It can't use all its tokens to stay unhurt, which is good for you.  And against big ships, they can either brace or redirect or contain, but they can't get all of that in there!  They ALSO can't Salvo you back if they want to handle any of the incoming damage, which is super helpful for you living.
DAT ART, THO
The Endeavor to me is a solid choice for the Liberty.  The side and rear are so shield-light that I fear getting shot by bombers.  And one face up crit can lead to some BAD times ahead for the Liberty (I have hit Projector Misaligned, so be careful), so I definitely like making sure I have a little more defense against bombers and other worries.  It doesn't DO a crazy amount for changing the game, but it's so simple and so helpful that I'll gladly pay for it.  Keep in mind that if it's in hyperspace (from Raddus) before the game starts, you can gain the token turn 1 if it deploys immediately, but not if it's after turn 1.  Likely, pair this title with Damage Control Officer to really minimize the damage coming in.
So many crazy plans and builds, so little time
The actual Liberty title is our last member.  I've seen lots of builds where people take this on there and add Raymus and Flight Controllers and Fighter Coordination Team and, and, AND.  You're doing that thing I've mentioned before about taking something that isn't good and trying to make it good through sheer force of will.  Yes, you CAN push 4 squadrons a turn and keep them all good together, repeatedly, every turn, but you're taking the purpose of this ship and trying to make it what it's NOT.  The ability is great, but don't overdo it.  A SMARTER plan, in my mind (for a 3 point title) is to either feed it with Comms Net flotillas or use it once with Raymus Antilles/more with Ahsoka Tano.  Using it Garm Bel Iblis style where you do one thing with your dial and another thing or two with your tokens is a GREAT way to use this.  Overdoing it by dialing up squadrons every turn is going to result in you not having your front arc where you badly need it to be, so you're going to be shot and dead or out of the fight and useless, which is NOT what you want to do with a 100 point ship plus upgrades.

There's also my thought that if you really want to Raymus Antilles and use it all with him, do it once.  Maybe turn 2, try to get the jump on something? Don't turn this ship into your new greatest carrier, treat it as something that can provide solid squadron support while still firing out the front at where it needs to go.  If you REALLY want to have Raymus fire 4 B-wings on the way in to really smash a ship of some sort, you better have another ship that can fire them the rest of the game.

For more on the MCEF title/task force that comes packaged with the MC75 but can go on the LMC80, please refer to the Rebel upgrades article.

Battle Cruiser and Common Builds
It's like an angry slice of pie...
So the Battle Cruiser usually ends up getting run like a Christmas tree, with all the accoutrements and all of its slots filled! So pretty! So fancy! So many points your opponent is going to be shooting at!  This has one more red dice than blue in the face, so while you CAN run it such that you're using a blue critical, the upgrades here are usually meant for helping the red dice out.  Some basic advice for your build:

Officer:
Usually someone to keep your ship alive, especially if it's your flagship.  Intel Officer is great as well, especially when paired with Mon Karren and you're just flinging damage downstream.  Lando is never out of the question, nor is Walex Blissex (or Expert Shield Techs!) for any Agate plans you might have.

Weapons Team:
Gunnery Teams are the usual standard, especially with en masse red dice.  But Caitken and Shollan are also very helpful at ensuring you get the damage you need, AND they don't require a blue for Leading Shots.  Only downside is of course that you don't get a second shot from your face.  If you're taking H9s in your turbolaser slot, Weapon Battery Techs isn't a bad choice.

Support Team:
Engine Techs is usually standard for the reasons I stated above, but I know shmitty has had success with Nav Teams, and I've CONSIDERED it with Leia.  It.... might work?  Auxiliary Shields Team is very helpful as well, bringing you to a more dangerous 5-3-3-2 everywhere.  Otherwise, keep to Engine Techs.

Ion Cannons:
If you're not using Caitken and Shollan, this is the Leading Shots or PDIC slot.  Sorry to be boring, but here we are.  If you ARE using them, maybe SW-7s, but PDIC seems smarter than leaving them blank in this build of yours.  You have issues with squadrons and that upgrade helps the most.

Turbolasers:
One should very likely be Spinal Turbolasers, which then limits you to a non-modification for your other one. You can really use any 2 turbolasers that go well together.  Spinal being a modification is unfortunate, but the difference between 5 red dice and 4 red dice is substantial, and whether or not that is worth more to you than an accuracy in H9s.

Builds:
Agate Special (144, 164 if you include her in here)
Leading Shots
Gunnery Teams
Spinal Armament
XX-9 Turbolasers
Mon Karren

Agate adds in an extra redirect, giving you 2 braces and 2 redirects, like a baby starhawk.  You're going to want to be confiring for both Gunnery Team and the Mon Karren title, which means have a friend feeding you tokens often.
XI7 Turbolasers
H9 Turbolasers

Meanwhile, there's this guy, trying to get the last-first on you from red range and then get into close for another mean shot.  The main difference here is that without Quad Battery Turrets, you're not constrained by your speed to get more damage in.  Both have their merits.

Star Cruiser and Common Builds
I'm helping!
The Star Cruiser is usually more often seen, just because with more blue dice you have a chance to get off blue crits, giving your opponent.... the blues.
It's like I can psychically sense what you're doing right now!
With this ship, you're going to need to be in blue range to get good damage out of it, which often results in Raddus blapping one in and going hard with it.  If you are going blue critical heavy (and with blue dice more prevalent...), your upgrades tend towards those to ensure you get that critical off.

Officer and Support Team are all the same as above, so I won't repeat them.

Ion Cannons:
As with all things, it comes down to a matter of what upgrade is worth taking here or not.  The gold standard is HIE, but I've seen people use SW-7s or Ion Cannon Batteries, whatever your list is planning.  You'll likely want to pair it with Mon Karren above. PDICs is, as always, a solid choice.

Weapon Team:
Weapon Battery Techs (so long as you have H9 Turbolasers!) is a great staple, but Caitken and Shollan work as well, just to ensure you're getting the dice you want, and can spare a reroll for some blues or reds as needed.

Turbolasers:
If you're Raddus dropping (or can ensure you get it with a crazy scheme), Quad Battery Turrets is great for more blues.  Spinals turns your front arc into a full ISD-II for almost 20 points cheaper.  I've had good success with XX-9s here as the secondary option after the HIE takes all the shields off.  With all the blues and the potential for guaranteeing it sticks, H9s remains solid.

Builds:
Raddus Drop Extraordinaire! (142 points)
Mon Karren
Intel Officer
Engine Techs
Heavy Ion Emplacements
Caitken and Shollan
XX-9s
Quad Battery Turrets

This ship pairs great with Raddus.  He drops in at speed 1 and uses Quad Battery Turrets to nail whatever THOUGHT it was going to live.  If/when the shields all get wiped, the XX-9s are there to ensure they get punished for not Containing the damage coming in.  Intel the Brace on the first shot, so they're REALLY punished for using it.  The Engine Techs are there to ensure that you can both stay at speed 1 on the drop while moving "2" to follow along and to give you an escape plan for when things start to get hot after the drop.

Super Stripped Down (126 points)

This is the barest bones of how I might fly a Lib.  It's the cost of basically an ISD-2, but it's nearly all filled out.  The WBT-H9 combo allows you to trigger HIE so long as you're in medium range. You're gonna need to navigate it to get it where it needs to go, and it can't be the only thing hitting your opponent, but it can do some nice supportive things for you.  End of the day, it's putting out strong HIE damage, which is what you want out of the ship, basically.  Make sure you use the extra 20 points elsewhere in your fleet well.
Not a thing can possibly go wrong for this ship in the next shot!
Final Thoughts
The LMC80 is a good ship that needs a fair amount of navigating to stay alive, but it can do some amazing work that punches well above its weight class if you keep it on target.  Navigate as often as you can and you'll be ok!

22 comments:

  1. I have long called this ship the "Rebel Star Destroyer," when explaining it to new players, but it truly is a different beast. I feel that engine techs is a needed upgrade that allows this ship to define itself. The ability to tap engine techs and drastically change speeds makes it hard to game plan against. For example, at speed 2, with a Nav command it can choose to be between speed 1 and 4 effectively. Use it as a flanker, not as a ship intended to go slow rolling into the teeth of the enemy. The MC80 Command Cruiser is more suited to that role, this ship wants to slash in and out blasting smaller ships apart or delivering a significant blow to an ISD before escaping. It will go down if it gets surrounded due to its shield profile, which is why it functions on the outside much more effectively.

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  2. I've found this ship works great with engine techs as well. Actually it effectively gives them the "Madine" effect without needing him, if you manage your navigate commands properly. Added with Garm/Ashoka it's amazing.

    Lets say you're at speed II.

    Play a nav. This gives you an extra yaw so you can go II/0 or I/I. With engine tech you could end up doing II/0/II or I/I/II it's basically like you just used Madine to make that speed 3 turn

    (speed 3 maneuver is really your engine tech maneuver, which is considered done speed 1. And at speed 1 with a navy dial you can yaw II. It's magic!)

    I ran dual MC80s with Garm. One was a Mon Karen the other one was Liberty. Coupled with strong anti fighter screen, and flotilla carrying toryn and Ashoka, they did great. Both had engine techs.

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    1. Close, but ET doesn't work JUST like that. If you apply the Nav on your turn 2, you can go II-O-I, or I-O-II, but you can't apply the nav to BOTH 1 and "3" to get the bonus, sadly. Or you can do I-I-I, too. I do like ET on them, but they don't turn THAT well, sadly. ET says you can exhaust it to do a Speed-1 maneuver, and the Liberty only has 1 click at Speed 1. If you have Madine, you can apply his extra click during it, or your regular 1 click with everyone else, but you can't turn at speed 1 and then at speed "3" with it.

      ET is pretty helpful, though, no lie!

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    2. Just so everyone's clear here, you can't apply any extra yaw to your Engine Techs move with a navigate command. Engine Techs triggers when a nav command was used in the preceding maneuver and therefore its window for use has already passed when you're performing the Engine Techs maneuver.

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    3. My bad, I thought you had told me at one point that I COULD apply it during the ET move if I wanted...

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    4. If I did (and I may have, some time ago!) I was mistaken. Engine Techs triggers when a navigate command is resolved but it works after the original maneuver that the navigate dial/token was spent in. The dial/token therefore MUST be used on the original maneuver and is gone by the time Engine Techs' maneuver rolls around.

      To my knowledge the only way to affect the Engine Techs maneuver's yaw is with Moff Jerjerrod on a ship going speed 1, as he replaces its normal yaw at speed 1 with his special 2-yaw, which would apply to both moves (the original and Engine Techs) provided (again) that the original maneuver was completed at speed 1.

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  3. "So many crazy builds, so little time." I can't relate to that. I have no idea what you're talking about. And I definately haven't been making plans for a fleet with 3 liberties in it...;)

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  4. Typo alert? when suggesting Garm Bel Iblis as commander, you say its because of speed 3. I'm pretty sure you meant command 3.

    Don't approve this comment, or have it deleted. Do the change and I'll feel thanked enough ;)

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  5. Great read as always..I am curious as why no mention of Lando as the defensive officer to put on this ship?

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    1. Lando's pretty much good wherever, but he's best with stacked defenses (like Admonition+Lando or defensive retrofits + Lando), which the LMC80 doesn't offer.

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  6. My buddy who has tried flying these in various contexts is pretty down on them (in summary, "an ISD will still kill it toe to toe, but with its movement profile, size, and arcs, it can't do much but go straight towards the other guy, and can't readily joust/escape after"; his exception is maybe Raddus'd). I'm trying to figure out if they might be one of the things that shines in RitR. Do you have any?

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    1. ... that should be, "do you have any thoughts" !

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    2. I think it's important to note that in most LMC80 builds it's not really designed to go toe to toe with stronger ships and it's not a points level where it should expect to be competitive against an ISD-II or Cymoon or whatnot, which are more expensive and therefore should generally be better. In general I see a lot of reactions like your friend's, where a Rebel player sees the LMC80 and their initial impression is "a budget ISD!" and then plays it against ISDs and finds it's not, in fact, an ISD but cheaper.

      Now all that said, it's a ship that has some issues and you won't see it a lot outside of Raddus with higher-tier tournament builds, although it should be noted Gencon was won last year with an LMC80 and Garm. You can also run it with Madine (although he is overpriced) and Dodonna (with a crit-drill build with Mon Karren) with some success. Otherwise, most Rebel commanders don't really know what to do with the thing.

      Usually with successful LMC80 builds I either see them built to take down large prey with Raddus (usually decked out with lots of upgrades including Heavy Ion Emplacements, Weapon Battery Techs, Mon Karren, etc.), built to bully smaller ships with other commanders (Gunnery Team is mandatory there as well as Engine Techs to catch/pursue them), or just kept very cheap (like with the Gencon-winning Dumpster Fire list). It's easy to go too heavy on upgrades on the LMC80, especially with two turbolaser slots, just like it is with the similar-ish price point VSD, and in both cases that's usually a mistake (except with Raddus)as you'd be better off going heavy on upgrades with a better more expensive starting ship.

      I'm curious as to what John has to say about it, exactly, but that's my take anyways.

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    3. That makes sense! In his defense, I think he knew that they couldn't go toe-to-toe with an ISD, but had had trouble getting them to do anything else while still being of use (especially in a task force game where they can't be a flanker, because they're going to be most of your force).

      In the RitR format, you can't start with an xmas tree anyway, so maybe you could build it cheap and spend the savings on the rest of your task force (which would be, idk, I'd have to think on it). In our RitR mini-meta the ISDs seem capable of plowing through most things so far, so they're hard to avoid, although we are house-ruling in "crippling," aka half points if over half hull damage, which might make that less appealing.

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    4. Yeah, RitR campaigns seem to get fairly regularly skewed by the presence of large ships in such small games and in such tight quarters. I've heard of many people house ruling in "no large ships" or "crippling" house rules like you mentioned to make them less appealing, as they're great points fortresses and can bully more maneuverable ships with less room to escape on such a small mat.

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    5. Yeah, it definitely cant go one on one against an ISD. You've got a great chance at being able to take a minimum of 2 shots to the chin with it, 3 with Agate. Nav a lot. Nav more. IF you can get the double arc that helps, but face to face with an ISD is not where the ship wants to be. Getting around one is great, and hoping to "catch" ISDs for a one-two shot helps.

      One of the main issues I see with it is that it's a Rebel ship that wants to go straight on, when the more successful ships at staying alive want to either double arc (MC75s, MC30s, CR90s) or just strafe sideways (Assault Frigates, HMC80s). Making sure you're not actually TRAPPED with the thing and able to get away is the best way I'd see to improving its use for you and your friend.

      As for builds, what Eric has suggested yeah. Your fleet will likely want a fair amount of activations to ensure you get into range. But its probably the most reliable HIE boat for the Rebellion, which is definitely worth considering. The more successful people I know who use it have either done Raddus or had it sweep in later. It shouldn't START the fight, but finishing them is another story. So, slow roll?

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    6. Thanks for all the discussion! Big fan of your blog, been directing the newbies we've recruited/tried to recruit to fill out our campaign to your 101's and other articles, and frequently go to you before the wiki to clarify how things work.

      @geek19 -- I assume you mean commander-Agate, rather than officer-Agate? Given your advice (Raddus, Agate, lots of activations, have it come in as a finisher, don't get trapped), perhaps RitR *isn't* the format for it, after all.

      But I might try it anyway! Because, see previous comment about playing with newer players. I independently come to the same point your RitR articles did about good sportsmanship in these things.

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    7. Yeah, commander Agate. And yeah, it's potentially worth a shot with RitR? You're likely going to want to be assaulting with it most of the time. Good luck!

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  7. So, Spinal Armaments and H9 Turbolasers are both Modifications. So, the MC80 Battle cruiser can't take both.

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    1. Yep, that's a holdover from the pre-1.5 days when H9s weren't a Modification yet. I'll let John know.

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  8. It feels like there's a good sato build in here somewhere firing a bunch of red and black dice at range and use one of the titles to make your attack or fighter support more beefy... But I can't quite put my finger on it

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