Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Best Defensive Retrofits....

Well, it's not a good Offensive Retrofit, I can tell you that.  Let's hit the jump and take a look!
There was a time the Bears Defense actually struck fear into the hearts of men.  I miss 2005.

That's a lot of lasers coming in for recovering one shield to make up for....
The most expensive right now is Redundant Shields, which is a Modification.  That means no Spinal Turbolasers, no High Capacity Ion Turbines, and no Expanded Launchers on the same ship as these.  Be careful with whatever fleet builder you use, they may not recognize that fact!  Relatively simple, it gains you one shield back at the start of the Status Phase.  When is the Status Phase? Technically, at the end of the turn, after the Squadron Phase (I know I'm guilty of doing it at the start of the next turn's Command Phase, but it happens at the end of the turn when you're resetting everything).

Redundant Shields SEEMS good, but the problem I have with it (and that most people have with it) comes down to cost and opportunity.  Your ships are likely going to get shot on turns 2-5, maybe 2-6.  But this only brings shields back if you need to bring shields back; if you aren't attacked until turn 3 or 4, that's several turns of it not doing anything.  And for 8 points, you want it to be useful every turn.  Compare this to Shields to Maximum! on the Pelta, which gives EVERY ship a shield back when it activates.  For Redundant Shields, you need to survive the turn, which may or may not even happen.  Plus you have the fact that if you're not dead on turn 6, extra shields after everything has attacked don't make you more alive (and also don't help for Opening Salvo points!).  So it's really mostly useful turns 2 through 5, and only if you've been shot turn 2.  2 points a turn isn't bad for a free shield, but you have to ensure you were both damaged and then survive for it to really have been worth it, I feel.

It's an intriguing card, and it's not horrible; it's just all the other defensive retrofits do much more for the ships they can go on.  One well timed Engineering command can move shields around as needed, too, which doesn't cost me 8 points of usage.  As a Rebel player, with our current ship capabilities, and most of everything in wave 6 spoiled, I can't recommend it.  If you're determined to, MC30s or CR90s, the ships that desperately need shields to stay anywhere near alive.  But that's 8 points....

As an Imperial, however, Jerjerrod is a thing.  A very good thing who technically can take use of this turn 1 if so desired.  And with all the hard turning Jerry wants, it's a good upgrade for your Star Destroyer of Choice (be it Imperial or Minister Tua-driven Victory).  You can also put it on an Arquitens, who also really want shields to stay alive.  Really, really, really want.

Of course, updating this on 9/5/17, the Cymoon ISD (with a Fleet Command slot!) is something that has been spoiled for Wave 7, so Jerjerrod can just use THAT (and WOULD much rather use Shields to Maximum!), so back to the scrapheap, Redundant Shields.
That burn was so good, I need to Brace myself against the response!
Electronic Countermeasures (ECM to his friends) is an old staple, and a sorely needed one.  When your opponent locks down a token you badly needed (looking at you, Brace or Scatter!) you can still use it ONCE.  You have to exhaust ECM to use it, but if you have any way of untapping things (cough cough Interdictor title) you can untap it and resuse the token again.  ECM is great on those big ships (H1MC80, ISD) that fear getting their Brace token locked down when Demolisher or an MC30 with H9 Turbolasers shows up to ruin their day.  They're also great on medium sized ships (Assault Frigates, Tua-led VSDs) if you're using them as the backbone of your fleet.  Put it on the ship that you don't want facing a situation where a lot of damage killing it is one you need/want to prevent but can't.  I like it on Assault Frigates just because their tokens are so generalist that you want the ability to use them at any time, and having one accuracy in the pool can reduce your ability to reduce the damage you're taking.

Don't put this on MC30s or CR90s, their defense token suite is meant to keep them out of trouble as much as you can.  MC30s have redundant tokens, and CR90s are meant to be redirecting onto their shields and staying alive that way more than anything.  I wouldn't put this on an Arquitens, you have 2 redirects to push damage around your shields anyways.

Keep in mind, though, that Demolisher side arcs 90 percent of the time are just 4 black dice (someone runs Glad-IIs, I swear!) and that ECM doesn't help you here, nor does Intel Officer.  But against ISDs with H9s? Yup, stay gold, Pony Boy. You can spend red/activated tokens with this, they're just gone forever after that.  You'll need to evaluate your game state and location of your ship as to whether that's worth it or not.  You'll also need to know how bad the attacks against you are going to be in order to use this.  For example, the front arc of a generic MC30 is a blue dice and 2 black dice.  If your opponent rolls hit+crit on both black dice and an accuracy on the blue, bracing can take you down to only 2 damage.  But he still has that side arc of the MC30 (2 blue, 3 black dice) to roll.  That has a much bigger potential of hurting, so I might save the ECM use for that attack.

In this slide, class, you can see Rebel hero Arvel Crynyd blowing up the shield generators on the Executor!
So while ECM lets you use tokens that are already spent and is a great defense against huge damage spikes with an accuracy that wrecks your ability to use the tokens you want when you want them, Advanced Projectors (AP to HIS friends, haha) is a much stronger defense against fighters.  When you resolve the Redirect token, you can choose to redirect however you want and wherever you want on your ship.  Fighters hitting you in the side? Redirect to the other one.  Got into the front arc of an ISD with Advanced Gunnery? Redirect EVERYWHERE.  AP lets you make sure that all of your shields are gone before you start taking damage onto the ship.

AP is great, however, against long range red dice attacks and/or fighters that try to take out one side's shields and start firing into that side with more damage.  It also skates around Norra's crit; if the defending hull zone that they're attacking has no shields, it can't lose any!  You're still getting attacked, though, and potentially in trouble, so, uhh, be careful with that.  They may just start resolving the regular crit, or hitting other hull zones while still remaining at distance 1 of Norra, letting them use her ability.
It's about this intelligent, too.  And be afraid, I now have a Meme Generator account!
Because of the FAQ that FFG put out, XI7 turbolasers trumps AP.  You can redirect to any hull zone.... but only one TOTAL damage can get redirected.  The basic guideline of AP vs ECM: if you fear fighters more, Advanced Projectors means they have to get rid of everything before they can hit your ship.  If you fear accuracies locking down your important defense tokens, Electronic Countermeasures allows you to be able to use them, provided it's not already tapped.
That's right, I'm in here too! The Pete Best of this section
Alright, look, Cluster Bombs is a thing.  You CAN use it, I've read reports from people who do.  The way it's timed, the squadron does NOT get to spend defense tokens at all.  So when Tycho throws down at you, you can hit him with 4 potential damage he can't Scatter away.  Sounds super great, right? But then you read that one word in there, DISCARD.  Yup, this is a once per game ability.  For 5 points on a once per game ability, no matter how crippling it can be, you need to be dang sure that it's going to make an impact.  If Norra has 5 or 6 health, this card is worthless and doesn't kill her.  If you roll 3 accuracies and a hit, it doesn't kill her.  If she has 3 health, and you roll 2 accuracies? Great, didn't kill her.  Combine THAT all with the fact that it's ONE squadron, not once per each squadron in arc, and there's no way I can recommend you take this.  Take LITERALLY any other card on this page in that slot and you're probably better off.
Can you believe I cost the same as Cluster Bombs? What a clusterf-
Our newest entry, Reinforced Blast Doors lets you discard 3 face down damage cards at the start of the Ship Phase (ie after you've assigned dials).  Has to be then, so you can't use it when your ship activates later in the turn.  They have to be face-down, but for the cost, this is one of my favorite cards.  What this effectively does is bump up every ship's health.  MC80s now have 11 health, ISDs have 14 (17 under Motti! SEVENTEEN! That's ludicrous and hilarious).  Also hilarious is when you use this on a ship that had the new Boarding Engineers all ready to go, but now have no cards to turn over, sadly.  These also work on the CRam90B special: that is, Engine Techs and this on a CR90B that rams a ship.  Navigate and Engine Tech forward and ram your opponent's ship twice.  At the start of the next ship phase, you discard the Reinforced Blast Doors to be back up to full on health, and then you ram your opponent's ship AGAIN twice (with Engine Techs), hopefully killing it or putting a HECK of a lot of damage into it.

When to choose the blast doors over the other ones? When you want health.  Lots, and lots, and lots of health (third lots is only for Motti players.  Again, SEVENTEEN HEALTH for 5 points).  As right now the Assault MC80 is the only ship that can take 2 defensive retrofits, pairing Reinforced Blast Doors with either ECM or AP is great times and makes sure that your Doom Hoagie stays alive.  It's a LOT of points, but in the end, if you live, that's a lot of points you didn't give your opponent.  Stay alive.


  1. You can't equip the same upgrade twice. So no double RBD MC80 assaults.

    1. True. The section John wrote was a little unclear with its pronoun usage of "them" (meaning "defensive retrofits", but it could be interpreted to mean "reinforced blast doors"), so I cleaned it up slightly to make it clear. Thanks for letting us know.