Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Imperial officers updated to wave 7

This is a more substantial update, this time to the Imperial officers article, and here are the four new contestants:
"I spy with my little eye, something..."
"An obstacle of some kind?"
"You're no fun."
Captain Brunson's rules don't really require a lot of clarification other than to note that due to the timing window, the die in question is removed before crits are chosen so you can use her to remove a choice crit-icon die and shut down a special crit before the attacker can resolve it, potentially saving you an awful lot of damage.

Captain Brunson is somewhat similar to Admiral Needa and Minister Tua in that she's an Imperial officer that improves the defenses of your ship, but unlike those two, she's a bit trickier to get working due to the ship needing a nearby obstacle to pawn objectionable dice off on. The upside is her effect can be extremely strong, especially when layered with other defensive tech. You can use her on high-importance small ships like Gladiators that like to lurk near obstacles before launching an attack, allowing you to evade normally and use Brunson to cancel two dice total, keeping Brunson's ship safe(r) so long as you can rely on stacking her effect with other defense tokens.

Where Brunson really shines is larger ships, as they have the base sizes to frequently be at distance 1-2 of obstacles and several of them can stack defensive tech - the easiest example would be ISD-IIs or Kuat ISDs that come with a defensive retrofit slot that can pair a defensive retrofit upgrade with Brunson to keep your ship healthy. The strongest but more complex example that comes to mind is the oft-maligned Interdictor Cruiser - Brunson can be combined with Targeting Scrambler to tear apart previously-potent dice pools after a reroll and one-die removal. The combo gets stronger if the Interdictor is also using Grav Shift Reroute to position obstacles fortuitously for the Interdictor (both for using Brunson as well as potentially providing obstruction) and with the Interdictor title, which can allow it to unexhaust either the Targeting Scrambler or Brunson to be used again later in the round against a different activation.

This is the pose you'll have too when you consider which round to choose.
Governor Pryce can single-handedly win or lose games, depending on how well she's used. Let's cover some of the rule elements first:
  • Governor Pryce's initial effect (choosing a round token for her) is optional, so if you decide you'd rather not use her, you can choose to do that after both fleets are deployed.
    • Honestly, even if you're in a game where you consider Pryce to be a liability (we'll cover that in a bit), choosing round 1 at the very least gives you the small benefit of seeing how your opponent moved his fleet before you commit to her ship's course and it's extremely safe, with some extremely limited Fleet-Ambush-style exceptions.
  • Governor Pryce's in-game effect, however, is not optional. If you choose a round, you must activate her ship last on that round whether you like it or not.
  • Because the first player's effects trigger first when both players have effects with the same trigger/timing window, games with both players using Pryce have some interesting ramifications:
    • The first player will choose whether to use his Pryce and what round first, and then the second player will choose the same for his Pryce with full knowledge of the first player's decision.
    • If both players' Pryces have chosen the same round, then the first player's Pryce ship will active first "last" and then the second player's Pryce ship will go second "last."
Pryce is often compared to Strategic Adviser as they're both Imperial-available activation-shenanigans officers, and there's a case for taking one over the other. Obviously, Pryce is the only option for medium ships, but otherwise in general the Strategic Adviser is superior if your fleet already has a decent number of activations (I'd say at least 4), and bumping that number up by 1 gets you to a moderate or high number of activations in your community. Pryce is superior if you expect your fleet to get consistently out-activated regardless (usually with 3 or less activations, but also worth considering at 4 - amusingly enough, Pryce can be something of a counter to other fleets with large ships running Strategic Adviser for this reason) and you have a ship that would really benefit from Pryce.

Speaking of ships that benefit from Pryce, the easiest way to use Pryce is on a longer-ranged ship, like an ISD-II, Cymoon ISD, or VSD-II with Disposable Capacitors, that would really prefer to have enemies get into range so it can go last and blast away without opposition instead of being forced to activate earlier and doing little to nothing, which generally translates into "your big expensive ship gets to make at least one more good attack during the game," which can easily be worth 7 points and an officer slot. In those sorts of applications, Pryce is usually best choosing round 2 or 3, depending on her ship's speed and the ships across the way from her artillery platform. You can be a bit sneakier by using Pryce on a carrier like a Quasar to launch a mob of squadrons as the final activation, which can be even more devastating in some circumstances than a heavier ship's regular attack.

A more nuanced way to use Pryce is using her to go last with her ship in one round and then first in the subsequent round because you made a large enough bid to grab first player. It's easy to understand how a back-to-back savaging from one of the ships mentioned in the above paragraph could get pretty ugly, but Pryce can also open up options for a nasty attack run from a short-ranged brawler like an Avenger Boarding Troopers ISD (-I or Kuat) that is able to activate last to line up a double arc and then explode its prey in short order at the top of the next round. The main issue with using Pryce in this fashion (especially with a close-ranged ship) is it can be very reliant on bidding hard enough for first player to exploit this tactic and it can run into some issues if Avenger's ideal target is using Pryce as well (as evil-clone Pryce will probably choose the same round as your Pryce so the ship can attack and then get away from your Pryce super ship) or Bail (as the Rebel player will choose the round after Pryce to guaranteed go first, attack you, and then hopefully run away).

Finally, Pryce can occasionally be a liability (I told you we'd get here!) if you're not careful. Being forced to activate last if mis-timed can be rough. If Pryce goes off a round before her ideal timing, it's not too bad - you mostly lost out on the potential to line up a strong attack and wasted 7 points and a very competitive officer slot. However if Pryce goes off a round too late, you're going to be in for a world of pain as your opponent lines up attackers against your Pryce ship guilt-free in the preceding round, safe in the knowledge that Pryce's ship can't do anything about it until the end of the next round. There are some fleet types that are better able to exploit this issue with Pryce and they generally feature a lot of speed control - perennial underdog commanders that are loved by Cannot Get Your Ship Out authors like Admiral Ozzel or Commander Leia can prove troublesome for this reason, but in general the more maneuverable/small ships and/or speed control you're facing, the more likely Pryce may be a liability. Conversely, fleets with less speed control and less forgiving maneuverability (the most extreme example being an opposing fleet also using big ships) are less likely to give you trouble. Just keep that in mind when choosing Pryce's super-round and when in doubt, shoot for earlier rather than later as it's less likely to explosively backfire on you.

Stop watching Youtube and go instruct someone, you slacker!
Instructor Goran is unfortunately not very good. Sorry. Let's cover the rules before we get to why I'm not fond of him:
  • Goran doesn't work on Heavy squadrons, which means if an enemy Intel squadron comes around to hand out Heavy to your squadrons, they no longer benefit from Goran.
  • Goran otherwise works a lot like Dengar (and he stacks with Dengar, too) by either adding Counter 1 or improving it by 1 if the squadron already had Counter (like TIE Interceptors or Aggressors).
Goran is an expensive officer at 7 points and unlike other officers in a similar points bracket (like Pryce, for example, or Intel Officer), his effect is fairly limited and reactive. For him to pay off, you need to entice enemy squadrons to attack your squadrons within range of his buff bubble, for the squadrons in that bubble to not get turned Heavy by Intel, and for that extra Counter 1 to meaningfully affect the game in a way that's more valuable than using those 7 points and/or officer slot some other way. In general, I tend to have issues with reactive upgrades and squadron-defense-based upgrades (as it's hard to tell if your opponent will be bringing enough squadrons for them to be useful) and Goran is both.

If you insist on using Goran regardless, two uses come to mind: you can use him on a Stronghold Quasar with TIE Interceptors to get obstructed Counter 3 Interceptors at distance 1-2 of his ship. Add in Howlrunner and Dengar to get your Counter value up to 5 (with Swarm!), mostly for bragging rights (anyone willing to send their fighters into this obvious death trap has it coming even worse than people rushing a Gallant Haven bunker). Second, you could use him on a Jamming Field Gozanti near Counter squadrons to effectively cancel out the Jamming Field (which also extends to at distance 1-2) when it comes to your Counter attacks (feel free to add Dengar or Howlrunner too, just be careful of overinvesting). It's not as much of a deathtrap as the Stronghold example, but it's also far cheaper and the benefit to you isn't as extreme, which can encourage some opponents to take the bait.

Before I move on, it should be noted that Darth Vader in a TIE Advanced loves being Counter 2 (Dengar+Goran), as his crits count as damage on all his attacks, but it's another one of those "do it for the bragging rights" situations and the cost of the apparatus to get it set up is overall not very appealing.

The Empire created an evil clone of Dick Tracy and then promoted him to Taskmaster.
Taskmaster Grint is a discount specialized Imperial version of Raymus Antilles, basically. As always, let's cover some rule interactions:
  • Remember to set his favorite command after deploying fleets. It can be easy to forget.
    • This can also influence your choice of command, depending on what ends up in Grint's neighborhood.
  • Grint only triggers when you reveal a command matching his favorite token, so effects where you gain command dials (like Thrawn) or count as resolving a command (like the Pursuant title) don't work with him.
    • If you have any other uncertainties about the command structure of Armada relating to Grint and revealing commands, please see my article about it.
Grint's immediate comparison is Wulff Yularen (he's coming up soon due to alphabetical order). When is it better to spend 5 points on an officer who generates an extra command token when you reveal one specific command compared to 7 points on an officer who exhausts to retain any one spent command token? In general, I find I prefer to spring for the extra 2 points on Wulff if I need to keep reusing tokens, but Grint has some definite uses:
  • On a ship that intends to keep using the same command the majority of the game, such as a Quasar that intends to command squadrons nearly all the time.
    • This is especially appealing if you have a way to get your other incidental commands (usually navigate, sometimes repair) met with tokens provided by a Comms Net Gozanti or Tarkin or you've got spare command dials coming in from Thrawn, etc.
  • On a Comms Net Gozanti that intends to keep feeding tokens to a fleet command upgrade on a nearby ISD and that Gozanti can make full use of the command dial for itself.
    • The easiest example of this would be an Assault Carrier (red die) Gozanti using concentrate fire dials while feeding concentrate fire tokens to an Intensify Firepower! ISD - the Intensify Firepower!(exclamation point!) effect will even out the Gozanti's own dice and with two red dice at long range, the Gozanti can still contribute to combat reasonably for its cost.
    • This is another benefit over Wulff in that Wulff can't save tokens that are discarded or removed, only those that are spent. Grint doesn't care.
  • Grint can be a discount Wulff on ships that mostly want to recycle command tokens to trigger upgrades linked to specific commands, like a Gladiator using Engine Techs.
    • To continue that example, Grint would allow navigate dials to either function as a 2-speed change (fake Ozzel) kind of effect or you could spend the dial one round and the token the next to keep using Engine Techs back-to-back rounds while freeing up your command dial stack for some other commands.
    • The Gladiator example is also relevant in that faster Imperial black dice ships can often outrun the token-passing range of supporting Comms Net Gozantis, the easiest "default" Imperial method of getting tokens to ships that need them.


  1. Great write up!
    2 Questions though on Grint:
    What does the you refer to? The ship he is on? His controlling player?
    Also, how does the AC Goz feed and ISD CF tokens? ( relies on question above)

    1. 1) "You" on an upgrade card refers to the ship the upgrade is equipped to. It tends to cause confusion, I wish FFG had used different terminology there.

      2) The AC Gozanti reveals a CF dial, gains a CF token due to Grint having chosen CF as his favorite command earlier, and then uses its Comms Net to pass the CF token to the IF! ISD (so many initializations!). The ISD can use that token to power IF! in future turns, so this combo won't work on turn 1 but you won't need it on turn 1 (...usually) anyways.

    2. That helps a lot!
      Yes, FF wording is... silly at times.
      Ah now I get it, TY for clarifying!