Thursday, March 1, 2018

Ordnance article overhauled, Wide-Area Barrage and Ordnance Pods added

The ordnance article has been reworked from the top down, given we have 2 more options now in wave 7 and the old "brackets" system would, over time, become ponderous and unhelpful. I also streamlined it a bit to keep it from getting too long given the extra upgrades. Of relevance to wave 7, I added sections on Ordnance Pods and Wide-Area Barrage:
...and nine months later, a baby squadron is born!
Ordnance Pods
  • Medium or large ships only (yes, I realize it says so right there, but people ask about putting this on Raiders or Peltas way more frequently than I would've thought).
  • Your extra black anti-squadron flak attack is in all respects a regular ol' black die flak attack, which means it can target every enemy squadron in that hull zone and only attacks at close range.
  • Ordnance Pods exhausts to use, so if it's preemptively exhausted, it can't be used.
I really wish I could recommend Ordnance Pods, but it's difficult. The first problem is that similar to Flechette Torpedoes, Ordnance Pods is an anti-squadron upgrade that can be useful in the right situations, but otherwise won't do anything. Unlike Flechette Torpedoes, Ordnance Pods can only go on medium or large ships, which are a large investment and even more risk-averse than smaller, cheaper ships to using upgrades that may or may not be very effective, depending on the matchup. In most cases, even ships that aren't likely to be aggressively using black dice or don't have great black dice coverage (like the Armored MC75) are still better off using External Racks for the same cost but with much more flexibility.

If Ordnance Pods didn't have the size limitation, I could see using them on Raider-Is or Torpedo Hammerheads, but unfortunately they are tough to justify as-is.
"In light of recent events, vaping is no longer allowed on Imperial naval vessels."
Wide-Area Barrage
  • Wide-Area Barrage is a black crit effect, which we covered earlier.
  • The ship or squadron chosen must be at close range of the defender, which means the extra damage can be applied to something quite far from the attacker in the right circumstances.
  • It's important to note that the WAB damage is half of the black die hit icons in the pool, not half the black dice damage total
    • Because all black crit icons are accompanied by a hit, that means all non-blank black dice count towards this.
  • The damage dealt by WAB is not an attack in and of itself and doesn't specify a hull zone. This has a few ramifications:
    • Defense tokens can't be used against this damage.
    • When a ship takes the damage, its owner chooses which hull zone the damage goes to and then resolves the damage, with shields absorbing damage first like usual.
    • No critical effect can be applied to non-attack damage sources, so any cards that hit the hull will be facedown.
  • WAB does not specify an enemy target, so you could use it against your own ship or squadrons if for some reason you wanted to. 
The main requirement of getting Wide-Area Barrage to really work for you is being able to throw a lot of black dice at a problem, preferably from two arcs. Something like a Torpedo Hammerhead is under normal circumstances going to at best do two instances of 1 damage: that's fine for plinking at a scatter ace, but it's not worth giving up something like External Racks to do. Larger damage amounts are also much better at destroying ships: if you can produce 4 damage in one go, you can destroy a flotilla (1 to a shield and then 3 to the hull and dead). If you get 4 packets of 1 damage each, you can wipe all of a flotilla's shields (1 to each different hull zone): the difference is pretty substantial.

In most cases, WAB just won't produce quite enough value to merit giving up more direct and effective black critical upgrades to use it instead, but there's one major exception and his name is Commander Sato. Commander Sato can use his ability to get an awful lot of black dice in a pool, which can create large bursts of WAB damage, especially on a big ordnance ship like an Ordnance MC75. Because opponents are clearly not keen on Sato's ability triggering easily, it means there will usually be squadron dogfighting going on near their ships, which means the WABs will usually at the very least have squadron targets if you don't have ship targets. It all comes together very nicely.

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