Command Prototype that was teased earlier:
- +1 red die in the front arc
- +1 blue die in all the side arcs
- +1 offensive retrofit slot
- +1 ion cannon slot
- +1 turbolaser slot
- blue + red flak instead of double-blue flak
With the longer-ranged flak and double-offensive-retrofit-slots configuration, Agent Kallus and flak upgrades like Quad Laser Turrets and maybe even Point Defense Reroute (I can't believe I'm saying this) can make the Assault SSD very dangerous to be even at long range of, especially for ace squadrons. The typical issue with flak upgrades is they're not great value when you don't know if your opponent's fleet will bring squadrons and if they do, they can always go after another part of your fleet without them and then consider if it's worth the hassle of chasing after your flak boat. You can try to get better coverage with multiple flak upgrade ships but then the cost on those potentially-worthless upgrades gets even worse. The SSD should be the main focus of any fleet it's in and it's tough to imagine getting much of a win without going after it, and the flak upgrades there are equipped very cost-effectively.
That's not to say I think the Command Prototype is inferior. Mostly I would expect to see the Assault Prototype totally decked out with upgrades trying to do the heavy lifting itself and the Command Prototype equipped a bit more frugally to ensure points remain for a more serious squadron presence or to provide a cheaper combat ship buddy for the fleet commands to buff.
For completion's sake, I'll post close-ups of the other two ships, but I won't talk about them more here as they're clearly intended more for casual play.
Anyways, let's talk about the upgrades, starting with the titles.
That said, Piett looks very good for SSD-focused fleets, potentially with a Comms Net Gozanti around as well. With Command 4, you're going to have issues adapting to the needs of an SSD, and Piett allows you to stash tokens from earlier (or even turn-of with a Comms Net pass-off) to turn them into full-strength dial commands. This is a good workaround for command screwage stuff like Cham Syndulla or Slicer Tools, but is also just helpful due to Command 4 and should hopefully free up an officer slot you would've otherwise used a Liaison or Support Officer or the like on, which can help increase the defensive or offensive oomph of Piett's SSD without causing command headaches.
I'm honestly pretty keen on him for the specific type of fleet most SSDs will be used in. He's not flashy but he does something neat within his niche and he's cheap. He's one of the two cards that's got clear synergy with Executor. Pile on a bunch of tokens early on and just keep resolving two full-strength commands all game long.
- A Gozanti can use the maneuver to put itself on top of an objective token to begin scoring for objectives like Intel Sweep immediately, rather than wait until round 2. This all without needing to invest in Strategic infrastructure!
- A VSD-II with Disposable Capacitors can scoot up closer to the enemy fleet, making it rather difficult to not be at range come round 2.
- Demolisher getting an extra speed 1 bump closer to its prey can make it very difficult to avoid. Remember back when you could Demolisher after Engine Techs and catch ships round 1? Ozzel gives you effectively the same range.
- An Arquitens that deployed in a not-ideal facing gets a free double-click move to reorient itself prior to anything else happening.
Anyways, Vader loves choking out your officers and even your commander(!) to get an on-demand reroll against an enemy ship, provided those officers or commanders are at distance 1-5 of Vader's floating choke-a-matic Gozanti. This is best utilized on officers that provide a one-time benefit early on but linger around, like Captain Needa (checks out), Minister Tua, officer Ozzel (yep, that happened), Governor Pryce, and Admiral Titus, but can also be used in a pinch on officers like Agent Kallus if there aren't good targets for him or exhausted officers like Brunson or Intel Officer that are done doing their job for the round and you need to get extra oomph out of their ship.
Choking out your commander is a ballsier move, but it's a great move on commanders that may no longer be doing much of anything, like Konstantine (who deserves it anyways, he's terrible) when there aren't enough medium or large ships left on the board, Tagge once he's done regenerating tokens on round 5 or 6, Thrawn once he's done giving out all his dials, or even Emperor Palpatine once you've targeted all the juicy tokens (feels so good!).
There are some niche uses here too that can feel a little silly. If you've got The Choking Game Gozanti flying around already, it can be tempting to put a Skilled First Officer on a Raider or Arquitens just for the reroll potential, even if he doesn't do anything on a Raider. In cases like that, I'd encourage you to spring for the extra point to get a one-use officer like Ozzel or Needa or Titus or the like so they can actually do something before getting choked.
That said, he shouldn't be overlooked on an Arquitens, either, for very similar reasons. Krennic and Slaved Turrets on an Arquitens provides a 5 red dice broadside with a concentrate fire dial, and all of those red dice get rerolls.
Also note that Krennic is cumulative, so spending a concentrate fire dial and token will add a die, reroll a die, allow you to reroll any number of red dice, and then allow you to reroll 2 red dice. It's a scary amount of red dice control. It won't work at short range, however, because Krennic can't resist monologuing when enemies get close enough to hear him.
That said, ISD officer slots are very competitive right now so I'm curious to see how frequently we'll see The Senate outside of an SSD build.