Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Even Hotter Takes Than Steel Squadron's!

FFG demoed some Rebellion in the Rim earlier today and spoiled a few cards. Gotta get them clicks somehow, right?  Hit the jump so we can go so far overboard that we make THAT OTHER WEBSITE (who I certainly didn't just steal their pictures from, thanks bros) seem sensible and reasoned!
Me all day today
What's this DOUBLE AUTHORS???  For the sake of ease of clarity, John will be in Blue, and Eric in Red, as per usual.

It was in a vidya game!
Well, this is a first.  A Raider title that's actually worth taking without some crazy combo that involves too many pieces and shoving a Raider into your opponent's squadrons somehow, instead of he or she just flying away.  I have flown against more Raiders than anyone else in the game, specifically because I have played Eric more than anyone else.  I have yet to see any of their 4 point titles on the table from him, but THIS? Oh, man does this look good.  Redeploy that HIE! Dump all your squadrons on one side before having to commit anything else! ACTUALLY make a flanker that can flank where it wants to!  This is mighty exciting and a great title for a Raider.

I feel like it's important to note that I have used the Raider titles (previous to Corvus, Instigator and Impetuous), but I haven't generally gotten a lot of mileage out of them and they make a cheap disposable ship more expensive so... eh. They got used earlier on and not much after that.

Anyways, Corvus. So I've had fun running Corvus (I'm allowed to talk about stuff once it's actually released to the public ermagerd) in that it allows for a lot of shenanigans. Obviously, Corvus should be your first deployment in most cases because it reveals nearly nothing to your opponent other than its starting speed (still generally recommend 2 but due to the redeployment you can actually make an argument for 4, which is normally suicide for Raiders). You can also deploy squadrons at distance 2 of Corvus and then redeploy it away later, which is a sneaky trick for Rogue squadrons and the like that don't really care about being close to friendly ships that much.

As John alluded to, I find I prefer Corvus on Raider-IIs. The reason for this is that Raider-Is generally tend to want to deploy in a place where they can wait for the enemy to drift into them (or sneak in after the enemy fleet has run out of activations). Redeploying helps them but not as much as it does with Raider-IIs. A Raider-II with Disposable Capacitors and Heavy Ion Emplacements (or whatnot) has much better range than a Raider-I and is much more useful if you can get it into the flanks or rear of an enemy ship, which redeploying helps a lot. It's an expensive Raider-II, no doubt, but it gets work done.

You can also combine Corvus with a defensive officer (like Brunson or Iden Versio) to give yourself the closest you're going to get to a dependable Raider flagship. This has lifeboat uses (just deploying it in the middle of nowhere and sailing away from trouble), which is... meh. I don't like lifeboats but some do. What I do like is being able to deploy somewhere relatively safe from danger, zip in with a fairly defensive Raider-II, drop some shields, and then stick around or run away to safety depending on the situation. Good times.

More pew pew less Q_Q
This SCARES me.  There's been times where I kill a TIE, and I'm glad it's dead as I can go turn their ship into a speedbag.  But NOW? That stupid TIE, Interceptor, or Jumpmaster is BACK? And I have to kill it AGAIN??? Uggggh the worrrrrrst.  Yes, it's a discard, but using the open slot on Gozanters, Raiders, or an ISD that isn't using it seems SUUUUPER great.

It can also work with en masse Z95s.  Sigh.  Get a better strategy, guys.... It's an Imperial card, and there's much better Rebel strategies for that slot.

So first and foremost, it's kind of a weird upgrade thematically. Imperial ships having spare TIE Fighter squadrons I buy. Maybe even TIE Interceptors, sure. But you're going to have a hard time convincing me that an Imperial-class Star Destroyer has spare bounty hunter Jumpmasters sitting around somewhere.

All that said, Imperials have been griping about wanting ship-based squadron assistance to rival Rebels (with Yavaris and Adar Tallon) and this has potential. Resurrecting Swarm squads for 3 points by using up spare offensive retrofit slots (most often found on Raiders, Gozantis, the occasional VSD and ISD) is a pretty sweet deal, even if it's just a generic TIE Fighter. It can also help pad out decisions on what to bring for a small fighter coverage group without having to go too crazy on a fighter-only presence: if you're going mostly MSU and you bring 4 TIE Fighter squadrons and 4 Reserve Hangar Decks, that's 44 points (32+12). If your opponent has no squadrons, that's not too bad. If they do, it's up to 8 TIE Fighter squadrons to chew through (admittedly the second half are 2-hull chumps, but still).

Otherwise, I'd expect to see this used with a few Interceptors and maybe a Jumpmaster in tow to keep its options open. Giving some love to generics (especially Imperial generics) is welcome.

Roundy bois!
I am very, VERY excited for these guys.  I know Eric doesn't care for more aces in the game and all, but I REALLY like these guys.  For fear of opening my big mouth too much, let's just say that I cannot WAIT to field every single Rebel in a game/list.  There's a lot of Rogues, and a lot of Grit in there for funsies too.....  I can speculate about who these people ARE, but Lando and IG88B are the only confirmed ones.  That top middle one next to IG88 looks like the Green Goblin, so I assume Norman Osborn is coming to town.  And is that Hondo, friend towards SOME piloting a squadron for presumably the Imperials? Boo, Hondo, boo, you're supposed to give me tokens.

Again, I AM very excited for these guys to show up.

I don't have much to add beyond what John said. I'm meh about more aces (good God we have so many unique squadrons in this game already), but there are some fun things going on here. Lots of Rogue to go around, which isn't surprising for the Rogues and Villains extra aces expansion. Lots of Grit there too.

Keep firing, @$$holes!
This looks VERY nice.  It's like a Veteran Gunners for Raider-IIs firing HIEs that isn't as bad as Veteran Gunners.  Add in H9s on a ship for funsies and then you've got a guaranteed blue crit.  Sure, you could Overload Pulse or whatever, but H9s and HIE and this on a SSD seems like a way to make sure you kill something DEAD.  It only costs a Gunnery Team slot, how bad could THAT be? (Answer: very).  But it's an easy add to Raiders, and potentially Lib drops with Raddus that need C&S elsewhere, or want to use H9s and this to guarantee that HIE.  But what do you include in that OTHER turbolaser slot....?

So I did the math on these guys earlier when I was running them on Raider-IIs and you get slightly better odds on proccing your Heavy Ion Emplacements (or any blue crit) using them than using Veteran Gunners for the same cost. I also find the effect in that instance a lot better - you're less trusting to random luck with a reroll than you are turning an accuracy into a crit. The good news there is it's pretty flexible: rolled too many accuracies? Turn one into a crit and lock down the evade. Already rolled a crit and have an accuracy sitting around? Why not another crit? Increase that damage total and make it harder to evade (with 2+ crits) or push the damage up to an odd number to make bracing less effective. Good stuff.

That said, their uses outside Raider-IIs are a little bit iffier. As John mentioned (as did Biggs over at Steel Squadron), combining them with H9 Turbolasers produces guaranteed blue crits. Imperials have the option of using Jonus as well to get the same end effect without consuming the turbolaser slot. The issue is the weapon team slot on most ships is already taken up by Gunnery Team or Ordnance Experts. That said, I can see these getting used in Vader-led fleets with blue crit ion cannons (usually HIEs, sometimes Ion Cannon Batteries). You might also see them on Armored MC75s with H9 Turbolasers that want to rely on blue crit upgrades, but giving up that Leading Shots is tough. For the lols, you can always use these guys on Hammerhead Scouts in a fleet with a Home One HMC80 for a guaranteed red crit in every attack, but it's definitely a Rube Goldberg machine of a fleet.

The main issue is their effect is best-used with blue dice (red dice have only the one accuracy side and black dice have none) but the effect isn't that great without a blue crit upgrade accompanying it, and with bigger ships, that's (usually) the Leading Shots slot.

A Linked to the Past
This card is one I'm ECSTATIC to get to the table.  No longer will Nebs/Assault Frigates be at the mercy of crappy red dice rolls!  No longer will Arquitens be stuck with just Jerry or Vader!  These fix red dice ships SO much that there's very few reasons NOT to include this in some builds.  Heck, put it on an ISD-II and run HIE or SW7s or something just as crazy! Having thrown numerous red dice attacks before, it's often anecdotally just one that's blank, so it gets Evaded and then your attack FEELS useless, which is not great.  Now though, reroll a red dice on every attack you make! Anything double arcing is really happy for this!

Also you can do stuff with squadrons, too, but I'm WAY more happy that I can reroll my red dice.  That being said, the ability to slap this on a Neb and flak for 2 base plus another 2 into ONE squadron is MIGHTY helpful.  This card appears ready to put DTTs in the GROUND, and that's FINE with me.  All day erry day, this over DTTs.

Arquitens 💗 this and it's also something of a soft dice-fix for Cymoons as well (in non-Vader fleets), provided you're willing to give up one of your two turbolaser slots for it. The flak bonus is pretty incidental but can be useful when you're trying to focus-fire down one annoying ace/bomber/whatever as quickly as possible.

That said, there's an interesting turbolaser ecosystem sprouting up in the game right now and I think that's neat. Generally, if you plan to make only a single attack each round, Slaved Turrets is still better (+1 dice is better than a reroll, you may not need the reroll), with Dual Turbolaser Turrets operating as a "soft" Slaved Turrets if you want to keep your options open on attacking more than once but acknowledge you're likely just getting the one. Linked Turbolaser Towers is for when you ideally want to make two attacks per round and there's that little extra flak help too just in case. Then you've also got Turbolaser Reroute Circuits showing up (for the double-evade ships) plus the standard XI7 or Quad Battery Turrets turbolasers for big ships, etc. There are a lot of options.

One thing that people seem to be overlooking about this card is you can reroll one red die in every attack, which includes attacks on squadrons. That at first doesn't seem like a big deal (I mean there's not a lot of red die flak in the game, especially with a turbolaser slot), but it's relevant to any kind of ship with Agent Kallus on board as well as/in addition to the upgunned Assault Star Dreadnought Prototype (aka Shooty SSD Jr.), which will be showing up in early August.

No, no, THIS one goes here, THAT one goes there!
Oh I love this.  One of the common complaints about the Neb is that the sides are just so SQUISHY.  But a repair command on turn 1 can give you 2 side shields (possibly at the cost of one of your back ones? Happens, and might be worth it to ensure your sides are better.).  Run it under Garm, Leia, or with the Redemption title nearby and you don't have to sacrifice one of your back shields for it.  You can also rock this bad boy on Liberties, CR90s, and Interdictors (Thanks Biggs for looking that all up for me).  But for me, this is Neb material here.  LTTs+AST+a basic Neb is 61 points, which ISNT BAD for a cheaper finishing ship.  Of course I want a title, but on a regular Neb, I'd run THAT.  I COULD see it on a CR90, but I'd DEFINITELY want Redemption then.  And Leia, because OOF 2 turns for this.  It's a Neb fix, man.

I like it, it's fun, it's a Neb fix (with an honorable mention to LMC80s doing something about those awful side shields). That said, it's worth considering for Command Arquitens, Gladiators, and Interdictors on the Imperial side if you want something tankier and are willing to give up Engine Techs.

That said, this upgrade only works when the ship it's on is resolving a repair command. Otherwise, the shields work just like usual, so Shields to Max or Projection Experts do nothing. So you need to have repair dials to spare early on to juice those shields up. This is the kind of upgrade that goes well with command-supplementing or juicing commanders like Thrawn, Tarkin, Garm, or Leia for that reason.

That said, there is something of a synergy with non-repair methods of adding shields: you can resolve a repair token to move two shields to the sides with Auxiliary Shields Team and then in future rounds you could use Shields to Max and/or Projection Experts and/or Redundant Shields ( still sucks, though) to regenerate the shields you moved, as those would be below the normal limit.

Wait, weren't you guys promised SCORCHINGLY HOT TAKES, takes so hot that the Internet Outrage Machine would never let me live them down if I was to be wrong? Alright, next Worlds the winner will have some squadrons in their fleet and potentially one of these upgrade cards.  LOOKIT THAT, TAEK MACHINE READY! The winner will also be piloting either an Imperial or a Rebel fleet, or one of the new ones if they're out by then.  BAM TWO SUPER HOT TAKES!

Alright, actual prediction? These cards are a TASTE of what's in Rebellion in the Rim.  And it's gonna flip the meta so hard.  Assault Frigates are worth taking, Nebs have a PLACE, a Raider might be seen on more tables than Eric's! I am so excited for this box, you guys.  So excited.  When's that next article out again?

1 comment:

  1. Really looking forward to this release. New bits, and hopefully a more balanced campaign. And even more evidence that I have plenty of ships, and can retire from buying new ones. Crazy amount of mixing and matching with what's already out there.