Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Rebellion in the Rim offensive retrofits

As I rapidly churn through RitR articles we've finally hit offensive retrofits. As usual, these cards have been added to the base article and they will likely change in the future as the meta changes or I change my opinion on things or learn new tricks or whatnot, but this article itself will not change.

"Big is beautiful, I repeat: big is beautiful. Don't get down on yourselves, YV-666s."
Advanced Transponder Net (hereafter "ATN") is, at a casual glance, an Intel counter: no longer will your suddenly-Heavy squadrons stand there doing nothing while enemy squads walk right past and bomb your ship. Neat. That said, however, ATN a 5 point Modification, so you're giving up both a moderate number of upgrade points and your Modification slot just in case of Intel in that particular use. In some cases, that's fine, but overall it's not a tremendously strong use of the card.

The stronger use for ATN is as both Intel insurance as well as a buff for your natively-Heavy squadrons. When your Y-Wings, VCXs, TIE Bombers, and Decimators suddenly get to be meat shields for your ships, entirely different types of squadron builds become feasible. For extra fun combine this with Ruthless Strategists to turn your cheaper high-hull Heavy squadrons into flak assets too!

One final note on ATN: although it allows your Heavy squadrons at distance 1-2 of the ship to stop engaged enemy squadrons from attacking ships, it does not stop those enemy squadrons from leaving (as you're still Heavy). Keep that in mind for getting best use out of this upgrade.

Ultimate Frisbee got even more ultimate but less Frisbee.
All right, Proximity Mines is getting the ol' Eric bullet points treatment so here we go:
  • It helps to check the basic mines rules to see how they work in-game.
  • You place the mines after deploying obstacles and before deploying fleets.
    • The restriction on tokens beyond distance 5 of enemy ships is future-proofing, basically. At this point, there is no way for ships to be on the table prior to usual fleet deployment.
    • Because you're deploying mines prior to deploying fleets, keep in mind what options your opponent has for fleet deployment. If you cluster mines too heavily, certain parts of the table become very unattractive for fleet deployment. That can be the entire point, but if you'd rather some of your mines actually detonated, you may want to spread them out a bit more.
    • Deploying mines on top of obstacles helps keep them safe from anti-mine ship attacks but makes those obstacles a big priority for avoiding. Whether the increased mine survival is worth the decreased chance of exploding is your call.
      • If the obstacles move (like purrgil do), mines on top of them move as well. It's a fun way to deliver mines to ships. 
    • The timing window is such that it happens after effects that occur after deploying obstacles, so objectives like Intel Sweep will put down their tokens before you deploy mines (as "after deploying obstacles" is slightly before "before deploying fleets").
  • Because each ship gets mines equal to half its Engineering value, rounded down, that means Engineering 3 or less ships get 1 mine and everything else gets 2.
    • This generally makes them more valuable on your big Engineering 4+ ships with spare offensive retrofit slots, but don't overlook the Command Pelta for cheap access to Engineering 4 on the Rebel side.
      • That said you can still definitely spam them in an MSU fleet bringing a lot of Raiders or Hammerheads if you like. Flotillas can bring them too, so you can bring 6+ copies of this card in the right fleets.
Okay, so let's talk about the mines themselves: they hurt. They do an average of 1.5 facedown damage cards straight to the hull. It's not a ton of damage but it can make a difference, especially to low-hull more-expensive ships like MC30s. Ideally, you're placing them somewhere annoying and using their damage and/or the threat of their damage to hurt ships and/or keep them away.

The big issue is having your mines get ignored. The best use of the mines for that reason is with objectives that punish player 1 for not getting to a scoring zone quickly enough. Layer mines in front of the Contested Outpost or Fire Lanes scoring zones, for example. Or maybe your opponent's Intel Sweep tokens really needed a bunch of mines running from point A to point B. You get the idea: if there's an area of the table where points are to be had and you'd rather your opponent didn't, Proximity Mines are for you. For that reason I prefer including Proximity Mines with appropriate objectives to make being player 2 even more appealing, but you can also use them as a spoiler for your opponent if they brought similar objectives along and you're player 1, it's just less reliable.

"You do realize you're flying away in an unsafe, incompletely-repaired starfighter, right?"
Reserve Hangar Deck (hereafter "RHD") is also getting the rules bullet points treatment because it's got a lot going on:
  • The qualification for RHD has a number of requirements: you need to be a 1) non-unique squadron 2) with Swarm 3) at distance 1-5 and 4) just got destroyed.
  • Similarly, the revived squadron must be set to 1) 2 hull remaining, 2) activated, 3) unengaged and 4) at distance 1 of the ship that used RHD.
    • Just because squadrons are brought back at 2 hull doesn't mean that's their maximum. A quick stop by the space station can fix you up good as new.
  • Note that the squadron that was destroyed originally is saved. It doesn't count as destroyed and provides no points to the opponent. It's not that you got a new (slightly beat up) squadron, it's that you saved the old squadron.
While RHD isn't strictly an Imperial-only upgrade, it effectively is. Rebels have all of the Z-95 they can save with it while Imperials have their choice of TIE Fighters, TIE Interceptors, and Jumpmasters. I continue to be puzzled as to where the Empire is getting their surplus stock of bounty hunter space Frisbees, but that's another matter entirely.

Generally, saving more expensive squadrons with RHD is preferable, as you're stretching your points further, so people tend to prioritize using them with Interceptors and perhaps a single Jumpmaster. That said, you can get a fairly cheap renewable TIE Fighter screen using a handful of RHDs and 4-6 generic TIE Fighters.

When you're using RHD, give some consideration to exactly where you're respawning the squadron at. It can be handy to throw a chump generic in the way of an upcoming bombing run (as when you respawn they aren't engaged then, but they will be shortly), but you may also want to respawn away from trouble so you get a chance to get your punches in next round. It depends on the situation.

List-building around RHD is still in its early stages, so there isn't a lot of consensus just yet on the better ways to do it. For my money, it seems to make small fighter coverage groups more affordable as I mentioned earlier, but also provides a role for Imperial generic fighters in medium and large squadron groups, as you can fill in your fighter role (at least partially) with generics if you wish and focus on getting your bombing damage done through aces and/or heavier squadrons like Decimators or Firesprays. If you can squeeze a generic Jumpmaster in there, having renewable Intel is circumstantially pretty great too.


  1. will ATN help shake up the use of ace squadrons? To help push the use of generics. To help lesson the downside just spread out your heavy squads a bit more around the ship or have a heavy flack ship on one side.

    1. I'm doubtful that ATN on its own is sufficient to discourage aces. Even as just an Intel counter it's rather narrow. It's got some legs when combined with Ruthless Strategists in a hull-heavy squadron fleet with a lot of the Heavy keyword, but you'll still need some fighters to put them in the ground for good.