Sunday, June 13, 2021

There's a Starhawk, Waiting in the Sky.....

Finally fresh off the boat, it's the newest and biggest Rebel ship.  And while some may think of it as the ugly duckling of the Rebel fleet, the Starhawk is much more of a beautiful swan, ready to spread its wings and fly!  Hit the jump to see how to add this beautiful bird of prey to your arsenal!
Eric and I have been playing a good amount of Wingspan recently, so strap in for these
Basic Stats/How to Use
Starhawks were created by hacking apart ISDs and smashing the good parts together into these bad boys
So this thing is a BEAST.
  • 14 hull.  That is better than an ISD base.  That is an ISD with built in Reinforced Blast Doors.  It's gonna take several shots to bring down.
  •  6-4-4-2 shields.  It's like the Super Star Destroyer's with better sides.... and no back arcs to bring them forwards from.
  • SOLID dice from its main attacking arcs on both.  8 in the face and 5 in the sides ain't nothing to sneeze at, especially when its base arc pattern is meant for double arcing.
  • A brace, a redirect, a contain, and a salvo! Ooo, fancy new token and chance at 3 attacks on a ship in a round!
  • Two officer slots! Weapons teams, offensive retrofits, ion and turbolasers, oh my! Magnite Superweapon slot! And NO defensive retrofit or support team slots!
  • Speed 2! Better speed 2 than a Super Star Destroyer! But you're not going faster than 2!
  • Command 4! Now you'll know the pain the Imperials have felt with that Super!
I keep referencing the Super because the Starhawk to me feels like the Rebel response to it.  If you can get into the Super's side arc, you double arc SIGNIFICANTLY better and start cracking into its hull FAST.  With your dice and arc patterns and hull, you end up roughly equivalent to 1.5 ISDs.  You can take one of them for sure.  Two of them, well.... be careful.  The Starhawk, much like the Super, is going to be the focal point of your fleet.  Luckily, a fully upgraded Starhawk ends up being about 200ish points, leaving you another 200 or so for the rest of your fleet.

You don't have a support team slot.  I mentioned it but its the first that is going to get its own breakdown paragraph to describe what that means.  It means you're not Engine Teching, and it means you're not going to be doing insane speed movements.  You're not starting the fight, but you're damn near finishing it.  You're going to take some shots on the way in, but you're tanky enough to survive getting there.  Make sure no one zooms by you, preventing you from getting on target.  That's gonna take careful aiming on your part.

You also don't have a defensive retrofit, in a paragraph that I'm sure shocks everyone who didn't read the literal last one I wrote.  Which means barring one commander who comes with the ship, a defensive token that's locked down.... is locked down.  So if that ISD rolls 7 damage and an accuracy, that's 7 damage you're not bracing.  but you ARE redirecting and Salvoing that shot.  Make that ISD pay for hitting you.  Agate is the training wheels for this, letting you still use that token if you need to, but she's not the only commander who can use this ship.  This ship will survive fighting against one ISD, even if it's dealing 14 odd damage (presuming nothing else has damaged it yet.  If you're at half health, don't blame me for that!).  The Starhawk has an INTENSE tankiness going for it, potentially moreso than any other Rebel ship when fully upgraded.

The other thing the Starhawk has going for it is the Magnites.
Peace was never an option.
Wait, wrong picture.
I don't care for Foghat, so look elsewhere for THAT pun.
You get to choose one opposing ship and have it match your speed.  So if it was trying to escape you at speed 3 or 4, it's going slower.  If it was hoping to stay far away from you, it's not doing that either.  It's speeding up, so anyone at speed 0 sure isn't anymore.  This is a very powerful ability that normally takes several instances of Phylon Q7 tractor beams in order to slow someone down, and it's been hard to spam those semi-competitively (one specific Ian Cross fleet excepted....).  These affect ANY ship (what up SSD?).  Combined that with the Starhawk's naturally decent nav pattern at speed 2, and you can basically decide whatever ship you want is coming to meet your Hawk.  It can't escape without navigating for the next SEVERAL turns, and that is not great for carriers or ships that want to start repairing any time soon.  When you start navigating towards that ship, it basically IS a real tractor beam, bringing you guys in close together.  Make sure that's extremely useful to you.

It's also just straight up fun to turn a Demolisher that WAS speed 3 at the start of this turn into speed 1.  Please let me know how you plan on escaping, shorty.  You look like you're about to get double arced by me.  They aren't NECESSARY on your builds, but I really enjoy using them, which means I tend towards including them.  It's basically the Konstantine effect of messing with your opponent's speeds that isn't tied to a commander, isn't the end of the round, and is tied to a ship that can ensure you both live through the attacks AND hit back solidly.  And can change speeds by up to 2 at once.  Alright, it's not Konstantine at all.  But it IS useful at ensuring your opponent can't hit your ship with all of theirs at the same time, which is how you get to both keep your tokens useful and your ship alive.  How many points is tempo disruption worth to YOU?

I'm not sure how "strong" a strategy DEPENDENT around dropping someone to speed zero is going to be.  Your newer opponents may not recognize or be able to avoid the threat you're posing, and it can be mean to do so, but I feel a lot of the better opponents may be able to avoid it.  That's not me saying "speed zero is a dumb trick" so much as "your fleet that's determined to get this speed zero combination to work seems like it's really hoping I don't find a way to disrupt that."  Use it as another potential trick in your arsenal and you've got the makings of a very fun...
That says BUSTARD with a "u."
As I mentioned, the Starhawk ends up being a little more than 200 points fully upgraded.  Which is great! But it's ALSO not the entirety of your fleet.  You're going to need both a reason for your opponent to fight you (good objective choice!) and another part of your fleet to help soften up a few ships on the way in (AKA other squads or ships that are mean and can go more quickly engage your opponent).  You've got Salvo for ONE squadron, but the moment you double spend it, it's gone, so you're at the mercy of squadrons with your slow moving tank.  Make sure the rest of your list can deal with the fact that your ship maxes out at speed 2 and if you get stuck going first and playing THEIR defensive, point-scoring objectives.

The Starhawk is tanky, but it improves the tankiness with its titles (one of which should be on your Starhawk, they're basically mandatory).  Which, now seems like a great time to bring those up!

Amity means friendship, so it's just trying to be friends with that ISD.  Through hull damage!
The Amity is a solid-all around title and a great reason to bring Mon Mothma on a large for once (and one of the few reasons to justify her over Cracken).  If you're mostly just learning the ship or it doesn't have a specific role/plan like the one below, it works great.  The bit about the overlap means that when a flotilla overlaps you, you can take 1 to put a second into the flotilla (one additional, so 0+1=1), and you can combine it with Hardened Bulkheads to basically do a similar thing for everything that isn't a large or huge base.  Larges and huges don't interact with Hardened Bulkheads, but 2 damage straight into the hull of any large base is pretty helpful at times.  Just make sure you're not playing Opening Salvo!  The Amity wants to steer INTO its opponent, letting them hit the ship and then plowing through when they take 2 hull damage from ramming you.  ISDs at 9 hull before I go (but hopefully after I've Salvo'ed) are not happy places to be at, and let's not even get into how unhappy MC80s of both stripes are at 6 hull.

Amity fleets are equally happy with almost any other fleets around them, helping to do their job of killing things.  There isn't a "best" Amity fleet yet, as the title helps the ship become more of an all-arounder, so you kinda want an all-around good fleet? Super helpful, I know.  The change to evades and the range it affects dice at now means this is a much improved title, especially under Mothma.  You won't be able to discard the token to reroll an extra dice for a larger size ship (unless you're fighting a Super!) but rerolling 2 dice with it under her is very solid.
I'm just gonna point out the Concord is the ship that specifically used its Magnites to kill the Ravager.  FYI.
The Concord gives you an extra Salvo, which is really mean and ensures that you're much harder to wait out on attacking.  It also lets you defend yourself at speed zero.  You only get to use one token, but it's a way of ensuring that you don't immediately get GOT when Magnites are set to go off next round.  This is a CRAZY powerful ability and it's well worth the 12 points you're paying just for the ability to spend that token.  You DO still follow all the regular defense token spending rules, though, so if/when your opponent locks down your brace, you don't get to spend that brace.  I sure hope Agate was on here giving you another one.....

Concord fleets are often focusing on trying to get the Magnites to go off, which usually means a decent bid to ensure you have first player as needed.
We're united in our hatred of giant triangles!
The only title available for the Starhawk-II, an extra redirect takes you up to SUPER tank mode.  You've got the basic tokens of an HMC80 with a salvo and 6 more hull added on to boot.  The OTHER part of it seems not as helpful, but it steers you towards part of a fleet composition.  You get to reroll a flak attack dice if the squad is engaged with one of your non-heavy friends.  Like those notoriously finicky-but-with-the-chance-of-spiking-into-a-double red dice? Yeah, add in this and LTTs and that's 2 different chances at rerolling that red dice, which is mighty solid.  Just need to have a friend engaging nearby.  The rerolls on the blue or black dice on the Mark 1 aren't bad either, just for a chance at slightly more damage, but I can see the Mark 2 build like I list below being very solid.

Unity fleets seem more based around making the Starhawk and squadrons the focal point of your fleet, using those methods to defeat your opponents.  You don't need to bring squadrons, of course, you might just want the redirect.  But I'm personally not a huge fan of leaving abilities behind if I don't have to.

Starhawk Mark I
Told you we just cannibalized ISDs, nom nom nom
The basic Starhawk model, the Mark 1 is the easier one to get onto the table, as it's a bit cheaper and all.  The fun thing about this ship is that you're going to want to get into close with all sorts of ships just to get those extra black dice working for you.  Use the extra points to ensure the rest of your list is closing in and ready for the kill.

There's many good options here, but the general recommendations are defensive ones to help you stay alive.  Lando, Walex, and Agate Officer are some easy choices, of course, but if you're using Unity, Expert Shield Tech is really solid on a 2 redirect ship.  If you can't fit in a Leia-Comms Net flotilla (for some reason?), Support Officer isn't a horrid choice, but that's your call.  Make sure your officer choice is beneficial by having the officer on the Hawk as opposed to on a nearby flotilla (this is my way of stating: do you want Toryn on the Starhawk or on a nearby flotilla?)

I wouldn't think of just redoing the Super.  Raymus Antilles isn't a bad idea, either, and lets you take Surprise Attack with impunity, clearing raid dials as needed on your big ship.  Your choice if defensive tech or more tokens is up to you.  Damage Control Officer isn't BAD because you have one contain, but I'm not honestly sure about adding in another one or not with Agate (commander).  I wouldn't think of this ship as the Rebel SSD, else I think you're about to start making a ship that's definitely not as good as that.  But if any of these work for you and your build, go for it.

What about Intel Officer? I can see the merit, and it's your call.  However, my thought process is that with a good double arc on a ship, combined with a Salvo attack, that's 3 attacks going into one ship at a time.  That is NOT easy to live through, so your attacks should already be doing the damage needed to force spent tokens and exhausted ECMs.  The SSD's arcs aren't especially conducive towards double-arcing.  Meanwhile, with some good placement, here's 3 attacks into the same zone.  Intel Officer is helpful, for sure, especially with a followup, but 2 slots is not an easy thing to have, haha.

Boarding Team?
Before I get into the weapons teams, I'll point out that all the available boarding teams are good in some fashion on the Starhawk.  Jyn ensures they aren't navigating away when you trigger the team in close.  Shriv rips off their ECM, and Cham ensures they're not doing repairs to keep themselves alive for the next 2-3 turns.  Or go with generics! Use Boarding Engineers to flip up 4 damage on something, or Boarding Troopers to flip 3 tokens over before you unload on them.  So long as you understand what they're all doing and have a plan, I won't be mad at your choice of boarding team.

Weapons Team
Alternatively, there's a LOT of good options here, as well.  If you're working on a build that gets critical effects off, Weapons Battery Techs are great.  Just being able to flip those dice around as needed are super helpful.  Local Fire Control turning your ship into one with TWO salvos is both nice and potentially pants-brownening (and especially when you add in Flak Guns and DBY-827s.

If you're doing squads with your Starhawk, Flight Controllers or Ruthless Strategists isn't a bad choice, and it ensure that you're gonna win that squad fight.  Now make the most of that....

What about Gunnery Team? You have effectively HMC80 arcs with black dice in several.  Generally, you won't need it.  If multiple small ships are getting into the same arc at a time, kill the most crucial and then swim away to kill it next turn.  Alternatively, use the Magnites to prevent them from all getting into one arc at the same time.  And repair a lot.

Offensive Retrofit
So many wonderful toys here.  Advanced Transponder Net on your giant ship to keep it alive and unattacked is great, but it doesn't combine with Unity.  Boosted Comms/Expanded Hangar Bays for your squad heavy build are always solid, but I'd look elsewhere and let something else act as a carrier for you.  Hardened Bulkheads is nice to have if you have the points, just to ensure you're not going to get rammed to death.  Also combines super nice with Amity, as I mentioned above.  Flag Bridge is also great here if you're not using it for anything else (as presumably your commander is on this giant beast).

As I've said multiple times before, Proximity Mines (if you have a plan and can lay out several) are a good choice.  Helping the deployment of your opponent for the Hawk is a good way of getting strong wins out of the ship, that's for sure.  Quad Laser Turrets aren't BAD, but they're only helping your blue dice.  So if that's important to you, sure? But I'd like to point out the special Phylon Q7 interaction here.

With Phylon Q7s, you can strip the nav token they have on them, and then your Magnites tell them what speed they're going.  Barring Leia or Ozzel, they're not going to be able to change speeds by 2 or more to get back to where they were before.  And who plays them?

Wave 10 brought out Flak Guns, which when combined with DBY-827 Turbolasers can lead to a LOT of salvo damage into your opponent.  So if you've got at least 2 salvo tokens on your ship....

Ion Cannons
The "easy" answer here is Leading Shots, of course, but the thing to remember about dice is that expected damage on a red is 0.75.  Sure, you'll hit some times where you blank on all 4, but not often.  Leaving behind the Leading Shots security blanket, you can get some VERY interesting options.  As shmitty pointed out on his podcast, High-Capacity Ion Turbines and effectively HMC80 side arcs combine GREAT with Agate officer, just ensuring you get the crits off.  Heavy Ion Emplacements remains the gold standard of blue critical effects, so it's your call if you want that or another one.  Ion Cannon Batteries is the cheaper one that rewards double arcing more, so it's your call if one is more your style or not. If you're desperately worried about squadrons and can mitigate any horrid dice rolls, Point Defense Ion Cannons is a strong way to protect your hawk from any squadrons coming at it.

We're nearing the end! And there's as always, several good options here.  You have blue dice, so H9 turbolasers aren't out of the question.  Not necessarily the best option of course, but still good.  Linked Turbolaser Towers is good to ensure that the one or two blank reds you throw turn into something better.  You're rather slow, so Quad Battery Turrets isn't out of the question, but when you Magnite them down to be your speed, they stop working, so.... be careful?

I'm not sure about XI7s on the Starhawk-1, as you should have a rest of your fleet hitting their ship, which means the XI7s aren't necessarily as useful as you'd likely want them to be.  It DOES ensure that you're going to be Salvoing and double arcing and they're only able to redirect 3, but what's the rest of your fleet doing?

If you're going salvo heavy, DBY-827 Turbolasers have been mentioned twice above, so might as well hit that third time, right?  Combine with Flak Guns and an ensured second salvo somehow.

Generally Great! (191 points)
Agate (Officer)
Walex Blissex
Weapons Battery Techs
Hardened Bulkheads
High-Capacity Ion Turbines
Linked Turbolaser Towers

This is a nice build I'm planning on trying with Mothma, but it works for nearly any commander.  One of each type of token (including the evade from Amity), this ensures that it's going to be hard to figure out what to target to prevent the damage coming in.  Agate and the HCITs combine with the WBT to darn near guarantee I'm refreshing tokens as needed to stay alive as I kill my way through their ships.  The magnites in this build and all the other ones on this page are included because I like Magnites, but it's really your call about using them on a lot of builds.

Stuck in the Muddle with You! (190 points)
Major Derlin
Lando Calrissian
Weapons Battery Techs
Point Defense Ion Cannons
DBY-827 Turbolasers
Flag Bridge
Entrapment Formation!

You're trying to get the Magnites trick off with this build (that by Flag Bridge necessity must be your flagship).  Then you add in the DBY-827 Turbolasers to ensure that if they shoot you while you're at 0 and you salvo, you're sending a crit back at them.  Lando and Derlin and Concord are on there to ensure you're able to survive that speed zero turn, and you can theoretically turn the Flag Bridge and Weapons Battery Techs into Boarding Engineers to flip a bunch of those hull damage cards over, but it's your call, really.  I'd rather use Entrapment Formation! just to be sure I have an exit path/way away from speed 0.  PDIC to ensure you're mitigating as much damage as you can coming in.

Starhawk Mark II
Extra-large, escorting her baby squadrons into battle safely.  That's called good parenting.
The elephant in the room we need to discuss is the fact that only one title can go on the Mark II.  The Unity title as mentioned above gives you that extra redirect and ability to reroll while attacking squadrons (if you have a non-heavy friend nearby).  So, let's go with that context.  The thing to point out is that this works well enough with non-heavy Rogues and doesn't force you to command them every turn as needed.  You shouldn't necessarily go with pure 134 points of squadrons, but it works if you want to.  Other ships aren't a bad plan either, of course, but I'm working off the assumption that you have SOME squadrons in your list.  The other thing is that because only one title works on the Starhawk-II and it works astoundingly well on it, I didn't make a Unity Starhawk-I build.  If you're using a Hawk-I, use the other 2 titles.

Either the same defensive ones as before, or you may want to ensure that you're able to command squadrons as needed.  Flight Commander or Wing Commander aren't bad options for inclusions, but you let me know when you figure out who's getting kicked out of their chair for this? Otherwise, keep yourself alive, man.

Boarding Teams and Offensive Retrofits are essentially identical, so I'm not planning on going over them again.

Weapons Team
Ruthless Strategists on a ship with red dice flak? Yes please.  Gunnery Team actually isn't a bad option here, for once.  Especially on an Ackbar build that basically tells you "there's no good approach. Enjoy."  If you're trying for just pure brute damage, Weapons Battery Tech fixing an accuracy to a crit is helpful.

Ion Cannons
It's a little more want towards Leading Shots with all the red dice you've got, of course, but all the fancy blue crits aren't bad if you can trust your dice a bit.  Easier said than done, right? Only major difference dice wise between the 1 and 2 is we swap out a black dice in the face for a blue and one in the side for a red.  It's not going to be easy to get HIE to go off, so Ion Cannon Batteries may be more of what you want here.

You're red dice focused on flak and ship dice.  LTTs may be the perfect and easiest option and makes a bunch of sense, especially with all the red dice you're throwing around.  You can make other arguments as well, such that the title will let you reroll the red flak dice (or added in dice from LTTs!) as needed, but it's your call.

XI7s with a ship that's the entire non squadron based focus of your fleet isn't bad, if it's literally the only ship in there.  They don't combine well with squadrons, but if your squads go in early and they redirect at all, the Salvo and hopefully followed up double arc ensure you're hitting hull (you should still probably take another turbolaser, of course).  Enhanced Armament isn't terrible with an Ackbar build, just straight up declaring to your opponent that there's no good spot to approach from.  Just straight murderousness everywhere.  Stick with LTTs most of the time though.

Triple Trouble! (195 points)
Walex Blissex
Expert Shield Tech
Local Fire Control
Flak Guns
Point Defense Ion Cannons
DBY-827 Turbolasers

This combines very well with Agate.  Adding a brace onto it with her and using Local Fire Control to replace the contain results in a ship with 2 braces, 2 redirects, and 2 salvos.  The Flak Guns/DBY-827 combo has been stated, and this ship just seems DEADLY.  It tanks through several attacks, and will carve its way through your ships while doing so.  IF you were doing a full 134 in squadrons and Starhawk, I'd start with this build.

Ackbar Attack! (205 points)
Lando Calrissian
Walex Blissex
Weapons Battery Techs
Advanced Transponder Net
Heavy Ion Emplacements
Linked Turbolaser Towers

This ship is one with Ackbar commanding it, with the effort towards gaining as many side shots as possible.  ATN is included because you're likely including some VCXs to help with your objectives.  They do NOT pair with Unity, so make sure to include a few non-Heavy's with your Strategic friends.  I made a few changes to what could seem like the "best" choices to highlight a few things.  First, because Advanced Transponder Net is a modification, no other mods could be used, so no Enhanced Armament  there (your call which you'd rather have...).  You're also depending heavily on the blue dice rolling well, which Weapons Battery Techs is an attempt to mitigate some of the bad dice rolls there.  This may not be the "BEST" version of the ship, but I wanted to highlight some more options of things you could put on it.  This is also an Ackbar build that is sailing DIRECTLY into trouble and killing its way out of it.  If you're firing out the sides, you're going to be angry while doing so.

Final Thoughts
The Starhawk is the first new Rebel ship in 2 years.  It tanks heavily and does a darn good job of finishing the fight while doing so.  A lot of people may think this ship ain't good, but I promise you it's no turkey.
These puns have been for the birds


  1. After many games as the empire I would say that this ship is not so good. Having speed 2, rather poor nav chart and no support team slot or defence slot... If You deploy correctly this ship only gets to play in round 4-6. Most of the games I have seen ended in Starhawk surviving but not contributing to the score.

    1. It's highly dependent on Agate as a commander and strong fleet building to help cover its downsides but it has won several regionals after release, including the second Chicago regional while being flown by Nate Coda.

    2. Could you share Nate's list please? I missed it on Discord or elsewhere

    3. Honestly, I'm not sure I remember the specifics, but the basics were:
      Chunky Starhawk-II with Unity and Agate
      I don't recall if there was Yavaris and a GR-75 or just two GR-75s
      A big mob of squadrons

      I've asked John, he might have that information somewhere. Tanky Starhawk and a mob of squadrons or Starhawk and a mob of small ships seems to be the way people are doing it.

    4. Starhawk 2, Walex Blissex, Strategic Adviser, Local Fire Control, "High-Capacity Ion Turbines", "Linked Turbolaser Towers", Unity

      CR90-A Ezra Bridger Jaina's Light "Turbolaser Reroute Circuits"

      "GR-75 Medium Transports" "Leia Organa (Officer)"Comms Net

      "GR-75 Medium Transports" Toryn Farr
      "Moldy Crow (Jan Ors)" YT-1300 YT-1300 YT-1300 "X-wing (Rogue Squadron)" YT-2400

  2. Thanks guys! That's an interesting list