Thursday, June 17, 2021

Charger Coming In!

I knew those negotiations with the Trade Federation were going to be short! It's the Consular Class Cruiser article!

I wasn't even supposed to be here today!
It's the Jekyll and Hyde of the GAR

The Consular is the small available for the GAR in the starter kit, and both versions are solid small bases with vastly different roles.  We'll break them down individually in their sections, but let's look at their similarities first.

  • Minor programming note: the Consular is the overarcing ship name, the Charger is the red one, and the Cruiser is the blue cheap one.  I'll try to keep those straight, but please let me know if you see a mistake for me to correct.
  • Great nav at slow speeds, and not horrid at the higher ones as well.  Not as crazy maneuverable as a CR90 can get at its ending clicks, but capable of much sharper initial turns than a CR90 can get to.  That first notch always having at least one click of potential turning means that a navigation dial can allow for 2 clicks at speed one.  Having plotted them both out, a CR90 and a Consular can end in relatively similar locations if they're navigating at speed 4.  The Charger isn't turned as far, but one click less than a CR90 at speed 4 is nice.  Speed 3 having identical numbers of total clicks is nice, and, again; you can get more clicks earlier which results in sharper turns.
Speed 3 above, ships started in the same position
  • Both have a nav team slot, which, with Engine Techs, can result in some crazy good speed 4-5 moves.  It's not mandatory, but I can guarantee you that CR90s love having them, and if a Raider COULD take Engine Techs I'm sure Eric would be stapling them to the card.  If you can afford them, I like adding them to the card.
  • 2 shields in most of the important arcs, combined with a Hammerhead's defense suite.  Even with the Evade change, this is a ship that does not want to be in the center of the battle for long, nor does it want to be the primary focus of your opponent.
  • 1 black flak on the Charger and 2 blue on the Cruiser.  The 2 blue seems really good, but you have no way of rerolling those dice, so they're going to swing.
  • Command 1, Squadron 1, and Engineering 2.  The hallmarks of small ships, this gives you a sense of what this ship wants to be doing (navigating and maybe concentrating fire).
  • VERY competitive price points of 45 for the CR90-esque Charger and 37 for the Raider/Hammerhead Armed Cruiser.  They aren't crazily spammable, but you'll be able to fit in more than you'd think you could initially.

Basic Usage Recommendations

The issue with this article is that I have really 2 incredibly different ships here that sort of deserve their own breakdowns individually.  How you use the Charger is going to be very different from the Cruiser.  Any advice below that applies to both is going to remain in black.  Anything that will solely apply to the Charger will be in RED, while anything for the Cruiser will be in BLUE.  I leaned heavily on Eric's Raider article and my CR90 article for this, so look there article for further help and advice.  With THAT introduction in place....

These are ships that generally will want to navigate often until they can start to concentrate fire.  That may come when you have a ship double arced at range or when you can sneak up on something and unload damage into it.  To get to that situation, you're going to want to navigate often.  It's chart at low speeds is amazingly good, able to use a navigation dial to easily achieve 2-2 status.  Even the standard 2-1 speed without the dial is good and very helpful for most of the purposes you'll use it for, but actually navigating is much more helpful.  The issue is that as soon as you hit speed 3+, its nav chart becomes....pretty good.  You get a bit more early turning, which is appreciated, but it also is relatively easy to predict where you're going to end up if you aren't navigating with a command.  For both versions, I'd recommend staying at speed 1 or 2 until you need/want to jump up.  To quote Eric's Raider article (conveniently in green now to distinguish it)

In short, speed 3 on a Consular is pretty poor comparatively. Sometimes it is necessary, but in general I would avoid it when you can by jumping from speed 2 to speed 4 using a navigate dial and token simultaneously. Speed 2 is the sweet spot for Consulars, offering a large degree of control over your destination with 3 native clicks of yaw and a lot of room for maneuvering shenanigans.

Successful Consular use often involves a lot of navigate commands (dials and/or tokens) for speed and, at speeds 3 and 4, yaw management. Frequently I see people misuse Consulars by deploying them at speed 3 or 4. This is usually a mistake, and often a fatal one. Ideally your Consulars should start at speed 2, or rarely, speed 1. They should take a nav token on the first round and often receive a navigate command again on turn 2. This gives you a considerable amount of control over where exactly you will be committing to moving early on and lets you play it cagey in the early game where you'll be out of range or at long range on round 2 rather than running suicidally into the kill zone. The Consular's survivability is very dependent on positioning and you want to use its superior yaw at speeds 1 and 2 while waiting for your opportunity to strike.

All this is not to say you should never go faster than speed 2. Speeds 3 and 4 are often helpful for pouncing on targets of opportunity and for stepping on the gas to make a getaway from dangerous foes. Just be aware that going from speed 1-2 to speeds 3-4 is switching from "maneuverability/wait and see mode" to "step on the gas" mode.

I live my nav a quarter click at a time

Having run Hammerheads often enough, slow rolling until you need to step on the gas is definitely the right initial way of viewing these ships.  This advice applies for both, even though it's targeted towards the Raider and its equivalent Cruiser.  The red dice of the Charger are very nice, but it is a lot squisher than it appears to be.  Start out slow; worst case on turn 2 you can always speed up to 3 and throw red dice at your opponent as needed.  As I quote my CR90 article (let's go orange, as I continue this Technicolor Dreamcoat of an article), what Chargers want to do has often been referred to as Kiting; "to kite", in which they throw their dice and flutter away from your ships like a kite in the wind.  THAT, do that.  You can't handle sustained shots, and you REALLY don't want to be in the front arc of ISDs, so don't be there.  Shoot, then scoot.  Fire, then flee.  With that solid navigational chart, I'd generally, start them at speed 2 or 3, and move them later in the turn if you can.  You're going to want to end turn X at (preferably) red range or further from your opponent's ships.  When your opponent moves in to your range at turn X+1, fire, and repeat.

I started double arcing, and I'm ending it there as well, as soon as he moves.

The other thing you want to do is that you want to double-arc as much as possible.  One arc's worth of dice is.... present.  But 2 of them start to add up FAST.  Double arcing Chargers can take out large bases quickly, well before they're in danger of dying.  Basic plan is that the ending notch of your movement pattern is ABOUT 45 degrees off the arc pattern.  Aim to angle it as such when you navigate.


There's two and they want to do different things, both of them great.

That's it blowing up at the top of the article
The Radiant VII allows you to field a fleet support.  Right out of the box, this is a good title.  It lets you bring a Bomber Command Center for a heavy squadron fleet, Slicer Tools for a harasser, or a Parts/Munition Resupply to fuel your accompanying Acclamators.  You can't field any turbolasers or ordnance with it, but you get your base dice and that's nothing to sneeze at.  You're also more survivable than a flotilla up close.  Not significantly so, but you don't depend entirely on 1 defense token to live or not!

Generally, I'd put the Radiant on a Charger if you plan on keeping your fleet support in the back (Bomber Command Center, the Resupplies or Comms Net) and a Cruiser if you want to be in the fray (Slicer Tools, some Jamming Field build I haven't considered).

Just shake off that rock damage. Shake it off.

The Swift Return allows you to get more yaw or a free speed change if you're within 2 of an obstacle.  In practice that lets you do things like THIS with a nav command at speed 3 or 4.
Nav tool removed for the one on the right, but that's how it moves

It's very nice to be able to fire on an opponent as you approach, and then slingshot back towards it after you pass, making a....swift return.  Just make sure that you locate the battle near an obstacle, and if you can get to it (more on the left picture than the right), try to end at distance 2 of the obstacle again to help your slingshotting.  The extra yaw is helpful, but the ability to drop from speed 4 to 2 or speed up as such can't be ignored either.

Use those rear dice, buddy!


The Charger wants to double arc as much as it possibly can, using its red dice to remain at range.  When it speeds up, it wants to get out of dodge, doing that "step on the gas" thing Eric mentioned to jump to 4. You may be able to get into a lesser arc and fire again, but the fact that you have 2 dice out of your back arc means that double arcing someone with an arc that isn't your front is actually ok.  You won't have the shields and defense tokens to stick around long, but if you can stay alive for just one more turn and run, that's a good turn.  It maneuvers very similar to a CR90, but it will definitely need to maneuver at times to stay alive and out of range of your opponent.  You're much stronger at long range than at medium (as your Evade is better), and I'm not sure adding in one more total blue from the front is really worth the jump into danger.  Having one of your tokens locked down is a very dangerous place, especially if someone can follow up and knock you out of the sky.

It's fairly similar to a CR90, but the side dice being Red-Red instead of the 90's Red-Blue is much stronger at range, so try to lurk there if you can.  It's flak is certainly helpful, but with one black dice it won't spike in damage, nor does it have the range of the Cruiser.


Clone Captain Zak or Clone Captain Silver are great choices here, as detailed in his writeup.  Hondo can also drive this bus if necessary/if no one else wants the keys to the cockpit.  The last point is that Expert Shield Techs and Kenobi are great together, but I'm initially hesitant about EST and any other commander.

Support Team:
Engine Techs or usually nothing.  There's an argument for Fighter Coordination Teams with Ahsoka and letting her repeatedly move and ping someone else to fire, but that will require a lot of movement and ensuring she's not engaged so you CAN bounce her around repeatedly.

Offensive Retrofit:
Reserve Hangar Deck is a perfectly solid upgrade for here to spam V19s.  If you have the moving parts for a mines build, I don't hate Proximity Mines on here.  Make sure you have a plan for them.

Linked Turbolaser Towers.  Nothing else helps the 2 red you have in 3 of your 4 arcs, and making sure those dice actually do damage is what you want to do.  You don't want Turbolaser Reroute Circuits, as you want to actually be able to use your evade to evade with.


Zak Attack (60 points):
Clone Captain Zak (5)
Swift Return (3)
LTTs (7)

This is the bog standard way I'd run a Charger most of the time.  It flits around and is able to harass ships well above its paygrade thanks to Zak and the Swift title.  Remain kiting at red range as much as you can, and let Zak add in dice for you as needed.  Zak and the title are nice additions, as would be adding in Engine Techs, but none of these are especially necessary if you need to make some points cuts.

Combat Flotilla (57 points)
Clone Navigation Officer (4)
Expanded Hangar Bay (5)
Fighter Coordination Teams (3)

For everyone who has ever wanted a combat flotilla, here you go.  It costs the same as a naked Escort Nebulon and is nowhere near as survivable, AND this has been replaced by the Pelta already.  But you do get to squad command for a base of 2 and FCT 2 squadrons along, with the CNO providing the ability to get 3 squads twice per game.  I don't think this is a great build; your dice control is nonexistent here, which means you really want this to be a 64 point ship with LTTs.  I can see running ONE of these, with a heavy side-eye of "you really shouldn't but I'm done trying to stop you", as it provides one more way of speeding up your ARCs.  I'm just not sure why you want to do it this way instead of just using Hyperspace Rings, they seem better and more able to benefit you and your deployments.

Because clearly you haven't added enough points or a target to this ship, you could also add the Radiant VII and BCC to it, allowing it to be the focal point of your squadron defenses... which then begs the question of what this is doing that an Acclamator wouldn't do better.  If you can answer that, go for it and take the ship.  And hope you don't get into a bad position and exploded.

The red ones go faster

The Cruiser has dice that want to be in close range with a defense token suite that does NOT want to be there. To just directly quote Eric's Raider article again:

The core mistake some players make with Cruisers is they see the Cruiser's black dice batteries and high max speed and think of them as faster baby Gladiators. The Cruiser's defense token suite, hull zone arc geometry, unremarkable (for its speed/size) yaw at higher speeds.... and general desire to support and be supported by the rest of your fleet are opposed to this usage. It is often an attempt to use Cruisers this way, and subsequently failing, that convinces players Cruisers are worthless when the complaint from those players is actually "I can't successfully use Cruisers the way I thought they should be used at first." Using Cruisers well can be very rewarding but requires using them in support of a fleet with a moderate to high number of activations and keeping them at speed 2 or so to "catch" enemy ships/squadrons until necessity dictates a speed change.

Specifically, what you're trying to accomplish is to stay at long range of enemies when they are attacking and then attack them back at short or medium range starting around turn 3 (or turn 2 if the enemy is barreling at you) to get in 1-2 rounds of pummeling before repositioning or escaping, depending on the circumstances. This can be accomplished a few ways, but the easiest and most applicable is to "catch" enemies that must move towards you. The Cruiser is well-suited to this tactic, able to stay at long to medium range and then take advantage of its large front arc to catch enemy ships that activate, make a poor to medium quality attack against it, and then find they can't escape getting attacked at short range when the Cruiser activates later.

This sort of tactic is best when you've got equal to or preferably greater activation count than your opponent, and anything else that assists with leveraging your black dice ships will come in handy as well, so I'd recommending reading the article about that so you're not reading the same things twice.

I suppose if there's a short soundbite version of the advice above it would be "do not run your Cruiser into short range of unactivated enemy ships thinking it can tank the attacks just fine." You get better mileage from your Cruisers by focusing on their positioning, speed, and order of activations to get them to receive attacks from long or medium range but then deliver their own attacks at short range (and then decide from there if you can stick it out or need to GTFO). In some cases you can use a Cruiser more aggressively by running into short range of enemy ships before they're activated, but that's more of the kind of thing a Gladiator-class Star Destroyer can get away with (and even then, not against the scary arcs of stronger ships). If you're trying to use your Cruiser like a Gladiator, you'll be disappointed to learn that Gladiators are better Gladiators than Cruisers are. What the Cruiser has that the Gladiator does not is superior maneuverability, especially at lower speeds, a much lower effective points cost (we'll get there in a bit), better flak, and a larger front arc that is easy to catch enemy ships in. By using a Cruiser more reactively, you can take advantage of those traits.

The flak value is solid, but you lack rerolls and it's not a complete replacement for having actual fighter coverage of your own.  It will contribute to the fight, especially with the range it provides, but bring some squadrons of your own to fight with and lock your opponent down are necessary.  However, as you're flying with the GAR, you should generally be bringing squadrons anyways.


One last time quoting: Beyond everything I wrote above, I find it's helpful to keep your Cruisers as cheap as possible. They want to be in fleets with lots of activations (as I already mentioned, probably too many times 😁) and they benefit themselves by being cheap so as not to get in their own way by eating up points you want to spend on other ships. Additionally, Cruisers can be fragile and even with adept piloting they will on occasion be destroyed, so over-investing into them can be counterproductive.

All of Eric's points have been generally applicable towards Cruisers that want to get into the fray and deliver External Racks before making a break for it.  There's a support build in this ship as well, which I'll detail here.  The general rule for that version is to lurk in the back and help keep your friends alive.

Clone Navigation Officer or 
Hondo, if you need somewhere to put him.  I'd use CNO if you're planning on passing the token out, otherwise, blank is fine.  Clone Captain Silver isn't a bad choice here to REALLY get those zoom plans going.

Support Team:
Engine Techs if anything, but I can see going without.  That being said, speed 2 to speed "5" is a mighty nice jump, that's for sure.  I also advocate for a Projection Experts build below, and that may be something you want to consider.  It allows your ship to contribute until it's ready to jump in and drop off your ordnance.

Defensive Retrofit:
Generally, Reinforced Blast Doors will keep you alive for one more turn.  Generally.  Cluster Bombs might have more merit if you're going lighter on squadrons, but I'm hesitant to actually recommend that without substantial testing.

External Racks.  You lack black flak for any of those upgrades, you lack substantial black dice out of any arc for the benefit of a potential critical effect, and you're very squishy. It's 
External Racks if you're taking anything (Radiant VII prevents taking this, is the only reason you might not want to).


Cheap and Good (41):
External Racks (4)

This ship has one purpose, and that's to get in and deliver its external racks and run afterwards.  Everything else you want to add to this (Engine Techs, Reinforced Blast Doors) is gravy, but at the end of the day, this is what it breaks down to.  Everything else is extra and should be helping out until then.  Activations in 1.5 that don't do anything aren't really as great as you would think, so adding on a Clone Navigation Officer to aid your other ships or Projection Experts until you can get into range may be worth considering.

Command Sniper (60 points):
Hondo (2)
Reinforced Blast Doors (5)
Engine Techs (8)
Radiant VII (1)
Slicer Tools (7)

This is a very weird build but it's just enough to be worth considering.  On your first turn, take an engineering token and untap Slicer Tools.  You then navigate repeatedly until you're in position to jump from speed 3 to speed 4 and Engine Techs move, allowing you to slicer someone from a speed 4+1+distance 3 away.  That's....VERY hard to prevent, especially with as maneuverable as those chargers can get.  Reinforced Blast Doors is on here to allow you to ram into your opponent with your slicer jump move as needed in order to do injury along with the slicer insult.  If you can predict the turn you're going to do it, have Hondo give you an engineering token that turn to untap the Slicer Tools after you slice your opponent, allowing for 2 turns in a row of slicing.  Now, find a way to capitalize on that.

Tell em Zak sent you!

Final Thoughts

The charger is a very nice contributor to the fight.  Just don't overload it with upgrades unless you have a very specific purpose for doing so!

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