With the arrival of wave 8, Eric and I split the Rebel and Imperial specific upgrades into their own posts. As things continue to expand, we figured it was better to do this sooner rather than later. Hit the jump for all my takes on these cards!
Several of these upgrades were written by Eric first, so anything of his that I agreed with I left in his trademark red, as per usual. Otherwise, my additional thoughts are below (alphabetically as per usual).
|"Seriously, Caitken, clear your browser history before sharing this thing. I've seen things that can't be unseen."|
|Oh come on, if John's involved, you know Muppets aren't far behind!|
C&S are great for fixing ONE attack, as they exhaust after use. Given that Gunnery Team now costs a concentrate fire command to use, and Ordnance Experts maxes at 2 black dice, I can see the benefits of the twins much more easily. Caitken and Shollan should be considered on ships designed to funnel a single strong attack into an enemy ship with extreme prejudice, often from range and featuring a decent number of red dice. The reason for that is blue dice are not as frequently in need of rerolls (as all faces have something on them and any ship with a decent number of blue dice can usually use Leading Shots if it wants the reroll option) and black dice can get rerolled by Caitken and Shollan's competition, Ordnance Experts. Red dice, however, are the most fickle color of dice in Armada and greatly benefit from rerolls, and rerolls on red dice are not something Rebels normally have easy access to.
Okay, let's get back to the "single strong attack" qualifier to explain that, too: if you're taking Caitken and Shollan, they work once per activation due to exhausting to use. Their primary competition on combat ships, as mentioned earlier, is generally Gunnery Team (which wants to make two attacks out of the best arc usually) and Ordnance Experts (which wants to make two attacks from different hull zones on the same target), and Caitken and Shollan will generally come out poorly when used as straight-up substitutes for those two weapon team upgrades because they can only work the once. The solution is simple: use them as a critical component of a ship that is designed to get one serious wallop in against heavier targets.
For example, let's take an Ackbar Assault Frigate. It's common to give these Gunnery Team so they can spray-and-pray with 5 red dice at two targets out the side arc. With Caitken and Shollan, you can configure one differently with Slaved Turrets (one of the few times I'd recommend their use) and an Intel Officer for a rerollable 6 red dice broadside (7 with a concentrate fire dial, potentially more if the unfortunate victim is the Most Wanted target) with the Intel Officer giving the stink eye to the heavy target's brace. That will add up quickly. You can do something similar with an LMC80 Battle Cruiser using Spinal Armament and XI7 Turbolasers with an Intel Officer too. Ships outfitted in this fashion will get serious damage to stick to heavier targets even at range and can gobble up small ships quickly and should almost never fail to one-shot corvettes and the like at medium range, similar to full-on premium large ships like ISDs but at a lower cost (and admittedly a narrower focus).
The other thing I'll mention is that you can sub out Ordnance Experts on an MC30 if you're maximizing your Ackbar side arc shots, but this basically all but confirms you're planning on hard Ackbarring all game. Not necessarily a dealbreaker, but when you get into close range and dump External Racks and Ackbar out the side, you've got 5 black dice and 4 red ones. Hope you don't roll a bunch of blanks!
|You'll have the same look on your face when Cham goes after your SSD or Starhawk.|
Cham is really hard to evaluate in a vacuum. In a meta where a lot of Command 3+ ships are ripe targets for his shenanigans, his usage can be decisive - Command 3+ ships are both a large portion of the enemy fleet and very difficult to quickly assign new command dials to, leaving a big investment command-screwed for up to half the game. Conversely, against a fleet with smaller ships at Command 1 and Command 2, his effect is less powerful and invites the obvious question of "why didn't I just use a Slicer Tools flotilla for this, which is easier to use, can be used over multiple rounds, and less expensive?" The corollary here is that a lot of Rebel fleets include a Leia Comms Net flotilla, resulting in a way around your shenanigans (though it does constrain their activation order, of course).
Therefore, Cham's usefulness will vary tremendously depending on what fleet builds are popular in your community. He also prefers being in fleets that usually go first. This is for two reasons - it increases the odds of the ship he's equipped to being able to confidently last+first Cham's bigger ship target without getting destroyed first (as Cham loves taking on big ships but the Hammerhead he's likely equipped to won't live long at close range of most larger ships) and it also means that Cham can hit his target while it still has all of its command dials, maximizing his chances of messing with the entire dial stack.
I will say this in defense of Cham: unlike the Boarding Troopers or Boarding Engineers, his effect does not care about the Squadrons or Engineering value of the ship he's on, so he can go just about anywhere, usually on a Hammerhead.
|Hey whatever happened to her, anyways?|
Where Jyn gets particularly interesting is her victory-token use. There are plenty of objectives with ships that have objective tokens, but what she needs is an objective like that that also has meaningful victory tokens. At the moment, that list is: Blockade Run (when you are first player only), Intel Sweep, Capture the VIP, Ion Storm, Marked for Destruction, Rift Assault, Fleet in Being, and Hyperspace Migration. Most of these objectives give you an extra 10-15 points from Jyn, which isn't a lot but is still a good return on investment for a 4-point upgrade card.
Intel Sweep in particular can be an interesting objective to include with Jyn because she allows you to harvest 2 victory tokens in one round - one from her boarding the enemy objective ship and one from your own objective ship grabbing a token. That can create an almost-insurmountable lead in an objective that normally tops out at 5 possible victory tokens where each side can only grab one per round. It also means that Jyn's ship might be able to destroy the enemy objective ship after boarding it, which should have Intel Sweep wrapped up nicely for you. Capture the VIP is a bit weirder - you need to board whichever ship currently has the VIP, at which point you'll get a victory token worth 50 points. If your enemy keeps the VIP, it's a wash. If you take the VIP back, you'll end up with a 100 point gain. This is another circumstance where if you can not only board the objective ship but then destroy it, you're nearly certain to get a big windfall of points. Every attempt I make with Jyn usually results in these 2 objectives being chosen, so, start practicing with them.
To summarize, Jyn's got value but needs to be in the right kind of fleet. Typically one with the right objectives and preferably Rebel raid tech to compliment both of her effects.
|We were merchants!|
All that said, there are a few other considerations to mull over while creating an MCEF fleet. You'll generally want:
Shriv can still get a lot of work done with the options available to him. Just like his evil asthmatic cyborg wizard counterpart, he's worth considering on smaller ships (obviously Hammerheads) for some drive-by harassment but also on MC75s and the like that want to get in close for some double-arcing nastiness and would prefer to remove defensive retrofits and the like before opening up on their target. He also goes well on a Starhawk to pull off the opposing defensive retrofit before you open up with a double arc on their ship.