Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Separatist commander review: Kraken

On to Separatist commander article number two: Kraken. I know I've got a good image around here somewhere...

No.

Okay, maybe this one?

So goofy.

Roger that, let me try it with another pic.

When you've only got three fingers, you point with 1/3 of your hand.

Rules
  • I know it says it right there on the card, but this is once per activation. People sometimes forget this with other commanders like Screed so it bears repeating.
    • That said, much like Screed, this will work (once) during an opponent's activation if you are using an effect like salvo that allows you to attack during their activation.
  • Kraken only works against enemy ships, not squadrons.
  • Remember that measuring for everything but attacks is from plastic to plastic, so you may be at medium range of the defender with your spotter ship for purposes of helping but at long range for purposes of attacking (which is cardboard to cardboard).
  • No using Kraken to flip dice to faces with double icons, like the black hit+crit or red double-hit. Only single-icon faces count.

In short, most of what you need to know is right there on the card.

Discussion
There's not a ton of dice-fixing available to Clone Wars factions; this is less a problem for Separatists than the Republic, but it's still a notable departure from the Galactic Civil War factions. Kraken, however, is basically once-per-activation-but-otherwise-better Intensify Firepower (because you can also flip a die to a clutch accuracy or critical result). The main issue being you need a friend near your target to trigger Kraken's ability and that friend may not necessarily enjoy being at close-medium range where her life expectancy drops dramatically. For this reason, Kraken is typically at home in a fleet running a good number of ships so you can trigger the ability more reliably, trigger it more frequently, and have a ship or two to spare when the huge moshpit Kraken wants to create inevitably turns out poorly for one or two of your ships (even if it goes well overall for your fleet). For this reason, Kraken tends to prefer ship-heavy fleets with as many cheap ships as he can get with a small to non-existent squadron compliment.

Kraken's ability is best at producing accuracy (when useful) or critical icons. Especially so when those critical icons trigger a critical on an upgrade. The issue with that is... there's really not a lot of options available there given Kraken's ability can't produce critical results on black dice, so you're stuck with red dice and blue dice. Your red dice generally don't care enough about XX-9 Turbolasers to give up Linked Turbolaser Towers or whatever other red dice fixing or adding upgrade you're otherwise using. That means Kraken's ideal use is triggering fancy blue crits on ion cannon upgrades, although "kind-of-better Intensify Firepower" is still excellent on most ships regardless of fancy blue crits.

Ships
Literally every ship likes having dice-setting insurance. It can save you a lot of points and/or hassle by allowing you to drop other dice-fixing upgrades. Small cheap ships love it because they don't want to spend points on those upgrades, where they're generally a lot less efficient. Big expensive ships love it because they're more likely to need the help with their larger dice pools.

The Munificent and especially Providence demand a special mention for their ion cannon slots, which can make best use of Kraken's dice setting to trigger blue crit upgrades. Munificents can be a bit tricky in that regard as they only get blue dice in their front arc, so you'll need to either use Quad Battery Turrets or Swivel-Mount Batteries for their turbolaser upgrade if you want to get those blue dice elsewhere. Regardless, a good solid blue crit upgrade like Ion Cannon Batteries or Heavy Ion Emplacements, which are normally not worth using with limited numbers of blue dice, can add a lot of extra heft to the attacks on these two ships when used with Kraken.

The Providence Carrier variant deserves additional mention because of its fleet command slot. If you're already running ship-heavy, a fleet command can go a long way as a force multiplier. You've got a lot of options there but generally I'd be looking to one of the navigate fleet commands (Take Evasive action for more clicks or Entrapment Formation for better speed control) or Intensify Firepower. Intensify Firepower combined with Kraken's ability can be enough dice-fixing for an entire fleet without needing to rely on any other upgrades. You'll get the occasional very bad roll that you can't completely fix but that's fairly rare.

Fleetbuilding
As mentioned above, you're probably going for a minimal fighter screen to invest more heavily into ships given Kraken only helps ships and he only works if helper ships are nearby. Past that, it's really up to you. I like a Providence Carrier as a flagship quite a bit for the reasons I already gave above but it's not mandatory. A Hardcell or two are good cheap spotter ships that like having their smaller dice pool nearly guaranteed, and past that anything does just fine.

4 comments:

  1. I just can’t get Kraken to work with the ships released so far, I was thinking a Hardcell fleet with TLRC’s making them defo 2 damage and then whatever you need (accuracy or a crit) every shot from the front arc, but then you need to have one of your ships in close to medium tofor him to work. Hmmmm

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    1. I think cheap hardcell transports are ideal as spotters and you can run them pretty minimally upgraded that way. Munificents with an ion cannon upgrade take best advantage of Kraken's ability, however. Some mixture of the two would be ideal in Wave 9 games.

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  2. Do you think Kraken triggers in Sector Fleet games off of any allied ship or would it have to be under my control. Specifically regarding a friendly ship being nearby, only my ships could resolve the die benefit.

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    Replies
    1. I would argue it would work as you would prefer, as allied ships are friendlies. The distinction between commander vs. every other type of universal upgrade in sector fleet games gets a little confusing in circumstances like that, though.

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