Saturday, June 5, 2021

Venator Vidi Vici!

The main reason all you wanted to fly the GAR, and the backbone of your fleet, it's time for the arrowheadiest of triangles, it's the Venator!

More lasers! More pew pew! More squadrons!

Basic Stats/How to Use

Thanks to Ryan Kingston for uploading these beautiful images

The basic stats of these ships across the board, with the usual further breakdowns as we get in.
  • Command 3 for both of them, much like almost every other large base in the game.
  • A steering chart that is TECHNICALLY better than an Acclamator!
  • 6 dice face, 4 dice sides, and a painbow in the back for that salvo.
  • One brace, one redirect, one salvo, and one contain for both of them.
  • 9 hull, 4-3/3-2 shields
  • Solid flak for the base sizes
  • Standard engineering and solid to fantastic squadron value for the chassis
  • Great upgrade slots for great prices - both versions have an officer, weapons team, ordnance slot, turbolaser, and offensive retrofit
Some of those stats are deceptive, however.  Yes, the Venator has 6 dice in its face.... at close range. Otherwise its 3-4 of them. The dice aren't BAD, nor is the chassis, but this is NOT a Star Destroyer.  There's a whole article about those, and those are a minimum of 10 points more and have 2 more hull. If you try to use this like a Star Destroyer you're probably going to have more bad games than good with it.  It has some tricks up its sleeve, of which we'll get to them.  The squadron value being so good on both ships says to ME that you want to go with the standard GAR plan of "bring some squadrons and push them," and yes that does include the Venator-1.

As for how to use the ship, the Venator is going to be the foundation of your GAR fleet for a while.  Just the minor options of what it brings to you and yours over an Acclamator are worth the upgrade as a flagship almost every time in my opinion.  And it's a great ship, so I don't mind making that upgrade! It doesn't replace the Acclamator, however, but it does change the role of the Acclamator for sure.

What it brings depends on the ship; a Venator-1 brings you the opportunity to add a fleet command to your baby Kuat, and the Venator-2 lets you bring a mobile command platform that can push squadrons very well while pumping out some good substantial damage; much better than a basic Acclamator.  It exists in a realm somewhere between a Liberty and a Star Destroyer, and where exactly is a good question for how you kit it out.  You have the same shield pattern as an ISD.... with one less redirect and 2 less hull.  You're not as tanky, but you can get almost the same amount of work done as them.  It's much more similar to a Brawler-ISD, as you're not going to get your best dice until you're in close range.

What about if I take SPHA-Ts? I go into it more in the linked article, but I view them best as a supplemental weapon, not a thing to focus your entire game around (and yes I'm aware of what Tarkin can do with a pair of Venators with them).  You, as a GAR player, are going to get the best mileage out of combined arms, which means bringing squadrons and pushing said squadrons with them.  I like the upgrade, I do!  But if you wanted to throw repeated ignition attacks with 6+ dice every turn.... there's an Imperial faction right over there, bud.

Three good ones, all with different levels of use and Who/What List Type they want to be used with.  Gone are the days of one big chungus supported by a bunch of miniature friends! (Again I point you to the Imperial faction).

The Galactica has apparently dropped into low-earth orbit.
Resolute is a solid all around title.  Upon deployment, you choose 4 command tokens and put them on the card.  When you resolve a command dial of the chosen command (or dial+token!) you get a free command token as well.  This is a solid all around title that will help your standard GAR token issues; but the INTRIGUING options aren't just for stronger command token uses next go-around.  A squadron command can power up your boarding team; concentrating fire can power up a friend's Clone Gunners (later in the turn) or your Intensify Firepower!, or Tarkin or Bail's engineering dial (the dial is resolved by the ship) can power up the ship's engineering dial next turn.  When you start looking for alternative uses for those tokens, the title gets a lot more intriguing.  And even if all you do with it is power up 4 commands from dial into dial+token, that's still a good use of 6 points in my book.

Resolute goes great on all-around builds and those that want more tokens for whatever they're doing.  It's (sigh) in the lore assigned to Yularen, so he obviously likes using it, allowing him to get more engineering tokens and squadron tokens to work his magic with.  But it also works very well as a title for a generic command platform as well, regardless of commander.  As for what commands to choose? I'd make sure engineering is at least one of those tokens for sure.  Otherwise, whatever works for you.

Still worth it!

Tranquility is a lot more valuable than it first appears.  If I spent less than 2 tokens on defense, I can move 2 shields to the zone being attacked.  This basically allows that one (or zero) tokens you spent to act as a fake redirect for those 2 shields. The easiest choice is of course to take them off the back first, but you can also take them off the side, allowing you to redirect some to 1 hull zone and "2" to the other, even though it's just coming out of one and into the other.  Fun bonus is that when you're running away on turn 5 or 6, any use of 1 token allows you to move shields to the zone, giving you a pseudo Advanced Projectors that can't be locked down when you're fleeing.  One of the worst decisions happens when you repair on turn 5 and accidentally add the shields to the wrong hull zone and end up in an arc you didn't expect.  Tranquility prevents you from making too large of a mistake there.

The "can't repair past its starting" part is so that you can't just juice everything to 6.  That's the Resolute you're looking for, there.  This obviously pairs well with Luminara, especially since it's her flagship in the histories.
I'm sure this ship will be around forever....
Triumphant acts like a relay node for every other ship in your fleet, so long as those non-Adept squads are at close range of it.  This allows you to cut out some of the points you were using for Boosted Comms and put them into other upgrades to keep your ships alive or killing faster.  It doesn't allow for the first round to prevent you from Hyperspace Ring'ing 3 ARCs and toss them at your opponent before he or she has set up entirely.  Triumphant pairs well with lists that have heavy squad investment and want their Venator in the fight hard, like Jedi Master Plo Koon.  As seen in the Clone Wars cartoon, AKA the sacred Jedi texts.

How I feel a lot of you see the Clone Wars cartoon
Alt art of awesomeness!

An upgunned Acclamator, it has several things going for it as compared to baby's first clam.  First, it has a 4th defense token which definitely is a contain.  It has a few more shields, hull, and better dice all around.  And its speed 2 chart isn't as bad.

But most importantly it has the Fleet Command slot.  And THAT'S what makes this baby tick.  The Fleet Command is not only going to help your fleet out, it's going to define what your fleet is both "better" at and what commands it will be doing to "improve" its other ones.  6 dice in the face and 4 in the sides is definitely pretty solid! And it's time for me to learn how to use a Star Destroyer and double arc with it.

The Venator-I looks like a Victory that can navigate a little bit better.  And so long as you keep that in mind when applying it into fights with the enemy, it shouldn't blow up. Much.  Don't go trying to take on a full ISD on your lonesome, you will in fact lose.  Bring friends to help you out, you're cheap enough for it.  The major benefit of the Venator, especially the Venator-I, is that you can outfit it for cheap and outfit it WELL. Much like the Acclamator and free form jazz, it's about the notes you aren't playing upgrade slots you aren't using.  Not everything needs to be filled; make sure there's a reason you're including what you're including.

As for its role? Well its good at a lot of different things but nothing incredibly standout, with the exception of its black dice inclusion.  If you can double arc with it, you've got an MC30's worth of black dice, plus a few more helpful friends along the way.  But as it's rather squishy (and DOESN'T have a defensive retrofit), you're likely either zooming in and using it as a "first-pass through" something or it's finishing off something you've half hurt.  And given its speed 3 chart remains identical to the Clam and its "Lovely Party Still Time to Leave," speed 3 isn't somewhere I'd lurk for long. So, it's a ship for finishing the fight; again, I reference the Victory (except this is worth taking, sorry Imp Bros).  You're likely powering up your other ships with your fleet command until its time for you to swoop in and save the day/destroy what's left.  And thankfully you can use your red dice to supplement their damage with your own as they make their way in.

Fleet Command - This one I selected to do first because it's the big choice and what majorly defines this differently from an Acclamator.  The two standard choices are either Intensify Firepower! to increase everyone's damage output (which means your fleet will be navigating a lot, possibly moreso than a usual GAR list wants to), or Take Evasive Action! as almost every GAR ship can use this in a good fashion (which means your fleet will need some more dice correction than you could get away without if you were using Intensify Firepower!) Both are good, and I've heard of success with both.  Would you rather your fleet be better at navigating into place and you're more willing to trust your dice, or are you more focused on fixing your dice and needing to navigate a good amount? Answer me that and you not only have the main upgrade of your ship, but it will also impact all the other choices you're about to make for this ship but for all your others as well. I will go on record and say "Every Venator-I should be filling the Fleet Command slot" and I personally don't think this should be Mercy Mission, but fine, you do you.

Officer - Clone Navigation Officer is bog-standard, that doesn't make him a bad choice of course. I like Adi Gallia as a fake redirect once or twice, Barriss Offee is a solid defensive choice against MSU, Captain Silver is a great speed change button (and as a black dice ship, it would love to!), and I don't hate Intel Officer on here if you can be sure you're making use of it (which means getting those black dice into range).

Weapons Team - Clone Gunners remains a card I like and Eric still doesn't, haha, but if you use this ship as a finisher, you may want those accuracies.  Local Fire Control isn't bad, if you combine it into the Spiky Hedgehog build I outline below, Ordnance Experts if you're building it into a black dice killing machine, and I don't hate Ruthless Strategists on a 2 blue dice flak ship (provided you have a reason for it in here over using a Venator-II carrier, of course).  I wouldn't use Gunnery Team, as you should not try to get this ship able to be attacked twice in one turn if possible.

Offensive Retrofit - Flak Guns get work done, though it does turn your 2 blue flak into close range ones, of course. Hyperspace Rings or Reserve Hangar Decks if you need the upgrade/need them somewhere, and the standard caveats of Proximity Mines if you have a use for them.  What about SPHA-T? Well, that's an interesting question. Because it's Ignition [Close], you basically extend out to long range, and that's not a bad spot to be in alright if you can get the double arc.  The issue is both getting that double arc and keeping your opponent in it, and having 5 blue dice at long+ range be worth the 7 points and the concentrate fire token to untap it.  On a ship like the Venator-II that will be up close/in a good range more often than not (and would love its side arcs to be hammering with), I think it's a great choice! On a Venator-I, well..... I can't say I'm a fan (you shouldn't be double arcing with the Ven-I at long range, barring some bad deployments).  Let alone with the "dropping you to squadron 1 on your large in the faction that needs combined arms AKA squadrons to function."  YMMV, but I'd leave it at home.

Boarding Teams - Provided you have a use and plan for them, I don't hate Boarding Engineers or Troopers on here.  Provided you have a plan and a justification for why you didn't take any of the previously mentioned upgrades.

Ordnance - Ord Pods if you can get into range with them and your squadrons, External Racks is fine, but you HAVE the black dice and a critical effect wouldn't be out of the question.  Yes, Thermals removes all the black dice ever blah blah blah.  If they double spend a brace to prevent you getting any black dice, that's already a win in your book. Just ensure General Grevious can't get it back before you exploit that fact. I'm aware I'm one of the few holdouts still advocating for black dice criticals.  Still gonna do it, you double arc with 5 of the things, 6 if you concentrate fire.

Turbolaser - DBY-827 is the fun new hotness, but it's all part of one build. If you ARE lurking in the back as a finisher, QBTs are always solid, Linked Turbolaser Towers because red dice, Spinal Armament if you trust your reds, and if you're feeling really spicy, Swivel-Mount Batteries isn't horrid (see the build below of course).
There's a nonzero chance that in my quick googling for images, I may grab fanart.
All my builds assume you have some sort of fleet command in there, as both TEA and IF are 6 points, I've added them into the costs and used the words "Fleet Command" for you to make the choice of what you want them to be.

Spiky Hedgehog (106 points)

This build exists to salvo and salvo repeatedly.  It's putting out 3 dice at medium from its TWO salvos, and one of those dice (it's the black one) is always going to be a hit/crit. And you can't ignore it, because otherwise it's going through your ships and it's gonna make it hurt as it does. This ship can do some mean things if you let it.

Artillery Command (120 points)

If you're lurking in the back and firing on your opponent, why not make sure it hurts on the way in for them? This is an upgunned version of an Acclamator that Paul has had a lot of success with, and the benefit of this getting both around Thermal Shields and providing very little reason to speed up unless necessary means its a very solid contributor for the whole fight until its time to double arc, where it becomes the star player. I'm aware that I'm recommending Swivels, it's a weird day for both of us haha.

ISD-1/2 (112 points)

The ISD One Half (say it that way) is the way you have of both completely ignoring everything I have and making a competent ship out of it.  You're going to want TEA here to get your ship into place as needed, but you're trying to double arc with your black dice into your opponent.  My issues with this are as follows:

1) You have no defensive retrofit, one less redirect, and are 2 less hull than a Kuat or ISD-I, which seems like a recipe for death to me.
2) You're taking SPHA-T and are going to need con fire tokens to untap that and navigate ones for Take Evasive Action!.
3) I have no red dice correction on this ship, so it's likely another 7 for LTTs on here.
4) You're not commanding squads with this ship, and you have 1 redirect and 1 salvo and you have to have a plan for fighting squadron lists somehow?

In short, this is a very squishy ship that has a lot of potential issues, but hey, if you want to run in at speed 3 and start blasting, go right ahead?  But you're an ISD without a defensive retrofit who steers worse and has even worse dice correction available. Good luck?

Fire ALL the lasers!

The Venator-II traded in the Fleet Command for a Defensive Retrofit, basically making it into an upgunned Acclamator-II with an offensive retrofit.  Oh, and FIVE (5) squadron value, the largest natively in the game.  Let me be quite clear in this so I'll bold it for everyone.


I don't mean that it's necessarily bad because it's squadronless or whatever; I mean that you've made a list that isn't taking into account for the fact that you're paying for a squadron 5 ship.  Not taking any is a waste of points, one that you're going to regret at some point or another.  Even assuming you add the SPHA-Ts (and I would!), why didn't you take any squadrons? You now have squadron 3 and that's still pretty good on a lot of ships! 4 with a token! You couldn't bring 4 GAR squadrons?! Even if you have some weird plan that works without squadrons, didn't you just make a bad squadronless Imp list? Yeah SPHA-Ts are cool but they're not as good as just using an Onager.

Anyways, it's a lot like the previous Venator in slots, but because this has more blue die, you're going to want to be in range more.  Which means it's a brawler, in the thick of it.  You may lose it, but that may still be worth it if you can take out enough of your opponent on the way through.  Much like the Venator-I, it's about the slots you DON'T fill.  Or you build it as one heck of a carrier, and it does that job VERY well, combining the two Acclamator chassis into this nightmare for your opponent.  Just, somehow, make sure you take squadrons into account with your builds.

Officer - the previously mentioned Adi Gallia, Clone Captain Silver, Clone Navigation Officer, and Barriss Offee are all great choices, but if you're going carrier I see great usage out of Ahsoka Tano or maybe even Flight Commander.  Carrier gonna carrier.

Weapon Team - Gee I wonder if the squadrons 5 ship is going to likely take Ruthless Strategists or Flight Controllers.  Boy, what a question.  In other, less obvious choices, Clone Gunners can put you with a concentrate fire dial at comparable strength as a Starhawk.  Which is weird to realize, but here we are.  With the assumption that you're going to be in closer range, Local Fire Control still isn't a bad choice here either.

Offensive Retrofit - So you either take SPHA-Ts and blow things out of the water, or you take Hyperspace Rings (UP TO that many gain scout) or Reserve Hangar Deck.  I'd usually recommend SPHA-Ts, but if you're going ARC heavy then put a Ring on it.  You can also always go with the standard carrier OffRets of Expanded Hangar Bay or Boosted Comms, but make sure there's a reason you're using those.  GAR squadrons aren't typically fast and shouldn't be outstripping your ships that often.

Boarding Team - I really feel you should take SPHA-Ts instead, but sure, go for Troopers I guess and exhaust 5 tokens? (You do not get to spend one token twice if they only have 4. Go take SPHA-Ts)

Defensive Retrofit - Thermals or ECM most likely.  If you have only 5 points to spare, I like Thermals in a lot more situations than Reinforced Blast Doors.  Taking an engineering token for ECM turn 1 isn't a bad call, getting you 2 uses out of it.  Really just a matter of what you're more concerned about facing, I suppose (and the fact that the meta seems to be shifting towards "more dice add effects" as a result of Thermals existing now).  Early Warning System if you're going SPHA-T and squadron light isn't a bad call either.

Ordnance - Ord Pods is really good for clearing the skies; otherwise it's dependable old External Racks just because you only have 2 native black dice and can't count on them for criticals.  Ord Pods is REALLY good though on here, clearing your squadrons to bomb with.

Turbolasers - Whatever is going to help you get damage into your opponent? H9s I suppose, XI7 if you can get the double arc (special fun with salvo!), DBY-827 if you have the points (and likely Local Fire Control or Reactive Gunnery in your defensive retrofit slot).  I'm not sure about LTTs on here; you only have 2 red dice per arc and yes, it stinks when they blank.  But I don't know how great of a use you'll get out of them if you roll well.  I'll defer to you for your own opinion.
But hey it's COOL fanart, right?
Fly the Friendly Skies (112 points)

Push 5 squadrons (with an extra die!) after flakking your opponent off of them and then Ordnance Podding them to flak them again. You can theoretically swap Flight Controllers in for Ruthless if you have enough health.

Spiky Hedgehog 2: Sonic and Knuckles (110 points)

The beauty of the Spiky Hedgehog build is that its roughly independent of function.  Here's a 2 salvo boat that is pumping out blue and red at long, and it has blue and red in every arc (hence the name). You still CAN push 5 squadrons with what you have, or heck, do 6 with a token in a good alpha before you swarm in and start hitting even harder. If you're confused as to where to start, here seems like a good starting point.

Double Arc with Double Death! (115 points)

Set up your SPHA-T shot to come out of your side arc for 6 dice, 7 with a basic con-fire and 8 (with one of them an accuracy) if you use clone gunners.  Then fire out of your front arc with 6+2 from External Racks for another 8.  DADD wants you to know: your ship's death may not seem funny, but the joke is great if you execute it properly.
Final Thoughts
The Venator will be the foundation of your GAR fleets for a long while going forward, and it is a great ship to build around.  I personally haven't even finished exploring it myself!


  1. Oh my god. I only now realize any of the spiky Venator can take ACM (or APT if prefered) and garantee its effect at medium range!!!

    1. You can only resolve the generic critical effect on salvo attacks so they can't, sorry.

    2. And you also can't add dice to salvo attacks. So no external racks shenanigans either.

    3. Thank god. Sorry for forgetting about the generic crit rule

  2. Does Clone Captain Zak work on SPHA-T, i saw you didn’t mention him and it seemed like he’d be great on SPHA-T Crit Venators pretending to be MC-80s

    1. He DOES work with it but my worry with that is I usually need my officer doing other things than adding a dice out of my side arc. I love Zak on a charger/consular, but I personally am very hesitant about him on a large base for one dice occasionally. YMMV.

  3. A small timing window note for Tranquility: You get to shuffle shields around BEFORE you actually take damage, basiclly always ensuring all your shields get used vs squads and also completly messing with Mar Tuk

    1. You're correct that the shields get shuffled around before you suffer damage.

      I wasn't quite sure if you intended to say that you could mess with Mar Tuuk's extra die mid-attack. I think you weren't, but I'm not sure. If you did intend that, that's incorrect as the window has already passed to determine if he gets the extra die (as it's during the Resolve Attack Effects window earlier). If you're saying "you will almost definitely completely run out of shields on this ship before it's destroyed so eventually it makes Mar Tuuk sad," then I agree!

    2. For Mar Tuk, if all Mar Tuk can see is an unshielded side and shoots into it, he doesn't get the extra red die, then you can Tranquility shields onto that side to absorb the damage, effectively denying the extra die but still (hopefully) absorb the remaining damage after tokens

  4. Out of curiosity, how does the Swivel Mounts build for the Ven 1 get around Thermal Shields? I thought Intel Officer would do it, but the timing doesn't work out (to my understanding, Thermals spends the brace before dice are rolled, Intel picks a token after dice are rolled). Am I missing something, or would Thermals neuter this like it does to other black-dice ships?

    1. Swivels is an add effect, so it happens after you roll your initial dice pool, after Thermals have taken effect. You can then concentrate fire dial to add an additional black die to bring you up to 2.

    2. Gotcha, thanks for the clarification!

  5. A Ven 1 with OE/ACM/SMB/IF and a Ven II carrier with LFC/FG/DBYs has pretty much become my go to double Ven list.

  6. I've personally found LTTs to be necessary for a Venator II. You really want to double arc and you have a red die in your salvo. Lets say you perform 2 attacks and salvo back, thats a total of 5 red dice rolled, and every 4th red die is a blank, statistically speaking. I've run Venator IIs without LTTs and always regretted it. So i can confirm that the minimum amount of red dice for LTTs to be worth it is indeed only 2. Especially if you have 2 red dice in multiple arcs, like on the Charger c70. LTTs are fantastic on there, so why wouldnt they be on a ship with the same armament, that gets to live longer AND also has a red salov die?

  7. Big brain move, take boarding troopers venator-2 to a SSD/Starhawk fight and exhaust 5 defense tokens then Intel Officer the sixth green one. I see no flaws with this plan! Lol

  8. Hey just wanted to ask, if there is a source for the alt art venators? Great article btw, getting back into armada with the republic and found this extremely useful

    1. We used to have the source linked but he no longer produces alt-art cards so we removed the attributions per his request.

    2. Aw man, thanks for answering!