Angry Space Triangles: Back With a Vengeance

Alternative titles considered for this article included “Too Angry, More Triangle”, “Raiders of the Lost SKU Codes” and “I Waited Months for a New Announcement And All I Got Was This Lousy Oh Shit Is That An Interdictor Never mind I’m Good.”

So. It’s been a while since I last updated this blog with ‘Armada’-related ramblings. Quite a while, in fact. And oh my, has a lot happened since then. There have been full previews on both of the Wave 3 releases. I’ve been to my very first Regional-level tournament. And the sneaky marketers at Fantasy Flight Games launched a surprise attack with the announcement of the two ships that just about every player has been begging for since Wave 2.

I’ll be catching up on Wave 3 and my latest tournament experiences in a future article, but for now let’s take a look at what’s really been getting us all hot and bothered over the weekend: Wave 4, the Interdictor and the Liberty-class ships.


The Interdictor

swm16_spread.png

Well, well, well. What a lovely-looking ship this is. Smooth lines, modern detailing, big domes. This thing looks like a piece of art and I personally can’t wait to get my hands on one. It’s big, too – from this perspective, it seems to dwarf that medium-sized base.

Now let’s get some spoilers out the way before we address the full reveals. First, the obvious:

  • An apparent maximum speed of 2. Previews like this usually show the speed dial set to the ship’s maximum speed.
  • 5 Engineering points – the highest value of any ship in the game so far, more even than an Imperial-class, and a total of 8 points in combination with a token – and it even has an Engineering Team – that’s 9 engineering points or three hull cards, or four shields and change. Wow.
  • Speaking of Engineering Teams, it’s safe to assume that this ship therefore has a “Support Team” option – making it one of only two Imperial ships with that slot. And this ship would be the perfect platform for some Projection Experts.
  • Other upgrade types confirmed are “Offensive Retrofit” for those tractor beams and “Ion Cannons” for those lovely blue dice manipulations.
  • 9 hull points – the second-highest in the game. With a ludicrous repair rate, this ship is made for prolonged engagement.
  • Two “Contain” defense tokens. Critical effects only happen to other ships, it seems, and any that do slip through will get repaired away in about three nanoseconds. You might think that two “Contains” is too many, but that’s fine because this ship’s long-range antics make it the perfect candidate for Captain Needa to get some vital long-range defense going.
  • Mediocre batteries and shields. Not a full-fledged combat vessel, this one, despite its tanking credentials.
  • That Interdictor title would be nice with some Electronic Countermeasures, but there’s no evidence that this ship could take a “Defensive Retrofit”, sadly.

That’s quite a list of qualifications. Certainly better than my own CV. Now, for some of the more subtle stuff:

  • Targeting Somethings, an “Experimental Retrofit” which seems to allow friendly defending ships to force attackers to reroll dice, just like Lando Calrissian only at Close range. Great for Gladiators.
  • Grav Shomethings, which do… Something. Involving Grav Shift tokens. Maybe. I’ll have to get back to you on this one.
  • MS-1 Ion Thingies, which trigger on blue criticals and potentially allow you to exhaust… something of the defender’s. Probably Defensive tokens, maybe like some kind of cut-price Overload Pulse.
  • Flight Offisomething and Fighter Coordiwotsits. No idea what they do, but this looks like more buffs for the squadron game. Neat, if you like that sort of thing.
  • Commander Thatguy and Admiral Whosits, two unique upgrades, presumably “Officer” upgrades given the presence of the backwards-facing “Commander”-type upgrade card, of which we can presume there’s only one in this expansion. You can tell it’s a “Commander” because of the hair. I checked. I literally had nothing better to do.

So, what does all this mean?

Well, first off, wow, this ship can soak damage and self-heal like a bastard. Taking one of these down is going to take a lot of concentrated effort, which one might expect for a 90-point un-upgraded ship.

But we’re not taking into account those “Experimental Retrofits”. Two have been revealed:

projectors.png

Added to these are the Targeting Somethings and the Grav Shomethings, which means four options of this type. Four options is a lot – and opens up the possibility of the Interdictor having two such upgrade slots. Or, the designers just wanted us to have a range of choice. Either way is nice.

The G7-X Grav Well Projectors are a game-changer. They are perfect for covering objectives, such as a contested outpost or some dangerous territory, and they could completely mess up any thoughts an opponent might have about launching a hyperspace assault. I think the trick with this upgrade is to treat your own imagination as the limit – there is so much you could potentially do with them, and if you had a fleet with multiples of these you could assert total positioning advantage over your opponent.

The G-8 Experimental Projector is lovely. Really lovely. 8 points is a lot, but the possibility to neutralise Engine Teching attackers is not to be sniffed at. It’s a unique card, sadly, so you’ll only ever get one in a fleet, but it’s not a modification, so you can combine it with all of those Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams to really give fast fleets a headache. That kitted-out Demolisher isn’t so scary when it’s reduced to Speed 2 with no bonus movement.

There’s one thing the Interdictor seems to do really well, which is Control. It’s a totally “Imperial” way of thinking and I love it. Given its resilience, it’s also an incredible Command ship. It is perfectly suited to sitting back and chilling out behind the front line, keeping your commander completely safe and diminishing and demoralising your opponent with every activation.

It’s also going to change the make-up of Imperial fleets. Here’s an idea of a list you could run which breathes life back into the antiquated and flabby Victory-class Star Destroyer:

The New Imperial Battering Ram
Total Points – 395 pts


Interdictor Suppression Refit – 90 pts

  • Admiral Motti – 24 pts
  • Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams – 6 pts
  • G-8 Experimental Projector – 8 pts
  • Captain Needa – 2 pts
  • Interdictor – 3 pts

Victory II-class Star Destroyer – 85 pts

  • Gunnery Team – 7 pts
  • Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams – 6 pts
  • XI7 Turbolasers – 6 pts

Victory II-class Star Destroyer – 85 pts

  • Gunnery Team – 7 pts
  • Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams – 6 pts
  • XI7 Turbolasers – 6 pts

Gozanti-class Cruisers – 23 pts

  • Repair Crews – 4 pts

Gozanti-class Cruisers – 23 pts

  • Repair Crews – 4 pts

Now then, there’s a bit of tankability for you. This fleet can recover hits at a terrifying rate, and it can kick out a fair bit of damage whilst it’s at it. The Victorys‘ lack of agility is covered by the fleet’s ability to pin other medium and small ships in place through tractor beams and the Interdictor‘s projectors. Your options would be limited against fleets of larger ships, and you’ve got no fighter cover, but with the Gozantis healing you up every turn, chances are good that you can weather sustained streams of damage. With Motti in command, you’re not getting one-shotted any time soon.

The Interdictor would also be a brilliant command ship for a fleet of Gladiators. The ability to prevent your victims from accelerating out of Black dice range would allow you to keep laying the hurt on over multiple turns, and some Projection Experts could really help to keep those fragile smaller ships from popping too quickly.

There’s still a lot to discuss about the Interdictor, and there’ll be orders of magnitude more as further previews are released, but for now, let’s go look at that lovely curvy ship…


… The Liberty

swm17_spread.png

Gosh, my heart is all a-flutter. This is one damnably attractive spaceship. A nice paint job, a gorgeously-realised silhouette… Yeah, this thing is going to make Rebel fleets the new hotness.

Let’s establish a pattern by reviewing the most obvious spoilers first:

  • HOLY SHIT that’s a front arc and a half. Four Red dice, three Blue dice, and 5, yes Five, shields. The sides are weak, but do you really care? This thing headbutts like Zinedine Zidane in a mosh pit.
  • Two “Braces”. Yes, two. They’re not much use on the Nebulon-B, but with this thing’s excess hull and ludicrous forward shielding, they’re incredible, and make this vessel a solid alternative to the Imperial-class.
  • Maximum Speed of 2, in line with the Home One variant.
  • A “Weapons Team” slot for those vital Gunnery Teams, this makes a big difference for a ship with a singular powerful arc, especially given how weak it is when it “double-taps”.
  • A “Support Team” slot for those vital Engine Techs. If the Liberty is to be the Rebels’ answer to the Imperial-class, it’s going to need some Speed-3 capability.
  • Both “Turbolaser” and “Ion Cannon” upgrade slots. Needed for those dice manipulations and Defense Token negations that prevent your valuable forward attacks from going to waste.
  • General Madine is a bit tasty. He probably needs to sack his hairdresser, but he definitely has a lot to offer to a fleet of heavy Rebel ships. Hell, he’s got a lot to offer to the already-excellent MC30-class of frigates, which can now whip about at Speed-4 with little concern for their limited turns.
  • Veteran Gunners are a bit of a weird one. They’re worse than Ordnance Experts for Black-dice ships, and arguably worse than Turbolaser Reroute Circuits for Red-dice evadey ships. And, if I’m being honest, they’re probably worse than Leading Shots for everyone else – the fact that you Must re-roll All of your attack dice means you’ve got just as much chance of being shafted as you did the first time. I can’t immediately think of an occasion when I’d take them instead of one of the alternatives, especially given that they fill the same slot as the incredibly useful Gunnery Teams.
  • The Liberty title allows this ship to activate four squadrons with a Squadron command and token, or two when it’s got just the token. This is incredibly useful for dragging along fighter support, either as bombers to enhance the assault or superiority fighters to protect your flanks.
  • No “Contain” on the “Battle Cruiser” variant, possibly a concern against Black-dice opponents but probably nothing to worry too much about. Hopefully this will keep the cost down. The other variant must get a “Contain”, so there’s always options for those people who hate their face-up damage cards.

This all builds towards a solid-looking ship with great front-line credentials. This thing is the antithesis of the Home One-class MC80, aggressive and direct, and absolutely not a candidate for sitting back and waiting for the enemy to approach. Now, let’s look at some of the hidden stuff:

  • Quad Turbywurbies which seem to do some dice manipulation on attacks that contain Red dice – looks like you can change accuracies to anything else, but I could be wrong.
  • Those MS-1 Ion Thingies again. Still not too sure what they do. Will be fun to find out.
  • Spinal Tap, maybe. A “Modification” that changes battery strength, just like Enhanced Armament. My guess is that, given it’s a “Turbolaser” upgrade, and “Spinal” implies it runs along the length of the ship, I’m guessing that it’s going to add Red dice to your forward battery. Will probably be expensive, given the relationship in cost between front- and side-arc battery enhancements exhibited by Expanded Launchers and Rapid Reload. This is going to be a very exciting upgrade for Nebulon-Bs, Star Destroyers in general, and especially MC30s, which could conceivably take both Spinal Taps and Expanded Launchers for a horrifying forward attack at close-range.
  • I think the next one will be “High Capacity Ion Turrets”, but I can’t be sure so I’m going to call it High Calorie Ion Treats. Given, like above, it’s a “Modification”, but this time it specifies “hull zoneS“, I’m guessing this is a blue-dice addition to your side arcs. Which is nice. It increases them either by 1, or by a number beginning with “1”. My hope is that it’s a double-digit number, and that it costs 150 points. For no real reason.
  • The title Mo-Something-Something. My guess is that the text reads “While attacking at [x] range the defender may not spend [y] defense tokens.” It would be fitting for a Star Destroyer-wannabe to have access to a mirror of the Avenger title.
  • Enough, the third title. “At the start of the [z] round, something something defense tokens.” As above, I’m guessing that this is a mirror for Devastator, in that you will get defensive tokens back or something. If so, then it will stack nicely with Walex Blissex. Tasty.
  • Skilled Blokes, some kind of team similar to Ruthless Strategists, I guess. I dunno, I’m not psychic. Also Chaos Cultist, some Mon Calamari douchebags and what looks like a medical bay, which could be neat.
  • A completely unknown “Support Team”. It’ll probably end up being an Engineering Team or something just to annoy us.

So, what can we tell from all this?

Well, a fleet mock-up is difficult given the lack of points values, but access to battery modifications for Red and Blue dice is going to change the worth of a lot of ships, as mentioned. It’s also going to refresh some little-used cards, such as Darth Vader, whose ability gets better the more forward-facing Red dice a fleet has. Hell, the ability to have Enhanced Armament and High Calorie Ions on a Home One MC80 will be exciting in its own right – 11-dice broadsides when you include Admiral Ackbar‘s ability and a Concentrate Fire command, that’s a scary prospect for any fleet to face. This expansion is definitely going to see a swelling in the average battery size, and that’s a change I can get behind.

(A keen-eyed reader pointed out within half an hour of this post going up that a ship can’t have two “Modifications”, I don’t know how I forgot about that. Good spot, KovuTalli, thank you for keeping me honest.)

The big thing with the Liberty itself is that it’s probably going to be the best “out-of-the-box” ship the Rebels will have. The Empire have a great selection of ships that need only one or two upgrades to be really effective, but up until now the Rebels have typically had to work a little harder on getting their upgrade synergies just right. The Gladiator is a fine ship with just an “Ordnance” upgrade, but the MC30 really needs its titles and defensive retrofits and everything else to make it work. The Imperial-class gets by with Gunnery Teams and Heavy Turbolaser Turrets, maybe Electronic Countermeasures if you’re feeling flush, but the Home One really needs a full range of extra cards and commander abilities to stay competitive.

Liberty changes that – it’s a powerful ship that draws its strengths from its basic profile. It’s got an immediate and apparent use, and it doesn’t need much to multiply its strengths. My guess is that the game designers saw how much fun people had with the Imperial-class and chose to replicate a winning formula, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s certainly going to change Rebel fleets and tactics, I believe for the better, and it means the Rebels can now definitely compete with the Empire at their own game.


For me, Wave 4 signals the maturity of ‘Star Wars: Armada’ as a game. There are now many, many variants of fleets on offer. Old ships are suddenly looking a lot more relevant, and the new ships look as though they’re going to fit right in. It’s very difficult to tell what the “meta” will look like in a year’s time, and that’s a good thing. It means the game offers variety by being well balanced and finely tuned.

‘Armada’ will never have as wide a selection of ships as ‘X-Wing’, and that’s just fine. Each ship in ‘Armada’ is so easy to customise to suit different tactics and strategies, and there really is no reason for any two fleets to look the same. The Interdictor is the hard counter to the “Clonisher” build of fast, powerful ships, but it also makes the Victory relevant again. The Liberty gives the Rebels something to hang their Nebulon-Bs off of, but it could also work in concert with the Home One to make for a very interesting fleet which has an answer to its own weaknesses.

These two new ships, and the flotillas of Wave 3, are going to make ‘Armada’ gaming tables much more varied, a great deal more exciting, and one hell of a lot prettier, and that gets me really excited for the future of the game.

Speaking of Wave 3, I’ll admit that I initially struggled to get properly excited over the addition of some tiny transports to a game full of epic warships. They may well make big changes when they’re released but that’s only going to excite seasoned players of the game, not newbies and not those of us who still wave our hands at automatic doors so we can pretend that we opened them with The Force.

Wave 4, though, should get everybody excited. It’s big, it’s loud and exactly the shot of adrenaline the game needs at this key stage in its growth. Wave 5, Wave 6 and all the rest will no doubt be just as exciting, but by the end of 2016 Armada’s going to be game it was destined to be. Bring on the future.

5 thoughts on “Angry Space Triangles: Back With a Vengeance

  1. Only thing I can see wrong with this is you can’t have both Calories and Enhanced as both are Mod’s you can only have 1 Mod per ship, other than that good write up and interesting predictions.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Your assertion that the speed is told by the dial is false. I just checked he MC30 preview and it is set to 3. In the Here They Come article (wave 2) the ISD is speed 2, MC30 is 3, MC80 is 2, and he Raider is 3.

    Like

    1. Of the eleven ship/flotilla expansions previously announced, the Corellian Corvette, the Raider, the Imperial-class and the MC30 are the four ships to have dials not matching their maximum speed, so they seem like the exception to the rule to me. Given that both the Interdictor and the Liberty have Support Team slots, I reckon it would be surprising for them to be able to use Engine Techs to get up to Speed 4. For the Gladiator it makes a bit more sense, not so much here.

      Like

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