It's been awhile, hasn't it? The last time we talked about Commanders was back in June, and here we are in October. Actually, Commanders were one of the first things I discussed on this blog, the very first for Armada being objectives, and Commanders not long after that.
So without further ado - let's go through the new Commanders that the Rebellion gets for Wave 2.
Neither of the new rebel commanders are cheap options - General Dodonna continues to reign supreme as the cheapest commander at 20 pts - as such we will be using him and his point cost as the rebel baseline for commanders.
General Rieekan - 30 pts - At 10 more points than General Dodonna, Rieekan is a Second Player focused upgrade. For those 10 points, you get your ships and unique squadrons to survive until the end of the Status phase when they would normally be destroyed during the instant they took their hull damage worth of damage cards. Coming in with the MC30 expansion, Rieekan gives the biggest advantage to ships that are glass cannons - much like the MC30. While your ships will still blow up at the end of the round, even if you attempt to save them by repairing hull damage, they will still get their activation, including their attacks.
The example that FFG gave with the spoiler picture was a MC30 running into the middle of the Imperial fleet, to deliver a double arc'd shot on the Imperial flagship, but there are other uses for Rieekan that go beyond a suicidal charge to deliver a double arc'd shot. Rieekan can let you use cheap or heavily damaged ships to block enemies in, confident that even if they are destroyed, the enemy still will not be able to move out of your way. Rieekan can also let you use unique squadrons as improved interceptors, tying up enemy squadrons that would otherwise be able to destroy your one squadron and move on to perform bombing runs on your ships, or other squadrons! Consider Wedge Antilles, at 1 hull, tying up a group of enemy bombers. A single squadron activation, with just Rhymer activating initially, and the regular bombing runs can commence. Now with Rieekan, the enemy bombers can't attack anything, except Wedge's smoking space debris. Same thought with Wedge tying up a group of fighters, while Escorting Dutch and Han Solo. Oh well, all of them have to attack Wedge. Who still gets to attack, by the way.
Rieekan is definitely an offensively oriented upgrade, to the extent that it lets you put a lower priority on defensive upgrades. Due to his very nature, he works the best in fleets with cheaper ships and more expensive squadrons - if your ships would normally get destroyed, he allows you to get one last use out of them. Look to see him in lists with a large number of CR90s and MC30s, with larger ships acting as carriers for named squadrons.
Admiral Ackbar - 38pts - At a whopping 18 more points than Dodonna, Admiral Ackbar is a heavily offensive oriented commander, giving you the option to forgo shooting from your front or rear arcs for an extra 2 Red dice from your sides against enemy ships. The obvious use for this ship is with the MC80, which the Admiral comes with, but he also works well with any ship that has a large and heavy side arc. AFII-Bs, MC30 Scout variant, and some might even say the CR90A and Neb-B could find a home in an Ackbar commanded fleet.
Already, Ackbar is being dubbed the "Rebel Screed" for not only adding a considerable amount of damage to the Rebel guns, but for rapidly being considered the default Rebel commander when he is released. He is expensive; more than any other commander but Grand Moff Tarkin - who he ties, but adding 2 extra dice per attack for a strategy most Rebel ships are already set up to execute is rapidly being considered the new standard for Rebel ships.
Obviously, Ackbar is further improved by pairing him with upgrades that improve your side arcs, particularly long range upgrades. Turbolaser Re-route Circuits, Enhanced Armament, and Slaved Turrets all improve the broadsides of his ships even further, as does to a lesser extent NK-7 Ion Cannons (to turn extra accuracies to more damage), and Rapid Reload (for improving close range MC30 broadsides). Arguably he puts out the most damage from a Assault Frigate MkII B with a Gunnery Team, able to attack twice from the same arc for 5 Red dice (or up to 7 with Enhanced Armaments and a Concentrate Fire dial,) giving that ship the biggest punch at long range out of a single arc for its relative cost.
It's worth talking about the Ackbar Slash, a somewhat suicidal maneuver in which a ship pulls in between the enemy formation, firing both broadsides. It remains to be seen how easy this will be to pull off, at least without an advantage in activations. But in theory, an MC80 could pull off the Ackbar Slash and fire 8 dice out of each side before any upgrades or commands. If nothing else, it could make the enemy thing long and hard about splitting their forces and trying to flank your fleet.
That is it for the Rebel commanders. Next time we will discuss the Imperials new commanders, Ozzel and Lord Vader himself. Until then, fly casual!
This article is part of the Upgrades series.