Well, Wave 2 and 400 point lists are the new thing that is happening now, and we have a Vassal tournament to shake out what our very forum's international meta is. Soon, store championships will be starting, and my personal FLGS is hosting its first Winter Kit tournament on Sunday. Frankly, this is a very exciting time to figure out the new list building, while everything is still shaking itself out.
So, what are we going to see now that Wave 2 is out and about? This is definitely going to be a multi-part article, so buckle in for a long ride. First, we are going to talk about Archetypes.
Archetypes in Armada:
A list built to do one thing well - get up close, fast. And punch really hard with black dice and ordinance once you get there. You need some sort of mitigation for the rush in - good tokens spread like the Gladiator, or other mitigation types like the MC30c's titles and defensive retrofit. It helps to have the speed to get into place - either natural speed like the MC30c or Raider, or a potential for more like with Engine Techs on a Gladiator. And you need the ability to take advantage of your position. This means First Player bid, getting two enemy ships in danger at once, or just taking the Demolisher and not caring about all that.
But the big this is black dice and ordinance. Right now with Wave 2 the oomph comes in two flavors - Assault Concussion Missiles and Assault Proton Torpedoes. ACM throws an extra 2 damage out on a Black Crit, splattering against the shields that are adjacent to the target hull zone. Very good against high hull ships or ships with lots of redirects - so in other words this is the ISD / VSD / MC80 destroyer. APT throws a face up card on the Black Crit, which means punching right through onto hull. It is best at destroying low-hull targets, and punching through a single zone of shields - good to pair with XI7 Turbolasers, for example - and taking out low hull ships like the Raider or CR90.
Getting that critical is difficult though - option 1 is to just take Screed - a perfect option for Imperials, though other Imperial Commanders can take advantage of Brawlers in their list - Ozzel can get them into position more easily, and Vader maximizes damage for both them and other long-range options. Ordinance Techs are the newest Wave 2 option for the Brawler, as all such ships can take a Weapons Team. The ability to reroll all your black dice make ACM / APT crits a near certainty at 3 Black Dice, and basically automatic at 4 (though you're likely to remember your wiffs far more often than your multiple hits).
This is a ship that wants to skirt the Long Range of the engagement, vomiting Red dice instead of Black at a distance where hopefully you outgun your opponent. AFII was the undisputed King of Broadsides in Wave 1, but Wave 2 adds the MC80 (a Medium Range broadsider) as well as Admiral Ackbar (and MC30c Scout Frigates) to the list of Rebel ships that can work a broadside. As of now, no Imperial ship is set up to compete in this way - we'll get to their style next.
The Broadside is all about winning the engagement by getting off more rounds of shooting, since in terms of pure dice they are probably outgunned. Defensively, they placed to the strength of Evades, great at their favored range. Command options for Broadsiders are either overall improvement in Garm, or defensive benefits from Mon Mothma prior to Admiral Ackbar putting extra Red into everyone's arsenal.
The Star Destroyer is the Imperial version of the Broadsider - it concentrates all of its firepower into the fore hull zone, however, instead of either side. Point at the target (or more accurately at where they will soon be) and throw dice. The VSD was the best example of this in Wave 1, with the much improved ISD being the king of the battlefield in Wave 2. Depending on variant, they either wanted at least Medium Range (VSD2 / ISD2) or close range (VSD1 / ISD1) and gave an absolutely ridiculous damage potential for their relative cost.
The danger with all the guns pointed forward though, is that is relatively easy to out flank them, just by flying past at high speeds. Especially the VSD which was slow and as maneuverable as brick. Either way though, they had the advantage of lots of hull and shields, and can take a pounding.
For Commanders, Motti improves their already powerful hull, Tarkin hands off tokens, and Vader improves their long range shots in ways Screed just can't.
Not real brawlers, though the Raider, properly geared, can pretend to be. The Flankers want to get to the side (of Star Destroyers) or the rear (of Brawlers) or front (of Broadsiders) and take shots basically unmolested. They are fast, maneuverable and responsive (low Command Value) ships that can zip around the battlefield. The CR90 was the only Wave 1 ship fitting this description - with the Raider giving the Imperials their first true flanker.
An interesting addition to this is that Flankers also tend to be the best source of inexpensive Ion Cannon platforms. The CR90B and Raider 2 are each faction's cheapest way to get Overload Pulse or NK-7 Ion Cannons onto the battlefield.
Nebulon B! The Sniper isn't a Star Destroyer, though it has all its best guns forward. It doesn't however have any Medium or Short range damage capabilities added as it gets closer. It is a long-range engagement ship, relying on slow initial speed to limit the engagement and then sudden acceleration as it closes to get past and into a "safe" hull zone. Basically this is the Nebulon B, and only the Nebulon B.
It isn't an easy ship to use, but it is an excellent "chaser" ship to show up late and finish off wounded foes from a safe distance. It can also function as a support ship to give it some additional role in the fight when it isn't engaged right away - Redemption as a title is a great example of this, as is Projection Experts.
Next time we will be looking at point values for different (non-upgraded) ships to see how lists can come together, and what percentage of your list is tied up just by selecting a given ship. Until then!