Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Wave 2 - Turbolaser Upgrades

This is it - the last group of upgrades we need to cover before Wave 2 is complete.  Let's get right to it.

Three new turbolaser cards join with three new ships that can use them in Wave 2.  With four ships already that can equip turbolasers, these are the most common upgrade card among ships, save only officers.  Of all ships, only the CR90B, Gladiator, and Raider are unable to equip turbolasers.  Lets look at the new ones, and see what they work with.

Heavy Turbolaser Turrets - 6 points - While attacking, the Brace defense effect cannot reduce the damage total by more than 1 unless it is the only defense token spent by the defender during the attack.  Coming with the ISD, this upgrade is the XI7 of the new wave, designed to work against a specific defense token (and in this case, indirectly affecting others).  To get the some use out of it though, you have to be reliably dealing 4 or more damage in a single attack, after other defense tokens (evade, specifically) have been spent.  The ISD, VSD, and MC80 all have the natural punch to get that out of their best arc.

The other thing to consider with the Heavy Turbolasers is what it is best against.  While XI7s are particularly good at invalidating Redirects, so are Heavy Turbolasers in a sense - if the opponent redirects, they are not preventing half damage with their brace.  They are also capable of forcing critical damage across - if the opponent wants to brace, they can't Contain either.  So it works better than XI7s against other Large ships, with multiple Redirects and Contain that they want to spend against punishing attacks.  Against these ships, it functions better than XI7s for damage output - worst case it does the same as XI7, and best case it is making them splash a lot more punishment over multiple shield zones, or allowing a crit through to the hull that XI7s wouldn't have prevented.

It also works exceptionally well as a counter to ships taking Electronic Countermeasures - who cares that you can free up your Brace at that point?  You've effectively either blocked the Brace, or all other tokens, without needing a single accuracy.  With that in mind, ways of getting damage from the accuracies are also a good idea on your ship.  SW-7 Ions give you a chance to guarantee damage from Blue dice, or Leading Shots let you reroll not only the accuracies, but your Red blanks as well.  For that matter, Vader can really make a dent with his reroll ability on Imperial ships rocking Heavy Turbolasers

There are ships that it doesn't work well with, and ships that it isn't very effective against - at least insofar as it isn't doing much verses no upgrade.  The CR90A and Nebulon B just don't put out enough damage to justify it's inclusion.  The AFII probably don't want this upgrade either, unless they have Ackbar backing them up.  The MC30c is an odd one for this upgrade - on one hand it can certainly put out a lot of damage from its good arc - and possibly even more from a double arc shot with Expanded Launchers - but it isn't going to do so reliably enough to justify this upgrade over some others (which we will get to shortly).  It may be worth a look.

It also doesn't do anything when shooting at the CR90 or MC30c, and barely does anything to a Nebulon B and Raider (only stopping a single Evade from being used).  It scales up well against the Medium ships (and Gladiator), and really shines vs Large with their contain.  Whether you take this vs an XI7 depends on what you expect to be hunting - with the bigger the fish, the more Heavy Turbolasers are your best choice of gun.

Slaved Turrets - 6 points - Modification - You cannot attack more than once per round.  While attacking a ship, add 1 Red die to your attack pool.

The poor man's Enhanced Armaments, in a sense.  To compare, you have 6 points vs 10 points (saving of 4), also a Modification, works from any hull zone (instead of the side only), but doesn't increase your battery armament (just adds a die) and comes with a steep drawback (only 1 attack).  It comes with the MC80, and that makes sense - if you are using Admiral Ackbar, you aren't likely to be making more than a single attack (from your side arc) each turn.

The complications are two-fold for this though.  First if you are using this card, you can't slash with the MC80.  No chance of sliding between enemy forces and putting out two impressive broadsides.  The other situational issue is that it makes Advanced Gunnery a worthless objective for your MC80 - when previously it was one of the best.

The other obvious uses for this upgrade are on ships that are likely only to make a single attack.  Salvation, for example, really wants that extra Red dice out of its front - it deals as much damage, on average, as an extra Black dice.  A carrier spec'd VSD or ISD - with Flight Controllers instead of Gunnery Team - would likely be able to make some use from Slaved Turrets as well.  If Ackbar on an MC80 was a suggested spot, Ackbar with MC30c Scouts could also see this upgrade instead of Enhanced Armaments... though there are better options as well.  CR90As are in the same boat as the Scouts here.

Turbolaser Reroute Circuits - 7 points - While attacking, you may spend an Evade defense token to change 1 Red die to a face with a Crit Result or Double Hit Result.

This comes with the MC30c and is an obvious addition to the Scout variant - with redundant Evade tokens, it dramatically improves its long-range firepower.  With Ackbar able to increase the Red dice, and give a better chance of at least one poor die result, it really maximizes the eventual damage output.  For the exact same reason this is an excellent CR90A upgrade as well, though the CR90 is a bit less hearty than the MC30 in terms of positioning, shields, and defensive upgrades.

This does not work on a variety of Turbolaser upgradable ships though.  The MC80 just cannot use it, ever.  The VSD and ISD require a unique officer - Needa - to even attempt its use, and then aren't getting any benefit from his token other than offense.  The MC30c Torpedo can't use it unless Ackbar is your commander, and even then only from Side Arc Ackbar shots at short-medium range.

The Nebulon B and AFII are odd ducks for this upgrade as well.  On one hand they do have evade tokens, and it can dramatically improve their damage output.  On the other hand, it removes that evade token from being used defensively, unless they want to discard it.  This can be mitigated by activating last, or by avoiding using the upgrade unless the enemy is in close-medium range.  All-in-all not the worst upgrade for either, though other options are out there.

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