The answer is... not intuitively. Where the Empire has ships designed to cover their biggest glaring weak points, the Rebels emphatically do not. That isn't to say there aren't ships that can fulfill these roles, but they aren't as easily identifiable as a properly kitted out Raider or Gladiator. Let's look at what the Rebels have available.
|Nebulon B's are an option.|
Escort Tactics: CR90 Corvette
The CR90 doesn't really have the ability to function as a traditional escort. You can gear it up as a support ship, but it really doesn't have the offensive oomph, even with Turbolaser Reroute Circuit, to deter anyone from closing in to your other ship's dead zones. Still, you can do a few things to get them in as a low cost close quarters escort to your big ships.
Specing Out an Escort CR90 Corvette
CR90B Corvette (44 pts)
- SW-7 Ion Cannons
Guaranteed damage is pretty nice, and you've got 4 with a CF dial from the front arc, plus 2 extra if you can get a double arc on the side. That's enough added damage to discourage an attacker from closing in at least.
CR90B Corvette (49 pts)
- NK-7 Ion Battery
Maybe not a great option, but a NK-7 critical effect is enough to make people think twice before closing in on you.
Escort Tactics: Nebulon B
The Nebulon B is the only small base Rebel ship out yet that can comfortably deal with an anti-squadron role, and only then as an aptly named Escort Frigate. This does, however, make it the best option for this role. The most common rebel ships don't want to be taking anti-squadron shots after all - the AFIIB only has a single Blue die and the MC80 can't take Gunnery Team to shoot enemy squadrons as well as enemy ships from the same arc.
The Support Refit on the other hand doesn't have either the squadron activations or the anti-squadron firepower to reliably deter anyone. While it can be used as a long range support ship, it really isn't going to be anything more than a speed bump / screen if used as an Escort role.
Nebulon B Escort Frigate: (65 pts)
- Veteran Officer
A great option for Garm fleets, it gives you multiple activations of 3 squadrons each, great to use either for anti-squadron cover or for bombing runs on an enemy that gets too close.
Nebulon B Escort Frigate: (69 pts)
- Raymus Antilles
Your other Garmless Yavaris option, giving each activation 3 squadrons to double attack anything dumb enough to fly into range.
Escort Tactics: Squadrons
While the ships themselves aren't particularly useful, the Rebels do have a lot of Fighter / Bombers that can effectively do the role of Escort themselves. Even without an activation, fighters can be used as an effective deterrent - just forming a cloud or "minefield" of squadrons around where you are expecting the enemy to move, and you can use your squadrons as sort of psudo-final activation. B-Wings are great multi-role fighters for your slower ships, and A-Wings / X-Wings work well for larger ships. Rogue squadrons work wonders as well - YT-2400s being the only non-unique option available to the rebels, though without Bomber aren't particularly efficient.
Escort Tactics: MC30c Frigate
Closer to the Gladiator in terms of damage for anti-ship work, the MC30c can also be used as an escort, but begins to get a bit pricey. It also has nothing that can help with anti-squadron work, still only using the same 1 Blue that the other rebel ships have.
But for anti-ship, the Rebels really have nothing at all like it, and have several ways that they can gear it out to get the most of it. For the most part for a pure escort role, you'll want to stay away from the more expensive MC30c Scout Frigate - good in its own right, but pricier and better suited to long range engagements. Remember, the more points you put into an escort, the more of a worthwhile target it becomes and the more it will hurt to sacrifice it if you need to. That is not to say that you cannot have a hybrid Escort / Heavy Hitter, but it won't be as specialized at either job.
Specing Out an Escort MC30c Frigate
MC30c Torpedo Frigate (67 pts)
- Ordinance Experts
The MC30c equivalent to a GSD1. 7 points more gives you 1 less Black on your side for 2 Blue, and both Red in front swapped for 1 Blue. Not a terrible trade, and good at punishing an enemy ship much the same way as the Gladiator was. It is probably a bit less survivable than the comparable Gladiator, without a Brace token, but it can still redirect damage to it's high shields.
MC30c Torpedo Frigate (67 pts)
- Ruthless Strategists
A thought for those of you who still need an anti-squadron option, this is the cheapest way to get a Ruthless Strategists on the board for the Rebels. You lose the anti-ship rerolls, but gain the ability to toss an extra 1 damage at any engaged squadrons. Good for taking out lots of TIE Fighters or scatter pilots all at once. Definitely a meta dependent choice, but one worth looking into.
That's it for this mailbag. Got a topic you want covered? Post it in the comments, or send it to BiggsIRL on the FFG forums. I'll try to get it covered! Thanks again to Rhinehard for this week's topic! Until next time, fly casual!