Saturday, April 7, 2018

Armada Errata Hot Take

Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes... the dead rising from the grave! Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

Hey there everybody! Biggs and Shmitty are too busy with their Legion shenanigans, so the task of a hot take on yesterday's Armada Errata changes falls to me. And boy are these major changes. I'm not going to rehash the specifics, so if you haven't seen them yet, take a moment to pop over to FFG's page to read up. Done? Alright, so let's go over the winners and

The Losers

Hope you didn't like flotillas, but that's about as big of a nerf bat as you can pull out. No more activation padding, no more meandering on the far ends of the table for relay, no more preserving your fleet from tabling. Ouch. This outright invalidates the 1+flotilla builds that have been cropping up, most famous being Sloane Avenger and Fish Farm. They're just straight illegal now and can't exactly make small adjustments to become legal. I don't think there will be a whole lot of mourning for those builds. Even a lot of people who won with them seem to hate themselves a little bit for doing so. 

The next biggest hit goes to squadron builds. Just about every competitive squadron build (except Norm, because he's a magical wizard) seemed to feature three flotillas and/or rely heavily on relay. Imp squad builds are hurt most by this combination of flotilla and relay nerfs, since they, more than their Rebel counterparts, typically used the two advantages in combination. Rebels, while less reliant on relay, got hit with their two big support ships. The Gallant Haven, while likely justified, hurts it a lot, to the point that we might not even see it in competitive play any longer. It it an extremely expensive title for its effect now. The Yavaris nerf, while effective, is softer. Rebel builds will still be able to use flight commander to provide flexibility. So long as you have a support ship providing FCT support, you can still achieve similar results as now. It's just going to take a little more coordination and effort, which I imagine is what FFG was looking to do.

The Avenger nerf is the only one of the bunch that I see being negligible. It taps down the ability of Sloane Avenger with Gunnery Teams to rake multiple targets, but Boarding Troopers Avenger is only marginally hit. It remains the nastiest activation in the game, and I don't see its use being changed with this light nerf. Double arc or no, you're still punch through massive amounts of damage with that front arc.

The Winners

Raddus, without question, is about to be the dominant force in the meta. He already took home the Vassal World Cup and Canadian Nationals. It's only going to become more pronounced I think. I have been worried for some time that he is too powerful. Now that you can go for a throat punch and ignore flotillas entirely, that worry is even more pronounced. I expect him to come out in full force at Worlds. If you don't have a plan to deal with him, you better start thinking.

This series of nerfs also has the potential to boost small ship MSU. I case you missed it, MSU has been hurting in a big way during this last Regionals season. Their representation at the top table was poor in wave 6 and virtually non-existent since the debut of wave 7. I think flotillas had a lot to do with that. Since small ship MSU depends heavily on winning the activation game, having a flotilla able to massively undercut that advantage has resulted in MSU's decline. Now, however, there are two things I think could bring them back. First is the obvious: flotillas are massively restricted in competitive play and don't matter for tabling at all. MSU is much more likely to win that activation game that need so badly and don't have to spend time hunting down annoying little scatter flotillas. Second, I see them as the most resistant to Raddus lists. Raddus depends on the throat punch to win. If you don't have a small number of valuable ship to eliminate, Raddus can't cause that much damage. Jerjerrod and Madine MSUs in particular are potentially capable of absorbing the blow and punching back.


  1. As an FYI for any other non-tournament players reading this, the flotilla changes discussed are primarily found in the tournament rules update, not the general errata. I know I was pretty confused by some of the comments, not having read tournament doc.

  2. If I may challenge your assertion that Avenger won’t be too badly hurt, I’d point out that MS-1 Ion Cannons can now force you to exhaust the title card! You better hope you have first player though to be fair! Also Damage Control Officer on Avenger will help.

  3. But people would first have to actually take MS-1 Ion Cannons.

  4. Did you notice they nerfed Biggs in Rieekan fleets?

    1. A welcome nerf. Honestly Rieekan's previous nerf of "only 1 ship / unique squadron per round" was probably a bigger hit to Biggs pulling that particular trick than just getting rid of it outright, but still it was dumb that you could make your opponent waste their shots on glorified space debris.