Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Armada Meta Deep Dive: Imperial LMSU
I think everybody has used some version of this archetype, especially when Boarding Troopers/Avenger came onto the scene. Heck, my Rebel-loving ass even used it to win a Store Championship at one point. In many ways, I see it as the quintessential Imperial fleet. Star Destroyer? Check. Demolisher? Check. Direct and brutal? Check. It's no surprise that it still has legs deep into Wave 7. It has a lot of variations, but that's what's pretty cool about it. It's one of the few archetypes out there that isn't dependent on a particular commander, nor as married to the key components I list below as the other archetypes I've gone over. Heck, some of the most successful versions out there don't use Demolisher, which many Imperial players would almost consider heresy. It's a fun list that is about as Star Wars as it gets.
Imperial Star Destroyer
This puts the "large" in LMSU. This is the list's primary threat and likely flagship. In theory, any ISD will do, but I'm a bigger fan of an ISD-II or a Cymoon because of their reach. There's nothing like a big scary front arc and Gunnery Teams to control the board. Alternatively, a Kuat BT Avenger is plenty scary. I suspect Kuats and ISD-IIs will be the most common because the come with organic defense retrofit slots. That leaves the officer slot open for...
Many players have started to consider SA mandatory on large ships. I disagree with to a degree, but not in this case. An SA on an ISD is what lets this list operate as a quasi-MSU. This list is aiming for six activations, which seems to be the magic number these days. It can't do that without SA.
The old Imperial standby is still a nasty threat. Nerf and all, Demo still has impressive range. It serves as the secondary threat to the ISD in the list. It's a pretty damned good one-two punch. Demo is especially hard to escape. Even though it can no longer fire after an Engine Tech move, you'll still see most versions keep the upgrade. It's useful for getting Demo out of dangerous after its attack run, as well as keeping pace with smaller ships, which it excels at hunting. You can probably expect to see Brunson on board these days as she significantly helps survivability.
Small, Cheap Filler
Remember, the magic number is six. Dropping below that activation count tends to hamstring what the list wants to do. This list also tends to prefer first player, so that typically means players using this archetype go slim on the remaining activations. Two Gozantis should be expected, probably at least one with Slicer Tools. Beyond that, there's a number of good options. A Raider I with a Vader Boarding Party seems to be popular of late. A Raider II with DCaps and HIE is my personal favorite. You also can't go wrong with a Needa/TRC Arquitens.
It's the very definition of a bully. It wants to go full Cobra Kai: Strike First, Strike Hard, No Mercy. It's fast and brings a tremendous amount of firepower to bear. Any ISD is never easy to bring down, so eliminating it along with the other combat ships is a tough feat. If you're dedicating enough combat power to bring down the ISD, Demo in particular can be difficult to pin down. With Engine Techs and Brunson, it's a slippery and survivable ship. That translates to being difficult to table.
This list tends to be vulnerable to highly maneuverable ships and squadrons. At this point, just about everyone knows to avoid that ISD front arc like the plague. Fleets that are able to get around it without taking a shot are already at a leg up. Demo can help with this by guarding the ISD's flank, but it can't be everywhere. Squadron builds also tend to have free reign as well since this archetype is typically squadronless. Imperial two-ship, in particular, undermines the activation advantage this list wants and its squadrons have the range to keep up with Demo.
That's a wrap for my meta deep dive! I hope you enjoyed this series of articles. You probably won't hear too much from me in the coming month. I'll be spending a good chunk of my normal blogging time inputting information into the Regionals data sheet. I'll come up for air probably around the half way point in the season to do a shallow dive into what that data is showing about Armada at large. If you don't hear from me before then, Happy Holidays!