Saturday, March 27, 2021

Squadron Rebalance Wishlist

Armada's 1.5 version has been with us for a good while now. We've had a few major online tournaments to give us somewhat of a pulse of how the new meta is starting to shake out. Personally, I like what I've experienced with the changes to the squadron game. A medium wing of squadrons has a function, but the increased firepower of squadrons and the addition of Grit has ensured we're not at wave 1 levels of lock down again. The result is a wider range of competitive squadron compliments. If you look at the Vassal World Cup's top lists, you can find a wide range of squadron investment. That's great news for the game as it gives different types of fleets chances to compete. 

Still, while we're seeing a wider range of investment, the types of squadrons actually taken has not really changed. If anything, the Aces cap has decreased the variety of which specific squadrons are taken. Imperials seem to always start with Mauler, Maarek, and Jendon. Rebels tend to go with either Biggs and Jan or Shara and Tycho, depending on the function they want to squad ball to fill. Lando seems to be included in just about any squad ball. So how do we address that lack of diversity? I think FFG avoided doing a points rebalance on squadrons because of the large systemic changes to squadrons in 1.5. I think they always intended to do another pass at some point down the line. We've seen it with Legion, so since Armada now has a living rules set, logic holds FFG might have started doing the same for Armada. We're in AMG's hands now, so only time will tell what they do. Given their past behavior and statements, I think there's a good chance Armada will get points adjustments going forward.

That inevitably leads to asking what exactly should the adjustments be. Between forum posts and discord discussions, I've been thinking about that a good amount lately. After my third or fourth time giving a small number of examples, I thought it would be fun to just go down the whole list of Rebel and Imperial squadrons. There are two goals in the wish list that follows. First, I want to increase the number of viable squadrons and Aces in order to increase the diversity of squadrons in competitive play. I tended to go with more decreases and limited increases. Nerfs don't feel great, so I tried to keep it pretty limited. Second, I'm trying to address the underlying reasons we needed the Ace cap in the first place. Aces have generally been far more cost efficient than their generic counterparts. You can get a lot of the same point for less command investment. As such, as you read below, expect to see a lot of point drops for generics. I targeted nearly every Rebel and Imperial generic with a point decrease, with very few exceptions. A special thanks to Brobafett for looking over my thoughts and giving some notes where I was less certain, especially on the Imperial side.

Rebel Squadrons


  • Generic: Decrease to 12 points

  • Rogue: Decrease to 13 points

  • Wedge: No change

  • Luke: No change

  • Biggs: Increase to 23 points

Starting with the most Star Wars of Star Wars fighters, the X-Wing is perhaps the most iconic of the universe, certainly amongst Rebel squadrons. They are seen pretty consistently in Rebel fleets, but always with Biggs Darklighter in tow. By increasing Biggs's cost and decreasing the cost of X-Wings, the goal was to slightly increase the cost of an average Biggs+3 ball, while encouraging X-Wing use outside that combo. Wedge and Luke, being older squadrons, are more appropriately costed, so a change didn't feel necessary.


  • Generic: Decrease to 9 points; add keyword Formation: When you are activated by a squadron command, you may choose another unactivated squadron with the Formation keyword at distance 1. That squadron may move and shoot as if activated by a squadron command. If you do so, toggle that squadron's activation slider to the activated side.

  • Gold: No change

  • Norra: No change

  • Dutch: No change

The Y-Wing Aces have been in a good spot for a while now. They both bring something pretty unique, but hardly mandatory. Even in 1.5, they seem to be included at decent enough levels to keep them where they are. I'm tempted to increase the cost on Gold Squadron because it is so incredibly efficient, but I said I was avoiding nerfs where possible. As it stands, while Gold is a really good choice, I think it is just below the threshold of needing an increase. Generics, however, need some help. This cost decrease might seem like a slap to Y-Wings in Republic fleets, but it's hard to compare. Plain and simple, mass Y-Wings have no place in Rebel squadrons at the moment. The goal is to change that. The new keyword is something Broba and I work-shopped. One of his primary reasons for not touching TIE Bombers on the Imp side is activation economy. You can only activate so many squads at a time, so adding more cheap squads doesn't actually help you if you can't activate them. Why take 2 cheap single die bombers instead of 1 double die bomber? Formation is an attempt to achieve activation parity.


  • Generic: No change

  • Green: Decrease to 11 points

  • Tycho: Increase to 18 points

  • Shara: Increase to 20 points

For the life of me, I don't think I've ever understood how A-Wings were 2 points cheaper than X-Wings. Their speed, efficient anti-ship, and counter have always made A-Wings the superior all-around squadron for Rebels. They don't really need any help. Well, except Green Squadron. That poor guy can come down by a point. With the Intel change, Shara and Tycho are pretty much the best minimal squadron combo in the game at the moment. Shara in particular is a nasty piece of work. Tycho is less so, but his scatter and the ability to just disengage at will are really good in 1.5.


  • Generic: Decrease to 13 points 

  • Dagger: Decrease to 14 points

  • Keyan: Decrease to 19 points

  • Ten: No change

The nerf to Yavaris has taken a fair amount of power out of the once mighty B-Wing, so I'm pretty comfortable dropping most of the costs here. Generics and Dagger come down in line with other squadrons. Keyan I think can see a drop as well. His ability is pretty niche, so he could use some help making the Ace cut. Ten is the only one that doesn't get a decrease. The lack of Yavaris boosting may have taken him down a bit, but I'm still not comfortable with a decrease.


  • Generic: Decrease to 13 points

  • Corran: No change

The poor E-Wing has not seen much table time over the years. It is basically just an X-Wing without escort. As such, it doesn't get that lovely Biggs synergy that keeps X-Wings in business. A dramatic cost cut for an unused squadron seems appropriate. Corran, meanwhile, sees plenty of use in competitive play, so I think he can stay where he is.


  • Generic: Decrease to 10 points; Intel keyword change- Friendly squadrons at distance 1-3 gain Grit

  • Jan: Increase to 23 points; Intel keyword change- Friendly squadrons at distance 1-3 gain Grit

  • Kanan: Decrease to 17 points

Never has there been a larger divide between generics and an Ace. Generic HWKs were rarely used before the Intel nerf. Now they are total coaster cards. I think increasing the range of their ability would help that, as it would allow a different type of squadron approach to take hold. Grit requires a wide spread to be really useful, so changing their radius is the most effective solution I can think of for making these squadrons useful again. I also see this as an indirect boost to Y-Wing spam as it allows you to spread those bombers out over a wider area, making them harder to tie down. Jan, meanwhile, is by far the most powerful Rebel squadron in the game. Tucked away safely in a ball of Biggs and X-Wings, she is incredibly good. Since a boost to Intel would also impact her, I think a significant increase in cost is more than appropriate. The price hike might seem steep, but keep in mind her escorts got a discount. Meanwhile, Kanan is just off on his own little island, having pretty much nothing to do with other HWKs. Can we just pretend he's piloting the Phantom? Anyway, I have yet to see him really do anything. In the games I've seen, he's unable to really break out and do any major Assault harassment. I think a decrease is in order.


  • Generic: Decrease to 13 points

  • Ketsu: Decrease to 20 points

Lancers are another dustbin occupant. You can see what probably happened in testing. A rogue speed 4 bomber sounds great on paper. The problem is they are hella fragile. With other generics going down in cost, I think it's fair to have them drop a bit extra to see them on the table. Meanwhile, Ketsu's ability is even more niche since the Intel nerf, and she was already a bit overcosted. Still, she's a rogue double-dice bomber with Grit and a scatter, so let's not get too crazy.

Scurrg H-6s

  • Generic: Decrease to 15 points

  • Nym: Decrease to 20 points

  • Malee: Throw in the dumpster Drop to 20 points

I really really want to drop Scurrgs a little further, but I value that native Grit in 1.5 quite a bit. I think keeping them two points above the slower B-Wing is appropriate. I've seen Nym eviscerate defense token suites enough to be cautious, but Yavaris' death has significantly impacted his utility. Malee has been garbage from the second she debuted. Her ability is so bad that I'm not sure there's any saving her, but I might as well try with a massive points decrease.


  • Generic: No change

  • Hera: No change

Yes, VCXs since the change to relay aren't as attractive as they used to be. However, I just can't justify bringing them down in cost. I will openly admit that it has everything to do with just plain disliking the play style the strategic keyword encourages. I came to play with spaceships, not move around tokens and fly away. Hera is used frequently enough that she doesn't really need much help. She is pricey and a bit fragile, but the squads she enables can be really stinking good.


  • Generic: Decrease to 12 points

  • Han: Decrease to 22 points

  • Lando: No change

Where the X-Wing goes, so goes the YT-1300. These two ships fill a similar role, with slightly different flavor. Keeping their cost the same just makes sense. Han's cost coming down is a reflection of having to compete against Lando for inclusion, regardless of the Ace cap. Lando is the best rogue the Rebels have at the moment, so Han needs some help justifying his selection. Dropping just a hair under Lando should give players a second thought about which pilot of the Millennium Falcon to take. Lando is right on the edge of needing an increase, but I think his ubiquity is more a case of other Rebel Rogue Aces are more specialized. He stands out by contrast.


  • Generic: No change

  • Dash: Decrease to 23 points

  • Mart: Decrease to 21 points

YT-2400s are near universally considered the best generic squadron in the game. They're fast, tough, mutli-role rogues that can comfortably fill out a Rebel squadron ball without a second thought. They don't need any help. Dash and Mart I'm less sure about. Mart’s ability is strange, but I value his Grit. Dash is a solid ability for a hefty price. I tagged them both for a one point discount to make them slightly more attractive compared to Lando.


  • Generic: No change

  • Blount: No change

Z's aren't the best, but dropping them any further seems entirely too cheap with RHDs hanging out right there. Plus, are they really worse than TIE Fighters? They may pop like popcorn, but they serve a purpose as deployment buffers for the Rebs already. Dropping them to six might make for some rather insane deployment buffering.

Imperial Squadrons

TIE Fighters

  • Generics: Decrease to 7 points

  • Black: Decrease to 8 points

  • Howlrunner: No change

  • Mauler: No change

  • Valen: No change

The iconic TIE Fighter could use to see the table a bit more. With Reserve Hangar Decks in the game, you need a reason to bring Fighters over Interceptors. The drop in cost is in line with other decreases for generics. I think Mauler and Howl are two of the better costed Aces, despite how frequently they are used. Mauler is just on the line of needing an increase, but he is pretty dependent on Chiraneau now. Valen is rather ridiculously cheap, but he seems to be on the bubble with the Ace cap at the moment, so I left him as is.

TIE Interceptors

  • Generics: No change

  • Saber: No change

  • Cienna: No change

  • Soontir: Decrease to 17 points

I almost considered reducing Interceptors, but there are a number of factors keeping them and their Aces in place. Reserve Hangar Decks is an ideal upgrade for them, with their counter whittling away at enemy squad balls even if they get killed before they activate. Then there's the Sloane of it all, which makes Interceptors nasty even against ships. Finally, as I said above, I think there needs to be a little more space between Interceptors and Fighters. The Aces and Saber stay put as well, though. Cienna comes close to deserving an increase, but her main function is just being annoying to remove rather than outright powerful. Soontir could be solid again in 1.5, especially in a reforged escort ball, but there’s no reason he should cost more than Cienna. 

TIE Bombers

  • Generics: Decrease to 8 points; Add keyword Formation: When you are activated by a squadron command, you may choose another unactivated squadron with the Formation keyword at distance 1. That squadron may move and shoot as if activated by a squadron command. If you do so, toggle that squadron's activation slider to the activated side.

  • Gamma: Decrease to 9 points

  • Jonus: Decrease to 14 points

  • Rhymer: Decrease to 14 points

TIE Bombers are in much the same place as Y-Wings, so I think they are well deserving of the same benefits to get them on the table. Both Bombers Aces likewise struggle to see the table with the Ace cap because they are more about utility than outright power. Decreases all around.

TIE Defenders

  • Generics: Decrease to 14 points

  • Maarek Steele: Increase to 24 points

Steele is the best squad in the game. You'd pay this increased price and probably then some to keep him in your list without losing a wink of sleep. If there is one Imp squadron that deserves an increase, it's definitely Maarek. Defenders on the other hand never see the table. Their poor bombing power for their cost has a lot to do with that. A solid drop I think is in order. 

TIE Advanced

  • Generics: Decrease to 10 points

  • Tempest: Decrease to 10 points

  • Vader: Remove Escort, Gain Screen

  • Zertik: No change

Imperials need to escort things? The poor Advanced on paper looks close to X-Wings, but has none of that squadron's synergies. As such, it tends to just get plain left out. Tempest gaining the bomber keyword is a margin upgrade at best, so dropping it to be the same cost as other Advanced I think is fine. Zertik is still great for his cost, so I see no need to adjust him. Vader is a fantastic squadron stuck with a silly keyword he has no business using. Trading Escort for the newer Screen is perfectly thematic and makes him much more attractive with no other changes. Yes, we all want the double scatter Adept monster, but come on, we're going for some balance here.

TIE Phantom

  • Generics: Decrease to 13 points

  • Whisper: Decrease to 19 points

While Phantoms aren't terribly frequently seen, I'm hesitant to drop them much further in cost. While they lack a lot of the advantages of the Interceptor that comes with swarm, my worry is stealth is quietly really good in 1.5, but nobody has quite gotten around to making it sing. Make no mistake, Sloane Phantoms are most definitely already a thing. I’m not sure we want a world where they get even scarier.


  • Generics: Decrease to 14 points

  • IG-88: Decrease to 18 points

  • IG-88B: Decrease to 18 points

The Aggressor is a pretty poor imitation of a YT-2400, losing a speed and a hull for measly counter 1. Dropping down a couple points might seem a bit too much, but they probably need it to compete with Sloane squadrons. The IG-88s are better off, but still could use a drop as well. That single defense token is very easy to shut down.


  • Generics: Decrease to 15 points

  • Boba: Decrease to 23 points

  • Hondo: No change

These things were 18? Wow, I had forgotten how pricey they were. Yes, they are rogue double blue bombers. It’s not often a good idea comparing across factions, but Gold Squadron has the same stats minus an anti-squad and the rogue keyword. I think Firesprays were costed around the pre-nerf Rhymer. With that range neutered a good while back, a solid points drop gets Firesprays and Boba back into the conversation.


  • Generics: Drop to 10 points; Rule change- Friendly squadrons at distance 1-3 gain Grit

  • Dengar: Rule change- Friendly squadrons at distance 1-3 gain Grit

  • Tel: No change

See HWKs for the rationale. Dengar took a major whack with the 1.5. update, so here's hoping this rule change gets him back in the game.


  • Generics: No change

  • Jendon: Increase cost to 22 points

See VCXs: I'm not going to drop the cost on anything with the strategic keyword. Jendon is one of the two Imperial auto-includes. He's the lesser of the two problems, so he gets a smaller increase.

Mando Gauntlets

  • Generics: Decrease to 17 points

  • Gar Saxon: Decrease to 20 points

Can anything help the poor Gauntlet? I dunno, but I'm gonna throw points reductions at it and find out.


  • Generics: Decrease to 19 points

  • Morna: No change

Decis are painfully erratic when attacking ships, so I brought their cost way down to be more competitive. Yes they’re tanky, but they’re still pretty expensive rogues. Morna is seen with regularity, but her high cost I think is appropriate. No need to price her any higher.


  • Generics: Decrease to 13 points

  • Bossk: No change

  • Moralo: Change wording to: "When an objective token at distance 1-2 and not on an obstacle is moved or removed from the play area, you may attack as if you were activated."

Generic YVs are so very strange. They pretty much require the use of Advanced Transponder Network to be really effective, so I brought their cost down significantly to adjust for that. Bossk is a solid Ace as is, so I felt no need for a change. Moralo, meanwhile, has been famously abused in spectacular fashion. Removing the movement aspect of his ability should calm his shenanigans down without entirely gutting him.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

AMG Reveals Wave 10 Unique Cards!

Here we go, we've got... more commanders?  And officers.  Nothing but faction locked stuff in this round of spoilers.

I must not quite be seeing what is making Trench good.  He seems to be quite a large price for double commands.  Maybe he's your squadron commander letting you double up on key turns with navigate, or pull big engineering out.

Mar Tuuk is going to be a giant pain in much the same way Romadi is.  +1 die if you attack a shield, -1 if your opponent has no shields at all, but you get to choose the die.  It's a good benefit for not a very dangerous minus.  I think he is my favorite of all of them.

Free accuracies for squadrons attacking a ship that cannot be "rerolled or changed" which means you're spending them - either for blocking a key token like redirect, or for a card that we'll see in a second.  Plus Grit whenever you are running some Jedi.

Yularen (Commander) is another squadron commander, letting you activate an extra squadron with a squadron token, and repair squadrons with engineering.

Here's the rest, listen to our podcast if you want to hear us (and IrishMadCat) talk about them!


Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Cracken and the 1.5 Meta

Well hello everyone! Truthi here for the first time since my 1.5-induced word vomit. And I know what you're thinking: yes, we are still technically a blog! And you know what they say about being technically correct. Since that's the best kind of correct, I would argue that makes us the best kind of blog. Today, I wanted to take a deep dive into why Cracken, and by extension my Vassal World Cup list, has been working so well for me. If you follow our podcast, or saw my interview with IrishMadCat, I've already talked about some of this. Still, a full deep dive in blog format is appropriate for what I feel is now one of the two best Rebel commanders. So join me as I go down the Cracken rabbit hole and gaze into my madness.