Thursday, June 10, 2021

Ship Rebalance Wishlist

To send this old blog into the sunset, I decided to continue on from my squadron recost article, taking a pass on ships as well. Overall, 1.5 has been pretty good for at least one variant of most ships. Small ships in particular feel like they’re in a much better position, perhaps maybe a hair better than their large counterparts. In general, though, most of the changes below are more about finding a good spot for variants than fixing the chassis itself. Again, the goal is to buff things that aren’t as prevalent, with as few nerfs as possible. And yes, you can probably guess what one of those nerfs is. I focused on things that are feasible under the current structure, and as light of a touch as possible. That means mainly points changes, some defense tokens changes, and only one change to a squadron value. The cardinal rule is “no cardboard changes.” Anything that touches the cardboard I think would have to be a 2.0 discussion. That means no arc changes, no shield value changes, and no armament changes. With those ground rules in place, here’s my ‘king for a day’ ship rebalance wishlist. Imperials

Victory Star Destroyer Victory-1: Decrease to 68 points. Victory-2: Decrease to 73 points. The Victory is pretty much the definition of “wave 1 bloated cost.” There have been a rather ludicrous number of attempts to fix the Vic with upgrades, perpetually falling short. This significant points decrease brings the Vic in line with the Clone Wars mediums. It’s still a slow clunker, but the Vic-1 at this cost starts to edge back into that combat-carrier role the Quasar took away. The Vic-2’s armament is now extremely efficient for the cost, especially with DCaps backing it up. Imperial Star Destroyer ISD-1: Decrease to 100 points, replace Contain with Salvo. ISD-2: Decrease to 110 points, replace Contain with Salvo. Kuat: Decrease to 105 points, replace Contain with Salvo. Cymoon: Decrease to 102 points, replace Contain with Salvo. The once mighty ISD is hurting a bit in the current meta. The Cymoon in particular has effectively disappeared, having lost its entire job to the Onager. Pretty much every Imperial list with a large ship starts with the Onager. You need a good reason to bring an ISD. Decreasing ISD cost is part of that. Adding Salvo is another. It seems like something the ISD should be able to do natively without having to take another upgrade. And let's face it...the ISD on the screen does not really contain critical damage all that well... Quasar Fire Cruiser-Carrier Quasar-1: No change. Quasar-2: Decrease to 54 points. The Quasar still seems to have plenty of life, especially in the hands of those hyper-efficient Germans. It is still fragile, which has made some write it off with so many Onagers around. However, the Germans have clearly figured out how to work around that. Point for point, it is still an incredibly good carrier. The Quasar 2...yeah not so much. It turns out being able to get Expanded Hangars and Boosted Comms on the same ship is better than red dice and an extra weapons team. Dropping the Quasar 2 down to the same price as the 1 reflects the reality that the Quasar 1 is still likely to be the preferred choice because of those double offensive retrofits. Onager Onager Testbed: Increase to 105 points. Onager Star Destroyer: No change. The hope is that the drop in cost for the ISD makes it unnecessary to raise the cost on the OSD. Of the two, it is the less used variant. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that the Testbed is that good. The Testbed is one of the few point increases I’d recommend. It’s just too cheap for what it does. In an ideal world, I’d just redesign it to be far more slow and fragile, but I’m trying to avoid changes to the cardboard. If it’s going to be an artillery piece, it probably shouldn’t be as tough as a battleship, but we have what we have. Interdictor Interdictor Suppression: No change Interdictor Combat: Decrease to 85 points. Despite how it started out, the Interdictor appears to be in a decent spot these days. The Brunson/Interdictor title combo is still great despite the cost increase, and those experimental retrofits combo really well with objectives and Onagers. Plus, it’s a tanky little ship, able to repair itself out of a lot of problems. The Combat Refit, however, is just plain bad. The upgrade to red dice comes at the cost of an experimental retrofit, the upgrade that gives the ship its utility and power. Dropping the Combat’s cost below the Suppression just makes sense. Super Star Destroyer SSD Command Prototype: Replace one Contain with Salvo. SSD Assault Prototype: Replace one Contain with Salvo. Executor-1 SSD: Replace one Contain with Salvo. Executor-2 SSD: Replace one Contain with Salvo. I’m hesitant to do too much to a ship that was already incredibly difficult to balance. As it stands, it remains a difficult ship for new players to fight against. Dropping its cost or messing with upgrade bars just seems like an invitation for disaster. However, it thematically kills me that the Starhawk has a Salvo and the SSD does not. That is the only change I would make, which I think properly offsets the nerf the ship took to Gunnery Teams. Arquitens Cruiser Arquitens Light Cruiser: Decrease to 50 points. Arquitens Command Cruiser: Decrease to 53 points. The Arq is a solid ship, but difficult to use because of its nav chart. It also has a bad habit of getting blasted early due only having a single evade. Point for point, it’s hard not to see it as inferior to other smalls, such as the CR90A. A small decrease in cost I think is deserved for the Light Cruiser. The Command Cruiser is barely an upgrade over its counterpart. The main reason to bring it is the Support Team slot, so you’re spending more points to spend more points. It does have a small bit of extra range and squadron value, so it does deserve to cost a hair more than the base Light Cruiser. Just not 6 points more. Gladiator Star Destroyer Gladiator-1: No change Gladiator-2: Decrease to 56 points. Part of me really wants to drop the Gladiator-1 down in cost, but the Demolisher title continues to hang over it. One Gladiator with that title is great. A second without it just isn’t. I settled for adjusting the cost on the Glad-2. Let’s be honest, with how the Glad wants to fight, that red on the side is actually a downgrade over the black. The better flak is a solid upgrade, though, so the two variants costing the same feels about right. Who knows, maybe someone will want to bring a Gladiator-2 flak boat without the Demolisher title. Raider Corvette Raider-1: Decrease to 42 points. Raider-2: Decrease to 42 points. The Raider-1 feels like it’s in a decent place right now. Between the Evade change and Iden stapled to the first Raider’s officer slot, it feels a lot tougher on the table. It took a bit of a hit with the ordnance changes, though, so a slight decrease seems in order. Much like the Gladiator, the Raider-2 does not really feel like an upgrade over the 1 despite the extra range. To get use out of that blue, you pretty much have to load it with an ion critical effect. It’s another case of spending points to spend more points. I think the two variants are fine at the same cost, but with different roles and upgrades. Assault Carriers Gozanti Assault: Decrease to 25 points. Gozanti Cruiser: No change. The Gozanti Cruiser is in the sweet spot for flotillas to me. It’s not trivially cheap, nor overcosted for daring to have guns. I used it as a baseline for balancing the other flotillas. Bringing the Assault variant down to just a single point more is deserved seeing how little it is used. Let’s be honest here: it’s still not going to be used all that often. This is not a ship that is brought along for its firepower, so saving a point and keeping the blue out the front is probably something most players would do. Rebels

Home One MC-80 Assault Cruiser: Decrease to 103 points, replace Contain with Salvo. MC-80 Command Cruiser: Decrease to 98 points, Replace Contain with Salvo. The original MC80 has not aged well. The Command Cruiser is amongst the least used ship variants in the game. Flotillas, of all things, are probably the ones most responsible for putting it out of a job, as they are far more efficient carriers. Ackbar has historically kept the Assault Cruiser relevant, but the introduction of Caitken and Shollan made it so the AF2B can put out almost the same amount of firepower with more dice control and significantly less cost. Hence, I think we need to cut their costs down to saner levels. I’d also like to see them have Salvo to further distinguish them from the MC75. It feels right for a slow, solid ship like the MC80. Liberty MC-80 Battle Cruiser: Decrease to 99 points. MC-80 Star Cruiser: No change. The Liberty seems to be doing pretty well in the current meta. It hits hard, turns well, has the speed to either pursue or escape, and with Agate is pretty stinking tough. The Battle Cruiser variant has always been a bit overcosted, so dropping it down a bit might help it get used. Profundity MC-75 Armored Cruiser: Decrease to 100 points, remove turbolaser upgrade, increase squadron value to 4. MC-75 Ordnance Cruiser: Decrease to 95 points. The MC75 took a bit of a hit with the ordnance changes and the loss of Strategic Adviser to pad activations. It’s not too bad, but it still probably needs a bit of a cut. The Armored Cruiser is perhaps the ship most in search of a role in the game. The AF2B is a far more efficient flight controller platform. The MC80 Assault is the better Ackbar ship. The MC75 Ordnance Cruiser is the better brawler. Making the MC75 Armored into something requires more changes than I’d prefer to do, but it doesn’t break my cardinal rule of “don’t touch the cardboard.” The increase in squadron value to be higher than the AF2B and equal to the MC80 Command puts the MC75 Armored in a more unique position of being the faction’s best overall carrier, but at a premium cost. The Command Cruiser is now cheaper and has FCTs access, which is something Rebels still value, so I think there’s a place for both. Starhawk Starhawk-1: No change. Starhawk-2: No change. I’m trying to stick with a softer touch, so I’m not really certain what exactly to do with the Starhawk. The thing is horribly oppressive in some matches, and a complete joke in others. An Agate Starhawk is a tanky monster. Under any other commander, it melts pretty quickly. If I had my way, I would take a shield off of its front and side arcs and add a defensive retrofit. That would decrease the tankiness of an Agate Starhawk, but allow comparable durability without Agate via ECM. Seeing as those are changes to cardboard, I think that’s a bit too much to ask for a rebalance pass. That’s something that would probably have to happen in a 2.0 style reboot. Assault Frigate Mark II AF2A: Decrease to 75 points. AF2B: No change. The Assault Frigate is having a bit of a renaissance right now. It is in a solid spot to take advantage of the 1.5 evade changes against its usual large ship predators. AngryEwok used it incredibly well as an Ackbar flagship in the Vassal World Cup, and Louis-Andre had a very durable Agate battle carrier version. I love where the AF2B is right now. The AF2A, however, is ummm….not. That extra red out of the front doesn’t help it with Ackbar, and the drop in squadron value is not appreciated in its carrier role. Bringing down the cost might open up other opportunities for that ship variant. Perhaps LFC AF2As can be more of a thing. CR-90 Corvette CR-90A: No change. CR-90B: No change. The CR90 is in a great spot with 1.5. The CR90A is the pinnacle of reliable damage with TRCs. The CR90B can get in to deliver an Ion critical effect and still make use of those evades if it accidentally wanders into close range. I’d bring both ships without any hesitation right now. Hammerhead Corvette Hammerhead Torpedo: No change. Hammerhead Scout: Decrease to 39 points. Hammerhead Torpedos are so wonderfully cheap. The Torp is in a good spot with the evade change. It’s prone to having that evade locked down, but since you’re probably rolling with just External Racks and maybe a Task Force title, do you really care? The Scout, however, does not compare too well to its CR90A counterpart. I think a small decrease is worthwhile for a ship that is unlikely to escape a serious fight. MC30c Frigate MC30 Torpedo: No change. MC30 Scout: No change. They lost some offensive power with the nerfs to APTs and ACMs, but they gained as much in defense from the evade changes. The MC30 is probably the perfect small in 1.5 at the moment. Both variants are really solid ships. Nebulon-B Frigate Escort Frigate: Decrease to 54 points. Add Fleet Support slot. Support Refit: Add Fleet Support slot. Are Nebs everywhere? No. Am I willing to let a ship with 2 braces and an evade and access to ASTs drop much further? Not really, no. Maybe it does need to drop, but I’m looking at comparable ships as I do this, and I’m just unable to justify dropping the Support Refit any further. What I think IS justified, however, is to give the Neb access to the Fleet Support slot. The upgrade perfectly fits the role we see Nebulons performing in the lore. The Escort, with the Yavaris title on life support, is more inefficient than the Support, so a small decrease seems in order. Pelta Frigate Pelta Assault: Decrease to 50 points. Pelta Command: Decrease to 56 points. Not all of us have Shmitty’s Jedi Mind Trick abilities. The Pelta has long been considered overcosted, especially for such a slow small ship. It’s a little tough, but still not much of a difficulty to remove. Nor is it particularly hard to catch. Fleet Command is a great slot, but it’s definitely not worth the premium price the Rebels have to pay to get it. Let’s get the Pelta down to a more sane price. Rebel Transports GR-75 Combat Retrofits: Decrease to 23 points. GR-75 Medium Transports: Increase to 21 points. Ah Rebel flotillas, you stupidly efficient little bastards. Let’s admit it: they deserve this increase. Between fleet support and the extremely efficient squadron pushing, there’s little reason not to bring them. Going up to a cost closer to Gozantis is only fair. The Combat Retrofits, however, aren’t all that much better despite having some guns (ok, one gun). These changes bring things more into balance.


  1. I would really like to see the Vic and Neb-B fixed. I recently got into Legion and I appreciate how they will adjust the cost of units and upgrades in the interest of making everything playable. I hope this attitude will carry over into Armada.

  2. Wait, is the blog being retired?