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chemnitz

Analyzing Possible Builds to Decide What to Purchase

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I am probably in the same boat as many of you, in that I am trying to decide how many of each expansion pack to buy.  I have decided to approach this methodically.  

First, I need to make a list of all the possible combinations of ships.  I will exclude some extreme builds at the moment--not because they are impossible, but because I do not want to invest money in them until someone proves that extreme builds have a chance in this game (I suspect that they will not).  Here is my initial criteria: the list must include at minimum 3 X-Wings or 5 TIE Fighters.  So, when you include the mandatory commander, that means that 64 points are already spoken for (3 X-Wings plus Dodonna = 64; 5 TIE Fighters + Motti = 64).  Moreover, the list must include at least 100 points of capital ships (excluding upgrades).  These restrictions may be too harsh, but it feels like a reasonable starting point.

I will use the following terminology with regard to squadrons:
Normal Fighters = 39-79 points
Heavy Fighters = 80-109 points
Very Heavy Fighters = 110-140 points
Anything below 39 points or above 140 points would be a very extreme build, so I will not consider it at this time.  Since the preview about squadrons has not yet been revealed, I will use these baselines as a placeholder until we know more.

Here is the scale that I will be using to rank each of the lists:
5 = Very likely that at least one build of this type will be at least Tier 1.5
4 = Likely that at least one build of this type will be at least Tier 1.5
3 = Could go either way
2 = Unlikely...
1 = Very unlikely...
This is an entirely subjective approach, and I would welcome disagreement.

Two-Ship Builds
Victory + Victory (4)
Victory + Gladiator (3)
Gladiator + Gladiator (1)

The Double-Victory build will probably have two workable archetypes: figher-focused (e.g. VSD I w/Corrupter, VSD I or II, Very Heavy Fighters) and upgrade-focused (e.g. VSD II w/Enhanced Armament and Dominator, VSD II w/Enhanced Armament and Warlord, Normal Fighters).  These lists will probably be fairly popular, since you only need a core plus 1-2 expansions (Victory + Fighters).

The Victory-Gladiator build will probably be best as a fighter-focused one.  By downgrading the second Victory to a Gladiator, you can squeeze in a few more fighters or fighter-oriented upgrades (or change the VSD I to a II).  I am a bit leary of this build because it has less staying power.  If they focus-fire the Gladiator, you could find yourself quickly down to one ship.

Likewise, I have no confidence in Double-Gladiator.  It lacks staying power, and the total Squadron rating (plus the lack of a fighter-oriented title for the GSD) feels insufficient for a Very Heavy Fighters list.  Maybe someone will prove me wrong, but I don't see anything that this list does that Victory-Gladiator or Triple-Gladiator would not do better.

Three Ship Builds
Victory-Gladiator-Gladiator (5)
Victory-Victory-Gladiator (5)
Triple-Gladiator (4)
Triple-Victory (3)

I think that three ship builds will be the bread-and-butter of the Imperials for Wave 1.  Vic-Glad-Glad and Vic-Vic-Glad are both very strong builds that combine flexibility, overwhelming firepower, and survivability.  These are both Normal Fighters lists, but the Imperials (probably) aren't as good with fighters anyway.

Triple-Gladiator could be interesting.  I see two possible builds: smashmouth-rushdown (e.g. GSD I's with some combination of Demolisher, Assault Concussion Missles+Screed, Engine Techs, maybe Insidious, maybe Expanded Launchers--come in hot and grapple like mad!) and mini-carriers with Heavy Fighters (3 GSDs have as much Squadron rating as 2 VSDs).  I would think that at least one of these will be worthwhile (and maybe both).

Triple-Victory appeals to the power-gamer in all of us.  Because of the extremely poor maneuverability of Victories (and the fact that these will probably be I-Classes with their shorter effective range), the style of play here will be board-control.  You will be trying to project overlapping fields of fire to make your opponent go where you want him to go.  If done right, your opponent will be forced to choose between certain death on the one hand and ceding the objectives on the other hand.  If done wrong, you will be outflanked, and your defeat will be slow but inevitable.  This build stands on a knife-edge--it could be great, terrible, or somewhere in between.

Four Ship Builds
Quadruple-Gladiator (4)

There is only one four ship build that fits within my parameters (see above).  If you are willing to sacrifice fighters because you trust in the power of the GSD II's awesome anti-fighter batteries, then you could try out VSD I-GSD II-GSD II-GSD II (with room for up to 2 TIE Fighters!).  I'd give it a 2 rating.

Quad-Gladiator is a promising list, though one that will probably see little play (because how many people will really buy four of them?).  I imagine that it will play like nothing else--a swarm list (very Rebel-like) that likes to grapple in close (not at all Rebel-like).

What to Buy?

Bare Minimum:
Core + Victory + Fighters
This would allow you to play both versions of the Double-Victory build.  You might be able to build the upgrade-centric version without the Fighters, if you are a real cheapskate.  I would speculate that it will not be possible to build a Tier 1.5 or better list while spending less money.

Recommended Level (i.e. what I plan to buy first):
Core + Victory + 2 Gladiators + Fighters
This would allow you to build both of the 5-rated builds, as well as one of the 4-rated and one of the 3-rated ones.  That should provide a ton of gameplay--both depth and breadth.

Possible Add-ons (in order of priority):
2nd Fighters - I suspect that a 3rd and 4th TIE Bomber will be valuable in some of the Very Heavy Fighters builds.

3rd Gladiator - This opens up another 4-rated build, gives you a silly list to screw around with (VSD I-GSD II-GSD II-GSD II), and opens up the possibility of owning a Gladiator-swarm someday.

4th Gladiator - The dream of the Gladiator-swarm can be realized.  I would probably borrow someone else's GSD first, in order to see if I really like this style enough to invest in it.

3rd Victory (or 2nd Core) - If Triple-Victory becomes a thing, this would move up one or two slots.  I would not go this route until someone else proves that it is viable and fun.

Edited by chemnitz

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And now for the Rebels.  This is going to be much less detailed (and involve much less thought--take everything with a huge helping of salt), since there are 32 different builds to consider (four times as many Rebel builds that meet my criteria as there were Imperial ones!).  But here goes!

Two Ship Builds
AFMkII-AFMkII (4)
AFMkII-Nebulon (4)
AFMkII-Corvette (2)
Nebulon-Nebulon (1)
Nebulon-Corvette (1)

I am generally not optimistic about two ship Rebel builds because Rebel ships are much more specialized than Imperial ships.  I think that Double-Mark II could work as a carrier-list (e.g. AFMkII B w/ Gallant Haven, AFMkII B, Very Heavy Fighters).  Mark II-Nebulon B could work in a similar way by using both pro-squadron titles (e.g. AFMkII B w/ Gallant Haven, Nebulon B w/ Yavaris, Very Heavy Fighters).  The other lists are too low on squadron commands and too low on hit points for my tastes.

Three Ship Builds
AFMkII-AFMkII-Corvette (5)
AFMkII-Nebulon-Corvette (5)
AFMkII-AFMkII-Nebulon (4)
AFMkII-Nebulon-Nebulon (4)
AFMkII-Corvette-Corvette (4)
Nebulon-Nebulon-Corvette (4)
AFMkII-AFMkII-AFMkII (3)
Nebulon-Nebulon-Nebulon (3)
Nebulon-Corvette-Corvette (3)
Corvette-Corvette-Corvette (2)

The first two lists (AFMkII-AFMkII-Corvette and AFMkII-Nebulon-Corvette) have good survivability and some balance between firepower and speed.  I think that Leia and/or the Tantive IV title is likely to find a place on the Corvette in either list.  Really, all of the three ship builds look pretty decent, except for the mono-chromatic ones (once again, Rebel ships are too specialized for lists containing all the same ship to impress me) and the ones with only dinky ships (Triple-Corvette has too few capital ships to be a swarm and too little squadron rating to be a mini-carriers lists).

Four Ship Builds
AFMkII-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette (5)
Nebulon-Nebulon-Corvette-Corvette (5)
AFMkII-AFMkII-Corvette-Corvette (4)
AFMkII-Nebulon-Nebulon-Corvette (4)
AFMkII-Nebulon-Corvette-Corvette (4)
Nebulon-Nebulon-Nebulon-Corvette (4)
Nebulon-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette (4)
AFMkII-AFMkII-Nebulon-Corvette (3)
Corvette-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette (3)
AFMkII-Nebulon-Nebulon-Nebulon (2)
Nebulon-Nebulon-Nebulon-Nebulon (2)

I like AFMkII-and-Triple-Corvette as a "heavy hitter plus mini-swarm" kind of list (compare something like Firespray plus 4-5 TIEs in X-Wing).  Double-Nebulon-and-Double-Corvette seems to strike a nice balance.  I especially like the idea of putting Overload Pulses on the Corvettes, giving the Nebulon an opportunity to cripple their foes in the first round of fire (XX-9 Turbolasers may help with dishing out massive crits).  The other lists look generally solid, although I am not impressed by lists that are totally dominated by Nebulon Bs--those glass cannons are going to run into some real trouble without something to screen them (or a juicier target to take some of the heat).

Five Ship Builds
Nebulon-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette (4)
Corvette-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette (4)
AFMkII-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette (2)
Nebulon-Nebulon-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette (2)
Nebulon-Nebulon-Nebulon-Corvette-Corvette (2)

Finally, at 5 ships, I think that Corvette swarms will come into their own.  The other 5 ship lists suffer from having too few points leftover for any useful upgrades or fighters--I think that a four ship build will probably be superior, except in the case of Corvette swarms.

Six Ship Builds
Corvette-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette-Corvette (3)

Yes, you can get six ship Corvette swarms--you can even have seven ship Corvette swarms if you are willing to fly with no fighter excort at all.  But, until proven otherwise, I think that 5 ship Corvette swarms hit the sweet spot, where you can actually afford to bring CR90 A's, Mon Mothma, and/or decent fighter coverage.

What to Buy

Bare Minimum:
Core + Nebulon + Corvette + Fighters

(alternatively: Core + AFMkII + Fighters)

With this purchase, you would have two of each of the smaller ships, giving you access to several different lists, including one that I rated a 5 (Double-Nebulon-and-Double-Corvette) and one that I rated a 4 (Double-Nebulon-and-Corvette with (Very?) Heavy Fighters).  For about the same price, you could replace the Nebulon and Corvette expansions for a single Assault Frigate MkII.  That would give you access to a 5-rated build (One-of-Each) and a 4-rated one (Gallant Haven+Yavaris (proxied) w/ Very Heavy Fighters).  This probably represents the cheapest way to get a tournament caliber list.

Recommended Level (i.e. what I plan to buy first):
Core + 2 AFMkII + Nebulon + Corvette + 2 Fighters

This would allow you to play all but one of my 5-rated builds, as well as 9 out of 13 of my 4-rated builds.  This may be slightly excessive, and I have considered dropping 1 AFMkII expansion (lose one 5-rated build and three 4-rated ones).  A second Fighters expansion (for extra B-Wings and Y-Wings; maybe A-Wings, too) will probably be essential for Very Heavy Fighters lists.

Possible Add-ons (in order of priority):

3rd Corvette/2nd Core - This would make the last 5-rated build a possibility and add another 4-rated build.  Also, it brings Corvette swarm closer to reality.

4th Corvette - Adds another 4-rated build, plus Corvette swarm is almost a thing.

3rd Nebulon/2nd Core - Adds another 4-rated build.  Maybe its just my play-style, but I see Nebulons as more of a support ship and less as the mainstay of a fleet.

5th Corvette - I would wait and see on this one--if Corvette swarms are awesome, I might go there someday.

3rd AFMkII - I am unconvinced.  I think that Triple-Victory will be stronger than Triple-Assault Frigate (too specialized; also, in a low-fighters lists you want to bring the A-model, but there are not enough points for it in this build), and I remain skeptical about Triple-Victory.

6th Corvette - I have my doubts about a sixth (and seventh!) Corvette, but heck! it's only money.

4th Nebulon - No, thank you (unless I have horribly mis-judged it).

 

Summary

So, there you have it: I have convinced myself to start with 2 of every capital ship.  In a sense, I received the exact results that I should have predicted: I worked from the assumption that balanced lists would be strong, and so I came to the conclusion to buy expansions in a balanced way.  Of course, I am working with incomplete information, yadda yadda, speculation, yadda yadda, crackpot, etc.  But I feel confident that 2-of-each is a good initial strategy for someone who is committed to this game.

Edited by chemnitz

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The Motti, 3 VSD-1, and 6 Ties (or 5 with Howlrunner) is pretty much the only list we know FFG wants us to be able to use, and from that we can judge the lower bound for ties to screen a fleet.

 

Since the game was first demoed, ties and the VSD-1 (but not the VSD-2) received small cost reductions that allow the triple VSD-1/6 Tie build to work if a cheap commander was available.  Screed is one point to expensive to make this list work, but Motti (in the VSD expansion no less) lets everything in just under the wire. Motti's ability also happends to only really be worth taking with a 3 VSD fleet (or maybe a 2VSD 1GSD) as Tarken can give out repair tokens to let both VSDs and GSDs repair one shield per turn.

 

Perhaps this is a cynical ploy to be able to sell some people a third VSD, but none the less, let us examine what 6 Tie fighters are capable of.

 

The Basic math for what we know, measured per point spent on the squadron:

 

A X-wing has 2.7% more hp than a tie fighter, basically the same.

 

Without swarm, a Tie has 22% more anti-squadron firepower than a X-wing.

 

With swarm, a Tie has 42% more anti-squadron firepower than an X-wing.

 

With swarm and Howlrunner, a Tie has 82.5% more anti-squadron firepower than an X-wing.

 

A Tie has 8.3% more anti-capital ship firepower than a X-wing, but cannot deal a crit (lol, did you expect that?).

 

Furthermore, X-wings have the excort special rule, and are much less vunerable to the AoE ASA of capital ships.

 

With this we can determine approximatly how many rebel ships 6 Ties are capaple of dealing with.  We can also see that Ties are bloody crazy and the early cost reduction to them had a huge boost to their relative power.

 

I need to get on with the day so I'll do the rest of the post later if no one else does.

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The Motti, 3 VSD-1, and 6 Ties (or 5 with Howlrunner) is pretty much the only list we know FFG wants us to be able to use, and from that we can judge the lower bound for ties to screen a fleet.

 

Since the game was first demoed, ties and the VSD-1 (but not the VSD-2) received small cost reductions that allow the triple VSD-1/6 Tie build to work if a cheap commander was available.  Screed is one point to expensive to make this list work, but Motti (in the VSD expansion no less) lets everything in just under the wire. Motti's ability also happends to only really be worth taking with a 3 VSD fleet (or maybe a 2VSD 1GSD) as Tarken can give out repair tokens to let both VSDs and GSDs repair one shield per turn.

 

Perhaps this is a cynical ploy to be able to sell some people a third VSD, but none the less, let us examine what 6 Tie fighters are capable of.

 

The Basic math for what we know, measured per point spent on the squadron:

 

A X-wing has 2.7% more hp than a tie fighter, basically the same.

 

Without swarm, a Tie has 22% more anti-squadron firepower than a X-wing.

 

With swarm, a Tie has 42% more anti-squadron firepower than an X-wing.

 

With swarm and Howlrunner, a Tie has 82.5% more anti-squadron firepower than an X-wing.

 

A Tie has 8.3% more anti-capital ship firepower than a X-wing, but cannot deal a crit (lol, did you expect that?).

 

Furthermore, X-wings have the excort special rule, and are much less vunerable to the AoE ASA of capital ships.

 

With this we can determine approximatly how many rebel ships 6 Ties are capaple of dealing with.  We can also see that Ties are bloody crazy and the early cost reduction to them had a huge boost to their relative power.

 

I need to get on with the day so I'll do the rest of the post later if no one else does.

I feel that using the swarm and howlrunner boosts are rather misleading on a point ratio, as both require another ship to be present, I'd also like to point out that an x wing stands a pretty good chance of one shotting a tie fighter. (Its the mathematical average of 4 blue dice in fact, assuming 2 accuracy results) so getting 2 ties engaged and to shoot first is highly key, and it will still take both ties to kill an x wing.

I do believe tie fighters are amazing value, but I think its going to be a lot more in depth than just number crunching. (And it could be as simple as a squadron command allowing the x wing to kill the first tie, removing the swarm bonus)

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I have updated the above posts to include (very hazy) ideas about Rebel fleets.

 

As I went though this, I came across one build that excites me, even if it requires more ships than my "recommended levels"--Assault Frigate + Triple-Corvette.  Here is my work-in-progress list:

 

Ladies' Night

AF MkII B (@72) + Enhanced Armament (@10) + Mon Mothma (@30)

CR90B (@39) + Leia (@3)

CR90A (@44)

CR90A (@44)

4 A-Wings (@44)

1 X-Wing (@13)

Total: 299 points

 

The strategy is that Mon Mothma's Mark II leads the offensive against the primary target or objective, while Leia's Corvette acts as a wingman, helping the big flying cow have the right command.  Meanwhile, the other two CR90s kite around the battle field as flankers/distractions (as a pair or from opposite flanks, as the scenario requires).  Mon Mothma enhances all of the evade tokens (a grand total of 7 of them) to keep your ships alive.  The fighters exist purely to screen your capital ships by tying up enemy fighters as long as possible.  This list actually is tempting me to buy one more CR90 in my initial order.

 

EDIT: Updated to reflect the new information about fighters.

Edited by chemnitz

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maybe one of each....

 

Heh heh heh!

 

Yeah, not sure about builds yet, but went after Expansion packs mostly for the upgrade cards on offer.

 

So far my haul consists of:

 

1 x Core Box

1 x VSD Expansion

1 x GSD Expansion

1 x Assault Frigate II Expansion

1x Imperial Fighter Expansion

1 x Rebel Fighter Expansion

 

I know there are some upgrade cards in the CR90 and Neb-B expansions but I'll keep my options open for now. :D

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Thank you so very much for making this, Initially I was very afraid jumping into the Armada bandwagon. I know I wanted to play Scum in X-Wing, I just bought 1-2 small ships, 1 big ships, per wave.

But in Armada, experimenting with squad building is just too costly (money wise). 

 

Based on your Rebel guide, I've bought a core, 2 Afmk2, 2 C90, 1 Neb and 2 Rebel squads, oh and an extra dice set too. 
 

Regarding wave 2, what do you think us rebel players should buy? I read the FFG article about the Mon Calamari star cruiser, I think 1 is enough, making it the Home One with Ackbar on helm. But I don't think I'll ever need 2,.. rite?

 

But what about the MC30c frigate? do you think I should get 2, 3 or even 5 for a swarm glass cannon, kamikaze berserker? 

 

Thanks in advance! :) 

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In the short term, I would get a second fighter pack before a second Gladiator, having access to 4 bombers for the Rhymer ball, or 10 TIE LN for the "There's too many of them" moment, is sweet. Then, get the second GSD and wait. At 300 pts, 2x VSD, 2x GSD and 14 fighter squadrens, along with borrowing a ship or two from buddies, should be enough until we jump to 400 pts and the ISD and Raider.

 

Expand your idea about borrowing to try the 4 GSD list to every thing else. Triple VSD? Could be very cool Carrier list, rent a third for the weekend and try it out. Just watch out for the mileage charges ;) 

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I stick to a start of the following;

 

3 of each small

2 of each medium

1 of each large

1 of any fighter pack

 

I feel that gives you the best starting point for most of the game.

 

That said I currently have 3 of each small, 2 AF's, 2 of each fighter pack, and 3 Vic's and have ordered my pre-order for wave two to the above. I'm already considering adjusting my model to;

 

4 of each small

3 of each medium

2 of each large

2 of any fighter pack

 

That's with only the smalls being something I'd reconsider the number of as You probably don't need 4 Neb-B's but might want 6 Corvettes and so forth. But I feel like I could easily use 2 of the MC-80's or ISD's so I'm adding a second of each an another small of each to another pre-order depending on how Massing at Sullust events go :)

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Thank you so very much for making this, Initially I was very afraid jumping into the Armada bandwagon. I know I wanted to play Scum in X-Wing, I just bought 1-2 small ships, 1 big ships, per wave.

But in Armada, experimenting with squad building is just too costly (money wise).

Based on your Rebel guide, I've bought a core, 2 Afmk2, 2 C90, 1 Neb and 2 Rebel squads, oh and an extra dice set too.

Regarding wave 2, what do you think us rebel players should buy? I read the FFG article about the Mon Calamari star cruiser, I think 1 is enough, making it the Home One with Ackbar on helm. But I don't think I'll ever need 2,.. rite?

But what about the MC30c frigate? do you think I should get 2, 3 or even 5 for a swarm glass cannon, kamikaze berserker?

Thanks in advance! :)

I can see 2 MC80s for a carrier build, but that's about it. The MC80 wants to be a buff ship and a tank. You don't need or really want more than two of those. It will be very durable and greatly increase the potential of ships around it. I think the primary use is going to be Home One with Ackbar supported by as many AF2s as possible. The AF2 puts out almost just as much firepower for a significant discount. Once you have Home One, it will be far more points efficient to grab AF2s.

The MC30, by contrast, I firmly expect to work and work well in large numbers.

Edited by Truthiness

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I can see 2 MC80s for a carrier build, but that's about it. The MC80 wants to be a buff ship and a tank. You don't need or really want more than two of those. It will be very durable and greatly increase the potential of ships around it. I think the primary use is going to be Home One with Ackbar supported by as many AF2s as possible. The AF2 puts out almost just as much firepower for a significant discount. Once you have Home One, it will be far more points efficient to grab AF2s.

The MC30, by contrast, I firmly expect to work and work well in large numbers.

 

I see, thanks a bunch! buying 2 immediately would be quite costly, so I think I'll just buy 1 first, making it the Home One, a centerpiece of my Armada. Currently I only have 2 AF2s, do you think I should get more the moment wave 2 is launched? 

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