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"The Theory of Three" - an Outline

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Some interesting analysis.

This may be the first time I've seen a comprehensive evaluation of all of them with the proposal that ECM is an outlier.


I think two additional insights into Defensive Retrofit design are essential.


1.  They are all meta calls.  There is some meta envisioned in which that upgrade is really good, and some meta upgrade in which that upgrade is really bad.

2.  I do not believe they are all designed to belong to the same ships.  If you must project your large asset, then ECM is essential.  The defensive retrofit on a CR90 or even an Arquittens is rarely used.  Some of that stems from the ship likely blowing up and the points going to the opponent, but is there something more to it?  Usually when we think of defensive retrofits, our minds knee-jerk to large ships.  Is there is some list design that would make good use of some of the lesser used upgraded.

So on the list above, ECM/EWS are large ship biased.  There is a substantial possibility that squadrons and or large ships can get at a non-EWS zone on a smaller ship.  ECM protects that large asset by halving the damage.


ECM:  Good when you are in a meta with two things:  large pools of dice and therefore damage with accuracy.  Presently, we see plenty of big ships.  This is less critical if the opponent is Demolisher, though the front arc might get a lucky acc on its two red dice.

EWS:  I agree with an anti-squadron meta, but more relevant for forcing the opponent to target different hull zones and less relevant if they can bead through different arcs.  Less relevant when they are firing burst damage and can get rid of an inconsequential red or even blue die.


For the rest:

I look at Advanced Projectors as a 2 savings rather than 3.  You're mostly taking it on a large ship, and you want to use all of your shields.  So AP is the engineering cost to move the far hull zone shields to your primary hull.  On an MC80, that's 4 engineering points which regenerate 2 shields.  It is probably worth an odd amount more than 2, and it still has some value even against Xi7 because you can redirect to the fall hull zone anyway.  There's a tiny benefit against heavy squadron attacks that might not make it completely to the other side of the large ship, and which can be distributed throughout.

Reinforced Blast Doors:  The best synergy is with a large, but put it on smaller ships and it might only trigger for 1 card.  The larger the ship, the more likely it will trigger for the full effect.  So solid card.

Redundant Shields:  I looked at AP years ago and compared RS to that.  You need a build plan that looks to take damage slowly over several turns.  I figured 2 was slightly under for what you pay.  3 will take you into a golden land.  We saw this back in the day with an ENGineering heavy build, and there are certainly ways with Projection Experts and STM to do similar kinds of tanky builds.   What it doesn't like is burst damage delivered over a short time. What it wants is to play several turns taking just enough but not much damage, and then scoot away thanks to the upgrade.  Difficult to do in practice.


I'll been working with Cluster Bombs for a while.  What you need is a situation that incentivizes shooting at your ship.  Right now, I think CR90s/MC30s are about all I'd run it on.  Furthermore, you then need some kind of counter-attack with your own squadrons, since you can't count on the ship dying.  It makes for a big piece of bait, but what you need is your opponent to overcommitt squads to destroying a CR90, which in turn drops a key squad, perhaps Maarek is reduced to 3 health and can be finished, and perhaps the rest of your own squadron attack also clears a squad or two. 

The problem is that EWS and ECM are plug-and-play.  They work against a lot of list archetypes and do not require too much thought on how to build your list with them.  The rest require more dedication to your building and battle plan.

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