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Mass I3 Drones. TA-175 or Kraken?

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Heya, so I'm trying to come up with a CIS squad I'm happy with for a small local tourney on saturday. Was trying to make a squad of 2 Bombers (the named one that can carry a relay and a normal one with clusters) and 5 I1 drones with 3 energy shell charges and 2 discord missiles, but I've noticed that a squad of all I1's that fly fairly predictably (as swarms often do) can have difficulties against higher initiative jousts...

Extra Calculate tokens doesn't matter as much when you lose 2 drones before they get to shoot 😕


So been considering making a list with a Skakoan Ace (I3 Bellyrub) with Soulless One and a Tactical Relay paired with 6 I3 drones and 1 I1 Drone, either with grappling struts or not, depending on if I'm using Kraken or TA-175.


But I can't really decide which I like best... Kraken has obvious benefits of making it harder to straight up lose a ship early on, and as long as I don't need to spend all the calculate tokens I'll have a larger amount every turn (but obviously can end up with no extra if I have a bad turn). I guess ideal would be to bank one on the carrier for extra defense or when I'm out on the drones? TA-175 has the benefit of giving me both extra defense and attack when someone managed to kill a drone, which is inevitable with such squishy ships, but also loses power significantly as I lose ships, and is less useful when I shoot first (as may well happen with I3's, which is kinda the point of this list discussion.. xD), so I'm personally leaning toward Kraken, but I'm still rather uncertain.. So hoping people might be able to give some additional viewpoints on the matter!

Thank you for your time :)

Edited by RejjeN

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Posted (edited)

My CIS experience is quite limited, but to just give an alternative view I played the following recently:

4xVulture-class Droid Fighter - Trade Federation Drone - 24
    Trade Federation Drone - (19)
        Energy-Shell Charges (5)

2xVulture-class Droid Fighter - Trade Federation Drone - 20
    Trade Federation Drone - (19)
        Grappling Struts (Closed) (1)

2xHyena-class Droid Bomber - Techno Union Bomber - 32
    Techno Union Bomber - (25)
        Proximity Mines (6)
        Landing Struts (Closed) (1)

Total: 200/200

Also 8 ships, but only I1.  The ESC for that initial R3 engagement is worth it in my opinion.  And I stand by the usefulness of Prox mines. The main problem I find in taking either TA-175 or Kraken is it simply puts a giant bullseye on one ship.  Guess you can use that to your advantage and use the Belly as bait to set up with the droids.  On the other hand, I did have a turn where most of my ships did a k-turn all in the same turn, which meant almost no calculates.  If I had a Kraken I could have at least carried over some from the previous turn.

Maybe with more swarm type lists currently there is value in taking I3 instead of I1, but I felt the guarantee move first + action and lots of blocking was to my advantage.  Most ships are going to shoot before you anyways, so rather save the points for upgrades. 

Just a thought.


As for Kraken vs TA-175.  I feel Kraken is the better option because TA-175 kinda leaves the timing of the calculate distribution in your opponent's hands, but I will need to fly both a bit more before I can really say.

Edited by Bort

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I'm sure it's not the answer you're looking for, but...it doesn't really matter?  Whether you take i1's or i3's, Kraken, TA-175, or no Relay.  They each and all of them have strengths and weaknesses.  The real answer is to pick something and practice with it.  Things are actually pretty well-balanced right now, with swarms of any stripe being maybe just a wee bit stronger than not.  So, picking a list and practicing is your best strategy.  And especially once you've got a few dozen games under your belt, you'll probably find that formation flying isn't exactly required to make droids work.  Formations make them easier to get your head around, but makes them as you've noted more predictable for your opponent.  Practice will allow you to split and converge, to come in from divergent angles in staggered waves, etc.

All of that said:  Kraken really helps if you are bringing those Calculate-fueled CIS munitions - Discords and ESC.  Holding tokens over means that you still have something on those k-turn rounds guaranteed, and have something with which to defend on rounds when you launch your Discords.  Of course, as pointed out above, having a Relay on a ship puts one **** of a target on its back - not just because of its increased utility, but also due to its increased points.  But Relays tend to have sufficient Range requirements to make it a relatively simple matter of holding the carrier back well behind the swarm.

Here's something to give a shot.  Try no Relay, and split your swarm up into two or three wings.  Start somewhat slow and see where your opponent telegraphs his intent, then collapse everything onto that point.  One wing will likely take it in the face, but the other should be more or less free to flank.

Aaaaand I just reread that you were looking for advice for this past Saturday.  Whoops, sorry.  How'd it go?

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