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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Star Wars Armada Fleet Commander Contest


The window on the FFG Star Wars Armada Fleet Commander Contest closes today. I haven’t submitted my list, because I can’t decide which list I like best. The contest has sent me into a frenzy of list building exercises. The next two waves are going to rock the game to its core in the best possible way.

Wave 3 will introduce the flotillas sooner rather than later. But Wave 4 isn’t out for another sixths months. If you haven’t seen the Wave 4 ships, they are the Interdictor and the Liberty. Very smartly, FFG decided to preview the ships and upgrades. While the mystery and dream phase of the release may be over and gone, the much more interesting “Wow, it can do what?” phase has begun. The contest is designed to make everyone consider what options the next two waves can bring to various strategies and tactics.

As I see there are three major shifts upfront.

1) Flotillas will obviously change squadron activation options for both sides of the Galactic Civil War, but they also offer an interesting no squadron option. This tactic works best for Rebels because they have the 18 flotilla, however, either side could easily mass three or four flotillas and use them for anti-squadron fire. The weight of constant dice might be more than most squadrons can handle.

2) The Rebels need to fly even better. The Rebellion’s front arc is a nice addition because they give the Rebels another bruiser without compounding the Ackbar issues. It also makes the Nebulon-B a more plausible option without a title. For some this feels like a departure from the Rebellion’s general flavor. I disagree. The Liberty and next two Commanders offer the Rebellion more interesting movement focused options. The fleet already about going fast and juking around big front arcs will now add pointing a big front arc to their list. It’s going to be tricky to balance a mindset that can move side and front arcs together effectively. It’s going to be interesting to see how Rebel players respond to the new dynamic later this year.

3) Finally we come to my favorite: control Imperial. The empire is going to have an alarming amount of bullying tactics to chose from, most notably deciding their opponent’s speeds. The Empire will be lining up their best kill shots on ships they can actively stop from moving or limit their movement. This is tactic I’m most excited for, but most concerned about in terms of sportsmanship. After all “Mother May I” might be a fun thing to play but might not be a fun thing to play against. So, we’ll have to wait and see how well these upgrades and options are balanced this fall.

I’ve been swept up in the Warmachine and Hordes Mark 3 release, so I haven’t had time to test these ideas yet, but I’m excited to see what they can do. But Vassal looks more exciting by the day.

I hope this was fun to read as well as somewhat helpful and informative. Until next time—She’s Got Admiral Ackbar Eyes.