Wave 3 & 4 are going to flip the Armada meta on its head. Here’s what the future will look like:
One of the most exciting things about Waves 3/4 is that when it does finally drop, it’s going to flip the meta on its head for the foreseeable future. The smaller transports will provide an enormous amount of activation advantage and the bigger ships will cause havoc because of their firepower and control elements. When someone enters a tournament now, they have to prepare for a huge menagerie of different lists and archetypes that will all be very powerful in its own right.
I know there’s a thread on the FFG forums right now with people doing a Wave 3/4 event on Vassal but unfortunately, I missed that boat entirely. Therefore, I decided I’m not even going to take a look and make my own analysis to see if I can forecast some of the stuff we’re expected to see. For the actual archetypes, I’m going to base a lot of the information on the competitive lists I’ve seen in Wave 2, see what kind of competitive lists I would go if I was to go either Rebels and Imperials, and then rate them in various categories.
The New Meta
Let’s quickly examine some of the archetypes we’re most likely going to see:
Rebel Bigfish – Multiple MC80s of all variants. Can be with Madine if playing with the new Liberty-
class ships, or multiple Home One-class ships with Ackbar. Looks for a high bid to go first to inflict maximum damage. Points-wise, it’s fairly light on squadrons and will most likely depend on killing ships fast or die trying. Strong vs. other big-ship lists that are generally less upgraded, weak against squadron-heavy lists or MSU fleets that outbid you.
Imperial ISDs – Multiple ISDs of all variants. Thanks to Motti or Tagge and a few support boats, these guys can go a little longer, activate a little bit better, and jam some cheap TIEs down your squadrons while the big boys lay into your fleet. A pretty straight forward and killy archetype that is very polarizing in playstyle. Strong vs. other big-ship lists that have lower bids, weak against squadrons or MSU with higher bids.
Imperial Control – ISD + Interdictor. Look for a lot of these lists to drop across the table pretty early in the meta. The ISD-II most likely will do the damage while the Interdictor protects, transfers and scrambles damage off the ISD so it can continue pounding the road. I foresee Motti and Tagge being big players here because they are attrition-based admirals. Strong vs. movement-heavy lists like DeMSU and Rebel MSU, but weak against squadron-heavy lists that are not affected by ship-based control.
DeMSU – Demolisher and multiple Raiders/Escorts. High activation count, lots of ship drops and a high bid means that you’re looking to move last into position and shoot first. This is a typical list of Wave 2 and might see it being weakened by control elements in Wave 3/4. The Demolisher is the biggest threat on the table, able to triple tap into prime locations to destroy virtually any target. Look for Screed for damage and Motti for survival. Strong vs. lower bid capital ships, weak against movement control and being outbid by bigger ships.
Rebel Carriers – MC80/MKII, Yavaris, BCC Escorts and lots of squadrons. Likes to take Reeikan or Garm as the admiral for the most part, but sometimes you’ll see Dodonna. Has a good amount of drops, typically runs very low bid to be more of a reactionary force, but packs a wallop with all the bomber damage. Strong against any list with minimal squadron coverage, weak against DeMSU and alpha-strike squadrons.
Rebel MSU – Many MC30s and TRC90s, with or without heavy squadrons. Will most likely see Rieekan or Mon Mothma as the commander. It’s basically the Rebel version of the DeMSU but the main punching element is in the form of the MC30c in either variant dropping immense damage the same way a Demolisher does. Strong vs. lower bid capital ships, weak against movement control and being outbid by bigger ships. Has more trouble vs. squadrons than the DeMSU unless they have many squadrons themselves.
Fireball – ISD + Rhymer, Dengar and Firesprays. A very common list in Wave 2 where you take Rhymer and a bunch of Firesprays and lay down the hurt with the Rogue keyword and medium-range bombers. Puts out even more firepower than an ISD at times. Strong against any list with minimal squadron coverage, weak against DeMSU and alpha-strike squadrons. Often times, if Rhymer is dead, show’s over.
Now that the archetypes are out of the way, I think we will still see some balanced lists that are designed to be all-comers and still be tournament-worthy. These lists will have one MC80 or ISD, a medium ship most likely and maybe a smaller one or some escorts followed by a healthy number of squadrons. They’re not looking to play a specific archetype, but just want a equal chance against the majority of the lists they’re planning to face. Sure, these lists will either see 60/40 or 40/60 shot against everything you see above, but it’s still better than running into a hard counter and being sad.
Are you ready for Wave 3/4 admirals?