SW Armada: Maximizing Upgrades


Today I talk about how to get the most out of your ship upgrades in Star Wars Armada.

For most players list building is one of the most important parts of any wargame. In Star Wars: Armada building a great list can be one of the most fun and rewarding aspects of the game, and is integral to winning games and being an effective player. Today I’m going to look at one particular aspect of list building, choosing upgrades. The other day our amazing HERO wrote about the effectiveness of using a repair strategy. While I’m not going to talk about specific tabletop tactics, he raised some great points about effectiveness and cost/benefit that got me to think about this topic. Why would you pick a repair strategy, and how would you chose to build a list around it. I found that these thoughts really worked for most lists. In essence, there comes a point in a lot of list building where you know the general list you want to run, the ships and squadrons, and are trying to outfit them in the way you’d like. So it’s that particular aspect I’ve come up with a few thoughts on.

NOTE: I’m going to be looking at this under the assumption that you want to be semi-competitive at least and that winning matters to you.


The man, err fish, with a plan

Have a Plan

The first thing you need to have when picking upgrades is a plan. Now really you probably should have had one when you started making your list, but if you didn’t have one then, come up with one now. There are two parts to a list plan. The first is the overall plan, how you want your fleet to play out. A repair fleet? A squadron based fleet? A MSU? Secondly you need a plan for each ship in your fleet, what is it’s role in the fleet. This is be a major step in picking upgrades. If your plan is to have no squadrons then you can immediately discount any squadron based upgrades. Conversely if you want a certain ship to preform the role of a carrier then you should look at squadron based upgrades first and foremost when building that ship. At every stage of building your list and picking upgrades you should keep your plan in mind. You should be constantly asking yourself how each choice helps further your plan. Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams and Expanded Hanger Bays are both fine choices for an ISD II, but will effect how good the ship is at carrying out certain roles, make sure you chose upgrades to fit the role.


The odd’s against Cluster Bombs being useful are 3,000,929,192 to 1

Think About How Often the Upgrade Will Be Useful

This is a bit of a hard one, but it’s where a lot of people go wrong. Some upgrades seem super useful at first glace. They give you some amazing benefit, and man does that seem like an easy choice. Looking at them deeper however you may find out that while yes, their benefit is nice, it actually comes up pretty rarely. Expanded Hanger Bays is a pretty good exzample of this. While this seems like kind of a no brainier for a carrier, it may not be so simple. Let’s say you want to put it on your ISD II. Your ship already have a squadron value of 4, so you need to ask yourself, how often will the ship be needing to give commands to 5, rather than 4 squadrons? Do you really need Expanded Hanger Bays to give commands to all your fighters? Moreover, how sturdy are your squadrons? Maybe you have 5, so you think you need them. But all five ships are TIE fighters. This means that you won’t have five of them for long. In reality maybe you really will only need Expanded Hanger Bays for one turn, the first clash, then you won’t benefit from it. Is it still worth it if you only get one turns use out of it?


Full power to deflectors

Another similar example is something like Redundant Shields which restores one shield to your ship at the start of each turn. Now a novice might look at this and think its amazing, it’s like having six extra shields on your ship. But that’s not the reality. In reality you won’t get to use this card every turn. The first turn your ships will be unhurt, so no benefit on turn one, most likely not on turn two either, since its rare to take damage on the first turn. Most likely you won’t to use this upgrade till turn three, or maybe four. In addition if it’s on a weak ship, a CR90 for exzample, it’s very likely your ship will be destroyed before you ever get to use the card. Even if you ships is tough there’s a decent chance that you will get no benefit from the card on turn six as well, either due to your ship having been destroyed, or it having passed the enemy fleet by and no longer being in any danger. Most likely you’ll get 2-3 uses out of this card each game, not six, and possibly none. That’s not to say it’s a bad upgrade, but you do need to think about these sort of things when choosing it.


Star Wars Meta

Consider the Meta

Meta is important. Even if it’s just your local casual group you will have some sort of Meta and you should use this when picking upgrades. Some upgrades are much better vs. certain play styles and ships. If lots of people you play are taking XX-9 or Heavy Turbolasers consider taking Advance Projectors. AP’s however are pretty useless if you face a lot of people running XI7 Turbolasers, so maybe look at Electronic Counter Measures. The key point is to be thinking about what you might face and how your upgrades will interact not just with your fleet, but with your enemies.


Engine Techs make the galaxy go round

Consider the Costs

On the simplest level this means that you have to think the point cost. This is of course very important. On the deeper level however it also means thinking about what using this upgrade in the game will cost you. Many upgrades have some sort of cost you have to pay to activate them. This may be losing shields, or tokens, or most commonly using a certain command. Engine Techs, for exzample, is an amazing card, almost any ship that can take it could benefit from it. However, if you take it you need to realize that you’re going to have to be giving navigate commands. You need to ask yourself what this will cost you, as it means not giving other commands. This step ties in to having a plan for your ship. While Engine Techs is a great card, its not really suitable for most carrier ships, since it means they will have to give up on making squadrons commands (bad) or not be able to use engine techs often (wasteful).



I guess that is a play style…

Think About Your Play Style

Personal preference and play style should not be discounted. You want to pick a fleet and upgrades that compliment how you like to play the game. Turbolaser Reroute Circuits are great options for players who like to dance around at extreme rangers and wear down an enemy. A player who likes to charge in and hit for massive attacks and end a game quickly may not find them to be the best option for them.


Always a wonderful add on

Final Thoughts

That’s about all for now folks. While none of these are hard and fast rules, they are general guidelines I like to keep in mind when making a list. Other factors, like theme and availability are important as well, but in a competitive arena are secondary.  Anyway, I hope this will be at least a little helpful for people as they work to make some amazing lists.


That’s all for today BoLS fans! Let us know how you pick upgrades down in the comments! 

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  • Salted_Diamond

    Redundant Shields on a CR90 with Projection Experts. Follow behind the main battle and always engi to hand out shields.