SW Armada: Rulers of the Empire

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The Emperor has many servants, but who is his greatest admiral, and who is his worst?

Picking an admiral to lead your fleet is maybe the most important decision you can make when building a fleet for Star Wars Armada. But which Admiral is best and which is worst? A few weeks ago I ranked the the Rebel admirals from best to worst. Today we take a look at their Imperial counterparts.

As before  there are two things I would like to note.

  1. I’m basing these rankings on two sources, the results of this years regional events as compiled by shmitty on the FFG forums, and my own observations/knowledge of the game.
  2. Personal preference is huge. I can tell you what I feel are the best admirals, and what the meta says are the best. That does not mean they will be the best for you. While I hope you give this list some consideration I would never want it ot prevent you from trying something new and interesting. The game is always changing after all.

Now with that out of the way, lets dig in.

7. Grand Moff Tarkin

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Evacuate? In our moment of triumph?

Poor Tarkin. He really should be a better commander. Though his status as a character has seen some revitalization of of late, between a book focused on him and his role in Rebels, this has sadly not translated well to his role on the table top. While Tarkin’s ablity isn’t bad, tokens are a good thing, it’s use it doesn’t really add much to the killing power of his fleet. In addition his cost a major downside, he’s the second most costly Imperial, and his ability isn’t exciting enough to justify it. During the regional he was the worst preforming Imperial commander. Only 5% of players used him, and all of them stayed down in the bottom fourth.

6. Darth Vader 

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“Nooooooooooooooooo”

Like Tarkin, Vader’s reputation makes it seem like he should have a higher place on this list. Unfortunately for any Sith lord’s out there, Vader actually ranks now near the bottom of the list. Again, it’s not that his ability is bad, re-rolling dice is good, and Vader lets you chosen which ones without forcing you to re-roll all your dice. It’s really the cost that kill’s his usefulness. Not only is he the most expensive Imperial commander, but using his ability also costs an all important defense token. Still, Vader might have a useful place, if not for the fact that Screed has a slimier effect, for 10 points cheaper, and with more reliability. In regionals Vader was the single least played commander, only 1% of all players used him, but a Vader list did win in Louisville, so it wasn’t a total loss.

5. Admiral Ozzel

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You have failed me for the last time, Admiral.

I’ll be honest, I have a hard time feeling much one way or another about Admiral Ozzel. Ozzel, is not really a bad Admiral, in fact I think he’s one of the most balanced Admirals in the game, but neither is he very good. What Ozzel is, is focused. Ozzel can do a good job supporting a very specific list of play style. He is not a good generalist and many ships and lists would get no benefit out of him, but he is at least dirt cheap. While he doesn’t really mesh with how I like to play to game I can see how some people like him, and in general I’m all in favor or more specialists and less generalists in Armada. In the regionals he didn’t get used much, only 5% of players took him, but he did manage to make into some top 4 spots, a better performance than Tarkin, but not good enough to prevent his being replaced.

4. General Tagge

swm18-general-tagge “Tagge always argued against the arrogance of the Death Star as a sole weapon. He alone was properly wary of the rebels’ threat.

Another middle of the road Imperial commander, General Tagge fills a different specialist role. Serving as a sort of opposite Vader Tagge helps you get more use of your defence tokens. Now more defense tokens are always a good thing, so he’s certainly not a bad choice, and cheap, but he’s still situational. He’s great against Intel Officers and fleets that wear you down, but doesn’t provide much benefit if the enemy is able to kill your ships in one or two rounds. In addition it could be argued that Motti, really fills the defensive roll better. Still I like him as a specialist and think you could build some good fleets around him. Tagge wasn’t out when regionals where happen, so in stead of hard data here are some facts:

  1. More than 30s year after A New Hope came out people at LucasFilm noticed that Tagge vanishes half way though the movie.
  2. Tagge joins a long and distinguished list of Imperials who were killed by Vader.

3. Admiral Konstantine

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Admiral Konstantine is more politician than soldier.

One of the newer additions to the Star Wars cannon, he showed up in Rebels, Admiral Konstantine is a rising star in the Imperial ranks. Another cheap specialist, Konstantine tops the list middle of list due to his unique nature.  First off I love him because he does something to directly effect the enemy, always a plus in my books. Secondly his ability is really pretty unique. While most other admirals either enhance  some already existing aspect of their ships, or reproduce an existing effect on a larger scale, Konstantine creates a totally new effect and play style. No other Admiral has the ability to directly mess with enemy movement and position like he does. Moreover he combos incredibly well a number of other Imperial ships and abilities. While you will need to build a focused fleet to take advantage of him, doing it well will create one of the most powerful fleets in the game.

2. Admiral Screed

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“It takes an army to fight an army.

Confession time. I’m a pretty big Star Wars nerd and this is the first time I realized that Screed, the Demolisher, and Galdiator Sds in general, all come from the old Droids cartoon. I mean seriously? One of the most powerful combos in the game comes from that silly cartoon? That would be like saying a badass like Boba Fett is from something silly like the Holiday Special. Anyway, in Armada Screed is straight up amazing. He’s decently priced and one of the best offensive commanders in the game. Being able to switch misses to auto hits, and auto crits, is very powerful and allows him to work well with a number of Imperial ships and up grades. I don’t think I need to say much more. At regional events 20% of players took him and lists lead by him won 22% of the events. A good showing.

1. Admiral Motti

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This station is now the ultimate power in the universe.

Motti is pretty much hands down the best Imperial Admiral, and maybe the best Admiral overall. There’s not a whole to say about him really. He’s cheap and provides a concrete benefit to every ship in your fleet. Motti will without fail make you ships harder to kill, and not getting your ships killed is a key part of winning armada. He’s simple and easy to use, and fits any fleet or situation. 23% of players at regional events used him, and lists with him won a whooping 37% of the events, far more event than any other Admiral. It’s pretty fair to say that this man is the Emperor’s finest, at least for now.

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That’s all for this time BOLS fans. Let us know who your favorite admiral is, and how you think new admirals will change things up, down in the comments. 

  • Damistar

    I like that FFG creates new and more realistic artwork for the characters in the animates series they borrow from. It creates a consistency within their product.

  • JD Robertson

    You can see that the designers didn’t quite have a grip on balance when 1st edition released, with those admirals sitting at either the top or the bottom.

    I always want to like Tarkin because tokens are so valuable, but not only does he cost a ton, you need a list which either needs to spend tokens every turn or has the command values to cache them in order to use him. You could get Motti and veteran captains for every ship in most lists for the same or fewer points if token economy is what you want to focus on.

    I’ve seen Vader work really well for the right player, but that player is not me.

  • Raven Jax

    Something I always liked about Star Trek Attack Wing was that they got the power level right for the right captains. So unlike Tarkin and Vader, in the Star Trek game Kirk and Picard are the best leaders you can play with.

    • Davor Mackovic

      Only if you are Federation. Sadly the game is really imbalanced point wise.

      What is even worse because of the imbalance of the game you have Kirk and Picard in Romulan ships because their leaders suck and or Klingon or what not. So sadly Star Trek Attack Wing didn’t get it correct after all.

      • Raven Jax

        Gowron gives free Battlestations. Martok gives free actions. Dukat gives free Evade or Battlestations. Livianna gives free Cloaks. So there’s a lot of good captains for other factions.

        Are Picard and Kirk arguably better than those? Probably yes. Which was my point. The main characters are the best in the game. So unlike Vader and Tarkin in the above list, they’re not at the bottom while some little-known Imperial commander is at the top.