The Imperial Light Carrier Expansion has been unveiled at last. Pilots to your starfighters!
Boy it sure seems like it’s been sometime since we’ve gotten any new Armada news doesn’t it? Luckily for us Fantasy Flight has at last decided to release the details of the new Imperial Light Carrier Expansion. This ship, the Quasar Fire-class cruiser carrier is the first real dedicated carrier the game has seen. It’s relative low cost as well as it’s ability to act as the best carrier in the game make it a solid additional to Imperial forces. Combined with the new cards and tactics in Wave VI and we are sure to see a great shake up in the meta. But what makes the Quasar Fire so good? Let’s take a look.
The Quasar Fire I
The ship comes, like all ships, in two versions. The Quasar Fire I is pretty much a dedicated carrier. Outside of it’s great Squadron 4 its states are pretty weak. It’s tied for the worst non-flotilla firepower in the game (with the CR90 B) and doesn’t have much in the way of defenses. Six hull mean it can at least take a shot or two, and speed three means it can keep up with you fleet. It’s points are good, putting it at the lower end of the Imperial fleet and competitive with a pair of Gozontis.
Squadron 4 is of course what this ship is all about putting it up with the best carriers in the game. It’s upgrade bar is also solid, with with a weapons team and two offensive retrofit slots. Those two slots allow the ship to double up on Expanded Hanger Bay and Boosted Comms or Rapid Launch Bays. Since the ship is a medium ship it’s also not a bad platform for Tractor Beams.
The Quasar Fire II
The Quasar Fire II is the slightly more offensive, and more attractive to me, version of the two ships. While the core of the ship remains the same there are a few changes. The ship swaps half it’s blue dice for red dice making it a bit more dangerous. This will allow it to participate in the main battle much more often. The biggest change to me is the introduction of the first red anti-squadron dice in the game. This is big as it makes the ship incredibly dangerous to enemy squadrons. Two weapon team upgrades means it can take Ruthless Strategists, amazing combined with its Red die, and either Flight Controllers or the new Boarding Troops. Agent Kallus is also a great choice to pair with red anti-squadron.
The first of three titles Pursuant gives you some real bang for your buck. At only 2 points it’s a great way to ensure you are never without a squadron command when needed. However due to the wording of the card it not only allows you count as using a full squadron command, but also get the effect of your other command. This is a great way to double up on commands.
Squall is another interesting title. It’s kind of a hard to use title and it would be easy to never get much use out of it. On the other hand giving some of your squadrons free movement is never bad. Imperial squadrons tend to have good base movement, but Squall will allow you to extend that. In addition it also allows you to keep a freely moving fighter screen in place. Could be of great use to YV-666s.
Stronghold is effectively the Imperial version of Gallant Haven. Though it has a larger area of effect than Gallant Haven it is limited to ships with swarm. This makes the ship a perfect centerpiece of a TIE horde, or a Sloane fleet. Obscuring attacks will help make you squadrons last long and do more damage. Overall a very solid title.
The new Imperial Admiral Sloane is a card to be excited about. Sloane gives a major boost to your basic non rogue squadrons. With her, TIE’s can easily strip the defensive tokens off of enemy ships. That ability also works on enemy squadrons, meaning that ace pilots stripped of Brace or Scatter actions are suddenly in great danger. In addition she also let her squadron’s re-roll crits vs ships, allowing non bombers to have a much better chance of doing something. She’s one of the first Imperial Admirals who really pushes a certain kind of built, one focusing on swarms of non-bomber squadrons backed up by a heavy hitter. In particular the TIE fighter, TIE Interceptor and TIE Defender really work well with her.
The first of the new two slot card, and our first taste of “boarding”, Boarding Troopers is one of the hot new cards of Wave VI. Taking up an Offensive Retrofit and Weapon Teams slot the card allows for an unprecedented ability to discard enemy defense tokens. Now I think this is a great way to represent boarding actions in Armada. Using a single discardable card to represent your troops launching a desperate attack is cool and works well within the rules. Boarding Troopers is a cheap card points wise, but since it takes up two slots has a high opportunity cost. Still the ability to get rid of defense tokens, before you fire moreover, is pretty great. I would expect to see a lot of people playing around with this card once the wave hits.
One of the stand out cards of the wave Disposable Capacitors is sure to be a hit. Allowing blue dice, even if only for turn, to fire at long range will significantly increase the firepower of a number of ships. Ships, like the ISD II, the VSDII, the Raider II and the Quasar Fire I can all make use of this upgrade. Anyone of them would be able to surprise their enemies with a suddenly extra powerful long range attack. Combine with Gunnery Teams for maximum effect.
The Grand Inquisitor is another great new card. Free speed changes, and the ability to react to enemy moves, is a powerful ability. This is a card for a real tactician to make use of. Note it seems that per the wording the enemy speed change dose not have to be voluntary, so Tractor Beams and Konsantine will trigger this.
The Imperial Light Carrier seems like an excellent addition to the game. A cheap and dedicated carrier will unlock many new options for the Empire. Combined with new cards and a new admiral it will really change up the meta. In addition having a cheap medium ship will suddenly make Admiral Konsantine a much better option. The real question is will the ship prove to be better than the two Gonzonti Flotilla’s it is competing with? Only time will tell.
~That’s all for this time BoLS fans. Let us know what you think of the new ship down in the comments.