SW Armada: Judging Wave Six Upgrade Cards
Today we take a close look at your new favorite upgrades from Armada Wave VI.
Last week we talked about the newly announced ships for Armada Wave VI. Both the Imperial Light Carrier and the Hammerhead Corvette are sure to change up the game. However with each new expansion it is the new cards, upgrades and admirals, that change the game almost as much as the ships. Wave VI introduces a new type of upgrade card, one that takes up multiply slots. In addition we get our first taste of “boarding” in Armada. So, with out future ado, lets dig in to the new cards we know about.
The new Imperial Admiral Sloane is a card to be excited about. Sloane gives a major boots 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.
Admiral (General?) Leia
Some intrepid folks have managed to read the small Leia card that FFG teased. Her card reads:
“When a friendly ship resolves a command by spending a command dial, if it has not yet resolved another command this round, it may resolve that command as if it spent a matching command token. If it does, that ship may not resolve another command this round.”Advertisement
In essence this allows all your ships to get the benefit of using a token with their command, if they only resolve one type of command a turn. Ironically this makes her very similar to her old foe Grand Moff Tarken. Both allow each ship in the fleet effectively a free token each turn, with Leia being more flexible on the fleet level and Tarken more flexible on the ship level. I’m pretty torn on the Leia card myself. Tarken is not a very popular Imperial commander, and Leia doing a similar thing at similar point cost doesn’t seem like it will be that great. Moreover Rebels already have an admiral, Garm, that gives out free tokens, and plenty of ways to get or move them around. Time will tell how she plays out.
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.
Boarding Engineers are very similar to their cousins Boarding Troopers. They work pretty much the same as the other cards, just allowing you to flip face down cards face up, rather than striping tokens. Overall they are a bit more specialized then the Troopers. They will be fairly useless against small ships, since they have to target a wounded target. However they could really shine vs a large ship, an ISD or MC80 allowing the player to flip two or three cards up and cripple the big boy. I expect we will see them far less then Boarding Troopers, but when used properly they will be devastating.
Another very exciting card from Wave VI, External Racks acts as a cheaper one use version of Expanded Launchers. While it is only one use the saving of a whole ten points is a big bonus. It is a really great fit for cheap expendable units such as the Raider and likely how the Hammerhead is shaping up to be. Often times these ships only get one shot at close range anyway, so saving the points is a huge bonus. In addition External Racks can work off of any facing and even on an anti-squadron attack. All that makes it’s one time bonus very flexible. It seems to me that with its great price point any ship that wasn’t going to take another Ordnance Upgrade has to think long and hard about not taking External Racks. This seems like the must have card of the wave.
Garel’s Honor does what every player wanted and makes the Hammerhead better at ramming. It’s a pretty simple upgrade, with your rams doing face-up instead of face down damage but it makes a small cheap ship a real threat to a large one. Other than that there isn’t much to say about the card. Interestingly Garel’s Honor is not the Hammerhead from Rogue One, that is Lightmaker. Rather the ships seems to be named for the planet, or system, Garel, which features in Star Wars Rebels.
So far we’ve only seen a few of the new cards form Wave VI, though I expect that to change soon. They seem ready to open up new avenues of attack and whole new fleet archetypes. Sloane in particular is an Admiral to get excited about and is clearly a sign of the rising power of fighters. External Racks is another card to watch out for. All these and the rest of the new cards are sure to shake up the meta in new and exciting ways in the days to come.
That’s all for today BoLS Fans. Let us know what you think of the new cards down in the comments!