Saturday, August 29, 2015

In For Refits - Turbolaser Upgrades

Turbolaser Upgrades are an effective way of boosting your ships' attacks.  Some work by improving your die rolls, while others hamper your opponents defenses.  As with any upgrade though you want to make sure you get the most bang for your buck.

XX-9 Turbolasers

These are the big double-barreled turbolasers seen on the Death Star in Episode IV.

Found in:  Assault Frigate Mk II, Victory Class Star Destroyer

The Good: In Armada, critical effects are brutal.  This upgrade allows you to stack those effects on your opponent even faster.  The cost of 5 is reasonable and not too hard to fit into a list.  

The Bad: The downside is that you won't get the benefit until your opponents shields are down and you hit them with more than one damage card at a time.  So, it may be an effect that doesn't come into play often.

Best on:  Anything fighting against Imperials.  Imperials have more hull and fewer shields, which will give this upgrade more of a chance to kick in.  These can be a nice counter to Admiral Motti who gives you more chance to use their ability.

Combos with:  General Dodonna.  If you're going to deal 2 crits, you may as well get some nice ones to choose from.

Verdict:  XX-9s can be seen as either a nice finishing blow or simply winning by more.  They only kick in once you've started really damaging your opponent and I tend to like upgrades that are useful throughout the game.  This is also a great way to circumvent Contain tokens.

XI7 Turbolasers

These turbolasers were installed on Nebulon-B Escort Frigates.  Note that it is x-i-7, not x-seventeen.

Found in:  Nebulon-B Escort Frigate, Summer 2016 Game Night Kits

The Good:  Almost entirely shuts down Redirect tokens.  Works with no Accuracy results and allows Accuracy to be used on other tokens.  Makes it easier to punch through shields and get to the hull.  The cost of 6 is low for a strong effect.

The Bad:  Has no effect vs. Nebuon-Bs, Flotillas, and Raiders.    Unneeded if you roll a lot of Accuracies.

Best on:  Ships that don't have any Blue dice.  Almost a must for Nebulon-Bs with the Salvation title.  Great on Victory-Is as well.

Combos with:  Salvation title.

Verdict:  A great upgrade for the cost as it is effective throughout the game against most opponents.  A strong card against Rebel ships like MC-30s.

H9 Turbolasers

These turbolasers are installed standard on the CR-90 Corvette.

Found in:  Core Set, Assault Frigate Mk II, CR-90

The Good:  A great way to get some Accuracy into your dice pool.  Does not require you to spend a die like Sensor Teams.  Shutting down a Brace token is often better than the damage you lose.

The Bad:  You must give up a hit or crit to get that accuracy.  Doesn't work on blank dice.  Competes with XI7s, which cost less.  Overshadowed by the Home One title on the MC-80.

Best on:  It's a great way to get accuracy results on the MC-30 Torpedo Frigate.

Combos with:  Warlord title.  You can turn a hit to an Accuracy, then an Accuracy to a double hit.

Verdict:  The more I play, the more I love Accuracy results.  This is a good way to get them on ships that don't roll blue dice.  This is an underrated card that would see more play if it cost just a little less.

Enhanced Armament

Found in:  Core Set, Assault Frigate Mk II, Nebulon-B

The Good:  More Dice!  It's always good to roll more dice and these have great range which will see this upgrade impact many shots each game.

The Bad:  It's expensive and is a Modification, preventing you from taking other modifications.  Not as useful on ships that don't use their side arcs much.  Has been heavily overshadowed by Admiral Ackbar.

Best on:  Assault Frigate Mk II.  This card enhances what is already the Assault Frigate's best firing arc.

Combos with:  Gunnery Teams can let you benefit from this upgrade on more than one shot each turn.  Kinda fun on an MC-30 Torpedo in an Ackbar led fleet.

Verdict:  A great card on Assault Frigates and potentially useful on many others.  They are expensive enough that you shouldn't take them without a plan to use them to their fullest.  I haven't played these since Ackbar came around.

Heavy Turbolaser Turrets

In the old West End RPG books, the presence of Heavy Turbolaser Turrets is what differentiated the ISD-I and the ISD-II.

Found in:  Imperial SD

The Good:  It's like the very popular XI7 Turbolaser, but hinders the more powerful Brace tokens rather than redirects.  A strong effect for a reasonable cost.

The Bad: Really only effective on ships with lots of attack dice.

Best on:  VSD-Is and ISD-Is

Combos with:  SW-7 Ion Cannons.  With this upgrade you don't need accuracy results much and that will let you turn those results to more damage.

Verdict:  I like this card a lot.  It doesn't combo as well with Accuracy results as the XI7s do.  If you shut down their other tokens with Accuracy, then they can just use the Brace for full effect.  Still, without any Accuracy results it is probably stronger than XI7s.  This makes it better for ships that only roll Red and Black dice.  

Turbolaser Reroute Circuits

Found in:  MC-30

The Good: This may actually be the best turbolaser upgrade in the game.  It's the only upgrade in this category that lets you modify a blank into a successful hit.  It provides a massive increase in damage output.

The Bad: It does require you to spend an Evade token, which limits the ships it will work on and potentially leaves you more vulnerable.

Best on:  CR-90a and MC-30 Scouts as they both have multiple Evade tokens to work with.

Combos with:  Ackbar gives you more red dice to roll and these ensure that any blanks you get turn into more damage.  Also fun to use Captain Needa to get them onto an Imperial ship.

Verdict:  I like this card a lot.  It takes even a small number of red dice and makes them a real threat.  Going from a blank to a double hit is a large swing in damage output.  One of the strongest upgrades in the game.

Slaved Turrets

Found in:  Home One and ISD

The Good: Extra dice are always nice and this is a cheap way to get them.

The Bad: Losing an attack is a steep price to pay.  Over the course of a game they may cost you more dice than you gain.

Best on:  Nothing really.

Combos with:  It's a good way to get more dice on a Salvation-titled Nebulon-b.

Verdict:  I've tried a few different time to get this card to work, but typically regretted it.  The extra red dice have never been worth the lost attacks.

Spinal Armament

Found in:  Liberty

The Good: Very similar to Enhanced Armament.  Generally a better way to gain extra dice than Slaved Turrets.

The Bad:  Uses up your modification.  Red dice can be very unreliable.  Expensive.

Best on:  I like this on VSDs that can use the long range boost.  Also interesting on Assaout Frigate MkIIa, as it gives them the same attack profile from every angle.

Combos with:  VaderRed dice are unreliable, but Vader does a great job of fixing that.

Verdict:  I think this card will see some play although the cost is pretty high.  Generally it may be better to spend your points on boosting your attacks in ways other than just rolling more dice.

Quad Turbolaser Cannons

Found in:  Liberty

The Good:Accuracies are really good and this gives you more of them.  

The Bad: It's an expensive upgrade and works inconsistently without some kind of combo.  Sometimes you can have too many accuracies.

Best on:  Ships that roll a lot of red dice.  I think both classes of MC-80 will like this card.
 Combos with:  Anything that can give you a red accuracy.  Home One and Sensor Team are both strong choices.  Also interesting with the Warlord title as you can change the new dice to a double hit.

Verdict:  I am a fan of accuracies, but I am unsure of this card.  I don't think you can rely on it by itself, so it needs another upgrade.  That just raises the overall cost.  You can re-roll or otherwise manipulate that new die it gives, but then is it really better than Spinal Armament?


  1. Nice analysis. I am toying with H9s on my Victory-Is to make the black dice even better. However, the loss of a hit/crit is a shame - on that basis, Dominator is a nicer upgrade (but eats the shields in return, of course).

  2. I tried out some H9s on a Vic-1 last night. It worked out great. Giving up a damage hurts, but better to lose one damage to an accuracy than 2-3 to a Brace.