Compared to the significant advantages of playing squadron-free (simpler commands, increased activations, increased durability, and fewer wasted points) what advantages do squadrons actually give us?
- Burst Damage Potential
- Overwhelm Defense Tokens
- Improved Board Coverage
- Objective Access
Overwhelm Defense Tokens - Defense tokens can be a real pain to work against, but they are most effective against a single strong attack. Due to their limited use nature, they are much less effective against a swarm of small attacks. Most players won't readily use their defense tokens against squadron attacks. Squadrons, even non-bombers, can grind off shields and set a ship up for destruction. They are great at getting past Redirect tokens and Brace is often worthless. The swarm of small attacks can only really be ran away from. A series of small attacks from squadrons can force your opponent to make hard decisions about their defense token use.
Improved Board Coverage - Due to the nature of the maneuver tool, it can be relatively easy to predict where ships can and can't move. It is also near impossible to get a ship turned around to engage an opposing ship that has escaped. One of the true advantages of squadrons is their ability to go where you need them the most. It is often relatively easy to escape with a heavily damaged ship to a safe part of the board. Squadrons are more difficult to hide from with their freedom of movement. Squadrons can be out-run, but never out maneuvered. The Rogue keyword, as well as Boosted Comms and Tractor Beams can help you squadrons improve your board coverage and finish off damaged ships.
Objective Access - There are a handful of objectives that provide some significant advantages to squadron heavy fleets. Precision Strike, Superior Positions, and Contested Outpost (think B-Wings around the Station) all provide some significant advantages to squadron-heavy fleets over a low-squadron opponent. I find that I can often make the squadrons points back just on extra objective tokens alone.
Next we will look at some of the more efficient ways to incorporate squadrons into your fleets,