Today FFG unleashed their preview of the Phoenix Home expansion and the Pelta with its Fleet Command Upgrades. I have been eagerly awaiting this preview since seeing the Pelta model at GenCon. The preview did not disappoint.
It also happened to coincide with my 100th post here at Concentrate Fire. I had been planning something else for my 100th post, but that will have to wait. I really want to talk about the new ship.
But first, a big thanks to all of you that read this blog. I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to read through my ramblings on Armada. Thanks for all of the encouragement you have given me along the way. Now, let's talk about those new upgrades...
The biggest feature of the Pelta is the new Fleet Command upgrades. Each of these upgrades allow you to gain a fun fleet-wide boost that lasts for a full turn by spending a command token.
I love this style of upgrade, it really fits the way I like to play. It also provides a nice contrast to the Experimental Upgrades on the Interdictor.
One caution will be not using the extra speed to push your squadrons too far ahead and out of range of your ship support. I think this upgrade will end up being more useful late in the game than early. The extra speed will be really helpful in re-positioning squadrons and chasing down wounded ships. I am at this point used to slow Rebel squadrons and really only find myself needing more speed later in games. Also, don't forget this can stack with other upgrades like Fighter Coordination Teams for maximum shenanigans.
Entrapment Formation! - Can I just take a second to say I love that these upgrades end with EXCLAMATION POINTS!! I think we need a gentleman's agreement to exclaim their names each time they are used.
Anyways, I really like this upgrade and actually think it is more useful for carrier builds than AFFM. In a carrier build, your ships tend to spam Squadron commands every turn. This makes sense, why would you want Yavaris doing anything but Squadron commands? I've repeatedly seen games where admirals are slavishly devoted those Squadron commands and their ships die for getting into bad spots. Entrapment Formation! can really help the flexibility of your carriers while still allowing you to spam those Squadron commands.
All told, this card will probably be more useful for escaping than entrapping. All Ships Prepare to Retreat! doesn't sound nearly as cool for a Fleet Command upgrade though. This one too can be stacked with Nav Commands and Tokens on a ship. You could change from Speed 1 to 4 in a single turn. I will make a point of doing that the first time I play with this card.
Shields to Maximum! - I love the art on this one. That MonCal is about to have a very bad day. I'm not entirely sure why this one costs an additional point. It seems about on the same level as the others.
Shields to Maximum! is really interesting. Based on game flow, you might only use it a couple of times per game. It might also only effect one ship at a time in many cases. (ships tend to get focused down one at a time in this game) Still, even a handful of extra shields can be huge. It might not save the ship every time, but even forcing the ship to be shot again can have a pretty big impact. It kind of has a dispersed Projection Experts feel (and stacks with those pretty well). I've played around with that card enough to like it and I think I will like this one too. the trade is great. One command token to add a bunch of shields isn't bad. Compared to Projection Experts or Redundant Shields it is much easier to use and will always be relevant.
I am going to need to play with this one some to really form an opinion. Might go best in CR-90 fleets that have trouble restoring shields and tend to take light bits of damage while running about at long range. The trick to maximizing this card will be flying in a way that encourages your opponent to spread out their damage. Fortunately for me that is already one of my main tactics.
These are really cool upgrades and much like the Experimental Retrofits of the Interdictor worth building your fleet around. There isn't a Fleet Command that goes with Concetrate Fire, much like there aren't any upgrades at all that trigger off of that command. I was thinking something like "Target Those Starfighters! - Your ships may all re-roll one dice this turn while targeting starfighters." It seems reasonable, but kinda duplicates what Toryn Farr already does.
Much like the Interdictor title, I am sure you will see lots of the Phoenix Home title. There are lots of shenanigans you can pull off with the second officer upgrades, but one of the most useful will be the simple Veteran Captain. For 3 points you can be guaranteed of having the token you need at the start of the next turn to fire off your Fleet Command. The new Ahsoka Tano upgrade will also be helpful here and will become standard issue in Garm led fleets I am sure.
The ship itself is a little underwhelming. Compare the Pelta Assault Ship with a Gladiator MKII and it looks pretty poor. Slower and with much less firepower. This is similar to the VSD/Interdictor comparisons. I am sure you won't see many Peltas flying around that aren't trying to make the most of their Fleet Commands.
If you aren't planning to run it as a carrier then the Assault Ship is the better choice. You save some points and can use the Ordnance upgrade to improve your firepower a bit. This ship might be the first I would consider for Rapid Reload as it makes that broadside a bit more useful. The improved anti-squadron firepower of the Assault will also be really helpful.
Projection Experts might be useful in that Support Team slot, but I am not sure what else I would put there. Medical Teams could be alright.
Much like the Interdictor the frequency that Peltas show up will be based on people learning to both maximize their special upgrades and learn how to make the most of them as just ships. While I can see using an Interdictor as a blue-crit platform outside of its unique upgrades the Pelta doesn't seem to have a niche. It is a slightly cheaper carrier than an Assault Frigate, but the Neb and GR-75 can do that too.
I am curious to see if I can make one work in a trailer role. It might just be too slow for that though.
I cannot wait to start playing with this ship, just to find out what kind of impact it can have. Once it gets released expect lots of battle reports as I test it out. Tell me what you think in the comments.
Well, that's my 100th post here on Concentrate Fire! Thanks again for reading.