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Subject: Tactical Guide - Assault Frigate MK II rss

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Michael Ptak
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Tactical Guide – Assault Frigate MK II


And now to cover the last of the available wave 1 rebel ships. Again I must open by saying I haven’t flown the rebels recently so I may be a little rusty. As well, I have more attention on the other two ships because of how impressive the CR-90 is, and how much of a problem the Nebulon-B can be. The Assault frigate is great, and in the very least I can offer some opinions based on stats and cards even in the absence of recent stories. So, let’s begin.

Overview:

Until the first wave hit the Rebels had to struggle with very light ships. The Nebulon-B disintegrates under serious fire into the flanks, and the CR-90 (for it’s maneuvering strengths) cannot deliver the firepower to knock out the heavier ships of the Imperial Navy. The Rebels struggled until the Assault Frigate arrived on the scene to finally anchor Rebellion lists with something solid that can take some amount of punishment.

If there’s one reliable backbone of the Rebellion that can function in any kind of list, it’s the assault frigate. This ship has no obvious or serious flaws to exploit and is a good contribution to any kind of Rebel list.

Command Stats:

The Assault Frigate is command 3, Fighter 2/3, and Engineering 4. Already this is much better than the anemic command stats of the other beginning Rebel ships, giving the rebels (and heavy ship players like me in general) something to work with. Command 3 needs planning but is rewarding with tokens (especially with Iblis as your leader), the fighter option now opens up carrier play for the Rebels, and Engineering 4 can allow the ship to protect itself much better than the smaller counterparts.

In terms of fighters, both variants having access to the offensive structure and weapons teams can grant great options for carriers (in combination with the Gallant Heaven, which we will revisit later in this article). With offensive structures, you can now boost your fighter command to 3/4 with Expanded Hangars or increase the range out to long with Boosted Coms. There are also standard fighter-combat options in that upgrade to help support the fighters, and those I’ll discuss in upgrades.

Firepower:

The Assault Frigate won’t be able to match VSDs gun-for-gun, but at least it gives the rebels something to start with in terms of heavy attack power. The Assault frigate’s appearance on the scene is the first of the significant broadside shooters, starting a trend in the rebellion that remains prominent into Wave 2. Consequently the Assault Frigate, MC30 and MC80 all harmonize together by attacking out of their sides. Having them all in a vertical line following one another is what forms the “Conga line” being discussed in a few other tactical articles and forum posts. I like the idea myself.

Regarding the Assault Frigate, the difference in versions is seen here in firepower ratings. The Superior A version adds a blue die to the front and back, increases the Anti-fighter rating to two blue dice, and increases the fighter count to 2. The B variant is a de-powered discount ship but still offers the same four-dice attack out of the broadsides (and heavier defense) that you would want to take from bringing this ship into your fleet.

The Assault Frigate can benefit from any of the turbolasers available (except Slaved Turrets, which is an odd duck). Enhanced Armament was a popular favorite within my meta, but Turbolaser Reroute circuits might seem like an acceptable replacement to guarantee the extra hits out of your red dice. XI7s and Heavy Turbolaser turrets can be chosen to affect a particular defense token, and H9s are good if you must guarantee accuracy. Apart from Slaved Turrets there is literally no bad option for turbolaser selection, it just depends on what you want to do with them.

Offensive teams is also a wide selection restricted only by Ordnance Experts (which have no function on the Assault Frigate). Gunnery teams was a wave 1 favorite to make the most out of the pumped-up side arcs. Flight Controllers, combined with the offensive upgrade of your choice and Adar Tallon, makes fighters that much more dangerous. Sensor Teams has always been in the shadow of H9 turbolasers, but remains an option if you must take a different turbolaser but need accuracy. Ruthless strategists is kind of unusual in that you can damage your own fighters, but trading 1 hp from a Y-Wing to kill a TIE Fighter is a worthy exchange, especially if that’s an ace. Ruthless strategists is unblockabale damage to a fighter squadron.

Navigating:

Compared to the VSD the Assault Frigate is a maneuvering dream. Speed 3 and more than one click is very liberating. For a medium ship this is good enough to get where you want to go, and a typical nav command can give you that extra turning you need to be where you need to be. The ship does not have legendary slewing like the CR-90, but it doesn’t need it either. With at least one click along all of its points at all speed (except speed 3), the Assault Frigate is not sluggish, not is it overtly nimble.

The only problem with the Assault Frigate is that you cannot enhance movement with a support team. It will always be 0-3 with the clicks it has capable with the navigate command.

Protection:

Another nice addition to the wave 1 meta was the superior protection given by the Assault Frigate. A standard protection suite and a (then) healthy assignment of shields, combined with a defensive structure, made it the best protected ship for Wave 1. Comparing it to the rebel additions in Wave 2 is a little unfair because the MC30 is an odd duck with the defensive suite (especially Foresight), and the MC80 is a large ship that by definition has better shields and a stronger hull.

Nevertheless the Assault Frigate is still a stalwart anchor for the Rebels. By having brace and access to ECMs it can repel the damage that non-Foresight MC30s can’t hope to replicate at closer ranges. With 6 hull the Assault frigate can stand to take a critical or two that would probably cripple an MC30. And it’s cheaper than the MC80, which is supposed to be more of a centerpiece than the standard in a rebel list.

So I feel confident about the protection out of the assault frigate. In the very least it still competes with the VSD by being a solid medium ship for a Rebel fleet.

Upgrades:

The ship has a good mix of upgrade slots to outfit the ship for whatever role you desire. Offensive teams with the Offensive structure gives you a good starting point for fighter control and carrier opertations. Offensive teams and Turbolasers is the starting point for a line fighter. The Defensive structure can make an overloaded important ship better protected. It really depends on what you want your Assault Frigates to be doing. You may be missing out on the Support teams, but your ship is fine without Ions.

A good carrier mix I could recommend is the AF/MKIIB as the Gallant Heaven with Expanded Launch Bays, Flight Controllers, and Adar Tallon. This allows four squadrons under your command to have protection from the ship at close range, with better anti-fighter capabilities, and Adar Tallon allows say an ace squadron to attack again in the fighter phase. This setup is 101 points and not dependent on any Admiral. You can customize the ship from there.

A good attack ship could be an AF/MKIIA with an Intel Officer, Gunnery Team, Tractor Beams, and Turbolaser reroute circuits at 108 points. Intel officer is good for threatening enemy brace tokens, Gunnery team is good for hitting multiple targets if you need to, TRC is perhaps the best turoblaser for any ship with an evade, and Tractor beams is there to keep any small ships from getting away from you. This is just one way you can build a gunship-type Assault Frigate, as I didn’t even utilize the defensive slots or give it a title. Speaking of which…

Titles:

Gallant Heaven: Exclusively for fighters. Sparing one damage doesn’t sound like much until you actually see it working. TIE Fighters would like this kind of protection for instance, and with all the rebels much more resilient than the Empire this makes the defense even more significant. The only drawback to this ability is needing to keep your fighters close to the Gallant Heaven, so you can’t go out striking with this. Fighters that only stay close to the Gallant Heaven… and we all know by reading my Rebel fighter strategy article what fighter is going to be spectacular at flying close to the Gallant Heaven!

Sadly B-Wings may not be able to catch up to the Gallant Heaven if its going speed 3. But honestly I don’t think there’s a need to. For a defensive player like me I’m fine with letting my enemies come to me, it allows me to fire at them first and in the extreme they risk uncontrolled maneuvers colliding with or overshooting my ships and flying off the board. A B-wing picket fence around a speed 1-2 Gallant Heaven sounds great to me. Maybe throw in Wedge or a YT-1300 to protect the fighters.

Paragon: The ability sounds great but stop and think a moment. “While attacking a ship that YOU have already attacked this round…” According to the rules, you specifically means the ship itself. So it won’t have the benefits of attacking last… to work it needs to double-arc a target or be the subject of Advanced Gunnery. In this way Paragon is a little hard to use, and some players might not find it worth the five points. I know I’d rather spare the points and apply them elsewhere, like taking down the costs of the Turbolaser Reroute circuits.

Even if you can get the ability to trigger it does sound a bit underwhelming. With no outside abilities to help the re-roll the black die is not going to deliver wonders for you, and taking Ordnance technicians for the black die that might trigger is superfluous.

So… I don’t think its worth it. Unless you reliably practice to make double-arcs happen on target, eh. I’d rather take something else.


How to use it:

If you’re not sure where to begin building a rebel list, you cannot fail by beginning with an Assault Frigate. In my view, the Assault Frigate is the backbone of the Rebel forces because of how versatile it is. You can make it a carrier or a gunship. You can build up by pairing them with a kitted-out MC80 and Ackbar to make an incredible side-shooting gunline. You can build down by escorting it with CR-90s or creating a Nebulon-B wall to hammer-and-anvil your opponents. You can take nothing but Assault Frigates and crowd out your enemy with resiliency and raw dice. There is no end to the amount of flexibility the rebels can take out of adding the Assault frigate. And to the players who pass up on this ship simply because “it isn’t canon”, you’re missing out on one of the best tools of the Rebellion.

Not bad for a space whale. Thanks for reading! If I missed something or if you have some other thoughts to share, feel free to do so!

And with that, that’s the last of Wave 1’s ships. I hope to get my shipping notice for Wave 2 soon so I can start looking at the Rebels a little more seriously. I’m eager to try an MC80 combination with two assault frigates and Ackbar, as well as how heavily I can abuse the Foresight. In the meantime I guess I still have that objective discussion I can finish, and perhaps go through each of the upgrade card categories. Let me know!
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Phil Triest
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I love this ship so much
 
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Admiral H_Nelson
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Bummer about Paragon. I have been playing that wrong. I have been flanking with two c90s with overload pulse and knocking down the shields to hit the VSDs with enhanced Armerment and paragon for two extra dice. There goes that. :-( too bad boosted coms doesn't help with the range of Gallant haven. Now that I will be switching to GH to help protect my Yavaris ships close to it I was bummed to see no support team slot to help give shield to the weak neb B.

I wish the rule books for Armada would point these sorts of things out better. They should have a section that spells these things out in a much longer FQA and errata than they current have. Is there a link to anything more comprehensive. Just when I think I have all the rules right I read something and realize I missed something.

I also missed the number of command tokens you could have was equal to the number of dials--this one was obviously spelled out in the rules, and I even had it hilighted, so thanks for pointing these details out in your strategy guides.

Looking forward to the objectives. I would wait on the upgrade slots until the new way is out and you have taken all of those into account, even seeing other take them for a spin, before for making that post as it might be more insightful as a result.

Thanks again.
Cheers.
 
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Robb Minneman
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Jackasses? You let a whole column get stalled and strafed on account of a couple of jackasses? What the hell's the matter with you?
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You might consider making a Geeklist and linking to all of your strategy articles there. That would organize them, and provide a one-stop shop for linking to them.

As always, a good, thoughtful article. Thanks!
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Eric Taylor
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For once I don't really have anything to add . The Assault Frigate is a pretty flexible and well-rounded ship.
 
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Allen T
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I think the only real weakness for the AF is when players attempt to use it like an VSD. It has the engines to move, you need to use them. You can't plow it into the enemy formation.
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Admiral H_Nelson
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monkeykins wrote:
I think the only real weakness for the AF is when players attempt to use it like an VSD. It has the engines to move, you need to use them. You can't plow it into the enemy formation.


Very true. In the few games I have played, I have quickly learned it is unwise to charge in as a spearhead attempting to get broadside both ways. Only once was I able to slip between two VSDs for broadsides and lived. But we were playing the overload pulse incorrectly so that might have been the reason.

I now place it last on the board at an angle that can move wide at a 30+ degree angle away from the start edge position beginning close to the VSDs but aim to be far in front of where they are going with Advanced Gunnery, EA, and Advanced Projectors--past where they are likely aiming to go. I hope I only have to take one close range shot from one VSD if two are on the board. I will only turn into them if by doing so I can take down a VSD with 60/40 odds of losing my own AF (provided the VSD is not naked and he/she loses 73/85 points to my 104+--in that case the odds better seem better). Obviously, I can't do the odds, but makes go a rough judgement as to the odds. Of course being new, my idea of the odds is likely poor ;-)

As to compiling these. I certainly plan on cutting and pasting these thoughts of his and giving it to new players. It is a great primer and platform for getting the mental juices of your brain flowing about the wave one elements of the game. Looking forward to the objectives and of course wave II observations with great anticipation. Obviously, the wave II observations will take time as he has to actually play with, or against, them instead of throwing out just theory. I also like that the posts are written in a way new players can understand them. The writer also doesn't put on airs and doesn't claim these are definitive ways to run them. Instead, he basically reiterates that these are helpful observations on how an experienced player has observed them thus far in his local meta and also based on his readings and videos from other experienced players. Basically, he is putting up something with enough substance so new players won't be lost and can start with some basic good ideas and work from there. These posts allow players to use Fab's awesome fleet generator--man have you printed one out yet as they are awesome with the ship superimposed--to start upgrading them and commanding them in an informed way.

I do hope as he plays more during wave II he goes back an adds some things here and there to the posts he has created Reflecting his added experience. It is post like these at will lead people to be less intimidated about starting late in Armada by giving them so hard earn lessons in their tool belt to begin with. Basically, I can't be thankful enough for this tremendous effort this far.
Fab's fleet gen:

http://armada.fabpsb.net/index.php?lng=en
 
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