Preview Two Imperial Starship Expansion Packs for STAR WARS (TM): Armada
“Star Destroyers, two of them, coming right at us.” –Han Solo
Recently, we announced the upcoming release of the first wave of expansion packs for Star Wars™: Armada, and in our last preview, we looked at how the game allows you to incorporate these ships, fighter squadrons, and upgrades into your own, custom fleet.
Now that you know how you can use your three-hundred fleet points to buy capital ships, starfighters, upgrades, and your commander, we turn to the first two Imperial expansion packs to explore what they offer.
Of course, both of them feature powerful Star Destroyers, but you’ll also find a great deal more, including a host of unique upgrades, including two commanders that can serve as alternates for the Core Set’s Grand Moff Tarkin.
Victory-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack
The largest and most powerful of all the ships from the Core Set and first wave, the Victory-class Star Destroyer formed the core of the Imperial Navy at the outset of the Galactic Civil War, and it’s likely, soon, to form the core of many an Imperial fleet in Armada.
Available in both the Core Set and the Victory-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack, the Victory-class Star Destroyer can be fielded as either of two subclasses. The more powerful Victory II costs eighty-five fleet points, and the Victory I, which is very nearly as imposing, costs seventy-three.
These ships are the same in the expansion pack as they are in the Core Set, but the upgrades differ. And, as you can begin to guess from a look at their action bars, the different Victory-class Star Destroyers can each field an astonishing array of upgrades.
Notably, though, the Victory II features the ion cannon upgrade type while the Victory I features the missile upgrade type. A small differences in icons that might slip your notice at first, this is the sort of distinction to which shrewd commanders will pay close attention as they assemble their fleets.
For example, the Victory I can equip the Assault Concussion Missiles upgrade. Then, whenever your attack includes a result on a black attack die, you can deal one point of damage to each hull zone adjacent to the defending hull zone. You can only trigger one critical effect per attack, so if you trigger the effect from your Assault Concussion Missiles, you won’t deal a faceup damage card to the enemy ship; of course, the exchange is that you will deal an extra two points of damage.
On the other hand, the Victory II can equip either the Overload Pulse or the Ion Cannon Batteries found in the Victory-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack. You can trigger the critical effect of either of these upgrades whenever you roll a result on a blue attack die. If you’ve equipped an Overload Pulse, you can exhaust all of the defending ship’s defense tokens, leaving it, effectively, a sitting duck for the remainder of the round. Or if you’ve equipped the Ion Cannon Batteries, you can strip away a ship’s command tokens, leaving it with fewer and weaker command options.
As you can see, the upgrades that you select for your ships will drastically impact your strategy, and that means that each of the fourteen upgrades from the Victory-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack offers its own range of strategic concerns. However, no upgrade cards offer more far-reaching strategic concerns than new commanders and title cards.
Even though the Core Set offers a wide enough range of ship cards, squadrons, and upgrades to permit a great deal of fleet-building flexibility, it includes only one commander card for each faction and just one title for each type of ship. The Imperials gain Grand Moff Tarkin as their sole commander, and any Imperial looking to field a unique Victory-class Star Destroyer must choose to field the Dominator.
These are both solid options, but the Imperial Navy gains greater flexibility with the Victory-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack. Admiral Motti offers his services as commander, and you can field the Corrupter or Warlord instead of the Dominator (or alongside it).
These cards greatly expand the range of possible synergies you’ll be able to develop within your fleet, as do the expansion’s eleven other crew members, teams, hangar bays, and armaments. Accordingly, the Victory-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack, like each Armada expansion, isn’t just all about its pre-painted miniature Star Destroyer; it’s about harnessing enough firepower to put the fear of the Empire into your opponents.
Gladiator-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack
The Gladiator-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack also expands your fleet-building options with its miniature Star Destroyer, two ship cards, and ten upgrades.
Less powerful and less resilient than the Victory-class, the Gladiator-class Star Destroyer is also less expensive, costing either fifty-six fleet points for the Gladiator I or sixty-two fleet points for the Gladiator II.
And while it’s not as powerful as the Victory-class, the Gladiator-class – in many ways – features a better balance of strengths. Instead of the Victory’s six forward-facing attack dice, the Gladiator features four, but it can also fire four dice from both its left and right hull zones, as opposed to the three dice that the Victory fires from its sides.
Simultaneously, the Gladiator trades away one of the Victory’s redirect tokens for an evade token, reducing its ability to rely upon its shields for protection, but increasing its ability to evade attacks at long range.
Perhaps more importantly, the Gladiator is a faster and nimbler ship, with a maximum speed of “3” – as opposed to the Victory’s maximum speed of “2” – and a command rating of “2.” The reduced command, of course, limits the number of tokens your Gladiator-class Star Destroyer can store, but it also means that you’ll be able to react more swiftly to your opponent’s tactics.
Its increased maximum speed is also important because the Gladiator features no medium-range blue attack dice. Instead, it features a hefty dose of potent, close-range black dice, so any admiral fielding a Gladiator-class Star Destroyer will want to find a way to race it into position to fire as quickly as possible.
One of those ways may be to take advantage of the upgrades and titles that appear in the expansion. Engine Techs nearly double the efficiency of your navigation commands, and though the Demolisher title doesn’t directly add to your ship’s speed, by allowing your Gladiator-class to fire after moving, it greatly increases your ability to get into position to fire at the target of your choice as early as possible.
Likewise, by increasing the range of your black attack dice from close to medium whenever you attack the rear hull zone of an enemy ship, the Insidious title also adds to your range and maneuverability. Moreover, if you happen to equip your Gladiator-class with Expanded Launchers, you could fire as many as four of those black dice at medium-range.
Finally, the Gladiator-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack comes with a commander upgrade of its own, Admiral Screed, who presents an interesting alternative for Grand Moff Tarkin or Admiral Motti.
“Once per activation, when a friendly ship is attacking, it may spend 1 die to change a die to a face with a icon.”
The fact that you can use Admiral Screed’s ability once per activation means that you can apply it to each capital ship in your fleet. However, activating it requires the sacrifice of one of your attack dice. In the case where you roll two blanks, the decision to sacrifice one of them to turn the other into a critical result is a relative no-brainer, but those situations should be relatively rare. The blue attack die has no blank faces, and the red and black attack dice have only two blank faces each.
Still, Admiral Screed’s ability can come in handy even if you don’t roll blanks. For example, the face of the black attack die that shows a result also shows a result. If you sacrifice one result to convert another result to a result of plus , you lose no damage but gain the opportunity to trigger a critical effect.
Moreover, guaranteed results can greatly increase the potency of your upgrades can potentially offset the cost of losing other dice results, even standard hits. With Admiral Screed aboard your flagship, you can guarantee a black result for your Assault Concussion Missiles or a blue result for your Victory-class Star Destroyer’s Ion Cannon Batteries.
In certain situations, you might even elect to give up the raw number of damage cards that you force onto your opponent’s hull in order to turn the first two of them faceup with the XX-9 Turbolasers found in the Victory-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack.
The Imperial Fleet Is Yours to Command
The rules for fleet-building, along with the Star Destroyers and upgrades from the first wave of Armada expansions, ensure that you will be able to enjoy a range of Imperial fleets as diverse as the citizens of the galaxy they will help you conquer.
In our next preview, we’ll take a look at the Rebellion’s capital ships. Until then, it’s time to think about all the different Imperial fleets you can create. Once you’ve decided on your favorite builds, head to our forums to share them with the other members of the Armada community!