A Final Preview of the Separatist Alliance Fleet Starter for Star Wars™: Armada
“Your ship is waiting.”
–General Grievous, Star Wars™: Revenge of the Sith
The leaders of the Separatist Alliance largely fight a proxy war, letting droids stand in for organic soldiers and starships. While these networked droids often work seamlessly with one another to react to the shifting tides of battle, they often are most effective when receiving direction from a centralized source.
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When ships like the Munificent-class Frigate are unable to perform this role, the Separatists often turn to the Hardcell Transport. Despite being lightly armed, the ship more than makes up for this with its versatility in combat operations. Soon, the Hardcell will form a cornerstone of your new Separatist fleets with the Separatist Alliance Fleet Starter for Star Wars™: Armada!
This Fleet Starter introduces the Separatist Alliance into the game with a Munificent-class Frigate miniature, two Hardcell Transport miniatures, and four Vulture-class Droid Fighter Squadrons as well as all the components you need to play the game. Far from playing a singular role in your fleets, both of the capital ships can be deployed in two variants that make them even more specialized while 20 upgrade cards invite you to modify your ships to fit your strategy.
We’ve already taken a look at what the Munificent-class Frigate and Vulture Droids add to the faction. Join us today as we highlight the Hardcell Transport!
Into the Action
The Techno Union supplies the Separatists with many weapons of war, including starships that form the bulk of their navy. The Hardcell-class interstellar transport is one of the most versatile of these ships, offering a range of applications that make it an essential part of any fleet.
First and foremost, the Hardcell was designed as a transport. While its blaster cannons are unlikely to have a decisive impact on a battle, then, the additional crew members it brings into battle could. A T-series Tactical Droid is much more intelligent than standard Separatist droids and has the processing power to run complex combat analysis in a short amount of time. As a result, they allow a ship to resolve a repair, navigate, or squadron command token as if it had spent a dial of the same type instead.
Droids may be the most common passengers on the Hardcell-class Transport as they help direct combat, but they are certainly not the only ones. Separatist leaders such as Rune Haako also use the ship from time to time and they, too, can contribute to Separatist strategy. In Haako’s case, that means choosing another friendly ship at distance 1–5 when revealing a command and discarding command tokens from it and Haako’s own card to gain matching tokens for each one discarded.
These leaders aren’t the only way the Hardcell-class Transport can support the rest of the fleet, either. It can also be outfitted with the means to perform a Munitions Resupply that helps friendly ships at range 1–5 concentrate their fire. Alternatively, the Hardcell can bolster your fleet’s defenses with a Parts Resupply that replenishes their supply of repair tokens at a critical moment. This gets even better if the ship carries the Beast of Burden title that allows it to spend its defense tokens to allow friendly ships at distance 1–3 to ready their own.
Clearly, the Hardcell-class Transport has plenty of utility, but this isn’t your only option for the ship. It can also be refitted for battle to take on a more direct role in combat. Beyond improving its effective attack range, this version of the ship also feature upgrade slots that invite you to outfit it with a variety of new weaponry.
The ship could be an unconventional pick to fend off incoming enemy squadrons with some Reactive Gunnery, for example, making its defense tokens even more versatile. At the same time, it can be a cheap way to support friendly fighter squadrons, especially if it’s been outfitted with a Reserve Hangar Deck. The Separatists in particular rely heavily on starfighters with the Swarm keyword, and one of these can keep their fighters operational a bit longer.
Even with its long range blaster cannons, the Hardcell-class Battle Refit will inevitably be more involved heavy combat than the Transport. Although its weakly shielded side hull zones make it particularly vulnerable to attack, the Foreman’s Labor is legendary for its ability to hold out in the heaviest fire. As long as the defending hull zone has at least one shield remaining, this ship can reduce the total damage it takes in an attack by one.
Whether it's carrying high-ranking officers directing the Separatist efforts or blasting into the thick of the action, the Hardcell-class Transport is a vital addition to Separatist fleets. Begin building yours with the Separatist Alliance Fleet Starter!
The Clone Wars come to Star Wars: Armada on December 4. Pre-order your copies of these expansions at your local retailer or online through our webstore—with free shipping in the continental United States—today!