Thoughts on the MC-30 in Star Wars: Armada

With the coming of Massing at Sullust, I’ve gotten excited about Armada again and will try to make one of the local tourneys. In Toronto and Hamilton, we will be having a total of 5 events, which is  a good indicator that Armada is gaining traction!

I’m hopeful all the Armada players will be coming out of the woodwork to play. Hey, an Imperial Star Destroyer is up for grabs! If that isn’t a good enough reason to get a group of Star Wars geeks together in order to push plastic around I don’t know what is. So try to make it out next weekend if you can.

Speaking of Star Wars geeks, I’m sure many of you feel like drug addicts when waiting for the next FFG preview article.

y'all got anymore of them Armada (impact FONT)Yesterday we all got our Armada fix with the long anticipated MC-30 preview.

In my opinion, these are the most exciting upgrade cards revealed this wave. I don’t think the MC-30 is a very efficient ship on it’s own though, so it’ll have to be flown with at least a few upgrades. That means it may be pricey to run and only time will tell which versions of it will be worth keeping.

Before the preview article, when we didn’t know much about “the shrimp” except that it had a lot of black dice, I was thinking the MC-30 would fly similarly to the Gladiator. However, when I saw it’s defence tokens, I wasn’t as keen on getting the MC-30 “stuck in.” Those tokens encourage long range play and with only 4 hull and no brace, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to play such a fragile ship incorrectly.

mc30c-scout-frigate bothThat being said, it looks like FFG wants to give us the option of customizing the MC-30 for different play styles. If you want to rush into blue and black dice range, then the Admonition and General Rieekan allow you to do that.  Admonition will let you spend those defence tokens even when in close range and the General will let you get your shots in even when dead.

swm12_general-rieekan swm12_admonitionSpeaking of General Rieekan, I think he is quite the card and may be a small boost for rebel squadrons. Rebels squadrons, because they are so slow, have always had the problem of being alpha struck. Now they can hang around and shoot back if Luke or Wedge are on the table.

_squadron-x-wing-luke-skywalkerTheir escort upgrade has gotten slightly better. If you run them with a bunch of Y-Wings, Luke or Wedge will not be “treated as destroyed” by Rieekan, so their escort ability will remain in effect. These ultimate meat shields will allow the Y-Wings to stay alive and shoot back at any attackers for a whole round unmolested. That sounds like fun!

_ship-mc30c-scout-frigateAt first glance the black dice appear wasteful on the Scout MC-30. It’s a ship that wants to stay at red dice range in order to use it’s defence tokens. With Admiral Ackbar and Turbolaser Re-route Circuits, the Scout can definitely function in that roll.

commander-admiral-ackbar
“It’s a trap!” therefore roll extra red dice…

swm12_turbolaser-reroute-circuitsIf you are planning to run Ackbar, I’m thinking that Home One is must.

title-mc80-home-oneHaving thrown a lot of red dice, all too often I see clusters of annoying blanks come up. With Home One and Turbolaser Re-route Circuits you’re rolling 4 red dice with a guaranteed accuracy, 2 hit or 1 crit. That’s pretty solid.

An MC-30 doing that will cost 76 points (69+7).  However, for 79 points (72+7) the Assault Frigate does the same thing but with 5 red dice, more health and the brace token.

ship-assault-frigate-mark-II-BA noticeable benefit of running the MC-30 is it’s extra evade token for offence and the threat of throwing black dice at range if something like a Gladiator gets close. Will a Gladiator be so eager to get up into the fight? Probably not, and from that perspective the black dice don’t look like such a waste anymore. That flexibility does not come for free however, and perhaps explains why the MC-30 is a little pricey.  Foresight is another card that encourages long range, red dice play by making the evade and redirect tokens more powerful.

swm12_foresightThat’s 8 points more however, and in our example (69+7+8) takes the MC-30 up to VSD territory with an 84 point total.  At 85 points (72+7+6) our Assault Frigate can take Heavy Turbolaser Turrets.

turbolasers-heavy-turbolaser-turretsSo we get into a seesaw battle. To customize your MC-30 means you’re spending points. When you spend a lot of points, you automatically have to start looking around at other ships for more efficient builds. Which ship is better for the 85 points in the example above? It’s hard to say, but for 85 points you can build a pretty solid Assault Frigate. How about a 79 (72+7) point Assault Frigate with only a Gunnery Team, Admiral Ackbar and Home One?

weapons-team-gunnery-teamOr an 82 (72+10) point version with an extra red die and Admiral Ackbar and Home One on the table?

turbolasers-enhanced-armamentIs the 4 hull MC-30 a better investment of points if you’re playing Ackbar’s red dice game? Hard to say how much that extra evade token and speed 4 will help. After all, the MC-30 has no brace token. Is the threat of a black dice reprisal enough to cow an opponent from closing into close range? Something can be said for that. An MC-30 built to function well at all ranges definitely makes for a flexible ship. Is it worth the point premium? That will come down to how well you fly it with the underlying problem that it is a glass cannon.

Still, it’s an interesting ship and looks to be quite fun. What I’m liking is the evident tlc behind the MC-30 and upgrade card synergies. It’s no Gladiator clone that’s for sure. The MC-30 moves at speed 4, and it can equip Turbolasers on both versions of the ship, including the one throwing black and blue dice!

mc30c-torpedo-frigateThat is a first in the game and makes for some great combinations. XI7 Turbolasers punch your black dice through to the hull, and if an accuracy is rolled to prevent a brace, can be quite deadly.

turbolasers-xi7-turbolasersXX-9’s getting at the hull can be crippling.  For 5-6 points, these upgrades look great.

turbolasers-xx9-turbolasersThe Redundant Shields card won’t be a good fit for the MC-30. I wouldn’t risk this 8 point upgrade on something that can potentially be blown up in one or two shots.

swm12_redundant-shieldsOne extra shield will not make a difference in a “two shot” situation. This card looks better on a bigger ship, like the MC-80 or an ISD. If you don’t concentrate fire on a big beast like that, it has even more staying power. By the way, shouldn’t this upgrade card be a Mon Cal only thing fluff wise? I thought Calamari Cruisers were famous for their re-generating shields while the Imperial Star Destroyers were famous for their firepower?

Assault Proton Torpedoes finally give us an option for the Ordinance Slot. No longer will Assault Concussion Missiles be auto-includes.

swm12_assault-proton-torpedoesordnance-assault-concussion-missilesFor 2 points less, you’re doing 1 less damage but inflicting a crit. That is very powerful. If you can land this ability on a large ship that has 3 command dials, it might be a while before that crit is removed. This card looks like a natural fit on the Gladiator, and shaving 2 points off the cost of a ship always helps.

I’m really bummed out by Lando’s card. First of all, the art isn’t a convincing Billy Dee Williams.

swm12_lando-calrissian-compare
Evil gambling addict left vs Suave quick witted leader right

Then there is this “hey Lando’s a gambler” shtick that’s really getting played out by FFG. Why not just make a new EU character and call him “Gamblor.” It’s a name worthy of “Moralo Eval.”

It’s as if Lando just plays cards all day and commands via a roulette wheel or flips a coin like Two Face. I was hoping for a squadron boosting Lando or something sneaky that lets you redo your dials once, or improve your movement. You know, something that would have alluded to Lando being a competent commander, adjusting on the fly or being quick on his feet, all qualities he displayed at Endor. What a missed design opportunity to inject some fluff into this game!

landoStill, no game is perfect, and so far Armada is giving us much more good than bad. I’m excited for the next wave and to be playing in the Sullust tourney.

For those wondering at the beautiful model in the preview picture, you can see more detailed pictures of it over here. It’s a great piece by Cosmos Models.mc30_img_9306

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