We know that there are new Battlecruisers coming this week, but we want to know more!
Welcome to the first Battlecruiser Breakdown! This week we’ll be looking a little more in depth at the different Battlecruisers heading your way this Friday.
Today we’re starting off with Shaltari and PHR. So if you’re an Abandonist or a space hedgehog, you’re in the right place to find out exactly what reinforcements are coming to a fleet near you.
First of all, let’s start with the divisive Pompeius. It’s a sunfish sort of thing. Love it or hate it?
Before you judge this big ol’ fish by its cover, we should really talk rules.
The Pompeius and Agrippa (we’ll get to that in a minute) both share a brand new type of hull. Since the Agamemnon and Priam are so fully loaded with broadsides and cover pretty much all the bases, we knew that the next Battlecruisers would need to do something different. Focusing on forward-facing weaponry (mostly) meant that those long broadsides were redundant. So a new hull was designed! The bonus of this new hull is that the Pompeius and Agrippa have even bigger engines, which boost their Thrust to a whopping 12″ – the fastest Battlecruisers around!
But we’re ignoring the elephant in the room. You want to talk firepower.
The Pompeius is armed with a heavy version of the Castor’s Quad Battery (very fitting considering the Monitor design was Dave’s main inspiration for the ship). The Heavy Quad Battery mostly matches the Castor’s weapons, but bumps up the Damage stat to 2. In addition, the weapons have Calibre for Heavy and Super-Heavy ships, increasing its Lock value.
Coupled with Fusillade (4), the Pompeius can put out a ghastly 8 shots on Weapons Free orders. Target an enemy Heavy Cruiser or larger and you’re hitting on 3s. That means a whole load of Criticals and a potential 16 Damage in one volley! All this together puts the Pompeius in a unique position for PHR Battlecruisers: a giant-killer!
Speaking of firepower, it’s time to look at one of my favourites in this new batch. The Hematite is all about firepower.
The new Shaltari Battlecruiser has also got a redesigned hull. Shaltari ships are tricky-looking at the best of times! The Ruby/Sapphire build has the four fins sitting equally, but on this new hull Dave has shuffled the top fins backwards, giving an offset look that nicely echoes the smaller Cruisers.
Unusually for Shaltari, the Hematite has 4 identical weapons. It’s not going to win any awards for versatility but… well, take a look:
Stat-wise the Hematite matched the Ruby and Sapphire, but weapon-wise it’s pretty unique! You may have seen Thermal Lance Cannons on the Chromium – the Shaltari’s preimiere annoyance unit, and – up until now – the only ship with a dedicated Burnthrough weapon.
Well, the Hematite takes that idea and puts 4 of them together! This beastly weapon is literally the Chromium’s weapon profile times four, and it’s all the more deadly for it. The Shaltari may have been a little slow in bringing Burnthrough tech to the battlefield, but now they have, they’re determined to have the best Burnthrough weapons possible. Classic space hedgehogs.
We’re keeping with the Shaltari for now, and introducing the Goethite – the alternate build for this new set!
The Goethite is a bit more of an every-man (every-hog?) ship than the Hematite. And yes, it’s “G-O-E-thite” not “G-E-O-thite”, I checked with Dave.
The Goethite trades in all-out stopping power for a mixed approach. Joining some of the other factions, the Goethite has a Launch bay, which allows it some extra versatility. It also has two weird new weapons that look weirdly familiar…
Those, fellow Fleeters, are Twin Hyperwave Cannons. A brand new weapon type, the Hyperwave Cannon is (checks notes) “a gigantic offshoot of the microwave-based weapons dreaded by infantry.” Although we’ve seen something similar on the Amethyst, the Hyperwave Cannon is something very different. It superheats enemy ships, causing untold continuous damage to a ship while simultaneously killing off most of its crew. Ouch! With the new Corruptor rules in version 1.2 of the digital rulebook, you can pile on Corruptor tokens, increasing the ongoing damage each time!
Okay, we’re saving the weirdest until last.
The PHR Agrippa is something unlike we’ve ever seen before. Although the long shape is reminiscent of many other PHR ships. It looks most like the Pollux, although is very different in practice.
Dave’s idea for this was to make something weird that shows the constant evolution of PHR’s advanced technology. They’re fighting in many new ways since allying with the UCM and Kalium in the Battle for Earth, and one of the things they’ve needed to do is more closely mask their activities. Thus the Agrippa. Let’s just peel the bandage off and look at the rules.
Those long fins house layers of drones within drones, each equipped with EM projectors, which – when all together – create a web of EM interference, mimicking that of debris fields. The drones are also self-detonating, meaning any admiral brave enough to fly through the ruse will find smaller ships often damaged beyond repair. In game terms these Holographic Drones manifest in two ways:
- As Close Action weapons. The Agrippa can eject its payload straight into enemy ships, causing a fair amount of shots. Although not super accurate, these weapons also have the Swarmer special rule, which means enemy ships must use 1 more Point Defence save than normal to protect against each hit.
- To create a Holo-Debris Field. This basically amounts to a Dense Debris Field appearing wherever you want it (that 12″ Thrust is particularly useful here), and it only works against your opponent! So you can block off areas of the board or simply lay down a cover screen while you’re lining up your broadside volleys. The field only lasts until the end of the following round (so it could be almost 2 full rounds if you activate the Agrippa early), but it can do this every round, so there will be plenty of interference!
And that’s all we’re talking about today! We’ll be back tomorrow to have a look at some more Battlecruisers in the Battlecruiser Breakdown.