We’re back with some more Dropfleet rules. Buckle your seatbelts (or whatever Scourge use for seatbelts).
Friday sees the release of brand new Battlecruisers for Dropfleet Commander (the first since the rulebook came out!), so we’re taking a little time to look at exactly what they bring to your fleets.
Scourge players and Resistance players: bitter rivals, and both who will want to pay attention to this article!
Starting off with the jellies, they get two new Battlecruisers, just like everyone else!
Our first Battlecruiser under the microscope is the Scourge Shadow. Armed will aaaaaall sorts of weapons, this one favours all-out-attack vs the more subtle Akuma and Banshee.
With this design, Dave wanted to take the opportunity to right some wrongs of the original sculpt. A solid hull and a different cut for the prow means that there will be no cursing and dunking in hot water to get them to fit together, which is always nice! These changes will be retroactively applied to the Akuma and Banshee as well, but we’ll talk about that more tomorrow.
Dave wanted to up-gun these new Battlecruisers, so you’ll see that the prow contains all of the weapons you’d find on the Banshee. With a deep chin, it looks pretty scary already! Both the Shadow and the Umbra (see below!) have Launch bays on their wings too, which means these ships are much more varied than their cousins, making them great all-rounders. Of course, both have lost their stealth crest, meaning they’re also a lot more vulnerable. But they replace them with something a bit scarier…
The Shadow is armed with the deadly Magnetron Lash, the Scourge’s first Mauler weapon. With a decent stopping power, the Magnetron Lash has a Lock value equal to the target’s Armour, so go after high priority targets! Mauler weapons are always Close Action, so the Shadow does have to get rather close, but paired with Scald means that this weapon will always have a +1 modifier to the opponent’s save (note that this comes into play after rolling to hit!). Of course, setting up the Shadow to get all of its weapons firing is going to be tough, but if you manage it, that’s a lot of firepower with not much chance for opponents to save.
Fancy sounding and dangerous beyond compare, let’s see the Senator!
This extremely dangerous looking ship takes the Resistance Battlecruiser hull and goes wild! The whole front of these Battlecruisers are new, doing away with the typical broadside arrangement in favour of a more front-heavy weapons system.
The Senator’s secondary weapon system is just a whole load of missiles. Like… so many missiles. These Close Action weapons will deal a bunch of potential (if unreliable) damage to enemies who get too close, while the VX Bombs deal with everything else. The scanners along the underside of the Senator give it Detector, which is always nice for Resistance with their low Scan ranges. But you want to hear about VX Bombs, right?
The VX Bomb is like nothing we’ve ever seen in Dropfleet. Massive warheads filled with a deadly nerve agent, these weapons were “secretly developed by Earth Fleet Command’s shadowy Section Green, without civilian government knowledge.” Too controversial for the EAA and for the modern UCM, the more ruthless Kalium admirals have no issues, and independent Resistance fleets have seen enough carnage planetside to know that sometimes wiping out all organic matter is the best option. While these weapons do limited damage to the Sectors they target, wiping out all Ground Assets in the Sector and Cluster is a very scary prospect! Of course in practice it means you lose all your own Assets too, so is best saved for a Hail Mary. Don’t want too long though – this ship is sure to be a high priority target!
We’ve covered the more straightforward ships, and now it’s time to get weird.
The Umbra is the alternate build for this new Battlecruiser set. It trades its Magnetron Lash for the weird-looking Oculus Booster, which… well it does exactly what it says on the tin:
Although not a weapon as such, this crazy device is a real force multiplier, granting a limited bonus to a friendly group’s Oculus weapons. If you thought Scourge were only deadly up close, then think again!
Although the Umbra is a big, expensive chassis to house a supporting ability, when combined with the right fleet, the Oculus Booster can prove to be extremely effective. Take a group of 3 Yokai and light that target up! Extra points for taking down a Dreadnought.
Finally today, we have something weird but in a completely different role: it’s a repair ship!
The whole front of the Triumvir is filled with this giant structure of armatures. Although quite large at this scale, in “reality” they are complicated, finely tuned instruments, able to make complicated repairs remotely, extending out over a much longer distance. While the more in-depth repairs can take weeks, the Triumvir’s armatures are also equipped with an expanding, rapid-cure polymer foam. This can help fix hull breaches and even weld on new armour plates and modules to a crippled ship with quick battlefield repairs.
In-game these abilities are represented by a couple of rules! The Repair Bay allows the Triumvir to project a bubble to friendly ships, helping them to fix their Crippling damage mid-game. Meanwhile the Box of Scraps rule relies on close-by wrecked ships to help patch up holes in others. Stick the Triumvir in the centre of a larger group and you’ll be set. It’s worth keeping a group of cheap Frigates close (maybe take a couple of Detector Frigates) to provide parts for other ships. Keeping other Battlecruisers or Grand Cruisers nearby means your opponent will struggle to remove them from the game before taking out the Triumvir, which – considering it only has a token Close Action weapon and some Fighters & Bombers – might be a bit of a waste of firepower.
So there we have it! Some of the weirdest ships you’ve seen in Dropfleet so far.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: “These are so OP!”
But don’t forget that we’re just looking at rules in a vacuum here (rather than playing rules in the vacuum of space). Each of these ships is competing with other Heavy options and has to be used properly in order to make the most out of them. You’re not going to be getting the full benefit of the Oculus Booster every turn – not if your opponent has anything to say about it! It’s also worth remembering that our digital rules are always open to change. It’s the beauty of a living ruleset! We’ll have the full rules available for free on Friday, with a little 1.0 next to them!
Tomorrow we’ll be looking at the UCM who… well let’s just say they’re not getting “standard rules” like they often do. And then all of these ships will be coming up for pre-order on the TTCombat webstore later in the day as well. Stop back then to see all the details.