FSA: Core Fleet Review

In case you haven’t noticed by now this website sometimes has blogs on it written by the hosts that are focused on the topics or games that we are excited about in that particular moment. If you listen to our podcast you know full well that I am utterly sold on Firestorm Armada 2.2.0 and cannot get enough of the game, models, and new releases. In these dark times of Games Workshop releases it’s not hard to understand why…

My fervor has apparently been infectious as I see more and more people posting that our excitement has prompted them to buy a fleet and begin painting. This also brings about the inevitable questions about list building and a general thirst for information about tactics and quirks that make each fleet unique. Well… here it is… Firestorm Armada: Core fleet Review

Terran Alliance

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PROS: Best shields, Nuclear weapons, Good support, and Solid MARs

CONS: Low durability, Slow ships, Vulnerable to assaults, and No mines

OVERVIEW: The Terran Alliance boast impressive shields, turrets, and a flexible torpedo system on almost every ship in their  fleet. This allows the Terrans to function in a very slow, methodical, manner and deploy their fleet in very tight formations without fear of being boxed in. The dependence on a very linear fighting style makes the Terran Alliance a predictable fleet. Torpedoes are best and long range while weapons batteries are best in close range. While most fleets enjoy a synergy between direct and indirect weaponry the Terrans have to split fire against alternate targets in order to get the best results. Shields are a massive component of the Terran fleet and will sometimes make their ships feel exceptionally hard to kill, however a failed roll will put them into double-crit territory quite often. Terran players will want to slow play this fleet up the board as opposed to charging headlong into the fray. Shield ships are a must, but are best used as accompaniment vessels attached to a Carrier. Do not be afraid to deploy a squadron or two at a “full stop” to delay boarding actions as long as possible.

FLEET:

  • TIER 1 – ☺☺☺
  • TIER 2 – ☺☺☺
  • TIER 3 – ☺☺☺
  • TACs – ☺☺☺☺

Dindrenzi Federation

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PROS: High durability, Good mines, Best range, and Best firepower

CONS: Poor turning, Low versatility, bad MARs, and No shields

OVERVIEW: The Dindrenzi Federation is a serious powerhouse at almost any range. This is good because they have the longest range bands of any fleet in the game. The amounts of dice they can throw out at extreme ranges is staggering to behold and difficult to deal with. With all weapons mounted on Forward or Fix Forward points they drive forward turn by turn without fear of anything coming their way. This does however make them a problem in later turns of the game when not every ship can bring targets into their forward arcs, leaving the Dindrenzi to rely on their somewhat paltry gun racks to continue the fight. There is a an odd disparity in the design of this fleet however as some ships such as the Gunship and the Starter kit Battleship are clearly build for getting into close combat, while the rest of the fleet is built for direct, long range, battles. Try not to mix these ships as you will find your fleet split down the middle and picked apart. Dindrenzi are also the only fleet with a negative MAR attached to most ships.

FLEET:

  • TIER 1 – ☺☺☺☺
  • TIER 2 – ☺☺☺
  • TIER 3 – ☺☺☺
  • TACs – ☺☺☺

Aquan Prime

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PROS: Good shields, Best turning, Best mines, and Best TACs

CONS: Bad critical rating, Admiral dependent, Poor support, and Worst AP

OVERVIEW: The Aquan Prime Sebrutan is the best fleet in the game for new players. It boasts weapons in every arc, torpedoes in any arc, and an abundance of idiot-proof tactics with SRS and Mine options. Their fleet is fast and turns on a dime while being supported by shields and invincible SRS craft. The fleet does however find itself to be very dependent on TAC cards and a fleet admiral to use them. Once that has been removed from the picture, the fleet loses it’s long term sustainability.  Due to the strength this fleet has in Tier 1 ship choices you will often see Aquan fleets that only take bare minimums for Tiers 2&3, this can make for problematic battle log swings. If an Aquan player can hold out long enough they will however enjoy a strong late game presence due to untouched wings throwing out huge dice when most other ships are damaged and unable to do sustained damage.

FLEET:

  • TIER 1 – ☺☺☺☺☺
  • TIER 2 – ☺☺
  • TIER 3 – ☺
  • TACs – ☺☺☺☺☺

Sorylian Collective

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PROS: Balanced design, Various weapons, Good AP, and Large squads

CONS: Weak Tier 1, Short ranges, Poor MARs, and Poor TACs

OVERVIEW: The Sorylian Collective is an exceptionally frightening fleet when you consider the amount of firepower that some of their ships can turn out. The speed of their frigates and cruisers make dealing with a fleet of this size problematic. Though some options are very high in points costs they make up for it in sheer aggressive tactics. Though their Tier 1 options fail in comparison to other fleets they more than make up for that with just how impressive their other tiers perform. This fleet will tend to be the one with the most activations per turn and will attempt to end the fight early.  Their lack luster TAC cards do mean that this is very much a ‘no frills’ sort of fleet and will excel if an Admiral keeps that in mind. There is little that a squad of Sorylian cruisers cannot take down in only a few turns. Bombard Gunships are your best friend.

FLEET:

  • TIER 1 – ☺
  • TIER 2 – ☺☺☺☺
  • TIER 3 – ☺☺☺☺
  • TACs – ☺☺

The Relthoza

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PROS: Cloaking, Corrosive weapons, Best support, and Best SRS

CONS: Poor TACs, Low durability, Short range, and Complex tactics

OVERVIEW: The Relthoza boast an entire fleet that can start the game cloaked. This alone makes them one of the most frustrating fleets in the game to deal with. Long range torpedoes and short range corrosive weapons will wither your fleet away as the turns go buy. If/When you decide to turn off your cloaking fields the Relthoza will pour on heavy firepower and boarding assaults that can leave even the toughest fleets limping in the remaining game turns. This fleet may seem like the type to rush forward but in fact the best tactic is to delay dropping your cloak until the last possible turn, using Torpedoes and SRS wings to punish your opponent. When the cloaks do drop this fleet quickly begins to falter with low damage and critical ratings on almost every ship in the fleet. One may think that Aquan invincible wings are king, however the Relthoza can swarm the table with more SRS wings from more locations than any other fleet. They are the only fleet at the moment that can launch wings from Cruisers and Frigates alike, this makes the Relthoza Nidus class frigates the best Tier 3 option in the game.

FLEET:

  • TIER 1 – ☺☺☺☺
  • TIER 2 – ☺☺☺
  • TIER 3 – ☺☺☺☺☺
  • TACs – ☺☺

The Directorate

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PROS: Cloaking, High durability, Best boarding, Best beams weapons, and Turrets

CONS: Dependent on boarding, Poor SRS, Single arc of fire, and Unreliable Tier 1

OVERVIEW: The Directorate changed the most in this new edition and even a seasoned veteran like me had to lose more than a few games before I figured out how to play this new fleet. The idea that every ship in the fleet is using a powerful beam turret to turn out intense amounts of dice at range band 1 is a very attractive one. The addition of biohazard ammo makes this even scarier. This allows Directorate to dictate the fight from any location on the board and take a very direct approach to crippling an opponents fleet. Special Forces and high AP mean that even untouched cruiser run the risk of being captured before they even have a chance to join the fight. Though turrets are versatile they are also only a single weapon system. While other fleets enjoy being able to fire out of multiple arcs a Directorate player will watch in horror as his fleet crumbles if his dice fail. Directorate heavy cruisers are the best option for Tier 2 in the game so far. Also, always take the Firewall Breach TAC card.

FLEET:

  • TIER 1 – ☺☺☺
  • TIER 2 – ☺☺☺☺☺
  • TIER 3 – ☺☺☺
  • TACs – ☺☺☺

Final Thoughts:

Each fleet has advantages and weaknesses when played against other fleet, however the variety that you can enjoy in this game is really impressive considering that once not too long ago there was no variety between these fleets other that a few odd rules.
Who is the best? Well, that’s hard to say as opinions differ between gaming groups. It’s probably best if you pick make up your own mind. Personally, I think the changes to cloaking make the Relthoza a serious force to be reckoned with… but are they the best?

Let me play a few more games and I will get back to you on that…

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