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Friday, 31 July 2015

System Wars Review Part 1 - Dindrenzi Ships

Continuing the System Wars ships analysis, next in the book are the Dindrenzi....let's start with the Legion:

So as we already saw, the model is a real monster - how do the stats stack up against that expectation? Well, pretty well actually - the Legion is just one CR off a standard Battleship in terms of toughness, and 1HP off in durability - so straightaway she is one of the toughest invasion ships, and certainly a very tough ship to carry a carrier tagline. At almost the same base cost as a Battleship, she's also the most expensive invasion ship across the board.

Weapons-wise, she has the same rail cannon as a Cataphract, but as they're on separate rails it's nice to see her Gunrack is much more substantial. She also carries 7 wings base, so potentially an 18AD Bomber strike too - all of this makes her a good mid-short range brawler. A base 7AP also means she's dangerous close-in, and that coupled with 6PD make her difficult to take with an assault. She has a massive Planetfall 6 value, which you can further boost to 8 at the cost of most of her wings.

So already she's got a good solid baseline of stats, and looking at Hardpoints and Upgrades ,you can tailor her to be more wing or assault focussed. The non-Planetfall option adds 3AP, making her 10AP, to which you could add Launch tubes, Second Assault and Assault Blitz - that's nasty. Of course now you're paying 210 points for her without wings, 245 with. You'll probably want Deck Crews too, topping her out at 255 points.

Interestingly - especially with her decent Gunrack, you can add Retarius escorts, which make the broadside output from her pretty formidable....though you're now at a Dreadnought cost of 300 points.

Then we have the Drawback - if you're looking at this thinking how on earth do I counter a monster like this at Patrol fleet, well, you're in luck. The Legion takes TWO Tier 1 slots in a Patrol fleet, meaning you can't field it in Invasion missions (as Planetfall ships don't fill mandatory Tier requirements). Of course you can take the Behemoth version in non-planetfall, but you've now invested 40% of your points in a single squadron - the main ship of which is DR6 with no shields....

Again, it's all about these difficult choices and options. Does the Legion give a Dindrenzi player new options? Definitely yes. Will Legions been seen to the exclusion of other Tier 1 options from now on? I really don't think so. I'm sure they will see action, but they will be amongst Nausica and Praetorians and Gunships and so on. It represents a very Dindrenzi, completely unsubtle approach to invasion, and that is to cram a massive obvious block of armour and guns into the throat of the enemy before he can destroy it. I like it a lot!

Speaking of a lack of subtlety. here comes the Castra. This is a veritable slab of a ship, with DR/CR not far off many Battleships, 6HP and decent movement. It turns like a shopping cart, but it does have a decent (if short-ranged) gunrack. It has 5AP, and the removal of Planetfall adds second assault, plus the upgrades allow these to have Assault Blitz, meaning you can pull of decent boarding assault on relatively undamaged ships.

That's about as complicated as the Castra gets. The other trick up its sleeve is that the squadron can add an accompaniment of Buckler Escorts, boosting linked squadron PD up to 10 and outgoing firepower to quite nasty levels. Still, for 185 points, a 16", 16AD threat isn't so bad...200 points and next activation thats likely to be followed by a 10AP Assault Blitz boarding assault. Not cheap per se, but another point of utility in fleet building and keeping your opponent guessing.

Last in the Dindrenzi line is the Scuta Frigate, which has the stats of a Terran Cruiser, but the standard DT instead of a Terran shield. It also has Three, yes - 3, Hull Points, making it VERY hard to get rid of these ships. It can upgrade its already high AP, but then it doesn't have the high squad size to keep it intact like other invasion smalls.

For its non-planetfall build, it can change from being a simple frigate to a dedicated escort. With that innate hardness and high PD, that could make it an interesting alternative to SRS cover. It's expensive, however, at 25 points a pop, but imagine a legion with three of these covering it on the way in to a planet! As they count as a Zenian League Escort, adding one of these to any capital ship that can take them will almost guarantee a 4 PD baseline defence even after heavy damage, meaning your vulnerability to torpedoes, SRS and boarding is hugely reduced. Taking them down is going to be a massive PITA, and require some dedicated high levels of firepower.

So once again, we see a set of different options for both invasion missions and non-planetfall use. They won't be to everyone's meta, nor will they necessarily be auto-takes where they fit, but they provide choice, which is always a good thing in my opinion.

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