Monday, November 24, 2014

Marauders Fleet Manual pt 2: STL Traders

Hi all! SeerK here. Well its Monday the 24th and you know what that means. Tonight registration begins for Adepticon. At 8 pm. Central time the web cart opens and you can register for all your favorite events, which should include our Firestorm Armada tournament The Schaumberg Prime Offensive!. Please sign up early as we are currently limited to 20 spots. Ok enough shameless promotion for now.

I wanted to continue talking about the Marauders Fleet manual. In the last installment I went over the Oroshan. In this installment I wanted to cover a few things in the STL. I have to say there are some real gems in this fleet manual and the STL, the Traders specifically, have quite a few of them. So lets delve into the STL Traders a bit.

At first Glance several of the vessels do not look all that impressive. You really have to look deeper at the stat blocks to see the true value of the ships. You also have to look at them in relation to other fleets as they can be included as allies in any fleet. It just costs more for Zenian League members. Terrans can really take advantage though as the STL is natural allies with the Terran Alliance. I know Dreadbeard swears by one of the STL vessels.

Our first Entry is the Reformer class Battle Station. This is the only battle station available in the Marauders Fleet manual. It is also the poster child as to why I think Battle Stations should be excluded from tournaments, but I will cover that in a minute. As Battle Stations go I think this one is appropriately priced. It is equipped with Primary Turrets, A Gravitational weapon turret and any direction torpedoes. This is contrary to how Battle Stations are usually armed as most stations have weapons in all directions that can fire in all directions at the same time. I think the Reformer is equipped the way it is, is because of the fact you can buy its movement up to six inches and it has a fold space drive. So essentially it is a Dreadnought. The Gravitational weapon on it is unique in that you can only use it to push and pull things. The Penitentiary class escort it can take is also equipped with the same kind of weapon. Given the assault options you can take this is pretty nice. You can pull ships into better weapon range bands and pull them in to assault them. The station also has a 9 wing capacity so you can launch some pretty heinous bomber attacks.

The reason why I view this as the poster child for no Battle stations in tournaments is that you don’t have to pay for a fold space drive and given its ability to move and dreadnought class weaponry, this allows you to drop it into the midst of a fleet and really lay the hurt on. The only real balancing factor is, points wise it is priced like a dreadnought kinda. With upgrades and wings it can be about 290 points. Now this is dreadnought cost, but starting dreadnought cost. So yeah cheap dreadnought in Battle Station clothing.

Our next gem is your usually tier one choice for the STL traders. The Prospector class carrier. This is a poor mans carrier. It only has a 5 wing capacity and its stat line is basically a heavy cruiser possibly battle cruiser. Not awesome. Now what if I told you its base price is 75 points and comes in squadrons of 1-2 ships. You can also have Accompaniments. STL Cruisers or Frigates. So with wings one of these guys with a couple upgrades is like 110 points. So about 220 for 2 of them. That gives you 10 wings which are a split berth. Their weaponry is what we like to call “Knife fight” range, which is kind of ideal. With the right escorts you can pack a pretty good punch at short range with Primary weapons and Torpedoes. This is of course after you make a bombing run with a full 6 wing SRS bomber token. It also gives your opponent a very target rich environment. Lots of ships can make fire discipline break down pretty fast. Combining this Tier one choice with our next tier 2 choice makes for a very Target rich environment.

There is a running joke in our group that Hawker Frigates and Terran Frigates, mostly Hawker though, Are not frigates bu actually light cruisers. We had to adjust that statement to “Heavy Frigates” now as the STL Traders have an actual light cruiser now. Firestorm Armada does not have a Light Cruiser class as of yet. When it does the Opportunity class Cruiser will fall into that category. They have the DR and CR of a Cruiser but only 3 hull points. They also have the weaponry of a hawker Frigate. A primary Turret with 3 decent range bands and any arc torpedoes in 2 range bands. This does not equate to a really nice ship until you see they cost 40 points come with sector shielding, giving them a shield in one arc, and they can be taken in squadrons of five. Yeah you heard right five.

In their ideal range band the Opportunity Cruiser squadron, with 5 members, puts out 18 dice with their primary weapons and 18 torpedo dice. Granted this is a limited range. You have to be farther than 8 inches, but no more than 12 inches away. The typical tactic is to shunt deploy this squadron in the rear of the enemy fleet. You get one good strike with it before your opponent starts taking it apart. Granted its kind of a trap as you cannot take them out in one go easily. Five of them can absorb a lot of fire and its 5 crew points make it a little difficult to de-crew. The squadron is a bargain at only 200 points. Its a great addition to a Terran Alliance fleet. I know many Terran players complain about the quality of their cruisers. This is a good alternative to Terran Cruisers especially if you fulfill your tier 2 requirement with the Terran Destroyers, which are probably the best destroyers in the game.

Well there ya go, my two cents about the STL traders. I will be touching on the OSO Omnidyne vessels in the next installment. I know some people have been expecting some Planetfall coverage as well. It is coming. Our guys are getting their sets and Evolution Games in Lansing now has a good stock of Proteus Prime Starter boxes, support helix’s and rule books from the launch. We are learning the rules and getting a good grasp on things before we start writing about it. I am waiting for my Relthoza, which are not released until December 10th. So in the mean time I am learning the ropes. SO fear not Planetfall will be covered very soon. Also keep an eye our for a post from Spellduckwrong. He has been busy. His weapon lab is churning out a very nice looking Pathogen Fleet. I will leave the Pathogen section of the Marauder Fleet manual to him.

Until next time crush the Alliance and as always....


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