SeerK here once again. I was able to get out over to the west side of the state for a Firestorm Armada tournament. Battle Front Games in Kentwood, which is by Grand Rapids, played host to an 800 point patrol fleet tournament. Thanks go out to Mike Williams for running a fun event. I was initially going to run my Rense Navy fleet, but I was talked out of it by Spellduckwrong and Dreadbeard. I am still trying to really get some competitive wins with my Rense. The last tournament I played in I ran them and took third. Not to bad, but I am still learning the system even after a year. Once you learn a system you start to see the subtleties and tactics and tricks reveal themselves. I get in a lot of games to learn new tactics and the interactions of rules and those tactics with each other. I am trying to refine my game by playing different fleets. I recently acquired some Relthoza to help me refine my game. Relth have a sharp learning curve and they are a very good fleet when used properly. They will also help me play my Rense better. My actual style of play, especially when doing it competitively, is usually at great odds with my army or fleet selection. I like armies and fleets that are visually appealing and have a very common theme of being fast and being played with refined tactics. That is they are a scalpel when at heart my play style is more big freaking hammer.
That said, the gang has talked me into using a fleet that plays in the way that I tend to play at tournaments. Charging into battle, tactics be damned the Ba'Kash are my blunt force instrument of choice. The Ba'Kash have not been seen on the table much until recently. The fleet was prohibitively costly until the Patrol Fleet and Cruiser box was released when they redesigned the models. They also received a big boost in ability and feasibility as a stand alone fleet with the 2.0 rules. So let us take a look at these Storm Zone raiders.
The Ba'Kash are a clan based society where might makes right. The strongest lead. They live on their ships and are a nomadic people. Each ship may be home to a family or an entire sub clan. Since they rely on their vessels for basically everything, the ships are well armed and well protected. In game terms it means they pack a punch and can take a beating. The ships are very well armed with scatter ad beam weaponry as well as torpedoes. They have an average mid field ability, but are best suited for close range combat. The ships have Port and Starboard Beam weaponry for the most part with a very potent short ranged scatter weapon concealed by its retractable plating in the fore. All but the Frigates are equipped with mines.
In terms of protection the ships have a pretty standard DR and CR. They are protected however by the retractable plating MAR. This gives the basic Sharnak Cruiser a DR of 5 and a CR of 8 when in the closed position. Combine that with its 5 hull points and weapon shielding and you have a very tough and hard to kill basic cruiser. Lets take a look at the Vessels that make up this fleet and some tactics.
The newest edition to the Fleet is the Karrak class Battle carrier. This is the only Tier one choice for the Ba'kash in anything but a patrol fleet. With its retractable plating closed it has a DR of 8 and a CR of 12. That is on par with a banshee class dreadnought. It has 9 hull points which is a tick above your average battleship. It's weaponry is very deadly at range band one. Its base wing capacity is pretty good at 9 wings. I like the Karrak. It is a solid ship and you can outfit it to do a couple of different jobs. Its actually best suited for boarding other vessels, especially other tier one vessels. Giving the Karrak additional movement and additional AP for its hard points and then giving it the second assault MAR gives it 9 assault points for attack and defense. My wings of choice would be bomber or Assault shuttles. The assault shuttles let you continue to launch assaults after you have expended your own assaults or hit 2 vessels at once. It also let you assault vessels and still shoot them. I think the real key to using the Karrak is to just ram it into the enemy. You cannot be timid with the ship just because your Admiral is on the vessel. You can use it to really soften enemy vessels for the rest of your fleet.
The Ba'Kash have two cruiser class vessels. The Varnak Heavy Cruiser and the Sharnak Cruiser. The Varnak is a beast. Five hull points with a DR of 5 and a CR of 8. This means a DR of 6 and a CR of 9 when its retractable plating is closed. That is on par with most Battle Cruisers. It has the customary Beam weaponry in the port and starboard, although these are not as potent as the beam weaponry on the Sharnak. The fore mounted torpedoes and Scatter weapons however are very scary. As with all Ba'Kash ships the Varnak is at peak lethality in range band one. A full squadron of Varnaks can throw 18 dice with its main scatter weapon And 16 torpedo dice.
The Sharnak is, in my opinion, one of the best cruiser weight vessels in the game. When its plating is closed it is on par with most heavy cruisers in hull points and resiliency. Its weaponry is above average thanks to the Pack Hunter MAR. In fact if you had to open your retractable plating and fire at range band 3 you are still throwing 8 dice. The real appeal of the Sharnak, and also the reason I include them in RSN lists, is that they are only 65 points each when you have them fully upgraded. So a full squadron with weapon shielding, its only upgrade, is only 195 points. Not to bad.
The Kelor Frigates are the only Ba'Kash tier three vessels. They are tough little ships. They have a single fore facing primary weapon. They have retractable plating so they are a DR 4 and CR 6 when its closed. You do have to open them though to use their only weapon. They are fast so they can close the distance pretty quickly with enemy vessels. They also benefit from having 2 assault points so a pack of 5 of them can actually be a threat to large vessels in boarding assaults.
The Ba'Kash are good at two things. Boarding assaults and Close range combat or “Knife Fighting Distance” as we call it. One of the real keys to use the fleet successfully is to get them to their targets quickly. Although they are resilient and can take punishment you are at a disadvantage when your opponent has you at range. Drives to maximum and Focused Repair are two TAC's that you should always take. Your opponent can really hamper your ability to engage them if they prevent you from getting into lethal range. Targeted strikes to your drive systems can be very bad. Speed is essential.
If you are using a Karrak it forms anchor point. Bombers and assault boats are great wings to use, but I would not max your load out with them. Consider putting some support shuttles in the mix. Since the Karrak is the Ba'Kash's only source of wings the other vessels of the fleet can form up around the Karrak and benefit from the shuttles. This can be real important if your opponent is packing bio hazard weapons or their fleet relies upon decrewing vessels. Crew loss gets around the protection weapon shielding provides your weapon dice pools and it makes it easier to take your vessels in boarding assaults. The support shuttles can repair the crew loss and keep your ships in the fight.
Ba'Kash are not fancy and are not a finesse fleet. If you can get to your opponent quickly you have already jumped the highest hurdle of the battle. You have to make sure you prioritize your targets well. Hitting Admirals vessels and ships that pose a big threat to your Cruisers is essential. The cruisers are the workhorse of this fleet.
Well thats all for now. I will share my thoughts on the Ba'Kash as I play them more. It is a good thing they are natural allies with the Relthoza. I will have to temper my sledge hammer approach to things as I learn the Relth. Some Ba'Kash squadrons supporting my spiders will help. Stay tuned also for more information about Adepticon. We should have more slots very very soon so get on the wait list if you have not already. It looks as if we are going to be capping the amount of players at 32 for now. Thanks to everybody for making this first year start off with a bang.
Until next time crush the Alliance and as Always...