24th November 2019 at 7:32 pm #4521
Just before the Scourge landed a powerful AI called the White Sphere arrived at Earth and heralded a warning and an offer of salvation. Those that accepted were branded as abandonists and cowards, unprepared to stand and fight for their homes against the coming Scourge tide, and threatened with death should they leave. Many attempted and a few made it. Centuries later they reappeared, no longer fully human. The White Sphere had augmented them to bio-robotic hybrids. And with it came a vast array of sleek ships. If you haven’t already done so please read our Which Dropfleet Faction Is Right For You? guide as that will help introduce some key concepts. And in this list we’ll start from the smallest classes up to the largest. Ratings are game-wide, so you can compare the number of stars of this faction to all others.
The ability to “hide” in atmosphere, forcing the space-only ships to hit you on a 6, is the best defence that Strike Carriers have. This alone can make them all but immune to enemy ships. The solution to this is the Corvette, with Atmospheric capable weapons specifically designed to hunt through the clouds. Their entire role is about denying enemy Strike Carriers the ability to just sit on Clusters the entire game.
Echo |Corvette| 30pts
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 2 12 2 4+ 2 Atmospheric, Stealth, Outlier Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Medium Calibre Turret 4+ 2 1 F Vespa Drones 4+ 3 1 F/S/R Air to Air, Close Action
The only Corvette with 2 weapons, this ship is nicely balanced with the Stealth rule being the proverbial cherry on the cake. The Medium Calibre Turret isn’t much to write home about, with it needing 6’s to hit in its primary role as an in-atmosphere ship, so the majority of the damage is going to come from the Vespa Drones which are equal to the other ships of its class. But it does make it a little stronger if you want to keep it in orbit, where it isn’t actually much worse than many frigates (very similar in profile to a Toulon, for example). And with Stealth allowing you to stay in Silent Running and still fire all your weapons (as the Close Action doesn’t count as a weapon and can always be fired in addition to one other weapon), this ship does have the potential to make it quite far across the battlescape with little attention (although it has to be noted that Silent Running isn’t that useful on a 2″ signature ship). The problem comes in the cost – whilst the improvements it has against the Santiago or Nickar are nice, for about +50% of their cost you need a bit more than just nice. Consider the Jason as an alternative.
Strike Carriers are the primary way of getting troops on the ground. Their main advantage is that they can enter Atmosphere, and therefore have the protection from other ships requiring a 6 to hit them unless they have specialist Atmospheric capable weapons. Typically they will enter on Low Orbit and then try to hit Atmosphere as early as possible within range of the Cluster they are trying to drop troops to, where they will remain there for the rest of the game.
Medea |Corvette| 39
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 3 10 5 3+ 3 Atmospheric, Open Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Bombardment Turret 4+ 2 1 F/S Bombardment, Low Level Mosquito Drones 4+ 2 1 F/S/R Close Action Dropships Launch (1)
At just 39 points the Medea is a bit of a steal. Whilst that is quite an increase over the other faction’s Strike Carriers we see that right off the bat the Medea is better in 2 significant ways. Firstly it has a 3+ Armour save, which is excellent on a Frigate class ship, especially one that will tend to not take Critical Hits as it is hiding in Atmosphere. This can prove highly frustrating, which may put opponents off of even trying to kill them. This is compounded by the second reason, and one ubiquitous among PHR frigates – Hull 5. This is a surprisingly big difference over 4 Hull, because the time when a Critical Damage roll is required is still going down to 2 Hull Points, and given that there is a 67% chance that the ship will be destroyed at that time, it means that it is near enough a 50% improvement on damage that is required to take it out. Strategically the Medea is also excellent, losing ship to ship weapons that it might only use ineffectively for Bombardment weapons that can help make up for the smaller numbers that the PHR will have. The only downside is that as the PHR Troopships are so good you may not take that many of these.
Frigates are the most varied and versatile ship class in the game, meaning that it is very hard to give them a simple summary. However typically they will form one of 2 functions, either being a gunboat designed around as much firepower as possible in a small hull that can overwhelm the enemy with numbers (aargh! bees!), or they will be an escort ship that will hang with larger ships providing some sort of support. Their biggest downside is the potential that once one is destroyed the resulting explosion will take out the others in the group, so it is often wise to split over Orbital Layers.
Andromeda |Carrier Frigate| 47
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 3 10 5 3+ 3 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action Fighters & Bombers Launch (1)
PHR Bombers are by far the best in the game, hitting on a 2+ and therefore, crucially, Critical Hitting on a 4+. The huge number of Critical Hits that a bombing run can deliver means that even heavily screened ships with loads of Aegis to add to their PD can be in danger. The Close Action weapon is also quite powerful, with a maxed group delivering on average 4 hits and 4 crits. The problems of this ship, however, make it a sub-standard choice. For a start 47 points is a hefty price tag for a Frigate that might only require 3 damage to pop. You can be sure that these ships rival the very best at being the top of target priority lists. The second problem compounds – to get the best from these ships they want to be in close where they can use their 8″ Close Action drones, and be within 12″ for immediate bombing run damage. Both of these will get them popped fast, especially as Launch adds a Minor Spike. This makes the ship a contradiction, and it only scores as highly as it does because PHR bombers are just that good. There are better options for Launch, so you should avoid these ships.
Calypso |Escort Frigate| 37
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 3 10 5 3+ 3 Rare, Advanced ECM Suite Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Mosquito Drones 4+ 2 1 F/S/R Close Action
Take as many of these ships as you can. Put them in a Battlegroup where you want to take Standard Orders or Silent Running so that you can keep them on Silent Running. Have them move with ships that you are very keen to protect (carriers and Troopships, for example) on the same Orbital Layer. This is because the Advanced ECM Suite reduces the Lock of an enemy attack (excluding Close Action and Launch) on any one friendly ship once per turn. All of a sudden that 3+ Lock behemoth mega death gun is now hitting on 5’s and no longer causing Critical Hits, because you were wise enough to take 2 of them. This is important as PHR suffer badly in one area – the ability to put damage onto a single target because most good ships have broadside weapons. The Calypso is your answer to losing an important ship every turn from enemy weapons focused on killing important targets.
Europa |Frigate| 40
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 3 10 5 3+ 3 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Medium Calibre Bank 4+ 3 1 S(L) Linked-1 Medium Calibre Bank 4+ 3 1 S(R) Linked-1 Mosquito Drones 4+ 2 1 F/S/R Close Action
This ship is decent but hard to use. It’s has only 1 acceptable role which is to hunt other Frigate and similarly light class ships. At first glance the firepower looks fantastic, with 6 shots and a 4+ Lock. An average of 1 crit and 3 hits should pop an enemy Frigate every turn. The problem is that you have to focus fire to win games, and the Europa really is no good at that because it is shooting in opposite directions. And often you want your lighter ships to be skirting the edge of the game where their low Sig can put them out of harm’s way – doing that with a Europa is removing half of its firepower and thus invalidating it as a choice. There’s really only one way to play them – shoot them up the middle, get between the lines of enemy ships, and then go out in a blaze of glory (maybe taking some more out with spectacular explosions!). Their arcs mean they definitely won’t hit anything Turn 1, so go in Max Thrust or Silent Running in a low SR Battlegroup so that they can move early in Turn 2 to get their hits in first. Fun, and strategically sound, but there are better options.
Pandora |Frigate| 45
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 3 10 5 3+ 3 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Supernova Laser 3+ 1 1 F(N) Burnthrough (3), Flash Mosquito Drones 4+ 2 1 F/S/R Close Action
An expensive trap. Whilst some volatility in being able to make some big kills and (more importantly) forcing your opponent to react is a good thing, these ships are just far too likely to fluff completely. With only 1 attack there is a good chance that they will do no damage at all (39%), with just 1 damage being a very likely outcome (24%). With an average of just 1.17 Damage per ship you are struggling to even pop frigates. And unlike Europa’s they are not even cool enough to go out in style with a mad dash up the table, which means you are not even using the drones. Avoid.
Take a Frigate and make it a little bigger with more guns and you get a Destroyer. This is the same design philosophy as Battlecruisers in making an attempt to over-gun a weapons platform. Typically these perform quite poorly in a competitive game, as they eat up more points and just paint a target on themselves. But a few variants have some nice specific abilities that gives them a unique and useful role. They are also great if you have a few points left over and want to make an upgrade. But overall they perform as slightly more attacking Frigates.
Ariadne |Destroyer| 65
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 4 8 7 3+ 3 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Twin Heavy Calibre 3+ 2 1 F Calibre (HS) Mosquito Drones 4+ 2 1 F/S/R Close Action Bulk Lander Launch (1)
A really interesting concept of a ship. To make up for the lack of focused damage (due to broadside weapons being so prevalent) PHR have a special Calibre rule that means if you are shooting at an enemy of the same weight class as the weapon (in the case of HS this is any Heavy or Super Heavy ship) then you get a bonus of 1 to your Lock roll. In this case that’s hitting on 2’s and just as importantly getting Critical Hits on a 4+ (vital as the bigger ships tend to have 3+ Armour saves or better). This makes this little ship quite annoying as a finisher – finding big ships that are near death or a Critical Damage roll and taking them over the edge. By itself that is decent, but add in Bulk Lander capability and now we have a ship that can stay at distance, hold an objective by itself (Orbital Battery first followed by a lot of Infantry), and be useful in the space battle. This makes up for the Medea, which will not want to Bombard Clusters near your starting area, and the Troopships that will want to be a little more aggressive and get to the central Clusters. And at a 3+ Armour Save and about the same Hull as most other faction’s Light Cruisers you have a tough little ship with a great strategic role. Put in a Battlegroup that you don’t mind activating late (carriers).
Electra |Destroyer| 65
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 4 8 7 3+ 3 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Twin Heavy Calibre 3+ 2 1 F Calibre (HS) Twin Heavy Calibre 3+ 2 1 F Calibre (HS) Mosquito Drones 4+ 2 1 F/S/R Close Action
This ship is the Ariadne but with the Bulk Landers swapped out for additional guns. And that pretty much ruins the concept. Because the point of an Ariadne was that it could solo hold a home Cluster at distance and also provide some useful pot shots to finish ships off (it also not mattering that they can go quite late in the activation deck). The Electra costs the same points but has no strategic role, as the guns were never the point. Even worse is that you have to take them in Groups of at least 2, meaning 130 points spent. Now 8 attacks averaging 4 Critical Hits isn’t bad, but it isn’t that great either when other ships can do the job better.
Jason |Blockade Runner| 65
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 2 12 6 4+ 2 Rare Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Twin Heavy Calibre 3+ 2 1 F Calibre (HS) Kingfisher Drones 3+ D3+3 1 F/S/R Atmospheric, Close Action
This ship has just one job – killing Strike Carriers. And it is optimised well for it. With a high Thrust and Low Signature it can get quite far into the table without becoming a primary target unless Active Scanning is devoted to it. Which of course it will be, because nobody is nuts enough to let these things roam free. And that’s the real problem because you need to make sure that these ships have a really good plan – like swarming a single Cluster and removing anything that can drop there. Imagine a game with 3 central Clusters – the plan is to out-drop the enemy conventionally by sinning the space race in one, removing the enemy drop capacity with these in another, and then Bombarding the 3rd to oblivion. This gives the Jason a unique role, but sadly one that is muted by how easy they are to kill. Which is a perfectly reasonable balance to have. If you don’t want Echos then this is your choice.
Odysseus |Blockade Runner| 80
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 2 12 6 4+ 2 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action Bulk Lander Launch (1)
Whilst the Ariadne has a clear purpose of staying back and securing Clusters, the Odyesseus has a clear purpose of rushing up the battlescape and making an early Orbital Battery drop on a central cluster. And that’s all it will do before it is destroyed. Without the protection of being in Atmosphere (Medea) or being far away (Ariadne) the poor armour and low Hull Points will mean that it will be taken out fast if it wants to do the only thing it actually has a use for (if you want to cap a home target then take the Ariadne, or drop from a Troopship on the way). And the problem is that this is not how the PHR are going to win games. They have plenty of great drop choices meaning that they shouldn’t be out-dropped like some other factions can be, so there’s no need to waste an incredible 80 points just to lay down an Orbital Battery. Two Medea are better.
Monitors are another Frigate variant, but rather than going for an over-gunning option like Destroyers instead favour some sort of utility. They can be seen as extending the Frigate options of your faction with one important distinction – these ships are slow. Really slow. This makes them great for defending a close objective or supporting the larger slower ships in your fleet (but even here there is a danger that they can lag behind). The trade off is that they do instead get very good armour. This makes them nearly immune to light weapons which tend to need a 4+ or 5+ to lock, and so don’t get reliable Critical Hits, but counts for little when lock 3+ or better weapons are shooting it.
Castor |Monitor| 48
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 10 4 4 5 2+ 3 Monitor Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Quad Battery 4+ 4 1 F Fusilade (4) Mosquito Drones 4+ 2 1 F/S/R Close Action
One of the best looking ships in the game, which of course means that it isn’t that great. The main weapon is a 4+ Lock but will get 8 shots when going Weapons Free – which you should because the Front Arc is fine, you cannot Max Thrust anyway, and so you’ll be at enough distance to not get picked on. And 8 attacks is a lot, which gives this ship just one use – hunting Medium tonnage enemy ships. Because whilst PHR have good ships with Calibre bonuses these only apply to L or HS ships, not Medium ones. So instead of breaking the mould and inventing Calibre (M) instead these ships just get a lot of shots. They will need some Active Scan help, even in a defensive role of shooting the things that come close. But even then you are only looking at around 3 points of damage. Not terrible. Not great.
Pollux |Escort Frigate| 42
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 4 6 5 2+ 3 Aegis (7) Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action
Aegis 7 is the sole reason to take this ship. And that’s quite important because you don’t want to spend a second wasting PHR Launch on Fighters rather than Bombers. With the Bombers being so good it opens your carriers up to being vulnerable to counter-Launch, especially as PHR Point Defence is not the best. This attempt to out-kill the enemy is one that the PHR should win, but the cost is that now you are obliged to take out the enemy Launch first when really you want to be going for other targets. A couple of Pollux allows you to protect your carrier group enough to free up your ships for other targets. You definitely want a couple of these in every fleet.
The mainstay of every faction, Cruisers are just as varied as Frigates but with even more options. Of course this means that there are even more chances of a design flaw! It is imperative that you get your Cruiser selections right for your overall fleet list and strategy, as when they work in combination they are able to punch well above their weight (and points cost!), but used wrong or with a lack of synergy and you find that they are barely influencing the battle.
Theseus |Light Cruiser| 89
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 10 9 3+ 2 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Medium Calibre Battery 4+ 4 1 S(L) Linked-1, Fusilade (2) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, Fusilade (3), Calibre (L) Medium Calibre Battery 4+ 4 1 S(R) Linked-2, Fusilade (2) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(R) Linked-2, Fusilade (3), Calibre (L) Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action
There are two ways to operate this ship. One choice is as a traditional Light Cruiser, taking advantage of the Linked rule to skirt the edges where it cannot be seen by as many enemy ships, and then use long arcs to keep the targets in one of the broadside Arcs. By making this “C” type shape you can end up with a ship that can make it quite far into enemy territory where the large number of guns can prove decisive in the late game. The other choice is to treat it as a double-Europa, pushing into enemy territory on Silent Running before going weapons free in Turn 2 (and being destroyed in Turn 3). Very few other ships have this shock and awe ability, and none for so few points. A core of 20 shots will increase to 30 shots on Weapons Free. With 9 shots hitting on 4+ and crits on a 6 there are not many light ships that can stand up to a volley – even Monitors. Heavily under-priced, this is better than some faction’s Heavy Cruisers. Shockingly bad Point Defence doesn’t detract.
Ajax |Cruiser| 100
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 8 11 3+ 5 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, Fusilade (3), Calibre (L) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, Fusilade (3), Calibre (L) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(R) Linked-1, Fusilade (3), Calibre (L) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(R) Linked-1, Fusilade (3), Calibre (L) Supernova Laser 3+ 1 1 F(N) Burnthrough (3), Flash Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action
Anyone who has already read my review on UCM ships will known of my low opinion of ships that need to go on Weapons Free to use a F(N) arc weapon. But this does not apply to the Ajax as the Supernova Laser is so poor that you really won’t mind not using it. Instead you are paying 11 points to upgrade a Theseus to have 2 more Hull points and a focus on Light Calibre weapons. This really is overkill, but an Ajax who can get between 2 Groups of enemy Frigates can reliably take out 4 of them (plus possibly a 5th from the Drones with a little luck), as quite nicely the weapon batteries are split. The reason here to go Weapons Free is not to fire the Supernova Laser but to get 12 additional shots. That’s almost certainly overkill for the early rounds, but mid game you are visible to everything anyway so unless you need to turn why not? The sheer volume of shots is also good in a pinch for taking pot-shots into Atmosphere, as with 18 shots to one side you have a fair chance to sink a Strike Carrier.
Orion |Cruiser| 107
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 8 11 3+ 5 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Medium Calibre Battery 4+ 8 1 S(L) Linked-1, Fusilade (3) Medium Calibre Battery 4+ 8 1 S(R) Linked-1, Fusilade (3) Medium Calibre Turret 4+ 2 1 F Linked-1 Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action
And the excellent PHR Cruiser class returns another great option. This time for an additional 7 points we upgrade 12 Light Calibre shots (18 on Weapons Free) for 8 Medium calibre shots (11 on Weapons Free). Of course if you want to hunt Frigates this is a downgrade, but the base 4+ Lock means that this is an improvement against anything else. But that’s also the downside, Medium class ships tend to notbe where this ship wants them to be. If you are getting stuck in against brawlers they tend to be Heavy Cruisers or Battlecruisers, and here it is Calibre (HS) that you are looking for. Cruisers and Light Cruisers tend to be more stand-off in their approach, things like the smaller carriers and sniping vessels. These cannot even be targeted with Side Arc shots until Turn 3 or until the ship has turned (where half the firepower is lost). A nice ship overall, but one that doesn’t have much of a place strategically in the fleet.
Perseus |Cruiser| 105
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 8 11 3+ 5 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Heavy Calibre Battery 3+ 2 1 S(L) Linked-1, Fusilade (1) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, Fusilade (3), Calibre (L) Heavy Calibre Battery 3+ 2 1 S(R) Linked-2, Fusilade (1) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(R) Linked-2, Fusilade (3), Calibre (L) Medium Calibre Turret 4+ 2 1 F Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action
This ship is basically a heavier Theseus (apt, given the name), with the frame upgraded to a normal Cruiser hull, and the Medium Calibre Turrets upgraded to Heavy turrets for a total cost of 16 points, which is more than it sounds. This doesn’t work quite as well as the Theseus for 2 reasons. Firstly is that points increase I mentioned – part of the charm of the Theseus is that it is only 89 points, so the Perseus is an 18% increase. Secondly where the Theseus really works is in being a Light Cruiser that can take on other Cruisers and lighter and win 1v1. A Perseus is naturally more of a big game hunter, but, at best, is only doing 3 points of damage to any one large ship. Even as a pair that’s only getting about half way, at which point this ship is toast. It wants to do a steady stream of decent sustainable damage over a long period but also wants to take on enemies that it cannot hope to beat. For this reason, whilst tactically a very nice design, it strategically just doesn’t have the single ship damage output that it’s role is asking of it.
Ikarus |Vanguard Carrier| 115
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 8 11 3+ 5 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Medium Calibre Battery 4+ 4 1 S(L) Linked-1, Fusilade (2) Medium Calibre Battery 4+ 4 1 S(R) Linked-1, Fusilade (2) Medium Calibre Turret 4+ 2 1 F Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action Fighters & Bombers Launch (2)
The second of the PHR carrier options, and one that goes up against the Hydra, Basalt, and Seattle for the prize of best Cruiser launch option. Of course the PHR have an immediate advantage in that their Bombers are just so good, but with a Launch of only 2 this ship is only two Andromeda, and for 21 more points. It does have some better weapons, but they are not a good fit for the role of this ship. The Linked rule is pretty wasted, as an Ikarus won’t want to get close enough that both Arcs have targets, preferring to hang back. Plus, unlike it’s sister ship the Orion (where 2 Launch bays have replaced half the broadside guns), the Front Medium Calibre Turret is not part of the Linked system. This means it will want to turn to be more broadside. Even that could be salvageable if the guns were of the right Calibre – Medium ones are meant for Cruiser Class ships that this ship will want to back away from. Preferably it would be equipped with Light Calibre weapons that can stop it from being swarmed by Frigates, who are also far more likely to be in an advanced position that both broadsides can be brought to bear. The only reason to take this ship is to hit the Launch Cap when you have 100pts spare.
Troopships are the only way to get troops to the ground other than Strike Carriers. What they lack in nimbleness they make up for in volume. Utilising Bulk Landers instead of Dropships they are able to deploy 3 times the amount of Infantry as a Strike Carrier, or can put down an Orbital Battery to help defend against enemy troop landings in the future. They are unable to enter Atmosphere so must hang over a Cluster in Low Orbit – a role that makes them especially well suited to capturing Space Stations.
Ganymede |Assault Troopship| 135
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 7 13 3+ 5 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Medium Calibre Battery 4+ 4 1 S(L) Medium Calibre Battery 4+ 4 1 S(R) Medium Calibre Turret 4+ 2 1 F Bombardment Battery 3+ 6 1 F/S/R Bombardment Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action Bulk Lander Launch (2)
Oh, hello there! Now we are starting to really cook. With the PHR already being blessed by both Medea and Ariadne as excellent drop choices, a third competitor enters the arena! Despite Troopships typically being of a Cruiser Class, this ship (whilst still being Medium Tonnage) has the look and feel of a Heavy Cruiser. With a large troop bay it breaches the aesthetic between those Cruiser levels, but boasts 13 Hull to go with it, albeit at a slightly reduced speed. Two Bulk Landers gives it an horrific amount of drop capability – potentially 6 Infantry a turn that can just flood a sector with Ground Troops. Add to that a cheeky Bombardment option to thin the enemy numbers and we have here a ship that is happy arriving a bit late and still winning the war. The only downside is that the weapons are a bit average, but with it taking a Minor Spike when it Launches Troops to the Ground, it won’t mind going Weapons Free unless you badly judge the position and need to turn (here the slow speed is actually a blessing!). It just won’t do a lot. That said, not a bad option for a late activation (given it’s main use is in dropping which happens after the activation phases are complete anyway), which can allow it to pick off weakened ships.
Orpheus |Assault Troopship| 135
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 7 13 3+ 5 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Light Calibre Battery 5+ 12 1 S(L) Calibre (L) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 12 1 S(R) Calibre (L) Supernova Laser 3+ 1 1 F(N) Burnthrough (3), Flash Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action Bulk Lander Launch (2)
Player 4! Player 4! Just when you thought the drop options couldn’t improve, the last option wins the race. This is a truly magnificent design. Whilst it lacks the strategic flexibility of the Ganymede’s Bombardment option, it makes up for it with some excellent weaponry. Like the Ganymede it won’t mind going Weapons Free from the mid-game (especially as these ships are designed to be pushing towards the middle Clusters), so it does require some decent positioning as you can write the Supernova Laser off and not mind. The glory of those 12 attack Light Calibre Batteries is that you will average 2 hits on shooting Frigates in Atmosphere. This means that if your opponent has taken Strike Carriers to compete with you not only are they losing the drop rate race 6v2 (well maybe 6v4 is closer given Tanks are better than Infantry), but you can also happily take pot shots at them and they really cannot do anything back. Back when the only Light ships were Frigates and Corvettes this ship was best at the anti Atmosphere roll, as 12 shots against a single target with an average of 4 hits and 2 crits was a touch of overkill. But since Destroyers and Monitors have been released this ship has only strengthened. An absolute must to take 2 of these ships in any game over 1000 points.
These are the mainstay of any successful fleet. Whilst it is important to have the strategically critical ships in place, it is the Heavy Cruiser that is the workhorse, designed to kill and to be killed so as to save the more valuable craft. Ships of this class all share the same basic design – good guns, good armour, and a love of going Weapons Free. Send them into the enemy formations and watch them scatter. The key to using Heavy Cruisers is to know who their optimal enemy type is; if you target badly then these will be a short distraction.
Achilles |Heavy Cruiser| 165
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 7 13 3+ 5 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Heavy Calibre Battery 3+ 4 1 S(L) Linked-1, Calibre (HS), Fusilade (2) Heavy Calibre Battery 3+ 4 1 S(R) Linked-1, Calibre (HS), Fusilade (2) Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action Torpedo Launch (1)
There are two problems with this ship that makes it a below average choice that you will basically never see in a competitive list. Right off the bat the weapon loadout is pretty good, and the number of attacks is also decent once you factor in Fusilade. The advantage of broadside weapons here (you can be Weapons Free more often as you don’t need to turn as much) is also the first of the big problems as a disadvantage – you want to be putting all this damage onto a single enemy target. That is impossible with a S(L) and S(R) weapon, and that means that whatever you attack will always hit back, and probably hard. Whilst 6 attacks hitting on 2 and critting on 4 is good (about a 3.5 damage), you really need the second weapon to push that up to 7 damage and cause a Critical Damage roll. The second problem is that despite a number of buffs to Torpedo rules they remain, at the time of writing, pretty underwhelming – once again with a chance they will not cause damage immediately. This slow plink plink of damage is all well and good, but you need to kill enemy ships to keep yours alive, and the Achilles just is unable to do that.
Hector |Heavy Cruiser| 170
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 7 13 3+ 5 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Medium Calibre Battery 4+ 8 1 S(L) Linked-1, Fusilade (3) Medium Calibre Battery 4+ 8 1 S(R) Linked-1, Fusilade (3) Twin Supernova Laser 3+ 2 1 F(N) Burnthrough (6), Flash Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action
One of the most poorly designed ships in the game – this ship is designed to go Weapons Free but target allocation is just horrible. Without the ability to Turn you have to be extremely lucky to get anything of note inside the F(N) arc. Whilst I am maybe a little harsh on a few UCM ships for having this problem because at least they have the option to hang back a little to increase how wide that arc spreads, this ship needs to be right up front and centre to get enemy ships within the Side Arc for its broadside guns. If you are a very good PHR player and your opponent is not that great then yes this ship can have a very good Activation at some point, but against a better player let’s say the stars align and they leave something big in front of the Twin Supernova Laser – it’s still only looking at around 2 or 3 damage. This ship has no strategic role and no tactical ability. The large number of dice it can throw is a trap, and in the end it’s best role is to just burn straight up the middle and set Weapons Free for the Fusilade bonus to try and knock out some Light Cruisers – something that can be done by a Theseus for half the price.
Bellerophon |Heavy Carrier| 180
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 7 13 3+ 5 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Twin Supernova Laser 3+ 2 1 F(N) Burnthrough (6), Flash Wasp Drones 3+ D3+1 1 F/S/R Close Action Fighters & Bombers Launch (4)
For me this is the best ship in the game, and saves the Heavy Cruiser class for PHR being a total write off. There’s basically no reason why you wouldn’t max your Launch Capacity on these. PHR Bombers are truly amazing and this ship can launch 4 of them. The biggest downside in PHR fleets is that they have the lowest single-target damage output of any faction, and the way to arrest this is to go Bomber heavy. Three Belle’s can kill anything sub-Battleship in 1 run unless it has some buffing to its Point Defence. Stealth and Silent Running don’t help either as Bombers are only limited by their range not the Signature or Scan of any ships. To back this up they have a single front facing weapon meaning that they can remain on Standard Orders the entire game to clear the Minor Spike they pick up from Launching. Added to that they are extremely tough, so should be hanging around well into the late game. Indeed the main strategic mistake is to commit them too early and lose them when they can make a much bigger difference later. Resist the temptation to burn them forwards fast to get a Turn 1 attack run in, and instead go Silent Running. Build a fleet of Light Cruisers to take out enemy Frigate and Cruisers that can pose a danger or provide Aegis support, and leave the Bellerophon to overwhelm the big enemy ships with Bombers. The only reason not to max out with Bellerophons is if you have 20 points spare and want a Priam as your Flagship.
The concept of a Battlecruiser is simple – take a Heavy Cruiser and give it more guns. This can be a curse as well as a blessing – badly used they will hardly be more dangerous than a Heavy Cruiser but for a fair chunk more points. Used well and they can win a game near single handedly. As a ship with a high damage to defence ratio they will be a primary target for your opponent, therefore knowing how to keep them safe until the time is right is critical. Winning initiative and supporting other ships is the real key to using them effectively.
Agamemnon (Leonidas) |Battlecruiser| 185
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 10 15 3+ 7 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Medium Calibre Broadside 4+ 8 1 S(L) Linked-2, Fusilade (3) Medium Calibre Broadside 4+ 8 1 S(R) Linked-2, Fusilade (3) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, Calibre (L), Fusilade (3) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, Calibre (L), Fusilade (3) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(R) Linked-1, Calibre (L), Fusilade (3) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(R) Linked-1, Calibre (L), Fusilade (3) Hornet Drones 3+ D3+3 1 F/S/R Close Action
PHR Battlecruisers are pure chaos. They are meant for one thing only, and that is to steam right into the middle of an enemy formation and wreck it. With a Thrust of 10 they can remain ahead of the fleet and be in position to hurt from Turn 2. More realistically you want to commit your fleet at the same time, which means 2 Turns of Silent Running as you jostle for position and then make a late activation on Turn 3 and an early on Turn 4. With good positioning you can do the minimum Thrust of 5 and hit targets at the front of side Arcs followed by the same targets at the back of the Arcs at the start of the next Turn. For this reason it can be good to leave them in a Battlegroup by themselves. Strategically they are focused with their job being to take out smaller ships, maybe even causing chain reactions. The split of the Light Calibre Batteries into 2 sets helps here as you can select multiple targets rather than over-killing. That all said the typical PHR problems persist in that your damage is quite spread out, and this ship cannot fight anything of its own class. Instead it is meant as a distraction – you want this ship to be fired at so that your Bellerophon and Light Cruisers are staying alive.
Priam (Scipio) |Battlecruiser| 200
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 8 6 10 15 3+ 7 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, Calibre (L), Fusilade (3) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, Calibre (L), Fusilade (3) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(R) Linked-1, Calibre (L), Fusilade (3) Light Calibre Battery 5+ 6 1 S(R) Linked-1, Calibre (L), Fusilade (3) Hornet Drones 3+ D3+3 1 F/S/R Close Action Fighters & Bombers Launch (4)
There are a couple of inefficiencies here that drop the Priam below the Bellerophon as a choice. Firstly 20 points is a lot to pay for just 2 extra Hull in the stat line, as a 10″ Thrust can be as much a hindrance as a help by forcing a further minimum move. In reality this ship will also travel at 7″ alongside the Bellerophon as a central carrier group most of the time (where they can benefit from supporting ships). Secondly rather than having a nice little Front facing laser this ship has broadside guns. These just won’t be used for a few turns at least. It’s not quite as bad as it first seems however – those Light Calibre guns are very effective in the late game (where this ship is likely to still be), and if you are central then Weapons Free allows a nice 9 shots to try and pick off Strike Carriers; and also it is a good protection for your carrier group if some aggressive little Amathyst or Djinn get close. This ship would be an auto-take if it were not for the Bellerophon, and even then I’d probably still take at least 1.
The centrepiece of most fleets, a Battleship can control the entire strategy to be employed, and this more often than not makes them an expensive mistake. With a huge array of weapons they can vary in role more than any other single class. Pick wisely (or more likely not at all), as they are often far too overgunned to be worthwhile taking due to their desired uses being too at odds to synergise well. However a clever player can take good advantage of this flexibility by coming up with surprising tactics. Combine your choice wisely, and don’t be afraid to sacrifice your biggest ship to achieve victory.
Heracles |Battleship| 285
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 10 12 6 22 3+ 10 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Heavy Calibre Cannonade 3+ 6 1 S(L) Calibre (HS) Heavy Calibre Cannonade 3+ 6 1 S(R) Calibre (HS) Dark Matter Cannon 2+ 2 3 F(N) Crippling, Bloom Hornet Drones 3+ D3+3 1 F/S/R Close Action
An all around poor ship. Nothing really works or fits here, with the weapons being quite underpowered. The main downside of PHR ships is their lack of damage against ships of equal or larger class to them. As we’ve seen the Light and Medium Cruisers work pretty well whilst the Heavy Cruisers do not. And all the design decisions that make this the case are apparent in this ship. We have three weapons designed to hit large enemy ships that can never attack the same target as any other weapon. We have a general lack of damage able to be put out as well (a maximum of 6 per weapon, meaning you’d need about 3 Turns to take down a Heavy Cruiser / Battlecruiser and 4 Turns for a Battleship even if no saves were ever made. The Cripping rule is the only redeeming quality of the whole build, simply because there is a chance to get a result that prevents the enemy ship from shooting (11%), or Orbital Decay (22%). But that’s a really long shot for a 285 point ship. Add to that the need to go Weapons Free with a Front Narrow Arc, and the compounding problem that the broadsides demand you get into the thick of the action but the Dark Matter Cannon wants you to stay back and snipe and you have the only ship in the entire set of reviews with a zero rating.
Minos |Battleship| 285
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 10 12 6 22 3+ 10 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Heavy Calibre Cannonade 3+ 6 1 S(L) Calibre (HS) Heavy Calibre Cannonade 3+ 6 1 S(R) Calibre (HS) Neutron Missiles 2+ D3+1 2 F/S Crippling, Close Action Torpedo Launch (1) Torpedo Launch (1)
Things are a little better for the Minos over the Heracles, but not by much. All the issues with that ship still exists here with regard to killing Heavy and Super Heavy ships, except that with the removal of the F(N) weapon for the Torpedoes, and the upgrade of the Close Action Weapon to Neutron Missiles we at least have an ability for all but 1 weapon to be focused on a single enemy – and without needing Weapons Free as well. That gives us a far better balanced ship, and one that wants to get into the action without an issue. If you want a Battleship (and with PHR you really shouldn’t) then this is by far the best choice. And “by far” I mean half a star. Because damage output is still so low, and Torpedoes still so poor that this ship just cannot go head to head against anything. Once again the ability to Cripple ships is the best aspect of the ship (and with an average of 3 attacks that 4+ crit required is 50% more likely). It is a much better choice to be a distraction by spending the first trn steaming up the table and causing a bit of a threat, but that would be a mistake of your opponent because this ship is best ignored.
It’s hard to even discuss what these behemoths are about because they so completely outclass every other ship in the game (being about double a Battleship) that they are almost entirely what the game is about. And half the time it is an automatic loss – because how do you make up the points when the opponent has used theirs to drop Troops on the Ground to actually, you know, win the game? These should be seen as more part of a narrative game or as collector pieces, because they are so unbalanced (one way or another) that they will either just work for the scenario or they won’t. But what else are you going to spend your money on, hey?
Remus |Dreadnought| 460
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 16 14 6 30 2+ 18 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Energy Glaive Battery 3+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, OC Energy Glaive Battery 3+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, OC Energy Glaive Battery 3+ 6 1 S(R) Linked-2, OC Energy Glaive Battery 3+ 6 1 S(R) Linked-2, OC Apocalypse Cannon 2+ 2 1 F Linked-3, OC, Bombardment Apocalypse Cannon 2+ 2 1 F Linked-3, OC, Bombardment Apocalypse Cannon 2+ 2 1 F Linked-3, OC, Bombardment Apocalypse Cannon 2+ 2 1 F Linked-3, OC, Bombardment Hornet Drone Hive 3+ D3+8 1 F/S/R Close Action Torpedo Launch (4), Limit (4) per Game
Really bad. The key role of this ship is strategic dominance – find a Cluster (or 4) that the enemy want and Bombard the crap out of it. With powerful guns able to target different Sectors you can either reduce it to Ruins or just whittle down enemy Ground Troops. And given that this beast is going to be a total nightmare to destroy it will have near free reign to do what it wants (besides which the real advantage is to kill Ground Troops in Turns 2 and 3 to give your side an unassailable advantage, so it’s not a big deal if you lose it in Turn 6). So, what are the problems? One – with just 2 attacks per barrel the actual damage being done with the Bombardment Weapons isn’t that great. Expect 1 and a bit Damage per gun (depending on Save, about 1.3), which means it will take a long time to either significantly Damage a Cluster to win it or remove a significant number of enemy Ground Troops. Two – you can Overcharge this Linked Group of Weapons to double the Damage, but that prevents you shooting anything else. This is still probably the best thing to do strategically, but even then about two and a half damage per gun is still pretty bad. Three – if you want to move up to nearer the middle so that you can bring the broadside weapons to bear you restrict your Bombardment (realistically) to 2 Clusters at best – allowing your opponent to react. Four – You’ve paid 460 points for a ship that is not that much better than a 79pt Madrid. Five – and most crucially, the last thing PHR need is more Bombardment. With the Medea being a staple choice and the Ganymede being a regular pick, you have plenty of good Bombardment options. Two Ganymede and 4 Medea weigh in at 30pts under this ship, with 20 shots vs 12 (albeit at 3+ rather than 2+), and 46 Hull Points vs 30 (even if you exclude the last 2 for a Cripple it is 34 vs 28).
Romulus |Dreadnought| 500
Scan Sig Thrust Hull Armour Point Def Special Abilities 16 14 6 30 2+ 18 Weapon Lock Attacks Damage Arc Special Abilities Energy Glaive Battery 3+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, OC Energy Glaive Battery 3+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, OC Energy Glaive Battery 3+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-1, OC Energy Glaive Battery 3+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-2, OC Energy Glaive Battery 3+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-2, OC Energy Glaive Battery 3+ 6 1 S(L) Linked-2, OC Hypernova Laser 3+ 5 1 F(N) Burnthrough (14), OC Hornet Drones 3+ D3+3 1 F/S/R Close Action
All the problems of the Hector and Heracles doubled. The need to go Weapons Free with a F(N) primary weapon makes this almost impossible to use unless your opponent is asleep. There is a chance you could hurt something big and dreadnoughty with the Hypernova Laser on Weapons Free if you stay back to open the arc up, but then your broadsides won’t have anything in arc. If you want to use the Hypernova Laser as an OC weapon you cannot turn either, and Burnthrough is still capped at 14 Damage (this could even produce a worse result as more of the hits won’t be after the first round of rolls where you’d expect to score a critical success). And yet despite this, and contrary to Hector and Heracles, this ship gets a decent (but not good) rating. Why? Well those Broadsides are just actually pretty excellent! A total of 18 attacks per side is nice because once you drop the F(N) weapon going Weapons Free on a PHR broadside ship is very easy to do. Just storm it up the middle in a straight line and you will get targets. An average of 6 crits and 6 hits (so 2 or 3 more Damage) will take out all but Heavy Cruisers in one volley, and may even do enough damage to those to finish it with a Critical Roll. The option of OC is also nicely balanced – it won’t increase the total amount of Damage possible (swapping 18 max Damage per side, for 36 on one side), but it does open the chance for big single target damage, something that the PHR desperately lack. Now we are looking at an average of 16 Damage vs something big, which is on average killing an enemy Dreadnought in 2 volleys. If nothing else that forces the enemy to look at this ship, or not go Weapons Free themselves to stay out of arc for as long as possible. The downside then becomes the massive cost.
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