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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Star Wars Armada - Ship Review: The Victory Star Destroyer

As I continue my look at ships and how they fit into Armada in the current wave 2 world, I decided to go chronologically. The Victory Star Destroyer was initially the beast of the core set, and the bane of many Rebels who hadn't yet learned how to out maneuver the monster. In Wave 2, the ship has largely been left by the way side for it's big brother the Imperial Star Destroyer. But is it still viable? Is there still room in your fleet for the aging capital ship?

I think the short answer is "yes", but the ship is not a no-brainer like it was in the Wave 1 days. On paper, the Victory Star Destroyer (VSD) is great! 8 hull, 3 shields on the front and sides with 2 redirects and a brace. It can take hits with the best of them. It's front arc is massive (even wider than an ISD), and it chucks a solid amount of dice. The cheaper variant (The Victory I) sports 3 red 3 black out of the front, and 2 red, 1 back out of the side. For 73 points, that's a lot of damage! You pay 13 points to upgrade to the Victory II, which swaps the black dice with blues. That extra reach is nice, but at 85 points the ROI for expected damage on both Victory variants is actually quite low.

Couple the low expected damage ROI with the worst maneuver chart in the game, and the Victory relegates itself to being a ship not easily used, and best left to specialty roles. The ship does have an excellent upgrade capability (weapons team, offensive retrofit, turbolaser upgrade, ion battery upgrade, and an officer), allowing it to fill a variety of these hypothetical specialty roles.

The Carrier
The Victory I has the second best ROI on squadron commands (excluding upgrades) for the price (beat barely by the Assault Frigate Mk II B), making it an ideal squadron pusher. With the ability to take either boosted comms or expanded hangar bay, the VSD I can very efficiently push offensive, defensive, or mixed squadron forces. The addition of the title "Corruptor" can give a Rhymer (with or without Firespray-31) ball a huge boost, giving you the ability to engage your opponent before they're prepared- often able to pounce on turn one.

The Blocker
The Victory is a cheap "blocker". Sometimes, getting a ship into the enemy's fleet forcing them to alter their maneuvers or ram into you can be an effective strategy to hold them in place. The Victory I is good in this role as it ensures the black dice get to be brought to bear, though a similar argument can be made for the II as its reach when driven into the center of a fleet can ensure it has good shots. Of course, the one thing that makes it a decent blocker (being a brick of a ship) also makes it difficult to position effectively as the brick does not navigate well. Against many fleet archetypes, the VSD blocker can not be used effectively as it can be easy to circumvent.

The Ship of the Line
The relatively low cost of the ship does allow it to be placed in a fleet where it can bolster firepower, activations, and damage absorption. Forcing your opponent to choose between piling damage on your victory or shooting at other effective ships is a good thing. Plus, if your Victory has a good shot, the damage output of those front arcs is still pretty respectable!

In Closing
It's not a great ship pound for pound, but it does still have a place. I think the most effective use is in a carrier role, but I wouldn't dismiss the ship out of hand by any means. Hopefully upgrades or commanders in the future can mitigate the Victory's significant drawback and bring the ship back into the forefront.

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