What to build next. . . oh the choices
One of the biggest question I have seen recently is "What do I build next?". In this article and more to come I will go over different build considerations and ships for the UCM and Scourge that can help expand your fleet. I will include Battlecruisers lightly in this and go over Battleships when they are released, but for now we will focus on just getting to 1500 points with different types of ships.
As a heads up, all opinions here are just that. Your meta can alter all suggestions here and could invalidate some so please keep that in mind. This does not, mean you should take my word for everything. I can and will make mistakes and am human. Test out what I say and adjust from there, this is after all just a guide.
Now in a 1500 point game you will need 6 Battlegroups. Half of them will be at least 1 Pathfinder, 1 Line, and 1 Vanguard battlegroup.
Things to have in those groups? Well, I suggest at least 2 Troopships. My rule of thumb for the two Core Factions are 1 Troopship for every 750 points which means 2 for 1500. From there you will want at least 4 Strike Carriers. This number may increase or decrease over time when Corvettes are released later on but for now I recommend 4.
Something else to consider is your Admiral. Admiral's matter for two things. The first is Tie Breakers. If you flip a card with a Strategy Rating of 8 and so does your opponent then you roll off and add your Admiral Value. Winner chooses I believe (or just goes first). The second is more important in my opinion and that is with Launch Assets. Once again you roll off and from there you launch bombers then fighters, etc in a delicate back and forth (bombers first then fighters). That continues with Ground Assets as well which could mean the difference on getting a Defense Battery down before an opponent can even make their drop.
Strategy Rating Considerations
From there you will want some combat support. You do not really want to overload battlegroups with a lot of Strategy rating because this means you will always go second and that can be a pain.
Strategy Rating (SR) is easy to figure out:
Light Ships are SR 1 (frigates and corvettes)
Medium are SR 5 (Light Cruisers and Cruisers)
Heavy Units are SR 10 (Heavy Cruisers and Battlecruisers)
Super Heavy Ships are SR 15 (Battleships and likely anything above)
Now, remember that what ever the groups Strategy Rating is, it will be that for the rest of the game, regardless of what gets destroyed. This is just for ease of use and to cut down on the tracking.
This is important to manage and you should manage your strategy rating. Things like Fleet Carriers, Strike Carriers and Troopships gain Spikes for using Launch Assets so having them in a battlegroup with a SR of 8 or so may prove ideal to help them activate early enough to drop those spikes.
What you likely have
Now that you have the UCM or Scourge starter set you might have gone the route of building the recommended build for this faction.
2x New Orleans-class Strike Carriers
2x Toulon-class Frigates
1x Berlin Cruiser
1x Seattle-class Fleet Carrier
1x Moscow-class Heavy Cruiser
2x Gargoyle-class Strike Carriers
2x Harpy-class Frigates
1x Wyvern-class Cruiser
1x Ifrit-class Cruiser
1x Shenlong-class Heavy Cruiser
You may be asking yourself just how big a 1500 point game is. Well in my time building fleet's I found that you could build a fleet with just 7 cruisers and 12 Frigates. So keep that in mind when you are either making purchases or building your Kickstarter pledges.
From here you have a few choices. The first one to me is not really a choice. You will want a troopship. I can not stress the usefulness of that ship enough!
From there for the UCM I would recommend another Seattle and some frigates. If you have the Kickstarter exclusive Battlecruisers, the Avalon wont steer you wrong and some Lima's go great with it. Taipei frigates are nice additions and if you expect to see Scourge take a few Jakarta's!
The UCM has the most Burnthrough Lasters in the game and maybe the best ones as well. So you can't really go wrong with them however you will want some consistency in your builds and that leads to the Rio line of ships (Rio, Osaka, and Moscow). The Atlantis is a nice model as well but not everyone has that. The UCM have the second best armor in the game at 4+ and 3+ and have some consistent weapons.
For the Scourge, build a Hydra or two. The Wyvern would love a sister ship I think and Djinn and Harpy Frigates are plain mean. Now with the Scourge battlecruisers you should have two choices, the Basilisk or the Manticore. The Basilisk is in line with the Yokai and the Sphinx where as the Manticore is more in line with the Strix and Wyvern AND has a torpedo. . . joy. . .
The Scourge have the most consistent guns and the most annoying Special ability with their weapons. On top of that, they have the best Close Action Weapons in the game and the second best Bombers followed by the best Torpedo. Seems like a lot of bests but they are ultimately fragile with 4+ or 5+ armor and an 8" scan range. You will not live long in a stand up fight so be sneaky!
Overall you have some list building considerations to go over and you just cant go wrong I think. You will need to play test everything and maybe that means building models to just before the identifying bits are added on and playing with them, maybe that means buying, building, and painting many models. Decisions for the future I think.
All the factions have a variety of builds to be explored but those only matter to a small degree. What is far more important is how you build your battlegroups. From what I have seen, you could have the exact same list in ships but just changing around what is in a battlegroup can easily change how it all fits together.