Monday, November 14, 2016

Dropfleet Files: The different types of units

We have incoming! Damn the Torpedoes! Full Thrust Ahead! NO! NOT REVERSE YOU FOOL!!~!

Well, seems the captain of that ship needs either a new helmsman or a fresh set of brown pants. . .

No matter what units you bring you will have a variety. Now while it can be a bit overwhelming to see all these units and not know where they stand, I am here to bring a little light to your world by going over the various types of ships in the game.

Let's go over the ship types!

Line Forces:

In Dropfleet Commander you will need and want different units to do different jobs. Some units are mainly for combat purposes. These are ships like the PHR Orion-class Cruiser, the Scourge Raiju-class Heavy Cruiser, and the UCM Toulon-class Frigate. Their main job is to be your main source of damage, your dakka, your beat sticks, whatever you wish to call them.

Modified PHR Hector-class Heavy Cruiser by Gary Connell

Missile Ships:

There are other units that have a different combat based job and those are typically your Missile ships. These are ships you take in big groups with the express job to “trade up”. This means they exist to get in close, to destroy a target that is vital to the opponent and usually they want to take out targets worth more than their group. This is due to them becoming primary targets. From my last article I talked about “Sniping Groups”, that is exactly what these units do. The cruiser sized ships are more for area denial and to hunt down other ships of the same size while in smaller groups. These ships are your Scourge Wyvern-class Cruiser and the Shaltari Turquoise-class Cruiser.

Shaltari Amethyst-class Frigates by Sebi Beer

Support Ships:

Then you have your Support Ships, these come in three variants. The three are the Guardian Frigates, the Fleet Carriers, and the Bombardment ships.

Guardian Frigates which are your Shaltari Opal-class Frigate, the PHR Calypso-class Frigate, and the UCM Jakarta-class Frigate. Each has their uses, the Opal provides rerolls to Passive Shield rolls, while the Calypso increases the Lock Value of a single attack which is great against those Close Action Attacks from a Cruiser *cough* Wyvern *cough*, Burnthrough Lasers and Particle Weapons. Pretty much any weapon that is one big attack. The last of the Guardian Frigates is the Jakarta. This ship has Aegis 6 which means that it adds 6 dice to the Point Defense of the a ship, this does indeed stack with other Aegis abilities. With all Guardian Frigates, you have to be on the same Orbital Layer AND within 4” of the ship you are providing the bonus to so be mindful of that.


The second type of Support Ship is the Fleet Carrier. Fighters and bombers are STRONG assets and should never be underestimated. I can not emphasize this enough, but adding dice to your Point Defense, being able to make attacks from 24” to 30” away can really cause issues for your opponent. The main thing that bombers provide is that they limit the aggressiveness of your opponent. The only downside is that it is not a HUGE limiter for every race. Only the Shaltari and Scourge can threaten the centerline with Bombers on Turn 1.

A WIP PHR Scipio-class Battle Carrier by Skaltar Thorne
The smallest group of support ships are what I call the assist ships. This group literally has only one ship and that is the UCM-class Lima Frigate. It has Detector which allows it to Active Scan any target anywhere on the board no matter what order the Battle group is using.

UCM Lima-class Frigate by Lee Marshall
The another type is the Bombardment ship. These ships are like the Shaltari Turquoise-class Cruiser, the UCM Madrid-class Cruiser, the Scourge Charybdis-class Frigate. These ships have to attack from Low Orbit (yes I know the discussion that is going on but as it stands, I go by the Bombardment Rule and Graphic not the Weapon Special Rule for where they can shoot from). Bombardment ships are strong support on their own. They can wreck havoc on a cluster with their weapons and turn the tide of a cluster by eliminating a sector that could lead to a contested situation. Bombardment ships usually do not have strong weapons to deal with ship threats.

Ground Assets:

Next we have Ground Asset ships. These are your Strike Carriers and your Troopships. These ships are what win you the game. You will need these ships in every list! Some think it is possible to do without these ships but they will make the game that much harder. If you lose these ships the game can suddenly change. The issue with this is pretty simple, these ships almost have to go directly to their targets. The Scourge are the only race that can get their troopship to a cluster by Turn 2. This is due to a Bulk Lander needing to be 6” away from a sector to even start dropping (you can be closer but the maximum distance is 6”) and the Scourge Chimera-class Troopship having a thrust of 10” while the UCM San Francisco-class Troopship has a thrust of 8” and the two PHR Assault Troopships the Ganymede and Orpheus-class only have a thrust of 7”

A WIP PHR Ganymede-class Assault Troopship by Adam Reeve

Let us talk Strike Carriers now. Strike Carriers are just as vital as troopships. Not only do they get there quicker than a Troopship, they can drop Tank Ground Assets. They also have one GREAT advantage to Bulk Landers. It takes a 5+ from a Defense Battery to shoot down the Dropships they deploy. Bulk Landers are destroyed on a 3+ so being the first Troopship to a cluster is as important as getting to a cluster. Being able to drop a Defense Battery and 3 Troops to a City or Military Sector can really put pressure on your opponent.

Now, you may have noticed, but I did not talk about the Shaltari. Well they don’t have troopships, they use their Gate network to deploy from the Emerald-class Mothership through Voidgates. This means that the Shaltari do not have Defense Batteries. Well not in the traditional sense. Voidgates are Defense Batteries. They are weaker however, only hitting Bulk Landers on a 4+ instead of the usual 3+. They only have to be within 6” of a cluster to do this however.

Shaltari Emerald-class Mothership and Voidgates by Dan Burgman

Back to Strike Carriers! Due to the need of a 5+ on Defense Batteries you will want to hold your Strike Carriers back to activate late Turn 1 or if using an approach type that limits deployment, determine where you will best need your Strike Carriers. If you want to combat a Troopship with Strike Carriers, you will likely want a 3-1 advantage. The reason for this is that they will usually shoot down one of those Dropships per turn, the next reason is that Tanks give you the best capacity to tackle a mass of troops. With their three dice for an attack vs one from an Infantry Ground Asset, you can quickly turn the tide with 2-3 Tank. If they live you can add to it but you will want a Defense Battery of your own eventually.

PHR Medea-class Strike Carrier by Justin Cooper


The next ship type are your Bruisers. These are your Battleships. These ships can take the biggest pounding of any ship and most of them have some devastating weapons that can cause havoc, doom and destruction across the board. This of course has a trade off, a bigger Signature range (PHR have a 12” sig to their normal 6”, the Scourge are 14” to 8”, Shaltari are 4”/20” to 3”/16”, and the UCM are 12” to 6”) but they have the hull to take a beating and keep on coming. These ships are your Focal Points of a battle. Coming on later can vastly change the course of the battle but we will talk Approach types later on.


The last ship type are your Corvettes. The “Sneaks” as I like to call them. They all have Air-to-Air which means that no matter what type of weapon that has this ability, it always hits on its Lock Value while shooting at a target in Atmosphere. Another name for these things are the Hunter Killers simply because they hunt down targets in atmosphere with a vengeance and they will kill them. Watch for these, for now people are making proxies due to no models being available yet however when they do come out, they will make waves with your Strike Carriers and Voidgates.


Every ship has its own purpose. You have to figure out how each is placed in your force and what use they have for you. Test everything and find the balance for your lists.

All pictures are from the Dropfleet Commander Facebook page and the painters who are putting their pictures on there! You guys are my pics of the week 

As always folks, thank you for reading, make sure to subscribe by email, follow me via Facebook on my page the The HotLZ, remember to check out WarGaming Mats for their beautiful line of vinyl 4x4 and 6x4 mats for Dropfleet, Star Wars Armada, and X-Wing (and maybe a few other games!) and some new Cluster vinyl sets. 

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