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Tag Archives: KoW Armada

KoW Armada: Expanding Collection Guide

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few gaming/strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a naval strategy game set in a rich world of Pannithor, pitting multiple wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. Divided between a Fleet Starter, a Fleet Booster and multiple individual sets, each faction comes with a range of ships and units to choose from. It is quite common for new players to ask what to purchase next in order to expand a collection. Today I would like to present to you a quick guide to Kings of War: Armada purchases. 


Collection Tiers

Although each Armada fleet differs from one another, they all seem to follow a similar path from first purchase up to a complete collection. To keep things easy I have divided collection sizes into tiers, each of which represents a certain milestone allowing for more list building flexibility and in-game shenanigans. When considering how to expand your existing collection, treat tiers as casual guidelines. If for example you own a Fleet Starter and a Fleet Booster, consider adding anything missing from tier 2, preferably in order it is presented. This should, in theory, expand your collection in a way that offers new playstyles, diversity and a power boost.


Tier 1: Basic

  • One Fleet Starter,
  • One Fleet Booster,

This tier represents the usual entry point into Armada. A relatively low price start, allowing for a number of builds within a 150-250pts. range.


Tier 2: Standard

  • XL Ship*,
  • Second Fleet Starter,
  • Second Fleet Booster,
  • One Fliers Booster,
  • Armada Magic Deck,

This tier, once achieved, is a golden tournament standard. An XL* Main Battle Ship, along with a pair of L and multiple M, backed with an array of Support Ships allows for flexible list building, enabling different playstyles and archetypes within a faction. Some players will stop right here, all tools already available.

* if available to your faction.


Tier 3: Advanced

  • Support Ships up to a total of four each, (single ship packs)
  • Second XL Ship*,
  • Second Fliers Booster,

Last tier is a complete collection including everything that you will ever need to build a wide range of 150-250pts. lists honed for specific scenarios and/or archetypes. Four copies od each Support Ship and a second XL allows for some edge case combo lists. Second pair of fliers, while not necessary, is always good to have, just in case of local meta going flier heavy in the future.

* if available to your faction.


Secret Tier X: Beyond

  • Whatever floats your boat,

There’s no real gameplay advantage of adding more sets after tier 3, unless you plan on playing some huge climactic naval battles. Armada miniatures are truly beautiful and full of detail, thus I won’t judge you for further expanding your collection. 

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: Empire of Dust is Stronger than You Think

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

If you still don’t know what Kings of War: Armada is, I strongly invite you to read some of the previous Armada related articles. In short Kings of War: Armada is a naval strategy game set in a rich world of Pannithor, pitting multiple wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. Today I would like to focus on one such a faction and especially some common misconceptions surrounding it.


The Empire of Dust is ‘Weak’… not really

The Empire of Dust has it all. It has the looks, the special rules, ships of all sizes, access to all kinds of weapons, and yet it is commonly addressed as being weak and requiring a buff. Whereas some other factions are pretty one dimensional when it comes to list building and playstyle, the EoD comes across as a more advanced, ‘difficult’ fleet. The main fleet theme seem divided between particular ships and is very polarized. With devastating weaponry being shoved on top of Large and Extra Large ships, in exchange for extra Crew Strength and speed being transferred to Medium Main Battleships, it might seem like if the fleet as a whole, doesn’t know if it wants to shoot or board or both. Additionally, thanks to Kopeshiis being the most expensive Medium Main Battleships across the entire game, the list building process for the EoD is rather intimidating. It gets even harder when you realize that compared to other factions, the Slave Squadrons, which are supposed to be fillers, are also priced premium.
So yes, all of these issues might result in a faction being perceived as overall weak. Except it’s not! The Empire of dust is just difficult to master as I have learned the hard way…

Empire of Dust Main Archetype

The Empire of Dust has a very strong, although somehow hidden theme of heavy artillery bombardment. I wrote “hidden” even though the theme is there in plain sight. This is because at first glance, not all EoD ships seem to go along with the archetype. It is somehow unusual for an Armada fleet and might confuse players that are relatively new to the game. 

The theme is centered around Large War Galleys and Extra Large Monoliths Main Battleships, both types packing Indirect Weapons (IDW) on the sides. There is no other fleet with an array of Broadside mounted IDWs. This is an exception throughout the entire game and has some huge list building and gameplay ramifications.

  • Broadside mounted IDW can Fire as She Bears!
  • Broadside mounted IDW can Rake!
  • You can increase the value of Broadside Mounted IDW with Additional Weaponry upgrade from Seas Aflame.
  • Instead of going straight for the enemy, you can maintain a comfortable distance and still shoot with a Broadside Mounted IDW.

The rest of the EoD fleet is clearly honed to provide support for the L and XL centerpieces, mostly by intercepting hostile ships, engaging them up close and denying access to EoD artillery pieces, thus extending the ‘Bombardment’ duration.

  • Kopeshii – Fast and potent Boarding Action interceptor, Objective runner, finisher.
  • Dust Chaser – Cheap roadblock, damage sponge, screener.
  • Soul Hunter – Close range area denial (Soul Thirst) support, self sustaining additional Artillery piece.
  • Slave Squadron – Mobile, Objective grabbing, first aid kit.
  • Bone Dragon – Mobile, self sustaining (healing), harassing skirmisher, finisher. 
  • Scavenger Flock – Cheap, fast, flier interceptor.

Further main archetype improvements come from EoD’s Upgrades, Magic Upgrades and Captains.

  • Hig-Priest T’mork allows to deploy a Main Battleship anywhere on the board at the end of second game turn. Positioning a potent Artillery centerpiece behind enemy fleet with full SP and ready to begin bombardment – anyone?
  • Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer bounces back enemy misses of “1” increasing damage output regardless of range, but especially up close where it becomes a bit uncomfortable for the EoD to face enemy ships. Ideal for a more aggressive build.
  • Balefire is a key EoD upgrade, enhancing each IDW hit with +1dmg and Fire. Resulting Blaze markers will exponentially mitigate enemy ability to deal damage, forcing them to either forego shooting, or risk a 16,66% chance of getting blown to shreds on a failed Fire Extinguish test. In Armada, an auto Blaze on dmg is a rare thing, most Blaze dealing requires an additional dice roll.
  • Windblast can be used when in a tight spot, to clear the length of an enemy ship then turn and Rake, or just to gain distance. Multiple uses can exponentially speed up an otherwise slow ship. 
  • Soul Snare is a (rare in terms of the game) healing on damage dealt. Instead of Grappling, punish the enemy ship for it’s Crew Strength and Repair yourself in the process. This item goes well with a layer of close range defenses (Soul Thirst, Kopeshiis with Curse of Undeath and Terror ready to close in and entangle in Boarding Action) plus some IDW being capable of Point Blank Raking Fire on top.

Empire of Dust has partial access to Oars and Light Oars which makes positioning for a kill or simply keeping a healthy artillery formation so much easier. Entire fleet also benefits from Curse of the Undeath, potentially mitigating results of enemy Boarding attempts.


Finally, stat wise, the EoD excels at Nerve Value and this in not a coincidence. With a bulk of the fleet serving as speed bumps and reliable obstacles, high Nerve Value translates into their survivability, resulting in increased duration of the ongoing artillery bombardment served by the main pieces. 


Once you take a deep dive, everything in Empire of Dust revolves around the main theme

The Empire of Dust List Building

So now that we’ve toppled the main archetype of the Empire of Dust, where does this leave us in terms of list building? First of all the EoD should definitely be built around L or XL centerpieces. Being ‘forced’ to field a War Galley or a Monolith is a bit of a crutch, but at the same time these ships are probably what drove you into playing the Empire of Dust in the first place, so… there’s that. Once you decide between aggressive and passive playstyle and build an appropriate configuration for a centerpiece, just fill the remaining points with a protective screen of Kopeshii (s), and a mix of Support Ships that best suit that playstyle.

Off course I could go for another round over each ship and describe in detail what it does and how to use it, but at this point you probably already have a grasp on what each ship’s roll is. Plus there’s no better learning process than to play the actual game, so instead, allow me to present some Ship Configuration ideas that I myself use. This should allow you to intuitively place a ship on a mental power scale and ‘feel’ it’s designated role.

  • The Monolith / Shobek’s Wrath

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Weaponry (Broadside) – IDW+1, Magical Rudder/Soul Snare, Lucky Crew/Master Gunner.

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer, Kedge Anchor, Soul Snare.

  • War Galley

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Weaponry (Broadside) – IDW+1, Lucky Crew/Master Gunner.

Veteran Crew, Balefire, Arkhanten the Cursed Slayer, Soul Snare.

  • Kopeshii

Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil.

  • Dust Chaser

Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction.

  • Soul Hunter

Regular Crew/Veteran Crew, Crow’s Nest.

Regular Crew/Veteran Crew, Sturdy Construction.

  • Slave Squadron

Inexperienced Crew/Regular Crew.

Sample Fleet Lists

Below are sample EoD lists that, in my opinion, represent the EoD preferred archetype well.

Monolith: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Magical Rudder, Lucky Crew. 137p.
Kopeshii: Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil. 54p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Soul Hunter: Veteran Crew. 24p.
Slave Squadron. 9p.
250pts.


Monolith: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Magical Rudder, Lucky Crew. 137p.
Kopeshii: Regular Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, Fire Oil. 45p.
Slave Squadron. 9p
Slave Squadron. 9p
200pts.


War Galley: Veteran Crew, Balefire, Additional Broadside, Lucky Crew. 89p.
Kopeshii: Veteran Crew, Ogre Mercenaries, 52p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Dust Chaser: Inexperienced Crew, Sturdy Construction. 13p.
Soul Hunter: Veteran Crew. 24p.
Slave Squadron. 9p.
200pts.

All in all the Empire of Dust is a solid faction, on par with other Armada fleets, offering an interesting (if somehow rigid) playstyle. It is hard to master which might lead to some initial disappointments, but once you put some games in and get a grasp of how things work, the EoD is a very rewarding fleet. Is it good in everything? No. Is it good in some things? Oh yeah, definitely. Is it fun to play? Totally!

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting

KoW Armada: Does Size Matter?

Ahoy Sailors! As you know I am most and foremost a passionate hobbyist. That being said I am also a pirate, a scoundrel and a fanatical enthusiast of Mantic Games Kings of War: Armada. The latter resulted in a few strategy related articles, one of which you found yourself reading right now.

Kings of War: Armada is a game of fantastical sea warfare. Set in a rich world of Pannithor the Armada clashes wonderfully crafted and strongly themed factions against one another. As much as miniatures go, KoW Armada offers a selection of beautiful miniatures from across multiple factions, with more being released every few months. These ships vary in size and power from Tiny Squadrons zigzagging between larger vessels to XL flagships capable of dealing devastating damage with a single broadside. With size comes the firepower and capacity but at a cost of speed and maneuverability. Is a spamy fleet capable of competing with a centerpiece type fleet? Is, in general, a particular ship size more optimal than the other? Today I will ponder a question: 


Does Size Matter?

Let’s start by stating the obvious: Yes, in Armada the size does matter a lot. The larger a ship, the more firepower it brings and the more devastation it is capable of with a single Activation. But large size does not come without some drawback, most obvious being speed and maneuverability. A ship’s hull can be bristling with guns, but what if it is unable to draw a proper line of fire to a group of smaller, more agile enemy ships? Let’s talk about pros and cons of large size and see if they hold merit.


* The larger the ship the more guns it brings.

Large ships are more expensive and so they pack more guns than their smaller counterparts. Having more guns allows them to deal more damage in a single Activation. So much so as to potentially Cripple or even Sink an enemy ship (or ships!) before subsequent Activation.
Interestingly, more often than not, the same points value spent on a variety of smaller Main Battle Ships will result in more guns on the gaming board. This is obvious to see for some factions, while a bit more obscured for others. Basilean fleet, being pretty vanilla, with same type of armaments across all three Main Battle Ships, is perfect to represent this:
A Basilean Dictator has less broadside guns than three Elohis combined. 2H less to be precise.
Basilean Dictator: 90pts, 4H, 3L, 3C
Basilean Abess: 62pts, 3H, 2L, 2C
Basilean Elohi: 30pts, 2H, 1L, 1C


* Larger size equals more upgrade slots.

Capacity increases with size, which allows for more upgrades for a ship. This can lead to some pretty nasty combos or just increase efficiency of some upgrades. For example a Master Gunner allows for a reroll of an entire salvo. This upgrade has a much more impact on a Dictator’s devastating salvo of 4H, 3L and 3C, than on Elohi’s 2H, 1L and 1C. Furthermore it will cost three times the cost of a Master Gunner, to equip three Elohi’s.
Fielding a variety of smaller ships is not without it’s merits though, as it allows to add important fleet-wide-buff upgrades for cheap and not take up a valuable slot on an expensive vessel. More so, the cost of such upgrades can be decreased by degrading a Crew Level to Inexperienced. “Okarina of Korgaan” and “War Drum of Spite” are good examples. Of course nothing prevents mixing ship sizes to achieve the same result. 


* Larger ships have more Crew Strength.

Large ships pack a lot more CS, which means a huge advantage over smaller opponents during Boarding Actions. Advantage that is not mitigated by the current Multiple Grapple rules. Even though most Large and Extra Large ships might be unable to grapple fast moving enemy ships (Full Speed etc.), usually there will be some opportunities to do so throughout the game. Furthermore having high CS ensures fast Ongoing Boarding Action resolution, thus freeing a larger ship from being pinned by a smaller, cheaper vessel.
On the other hand a single powerful ship can become entangled in melee, thus significantly reducing the firepower of an entire fleet. A fleet of more ships will still be mostly operational if one get’s caught in a Boarding Action, allowing the rest to deal damage and go after objectives unhindered.


* More Structure Points in one place for larger ships.

Larger ships come with more Structure Points, which makes them more difficult to Cripple/Sink, resulting in more time of full effectiveness. A fleet composed of three Elohis will probably gradually lose it’s firepower while ships get damaged and subsequently Crippled, or Sunk. At the same time a single Dictator can be expected to stay operational for longer, before reaching the threshold.


* Repairs Bonus.

Large and Extra Large ships receive a Repairs bonus of +2 SP regained with a Repairs action.
Multiple smaller ships, faster and more maneuverable by default, are capable of putting constant pressure on a larger vessel, while being able to take turns, speeding out of immediate danger to undertake Repairs.


* Area of effect.

Thanks to the size of their bases, L and XL ships are easier to Rake enemy ships. Wider Broadside is easier to position for a solid Raking Fire. This leads to larger ships being more difficult to go around and combined with high durability, makes them perfect area denial pieces. 


* Speed decreases with size.

The larger a ship the slower it usually is. High Movement allows to go around slow enemy ships, zoom out of danger and go after objectives. Fast ships are capable of crossing the entire board in a matter of barely few Activations, resulting in a much higher effective range of their weaponry.


* Maneuverability decreases with size.

On top of a (usually) yellow Turn Arc, larger ship bases are more difficult to maneuver with. More so, L and XL movement is more hindered by Sandbanks, Islands and dense battlefields.
This can be partially mitigated with Kedge Anchor and Magical Rudder upgrades.


* Less is sometimes more.

Large and Extra Large ships are points intense. Adding these to a list results in a small size fleet, which in turn leads to easier general maneuvering. Wielding a numerous fleet is not an easy task, potential collisions dealing high amount of self inflicted damage. 


* Some scenarios favor small size.

While a large SP count is good, there are some scenarios that favor smaller ship sizes and/or greater numbers. Not every scenario devolves into sinking more enemy ships.


* Large targets are easier to Hit.

L and XL ships are easier to hit, providing an additional +1 To-Hit bonus for shooting opponents. There is a catch though. Due to how Partial Visibility rules work, S ships are unable to gain Full Visibility to XL ships when side by side.

And now we’re left with a question: Go big or go for numbers? There’s not a straight answer. Extra Large ships are monsters, capable of dominating entire game. They are though, reliable and deadly. On the other hand Large and Medium size ships are just as well optimized and excel in areas outside of XL’s capabilities. Are Extra Large ships overpowered? Certainly not. Are they generally “better”? Maybe, depending on the faction, but not by a large margin. My guts tells me they are just easier to successfully implement in a game. I am inclined towards an opinion that in time, when meta clarifies and players get used to everyday maneuvering, we will see a shift from more cumbersome XLs towards Medium and Large. Regardless, with how well balanced Armada seem to be right now, the XLs are definitely worth the points investment and are fun to wield. I for one, love me some of that Dictator swinging and greatly enjoy having an Extra Large ship on the table. If you haven’t already, be sure to give Extra Large ships a try. GLHF.

I hope you find this article entertaining. Be sure to let me know your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Instagram. I would also appreciate if you considered sharing this content with your hobby buds, who might find it useful. Finally if you are looking for a professional miniatures painting service be sure to contact me via this contact form. I always reply within 24 hours, after which please check out your spam folder.

Many thanks to M.L., R.Z. and K.R. for providing valuable input. Your feedback and suggestions is what made this article possible.

Cheers!

Scarhandpainting
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