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Corsair Variants

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Maybe I'm the only one who is struck by the corsair stats, but I'm willing to rock it (and I'm also intrigued by the possibility of getting to paint them in a totally undisciplined way, to represent a rag-tag pirate fleet of egotistical captains yoked to the will of a charismatic pirate admiral... but that's a whole other story). The question I have now is this: what are the best "builds" for each ship, for each available purpose?

 

I've got some thoughts... but I'd love to read comments and questions.

 

Racketeer #1: Carrier

 

The racketeer has the potential to be kitted out as a fairly effective battle carrier, very nearly the rival of other ships in the same class. To do this, you probably want to kit it out thusly:

  • +2 Wings, -2 Mn
  • +4 Wings, remove Disengage Freight MAR
  • Deck Crews MAR

Other possibilities include +1 CR, +1 Turn Limit (since a carrier doesn't really care about its orientation with regards to its prey, but needs to survive in close quarters) or +1 Shield, gain the Vulnerable MAR (since a shield is a good thing to have in a ship that's mixing it up at SRS range, and the Vulnerable MAR isn't that bad).

 

That's up to 10 Wings. Nice. You can turn that into a beefy 6 wing flight of bombers and a 4 wing flight of interceptors to keep the ship safe. Or perhaps fighters. Or maybe two 5-wing flights of bombers - less powerful individually, but capable of delivering a one-two punch that bypasses enemy PD systems.

 

The best thing about this configuration is that once you're in SRS range, you can just close the retractable plating and rely on your SRS tokens to do your fighting for you, which helps to get around the biggest weakness of the Corsair list (their fragility).

 

Racketeer #2: Assault Boat

 

Tier 1 assault boats are rarely terrible effective. It's hard for them to accumulate the kind of AP scores you see in squadrons of assault cruisers, or even ordinary cruisers in particularly assault-heavy factions. The fact remains that unless you can accumulate enough hits to prize the enemy ship, assaulting is a setup punch - assault to turn off a key system - not a finishing punch. Still, it seems to me that the racketeer can do a pretty decent job of it.

  • +1 Shield, gain Vulnerable MAR
  • Launch Tubs and Second Assault MARs, remove torpedo systems
  • Assault Blitz MAR

+1 CR, +1'' Turn Limit can be a good choice for your third slot. An assault boat doesn't care about its orientation, so gain some durability at the cost of agility. Alternately, +2 Wings -2 Mn or +4 Wings lose the Disengage Freight MAR give you a nice SRS punch, which gives you some secondary attack options, or a supply of infinite boarding assaults (assault boat SRS).

 

Again, some of the same logic. Shields are good to have if you're going to rush into assault range. Launch Tubes, Second Assault, and Assault Blitz all help you make the most of your 7 AP. This configuration also benefits from three "Assault Escort" configuration Outlaw/Cutthroats, which bring your total AP to 13, which is finally enough to prize most Tier 2s and even a Tier 1, if you get lucky!

 

Racketeer #3: Torpedo Boat

 

I'm not fond of this one because torpedoes aren't a really effective weapon until the end of the game, and I don't really like the idea of pigeonholing your expensive Tier 1 into the role of "finisher." That said, it's possible... so it's worth considering.

 

This configuration is defined by a single upgrade:

  • Add a second torpedo system, remove second fore primary weapons

Once you've done that, you've got a boat that can deliver a single 10 AD torpedo strike to port or starboard, up to 48'' away, or two 7 AD torpedo strikes in two different directions.

 

Since this kind of racketeer is going to be skirting the edge of the battlefield and wants to protect its back from shunt strikes, you may as well add the Double Mines MAR and three "Mine Escort" configuration Outlaw/Cutthroats, which allows you to drop pretty impressive mines behind you as you drift around.

 

Brigand #1: Gunboat

 

To configure the brigand as a pretty impressive gunboat (one shot at 20 AD or one shot at 14 AD and one at 10 AD for the squadron combining fire!), take the following:

  • Include the second fore weapons, remove Retractable Plating MAR

+1 Shield, -2 CP is also a pretty good choice, since removing the Retractable Plating MAR makes the ship much more fragile.

 

The appeal of this one is pretty obvious. 20 AD (or 14 and 10 AD) is pretty powerful for a cruiser squadron. Just do something to keep it safe until it's ready to jump out and kill things. Shunt deployment is your friend, as is hiding in friendly asteroid fields (gotta make that Agile MAR pull its weight).

 

Brigand #2: Assault Boat

 

In keeping with the theme of the Racketeer, the Brigand can also be kitted out as an assault squadron:

  • Gain Launch Tubes and Second Assault MAR, remove torpedos
  • Assault Blitz MAR

Like the assault-oriented Racketeer configuration, +1 DR +1'' Turn Limit is also a good choice, since the resulting ship doesn't much care about its orientation.

 

12 AD boarding attacks aren't too impressive, but between the tactical flexibility afforded by the Launch Tubes MAR and gimping your opponent's defense with the Assault Blitz MAR, it might just be enough to get the job done.

 

Brigand #3: Tankship

 

Corsairs can also be surprisingly tanky. Take a look at what happens with some combination of the following Hardpoints:

  • +1 CR, -2'' Mv
  • +1 DR, +1'' Turn Limit
  • +1 Shield, -2 CP

With the retractable plating closed, you could end up with a ship that is either DR 6 CR 7 with one die of shields, DR 5 CR 8 with one die of shields, or DR 6 CR 8 with no shields. Said squadron is still able to throw out 10 AD torpedo strikes (not super impressive, but not bad either) and drop 8 AD mines behind it as it scoots along at 10'' or 8'', depending on exactly how you configure it. When you decide to open your retractable plating, you can still throw 14 AD at a target, which is pretty good.

 

Outlaw/Cutthroat #1: Minelayer

 

This version is really interesting. It relies on the first Hardpoint upgrade:

  • +3 Mn, -2'' Mv

The end result is a squadron that can drop 10 AD mines behind it as it moves along at 10'' - kind of slow for a frigate, but not slow to the point of uselessness. This configuration also makes decent escort for some varieties of Racketeer, specifically any kind designed to mix it up in close quarters (dropping 11 AD mines behind you is a good way to finish off damaged opponents).

 

Outlaw/Cuttthroat #2: Assault Ships

 

Despite being a frigate, the Outlaw/Cutthroat can actually make a decent assault platform. Just take...

  • +1 AD, -1 CP
  • Assault Blitz MAR

Now you've got a full squadron with 12 AD, plus you halve your opponent's PD. That's not bad.

 

This version also makes a great addition to an assault-focused Racketeer.

 

• • •

 

As I wrote before, a lot of people seem underwhelmed by the corsair list, but I think it has some potential. Consider, for example, an assault-focused Racketeer shunting in, supported by two squadrons of tanky Brigands. Or two squadrons of Brigands to put your opponent in a fork: one of them assault-focused, the other shooting focused. Whichever your opponent focuses fire on, he is forced to ignore another significant threat.

 

In any case, I'm curious to read comments... especially those of the beta test crew, who presumably have had some actual experience with these ships!

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I wouldn't want to tease anyone by putting up a 'save the post' so I can come back after work and fill in some details of what I've used and why I liked or didn't like them. So I wont do that, or tell anyone to watch this space.

 

Ok so starting at the top, actually first I should point out that there are a few differences between the final product and what I used while testing so I will try to make the needed adjustments but if I put up something that makes no sense at all just ignore it  ;).

 

Looking at the Racketeer we have a bit of a near miss with the 'battle' and 'carrier' in battlecarrier.

 

I really enjoyed playing these as a reserve force with the Launch Tubes & Second Assault, +2 Wings & -2 Mn, +1 Shield & Vulnerable, Assblitz, and an accompaniment of Cutthroats with +2 AP & -1 CP, Assblitz. In a large game this is a tough (and pricey) force that comes out screaming and can tear into ships with a huge attack that's perfect for a TS against a large target to soften them up for later or multiple smaller attacks for medium and small squads followed up with a decent boarding assault. Wings can be assaulters for extra boarding punch (my favorite) or bombers/ fighters with ease to accommodate any preference.

 

I also enjoyed a variation of this approach with Double Mines, +2" Move & -1 CR, +1 CR & +1" Turn Limit, +1 Shield & Vulnerable, and the Cutthroats without Assblitz or AP but with the mines. This one didn't do too bad against Aquans with the big mine drops screwing up their Elusive and Difficult targets (not to mention setting off a few devastating chain reactions  :lol:). Once again the massive potential AD plays a big role in the groups effectiveness and if playing against a wing heavy fleet these bring enough interceptors to chew up quite a few SRS.

 

Even with upgrades the thing to look out for with these the most is their super low durability, don't forget that with the +1 CR these turn like a Buick with broken tie rod ends and a tuna boat on the roof. 

 

I did not like anything about taking these as a carrier focus, I felt the slow approach and short range really hurt my ability to make it work. The torpedo swap looks really promising too, but then you really just have a beefier carrier with limited damage dealing ability and a hefty price tag. That said the carrier focus with fighters for range and retractable up is probably the best bet for all those times you're stuck deploying them on the table. +1 Shield & Vulnerable, +2 Wings & -2 Mine, and the Torpedos for one of the fore guns is what I would probably try to creep across the table with now. Hiding behind terrain at every stop if I can and likely with Cutthroats still for the extra PD and firepower.

 

The Brigand is pretty awesome. A lot of thought and testing went into all of these, but this one I think was the most fun. On the table I am a fan of the brick, +1 DR & +1" TL, +1 Shield & -2 CP makes these super tough to crack on the approach, especially when you're hopping from asteroid field to asteroid field (I have a 50lb bag of asteroids so they're always well represented ;)). A lot of people seemed to like the CR but I like still having that 10" speed when I'm having to slog across a table and really 6/7 with a shield is dang good for a cruiser. The Assblitz with Launch Tubes and such was ok but sacrifices their only attack option on the approach so its pretty strictly a reserve option. The Extra guns make a solid cannon but at a cost, they do hit like heavy cruisers for a while with them though... I dont think there was anything I didn't have fun with on these guys.... They're great.

 

The Cutthroats hit on a lot of buttons for me. They're cheap, fast, reasonably tough, large squadrons, free AP... I am not too much a fan of adding stuff with just squads of these, the Assblitz is ok, but costly for a one off on a full group and the mines slow me down on a squadron I want moving full out. The miners do make a good reserve force and can really open up on any flanking elements though and honestly the drop in speed is not that bad for a while new weapon. Once again, use the asteroids, popping out from behind Planetoids is very unexpected too but totally worth it  B).

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Corsairs are flat out fun, simply because they are so configurable.  The only build of yours I hesitate to take is the carrier version.  I hit two issues:  First, I found I didn't like +4 Wings/Remove Disengage Freight on the Racketeer, in a pure Corsairs fleet.  The reason being that in that case it's your only tier 1 choice, meaning it's fighting battleships (or worse, if you've gone to the battle fleet level).  6/10 with one shield is very very squishy under those circumstances (even with Retractable Plating).  Without Disengage Freight to restore a couple HP I was having trouble surviving long enough to deliver the wings.  It's one of those hardpoints that "seems" like such a great deal:  +4! wings, for losing a single MAR that hardly ever appears in the game at all?   Go for it!  But then you take damage without putting much out since you're dependent on getting to close range and...Repairing HP is VERY rare in this edition, and there's a reason you're getting +4 Wings for 0 points :)  it's much more of an option when added as a secondary tier 1 unit and your opponent has something else large to worry about (in my experience).

 

For the same reason, if I am trying to deliver wings, I actually found the extra command distance more helpful than Deck Crews (as weird as that sounds), and I also liked the extra move.  Wings only matter if you can get them into the fight.  I ended up having more luck as a more limited carrier, using +2 Mv, -1 CR; +2 Wing, -2 Mn; and +2 Command Distance.   6 bombers seemed more likely to make it into the battle for me that way.

 

But like I said, the great thing about Corsairs is you can try so many different combos and find the one that works for you (I did like the assault boat version, though again I like the +2 Mv on that one, and because it's an omnidirectional assault I'd sometimes "fix" the CR by taking both +2 Mv, -1 CR; and +1 CR, +1 Turn--personally Vulnerable drives me crazy, I've had such bad luck with allowing 2 crit rolls).

 

I think your Brigand and Outlaw comments are dead on.  Particularly the Outlaw as escort--first you decide what you want the Racketeer to do, then ramp it up with the Outlaws.  13AP all with Assault Blitz, for example, is very easy to manage.

 

Last Corsair comment:  do NOT forget about Agile on the Brigand and Outlaw.  It's shocking how much more survivable asteroid fields become under those circumstances.  My favorite Corsair tactic was to keep retractable plating up and use asteroids for cover as much as possible on the approach, then rush through the asteroids at the enemy to drop retractable and shoot, drop mines, and launch assaults, in blitz mode.  Asteroids scare a lot of players (including me--I once lost an entire squadron of non-Corsair smalls trying to get through a patch), but Agile is an amazing bonus.  I actually campaigned (and, sadly, lost) for Corsairs to be allowed to only bring 2 TAC's, but instead replace one randomly generated terrain feature of their choice with an asteroid field.  Brethren of the Belt and all that.  But even without that, when you're setting up terrain and looking at deployment, remember:  Corsairs LOVE asteroids compared to every other faction in the game.  Use them to your advantage.

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Here's my first post about space-pirates. More to come soon!

 

Real Life Pirate Fact: despite their unsavory reputation, most pirates had no interest in killing any more people than they absolutely had to. If pirates got a reputation for murdering their victims no matter what, enemy crews would be more likely to fight back. However, if the pirates cultivated a reputation for both ruthlessness and mercy, prize ships would be more likely to try to flee, but surrender as soon as they were caught.

 

Relatedly, here is an 800 point assault-heavy corsair fleet. It includes an assault-optimized Racketeer, two squadrons of assault-optimized Brigands (as well as a shooting-optimized Brigand, just in case…), and a squadron of assault-optimized Cutthroats. That’s a total of two 7 AD assaults and five 12 AD assaults that benefit from the Assault Blitz MAR, as well as another 12 AD assault that doesn’t benefit from Assault blitz. Additionally, you’ve got an infinitely repeatable 8 AD assault, via the assault boats on the Racketeer, that you can use to clear the way for other assaults later (ie. use the smaller assault targeting the bridge or defense systems in an effort to kill the defender’s AP or PD in preparation for a bigger assault to prize the vessel later.

 

As for TACs, I recommend Virus Strike (yet another way to kill your opponent’s PD entirely), Regroup (you’ve got so many Brigands, it’s probably good to have a way to recombine them into effective squadrons once they take some losses), and Drives to Maximum (to get those assault boats into range ASAP!). I also see the utility of Perfect Timing (because you’re likely to shunt deploy some of those fragile assault squadrons) and Focused Repair (never a bad choice). Bug Out is also an interesting possibility (to get that prized ship out of battle and onto your BL score faster).

 

Tier One

 

Racketeer-Class Battle Carrier (165)

 • +1 CR, +1’’ Turn Limit

 • +1 Shield, gain Vulnerable MAR

 • Launch Tubes & Second Assault MARs, lose starboard/port torpedoes

 • Assault Blitz MAR

 4 Assault Boats (20)

 

Tier Two

 

3 Brigand-Class Cruisers (165)

 • +1 DR, +1’’  Turn Limit

 • Launch Tubes & Second Assault MAR, lose torpedos

 • Assault Blitz MAR

 

3 Brigand-Class Cruisers (165)

 • +1 DR, +1’’  Turn Limit

 • Launch Tubes & Second Assault MAR, lose torpedos

 • Assault Blitz MAR

 

3 Brigand-Class Cruisers (165)

 • +1 Shield, -2 CP

 • Added fore primary weapons, lose Retractable Plating MAR

 

Tier Three

 

6 Cuttthroat-Class Frigates (120)

 • +1 AP, -1 CP

 • Assault Blitz MAR

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I think you and Red have hit on pretty much the same points as me, but I put up my thoughts in the previous post. Actually I think Red and I were really in tune with the feel for these guys and how they work, I know we seemed to agree with just about everything at least when we were testing them and trying to brainstorm ideas.

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Honestly, I feel like the Corsairs fleet list is designed the way all the alliance races should have been. Super-customizable, so that you can make the most of a limited and not-likely-to-expand model selection. I kind of wish they'd designed some of the other fleets - Tarakians, Terquai - in the same way. Certainly, this degree of variability is meant to be a Corsair thing... but I think that they could have given some of the other limited model selection fleets a little of that variability without costing the Corsairs their uniqueness.

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Well admittedly even the least popular alliances were already ahead of the Marauders in development and there was a big push to see them released so they retained much of their existing style. Meanwhile we had a long time to play with the Marauders and actually work with Spartan on how they could be approached as opposed to just taking the stats and running them for errors (especially given the lack of a solid design for much of them). That does show through in a lot of ways. The background being pushed forward, the fun new options for the Pathogen and Corsairs, the further development of the OSO and STL and so much more... 

 

Could the alliances have been more flexible by themselves? Sure, but doesn't that kind of defeat the purpose of them being alliance factions? If anything I wouldn't mind seeing more options for fleet building between the alliances, including between the core races and their natural allies, so that making mixed fleets would be more of an option. I think that is really where the alliance races should focus, in combining among themselves instead of being so... mono colored. 

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I absolutely agree that the "battle carrier" title for the Racketeer is a bit misplaced. It isn't durable enough to be "battle" and it hasn't got the wings or wing support to be a "carrier." It's actually more of a battlecruiser, except that it can't squad up in pairs (mm.... a pair of Racketeers linking fire...). It can accumulate enough wings, firepower, and durability to be a battle carrier, or a battleship, or sort of assault carrier. Really, it's a wonderfully flexible little bastard.

 

Relatedly, here's my second pirate fact/list post:

 

Real Life Pirate Fact: The idea that pirates were either simply lawless rejects or boldly fighting for freedom as a concept are both often wrong. While it’s true that many Pirates were remarkably ahead of their times in terms of personal liberties and democracy (for the crew of pirate ships, not for their victims!), that’s not the whole story. More often than not, pirates were one of the following: members of despised minorities trying to get back at their oppressors or the survivors from the losing side of a social or political movement. So think less “Jack Sparrow” and more “Ben Franklin, on a boat, in the years after the colonies lost the Revolutionary War.” Sinan Reis, Yaakov Koriel, and Moses Cohen Henriques were Jewish pirates whose attacks on Spanish shipping were partly based on a desire for revenge. Jean Lafitte, an infamous Jewish pirate in the 1800s whose family fled Spain, helped Mexico win its war of independence by gleefully focusing exclusively on Spanish ships (by the way, he’s the star of the 1958 film “The Buccaneer,” which erased his Judaism to make him more palatable to an American audience). Many real-life Pirates of the Caribbean were escaped slaves.

 

This list is more of a shooting list, focusing on using all those double prow weapons to blast the enemy out of the sky.

 

In the matter of TACs, I recommend Drives to Maximum and Burn Thrusters to make sure you can get those guns pointed in the right direction ASAP. With two squadrons of Brigands, Regroup could make a good third choice, though Perfect Timing and Focused Repair are excellent choices as well.

 

Tier One

 

Racketeer-Class Battle Carrier (170)

 • +2 Wings, -2 Mn

 • +2’’ Command Distance

 • +1 Shield, gain the Vulnerable MAR

 • Assault Blitz MAR

6 Bombers (30)

Accompaniment: 3 Cutthroat-Class Frigates (60)

 

Tier Two

 

3 Brigand-Class Cruisers (165)

 • +1 Shield, -2 CP

 • Include Second Fore Weapons, remove the Retractable Plating MAR

 

3 Brigand-Class Cruisers (135)

 • +1 CR, -2’’ Mv

 • +1 DR, +1’’ Turn Limit

 

Tier Three

 

6 Cuttthroat-Class Frigates (120)

 • +1 AP, -1 CP

 

6 Cuttthroat-Class Frigates (120)

 • +1 AP, -1 CP

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due to completly terrible rolling with my three gunboat brigands with 1 shield my results are inconclusive one of them crashed into an asteroid field twice in a row scoring a single crit against himself my shield rolls when fired at i passed 1  in 5 turns and shot down 4 torpedoes in the same amount of time and i failed to do more than 6 pts of damage in total with these guys there was a crit against a detsroyer a point of damage against a frigte asingle point of damage on the rear of a hermes and torpeo critted another cruiser i still won the game due to my other ships out performing themselves

 

overall i might swap the shield for increased DR next time as i only once used the full 10 inches of movement

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Maybe I'm the only one who is struck by the corsair stats, but I'm willing to rock it (and I'm also intrigued by the possibility of getting to paint them in a totally undisciplined way, to represent a rag-tag pirate fleet of egotistical captains yoked to the will of a charismatic pirate admiral... but that's a whole other story). The question I have now is this: what are the best "builds" for each ship, for each available purpose?

 

Your not the only one mate, really like the stats and customisable options too. :D

 

Normally go for fleets based on The Looks of the models and background, but how can you say no to space pictures? Just too cool, will have a read of builds/options picks. The Brigand cruiser is my favourite for looks. :) 

 

Shaun

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