As the first post for the Star Wars: Armada – Reborn effort, we’ll keep it relatively short. I don’t want to scare everyone off with tables and statistics just yet. 🙂
One of the winners of the first Onil Creations painting contest chose to paint a Liberator-class Cruiser. For the ones who spent their time remembering math and practical things, here’s a brief summary of the ship using the old, pre-Disney lore where it comes from.
The Liberator-class Cruiser
Making its Star Wars debut in the 1998 PC game Star Wars: Rebellion (which was a weird one), the Liberator was produced during the Galactic Civil War as seen in the Original Trilogy, with the Empire against the Rebellion. It was built by SoroSuub Corporation to defend Sullust, the home planet of the Sullustians.
Since the Sullustians pitched in with the Rebellion against the Empire, a number of the Liberator-class Cruisers ended up in Rebel hands.
In the lore (and expanded on through a few game manuals and RPG supplements), the Liberator had a massive set of cannons compared to its size. While I couldn’t find a measurement (it’s out there), if memory serves it was around the same as an Imperial Star Destroyer, so relatively big. Let’s compare what the two would bring to battle:
|Category||Imperial I-class Star Destroyer||Liberator-class Cruiser|
|Armament||60 Heavy Turbolaser Batteries|
60 Ion Cannons
6 Dual Heavy Turbolaser Turrets
2 Dual Heavy Ion Cannon Turrets
2 Quad Heavy Turbolasers
3 Triple Medium Turbolasers
2 Medium Turbolasers
40 Point-Defense Laser Cannons
10 Tractor Beam Projectors
|240 Heavy Turbolasers|
200 Ion Cannons
|Complement||(Varies, standard below)|
48 TIE Fighters
12 TIE Bombers
12 TIE Boarding Craft
Whatever walkers they wanted
|6 Starfighter Squadrons (12 fighters each)|
3 Troop Regiments
So, let’s summarize – it has more guns than the angry death triangles that everyone was afraid of. It also had more starfighters. It had less of a variety of weapons, which I guess would be a problem if they couldn’t shoot you with a total of 440 guns anyway.
I should note that there’s some discrepancies about how much the Liberator had in terms of guns. The D6 Star Wars RPG (which was the coolest version for ships) listed it at a more reasonable but still ridiculous:
- 160 Heavy Turbolaser Batteries
- 50 Ion Cannons
- 6 Tractor Beam Projectors
- 5 Concussion Missile Tubes
- The same number of troops and fighters
All said and done, it can easily go up against an Imperial Star Destroyer… As long as the Empire didn’t bring any friends, which they had the money to do.
So, how do we represent this much firepower? Like this:
Taking other things into account, we can compare it against the Imperial I from the official game. The card differences better represent their capabilities than simple numbers could, with the Imperial Star Destroyer throwing out a huge variety of ordinance, having a bunch of upgrade room, and more. However, while the ISD wants to come in head on, the Liberator wants to show its broadside. It might not be able to throw out as much damage as the front of a Star Destroyer, but when it’s strafing, it’s got the meaner ship outgunned and at a longer range.
Playing the Liberator
While I haven’t gone in and created upgrades, and I haven’t had time to put it on a table and play around with it, let’s see what kind of nastiness we can make with a first pass.
First off, it needs to be said that this ship screams Admiral Ackbar. It’s almost an auto-include if you’re running our favorite fishy commander – so much so that for the rest of this post I’m just going to assume you brought him. I’m certain someone can make a case for other commanders (and I’d love to hear it if so), but it seems like open/shut case.
If you brought Cracken… Well, then you’ve already made a mistake.
You’re never going to fly your single ship in between two of the opponent’s bigger ships in the same way you don’t go kick a bear – you’re going to get torn to shreds. Instead, with this you’re going to cruise along at top speed (which admittedly is only 2), pick the side with the biggest target, and throw out five red dice and three blue dice. That’s a whole lot of damage, and that’s before we put any upgrades on it.
Let’s go through each upgrade and pick some good cards.
There are so many options, I’m not going to go into this one. Just pick your favorite, they’ll do fine.
This slot is always a bit empty, and you’ll almost always see Engine Techs or Fighter Coordination Team in it. They’re both good in the slot, so it depends on if you’re using this ship for its guns or if you’re using it to push a sizeable fighter escort.
For me, there are better ships to push fighters around, so Engine Techs is going to win this round. Although it’s expensive at 8 points, you essentially get a free speed boost (after using a Navigation token or command, which you should have banked anyway). This can either get your ship into range and line up for a nice shot or get it out of trouble if that ISD turns your way. It’s extra insurance that you’ll get at least one good arc firing on the enemy.
There are a few cards that come up here, but in most cases it’s between the three below (I’ve omitted Reactive Gunnery because I don’t think a two-dice Salvo is worth the trouble):
I’ve always had a soft spot for Early Warning System, but Electronic Countermeasures is usually the more useful option (even with the nerf from the 1.5 errata). Reinforced Blast Doors is an interesting option that I’ve always liked – you get to basically heal three damage, no questions asked. It’s a toss up between ECM and Blast Doors, and generally it’s better to take no damage than to take it and heal it, but I think in this situation I would go with the Reinforced Blast Doors. Unless I have a flotilla feeding this ship Engineering tokens, I’m not going to take away a few critical shots with Concentrate Fire. With some strong shields, a brace, and a redirect, unless if I get caught in a big crossfire I think I’ll be able to survive a couple of hits.
There isn’t an option for this in my opinion. In almost every case that you have a blue dice with other colors in there, I’m going to take Leading Shots.
SW-7 Ion Batteries do stand out, but the opportunity to reroll missed shots is too good to pass up.
The slot with some of the most options (and some of the most opinions). This depends on how you want to play the ship. The ones that come to mind are Linked Turbolaser Towers, Quad Battery Turrets, Slaved Turrets, XI7 Turbolasers, and XX-9 Turbolasers. A lot of options, right?
By process of elimination, I’d reluctantly put Quad Battery Turrets back. While an extra blue die to your attack on faster ships is nice, speed 2 is pretty common and it won’t do us much against large ships.
Slaved Turrets are the next to go. Although it would help lean into the Ackbar build of a broadside, it would force you to broadside. If you had an opportunity to double-arc or even shoot a fleeing ship with your opposite side, it’s lost there, so back to the box.
Now, we’ve got the big three.
Better players than I have said Linked Turbolaser Towers are usually the way to go, but it just seems so underwhelming here. While you do get to reroll a red dice, I’ve already got Leading Shots to handle re-rolls. That means I can either punch through shields or deal some nasty critical damage. If I had Dodonna or a fighter-heavy fleet, then I’d go with the XX-9. As it stands making a lone gunship, I’ll pick the XI7 Turbolasers.
I haven’t made any yet, so we’ll have to come back to this some day.
The End Result
All said and done, here’s the final tally:
Liberator-class Cruiser (96 points)
Lando Calrissian (4 points)
Engine Techs (8 points)
Reinforced Blast Doors (5 points)
Leading Shots (6 points)
XI7 Turbolasers (6 points)
Grand Total: 125 Points
For just under a third of my fleet cost, I’ve got a sturdy, heavy hitter. The main weakness of this ship are its defense tokens – a second Redirect would have been preferred over Contain, but nothing can be perfect. Pairing two of these with Ackbar and bidding for the right objectives can make for a really mean side swipe – it all depends on how carefully you position, which is almost always the case.
Stay tuned – coming up next is a double-header for the other paint contest winner.
October 21, 2022: Whoops – it looks like I forgot to actually attach the ship card. Thanks to Julian in the comments section!
If I remember, I struggled a bit choosing between a large and medium ship base (since there wasn’t a length readily available), but ultimately decided on a medium for a couple of reasons.
- Putting it in the same size as an ISD or one of the big Mon Calamarian ships just felt a little wrong.
- A medium-sized ship with this array of options is really neat I think, and having it punch above its weight class fits the lore since this was supposed to be “one of the galaxy’s most advanced warships”. Plus, if Imperials can put an Interdictor on a medium base, so can we.
- A slow medium ship is new.
Naturally, I gave it nice big broadside arcs – part of this is to offset the very poor speed.
The ship base can be found below and in the downloads section.
I still need to finish the ship base (coming soon), but attached are the files if you want to print your own card. Let me know how it goes and how it plays!