We got some very surprising news today! While many, including myself, believed Armada was not dead today we got a sort of pseudo-confirmation of that belief. Today Atomic Mass released images for 4 new ships and 3 new squadrons in Armada! They will be printed and play sheets. I have no idea if they will ever make the cards officially printed and available but I believe it's possible. I did not see this coming and I am very happy it happened. I will briefly discuss the new things and what I think of them as first impressions and of course down the road I reserve the right to call myself out if I say anything dumb here. With that out of the way...
HERA SYNDULLA BABY!!! I am a huge fan of Hera and the whole rebels cast as characters and when they got to Armada I was psyched! Unfortunately, they aren't as glamourous as they should be. Ezra is great, Sabine is eh, Kanan is... a card, and Hera's old form is too expensive to really justify competitively. However, now we have this Hera which is so wicked cool. 23 Points is pretty good still on the pricy side, especially for X-Wing Aces. Her anti-squadron armament is rather interesting, she is so far the only X-Wing to not have 4 blue dice, instead she is loaded with 1 Red, 2 Blue, and 1 Black which is more swingy but has a higher damage cap. She also sports the normal 1 black bomber dice for X aces. Dodge 1 is also huge on aces, it can allow you to dodge damage down from 5 to 4 and then brace to 2 (or any similar combo) which really helps to mitigate damage. Now, her ability is so so so sweet. "When you are activated, friendly squadrons at distance 1 that have [Escort] gain [Adept 1] until the end of the round" This turns Biggs Balls into even more of a powerhouse than they already were. It potentially makes X-Wings much better at bombing and definitely better at dogfighting. She also allows YT-1300s to have a reroll on their counter 1. Also of note is she lacks escort so she will be staying alive as long as your Biggs Ball does.
Another Delta ace for Republic. Anakin Skywalker in his Delta looks to be pretty potent. He is already a Republic staple in his Y-Wing so, in my opinion, it may be hard to justify bringing him in his delta. 24 Points is pricy but average for delta aces. His anti-squadron armament is a little different with 2 blue and 2 black as opposed to the normal 3 blue and 1 black. He has a higher average damage output. Adept 2 is excellent especially when paired with counter 2. He is also the first republic Ace with dodge, which, when paired with brace/scatter makes him really survivable. "While attacking a squadron during your activation, at the end of the Resolve Damage step, you may choose up to 2 enemy squadrons at distance 1 of the defender. If the defender was damaged, the chosen squadrons suffer 1 damage." This ability is really cool. It is similar to all of the other splash damage abilities we've seen like Ten Numb, but for Anakin's, you don't have to have a specific icon showing. I'm not sure how good it will really be, but we will find out soon once people really start to play these new cards. Like I said before, his Ywing use is amazing and it may be hard to justify bringing the delta instead.
Defender Vader! His reign has subsided in the X-Wing community so he decided to make a guest appearance in Armada. 25 Points is a really good price for him. He will certainly prove to be a popular squad for empire players. Brace/evade is interesting but cool. His 2 red bomber dice are swingy, but potentially devastatingly good. Adept 2 is also huge when it comes to dogfighting or bombing. Rogue is also a really solid choice here, though Sloane fans may disagree, it makes him super-powerful and pretty independent. His anti-squad dice are crazy good for his ability. 1 red, 1 blue, and 2 black have a native damage cap of 5, but with his ability, he can potentially drop 7 damage against unique pilots. "While attacking a unique squadron, each of your [Critical] icons adds 1 damage to the damage total."
The age-old dice probability image. This is here to show you the difference his ability can really make in potential damage output. Normally, 1 red, 1 blue, and 2 black have a native damage cap of 5 against squads and an average of 2.75. With his ability, while attacking a unique squadron your damage cap comes to 7 and the average comes to 3.5 which doesn't sound like a lot but it can really turn the tides. I would get into the probability, but I don't want to write a whole essay here.
OH BABY A TRIPLE! Like rebels needed another rough pickle-shaped capital ship. I was disappointed when the Separatist Providence dropped and it looked like the kind of ship I would love, but it was attached to probably my least favorite star wars faction. This, however, is a Rebel Providence-class Carrier. There is a lot to unpack here so buckle up. 95 Points makes it the cheapest large for rebels and that is for good reason. This thing will most likely need to be loaded up with upgrades to be effective and its upgrade slots are wildly interesting. 2 Officers are always good for rebels, 2 weapons teams give us access to all sorts of fun combos, 2 Offensive retros is fantastic for a carrier (which this thing is), and 2 support teams can be really sweet. This is also the first ship capable of taking 2 boarding teams at the same time. Hello, Raddus bomb with Cham and Shriv. This thing wants to be a carrier and bad. Rebels already have a pretty good carrier but it's always nice to have a little bit of a switch-up. What hits me as surprising is that Providence has no weapons upgrades to be seen. While that might be a bit annoying/concerning, with the other combos of upgrades it can take I'm sure it will be fine.
We all thought it was coming eventually. Here it is. The Republic Victory 1-class Star Destroyer. This ship is cool but I think it will suffer from many of the same issues as the empire's victory, especially considering as of now we have no titles like Harrow to combat some of the problems. Now, don't get me wrong I am very excited about this ship. It feels like an up-gunned Acclamator 1 with access to SPHA-Ts. It is capable of functioning as a carrier with a 3 squad value, a weapons team, an off-ret, and most likely Yularen but I really think it will want to be a gunboat. Zak, Vet Guns, Engine Techs, Sphats, Ex Rax, and a black crit.
Jokes aside, I am unable to actually say how good the Vic will be but I will certainly be trying it as soon as I can.
Imperial Venator! I cannot express in words how happy I am that the empire doesn't have access to a 5 squad value ship. Like the Victory above this ship feels like it could be good for a few things, but probably wants to be shooting more than anything. To be completely honest I have never been much of an Empire player. I like being the good guys. I can't say for sure where this ship will fall in the empire's lists, but I can say I think I'd rather go up against this than most of the other Imperial larges. Salvo is nice, 100 points feels pretty good, the upgrades will probably prove to be decent, and its dice are also pretty good. I'd still rather be staring this down than a Kuat or ISDII.
Last, but not least. The CIS Gozanti. As with the Imperial Venator, I can't say for sure how I feel about this because I am not much of a Separatist player. I can say that this is the first flotilla with a weapons upgrade available to it. That's cool. I think these things will lend themselves nicely to Kraken fleets. Being able to have 2 additional ships to rush in and gain his bonus from. TF-1726 or Mar Tuuk is also a possibility since now CIS has access to better MSU options. Both admirals add dice and Gozantis are cheap. They won't be as effective as anything else but they will be able to shoot which is always helpful.
Those are my quick burst thoughts on today's announcement. Once again my opinions may change as they find their way into different lists and metas. I really like all 3 squads and I see them being very popular. The ships will take some getting used to and some figuring out to see if they're truly any good. I am hopeful, but we will see in the coming months. I hope this is a good sign that AMG is finally giving Armada some much-needed love and attention.