Sunday, January 26, 2020

Musings on Epic: Listbuilding the CR90

After covering the Rebel Transport last time, we're going into their main combat ship this week. The Corvette has two distinct features: it's main weapon is going until Range 4 and is put on side-arcs, and it can Target Lock beyond range 4. This is important, because effects that allow you to lock usually are restricted to range 1-3. I find it harder to maneuver the firing arcs into position with a CR90 than with a Raider; however, the CR90 has an easier time to keep firing once the enemy is past you. Just some things to consider.

Command Upgrades

Like every ship in Epic, the CR90 has a Command Upgrade slot. Five choices are available for the Rebels; the Republic has a grand total of two. Remember that taking a commander in this slot also eats up a crew slot, unlike the Veteran Wing Leader and other related upgrades do for wings. So, let's delve into this. A lot of the text here is just taken over from the GR75 because I am not entirely sold on the Command Upgrades by and large.


I don't think there's anything that provides great synergies here. Most Command Upgrades have high costs that are not offset by their benefits.


If you ever use the Stalwart Captain, then on a capital ship like the Corvette. In theory, this negates any attempt to initiative-kill it and its considerable point investment. However, experience shows that death comes slow and steady for these ships, with energy lost, upgrades going offline and crits piling up. It's not unusual to meet the final round with zero energy, only the primary able to fire (if at all) and in an unfavorable position, so the use you get out of the Stalwart Captain is greatly diminished. Given the extremely good crew options we have, it's a hard sell to put this guy in that slot.


Carlist Rieekan allows one friendly ship in Range 0-2 to perform a red Evade action when another friendly ship in the same range is destroyed. The CR90 gets a bit more out of this ability than the GR75 because it's usually closer to the fray. However, it still remains a highly circumstancial upgrade, and its trigger is dependent solely on the enemy's decisions, which makes it hard to make the most of it.

The Strategic Commander fits best on a support vessel like the transport. The CR90 oftentimes goes at high speeds, since it wants to circle around the enemy line, so the option of hunting an enemy wing and ramming it is alluring. However, the latter option is sharply restricted since the Strategic Commander only allows changes to the same difficulty and speed, which is why I consider him more of a thing for wings, especially those that have high initiative and therefore are subject to being blocked. Changing the direction of banks also usually means losing the main arc on the enemy, and that's about the only use you get out of this upgrade. 


We meet our boy Jan Dodonna. His mighty beard allows friendly ships to spend our Focus or Evade tokens. There might be a fringe case of a Perceptive Co-Pilot and someone really needing those tokens, but I don't see the investment worth it.

I don't consider Raymus Antilles to be a good option on any ship. He's just way too expensive and the timing is awkward. When the transport explodes, most other ships likely already activated or aren't targets, so the free Focus (which in any case only applies to Range 0-1) doesn't do much, and staying on the board will mostly affect your primary, so...simply don't.


No Command Upgrade is entirely useless on the CR90.


The CR90 is a damage-dealer, and while you can certainly fit it out as a supporter, the transport can do that as well and for a much cheaper price tag. As of yet, I'm unconvinced that you don't want to gear up your CR90 to kill ships.


I find the Point Defense Battery to be practically mandatory on the CR90. Without it, you'll be hard-pressed fending off pesky wings, and nothing kills a Huge Ship faster than a wing lining up in Range 1. Up to four shots from this baby with three dice each will at least ensure that the wing won't do it in that configuration twice. Even without dice mods, a total of 12 dice will usually get SOME damage through, and if an enemy Huge Ship comes close enough, you can point this baby at them for some serious damage.


The Targeting Battery is very good on the CR90. Not only does it complement your long range by an even longer range, potentially delivering a one-two-punch on Range 4, it's also allowing you to get a lock for your net shot - the primary, maybe? - on the same range band thanks to your baked-in ship ability. And all of that for the price of just one energy. Consider me sold.


If you want some shooting on the cheap, the Ion Cannon Battery does the job. Why do we like it? On the one hand, it sports range 4, and we really don't want to go in the thick of it. On the other hand, its cost of one energy is bearable, and the ability to break up enemy wings is welcome. However, you're limited to one damage at the most - albeit critical damage - and ion doesn't do that much to Huge Ships, so I don't consider it the best option on the CR90, given the competition for Hardpoints. 


And here we find the Turbolaser Battery. You might be surprised it's this low, but in fact, I'm feeling charitable not putting it in F-Tier. The Turbolaser Battery is simply bad. On the first glance, the chance of six damage with one shot is enticing, of course. But the cost is HUGE. One, you need a passive Target Lock. That means that most of the time, you won't fire at Range 5, period. Second, it's way too expensive currently. That makes any idea that grants locks on bigger range even more daunting. Third, even a Huge Ship has two dice against long range shots, and with just three dice, that can go bad simply due to bad luck. And to top this unpleasant cocktail off, the shot consumes three energy, virtually guaranteeing you'll never fire twice in a row. Honestly, we've tried this like four of five times now, and I've never seen the damn thing fire more than twice a game. It just sucks. Don't install it.


Ordnance Tubes. You can't take Ordnance. Duh.


The CR90 has access to the gunner slot, but since we're using bonus attacks a lot and many gunners expressly forbid the use of bonus attacks, a lot of these guys are actually not all that good. Let's discuss the problem in greater detail.


The Republic can make excellent use out of Clone Commander Cody (Republic). If you miss because the target cancelled hits, they get strain. Given that you will fire up to seven shots, the applications are obvious, and these damn tokens even stack! And incredibly strong card.

A strong card, provided you installed the Point Defense Cannon, is the Hotshot Gunner. If your two-dice shot missed or the hits were cancelled, the defender will be guaranteed not to have their Focus or Evade after. That helps a lot with defensive beasts like the TIE Defender.


When you can predict were the enemy will fly next round, being able to turn the turrets in the End Phase might be of great help, in which case bringing an Agile Gunner is the thing to do. However, you're not dependent on it since you'll very likely be able to use a normal action to turn the turret if necessary.


Ahsoka Tano (Republic) gives you a Force (always welcome) and grants you the ability give a friend a red Focus action. I don't think the latter is of much importance, which leaves the Force. Whether this is worth the points for you I can't say.

I generously put Han Solo (Rebel Alliance) here, since firing one attack off at Initiative 7 is not to be gainsaid. However, he's extremely expensive, and I'm unsure that one attack makes enough of a difference in Epic.


Ezra Bridger (Rebel Alliance) gives you a Force, which is the only reason he's not in F-Tier,since the bonus attack he gives you is baked in the Hardpoint upgrades anyway and you aren't stressed usually, so the rerolls won't apply either.

If you're really outmaneuvered, Luke Skywalker (Rebel Alliance) is your friend. I don't find this nearly as important as in normal games, however, and the price for Luke simply isn't worth the points. 


Without bombs, the Skilled Bombardiers don't have any uses, they go. 

The Seventh Fleet Gunner (Republic) gives us a disarm to aid another ship. That's more than just a littlebit meh, I have to say. I don't see any reason to put them on a CR90.

With Bistan (Rebel Alliance) you gain the ability to fire your turret...which you would have anyway. He saves you the energy for it, maybe, but since he also restricts your target selection, I don't see why you'd spend so many points for his ability here.


Now, the really important stuff. Unlike the GR75, the CR90 has some INCREDIBLE crew options. Not only that, you even have two slots, and the Rebels at least have access to a whooping third with the titles. So without further ado, let's look at them.


Magva Yarro (Rebel Alliance) is INCREDIBLE. Anyone shooting at you, you lock. During the Engagement Phase. For free. And you can likely maintain up to three locks. Get the stapler. Get it NOW. 

One of the best options to carry into battle is the old rebel Saw Gerrera (Rebel Alliance). One damage for turning all Focus into critical hits? On a ship that regenerates two shields per round? Get me the stapler. 

One of the best options on your CR90 is C-3PO (Rebel Alliance). Since you will practically always generate a Calculate token, having two of them not only grants dice mods (hello, Point Defense Battery) that are always welcome, but it also allows you to use the higher ranges shenanigans the Bombardement Specialists are famous for. 

The same is true of C-3PO (Republic), whose ability beyond granting a second Calculate token is even more valuable. While the CR90 does not have a natural defense die, it still defends against Range 3 shots often enough, which makes this card hands-down one of the best in the entire game. 

To be sure, the presence of Chancellor Palpatine (Republic) in this tier is owed as much to the fact that the Republic only has two named crew-options at the moment as it is to his ability. But even so, giving out stress to wing leaders is a great way to use a Force, and if you don't need the ability, it still allows you to either Coordinate without energy loss if you really need it or to modify a dice. 


Focus tokens are always good, and the Perceptive Copilot gives you two for the price of one. What more is there to say? 

K-2SO (Rebel Alliance) is a great card on. You only need to stay in range 0-3 of any friend, which should be easy enough to do. The only reason he got demoted to A-Tier from his lofty place in S-Tier on the GR75 is that competition for the slot is so fierce. 


The Informant is actually a great upgrade because you'll put its condition card on a Wing Leader, and that way, you'll know where the entire wing goes. This is especially relevant if you have a blocker wing that can then sweep in and break up the enemy formation. However, as with so many crew, we have such a plethora of options that the Informant should search for a smaller ride.

If you want to repair damage cards on the cheap, the Novice Technician allows us to repair one especially nasty crit in exchange for exposing another. It's a good ability. And yet, there are better ones out there. So, B-Tier it is. 

Toryn Farr (Rebel Alliance) is a bit of an odd case. While you usually do want to Target Lock with a CR90, Torryn gives you a link into a red Coordinate (that's one energy for everyone that keeps counting) allows any ship to lock on whatever you just locked. For low-initiative ordnance carriers, this might be interesting: Lock the target, coordinate the other ship a Focus, which then gets the free lock. However, this leaves us without the "usual" Calculate token we get from linked team actions, so poor Toryn might still be relegated to the sidelines, despite some obvious synergies, because kitting out a CR90 for support always feels like I'm really overpaying on a transport. 

Nien Nunb (Rebel Alliance) really does help your CR90 out. Now your 1- and 2-banks are blue and the 3-banks white. Not only does this obviously synergize well with the Optimized Power Core, it also makes you much more maneuverable. 3-banks cover A LOT of ground. 

Given the scaling with the number of ships in Epic, the same is true of Leia Organa (Rebel Alliance), who on cheaper carriers is an obvious choice. She allows whole wings to K-Turn or Tallon Roll or to red-turn or to stop and still take actions. The only reason I didn't put her in the S-Tier is that it is my experience that I don't need to dial red maneuvers as often as in normal games since there are more targets available and the playing field is so much bigger. However, once again, why put her on a CR90 if there other, cheaper options available?


"Zeb" Orrelios (Rebel Alliance) allows you to fire your 4-dice-primary at range 0. The advantage you have is that since you actually have side-arcs on your main weapon, that means that the chances someone actually IS touching you in Engagement phase are better than on the other Huge Ships. The bad news is that the shot is seldom worth the return shot, as you have enough targets, and it's highly cirumstancial. 

Jyn Erso (Rebel Alliance) might help a nearby wing that really, really wants to survive by handing out Evade tokens. This might be especially relevant for jousting superior wings. While the CR90 definitely will be close enough to the fight for this to become relevant, my general reservations about giving it support options still stands. If you have the slot or are playing with scenarios, sure, why not, but else, I don't see the use yet.

There's some synergy with Jan Dodonna and Lando Calrissian (Rebel Alliance), as the Focus and Evade tokens we get can be used by friendly ships. That at least makes it very likely SOMEONE is going to use these tokens, but I don't really see it worth giving up the points and the crew slot.
The Freelance Slicer allows us to Jam at Range 3, yet its usual restrictions and the fact that our actions really don't want to be spent jamming and coordinating, which is required to make the most use out of him. 

Baze Malabus (Rebel Alliance) allows us to take up to three Focus tokens at the cost of one energy. As with Lando, this might matter if other ships can use our Focus tokens, and of course, the Point Defense Battery likes three Focus. However, you need the enemy to cooperate with that and  the Perceptive Copilot does this job much more consistently, without Energy cost, and with our two actions, that seems like the superior choice practically every time.

Given that you have two actions, the GNK "Gonk" Droid actually might work out for some increased survivability, but the point cost remains prohibitive and the taxing of the action economy real.

Kanan Jarrus (Rebel Alliance) is a good supporter, but taking away stress from just one friendly ship just doesn't cut it in Epic. So many points require a dedicated ace to make use of this in my opinion, and I find dedicated aces dicey propositions in Epic. You can use the Force yourself, of course, many points...and a crew slow...I'll pass. 


Chopper (Rebel Alliance) allows you to do actions for damage while stressed, but Huge Ships are very rarely stressed, so I don't see the point. I allow a very fringe case of using the GR75 to ram lots of ships, which is a likely source of stress; however, that's not a strategy I can recommend, so let's simply not.

Sabine Wren (Rebel Alliance) simply requires anyone to carry her into battle, and since she doesn't synergize at all with the CR90, if any part of your list uses bombs, she really should hitch a ride in another vessel.

Hera Syndulla (Rebel Alliance)allows us to do red maneuvers even when stressed, but then, Huge Ships can do that anyway.

It might be my bias, but I think Cassian Andor (Rebel Alliance) is extremely fringy. However, in combination with Nien Nunb and a Strategic Commander, you have many options for ramming. Still, it's silly.

Chewbacca (Rebel Alliance) allows you to repair one face-up damage card every two rounds, which can come in handy when you get a crit that messes with your energy. The rub is the timing: Chewbacca triggers at the beginning of the Engagement Phase, which means you will suffer the crit for a full turn, and then he would need to regenerate another two turns. And let's be honest, when you start collecting crits, you likely won't last another two turns.

As with all things ramming, a Seasoned Navigator helps you out a little bit, but he's more expensive than the Strategic Commander, who does the same thing in a less useful slot cheaper, so why bother?

R2-D2 (Rebel Alliance) gives you back a shield (hooray) for a 50% chance of triggering a crit, and since many crits cost you vital energy, I don't see this as a good bargain for the point cost involved, and the slot can have so many better options in it.


Teamwork! Who doesn't like it? Teams are the one upgrade category restricted to Huge Ships, so they should do some work for us, shouldn't they? As with crew, our actual options are somewhat limited, though.


More Target Locks coming your way with the Sensor Experts. Target locks are your bread and butter, and the ability to maintain three of them is much more valuable than the option of aquiring them at range 5, even though that at least solves your issue with the Turbolaser Battery's range requirement, if only for one shot. But they really shine in their passive ability to maintain the three locks when combined with the likes of Magva Yarro. 


The Damage Control Team is extremely valuable on the CR90. If you didn't already calculate this round, they will make sure you'll do now, as in the thick of things, using one of your actions to Reinforce is practically mandatory.

Since C-3PO is available for both our factions, the Bombardement Specialists have a good claim to a spot on this ship. We'll usually have a Calculate, and we might as well make full use of the range band while we're at it. They're not nearly as powerful here as on the Raider, though, which is why they're ranked only here.


I really want to like the Gunnery Specialists, but usually I have locks on all my targets, whereas energy is very sparse. So I don't see why I'd sacrifice the points and slot for these guys, despite their obvious uses. 

I don't see the CR90 in a great supporting role, so spending energy to Coordinate and Jam more targets, even if the actions become white with this upgrade, seem not the best use of a team slot and the Comm Specialists suffer for it. However, if you don't bring any other source of Jam, you might be forced to store away some Boosted Scanners and go for these guys, although it's far from ideal.


Nothing here.


Without Ordnance, what do you want with an Ordnance Team? You can't even reload.


Let's get to Cargo. The CR90 is a Corvette, not a transport, and yet, there's a lot to be said of taking stuff with you. Let's review our options.


The Tibanna Gas Reserves cost only three points, and you're very energy-hungry. If you consider any other cargo, it should always measure up against Tibanna and its small price point.


The Optimized Power Core is a fine choice on the CR90. Especially with Nien Nunb, we have a lot of blue maneuvers, and if he's not on board laughing his ass off, the 2-speed maneuvers still are the ones I dial most with the CR90, and they're blue, so...


Usually you have a wing that wants to stay close, so the Adaptive Shields might justify their cost. I find the range 1 requirement very restrictive, but the ability to mitigate damage should never ever be denied. Energy is also an issue, but if you build your CR90 in more of a supportive role, this works fine.


Boosted Scanners increase the range of Coordinate and Jam. Both are actions we usually don't want to do, so stay away from this, especially given the energy cost. As always, the caveat of having some other source of Coordinate and/or Jam in the list applies.


Nothing to see here, move along.


Sorry, Republic, for you the article ends here. Only the Rebel Alliance gains access to this great plethora of options. 


If you build a CR90 and don't need any of the other titles, make room for Liberator. I gives you one energy, which is absolutely terrific, and it allows you not only to dock two ships but grants these two ships a free Barrel Roll or Focus after undocking. What do you do with the latter option? Take one or two Z95, equip them with Cluster Missiles and keep them for anti-wing defense, allowing the rest of your list to roam freely. These guys can even block in a nasty fashion because they're guaranteed to move before anyone else. 


While the ability to roll an addtional green die if the attacker is behind you is nice, Tantive IV really shines in giving you two more crew slots. And crew on the CR90, at least on the Rebel variant, is really, really great.  


I want to like Thunderstrike, but I can't bring myself to do it. You lose three shields to gain three hull, which is a really bad bargain, and you gain a gunner slot, for which there aren't many good options, as we established. That leaves the ability to reroll dice if you spread your fire. This sounds cool, but spreading fire is decidedly not the thing we want to do. We want to explode ships. 


If you are still hell-bent on making the CR90 a supporter, look at Jaina's Light. Whoever Jaina is, she's a naggard, as she gives you a shield at the cost of one energy, after which she gives you an ability that actually costs energy. Rolling additional defense dice when obstructed is...occasionally good? Yes, there are many obstacles on the board in Epic, but still, this is not a good bargain.

I don't know what to make of Dodonna's Pride. You lose two shields, which is bad. You gain one Team and one Cargo slot, which is good, although not breath-taking. And you gain the ability to Evade into a red Coordinate or to Focus into a red Coordinate, which is just plain weird. Yes, Evade is cool and increases my survival chances, but losing one action over it is a harsh tax, and I don't really want to red Coordinate, especially since I likely want to have a Comms Team to boost range, and this also drains energy. But again, maybe I'm too biased against supporting CR90. You tell me!  


Nothing is really bad in this category.

Sample Builds

Let's order a pizza (boring yet satisfying)

Alderaanian Guard (146)    
    Targeting Battery (6)    
    Point-Defense Battery (9)    
    Magva Yarro (8)    
    C-3PO (8)    
    Bombardement Specialists (6)    
    Sensor Experts (10)    
    Tibanna Reserves (3)    
    Liberator (5)    
Ship total: 201  Half Points: 101  Threshold: 13    

This is a classic build in my opinion. Nothing is bad, it's a real powerhouse in putting out damage, it gets locks all day. What's not to like? 

Palpatine's Escort

Republic Judiciary (146)    
    Targeting Battery (6)    
    Point-Defense Battery (9)    
    C-3PO (Republic) (8)    
    Chancellor Palpatine (14)    
    Clone Commander Cody (4)    
    Sensor Experts (10)    
    Bombardment Specialists (6)    
    Tibanna Reserves (3)    
Ship total: 206  Half Points: 103  Threshold: 13 

The closest one comes to the Pizza express of the Rebel Alliance up above, but I'd not wager anything on it if they're up against each other. 

Do you have any ideas? Criticisms? Suggestions? Please let me know! 


  1. Good stuff. I think Baze Malbus actually gives 3 focus tokens: 1 regular, and up to 2 extra if you have 2 enemy ships at range 0-1. This might be worth an energy so you can fire accurate Point-Defense Battery in addition to Primary weapon.

    Also, Jaina's Light doesn't let the friendly reroll a defense die, she let's it roll 1 additional defense die. Which to me is almost the same thing (it's not, but it doesn't really change her rank in my opinion).

    Lastly, you didn't speak very highly of Gunnery Specialists, but you included it on your "Let's Order Pizza" build. Did you mean Bombardment Specialists?

    Okay, lastly for reals: I never realized how good Magva Yarrow and Saw Gerrera are!!! I don't own a Saw's Renegades yet, but this is an excellent reason to pick one up.

    1. Thanks, I'll update accordingly.

      Duly noted and changed.

      Yes I did.

      Right?! I also only realized it after two games or so, but it's absolutely crazy good.

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