Monday, 23 December 2013

The Praetus

Today we're going to look at the I.R.W. Praetus. We'll get right to it, and discuss why this is a very interesting ship. Here are the stats:

I.R.W. Praetus (Romulan Bird of Prey Class)/ Romulan Starship (Romulan Bird of Prey Class) (note: both ships cost the same and have the same stats but the generic version has 2 less action options)
Front Firing Arc: 90° Rear Firing Arc: NA
A: 2
E: 2
H: 3
S: 0
You may use the [Cloak] Action even if you have no Shields. Whenever you choose the [Cloak] Action, roll 1 attack die. On a [Battle Stations] result, your Hull sustains 1 Damage.
Actions: Evade, Target Lock, Cloak, Sensor Echo
Upgrades: Tech, Tech, Weapon
Points: 14

So, you're not going to bring down capital ships with this thing. Two attacks is almost as bad as it gets. Two evade is quite good, and will suit the generic version well (if you were ever going to run it). The three hull points is exactly where I expect a 14 point ship to sit. It has as many hull points as the defiant, and is 10 points cheaper (obviously the shields make up a huge portion of the defiant's points, but shields have to drop when you cloak!). You could easily run a list with 6 of these, Donatra and Terell and have a pretty crazy armada with 10 points left over. So why aren't we seeing a lot of Praetus lists in the same way that Tie Swarm lists are popular in X-wing?

Well, it has a lot to do with defense dice. The average number of defense dice on a ship in Attack Wing over a ship in X-Wing is higher. Cloaked ships will typically have 5-6 defense dice, and there are quite a lot of ships with cloak. Furthermore, the ships with cloak are VERY popular and are often in top competitive lists. The average defense dice of a competitive optimized list is quite a lot higher than in X-wing. So herein lies the problem of low attack dice. It's going to be very hard to theoretically land a hit if you're only rolling 2 attack dice. I say theoretically because that's what you're doing when you're building lists- you're thinking about the kinds of lists you're going to face, and planning your lists to be able to face every eventuality. Those eventualities are going to include cloaked ships- how on earth you are going to deal with a cloaked ship firing 2 attack dice per ship? I think the answer to that question is that you're not, and that you need a few heavy hitters in your list. That's probably why we're not seeing these things in bulk. In other words, the meta game doesn't lend itself to multiple small ships with 2 attack each.

Now, there are plenty of ways to make a list of multiple small ships work. In fact, I think you could make it work very well. For instance, you could run 6 of them, Donatra and Terell AND lvl 9 Martok, and get 4 attacks/ship, and 3 evades. That equals approximately 24 attacks per turn. That's actually not that bad, and it's probably actually a pretty decent list.

There's not much difference between running the Bird of Prey and the Praetus. You get to cloak, and maybe take a hit, plus you get an extra tech slot- and THAT'S the big elephant in the room. The cloaked mine. Of course, I'm not going to talk about the cloaked mine today. I'll save that for tomorrow, but I've already gone over some of my initial thoughts on the cloaked mine. I actually think that the list I spelled out above is better than a list with two birds of prey that drop two cloaked mines and then wait around to die for the rest of the game.


  1. Nice write up, Gordash.

    I would like to say that I like this little ship.

    For OP3 I loaded it up with 2 cloaked mines and had it avoid combat while actioning and fighting for the planet. Out of 3 different OP3 events it only once failed to win the planet. This is boat is cheapest way to get 2 sets of mines on the table.

    The other use for this is as a Torpedo Boat. I know Torps are generally a bad idea (that horse is dead) but 5 points for 5 attack dice isn't bad. Or additional weapons array if you are worried about cloakers. Set up this ship away from the rest of your force. The enemy will have to attack your main force or risk getting flanked by it. This set up saw my Praetus plasma torp a Ch'tang(?) And kill it with one good roll.

    Bottom line: The Praetus makes for a decent 3rd ship.

  2. When I say 5 points for 5 dice isn't bad, I mean on this ship. The jump from 2 dice to 5 makes for a better deal then on a 4 attack dice ship

  3. One way (maybe the best way, even) to deal with cloaking ships is to deprive them of their actions by forcing collisions, which is one thing that swarms of cheap ships with free captains do better than a few expensive ones. Klingons in particular dislike taking fire with that horrid 1 agility and weak shields, and even Romulans get worn down by multiple 3+ die attacks turn after turn - especially when they're also getting mangled by multiple minefields deployed so there's no safe escape route.

    That said, I've never seen a warbird swarm win a game, but they do work better than you'd expect from three-hull, no-shield ships. Access to some of the prize cards (eg Martok9 and his elite "battlestations for everyone" talent) helps them out a lot.

  4. Torps on the praetus aren't bad at all.
    Sorry I'm not getting back to you guys quicker on these comments. Ice storm has knocked out the internet here.

  5. ... and I'm posting from my phone...

  6. The generic Praetus is an interesting concept, but sadly it will be blown out of the water by the generic Gal Gath'thong, which for two points more will get one point of shields and the ability to Cloak and Sensor echo. If the generic Praetus got Battlestations like the D7 to make up for the lack of cloak it would have its own little niche, but instead it will just be prettier and worse.

    1. Most likely true, the next Romulan ship looks to finally be providing them with a good low-cost ship. Praetus packs will continue to sell, though - at least until Cloaked Mines are nerfed (which may never happen, given the way WizKids works).

    2. To really nerf anything in game they would have to do a 2nd edition of the game. I don't see that happening. This game would do better with some mine remover tech and crew cards.

    3. They already nerfed the Command Token resource by limiting it to one use per round in the FAQ - sure didn't say anything about that on the printed card. The mines could be toned down the same way - errata adding a line of text like "Remove the minefield token after rolling the attack dice once" would be far more reasonable, and avoid the need for minesweeping upgrades in later sets.