Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Monarch

The Forsaken Arena tournament is underway.  You can see the Battle Pirates Crib Hangout show where we described the format and prize structure at:

Slides from that show (and all previous shows) are available at:

There aren't too many changes from last time, so for this article I'll focus on the new hull prize: the Monarch.

This limited hull has a lot of possibilities, with hybrid (underwater), UAV, and regular weapon slots to go along with its tactical module slot.  It has the double drone ability like the Hurricane, it has the lighter tactical module weight and the slot configuration of a Vanguard (but better), So I'll compare it to both of those hulls.

StatisticMonarchHurricane R5Vanguard R5
Weapon Slots10210
Armor Slots525
Special Slots333
Max Weight15,26013,20015,260
Base Armor3,9801,2893,980
Combat Speed131210
Turn Speed161516
Ballistic Defense30%0%40%
Explosive Defense10%20%30%
Penetrative Defense40%0%0%
Concussive Defense0%0%0%
Radioactive Defense30%0%30%
Tac Module Weight-70%0%-40%
UAV Damage40%0%0%
Drone Modifierx2x2x1
Building Damage0%0%100%
Repair Modifier100%100%100%
Hull Build Time w/off5d 9h 36m4d 1h 12m5d 9h 36m
Total U needed00102,878

The Vanguard doesn't have the 4 UAV or the 2 underwater capable slots of the Monarch, and you should also keep in mind that before it is retrofitted, it has a -25% evade and a combat speed of 9.  Also note that the Vanguard is flagship-only, but the Monarch is not.  

The Hurricane doesn't have the defense or the weapon slots to be much more useful than a standoff drone carrier, and the Vanguard doesn't have the speed or the defense to stand up to "modern" fleets... but the Monarch's speed, weapons, and defense can help it to be a useful addition to your arsenal.

I thought I'd talk about a few possible uses of this ship with some example builds.  I think that if you build a Monarch to go with existing ships, you'll need to look at your own ships carefully and not just copy builds you see here (or somewhere else).  Especially with retrofitted engines, speed matching for mixed fleets is harder than ever.  

The first thought that popped into my head for this ship is the "poor-man's Frostburn".  I use my Frostburn against Reavers as a spotter for Mastodons.  Although you can't make the extinguishing effects with the existing tactical modules, you could make the slowdown with an Engine Disrupter module.  You could also use the Microwave Dampener to reduce damage, but that has no effect on radioactive damage, so it would likely not be as useful, especially against Reavers.

This build uses the Hornet to give the maximum spotting range, and B torps for additional speed.  With Evade at 61% and Radioactive Defense at 47%, it might be a good idea to swap some of the E armor for R.

(click for Huggy's link)

Another build concept would be to mix drones and UAVs... 6 Piranha drones would keep many fleets from charging in, and using Locusts would be ideal for hit and run tactics to keep the enemy at range. Lightning carriers would fill in for any additional weight available.

(click for Huggy's link)

As I look at this one, I think it isn't fast enough to deal with Frostburn-led interceptors (which would keep the drones away), and the build time gets kind of long (as any Level 3 drone module does), so I'm not sure I like this one too much.  But i know some people are willing to put up with the Level 3 Drone module build times... so have at it.  I would advise players that Piranha Drones are probably the only ones worth building.  I know that when I see Siege drones or Blitz drones, I tend to ignore them and just go for the drone carrier.  Piranha drones are a bit more difficult to charge through unscathed.

The other thing I've heard players talking about is to use the Monarch in base guard.  This might be useful for defending against blitzing Hellhounds (or other blitzers).  The Armor Bypass 3 field gives 50% bypass against ballistic, explosive, and penetrative defense.  As resistances get high, that can become a significant multiplier on DPS... for example, reducing 80% resistance to 40% resistance triples DPS (20% gets through before, 60% gets through after).  The range on that field is only 74 though, so tactical modules generally are not useful against standoff base attack fleets.

When it was new, players tried a lot of different uses for the Vanguard, and I could see the same happening for the Monarch.  I suspect that players will come up with lots of useful build concepts that I haven't even considered.  There are also some leaks coming out about the next faction we are fighting (the Shroud), and it is expected that they will make extensive use of tactical fields.  If we have some new tactical fields coming, it may be best to hold off on building the Monarch just to see what new tricks are on the way.