This hull is the first minelayer we have seen. It lays up to 4 Cryo mines, which seem like the ones we have run across in the Arctic-style Draconian campaigns. Hard information on these was tough to come by, but it looks like there has been an update to the blueprint since Wednesday when we took a look at this hull on the Battle Pirates Crib show. The Mine damage has been changed from "2 Concussive" to "4296 Radioactive". That's not small potatoes! On the show we had more of a wait-and-see attitude towards this one, but with the mines doing significant damage (as well as laying a cryo field), the Artemis might have some uses.
Mines may be of most use in PvE targets, where ships that don't have sonar could be easily lured into running into mines. Even ships with sonar might be distracted by mines, taking fire away from the player's ships. In PvP, players will be able to see and react to what you are doing.. although ships with no sonar would be vulnerable anyway. This may also be a good addition to anti-sub fleets.
Base defense with the Artemis would be tricky - ideally you'd like to lay mines in your channel, but since ships move towards the enemy, you'd have to start your Artemis on the inside of your base and let it move outward to lay the mines. That seems like awfully preppable behavior. Depending on the drifting / homing behavior, it may also be possible that simply putting this ship on the inside and letting it sit still while laying mines would work out. I think it will take some experimentation.
When building this ship, I would recommend keeping it light. Although it has some ballistic enhancements, it really doesn't have enough slots or weight to be useful as a slugger, so just use its high speed and keep it out of trouble. A few countermeasures may be a possibility. It may actually be a real nice match for escorting Valkyrie Carriers...
Overall, I don't see a reason to build a fleet of these, so even if you only win one, I think you'll be satisfied. The question is - will it earn a place in your build queue? Maybe... I'd rather have a fleet of Fusion Cruisers, but a one week "detour" to build a light Artemis might not be a terrible idea.
The biggest difference in the Arena format this month is that the Toybox has been focused quite a bit. The numbers of hull (regular and flagship) and weapons has been narrowed a lot. There is really only one hull for each weapon type, and only 1 - 3 weapons of each weapon type. The Flagship choices have narrowed to only the Grimshine Wrath, Grimshine Berzerker, Frostburn Interceptor, and Phantom Nighthawk. Armor choices are also narrower, but almost the full range of special and tactical module choices are available.
The biggest mistake I'm seeing in arena builds is the flagship choice. Many players are using the Frostburn... because the Frostburn is awesome. But what is the Frostburn accomplishing? Is anyone getting inside the field? Firebats sure aren't. I think the Grimshine Berzerker is likely the best flagship choice for most (non-Firebat) Arena fleets. The fleet defense, speed, and triple salvo you get on overload helps all your ships just when you need it. The Grim Wrath with its offensive shockwave might help rush fleets, or help Proto-Masts with the missile reload bonus. One of the very early articles I wrote on this blog was an article about fleet design - make sure you have a concept of how the fleet is going to work.
My other piece of advice is that you should favor offense over defense. You want to get the maximum number of points with the least amount of repairs, so just deal heavy damage. Sometimes you will be outclassed & get your butt kicked. In that case, you'll want the minimum repair time to get back in there. So leave the Reaver Bulkhead at home & load up on weapons.
A few other notable changes with the Arena:
- The straight Win totals for prizes has gone down a lot. You can win tournament fleet repair tokens at 2 wins and 3 wins. I plan to use them when I want to get an extra fight in before going to bed.
- You'll need to be in the top 50 to earn a hull blueprint, not the top 65. But 25 wins will get you a hull no matter what (although... I'm guessing 25 wins will get you into the top 50 in most brackets).
- The amount of Uranium it costs to open more fleet slots has gone up quite a bit. The cost is 10k to open the 2nd fleet slot, then 15k, 20k, and 30k for the 5th slot. (the 5th slot used to be 10k.) Having extra fleet slots gets you extra battles and also lets you try different fleet combinations. It is also useful to help you manage your time better, allowing you to (hopefully) choose between a fleet with a short repair or a long repair, depending on when you want to fight again.
Although the Arena format heavily favors big coiners, I think we are seeing that not too many players are coining heavily. Non-coiners with a little dedication and skill can earn a hull prize in these FATs, no matter how long they have been playing or what hulls they have on their dock. So get in there & give it a shot!