When I looked at the prize list, and the points/structure to get the Cannoneer, I feel like asking Kixeye what we did wrong. Why are we being punished? Is the Zoe Vendetta like the vegetables we have to eat before getting dessert? Players have never liked 'locked' prizes, where you have to get something before being able to get something else. When the prizes are related and laddered, we kind of understand, but having to get a niche Limited hull before getting the mainline hull before the next raid... well it just isn't right.
Anyway I'll start off with my process for doing the 107. I use a 4 Hellwraith fleet, armed mostly with Fire Twisters (and a couple Mayhems). What I heard / read was that it was easier to do the bottom 'pancake' first and with some practice I found that was correct. My process for the 107 is:
- Clear the bottom five Scouts on the first two dive cycles. Do not kill the Hellstrike - the oil slick makes it more difficult to complete the rest of the target. (I find this also holds for the 105) Don't kill any drones either.... they will respawn exactly where you don't want them.
- About halfway through the third dive cycle, there seems to be a spot where the drones seem to be clustered at or heading toward the top. This opens the bottom side of the Southeast pancake. I target it by clicking on it - I don't want to get too close or I'm seen by the drones above the pancake. (your window is from about 7:25 to 7:15. Follow the last set of drones on in... but not too close) Heading towards the right a little bit as you go gives you a little more time. Once it's dead I head back to the bottom.
- Clean out the ships that are orbiting the (now sunken) lower pancake. Also kill drones and then go after the four scouts that started between the Pancakes.
- There should only be two groups of drones left. Wait until they are on top, then hit the remaining pancake from the bottom.
- Clean out the rest.
I can do a 107 for zero damage using this process, but usually end up with 2 - 4 coins repair. Sometimes I'll take a couple hits from drones when hitting the first pancake, and sometimes I mess up a little with the scouts. Again, just like last time, the Scouts are best hit by sailing alongside of them so you have more time to stop between your torpedo range and their thermal range..
So on to the prizes:
The Cannoneer certainly will be the go-to hull for the next raid with its resistances and ballistic weapon output. I think the real question is whether they will work best singly or grouped. I'm wondering this because when hitting mines, I find my Punishers are most effective when working alone. Since they have enough offensive output to clear turrets in two hits, much of the firepower they would have when stacked up is wasted. The splash weapons in the mines mean that the stacked ships just end up sharing more damage. When I use Centurions, they have less offensive output, and also have the stacking field for splash resistance. They work best stacked up so they can kill turrets faster.
The Cannoneer has the (new since preview) stacking field that provides speed and offensive output. Whether they will work better stacked or not will remain to be seen, and may even depend on the target.
The Zelos got better since the preview (when I panned it). They've added resistance across the board, more deflection, combat speed, and more DPS. I think with the new launchers or with ballistics (and its +45% ballistic range), it could be effective in the new Siege targets.
One point many have seen on these new hulls is they have increased repair and build times compared to the times of many hulls since Kixeye made some reductions. The Cannoneer is back to the old one point per second repair time. I think what is going on is that we are getting back some power creep. The longer build and repair times are reflective of the higher power level (performance) of these new hulls. The alternative is to release hulls that are just as powerful as existing hulls, but the problem is that those aren't really very attractive to the players. Power creep is necessary, let's just hope it doesn't get too bad again.
If you're unsure what to get in this raid, and you won't have the points to get everything, make sure you come out of this raid with the right hulls & equipment to do the following:
You need Radioactive and Ballistic resistances along with a weapon that won't get shot down. After the Cannoneer and Zelos, Centurion, Punisher or Crusader are your choices (in that order). If you're going with ballistic weaponry, the Arbalest is a great price this raid and still very effective. CL-3 Alloy is key, or go after Reflective Plate (and pair with Layered Armor). Also keep in mind that I, like many other players, expect some new Ballistic weapon + special to be released in the next FM or an upcoming TLC... so make sure you have a backup, but don't overcommit to ballistics right now. Launchers may also be effective, and the new Squall Launcher + Flechette Feeder will be the best of breed there.
The latest raid target style with these Reavers is expected to replace the current Draconian Armadas as the primary way to get Uranium. Make sure you have the right equipment to build a fleet to go after these targets too. If you are using subs, the most important thing is to have 88 range torpedos. Mayhems are not available (coming from the FM Tier 5), but Fire Twisters are. You could also go with Tideseekers and either Calamity Scatterguns (if you already have them), or the Concussive Gatling Gun (available in this raid).
If you want to hit bases and haven't gotten any conquerors yet... the Fury is the best all arounder, but the revenge is probably best against low end bases and the Vendetta will still be effective as a remote target mortar chucker against bases that don't have the new Cataclysm Mortar or Maxim guns.
A whole lot of base defense weapons are available. Glacial Launcher and Coldsnap should be top priorities if you don't have them, but the Executioner and Drac Scattergun are still effective. The Wendigo isn't totally obsolete yet, but I wouldn't spend on it compared to many other turret choices.