Well, there have been the usual set of complaints over the last month about how the new "skill" & "auto" hulls have been rolled out...
Skill hull: Not enough time to build that fleet
Auto hull: Very expensive for a non-top shelf hull
In my last article I described the Icebreaker as "rank" and wasn't sold on it. I think its performance in this raid has borne out my prediction - it is really only good in the 60s, not the 80s (note: using the "tier" terminology has gotten too confusing).
I managed to get 2 Monoliths completed with 74% rank for this raid too. But my favorite fleet for doing this raid is... the Punisher / Harlock Citadel fleet I've been doing the FM with for the last year. This is Kixeye's gift to us. Anyone with a decent FM fleet should be able to blast through A sets on this raid and not spend any coin doing it. There's lots of videos and information on the FB pages about how to do it, so I'm not going to repeat any of it here. I like the Punisher even better than my Zelos tank - the slower speed of the Punisher is a better match for the Citadels, and it also makes it easier to stop in the right spot.
So here's the tough love part: If you can't do this raid, you are not good at this game. The universal piece of advice that just about every knowledgeable player agrees on is that you have to be able to do the FM to succeed in this game. Do you know any players that are good base hitters, good at getting Uranium and Base Parts, but just can't crack that FM? If you don't have a decent Pun / Cit fleet, or at least Novas with some sort of anti / tank spotter... what the hell have you been doing with your shipyard for the last year? Don't tell me because your answer is wrong.
The most important thing to think about right now is that you need to come out of this raid cycle with a fleet that can do this raid cycle. The Icebreaker & its weapon/special are kind of expensive at 40 million points for the second-rate hull, but think about getting a Harlock Citadel and Citadel build tokens ... OK?
I'm also going to talk Monoliths for the top tier players. The main reason I didn't like the Monoliths I built is that the shells were too slow. My build left off the High Velocity Rounds since I though the shells would fall fast enough with the built-in Projectile Speed. I plan to fix that as I build out my Monolith fleet. And what about the Gridiron? Read on...
Obviously you need to stop out of range of the Coldsnap rocket turrets to succeed in this raid. And obviously you need enough antis on your tank. But beyond that, the real skill part of this raid, and the hardest part for me to figure out at the start, is how to protect your back line remote targeting ships. Kixeye has been playing around with this idea for a while; there was a TLC a couple months back that also posed that challenge using by priority targeting on the turrets. I expect (without any actual evidence) that as the raid difficulty gets ramped up over this cycle, we will see it get harder to protect your rear line. It may come though the return of Priority Targeting on the Executioners, or through an increase in the splash & damage of the Arc Missiles.
This is interesting in light of the Gridiron Monolith field - it doesn't protect the Gridiron itself like we all were expecting, but it does protect the backline ships, and that MAY be what Kixeye was thinking when they designed it like that.
As always, good luck in the raid & keep grinding.