Welcome to the third edition of Weresquirrel's Opinionated Guide to the Raid Hulls.
It's an ambitious project to write an omnibus review of major event prizes. Differences of opinion are inevitable about particular choices--there are points where experienced players disagree--and that's fine. People have different priorities. The goal here isn't to say "Get this; that's crap," but to set out the pros and cons for each selection and describe the circumstances where that selection might be appropriate. Reviews here are categorized by tier, listed in the same order as the game interface. That's for convenience in redemption--you'll notice it doesn't correspond exactly to the power or cost of the prizes.
- An important change from previous store raids is a broader selection of defensive hulls.
- Last December, or even as recently as last summer, the Goliath was the go-to hull for base defense.
- Defensive options are more diverse now.
- Kudos to the developers for that change; it makes the game more interesting.
- Kixeye has also announced that Draconian hulls will soon become available for retrofitting.
- The only two hulls that have been officially disclosed as scheduled for upcoming retrofit are the original Dreadnought and the Battlecruiser X.
- No, we don't know the stats of the retrofitted versions.
- Other Draconian hulls will also become available for retrofit, but nothing firm has been disclosed yet.
- It's no secret that I'm a forum moderator but there isn't any insider hint here about what's coming so don't try to parse the guide for that type of clue.
- It's a reasonable guess that the oldest hulls may be in the offing--that's what retrofit means--so a player's risk tolerance becomes a factor when making these choices.
- In order to simplify that type of selection this review includes a chart that lists whether each hull already has a retrofit option and also which faction the hull comes from.
- In other news, early game players benefit from the lifting of the preliminary research requirement that used to be associated with the Battle Barge A, the Leviathan A, and for the Floating Fortress A.
- If you earn a blueprint now, you can build it. That eliminates a set of old headaches which might still circulate through word of mouth.
- The new Hellstrike could be described as a Thresher on steroids.
- It's a blitz hull--the first specialized blitzer to have four special slots.
- The bonuses on this blueprint are worth a careful look even if you don't plan to own or build one because this ship could prompt players to rethink their defense.
- In terms of whether to redeem the Hellstrike and build a fleet there are basically two different reviews to write: one for the gamers who own all the toys and another for the up-and-coming players who are just starting to collect the major prizes.
- Endgame players may not have much else to redeem.
- The early reviews are positive and quite a few players are coining fleets.
- But if you don't have all the toys yet should you join this bandwagon?
- That's a more complex question.
- It's safe to say that a weapon is necessary to match the hull.
- So if you don't already own the Maelstrom 5 you're looking at Inferno Rockets in addition to the Hellstrike.
- That's 16 million points for the two blueprints.
- In other terms, getting through the door costs just half a million points less than the price of the Dreadnought X plus the Stingray.
- Next you'll have to design a build--which is always more of a challenge to get help with on a cutting edge release unless you're well connected.
- One consideration here is that blitz hulls in Battle Pirates have historically enjoyed a relatively brief time in the sun as top drawer offensive fleets.
- To paraphrase another moderator, if a blitz hull can get into top end bases it's overpowered.
- So Kixeye releases counters that end up putting the blitzer out of business.
- Asking a few experienced players for opinions about this weapon has brought polarized responses.
- Kixeye re-releases ship weapons less frequently than hulls, which is a strong reason to get the Inferno Rocket now if you consider using it at all.
- By comparison, the MCX which was last year's top December hull is now on its fourth offering; the D55-F Siege Missile that was originally released with it still hasn't been reoffered.
- On the other hand, there are endgame players who don't like the stats of this weapon.
- There's also an argument to be made that if you're going to construct a blitzer at all you might as well do the whole shebang on first release.
- With most players the choice will probably come down to evaluating your portfolio of blueprints and deciding whether an alternative allows you to fill a major gap for something close to the 3.5 million point price.
- For instance, the Goliath at 4 million points could be more valuable to players who lack a strong defense.
- Juggernaut X: Originally released as a ballistic blitz hull, the Juggernaut X has an armor bonus boost that works nicely with the new Forsaken resistance armors. With the right build this means the Jug X can rival or possibly outperform the Goliath at ballistic defense.
- Stingray: By the consensus of most players who have all the toys, the Stingray is currently the top fvf hull in Battle Pirates. Specializes in ballistics and combines strength with speed. Works especially well with Z cannons (D-33Z and D-35z, both event weapons). The only downside is construction time, which takes as long as top drawer base hitting fleets, but Stingrays often perform well in raids.
- Triton: A Triton is good for several purposes and great for one. It's a respectable base hitter (although not the best) and a respectable defender. Where it really shines is as the game's best Countermeasures hull, which of course requires ownership of the Countermeasures 3 blueprint. Pack its ten weapon slots with Hailstorms and/or Phalanxes.===
- Strike Cruiser X: Another ballistic blitz hull. Breaks a lot of bases although, true to blitz fleets, tends not to fare so well against the game's strongest defenders. The SCX has better performance in fvf than the Juggernaut X. Yet either the Jug X or the Stingray would likely be the better bargain: the SCX costs 1.5 million more than either while lacking the Jug X's defensive advantages or the Stingray's fvf dominance.
- Dreadnought X: If your goal is to own just one top offensive base hitter, the DNX is the blueprint to get. Other ships can break bases, but the DNX supports a wider variety of successful offensive builds than anything else. This hull can also do respectable service on defense. What it doesn't do well is fvf, which limits its performance in certain types of raids.
- Missile Cruiser X: A balanced hull that combines base hitting offense with respectable fvf capabilities. Deserves serious consideration if you're looking for a solid base hitter that can also earn future raid prizes in a variety of formats. Two downsides here: the Siege Missile D55-F has not been re-released since the MCX was first offered, so if missed that weapon the first time and you want it for a base hitting build you'll be crossing your fingers in hopes of its return; also the MCX is not a standard hull for base defense. It isn't totally useless on defense (there's a defensive MCX in my own base) but that decision is quirky. If you're wavering between the MCX and the DNX then it's a tradeoff of priorities. Keep reading to the old school Dreadnought where you might find an outside the box alternative.
- Guardian: A specialized hull for mortar defense. Doubles up well with Victory Mortars to overwhelm an attacking fleet's Hailstorms. Guardian-based defensive fleets often consist of fewer than five hulls due to the Guardian's weight capacity. The price on this isn't cheap for a specialty hull, but it can be a good choice for players who want a strong defense without necessarily owning the Javelin or the Halo.
- Spectre: Originally released as a base prepping submarine, this hull now sees more use as an auto-salvage hull and as an adjunct hull for Drac bases and events. A solid pickup as niche hulls go.
- Dreadnought: One of the game's few to have four special slots, this hull is slated for retrofit capabilities in the near future. The original Dread has spent a long time in the shadows of its newer sibling due to the DNX's reload, splash, and spread bonuses. We don't know what the new retrofitted stats will be, but if you're willing to roll the dice on a 4 million point hull this might turn out to be the December event's most noteworthy bargain. If I were a level 50 player with 7.5 million points I would be picking up the Dreadnought, the Mercury, and the Floating Fortress A.
- Interdictor: The Interdictor used to be the top fvf hull in this game. It's still good at fvf; trouble is that it's a long build limited in its uses due to three mandatory underwater weapon slots. All you really need to do to defeat a 'dictor fleet is run it down and outgun it with something sturdier; back when the 'dictors ruled fvf I figured out how to do that with a Battleship fleet that took half the time to construct. That was before Stingrays. 'Dictors are still excellent sub killers, but the BC or BCX or Mercury all work fine for the same purpose and all are faster builds. Players who already own a fully build Interdictor fleet still find uses for it, but it's difficult to find a good reason to prioritize this hull for new construction.
- Hurricane: A specialty hull that functions as the game's best vehicle for drone modules. The release of the Vanguard has decreased the Hurricane's desirability for other purposes--it was until recently a popular carrier for researchable modules on base defense. This leaves the Piranha Drone module as the build of choice. It's a popular build and some would say an overpowered build. I'm not a great fan of it, though, because too many players currently use that to patch over weaknesses in their overall strategy. It's a gimmick and gimmicks tend to get nerfed. On the other hand, siege drone Hurricanes can be quite effective as a component of an offensive base hitting fleet when attacking certain types of bases.
- Goliath: The rise of broader options notwithstanding, Goliaths remain among the best defensive hulls in the game. A fully retrofitted Goliath with a good build is a beast. Just two recommendations: don't rely on Thuds if you build this, and don't use Goliaths for all 5 slots on your defensive fleet. This hull is a steal at 4 million points.
- Barracuda: One of the quickest builds among the tier 4 hulls, players either love the Barracuda or they hate it. Much less margin for error in handling than the Spectre--if you enjoy the cat and mouse aspects of fvf and steer like a racecar driver you could have a lot of fun with this. Not an equal match against the Stingray, but keeps in the fight with new weapons and retrofits if you're willing to annoy other players by running a zombie fleet. Sometimes useful in events (hit or miss in that department).
- Thresher: A rocket blitz fleet that received somewhat of a facelift in the retrofit lab, but on balance has seen better days. If you're choosing a blitzer, my recommendation would be either to get the new Hellstrike or to take the Juggernaut X for its defensive bonuses.
- Missile Cruiser: A respectable missile hull in the abstract, but to quote one moderator "I think (personally) that the regular MC should have a warning that says "NEVER GET THIS HULL!" Unfortunately the MC takes as long to build as an MCX without packing as good a punch. Costs as many raid points as the faster building Mercury. Between those two alternatives it's difficult to find a good reason to choose the MC. If you have 3 million points and want a missile hull get the Merc and retrofit it; if you can grind to 10 million then take the MCX.
- Strike Cruiser: One of the earlier Draconian hulls to get released to the players. Had a few glory days as a base hitter, enjoyed a longer run as a closer hull for events. Players who already own a fully built Strike Cruiser fleet still report useful service in events, especially because of the hull's inherent explosive defense bonus. It's harder to justify this hull as a new construction for a closer fleet because the construction time takes as long as a major base hitter. Might be worth redeeming see if good retrofit options get introduced for this hull; a wild card from that perspective.
- Mako: The Thresher's kid brother, a midgame blitz hull that can be fun to tear up in the forties but won't get too far past that. Either the Mercury or the Mauler offer greater versatility at the same price.
- Mauler: Essentially an updated Hammerhead. Gets a third special slot and fairly good retrofit bonuses. Not a bad base hitter but not a great one either. When retrofitted to level 1 and equipped with large cargo holds this can give the Super Fortress a run for its money as a hauler.
- Mercury: Arguably the game's most versatile stepping stone hull. Fast construction time, good retrofit bonuses. Capabilities range from opening salvage to prepping bases to sub hunting, and often handy in Raids and Missions. If you've been stuck in the researchable hull rut and are looking for a way out without breaking the bank, the Mercury has a great track record.
- Super Fortress: Does one thing spectacularly, and only one thing: hauls resources. With res becoming more of a concern lately that makes the SF attractive. Which is great if you have 3 million points to burn, but have a look at the bargain alternatives before redeeming--specifically the Mauler and the Floating Fortress A.
- Juggernaut: The older edition of the Juggernaut X never quite found a following. It's a respectable defensive hull, not top drawer. Long build time.
- Battleship: Among the earliest Draconian hulls to get released to the player base. Tends to see use as a base defense hull these days, can be set up for use in Missions (nearly instant repairs on level 34 targets). Relatively fast hull construction time. Currently in rotation as a tier 3 Mission offering, which can be an argument to either definitely get it or definitely avoid it. Snap this up you have points to burn this event and your goal is to narrow down potential Mission drops so you can get Strike 3 or Siege B; if points are in short supply then shop for a raid hull that turns up less often.
- Battlecruiser X: A souped-up Battlecruiser slated for release as a Draconian retrofit. Bonuses favor ballistic builds, but with a different build could also make a good sub killer. Can be fitted up as an event closing fleet to earn better hulls. Fast hull construction. Normally in rotation as a tier 3 Mission target.
- Rampart: A Goliath Jr. This won't keep the best players out of your base but if you've been using Leviathans it's a big step upward. Fast hull construction. Normally in rotation as a tier 3 Mission target.
- Hammerhead A: A base hitter for the midgame that specializes in mortars when fully retrofitted. Limited in its uses by just 2 special slots, but often the first significant event hull that a new player earns due to its rotation as a tier 2 Mission prize. Old time players may grind their teeth at this review because, during the early days of Battle Pirates raids, this used to be the game's top offensive hull and competition was fierce to earn it. Times have changed and it's no longer the endgame prize it used to be. But it's still a fair base hitter and a respectable hauler.
- Light Cruiser X: Not a bad early game hull in its own right, but hampered as a selection in this event by an overpriced redemption cost. Both the Battlecruiser and the Hammerhead A cost the same amount of points; either of those remain useful later into the game. Also in rotation as a tier 2 Mission hull.
- Battlecruiser: Most of the selections from tier 2 are transitional hulls that a player will outgrow. The Battlecruiser is the most versatile and, arguably, might remain useful the longest. It's a little quick build hull that happens to have the best submarine detection range in the game. Battlecruisers can also make a serviceable closer fleet and a stepping stone to larger hulls. Also in rotation as a tier 2 Mission hull.
- Leviathan A: The most affordable of the tier 2 selections, a Leviathan A is a souped-up version of the researchable Leviathan hull. It takes several retrofits to really make the most of this choice. Best uses are as an early game base hitter and a base defender. Less useful than the Battlecruiser as an event hull due to slower combat speed. Also in rotation as a tier 2 Mission hull.
- Hammerhead B: Slightly better stats than the Hammerhead A without retrofitting. After retrofit the stats favor missile builds. Possibly the better choice as a closer fleet for events. Also in rotation as a tier 3 Mission hull.
- Sea Scorpion A: An underrated hull due to its slow combat speed and substantial evade penalty in the unretrofitted version. The Scorpion A does have 7 weapon slots and 3 special slots and it fares pretty well with a full set of retrofits. No match for the Mercury in an even fight, but worth a look if you happen to be a few million points of an upscale missile hull and you're looking for a serviceable fleet to prep event targets and player bases. Can be constructed to near-instant repair under raid conditions. Also in rotation as a tier 3 Mission hull.
- Floating Fortress A: Another respectable bargain pickup as an alternative to the Super Fortress. If you're looking for a base hitter and an event closer the Hammerhead B would be the more balanced selection, but for hauling capacity the FFA gets a slight edge. Also in rotation as a tier 3 Mission hull.
Skipping half the choices for conciseness. These are selections that players choose either because they are in the very earliest days of the game--and if that's you then welcome!--or else as the last set of options for leftover points. There are basically three hulls worth recommending: the Light Cruiser, the Battle Barge A, and the Corvette. You might like one of the others but frankly the rest don't impress me.
- Light Cruiser: A Draconian alternative to the Battle Barge during the very early game: a good way to start earning tier 2 in the Missions. This hull will retire soon after you gain one of the better tier 2 hulls (Battlecruiser or Hammerhead A).
- Battle Barge A: Paradoxically, this is a hull that new players are more apt to grow into. The BBA isn't much different from the Battle Barge until you begin retrofitting. At R1 a fleet can carry 2.5 million resources--which is nothing special by midgame standards but nearly five times better than a plain vanilla Battle Barge fleet. I won't kid you about the challenges of bringing this hull to retrofit level 5: it takes a metric buttload of resources to upgrade the lab. But once you get there the hull research is quick and cheap and you'll have an instant repair hull that is nearly as effective as Thud Sea Wolves and--unlike the SW--runs positive resources. Which is worth serious thought if you're somewhere past the early game and your results during this raid were hampered by a resource shortage.
- Corvette: A swift little hull that has the advantage of being tiny. Builds in just a few minutes; a handy thing to have around if you want a flagship that weighs almost nothing and disguises a base hitting fleet.
Full tier 1 list:
Battle Barge A
There, that's over 3000 words of free advice and that's all I have to say. Don't PM this sassy little squirrel to ask about builds, lol.