UCM battle Fleet – ideas (english version)

Today as guest Oleksiy Kirsenko – in complex tutorial about UCM battle fleet. Polish version will be soon I need to translate a lot of text 😉

I take a look at what kind of ships you can build from that box, as well as provide some recommendations. You can view this document as a bit of a guide for new players just getting into the game, although I suppose some points might be interesting for more experienced UCM commanders as well.

Frigates

Cruisers

Battlecuisers

Building ships – list example

UCM Battlefleet box contains:

1x Battlecruiser package, which you can build as either Johannesburg or Perth

6x Cruiser packages (from which you can build light cruisers, cruisers or heavy cruisers in almost any combination)

8x Frigate packages (you can build up to 8 frigates in total in any combination, but no more that 4 of any single type)

3x Santiago corvettes (no options here)

Command and Activation cards.

This box allows you to build all UCM ships currently in existence, with and exception of the Battleship, which you need to buy separately.

Let’s go through this options from smallest vessels to largest, and see what we can and should build.

 

Corvettes

Santiago-class Missile corvette. This is the only entry in Corvette-class ships in UCM fleet, and same goes for other factions. Santiago itself is a single-piece model which doesn’t require any assembly – just cut out sprues on the front, glue in widget in the bottom hole and you’re good to go. I would suggest painting the ship before gluing the widget unless you’re in a hurry to play – it’s much easier to leave it transparent this way, but it’s up to you.

As for tabletop, I like this ship very much. It’s a solid, reliable and pretty cheap unit that provides a lot of tactical flexibility. They can hunt enemy strike carriers, protect your own against enemy corvettes, or even assault void ships when taken in sufficient numbers. Battlefleet box includes 3 of this ships, which is just enough to try their taste and see if you like them or not. In general, you need to have 3 corvettes shooting at a non-PHR frigate to take it down in one round, or 2 if you are firing at another corvette. Thus, if you take them, take at least 3 or don’t bother at all.

 

Frigates

 

This class of vessels is much wider, with 5 different ships available to UCM. You get a strike carrier, 2 support ships and 2 combat ships of different flavours. You can build up to 4 ships of one class from Battlefleet box, and up to 8 frigates in total. Let’s take a look at what is available.

New Orleans-class Strike Carrier. This ship is a staple of UCM Reconquest fleets, and for good reason. It’s one of only two ships that can get boots on the ground, and the only one that can drop tanks. In general, you want to have a healthy number of this ships in your list, regardless of its overall composition. So it’s pretty much a no-brainer that 4 out of 8 possible frigates you should build as New Orleans.  As for combat stats, 3 of the non-combat UCM frigates share same stat line, with one 4+ shot and two 4+ CAW attacks, making them one of the weakest ships in the game. However before you dismiss their firepower, remember that “maximum focus” mentality of UCM? Quite often, you’ll find yourself in situation where you NEED to take those last 2 hit points off enemy Battleship. And in this case you will throw everything at it, literally EVERYTHING, including taking Strike Carriers from atmosphere. And you’ll be surprised how often this anaemic single UF-2200 shot or 2 measly Barracuda torps plink off last HP from a mighty void ship.

 

Jakarta-class Aegis frigate. Jakarta is, currently, the only ship in game with in-built Aegis special rule, which allows it to add a Point Defence value of 6 to any ship on same orbital plane and within 4″, including itself. This is a great ability, especially if you have more than one ship with this rule, since they stack together. Now, whether you need this or not depends on the enemy you are facing and your fleet composition, however it’s still a cheapest frigate in UCM arsenal (together with New Orleans), which can be utilized in variety of ways – like holding critical locations, stations or scanning. I believe them to be most useful in fleet carrier battlegroups, where they can provide protection from inevitable bomber strikes or fast close action frigate incursions.

Lima-class SWACS frigate. This ship holds second (and last) rule which is currently unique to UCM – Detector. This rule allows it’s bearer to perform scanning order without usual restrictions – that only one ship in a group can scan and that other ships in battlegroup must follow standard orders. So, for example, you can put a pair of this ships in a battlegroup with two heavy cruisers, perform scanning with both frigates and go weapons free on heavy cruisers, all in one turn. This looks great on paper, however, in reality it’s not that useful. Firstly, Detector, apart from lifting some restrictions of Active Scan order, does not improve actual scanning in any way. It’s not going to detect stealth or silent running ships any better. So, unless you put it in a group that can actually benefit from both active scanning and other orders at the same time, Limas can be easily replaced with other frigates – like New Orleans or Jakarta. Secondly, this is the second most expensive UCM frigate. And unlike New Orleans or Jakarta, its special rule would benefit you only for 1-2 first turns. Finally, this ship is designed to build your strategy of first strike around it. Problem is, UCM is ill suited for this. Our ships are both slowest and have worst scan range in game. Achieving first strike is doable against Scourge, possible VS PHR and nigh-impossible against Shaltari. I wouldn’t recommend this ship unless you know exactly what you are doing.

 

Toulon-class frigate. This is standard long-range gunboat of UCM. And “standard” for UCM means that it’s not much to write home about. This frigate is armed with 3x UF-2200 mass driver turrets, which, like we already discussed, are the weakest guns in-game. However, due to their unthreatening nature and small signature size, this frigates will most likely be a low priority target for your opponent, and they will be able to plink away at enemy ships for most of the game. They also don’t require weapons free order to use their full arsenal, so they can either scan for other ships, or just stay on standard orders to avoid detection. Also, they boast 270* firing arc on all their weapons, making them very manoeuvrable. There is a card in command deck that allows you to get three of this frigates for free, so it’s worth having them in your collection anyway.

 

Taipei-class Missile frigate. Now, this is an interesting ship. It’s a close combat specialist, which was nicknamed “cruiser bruiser”, and oh boy, was it rightly so! The sheer amount of firepower this tiny ship can unleash is staggering. While its missiles lack 3+ lock values of other close action ships or special rules like scald or microwave, the sheer volume of fire this frigates could put out makes them worthwhile. This ship is not an auto include though, as your fleet composition has to be compatible with it. Firstly, it’s slower than its Shaltari and Scourge counterparts, which is pretty critical for a CAW attack ship. Unlike Djinn, it can’t hide in atmosphere, and unlike Amethyst, it has a scan range of only 6″. Its effective threat range (move + attack) is only 16″, which forces it to go dangerously close to the enemy before it can launch an attack. Thus, this ships can’t be used like their alien counterparts – you can’t just burn across the field as fast as you can towards the enemy. Caught in open field, this frigates will go pop like a box of firecrackers. Instead, Taipei should behave more like silent hunters, stalking their enemy and hiding behind obstacles until they can unleash their attack. If you can hide them behind a thick debris field and close to critical location, they can serve as great deterrent for the enemy. In general, this ships are hard to use, but very rewarding in case of success.

 

Cruisers

 

Cruiser sized ships is where the bulk of UCM (and other) fleets reside. This ships come up in sizes from small and fast light cruisers, up to large and powerful battlecruisers, and can fulfil almost any battlefield role imaginable.

 

UCM main battle line cruisers are divided into 2 distinct branches – one with focus on Mass Drivers, and other armed with Burn Through Lasers, or BTL. They go side-by-side starting from light cruisers and through all cruiser sized ships up to battlecruisers. Apart from this combat-focused ships, UCM fleet also possesses a dedicated bombardment vessel, a troopship and a fleet carrier, but let’s take a look at combat ships first.

New Cairo-class light cruiser. This are the first examples of BTL-focused ships. Essentially, this ships are built around a giant Cobra laser, and possess little to no other armament. New Cairos are the most cost-efficient way to bring Cobras to the table, and this guys were extremely popular when game came out, but now a noticeable amount of players started to shift to a more robust Berlin class. Still, the fact that you don’t need Weapons Free orders as well as increased speed benefits BTL ships greatly. On the downside, UCM light cruisers are very fragile, and the minimum group size is 2, so their low cost can be a bit misleading – they aren’t filler ships. As for Cobra laser itself, well, it’s a gamblers weapon. It has potential for utterly devastating strike, but on other hand can fail completely. Exact math is pretty hard to figure out due to nature of BTL weapons, however in my own experience, your shot either fizzles miserably after doing like 1 hit, or achieves full burn and deals maximum damage to the opponent. I would say that, although they are not reliable and can disappoint easily, laser ships are very fun to play, so I would definitely recommend trying them out.

 

Osaka-class light cruiser. Armed with a pair of UF-6400 heavy mass driver turrets, this ships are almost direct opposite to New Cairos, both in terms of weapons as well as popularity – they are one of the least used UCM ships. Reason for this lies mainly in game rules synergy with ship design. One of the few benefits of UCM heavy artillery is the fact that it’s mounted on a turret with 270* field of fire. Which means that mass driver-armed ships don’t need to keep their target in forward arc to go weapons free effectively. However, this benefit is largely wasted on a light and nimble light cruiser platform with only one weapon system. New Cairos can use it to a greater degree, since it’s easy to keep narrow arc of BTL weapon pointed on the target without wasting shots. On the plus side, Osaka’s don’t need to close with the enemy while shooting. If you want to try them out, try keeping them in the flank or rear and have other more sturdy ships between you and the enemy.

 

In general, UCM commanders can’t use their light cruisers like other races. PHR’s Thesseus is pretty much a normal line cruiser with slightly less HP, and Scourge ships are glass cannons. Well, we are definitely glass, but not much of a cannon J. We should use improved manoeuvrability of our light ships to get a better position outside main enemy firing arcs and strike from the distance as long as possible.

 

Berlin-class cruiser. Berlins are solid vessels, and they are even recommended by Hawk as one of the starter ships. Like New Cairo, their main weapon is Cobra laser, however it’s now mounted on a much sturdier cruiser platform, and up-gunned with a pair of shoulder UF-4200 turrets. Now, while this guns are by far not the best weapon in the game (one of the worst actually), you still pay for them, and due to combination of narrow field of fire of Cobra and requirement to go weapons free to shoot everything, it’s harder to use Berlin at maximum efficiency. There are ways around this, like lining up shot in one turn and activating first in another, but still. You should treat your BTL as main weapon and mass drivers as secondary and situational. The price increase from New Cairo is only 17 points, which is like half of cheapest frigate, so if you feel that your light cruisers pop too quickly – try Berlins instead, it won’t break your bank.

 

Rio-class cruiser. Like Berlin, this is an up-gunned and up-armoured version of corresponding light cruiser. This is as standard a cruiser as you can get, and even fluff supports this stating that Rios are the most numerous cruiser class in UCMF. This is the first “weapons free” ship in your arsenal, which benefits most from said order. And it’s easier to utilize it’s firepower than with Berlin, since its main guns are also turreted. If you compare Rio with Shaltari or Scourge cruisers, you’ll see that they get essentially twice the firepower for about 10% of the cost. This leads to a major tactics conclusion, which is equally actual for all other UCM ships: You cannot fight your opponents head-on! Unless your opponent is PHR, you should always strive to fight him side by side, utilizing what every benefit that your turrets give you. This can be pretty hard, since your opponents are faster than you, but doable. More on this in the tactics section. Finishing up with Rio, this ship is often overlooked in favour of more badass heavy cruisers, however they still have use. Similar to Toulons, they are a low priority target for your opponent, allowing them to live longer than more expensive ships. You’ll also want to have at least one in your collection since there is a card which allows you to bring it for free. And if you take them in your roster – take at least a couple.

 

St. Petersburg-class heavy cruiser. We start our heavy hitters section with this strange vessel. All UCM heavy cruisers double their heavy weapon count, making them quite formidable, even compared to other races. They are also a bit tougher and slower than normal cruisers, but otherwise possess same stat line. SPB is armed with a pair of Cobra lasers, which, importantly, are not linked. This means that it’s even harder to utilize them to full effect than Berlin. It was given a small buff in errata, upping its max burn through value to 8 if it’s only firing one Cobra, but in practice it changes almost nothing – you’ll be lucky to get to normal 6 hits in the first place. Still, double BTLs have potential to slice even PHR cruiser in half, so it can be very rewarding if you manage to pull it off. Colum-like approaches favour this ship a lot, since you can hold off entrance to the battlefield and pre-align on targets which have already closed in and spiked. You’d also want to keep it as single ship in the battlegroup, since you’ll have higher chance of activating first after pre-alignment. It’s also cheaper than its Mass Driver counterpart, so if you are short on points – you can field it instead.

Moscow-class heavy cruiser. Now, this is a good ship! J While still not as powerful as Shaltari or Scourge ships, this bad boy’s firepower is nothing to sniff at. It gains another pair of UF-6400 turrets, which brings its gun count to twelve, eight of which have 270* arc of fire and hit on 3+. This ship BEGS to be in Shaltari or Scourge side arc, even more so than Rio. Unlike SPB, Moscows are actually pretty good if taken as a pair in one battlegroup, and such BG is one of the few that can effectively utilize Limas. You should definitely try one of this ships out, they will not disappoint. However, keep in mind that they are only marginally tougher than normal cruisers, but 60% more expensive. Under focused enemy fire they will die just as easily. For example, 2 Moscows cost slightly more than 3 Rios. They have 4 more 3+ shots but 4 less 4+ shots, and 26 total HP vs 30 of 3 Rios, and substantially less close action fire, but use more of their firepower in side-by-side engagements, etc., etc. So there is always a bit of a trade-off, and generally choosing between this two groups depends on whether you want a bit more survivability vs more firepower. I would suggest trying both options out eventually. This is, by the way, a running theme throughout UCMF. Our fleet has a pretty good internal balance, and differences between ships, while seemingly subtle on paper, can lead to quite different tactics and effectiveness on the field of battle.

 

UCM heavy cruisers also serve as a good flagship for your admiral, since they get same bonus as battlecruisers, but don’t have as huge a target painted on them .

 

Now, before we move on to true heavy hitters of UCMF, let’s wrap up the cruiser part by looking at auxiliary ships.

San Francisco-class Troopship. SanFrans are the second option of getting boots on the ground for UCMF, and aren’t really beloved by general populace. Some even say it’s the worst troopship in the game. Well, let’s take a more detailed look at it, shall we? Frisco is a typical UCM ship designed with one goal in mind – delivering Colonial Legions to cradle worlds – and nothing else. Its weapons comprise of just a pair of shoulder guns and frigate-grade CAW. Low CAW is especially unfortunate, since this ship usually operates in close vicinity to the enemy. Speed is also a problem, since it has only 22″ reach by turn 2 (2×8″ move + 6″ drop distance), which is just below minimum required to reach border sectors of large clusters along board central axis. On the bright side, it has standard UCM cruiser stat line with 3+ save, which makes it more resilient then its Scourge counterpart. Now, the choice of taking one or not is difficult. On one hand, you can take 3.5 New Orleans for same cost as Frisco. Strike Carriers are much more survivable than Troopships, and if you manage to kill off enemy corvettes (or your opponent didn’t take them), they can drop with impunity for whole game. On the other hand, unique benefits that troopships provide are really substantial. Firstly, you can effectively flood the cluster with your infantry, gaining control of sectors in those critical scoring turns. It doesn’t matter that 3 tanks dropped by Strike Carriers are more effective in battle than 6 infantry from bulk landers – you’ll capture sectors just by number of tokens. Secondly, it can deploy defence battery. Dropped early, it can easily cut your opponent’s deploying forces by third. Main benefit in my opinion though comes in from tactical synergy of troopships with other vessels of your fleet, especially Madrids, of which we will talk in a moment. Having San Franciscos, Madrids and other combat ships simultaneously on table will give your opponent a real headscratcher on choosing his target priorities. Even with super powerful firepower of Scourge or Shaltari you can’t expect to lose all your cruisers in one turn, and whichever target your opponent chooses, other ships will have a chance to complete their mission. Remember – UCM wins its games on the ground. Which, by the way, brings us to our next ship.

Madrid-class Bombardment ship. This unassuming vessel is actually a cornerstone of many UCM fleets. Madrid shares UCM support cruiser hull with Frisco (although, thankfully, with normal cruiser CAW), but its main “weapons” are ginormous UF-B-8000 bombardment cannons. I’ve taken “weapons” in quotes because this is more of a tool, since you can’t use them against other ships. Their one and only task is to level city blocks on the ground, and oh boy, do they excel in this. Single Madrid can level almost any sector in one turn, along with any occupants. Bombardment is one of the very few areas in which UCM beats other factions, and this ship is the reason why. Now, devastating bombardment is not the only strong point of this cruisers. Not only they are cheaper than other UCM cruisers, Madrid is THE cheapest ship in game above frigate size, period. Yes, including light cruisers. This makes them easy to add to almost any UCM fleet, and they will expand your tactical options greatly. Like with San Francisco, you force your opponent to choose between combat ships that threaten his ships, and bombardment ships that threaten his game result. And Madrid is even cheaper, while possessing same durability as other cruisers. Madrids also allow you to remove clusters that you don’t want to fight over from play, ideally tying up some of enemy drop ships in process. More on this in tactics section, but to sum up – you want to have Madrids J

Seattle-class Fleet Carrier. Last cruiser-sized ship for UCMF is this cruiser-carrier hybrid. Unlike Strike Carriers, which deploy dropships to surface, Fleet Carriers launch fighters and bombers against space targets. Now, before we continue, let’s get this straight – UCM has weakest launch assets in the game. All other factions have bombers or fighters that have advantage in at least something over other races. For example, PHR have most powerful bombers in game, but Scourge and Shaltari are faster, etc. This is not the case for UCM, since all our fighters and bombers are both weaker AND slower than their peers. In addition, not only we have the weakest launch, we also have less of it than other races. Main carrier of the Scourge has 5 launch capacity, PHR and Shaltari counterparts have 4. Seattle has 3. This makes a lot of UCM players ask the question whether it makes sense to take launch assets at all. Well, yes – you can build a perfectly valid fleet without any launch capacity. However, if you are space fighter enthusiast, there is still a way to use Fleet Carriers effectively – you just need to build a specific fleet for that. Now, launch itself, even low-grade like UCM’s, gives you flexibility and tactical options. Always remember that UCM don’t have a “signature tactic” in which they are best at. Instead, we have to constantly adapt our actions to scenario and enemy fleet composition. And ability to launch attack craft gives you potent tools to counter some of the enemies’ strong points. For example, carriers give you direct counter to «one-two punch» tactic used by fast missile frigates (activating low SR attack group last in one turn and rushing towards you, and then activating it first in the beginning of the next turn to deliver the strike). You can utilize dense debris fields to hide yourself from enemy fire while still effectively pounding him with bombers, you can force him to shake your bombers and withhold going weapons free, etc., etc. Keep in mind that while UCM launch is the weakest, it’s not really that weak per se, and six 3+ bomber attacks from one Seattle are good. Not to mention, you have 5 cards in your command deck which, although situational, benefit your fighters and bombers directly.

After this lengthy intro into UCM launch assets, let’s take a look at carrier itself. Seattle is a classic cruiser-carrier hybrid seen in many SciFi franchises. For me it mostly reminds of Battlestar Galactica IP, with twin shoulder-mounted hangar bays and powerful ventral mass driver armament, and I personally like this ship very much. Effectively, it’s a Rio-class cruiser with its secondary UF-4200 armament replaced with hangar bays. While this configuration leaves Seattle with much less launch capacity than dedicated fleet carriers like Hydra, it’s artillery is suddenly more powerful than on other factions’ analogues. This is quite atypical for UCM, who prefer a more focused approach to ship design. Now, two UF-6400 turrets are solid weapons, and the fact that you don’t ever need to go weapons free gives you a lot of flexibility with this ship. You can freely change orbital layers to reduce opponent’s fire effectiveness, you can hide behind dense debris and still harass opponents with bomber flights, or you can attack in formation with other line ships – the choice is yours. As for fleet composition, if you don’t want to make a dedicated carrier task force, but still want to have some launch, I’d recommend taking a pair of Seattles in one group, and adding 1-2 Jakartas as escort. This way you’ll be able to protect yourself when engaging other carriers, as well as providing some scanning and anti-CAW support for other ships.

 

Battlecruisers

 

Now, finally we got to big hitters. Battlecruisers are the most powerfully armed ships in UCMF arsenal, since our battleships are, well, a bit lacking so to speak. BC’s have their own stat line, and compared to heavy cruisers they get back cruiser-like 8″ speed, as well as gain +2 HP and +2 PD, while retaining cruiser grade scan, sig and CAW. This makes them more resilient than heavy cruisers, but remember – all your opponents possess ships that can one-shot this guys, and they will always be a primary target.

 

Atlantis/Johannesburg-class battlecruiser. Since we looked at Seattle last, we’ll change our review order a bit and take a look at mass driver ship first. This battlecruiser is very simple – it’s a Moscow with Seattle hangar bay attached and standard battlecruiser stat line. Its weapons mirror Moscow exactly, with 4 UF-6400 turrets and a pair of UF-4200 mounted on top of Seattle-sized hangar bays. Now, you might think – “If Moscow is good and Seattle is great, surely their combination is Awesome?” Well, thing is, with UCM you can’t just rely on paper stats to gauge ships performance, you need to look at its intended role. Or in this case – intended roles of its “parent” ships. Moscow is a classic heavy brawler, a line ship that wants to slowly go ahead towards the enemy, blasting with all its guns on weapons free. It’s like a train that can’t turn – as soon as you start firing, it goes in straight line until either it, or its opponent is dead. Seattle, on the other hand, is on opposite end of manoeuvrability spectrum. This ship can engage and disengage as often as situation requires, it can twist and turn every round, dashing between asteroid fields, charging in and running away while still using its full firepower. Combining this approaches into one ship is somewhat akin to tying up a swan and a pig to a cart – this contraption’s motion span will be quite restricted. To use it to full potential means going weapons free, and this requires you to ditch half of tactical flexibility that fleet carriers provide. Also, Johannesburg is one of the most expensive ships in UCM arsenal, only battleships are more expensive. With Moscow you already putting firepower of two Rios into one ship for 50% price increase and marginal improvements of survivability over one cruiser, and here it’s even worse. If this ship’s main battery was linked, and it ditched UF-4200 for +1 launch capacity, it would’ve been a great flagship for small carrier task force. However, in its current form, I struggle to find usages for this battlecruiser.

 

Avalon/Perth-class battlecruiser. While Atlantis was a bit of a let-down, this bad boy is a true gem of UCM fleet, rightfully beloved by many players. Armed with monstrous Viper super heavy laser, this vessel possesses the best BTL weapon in the game. Capable of inflicting up to 8 critical hits in one shot (and backed up by cards that allow it to fire twice in a row), this battlecruiser is the closest equivalent of sniper ships other factions possess. Interestingly, its secondary armament comprises of not two but four UF-4200 turrets. Now, it’s common to dismiss secondary armament of UCM ships, however this 4 turrets provide eight 4+ shots, which is almost equal to output of 3 Toulon frigates. And that’s 105 points! Thus, like with St. Petersburg, you want to use techniques for going weapons free with this ship as often as possible. In a pinch though, its main weapon is powerful enough on its own, so you can opt to not go weapons free in favour of manoeuvring to a better position. As for downsides, Avalons/Perths will always be THE primary target for your opponent, so it’s not the best flagship for admiral. Viper, while being much more reliable than Cobra, still remains a gamblers gun, and can disappoint severely. Keep that in mind and don’t expect miracles (but laugh maniacally when finally achieving that sweet max burn through ;)) and you’ll be good. I definitely recommend building this ship out of two possible battlecruiser options you have in Battlefleet box.

Building ships – list example

Now, after we took a look at what options we have, let’s decide what to build out of Battlefleet box. In general, it depends on whether you want to play just using this box (for example, your friend has a rulebook and all other required tokens), or you’re viewing it as an expansion for Starter fleet.

In first case, it would be something like this:

 

3x Santiago

4x New Orleans

1x Jakarta

3x Taipei or Toulon

1x San Francisco

1x Berlin

2x Seattle

1x Madrid

1x Rio

1x Perth

 

You need Rio or Toulons to utilize one of the command cards that lets you bring those ships for free.


Here’s an example list that you can build from this combination:

————————————–

UCM Battlefleet Combined Arms – 999pts

UCM – 6 launch assets

 

SR15 Vanguard battlegroup (300pts)

1 x Avalon – 195pts – H

+ UCM Captain (20pts, 3AV)

1 x Berlin – 105pts – M

 

SR9 Line battlegroup (239pts)

1 x San Francisco – 111pts – M

2 x New Orleans – 64pts – L

2 x New Orleans – 64pts – L

 

SR11 Line battlegroup (296pts)

1 x Seattle – 132pts – M

1 x Seattle – 132pts – M

1 x Jakarta – 32pts – L

 

SR5 Pathfinder battlegroup (144pts)

3 x Santiago – 66pts – L

2 x Taipei – 78pts – L

Mind you, this is an example list to get you started, and ships that aren’t included here (like Madrid) will definitely be useful after you expand your fleet a bit.

Troopship is needed since having only 4 New Orleans won’t cut it, even in 999 format. If you still don’t want it, here’s an example list which would utilize Madrids to delete sectors which you can’t fight for:

 


 

UCM Battlefleet No Frisco allowed – 994pts

UCM – 6 launch assets

 

SR20 Vanguard battlegroup (358pts)

1 x Perth – 195pts – H

+ UCM Captain (20pts, 2AV)

1 x Moscow – 163pts – H

 

SR10 Line battlegroup (158pts)

2 x Madrid – 158pts – M

 

SR10 Line battlegroup (264pts)

1 x Seattle – 132pts – M

1 x Seattle – 132pts – M

 

SR7 Pathfinder battlegroup (194pts)

3 x Santiago – 66pts – L

2 x New Orleans – 64pts – L

2 x New Orleans – 64pts – L


 

You’ll need to build another Madrid and Moscow instead of Berlin and San Francisco in this case. And if you want neither it nor any kind of launch, then replace both Seattles with 3 New Cairo’s, they will have same cost.

 

Now, if you aren’t limited by only Battlefleet box, and for example already have a Starter set with recommended ships already built, this what I would suggest to build:

 

3x Santiago

4x New Orleans

1x Toulon (in addition to 2 you have from starter)

1x Jakarta

2x Taipei

1x Seattle

2x Madrid

1x San Francisco or Rio

2x New Cairo

1x Perth

 

This will give you a much broader collection and you’ll even be able to dabble into 1250. Something like this for example:


 

UCM Battlefleet Expanded – 1247pts

UCM – 6 launch assets

 

SR10 Vanguard battlegroup (195pts)

1 x Avalon – 195pts – H

 

SR10 Vanguard battlegroup (163pts)

1 x Moscow – 163pts – H

+ UCM Captain (20pts, 2AV)

 

SR10 Line battlegroup (264pts)

1 x Seattle – 132pts – M

1 x Seattle – 132pts – M

 

SR15 Line battlegroup (269pts)

1 x San Francisco – 111pts – M

2 x Madrid – 158pts – M

 

SR6 Pathfinder battlegroup (192pts)

2 x New Orleans – 64pts – L

2 x New Orleans – 64pts – L

2 x New Orleans – 64pts – L

 

SR5 Pathfinder battlegroup (144pts)

3 x Santiago – 66pts – L

2 x Taipei – 78pts – L

If you want to expand from this point, I would recommend buying another frigate box (so you can field 8-10 strike carriers in larger games), as well as corvette pack. Ships like Santiago or Taipei work best when taken in larger groups.

And always keep in mind that this lists are examples, to showcase some combinations that you can build. You definitely need to tailor your list for your playstyle. If you prefer charging the enemy in his face, you’ll need heavier ships, like pair of Moscows backed up with Rios/Berlins. If you like to kite your opponent from distance, you might want to build 3 or even 4 Seattles, etc. It all boils down to trying ships out and see which combinations work for you and which don’t. UCM is has a pretty good internal balance with only a couple of outsiders and no all-around “BEST” ship which you can spam.

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