Named for its principle function: vengeance against the Terran Alliance, and its capacity to enact that directive, the Retribution is a pure engine of war. This double-hulled vessel mounts two hyper velocity rail guns, granting it the potential to smash an enemy squadron to debris in seconds, hammer through the defenses of the largest foe, or rain tremendous ruin on a planet's surface
This ship is rightfully feared. Edging out over any other Dreadnought in firepower with 21AD and easily outranging them all. The Retribution is a point, click and kill ship. Its pricey, costed towards the high end but comes with excellent stats almost all round and of course a frontal channel that can pop out the best Gunnery and Torps when combined that you could ever hope to find in this class.
Players have been comparing there ships against the Retribution for years, and even in the throes of V2.0's launch I have seen many comparisons to this ship. This is a fallicy. Games are played with complete forces and the Retribution is only one part of the picture. A crucial one, but when you look closer at the Retribution you will be able to see the chinks in its armor. The Retribution has several vulnerabilities that when exploited will lead you to ruin:
• Double Degredation
• Broadside Strength
• Threat Projection
• End game Attrition
• Critical Damage Effects
Double Degredation is obviously the effect of lost HP on the performance of a model. While starting high, after the fifth point of damage the Retribution is often no better than most other Dreadnoughts in the game. This means that any damage to your Retribution is starting you on a very slippery slope to ending up with a 340pt paper weight. With the Gunrack values also being very average, you cant even count on them to turn the tide if needed. To counter this, you will need to pay close attention to terrain and effects in play. Activate you Dreadnought at least initiatlly late in the activations so that it is protected by distance. Attach escorts or invest in the wings hardpoint and Interceptors to cover from Torpedo attacks. Use the Terrain or the board edge as a protective wall or cover to prevent suffering from extra vectors of attack (But watch for those Reserve Forces)
Threat Projection and End Game Attrtion are largely linked At the onset of a game, the board is target rich, its not hard to draw a bead of at last some model of value. As the turns progress, ships are lost and damaged and the dice values begin to receede. During this endgame when most ships have been horribly beaten up, its when the next flaw in the Retribution is exposed. Any turn that those foreward weapons are not exploited is a turn that your Dreadnought has wasted. Virtually every other ship in this category uses Turrets or powerful broadsides to bring an attack around. The Retribution does not have this luxury and you must plan against it or lose. The Retribution also does not have access to shields or cloaking and instead is faced with a static defence. While other Dreadnoughts like the Titan, Medusa and Persecution can enjoy shield rolls that can take the edge of certain attacks, the static defense score of the Retribution is very susceptible to 'death by a thousand cuts'. The presence of Ablative Armor adds another element to this problem as well, and as the 7th HP falls off, then the Retribution will be stranded with one of the worst defensive and offensive stat lines in the game. Within this field as well, a Retribution is succeptible to critical hits that impeded both movement and firepower. If a Retribution cannot fire its forward gun...........it is largely useless. If it cannot turn, it might not only be useless for one turn, but the next as well. These are effects that you can steel yourself against with use from the Focused Repairs TAC card, Support Shuttles or a purchase of the Protected Systems MAR.
The Retribution also of course has a paltry Broadside for its extreme cost. This is a problem that can be circumvented with points however and Buckler Escorts are very commonly featured in my lists. With a ship like the Retribution though, I am always fielding at least two despite the hefty price tag.
Lastly there is boarding to worry about. AT CP7, PD7 AP5 and no access to Special Forces or other boarding related MARs, the Retribution is very susceptible to board capable dreadnoughts, Assault Cruisers or other vessels capable of exploiting this weakness. While at 12AP+PD is still a decent value, remember that with the pts cost expended, point for point the Retribution is one of the more fragile boarding targets. Again, protect oneself with Escorts and Interceptors. Also avoiding damage can keep the PD value high and the Retribution from becoming a soft target. Boarding might be one of the best ways to exploit the Retributions weakness to critical hits and so it must be vigilantly warded against.
My experiences have led me to believe that any Tier One ship worth buying, is worth taking maximum hardpoints on and to be honest, the Retribution begins the game with two hardpoints.
For many reasons, the Turn Limit Reduction is going to be an essential pick. Too many reasons to take it, 15pts. Done!
The next two are more tricky though and depend on personal playstyle. The lead picks for me are Wings, Ablative Removal and Movement with movement being my most popular and Wings and Ablative my two next. The Torpedo upgrade is far from useless, but the gamble of me considering to use them during my games versus reaping the sure rewards that both Wings and Ablative Protection brings means that I am often taking them. Now Ablative armor protections isnt really so that ships will last longer or even fight better. By the time its taken 7pts of damage its firing horrible shots outside of 12-24" fore fixed. Its an upgrade taken for points denial. As mentioned above, the AD values rolled get much lower as the game progresses. The difference in two points of CR can mean the difference between dead and not for this ship by games end. Most games are setup to end on the 8th turn and with victory points for Tier 1 vessels based on the amount of HP that parent model possessed, a Retribution yields an incredible 9 battle log points! (2 (damaged) + 6 (Destroyed) + 1 (for Admiral, because this is probably where he is going) In well over half of my games with the Retribution, it has survived to the end of the game and always with at least 6 points of damage attributed to it. Sometimes surviving only by the skin of its teeth, the Retribution that takes this MAR might save you the game. Movement is always useful. From turn 5 onwards I find I am pushing my Retribution as fast as she goes and MV8 synergzies better with both Burn Thrusters and Engines to Maximum.
Finally on upgardes. High Energy is cheap and offers ways to cripple enemy ships outside of raw damage. It also is a cheap and soft counter to Weapon Shielding and you can marry it up with Kinetics and Hard Pounding/Decompression results to cause a ship to destroy itself with the right amount of luck and hits. Scatter Weapons is a cheap insurance. It will pay itself back the moment it turns a miss into a hit on a small vessel and I often take it. Beware it a coherency and so its effects are lost when linking with the Escorts. Protected Systems is also on my buy list but if I need to wiggle 5pts, its the first upgrade that comes off. Protected Systems, just having that MAR in combination with the bonkers CR is often enough to make your opponent NEVER perform a Targeted Strike.