UCM Super Heavy Ship Guide
Updated 22 October 2022
The Beijing sets a low bar for the rest of the big boys. The Beijing is not a particularly good ship. It encapsulates the two main problems with all of the battleships without any of the redeeming qualities of the New York and the Tokyo. First, it is slow. Compared to Battlecruisers, it loses 2” of movement, to leave it at only a 6” thrust. It does gain some scan range, but the loss of thrust still makes the threat radius similar to a cruiser. Second, is it has higher sig, making it easier to hit. This was lessened with the 1.5 update, but it remains a significant jump from a battlecruiser’s sig. Those are problems that are consistent across all the Battleships. What makes the Beijing even worse is an atrociously bad weapons loadout. On standard orders, you get some linked weapons that are slightly upgraded versions of the Johannesburg's weapons on standard orders. You’re not just paying for that though. You’re also paying for a Burnthrough Laser that is no better than what a New Cairo or Berlin brings. To make effective use of all its weapons, you have to go weapons free…with a narrow arc. Given how streaky the weapon can be, it’s barely worth going weapons free to use. Meanwhile, a Johannesburg on weapons free probably outdoes a Beijing in all honesty because of the addition of more 3+ lock shots. The 1.5 update makes this at least a little closer with fusilade-2 on his UF-4200 turrets. Still, having an additional four 4+ lock shots doesn’t really move the needle
New York Battleship
Like the Beijing, another big upside to the New York is the significant commander discount. You’ll want it to be your flagship if you take it. Unfortunately there is no getting around the 15 strategy rating that bringing a battleship incurs. You’ll just have to plan around it. Be prepared to not have your flagship or anything else in its battlegroup until turn three in distance deployments. If you can manage that, then you should be pleasantly surprised to find the New York is still quite effective in those fights. Once again, the fact that it can launch fighters defensively from the backline is a big part of that. Adding some friends to the battlegroup won’t penalize you any further in a distance deployment, so feel free to add some light ships as well. As with most of my flagship battlegroups, I like to have some dropships with them as well so that I can get my flagship and some drop assets on the board on the same turn in a column deployment. The New York is a bit tricky to use, but it is probably the best of the UCM battleships.
The Toyko is so close to being a decent ship. It’s bombardment turrets are basically the whole reason to bring this ship. It’s like a Madrid on steroids, able to just delete one cluster or seriously damage two. It’s linked mass driver weapons are also the same as the New York. Nothing spectacular, but not terrible. Unfortunately, that’s when the natural disadvantages of the UCM battleship chassis start to weigh in. The speed disadvantage in particular weighs heavily on the Tokyo. It needs to get within 8” of a cluster to be really effective. To do that, you need to either invest in a Venice, gun the engines, or accept you’re not going to get within effective range until the latter turns. None of those are attractive options. Adding a Venice is a huge price tag to pay. Max thrusting with the Tokyo adds to the already massive sig problem. Just plodding along makes this a rather expensive paperweight.
That’s not to say the Tokyo is all bad. It is the cheapest of the battleships, so much so that it’s only five points more than a Johannesburg with the same level commander on board. Like all battleships, it is a tough chassis, with lots of hull, armor, and PD. The biggest killer, in all honesty, is probably the strategy rating. You can compensate for its poor speed with an early deployment, but the high strategy rating absolutely kills the Tokyo in a distance deployment. If it’s not on until turn three, it has no choice but to max thrust at least once to be at all relevant to the game, which it turn makes it a giant target. As much as I want to like those giant bombardment cannons, the unfortunate truth is you’re better off with two Madrids if you want this level of bombardment capability. Two Madrids bring more bombardment, more hull and faster speed for a significantly lower cost. Even the addition of fusillade-2 and linking more of its weapons in 1.5 hasn’t changed that fact.
The two UCM Dreadnoughts got some substantial experimental changes before the 1.5 update made them official. They were, in my opinion, already far more interesting than their battleship brethren. They have the same speed limitation as battleships. They also have an elevated sig. To compensate, they have a huge 14” scan. The London dropped by 20 points during its last update, which is significant enough of a change to warrant a re-examination. The second change, though, was even better. TTCombat changed the rules to allow dreadnoughts to fire two weapon systems when on orders that would normally allow them to fire one weapon. For the London, that means it can fire 16 shots on a 3+ lock while keeping its signature down. I’m sure there might be some situations where a different combination of its many weapons are more appealing, but the two UF-6400 Mass Driver Turrets are the ones that immediately pop off the page to me.
Being able to use those multiple weapons while keeping its substantial sig at least to a bit more manageable level is pretty great for the London. That mitigates the amount of damage it takes early in the game, and gives it a more interesting dynamic than “WEAPONS FREE ALL THE TIME!!!” That’s not to say you don’t want to go weapons free. With so many guns and two fulisade weapons, you will absolutely go weapons free at some point. These experimental rules just add some nuance to the ship, allowing you to play it in more than one way. It’s still a big, expensive, slow ship destined to take a lot of fire. But you know what? Sometimes that can be a pretty fun experience. If you take it, it will be your flagship with its free AV5 commander. Some people have been boosting it with the Venice to make up for the lack of speed, but I think that’s overall an inefficient way to go. If you’re going to use it, just embrace the chonk.
I’ve saved the best big boy for last. We’re already discussed the changes to dreadnoughts above. The Washington got a 10 point discount on top of the rule change. Where as the London is all about guns, guns, and more guns, the Washington is a super carrier. If you’re bringing it to a Clash sized battle, you will max out your launch capacity with this ship alone. Having all your launch on one platform is not always great, but it certainly will be durable with 26 hull, 2+ armor, and 18 PD. Oh, and just like the London, its gets a free AV5 commander. While it is primarily a carrier, it still has some terrifying weapons. It retains the London’s UF-9000 Mass Drivers, as well as a smattering of UF-4200s. It lacks the excellent UF-6400 that the London can leverage well, but the Washington’s guns are still scary on standard orders. You can either leverage both UF-9000s for 4 shots on a 2+, or you can use some or all of the UF-4200s for 4+ locks against lighter targets. The core battery in particular looks very useful in light of the newer cutters with light armor.
The Washington behaves much like the New York on the battlefield. It is OK sticking back a bit to be defensive with its launch capabilities while it closes the distance. The big difference is that once it’s in prime engagement range, the Washington opens up on weapons free. It's not the same level of insane firepower as the London, but it is still a staggering amount of weapons. In total, you’ll get eight 2+ lock shots and 20 4+ lock shots. If you’re in close action range (remember, it has a massive 14” scan), then you get to add in another 2D6+4 on a 3+ lock. Is it a completely optimal ship? Probably not. Is it fun? You better believe it. If you enjoy UCM launch like I do, I think you’ll find the Washington pleasantly surprising. At the very least, it and the London are beautiful additions to your collection.