Ships of the...Dilgar Imperium


I love to talk shop, as it helps me work out my thoughts and perhaps discover new angles on old tactics.

So, I've decided to do some writing about my favorite fleets and ships. Feel free to comment. I love to hear new ideas and dissenting opinions!

So, without further ado:
Ships of the Dilgar Imperium

The Dilgar fleet is an effective fighting force when played to its strengths, especially when fighting opponents that only appear up to the year 2232. It has an average number of ship classes to choose from, given the short shrift other powers like the Abbai were given. Though, like most factions there are some choices that are more obvious than others.

Overall the fighting philosophy I have found successful with the Dilgar has two facets: manuver and weight-of-fire.

Most Dilgar ships in each class are faster and more manuverable than their traditional opponents. Agile ships can be found all the way up to the raid level. And even the battle level cruiser is fairly quick on its feet. This is crucial due to the tendency of Dilgar ships to concentrate their weapons in the forward arc. Bringing the forward weapons to bear on an enemy is essential. In this way Dilgar ships are much like Centauri.

Weight of Fire
Dilgar ships don't have fancy beams that bypass interceptors. Instead they arm their ships with a large number of weapons. Defensive systems can only stop so much incoming fire and the Dilgar specialize in rolling great handfulls of attack dice. Use this to concentrate on key enemy ships early in the battle.

Both of the above play into the signature formation of the Dilgar, the pentacon. Grouping your fleet into squadrons of five can seem a bit crazy given the initiative rules. But there are two things that compensate somewhat for this. First is the ability to "pass" on initiative, forcing the enemy to bleed off his init sinks. The second is the devistating effect of firing the weapons of five ships at once. In many battles you can crush a key enemy ship with your first volley from a heavy pentacon. Even more often I have seen the opposing player demoralized while watching me pick up forty attack dice and start rolling. Never underestimate the effectiveness of psychological warfare.

Know when to break up your pentacons and start playing the initiative game. That pentacon of torpedo frigates was useful in the first turn, but in the second (when they don't have missiles to fire) they can serve as five init sinks! After that...well who expects a Dilgar frigate to live till turn 3?

There are two alternating phases in combat using the Dilgar: the missile phase and the gun phase.

The missiles on all ships are slow loading. On the turn they fire you have excellent long range firepower and extra punch. On the turn they do not you are relegated to the 10"-15" bracket to deal damage. I have experimented with the idea of keeping up pressure by firing half my missiles on one turn and half on the other. Against an enemy with active defenses (interceptors, fighters on escort, shields, etc.) this is a mistake as it allows these defenses work twice against the same number of attack dice. A single volley of 30 missiles can crush a Hyperion on CBD, while two volleys of 15 missiles over two turns will most likely not even cripple it. Moreover, that same ship is firing at you during the two turns you haven't destroyed it.

On your off turns when you have no missiles you need to get in close to the enemy. You have an aresnal of bolters and pulsars that can wreak havok. Always fire the weaker weapons first to wear down active defenses. The Masters of Destruction rule is a powerful ally here. Don't forget it as it makes every critical you score vicious. A single bolter critical (upped to triple damage) is often the difference between a damaged and a destroyed enemy and even the lowly pulsar is double damage on a critical. Most Dilgar guns are AP/DD. Any Centauri can tell you how fun this is, and how much better it is made with scouts!

Dilgar have some excellent ships but they are designed to fight as a fleet. From the special squadron-only bonuses of the Ochlavita Ki command destoryer to the Pentacon rules...everything about the Dilgar states "strength in numbers". Despite their feline nature, the Dilgar are pack animals.

The ships in the Dilgar fleet also tend to have more troops than average. Keep this in mind and never miss an opportunity to swamp an enemy vessel with a pentacon full of marines.

I will now discuss each of the ships in the Dilgar roster, some with more detail than others. Keep in mind this is all based off my style of play. What works for me may be poison for another.

Auxiliary Craft
Breaching Pods
The Dilgar have the "tough" version of the breaching pod rather than the "agile" version. This means it is designed to survive anti-fighter weaponry and get onto the hull of an enemy ship. I've found them best used against lumbering vessels, as you can launch them in the path of such ships and be guaranteed to reach them in one turn.

Thorun Dartfighter
In the years that the Dilgar are active (up to 2232), this is an excellent figher. It is the equal of most fighters, outside the Minbari and Centauri, and can outrun these when needed. Its high speed allows them to stay out of interception range of enemy fighters and still dash in when the moment is right. If things get desperate, don't forget the ramming option. A sizable wing of dartfighters can wreck even the toughest enemy ship with a lucky tripple damage critical.

Thorun Torpedofighter
If the massed pentacons are the hammer of the Dilgar fleet, these tiny ships are the anvil. They have only one attack dice at range, but it is AP/DD. And...what a range! Firing from 6" away means you seldom have to sacrifice these craft in attack. They are also faster than nearly every other fighter in space, allowing for the same back-off/dash-in manuvers as the dartfighter. What really makes these vessels into monsters are scouts (see the Jashakar Vi comments below).

Patrol Ships:
Pentacons are at their best when five ships strong. Since you don't have an endless supply of points for your fleet you will probably be filling out your numbers with these small ships. Thus you should always ask yourself, "what will this ship add to my pentacon" when purchasing.

Jashakar Frigate
This is an average frigate in capabilities, which is acceptable considering that they are attrition units. However given the other options at this priority level, I never take this ship. It adds nothing to a pentacon but short-range firepower.

Jashakar Tae Torpedo Ship
If you are wanting to put waves of missiles in the air these craft are a good start. The Dilgar optimal weight of missile fire is "2x Priority Level": 2 AD at patrol, 4 at skirmish, and 8 at raid. So these little fellows form the bottom of the pyramid. In addition to its missiles it also has the same 4 AD of AP/DD bolters as the standard frigate. So you loose little by taking this ship over the base frigate.

Jashakar Vi Scout Ship
This is your only scout. Take them in numbers! Scouts are the great force multiplier for the Dilgar. Nearly all of your weaponry is heavy in traits (generally AP/DD) but none of them are twin linked. This means you get maximum utility from scout channel redirects. The torpedofighter becomes a terrifying weapon once each craft fires an AP/DD/TL volley. Fleet missiles and even bolter systems all benefit from this (important with a slow loading weapon). In other words, every frigate that isn't a torpedo frigate should be a Jash Vi. These ships even have the same 4 AD of AP/DD bolters for when things get close and personal. They have no stealth or dodge so you will need several.

Skirmish Ships:
In general you have skirmish ships for only one reason, the command destroyer. For firepower, look to the higher priorities. For attrition units, look to patrol level.

Ochlavita Destroyer
This basic destroyer is a fairly decent ship. Were I to fight a solo battle at skirmish, I would take this one. However this is rarely the case and, just as with the basic frigate, the variant of the Ochlavita is a much better ship when in a fleet.

Ochlavita Ki Command Destroyer
One of the most important ships in your fleet. Every pentacon of importance should have one. They have the necessary 4 AD of missile and a small number of guns. What makes this ship so valuable, though, is that it gives a +1 to all CQ checks for its pentacon. This is a great advantage when trying to make those critical Concentrate Firepower or Come About rolls. In campaign play this becomes even more powerful as the +1 is on top of using the best CQ in the squadron.

Rhoric Assault Ship
A specialized ship for specialized missions. Unless you are assaulting a planet (which can be fun) this vessel has little use. It is tough (hull 6) for a skirmish ship but it is slow and has only moderate weaponry. More importantly, other than assault capabilities it offers little to a fleet.

Raid Ships:
Here is where the Dilgar really get some quality ships. This is where the bulk of your firepower will be found, whether from swarms of fighters of a volley of heavy bolters.

Garasoch Heavy Carrier
This is your fleet carrier and thus a force multiplier for your fighters. Whenever you bring large numbers of fighters, bring this. The bonus will make your torpedofighter the equal of most enemy dogfighters and make the dartfighter into a fighter killer (Centauri and Minbari excepted). The Garasoch is comparable to the EA Avenger and the Centauri Balvarin. It carries more fighters than either than these. In exchange it doesn't have the Command bonus. But you have plenty of Ochlavita Ki's for that. Right?

Omelos Light Cruiser
An excellent raid-level ship. It has 8 missiles (meeting the "2x" requirement) and a good array of all-around firepower from its guns. It is also Agile, allowing it to bring the guns to bear easily. The Omelos is the perfect stablemate for frigates and destroyers as it has the same manuverability as the desteroyer. The single fighter on board can be used as an escort or can join your other fighters in assaults on the enemy. The only minor failing of this ship is that it is a bit fragile.

Targrath Strike Cruiser
The other raid-level cruiser. It also has 8 missiles, which is important. It has shorter range than the Omelos but more firepower when it gets there. It is faster than the Omelos though not Agile. It carries two fighters, has a Jump Engine, and is a bit tougher than the Omelos. Everything about the design of this ships says "get there fast and strike hard". Because it is tougher and designed for closer range I tend to see this as a heavy hitter, while viewing the Omelos as a flanker. The Targrath's speed is the same as your frigates, amazing when at the center of a light pentacon but meaning it will have to hold back when traveling with other sluggers like the Tikrit and Mishakur.

Note: I always have a difficult time choosing between these two excellent ships. This is a good problem to have.

Kahtrik Assault Ship
The raid level assault ship. Not much else to say except this ship is tough with a capital "T" at hull 6 and 50 damage. Take it on your planetary assaults but leave it at home otherwise.

Kahtrik So Cruiser
This is an attempt to take the tough Kahtrik hull and make it into a fighting ship. The result is a moderately effective vessel that is still too slow for Dilgar fleet operations. Perhaps as an escort for a Katrik, but little other use.

Battle Ships:
There are only two ships in this category but each is excellent at their assigned task.

Tikrit Heavy Cruiser
The Tikrit is an offensive engine designed to get in the enemy's face and unload a pile of damage. It has the same missile loadout as the raid level cruisers but compensates with a massive (18 AD) forward battery of bolters backed up by a strong (12 AD) turret-mounted pulsar. This ship can serve as the anchor of an attack pentacon with the Targrath and Ochlavita Ki or as a companion to the larger dreadnoughts in massive fleet engagements. It is a fast ship for its priority level, matching the Ochlavita Ki and Omelos, and is not Lumbering. This can be a suprise for opponents who are used to the plodding battle level ships in most other fleets.

Wahant Heavy Assault Ship
When you absolutely, positively have to take over an enemy planet. Sporting two Mass Drivers and orbital bombs, the Wahant can lay waste to all but the best defended worlds. In a pinch it is also quite a mean warship that actually fits in the "2x" missile count with 16 AD of missiles. Unfortunately half of them point aft. Once you are in the midst of the enemy this ship can pour out nearly dreadnought levels of firepower - and it has the toughness to survive. Its achilles heel is speed. Plodding along at speed 4 will get you nowhere...slowly. So it is relegated to jumping in near an enemy planet and unleashing hell on the victims below. Whenever you do get the rare planetary assault mission take this ship, relax, and enjoy the show.

War Ships:
The Dilgar built some of the best war level ships in the galaxy for the timeframe. These are tough vessels built to survive the worst an enemy can throw at it and respond with withering fire.

Mishakur Dreadnought
A solid flagship. This ship is designed to center a fleet and provide anything not covered by more specialized ships. It has everything and the kitchen sink: fighters, mass drivers, command bonus, name it. It has a decent missile array (16 AD) and a respectable number of guns. Truth be told, at range 15 it only has 2 more AD than a Tikrit in the forward arc. Keep this in mind when spending your points. However this ship compensates by being an excellent all-rounder. It can serve as a planetary assault ship or use it's many arcs of bolters to plunge into the center of the enemy. Its toughness is legendary at hull 6 and 64 damage. If you want to bring a big ship and be ready for any situation that might arise, this is your ticket.

Mankhat Dreadnought
If, on the other hand, you simply want to nothing but blast enemy ships from the sky then the Mankhat fits the bill. It is a no-frills killing machine. The primary punch comes in its 20 AD of triple damage(!) missiles, enough to destroy any vessel of raid or smaller level and ruin a larger ship's day. Backing this up is an all-around battery of heavy bolters that leaves no ship with 15" safe from harm. It has fewer damage points than the Mishakur and it has none of the bells and whistles, not even anti-fighter weapons. That's for the rest of the fleet to take care of. The Mankhat is a huge gun that you point at the enemy and fire repeatedly until they are dead. But without support from a fleet with fighters, command, and all the other goodies it is vulnerable.

Mankhat Py Bombardment Dreadnought
This ship is an oddball. It is half assault ship and half dreadnought. Sporting 10 AD of standard missiles and bolters in ever direction, it does have decent firepower. But it looses the advanced missiles without gaining any of the special abilities that make the Mishakur so useful. For the same price you could bring two Wahants and be selling alien real estate before lunchtime. If you want a dreadnought, get a Mishakur or Mankhat.

Special Actions:
During the course of a battle, you will find yourself needing to give that extra something your ships in order to meet the changing tactical requirements. This is where special actions come in. Some of these are used more often than others as a Dilgar.

Concentrate All Firepower!
As the Dilgar tend to put firepower into the fore arc this order can often be given without much loss of capability. If every weapon you have bears on one key ship you loose nothing by declaring it as your only target. Additionally, as discussed under the scout ship - Dilgar get maximum utility from twin linking their weapons.

Come About!
During a battle you should be trying to leverage the agility and speed of your ships to avoid concentrations of enemy firepower. Sometimes this requires drastic action to keep the enemy in your fore arc while avoiding their weapons. The Come About order is particularly effective with the speed and turn radius Dilgar ships already possess.

Close Blast Doors!
I find myself using this less often as a Dilgar than many other fleets. This is because most ships have their missile firepower split into two weapons (only one weapon can fire under CBD) and because when you are close to the enemy you want to maximize your bolter firepower. I do use this when I'm caught at extended range ( >15") during a gun phase. Let's face it, the Dilgar aren't known for defensive measures. They are too busy killing.

Give Me Ramming Speed!
There are times when a Dilgar admiral needs to "spend" a few frigates in order to damage a key enemy unit. A pentacon of Jashakar Tae (Agile, +1 roll) led by an Ochlavita Ki (+1 CQ rolls) can make it very hard for the enemy to avoid being hit. In campaign play this can be even more effective as Veteran and Elite crews can lend their CQ to fellow pentacon members.

Manoeuvre to Shield Them!
What better use for a spare frigate in a heavy pentacon than to shield your key attack vessels? Again, the +1 CQ from your command destroyer will help the tiny vessel "take one for the team". I use this primarily in the first turn when exchanging long range fire with the enemy. Why risk a lucky critical to my Tikrit when I can just "spend" another frigate?

Last thoughts:
The Dilgar fleet operates best when you get the right ships for the mission and use them in concert to accomplish your goals. Ships are specialized and need to focus on their strenghts while depending on other ships to cover their weaknesses. You don't have the fancy active defenses of many other races and your weapons are designed for close in fighting. This means you are always playing against a clock. Can you do enough carnage to the enemy to offset the damage you will be taking? Play agressively and you have a good chance. Hold back and you will most likely loose the battle of attrition. Your tactics are dicated by the design philosophy of the Dilgar. This is a good thing! Now go fight like a baddie!
That was really well thought out and written dude.

I had concidered getting a dilgar fleet. But I already had a centauri fleet, and since both fleets looked like they had a similar playstyle, decided to go LONAW instead.
Very nice. Might be nice to see a more general set of 'ships of the...' threads.

Hold back and you will most likely loose the battle of attrition.

Very true. Dilgar hulls aren't that fragile, but other ships of their durability or below generally have advanced defences. Yes, you can 'fake' interceptors but torpedofighter wings are so freakin' awesome against anything not set up to stop them that it seems a waste of launch bays to take anything other than bombers and top cover for the bombers.....
Indeed. I'm working on a series of threads right now. The Earth Alliance (Early Years) thread is already published.

I won't be able to write one about every fleet, because I haven't played every fleet. If someone wants to jump in with threads on Abbai, Drakh, Brakiri, Pak'ma'ra, Psi Corps, EA Crusade...really just about anything - I'd love to read it.

I do love those torpedofighters. If only they could also do suicide runs they would be perfect. I guess dartfighters need some use after clearing the skies of enemy fighters.