Ships of the ... Drazi Freehold


Ships of the Drazi Freehold

The Drazi fleet is typical for a League fleet in that it is built entirely to emphasize a single play style. With the Drazi this style can best be described as "Swarm and Storm!".

The Drazi fleet is light on hull choices above the Skirmish level. So most of your specialized hulls will be small and fragile. However, you will be able to field them in numbers.

Drazi ships are dominated by a number of iconic characteristics.

Most ships in the Drazi fleet are faster and more manuverable than their counterparts. All ships up to Raid level are Agile, and even the Battleship has a turn rate of 2/45. This manuverability will be needed to bring your weapons to bear. Another benefit is that all ships up to Raid level have the Dodge 5+ trait for some suplemental defense.

Fire Restriction:
Nearly all Drazi ships have all their weapons in the Boresight arc. In addition, nearly all Drazi ships must get to 15" or less to bring these weapons to bear. This makes careful use of the movement phase critical for a Drazi player. You must get close to the enemy and centerline your targets. The result is that Drazi fleets fly very aggressively, charging straight at the enemy. It also means that you are very vulnerable to init sinking and anything that can stay out of the FA (like fighters).

Drazi ships tend to be more fragile than their counterparts. Most specialty ships (scout, escort, missile ship), even at Skirmish level, are based off of the Sunhawk which is hull 4 and a mere 12 damage points. The Warbird-based hulls are somewhat better at hull 5 and 18 damage. But this is still more fragile than most opponents. Surviving the approach will be an important consideration, normally solved by fielding large numbers of ships.

From the powerful Solar Cannon to a simple Particle Cutter, Drazi ships use beams as their primary weapons. This means, for the most part, that the toughness of enemy hulls is of little concern. It also means your primary attacks can not be intercepted. The wild variations in beam damage can be both a blessing and a curse, but on balance your ships will do good damage that is difficult to counter.

Twin-Linked Weapons:
The secondary weapons of the Drazi are largely twin-linked. The primary consequence of this is that you will seldom need a scout to assist in attacking an enemy. This either frees scouts to counteract stealth or allows you to do wihout scouts if no enemy stealth is expected.

Drazi Ships:
Drazi ships are meant to be flown down the throat of the enemy. Many will be destroyed on the approach but the damage wreaked when you get there can turn the tide. Don't be afraid to take losses. Timid flying goes against the design principles of the fleet.

The Drazi also have a very inflated sense of how important their ships are. Note that there is only one ship class in their fleet that doesn't carry the designation "cruiser" or greater.

Auxiliary Ships:
Breaching Pods
Drazi breaching pods are of the "tough" variety. Don't be afraid to risk Anti-Fighter fire on approach to the enemy. If possible, escort your pods with Star Snakes to stop enemy fighters from dogfighting them. They are 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.

Star Snake
This is a sub-standard fighter when compared to the superiority fighters of the major powers. It has a weak gun, meaning that it can't be used to provide interceptors. It has a weak hull, making it vulnerable to enemy fire. It is fast, though. The Star Snake is fast enough to keep up with all Drazi ships. The primary duty of this fighter is to tie up enemy fighters when they attack. And since no Drazi ships usually lack Anti-Fighter they will be needed to watch your six.

Sky Serpent
These are terrifying anti-shipping weapons. A single fighter has an unprecidented 8 AD of weapons at range 4. These ships are slow, and need to be kept safe from enemy attention until they are most useful. They can be deployed up to 8" away when launched which can often place them behind the enemy and outside their fighter screen for a turn or two.

Patrol Ships:
A Drazi fleet is not the rigid, disciplined formation utilized by other powers. Instead it is a swarm of individual ships, each looking for its own optimal firing solution. Patrol ships make up the bulk of this swarm.

Claweagle Direct Assault Frigate
These ships are little more than huge boarding pods. Sadly, they don't even have a Dodge trait so their survivability is questionable. In small battles (patrol or skirmish) they can be split up and provide 2 cheap initiative sinks. They represent a real threat with their boarding parties so an enemy may feel compelled to direct firepower at Claweagles which would otherwise damage your real assets.

Eyehawk Scout Cruiser
When you are facing enemies with Stealth these are manditory. Keep them at the edge of battle just in sensor range and use them as init sinks. Their primary duty should be to enhance the firepower of your Sky Serpents. Their weaponry is pathetic. In a pinch, like all Drazi ships, they can be used to ram.

Gardhawk Battle Escort
Short of your biggest ships this is your only source of Anti-Fighter, so you will probably need a few of these. Though fragile, their excellent AF rating of 6 gives them an incredible punch against enemy fighters. They can escort your Sky Serpents or protect your fleet from enemy fighters. One of these ships can make even a patrol of Star Snakes deadly when closing to dogfight.

Sleekbird Assault Cruiser
The toughest Patrol ship in the fleet, as it is based on the Warbird hull. At first blush, it looks to be packing an incredible amount of firepower with 12 AD of Twin Linked weapons. However, the guns only fire out to 4" in the Boresight. If you make it this close it can provide quite a shock for the enemy. And at this range you may have an opportunity to deploy your troops.

Sunhawk Battlecruiser
This is the basic Patrol ship for the Drazi. It has less than 1/2 the firepower of the Skirmish level Warbird, so should most often be passed over in favor of variant hulls. Its 2 AD beam can sometimes make an impression.

Skirmish Ships:
The Skirmish ships of the Drazi fleet provide the bulk of their firepower, carried on ships fast enough to deliver it on target.

Darkhawk Missile Cruiser
One of the few ships with a primary weapon in the FA arc. The Darkhawk is an excellent init sink as it can stand off at extreme range and deliver nearly as impressive a missile barrage as the Sagittarius. The extra Beam weapon means you can operate under CBD while firing.

Jumphawk Command Cruiser
A cheap source of Command for that extra bump in initative. It has nearly the same firepower as the Warbird, though on a smaller frame. It's jump engine can also allow for the occasional suprise attack from hyperspace (if a scout is present). They are relatively easy to kill, even with the improved hull rating. So if you value the initiative bonus bring more than one.

Solarhawk Battlecruiser
This is the smallest platform for the impressive Solar Cannon. On the turns when this can fire it can wreak havok on much larger vessels. On the recharge turn dive for cover! These ships are priority targets for the enemy and don't usually survive long. Use this knowledge to draw fire from other ships on the approach. Remember that Dodge + CBD makes a ship quite tough.

Strikehawk Carrier
Trading 1 AD of beam and 2 AD of TL guns for a single Sky Serpent, this ship is a solid variant. If you can successfully catapult your serpent once inside the enemy formation it will make the weapons downgrade worthwhile.

Warbird Cruiser
The Warbird is a solid Skirmish ship. It has a no-frills design that demands nothing more than charging the enemy head on and hoping the beam rolls well.

Raid Ship:
Only one Raid level ship exists for the Drazi.

Firehawk Advanced Cruiser
This is an excellent Raid level ship. Assuming your smaller ships were able to init sink the enemy and give you a choice of targets, you should be able to deal heavy damage to any foe with the Solar Cannon and additional Beam. On turns when the Solar Cannon is recharging you can either make use of the auxiliary beam or run for cover with CBD.

Battle Ships:
At the Battle leve we finally have hull 6 ships capable of withstanding signifigant punishment.

Nightfalcon Heavy Carrier
This is as close to a true carrier the Drazi will get. It isn't very close. But it does have 3 of the excellent Sky Serpent fighters on catapults. Get the Star Snakes out early in the battle and save the Sky Serpent catapults as a nasty suprise for the inevitable melee with the enemy fleet. It also has a Command +1 rating on a survivable hull. The major downside for this ship is its slow speed (for a Drazi).

Stormfalcon Heavy Cruiser
A bruiser of a ship at this level...every other turn. The two beam weapons give this ship better beam output than most War level ships when the Solar Cannon is charged. The Sky Serpent is an ace in the hole that could make a differnce.

War Ships:
One choice at this level.

Fireraptor Battleship
This is a below average War level ship. It has a strong hull and average damage points for its level, but without any other active defenses. Firepower is average, but is relegated to the same limited arcs as other Drazi ships. Just as stated in the fluff, it appears the Drazi learned nothing about shipbuilding over the years. Two Stormfalcons are better than one Fireraptor in nearly every case. This can make for a fun centerpiece of a fleet if you have enough points, but it isn't a top notch combat unit.

Special Actions:
Given the unique design philosophy of Drazi ships, they lean on certain Special Actions more than others.

All Power to Engines!
Drazi ships can close distance ferociously fast with this order, and they retain their Dodge for defense. Sometimes this Special Action is preferred to weathering an extra turn of fire under "Close Blast Doors!"

Concentrate All Firepower!
When a scout is not available, a Darkhawk can use this to get the most out of thier missile barrage. Otherwise it is of little use to the Beam and Twin-Link heavy Drazi fleet.

Come About!
When your weapons are Boresight turning enough to directy face the enemy is essential. Drazi make heavy use of this Special Action after the initial battle pass in order to bring their weapons back around to bear.

Close Blast Doors!
This is a powerful Special Action when combined with the Dodge rating of most Drazi ships. It is often used when an enemy is in range of only one of the weapons on a ship.

Give Me Ramming Speed!
Drazi get a bonus of +1 to strike enemy ships with this Special Action. It is one way of turning their fragile ships into deadly missiles.

Launch Breaching Pods and Shuttles!
Drazi ships tend to have more ships than the average opponent. When swarming around a vulnerable ship like a scout or crippled cruiser, it can't hurt to try and capture the ship.

Manouver To Shield Them!
The fragile specialty ships of the Drazi fleet sometimes need protection. A claweagle or sunhawk can be a shield for a more important ship in a pinch. Just don't expect it to survive this duty.

Stand Down and Prepare to be Boarded!
This is another Special Action where the Drazi get an inherent bonus to the die roll. When the opportunity arises, take a chance!

Start Attack Run!
A unique Special Action just for the Drazi, worth exploring. There are many useful aspects to SAR.

  • * On the Movement Phase after an attack run Drazi ships often find it impossible to turn sufficiently to get a shot. This order allows at least some damage to be dealt to the enemy before moving past (and hopefuly ending up in the enemy's weaker Aft arc).

    * This Specail Action allows Drazi ships to fire during the Movement Phase, giving a chance to destroy/cripple/damage an enemy ship before it can fire its own weapons. Knocking out a key ship or critting a weapon system before it can be used will sometimes turn the tide of battle.

    * This SA has a 1 in 6 chance of an automatic ram! The ram does not require any opposed rolls, giving even a Green ship a decent chance to ram an Elite ship.

Track That Target!
As a race dominated by Boresight weapons, this is a common Special Action. Use this order with ships that move too early to have a guaranteed shot. It could either give you a shot against an enemy ship in range, or it could force the "targeted" ship to manuver away. Either result is a tactical gain.


True enough about the Fireraptor. It just doesn't really have the "umph" that so many excellent War level ships have. Nothing at all to set it apart from the others. Heck, all it would need is the Command +2 trait to make me happy.

Thanks for the encouragement! Our new campaign means I'm learning new lessons and will try and share them with you all.

Feel free to add your own notes or comments in this thread and I will include them in the original post.


Cosmic Mongoose
The Fireraptor is a piece of poo. With no active defences, its closest equivalent is the Bin'Tak, which has more damage points, more firepower, not so reliant on boresight, more range, more arcs, and can use the Narn CBD effectively. The Bin'Tak is considered quite average for its level, which puts the Fireraptor distinctly below average.

Plus taking a War level ship in a boresight-only fleet is pretty much suicidal, unless it's an Armageddon level game and you're only taking it to get favourable FAP splits!

The rest of the article I agree with :)


Okay, you are all correct in your assessment of the Fireraptor. I suppose I was just trying to love it since I'm playing it in a campaign.

I've updated the assessment of the ship in the OP. Let me know if there are any more ideas, pointers, tactics, or comments that would find a home here.

Mean Mutton

I think you may be downplaying the Start Attack Run! special action. The additional advantages of them --

1) It allows you to use your bore-site weapons against an enemy later than you in initiative.
2) It allows you to fire during movement, which means that you get to attack enemies before they even get to fire.
3) It allows you to fire at an enemy and then get yourself into their rear arc, meaning little chance of a significantly powerful return shot against you.


You are absolutely right. I've added in a bit more under this Special Action. Let me know if I expressed it well.



Cosmic Mongoose
The problem with Start Attack Run is the massively decreased firepower. Most targets with shields, interceptors, GEG or dodge will take very little damage from it.

Given a choice of SAR with CQ 8, half attack power and 1 in 6 of ramming, or TTT with CQ9 and no drawbacks, I will almost always choose TTT.


If TTT is an option, I agree. Better to have a chance to do full damage.

But when you are boresighting an enemy ship at very close range you often won't even be able to get it in your FA after you are done moving. Unless you can give both a "Come About!" order and a "Track That Target!" order in the same turn (occasionally possible in campaign play), that kind of manuvering requires a White Star or Vree ship.

In these situations it can be a choice of half damage or no damage at all.


Cosmic Mongoose
If you've arranged your fleet well, you are usually able to boresight one target, then the next turn, TTT onto the next target :wink:

Attacking head-on is IMO a poor tactic for the Drazi, better to come from the sides, and fly along their lines, or try to fall in behind them and follow.

But yeah half damage is better than no damage...