The Gladiator-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack also expands your fleet-building options with its miniature Star Destroyer, two ship cards, and ten upgrades.
Less powerful and less resilient than the Victory-class, the Gladiator-class Star Destroyer is also less expensive, costing either fifty-six fleet points for the Gladiator I or sixty-two fleet points for the Gladiator II.
And while it’s not as powerful as the Victory-class, the Gladiator-class – in many ways – features a better balance of strengths. Instead of the Victory’s six forward-facing attack dice, the Gladiator features four, but it can also fire four dice from both its left and right hull zones, as opposed to the three dice that the Victory fires from its sides.
Simultaneously, the Gladiator trades away one of the Victory’s redirect tokens for an evade token, reducing its ability to rely upon its shields for protection, but increasing its ability to evade attacks at long range.
Perhaps more importantly, the Gladiator is a faster and nimbler ship, with a maximum speed of “3” – as opposed to the Victory’s maximum speed of “2” – and a command rating of “2.” The reduced command, of course, limits the number of tokens your Gladiator-class Star Destroyer can store, but it also means that you’ll be able to react more swiftly to your opponent’s tactics.
Its increased maximum speed is also important because the Gladiator features no medium-range blue attack dice. Instead, it features a hefty dose of potent, close-range black dice, so any admiral fielding a Gladiator-class Star Destroyer will want to find a way to race it into position to fire as quickly as possible.
One of those ways may be to take advantage of the upgrades and titles that appear in the expansion. Engine Techs nearly double the efficiency of your navigation commands, and though the Demolisher title doesn’t directly add to your ship’s speed, by allowing your Gladiator-class to fire after moving, it greatly increases your ability to get into position to fire at the target of your choice as early as possible.
Likewise, by increasing the range of your black attack dice from close to medium whenever you attack the rear hull zone of an enemy ship, the Insidious title also adds to your range and maneuverability. Moreover, if you happen to equip your Gladiator-class with Expanded Launchers, you could fire as many as four of those black dice at medium-range.
Finally, the Gladiator-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack comes with a commander upgrade of its own, Admiral Screed, who presents an interesting alternative for Grand Moff Tarkin or Admiral Motti.
“Once per activation, when a friendly ship is attacking, it may spend 1 die to change a die to a face with a icon.”
The fact that you can use Admiral Screed’s ability once per activation means that you can apply it to each capital ship in your fleet. However, activating it requires the sacrifice of one of your attack dice. In the case where you roll two blanks, the decision to sacrifice one of them to turn the other into a critical result is a relative no-brainer, but those situations should be relatively rare. The blue attack die has no blank faces, and the red and black attack dice have only two blank faces each.
Still, Admiral Screed’s ability can come in handy even if you don’t roll blanks. For example, the face of the black attack die that shows a result also shows a result. If you sacrifice one result to convert another result to a result of plus , you lose no damage but gain the opportunity to trigger a critical effect.
Moreover, guaranteed results can greatly increase the potency of your upgrades can potentially offset the cost of losing other dice results, even standard hits. With Admiral Screed aboard your flagship, you can guarantee a black result for your Assault Concussion Missiles or a blue result for your Victory-class Star Destroyer’s Ion Cannon Batteries.
In certain situations, you might even elect to give up the raw number of damage cards that you force onto your opponent’s hull in order to turn the first two of them faceup with the XX-9 Turbolasers found in the Victory-class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack.