The Calpyso was initially not one of my favourite ships – it seemed to limited to its points. However, with the erratta on how the ECM suite works, it became a stable in my fleet and I think that ever since, it has been in every fleet I presented – only the Medea and Orpheus have similiar track records.
Playing to PHR strengths
In many walks in life you can either choose to play to your strengths or try to mitigate your weaknesses. The Calypso is most definately the former for a PHR fleet.
One of the most defining characteristics of a PHR fleet is its durability and the Calypso is very little but increased durability. It does so in three ways:
- By increasing lock rolls, you minimize the number of hits you take.
- By increasing lock rolls, you drastically minimize the number of criticals you take (for a 3+ lock weapon, you will half the number of criticals!)
- By virtue of having this ability, it often ends up attracting fire to itself, diverting it from more critical targets, as people decide to destroy this before firing at the target it is protecting.
Basically, it can be regarded as an upgrade to an existing ship.
How to use the Calypso
I have mostly played 999 points games, so I usually include one in my Vanguard battlegroup. I would definately always include one to guard the ship where my Admiral is and in case I have multiple Vanguard and/or Flag battle groups (for Clash and above), I would consider bringing them in all, if possible (they are Rare, after all).
It should usually trail behind whatever it is guarding with 3-4″ and be careful to never do anything but standard or silent running orders, in order to minimize signature. In rare cases I have used it to do an Active Scan but the price have in most cases been the destruction of the ship, as the major spike means it is visible to a lot of enemy ships.
When to use the ECM suite
This can be a tricky decision since this also depends on what order your opponent acts in. My guidelines are to use it in the following situations:
- When the Calypso itself is targeted and it is likely to be destroyed.
It cannot protect another ship if it is destroyed. Better make it is hard as possible to destroy it possibly buying another turn and hence another use of the ECM suite.
- When the ship it is escorting is likely to be destroyed or taken out of action, and using the Calypso might make a difference.
There is no use in protecting a ship, where the chances of survival is minimal – better save the usage to protect the Calypso itself or some other ship. But if using the ECM suite might give you a significantly better chance of survival, go for it.
- When the ship it is escorting is receiving the most damaging fire it is likely to receive this turn.
This is – I guess – the most obvious use in any case.
- When the enemy is firing the last time in this turn (or more specifically; the last time where the Calypso might be able to use its ECM suite)
No use letting the usage go to waste – it can’t protect against bombers, so better use it on someething than nothing.
How well does it protect you
Let’s crunch a few numbers. I will fire a UF-6400 railgun and a Cobra Heavy Laser at some 3+ armour saves with and without a calypso and see how that influences the average damage.
|Weapon system||Average damage without Calypso||Average damage with Calypso||Average damage reduction|
|UF-6400 Mass Driver Turrets||1,78||1,11||0,67|
|Cobra Heavy Laser||2,72||1,30||1,42|
You see that especially against the Cobra – which deadliness lies in the high chance of a “critical streak” – it is quite effective.
Assuming that I am in the receiving end of two sets of UF-6400 railguns or two Cobra heavy lasers from one group, percentage wise, how much does this saved damage from one round of shooting give me in increased hull on Heavy and Super Heavy tonnage ships.
|Ship-denomination||Weapon system||Effective hull||Calypso saved damage||Hull increase|
|Heavy cruiser||2 x UF-6400||11,25||1,33||11,8 %|
|2 x Cobra Heavy Laser||11,25||2,82||25,1 %|
|Battle cruiser||2 x UF-6400||13,25||1,33||10,0 %|
|2 x Cobra Heavy Laser||13,25||2,82||21,3 %|
|Battleship||2 x UF-6400||20,25||1,33||6,6 %|
|2 x Cobra Heavy Laser||20,25||2,82||13,9 %|
And, furthermore, what is the increase on cost for adding a Calypso versus the increase in hull for using it once and twice on the above mentioned shooting against all Heavy and Super Heavy tonnage ships
|Ship Class||Points value||Calypso price increase||1 ECM usage hull increase||2 ECM usage hull increase|
|Bellerophon||180||20,6 %||18,4 %||36,9 %|
|Achilles||165||22,4 %||18,4 %||36,9 %|
|Hector||170||21,8 %||18,4 %||36,9 %|
|Priam||210||17,6 %||15,7 %||31,3 %|
|Agamemnon||195||19,0 %||15,7 %||31,3 %|
|Minos||285||13,0 %||10,2 %||20,5 %|
|Heracles||285||13,0 %||10,2 %||20,5 %|
What we can see above is, that if I only get to use the Calypso once with 50-50 chance of that either being a two sets of UF-6400 railguns or two Cobra lasers, the increase in hull does not outweigh the increase in cost. If I get to use it twice, it is worth it.
However, reality is not that simple.
First and foremost, my experience tells me, that odds are good, that the usage of I get of the ECM suite is usually somewhat better than what worst of the above calculations are based on. It could be that I get to use them twice (as seen above) or that the single use I do get is against a group of two Moscows, that the Rio group has some UF-4200 railguns also firing or something similar. So in many cases, I would get more primary usage out of it than the above calculations would suggest. Heck, even if I look at a single usage against two Cobra Heavy Lasers (like a groups of two New Cairos), the increase in hull outweighs the increase in cost.
Second, the Calypso can itself absorb some damage. In some cases, enemies mit opt to fire at it instead either before firing at the primary target or after that target is eradicated. Since the ship can still be used to hold critical locations (I have done so more than once), it is still a threath that needs elimination even if its primary escort is gone.
In short, my analysis of the worth of the ship tells me, that if I regard it as an upgrade for a heavy ship, the increase in hull is most likely greater, than the increase in cost from the Calypso. However, I will get no additional firepower of importance so that value in this increase should mainly be found in the fact that I will get another turn worth of fire from my H or S tonnage ship – and/or that my admiral lives another turn.
A pair or a single
This is difficult question. I think, that in the 999p games, going with a pair seems like overkill – too many points sunk into adding durability but no destructive power. In larger games – especially with Battleships – I would consider bringing a pair.
I think the Calypso is an important ship in the PHR fleet. Unless you have no admiral and/or no important heavy and super heavy tonnage ships, the Calypso seems like an obvious choice for escort. In most cases, it will increase the durability of a ship more than the increase in points for bringing it along, but you will not get a corresponding increase in firepower. This means that to get full value for the points spend, you should not only view the durability increase but also the secondary effects like another ship for scoring critical locations and the influence on your opponents behaviour (like making him or her prioritizing unprotected ships over protected).