One of the things I have been wanting to do for some time is to do a proper analysis of the different ship classes. I’ll start with the PHR – which is the ones I know best – and I’ll start with my first love – the Ajax.
The frigate killer
The light broadside is the perfect frigate killer. Look at these beautiful probabilities of outright killing a frigate with a single light broadside.
|Probability of destruction|
|UCM Frigate||83,3 %|
|Scourge Frigate||90,1 %|
|PHR Frigate||53,3 %|
|Shaltari Frigate (no shields)||90,1 %|
|Shaltari Frigate (shields)||67,8 %|
And they’re linked. If you manage to place yourself properly, you have good odds of taking out 2 frigate in a turn. But it gets better – it has another wonderful role as
The emergency Corvette
How come? Well, firing into atmosphere is shit without the proper weapons. You only hit on 6’s. But that means that – assuming you do not have the proper weapons – it is a numbers game. The more dice the better and no weapon even comes close to a light broadside. Again, let’s assume we’re firing at undamaged frigates (and in case of Shaltari, Voidgate) in atmosphere and compare to – say – a medium calibre broadside doing the same thing.
|Light broadside - chance of destruction||Medium broadside - chance of destruction|
|UCM Frigate||18,1 %||9,4 %|
|Scourge Frigate||27,3 %||14,9 %|
|PHR Frigate||1,7 %||0,5 %|
|Voidgate||39,2 %||22,1 %|
You can see that in many cases the Light broadside still have a decent chance of dishing out some decent damage. Agains both the Scourge and Shaltari there is a decent chance of destruction and good chance of softening the UCM. PHR is a lost cause. Comparing against the medium broadside, the only real viable target is the Voidgate.
And now that you’re already aiming at the atmosphere, you can also take on the role of…
Admittedly, PHR has loads of good bombard options, so it’s not like it is critically needed. But in case you were wondering, let’s look at probabilities of causing at least one damage on a sector as well as the average damage.
|Light Broadside bombard||Medea Bombardment turret|
|Average damage||Chance of doing at least 1 damage||Average damage||Chance of doing at least 1 damage||Increased average damage output for light broadside|
|5+ Armour save (Comms station)||1,33||75,7 %||0,78||62,7 %||70,5 %|
|4+ Armour save (Commercial, Industrial, Power plant)||1,00||64,8 %||0,67||53,6 %||49,3 %|
|3+ Armour save (Military, Orbital Defence)||0,67||49,6 %||0,56||47,8 %||19,6 %|
It’s not a bombard vessel, but it actually performs better than the small bombardment turrent on the Medea (which – in truth – tells more about that turret than anything else) and has a decent chance of helping with the battle on the ground while holding the accompanying critical location.
Most durability for the money
Another great quality of the Ajax is its durability to the points. Based on the approach I used in my analysis on durability, the Ajax is the most durable ship for the points in the PHR navy – and the most durable overall except for the Voidgate and the Madrid (and anything in Shaltari with shields up). So you get at lot of staying power for your points.
So, what are the alternatives to the Ajax? You could argue that any cruiser is an alternative, but looking at the role it fulfills I think it only have two real alternatives; the Orpheus and the Orion.
The Orpheus has the exact same armament except for not having its broadsides linked. However, the Orpheus is often in a situation where it has great use of both alternative uses of a light broadside, so it is a very viable alternative, and the only reason I’m not regularly running more Ajax’s than I am, is because I never leave without at least one and most often two Orpheus-class.
The other alterntive is the Orion. I just recently started fielding that ship because while it the most standard cruiser in the PHR army, it never really appealed to me. I found I had other ways of handling cruisers, so the Medium broadside seemed less relevant. However, I am starting to field Orions and find a good use for them and if you expect the enemy to bring many medium+ tonnage ships, the Orion might be a better choice. Personally I would also want to have my bases covered with Light calibre before Medium calibre, so I have a preference for the Ajax.
How do I use it
I run the Ajax mostly as my standard cruiser, often in a battle group with other ships. In the early game, I normally run silent but if for one reason or another that is not the case, it might get to fire the Supernova once or twice. in most cases, however, I will try to manoeuvre it so that it can fire one or both of its broadsides at enemy frigates or – alternatively – at cruiser.
This is normally the ship I mostly want my opponent to fire at since it is the cheapest durability and it’s role is usually duplicated by other ships. For this reason I’m not shy with it either – if somebody has to move ahead first, It’s the Ajax. If somebody has to do a scan, it’s the Ajax.
The Ajax is my second-favourite ship (the Orpheus being my favourite). It has the best durability for the price, it is the best frigate killer out there while being a decent backup-corvette and -bombard ship. If I create an army list without one it is most likely because I have already loaded up on the Orpheus.
Edited 16th of october, 2017: I found a small mistake in my calculations assuming 5/9 chance of 2 or more further damage on a crippling roll, rather than 6/9, which is the correct value. I have adjusted probabilities accordingly and what you see in the tables above are the correct values.