|Posted by Captain Salem Vendari on September 25, 2014 at 1:20 AM|
Base Move: S+S
Cannons: 2S, 2L
Ability: On the turn this ship is pinned, eliminate one crew and one mast from the rammed ship.
Flavor Text: Originally a whaling vessel, USS Maryland is armed with harpoons that her crew uses to fend off would-be attackers.
Collectors Number: PofFN-083
Using a couple of random number generators, I have been lead to write a review about the USS Maryland. Upon looking at her stats, she could prove quite useful, especially with a unique ability like the one she has. Yes, there are other ships that eliminate a crew from the other ship when they are pinned, but what makes her unique is that she is guaranteed to knock down at least one mast when she rams, even if the ram doesn't succeed.
This is a support fighter, through and through. She has great guns and a devastating ability. She only has two cargo spaces, but you only need two crew to make her effective: the obligatory Captain and Helmsman. This sails her away at a decent 13 points, but you won't be disappointed.
Use her to hunt down enemy treasure haulers.
Strategies and Game Play:
By giving her a Captain and Helmsman, the Maryland can do wonders against treasure ships; if you're lucky, she can take down up to four masts (two from her cannons, one from ramming, and one from her ability).
If your main fighter needs support, don't be afraid to get in there and take out some of that valuable fighting crew the opponent has. Again, if you're lucky you can pretty much render your opponent's gunship useless by taking out most, if not all, of her masts.
On average, she should be able to take out at least two or three masts, so she should probably avoid anything with more than three masts, unless you have your main fighter in close proximity to help finish off her targets.
Combos with Other Miniatures:
There's really not much you can do in the way of crew. Both her cargo capacity and her low point cost are very limiting in what you can put on board.
One option would be to replace the Captain with Jonathan Haraden [PotR-091]. Not only does he have the Captain ability, he also provides a re-roll. Or, for the same price, you could use Master CPO Charles Richard [OE-097A] with a boarding bonus. With a Helmsman, you have exactly 8 points, the limit of this ship. She'll sail away at 16 points with either build and still remain a potent threat.
You could exchange the Helmsman for Chief PO Charles Richard [DJC-046B], sacrificing speed for a +1 cannon bonus against non-Americans, but then you won't be able to catch up to much. This build will cost you 15 points, but probably won't be worth it.
A Navigator elsewhere in the fleet is almost never a bad idea. If you're not using anything with the Hostile: France keyword, using Le Coeur de Lion [OE-080] with a Navigator is an extremely cost effective way to place Trade Currents (Shame you can't pull this same trick with El Raton).
If you have a Cargo Master anywhere in your fleet (including on this ship), you could always use Captain Charles Richard [SS-028A], a Helmsman, and Captain Montana Mays (either MI-096 or OE-096), but this would jack up her price to 20-25 points, making her not as viable in a standard game.
You pretty much have to get the first shot in on this one. If you don't, you might just be in for a world of hurt. Of course, you could also cancel her ability, then she'll just be a two-mast mosquito.
You also might want to use a ship or two that can't be shot by ships within S. This will flat-out halve the damage she can do. If they are larger, like Le Bonaparte [DJC-078], she'll end up avoiding them completely without L-range support knocking them down to two masts.
Galleys and Longships are the perfect counter to Maryland's ability; since they can't pin, her ability can't be used against them.
Sea Monsters and Titans can also be good counters, but only if they ram first; the Maryland's ability states that the crew and mast (segment in this case) are eliminated from a rammed ship. They can pin the Maryland and hold her at bay for a turn or two, all the while picking at her masts.
-A mix of L and S range cannons, so she can hit pretty much anything
-Cannons are highly accurate
-A fantastic, unique ability
-Requires minimal crew
I give the Maryland 9/10. The only thing keeping me from giving this ship a perfect score is because of her cargo hold; she could use one more, even if it'll raise her cost 1 or 2 points. But I'd still love to have this ship.