Tactics: Skip Warp Missiles

IMO, skip warp missiles can be devastating. Perhaps more so than drones. To begin, they aren't easy to hit:

* Against DF heavy weapons they have the bonus of 4ECM (FD1.52) and an additional 2 ECM (FD93.37).
* Against Web fists, maulers and phasers (all types) you have the 2 ECM bonus of FD93.97.
* Normal small target modifiers apply as well (E1.7).

All of that is above and beyond the missile itself, which is impressive and can be quite devastating. For example, FD93.36 which states that the full amount of damage needs to happen in ONE volley to destroy a missile. You CANNOT add accumulated damage over impulses. It is all-or-nothing! This means that ADD's and Warp Augmented Railguns are useless (FD93.361)). A normal missile takes 5 points of damage to destroy. This in-and-of itself makes them harder to kill than drones. To example, a ph-3 can NEVER kill a missile by itself. And depending on the roll, a ph-1 may not take it out even at close range by itself. This means the enemy has to expend additional resources to take them out. Good for you, bad for them.

According to FD94.2 a missile is modular. It has two half-spaces in the warhead. Half the warhead of an ASW missile can be swapped out for either armor or an Eel module. If swapped for armor (two points of armor), the ASW is reduced to 8 points of shield-only damage but it takes and additional 4 points of damage to kill. This raises the missile to 9 points of damage needed to kill. And again, that is 9 points that HAVE to occur in ONE VOLLEY! This means you'd need at least 3 ph-3's to auto kill at close range or 2 ph-1's (and it is possible that 2 ph-1's still may not be enough if the opponent rolls poorly).

If half the warhead is swapped for an Eel module you now have 1 point of negative tractor making it harder for them to grab the missile.

* Swapping out warhead modules makes the missile RESTRICTED availability. Up to one half the payload (including the one reload) have be restricted availability.

* Up to 50% of the payload (including reloads) can be Skip Warp 20 frames (40 movement hexes per turn). This is regardless of the payload (FD93.273 and 274)

So here are some tactical suggestions:

* The first couple of missiles fired should be half ASW and half armor. Whether they are SW-10 or SW-20 will depend on your speed. If possible, have two drones for each speed within your 50% availability margin. This allows you to be flexible and not waste missiles that get too far ahead of you and don't let you capitalize on a down shield with your SA gun. By having half the payload be an armor module you make the missile 9 points to kill. As stated above, the opponent will be required to waste a lot of phaser resources on just two missiles. Or he will have to tractor. Or he will half to WW. If he wastes phasers then that's less to fire at you. If he uses his tractors he's wasted that resource for later in the turn and possibly dipped into his batteries. If he WW then he's given up the initiative against two missiles that really can do no damage. And this is a MAJORLY IMPORTANT NOTE: An ASW missile that strikes a WW will NOT damage or destroy it. Even if it has a half payload of armor it will NOT damage the WW (FD13.0). Thus the WW will remain active which may allow you to gain position for other tactics!

* If the opponent did NOT use tractors on the first two missiles (instead using phasers for example) you may consider using the next 2 missiles with one-half ASW/one-half Eel to try to prevent tractoring (which may be his next/only avenue to stop them if he's wasted phaser fire on the first two).

* The next 2-4 could be normal ASW (general availability) since the opponent would have already expended quite a bit of resources dealing with the first 4 missiles. Time this so that the first 2-4 are towards the end of the turn and the next 2-4 at the beginning of a new turn so that the waves are spaced out, yet he has to deal with all of them in some way during the current turn. And if he WW then again, he's given up the initiative and may allow you to gain a strong position (such as pummel him with your pulse phasers at close range from a position that he can't fire HW at you).

On a CA sized vessel you could have up to 32 restricted missiles (16 in the racks and 16 in reloads). Used at the right time will give your opponent fits!