So after trying double rush nids with jaws I made a carrier fleet 4 BC, 16 launchers to have a feel of the famous infinite fighters combo.
What undestood so far about carrier balance :
- They can damage / board you way before you can fight them
- Good damage vs armor
- Very good scouting with fighters
- They provide a good counter to long range torps
- They have limited numbers of squadrons.
- They cost more
- They have less guns for the cost
So it's in theory it's seems well balance. They can spot you very early and effectively but you always have a good idea where they are unless they stop launching stuff at you. They can deal damage or board you very early but you can group your ships to destroy their squadrons. And off course most of the time they are weak in close range so you can play around that. It seems like you have good ways to counter them. Balance might not be perfect but it works, in my opinion at least.
But my problem is, nids seems to break a lot of thoses rules and I don't think it's for the better.
First you can't kill all their squadrons anymore. So in the long game if all your ships stay together all the time you might have a hard time to get vp. And if you can't avoid 100% of their boarding birds, bat or whatever, or if they manage to slowly kill your turrets you gonna be screwed at one point.
Maybe you still can find them and rush them? Maybe not, my fleet can throw 96 boarding actions as soon as you get close. It's a lot of troop damages. Ok but once I've thrown my boarding actions at you I'm screwed? Not really I can use double rush to disengage. I may not be able to run away of course but I can mitigate enough damage and gain enough time for my boarding actions to criples yours ships and 1 mintue later, it's another 96 for you and you just can't take that much. And this point is related to my "let's talk about boarding". If you're good at boarding it may cause balance problems when you are strong at doing other things. In this case it negates a carrier weakness.
So obviously it's build/army dependant. But after 20 matches in 1vs1 I feel like most of the builds / factions won't have the tools to be on equal therms. It feels bad to me because I'm under the impressoin that basic well balanced counter are not anymore.
On top of that, their carriers are dirty ships so they have a easy time geting more launchers than you.
Another point about launchers in general.
I feel like we lacks defensive options. If you take a styx for example to defend against a carrier fleet, your 4 squadrons are not enough to defend you vs a proper carrier spam. If you use your fighter vs theirs they gonna get wreck and your styx just become a 280 pts bad dps ship. If you keep thoses fighters to destroy the bombers the carrier player can first destroy all your turrets and then just launch a squad of fighter before 3 bomber squads. He will make less dps that way but it's not worth the price of a styx imo.
VS a fleet without any launcher 4 is not enough to get consistent damage. It's not worth it you would be better with another 280 pts of, slaugters/carnage/dps ship.
So it seems you have to commit to get as much launcher as possible or you don't get any at all. It's a shame because have mixed fleet would be more interesting.
As usual my english is poor but I believe I'm understandable If not I can repeat myself.