Imperial Navy Cruiser
The workhorse of the Imperial Navy's fleets, the Cruiser is a medium-sized warship, sitting at the midpoint between the Battleship and the Destroyer escort. Though they are less powerful than a Battleship, they are faster and much more common, and as such are used for typical fleet duties like sector patrols, planetary blockades, and lightning raids into enemy territory.
Cruisers fall into four broad categories: Basic (mix of weapons batteries, lances, and usually torpedoes), Ordinance-boats (those armed mostly with Macrocannons), Lance-boats (likewise, armed mostly with Lance batteries), and Carriers.
- 1 Cruiser Classes per Category
- 2 In Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 1 & 2
Cruiser Classes per Category
The Leman Russ Battle Tanks of Imperial Cruisers.
The "standard" Imperial Cruiser, the Lunar-class is one of the oldest Cruiser designs still used by the Imperium. It's also easy-to-build and maintain, which explains its continued popularity with the Imperial Navy. Due to its standard load-out (Macrobatteries, Lances, and Torpedoes), the Lunar is very versatile and easily slot into any fleet role given to it.
Usually, cruisers operate in pairs, and the Lunar is no exception, as it allows twice the firepower to be brought against the enemy, whilst forcing them to halve their reply. The standard tactic with the Lunar class is to fire the torpedoes whilst closing with the enemy. This will cause some disruption as the enemy attempts to manoeuvre away from the torpedoes. This disruption will hamper attempts to fire upon the pair of cruisers, and they will get within range, and turn their broadsides to face the enemy. From here, they will fire volley after volley into the enemy while circling at full speed.
The Lunar class is represented in almost any Imperial Fleet that one will see, as it is uncomplicated to produce. Roughly six hundred Lunar class vessels are in service in Segmentum Obscurus alone (also this is probably a lowball considering Imperial record-keeping being shit). Even a Hive World with no shipbuilding expertise can build a Lunar class in short periods of time. The ship Lord Daros was built in orbit of the Feral World of Unloth. How in the proverbial fuck a bunch of cavemen somehow got the schematics and expertise to construct a multi-kilometre long spaceship in low orbit, we have no idea.
In Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 1 & 2, the Lunar-class is the generalist of the Cruisers, and can fill any role in a fleet. It's also one of the cheapest points-wise, which is a steal given how versatile it is.
- Length: 5km
- Mass: 28 megatonnes approx
- Crew: 95,000 crew; approx
- Acceleration: 2.5 gravities max sustainable acceleration
A retrofit of damaged Lunar-class ships, where any destroyed Lance battery gets swapped out for a pair of Launch Bays for fighters and bombers, although the Dictator retains the Lunar's weapons batteries and torpedo capabilities, as well as the armoured prow. The shield, turret, and engines also remain unchanged. This elegant solution makes the Dictator even more effective than the Lunar at some roles, just don't expect it to win in a straight out broadside duel.
It was originally designed as a stop-gap method to deliver the huge numbers of atmospheric craft that an opposed planetary landing needs. In these situations it is unusual to have an airfield under the control of the invaders, and therefore the Dictator fills the role of the airfield for the bombers and fighters supporting the landings.
In Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 1 & 2, the Dictator is an Imperial player's first serious Carrier (unlike the Defiant-class), but it's also the smallest available. Don't expect those two Launch Bays to do much, unless you run the Dictator in support for another Carrier.
- Length: 5.1km
- Mass: 29 megatonnes approx
- Crew: 85,000 crew, 15,000 pilots and support personnel, approx
- Acceleration: 2.5 gravities max sustainable acceleration
Take the Lunar, replace the Macrocannons with even more Lance batteries, and you get the Gothic-class. Due to its weaponry, this class can easily deal with heavier ship types, but often have to work in conjunction with another ship to deal with enemy shields. This weaponry is also its main weakness: unlike macro cannons, lance batteries are delicate things, making it much easier to destroy the ships weapons. Lances are also less effective than macro cannons in a short-range broadside battle.
The ship has the distinctive armoured prow of the Imperial Navy and the standard six torpedo tubes of an Imperial cruiser. The class is as fast and manoeuvrable as any other Imperial cruiser type, with an equally good shield and turret coverage. Supported properly, however, and the Gothic becomes an effective capital ship killer.
In Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 1 & 2, the Gothic does well against heavily-armored foes thanks to the armor penetration of its Lances. The fact that Lances never miss doesn't hurt either.
- Length: 5km
Another variant based on the Lunar-class hull, the Dominator is essentially a Retribution-class Battleship in miniature (minus the range of course). The ship was originally designed as a long-range support vessel, using its massive Nova Cannon from behind fleet battle lines. In this function, however, it never really excelled and only gained a handful of victories to its name.
It was never truly appreciated by its crew(s) until the start of the Gothic War. In a particular battle, a single Dominator, the Hammer of Justice, found itself between two Chaos cruisers. The Dominator's true role was found that day when the Hammer of Justice gave both of its rivals a full broadside to the face.
Armed with Macrocannons with a prow-mounted Nova Cannon thrown in, the class was designed primarily around planetary assaults, and in-universe was rarely seen in fleet actions. It can still provide support, however, and any ship that gets within range of a Dominator is guaranteed to get hurt badly.
One of these, the Depth of Fury, nearly killed the Terminus Est.
In Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 1 & 2, the Dominator can wreak havoc on enemy fleets with its regular armaments alone. Throw in its stasis bomb and disruption bomb abilities, and a properly-placed squadron of Dominators can slow enemies, strip their shields, and THEN blast them to kingdom come with the Nova Cannon.
- Length: 5km
The Tyrant was initially conceptualized as a long-ranged plasma ordinance boat. At the end of the 38th Millennium, a new technique was found for extending the range of plasma-based weaponry. The super-fired plasma weapons developed by Adeptus Mechanicus Artisan-Magos Hyus N'dai were built into the Tyrant class cruiser. In the 39th Millennium, the Tyrant class was popular, due to its superior range over other cruiser classes. It was theorised that the Tyrant would be able to deliver both long-range fire, and short-range fire, of the same power.
Unfortunately, reality is often dissapointing, as design compromises (to not tax the plasma reactor) led to it to being armed instead with an ineffective mix of short-ranged batteries and long-ranged plasma macrocannon. The Navy is still trying to make the class work, but now has to scavenge the replacements to the short-ranged weapons either from enemy vessels or the odd Space Hulk. This is stupid, just use a different short-ranged weapon that takes comparatively little energy like railguns or missiles and devote the rest to the long-range plasma cannons to make up for their lack of numbers.
The ship is popular with Rogue Traders, who mostly just strip out the plasma weaponry to maximize all that reactor power. Soooo...how do they defend themselves?
By using different weapons that take comparatively little energy like railguns or missiles.
- Length: 5km
- Mass: 27.2 megatonnes approx
- Crew: 90,000 crew, approx
- Acceleration: 2.4 gravities max sustainable acceleration
The Ambition-Class Cruiser is a type of Cruiser class vessel used by various Human fleets. These cruisers are often produced by Adeptus Mechanicus shipyards for extremely wealthy individuals, Rogue Traders, or the System Defence Forces of noble dynasties.
These are rare vessels, as it is not common for shipbuilders to contract their services to buyers outside of the Imperial Navy. Despite being operated by various clans, houses, and fleets these are true Cruisers, packing as much firepower as the Lunar or Tyrant classes.
They also invariably incorporate luxurious quarters and amenities for their buyers. These are ships built efficiently, and lacks some of the ultra-conservative redundancies built into Imperial Navy vessels. As a result, some have claimed that these ships are more fragile than "true cruisers", but most Rogue Traders and noble families are willing to take the risk.
- Length: 4.9km
- Mass: 25 megatonnes approx
- Crew: 89,000 crew, approx
- Acceleration: 3 gravities max sustainable acceleration
A ship that's plagued by its ancestors.
The Cardinal-Class Heavy Cruiser is a class of Cruiser used by the Imperial Navy. Seeing as how this ship used the original template for the ill-fated Acheron Class, one can see why this class of ship proved a tad bit too controversial for the Imperial Navy.
The failure of the Acherons and their supposed use of xenos technology has haunted the Cardinal Class and now only a handful of Imperial Navy fleets use the ageing ships in service.
As its design was Great Crusade-era, the Cardinal lack the armored prow of its modern cousins and is more suited for long-range engagements.
- Length: 5km
Rogue Trader Cruiser
The ship used by everyone's favourite space smugglers.
Rogue Trader Cruisers refer to a variety of vessels operated by Rogue Traders. Not possessing the wealth or resources to build Cruiser class vessels themselves, Rogue Traders often rely on vessels built by others. Such vessels are often gifts to loyal and successful Rogue Traders from the Administratum or retired Imperial Navy ships. In exchange for such a gift, however, a Rogue Trader may be called upon to lead an expedition into uncharted space.
Rogue Trader Vessels are unique, exotic ships. Often exhibiting many signs of the Traders own tastes and colonial adventures, they are subject to constant refit and adornment, much of it alien in origin. The business of a Rogue Trader can take him/her all over the galaxy and while their vessel's class may be common in its sector of origin, it may also be virtually unknown to other regions of the Imperium.
- Length: 5km
Personal pimp boat for everyone's favourite psychopaths.
Inquisitorial Cruisers are Cruiser-class vessels used by the Inquisition. These vessels are specially constructed for the Inquisition and wield technology and weaponry available only to the fleets of Mars itself such as a certain cyclonic torpedoe.
As a result, they are faster, better armed, and better protected than Imperial Navy ships of the same class. While a few standard patterns are used by the Inquisition, they are just as often purpose-constructed and optimized for specific roles. These ships are usually used by Inquisitors mission-to-mission before being transferred, though it is not unheard of for individual Inquisitors to have permanent Cruisers attached to their names.
- Length: 5km
The big, fat and THICC boy of Cruisers.
The Conquest-Class Star Galleon is an ancient Cruiser design still used in older fleets of the Imperial Navy as well as some Rogue Traders. They are thought to be treasure ships from the very first Rogue Traders on the orders of the Emperor himself.
Ships still in service have technical wonders that have since become a lost art of the Imperium, capable of conducting both long-range exploration missions and having enough combat capacity to carve apart renegade empires.
By the 41st Millennium, few of these ships remain in service and are seen as precious relics from the legendary founding time of the Imperium. Remaining Conquest Star Galleons are mostly used by Rogue Traders, as Imperial Navy officers tend to view them as under-gunned for their size and fragile. This opinion, however, misses the obvious fact that it is an armed freighter, not a warship.
- Length: 5.1km
- Mass: 30 megatonnes approx
- Crew: 65,000 crew, approx
- Acceleration: 2.1 gravities max sustainable acceleration
In Battlefleet Gothic: Armada 1 & 2
Much like in-universe, the Cruiser will be the bread and butter of any Imperial Navy fleet. While having a Battleship is all good and well, any decent list out there will feature multiple Cruisers (of any flavor) simply due to their low point cost (one can get two Cruisers for the cost of a Battleship). Run with Destroyer squadrons for maximum fun.
Though lacking standard prow weapons, and ostensibly focused on broadsides, Imperial Navy cruisers can be surprisingly deadly on a frontal charge. A full six-torpedo spread can devastate enemy ships, the heavy prow armour allows them to survive long enough to close to ranges where landing all six is reliably possible, and the forward ramming spur allows them to deliver a brutal follow-up to survivors. Most of your ships are reliable picks, and can be counted on to give a good account of themselves.
Nonetheless, there are winners and losers here.
The Lunar is, as on the tabletop, your standard cruiser. Its mixed-loadout of lances and macrobatteries means it'll always be effective but never efficient when considering any target, but it is one of your cheaper options. If you're good at micro and want to specialise your ships to take advantage of that you'll get better results elsewhere, but if you'd rather spend your clicks elsewhere, it's a solid choice.
The Dictator is your carrier option, but oddly enough isn't a particularly great carrier. Its batteries are short-ranged enough that it can't really hang back from a fight without sacrificing its guns, and if that's what you want you can save a few points and just take a Defiant. Instead, treat it as a fairly typical close-range ship of the line with some optional strike craft support, and you'll get far better use from it.
The Gothic is your next option, and is both the cheapest and most specialised. A full lance broadside is devastatingly powerful against enemy hulls, and if you can knock out their generators, the Gothic can be incredibly points-efficient. The only issue is that its lances are unfortunately, as with most of the imperial navy, fairly short-ranged.
Your last two options are the Dominator and Tyrant. The Dominator is painfully close to perfect, with a very powerful broadside at close range. However, it's the only cruiser to sport a Nova Cannon and lack the spur, meaning that it can't pull off the torpedo-ram combo which is so effective at the ranges where it wants to fight. The Tyrant has the opposite problem; its plasma macrobatteries have an extremely long range, but only make up half its battery complement, with the rest taken up by regular macros. At long range it just doesn't have the damage output to justify itself, and in close-range broadsides the weaker plasma means it can't really keep up with the Dominator, Lunar or Gothic.
If only their prow weapons were swapped, these ships would be significantly stronger, allowing the Tyrant to justify staying at range with a combination of plasma macros and nova cannon shells, while the Dominator could be one of the most effective brawlers in the game. Take notes, Cawl!