Armada – Elohi vs Abbess

Playing Kings of War Armada is a boyhood dream. I love the age of sail and always wanted to try out a Black seas battle, but have never been able to find an opponent. Since Kings of War Armada uses the same ruleset, boarding this game is a no-brainer to me.

On this blog, I posted several times about the creation of my Basilean fleet.

In this short blog post, I’ll try to list why I prefer the Abbess battleship over the Elohi in Armada. This blog post will eventually be joined by a twin blog post where I show my efforts to convert an Elohi ship into a Gur Panther. (which I’m still in the process of doing, so please be patient for that one!)

a bit of a prelude

When Armada launced (see what i did there?), I painted up a small fleet. Until recently, I haven’t been able to play any games and recently I only played a handful of times, so don’t see this blog post as absolute truth or canon.

My opponents use either the Orc or Basilean fleets based on the the starter set. A good friend of mine swapped my orcs for his Basileans, so therefore I own 2 gun brigs, 2 panthers and 4(!) Elohi ships. This means that the naval battles usually compromise of brutal close combat and desperate ramming attempts.

The Strength of both battleships:

The Elohi ship card is freely available on the internet:

The Elohi ship has relatively few guns compared to other battleships, but makes up with decent nerve & ship points and an upgrade that shields itself and close friendly ships from large hits. For 30 points, this makes the ship a relatively cheap anvil that can also fight a bit.

In contrast, the Abbess is a fighter, in boarding and in shooting matches as well.

The Abbess ship card is not freely available on the internet, so in order to protect Mantic’s IP, I opted not to post a photo of the ship card.

Compared to the Elohi, the Abbess class battleship is slightly over twice the cost of the Elohi ship, but bears a *lot* more guns. Also, the ship’s close combat value is 7 compared to the Elohi’s 4, which means that the ship will do a lot of damage in boarding actions. It’s high nerve and ship points ensure the ship will get into close combat earlier rather than later.

The roles of both ships

The role of the Abbess ship is, frankly, to destroy as many enemy vessels as possible. Its gunnery is strong enough for shooting matches, but the ship prefers boarding enemy vessels and capturing them. (unless fighting orcs, that is. The Smasher is a good match for the Abbess, so lure it into a raking broadside before the unavoidable boarding)

The Elohi ship does not impress in shooting matches. It’s 2 heavy/1 Light/1 cc broadside will only damage enemy ships, unless you can rake an enemy ship and even then you won’t destroy it. The Elohi serves another role, drawing fire from your precious abbess ships. Bear in mind that most ships can only fire on the closest enemy vessel (unless a crew test is passed), so shielding an Abbess with a smaller ship is a good tactic. Also, that orc Hammerfist of Slasher can’t ram your Abbess if an Elohi ship blocks the way. The high nerve of the Elohi combined with Iron Resolve and the Halo of Light will keep it in the fight longer than expected of a medium ship.

The crux of the matter

The Basilean fleet has another Medium ship that can fit this role, though. At the very cheap cost of less than half the Elohi’s cost, one can have a Gur Panther ship. Frankly, the Gur carries even fewer guns than the Elohi, but it’s got a lot of nerve and can block orcs as well as the Elohi.

From the internet (a very reliable source, I am told….) the ideal loadout for this role is “inexperienced crew, sturdy construction”, which makes sense. The ships won’t harm anyone with their low CS and guns, but can float in the way as well as an Elohi ship.

Now, this analysis is just the ramblings of a guy that has played the game a few times (and listened to a few battle reports while painting) so take this with a grain of salt! The ideal fleet does probably not consist of Abbesses and Panthers only, as the Basilean player has plenty more options.

The purpose of this blog post is only to illustrate why I do prefer the Abbess over the Elohi als main battle ship.

I haven’t tested the other option, the dictator, since I don’t own one.


There are two challenges with creating a fleet consisting mostly of Abbesses and Gur Panthers:

  • The Abbess is a battleship costing 60-odd points. The Gur is a cheap support ship, of which one can only take 2 per main battleship. A 200 point fleet which has 2 Abbesses (3 abesses cost about 190 points) can float only 4 support ships. If one wants more support ships, one will need to add Elohi ships for the unlocks.
  • The basic fleet from the starter box contains 2 Elohi, 1 Gur and 1 bomb brig. Also, the Basilean starters and boosters include Elohi as well. This means that the average player probably owns more Elohi than any other schip.

Challenge 1 can probably be overcome by taking 2 abesses and one Elohi (155-ish points) as main battle ships for the fleet to be supported by a number of Gur and bomb brigs and maybe a sky altar or phoenix.

Solving the 2nd challenge is where blog post 2 comes into play. In that (future) blog post I will convert an Elohi ship into a Gur Panther.

Until that time, Happy gaming!

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