This is my fleet for volt's Spooky Deathmatch fleet challenge.
Especially once I saw that the challenge would likely take place in actual gameplay on VASSAL, I decided to go brutal effectiveness on this one. The 18 points of crew didn't leave much room for exciting, scary crew anyway, and I barely had enough points there for the necessary generic crew. However, with no point limit, the ship choices would be interesting indeed...
The first ship is actually the Faerie Fire from Return to Savage Shores.
Masts: 3 (B)
Ability: Ghost Ship.
Flavor: Sailors claim the Faerie Fire glows not from any ethereal light, but from the burning hatred gathered in life and now harbored by the men who crew her.
This ship satisfies the Ghost Ship requirement, and from the flavor text you can tell that she's a good choice as my scary ship. It's a good Halloween ship!
The second ship starts the canceller brigade. Longships are a great choice for this challenge, since they're extremely expensive for their mast count, but very powerful offensively. The Kettering is the best of the bunch, and only needs a captain to keep up with the rest of the fleet. As for volt's second requirement, I don't think many ships are scarier to face than the Kettering.
America had the great fortune of getting multiple ships with built-in canceller abilities, and the Ghost Walker is next. The second canceller in the fleet provides some awesome firepower with all 2L guns.
The third canceller keeps the Halloween vibe by adding another Cursed ship. The Guinee is often overlooked, but any source of the canceller ability is extremely valuable. She's definitely the weakest gunship of this bunch, moving at S+S and possessing only mediocre cannons, but at 12 points it's a very fair deal. If the Kettering isn't scary enough to fulfill volt's requirement, the Guinee's flavor text can: Literally a repository for souls who died on the ocean, the Guinee is a sinkhole of evil that drains the will to live from those she encounters.
You may have noticed that I have a quartet of 3 masters so far. For the final mast in the fleet, why not add a whopping 4th canceller? HMS Rye is a ship I've commanded on many occasions at this point, and here she can serve as a scout ship. With basically zero combat ability, the Rye will quite possibly go out in front of the fleet and act as a sacrificial ship. The hope is that she can maneuver out in front of another canceller (like the Kettering) and essentially extend the "blanket" of cancellation so that enemy gunships have a harder time hitting the cancellers from L range. An opponent will likely capture the Rye to use her canceller ability, but this fleet should have enough cancelling and firepower to eliminate the Rye if she is turned.
I've had such extensive history with cancellers (example) that I may actually overvalue them a bit. That's part of the reason I wanted to do this fleet like I did, to see if it can win some games. It will be interesting to see if the cancelling advantage is that important, or if a fleet with superior firepower can simply overpower it.
At one point I really wanted to use El Rayo in this fleet, but that ship is something that you would build a fleet around, whereas here I'm building around the Faerie Fire (as the core ship, and the one that should go in the middle of a formation) and the canceller element.
In addition, since the Guinee is rather slow and unspectacular, it would be possible to replace her and the Rye with the Paso and Mobilis (in that case with a captain on the Paso and helmsman on the Mobilis). This would potentially be a better idea, but keeping a Cursed theme felt better for this challenge. That duo would mean having only one Cursed ship, and adding two more factions to the mix. Also, the Mobilis is kind of OP in general, especially in a deathmatch scenario. It's bad enough that your opponent would need 2 cancellers to attack the Mobilis - imagine those 2 cancellers having to go through the other 3 in this fleet first! I felt that the Mobilis would just be too lame and cheesy for the existing setup, and I would hate to go against a fleet like that, so I decided to keep things more reasonable and thematic.
The biggest strength of this fleet is obviously the cancelling. Any submarines will be dealt with, as well as annoying abilities. An opponent with lots of L-range guns and some extra actions would cause the most problems, especially if they also had a few cancellers of their own.
Thanks for reading; comment and vote!