Prior to the release of season 7, Legacy of Romulus there was only one ship in the game with an Enhanced Battle Cloak. That ship was the B’rel Bird of Prey Retrofit and its fleet variant. The Enhanced Battle Cloak works like the cloak used on the B’rel BOP in Star Trek VI, The Undiscovered Country. Yes, the one that can fire torpedos while cloaked. The B’rel is the weakest end game ship by shields, hull and crew count in the game. This ship does benefit from all universal BOFF stations but there are only four BOFF stations on the ship. I flew a B’rel Retro in PVP for two years, set up with dual heavy cannons and a big scary quantum torpedo launcher up front, and a turret and mine launcher aft. I got more kills in that ship than any other character in any other ship. I also found my self floating dead in my own space debris quite often 😉
I wrote a few posts back “I Finally Built a Torpedo Boat”. I purchased the fleet version of the B’rel Retrofit and decided to use the “old” one as a torpedo boat. I moved all the heavy hitting gear to the new Fleet version and built the torpedo boat. Now I have had a chance to fly it in Kerrat and I gotta say, I get fewer solo kills, a lot more assisted kills, and I almost never die. This configuration requires that you either get a well-timed critical hit or you swoop in and finish off a “bleeder”. The Torpedo Boat runs with minimum power to the weapons and shields and nearly max power to both engines and auxillary. If your character has good marks in stealth and your Aux is maxed you are nigh undetectable even by the science gods. If you are de-cloaked, either by the Zeus of science captains or you flew into a trap (cloaked tractor mines, ejected plasma, etc) you have good shield heal with all that auxiliary power and a great speedy escape option with the engine power dialed up.
Realistically there is not a good way to do this for the Feds. Unless your “Fed” happens to be a Romulan. In the Kerrat PVP arena, the Fed side is now dominated by Romulans flying a variety of Romulan ships. Klingons no longer have the cloak advantage since every single Romulan ship features a Battle Cloak. The Romulans even have a ship with an Enhanced Battle Cloak just like the B’rel. It is called the T’varo Retrofit.
I have two Romulan toons. The first is a level 50 Engineer the second is a Romulan Borg character that I just started. I decided to buy the T’varo Retrofit and its fleet variant. Obviously I would have to use the Engineer for the ship. As you will soon find out I really wish she was a tactical or science officer in this ship 😦
I went ahead and set up the standard retrofit version as the torpedo boat for this toon as I did for my KDF. I figured that an engineer would make up for the weaker hull of the non-fleet version. Be’ina is no where near as strong as my KDF PVP toon, Roddicka. Roddicka has Tier IV reputation in Romulan and Nukura and Tier V in Omega and Dyson. Be’ina (My Level 50 Romulan) has only Tier IV in Romulan and nothing in the others. This toon does not have 9 ranks in stealth skill like my Klingon but she has 6 and of course a full complement of Romulan BOFFs which each enhance the stealth values. Running similar to the B’rel; I have engines and auxiliary nearly maxed and weapons and shields at minimum. The BOFF layout has one Lt. Commander engineer and that post has a science officer. The Commander is tactical and then I have one each Lt. at science and engineer plus a tactical ensign.
I am still getting used to flying a small tactical style Romulan ship as opposed to the Falchion and Fleet D’deridex she normally commands. The engineer captain’s abilities don’t seem to be as effective for a torpedo boat commander. Ideally I would like a tactical officer or at least a science so I can get more punch out of my cloaked attacks or weaken the target with science abilities. The basic MO is to fly up behind a victim and hit him with jam sensors followed by a healthy hit with the tachyon beam. With auxiliary maxed this is very effective at remaining unseen and draining that shield facing. Remember that while the tachyon beam is activated (could be several seconds)your shields are still down and the cloak is broken. The jam sensors will only placate the target, all of his angry pals will see you! Then it’s time to unleash an alpha torpedo attack. Sometimes I use a high yield tricolbalt but I have to get real close so they can’t shoot it down and escaping the blast radius is tricky. Remember you have NO SHIELDS while cloaked. A full spread or high yield of quantums can work well here also.
I have some transphasic torpedos which are light on power but do a lot of shield bypassing damage. You may also notice the chroniton torpedos. Those are very handy against the annoying guys who have the crazy super speed. Chronitons have a chance to seriously slow targets. You want to use torpedo spread the get enough torpedos to guarantee the slow effect (it is 33% chance) I find it highly unlikely that you won’t roll a 7 or better on a D20 with 6-8 chances; see what I did there?
The problem with the T’varo is that it doesn’t have all universal BOFFs so your setup is a little more limited. You don’t need a Commander at Tactical in a torpedo boat, but at least she has the tier III mine ability which is cool. I would rather have a tier III science ability at commander. The T’varo also lacks the cornering ability of the B’rel. It will track well with most ships but it not as easy to stay on the mark as the B’rel.
The T’varo does have a couple of nice advantages over the B’rel. It has significantly more hull (27,000 vs 22,500) and better shield modifier (0.90 vs 0.80). It has a +10 weapons and +5 engine power which for this application is better than the B’rel’s +15 weapons. It has three aft weapons slots rather than two. It also has the Romulan singularity core abilities. Several of those are quite handy in a pinch. This ship will hold up better when decloaked and raped by six angry Klingons. You will probably still die, but at least you will die with a good fight and a scrap of your honor intact 😉
I am flying the Fleet version as a standard escort and in PVP and even some patrol missions it is not really that effective. It is stronger than the B’rel but really for an escort there are better options for Romulans and Feds. The enhanced battle cloak is the real strength for this ship and that is most effective in PVP. I think it is a better escort for PVP than the B’rel because it is more resilient and once you decloak and unleash your alpha; all of that dead victim’s friends will be on you pronto. For a torpedo boat I still favor the B’rel but that is probably because my B’rel is commanded by my second strongest toon who happens to be a tactical officer.
So the verdict on the T’varo is very solid. I like the ship allot and I know that in the hands of a better toon it would probably outperform the B’rel in nearly every way. It is a fun ship!