Here are my Top 10 overall game pieces from Pirates of the South China Seas. (not including events)
Unlike the previous sets, this set has less new crew options, and the Jade Rebellion received most of the standard named crew options that the other factions already had (and the major factions got mostly repeats of previous abilities). As a result, my list here will be focused mainly on ships. There also aren’t as many amazing gold ships as in the first 4 sets, so my list is a little more balanced with gunships throughout.
An absolutely amazing ship, and one of the most perfect and stacked ships ever created. Amazing speed, lots of cargo, best guns in the game, and a very solid ability that is complemented by that speed and cargo space.
2. Santa Ana
Following HMS Titan and the Enterprise, the Santa Ana is one of the best gunships in the game. I think she might be slightly overrated, but I couldn’t afford to underrate her here. Spain has plenty of rerolling options, including one from SCS.
These three are lumped together as one group of epic, mean gunships. They’re all similar in what they can do, especially the Grand Path and USS TJ. The Grand Temple may be the most famous and has the best guns and speed, but suffers from a high point cost and very low cargo. I’ll be interested to see how others rank these 4 (including the Santa Ana).
My usage and fandom of the gold bonus abilities it well documented. The Alquimista is probably the better ship here, but the Greed’s Hammer has better guns and can play a dual role more effectively. These are game-winning ships.
One of the older and more seasoned ships in my personal collection, L’Heros is similar to the Virtuous Wind. A true “jack of all trades”.
This might be the toughest ranking on the list. The Baochuan is so different than everything else in the set that she and her admiral don’t fit in anywhere. The combo is also nearly impossible to use effectively in standard games. That said, the 10 masters have had a lasting impact on the game and become huge forces to behold in larger games. Especially in huge games where the Treasure Ship keyword and Admiral Actions (AA’s, from Zheng He’s 6 ability) can be fully utilized, the Baochuan is a game changer and worthy of a spot on this list.
Two solid little gold runners that just need helmsmen to reach full effectiveness. SCS was the first set to not have random OP gold runners scattered throughout the set, and as a result these two stand out among a crowd of more average options. (obviously excluding the amazing hybrid options above, which are in a class of their own)
Similar to the Annapolis and Belle Poule, these two are very cheap and capacious gold running options. The Patagonia is very often where Mycron roosts, but both can be solid gold runners as well. (S+S with 3 cargo spaces for just 6 total points)
9. Sea Crane
A very balanced ship that has no flaws.
10. USS Hudson
I just couldn’t leave this ship off the list. I’m a little biased from her aesthetics and overall “niceness” (didn’t know that was a word lol). Such a great package between the speed, guns, and ability. (and for a good price too!)
Honorable Mentions: East Wind , Sea Tiger , Sea Phoenix , Sea Duck , Glorious Treasure , Noble Swan , Proud Tortoise , Zheng Li Kwan , Kian Ng , Black Heart , Accused , HMS Caledonia ,James Cook , El Príncipe de Asturias , El Algeciras , La Gaule , La Fureur , USS James Madison , USS Overton , USS New Orleans , Kharmic Idol , Bad Maps , Pandora’s Box , Monkey’s Paw , El Fantasma , Le Coeur de Lion , USS Emerald , Sister’s Rage , HMS Rye , Beast’s Belly , Gale Force Nine
(there could be more – this set is very balanced, which is one of the reasons it’s so beloved)
Let me know how I did, since I’m open to changing my list based on good arguments. Also, post your own SCS Top 10!