I believe tournament packs were initially included with booster boxes to encourage stores to host tournaments, to drive sales of booster packs. Some stores didn't know what to do with them, and either sold them off, or gave them away. I know I personally got at least a pack or two from cashiers at some point. Tournament promos began with Barbary Coast's special variants of crew, and South China Seas saw them changed to a set of 18 ships, a trend which continued for the next four sets.
It appears WK considered reviving the promotion with RotF/F&S, as evidenced by the promotional crew, ships, equipment, and UTs released between the sets, but the RotF items were never available outside factory sets, and I'm not sure about how the F&S items were distributed. This list excludes both of these, as both were of extremely limited availability, and I'm not sure they were distributed in the traditional fashion of six varying packs. They'd also force considerable reconsideration of this list.
10. HMS Rye
I'm putting HMS Rye on the list due to Ben's and Xerecs' experiences with the value of cancelers. She's a fast ship with a canceler, what more do you want? I mean, aside from durability, armament, and hold space. Oh well. She's a solid way to soften up a high value target before an attack, even if she is on the expensive side.
9. La Belle Poule
La Belle Poule is a simple ship to figure out. She's cheap, has a built-in explorer, and decent cargo space, making her an obvious gold runner. Her speed is on the weak side, however, and dropping a helmsman aboard will likely serve her well.
8. HMS Superior
HMS Superior is a little zombie of a ship, capable of delivering fire even when she appears otherwise disabled, provided you have an oarsman aboard. SCS delivered a surprising number of durable blockade runners, however, and she's possibly the most gimmicky of them.
7. Divine Dragon
I have personally had surprising success with Divine Dragon, using her as a torpedo. A simple captain-helmsman setup gives her the ability to mow down up to three masts and a crew with a single ram and shoot combination. Specifically, I used this to overcome HMS Dauntless
' defensive ability, and allow other, less capable warships to engage and sink her.
6. Sister's Rage
Expensive for her size, and with barely acceptable armament, Sister's Rage is redeemed by one of the game's most powerful defensive abilities, and respectable cargo space. She can be a respectable hybrid or a gunship, the setup is up to you.
5. Le Coeur de Lion
This ship has one of the the cheapest pairs of 2L guns in the game, beaten only by the likes of Devil's Pay[/card. She combines top-tier armament with competitive price, fair hold space, and a fun gimmick ability. A worthwhile option for a support gunship.
4.[card="95659"] Santa Lucia
Lucia and Emerald are bound together by the ability they share, and the rest of their traits vary ever so slightly. Lucia has longer cannon range and more cargo, and Emerald is more accurate, cheaper, and faster. Both have excellent crew options, though Lucia probably edges Emerald there. Either way, both have outstanding durability for their cost, and their strong armament is just icing on the cake.
3. Baba Yaga
The equivalent of 6 2S guns gives her the effective firepower of Grand Path
, but for a lower price, and with a better crew selection. Her armament is the only trait worth writing home about, though, as she's pricey, not particularly fast, and has an average hold
2. Loki's Revenge
Despite being apocalyptically slow, and expensive for her size, she's equipped with six 2L guns, a large cargo hold, and SAT—the second best on-demand extra action ability in the game. Her inferior speed when compared to Baba Yaga is not entirely overcome by SAT, but the potential of a sudden burst of 12 2L guns is a better deterrent than 6 2S guns.
1. USS Kettering
Kettering is theoretically inferior to Loki's Revenge in every way—hold space, armament, price—in every way but one: speed. S+L makes her quite fast, and she has an ability possibly on par with that of Loki's Revenge. We all know that speed is critical in controlling engagements, and her ability allows her powerful offense of 6 3L guns to override even the most powerful defensive abilities in the game.