Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wave 1 Memorial Vassal Tournament - Round 1 vs Brian Black

In ongoing coverage of my tournament for the Wave 1 Memorial, here is my first round opponent. Due to how the pod worked, I wound up playing my first game against Brian Black, simply because both of us were free on Sunday night.  For a reminder, here was his list:

+++ Brian Black's Wave 1 Tournament List (396pts) +++

+ Ships (304pts) +

Victory I-Class Star Destroyer (84pts) [Expanded Hangar Bay (5pts), Flight Controllers (6pts)]
Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (123pts) [•Grand Moff Tarkin (38pts)]
Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (97pts) [•Dominator (12pts)]

+ Squadrons (92pts) +

TIE Fighter Squadron (8pts) x3
"Howlrunner" (16pts)

My thoughts going into the game boiled down to that I outgunned his ships with my AFIIs, and could focus my fire on two of his ships each turn, while he could at best focus on one of mine.  That should give me an advantage for taking him out.  I also assumed he would take initiative with his bid and play against my objectives - I was incorrect.  Instead he passed Player 1 to me with his bid, and gave me the following objectives to chose from:

Precision Strike
Fleet Ambush
Superior Positions

Well, that was an obvious choice for me, as I liked Precision Strike enough to include it in my objectives.  Getting to play that objective as Player 1 was a no-brainer, especially with this match-up.  For the other two, Fleet Ambush would have let me deploy two ships in the ambush zone, but that could even up my broadside advantage, so that was a non-starter.  Superior Positions was right out - I wanted to place all my ships first after all!

Initial setup - Victory Star Destroyers set up in an inverted V across from the Assault Frigates

With most of the obstacles making their way to the left side of the board, both fleets chose to assemble on the right side, with the Horton being the first ship to go down.  The Dominator popped down across from it and slightly offset.  Both myself and Brian decided to place out squadrons after that - I grouped mine into clumps of 3 leaving room for the Horton to maneuver.  Brian placed his fighters on the left flank of the Dominator, then placed the Forlorn Hope - his VSD1 carrier - on the other side facing the Horton.  My next play was the Porkins, angled in for a broadside run against the Forlorn Hope - he countered by placing the Tyrant - his flagship - on the far right of his line.

Finishing up deployment, the Darklighter popped in behind the Porkins to complete the maneuver - I figured I could still cap the Tarkin's T and focus it down first, denying free tokens.  The enemy BOMBERs deployed between the Tyrant and the Forlorn Hope.

First Round

End of the 1st round - Horton goes for a Slash, while Darklighter and Porkins move into position.
Fighters angle for an advantage.

The first round was all about maneuvering.  The Porkins speeds up to 3 on the opening, angling to clear the Tyrant's front.  The Tyrant obliges, slowing to speed 1 to allow the other two VSDs a chance to catch up and form a line.  Darklighter follows close behind the Porkins at Speed 2, forming a line.  The Forlorn Hope follows along beside the Tyrant, coming about at speed 2.

The Horton decides that it wants to push for a slash, and try to break up the enemy formation.  Instead of turning to the left side of the board for a flank, I turn him inside into the path of all Imperial ships.  The Dominator then proceeds to also turn in, completing the line.

The fighters all angle to the right, staying close to their capital ships.  Rhymer and the bombers angle around the far right flank, staying out of the X-Wing's intercept range while the TIE Fighters move for a quick intercept themselves.

End of Round 2 - Light damage to Horton and Porkins, and light damage to all 3 VSDs.  Two TIE Fighter squadrons are eliminated, but not before they destroy 1 X-Wing squadron.  Bombers make it to the Right flank, unmolested.

Round 2 began with the Horton, who found himself in broadside range of two Victorys.  He decided not to spend his Squadron command though, and used Defense Liaison and a token to swap his command to a Navigate.  Doing light damage to the Dominator and Forlorn Hope, and not seeing a slash going anywhere, I decided that he needed to keep bringing his broadside on the VSDs in front of him - he continued with a heavily yaw'd "S" maneuver to the right.

Horton begins the shooting on two targets.

The Dominator chose to go next, activating 3 squadrons and throwing them into the right-most cluster of X-Wings.  Howlrunner and company destroyed 1 X-Wing squadron.  Shooting against the Horton caused a small bit of damage to its shields.

The Porkins went next, getting a shot on the Tyrant at extreme range, and causing light damage to the shields.  The second shot went to anti-squadron, doing slight damage to the non-named TIEs.  The Forlorn Hope followed up with an attack by the remaining TIE Fighter, who heavily damaged a second X-Wing squadron.  It also took a shot on the Horton, doing slight shield damage.

The Darklighter activated next, using its Squadron token to activate a single X-Wing Squadron from the un-engaged group, and plopping it into the fray - destroying one of the damaged TIE Fighter squadrons.  It then took two long range pot shots at the Forlorn Hope and Dominator, doing light damage.  It continued in the line with its maneuver.  Tyrant finished up for the ships - taking a side shot on the Horton that missed, and doing slight damage to the Porkins.

X-Wing squadrons shot back at the TIE Fighters, destroying a second, though the damaged X-Wing missed completely at an attempt to damage the 3rd.  I renamed it Dinner Squadron in an effort to motivate it to do better.  The Bombers move out to the right flank without anyone to intercept, setting up for an attack on the Porkins, while the two un-engaged X-Wings move to attack position against the Dominator.

Turn 3

End of Round 3 - First blood with the Dominator catching fire from all three ships.

Tarkin opens turn 3 by selecting an Engineering command.  Blood is in the water.

The Horton activates first, and activates 4 squadrons with a dial and token.  The first X-Wing squadron activated blows away the last TIE Fighter squadron, and the other three begin attack runs on the now un-supported Dominator.  All hit, with two popping doubles (including Dinner Squadron!), stripping it of all of its shields (save the rear arc).  The Horton puts fire into the Dominator, scoring the first hull damage of the game, and a faceup crit - structural damage - putting the Dominator at 4 hull and giving me a Victory Token.  The Horton follows up with a broadside against the Forlorn Hope, doing moderate damage to the shields.  However, this puts the Horton in range for a devastating barrage from all 3 VSDs.

The Dominator begins the exchange against the Horton, scoring 5 unbraced hits and stripping most of the Horton's shields.  The Porkins reacts to this by commanding the final X-Wing squadron on an attack run against the Dominator, with a Squadron token - a double hit which I decline to spend for a VP (braced to 1 damage).  The Porkins continues its shots, dealing a net 2 damage, though one hit was spent to flip up a card, crippling the Dominator (2 hull left), and earning 2 Victory Points.

The Porkins also scores a hit on the Forlorn Hope, clearing it's shields and damaging it's Thrust Control.  It then blunders forward directly into the cluster of TIE Bombers on the right flank, denying them all the same arc.

Forlorn Hope counters, activating Howlrunner and running him at Dinner Squadron, who barely survives the Flight Controllers enhanced attack with 1 hull, and pounds the Horton with a heavy attack.  The Horton manages to catch it all on shields, but loses its redirect in the process.

The Darklighter activates last for me, taking a long range obstructed shot through the Horton, which rips apart what is left of the Dominator.  It then takes another obstructed shot at the Forlorn Hope, doing 4 damage to its hull and crippling it.

The Tyrant finishes the ship activations, pouring fire from two arcs into the now almost shieldless Horton, scoring 4 hits on its hull, though no criticals.  The Bombers - being all that is left - ignore the Porkins and pour all their fire into the front arc of the Darklighter, stripping shields.

Round 4:

End of Round 4 - the Forlorn Hope and Horton destroyed, and the Tyrant crippled.

The Horton again goes first, pouring fire into the crippled Forlorn Hope, destroying it and grabbing an additional 2 Victory Points.  It also strips shields from the Tyrant.  Sadly, that is the last thing it has a chance to do.  The Tyrant, unwilling to be destroyed without some sort of parting blow, pours its fire into the Horton (earning a VP), then rams directly into the crippled ship, taking it out of the fight completely.

The Porkins and Darklighter pour fire into the Tyrant, scoring multiple hits and completely crippling its engines (slowed it to speed 0, no defense tokens), allowing them to pick it apart at their leisure.

At this point, the game was all over but the mop up.

Round 5 started with the Porkins finishing off the Tyrant, for a 550 - 121 win for the Rebellion.

End of Game Thoughts

Both me and Brian Black came into the game with a plan for dealing with one another - and we both executed our plans very well.  He brought his line forward to focus on one ship at a time, and kept his TIE Bombers away from my squadrons the entire game.  Unfortunately I outgunned him with my broadsides, and with some hot Red dice rolls managed to focus each of his ships down while also starting damage on the next in the chain.

It was a good game, though without some serious hot dice on my part it should have gone on longer, and might have looked a little bit closer.  Brian was a great opponent throughout the game, and we had a pretty good crowd watching it as well - hopefully Versch learned a bit about vassal!

You can read more interviews and after action reports here.

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