Friday, January 15, 2016

After Action Report - World Cup POD Round - Miedomeda vs Biggs Initial Thoughts

The Armada World Cup was designed as a unique way to use vassal to have a multi-round game with both POD play and elimination.  Based on the Soccer / Football World Cup, each player is assigned a Pod with 3 other players, with the best tournament score of the 3 rounds of pod play moving on to play in single elimination games until only one remains as the winner.

While I managed to get most folks paired up with others in their time zone, I wasn't able to pair everyone this way.  So all the "leftovers" and myself (because why should I get off easy, if they are going to suffer) were put together into POD7 - "Oh God Where Do I Put These Guys" Region.

The first opponent I managed to schedule was Miedomeda - let's see what happened.

Initial Thoughts:

I went into this tournament with a different style list than my normal "bid right at 400" mentality.  Instead, I brought a 10 point bid in the hopes of getting First Player in each of my games, with my second player objectives tailored to go against anyone that might conceivably try to outbid me.

The Steel Squadron in it's non-digital finest.

Fleet Summary Page (390 of 400 pts)
Faction: Rebel Alliance

Flagship: (128 pts) Assault Frigate Mark II B (72 pts) - Darklighter
-Admiral Ackbar (38 pts)
-Lando Carissian (4 pts)
-Gunnery Team (7 pts)
-Electronic Counter Measures (7 pts)

Fleet Ship 1: (83 pts) MC30c Scout Frigate (69 pts) - Mon Cala
-Gunnery Team (7 pts)
-Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7 pts)

Fleet Ship 2: (92 pts) MC30c Scout Frigate (69 pts) - Ithor
-Admonition (8 pts)
-Ordnance Experts (4 pts)
-Assault Proton Torpedoes (5 pts)
-XI7 Turbolasers (6 points)

Squadrons (87 of 134 pts):
-1x Dutch Vander Y-Wing Squadron (16 pts)
-1x Moldy Crow - Jan Ors (19 pts)
-4x X-Wing Squadron (52 pts)

My thoughts with my list were to have an all comers list of ships that could do double duty of out-fighting anyone at long range, while also punishing anyone willing to close with me.  Lando and ECMs protect my flagship.  X-Wings and Dutch are perfect to stall for time, especially with Jan Ors backing them up, and can contribute bombing runs if the opponent skimps on anti-squadron.

My MC30s were both kitted out a different way, to reduce symmetry in my list - the Mon Cala was set up as a long range broadside ship, much the same as the AFIIB.  Able to engage at long range with TRC, it can put out a lot more damage than its dice suggest, especially with Ackbar doubling its standard broadside.  The Ithor meanwhile was given the Admonition title, XI7 Turbolasers, Ordinance Experts, and APTs to be able to close with enemy ships, punch them in the face, and scoot away from the inevitable counter-fire.

Faction: Galactic Empire
Points: 400/400

Assault Objective: Precision Strike
Defense Objective: Fleet Ambush
Navigation Objective: Superior Positions

[ flagship ] Imperial I-Class Star Destroyer (110 points)
- Admiral Ozzel ( 20 points)
- Gunnery Team ( 7 points)
- Boosted Comms ( 4 points)
- Leading Shots ( 4 points)

Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer (56 points)
- Demolisher ( 10 points)
- Ordnance Experts ( 4 points)
- Engine Techs ( 8 points)
- Assault Proton Torpedoes ( 5 points)

Raider-I Class Corvette (44 points)
- Ordnance Experts ( 4 points)
- Assault Proton Torpedoes ( 5 points)

1 Darth Vader ( 21 points)
1 Major Rhymer ( 16 points)
1 Dengar ( 20 points)
1 Boba Fett ( 26 points)
2 Firespray-31s ( 36 points)

Miedomeda would be my first round opponent.  I easily had initiative, and I definitely wanted it against Demolisher and the mass Black dice he was bringing to the fight.  Being kind enough to post his objectives, I knew straight away that I wanted Precision Strike against his list - my X-Wings were Bombers, and I had APT on one of my MC30s.  Plus his ISD1 was a point pinata with that on the board - even if I couldn't kill it I could probably score a few points on just long range passes.

While he outgunned me at close range, my first activation would be a huge benefit and neutralize his advantage there.  I had him at long range, by a long shot, so he would almost certainly need to close with me.  My ideal setup for this would be like my practice with this list - Mon Cala deployed first, back and speed 3 for a sharp turn, with Ithor coming in hot on one flank and the Darklighter circling the other.

Squadron fighting would be more difficult.  He had a lot of named squadrons on the board, between Vader / Rhymer / Dengar / Fett.  My best bet was to engage when they closed with my ships, using Dutch to lock down Vader or Fett.

The Game:

Naturally, I screwed up the save so none of my ships, or the rocks, actually showed up on the replay.  So no pictures, I'm afraid.

I did chose first player, and picked Precision Strike and took the top of the board.  This would be a very good choice as the game went on.  I set up my rocks to isolate the station, and the left side of the map on my side, figuring I could flank left in the middle if I had to, or just have free reign of the right flank.  I set up Mon Cala (long range MC30c) first, having it go speed 3 to cut to either side depending on enemy deployment.  It was just outside of the rock clusters, just right of mid-field.  Miedo put out his Raider across from it, and we both put down our squadrons around the Mon Cala and Raider.  I went with the Ithor next, tucked between 2 rocks at midfield such that at speed 3 he could turn outside for a flank, or into the middle of the scrum.  The ISD came down after that, to the right of the Raider, leaving me to put down Darklighter on the far right, starting a long range flank of the ISD.  The Demolisher then popped up directly across from the Ithor, completing deployment.

Round 1:
Mon Cala jumped first, pulling right towards the Darklighter, setting up two ships trying to turn the right flank.  Demolisher activated second, boosting its way into range of the Mon Cala and firing the first shots of the game - which were evaded.  Ithor also decided to turn in to the right, to keep the Demolisher honest, while the Raider and ISD continued to move slightly to the right (all at speed 3) and the Darklighter moved forward to continue its flank.

Squadron clouds headed forward to the fight, with a few of the enemy firesprays scoring hits on the Ithor's front arc.

Round 2:
Of all of my ships, Ithor was in the most danger, and so it activated first.  Moving only speed 1, it still got a small broadside off on the front of the Demolisher.

Demolisher activated next, getting off a quick shot that was easily evaded from Red range, but then moving Speed 3 to broadside the Ithor.  Miedo rolled 2 hits and 2 hit/crits on his black, and then chose to reroll the hits again, getting hit/crits, for 8 damage and a critical effect of APT.  The Ithor tried to survive, burning redirect and discarding a token to Admonition, making it 6 damage and APT - enough to survive pending the critical.

Naturally the critical was a Shield Failure.  2 shields gone from first the rear, and then side with full shields, and that was just enough to pop the Ithor in a single salvo (1 faceup damage card from APT, 3 shields, 3 damage to hull).  Plus a token for the critical, putting me down 107 - 0 right off the bat.

Demolisher jumped away with engine techs, winding up out of the Mon Cala's broadside, but on a rock, and not pointed the right way to get back into the fight.  The critical hit from the rock wound up being structural damage as well.

Mon Cala then opened fire on the remaining Imperial ships, the ISD and Raider, plinking away at the first, and stripping shields from the second.  It was able to complete its maneuver just at long range of the ISD.  Fortunately the ISD, which activated next, was unable to do considerable damage to either the Mon Cala or Darklighter, and continued speed 3 into the thick of them both.

Darklighter did a smattering of damage to the ISD's shields, and moved to complete the flank, while the Raider moved into the cluster of X-Wings, intent on dealing with them the next turn.

Squadrons started with wiffs from an X-Wing on the unshielded front of the Raider, and Dutch against the single shield hull of the ISD.  Vader and Boba tried to take out an X-Wing, and just came up short.  That X-Wing activated next, and the X-Wings and Jan focused fire on Boba, bringing him to 3 hull.  The remaining Firesprays finished off the wounded X-Wing.

Round 3:

The Mon Cala went first, lighting up the ISD with 2 close range shots from side and rear, doing considerable damage and getting hits on to the hull (but no crits, yet).  It then ducked out at speed 3, barely making it into the long range zone of the ISD.

The ISD activated next, and split its fire, long range on the Mon Cala, and short range from the side on the Darklighter.  It also activated squadrons, hitting X-Wings who had tied up the Firesprays, and freeing up Vader and Rhymer to begin attacking the Darklighter.  However, it found itself in an odd spot.  It didn't want to fly too close to the Mon Cala, who was blocking it's turn to the right to get away, but it also didn't want to fly to the left, as it was going speed 3 and the board edge was getting awfully close.  It chose instead to trundle ahead, putting it in the Mon Cala's sights for the next round of shooting.

Darklighter then activated, just able to get Dutch to take a parting shot on the ISD.  Fortunately, hits were already onboard, allowing him to flip one for my first points of the game.  15 - 120.  Darklighter made it 45-120 with two monster hits on the ISD and Raider, putting them both dangerously close to death.  It then jetted off just into blue range of the Raider's side arc.

The Raider shot at the X-Wings, stripping a damage each and eating all of Jan's brace tokens, but wound up behind the ISD and out of the fight.  Demolisher also got to shoot, finishing off Jan, but was otherwise also out of the fight, coming around just inside my edge of the board.

The remaining X-Wings were able to focus down Boba Fett, but then took return fire from the Firesprays.  Darklighter took fire from Vader / Rhymer, and Dengar ducked away to join the Vader / Rhymer group in harassing him.

Round 4:
Mon Cala activated first, dropping the ISD, and flipping a crit for good measure.  Things were looking up!  It also slowed down, to better hit the Raider / Gladiator next turn, who both had no hope but to wind up in Red range of the Mon Cala.

Raider went next, dutifully flying into the Mon Cala's guns, as the alternative was to fly off of the map now that Ozzel wasn't around for speed shenanigans.

Darklighter followed up, repairing shields damaged from enemy squadron attacks, and zipping as far away as he could at speed 2 in the hopes of catching the Demolisher if it tried to skirt away from the Mon Cala.  Demolisher was not willing to play the Darkligher's game though, and continued streight, hoping to finish off the Mon Cala once and for all.

Dutch managed to flip another card on the Demolisher - hoping for the same Structural Damage as before, but luck wasn't with him and instead he flipped a different crit.

An X-Wing was sacrificed to keep Vader from firing at the Darklighter, and the other continued to plink away at the remaining Firesprays.  A few shots hit the Darklighter, who was able to keep them on shields.

Round 5:
Again, Mon Cala went first, firing double broadsides at the Raider and Demolisher.  He destroyed the raider, adding a critical in the process for another token.  Then flipped the remaining damage card on the Demolisher to add yet another, bringing the total tokens to 6.

Demolisher was unable to quite set up a shot on the Mon Cala, but was in good location for the next turn, and Darklighter fired ineffectually at squadrons, and repaired his shields.

Squadrons continued to fire at the Darklighter, again only hitting shields, while Beast Group manage to tie up the last Firespray, dropping it to 1 hull, and barely hanging on to life.

Round 6:
Last chance for points.  Mon Cala only has Reds on the Demolisher, and takes the shot, flipping one card over but not finishing him off (7 tokens).  Demolisher responds, dropping an APT side shot after moving onto the Mon Cala, but not enough damage done to repeat the Ithor.  Mon Cala limps away as Demolisher scores the 2nd token for Miedo.

Darklighter repairs shields, and drops the heavily damaged Firespray.

Vader finishes off Beast Group, while Dutch just hangs around and does nothing.

And that ended the fight with the final score in my favor, 357 to 195 for a 162 MOV and an 8-2 tournament point spread.  A tight fought game, that could have turned on a dime if my Mon Cala maneuvers hadn't been spot on, or the Ithor hadn't been melted quite as quickly.  I wish pictures were available, because it would have made an excellent example on spreading out squadrons to delay a Fireball's effectiveness.

So, as penance for not having pictures, here's my post game discussion with Miedo (with special guest Drasnighta!)

<BiggsIRL> - I'm not sure if I SHOULD have sacrificed the Ithor, but it worked out for me.
<BiggsIRL> - .. then again Demo didn't give me much of a choice in the matter.
<Miedomeda> - what you really did well imo
<Drasnighta> - It was a rough Gambit, Biggs - but it was the right call...
<Miedomeda> - is kiting me with mon cala
<Drasnighta> - Honestly, I think the only thing either ofyou could have done a bit more aggressively, was with the Firesprays...
<Miedomeda> - i didn't want them mopped up in x wings
<BiggsIRL> - Words cannot express how much I love a MC30 with Gunnery and TRC, flying around at speed 3-4.
<Miedomeda> - but yeah, i should have
<BiggsIRL> - One less dice, comperable damage to a AFII because of TRC, and MEAN in close range.
<Drasnighta> - No, but when Jan fell, you should have gotten them out of there by getting Dengar+Vader back IN there...  Let them beat up on those two, so your Firesprays can go hunt...  :D
<Drasnighta> - Those hunting GT MC30s are scary, Biggs
<Miedomeda> - one thing i really liked was the raider used as an anti as ship
<BiggsIRL> - I specifically kitted them out differently, because they do different things.
<BiggsIRL> - Yeah, that was a good use of the Raider, and... unclogged my fighter cover.
<Miedomeda> - i was arguing that on the forums saying it isn't effective
<Miedomeda> - but it is
<BiggsIRL> - It is VERY effective, supporting othr squadrons.
<BiggsIRL> - I wouldn't want to count on it on its own.
<BiggsIRL> - I mean, you killed all my braces with that.
<BiggsIRL> - All of them.
<Miedomeda> - so for the future, would you guys advise me to fly it as a fireball support?
<BiggsIRL> - Your ISD could have done more, if it slowed down to 1 on turn 2 or 3.  That was probably the most unfortunate part of the whole thing for you.
<Miedomeda> - i agree
<BiggsIRL> - Definately.  It deserves a spot in the fireball, especially because the fireball's weakness is anti-squadron.
<Drasnighta> - Yep, either use the Raider to Cut your way through enemy Squadrons - or understand when its time to let Vader+Dengar die on their own so the Fireball itself can go Chasing a Ship.
<BiggsIRL> - That and everyone always forgets that the ISD is soooooo much more annoying to kill if it repairs damage.
<Miedomeda> - i always find myself craving those navigate and squadron commands
<Miedomeda> - on the isd i mean
<Miedomeda> - so there isn't much room left for repairing
<Miedomeda> - but that's another good point
<Miedomeda> - well guys, it's been really fun

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