Monday, January 25, 2016

Deployment and Activation Advantage

There are two topics to cover here, and I'm going to try and have each in this article.  When building your list, there are two hidden attributes that you need to consider while deciding how many ships and squadrons you are going to bring.  A lot of this is Meta dependent, knowing your own local opponents is going to determine how able you will be to make these "hidden bids".  Just like picking a bunch of objectives that you know your local group doesn't plan to play or build around, seizing any of these advantages can give you a critical leg up in a close match.

Everyone already should be familiar with initiative advantage - being able to move the first ship - that comes with being first player.  Instead, I'm talking about deployment advantage - namely being able to put the last ship (or ships) down, and activation advantage - being able to move the last ship.

More than just a fighter screen.

Deployment Advantage:

What exactly is deployment advantage, and what does it give you exactly?  Deployment advantage is the ability to put down the last ship (or sometimes ships, if you really have an advantage), seeing where your opponent has deployed so that you can have the maximum advantage in initial position. 

There are a few ships that see a massive advantage from this:  Victory Class Star Destroyers - normally a fairly slow turning ship, can be greatly advantaged by deploying where your opponent is going to be, and thus able to keep them in the front arc for as long as possible.  Gladiators, especially Demolisher, can lock down a flank all by themselves - being able to put out one as the last ship can cut off an enemy's flanker.  Likewise, Nebulon B's like Salvation really want to be let lose on an unguarded flank to maximize the damage that they can do.  Really, any ship can gain an advantage from being able to be placed last, but these do more than any other.

But how does one get this deployment advantage?  Well, as you know, (with two big exceptions in objectives) deployment alternates between players, with First Player placing the first ship, and either one ship or two squadrons being deployed.  So, being able to delay your final deployment (an in fact deployment of your ships in general) comes down to having a higher number on the following equation:

Advantage Number = [Number of Ships] + [Number of Squadrons]/2 (round down) + [1 if you are Second Player, 0 if you are First Player] 

Again, how much of an Advantage Number you need is dependent on your local meta.  But it is something you should be looking at no matter your matchup.  It can help determine if your initial setup should be aggressive or defensive, and quickly determine if you will get the last ship placement or not.  This also implies that you will be delaying deployment of your final ship by deploying all of your squadrons instead of ships.

So, how do you get this advantage?  Well, each side has some inexpensive squadrons that can quickly give you a leg up on deployments, with the Imperials having the cheapest.  Rebels on the other hand have the least expensive ship, though this is more important for the next subject.

Cheapest Squadron Pair:
Rebels:  Y-Wings (20 pts)
Imperials;  TIE Fighter (16 pts), TIE Bomber (18 pts)

Cheapest Ship:
Rebels:  CR90B (39 pts)
Imperials:  Raider I (44 pts)

As you can see, it's much, much easier to get deployment advantage from a fighter screen than it is from adding more ships.  Almost 2:1 advantage for Rebels, and almost 3:1 for Imperials in terms of squadron to ship costs.

Activation Advantage:

Unlike Deployment Advantage, this is based purely on the number of ships you have compared to your opponent.  The idea here is that having the last activation lets you bait other ships into your firing range, giving you the same opportunity for an uncontested shot that going first normally would.  It's something that can be better capitalized on with good maneuvering - getting into a spot where your opponent has no choice but to close in with you, having them set up the shot that you will get to take.  It also can be combined with First Player's advantage of first activation to have a ship move into a position that would otherwise be untenable, but great offensively, and then activate first the next turn, rocketing past and into safety.

To get this advantage you need more ships than your opponents, or the same number of ships and Second Player.  Again, this goes strictly to your local meta - how many ships are your opponents usually bringing to the table?

If you are building your list to try and seize action advantage, the least expensive ship that you can bring is a naked CR90 or Raider, and even then those are fairly pricey (as you've seen above).  But either seizing this activation advantage as first player, or preventing a first player from claiming it as second player can be a big leg up on your strategy.

That's it for this "awareness" level discussion on Deployment and Activation advantage.  Have fun out there with your games!  If you've been counting along with me, we are actually at 98 articled published for this blog, so stay tuned for big #100 (coming soon!)


  1. I think I want to print out all of these articles and make them into a book of really useful goodness!


    1. Great, now just get 999 of your close friends to want this as well, and maybe I can get it printed for you! (Thank you though, I'm glad you're finding this helpful)