|The Steel Squadron in it's non-digital finest.|
My first rebel opponent of the tournament, Chilligan had a list similar to mine in its general strategy:
Chilligan 400 / 400
SHIP: MC30c Scout Frigate 69
- Gunnery Team 7
- Assault Concussion Missiles 7
- Turbolaser Reroute Circuits 7
- Foresight 8
TOTAL POINTS: 98
SHIP: Assault Frigate Mark II B 72
- Wing Commander 6
- Gunnery Team 7
- Boosted Comms 4
- Enhanced Armament 10
TOTAL POINTS: 99
SHIP: Assault Frigate Mark II A 81
- Admiral Ackbar 38
- Gunnery Team 7
- Electronic Countermeasures 7
TOTAL POINTS: 133
Dash Rendar 24
Luke Skywalker 20
X-wing Squadron 13
X-wing Squadron 13
TOTAL POINTS: 70
Again, my bid of 390 was enough to give me first player and the initial advantage there. Of the ships he was bringing, it was the first list that outgunned mine at long range, though not by an extreme amount.
For objectives, my best guess for Assault objective would be Advanced Gunnery - it plays into his strength, though it has the option of giving an MC80 opponent a significant advantage. It wouldn't be bad for me - it would let Ithor gain a Gunnery and able to counter-double arc enemy ships. Other thoughts are Opening Salvo - a decent thought for high shield / low hull ships. Most Wanted is probably off the table, as is Precision Strike - though I would gladly take any of the Reds.
Fire Lanes for Yellow - a bad pick for me. Blue objectives are just as bad for me - I'd rather not take any of them.
Squadrons go to me as an advantage, slightly. I can hopefully lock down Dash with Dutch, and pummel everything else.
Taking first player, I was given the choice between Precision Strike, Hyperspace Assault, and Superior Positions. Precision Strike seemed to be an obvious pick: Superior Positions was a non-starter as it would give up too much deployment advantage. I think I should have considered Hyperspace Assault, for reasons we will see in a bit, but I went with Precision Strike anyways.
Chill began obstacle setup, placing the station directly in the middle, on my side of the board. I countered by putting up the big rock to the left, preventing a drift in from that direction. His second obstacle was to the right, and closer towards him, while I placed a triangle of obstacles down, trying to secure my "left" flank from a flank.
Mon Cala (Long Range MC30c) was my first setup, in the middle of the field, as far back as I could. It would start speed 3 for better turning. His MC30c was placed next, back and away from the fight to the left, set to be able to skirt the rocks if it came head on. From that point, squadrons were deployed, all on the edge of range pointed at the opponent's ships. I had one more pair than Chill did, so he would place the next ship:
His non-Flagship AFII went down next, angling in to cut off the MC30c and right in the middle of the deployment zone. I put my flagship down as a counter to this, cutting across his expected path, and angling to cap the T on his maneuver. His flagship then went down just in front of the other AFII, leaving me to think I could get an excellent position on both with mine. I finished up by putting Ithor on the far side to come around and flank the rear of their formation from their left flank. My thoughts were that the Ithor could tie up their MC30c and draw it away from the fight, and possibly eliminate it on its own, much like Ithor did against Miedo with the Demolisher.
Having first movement, I took the Mon Cala to the right, again, figuring that I could cut it, with its superior speed, to cap the T of his Miedo's line and force him to turn away from my broadside (and hopefully have Ithor cut around to catch them from the rear). Ackbar came about next, moving speed 2 and turning in slightly, looking more and more like our two lines would be unloading broadsides for the better part of the map, rather than anyone managing to cut in front of the other, but also pointing directly at a debris field, so he would have to turn one way or another at some point soon.
I moved Darklighter to match the movement, turning hard and presenting the broadside, while his other AFII copied the flagship's maneuver. Ithor moved around the rocks to set up for his run, while the enemy MC30c reacted by dropping right into where the Ithor wanted to be going.
This was not ideal. Because I had limited myself in activations, the Ithor would have no choice but to wind up moving into the MC30s range at some point during the activations - Chill had perfectly placed his ships to be able to get the first long range salvo, and possibly a close quarters shot if I continued with my plans for the Ithor.
|End of Round 1|
Realizing that things were not going according to plan, I came up with a new one: Turn Darklighter in to block their flagship in place, and concentrate fire on the carrier AFII while my own bombers got into positions. I activated the Darklighter first, swinging him around hard into the front arcs of both enemy AFIIs.
|Darklighter makes his move.|
His flagship moved away, using the yaw to do a lateral move with the same heading, setting up a double arc, but pointing more and more towards the debris field. So far, so good. Mon Cala speeds up to 4, to cut off the other AFII, and also cuts in to set up a potential double arc shot. His "Angry Frigate" can't help but continue the maneuver, turning hard away and putting it well within the double arc shot of the Mon Cala.
|Prelude to bloody knife fighting|
Ithor moves to try and cut the enemy MC30c off from a flank of its own, speeding up to 4 and getting ready to come into the fight if needed. A particularly good roll from the enemy MC30 puts a lot of damage onto the Ithor, and it manages to park itself just out of Black dice range.
For squadron commands, mine move into bombing range, while the enemy X-Wings race to get into position. His Dash attempts to bomb the Ithor, but it uses Admonition to cancel.
|End of Round 2|
Darklighter begins the round, by sending its squadrons out to conduct bombing runs on the "Angry Frigate" who is now trapped by his own flagship and in the kill zone of the Darklighter and Mon Cala. Bombing runs conclude with shields stripped from the left shield zone, but no tokens spent. Unfortunately the shot from the AFII's Ackbar broadside was anemic, only doing 3 damage and being harmlessly redirected to the front. Darklighter decides to ram the enemy flagship, ending its maneuver and hoping to block the enemy into place,
However, it wasn't the enemy flagship that activated next. Angry Frigate, in fit of "not caring about activation order" and possibly "expecting to die with the next enemy salvo" decided to activate next, bringing its own X-Wings to the party and splashing Steel Leader's X-Wing group. It then fired, doing considerable damage to the Mon Cala, but only middling damage to the Darklighter, and thumped its own flagship for more.
The Mon Cala activated next, pouring multiple shots into the Angry Frigate, and critically injuring it. However, it was able to limp away with a few hull remaining. The Mon Cala then jetted around the fray at speed 4, presenting its relatively undamaged side and rear to the enemy flagship which had not yet activated.
The flagship dutifully activated next, shooting the Mon Cala and flipping a structural damage up (leaving it at 1 hull), and then shot at the Darklighter.
|Roll after spending blue hit to flip a card|
Lando had a few things to say about that.
|Lando is really, really good sometimes.|
I couldn't believe I had just managed a 7 point swing in damage from Lando - he's high risk but he can sometimes save your bacon.
His flagship decided to go for a bump rather than try to get around the Darklighter, leaving his flagship with 3 hull (but full shields).
Ithor came in, lining up a shot on the now heavily damaged Angry Frigate, while his MC30c moved around the back of his formation.
Squadrons have my ships come to protect the rear arc of the Ithor, while his remaining squadron, Dash, does some damage to Jan.
Here is where I lose the game.
I have a squadron command prepped on the Darklighter. I have gunnery team. The enemy flagship is at 3 hull. It would be a simple thing to activate Darklighter, have my squadrons soften up the flagship's side arc, and fire two broadsides into the Angry Frigate's unprotected side arc and the flagship's side arc, potentially finishing it off, or setting myself up for a ram to do the trick.
Instead, the Ithor activated, and finished off the Angry Frigate, crashed into the enemy flagship... and promptly displaced two of my fighters, which were moved into the fighter scrum. This would be my undoing.
His flagship activates next, blasts the Mon Cala apart, strips shields from the front of the Darklighter, and flies off at speed 3 past the scrum, taking with it my chances of victory.
I am forced to activate the Darklighter next, sending one squadron to attack the enemy flagship, but with the remaining two tied up, I fail to do enough to strip the shields. The attack falls flat, and I am forced to blunder forward, directly into his MC30c's arc.
|The beginning of the end.|
You can see how this ends. Ithor is forced to activate first, only manages to nab a single token for his efforts, and goes off to his death at the hands of the enemy MC30c.
The match ends with a whimper, and my loss.
It's easy to see where exactly I lost the game - there at the start of Round 4. But at other spots were equally poor play that resulted in my doom. Ithor should never have been deployed to that flank for one - I had a perfectly good Right flank that had no enemy ships to worry about while getting into attack possition, and the Mon Cala was capable of keeping his MC30c honest. This game is an excellent example of utilizing activation advantage in your favor - my opponent had the same number of ships, but his Second Player delay was used as an advantage with his MC30c, because he could afford to delay his final activation to use it against my Ithor.
All in all, a well played game by Chilligan who earned himself the 9 points and the win. In the end, he didn't really make any major mistakes in his game play, and that was enough to earn him the win.