Sunday, February 28, 2016

Lessons from The World Cup

I'm sure by now we are all well aware of the World Cup and its dramatic ending.  Having had the chance to watch as many games as I did, and commentate on them, there are a few lessons that I was able to take away from it all.  Hopefully they'll be able to help you out going forward:

Screening A High Value Target

Block the high value target from flankers.

The Clonisher as folks are calling it is an abomination upon this earth that hungers for the tender flesh of your most expensive ships.  Clon himself says that with his "triple tap" he can reliably blast apart anything short of a Motti ISD.

So, what can someone to do slow down this beast or some other powerful flanker?  Squadrons and/or a cheap ship to screen your big ship.  Madaghmire nearly managed to pull it off with just squadrons alone, but what you really want is a cheap, throwaway ship to eat the flanker's attacks.  You can chew up the opponent with your squadrons, and prime it for destruction the next turn.  Something cheap, like a CR90B or Raider 1 with minimal upgrades are your best bet, as they trade for a Clonisher at a near 2:1 point rate.

You Don't Always Have To Squadron Command

Look at that picture again.  Would it have been a good plan to activate those Y-Wings to attack the Clonisher prior to his movement?  No, they would be horribly out of position for the next turn.  Sometimes you can get a pseudo ship activation just by leaving squadrons unactivated in the path of your opponent's ships.  This goes back to screening.

Objectives are Important

I've talked a bit about which objectives were chosen to be played in each game, and which ones actually gave a noticeable boost to Second Player.  Having a good finger on the pulse of your local meta and what people are bringing should have a strong impact on your list building and objective selection.

For example, everyone seemed to build for Precision Strikes and Fleet Ambush, which made those really bad objectives to have available for when First Player was choosing.  Meanwhile, not one person took Intel Sweep, and Contested Outpost and Fire Lanes both benefited Second Player a significant amount.

Intel isn't Invincible

Not enough Intel for the whole class.

Intel doesn't quite have the ability to be everywhere at once, just by the very nature of how it works.  A properly wide net can catch some fish even if a few can slip through here and there.  Best case scenario in the picture above, Dengar frees up 2 Bombers.

You can hold down a Bomber Ball (Rhymer or Otherwise) by just properly splitting up your interceptors to engage from multiple angles.  You can even position them to focus fire on at least the first round of shooting if you get them in with a squadron activation.

On an unrelated note, Steel Squadron officially hit over 100,000 page views!  Frankly, I'm very happy about this milestone, and a bit disappointed it happened while I've been in my studying slump.  Here's to the next 100,000 - with hopefully some good articles coming out a bit more regularly after this week.


  1. Great article! I have been thinking about how to counter a clon style list since I watched the final. also your commentary on those videos is excellent and adds a lot to the experience. Keep up the great work and congradulations on 100k

  2. Congrats on the milestone! A good analysis too - a screen of lesser ships can act as a useful physical blocker or deterrent to making an attack run by a flanking enemy ship. I like a trailing GSD to act in the that role. Anything that slips past has a high chance of taking some black dice in return. I also play my TIEs more defensively now, both to protect the big ships and mitigate enemy AA

  3. What is a Clonisher?

    1. It is a 98 point abomination of a GSD. Upgrades are:
      Expanded Launchers
      Intel Officer
      Ordinance Experts
      Engine Techs

      And then tries to use activation advantage and first player to attack 3 times in a row (final activation of 1 round, and first activation double arc for the next)