Wednesday, March 23, 2016

GUEST ARTICLE: Chris's After Action Report - Pittsburgh Store Championship

[Editor's Introduction:  We recently had our local store championship here in Pittsburgh, which I sadly had agreed to sit out and TO if we had an even number of players - sadly there were only 6 people that showed up, not including myself, so I was sitting this one out.  Here is the After-Action Report from the winner - I think it gives a pretty good luck into our local meta.  One store championship to go, locally!]

Hey folks. I'm the occasionally mentioned Chris (Editor's note:  See Round 2). Somewhat recently I had the honor of being the winner of Drawbridge Game's Star Wars Armada Store Championship. Matt is a good friend of mine (and a member of our local Armada group), so I figured I'd throw a guest article at him with some of my thoughts and experiences on and about the win.

After Matt's win in Morgantown the Pittsburgh crew was ready to have our own championship that we didn't have to travel for. We had a moderate turnout, and with some new-ish blood combined with old faces alike, we converged onto the tables ready to go until one of us was declared champion and in possession of that sweet, sweet plaque (and maybe the bye).

Our local champion

The list: 

Here's what I was bringing:

-ISD II (168 points)
--Admiral Motti
--Gunnery Teams
--Electronic Countermeasures
--Leading Shots
--Xi7 Turbolasers

-VSD II (104 points)
--Captain Needa
--Gunnery Team
--Leading Shots
--Xi7 Turbolasers

-GSD I (90 points)
--Intel Officer
--Ordinance Experts
--Engine Techs
--Assault Proton Torpedoes

-Tie Fighter Squadron x4 (32 points)

+Opening Salvo
+Contested Outpost

Total: 394/400

This was the list I was running at Morgantown, and was overall unchanged except for losing Advanced Gunnery (Thanks FAQ...). I did have some plans to change things up a bit, but at the last minute decided to go with what I knew. It payed off pretty well in the end, so overall I can't complain. Maybe I'll get a chance soon to try out the replacement list.

My overall strategy with the list remained unchanged. Try to get initiative bid, go second, and force my objectives. Since I'd have objective advantage I'd try to deal with having only the better part of three activations, trying to delay placement with my small group of ties. Ship wise I'd just be using the big boys to beat the enemy into a pulp, while our lord and savior Demolisher runs past them and teaches them the meaning of black dice, movement, and APT.

Round 1:

Round 1 was against my friend Scott, who was visiting from State College. He was running a pretty unorthodox Mon Mothma list with two MC30c's, two CR90's, and a singular Nebulon-B [Ed note:  Salvation]. He was at my place while he was down for the weekend so we managed to get some practice games in the day before which didn't actually go that well for me, so I was going in at the very least prepared to potentially lose.

As luck would have it he ended up outbidding me by two or so points and took first player and my minefields (Spoiler Alert, all of my games were minefields, I LOVE minefields). Setup went fairly as one would expect for me, with me keeping all my ships fairly close together to cover my bases and act as a large magnet for his ships to be drawn to. Sadly he didn't get the memo and spread his ships out fairly wide and made it much harder for me to reach out and touch someone.

Action didn't really start until about late turn 2 or so, when he started to creep into range with his MC30c's and even then we maneuvered around each other well enough to only plink at each other from medium range at best. Sadly not terrifically exciting, but with the lessons I learned from our practice games I managed to keep him at bay, with Demolisher chasing down a corvette and a MC30c while dying in the process. He will be missed.

Overall very little happened. We went to Turns and ended up with a 5-5 win for me and a MOV of roughly 19 pts. A good game played by Scott, we really managed to keep it nice and close. Overall not too shabby, but it wasn't going to get me anywhere..... Or was it?

Funnily enough I ended up in second place overall with that game. One of our Pittsburgh regulars Chuck (Charles) was in first with a 7-3. I was in second by MOV only, because strangely enough second through fifth were all tied at 5-5. It was a bit of a cluster and Matt being our T/O couldn't really believe it. We all however did find it incredibly amusing. [Ed note:  Seriously, first round was all exceptionally close games.]

So with me in second with a commanding lead over third with roughly 12 MOV, we moved into the second round.

Round 2:

My second round match-up was against Xavier, our youngest player at 14. He's a good kid and can match snark with myself on a regular bases, so we were ready to see how we'd fare when Motti v. Motti came together in a battle for all the applesauce.

Xavier was bringing something to the flavor of a VSD1, VSD2, an ISD2, and no fighter cover. Thankfully he went right up against 400pts so I had a nice 6 point initiative bid to force my objectives with. As per the previous round, and the Spoiler Alert, minefields was chosen.

In a unexpected turn of events we both deployed directly across from each other in similar formations, completely avoiding all of the mines and only using one 3x3 mat, go figure. This was going to turn out real bloody, with pretty mutually assured bloody noses.

That was however not to be. We came into firing range at the beginning of round 2 and the storm commenced. My Demolisher started off the fighting by rushing into black range, getting off a good amount of APT shots and crippling his ships with some pretty brutal face up cards. My VSDII and ISDII starting shelling his front arcs with their dual gunnery teams.

Demo managed to sneak out of the line of fire in turn 3 by flying directly over his victory one, shooting it in the butt, and continuing on through it and using engine techs to get right out of black range. He would stay safe the rest of the game. The brawl in the center of the field continued with him losing Motti first due to the massive amount of fire coming from the two star destroyers and him under estimating how annoying a few ties can be when they're harassing ships. The dice were definitely on my side, during his rolls and mine.

The battle ended soon afterward with his fleet destroyed and mine still in decent enough shape, Demo was the only ship that took fair levels of damage. The tabling netted me a 10-0 400pt MoV, which put me into first with a good 3 points ahead of second place.

[Ed note:  My analysis of this game was that it was in Chris's favor from the very beginning - while there was a giant cluster in one of the flanks of the board (as the middle and side flank were heavily mined) Chris was able to utilize dual-arc shots from his ISD and GSD to focus down his opponent's flag ship early.  The GSD being able to activate last, deliver a hit, then survive one round of fire and jump away also split the enemy's fire.  Xavier relied a bit too much on Gunnery Team shots and split his fire between the available targets, who were able to have fresh defense tokens to lessen the damage.  So you had a situation where he was able to focus down one target at a time within the brawl, and Xavier was forced to spread his fire around for maximum impact.  It's no surprising that didn't go his way.]

Round 3:

Round 3 was against Angelo, who I've had a pretty uneven track record against in the past. After losing to him in Morgantown and dropping out of the top four to sixth place overall, I was ready for our rematch. He was coming in from a good couple of games and he was ready for me, however I ended up with initiative again and I once again took second player (and he picked minefields. Woo!). He was bringing a MC80 with Admiral Ackbar and two MC30c's [Ed Note:  Heavily kitted out, with titles and TRCs] and minor fighter cover, something that I'd have some serious issues with if he could position himself well enough to get out of my arcs.

I set up the mines pretty much the same way as I had for the last few games with them having a nice open spot in the middle of the board and that would really play to my advantage here, especially since I deployed off-center and tried to make myself a big enough target. Angelo deployed a bit off-center as well but he wasn't going to stay there because of the mines.

He starting moving towards the middle of the map and I was ready for him, already pointing my space triangles in his general direction and getting ready. Ackbar was once again caught in a trap, story of his life.

I managed to take out his flagship (The only person that did so over the course of the day) and one of his MC30c's. Overall I came out bloodied by the exchange but with still enough health because of Motti to keep fighting. By turn 5 though, the shooting was over (his remaining MC30c was well past my gunline) and we tallied up our points. With me winning an 8-2 and coming in first for the final scores at 23 tournament points.

[Ed Note:  Watching this game, it was excellent maneuvering on Chris's part with navigate commands to position himself to intercept the MC80 as it began to crash through the mines.  The two MC30cs were way out of position, hoping to run fast around the flank and complete a "toilet bowl", but by the time they engaged, the ISD and VSD had already turned parallel to the board, and pointed right at them.  Spectacular maneuvering by Chris.]

Chris coming about - the ISD is the ship missing a peg.  Prior to this picture being taken, the other MC30 was leading the remaining one on the flank.  Chris deployed on the left side of the screen, Angelo on the right.

Final Thoughts:  

Overall I had a blast! I can't thank everyone enough for the support and the great time I had. I definitely learned from my mistakes at Morgantown with positioning and keeping Demo going nice and slow until it was his time to pounce. Also it’s very important when you're running such a small amount of fighters to keep them out of engagement until they're completely necessary to block other squadrons from attacking of a ship.

[Editor's Final Word:  Thanks Chris!  Only one local Store Championship left, taking place late on next Wednesday evening... but I'll be out of town and unable to attend.  Good luck to those in it, and hopefully we'll have another AAR from the winner of that tournament as well!]


  1. Congratulations on the win Chris! Nice work. Can't believe you would get so many 5-5 results in the first round!

    There didn't seem to be many squadron heavy builds in this tournament. Is this typical of your local meta Biggs?

  2. Sadly I am one of the few people that go over 80 points on fighters regularly. The rest seem to bring a token force to harass mine. We have one guy that goes 130+ on squadrons each game, but he wasn't there for this one.

  3. These seem like some great matches!

    Side note, I have been eager to try my bomber/fighter build. I have had some good test runs but I need some real battle.

  4. I really like these. I hope you will make more in the future