Sunday, May 1, 2016

Regionals AAR - Biggs in the Pittsburgh Regional

By now, you might have heard that a Rieekan list won the Pittsburgh Regionals, commanded by one "Biggs".  I promised an in depth writeup, so here we go.


Honestly, I'm not quite sure how Pittsburgh wound up with the Regionals for Armada.  To be fair to our local community, which is awesome, the store that we typically gravitate around is way too small to host a Regionals (or more than 8 players at a time, if you bring in temporary table space) and the store that actually hosted around here hasn't really done much in the way of Armada for some time.  It definitely has the space for a Regional though.

Still, not about to look a gift horse in the mouth.  Having a local regional was an awesome thing, and the vast majority of the Pittsburgh Armada community was able to attend (7 total locally), which is actually a pretty good showing for us (our best tournament ever was 8).

I'm not sure how much I've talked about our local meta, which is... odd in a word.  We have had guys committed to 2 ISD Imperials, one player who loves Motti and another who loves Ozzel.  We have another player who loves small ship Imperials, and has been running Raiders since Massing at Sullust, and until recently had been running a variation on the Clonisher build - which in turn has lead us all to devise ways to beat that specific list.  Rieekan has become big because of that, especially after I (and others) demonstrated its effectiveness to the point where our Clonisher player moved back to big ship Imperials (with a Demolisher).

More importantly, some of our players actually bid to go as Second Player (or at least in certain circumstances), counting on objectives that are very much opposed to either the meta in general, or against specific lists.

Add all that to 9 players come in from Erie, Philadelphia, Scranton, Maryland, and Ohio, 4 Store Champions byes among them, and at least one player with a high finish at the Ohio Regionals, and you have a really amazing setup for some really good games.

16 players, 7 Store Championship byes (8 total), so still not enough to get to 4 rounds and cut to top 2.  We'd be playing 2 rounds (or 3) and the best score would win.  At least 6 players would feasibly be in the running at the start of Round 3.

My List

I've talked in the past about the list I ran in the Morgantown Store Championship, which has worked very well for me in the past.  I added a few tweaks to it from what I've observed not only in recent games, but also the Vassal Team Tournament currently ongoing.  For one thing, I am very comfortable flying it, and for another it has been very successful in our local meta, even when my opponents have built specifically to bring it down.

Rieekan's Raiders v1.05
397 / 400

MC80 Assault Cruiser - 167
- Gen Rieekan
- Defiance
- Intel Officer
- Electronic Countermeasures
- Leading Shots

CR90A Corvette - 53
- Jaina's Light
- Turbolaser Reroute Circuits

CR90B Corvette - 44
- SW7 Ion Cannons

CR90B Corvette - 44
- SW7 Ion Cannons

Squadrons - 89
- Tycho Celchu
- Dash Rendar
- YT-2400
- A-Wing x3

Advanced Gunnery
Fire Lanes
Intel Sweep

I only made a few major changes (which are bolded) from my Morgantown excursion, though the list has been through a ton of revision in between.  The big changes to the squadron game is adding Dash Rendar in place of a YT-2400 to add more Rogue damage to the squadron game, and give me another Tycho type elite pilot who I can sacrifice with Rieekan to buy a full turn of tied up enemy fighters.  And for my flagship, a lot of upgrades got moved around - Advanced Projectors and XI-7s were stripped in favor of Intel Officer.  The bid was dropped by 3 points, as I found that I really didn't hurt too badly by going first.

I've tried other objectives as well (at least Navigation Objectives) and I really think Intel Sweep is excellent for this list - one bad experience with Superior Positions proved that that was a no-go, and while I really want Dangerous Territory to work, it doesn't have the "chance for 75 points" going for it that Intel Sweep does.

Strategy was much the same - rush in and use the CR90Bs as tactical blockers, doing heavy damage and freezing enemy targets in place for my CR90A / MC80 to get around and hammer from a reasonably safe distance.  The CR90Bs are basically ablative armor for the MC80.  One big change though, was the MC80 would essentially be Squadron Command from turn 2 - 6 (or at least until I didn't think squadrons would survive) as the extra 3 activations tended to add the most damage to my attacks, or at least soften up the enemy fighter cover.

I'd mostly be activating A-Wings, with the YT-2400s activating in squadron command to pounce on things either softened up, or that moved somewhere they shouldn't.  Tycho was the wild-card, either being an extra A-Wing activation if one blew up, or someone to throw into a scrum and forget about.

Round 1

I had a bye!  So did 6 other Store Championship winners, and Dan, our "Odd Number of Players Store Championship Winner"!  A few notes about what was going on R1 - the Tournament Organizer / Marshal was using TOME as their score keeping software, which put in the Store Championship Byes (and the other 1st round bye) as a 9 point victory.  After the group explained that the score was incorrect following Round 1, the Organizer decided that the Store Championship Byes would be worth 9 points, with reasoning being that the rules for such a bye were never explicitly mentioned, TOME was official FFG software, and players "deserved to get a full win for the bye".  As far as I can tell, this did not impact the top 8 standing in any way.

The first round games were scouted, since I was bored.  One of our locals, Angelo, was running a dual ISD / small Rhymer Ball list against a dual ISD / Gladiator list - the game was full of mistakes and rules questions asked by both players, including Angelo forgetting to activate one of his two ships - which was ruled that he forfeited the dial / shots, but HAD to move.  He still wound up winning, 10-0, after his opponent failed to focus down any of his ships.

Another local game was Chuck (Rieekan CR90x4 / Forsight).  I honestly forget his opponent for that round - I think it may have been a Rieekan list?  He managed to win fairly well against his opponent, earning an 8-2.

Stasy was at another table (MC80 / NebBx2 / Squadrons) - we actually managed to have breakfast with him after he came down early.  Unfortunately his game against someone he regularly plays against (Ackbar 3 AFIIs) did not go well for him, though it ended in a low scoring game 3-7.

The final matchup was a Clonisher type build (Screed GGRRR) running against our local player Alan (Dodonna AFII, NebB, CR90x2?).  This did not go well for Alan, and put the Clonisher at 9-1.

Round 2

Finally, I get to play!  I was matched up against the Clonisher build from round 1.  I think I remember his list looking like this:

Gladiator I
- Demolisher
- Engine Techs
- Ordinance Expert

Gladiator I
- Engine Techs
- Ordinance Expert

Raider I
- Screed
- Ordinance Expert

Raider I
- Ordinance Expert

Raider I
- Ordinance Expert

TIE Fighters x5 (Biggs note:  DON'T DO ODD NUMBERS OF FIGHTERS!)

He definitely had initiative, and chose First Player, and then Intel Sweep from my list.  We set up obstacles with him putting one of each of his in 3 corners, while I put the three rocks down blocking where I expected to set up the objective tokens - center to the right at distance 5+.

He was ready for this, as after I put my first token down in the middle (behind a rock) he set his down far to the right flank, expecting the rest of the tokens to trail that way.  So much for that plan.  Instead, I changed plans and set token 2 to the left of the first, and little up so I could grab both going speed 2.  He set his 2nd token down far on the left side, now intending to play for the final token.  I put it down also on the left of my other two, at exactly distance 5.

I knew I had final placement, as his deployment tied mine at 7.  He placed his objective ship (not-Demolisher) facing the left most token.  I set my first CR90B and stalled with fighters as he attempted to do the same.  Finally, he had to set up the other Raiders, which he did pointed toward the middle field token, hoping to hunt down my objective ship.  I put down my 2nd CR90B, and Demolisher came down, on the far right side of his formation, pointed at the center of the field and Token #1.

That token was now in my mind Token#3, as I put down Jaina's Light facing the final token, with plans to sweep around, pick up 2 tokens, and destroy his objective ship before it could grab more than 1.  Screed popped out next to his objective ship, and my MC80 popped in pointed directly at his objective ship to set up a double arc (and keep everything else in the right hull zone broadside.  A CR90B and Jaina's Light would form my right flank to keep Demolisher away, and the other CR90B would be my blocker.

First turn, this is more or less what happened.  CR90Bs moved forward, screening Jaina's Light and Defiance.  Jaina's Light moved to grab the first token, and Defiance slowed down because I misjudged where one of my B's would wind up.  Oops.

Round 2 is when the fun started.  I got a CR90B shooting at 1 of the 2 generic raiders, and Jaina's Light / Squadrons followed up.  Raider gone.  Screed got tangled up with my other CR90, who in turn tangled up not-Demolisher.  Demolisher got a good shot off (5 damage, plus APT) on Jaina's Light, who clung on to life with 1 hull remaining, in position to pick off the 2nd token the next turn.  1 token each.

Round 3 went very well for me.  Screed killed his CR90, but the damage was done.  He still couldn't move, and was chewed up by the zombie and squadrons.  The other CR90B put some hurt on the other generic Raider, but was going to fast to stay put, and flew off to get broadsided to death by the not-Demolisher.  TIE Fighters were all dying.  Demolisher tried to salvage things by sneaking around the rear of the MC80 after broadsiding Jaina's Light... but instead wound up in the kill zone between side and rear hull zones, at Medium Range.  Between Jaina's Light and the MC80, he vanished.  Jaina's Light picked up the 2nd token, and not-Demolisher really couldn't move.

Round 4 and it was over.  Not-Demolisher and the final raider were killed, with the MC80 and all my squadrons still flying.  Not enough for a 10-0, even with the Intel Sweep, but enough for a 9-1 and a share of 1st place.

Elsewhere, Angelo had a SERIOUS run of bad dice, blanking on a 3 Red kill shot, and then having a perfect storm of damage rolled to finish off both his ISDs, giving him a 4 - 6 loss.  Chris (my R2 opponent in Morgantown, and good friend) wound up also getting a 9-1 win, and we found ourselves at top table.  Chuck continued to do well with his Rieekan swarm (against I think an Ackbar list?), sneeking in to 3rd with an 8-2 victory.  Dave (another Pittsburgh buddy) also won, but not as well, getting to Table 3 with a 6-4 win.

Top 3 tables were all very much in the hunt, with scores as follows:

Biggs 18 vs Chris 18
Chuck 16 vs (Screed 4-ship Demo) 15
Dave 15 vs (Mon Mothma AFII/NebB/CR90/Fighters) 15
Angelo 14 vs (I forget) 13

Either myself or Chris needed a 9-1 to win outright, without Chuck sneaking up from behind if he could 10-0.  That being said, his list wasn't really built for 10-0 wins.  More likely, an 8-2 would seal the deal against Dave, Screed, or Mon Mothma sneaking in with a giant win.

Quick Aside

Had an odd situation arise at Table 7 - a player had to drop after Round 2, unsure of exactly why.  He wasn't really familiar with the tournament rules, and didn't know quite what he should do.  So, he was told by several people the various things he could do to finish the tournament - tell the Organizer / Marshal he needed to drop or stay on to Round 3 and explain that he needed to leave.

He chose to stay in the tournament, and attempt to offer an Intentional Draw to his Round 3 opponent.  Judge came over, it was explained to both players that they could accept an Intentional Draw and get 5 points each, or they could play out their game.  If either one couldn't play, they would concede, giving a 400 point MOV win to the other player.  For obvious reasons, his opponent did not agree to a draw and received 10 points for the concession.

Round 3

Of course it was Chris at the top table - he's been my regular playing partner since the beginning of Armada, my first opponent for an Armada tournament (at Mr Nice Guys - host of the Regionals even!) and my regular Wednesday daylight opponent at my local gaming store.  We've both built our lists based on what has worked and hasn't against one another, and of all my opponents, I usually play him very, very close.

He also doesn't trust giving me Second Player.  He had the bid, and was going to make me First Player.

His list looked something like this:

- Motti
- Gunnery Team
- XI-7
- Leading Shots
- Relentless

- Demolisher
- Intel Officer
- Ordinance Experts
- Engine Techs

- Ordinance Experts

- IG88
- TIE Advanced
- TIE Fighter x2

Opening Salvo
Hyperspace Assault

I wasn't about to pick Opening Salvo, and Hyperspace Assault meant a Demolisher behind me.  Minefields, as usual in my games with him, was the least bad option.

He set the obstacles and mines up in a funnel, trying to coax all my ships into moving into the middle of the field.  I set up with Jaina's Light behind a rock in the middle of the field, going speed 2, and began to delay with fighter deployments, as I like to do.  He put down his ISD pointed right at the middle, and delayed with fighters, but had to put down his VSD next - to the left of the formation.  I put down my CR90B just right of center, setting up for a double arc of the ISD as it moved in, and he put his Demolisher just to the right of his ISD.

At that point, I put the MC80 in place to crash the mine just right of center (with plans to peal off right once I cleared it) and the other CR90B angled in from the left, also to double arc the ISD.

Turn 1 - we moved forward, he raced ahead with his ISD and Demolisher moved to cut off the MC80.  The VSD was slower and out of position, and would not join the fight yet.

Turn 2 - Things went all wrong for him.  All 2 of my 3 CR90s had him double arc'd.  The VSD couldn't activate without ramming him.  His TIEs were still... out of the fight.  The MC80 double arc'd him at medium range once he finished his maneuver.  What I thought was going to be a tight game, turned into Motti vanishing from the board.  Demolisher got exactly where he wanted to be, right on the nose of my MC80, but screwed up his double arc, and couldn't get a side arc on me.  Only one CR90 was destroyed in the exchange, as he had originally decided to focus down the MC80.

Turn 3 - Demolisher couldn't repair from the rams it had suffered, and popped after firing at the MC80.  The VSD took out another CR90 (Jaina's Light), but the damage had been done.  IG-88 took out an A-Wing.

Turn 4 - First activation finished off the VSD.

We were done very quickly, and I had a 9-1 win, and 27 points.  I felt bad for Chris - he flew right into my teeth, and nothing went his way from that point onward.  Giving me First Player did not mesh well with his Minefield strategy, especially since I could tell during deployment exactly where his ISD had to go.  I honestly expected a tighter game, but was counting on being able to out-damage him in the initial exchange between good placement and Defiance / Leading Shots.

In other games, Dave rolled to a 10-0 against his Mon Mothma opponent, moving up to 2nd place with 25 points.  Angelo managed to sneak into 3rd, winning his final game 8-2 and moving up from Table 4, thanks to a lucky Table 2 split, and bringing top 3 honors to Pittsburghers!

Table 2 wound up going to Chuck's opponent, 4 ship Demo w/ Screed, but just by a hair.  It came down to Luke wiffing on a shot on Demolisher, which turned the score from Chuck winning 6-4, to Screed winning 6-4.  Chuck dropped down into 5th place, with his opponent rounding out the top 4.  Chris unfortunately dropped all the way to 7th, but that still put Pittsburgh with 5 of the top 8!

Final Thoughts

I would have liked another round - there were a lot of excellent lists out there.that I wish I could have played.  And I would have liked for Chris to have another round to get back into it.  Angelo and Dave had tough matchups / breaks that they should have had an opportunity to recover from.

Can't complain too hard though, the win gives me a bye to one of either Nationals or North American Regionals, and a reserved ticket to Worlds, and I will definitely be taking advantage of that.  I got the chance to play against at least one new face, running a Clonisher build, and showed the damage my list can do.  Hopefully I can make it out to Columbus for Origins - with starting a new job I am not sure I can take the time off to get out there.  Once I find out, I hope there are still slots left.

I hope everyone had fun coming out to my neck of the woods.  See you all around!


  1. Thanks for the batrep, sounds like a fun event. Do you wish you had not used the bye for your first round, to get in an extra game? (I am considering this as a) I want to play more games and b) I can't make the UK nationals anyway).

    Enjoy rollin' them sweet translucent dice!

    1. Well, on the aspect of winning the event, no I do not regret using the bye. I think it gave me the best chance to emerge on top regardless if it was 8 or 9 points, and regardless of the number of rounds.

      As to whether or not I would have liked to play another round? Absolutely, there were quite a few lists there I really wanted to match up against. Plus, there was only a 2 point difference between #1 and #2 - and it could have wound up closer than that. Angelo, who placed 3rd, had a very unfortunate 2nd round where essentially he rolled nothing good and his opponenent rolled everything perfect to drop him out of a 9-1 win over 2 rounds to a 4-6 loss. With a 5 point swing he would have been at 27 as well ( or more accurately, he would have been playing me or Chris in Round 3, and the other one would have played Chuck). Either way, it felt like there was room in the standings for one more difinitive round. And I would have enjoyed playing it.