Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Interview - Fleet Commander Contest Winner Craig Lincoln

Last time we talked to Alexandra and reviewed her "Special K" lead fleet, which she inappropriately named after some of the worst the expanded universe had to offer.  Today we talk to the other finalist, and eventual winner of the contest, Craig Lincoln.

Make your own Rebel List with just what is shown here!

Tell us a bit about your thought process in creating this list.  Was the requirement to include both new ships a difficult one to make work?

I don’t think having to include both new ships was that limiting, mostly because I am so excited to use them! 

My goal in building this list was to have three high-threat and durable targets, making my opponent have a difficult choice as to which to focus on.  I also really like spreading points out so the loss of one ship doesn’t completely close the game off to me, which is why Madine was on the Bright Hope. I built the Liberty to be a solid gun platform with some dice manipulation.  I went with the one with more blue dice because I had a feeling, with flotillas around, I might need to fish for accuracies.  So it is basically an ISD-II dice-wise for only a few more points than the base cost of an ISD-II.

I love MC30s a ton.  My go-to Wave 2 list was a Mon Mothma swarm with three of those and two TRC90s.  So I knew I really wanted to put one in there, and I wanted to make sure it was something new, built with the Wave 3 & 4 stuff, and Fire Control Team caught my eye, as I know it caught the eyes of others.  Ordnance Experts is clearly a great card, but I figured I would try something new.  Since Mon Karren mitigates defense tokens fairly efficiently, and would be a much more reliable damage dealer, I figured ACMs would be the way to go on the MC30 over APT, since opponents would likely have fresh redirects, and ACMs mitigate redirects.

 As for Yavaris, that ship is great because of how cheap it is and it’s also somewhat durable.  That thing can really chew up squadrons or ships, so very hard to ignore, and Flight Commander and Fighter Coordination Team makes this ship able to use its ability much more quickly.  I know, having faced Yavaris, that you need to kill it quick. 

Since I clearly lacked in deployments, I chose two objectives that would allow me to reasonably expect where an opponent had to go to get points, and Advanced Gunnery was there clearly for the MC30.  I have had a lot of success with that objective on those guys, and people with scary, imposing ships seem to pick it often.

I also, most of the time, try to build my lists to be able to reasonably handle most types of lists, or at least have a decent plan of what to do if I encounter something that is extreme like a no squadron or full squadron list.

Anyway, you get the idea.  This game is all about giving bad choices to your opponent, and that’s what my goal was.

Obviously you didn't get to play the games - are you happy with the decisions that the developers made?  Anything that you would have done differently?

 I can’t really complain about how Sam played the list I made given the outcome.  I think choosing second player was the right move against the higher activation fleet. Having ran a five activation fleet throughout most of Wave 2, I know that being able to delay is a huge advantage, and going second helps with that.

I couldn’t really get a good sense of the game that was played before that, but given that he squeaked it out by the skin of his teeth I have to tip my hat to him (if I was wearing a hat).  I did wonder if the squadrons contributed in that first game, but not important.

You had a 398 bid - did your list have any preference towards first or second player?

I paid pretty close attention to that regional data that Shmitty compiled, and noticed that many of the clear winners didn’t have much of a bid.  So, I think this list, most of the time, wants to go first, but I also wanted to make sure I was okay with going second.  MC30 Torpedo Frigates really like first player, but work with second player as a sort of area denial.  That is why I went with Lando over Admonition, as if forced to go second Lando has a better chance of surviving an alpha strike if I got caught in, say, an ISD.  He also keeps the points low on this expensive ship.

I used to be of the mindset that going first was the best way to go, but locally, I forced myself to go second with my high activation MC30 list.  I lost a TON of games, but I slowly got a good idea of how to play better as second player, even with a list that doesn’t favor it.  Going into the new wave, (depending on what those sweet new objectives are) I will probably be going second if I win initiative bids.  Lists need two things to be okay with going second, in my experience: Plenty of red dice and enough squadrons to at least tie up the opponent’s squadrons.

Will we be seeing you bringing this list to worlds?

I might!  I, sadly, have to skip Worlds in November because I am getting married on November 5th.  I do plan on attending the May Worlds (Star Worlds?), though, as my birthday is May 4th and I think I can use that as an excuse to go, if necessary.  I would like to try this list in a competitive setting, though I will most likely tweak it a bit. 

That is, unless Wave 5 hits before then! 

What are you most excited about that is upcoming?  How are you looking at integrating the new waves (and Correllian Conflict) into your list?

Objectives!  Hopefully a blue one that is scary for something other than a max squadron build.  I am so jazzed at all the great news we’ve been getting, and the expansion looks to add more depth to the game than any one ship, due to those alternate squadrons and objectives.

I like some of those squadrons, and I have a feeling I will be making some swaps.  That rogue X-Wing looks so awesome, and as Y-Wings are my favorite squadron, so I’ll probably have to figure out a way to put those in.

Do you think the game is in a good place right now?

We’re at a great place.  In Wave 2, big ships had a bit of a disadvantage due to being out-activated unless you did something like pt106’s no squadron ISD build.  But even then, it’s hard to find room for squadrons.  The flotillas will balance out the whole activation thing quite a bit, I think.  Now you can throw in a pair of Gozanits with two ISDs and still have some room for squadrons.  That, with the new cards that mess with more stuff like slicer tools and the Interdictor upgrades, I think we’re going to see some great list variation.  Down the line, I would like to see a cheap Rebel squadron, like at least 9 points, so higher ship lists can still have a somewhat decent squadron presence and help with deployments.  But right now, I really couldn’t be more jazzed with this game and this community.

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