Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Grudge Match of the Week - HERO vs Lyraeus

That's right, it is the matchup you have all been waiting for, but didn't even know you wanted to see.  In one corner, the pride of the Northwest - you know him from Armada Tactics News and his early days of pro-rebel reporting against the Imperial News Network.  Love him or hate him, it's Lyraeus!

In the other corner, a strategy blogger for Armada, X-Wing and other games.  He let Armada for a few months to focus on X-Wing, but now he is back with a vengeance.  Give it up for HERO!

You'll pay for the whole Empire, but you'll only need the Edge.


Above anything else, this is a matchup with a story behind it.  HERO and Lyraeus have been debating the merits of Gunline vs Activation / Black dice in the "FFG talking about nerfing demolisher" (sp) thread.  The challenge is issued by Lyraeus to pit their archetypical fleets against one another.  If you like quotes in quotes in quotes click this.  Long story short, this is a battle of ideals - about what the very meta of Armada is supposed to be right now as Wave 3 and 4 are released to the general public.

They're both wrong of course  Neither one takes enough fighters.

But that is beside the point.  The Gauntlet has been thrown and only one will emerge on the other side, smug and triumphant.


Bid:  382 / 400 

MC80 Command Cruiser (183 points)
-  Admiral Ackbar
-  Home One 
-  Intel Officer
-  Engine Techs 
-  Electronic Countermeasures
-  X17 Turbolasers
-  Leading Shots
Assault Frigate Mark II B (92 points)
-  Gunnery Team
-  Electronic Countermeasures
-  X17 Turbolasers
CR90 Corvette A (53 points)
-  Jainas Light
-  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits
2 YT-2400s ( 32 points) 
2 A-Wing Squadrons ( 22 points) 

HERO brings his list to us more or less unchanged since Wave 2 - in fact, no new ships or upgrades are present.  He has talked about it in detail on his blog as it is his Spring Tournament list he created back in January with some minor changes.  Namely, dropping 8 points by shedding YT-2400s for A-Wings and bringing in Jaina's Light.

Here are the numbers:  Bid of 382 means that he gets to choose first or second player fairly reliably - though it leaves a full deployment / activation off (Transport).  I would classify this 18 point bid as a high bid - and based on the analysis he has done on his blog, he wants to use that bid to take First Player.  He does suffer in deployment and activations, taking a mere 5 deployments and a moderate 3 activations to his ships. 

His fighter cover is built to tangle with Bombers or another low cost fighter cover, but can still participate if no enemy fighter cover exists.  Again, he cut down the fighter cover somewhat, dropping 2 YT-2400s in favor of the A-Wings to free up more points for his already substantial bid.

For his ships, Ackbar on the Home One is his flagship, and a beast of a whale, taking up almost half the points on the board.  It should hit like a truck too, tossing 5 Red / 3 Blue at medium range, with rerolls from Leading Shots and XI7 / Intel Officer making using tokens a tricky prospect.  It needs to be maneuvered and deployed well to be instrumental in the battle, but it is a must take down ship if his opponent takes any sort of losses.  It is geared to deal with black dice throwing whale hunters by aggressive repositioning with Engine Techs, and has added survivability from Electronic Countermeasures.

The Assault Frigate is almost as terrifying - rolling 5 Red / 1 Blue from the side arc, Gunnery Team lets it maximize its shots against multiple targets - something in this game it should see a lot of.  Electronic Countermeasures try to keep it flying longer, and it is more than capable of being sacrificed (due to relative point cost) to secure a win for Home One.

Finally, we get a fairly standard Jaina's Light - something always capable of hitting above its weight class.

Let's hear about the list in HERO's own words:

This is the list that I first started playing Armada and it's been doing really well for me.  I've had tons of games with the MC80 and I really enjoy flying the ship.  There's just something really iconic and heroic about flying Admiral Ackbar in his Home One.
This list is a little different from the one I took in my Spring tournament season.  The only real change in the latest iteration is that I'm trying 2x YTs and 2x A-Wings instead of my usual 4x YTs.  This allows me to play with Jaina's Light instead of just taking a Comms Net transport that deals no damage if I want to have a good bid.  Having played around with Bright Hope, it simply adds a different style of play with its own strengths and weaknesses than running a TRC90.  Therefore, I decided to go with my tried and true, and consequently the list that sacrificed additional squadron power for a higher bid and better damage.
As for the list itself, it's all about putting out big damage.  None of that small damage stuff, but big, accurate, powerful long-ranged firepower through Ackbar's buffs.  The Home One himself is a battleship in the truest sense of the world and the MKII is technically two ships worth of firepower with Gunnery Teams.  Jaina's Light is just one more source of extra firepower and with TRCs and Home One's accuracy, can do consistent, accurate damage.  The big takeaway from the list is that Home One, IO and plentiful XI7s puts a lot of damage into precise sections of the hull.  It burns through shields incredibly quick and goes straight into the ship itself.  After all, the list was designed to fight and triumph over Imperial Star Destroyers.
If there was a upgrade that I wanted to take but didn't really feel like I could squeeze it in, I think it would be Raymus Antilles.  I think Raymus is one of the best officers in the entire game, but I never really have room for him.  While other cheaper upgrades like Fire Control-Team or Skilled First Officer are available, I still consider them luxury upgrades because they're not necessary to the overall fleet strategy.

Thanks HERO.


Dodonna the Oppressor
Bid: 386/400 

MC30c Scout Frigate (100 points)
-  Intel Officer 
-  Ordnance Experts
-  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits
-  Assault Proton Torpedoes

MC30c Scout Frigate (92 points)
-  Intel Officer
-  Ordnance Experts
-  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits
-  Assault Proton Torpedoes

CR90 Corvette A (71 points)
-  General Dodonna 
-  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits

CR90 Corvette A (58 points)
-  Intel Officer  

-  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits 

GR-75 Medium Transports (33 points)
Bright Hope 
-  Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams 
-  Slicer Tools

GR-75 Medium Transports (32 points)
Quantum Storm  
-  Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams 
-  Slicer Tools  

Lyraeus takes a different approach with his list - no fighters, no battleships, but a true swarm of small ships to play an activation game.  The numbers:  A bid of 386 takes him above most players in his drive to get first player and the first / last activation.  His deployment remains average at 6, but it is exactly the same as his activations, which is at true swarm levels of 6 total.

For ships, the two Scout Frigates are loaded for bear, taking not only Intel Officer, Ordinance Experts, and Assault Proton Torpedoes, but also bringing Turbolaser Reroute Circuits to the fight.  However, the only concession to defense on them is Admonition on one of the two.  Two TRC90s make up the rest of the combat team, one being the Dodonna Flagship and the other sporting an Intel Officer to make sure the TRC shots stick.  The remaining two ships are GR-75 Transports - not combat ships but willing to close as control ships - they come with Slicer Tools to mess with his opponent's strategy and Tractor Beams to slow any small base ship.

Notably absent is any sort of fighter cover.  The GR-75's can still shoot AA, as the only shots they can take, but none of his ships have double anti-squadron dice.

I asked Lyraeus what he just didn't have the points for:

I wish I had more Intel Officers! Dodonna the Oppressor is a list all about controlling my opponents tokens and what critical effects they take. It is all about consistent firepower through the use of TRC's. Going first is important but we shall see if can pull off a win with 2nd place but it won't be easy.

I actually think I am too point heavy. I want Jaina's Light in there but it will be so expensive.

The Matchup:

Initiative Bid goes to HERO, at 382 vs 386.  I would be very surprised if he chose to play 2nd.
Deployments go to Lyraeus at 5 vs 6.  With HERO going first, Lyraeus actually has 2 deployments to make after HERO's final ship is placed.
Activations go to Lyraeus as well, 3 vs 6.  Even losing ships, Lyraeus can keep final activation advantage, and will have the opportunity to try and force HERO into his guns first.
Combat Activations deserve a mention here.  Because the GR-75 transport really cannot be called a combat ship, the actual combat ships on the table are a slightly tighter 3 vs 4.  The advantage is still to Lyraeus, but much tighter.  In terms of points spent though, the two are more or less equal - Lyraeus spending his extra points on Transports, while HERO takes fighter cover.

Probable objectives for Lyraeus:
Advanced Gunnery - put on a MC30c, it makes the thing punch really, really hard.  And less dangerous to lose than a Advanced Gunnery MC80.
Most Wanted - On the other end - designate a Whale to kill, and meh, what's double points on an 18 point Transport.
Contested Outpost / Hyperspace Assault - Either one plays into the strengths of the MC30s who want to get into a good position and know where their opponent will be.
Intel Sweep - Know where your opponent is going.
Dangerous Territory - Dodonna has the chance to shine, plus now everyone is Jaina's Light!

Keys to Victory for HERO:

Big Hits - All his dice, so to speak, are in some very large baskets.  But those baskets need to hit Lyraeus and hard.  That involves good positioning with his big guns, and a decent amount of luck.  With XI7s he needs 8 damage to swat away a MC-30, and only 7 to swat a TRC90.  This is definitely doable from the MC80 side arc.  The AFII may not quite have the firepower to one pump chump any opponent, but it can get close.  This brings us to...

Small Hits - Jaina's Light and his fighter cover need to be used well to be the setup men for the MC80 / AFII dunks.  That means chipping away at the right shields for the big shots to get through.

And the most important key.

Protect the Whale - The entire strategy hinges on Home One still flying when the dust clears.  He needs to protect it from anything Lyraeus throws at it.

Keys to Victory for Lyraeus:

Deployment - Where the MC-30cs go is going to determine the fate of this game.  Can they get into a spot where they can make their attack runs and get away to tell the tale?

Good Trades - The MC-30cs cannot be traded 1:1 for anything on the board except Home One.  They cannot even be traded 2:1 for Home One.  If one of these two heavy hitters go down, they need to bring the big boy down with them, or it is a significant advantage for HERO.

Transporting - The transports may not be combat ships, but they are on the board.  Lyraeus needs to use them effectively to stall activations, block, and Slice at key moments if he wants to pull this one out.

Biggs' Pre-Match Bet:

HERO's list is simple.  This is not to insult the list, but it is a testament to the thought that went into creating it.  It knows what it wants to do.  It tells you what it wants to do.  And I would imagine it does that thing in a very telegraphed manner, and there isn't much that anyone should be able to do in theory to stop it from happening.

Lyraeus has given himself options on the opposite end.  Which ship to activate?  What to do with the Transports?  Slow down a small base ship or let it fly?  Even which dice to reroll or spin up.  Even his commander is about choices - which of these critical effects will be the worst for my opponent.  But his most important choice has been taken away from him - whether or not to go first.

If I had to put money down on this one, I would put it on HERO - he seems like the best chance... but...

I don't have to put down money on this.  And Lyraeus has more options.  Yes, more options to make a mistake and lose outright, but also more options to sneak out a win.

But seriously Lyraeus, take some fighter cover next time.

1 comment:

  1. I will take fighter cover when I so please.

    Good to know that less people are hoping for me to win. It will be less embarrassing when I lose.