Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Theorizing a Rebel Pocket Carrier

I don't know about you, but I've been long frustrated by the lack of Flight Controller options for the Rebels. There's the AFII...and that's about it. The only other ship remotely capable of it is the Liberty with title onboard. I've tried it, but it is not the optimal use of the Liberty, which would much rather be using Navigate​ commands. In my never ending quest to use anything but the AFII, I've started looking toward the coming Hammerhead Corvette. Yes, you read that right. Don't you make that face at me.

It's always hard speculating on ships that haven't been fully spoiled. However, with the Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette we have quite a few known quantities. First, we know it has, at a minimum, a Weapons Team slot, an Offensive Retrofit slot, an Ordnance slot, and the usual Officer and Title slots. I'll ignore the Title slot for now because the only known title isn't of us for commanding squadrons. The first choice is, obviously, Flight Controllers in the Weapons Team slot. With a likely squadron value of 1, however, we need ways to command more squadrons. That makes the next choice easy: Expanded Hangars in the Offensive Retrofit slot. Squadron 2 still isn't the best use of points. You really want to be commanding at least 3 squadrons to make the Flight Controllers worthwhile. What you need for the final piece of the puzzle is tokens.

There are a few ways you could go. First up is the new Leia commander card. This is a simple solution that ensures that the Hammerhead will always be able to command 3 squadrons so long as the Aldeeranian princess has something to say about it. If her steep 38 point cost is too much for you, or you want a different commander, don't fret. There are a couple other options. A Comms Net flotilla will work just fine. It doesn't​ really save you points compared to Leia, but it does net you an extra activation. Finally, my preferred route is to take a Veteran Captain. The downside here is you only gain one extra use and then you're stuck at squadron 2. Still, two turns of adding a blue to 3 squadrons is significant. That's typically how quickly the squadron fight is decided.

Based on what we know about the Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette, I can't see it costing more than 37 points. Assuming that holds true and you go my preferred route (FC, EH, and Vet Cap), this will all likely cost you around 51 points or so. That's a pretty good price. An AFIIB with just Flight Controllers is 78 points and is only commanding one more squadron. A Liberty attempting to do 4 squadrons would cost well into the 100s. That means a carrier Hammerhead could potentially be very efficient. I would add External Racks to mine, making them a nice dual threat willing to work in at close range.

I can hear the arguments now: "Imperials could already do this with the Raider and they haven't." True, but Imperials already have two other effective platforms for Flight Controllers in the VSD and the ISD. Frankly, I'll never understand the hate for the VSD. It is the best Flight Controller platform in the game at the moment. Yes, that means it's often relegated to a carrier role, but at it's damned good at it. Baring a surprising point value, the Quasar will soon usurp that title with ease. The point is, Imperials don't need to even consider the Raider as a Flight Controller platform because they already have plenty of options. They aren't desperate like I am.

A lot is going to depend on the Nav chart. Like all carriers, the Hammerhead carrier would likely be too busy spamming the squadron command to Navigate. As a light ship with minimal shields and only 5 hull, the Hammerhead is perhaps more susceptible to this problem. I'll eventually go into the full list at a later date, but for now it is suffice to say I intend to pair it with my Lifeboat 2.0 concept Biggs talked about. I have to give full props to Shmitty for being the first to point it out, but Entrapment Formation's ability to adjust carrier speed cannot be undervalued

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Thought Experiments - Building a Pelta

In honor of Comamnder Sato, it seems only right to look at the Rebel equivalent to our recent Imperial question - how do we kit out what looks like an overpriced support ship?  Today we'll be discussing the Pelta, the newest Wave 5 ship the Rebellion gets to bring to the field.  We'll be most concerned with how to kit it out so that it can support your fleet in the most efficient way - it seems almost obvious that this is not a ship that wants to turn into a points hog as a 5 hull small base ship.

Monday, March 27, 2017

500 Point Tournament AAR

This past Saturday I had the chance to play in my first Armada tournament since last fall.  After having fun with the 500 point format in The Corellian Conflict we decided to try a 500 point format tournament using the new prize kit from FFG.  We were all pretty curious to see what impact it might have on the event to play with 100 more points.

The Art of the Turn

There aren't many players that would dispute that maneuver is the most critical part of Armada. After all, if you can't get that big ISD front arc into range, it's not worth all those points you sunk into it. You're not going to win by flying a CR90 straight at an ISD. However, it's all well and good to just say that. It's another thing to actually do it. What does good maneuver look like? What tools are have available to enhance maneuverability?

Sunday, March 26, 2017

New Writer: Truthiness!

Hey everybody! With Shmitty jumping on board, I couldn't resist joining up as well. These two bring a truly phenomenal amount to the community. I'm truly blessed they're willing to have me along for the ride. Unlike Shmitty, though, I'll be maintaining my normal blog. My Armada articles will be double posted on both blogs, while I'll use my blog to contain my occasion non-Armada rants.

Biggs follow-up:  Can't have just one!  Truthiness brings another veteran blogger name to the site, and more importantly beat me during the Martinsburg regional back in 2016.  Just a shame we couldn't get a rematch in this year.  Both myself and Shmitty are happy to have him onboard!  Look for his first article to go up with us on Monday!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

500 Point Tournament Fleet

At our local game shop, we really enjoyed the 500-point fleet building in the Corellian Conflict.  So, when it was time to run an event with the new 2017 Spring Tournament Kit we decided to run it at 500 points.

I've seen some in the Armada community advocating bumping the standard tournament size up to 500 points.  I've not been convinced we need to do that overall, but it seems fun for a one-off event.  Read more to take a look at the fleet I will be taking.

New Writer! - Shmitty

The Steel Squadron is pleased to welcome our first writer that isn't Biggs.  The Neil Degrasse Tyson to my Bill Nye.  The Peanut Butter to my Miracle Whip.  You know him, you love him, and he writes things using facts and logic!  It's Shmitty!

Yep, like Voltron everything is better the more you hook up....   wait, that's awkward. 
Let's try this.  Biggs has been an amazing contributor to the Armada community since the beginning.  I'm excited to add my voice to his blog.  My attention has been divided lately and I haven't been giving my blog the time it deserves.  So, you can still expect me to track Regionals Data, post battle reports, and make the occasional tactics video.  You'll just now find it in a new place.  The Concentrate Fire blog will stick around so the old content will be there, but the new stuff will be on Bigg's amazing blog. 

Excited to be here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Thought Experiments - Building an Interdictor

No ship was perhaps quite as exciting and wound up being quite as poor in implementation as the Interdictor.  You might rightly ask what is the Interdictor even good for these days?  Well, strap in because we are about to brainstorm ways to use the Interdictor to counter the current Meta!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Boring Conversation Anyway Youtubecast - Episode 2 - Wave 6 Preview

It's what the title says.  You get to see me and other people have bad and good opinions respectively.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wave 5 Officer Upgrades

It's far past time that we took a look at the Wave 5 upgrade cards, and we're going to look at officers.  Let's jump right in with the only non-faction specific officer.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Matchup of the Week - JJ's Juggernaut vs Green Knight

We're finally here!  After 2 months of tournament gaming, we're at the last two tournament players.  On one hand, Green Knight, most famous for being the point man on Vassal updates for Armada, and a Norwegian juggernaut.  And he is up against the Juggernaut himself, JJs Juggernaut from the US of A and current World Champion.  Can JJs add the World Cup to his list of accolades?  Will Green Knight take it from North America and bring it home to Europe?  Will we ever see Clontroper again?

2 of these questions will be answered March 9th at 1830 hrs GMT.

Green Knight - Return of the Vader,  WC 2017

Points: 395/400

[ flagship ] Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer (120 points)
-  Darth Vader  ( 36  points)
-  Avenger  ( 5  points)
-  Agent Kallus  ( 3  points)
-  Gunnery Team  ( 7  points)
-  Quad Laser Turrets  ( 5  points)
-  Electronic Countermeasures  ( 7  points)
-  X17 Turbolasers  ( 6  points)
= 189 total ship cost

Gladiator II-Class Star Destroyer (62 points)
-  Demolisher  ( 10  points)
-  Skilled First Officer  ( 1  points)
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points)
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points)
-  Assault Proton Torpedoes  ( 5  points)
= 90 total ship cost

Raider-I Class Corvette (44 points)
-  Instigator  ( 4  points)
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points)
-  Assault Proton Torpedoes  ( 5  points)
= 57 total ship cost

Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 points)
-  Suppressor  ( 4  points)
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points)
= 29 total ship cost

1 Ciena Ree ( 17 points)
1 Valen Rudor ( 13 points)

JJs Juggernaut - Random Last Minute Stuff: 394/400

Imperial I-class Star Destroyer (110)  
- Minister Tua (2)  
- Electronic Countermeasures (7)  
- Leading Shots (4)  
- XI7 Turbolasers (6)
Total:  129

Gladiator II-class Star Destroyer (62)  
- Ordnance Experts (4)  
- Assault Proton Torpedoes (5)  
- Demolisher (10)
Total:  81

Raider I-class corvette (44)  
- Agent Kallus (3)  
- Ordnance Experts (4)  
- Flechette Torpedoes (3)  
- Impetuous (4)
Total:  58

Gozanti-class Cruisers (23)  
- Moff Jerjerrod (23)
Total:  46

Lambda-class Shuttle (15)
"Mauler'' Mithel (15)
Black Squadron (9)
Captain Jonus (16)
JumpMaster 5000 (12)
Tempest Squadron (13)

Want to see a writeup of the lists themselves?  Take a look at Green Knight's writeup on the forums.

Keys to Victory:

1:  Captain Jonus:  Really, this is the only dangerous squadron on the board, if you don't count the possibility of Lambda shuttles messing with objective tokens.  Can he be taken out of the equation, or will he feed accuracy results at the right time to drop the Raider / Demolisher / Gozanti trio?  All 3 are very reliant on a single good defense token for their survival.

2:  Avenger:  Of any other ship on the board, the Avenger is worth more points by far.  Yes it is loaded for bear, but if it is cracked that is a hard loss to come back from for Green Knight, representing not only his Admiral but nearly 1/2 of his total points.  On counterpoint, JJ's ISD1 can afford to sacrifice itself to bring down the monster, for a net 60 point gain.

3:  Deployment Advantage:  With 5 deployments vs 7 deployments, Green Knight needs objectives in its advantage to mitigate putting down his Avenger before JJ's heavy hitters come down.  He has likely enjoyed going Second Player so often due to good objective selection that forces the game to come to him, and prevents enemy from setting up easy flanks.  One one hand, Second Player would give JJ 2 whole deployments to 210 points of heavy destruction on the board (ISD / Demo) and deny Green Knight use of his objectives, but on the other hand even a single lost ship as Second Player swings activation into first/last territory for First Player.

One Last Thing

Did anyone else notice that there are TWO Gladiator II-Class Star Destroyers in the final?

Biggs' Pre-Match Bet 

It sucks when you're friends with both players and you have to be objective.

I have a feeling this comes down to a capital ship slugfest with a minor fighter skirmish.  Green Knight has the advantages here, even with Jonus running around unchecked, his Admiral is on the biggest, nastiest thing on the board and isn't in a flotilla life-boat for a Jonus raider team to hunt down and kill.  He has reach, both with is ISD2 over the ISD1 and with his Demo having Engine Techs.  He has better damage potential from his ships with Avenger (ISD), Vader (All) and APT (Raider).

I can't count JJ's out though.  He has choice of first or second.  He has better trades that he can make if it turns into a brutal slugfest.  He has deployments to spare.

Still, given the advantages and how I see the fight developing, my bet would be on Green Knight bringing the World Cup to Norway.