Friday, April 14, 2017

Stele Open AAR

Congrats again to Dan!
Stele Open is probably the most fun I've had at an Armada tournament to date. Our community continues to amaze me with just how enjoyable an experience they make these large tournaments. The level of play is continuing to rise. Considering I went 2-2 on the day, fifth place was far better than I expected. It helps that my losses were fairly close at 4-7 and 5-6, and my wins were pretty solid at 8-3 and 10-1. However, I think it mainly shows just how close many of the games were. Pete Hodgkins should have the final standing up soon, but the points were pretty tight. Now that I've had some time to reflect, let's go over what went wrong and what went right.

**Edit** For those that didn't catch my list in the Stele Open live updates, here's my list from the day:

Team Ramrod 

Author: Truthiness
Faction: Rebel Alliance
Points: 390/400   

Commander: General Madine

CR90 Corvette A (44 points)
-  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits  ( 7  points)
51 total ship cost
GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
18 total ship cost
GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
18 total ship cost
CR90 Corvette B (39 points)
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points)
-  Reinforced Blast Doors  ( 5  points)
52 total ship cost
CR90 Corvette B (39 points)
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points)
-  Reinforced Blast Doors  ( 5  points)
52 total ship cost
[ flagship ] MC80 Star Cruiser (96 points)
-  General Madine  ( 30  points)
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points)
-  X17 Turbolasers  ( 6  points)
-  Leading Shots  ( 4  points)
144 total ship cost
Tycho Celchu ( 16 points) 
Shara Bey ( 17 points)
A-Wing Squadrons ( 22 points) 
What Went Wrong
Damn you Demolisher!!!
Liberty was my biggest failure of the day. I could not seem to get it in the right position to save my life. The first game I got it mostly right. I just mistimed my squadrons, so it got hung out to dry in the middle of Yavaris squadrons. I was lucky as hell that it hung on as long as it did, because otherwise I wouldn't have gotten the tabling. Game two was much the same story, except I didn't even get it into the fight when I needed it. I was trying to use the CR90s to block the Arquitens' path and follow in with the Liberty, but I would have been better off doing the opposite. Finally, in the third game, I intentionally set it out there to keep Demolisher occupied, knowing it could deal with a couple salvos, but then I turned it back into the fight. This ended up giving Demolisher another shot at it, all the while it didn't really contribute to the fight in any meaningful way. It would have been better off disengaging and using Madine's maneuverability to stay behind Demolisher the rest of the way.

My squadron use was also questionable for the first two games. In the first game, I jumped out too early, allowing Treb's squadrons to clean mine out just in time for the main ship engagement. Somehow, despite recognizing the mistake going into the second game, I did it again against Mike. I jumped out even earlier, engaging some of his squadrons during the first turn. That gave his eclectic mix of Aces plenty of time to bomb the crap out of Liberty. Side note: Morna Kee fucking hurts.

What Went Right
I still can't get over this roll
I finally learned the right lesson with my squadrons in the third game. I made sure to keep the A-Wings tight to the GR-75s. The combination of anti-squadron batteries and A-Wing counter mauled the hell out of his squadrons, punching well above their level. I managed it again in the fourth game. If I get the timing right, it is a very effective grouping of squadrons. I'm considering swapping out one A-Wing for a VCX to get strategic in play, but I'm not sure I'm willing to disrupt the ball I have now.

The All-Stars were hands down the CRambo90s. They worked exactly as envisioned all day. I understandably got some odd looks and some questions on the forums. After all, I don't have Rieekan, so how effective can they be without being able to abuse the Zombie Lord? The answer is extremely effective if you know what to target. I'm not charging headlong into large ships. I mainly use them has flotilla and small ship hunters. Of the eight flotillas I faced on the day, only one survived. They are effectively speed 5, making them perfect for hunting down the ubiquitous lifeboat flotilla.

What is often overlooked is their armament is actually pretty darn good. A double arc is very easy to line up using Madine, and 5 blues is nothing to sneeze at. Once I was done ramming flotillas into paste, I could use my high activation count and high maneuverability to get them into side or rear arcs of larger targets. From there, I could use the blue dice to add punishment and rely on the Reinforced Blast Doors to ram if needed. The RBDs also make them more durable for working in at that medium range. Since I've started playing this list, I've been using RBDs to discard regular damage just about as often as I'm using them to discard ram damage.

Speaking of Madine, he's the part of the puzzle that makes these CRambo90s so good working as just a pair. They are capable of utterly ludicrous turns, which you really have to see to understand. He's pricey, but I think I've finally found a list where he works well.

Going Forward
Fear the CRambo
After playing this list and many variations of the list I took to Regionals, I think I'm just burned out on the Liberty. It feels much more fragile than the double braces would indicate and the firepower was often not all that impressive. Madine did a lot to make it better, but it still felt like there wasn't much it could do that other ships could do better. The large base keeps it difficult to squeeze into certain spots and an easy target for bombers.

Still, this list was an awful lot of fun to fly. The CRambos and Madine are an excellent match. I'm even finding him useful for bobbing and weaving with the TRC90 and helping the GR-75s adjust their approach with tokens. The squadrons, once I got the right timing, were also an excellent little ball. The key was getting them working in tandem with the GR-75 anti-squadron batteries. Once I did that, the cumulative damage from the black anti-squadron and counter really started to stack up.

As annoyingly ubiquitous as Admonition is both locally and on Vassal, I think it's the obvious replacement for the Liberty. With the right tools, it can hit just as hard if not harder than the Liberty. Its nav chart usually limits it to a single pass or lower speeds. With Madine, I'm hoping to change that tune a bit. The MC30's speed 4 chart suddenly isn't that limited once you add Madine clicks.


  1. It would be nice to see what list you played because it is not given in the post.