Monday, May 29, 2017

AAR - Garm Goes To Red Castle Games

Yesterday was the Store Championships at Red Castle Games in Portland, OR and the first stop on the Make Garm Great Again World Tour 2017!  The tournament was well run, the shop is a nice venue, and a great crowd of players showed up for the event.  Keep reading to see how Garm did.

In my last post I broke down the fleet I would be using and my plans for taking advantage of Garm's supply of command tokens.  I'd had 2 practice games with the fleet earlier in the week with mixed results, but it was time to see if Garm was still tournament ready at the Red Castle Games Store Championships.

Nine players showed up for the event, which I thought was good for a holiday weekend.  Even better, each of those players brought a different admiral.  Garm, Madine, Rieekan, Motti, Mothma, Ozzel, Jerjerrod, Dodonna, and Ackbar were all in attendance in this one.  It was great to see a nice variety of fleets even if it was tilted towards the Rebels.  A couple of the players mentioned that they enjoyed my blog posts and tactics videos which is why the article on my fleet ddin't go live until after the tournament had started.  No reason to give my plans away early!

Once everyone was there the TO let me know that his laptop hated me and that I had drawn the first round bye.  I was bummed about this.  Not that the 8-3 result is bad at all, but I was really looking forward to playing my fleet.  Oh well.  I took the opportunity to watch some games and check out what they had on the shelves at the shop.

Round 1 Action - You can almost hear the Pew-Pew-Pew
3 of the 4 first round matches ended 8-3 so I ended up tied for first after 1 round and no games played!  Go Garm!

My first opponent was Ben and his Motti/Demo/Rhymer fleet.  Ben had been to a couple of the Regionals that I had TO'ed but we has never played a match.  He had the higher bid and chose to go first, selecting Solar Corona from my objectives.  I had never actually played with this objective and was curious how it would go.
He deployed to one side of the table in a cluster, with another flotilla set to hide in the opposite corner and issue Relay commands.  I decided to take advantage of knowing his deployment and put most of my ships to the right, but set the Assault Frigate by itself to the left.  I wanted to put him in a position where he had to turn his back on part of my fleet.  The Assault Frigate also had some obstacles in the way to help shield it.

He said that he weighed his options, but decided to go ahead and turn towards the Liberty and Pelta near the center of the table.  Once I felt sure of that I started moving the Assault Frigate up to make it's Rapid Launch Bays (RLBs) run.  In the squadron phase he shifted the Rhymer ball over to counter the Assault Frigate.
End of Turn 1
He was planning to hide a Gozanti in each corner, which I was fine to let him do.  I made a couple of small mistakes with the Pelta this turn.  I forgot to bank an extra token and so only had 3 instead of 4.  I also forgot that with Rhymer the Assault Frigate would be taking shots this early and should have triggered Shields to Maximum! (STM!) to get some shields back when it activated.  I blamed it on taking the bye and not being in the game yet.

So, Rhymer did help him get some shots on the Assault Frigate, but some bad dice meant the damage was pretty minimal.  Turn 2 was all about positioning aside form those squadron shots and I apparently forgot to take a picture at the end.  I made another small error here and turned in too early with the Liberty.

I did remember to trigger STM! on Turn 3 which helped the Assault Frigate start to get some shields back when combined with a Garm token it was carrying.  His ISD was caught between the Liberty in the front and the Assault Frigate in the back, which left Ben with some poor choices.  I tried to get my A-Wings over to tie up the Rhymer ball, but ended up just out of reach, so they settled for shots on the ISDs rear.  I waited until he moved the ISD before activating my Assault Frigate.  It had him with 2 arcs into the back and I rolled really well, doing 3 damage with both attacks!  Then I flew up and dropped out the B-Wings.  The first did 3 more damage to his rear which he allowed through and decided not to use his spent Contain.  Well, it ended up a Capacitor Failure, which meant no redirecting away when the other B-Wings attacked.  They both also rolled 3 damage!  The ISD ended up with 11 hull damage, which would have been a disaster for Ben if he wasn't playing Motti.  Fortunately he was, which kept the ISD around long enough to use its Reinforced Blast Doors (RBDs) and Zertik to get over and tie up the B-Wings.

The other ships were still jockeying for position, with Demo setting up its run for the following turn.  I had turned the Liberty in too early and gave him a way to sneak past outside of it.  Oops.  After tying up the B-Wings, the Imperial Squadrons kept chipping away at the Assault Frigates shields.
End of Turn 3
Even with Motti and those RBDs, the ISD was in pretty bad shape.  He felt like it could survive one activation and sent his Demo for an attack run on the Liberty.  Between the double Braces, bad rolling, and the help of Lando it didn't put the Liberty in any real danger, but he did use APTs to sneak in a crit that prevented the ship from having Command Tokens!  Which meant no free Garm tokens on Turn 5!

The Assault Frigate activated and couldn't quite finish off the ISD.  I opted to slow it down to speed 2 and not risk getting into the front arc of the ISD.  It probably would have been fine, but I decided to be conservative.  Unfortunately this left it just out of reach for the Pelta to juice up its shields with Projection Experts.  The ISD fired a shot at the GR-75, but whiffed with some help from the Solar Corona.  It then moved up close enough to the Liberty that it got finished off.  The Rhymerball started working over the B-Wings while also continuing to chip away at the Assault Frigate.  It ended the turn with 1 hull damage and without its defense tokens.  

I apparently forgot to take an end of Turn 4 photo as well.

Turn 5 started with him activating a Gozanti to take a last desperate swing at the Assault Frigate.  Maarek managed 2 damage on the first attack and Jendon had him attack again.  2 more damage and the crit was a Structural Damage!  Dead Assault Frigate!  It had an Engineering command queued up, tokens, STM!, the station, and the Pelta nearby.  If it hadn't died then it would have lived for sure.  But he got it anyways.  The earlier seemingly small errors of forgetting STM! turn 2 or slowing down the Frigate and being out of Projection Experts range had cost me the ship!  Armada is a game of millimeters for sure.

None of the other ships were in any danger so the rest of the game was just finishing out the squadron fights.  He got all 3 B-Wings and I managed to get a couple of squadrons, but just missed killing Dengar when Tycho whiffed on the final round.
End of Turn 5
The final score was very close, but I came away with the 6-5 victory.  I felt pretty in control most of that game, but Ben did a great job of sticking with it and clawing back to a close match.  He was a great opponent and i really enjoyed the game.

Fortunately for me the other table featuring 2 players with 8 points also ended 6-5.  The Madine fleet had nearly tabled the Rieekan fleet, but Rieekan kept it close with a pile of objective tokens.  The fifth player with 8 points had lost their round 2 game.  So, I spend the final round on the top table with just 14 points.  I knew I would need to win pretty big to win the tourney as the second table had two players with 13 points.

Michelle's fleet used Madine to have a hyper-mobile Mon Karren and Admonition flying about causing havoc while her Rogue squadrons took care of business there.  She also outbid me and chose to go first while selecting Solar Corona.  Deployment ended up looking eerily similar to the last game.

Round 2 Deployment
That's about where the similarities ended.  Michelle was much more aggressive and drove her whole fleet towards the Liberty and Pelta at high speeds.  This was a strong choice as it left the Assault Frigate out of the action for much of the game.  I ended up using Tycho to get an early damage in Mon Karren, but then he was in turn damaged by Corran and a YT-2400.

End of Turn 1 - Wasting no time in this game
Turn 2 saw the Assault Frigate trying to catch up while the opposing fleet rushed at me.  Michelle misjudged her approach slightly and ended up leaving Admonition in a close-range, double-arc of my Liberty.  Admonition did not survive.  That took a lot of pressure off of me for the game.  I had some choices of where to put my Liberty.  I made an error and both gave Mon Karren a side shot and an easy escape route.  Oops.

End of Turn 2
Mon Karren took its short-range blast at my Liberty but mostly whiffed.  It then zipped past and out of harm's way.  The combination of Madine and Raymus Antilles gave Mon Karren some insane mobility.  It was fun to watch.

Due to activation advantage he was forced to move Madine's GR-75 right in front of my Liberty.  I turned over my Concentrate Fire command and prepared to remove Madine from the game.  But then I rolled one damage short of killing it.  I re-rolled a blue accuracy with a Con fire token, but got accuracy again.  I completely forgot to add the die from my command dial.  Thanks to Bright Hope, Madine's transport survived with just one hull left even after I rammed it.  Argghh!

End of Turn 3
She activated Madine first and got him out of trouble.  My main hope there was to chase the GR-75 down with the RLBs on the Assault frigate.  Tycho nad Ahra had been holding up pretty well in the squadron matchup and then the real difference maker arrived, the Assault Pelta!  Biggs had been telling me it was a great flak ship and he didn't exaggerate at all.  The Pelta stormed right into the squadron furball and started spraying enough flak around to turn the squadron game my direction.

I again forgot to take a end of turn 4 photo. 

Turn 5 saw a lot flying about as Mon Karren treid to get back in the fight and the Bright Hope tried to escape with its life.  It stored a Engineering token so it could repair a damage card next turn and survive any ram attempt I might make.

The Assault Frigate was finally in a place to get involved in the game, but couldn't reach Bright Hope without hitting an asteroid and giving Mon Karren a double-arc.  I decided against that and instead slowed down to have the B-Wings finish off a couple of damaged squadrons and threaten Mon Karren who I had been chipping away at with long ranged fire from the Liberty and Pelta.

End of Turn 5
The B-wings whiffed killing a last squadron and so couldn't help attack Mon Karren.  It ended up surviving the game with 2 hull left.  Bright Hope however was so focused on repairing a card that it ended up just slipping off the table by half a centimeter.  It was a lucky turn of events for me, although it ended up not changing the final outcomes.

I only ended up losing Tycho and Shara in this game with everything else surviving in pretty good shape.  It was enough for an 8-3 victory.  We were the first game done and got to watch some others finish up.  It was weird to be done with a tournament after just 2 rounds.  Somehow it didn't feel like I had played enough.

The game on table 2 went to time at the end of Round 5 and ended 6-5.  It was really close with only an MoV of 7!  However, that did give Garm the win with 22 total tournament points!!  The first stop on the make Garm Great Again Tour was a success!!

Spoils of War
The tournament was really fun and Michael did a great job of TO'ing.  All the players were excited to have played and looking forward to more chances to play in Store Championships this summer as we have several in the area.

Some final thoughts on the fleet:
  • I love Garm.  The flexibility that all those tokens give you can really be game changing.  When I play him I feel like I have an answer for anything.  He adds defense, offense, and maneuverability.  I feel like the fleet build I had really took advantage of what he had to offer.
  • The more I play Shields to Maximum! the more I think it may be the best Fleet Command on the Pelta.  I frequently recover 10 or more shields from it in a game.  Absolutely game changing.
  • Ahsoka and Garm may as well be married at this point.  They belong together.
  • RLBs are fun, but not game breaking.  They can be countered with smart play, but potentially game changing in the right situation.  The B-Wings on the Assault Frigate were a nice combo as the Frigate could shoot first to open up a hole in the shields for the B-Wings to exploit.
  • In the fleet building post I mentioned a few upgrades that I wish I had room for.  All of them would have been useful in this tournament, but I didn't see anything I would have removed to fit them in.  Maybe Gunnery Team, maybe.
  • I need a system for remembering when I have a Con Fire dial.  I have a streak going of forgetting to use the dial that has cost me.
All in all I was really happy with this fleet.  I had thought I would play something different at each Store Championships that I go to, but had enough fun that I may just try to see how many I can win with Garm instead. 

So, what do you think? 


1 comment:

  1. Great write up!

    It's fun to see all the thought you put into building this fleet take form and play well at the table. Thanks for sharing.