Did you know that Garm bel Iblis was the winning admiral at the 1st Armada World Championships and also the 2nd place admiral at the first North American Championships? Given how he has performed since then it wouldn't be surprising if you didn't know that. But at one time Garm was the top admiral in Armada.
Store Championship season is upon us and I am lucky enough to live in a part of the world that has several excellent game stores. While I will probably take a different fleet to each tournament I play in, my one real goal is to win a Store Championship with Garm bel Iblis. I had a lot of success with him in the early days of Armada, but more recent waves have not been as kind to Garm. It's not so much that Garm does poorly in tournaments, it's more that no one really brings him.
So, it's time to Make Garm Great Again!
The man, the myth, the Legends character Garm bel Iblis first appeared in the Timothy Zahn novel Heir to the Empire as one of the founders of the Rebellion who had clashed with Mon Mothma.
In Armada he benefits from the tactical flexibility that he displayed in the novels. At the start of the game and turn 5 you get to fill each of your ships with command tokens. Because of this Garm fleets tend to favor Command 3 fleets that can maximize this token benefit. Starting full of tokens makes certain objectives less beneficial, but does allow greater choice in opening commands as you don't need to store tokens for later. He plays differently than Tarkin or Leia as his tokens are less about stacking with the command dial and more about gaining awesome flexibility. Ships in Garm fleets can get these really fun super-turns where they burn all of their tokens and benefit from multiple commands.
Knowing that I want Garm as my admiral does help me to decide which ships to start with. Both versions of the MC80 and the Assault Frigate have Command 3 and can benefit the most from Garm. Of those, I think the Liberty has the potential to really gain a lot from those tokens so I will start with an MC80 Star Cruiser.
My next choice has a bit to do with another tactic that I want to try, Rapid Launch Bays (RLBs). Flying up and dropping off a bunch of B-Wings seems like lots of fun, so I want to try that out too. That makes perfect sense for the Assault Frigate MkIIb. It has speed 3 and enough durability to survive the trip.
A Star Cruiser and Assault Frigate should give my ships pretty good punch. Neither wants to solo an ISD, but they can each take out small ships and can hopefully gang up on anything larger.
The trouble with support ships in a Garm fleet is you feel like he is wasted when you don't get the maximum possible number of command tokens. The Phoenix Home title fixes that nicely. You still only get 2 tokens, but have the ability to store 4 on your Pelta. I don't think I will need the squadron command of 3, so the Assault Variant makes sense here. Garm's tokens work great to feed the Fleet Commands as well. I am a big fan of Shields to Maximum! so that will go on the Pelta to help keep the two large ships alive.
Beyond that I am running out of points for ships, but want to grab another. A basic GR-75 will provide another activation and help push some squadrons around.
Basic Plan & Formation
So, I know the ships in my fleet, but what will I even do with them? I think I will use a tactic that has worked for me with Star Destroyers. It's a kind of V formation on one flank. Essentially, the MC80 will deploy as far to one side as I can and head up that flank. Unless there is a Star Destroyer directly in front of it it will speed ahead at 3 and try to hook in towards the middle of the table. The Assault Frigate will form the other leg of the V and try to approach the opponent from the opposite flank. The Pelta, GR-75, and any deployed squadrons will follow up in the middle slowly and try to finish off any wounded ships.
To get the most out of this fleet there are a few upgrades that will be nice. Flight Commander helps the Assault Frigate get the most out of RLBs by letting me move before using the Squadron command. Some Dual Turbolaser Turrets will help with the red dice on the AF although Reinforced Blast Doors would also be good for survivabliity.
As much as I would like the Liberty title, I don't expect to have enough squadrons to need it. Nav Teams though are a must as they will use those tokens to help the MC80 turn even sharper. Lando can give me some survivability against MC30s or Demolisher while a Gunnery Team will let me engage multiple targets. With 4 blue dice out the front Ion Cannon Batteries seem like a solid choice for a little extra punch and XI7s will help the damage get home.
The Pelta gets Projection Experts to go with STM!. That will make it an excellent healer for the larger ships. Asohka Tano is more or less mandatory in a Garm fleet. She helps make sure you always have the token that you need.
I'd love to get a Bomber Command Center, the Paragon title, and several other upgrades in there, but I don't think I have the points.
B-Wings make the most sense as the squadrons that I use RLBs to deliver. It offsets their slow speed and the concentrate the most anti-ship dice I can get in that small package.
That leaves me with just a few points left for some anti-squadron defenses. For that I think that the ace combo of Tycho and Shara make sense. The Scatters will keep them alive and fear of Counter may help them avoid some shots. It isn't really enough to keep me from getting overwhlmed by a heavy squadron force, but I don't have the points to try much else.
Finally I have to select objectives. With a naked flotilla in the fleet Most Wanted is a no-brainer. Hyperspace Assault will be fun times with that RLB loaded Assault Frigate. I don't really see a Blue objective that fits. Solar Corona though works well with my basic game plan so I will use that.
Garm Bel Iblis
Assault Frigate Mark II B (72 points)
Flight Commander (
Rapid Launch Bays (
Dual Turbolaser Turrets (
= 86 total ship cost
MC80 Star Cruiser (96 points)
Lando Calrissian (
Gunnery Team (
Nav Team (
X17 Turbolasers (
Ion Cannon Batteries (
= 122 total ship cost
[ flagship ]
Modified Pelta-class Assault Ship (56 points)
Garm Bel Iblis (
Ahsoka Tano (
Projection Experts (
Shields to Maximum! (
= 98 total ship cost
GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
= 18 total ship cost
1 Shara Bey (
1 Tycho Celchu (
3 B-Wing Squadrons (
I don't know if this is a good fleet, but it sure looks like fun to play. Plenty of toys and tricks to use. I will give be giving it a run at the Red Castle Games Store Championship and will post up my results when I get them.