Sunday, November 26, 2017

AAR - Biggs (and Garm) at the Empire Games Center Regional Championship

On Saturday I got to play in the Regional Championship at the Empire Games Center in Streetsboro, Ohio.  I had been practicing with a Clonisher style "Go first and smash with Black dice" list, but I hadn't been liking how it performed, so the evening before I put back together something from the archives, that I updated for Wave 6.  I had won my local store championship with the original list, partly by getting lucky and having my buddy Chris beat Q in the final round to let me leapfrog into first.

Plus, Shmitty wanted Garm to win Regionals, and he had given me a Garm card signed by Zahn himself!

I did pretty well.

The List

MC80 Command Cruiser (Flagship)  [166]
- Garm Bel Iblis
- Defiance
- Lando Calrissian
- Engine Techs
- Boosted Comms
- Reinforced Blast Doors
- Leading Shots
- Quad Battery Turrets

Hammerhead Scout Corvette  [46]
- Dual Turbolaser Turrets

Hammerhead Scout Corvette  [46]
- Dual Turbolaser Turrets

GR-75 Medium Transports  [20]
- Comms Net

Squadrons: [122]
- A-Wing x2
- E-Wing x3
- Tycho Celchu
- Shara Bey
- Corran Horn

The Strategy

The previous version had CR-90A's with Turbolaser Reroute Circuits in place of the Hammerheads.  I was going to be giving up speed and reliable guns from the CR90s to make the MC80 better.

When it comes to list design, I've always been more of a "centerpiece plus support" designer, which is probably why the Multiple Small Units (MSU) list I had been testing out didn't appeal to me in the end.  I like putting nearly 1/2 of my total points into a key ship, and then build around it various support ships and squadrons to protect it while it does the heavy lifting.  The MC80 does all of this, and is decked out quite a bit to accomplish this goal.

Defiance is in my opinion the best upgrade you can put on a non-Ackbar MC80.  You should be looking to attack out of two arcs with the ship, as it doesn't have a horrible dual-arc position, then rocket past the opponent's best arc(s) with engine techs to get an effective speed 3 with Navigate tokens.  To add to the damage, Leading Shots gives me rerolls and Quad Battery Turrets give me a potential Blue dice at long range if I am going slower.  This wound up being crucial especially when I had to activate the MC80 first.  Commands would pretty much be Squadrons from turn 2 through turn 6, so Boosted Comms helped ensure my fast squadrons would be always within range of the flagship.

For defense, Lando Calrissian was even more crucial to ensure that Avenger / Boarding Troopers wouldn't be able to oneshot the Defiance, and Reinforced Blast Doors would help with this as well.  Would I have liked to put on Electronic Countermeasures?  Yes, but it was the odd man out, as I ran out of points by this time, and ECM vs RBD wasn't enough of a difference to go hunting for 2 points somewhere else in the list.

For supporting ships, Comms Net Transport flotilla would stick close to the flagship, mostly pushing squadrons, and acting as a reserve for the navigate token.  In retrospect, Asoka would have been a better choice, as I usually had a spare engineering token on the MC80 (that I forgot to use in 2 of my 3 games), but it was usually there on Turn 3 to give the token up to let the MC80 attack and disengage hard Turn 3 and Turn 4, before Garm refreshed tokens on Turn 5.  Hammerheads were originally planned to push forward, eat a lot of damage, and die while the MC80 looped around, but wound up being more of a flanking unit in the first two games that I played.

For squadrons, they broke into rough task forces as follows:

Shara Bey - She was on point during deployment, with the goal of either baiting the enemy into attacking her first, and getting bogged down, or jumping into a ball of enemies and bogging them down.  I non-counter attacked with her maybe 2 times in 3 games.  She lived through none of these.
Tycho Celchu - Another task force of 1, because he couldn't be held in place by enemy fighters, he would either be the next into a bubble once Shara was gone, or bomb enemy ships.  Whichever was more necessary.
Corran Horn - Yet another task force of 1, Rogue meant that I was usually leaving him out of squadron activations, and using him at the end of the round to either finish someone off, or attack a ship.
A-Wing x2 - Speed 5 meant they could hang in the rear of deployment.  Used them initially as close quarters defense for my flagship, then jumped out to attack enemy ships.
E-Wing x3 - Hitting things tied up by Shara / Tycho.  Bomb ships when enemy fighters are dead.

Objectives:  Most Wanted:  Should I have taken Advanced Gunnery?  Maybe.  But Most Wanted would let me give up 18 points (GR-75) for the chance to double up on something big.  Plus with Avengers running around, I couldn't afford to just give one of them gunnery teams.  Fighter Ambush was probably the weakest one for me, as it screwed up my deployment with the MC80.  It did give me a chance to score points with my squadrons though.  Superior Positions was probably the best one for me, as it let me maximize deployment and score lots of points from rear shots.

Game 1 vs Sloane Generics

I went into the tournament deciding that at 3 rounds I would pass on my Store Championship won bye.  For one, I wanted to play 3 games, and for another with just 3 rounds I needed the chance to maximize my points in each round, and conceding 2 points without a struggle was no good.  My opponent brought 12 squadrons (9 TIE/ln and 3 Shuttles), 3 Arquitens Class Light Cruisers with Turbolaser Reroute Circuits, and a Quasar Fire flagship kitted out with Flight Controllers, Boosted Comms, Expanded Hangers, and Wulff Yularen.  We were both at 400, and I lost the roll off.  My opponent chose to be first player, and picked my Superior Positions

Obstacles were set up in an inverted V in the dead center of the map (me) and in the far edges (him) with the station on my far left.  He set up his Light Cruisers slightly left, with the flagship behind them flying to the right.  Squadrons clustered to the front.  I stacked my fleet on the right side to intercept his flagship, with my flag farthest left, then the transport, then the Hammerheads in a line farthest right to catch the Quasar if it escaped the MC80.

Turn 1 squadron phase I left Shara alone, in range of his entire squadron force, in the hopes that he would overcommit to bringing her down.  This wound up being big on Turn 2's first activation, as the Quasar sent 4 TIEs after her, and she knocked 3 of them down to 1 hull, and outright killed the final one before running out of tokens and dying.  My squadrons mopped up the remaining 3, plus the 2 that went after Tycho next.  Net trade:  48 points for 17.

Because I was second, and had the same number of activations, I was able to delay the MC80's activation until after each of his ships had gone.  This was crucial on Turn 2 as I was able to throw maximum numbers of dice in separate attacks, weakening the middle Arquitens, who landed at long range of Defiance (3 Red, 1 Blue from quad battery, 1 Black from Defiance), and hitting the Quasar.  And then on Turn 3, where I erased 2 different ships (right-most Arquitens, who landed in my side arc, but just barely) and the already weakened middle Arquitens, who died without firing a shot.  From that point it was mop-up, with my fighters and the MC80 running down the final Arquitens and the Hammerheads catching up with the Quasar.  I wound up with a 400 MOV after the 400 point table and Superior Position tokens.

Game 2 vs Moff Jerjerrod

This time my opponent had brought Moff Jerjerrod on ISD2 Avenger with Gunnery Teams, a standard Demolisher, a Raider with External Racks (and nothing else), a Gozanti with Jamming Fields, and a Gozanti with Comms Net, plus 4 TIE/lns and Howlrunner.  This time, with a 400 point list each, I won the roll off and chose to go second.  He chose my Superior Positions (again).

He lined up on the left side of the board, (left to right) Demolisher, Comms Net, Raider, Jamming Fields, ISD, with the fighters tucked in behind his fleet.  I set up much the same as last time, with the MC80 to the right of his ISD, my Comms Net set behind that, and the two Hammerheads in a line to the right of them.  My fighter ball clustered left and in front of the MC80, with Shara on point.

My fighters engaged on Turn 2, with Shara jumping into the Howl bubble.  She died, and was uanble to do major damage, because of the Jamming Field ship.  Turn 3 had me in a good position, with the Hammerheads beginning their turn to flank the ISD, Defiance in front of Avenger, and the Demolisher cruised in.  While it would find itself out of position immediately after, it wound up with the worst possible critical on my MC80 - I couldn't ready my defense tokens.  Avenger would have free reign.  Worse, I overcommitted to attack the Jamming Field transport with my fighters (and the MC80) forgetting that it hadn't activated yet and that I wouldn't get the extra blue from Quads or extra dice from Defiance.  Avenger followed up, hitting hard enough to knock off my shields and start damage on my hull.  Lando saved 1 point of damage.

Top of Turn 4, I popped Reinforced Blast Doors.  Avenger activated, needing 8 damage to kill me outright.  He rolled 7 damage on 8 dice.  However, instead of letting that stand and ramming Defiance to kill me (and being stuck on a debris field), he chose to Leading Shots his Red dice to try and fish for doubles.  His reroll wound up with 4 damage total, leaving me somehow alive.  I was able to finish off Avenger at this point, and escape with Defiance intact.  He collected several of my squadrons, while I bagged the Raider, Jamming Fields, and the ISD plus squadrons.  In the end, I would up with a 9-2 win, while if he had taken out Defiance (and the ISD had survived) it would have been a ~350 point swing, giving him a 7-4 win.

Game 3 vs Moff Jerjerrod (Bill)

Bill had gotten 9 points his first game, and 10 the second, putting him right with me at 19 points.  At table 2, 17 points was playing 15.  We calculated that if either one of us got an 8 point win, that would probably be enough to beat 17's MOV even if he 10-1'd.

Bill was running an ISD1 with Jerry, Avenger, and Boarding Troopers, as well as Demolisher (no Engine Techs), Raider w/ External Racks and Ordnance Experts, Suppressor, and another Gozanti with Hondo (Friend to all!) and Comms Net.  His fighters were 4 TIE/lns, Valen Rudor, and Saber Squadron.  He also had an 8 point bid, and after looking at my list, asking about how may deployments I had, and thinking it over at lunch, chose to go second.  I was given his options of Advanced Gunnery, Contested Outpost, and Solar Corona.  I figured Contested Outposts would let him just camp on top of it with the ISD, defiantly a non-starter.  Solar Corona would be the "safe" choice, but didn't give any options for extra points.  I figured that I could probably survive an Advanced Gunnery Avenger, if my Engine Techs could keep me out of close range.  Plus Advanced Gunnery on my MC80 would be very, very helpful.  It might not be the safest choice, but it would be the most fun to play.

We deployed with me putting the GR-75 in the middle, at distance 2, going speed 2.  He deployed slightly off-set left with Hondo.  We took turns adding our squadrons, until we were both out.  He deployed Suppressor to the far Left.  I put one Hammerhead at speed 2 to the right of my GR-75.  He put the Raider just left of Hondo.  I put the other Hammerhead at speed 2 to the left of my fighter blob, directly across from the raider.  He now had to commit one of his big hitters, and chose to put down Demolisher, between his Raider and Suppressor.  I put down Defiance far right, with the intent to flank his entire list with it.  He then put down the ISD just right of Hondo.  I made Defiance my Advanced Gunnery ship.  He thought long and hard, then made his objective ship... Hondo.

Obviously he thought there was a decent chance of me bagging whatever ship he put Advanced Gunnery on, so he chose to use it like a poor man's Most Wanted.

We both crashed in, me moving my Hammerheads in as an Anvil, while the MC80 would be the hammer.  It was apparent by Turn 3 that I was being forced to activate Defiance first, not getting the best effort out of it's title, just to keep it from getting eaten by the ISD.  Demolisher moved in and blocked the left-most Hammerhead, eating it while the MC80 and squadron bagged the Raider.  Shara held back the enemy squadrons temporarily, catching them in the backfield, but Valen was able to finish her off while taking no counter attacks.  Another Hammerhead fell, and the question became whether or not I was going to be able to get the ISD before it got away.  Flak had been hitting my squadrons, and engineering commands were keeping the ISD alive.  I danced out of close range, but crucially I missed an Advanced Gunnery attack on the ISD that would have almost certainly gotten it.  At the top of Turn 6, it had gotten out of the MC80's range, with only 3 squadrons able to attack it.  With 2 hull and 1 shield on the left and right, I had 3 squadrons (Corran, Tycho, and a generic E-Wing) capable of hitting it still, all 3 at maximum range of Boosted Comms.  Fortunately, a hit on all 3 dice, finishing off the ISD and getting a 60 MOV win.  Just enough for a 7-4.  In the end, it came down to who made the second to last mistake (he could have put both shields on the rear, keeping me from getting the kill) and a lucky roll.  My opponent (Bill) wound up in 3rd with 23 points.

Table 2 ended with the 17 point player winning with a 9-2, putting us both at 26.  Fortunately, I had a little over 700 MOV to his 660 (or thereabouts), giving Garm the first win of the Regionals season!  Unfortunately I can't make it to the Michigan Regionals, though I will be doing my best to make it to the West Virginia Regionals.

Finally, a couple of kudos:  First, thank you to Joshua Oborn for Marshalling the event.  While I didn't need him for much (just a measurement in the last game) he did an excellent job running the event.  I wish he didn't have to, because I still have yet to play against him.

Also a shout out to Empire Games Center for not only hosting the event, but offering very generous prize support to the players, above and beyond the kit.  I was able to get a copy of Labyrinth the Board Game, which has been sold out in my area, as a gift to Mrs Biggs for letting me hang out all day.  Big props to them for that.

And thanks to Chris, my ride to and from the tournament.  I would never have managed the drive on zero sleep if he hadn't done it.  Plus, he bought me some horrific card sleeves for my L5R Unicorn deck while we were there.

Uh... thanks Chris.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations Biggs!! I didn't think that E-wings could be so useful :D