Saturday, November 4, 2017

To Bid or Not to Bid

As the Madine Trials continue, I'm finding myself thinking a lot about bidding: what kind of lists want to bid, what level of bidding is acceptable, what you get out of that investment, etc. I more or less see about four distinct levels to bidding in Armada right now.

Gotta Have It
This is the realm of the serial first player: the DeMSU or BT Avenger player that simply must have first player in order for their list to work. This should be reserved for fleets that rely heavily on close range firepower, such as Raiders, Gladiators, and MC30s. To get that guarantee of first player nowadays, you've got to go very big. 20+ points is not unheard of. You need to be willing to give up that flotilla activation to reach this tier, which can be a painful choice. I'm not a big fan of bidding in this range. You're giving up a lot to try and guarantee first player, and all it takes is someone slightly crazier than you to make it a completely wasted investment.

Want It
This is the range where you'll find most serious bids. This will generally range around 9-15 points. It could be you just can't see yourself cutting that one upgrade or are unwilling to give up that flotilla activation. At this level, though, you have to willing to accept the likelihood that someone could out bid you. This is also where you'll see the occasional dedicated second player list. Usually that means they have built their list around token grabbing, and want to force their chosen objective stack on you.

Nice to Have
This is the situation where I'm finding myself with Rebels most days now. There are some lists that generally max out their points that I would prefer not to go second against. At the same time, I'm unwilling to dedicate any significant resources to a bid. Instead, I just forgo an upgrade or so and settle in for a bid around 4-8 points. That gives me the flexibility of a choice instead of a coin flip while also minimizing wasted resources when I come across someone with a massive bid. This is also a good range for dedicated second player lists. Most people bidding (at least around me) are doing so for first player. Still, there are some lists that very much want second player. The last thing you want is to run into another dedicated second player list and be forced into one of their objectives. Investing in a moderate bid is often a safe choice with little draw back.

Who Cares?
Bidding is for suckers right? This category is reserved for lists that simply don't care if they're first player or second player. They max out their points and roll with whatever they get. They can take whatever the opponent throws at them and be comfortable. Contrary to popular belief, though, the no-bid player shouldn't be looking to be second player. You could run into a crafty player that sees your weakness as first player, putting you at a critical disadvantage. This is the category that I feel is the ideal place to be. The problem is it's extremely hard to cover all the potential possibilities you could face. I've been trying to get to this point, especially with my Rebels lists, only to be reminded every so often that being able to choose first or second player would be very helpful on occasion.

So what are your bidding practices like? I'm often in the middle two categories, with only my Rebel squadron list falling into the "I don't care" range. I'm personally never willing to drift into the super bidding range. 15+ points is just too much for me to justify.


  1. I´m on the nice to have boat for 90% of lists, let´s say 398, since a year now. If I have it, I know and have activations enough to usually go for a first/last. If I don´t, I can play my objectives while forestalling the best the enemy has with my own activations. Contrary to what a ton of people expect, Glads and MC30s work very well just waiting for opponents to close on them, then repositioning on another already moved ship that your opponent doesn´t want to move first, forcing the opponent to choose.

  2. At Nordics (nationals) I had a bid of 1 pt... and went first in 3 of 4 games. In the 4th game my opponent agonized for a long time before setting on being 1st player, which he later admitted to regretting.

    But you know what? I'm quite sure he'd have regretted going 2nd too!

    This is where I like to be - a list that LOVES going 1st, but also LOVES going 2nd.

  3. Having recently moved to RVA, the already established bidding war meant that my typical bid of 12-15 points was abysmal compared to the standard 22-26 of players here. I've been flying with a bid of 7 or 8, getting my reps in as second player, but every time I come up to NoVA for an event it seems like my 'meager' bid outclasses most of the bids I'm faced with.

    That said, nervous around MC80 lists that want to go second, like Daryle Winters's Nationals list, and still shaken by what your BT Avenger put me through up at Games and Stuff.

    1. BT Avenger's the main reason I stopped bidding with Rebels. My 15 point bid with that Store Champ list already felt ridiculous and it's only getting crazier. Better to plan to deal with it and save the points.

  4. We are a bit crazy in Richmond, though going second didn’t hurt you in our last few games. ;)