Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Wave 7 Ion Cannons


It's the only one!  And it's only in the Profundity Expansion Pack (and also the Super Star Destroyer).

Real quick though, let's look at what can take an Ion Cannon:

Rebels:
- CR90 Corvette B
- MC75 Armored Cruiser
- MC80 Liberty-Class
- MC80 Home One-Class

Imperials:
- Raider II-Class Corvette
- Victory II-Class Star Destroyer
- Interdictor-Class Cruiser
- Imperial I-Class Star Destroyer
- Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer
- Imperial Star Destroyer Kuat Refit
- Star Dreadnaughts (2x each for Assault Prototype / Executor II-Class)


Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Wave 7 Ordnance

So Ordnance.  There's two Ordnance Upgrades for Wave 7 and honestly it's not surprising it's taken me awhile to cover them.  They're... not great.

Ships that can take Ordnance are as follows:

Rebels:
- Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette
- Modified Pelta-Class Assault Ship
- MC30c Frigates
- MC75 Cruiser (Ordnance Variant can take 2, and both are Large)

Imperials:
- Raider I-Class Corvette
- Gladiator Class Star Destroyer
- Victory I-Class Star Destroyer (Medium)
- Imperial Star Destroyer Kuat Refit (Large)


Ordnance Pods - 3 points


Medium or large ship only.

At the end of your Attack Step, you may exhaust this card and choose 1 of your hull zones.  Then perform an attack from that hull zone with an anti-squadron armament of 1 black die, even if you have already attacked from that zone this round.

This looks pretty darn good as an anti-squadron upgrade.  However, it's limited to medium and large base ships only, which locks it onto one of:  MC75 Armored Cruiser, MC 75 Ordnance Cruiser, Victory I-Class Star Destroyer, or Imperial Star Destroyer Kuat Refit.  Of these, only the Ordnance Cruiser has 2 slots and thus doesn't have that much of a competition for this upgrade slot.  There is a lot of competition for the Ordnance slot in most ships, and Ordnance Pods are typically edged out for other things like the similarly priced External Racks, or a critical effect like Assault Proton Torpedoes / Concussion Missiles.

Where this upgrade shines is in higher point games, where a 3 point insurance policy on a secondary ship isn't a horrible idea.  Both the Ordnance Cruiser and VSD can get a lot of mileage out of this upgrade.  Probably best to leave it at home for 400 point games though.



Wide-Area Barrage - 2 points

Black [Critical Effect]:  If the defender is a ship, choose 1 other ship or squadron at close range of the defender.  That ship or squadron suffers damage equal to half of the total number of black [hit] icons in your attack pool, rounded up.

Another card that looks a lot better than it actually is.  For one thing, it splashes damage to things other than your target, which is something the other Ordnance upgrades don't do.  Splitting damage is.... not great.  Focus fire is how you drop ships after all.

The other issue is how much damage is going to be done?  The "best" use of this is with Sato and Expanded Launchers / External Racks firing out the front of the ship for 7 dice (and thus 4 damage splashed).  Pretty good, but that's a large investment of points to pull that trick off.  Let's assume Concentrate Fire dials and perfect rolls (at least one hit/crit, and every die rolling a hit).  Here's what we can do.

Rebels:  (With Sato add 1 to the total)
 - Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette - 1 damage (Front / Side)
 - Modified Pelta-Class Assault Ship - 2 damage (Front)
 - MC30c Frigate - 2 damage (Side)
 - MC75 Armored Cruiser - 2 damage (Front)
 - MC75 Ordnance Cruiser w/ extra dice Ordnance Upgrade - 3 damage (Front / Sides)

Imperials:
 - Raider I-Class - 2 damage (Front)
 - Gladiator I-Class - 3 damage (Side)
 - Gladiator II-Class - 2 damage (Front / Side)
 - Victory I-Class - 2 damage (Front)
 - Kuat Refit - 2 damage (Front / Side)

If you are planning on using this, or see it used against you remember that non-specific damage against a ship is dealt to one single hull zone with no chance for defense tokens to be used.  So this actually could be a useful upgrade to do things like splash dead flotilla, or to do hull damage to ships with low shields.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Wave 7 Defensive Retrofits

Oh boy, there's a lot of ships that can take a Defensive Retrofit:

Rebels:
- CR-90 Corvette
- MC-30c Frigate
- Assault Frigate Mk II
- MC-75 Cruiser
- MC-80 Assault Cruiser (2 slots)
- MC-80 Command Cruiser

Imperials:
- Arquitens-Class Light Cruiser
- Arquitens-Class Command Cruiser
- Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer
- Imperial Star Destroyer Kuat Refit
- LITERALLY ANYTHING BUT THE SSD (Thanks Tua!)



Saturday, August 24, 2019

Wave 7 Offensive Retrofits

There's a lot of ships that can use Offensive Retrofits, but this one is large ship limited, so one should only focus on the following:

- MC-80 Command Cruisers
- MC-75 Cruisers
- Imperial-Class Star Destroyers


Hardened Bulkheads - 5 points


Large ship only.

When you overlap a ship of a smaller size class (or are overlapped by a ship of a smaller size class) deal 1 fewer facedown damage card to your ship.

I can't speak to the design of the game, but this card was probably in development right around the time that the CRambo (7 CR90s with Engine Techs / Reinforced Blast Doors) was making its presence known, before fading into the annals of time where it belongs.  It's an upgrade that lets you use your Large ships more aggressively against smaller ships, knowing that they can't ram you for extra damage and that you can ram them with near impunity.

In practice it's a card that seems through Wave 7 to be relegated to an afterthought.  When it does see play, however, it can be a nasty surprise to an opponent who forgets that it is on your ship, usually by him getting his own ships into places they shouldn't be and then having to deal with a sudden reality that they won't be nearly as effective as he needed them to be.

Funny enough, it also works with your own ships if you need to do some emergency maneuvering to keep yourself at speed but without moving too far forward.

Wave 7 Boarding Teams (Weapon Team + Offensive Retrofit)

Okay, so again I've been a bit lazy about getting around to looking at upgrade cards like I should have back in Wave 7.  Fortunately for me, the SSD only came with new Imperial officers so I have some time to clear out my backlog now that I'm back from vacation!

Anyways, let's look at the Boarding Teams that came with Wave 7!  For a reminder, here's all the ships that can take them:

Rebels:
- Hammerhead Corvette
- Assault Frigate MkII
- MC-75 Cruiser

Imperials:
- Raider-Class Corvette
- Quasar Fire-Class Cruiser-Carrier
- Victory-Class Star Destroyer
- Imperial-Class Star Destroyer
- Star Dreadnought Prototype
- Executor-Class Star Dreadnought

So yeah, a lot more options with the Imperials than the Rebels.



Jyn Erso - 4 points - Rebel


When you reveal a command, you may discard a [squadron] dial or token and this card to choose 1 enemy ship at close range.  If that ship has no raid tokens, it gains 2 raid tokens of your choice.  If that ship has an objective token, you may also gain 1 victory token.

This is definitely a sleeper card of Wave 7.  It's a card that just has not seen use at all in Wave 7 and for good reason.  The "may also gain 1 victory token" part of the card isn't actually something that you can set up even as Second Player.  Instead you can only get the full benefit of this card with very specific objectives - Capture the VIP, Intel Sweep, and Blockade Run (the most fun objective).  Capture the VIP is a 50 point swing if you pop it on an opponent's ship, so cool!  Intel Sweep gives you a chance to add to your objective total, and can be a 75 point swing if you pull it off!  But Blockade Run, while the most fun objective to play, only gives objective tokens to the Second Player, so you lose the chance to both bring that objective and have Jyn Erso used to her best ability.

But with Rebellion in the Rim coming out there are now 3 more Red Objectives with Objective Tokens assigned to ships, specifically Ion Storm (15 points - ships gain objective tokens if they are more than distance 1/2 from an obstacle), Marked for Destruction (15 points - ships gain objective tokens as a crit effect at Close-Medium Range), and Rift Assault (10 points - spend a die if a ship is not at distance 1 from an obstacle to give it an objective token).

Plus Yellow Objectives gain Fleet In Being (15 points - all enemy ships start with 1 token), and Blue Objectives gain Hyperspace Migration (20 points - gain a token for a turn if you're next to a purrgil token).  This brings the number of Second Player Objectives that work fully with Jyn Erso to 3 Red, 2 Yellow, and 2 Blue, giving quite a number of objectives to use her with.

She's also a quiet all-star for campaigns and their Green Objectives.  I guess her raid tokens are okay too in disrupting your opponent's plans.  Look for her after Rebellion In The Rim finally comes out.




Darth Vader - 3 points - Imperial


When you reveal a command, you may discard a [squadron] dial or token and this card to choose 1 enemy ship at close range.  Choose and discard 1 non-[Commander] upgrade card equipped to that ship.

Another card you don't see all together very often.  Vader (Boarding Team) does offer quite a bit of versatility though, specifically his ability to break key parts of your opponent's strategy.  A lot of ships are reliant on specific upgrades, and Vader being able to erase those upgrades is a huge advantage.  Probably the best on a smaller ship that isn't reliant on Squadron or Engineering value to deliver a big payload. 

He's also the only way to peel away key defensive upgrades like Electric Countermeasures, Captain Brunson, Damage Control Officer, or Targeting Scrambler.

That being said, he lacks the splash of a Avenger / Boarding Team combo, which leads to him being looked at infrequently at the top levels of play.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Wave 7 Rebel Officers (Long Overdue)

Okay, okay.  Clearly I've been slacking in writing these.  Gonna hammer one of these out for every new release article I write.

Anyways, I owe some Rebel Officers.


Monday, August 12, 2019

Super Star Destroyer Commander Upgrades

Hey it's been awhile since we've looked at upgrade cards!  I think I still owe some Wave 7 ones, actually.  Well, anyway let's look at the Super Star Destroyer Expansion commanders, Emperor Sheev "The Senate" Palpatine, and Captain Admiral Firmus Piett.


Friday, August 9, 2019

Screw the Meta: The Steel Command Challenge


Yes people, I still exist. I know I said videos were easier to do than I expected, but then I had to use my game room for storage while we did redid part of the house, then we went in vacation, and then I changed jobs. I also just generally got a bit burned out on the current Armada meta after Worlds. However, the arrival of the SSD, the imminent arrival of Rebellion in the Rim, and the official announcement of the Starhawk all got me feeling a bit better about the game. And then Shmitty went and won GENCON with something that started as a 2am shared fevered dream between him and Biggs, giving me the nice shot in the arm I needed. So I figured now was a good time to pop my head up for some good ol' fashion blogging. I'm about to do a one-year intensive Grad School program, so this could be my last article for a good while. As such, I'm going to leave you all with what I am going to call the Steel Command Challenge based on Shmitty's awesome achievement. Here it is.

The Steel Command Challenge
For the next year, do not take Strategic Adviser, Governor Pryce or Bail Organa at all and only take flotillas if they are the fleet's primary carriers. 

Let go of the crutch of activation padding. Yes, Shmitty had SA, but he had no flotillas at all. Find other ways to adapt and overcome. Bring things that actually fight, not cower around doing nothing be getting in the way. Imagine what you can do with those 40-60 points you're sinking into flotillas. Have a look at all the awesome officers that can go on that large ship. Above all, screw the meta. Let's make a new one. Here's just some of the crazy ideas I have for the coming year.


Ackbar Slash

MC80 Assault Cruiser (114 + 79: 193)
+ Admiral Ackbar (38)
+ Expert Shield Tech (5)
+ Electronic Countermeasures (7)
+ Early Warning System (7)
+ Leading Shots (4)
+ Engine Techs (8)
+ Quad Battery Turrets (5)
+ Defiance (5)
MC30c Scout Frigate (69 + 27: 96)
+ Expert Shield Tech (5)
+ Ordnance Experts (4)
+ External Racks (3)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
+ Foresight (8)
MC30c Scout Frigate (69 + 27: 96)
+ Expert Shield Tech (5)
+ Ordnance Experts (4)
+ External Racks (3)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
+ Admonition (8)

Advanced Gunnery
Contested Outpost
Doomed Station

385/400

Look familiar? It should. I've been using the core of this on and off for a good while. I've cut out the flotilla fat to add some extra reliability to the MC30 black dice and grab up titles. I've also swapped out Intel Officers for the new Expert Shield Techs to mess with squadrons and other low volume attacks. Double redirects with ESTs I think have a good chance of being quite nice. As a broadsiding list, it doesn't care all that much about activations, so why bother?



Sloane Ship Heavy

Cymoon 1 Refit (112 + 67: 179)
+ Admiral Sloane (24)
+ Minister Tua (2)
+ Electronic Countermeasures (7)
+ Gunnery Team (7)
+ Intensify Firepower! (6)
+ Spinal Armament (9)
+ Linked Turbolaser Towers (7)
+ Avenger (5)
Raider I-class Corvette (44 + 10: 54)
+ Ordnance Experts (4)
+ Reserve Hangar Deck (3)
+ External Racks (3)
Raider I-class Corvette (44 + 10: 54)
+ Ordnance Experts (4)
+ Reserve Hangar Deck (3)
+ External Racks (3)
Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 + 9: 32)
+ Comms Net (2)
+ Reserve Hangar Deck (3)
+ Suppressor (4)
Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 + 5: 28)
+ Comms Net (2)
+ Reserve Hangar Deck (3)

Ciena Ree (17)
Valen Rudor (13)
2 x Tie Interceptor Squadron (2 x 11)

Most Wanted
Contested Outpost
Doomed Station

399/400

Ever wanted to use a more minimal squad wing to enable ship shots with Sloane? I think you can do it now with Reserve Hangar Decks. Against squad heavy, you can throw the generics into the meat grinder without losing a lot of points. Against squadless, you can concentrate on trying to strip defense tokens without a huge investment. And remember when Minister Tua was a thing? Screw SA, because I'm bringing her back for that much needed ECM slot on the Cymoon. I have no earthly clue if this list is any good, but it's sure gonna play drastically different than anything out there.


I'm a Leaf on the Wind 2.0

MC80 Star Cruiser (96 + 36: 132)
+ Caitken and Shollan (6)
+ Heavy Ion Emplacements (9)
+ Engine Techs (8)
+ Quad Battery Turrets (5)
+ Mon Karren (8)
CR90 Corvette A (44 + 35: 79)
+ Admiral Raddus (26)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
+ Jaina's Light (2)
CR90 Corvette A (44 + 7: 51)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
CR90 Corvette A (44 + 7: 51)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)

Hera Syndulla (28)
Han Solo (26)
Shara Bey (17)
Tycho Celchu (16)

Surprise Attack
Volatile Deposits
Asteroid Tactics

399/400

My signature build, refreshed to play fairly different. Gone are the breakneck Engine Techs on the CR90s. Instead, I've taken their points along with the flotilla points and invested in a medium squad wing. The best part is they're completely independent. I was won over by Hera a while ago, but never found a mix of squads I like with her. Shara and Tycho have always been clutch for me, but are usually not enough on their own. Han, meanwhile, was awesome for me with Sato. My goal is that the four of them together can cover each other's weaknesses and punch above their weight. I've tagged out my usual Intel Officer for Mon Karren in this world of DCO-totting SSDs, but depending on how that plays out, I could go right back.

So are you brave enough to take up the Steel Command Challenge? Post your crazy fleet ideas below.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

How to Build a Dumpster Fire - The Ballad of Garm Part 2

I’m still in a bit of shock, but I actually took the Dumpster Fire to GenCon and won the 2019 Armada North American Championship!



Since then I have received a ton of congratulations from the Armada community for which I am very grateful.  I have also been getting more than a few people asking What? How? Why? Garm? WTF?


So, this post is going to cover the “Why?” of the fleet.  Every piece of it is there for a reason and has a job to do.  The fleet has been described as finely tuned by my opponents and I wanted to give you all a glimpse into what that fine tuning looks like.  I’ll break down my 7 games in the tournament in another post later on.


Sunday, August 4, 2019

Commander's Guide - Super Star Destroyer: Star Dreadnought Prototype


We've got our hands on it now, so let's look at how you can bring a Super Star Destroyer into the game.  We'll be starting with the "tournament legal" variants, the Star Dreadnought Prototypes.


Thursday, August 1, 2019

The Ballad of Garm

I'm here again at GenCon to take another swing at the Armada North American Championships.  This is my 4th time at the tournament.  In my previous 3 attempts I have managed to lose pretty badly in the first round.  I had hoped to combat that by getting to bed a little early this evening.  Then someone in my hotel decided to smoke weed in their room and set off the building fire alarm.

So, thanks to that and my 3-hour jet lag I am now wide awake.  So I figured I would write a bit about the fleet I will be playing tomorrow.

It's time for Garm's Dumpster Fire to take on GenCon.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Headed to GenCon

It’s time for the "Best 4 Days in Gaming"  Once again I'm headed off to GenCon to play some Armada, get photos from the FFG booth, and otherwise nerd it up for the weekend.

I have tickets for the In-Flight Report on Wednesday and I will be live-blogging all of FFGs announcements.  Then playing in the Armada tournament Thursday morning (and hopefully Friday too).  I'll do my best to get a quote or two from the FFG devs.

There should be lots of Armada buzz at GenCon this year.

  • The SSD is getting its offcial release.  I expect to see the monstrosities being carried around.  Hopefully I can get in a game with or against one.
  • FFG announced today the Rebellion in the Rim wil be getting an early release at the con.  I will unbox one there and upload pictures of the cards that haven't been spoiled yet.  Watch for this Thursday after the tournament.
  • We also know that FFG should be announcing the "2 sizable ships" coming in Q4.  I expect they will show pictures on Wednesday and should have models in the booth on Thursday.
Aside from that I have a pretty full dance card of board, card, and miniature games.  I'm also gonna spend a little time in FFG's booth teaching Outer Rim and X-Wing.

Let me know in the comments what else you would like to see, hear, or read about from GenCon.



Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Unofficial Rules Spoiler


Looks like someone was a bad boy and opened their holiday present early.

So here's what we know.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

FFG Spoiling Rebellion in the Rim

New Cards spoiled for Armada, and it's an official spoil, per FFG's live twitch stream!


What could it mean?!


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Q3 News Roundup

Welcome to July.  Steel Command has been on hiatus for the last couple months, but that doesn't mean things aren't happening.  Let's look at all the Armada news that has come out since April...

 ... wait that can't be right.


Monday, May 13, 2019

800 Point Sector Fleet Tournament Report

Last Saturday I played in an 800 point Sector Fleet tournament at Dice Age Games in Vancouver.  We had 10 players turn out for the event all eager to see how an 800 point event would shake out.  Read on for reports on my game as well as thoughts on Sector Fleet events overall.

Getting setup for the 1st round.  8000 points worth of fleets across 5 tables!

Friday, May 10, 2019

Planning for an 800 Point Sector Fleet Tournament

Tomorrow I get to do something fun, I am running an 800 Point Sector Fleet event at Dice Age Games.  It looks like we are going to have a really strong turnout with some players driving down from Seattle for the day.

Well, life has been busy lately, so the first round of the event will actually be my first real 800 point game of Armada.  I need to figure out a fleet, so I thought I would share how I put it together here.


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

The Road Goes Ever On - Let's Play Journeys In Middle-Earth (Part 2)


Our Fellowship is assembled.  Gimli and Legolas are fan favorites, to be sure, but Aragorn and Bilbo tied for third.  So, in turn, Truthiness was asked to cast the tiebreaker vote, and we're bringing Mr. Baggens along.  Let's look at them each in a bit more detail, then we'll worry about what to equip them with:

Of course, Gimli and Legolas joining up with Bilbo puts this firmly into the realm of NOT CANNON, so uh, we'll deal with that how we can.

Part 1 - Click Here

Part II:  Down the Road Where It Began


Tuesday, April 30, 2019

I'm a Leaf on the Wind: Truthi's Worlds AAR

Now that I tried that whole video thing, back to the blog proper! You've heard from Snipa, Geek, and Biggs. Now it's my turn, I guess. Biggs is totally not making me write this. I'm totally not chained to a desk. Nope. Completely safe here.

So yeah, I was fortunate to have two friends crazy enough to share the twelve hour drive to Chicagoland to take part in the fourth ever Armada World Championship. I have to first remark on just how much fun the atmosphere was. It was awesome to meet people from all over the world and put some names to faces. Team Canada was so into it they had damned jerseys. I finally got meet the table-standing legend Ian Cross. And naturally, it was entertaining to watch people cringe a bit whenever Ginkapo reluctantly divulged his identity never got old. Oh right, there were games too! And I played them! So that's it, right? I can go now? OWW, STOP STABBING ME BIGGS!

After generally just messing around through Regionals season, I went back, as I always intended, to Drunkle Raddish. If you read the blog during my NOVA Open run, the list is more or less the same, making me one of the few players at Worlds that ran completely without squadrons. If there's interest, I can do another breakdown of the list and how I fly it, but I've written about that a fair amount already. The short version is it flies best with reckless aggression. Here's the version I took:

I'm a Leaf on the Wind 1.1 (0/389/400)
=======================================
MC80 Star Cruiser (96 + 35: 131)
+ Intel Officer (7)
+ Caitken and Shollan (6)
+ Heavy Ion Emplacements (9)
+ Engine Techs (8)
+ Quad Battery Turrets (5)
CR90 Corvette A (44 + 43: 87)
+ Admiral Raddus (26)
+ Engine Techs (8)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
+ Jaina's Light (2)
CR90 Corvette A (44 + 15: 59)
+ Engine Techs (8)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
CR90 Corvette A (44 + 15: 59)
+ Engine Techs (8)
+ Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)
GR-75 Medium Transports (18 + 9: 27)
+ Hondo Ohnaka (2)
+ Slicer Tools (7)
GR-75 Medium Transports (18 + 8: 26)
+ Slicer Tools (7)
+ Quantum Storm (1)
Hyperspace assault
Most Wanted
Intel Sweep

Old Picture, Same Ships

Game 1
I started my tournament out with the flavor of the month: Thrawn Two Ship. This build seemed to be bloody everywhere at Worlds, so much so that I'm surprised I didn't run into it more frequently than I did. This was also my first actual match against it with my Raddus fleet. I knew theoretically how to approach it, but theory and implementation are two very different beasts. It didn't help that the guy flying it, Derek McKinnon, knew what he was doing. He had a Pryce Quasar, a Brunson ISD, MMJ+friends, and a massive bid. He took first and selected my Intel Sweep.

I did my sideways deployment, but made the first of my two major mistakes of the game. Instead of keeping it in formation with the other CR90s, I was extra cautious with the flagship. It deployed facing forward and away from the main group. It kept it pretty safe on the critical Pryce turn, but the end result is it was out of the fight for five of the six turns. My second mistake was target choice. I had also yet to experience MMJ put together, so it never occurred to me that the Quasar was largely irrelevant in this game. The ISD was really all he needed to use to push MMJ, so killing the Quasar first did little to stop him from moving squads around like wanted. My Lib drop should have gone after the ISD to knock out Thrawn and a bunch of points as fast as possible. That might have been a tough slog with Brunson sitting on the ISD, but I think perfectly doable, especially if I had deployed my flagship properly and gotten it into the fight.

I lost the Lib, a flotilla, and a CR90 that just barely died on the last roll of the game (damn you perfect Morna roll!). I took out his Quasar and took the 75 points from the sweep. The end result was a 4-7, sending me into submarine territory.

Game 2
My second game started with a maniacal laugh from yours truly as I drew geek from CGYSO as my next opponent. I like to tease John about his Leia obsession, but the fact he's able to use such a sub-par commander as successfully as he has is a testament to his abilities. But this was not a good matchup for him, and we both knew it going in. We had talked extensively about how he might handle Raddus drops, and all of our efforts boiled down to him needing to avoid tabling and let his squads work as long as he could.

I had the bid, so I took first player and selected his Most Wanted. My flagship got tagged (obviously) in exchange for one of his flotillas. I knew his three Hammerheads would be easy enough for me to catch, so I made my priority getting to Leia's CR90 flagship. I dropped my Lib to get an easy kill against a Hammerhead and then moved it up to pressure Leia. I kept my own flagship back a but with the intent of hunting Leia if she snuck by. She did, but not without getting a HIE proc from the Lib's side arc, which allowed my flagship to finish the job. I left my other two CR90s to duel with his two Hammerheads, which they handedly won.

John came within a few hull points of finishing off the Lib, but I got the tabling in before the bombers could finish it off. In total I only lost my flotillas in exchange for John's entire fleet for a 10-1

Game 3
My next opponent was Comatose. Geek had recently converted him over to the Leia cause, but he was running a more defensive Yavaris B-Wing blender. He had two FCT Peltas to put his squads in place write effectively even without commands.

Once again, I was first player and took Most Wanted. Rather than tagging my flagship, he chose a CR90 on the far left flank that looked to be the most vulnerable of the three. My Slicers were a prime importance here, preventing Yavaris from getting off a squad command on the turn two Raddus drop. The Lib was brutally effective, taking out Yavaris and one of the Peltas while two of my CR90s tag teamed the other. The Lib did go down along with a flotillas, but I still secured a solid 8-3, jumping me into 12th place.

Game 4
2016 World Champ JJ Juggernaut awaited me this round. He was running his now-familar Profundity nesting dolls Raddus build. This game featured zero squadrons, and is in fact the only game I played where my opponent hadn't maxxed out their squadrons. I had the bid and decided to take first. I debated deferring so I could get the better job, but I've played JJ enough to know how dangerous he is with that list combined with first player. He had Station Assault in his stack, which I happily grabbed.

This is a game I was kicking myself for starting as early as turn three. I played this absolutely perfectly at the start. I decided to drop on turn one to put pressure on JJ's flagship and neutralize the advantage he got with being second player in a Raddus mirror match. JJ put down his own drop, and plopped his kamikaze Hammerhead in front of my Lib. He was able to unload his ExRacks for a solid amount of damage, but I was able to maneuver the Lib to stay out of the MC75's brutal close range. His flagship managed to slip away, but by the end of turn two, I had killed his Hammerhead and was easily going to be able to kill both stations. I had a 7-4 in the bag.

And then I got greedy. Rather than recognizing JJ's activation advantage was still there and avoiding any further engagement, I steered into fight some more. First I finished two CR90 moves too close together with allowed Admonition to get within close range of both, thus guaranteeing one would die. Instead of the Lib being threatening JJ was able to put sustained fire on it while also dodging outside of its main arc. Then I finished the game with a boneheaded flagship move that got it killed by the MC75. I ended up losing 3-8 in a game that I had in the bag on turn two. Luckily I only dropped down to 25th, keeping in the running for day two.

I went to sleep quite angry at myself for that last game. Anger, though, has a wonderful way of making me focused, especially directed internal and given time to process. I was laser focused on day two.

Day Two, Focus Achieved

Game 5
My first opponent of the day was John Thomson, who was running a 2.5 ship Sloane list featuring a Kuat ISD, a Quasar, and a Gozanti. For the life of me, I can't remember if he had Pryce or not or which ship it might have been on. I do remember, however, I had the bid and took his Advanced Gunnery. I was confident in my ability to dodge around the Kuat and take the big 112 objective prize home. I was right. He deftly avoided my Lib on the turn two drop, but I was able to turn in and get him with a double arc on turn three. The Lib then sailed on to the Quasar, killing it on the way out of the engagement zone. My CR90s took it from there, relentlessly pouring fire into the Kuat. Meanwhile, my Slicers kept the Sloane squads largely under control. I only lost my flotillas on my way to a 10-1 tabling by turn four.

Game 6
My next game was almost the exact same thing. Danielle De Gemini was also running Sloane, this time with just a Quasar and an ISD. I once again had first player and picked Advanced Gunnery. I remember he definitely had Pryce along for the ride, necessitating my sideways deployment technique. The ISD came charging into the fray, but I dropped the Liberty defensively, forcing the ISD into a last/first situation. While I lost the Liberty from all the squads, the ISD didn't last long and the Quasar was hunted down without remorse. I managed another turn four tabling, this time for a 9-2.

Game 7
Sam Simon, one of the pioneers of the 2-ship archetype awaited me in the final round. He was running his 2.5 variant with an Interdictor, Quasar, and Gozanti and the typical MMJ-led ball and maximum squad movement shenanigans. I won a roll off for first player and took Sam's Station Assault (mistake number one) I once against did my sideways deployment and got a lucky break on turn one as Sam's dice totally failed him, leaving one of my slicers alive when it definitely should not have. In retrospect, I think it resulted in me making a mistake on my Liberty drop.

Because the option was there when I did not expect it to be, I decided to go after his Quasar. I got a last/first with the Liberty and intended to jet out of the engagement zone to force Sam to move his squads out of position if he wanted the points. However, I just barely wasn't able to get the turn I would have needed, so I turned in to fight the Interdictor and predictably died to squadrons. I...um...may have done a lot of ramming to bypass the nasty Targeting Scramblers/Brunson combo of doom. It left my CR90s badly weakened, though. Even after securing the tabling on turn four, two CR90s went down to the remaining squadrons. My dice failed me on the last turn, so I didn't even get a station for my troubles. I squeak out a 6-5 and for the first time ever kicked myself for taking Station Assault.

Conclusions

I Surrender. This is who I am now.

This Raddus list is by far my favorite list I've ever made for competitive play. I don't really have much more to say that I haven't already. It's just a lot of freaking fun to play. While most of the rest of Worlds was cautiously maneuvering squadrons, I was blasting around at Ricky Bobby speeds. I have never, nor do I think I will ever, miss having squadrons in this particular list. Yes, it puts me on the clock. I generally need a tabling against a max squadron build or I'm pretty well screwed. But you know what? I can do that reliably, even against someone with a lifeboat in the corner. Even when I can't rely on slicers, I've proven that I can still effectively pressure a squadron heavy build. The key is tempo. I have to put the pedal to the metal from the very start of the game and never let up. It is not a list for the faint of heart, nor cautious of tendency. Much like Ardaedhel and his shrimps, I think this has become my signature. I love flying it, but it seems to take my level of crazy to make it work.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The Road Goes Ever On - Let's Play Journeys In Middle-Earth (Part 1)

Part 1:  Setting up for the Journey




Hello folks.  Biggs here, and I'm going to be taking a bit of a detour through Tolkien's mind a bit in FFG's The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle-Earth.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Twilight of Wave 7 / Post-2019 Worlds Commander Rankings

It's time, now that world's has ended, to do another Commander rankings.  Too bad we're still in Wave 7!



Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Revised Commander's Guide - X-Wing Squadrons

Well, if I'm going to write about all the other stuff that has changed since Wave 1, I might as well talk about squadrons too.  Today we'll go over the ubiquitous and probably most well-known Rebel starfighter, the X-Wing.

You probably have a LOT of X-Wings.
How many X-Wing squadrons do you have?  You probably have 4 from the core set, plus 2 for each Rebel Fighter 1 pack.  Or you could be me with 2 core sets, 3 Fighter 1 packs and plans to buy a 4th so I can get some replacement Y-Wings since "Green" and "Yellow" squadrons broke off engines and maybe I want to run 8 A-Wings some day.  Point is, you've got quite a few.  (14, with plans for 16 in my case)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Thrawn Two Ship


Revised Commander's Guide - Gladiator Class Star Destroyer


It's been a little bit since I've gone back to look at the old ships - I've done a few but clearly there's a lot that I still need to get to.  Today let's look at the Gladiator Class Star Destroyer, and how it's seeing use in late Wave 7.


Sunday, April 7, 2019

Day 2 - The Dumpster Fire Continues

When we last left off, we were talking about the Rolling Dumpster Fire, a Garm based list that I created with Shmitty and brought to worlds because it somehow seemed to work.

2019 World Champion (Right) and a bunch of scrubs who didn't win.

But first, breakfast.  Did you know the 2019 World Champion had breakfast with us?  Spoiler:  It was not me.  Eat breakfast, folks!


Monday, April 1, 2019

The Forbidden Love of Lothal 2 - The Pryce of Love (Chapter 4.1)

Chapter 4 - Part 1

"Interesting.  One would think our success would be linked, and yet..."  Grand Admiral Thrawn's blue skin flashed a hint of red.  He looked into his lover's eyes, but no trace of her once lustful gaze stared back at him.  "How peculiar, to find myself at a loss.  It is, as though you were..."

"A Phantom.  Yes."  Governor Pryce met his gaze.  "I have learned from you, Grand Admiral.  Our time together was good, and enjoyable, yes.  But I'm afraid you aren't the one that... to use the vernacular, 'rocks my World'."  She smoothed her clean cut Imperial uniform.  "I've found someone else, better suited for me than you."

"And yet, we are perfect for one another.  We came together, to this place, at the same time.  With our powers put together, we have a true archetype that cannot be replaced!"  Thrawn's demeanor was nearly cracking, how could the Governor not see the truth!  "Between the two of us, we had a synergy that no other could make!"

"You mean your incessant commands?  The ones that are always perfect, and no one could mess up?"  Pyrce laughed.  "Any skilled first officer can give what I crave, right when I need it.  I only have to ask.  And Admiral Sloane, she does things for me that you never could..."

"...In the end you're no better than a Dumpster Fire."


[Will Thrawn regain his lost love?  Will Pryce and Sloane be the new power couple!?  Stay tuned for Part 2 of Chapter 4 in the Forbidden Love of Lothal 2 - The Pryce of Love!]












(Yes, I know the World's winning list didn't use Pryce.)

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Smoldering or Burning - World Championship AAR for Garm and the Rolling Dumpster Fire

We've talked about how this beautiful list came to be, and also how to fly it.  Shmitty even did an AAR already for a casual game.

Now it's time to put our child to the test.  At the most prestigious event they'll still let anyone (but not everyone) in to:  The 2019 World Championship.

Thank you Geek19 at Cannot Get Your Ship Out for the alternative Pelta.  Everybody to the Limit!

Friday, March 29, 2019

Rolling the Dumpster Fire - A Garm Analysis


This is the Rolling Dumpster Fire.  The brainchild of not enough sleep and bad ideas.  The basics of the Dumpster Fire involves the sum of it's respective parts being worth more than than each one individually.  This is not a plug and play list, nor is this a list where ships can be effective on their own.  This is a list where otherwise "bad" ships work together to make a harmonious whole.

This is how you fly it.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

2018-2019 Regionals Season Data Analysis

The Regionals season is over, and we as a community collected an awful lot of good data from all over the globe. I love seeing all of it come together, which makes it worth all the work. This year saw an unparalleled effort to feed this beast. Though there are still some blank spots, I'm confident we collected more lists than any season past. Thank you to everyone that collected, posted, emailed, and/or messaged lists to me. Many thanks also go to Ardaedhel and CyborgNinja, both of whom took a good chunk of the data input burden off my shoulders this year. I would have burned out half way through the season without you.

That's a lot of lists
First, a note on data interpretation. I have kept the "winner" column in place for posterity. Some people like to see it, and I haven't had the heart to delete my formulas. However, since I figured out how to do tiered percentiles this year, I've found the "top 10%" category to be much more useful. The disposition of winners is interesting to know, but often times the difference between the winner and the runner up is simply match ups, especially in the three round tournaments that make up the bulk of Regionals. The winner and runner-up likely never played each other. As such, I prefer to look at the top 10% when I'm making assessments on the health of the overall meta. When I say "top bracket" below, I mean the top 10%. I only really address the winners when it's an interesting anecdote. As always, feel free to dive into the data directly here.

Imperial Dominance



Last year saw a slightly higher number of Imperial players at the top than the overall population. This year, it's even more glaring. The general population still splits at 45% Rebel and 55% Imperial. That's been a near constant year to year. At the top bracket, the spread is 37% Rebel to 63% Imperial. It's not quite to the point of saying "we have a faction balance problem," but it's certainly worth keeping an eye on. If you take the time to deep dive into the individual lists, it's pretty clear that it's not the overall faction, but rather a specific style of Imperial build that's dominating.

The first element of Imperial dominance looks to be Grand Admiral Thrawn. He's the most popular Imperial admiral at 24% of all Imperial lists, but he still outperforms that inclusion. Of the Imperial lists in the top bracket, Thrawn accounts for 37% of them. To punctuate just how much this blue bad ass has taken this season by storm, there have been more winning Thrawn lists than all Rebels put together. Like I said, I don't put much stock in the winner column, but it's hard not to take note that Rebels make up only 30% of winners, while Thrawn alone accounts for 35% of all winners. Sloane and Jerjerrod similarly outperform at the top, but nothing as dramatic as Thrawn. Besides the duds of Konstantine and Tagge, most other Imperial commanders do pretty well. When looking just within the Imperial faction, the numbers make it look like many of them drop off at the top, but the drop off it much less dramatic when compared at the total population.

The second and third elements are officers upgrades: Captain Brunson and Governor Pryce. Brunson is quickly becoming about as much of a no-brainer upgrade as one exists in Armada. 40% of all Imperial lists are bringing her. Her exact placement varies. Sometimes its on an Interdictor to make that ship absurdly durable. Other times it's on Demolisher, giving the old boogeyman some extra durability. Whatever she it, Brunson clearly makes a big impact, because her inclusion rises to a ridiculous 61% in the top bracket. Governor Pryce is less popular, with only 17% of Imperials taking her. That's likely due to the fact that, unlike Brunson, Pryce can blowback on the player. However, her spike at the top is hard not to notice. She jumps all the way up to 35% of top bracket Imperial lists. Her ability to upend the activation meta is obviously quite good in the right hands. 

Rebel Parity

Rebs are bit of an odd story. They took a hit in the overall meta this year, doing worse than Imperials overall. Internally, however, they appear to be doing pretty good. Unlike Imperials, no one commander stands out particularly high. Rieekan still overall places the best, but it's less pronounced than in previous years. Raddus, Dodonna, and Ackbar are all right there with him. Unfortunately, also unlike Imperials, those four commanders account for an overwhelming majority of Rebel lists. The rhyme that's going around is unfortunately true: red fish, blue fish, crit first, death wish are your most viable Rebel commanders by far. Sato had a surprisingly strong showing. The rest are just kind of there, used by die-hards that really really want that commander to work, and a few very skilled die-hards breaking into the top bracket out of sheer force of will. So in totality, Rebels appear to be more limited on viable commanders, but those four that remain are pretty evenly matched.

When you break into fleet composition, Rebels get even more scattershot. Want to fly nothing but small ship MSU? 21% of Rebel lists are still doing that, and despite popular perception, they're still able to do well with it. 25% of Rebel lists in the top bracket being composed of just small ships. Strategic Adviser? It's taken in about a quarter of Rebel lists, but it appears to give no extra advantage in getting to the top bracket. Toyrn Far? Same story. Yavaris, the dreaded MVP of multiple Worlds winners, is still around at 14% usage in Rebel fleets. Guess what? It also remains flat across all brackets. Even squadrons don't seem to matter much. Squadron heavy remains even across brackets, as does squadronless. Heck, it looks like Rebels can even bring the mythical medium squadron ball and expect to do just as well as anything else. Bail Organa appears to be the only factor that seems to boosts Rebel chances at victory in a meaningful way. He's included in only 7% of Rebel lists, but jumps to 16% in the top bracket.

So what does that all mean? I think it means Rebels are pretty well internally balanced. A lot of different play styles seem to work. Small ship MSU seems in a decent place. Squadron usage is fairly evenly balanced. The only outlier is commanders, which I think can be explained by overlapping strengths. Leia, Mothma and Cracken all want to be MSU commanders, but Rieekan does it better. Madine wants to maneuver around, especially with the Lib, but Raddus does it better. Ackbar is totally unique in enabling broadsides, so nobody really edges in on his turf. Garm is cheap, but Dodonna is cheaper and works with more types of fleets. So when it comes to types of ships and styles of fleets, Rebels seem to have a wide variety available...so long as you fly red fish, blue fish, crit fish, or death wish.

Squadrons



I've mentioned this a couple times now, so it's time to dive into squadron use. Squadron break out was one of the main reasons I decided to cave and break out data by faction as well as by overall. The numbers for Yavaris had significantly lowered, but as you can see, the dominance of squadron heavy builds, while diminished, was still pretty prevalent. Those two things didn't jive, so I was curious if there had been a corresponding spike in Imperial squadron use. Low and behold, that's exactly what it was.

As I said before, Rebel squadron usage is all over the board, which is exactly what we want to see in a balanced game. Much to my surprise, even a medium squadron wing appears to be competitive for Rebels. The Imperial side of the house is a much gloomier proposition. It appears to be an all or nothing proposition, with a huge emphasis on all. That seems to be given heavily by the use of Mareek, Jendon, and Morna is a squadron axis of evil. Mareek and Jendon seem to be the bare minimum of competitive Imperial squadron build. Given the top bracket has 56% inclusion rate for just Mareek and Jendon, you could argue that they're the starting point for a competitive Imperial build, period.

The Reign of Large Ships and Their Officers





The overall theme continues to be the absolute dominance of large ships. Technically they don't give you any more of a chance of winning, but when 72% of all lists are using at least one large ship, that doesn't matter all that much. Large ships own this meta. To add to this, the large ship only officers add do a significant advantage at the top brackets. Pryce and Bail both out perform their overall inclusion. Strategic Adviser for some reason doesn't seem to help Rebels (likely related to not synergizing with Raddus), but it absolutely seems to help Imperials.

Remember when I said Rebel could do pretty much anything? I forgot to include the caveat of "so long as they bring two flotillas." Yes, unfortunately Rebs still appears to be stuck with the little buggers if they want to be competitive. Otherwise Rebel ships are spread out. There were a couple surprises, such as the MC80 Command Cruiser being the least popular ship variant in the game. Otherwise, just about every ship in the Rebel line up seems to have at least one variant that is used with some consistency. The only real thing of note is the rather sharp drop off in the top bracket for Assault Frigates.

As with everything else so far, Imperials are far less diverse. Not only are Imperial Star Destroyers dominant, but the ISD-2 in particular is utterly dominant. The next closest are the Gladiator and the Quasar. An interesting development is the Interdictor is suddenly quite competitive, its rate of inclusion in top bracket lists double that of its presence in the overall population. That's likely owing to Brunson and the Interdictor title synergizing so well. The poor Arquitens and Victory continue to be left out in the cold. The Raider seems to makes a fair amount of lists, and doesn't seem to be a hindrance. The good news is Imperials are becoming less dependent on flotillas. Double flotilla lists are about half that of Rebels, and about a third of Imperial lists go without flotillas at all. This is likely the influence of Pryce reducing Imperial reliance on pure activation padding. That theory is further confirmed by activation counts. Rebels continue to shoot for 5-6 activations, accounting for the overwhelming majority of successful Rebel fleets. Imperials, on the other hand, are most successful with only two activations, but find success at pretty much any range all the way up to 6.

Conclusions
Put all that together and I think the data tells the story many of use were expecting: the Imperial two ship archetype seems to have taken the Regionals season by storm. There are a few variants, such as ISD-Demo, ISD-Quasar, or Interdictor-Quasar. They're anchored by Pryce, Brunson, and a squadron heavy approach which includes Maarek and Jendon at a minimum, and frequently includes Morna as well. Now whether or not this constitutes a new "overpowered" combo akin to the Rieekan Aces of old is in the eye of the beholder. Personally, I'm always loath to make some pronouncements. For now, I'm willing to chalk it up an innovated and efficient new archetype taking the rest of the meta by storm. Given time to dissect, I think the list has weaknesses that can be exploited.

Thursday, March 7, 2019

I have a Pelta Problem

I REALLY like Fleet Commands.

I also generally prefer flying Rebels.

This means I have been compelled to make more and more use of the Pelta in my Rebel fleets.

The Pelta is not a good ship.  

Phoenix Home from Rebels, it didn't last very long in the show...maybe that was a clue for Armada players.
It is in fact possibly the worst ship that the Rebels have.  But I keep using them because I always find that the Fleet Command that they bring to the table is worth the perceived dead weight of the Pelta.

So I have been playing a lot of games with the Pelta.  And with all that experience I have found that they are in fact, pretty awful.  But they do have a few places that they can contribute and the Fleet Command is consistently worthwhile.  So, if you are like me and a fan of Fleet Commands, let's look at what it takes to get the most out of an unfortunately inefficient ship.


Wednesday, February 27, 2019

World Cup Finals - Aresius vs NebulonB

Yeah, I'm reusing this picture, so what?

Did you ever watch the "Mighty Ducks 2" where the Ducks were drafted to represent the US in a junior hockey world tournament?  And they played Iceland and got wrecked, then they played them again in the final?  Well, buckle up kids, because we've got BOTH POD 4 PLAYERS IN THE FINAL.

That's right!  For the first time in World Cup History, two players that played themselves in the POD rounds will meet at the top of the bracket to determine who will be the World Cup Champion!  And the US isn't invited!


Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Battle Report - Garm's Dumpster Fire vs Mon Mothma

Recently Biggs and I had a bit of a long back and forth about designing a Garm fleet that used the admiral's flexibility to have a fleet with some strong gunnery backed up by some bombers.  You can read the thought process HERE.

Life intervened a bit, but I finally got a version of the fleet on the table and wanted to share with you all how the game went.  I ended up against a buddy's Mon Mothma fleet that had something of a similar strategy, with a bomber wing supporting TRC equipped CR-90s.

This gave us the chance to play out a classic EU Rebel Grudge Match.  Who should have the right to lead the Rebellion, the Senator from Chandrilla or Space Dad from Corellia?  Read on to find out!


Saturday, February 16, 2019

Semi-finals Matchup - Mhd vs NebulonB

On the other side of the semi-finals, we have Mhd and his "Sloane Redux" - a 4 ship build with a mix of aces and generic squadrons, and NebulonB, the last Raddus.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Semi-Finals Matchup - Clontroper5 vs Aresius

On this side of the bracket, both Clontroper5 and Aresius have both been here before.  Clontroper5 won it all in the inaugural World Cup of 2016, while Aresius made it to the Semi-Finals in 2017, losing to the eventual winner JJs Juggernaut.  Neither appeared in 2018 - Clontroper5 still unable to compete, and Aresius being bounced in the Quarterfinals.

Will Clontroper5 move on for a chance to repeat his 2016 Championship?  Will Aresius step up and make the Final he missed out on the last two years?


Monday, February 11, 2019

Sunday, February 10, 2019