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?

Clontroper5 - Kuat/demo (Spokane, WA - USA)

Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 points)
-  Suppressor  ( 4  points)
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points)
= 29 total ship cost

Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 points)
-  Hondo Ohnaka  ( 2  points)
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points)
= 27 total ship cost

[ flagship ] Imperial Star Destroyer Kuat Refit (112 points)
-  Moff Jerjerrod  ( 23  points)
-  Avenger  ( 5  points)
-  Strategic Adviser  ( 4  points)
-  Boarding Troopers  ( 3  points)
-  Electronic Countermeasures  ( 7  points)
-  Leading Shots  ( 4  points)
-  Assault Proton Torpedoes  ( 5  points)
= 163 total ship cost

Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer (56 points)
-  Demolisher  ( 10  points)
-  Captain Brunson  ( 5  points)
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points)
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points)
-  Assault Proton Torpedoes  ( 5  points)
= 88 total ship cost

1 Colonel Jendon ( 20 points)
1 Maarek Steele ( 21 points)
1 Morna Kee ( 27 points)
1 Ciena Ree ( 17 points)
= 85 total squadron cost

Total Points = 392

Both the Kuat and Demolisher want to close with the enemy before unloading.  The Kuat is a Boarding Trooper / Avenger combo most comfortable with last / first abuse.  ECMs help keep it alive, and Strategic Adviser helps push it off into last activation territory.  Leading Shots let it reroll to maximize damage, while APTs add the extra damage out of the ordnance slot.

Demolisher is... Demolisher.  An APT build, Clontroper5 has decided to go with Brunson for survivability.  A pair of Comms Net Gozantis act as support ships for the heavy hitters.  Suppressor as a title helps Avenger stay relevant in the turns before and after Boarding Troopers fire, and Vassal World Cup Mascot Hondo tosses tokens on the other flotilla.  Truly he is a friend to all!

Unusual on this list is an 85 point squadron cover, containing the Imperial standard Maarek / Morna / Jendon (MMJ) and Ciena Ree for intercept support.  While not a full squadron wing, MMJ is most of the anti-ship damage Imperial fighter wings typically bring, and Ciena can frequently tie down multiple bombers all by herself.  In a sense, Clontroper5 has brought strictly the best squadrons the Empire has, and just left the rest behind.

A 392 bid is a middle of the road for most tournaments - it suggests either that he doesn't care about first or second player, or that he has quality second player objectives that he wants to make a play for and remove the temptation to pick from someone with a 397 or so bid.

Aresius (Roma, Italia)

Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette (36 points)
= 36 total ship cost

GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  Leia Organa  ( 3  points)
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points)
= 23 total ship cost

Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette (36 points)
= 36 total ship cost

GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  Ahsoka Tano  ( 2  points)
= 20 total ship cost

[ flagship ] Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette (36 points)
-  General Rieekan  ( 30  points)
= 66 total ship cost

MC80 Star Cruiser (96 points)
-  Mon Karren  ( 8  points)
-  Bail Organa  ( 7  points)
-  Caitken and Shollan  ( 6  points)
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points)
-  X17 Turbolasers  ( 6  points)
-  Spinal Armament  ( 9  points)
-  SW-7 Ion Batteries  ( 5  points)
= 145 total ship cost

1 Tycho Celchu ( 16 points)
1 Shara Bey ( 17 points)
2 VCX-100 Freighters ( 30 points)
1 A-Wing Squadron ( 11 points)
= 74 total squadron cost

Total Points = 400

The only Rieekan continues to advance!  With 6 natural activations, Aresius' list is ship heavy, but still has room for squadron cover in the shape of Tycho, Shara, a pair of VCX's, and a generic A-Wing, giving both respectable cover for his ships and a strong objective play.  He's packed as much as he physically can into the list, coming out at exactly 400 points.

The star of his list though is the Mon Karren.  Onboard is Bail Organa, giving him a shot at first/last regardless of whether his opponent picks First or Second Player.  To make it hurt, he has added a typical Mon Karren loadout:  SW-7 Ion Batteries, Spinal Armaments, XI-7 Turbolasers, and Caitken and Shollan.  Engine Techs round out the list of upgrades.

The rest of his list are supporting combat ships for Rieekan to toss away.  Two naked Torpedo Hammerheads add activations and some combat power, as well acting as zombie roadblocks.  A GR-75 with Leia and Comms Net acts as Slicer insurance.  Another GR-75 has Ahsoka Tano, comboing off of the Leia / Comms Net transport to ensure the MC80 has both the right command dial and right token.

Finally Rieekan hides on a lifeboat, a third otherwise empty Torpedo Hammerhead.

Biggs' Analysis

This is a game of heavyweights.  Clontroper5 has downed 2 time champion JJs Juggernaut, and is going to try and match him with 2 World Cup wins.  Aresius is trying to make his first Finals ever.  Outside of the World Cup, Clontroper hasn't been able to play much Armada on an actual tabletop since his return.  Aresius is a former National Champion, and has placed 3rd (2017) and 6th (2018) at the European Continentals.

Let's look at what they've brought:  Clontroper is running a 5 activation, 2 combat ship build with the best Imperial squadrons he can bring.  His list is built for knife fighting - close and personal with Demo and a Kuat Avenger.  Aresius does have some close quarters weapons in the way of 2 naked Hammerheads, but his best weapon works at Medium range.  His squadrons, while not amazing, are certainly able to keep pace with Clontroper's.  Also, he has 6 activations to Clontroper's 5, plus Bail to help ensure that even if he is Second Player he can still go first.

It's hard to bet against Clontroper5 at this point.  He's the only other champion in the tournament's history.  But Aresius is a quality opponent and I think his list matches up exceptionally well against Clon's.  My prediction has to be that Aresius takes it and we have our third new winner of the tournament after the final is through.

Truthiness's Analysis

Damn it Biggs. You just HAD to get this out of Valentine's Day, didn't you...

Having seen both of these two in action, there should be no doubt this will be a tight match. Both are coming off stunning upsets, but for very different reasons. Aresius played tight and conservative to edge out a win again Roquax in a game that hinged heavily on objective play. Clon, conversely, played an aggressive game, hitting JJ hard and early. Both are so capable that I really can't pick a winner on talent.

The only place I can really look is in the lists. There, I can't help but see an advantage to Aresius. He has activation advantage in his corner, two VCXs for strategic shenanigans, a squad wing likely to at least contest that phase, if not win it outright, and Bail to deny Clon the first player advantage on a critical turn. It presents Clon with some terrible choices. He can either give up first player, which he really doesn't want to do while out activated by Aresius' Lib, or suck an absolutely awful collection of objectives.

The only way I can see this going in Clon's favor is if Aresius goes too conservative. I'm an Army, so I will always prefer an aggressive posture. Offense is the decisive form of warfare. Clon tends to take that approach as well, and I think it's what he needs to pull out a win. He needs to punch Aresius in the teeth out of the gate and set the tone. Clon needs to force Aresius to react, rather than dictate the flow of the game with activation advantage and deliver killer blows with Bail and Mon Karren.

Guest Analysis - Ginkapo

Clon brings two powerful threats to the table in what is a strategic departure from his former glory of the Clonisher. The Clonisher spread threat to every ship maximising the value and utility of activation. Now he brings two flotillas to the table which are nothing more than token dispensers. So whilst I admire the purity of the squadron wing I find the actual fleet composition to lack texture and finesse. I am sure he could have added a pinch slicers for taste. 

Aresius sticks true to his ethos. One absolute powerhouse with unstoppable force alongside the most brutal of objectives. No point is wasted in this fleet which I find to be a fitting testament to the dedication of its creator.

Clon doesnt get the last activation he craves in this game being an activation short on Aresius which will make things very difficult. With both his ships packing close range threat they will make short work on anything that comes close. However, will he be able to use his two guard dogs to shepherd the manueverable rebel sheep into their pen? My gut says they wont be able to given how weak the Demolisher chassis is when faced with sacrificable rammers.

My money is on the Italian Stallian. He topped out in a pod which featured another semi finalist which was no easy feat.