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.


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.)