I had a fun game yesterday and some time to kill today, so I figured I'd write a BR.
A very little bit about me: I play Armada since wave 1, and until wave 4 I was pretty serious about it. Then life happened, the friend I started playing with quit, the rest of our gaming group finds it harder and harder to schedule a game, so basically for the last 2-3 years I've mostly played at tournaments with little pratice beforehand. Speaking of which, the very last tournament I attended in dicember 2019 I was flying a sloane 2 ships: the list was insanely strong, but I noticed that the quasar was dieing almost every game, even when scoring convincing wins, while the ISD had a couple close calls but always lived. So, with that in mind, and having caught notice of the new wave 8 ships, I wanted to build a list along those guidelines: 1) ships need to be tanky, in order to give my opponent the smallest possible chance to score points 2) being a long time imperial aggro player, I absolutely love unloading black dice **** against my opponents. Black dices, however, need bid, and I'm sick of gambling for first player with ever increasing bids, so this time I'll go 400 points and have a solid, scary objective selection. 3) as for squadrons, I've had my satisfaction with them in the past and I respect their damage and utility potential. However, if I'm to have really scary objectives, this time I wanted a bunch of lambdas for that. Multiple lambdas scream Moralo, so I figured I'd include him as well, mostly for the psy op potential (meaning: people have read about moralo and are scared of him, which leads to overestimating the threat and errors).
So anyway, after some thought, here's the list I came up with:
Imperial II-class Star Destroyer (120 + 54: 174) + Admiral Motti (24) + Strategic Adviser (4) + Boarding Troopers (3) + Electronic Countermeasures (7) + Leading Shots (4) + Linked Turbolaser Towers (7) + Avenger (5)
Interdictor Suppression Refit (90 + 34: 124) + Captain Brunson (5) + Disposable Capacitors (3) + Targeting Scrambler (5) + Grav Shift Reroute (2) + Overload Pulse (8) + Engine Techs (8) + Interdictor (3)
Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 + 11: 34) + Reeva Demesne (4) + Comms Net (2) + Advanced Transponder Net (5)
Moralo Eval (22)
3 x Lambda-class Shuttle (3 x 15)
my objective selection took some real thought, and I'm still not 100% sold on them: I had adv gunnery, fire lanes and sensor net.
As for the actual BR, here I am, in the middle of a lazy sunday, opening vassal half looking for games. As a matter of fact, soon after I am asked to play by Sven, who was hanging in there as well, and we quickly get to business. He was running cataclysm onager with ET and strategic adviser, demolisher with JJ on it, OE and Ext racks, a couple gozantis pushing a mostly AA squadron ball with ciena, fel, mithel, howlrunner and rudor, plus a couple inteceptors. Sven outbids me and chooses to go first, picking my advanced gunnery (obj ships were my ISD and one of his gozanti).
My rust immediately shows off: I place some asteroid field first and Sven happily places the station close to his deployment zone, approximately in the center. Other obstacles are placed kinda forming a diagonal line in front of the station, effectively cutting the play area in 2. He deployed his 2 gozantis and the squadron ball to my right side, onager in the middle, left of the station, and his demo on the far left. I deployed my gozanti across the station surrounded by lambdas and moralo, then dictor on its left facing the onager and isd on the left of the dictor, between onager and demo. In hindsight, I should have grabbed some screenshots, but I didn't, sorry. Also, my rust strikes again as I forget to use grav shift and lose it for good.
First turn, Sven moves his squadron ball closer to my gozanti, across the "asteroid line", then rushes forward at speed 3+1 with demo and fires a cataclism shot against my isd. Dices throughout the whole game were pretty terrible for him, and this time he only scored one shield damage on the isd after brace and redirect. On my side, ISD rushes forward at speed 3, threatening the onager's flank, dictor hard turns left to face demolisher and gozanti tries to keep pace with the rest of the fleet, moving at speed 3 along the asteroid line.
Turn 2, his squadrons engage moralo and kinda tear him apart. From this point on, it becomes clear that my squadrons are just going to die without a chance to fight back. Forcing my opponent to choosing AG was good, but is it worth 67 points? Probably not. Some food for thought. Sven's gozanti keep cruising on (my) right side of the asteroid line, safe from harm, while his demo keeps speeding forward in an obvious attempt to get to the rear of my ships, even tho dictor is kinda in the way. My ISD shoots 2 times (AG) at red range on the onager side, causing some ok damage (a couple hull dmg iirc, with a crippling "remove 1 die from attacks" crit) and keeps rushing the onager, finally parking in its side arc. The onager, which is at speed 1, jumps to 3 and uses ET to get out of harms way (kinda), sprinting halfway past my isd towards the gozanti front and dictor flank. Sven didn't place the ignition token the turn before so he does not shoot the big lazor, but I do not know if this was intentional. Anyhow, he placed the ignition token this round, and as he has an accuracy banked on Vernillan, the future of my gozanti is looking pretty effing grim.
Turn 3, Sven has to activate onager first in order not to get shredded by AG ISD, and he does so. My gozanti explodes in a ball of deathstar-like fire and his onager sprints away out of harm's way towards my right, hitting an asteroid from the asteroid line in the process. With him having 4 real activations plus strategic officer on the onager and me down to 2 activations + SO, I'm easy last first prey for the demolisher, which I suspect was Sven's plan from the start (and a good one tbh). My best bet at this point is to force Sven in a position where both the onager and the demolisher can be shot at the end of the turn, so he only gets to "save" one. With this in mind, I try to even the activations count shooting 2 times with the ISD at a gozanti at red range, but he survives with 1 hull left and I need to park my isd in front of it, still in a position to shoot the onager flank on the next turn. My squadrons keep getting slowly murdered by Sven: at least lambdas are tanky, plus hey, this is an auto nomination for the Gandhi award for the peace lovers. Finally, my dictor shoots the wounded gozanti trying to finish him off, but the little bugger survives discarding his evade, and takes a rear potshot at the fleeing onager, damaging it some more. At this point my dictor is facing my left (and Sven's demo), but I decide I dont want to over commit to the demo and take a hard turn right, heading towards my ISD and the station and figuring I can tank demo no problem. The demo starts chasing the dictor, which is going a respectable speed 2+1, and probably takes a potshot at it, doing very little damage.
Turn 4, things start getting awry. Sven's 1 hull gozanti activates first and suicides rams my ISD while handing a repair token to the onager in an act of generosity. ISD shoots at the onager at long range and get some more damage onto it: at this point the onager is almost without shields and with something like 4 hull remaining, so my isd gives chase trying to predict where the slippery JJ and ET powered onager will end up. My squadrons are dieing left and right, let's just leave them for dead and thank them for their service. His demo pounces the rear of my dictor, causing some respectable damage despite the scrambler and double ramming it too, and as soon as it gets the chance my dictor returns fire (pretty ineffectively, only killing demo's left shield) and speeds off towards my north-east, putting some distance between it and the demo.
Turn 5, the onager needs to run or risks getting destroyed, and he does so. My isd is left without targets, but the bright side is it can SO and even the activation advantage. Guess what's happening to my squadrons? You probably guessed, they're still getting murdered and the last one probably dies on this turn. The game is still indecided tho, with me having lost one gozanti and my 67 pts of squadrons vs Sven having only lost his gozanti, but risking his onager and, to a lesser extent, demo. Speaking of the devil, the demo once again closes in on the dictor and does its thing, but thanks to Motti, scramblers and defense tokens the dictor is still okayish, with like 6 hulls remaining and some shields to move around. My dictor shoots the demo fishing for a lucky structural, which happens and put the demo to 1 hull left, albeit with some shields still remaining on the front and, after some thought, I decide to move it in order to both have the demo double arced next turn and possibly blocking its path next turn, but a little too close to Sven's edge for my taste.
Turn 6, this is my finally my chance: I have both demolisher and onager threatened, and Sven can only activate one of those! I giggle and cackle in anticipation as I come back from a smoke break we agreed upon and sit back at my pc. Sven chooses to save his onager, and it flies away, where I can't shoot him. I then activate the dictor and kill the demo. Sven is quick to congratulate me for my win, but being the humble soul that I am, I half joke that this is assuming my dictor wont fly off the table. Hee hee surely it wont right? RIGHT??? Let me tell ya folks, speed kills 😐 My speed 2, repair dialed dictor flies off the table, and I lose the game by something like 78 points iirc. Effing hilarious. Sad. But hilarious too.
Debriefing: first of all I feel I need to thank Sven not only for a super fun game, but also for bearing with my game rust and vassal rust, which probably made for a longer game than usual. Lessons were learned: first of all, despite the loss, my plan kinda worked out. The ISD was never in any real danger and just powered through the field bullying whatever came close enough. Of couse, adv. gunnery helped with that, but with my selection of objectives I cant say this was unexpected. The dictor, despite not being able to use brunson ever, literally soloed a last firsting demolisher. That's a good performance in my book, but the fit is probably changing because I realized there is a reason nobody ever plays OP, and it's because it just wont work. Too much stuff has to line up for it to work, so I'm either upgrading it to a HIE or downgrading to the 2 pts, upgrade exhausting ion whose name I always forget. Most of all, despite the postume Gandhi award, my lambdas and moralo need to go, which forces me to rethink objectives too. In fact, I have put together a new version of this very list for my next games, but this is a tale for another day.