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Intensify Forward Firepower Episode XII: The Fleshing at Sullust

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On the occasions that I take my ISD or MC80, I certainly feel the need to add upgrades.  MC80s almost require Engine Techs to have any maneuverability.  I also like AP and ECM on them just to they can survive long enough to bring their weapons to bear.  XI7s or Heavy Turbolasers all allow them to force through damage that would otherwise just get removed with a defensive token.  I put fewer upgrades on ISDs but I tend to give them Hangar Bays and then just a few upgrades to, again, force through damage from that massive front arc.

 

In all honesty I don't think the MC80 is necessary.  Ackbar tends to favor multiple smaller ships and AFs and MC30s are still very combat capable.  I think ISDs are more necessary as VSDs have a tendency to get outflanked and have their massive front arc rendered useless.  Only half my theorycraft lists use MC80s.  Nearly all of my Imperial lists take a single ISD now.

 

I'm with you there. New Hotness Ackbar screams for lots of units to boost. Sadly you walked away with that cherry ISD so I haven't seen one since!

 

Throwing upgrades at 110+ point ships. Christmas tree lists everywhere!

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Dan made my favorite point in this episode - I think it would be cool for organizers to just not divulge the tournament points at all during play in the spirit of competition. It'd be like the premier league playing all of the last gameweek's matches simultaneously - try to prevent people from mailing it in.

 

Also the running. There seemed to be a lot of "running" for one reason or another in the Sullust tournaments I participated in. Perhaps it was because there were significant prizes this time around and no one wanted to donate points. So maybe it would be more fair to call it breaking contact instead as it was all logical, but it certainly didn't make it sting any less. One was a 5-5 AFMkII slap fight where my opponent had carriers and could not stand up to my superior firepower and higher ship count once the Luke/Y-wing cloud was left in the dust. I couldn't close the gap that was established within the 6 turns, and why would he fly into the teeth of two enhanced armament orcas and Salvation if he couldn't trade blows with his fighters playing catch-up?

 

The second was the product of my commitment to aggression following the slap fight. I flew aggressively (and perhaps overly so) against a 2 VSD Rhymerball with hyperspace assault. I dropped Salvation in behind and split my assault frigates to either side of one Victory. He held enough bombers in reserve to wait for and destroy Salvation, but not before all three ships ripped one of the star destroyers to shreds. He weathered the storm with only 1 or 2 hull remaining, tokened up to speed two as my orcas made their pass and were at the furthest point of their turn; and as first player was able to then effectively break the engagement to claim a 7-3. Again, totally logical, lots of sting. The bombers' mission was accomplished, and they were left so far out of the fight to focus down Salvation that it would not make sense to then turn to engage the assault frigates without being able to utilize the key tool in your list's toolbox.

 

At my second tournament, I dropped Salvation and adjusted to allow for three assault frigates. In this particular match I set up a crescent of doom, and played my orcas in an extremely tight formation to really push hard for overlapping fields of fire. I isolated a Nebulon-B within the feeding frenzy and it just melted to the broadsides. He played a Dodonna's Pride that harassed my formation on the opposite flank, and was very effective at doing so because it was able to avoid the overlapping firing arcs on the far side of the crescent. However by turn 5 of dipping into blue range to keep racking up damage cards, it fell. The turn before though, when he was down one ship and the CR-90 looking to be in danger, he was faced with a decision to turn his other two ships into the kill zone to fight or make for the other half of the board. To preserve points, he broke off and led them on a chase that ended the match.

 

So I don't know what it all means in terms of a wave one wrap up or going into wave two, but I am pretty convinced that other good players are going to ask themselves why they would want to get tabled or punched in the mouth if they can still gain something. I had become accustomed to much more brutal slugfests in the month leading up to the Sullust tournaments, so I don't know if I am also suffering from most recent results syndrome, but I have gone from lukewarm to excited about the game changing/disrupting potential for tractor beams. They are going to change things on both sides of this self preservation dynamic.

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These results in a tournament setting are actually way more thematic than the brutal slugfest that many a miniature wargame devolves into. Reworld fleet actions involve ships coming to engage and then disengaging once it is clear that they've sustained significant losses, or they've destroyed a primary target. Conservation of battlefield effectiveness is very real. As I've read through this thread, it's been a cool realization about what a tournament means for the commanders. People suddenly play smarter in a real world sense, because losing ships matters. And that's pretty awesome.

Edited by Red Winter

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Dan made my favorite point in this episode - I think it would be cool for organizers to just not divulge the tournament points at all during play in the spirit of competition. It'd be like the premier league playing all of the last gameweek's matches simultaneously - try to prevent people from mailing it in.

 

Also the running. There seemed to be a lot of "running" for one reason or another in the Sullust tournaments I participated in. Perhaps it was because there were significant prizes this time around and no one wanted to donate points. So maybe it would be more fair to call it breaking contact instead as it was all logical, but it certainly didn't make it sting any less. One was a 5-5 AFMkII slap fight where my opponent had carriers and could not stand up to my superior firepower and higher ship count once the Luke/Y-wing cloud was left in the dust. I couldn't close the gap that was established within the 6 turns, and why would he fly into the teeth of two enhanced armament orcas and Salvation if he couldn't trade blows with his fighters playing catch-up?

 

The second was the product of my commitment to aggression following the slap fight. I flew aggressively (and perhaps overly so) against a 2 VSD Rhymerball with hyperspace assault. I dropped Salvation in behind and split my assault frigates to either side of one Victory. He held enough bombers in reserve to wait for and destroy Salvation, but not before all three ships ripped one of the star destroyers to shreds. He weathered the storm with only 1 or 2 hull remaining, tokened up to speed two as my orcas made their pass and were at the furthest point of their turn; and as first player was able to then effectively break the engagement to claim a 7-3. Again, totally logical, lots of sting. The bombers' mission was accomplished, and they were left so far out of the fight to focus down Salvation that it would not make sense to then turn to engage the assault frigates without being able to utilize the key tool in your list's toolbox.

 

At my second tournament, I dropped Salvation and adjusted to allow for three assault frigates. In this particular match I set up a crescent of doom, and played my orcas in an extremely tight formation to really push hard for overlapping fields of fire. I isolated a Nebulon-B within the feeding frenzy and it just melted to the broadsides. He played a Dodonna's Pride that harassed my formation on the opposite flank, and was very effective at doing so because it was able to avoid the overlapping firing arcs on the far side of the crescent. However by turn 5 of dipping into blue range to keep racking up damage cards, it fell. The turn before though, when he was down one ship and the CR-90 looking to be in danger, he was faced with a decision to turn his other two ships into the kill zone to fight or make for the other half of the board. To preserve points, he broke off and led them on a chase that ended the match.

 

So I don't know what it all means in terms of a wave one wrap up or going into wave two, but I am pretty convinced that other good players are going to ask themselves why they would want to get tabled or punched in the mouth if they can still gain something. I had become accustomed to much more brutal slugfests in the month leading up to the Sullust tournaments, so I don't know if I am also suffering from most recent results syndrome, but I have gone from lukewarm to excited about the game changing/disrupting potential for tractor beams. They are going to change things on both sides of this self preservation dynamic.

Yeah, I'd much rather see something change about the scoring system. Wave 1 is funky though, because you essentially have incredibly tanky rebel ships that can take 2-3 turns of punishment and escape at speed 3. The speed of the assault frigate makes it extremely hard to both stay aggressive and be aggressive. With speed 3 and 4 imperial ships, and a behemoth that goes speed 2 for rebels, we will hopefully see either more damaging engagements or longer lasting ones.

I took a 3 neb 1 corvette list, and if I could I'd only ever be in contact for 2 turns at best, maybe 3 at red dice range. My list simply couldn't last longer than that, and that's why I forced 2 5-5s. With mc30s pooping alot more dice, mc80s getting brutal broadsides and ISDs having one shot capabilities against nebulons, games should hopefully* not include as much running and chasing

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Do players find, when using the ISD or MC80, that they're obliged to take another 25-ish points-worth of upgrades? Every time I plop an MC80 into a shop list I'm, compelled to really make it the centerpiece by throwing shieldgame cards at it and pumping up that firepower - I'll be really surprised if they're must-add units to lists, frankly. From a pure dice mass standpoint they don't feel like they add more than, say, a couple AF2.

 

I have two Ackbar lists sitting on my desk at home where I'm wrestling with this exact question. One is 2x AFMkII, 2x MC30 Scout, one is MC80, 2x AFMkII with some fighter support.

 

I mean, there are also shenanigans available. Ackbar with three MC80 command cruisers with redundant shields and projection experts is 398 points. With two redirects, you could even go down to advanced projectors to better ensure that damage is spread and throw Raymus or Home One on one of the MC80s. Is this seriously worth consideration? That is a 5 red broadside with the risk of 3 blues if you want to close in... Or have to close the distance in the case of the raider or gladiator. Ugh.

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So I had Projection Experts on a Jaina's Light for a pocket medic and it actually saved my Assault Frigate! It used the ability twice but that saved the Frigate!

It hid behind the MC80 as well.

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+++ Triple Pickle (399pts) +++

++ Rebel Fleet (Standard) (399pts) ++

+ MC80 Cruiser (399pts) +

MC80 Command Cruiser (163pts) [Advanced Projectors (6pts), Projection Experts (6pts), •Admiral Ackbar (38pts), •Home One (7pts)]

MC80 Command Cruiser (118pts) [Advanced Projectors (6pts), Projection Experts (6pts)]

MC80 Command Cruiser (118pts) [Advanced Projectors (6pts), Projection Experts (6pts)]

Edited by Lyraeus
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That is what I arrived at above as well. It seems quite strong. What offense do you really need to add with Ackbar commanding? As an easy example/comparison, putting enhanced armament on all three cruisers would run 30 points and is only half as effective as the Admiral at 38 for the cost of turning off the option of the quite frankly negligible front and rear arcs.

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I would advise against hidden standings for one simple reason: accuracy.  In Magic, we are taught to look at our standings in order to verify that our previous round was correctly entered into the system.  If the standings are hidden, there could be an error in entry that would never be noticed.  This is even more important when, as they were done at local tournaments, the entries are done manually.  At that point, we might have to check the TO's math as well.

 

I think I would prefer standings being calculated by Wins, then Tournament Points, and finally MoV.  It helps remove the penalties with byes and ensures that someone who wins all their matches doesn't end up below people who potentially lost several.  The downside is that people can skew to score minimal points, then run away.  This might not be as bad given how destructive wave 2 games are but it would have been an issue at Sullust.

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These results in a tournament setting are actually way more thematic than the brutal slugfest that many a miniature wargame devolves into. Reworld fleet actions involve ships coming to engage and then disengaging once it is clear that they've sustained significant losses, or they've destroyed a primary target. Conservation of battlefield effectiveness is very real. As I've read through this thread, it's been a cool realization about what a tournament means for the commanders. People suddenly play smarter in a real world sense, because losing ships matters. And that's pretty awesome.

 

I actually changed my fleet and tactics for Sullust based on this phenomenon.  I brought 2 whales and Salvation, but held Salvation back and typically didn't attack with it until turn 5 or so.  By saving it for later in the game it was in position to attack anything that was damaged, but not killed by the whales.  It was a really successful strategy and Salvation had a ton of kills, even though it usually only attacked 2x in the whole game.

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That scoring structure would work best if they ran the correct number of swiss rounds as well. Right now most mid-sized and the con level events just sit at an odd point where not enough rounds are being run to adequately sort out the event.

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These results in a tournament setting are actually way more thematic than the brutal slugfest that many a miniature wargame devolves into. Reworld fleet actions involve ships coming to engage and then disengaging once it is clear that they've sustained significant losses, or they've destroyed a primary target. Conservation of battlefield effectiveness is very real. As I've read through this thread, it's been a cool realization about what a tournament means for the commanders. People suddenly play smarter in a real world sense, because losing ships matters. And that's pretty awesome.

 

Yes, this exactly! It can lead to the annoying 5-5 splits, but that is something people will have to build for. Are they willing to take a risk of their opponent running? I agree with Dano, that meta-gaming and choosing a draw before the game even starts is a little against the spirit of the game, and I'd like to see that avoided. Sure the player can choose to be conservative since they are in the lead, that's not unreasonable. I know I had one match in a tournament not to far back where after deployment my Neb-b gun-line either had to turn through the obstacles and hit a large portion of them to even have a change at fighting his 2 Assault Frigates. In fact, even with going through the field I was likely to get outflanked. I chose to instead avoid the fight and skirt around the field, my opponent wisely chose not to follow and give me the advantage. In the end my plan failed however since my corvette got caught by his assault frigates before it could move to the safety of my fleet. Still the option to tactically withdraw is a valid option in this game, which I think is a great design choice.

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+++ Triple Pickle (399pts) +++

++ Rebel Fleet (Standard) (399pts) ++

+ MC80 Cruiser (399pts) +

MC80 Command Cruiser (163pts) [Advanced Projectors (6pts), Projection Experts (6pts), •Admiral Ackbar (38pts), •Home One (7pts)]

MC80 Command Cruiser (118pts) [Advanced Projectors (6pts), Projection Experts (6pts)]

MC80 Command Cruiser (118pts) [Advanced Projectors (6pts), Projection Experts (6pts)]

 

Ok, Triple Pickle...my favorite list name so far. hahaha.

 

The problem I see with this list with a speed of 2 and a large base ship is I dont think you will be able keep all your guns on one target consistently unless the target you are shooting is in the middle of the three ships.  With the Whales you can keep them close enough or spread them out enough that you can (with practice) keep all their guns on a single target much more frequently.

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What exactly does Projection experts do??:  You reveal an engi command, spend two of those points to move... how many shields?  two?  

When you reveal an Engineering command or spend an Engineering token...You may spend up to 2 engineering points to move that many shields from your ship to a friendly ship at distance 1-5

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Great Show lads as always.....still, i'm one of many poor saps who are waiting for Wave 2 to land, and was unable to attend any Sullust events due to bloody-bleeding work......I hate this constant flow of drool over something I don't have yet........I think I'll sit in the Tub and eat worms...... ;)

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I like my Triple Pickle list.

The great thing about it is that the large bases are immense and the arcs are massive. Having flown my MC80 several times now, I find that it is hard, very hard, to escape that side arc.

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Great Show lads as always.....still, i'm one of many poor saps who are waiting for Wave 2 to land, and was unable to attend any Sullust events due to bloody-bleeding work......I hate this constant flow of drool over something I don't have yet........I think I'll sit in the Tub and eat worms...... ;)

I don't know where the worm-eating comes in yet but I don't have the tub time Dano boasts so maybe it'll become more clear in the future.

I almost didn't go (work is a fine excuse by the way) but in the end simply didn't want to be the one guy that didn't. Maybe if you'd bemoaned your jammed schedule earlier I would've nixed it knowing I'd have a comrade in tears.

Maybe...

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I only got about 90 minutes in thanks to all the people calling for tech support once I put my earbud in at work!

That being said, I'm really agreeing with the take-aways.

-Squadrons are mediocre if you're leaning on them for damage output. I literally had my 2 B's and 1 A roll 2 turns of blanks against an opposing squad (3x3 accuracy blues and 3x3 crits). I don't think I'd ever exceed a CR90 worth (give or take)in the future. Just enough to protect against opposing fighters or supplement my ship's firepower.

- Playing keep away sucks. But I 100% agree it's a viable option in a game. I had one game where I ran a 2 Vic squad heavy list against a triple AF list. Once my Rhymer ball failed to land any hits on turn 2, I opted to go for the objective tokens and not engage further, and he ran his ships so tight he couldn't (or didn't choose to) engage my ships. I lost that 6-4 and that was on token points alone. I stewed on that game the whole 2.5hrs back home.

-The AF is truely the most versatile ship in the game. I mostly play Rebels because my sparring partner is a diehard Imperial guy. I can't wait to try to build a good Imperial list. But I think it may require more GSD's to do so, or the ISD at 400 points may be a good anchor for some VSD's.

-Neb B's live and die by the titles. Wave 2 maaaaay change that, but if you can't fit Salvation into the list, it's better off being a CR90 or upgrades/squads. Also, you can't use them as your main force. They're a finisher or flanker for turns 4-6.

Hopefully I get to wrap this up tomorrow!

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Great Show lads as always.....still, i'm one of many poor saps who are waiting for Wave 2 to land, and was unable to attend any Sullust events due to bloody-bleeding work......I hate this constant flow of drool over something I don't have yet........I think I'll sit in the Tub and eat worms...... ;)

I don't know where the worm-eating comes in yet but I don't have the tub time Dano boasts so maybe it'll become more clear in the future.

I almost didn't go (work is a fine excuse by the way) but in the end simply didn't want to be the one guy that didn't. Maybe if you'd bemoaned your jammed schedule earlier I would've nixed it knowing I'd have a comrade in tears.

Maybe...

 

I appreciate the thought my son, knowing an 'almost sacrifice' is your intent makes me feel better...btw eating worms...its a scottish thing... ;)

Edited by Shadowmax
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Wow, this was a good episode.  I was really happy to hear your tournament stories.  Here are some of my thoughts,

 

I played in a 6 man event.  In the end the 4th place went to a guy with no wins and 13 tournament points.  He beat out the other two guys (1 being me) who had 1 win but only 10 tournament points.  I have never played under a tournament system where the wins were not the primary condition for determining the overall victor.  While no one at my event was a runner, I can certainly see it happening.  Overall I am not sure how fond I am of the FFG tournament system at this point.

 

Also related, the guys in 1st and 2nd place played for real and had a like 9-1 or 8-2 game.  It was just enough that the guy in 3rd (against me) won well enough to take second by 1 point.  Boy that caused some hard feeling.  If the guys in the top game had just agreed to 5-5 the game, Mr. 2nd place could have keep that spot.

 

Some days I need to remember that you guys are in one principle area and what you see may not be what is in my area.  I built my imperial fleet specifically to counter 2 or 3 AFM2 lists.  Of course none of the 3 rebels at our tournament played more than 1 AFM2.  And the one rebel I played against I did beat 7-3.  (and only that poorly due to my poor flying.)

 

I love when you guys talk about the cards.  Gave me some new ideas to consider.

 

Looking forward to more discussions.

 

Thanks,
Duncan

Edited by vadersson
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@Shadowmax: Do NOT eat tub worms. The Imperial Flesh-Navy cannot be held accountable for any medical liability relating to the ingestion of tub worms.

 

@Duncan: Every time I hear about "local areas" who's meta reflects nothing that we talk about, I legit get super excited. I want Armada to leave lots of space for list design! I felt mega clever when Jud and I hammered out Garm's Guppies for the first time, and was a bit bummed to see that it had worked well for others. Still, that weird drive to be different in me feels good when I see other people bemoaning the list.

 

@JoeBoss: Dude! That's awesome! I'm a frequent reader of your blog, and your kind words mean a lot :)

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