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Ardaedhel

Discussion Time: This Game Is Not About Dealing Damage, But Shutting Down Defenses

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Totally stealing Lyraeus' series title because he can't stop me and it's appropriate.

A discussion with Tirion just now just kind of knocked it all into place in my head:  all of my most successful Wave 2 lists have all been about circumventing defense tokens in one way or another. 

Shores of Confession (8x CR90B with SW-7):  overwhelm defense tokens with ridiculous numbers of piddly but reliable damage attacks.

I'll Shoot, You Run (2 MC30 w/ H9, 3-4 CR90's):  guaranteed accuracies out of 2-4 hard-hitting arcs means even ECM and redundant tokens are limited in effectiveness; if I run the IO variant, this is even worse.

 

Surest of Favors (Haven, Yavaris, 1-2 support ships, and 120+ pts of squadrons):  similar to the SW90B Swarm, overwhelm defense tokens with small attacks
 

Similarly, Clonisher is built to do this by eliminating the brace that it's juiciest targets have only one of (with IO); the triple-VSD Rhymerball sets up a defense token attrition fight by stacking the deck with huge hull and defense pools on its own side and a huge number of reliable attacks wearing down the other side.

 

So, what do you guys think:  is this just a personal tendency, or is this the direction the game is going right now?  Or is this just an obvious observation brought on by my fever-addled brain?

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Sounds about right. Death by 1000 papercuts will be viable as long as defense token use is 1-2 times max per turn.

X17/Intel/HTT are popular and minimize some of the defense tokens.

Observation seems valid

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I mean, you still have to deal damage to kill ships, and do damage to shut down defenses.  If you intel officer me with zero damage or XI7 me for one damage, the defense shut-downs are useless.  I think learning how to shut down defenses is kind of what you learn to incorporate after playing a ton of games and sort of "graduate" passed initially kind of learning how the game flows, things like black dice ships aren't fantastic chasers. and other nuances.

 

Shutting down defenses is crucial for the competitive settings of the game, and also what makes a newcomer frustrated when playing against a vet, because you are stopping them from doing something they expected to be able to do, or mitigating it.  The popularity of XI7s exists because it is easy to use and minimizes the use of the second-best defense token in the game. The key for me is to build lists that can mitigate most kinds of defense you might expect to encounter.

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Yay! My thread idea is catching on, and it seems it occurred the same way my own Discussion Time threads.

This is indeed how many lists are built.

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My Ackbar Star Destroyers didnt sing till I added Sensor teams. Blocking that brace is so much more important than doing an extra damage.

One of the keys to dropping the efficiency of squadron builds is getting their squads to split targets, and thus not negate defense tokens as much.

I dont think its going to change that heavily. We are now seeing a few more damage reduction cards, but defense tokens are still really powerful. This is why I have a massive preference towards ships with redundant tokens.

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Love the discussion - as someone with a lot to learn, it's great to get ideas and opinions.

 

For what it's worth, I'd been struggling to build a competitive Imperial list in my local meta until I designed one around Screed, a Raider II with Overload pulse and ISD with Avenger. I played it on Monday, and it was the Raider that won me the game - blocking my opponent from being able to use his defence tokens when attacked by the ISD proved seriously potent. I was hitting both his ISD and his Vic, and a concentrate fire command meant that I could add a dice to my single blue side arc and guarantee a hit. With a lot of defence token focused upgrades (Intel officer, X17s, HTTs) it seems like they force your opponent to make difficult decisions, but you can still make the right call. With that particular list, the beauty was in stopping them being used altogether.

 

I would agree with @Caldias that, as someone who still sees himself as reasonably inexperienced, this something I'm only just realising. But it was a pretty cool realisation!

cynanbloodbane likes this

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Yay! My thread idea is catching on, and it seems it occurred the same way my own Discussion Time threads.

This is indeed how many lists are built.

I'm so ******* proud of you right now. If ever there was an organic opportunity to plug DtO, that was it.

I think I'm actually tearing up some.

MattShadowlord and DUR like this

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Yay! My thread idea is catching on, and it seems it occurred the same way my own Discussion Time threads.

This is indeed how many lists are built.

I'm so ******* proud of you right now. If ever there was an organic opportunity to plug DtO, that was it.

I think I'm actually tearing up some.

 

You have no idea. . . I later figured I could plug a different list but thought better of it.

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So... Home One?

Basically why I don't intend to run flotillas; too much Home One. Scatter's great if you can use it.

Though I guess if they're shooting a flimsy 2x point flotilla they're not shooting the good stuff.

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I actually wanted to try building out a really good debuff and defense-negation fleet, but I couldn't work one out. I'll have to give these a try.

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I actually wanted to try building out a really good debuff and defense-negation fleet, but I couldn't work one out. I'll have to give these a try.

Either, intel officer based, accuracy based, or overload pulse based.

Pick your base and work from there. Squadrons dont synergise with an accuracy based system.

ceejlekabeejle likes this

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There is some truth to this. My GenCon list packed Intel Officers on both the Demo and Devastator to force players to discard undesirable defense tokens, which weren't always Brace. Similarly, I used APTs and X17s to mitigate the value of Redirect and Contain.

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Also, is this something new that Intel Officer and accuracy is good?  I'm trying to place my finger on why this discovery is only coming to light now.

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Also, is this something new that Intel Officer and accuracy is good?  I'm trying to place my finger on why this discovery is only coming to light now.

Because of people like you, who dont understand what we are saying.

Builds a fleet with a single x17 turbolaser and multiple corvettes whose damage is redirectable.

Its almost like you dont understand defense token mitigation and are building a list of ships rather than a fleet.

Now do you have something constructive to offer?

Ardaedhel likes this

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Also, is this something new that Intel Officer and accuracy is good?  I'm trying to place my finger on why this discovery is only coming to light now.

Because of people like you, who dont understand what we are saying.

Builds a fleet with a single x17 turbolaser and multiple corvettes whose damage is redirectable.

Its almost like you dont understand defense token mitigation and are building a list of ships rather than a fleet.

Now do you have something constructive to offer?

 

My Vader Duet was 2 ISD 2's with XI7's, ECMs, Gunnery Teams and Vader. They capitalized on subverting Redirects by pounding into ships and the goal was to use them to have each attack the same 2 ships each turn if possible. 

 

This allowed the list to work with only 5 squadrons as well which was nice.

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Also, is this something new that Intel Officer and accuracy is good?  I'm trying to place my finger on why this discovery is only coming to light now.

The question posed isn't "are upgrades that target defence tokens good?", because, as you so perceptively pointed out, that's a bit of a no brainer.

The debate is whether focusing on negating defence tokens is a more successful means to achieve victory than simply maximising damage output.

Do you have something to contribute on that?

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I noticed during Regionals there was definitely some meta's that embraced the concept. Much like some still believed fighters sucked while others were whole hog on them. I managed to play in Philly/NJ, Pittsburgh, and NYC and everybody was a little different.

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Reading this thread while playing around with Warlords ended up with me stumbling into a really interesting combo involving the Interdictor. I think I am calling it the Stripperdictor, since using the search function I didn't find any other mention of this combo yet.

 

If we mix NK-7 Ions, the "Interdictor" title, and Admiral Screed title, we have an extremely high probability of stripping 2 defense tokens in a single attack phase, ideally on a double arc from the same target. Oviously it need some closer looks, and table experience to test. However, if this game is about shutting down defenses, stripping two defense tokens in round 2 from a priority target seems like a goal well worth the point investment.

 

Especially if combined with other ships that benefit from Screed like Demo or APT Raiders. With Stripperdictor effectively removing defenses every single attack phase, it might free up the officer slot on those damage ships that would normally be filled with Intel Officers for something else. Perhaps something to counter slicer tools? It may end up being an overall point savings depending on how many Intel Officers you could leave on the bench.

 

Obviously a rough thought, but after this weekend I will have much more concrete experience, as I plan on running Stripperdictor in a store tournament on Sunday.

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Why aren't you also including an Intel Officer on the Stripperdictor?

 

Felt like overkill? But it is entirely possible to be an addition for more strippin' action. Imagine forcing a ship from full green tokens to none at all on turn 2. Egads, it's the dream.

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Unfortunately NK'7s are exhaust to use, trust me I had already looked at Raider II's kitted out with them double arc'ing things to strip them of def tokens, but it won't work.

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It's a pretty interesting way to run the Interdictor, though of course with a nickname like that, it will become necessary to use the phrase "woo! Take it off!" Every time you fire - which could lead to some rather interesting misunderstandings, depending upon your opponent.

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It's a pretty interesting way to run the Interdictor, though of course with a nickname like that, it will become necessary to use the phrase "woo! Take it off!" Every time you fire - which could lead to some rather interesting misunderstandings, depending upon your opponent.

BrobaFett likes this

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I think you've got the right of it, Ard.

 

You definitely need the damage, but it isn't just about the damage.

 

 

Accuracies are among the simplest form of damage mitigation because you can roll them naturally.  Starting at 4 damage and up, you're more likely to benefit from an accuracy than simply having more damage.  In very large dice pools, having some accuracy manipulation can suddenly take you to two accuracies, which will shut down redundant tokens.  I spent quite a bit of time a few months ago when Ard first published his I'll shoot, you run list looking over the value of H9.  On an MC30T, the value is pretty high.  I had a pretty good discussion recently with another player over the value of H9 on a larger ship where you really want/need a second accuracy, and I think there's some justification there, too.

 

I'm not sure it matters which of the three routes you go (squads, mitigation, overwhelm with chip damage), but you'd better pick one and stick with it.

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