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Vergilius

San Antonio Regional Report

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This was an excellent event.  Justin Brikhause demonstrated an absolutely amazing amount of organizational ability and kept things moving smoothly.  Setting up a live broadcast to Twitch was definitely something that took a lot of organization and got working smoothly, with three quality games chosen for the broadcast.  Great time, great opponents.

28 total people showed up, so we just missed having a 4th round and cut.

First of all, those familiar with my posts throughout the forums will remember my Houston report and the Madine Liberty list that I've been on.  Here's a link to the Houston report

You can see much about the evolution of my list leading up to the even there.  My thoughts on list building going into wave 5 is that although a handful of upgrades and the squadrons offer some new dynamics, the same basic archetypes are still largely prevalent, and the most recent regional results have borne out that they remain viable.  My most recent thought on my list was to look at teaching myself how to play second player better, where I really felt like the list was perfectly viable from second player.  That would limit my need for such a large bid, because I really do dislike leaving a lot of points on the table.  I've also observed that lists that can play both first and second player and can choose thoughtfully based on match-up have had some good success in recent months.  These bids tend to come in between 394-396, which is enough to meaningfully make the choices, but not so much that a huge amount of utility is left on the table.

After a thread in the fleet build forum inspired me to return to the list, I started looking at just building the list at close to 400 points and settling on second player until I felt more comfortable with the list.

MC80 Star Cruiser (96 points)
 Mon Karren  ( 8  points) 
-  Skilled First Officer  ( 1  points) 
-  Gunnery Team  ( 7  points) 
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points) 
-  Dual Turbolaser Turrets  ( 5  points) 
-  SW 7 Ion Batteries  ( 5  points) 
= 130 total ship cost

[ flagship ] GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  General Madine  ( 30  points) 
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points) 
= 50 total ship cost

MC30c Torpedo Frigate (63 points)
 Admonition  ( 8  points) 
-  Lando Calrissian  ( 4  points) 
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points) 
-  Assault Proton Torpedoes  ( 5  points) 
= 84 total ship cost

CR90 Corvette A (44 points)
 Jainas Light  ( 2  points) 
-  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits  ( 7  points) 
= 53 total ship cost

GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
 Bright Hope  ( 2  points) 
-  Toryn Farr  ( 7  points) 
= 27 total ship cost

1 Shara Bey ( 17 points) 
2 A-Wing Squadrons ( 22 points) 
1 Tycho Celchu ( 16 points) 

I took this list to a tournament in Austin and finished with 25 points and the tournament win.  Although I felt it had more weaknesses than my other list, I also got to the point where I was really wanting to try some new ideas and move past a bit of burn-out, but didn't really want to put another list together for the new regional.

Summary of Results:  8-3, 10-1, and 3-8 for 21 points and 4th place.  I felt like my build-up in rounds 1-2 were better in Houston, because this left me playing the top player in round-3.

Game-1:  I played against a large squadron ball and a Pelta/Yavaris built around Dodonna, with the usual transports.  I was a bit more nervious at first, because I didn't have my accuracy shenanigans on this version of the Star Cruiser, but figured I could hope for the best.  My opponent's list lacked any kind of Intel.  I think the hope was that he'd push through the squadron game fast enough and could then turn his attention to ships.  He had the bid, so he choose first player and my Salvage Run. I'd really been looking forward to this objective since I get free Nav tokens that work with all my ships via Madine.  He ended up sacrificing his two VCX freighters to ensure that he picked up two tokens.  Deployment was a bit odd.  He didn't shield Dodonna's transport at all, and I ended up deciding to send the Mon Karren against it, both as a way to take the points off the board and as a way to keep the MK away from the bombers.  With lots of squadrons coming into my midst, I took a lot of anti-squadron shots and Toryn-boosted A-wings wrecked most of his squads.  The Pelta got away, but I took out his Dodonna flotilla, Yavaris, and a lot of squads for an 8-3.  I turned Jaina's light the wrong direction, or a 9-2 was doable.

Game 2:  I fought a Sato list with two Assault Frigates and an absolutely massive amount of defensive squadrons.  He had the bid, but curiously enough, choose to go second.  So I picked his Advanced Gunnery.  I knew that I had him out-activated and with first player, I know fairly well how to maximize my list.  I tabled him at the end of Round-3 for the 10-1.

Game 3:  If there's any reason to do an AAR, its because my third round opponent is the well known Ardaedhel.  This was our third game against each other, and every single one of them is a complete chess match from beginning to end.  He was playing his MC30 list.  I'll have to admit that I probably should have meta-ed more directly for playing his list because I ran into some serious problems with last/first activations.  His list carries 7 total activations and 4 MC30s with Mothma.  He had no squads, so that left my defensive squads a little inefficient.  We played with a previous version of my list over Thanksgiving as I was building up to the Houston Regional, but in that game I had the bid and a clear first player.  In the regional game, he was able to use first player to set up a string of last/firsts leading to the death of the Mon Karren, and I really wasn't built to take out MC30s except as first player.  He choose my Blockade run.  I aimed to spread the field as much as I could, recognizing that I probably wasn't getting out of this better than a 6-5, but that if I could perhaps feed him a ship or two, I could get the rest of them through the Blockade run where they'd score points.  He converged heavily toward my MK.  I managed to get him pulled around and largely out of the engagement for my other ships, but it was clear he was going to last-first me to death regardless.  Squadrons and a couple of Jaina's shots killed a Transport, so I minimally got points for that.  Toward the end of the game, I really probably should have just had everything steering toward the corner, because one MC30 managed to get turned around and back into the center of the fight and managed to land a double arc on Jaina's on the final turn of the game.  So that was 53 points for Jainas, but also 20 points to him for killing the ship and 20 points lost for me for not being in the deployment zone.  That ended up being the clear difference that sent him to victory on an MOV of 4 over the other player to score 27 points.   Ard is a gifted player, and his tournament victory at this level of tournament was certainly due.  I'm quite happy to have played him and glad of the results in the entire tournament.

 

Looking ahead:  I've noticed a lot of top players don't retire their lists.  They morph them, the same basic concepts are there.  I do need to experiment and try some different things, but my sense is that I should probably look at increasing the bid somewhat.  The list certainly played well enough without Toryn, and if I'm not flying Toryn, there's not really a need to play Bright Hope to protect her, so that's 9 points that can be shaved there.  The list played well enough with Mon Karren back into the mix.  There's a loss of some flexibility without all of the red dice, and a bit more stress without the guaranteed accuracy, but the level of performance did seem comparable.  I'll probably go back and forth between the two variants for a while.  I did like the 5th activation, and if I can get bid+5 activations, then I think it represents an improvement.  I'm certainly pleased that I seem to have inspired a movement, where the winner of the London Regional borrowed and adapted my list, and I've started to see multiple variants in the tournament lists that have been produced in the last couple of months.

Thoughts and feedback are always appreciated.  This has been shorter than in the past, but that's largely because I said what I had really wanted to say about list-building, mind-set, and gaming approach in the earlier thread.  This is largely a small update to that so that we can see where the thought process has gone since.

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Great report! I'm very interested because my current tournament list is similar. The one I used in the Marietta and Gautier regionals had Madine with an ET Battle Cruiser, MC30, and 3 GR75s, plus 4 A-wings and 2 YT-1300's. I was actually thinking about switching in a TRC Jaina's Light...but it's so hard to give up the bid I had since I went 1st player in every match.

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1 hour ago, miferr said:

Great report! I'm very interested because my current tournament list is similar. The one I used in the Marietta and Gautier regionals had Madine with an ET Battle Cruiser, MC30, and 3 GR75s, plus 4 A-wings and 2 YT-1300's. I was actually thinking about switching in a TRC Jaina's Light...but it's so hard to give up the bid I had since I went 1st player in every match.

I've run it a couple of different ways.  Once with 4 activations and a very hefty bid for first player, and more recently at 399 and just taking what I get for player.  My sense is that the list doesn't have to go first, and that very wide front arc makes it hard for it not to have at least one really good shot even from second player.  On the other hand, the list will play most match-ups much better from first player, and against some lists, first player is almost necessary.  So you're absolutely right to look serious at that bid and salivate over getting first player.

Do you find the YT1300s too slow to keep up with the way this kind of a list absolutely jiggles around the map?

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My goal with the squads was a little gimmicky...I used the A-wings to lock down enemy squads down, and the YTs would follow up in maybe the next round or two. Then I had a Jamming Field GR75 to really make them stick around. So for that purpose, yes, the YTs were fast enough. It actually worked fairly well, but of course it depended on the enemy fleet. A big Rhymer ball with a couple of Jumpmasters wasn't going to think twice. And the Jamming Field made me lose my counter 1 (though that was not the point of the YTs; the 8 hull value was).

BTW my bid was only 8 points. I was prepared to go 2nd, but no one I faced out-bid me. I was surprised!

With my new list I'm seriously thinking of SW7 with a Star Cruiser, so it's very interesting to see your results. I'm not super impressed with Mon Karren in general because I prefer XI7 and hate to take both, but it makes sense with SW7.

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14 minutes ago, miferr said:

With my new list I'm seriously thinking of SW7 with a Star Cruiser, so it's very interesting to see your results. I'm not super impressed with Mon Karren in general because I prefer XI7 and hate to take both, but it makes sense with SW7.

I think 8 points is a fair bid, probably the direction that I'll look eventually.

I'd also been less than impressed with Mon Karren, but the real point of Mon Karren and why it works with SW-7 is simply to push the damage through and concede the accuracies.  I sat down and went through every ship in the game comparing MK to XI7.  Basically, I think only the MC30 benefits more from XI7 than MK.  Even then, there's a subtlety with denying them the evade in addition, which considering Mothma MC30s cancel at medium and even rerolls at medium range are still likely to hurt that double-hit you just rolled, there's a subtle bonus to damage that is coming through the MK title.  I think a couple of tournaments ago I put out 8 damage, 3 on the main hull face, 3 redirected, and then 2 to hull.  With XI7 but no MK, that could easily have been 1 redirected, 3 on the face, 2 evaded, and 2 to hull for the same difference in the end.  I eventually decided that especially if the target was an Admonition, I basically needed multiple shots and that I was better off denying the token to maximize on damage.

My old version was a BC with Spinal/H9 and my aim here was to see if I could shave off some points to fit that other activation into the list.  After all, with Madine, you really are zipping around the map and you want to get into Blue range even with the BC so that you bring LS into it.  I quickly checked the average damage output between the two versions and found them to be quite comparable.  DTT basically give that SC the little adjustment that it needs to its red dice.  Basic accuracy at 79%, though that can go as high as 89% if  you can CF dial/token/DTT to fish for it.  I figured that's reliable enough and you can still ram flotillas to death if you need to.

Let me know how the revision process goes.

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Great write up with concise points. You inspired me to sit down. And type this out. I also second Verg's sentiments on the whole event and how it was run.  

A refresher, or for the uninitiated, here is my list again. A 4 point bid was just big enough for me to grab the initiative in all 3 rounds. 

Comin in hot 
Author: Parkdaddy 

Faction: Rebel Alliance 
Points: 396/400  

Commander: General Rieekan 

Assault Objective: Most Wanted 
Defense Objective: Fighter Ambush 
Navigation Objective: Superior Positions 

Nebulon-B Escort Frigate (57 points)
-  Yavaris  ( 5  points) 
62 total ship cost

GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  Bright Hope  ( 2  points) 
-  Toryn Farr  ( 7  points) 
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points) 
29 total ship cost

[ flagship ] GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  General Rieekan  ( 30  points) -  Ahsoka Tano  ( 2  points)
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points) 
52 total ship cost

Modified Pelta-class Command Ship (60 points)
-  Phoenix Home  ( 3  points) 
-  Flight Commander  ( 3  points) 
-  Adar Tallon  ( 10  points) 
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points) 
-  Rapid Launch Bays  ( 6  points) 
-  All Fighters Follow Me!  ( 5  points) 
95 total ship cost

GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points) 
-  Bomber Command Center  ( 8  points) 
26 total ship cost

Jan Ors ( 19 points) 
Norra Wexley ( 17 points) 
Green Squadron ( 12 points) 
VCX-100 Freighters ( 30 points) 
B-Wing Squadron ( 14 points) 
Gold Squadron ( 12 points) 
Dagger Squadron ( 15 points) 
YT 1300 ( 13 points) 

Round 1: Patrick and the anti squadron demolisher.

Demo w/ruthless strategists, Kallus. Arquittens with Tarkin. Gozanti from hell (as Verg put it): suppressor, Tua/ECM, Slicer tools. BCC Gozanti. Major Rhymerball. 

I had played almost this exact list just a week prior, and barely scraped out a win. But that was against a much less experienced player, and me with a different list that was much less squadron dependent. I knew I was facing the anthracite to my list, round 1. 

Objective: Fighter Ambush

Deployment: the obstacles mostly formed a line to my left and right in front of my deployment zone, with the station at about the middle of the board. We both deployed in clusters in the middle of our deployment zones, but I made the mistake of placing my flagship on the outside and away from fighter support, right next to that line of obstacles. The real mistake was leaving Yavaaris' side exposed to that potential hotspot, so my last flotilla needed to go there. Had I saved the Bright Hope for that deployment, things would have been much different, and I might not have lost any ships. And, as I feared, he placed all 8-10 of his squadrons on the obstacle closest to my flagship, just barely in engagement range of Green Squadron, not that it mattered with his Jumpmaster. 

What ensued from there was a very delicate chess match of squadrons. He could remotely activate 2 at a time, and I realized that my best hope of not losing Rieekan in round 1 was to go ahead and use squadron activations instead of storing tokens (though I could still pass a Nav to PH, which was very instrumental later). I delayed my first squadron activation so that I could see where he'd place Rhymer first. Rhymer came in at medium range of Rieekan, to avoid AA from it and Yavaaris. That gave me the cushion I needed to send in Green Squadron to engage the main force, and Gold to block off a significant portion of Rhymers potential ball. He still managed to strip Rieekan of at least the scatter in the first round, and I sacrificed Green right at the outset. I thought I was done for after that.

Over the ensuing rounds the ship clusters closed on each other, but one Gozanti started to flee the battle to my right and he sent his Arq to try and kite around my formation, also to the right. Essentially, his formation started breaking in order to engulf mine (literally Demo and Tua in front, Rhymerball on left, Arq on right), but that's where he messed up and I was able to regain the initiative.

The Arq was going too fast without him realizing it. I had deployed the Pelta at speed 1, but with that Nav token I was able to increase to 2 followed by an engine tech maneuver. I closed on the Arq. Using activation advantage, I forced the Arq to come closer then next round so that I could ensure I dropped my RLB payload on his completely undefended Arq, and almost took it off the board in round 2, but alas it scraped by, whilst my flagship fell to the Rhymerball. But because of Rieekan, and Patrick's overabundance of fighter/bomber activations, he was faced with choosing between more objective tokens or moving on to take out Yavaaris. I forget what he choose.

Subsequent rounds saw the death of many squadrons on both sides, more his than mine, Yavaaris and Demolisher butted heads with each other, but I claimed space on the station before he could, so I was in the advantageous position. Thus he decided to try saving Demolisher and curbing to the right—right between Yavaaris and PH and all the bombers. But Tua was there to take away Yavaaris' squad command. So it was a safe move. What cost him the game, IMO, was that he decide to shoot Yavaaris instead of the bombers. And what saved me was his complete whiff against Yavaaris' side arc not once but twice, allowing me to get an extra activation out of the saint, and still have bombers to demolish the Demolisher. 

PH continued along the arc that it took to kill the Arq and pursue the fleeing Gozanti, ultimately ramming it to death. I think he ended with Tua and several squads worth a lot of points, while I'd lost about half my fleet including Yavaaris, Rieekan, and the BCC. He had 8 tokens to my 5. And I think the MOV was around 120. By far the toughest match of the day. 

Rounds 2 and 3 were very similar to each other, but had subtle differences throughout that made for very different end games, but with the same results.

Round 2: Andrew, with an ISD, Demo and 2 Gozs. "Cheap interceptor" fighter screen (ties +Howl/ Dengar). 

Objective: hyperspace assault. Objective ship-Demo. My VCXs wound up severely hurting him here, and it's why I no longer take HA without strategic squadrons. The tokens were placed about equidistant from each other across the table thirds. 

Deployment: again, clusters right across the left side of table from each other, this time with my flagship nice and safe, but still forming a part of a flotilla cage. Left side because my hope was to invalidate 2 hyperspace tokens while controlling the other with my VCXs.

Turn 1: as with the Arquittens in the first match, his ships were all going too fast for their positions. And they were only speed 2. Had he deployed more slanted to my fleet, that speed would have actually been very good for him, but again, the engine teching Pelta caught him off guard. Also, the strategic ability nicely placed his hyperspace token right in front of the Pelta, and highly susceptible to a "one shot."

He chose not to deploy after that round, and I think his play of the objective was the mistake which allowed me to get the 10-1. Had he deployed then, he would have gained 1) another activation with which to stall and 2) a multiple dilemma advantage over me: do I go for demolisher or go for the ISD?

1) with my 5 activations to his 3, I was able to perfectly set up the RLB-Adar-Yavaaris on his ISD. Without it, his ISD might have survived the Yavaaris first activation the next round to get at least 1 guaranteed kill. 

2) the only threat he had against me was his ISD at this point. But with my combo, I could only successfully target 1 ship at a time, and he would have been able to use whatever I didn't kill to get revenge. 

But after the ISD was gone, he chose to bring in Demo right next to the fight, rather than off on the other side of the mat to try and save some points. It was a bold move, but cost him in the end with some lucky rolls and rerolls from my bombers. It didn't get to shoot but maybe once, I think. After that, the flotillas just got rammed to death. I lost Jan and Green Squadron.

Round 3: Jason and the arkittens (argonauts). ISD, 2 Arqs, and a Goz. Tie and defender fighter screen.   

Objective: Close range Intel Scan—he needed all the accurcacies he could get against my flotillas, so I thought this would be a good way to force him into not benefitting from the objective. This also added Dust Fields, which was a huge benefit to me with virtually no ship batteries versus his huge batteries. These saved my flotillas  

Deployment: central station with symmetrically placed debris and dust fields all around. Almost looked like a Luigi mustache face. Yet again, fleets deployed clustered and opposite each other. His ISD was flanked on either side by the Arqs. His strategy was to try forcing my fleet into the jaws of death, from the looks of it.

Turn 1: Arqs went mostly just straight forward (secret cat-herding technique). Again, ISD was too fast, and out activated. Also, And sadly for my opponent, he had no Intel. He moved his Howl ball just a little too far forward into engagement range of Green Squadron. I moved Green in at the very end to lock them all down for the entirety of the next turn. Got the RLB-Yavaaris combo end of round 2, beginning of round 3.

He tried bringing his Arqs closer in to hit either Yavaaris or PH, but quickly changed his mind once he realized the ISD wouldn't even get to shoot again. From there, I had to chase the Arqs, which were headed the opposite direction of my fleet, which would have been impossible if not for my two Relays and AFFM.

Managed to strip his last Arq on round 5, and finish it off with Yavaaris related double taps the top of round 6. Literally took AFFM on Jan, Gold, and 2 VCXs on round 5 to be able to just get in range and pull that off. Every component of my list was essential in this round. 

Summary: this tournament experience was very much a "gotcha" moment for me. Talking with Andrew and Jason afterwards, we all agreed that had they studied my list in more detail, they would have been able to put up a better fight at the very least, and play more conservative games for a higher finish. So it was "gotcha" in the sense that they weren't prepared for what would happen because they hadn't practiced against this parlor trick of a list.

 As it was, all three of my opponents finished top 16, 2 in the top 8 (if I remember correctly). So with more practice against or studying of the list, these guys would easily get results more indicative of the skill level and preparation they showed throughout the rest of the tournament. 

Things i didnt see that I was glad to not see: Quad laser Turrets and Tractor Beams. 

Qlts on the ISDs would have destroyed me. 11 potential damage from each of the 2 I took down definitely would have altered the course of the games and maybe prevented a tabling. 

PQ7s would have been less helpful, butbwould have severely hindered my Pelta ET strategy. 

Edited by Parkdaddy

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Thank you for such a well written, concise, thought-provoking write up Vergilius. I'm just returning to Armada after a short 'hiatus' (stopped playing just as the flotilla's were unleashed) and your two pieces based on the MC80 Liberty are really helping me to 'catch up' not only on what's been released but also on what I've missed in regards to list planning and tactics. 

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