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My experience with Sato at Regionals

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I had a great time at the Vancouver, WA Regionals last weekend, and thought I should get my impressions of the experience and my list down on paper before they fade too much.  I went into the weekend just wanting to prove that Sato wasn't a horrible choice, and ended up pretty happy with the result.  I want to give a huge thank you and acknowledgement to @Ginkapo and @Undeadguy for their advice and analysis, and I want to thank the many of you who gave me many a beatdown on Vassal in preparation for the weekend - @BrobaFett, @PT106 are two I recall but there are many more.

Here's my list:  
Points: 400/400  

Assault Objective: Most Wanted
Defense Objective: Fire Lanes
Navigation Objective: Sensor Net

[ flagship ] Nebulon-B Support Refit (51 points)
-  Commander Sato  ( 32  points) 
 Salvation  ( 7  points) 
-  Skilled First Officer  ( 1  points) 
-  Fighter Coordination Team  ( 3  points) 
= 94 total ship cost

GR-75 Combat Retrofits (24 points)
 Bright Hope  ( 2  points) 
-  Leia Organa  ( 3  points) 
= 29 total ship cost

Assault Frigate Mark II B (72 points)
-  Toryn Farr  ( 7  points) 
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points) 
-  Electronic Countermeasures  ( 7  points) 
= 90 total ship cost

MC30c Torpedo Frigate (63 points)
 Admonition  ( 8  points) 
-  Lando Calrissian  ( 4  points) 
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points) 
-  Reinforced Blast Doors  ( 5  points) 
-  Assault Concussion Missiles  ( 7  points) 
= 91 total ship cost

2 HWK-290s ( 24 points) 
2 VCX-100 Freighters ( 30 points) 
1 Gold Squadron ( 12 points) 
2 Z-95 Headhunter Squadrons ( 14 points) 
1 Tycho Celchu ( 16 points) 


So the theory behind the list:  

This list started out as a development of Ginkapo's Sato Star Destroyer list, dropping an MC30 in favor of further ship upgrades and a robust complement of Y-wings/Norra/Jan/VCX.  I found the squadron complement better able to withstand intense squadron fights and still win, but the ships lacked offensive punch without that extra MC30, and were on the fragile side.

So I moved onto the current ship mix, dropping two transports in favor of the Assault Frigate, which is fairly robust (to protect Toryn) and has decent offensive output while playing around with the squadron mix.  Eventually I gave up on the Norra/Y-wing combination when I felt the chances of Norra's power triggering were too low (need a crit, need shields on the target), and the mission selections (HA, Intel Sweep) weren't threatening enough for the opponent.   

Instead I moved back to my old standby, Strategic, and the standard Most Wanted/Fire Lanes/Sensor Net combination.  The squadron component is still fairly robust, and can still do a decent job against ships thanks to Toryn and the power of blue dice, while offering the opportunity for many more points from missions.  The Z95's popped in just to get the extra deployment, and would be kept back for late game positioning before they were inevitably shot down.

The AF with  OE has a good punch, as does Satovation and of course, Admonition.  Double arcs would be key, so nav commands would figure prominently - but how to figure out when to use squadron commands?  Undeadguy suggested Leia on the transport and I loved that idea.  I had added and then removed the Paragon title from the AF several times, but ended up substituting the RBD on the MC30 instead, as I would always use that while the Paragon title would be very situational.

The squad mix is not meant to be able to win squadron fights against superior forces on its own - it's there to exist in the battlespace and trigger Sato, while taking hits from the enemy and keeping them occupied while the ships flakk the enemy squadrons with Toryn-boosted single blue dice.  The VCX's can of course play the strategic game.

Mission loadout is standard for a Strategic list.  I had Advanced Gunnery instead of Most Wanted previously, which did fine with Salvation as the Objective ship, but I swapped it out as MW has fewer downsides and probably a better effect across the fleet.


I'll post the actual Battle reports later today...



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Game 1

My first game was against Derek Schultz, who came with an ISD I (Devastator, Tua, ECM, XI7, LS), an Interdictor built to support the ISD (TS, PE) with Moff JJ, and a comms net Gozanti.  Squads were Dengar, Soontir, Valen, Mauler, 2x TIE Fighter.  He chose to go first and selected my Fire Lanes.  I placed two tokens off to my right, and one in the center of the board, giving Derek the choice of concentrating his ships or splitting them up.

I deployed in a blob to my right, while he set up together opposite me.  My armed transport shot off toward board center and ended up claiming all 6 tokens from the middle objective.  Derek drove his ISD in at speed 3, and by turn 2 had burned 3 tokens for the Devastator effect.  I'd made a mistake by dropping Salvation to speed 0 behind a debris field, hoping the ISD would zoom by.  Well, it did, but not before one-shotting my admiral through the debris field.  Luckily Devastator was quite beat up by that time, thanks to the efforts of my Admonition and the AF.  I got lucky with my blue squadron dice, rolling an acc against his scatter aces just about every time, which allowed me to take out his squadrons.  Good thing, because by turn 5 Devastator was about to get away with 1 hull point and no shields left....and about to get back into range of the Interdictor which was ready to pump his shields back up.

Good thing Admonition had a single squad token still (I didn't have any squadron commands dialed up this late in the game), and Tycho got activated via Relay, zipped over to the ISD, and finished Devastator off.  Admo got the Gozanti, and in the end I won with an 8-3 thanks to Fire Lanes tokens.  If Devastator had gotten away it would have been a very different story.


Game 2

The second game was against Chris Shaffer (@Naboobo2000), who had an ISD1 with Avenger, GT, and Xi7, Demo with OE/ACM, and two Slaved Turret Arquitens.  Ciena, Valen, and Black sqn provided cover.  We were both at 400 and I won the roll off, choosing to go first.  I was pretty happy to see Fire Lanes amongst the selections, and impressed that Chris was confident enough to include it without Strategic himself.  

He set the tokens together on my right side, and again we deployed opposite each other in a blob, all the ships together.  I faced a dilemma - take on Avenger and Demo together while letting the Arquitens flank and shoot, vs taking out the Arquitens while avoiding action with the other two threats.  I chose to send Admonition after the Arquitens, which were both heading toward flanking positions on the center of the board.  The AF and Salvation attempted to turn toward the center of the board and deny engagement, but Salvation died to Demolition and Avenger took most of the hull off of the Assault Frigate.  An Arquitens then just managed to ram the AF (by less than a millimeter!) and kill it.  Admonition took revenge by double arcing the Arquitens in successive turns and killing them.  His squadrons did an admirable job tying up mine for longer than they should have.  My transport died somewhere along the way.

Chris ended up with a solid 7-4 victory.  I'd expected it to be a larger MoV for him but I'd managed to mostly keep pace with the Fire Lanes token game thanks to Strategic and flipping the tokens under his own ships, and killing both Arqs helped a lot.


Game 3

My last game was against Gus Klemond, who brought a classic Sloane fleet - ISD 1 with BT, Avenger, LS, Tua/ECM, Demo with OE/ACM, 2 Gozantis, 9 TIEs, 2 Lambdas, and Howlrunner.  He had the bid by a point, and chose my Fire Lanes.  Hey I just realized I played Fire Lanes for all three games.....I thought for sure someone would go for Sensor Net or Most Wanted.  Since my opponent had strategic squadrons of his own I stacked all my tokens to my right, and set up the VCX's to grab those tokens as the first move of the game.  Chris initially had his ships moving in cautiously, but ended up dialing the ISD up to speed 3 to engaged ASAP.  He cleverly held his TIEs back until they were positioned for a good alpha strike.  Great rolls (scoring 3 or 4 damage consistently with line TIEs) meant he took out my HWKs quickly (great prioritization on his part) along with Tycho.  My VCX's survived long enough to ensure I had the majority of the tokens in the first half of the game, keeping the pressure on his ships to make kills quickly.  In the end that may have contributed to his decision to drive Avenger boldly into a fire pocket I'd created, clearly expecting to weather the incoming fire for a turn and then kill something of mine in return.  However, all my ships had Avenger double arc'd.  Admonition stripped it of its shields, Satovation took out half its hull points, and then a squadron-assisted Assault Frigate finished it off before it could trigger its boarding troopers.  With out the support Demo died shortly afterwards.

Gus managed to kill all my squadrons and with his lambdas still operation, managed to recover some fire lanes tokens by flipping them under the speed 1 Salvation turn after turn, and managed to deny me the rest.  I managed to kill most of his TIEs, and with the ships and tokens I had a 9-2 victory.

I was quite surprised to come in 5th, as I thought my second round loss had taken me out of the running.  Happy, but slightly disappointed as I'd missed 4th place and a ruler set by only 70MoV.  Alas!  Still, I'd gotten three fun games in against three very awesome and courteous opponents - that's a win any day of the week.


List assessment - I was very very happy to have done well with Sato, one of the the most maligned commanders out there.  I do enjoy trying to make "difficult" elements of Armada work, and have learned a lot from those on the forums who enjoy the same (but are much more creative than I, and better players to boot).  I felt the list had enough firepower to comfortable take on anything (though I really worried about that ISD with Gunnery Teams and Xi7's, as long as I wasn't overwhelmed with too many targets at once.  My natural instinct is to avoid threats and arc dodge, but this list needs to confront dangers head on by killing them quickly, and I struggled constantly against my natural instincts.  I suspect that happened in game 2 and wonder what would have happened if i'd focused on the ISD instead.

Interestingly none of my opponents ever made an effort to kill Landomition (in a serious way).  I guess its reputation is enough that they all chose to focus elsewhere.  I'm fairly happy with that as it's a (if not the) major contributor of firepower to the fleet.

With a fleet capable of exploiting Ordnance Experts, Sato really boosts Rebel firepower - to Ackbar levels.  He's flexible as I was prepared to substitute blue dice in if shooting at flotillas as well.  He does need a certain flying style to ensure the squadron battle happens in the midst of enemy ships so his effect triggers, and Tycho is a requirement.  

I hope my experience encourages others to experiment....you may find something you really like.

Edited by Maturin

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Hello! I'm Derek, I was the 1st round opponent.

My initial thought in picking fire lanes was that I could close the gap quickly and start canceling VP tokens.

This back fired badly for me as he eas able to rack up 160 points.

Part of my downfall was out pacing my ISD Dev away from my interdictor. This meant no targeting scrambles for those black Sato dice, and no extra shields getting pumped to Dev.


Also, choosing FL was the worst objective for me, in post talks, sensor net would of been better points wise if i wanted to play more safe, or, i feel, I should of chosen Most Wanted.

Him killing my ISD would of only given him a bonus 55 points.

But would of meant him focusing on Dev, which is what I want. (Targeting Scramblers love rerolling black dice)


Ultimately you can never know, but next time. Now I will try something else,

Although with this wave coming to a close, I likely won't field my list again dispite how much it's a joy to play.


Thrawn and Cymoon await!

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Ah, I see another Sato fleet makes an appearance at a Regionals!  Unfortunately it only placed 16/20 in Atlanta, yet was structured somewhat similarly.  I hope Dan will be able to comment on what worked, and what didn't, in his list?  I could speculate but will give Dan a few days to comment first...I will note that he had one of the highest Strengths of Schedule so may have had the bad luck to run into very very skilled opponents....

Here it is for reference:

Dan Livengood

Name: GA Regional Fleet
Faction: Rebel
Commander: Commander Sato

Assault: Most Wanted
Defense: Fire Lanes
Navigation: Salvage Run

Assault Frigate Mk2 B (72)
• Commander Sato (32)
• Ordnance Experts (4)
• Electronic Countermeasures (7)
• XI7 Turbolasers (6)
= 121 Points

Assault Frigate Mk2 B (72)
• Ordnance Experts (4)
• Electronic Countermeasures (7)
• XI7 Turbolasers (6)
= 89 Points

Nebulon-B Support Refit (51)
• Skilled First Officer (1)
• Salvation (7)
= 59 Points

GR-75 Medium Transports (18)
• Ahsoka Tano (2)
• Comms Net (2)
• Bright Hope (2)
= 24 Points

• Han Solo (26)
• Shara Bey (17)
• X-wing Squadron (13)
• VCX-100 Freighter (15)
• HWK-290 (12)
• Gold Squadron (12)
• A-wing Squadron (11)
= 106 Points

Total Points: 399

Results: 13 Tournament Points, 1/2, 251 MoV

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Since I saw him in preview article I love him, but I never had success with him, your list but most important think the report you brought to us, give me strenght to test him again, I hope to do it soon.

PD: Great work!!

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