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Deployment: What’s the Plan?

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Despite being one of the most crucial elements of the game I seldom see deployment discussed.  Let’s fix that!

What’s your favorite fleet, what’s your general plan for deployment with that fleet and what factors (mission, opponent’s fleet) can cause you to change that plan up? Bonus if you can provide pictures for us more visually inclined players.

(Cheers to ovinomanc3r and mad cat whose excellent posts inspired this.)

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When I develop a fleet I try to come up with a few deployment plans specific to that fleet that can function regardless of what the opponent has. I use ISDs a lot, so that may have to do with it. ISDs are (or at least were pre flotilla ban) almost always universally out-deployed. 

My deployment plans split at the various decisions made throughout the start of the game.

The first of which is first or second player. If the choice is up to me, I typically take first, many of the fleets I make depend on jank combos and having that 1st activation proves to be useful under most circumstances. If I'm playing a fleet that excels at long range or has a very good objective dynamic I may break away from 1st though. 

My plan is almost always to corner deploy. 

Fact is, with an ISD, corners are the closest thing to safe there is in this game. With first player advantage on my side not many people are gonna risk a close or medium double arc situation by flying something into it's far flank (closest to the edge of the mat). (Some have tried but it almost always ends in a round 3 or 4 1st activation blowout). This makes planning ahead easier. 

If I'm first player, I'll likely place one of my most valuable ships flush to the corner of one side of the mat. As first player, my plan isn't going to change enough to matter where the opponent drops his pieces if I'm corner deploying so dropping something big may trick them into placing something big in turn. (This will really only change if Contested Outpost, or Salvage Run comes into play, in which case I try to line close to a corner but on objectives.) From there I fill out my support ships and squads to create a killzone on the vulnerable ISD flank. 

If I'm second player, my objectives are almost always Most Wanted, Contested Outpost, and Dangerous territory, with this in mind I will set up the battlefield to favor a corner deploy. (IE: Set up obstacles to allow my ships easy pick ups or putting the outpost in the corner. ). I'll delay deploy as much as possible as second player but I typically have the same placement in mind as I would first, just lined up on objectives a bit more. 


Of course, it really depends on the fleet, this is something I'd do with my "Kuat, That Hurts!" or "Bad Case of the VTs" which both center around jank ISDs. Msu and bomber fleets I try to either focus on objectives or where they play their squads. It changes based on the fleet. 

 
 

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7 hours ago, ovinomanc3r said:

Solar Corona? Superior Positions?

Still no change.

 

Wether you deploy in the middle or on the sides, all across the board, etc, depending on what ships im using i still use plan 1, 2 or 3.

Superior positions is the same. Deploy whereever seems nice, for example behind a station, with room to manouver,  and once the opponent has deployed enact plan 1,2 or 3 by moving to face them.

 

 

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4 minutes ago, DrakonLord said:

Still no change.

 

Wether you deploy in the middle or on the sides, all across the board, etc, depending on what ships im using i still use plan 1, 2 or 3.

Superior positions is the same. Deploy whereever seems nice, for example behind a station, with room to manouver,  and once the opponent has deployed enact plan 1,2 or 3 by moving to face them.

 

 

It was a joke. There is no enemy to point toward when you deploy as first player with those objectives. 

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So playing an all/mostly ships list, deployment is crucial because there is no ability to get squadrons to attack enemies that escape your firing arc. 

The first step in determining deployment is deciding the objective.  Objectives typically boil down to 2 different types:  Objectives to approach an area of the board, and objectives to avoid areas of the board.  What objective is right for you depends on list type etc.  If you have a fleet that depends on avoiding contact, pick an objective to block areas of the board for your opponent and go for the slow win.  If you have a fleet that's designed to wreck enemy face, pick an objective that forces contact by bringing players to a particular board area.

The second part of deployment is the obstacle deployment phase.  There are some functional strategies for this phase that should be considered.  If you have a fleet that wants to shoot at long range or maneuver freely to get into the best position for attack, you should be looking to keep obstacles blocking LOS well away from the areas will ships will be - in the corners or even hugging your own deployment zone so that they are immediately passed during the opening turns.  On the other hand, if you intend to attack with squadrons or token farm with small ships, you want densely packed obstacles that let your squadrons avoid unwanted engagements and obstruct incoming attacks as you go for the objective.

Now on to the part you've been waiting for:  deploying your actual ships and squadrons.

Unless you have a token farming list that avoids all contact in exchange for constant point gains, your goal should always be to keep your fleet together.  Now, this doesn't mean that every ship needs to be right on top of each other, but instead that your fleet is all in easy raeach of each other to provide support whether that be in squadron activation, firepower, support actions like rerolls or repairs or token sharing, etc.  This is not about perfect formation flying, but instead about being in a position to help out for every turn that help is needed while avoiding unnecessary danger.

I typically like to start on one side of the board or the other so that I can prepare a turn towards or away from the enemy fleet with minimal difficulty.  In cases where I expect to be flanked from the shorter end of the board, I'll place big hitters in the  corner so that on the engagement turn my opponents will be forced to either fly into my most dangerous firing arc, or move out of position to avoid destruction.  The number one thing I do is I work out what order i want my ships to engage in during this period, and i work to enforce that throughout the game.  This might mean that one of my ships (usually an ISD) will lead a charge while the other ship follows it as a mop-up element or to defend its flank (Demolisher and Admonition are excellent in this role).  I place my ships so that the leading elements will not obstruct each other on turns 2-3, but will stay close enough that they provide covering fire to each other.  I also plan a big curved sweep across the board to clear space, which can be changed as necessary.  This sweep allows me to either intercept ships that were deployed across from me, or to escape/avoid a board region when it becomes too dangerous.  The main element of this sweep starts with me being directly across from the opposing fleet, so that I can control any engagements at the earliest moments and plan any changes while the opponent is being forced to move towards me or away from me depending on the fleets and objectives.

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For me it really depends on the fleet.  Some fleets I craft are more reactionary, and will depend on how the opponent deploys, others are more formation driven and will deploy how they need to run that formation.

My Regionals fleet consisted of a pair of Arquittens in a "conga' formation, followed by an ISDK to pounce on anything that attempted to engage them, and a Raider to either intercept flankers, or flank itself to hunt down Flotillas.  So the deployment would look something like:

A A  I   R  or    R    I  A A   depending on which corner I selected.

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