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Any success with Wide Area Barrage?

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I always like experimenting with the more obscure or underused cards, thus my question is more of less what is in the title. Have you ever been glad you've brought this card, or do you just wish you grabbed APT instead for single target damage?

 

My untested (expect against myself) observations of the card:

  • It forces your opponent to play differently, keeping squads and support ships away from with prime targets of your barrage.
  • Sato seems to go well with the card, obviously, as more black dice equals more damage.
  • Not empire ships seem to particularly use this card well. Rebels have a few options, mainly due to Sato.
  • Objective wise; minefields is nice as to bottles up your opponent. Less so Planetary ion cannon. Most wanted or Opening salvo for red.

A came up with a mock list using Sato with 100+ points of bombers, 2 flotilla with a bright hope BCC, 3 TFO torp HH and 1 scout MC30 with spinals, OE, Admonition (Example of squadrons: Norra, 6 Y-wings, Gold, Green, HWK for 113). I created this list trying to find something that works with Sato, as I've found him always rather lackluster. Often over-investing in squadrons means Sato himself doesn't offer much and Dodonna is probably a better commander. Under-invest in squadrons and you may lose out on Sato's benefit altogether.

The idea of this list is stacking the list with excessive Y-wings and/or Scurrg for their 6 Hull durability and Green squadron for range flexibility, while still being a bomber. With little to no investment in fighters, relying on the cheap HP efficiency of the Y-wings. Nora and/or Nym also to be public enemy #1, further increasing durability of the fighters as they can brace an alpha strike. Jan/intel option to free your bombing raid. 

How this all comes together is that you mercilessly launch bombers at your opponent, incidentally activating Sato. Then your HH and MC30 (MC30 double arcs ideally) launch long range black dice at the enemy. With 3 black dice (CF and D-caps/Spinals) and TFO rerolls have a good chance of rolling a crit and 2 single hits. This means 2 unblock-able damage gets passed to any defending squads or nearby ships.

Finally your MC30 can swoop in for the kill, rolling 5 black dice from the front (CF and spinals), with 6.25 expected damage and likely 3 auto-damage and a further 5 back dice from the side for the same again.

After your MC30 swoop, Spinals continues to give decent damage out of its rear.

You can play for either first player (first-last MC30 is potent) or second (for objectives, and stalling at long range).

If your opponent brings a bomber list, well it is of note that all your ships are pretty bomber resistant on the whole. HHs tank 9 hits, with contain available. Admonition tanks bombers for days.

Regarding APTs, no doubt they would bring single targets down faster, but with a minimum 8 Y-wings, Nora and a turn with a 10 black dice MC30 strike, you should be able to destroy your prime targets anyway.

Wide area barrage HHs only cost 39 points. And if the crit doesn't trigger it doesn't feel too bad.

 

Thoughts?

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I have seen @duck_bird use Wide Area Barrage on an ordnance cruiser combined with, IIRC, expanded launchers on a Sato fleet.  I was experimenting with an Imperial MSU fleet.  After she hit one of my ships (killing it, I think), wide area barrage then deleted my nearby Raider.  In that situation, the card was absolutely effective.

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Yeah it's a weird upgrade.  To be worth it, I think you need to be able to deal at least 3 splash damage on each hit. Anything less is pretty easily taken on rear shields, or just face tanked.

3 is the magic number, 4 is amazing. This requires at least 5 or 7 black dice with hits, and at least one crit.  If you can't get those numbers, you probably want a damage based black crit like apt or acm.

Sato is the only one who can really make this happen, so I personally feel he's the only admiral who can use the upgrade well. 

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It was on the list of things to try with my Sato/Hammerhead fleet, but I never got around to it.  With that fleet it would be more about just spreading out a thousand cuts as each WAB would be pretty small, but there would be a lot of them.

Also, it would save me a ton of points over the ACMs that I was using.

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I feel that Sato is really the only admiral that can get good use out if it though I suppose gladiators would be ok at it as well... I like the mc30 and mc75 for the job... Haven't tried hammerheads... If you use spinal on the 30 then you can get 3 WAB damage of the front and side arcs...if you use the 75 take external racks or expanded launchers and you can get 4 WAB damage off the front and 3 WAB off the sides... 4 WAB kills flotillae outright and 3 WAB kills scatter aces outright as well...

If your saying to yourself " ok, this is all well and great skycake, but what is the value here over apt or acm?" I'm telling you the value is huge... Getting a free kill in armada is massive... You only realistically have 3-4 rounds of shooting in the game...many ships won't last more than 2 rounds in the fight or in range...so every attack is precious and therefore any time you get to kill something else for doing something you wanted to do anyways which is shoot ships the benefit it huge...  3 kills in one activation of the 75 is not uncommon I suppose 4 kills is possible as well...

I highly recommend people try it...

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I have a list that I built as a janky concept just to maximise WAB and discovered it was actually pretty decent so have played it at a couple of larger tournaments with reasonable success.

As @SkyCake mentioned, Sato really is your go-to commander if you want to get maximum benefit from it. In my version, WAB is on an MC75 because it can also take ExRacks or ExLaunchers to maximise the splash damage. My list also runs at 400 with nothing that I feel I could cut without significantly impacting performance so the extra points for APT or ECM wouldn't fit if I wanted them to. With WAB running at only 2 points, it doesn't matter if it never comes into play but if it does it can be devastating. The way I use it, it's certainly not a clutch upgrade but It's great when it goes off.

A couple of examples of times I've been really grateful that I had it:
- Splashing the final points of damage onto an ISD with my last shot of the turn (and second player).
- Taking out an untouched flotilla against a Sloane fleet. This effectively crippled the fleet as the flotilla was the last thing pushing squads near my capital ship and secured me the win.

There have also been times when WAB is just providing a valuable assist, such as splashing an incoming pair of Raiders at long range (with Sato and Opening Salvo) which had been dodging ranged ACMs from my Hammerheads on the attack run, allowing me to finally pin enough damage to destroy one with a follow up shot.

None of these have really required me to change my playstyle much (except for being conscious of when to blow ExRacks for maximum WAB abuse) but they have either made opponents consciously change their flying to avoid the potential WAB damage or have punished them if they didn't.

They have probably only had a meaningful effect in a third of the games I played with that fleet but that was fine. Although I built a list to maximise WAB, the list didn't lean on them at all. Following my fun with that (and after some inspiration here, possibly from SkyCake, I can't remember the thread), I've picked up a few extra WAB cards so I can try a splash damage abuse list. 

To answer the hypothetical question of why that over APT or ACM: I would say that it depends on how your fleet is supposed to operate. If you're relying on a massive sledgehammer punch to take out a priority target (using a Raddus Bomb or Avenger) then you probably want spike damage upgrades. If you want to either have a cheap little trick in your back pocket for when it is situationally useful, or you can deliver handfulls of black dice from more than one target and want to spread the pain and push your opponent out of formation in defence, then WAB could be your upgrade.

It's also useful for taking out those pesky scatter aces, as they don't usually have very much hull to chew through.

Did I mention that it is only 2 points? 2!

 

Edit: here's the list. Although I wanted ExLaunchers for maximum WAB abuse, I had to drop to ExRacks for the point saving. I've also found this squadron complete to be very effective. Props to whichever of the blogs Steel Squadron who suggested two VCX as part of a Sato squad ball.


7HHHT Sato Barrage + Han/Stategic (400/400)
==========================================
MC75 Ordnance Cruiser (100 + 55)
    + Commander Sato (32)
    + Strategic Adviser (4)
    + Ordnance Experts (4)
    + Electronic Countermeasures (7)
    + Wide-Area Barrage (2)
    + External Racks (3)
    + Aspiration (3)
Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette (36 + 15)
    + Ordnance Experts (4)
    + Disposable Capacitors (3)
    + Assault Concussion Missiles (7)
    + Task Force Organa (1)
Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette (36 + 15)
    + Ordnance Experts (4)
    + Disposable Capacitors (3)
    + Assault Concussion Missiles (7)
    + Task Force Organa (1)
Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette (36 + 15)
    + Ordnance Experts (4)
    + Disposable Capacitors (3)
    + Assault Concussion Missiles (7)
    + Task Force Organa (1)
GR-75 Medium Transports (18 + 2)
    + Comms Net (2)
Han Solo (26)
Tycho Celchu (16)
2 x VCX-100 Freighter (2 x 15)
Opening Salvo
Intel Sweep
Hyperspace assault

Edited by ManInTheBox

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That list looks pretty fun... I've personally not liked long range apt acm with Sato for precisely the reason you cite: evades...but I suppose there is enough of a large ship meta to make it ok...  hammerhead also feel squishy to me but I probably just need a lot more flight time with them... I see a potential synergy in your list with acm and barrage as barrages are best against low shielded hulls. Your list looks pretty good, but I would put BAIL on 75 and change objectives to salvo, ion, corona dropping the second vcx for something else perhaps...

 

Here is my list

 

Faction: Rebel Alliance
Points: 385/400

Commander: Commander Sato

Assault Objective: Most Wanted
Defense Objective: Hyperspace Assault
Navigation Objective: Solar Corona

[ flagship ] MC75 Ordnance Cruiser (100 points)
-  Commander Sato  ( 32  points)
-  Strategic Adviser  ( 4  points)
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points)
-  External Racks  ( 3  points)
-  Wide-Area Barrage  ( 2  points)
= 145 total ship cost

MC30c Torpedo Frigate (63 points)
-  Admonition  ( 8  points)
-  Intel Officer  ( 7  points)
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points)
-  Wide-Area Barrage  ( 2  points)
= 84 total ship cost

Nebulon-B Support Refit (51 points)
-  Salvation  ( 7  points)
-  Skilled First Officer  ( 1  points)
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points)
= 67 total ship cost

GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  Hondo Ohnaka  ( 2  points)
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points)
= 22 total ship cost

GR-75 Medium Transports (18 points)
-  Leia Organa  ( 3  points)
-  Comms Net  ( 2  points)
= 23 total ship cost

1 Shara Bey ( 17 points)
1 A-Wing Squadron ( 11 points)
1 Tycho Celchu ( 16 points)
= 44 total squadron cost

I send admo in first hopefully strip a brace with that Intel officer, then 75 follows... Salvation just kinda hangs back delaying activation but getting to fire what can sometimes be some fairly mean rolls... A wings are my choice cause they can be distance ten away the turn before you need them, then zoom into the fight during squad phase previous turn then ship activation on the turn...

 

Have fun

 

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That's an awesome fleet ManInTheBox!  I love how you have the big splash damage threat with the MC75, and the long range threat from the hammerheads.

I have liked it on an MC75 as others have said.  I have tried it on an MC75 along with ACMs, with the idea that if I didn't double arc, I could still potentially hit my main target twice (maybe side shot against a corvette or something), which didn't really materialize.   That didn't seem that promising in practice.  I have used it on one torpedo hammerhead in a group of 3 (others with OE, ACM, disposable capacitors, Task Force Organa) to save points, give me a cheap ship to tap for Task Force Organa, and also put some splash damage on the main target if a small ship (say Demo) flanks the hammerhead group.  That worked decently, but was still only 2 damage splashed (off of 3 or 4 black hits) at close range.  Probably best to have it on an MC75 or MC30 to get those higher numbers to reach the magic 3 or even 4 splash.

I like that list above too Skycake, very cool.  Nice short/long mix.

One idea to toss out there - I realized adding Nym to a Sato list could be pretty interesting.  He has grit, is very tanky, both of which are attributes Sato love.  And, if you are bringing Toryn along to reroll the blues from your VCXs/hawks already (as I often try to), she gives you an uptick to the changes of proccing his ability.  He seems he could synergize very well with Sato as Sato is so good at putting out high raw damage, in addition to triggering the crits.

You could do a medium fighter wing with strong strategic objectives like:

 

VCX (15) x 2

Nym (21)

Tycho (16)

Hwk (12) x 2

Total = 91

Getting the ship mix to feel right what that investment is always the trick.  

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4 minutes ago, JolliGreenGiant said:

That's an awesome fleet ManInTheBox!  I love how you have the big splash damage threat with the MC75, and the long range threat from the hammerheads.

I have liked it on an MC75 as others have said.  I have tried it on an MC75 along with ACMs, with the idea that if I didn't double arc, I could still potentially hit my main target twice (maybe side shot against a corvette or something), which didn't really materialize.   That didn't seem that promising in practice.  I have used it on one torpedo hammerhead in a group of 3 (others with OE, ACM, disposable capacitors, Task Force Organa) to save points, give me a cheap ship to tap for Task Force Organa, and also put some splash damage on the main target if a small ship (say Demo) flanks the hammerhead group.  That worked decently, but was still only 2 damage splashed (off of 3 or 4 black hits) at close range.  Probably best to have it on an MC75 or MC30 to get those higher numbers to reach the magic 3 or even 4 splash.

I like that list above too Skycake, very cool.  Nice short/long mix.

One idea to toss out there - I realized adding Nym to a Sato list could be pretty interesting.  He has grit, is very tanky, both of which are attributes Sato love.  And, if you are bringing Toryn along to reroll the blues from your VCXs/hawks already (as I often try to), she gives you an uptick to the changes of proccing his ability.  He seems he could synergize very well with Sato as Sato is so good at putting out high raw damage, in addition to triggering the crits.

You could do a medium fighter wing with strong strategic objectives like:

 

VCX (15) x 2

Nym (21)

Tycho (16)

Hwk (12) x 2

Total = 91

Getting the ship mix to feel right what that investment is always the trick.  

Thanks. :D It certainly takes some finesse to fly to make sure things don't die in the wrong order (especially after I had to take out Contested Outpost as that was so easy to play) but I've been really happy with it. I've not had to run it against a rebel 134 build yet, though. I did heavily lose to an Imperial bomber list but I lost that on deployment in Solar Corona when I set up in a corner and he made me fly through the long route through all his bombers to get to his carriers. I wouldn't make that mistake again!

Interesting thoughts on that squad mix. I might try something like that in a different Sato list sometime. Something with more squad activations!

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Has anyone tried using them as a counter to Sloane or Imperial 2-ship fleets? I guess it’s difficult to count on your opponent putting squadrons within close range of their own ships, but it seems like a great suppliment to flak, and could burst scatter aces like soap bubbles.

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33 minutes ago, Tayloraj100 said:

Has anyone tried using them as a counter to Sloane or Imperial 2-ship fleets? I guess it’s difficult to count on your opponent putting squadrons within close range of their own ships, but it seems like a great suppliment to flak, and could burst scatter aces like soap bubbles.

If the enemy squads are near your ships but not his, they have no way to trigger.

If you want an ordnance supplement to flak, Ordnance Pods are circumstantially useful but need the right setup.

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I've tried using it during a 200 pt fleet patrol on a mc75 ord cruiser with OE Expanded launchers and WAB. It was mainly to deter people wanting to use squad heavy however it can be potent when double arcing something and CF commanding. Lived the dream twice in 3 rounds.  Used 3 splash then 2 splash to kill an untouched goz. And used the 3 splash to remove howl before the squad war started (matchup was 2 xwings vs 3 tie fighter + howl). All in all, its a very Get what you pay for upgrade

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I to have found some success using WAB on a sato ordnance cruiser. It allows to run a lighter squadron screen, and when you do get splash damage off on a double arc it can be really powerful.

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