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Tokra

Possible idea for the squadron problem (if you call it a problem)

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First of all, i am maybe one of the most extreme squadron players and love them. My opinion on squadrons is, that everyone should bring them, just because they are the best answer against them. But some want to play without any, and are shocked if the opponent is bringing some, and they have no answer against it. Thats like going to a gunfight and complaining that everyone else has a gun but them 😉. For me are squadrons just a part that has to be in a fleet. But this is my opinion.
The easiest fix would be if the fleet build rules would be changed that each fleet has to include at least 100 points in squadrons (i know, a bad joke 😀).


The biggest problem with cards against squadrons is, that the most upgrades are doing nothing if the opponent has no squadrons (Flechette Torpedos, Quad Laser Turrets, ...). There are so many great cards against squadrons, that just cannot be used so well, because it would be wasted points when there are no squadrons on the opponents fleet (again, easy fix: see above 🙄). This is why most player use cards that work against squadrons and ships. Sadly this cards are, most likely, squadrons. So currently the best way to deal with squadrons are squadrons.

This is why i present my idea of a fix (no, not again the fix from above).
At first i thought about dual cards. Cards that can be used at one or the other side when deploying the fleet (like the old Adaptability in X-Wing 1.0).

But than i came up with another idea.
A new slot for the ships. Similar to the Titel slot. Each ship has this slot and can place a card in this slot (just as the Titel). Lets call it Modification Slot (or Alteration Slot, if you find Modification to confusing with modification as keyword on upgrade cards).

And here are a few card ideas for this slot:

Flak Specialists
[Cost 0, slot modification]
Before deploying fleets, you have to discard Veteran Gunners or this card.
Before you reveal a command, you may exhaust this card to increase the anti-squadron armament of one hull zone by 1 blue die until the end of the activation.

Energy Techs
[Cost 0, slot modification]
Before deploying fleets, you have to discard Engine Techs or this card.

<Concentrate Fire>: this command is not spend when used against squadrons. You can resolve the same command again, as long as you attack squadrons. Discard all command tokens at the end of the activation.

Diffused Turbolaser Battery
[Cost 0, slot modification]
Before deploying fleets, you have to discard a Turbolaser upgrade card with a cost of 4 or more or this card.
Before you reveal a command, you may exhaust this card. Deal 1 damage to a squadron at distance 1 of you and all squadrons (friendly and enemy) at distance 1 of this squadron. You cannot attack this activation.

Ion Pulse Modification
[Cost 0, slot modification]
Before deploying fleets, you have to discard an Ion Cannon upgrade card with a cost of 4 or more or this card.
While attacking a squadron, you may exhaust this card and spend all dice to toggle the targets activation slider to the activated side.

Point Defense Upgrade
[Cost 0, slot modification]
Before deploying fleets, you have to discard an Ordnance upgrade card with a cost of 4 or more or this card.
While attacking squadrons each of your <Crit> icons add 1 damage to the damage total.

This way you can alter your ships a bit before the deployment to react on the enemy. It is basically a sidedeck for your fleet.
You can either use the normal card, or discard it and use the modification card.
As you notice these cannot be used on Flotillas. Basically to prevent an abuse of these against squadrons. And to bring back some balance to the force ships. We have already enough Flotilla in the lists.
These could as well be done with all kind of cards, as well some that are not against squadrons but, for example, against small/medium/large/huge ships.

What do you think about this idea?

 

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I'm actually not immediately opposed to the idea of a minimum squadron component.  In theory there's a lot more certainty in listbuilding that could happen if you knew all of your opponents are gonna have some form of squadron blob.  No more "I wanna run squadless but someone's gonna show up with a skew 8 firespray list that gets wrecked by Sloane but crushes me...  So I could take a small wing of interceptors but then they're useless vs no squads..." etc etc.

But I don't think it can be the only rules change.  I'd love to see some tweaks to some of the more overperforming aces, and some buffs to many generic squadrons.  

I also worry that a minimum squad component would mean  we start to see a lot of repetitive fleets.  If you tell an Imperial list they need to have 100+ points in squads... well then they're gonna take a quasar.  

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I am a bit torn here, @Tokra. I am not opposed to the idea in itself (in fact to both ideas - also the one about minimum squads). Sidedecks are something I really like in order to minimize the match up lottery.

However, I think the current situation could be fixed much more easily by simply fixing the roots of its problems - and I think there are two: Intel and Sloane. Both are responsible for the fact that small and medium squad simply are unreliable. With intel you can ignore them to a certain point (not to mention the stupidity that Armada seems to imply that Dengar and Jan Ors are the most iconic starfighters) and with Sloane you eat them quicker than a Hot Dog.

First, make Intel something completely different (not even go the route of making it grit like). Maybe, you make it something that reduces the value of aces like that aces in distance one cannot move.

Second, I really understand and like the idea behind Sloane. The anti-ship capabilities of imperial non-bombers suck. However, why does she need to be insanely good against squads as well? Simply drop her anti-squad ability and decrease her point cost (or maybe give her some dial control like inbuilt wing commander).

 

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3 minutes ago, Darth Veggie said:

by simply fixing the roots of its problems - and I think there are two: Intel and Sloane.

I don`'t agree that these two are the root of the problem.
Take the two ship lists for example. They dont need any of these. They use Stele, Jendon, Morna, Bossk, Boba, Firesprays, Mauler. These lists do not use Sloane, and don't need Intel this badly (it helps, but they don't focus on it).
Or Nathans Rieekan fleet. He didn`'t use Intel, and was still fine (if not great).

The biggest problem is that ships cannot take down squadrons this well or just not fast enough. Sure, two ISD with Flak can take down squadrons "really" fast (non aces after than aces). But even if they need 3-4 turns, this is just to long. In this time the squadrons can kill the ISD. Soemthing that should be only fair, x-134 points in squadrons (that are destroyed) against a 120+ point ISD. The only problem is that 240+ points were not able to stop the 134 points in squadron. One ISd alone need way to long and might not even be able to kill any.

But imo they don't have to kill them fast, this is not their (main) job.
It is like a carrier battle group in the Navy. The ships in Armada are the aircraft carrier. This one cannot work alone, it need support. And this support should be the squadrons. Sadly most dont want to use this support, or need the points somewhere else (in the ships). But because of this they expose themself to a heavy squadron list.
In Star Wars Legion they made the rule, that each army has to include 3-6 core troopers. In analogy to Armada this would mean that each fleet has to include 72-134 points in squadrons (or maybe in anti squadron cards/ships). They did this in the the same way with Flotillas. Each fleet can include 0-2 Flotilla (like in Legion with Special units). And with the Commander. Each Fleet has to include 1 Commander. So why not do the same for squadrons.
But as i said, this could be a dull rule that some might not like. Because some just do not want to play with squadrons. And some (like yourself at the Vassal World Cup) try to counter this by killing the ships and ignore the squadrons. Great tactic, but this is (imo) not reliable enough to count on it.

 

To be fair i would even say, that the root of the problem is the focus on being able to last/first and on the activations. This ability, to go last/first, is way to strong in Armada. And this should have been fixed a long time ago. Without the bid fight and the hunt for activations and going last/first, there would be no need for so many ships. And some might have used more squadrons instead.
The worst part is, that Bail and Pryce only made it worse. Suddenly you don`'t need a high activation number anymore to do the last/first. But this last/first is still the main problem. It even went full counterwise in the other direction. The high squadron numbers are a result because of Pryce. You have now the abilty to go last/first with few ships. This means you can suddenly use squadrons as well, on top of the last/first. Where others have to use these point for ships, to buy activations, Pryce and Bail can do the same with only 2-3 ships. And on top have the big bonus of the squadrons (thanks god that the SSD cannot use Pryce...).

Take out the ability to last/first, errata Bail and Pryce to something else, and i would say that the squadron problem will solve itself. Because most will add 4-6 squadrons now. Suddenly they have the points free to do this. Instead of squeeze another Hammerhead or Raider into the list, just to buy one more activation, they could focus on anti squadron support, that also help against ships. And this is, like i wrote at the begin, squadrons, as long as there are no upgrade cards that do both.

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Imho there shouldn't be an easy fix for dealing with squadrons if you don't take any yourself. Squadrons being their own counter is perfect. You have the option not to take any squadrons and risk being in big trouble vs carrier fleets, you can take a token fighter screen to delay the enemy squadrons while your ships do their job, or you can invest heavily in squadrons yourself but end up with less ships. Seems balanced.

I just feel the squadron phase should be more streamlined so it doesn't bog the game down as much.

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Posted (edited)

A somewhat consistent complaint is that aces outperform generics by too wide a margin. If we make it easier for ships to bring flak-boosting upgrades, the gap between generics and aces is going to widen. Especially scatter aces. 

 

EDIT: An idea I haven’t thought out too hard: An offensive retrofit that either adds an accuracy result or can convert one die to an accuracy for flak shots. This would do nothing against generic squadrons and very little to brace aces but would hurt scatter aces. It closes the gap a bit

Edited by Church14

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5 minutes ago, RobertK said:

I know it's been suggested elsewhere *cough @Green Knight coughcough*, but what are people's reaction to a new rule that says a ship that is activated last can not be the first ship activated in the following round?

Unless it's the last ship left. Hmm. I could see that.

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Ships can already bring flak focused upgrades, and they are very effective. Having to take the risk of hyper specializing your ship is great part of list building. I personally don't see squadrons as a problem and ideas like lowering the cap maximum will only benefit rebels with their myriad ways of going around the cap (Yavaris, Adlar).

Squadron first/last is outrageously powerful but it's difficult to get high activations, maximum squadrons, and enough of a bid for first player. Pryce and other activation manipulation cards are really the issue here.

I would like to see more anti squadron upgrades for ships, there are already some good ones but it's an area that could really grow.

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5 minutes ago, Kristjan said:

Ships can already bring flak focused upgrades, and they are very effective.

This is basically what i mentioned as well. But these upgrades are worthless, if the opponent has no squadrons. And this seems to be the reason many are not even using them. Not taking them, only to get overrun by squadrons.

From my games at worlds, you were the only one who had anti squadron cards on the ships. I would even say that only a handfull had any only-anti-squadron cards (like Ruthless for example).

This was my reason for the suggestion to add some anti squadron cards that work as well against ships. This would encounter more player to use them.
Even when there are already really a lot of cards that work against both. Intel Officer, H9, Home One, Warlord, Avenger (has anyone ever used this against squadrons? 😁), Devestator. These are just a few.

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8 hours ago, rasproteus said:

What about making something like QLT just ... happen?  Having to activate in order to flak seems like half the problem.

I have always thought that ships should have a built in counter to squads.

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22 minutes ago, Tokra said:

This is basically what i mentioned as well. But these upgrades are worthless, if the opponent has no squadrons. And this seems to be the reason many are not even using them. Not taking them, only to get overrun by squ

That's true, but it's part of the risk/reward of list building. But taking stuff like dedicated flak ships allows your squadron compliment to be more anti ship focused.  I'm not a fan of the idea of side boarding upgrades to match your opponent, I like that you have to go all in.

I would love a turbolaser or offensive retrofit that increased a ships anti squad battery dice. Or some sort of jammer that prevents ships from activating squads within a certain range.

I played 2 all ships lists at Worlds this year, and both games went well for me. My flak gladiator can still hurt ships, it just gives up some usually common upgrades. You definitely schooled me in our game, since you could first/last me I probably should have bunkered up rather than chased after you. You made masterful use of squall, which was something I didn't see coming until it was to late.

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I think that making the anit squadrons upgrades flexible like if flechette Torpedos did something against ships like a critical effect that just dealt an additional damage or something like that, or having Ruthless Strategies alow you to ping a damage on your ship to add/reroll dice when attacking a ship would help balance out the game. From my understanding and vauge hits about what is in Rebillion in the Rim I think this is the route they are going. I would not have a problem with a minimum squadron requerment in fact I have been an advocate for it, but I think it would have to be accompanied by ether a minimum 2-3 point increase to all aces, or a squadron cap of 100 and a decrease in generic prices by 2-3.  I don't see point ajustments coming unless we get some sort of app from FFG, so I think this solution is unlikely.  I do think something needs to be done, but I think FFG is going to go with the upgrade route.

 

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4 hours ago, Tokra said:

The biggest problem is that ships cannot take down squadrons this well or just not fast enough. Sure, two ISD with Flak can take down squadrons "really" fast (non aces after than aces). But even if they need 3-4 turns, this is just to long. In this time the squadrons can kill the ISD. Soemthing that should be only fair, x-134 points in squadrons (that are destroyed) against a 120+ point ISD. The only problem is that 240+ points were not able to stop the 134 points in squadron. One ISd alone need way to long and might not even be able to kill any.

But imo they don't have to kill them fast, this is not their (main) job.

It is like a carrier battle group in the Navy. The ships in Armada are the aircraft carrier. This one cannot work alone, it need support. And this support should be the squadrons. Sadly most dont want to use this support, or need the points somewhere else (in the ships). But because of this they expose themself to a heavy squadron list.

In Star Wars Legion they made the rule, that each army has to include 3-6 core troopers. In analogy to Armada this would mean that each fleet has to include 72-134 points in squadrons (or maybe in anti squadron cards/ships). They did this in the the same way with Flotillas. Each fleet can include 0-2 Flotilla (like in Legion with Special units). And with the Commander. Each Fleet has to include 1 Commander. So why not do the same for squadrons.
But as i said, this could be a dull rule that some might not like. Because some just do not want to play with squadrons. And some (like yourself at the Vassal World Cup) try to counter this by killing the ships and ignore the squadrons. Great tactic, but this is (imo) not reliable enough to count on it.

In your example, those carrier battle groups have destroyer/cruiser/frigate escorts which are also very effective at combating squadrons.  In Armada, however, once they have activated they provide no protection against squadrons at all.  Indeed, they cannot even defend themselves.

If I bring 75-134 points of squadrons, then I need to bring something to activate them.  Rogues are not strong against the kind of squadron list you are running because all they can do is respond to your attacks.  This is why Rieekan rogues were relatively popular in the Rebel meta at Worlds.  I need to feed SOMETHING to your squadron ball alpha strike, whether it's a ship or Wedge/Dash, and hope that my counter attack is strong enough to do some damage.

@Kristjan - how many points of squadrons did you bring?  How long did they last?  And how many points did they earn you?

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33 minutes ago, rasproteus said:

In your example, those carrier battle groups have destroyer/cruiser/frigate escorts which are also very effective at combating squadrons.  In Armada, however, once they have activated they provide no protection against squadrons at all.  Indeed, they cannot even defend themselves.

seems i said it a bit wrong. Or mistakable.
I mean a single aircraft carrier, without any support. This is basically a fleet without squadrons in Armada.
The Squadrons in Armada are the support for the aircraft carrier. 
Maybe not the best analogy 😁.

 

Kristjan had Jendon, Stele, Morna, Ciena, Jonus and a Firespray.
But the bonus was the GSD II with Ruthless and Kallus. Together with the Warlord titel on the VSD.
These were are the anti squadron cards (even when Warlord work as well against ships). This was the reason he could focus on anti ships squadrons, like Jonus and bomber. 
In our match the GSD II could not fire once on any squadron. If it would have shot, i am sure my squadrons would have popped like bubbles. 

This was at least our game in round 3.

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1 hour ago, Tokra said:

seems i said it a bit wrong. Or mistakable.
I mean a single aircraft carrier, without any support. This is basically a fleet without squadrons in Armada.
The Squadrons in Armada are the support for the aircraft carrier. 
Maybe not the best analogy 😁.

 

Kristjan had Jendon, Stele, Morna, Ciena, Jonus and a Firespray.
But the bonus was the GSD II with Ruthless and Kallus. Together with the Warlord titel on the VSD.
These were are the anti squadron cards (even when Warlord work as well against ships). This was the reason he could focus on anti ships squadrons, like Jonus and bomber. 
In our match the GSD II could not fire once on any squadron. If it would have shot, i am sure my squadrons would have popped like bubbles. 

This was at least our game in round 3.

At some point, however, we're just talking about what we are choosing to lose instead of the carrier.  

That said, I don't think we disagree.  My personal feeling on the meta is that you either go all in and hope to at least trade points in the squadron fight, or you don't play it at all and hope to bag the ISD without taking too many losses of your own.  There simply isn't much room for a fleet with defensive-oriented squadrons - they can't handle no-squad fleets very easily, and will be overwhelmed by full-squad fleets.

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Seeing the statistics of the regionals and worlds, I see the dominance of the Aces. Why not impose a pointcap for aces, limiting them like the flottilas? Like a 50ish points, so combos can still work, but you are either bringing 2 hardcore aces, or coming with 3 cheaper. Still, you can fill the rest with generics. 

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I was actually just playing a game right next to a couple of unwashed MtG troglodytes the other day, eavesdropping while they were talking about their decks.  They were talking about their sideboards and I thought, you know, that wouldn't be the worst idea for Armada.

I think your observation about antisquadron-specific upgrades is very insightful, and a sideboard would address it.  I think your solution of adding a slot for these things is going in the right direction, though I'm not sure it's quite right.  I do like it better than just introducing a straight-up sideboard to the game, though ideally I'd like a solution that supports some of the existing, lesser-used antisquadron upgrades like Cluster Bombs, QLT, and Ord Pods.

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I've dinked around some with Ord Pods and generally like it.  It's an appropriate strength level and cost.  The biggest cost being the upgrade you aren't taking in that slot.

It's mostly just limited by the ships it is available to.  (I think that maybe 3 ships in the game can use it)  I would love to see a similar upgrade that could be taken by a wider variety of ships.

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1 minute ago, shmitty said:

I've dinked around some with Ord Pods and generally like it.  It's an appropriate strength level and cost.  The biggest cost being the upgrade you aren't taking in that slot.

It's mostly just limited by the ships it is available to.  (I think that maybe 3 ships in the game can use it)  I would love to see a similar upgrade that could be taken by a wider variety of ships. 

If it wasn't for the size restriction, I'd love it on Raider-Is and Torp Hammerheads with the right build.

The problem is the opportunity cost of External Racks, really. You could use Flechettes on Raider-Is right now, but the opportunity cost there just sucks (not even getting into the fact that the meta is terrible for Raider-Is right now). If you hit a squadron fleet and if you can get the Raider flak to go off, Flechettes can be amazing. But otherwise, they're and you're wondering why you gave up External Racks for them.

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How about this:

•Spoofed Sensor Signature - 0pts

(alternately •Dinner Squadron)

Fleet Support Upgrade

When building a fleet, you may add non-unique squadrons up to the cost of this ship plus upgrades.  These do not count towards your fleet building total.  Before deployment, set those squadrons aside.

After deploying this ship, you may deploy the set aside squadrons at Distance 1 from this ship.  If you do, remove this ship from play.

Ships or squadrons set aside this way do not count as "destroyed" for purposes of scoring at the end of the game.

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