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Irate Pooka

Elizabethtown, KY Prime batrep

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First of all, I love these tournaments. I love the competition, I love the swag, but more than any of that, I love the community. It's what keeps me playing this game in the first place, but it doesn't matter where I go: I'm always running into or meeting folks that I genuinely enjoy, and I think that's a rare feat for any game to accomplish. I was sad to see Store Championships go specifically because I just really relish any time I spend with Armada folks, so as this was my first Prime, I was extremely excited. Also, lest I forget, Hard Knox Games & Hobbies were extremely warm and gracious hosts. If you ever have a chance to buy or play there, do it!

A little background: I live in St. Louis, MO. As many people have said, Prime placement was disappointing for some of us this year. That's true of STL, from where we have to drive something like a minimum of 4 hours to get to a tourney this season. That said, I made my plans to get to Hard Knox, knowing the drive was about 4 hours and 15 minutes. But for some reason, I could have sworn the tourney was listed on the FFG page as being on Sunday, not Saturday. So my friend Nathan was unable to come with me when he realized the week of the tournament that it was on Saturday, not Sunday as we planned. So I'd be driving solo. Not a huge deal, but then I remembered the time difference, so I'd have to leave my house around 4:45am to get there by about 10:15 or so if I made sure my stop was short and if the weather cooperated. I got to bed early, shaved and showered, then read in order to wind down and avoid screen time (currently on the third Expanse book - they're fantastic, as is the series). Then I promptly never fell asleep and ended up being up all night. Hit the road by 4 since I wasn't sleeping anyway and the weather was getting a little nasty. Luckily navigated all of that cold rain and fog nonsense to arrive safely and have time to eat breakfast, because I absolutely refuse to tilt, but if I don't have food in me AND I'm running on no sleep for the previous 24 hours? Yeah, Imma end up tilting. Don't wanna be that guy. So I eat, arrive, and get set up. And you know what? Getting food in my stomach and just chatting with some Armada folks really just made me feel a ton better and ready to play, despite the daunting drive home after the tourney (by the time I got into bed after the drive home, I'd been up for about 40 hours, which I'm just not used to).

I've been working on my list for quite some time. I knew coming into this season that I wanted to run Tarkin, but I had about 5 different directions I wanted to go with him, with variations on each direction. The first big test was GenCon, and I did okay, going 2-2, but not doing as well as I wanted. It was a Cymoon with two Glads, running Entrapment Formation! in order to mess with speed and come from any direction I wanted. The shenanigans were fun, but just didn't translate into wins. Tried a Shields to Maximum! variant for a casual tourney after that and went 1-2. Finally, a couple of months ago, I landed on the following:

Ain't Tarkin 'Bout Love (45/396/400)
====================================
Kuat Refit (112 + 66: 178)
    + Grand Moff Tarkin (38)
    + Strategic Adviser (4)
    + Darth Vader (3)
    + Electronic Countermeasures (7)
    + Leading Shots (4)
    + Assault Proton Torpedoes (5)
    + Seventh Fleet Star Destroyer (5)
Gladiator I-class Star Destroyer (56 + 18: 74)
    + Skilled First Officer (1)
    + Ordnance Experts (4)
    + Auxiliary Shields Team (3)
    + Assault Proton Torpedoes (5)
    + Seventh Fleet Star Destroyer (5)
Gladiator I-class Star Destroyer (56 + 18: 74)
    + Skilled First Officer (1)
    + Ordnance Experts (4)
    + Auxiliary Shields Team (3)
    + Assault Proton Torpedoes (5)
    + Seventh Fleet Star Destroyer (5)
Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 + 2: 25)
    + Comms Net (2)
Hondo Ohnaka (24)
IG-88 (21)

Or rather, I landed on something extremely close to this. I had EWS instead of ECM. I love EWS with this fleet, but I took the fleet to Chicagoland's charity tourney (which was a great deal of fun!), and lost all 3 of my matches. The first two were close enough and I could have flown better, but the third saw me up against a Ravager build, and I just got annihilated. So while I hate to make changes for one list in the meta, I just couldn't count on dodging Ravager builds all day, and so replaced EWS with ECM, knowing it was the right call, even if it hurt my soul. Naturally, I didn't fly against any Ravager builds! But I can't complain: ECM still pulled its weight.

Round 1

Forgive me, but I'm not great with names and don't remember any opponents' names :( I can say that each of my opponents was extremely gracious, and a pleasure to play against. I can also say that my first match was against scipio83, who posted his Sato list in the Prime Championships Data Collection thread. I was so glad to see Sato, because I really enjoy the **** out of him as a commander, don't see him enough, and was too focused on Tarkin this season to really test my own Sato list enough to bring it to a tournament. scipio had the bid and chose second, and after much consternation and internal debate, I settled on Fire Lanes. I didn't like it, but I thought he'd crush me with Most Wanted or Superior Positions, and I'm fairly certain I was right about that assessment. My squadron game is tiny and meant to be disruptive more than anything else, so I couldn't compete with his squads, and I didn't need him farming those objective tokens every time he shot me in the butt. I always learn more when I lose than when I win, but this is one of the first times I learned something during deployment: any time I've ever faced off against Fire Lanes, I've seen the tokens stacked together. scipio spread them out across the board because he had the ships to do that, and I did not have the ships to meet him. Strong choice, and my first surprise of the day. Makes me think a little differently about how to deploy the objective. So I moved two objective tokens as close together as I could and just decided to forgo the third. He set up a lone Hammerhead to take that token, and I decided to contest the first two. By round 3, I'd closed enough to get one of my Glads up on his Aspiration, but I'd misplayed my dials and set Engineering when I needed a Navigate dial. And unfortunately, Tarkin couldn't help me here because I needed the tics, and not just the speed change. So while my Glad could make a run on Aspiration, Aspiration was going to sail right on past my Kuat's front arc (as well as stay out of close range while Vader impatiently waited to board a shuttle and rip off an upgrade). The Glad, of course, died, and I got one of the other Hammerheads. Luckily, Fire Lanes tokens kept the game closer than it had a right to be. But strong props to scipio for his play: I forgot that if a squadron overlaps an objective token, that token goes to the opposing player. So first, I accidentally overlapped the token with my Gozanti. Dumb. That was just sloppy play. But then, the Gozanti moved and overlapped IG-88, whom scipio then placed on top of the token, touching the Gozanti. IG didn't do his job and kill (either an A-Wing or Tycho, I can't remember which), which meant he was stuck there and my opponent scored that token again. Strong play that I wouldn't have considered. Learned something else! By the end of the match, I managed to keep myself alive and competitive long enough to drag us out to time by the end of round 6, I think I had something like 7 tokens to his 11? Or maybe 6 to his 12, I can't remember. Either way, I squeaked by with a 5-6 loss and was glad for it.

Now, I got outplayed by scipio (and, again, he was extremely gracious about it, really friendly, and just a really decent fellow to play against, for which I'm extremely grateful!), but after my drive, lack of sleep, and being disappointed by my own misplays, I'll admit that my head wasn't in a great space. Oh, I wasn't in danger of tilting (thanks, breakfast food!), but I was in danger of just not enjoying myself as much I should have in the subsequent matches. But then I did the smart thing and texted my wife to send me pictures of our son. I'm a stay-at-home dad who works from home, and I adore our toddler. Honestly, seeing his little smile made me smile, and really lifted up my spirits and let me focus. So I'm sure most folks here know this, but for those who don't? It often helps to bring something with you that helps make you feel warm. After I spent a minute or two flicking through pictures, I felt better, stopped beating myself up for mistakes (especially against an opponent who absolutely earned his win against me, and frankly, I was lucky the MOV between us wasn't bigger), and was ready to move onto round 2.

 

Round 2

I do not remember my opponent's name, but it was yet another fellow who was kind, warm, decent, funny, and just all-around a pleasure to play with. We were at table 7 (and I believe there were 24 participants in the tourney? It might have been 22), so my first loss didn't cost me as badly as I feared. He was running Dodonna, chose to go first, and chose to play Abandoned Mining Facility. He was running an LMC-80, a flotilla, and 2 MC-30s, as well as Shara and Tycho. This was my only match of the day in which IG-88 did his job extremely well and didn't roll frigid dice. So I was grateful for that! He deployed across from me, and I planted all 4 ships behind a dust field. I was able to start mining objectives immediately, courtesy of the Engineering tokens handed out by the objective, and continue mining after that largely owing to Tarkin handing out Engineering tokens each turn. His ships closed while his flotilla mined his own dust field, but one of his MC-30s (Admo) was forced to fly wide to avoid my Glads and Kuat, who were flying together in extremely close formation. His LMC-80 came at me head-on, and his other MC-30 had to fly a little wide out the other way to avoid my oncoming Kuat who jumped his speed once he passed the protection of the dust cloud. I used an Engineering command and dial from one of my Glads to suck away the dust field as I left it behind so that he couldn't continue mining after I'd left. My Kuat moved real fast after a quick side hit on the MC-30 to put a little damage on it, and managed to swing into the LMC-80's side arc and into close range. That was vital, as both of my Glads ended up in the Lib's devastating front arc. So I used Vader to strip away his Gunnery Team and make him choose which Glad to shoot. After it absolutely crushed my front Glad and rammed my second one, my Kuat killed it off and moved forward. With first activation, my opponent was able to clear the second Glad with Admo, which was well done. But my flotilla managed to get out of range, and then he turned in his damaged MC-30. Hondo was able to get in there and lob some torpedoes at it, and then, it had nowhere to go with my Kuat firmly in its way and Admo out of the rest of the match. I got one side shot from my Kuat into his MC-30, and then it jumped me, dodging my front arc, but landing in my other side arc. At that point, the Kuat took another side shot and managed to kill it with a great roll in round 6. If it wasn't quite dead, Hondo and IG were standing by to see if they could secure the kill.

Squadron game was fairly uninteresting. Tycho moved away from Shara so that I had to choose who to go after. Given that I was fielding IG-88, the choice was clearly Shara. IG went after her and rolled a lot of what he needed to. With no counter, she had no real chance against him. Then he could go after Tycho while Hondo bombed the MC-30 that my Kuat had taken a passing side shot on in round 3, and then moved over to bomb the LMC-80 in preparation for the oncoming Kuat and Glads. Largely owing to my victory tokens, I secured an 8-3 win.

 

Round 3

Yet another kind, warm, funny gentleman with whom it was a genuine pleasure to chat and play. Sadly, another name I lost. 0 for 3 for me and names! He was fielding a modified Thrawn 2-ship, against which I had not flown since preparing for GenCon this past summer. He had the bid and chose to go first. However, he had Advanced Gunnery with Gunnery Teams on his ISD-II, so I chose that, knowing his Quasar would have to be the objective ship and being relieved I could try and maximize my Kuat's front arc, not feeling good about any of his other objectives. He had also chosen not to use Pryce. So I had to be wary of the first strike, but didn't have to try and outplay the last-first so commonly seen with 2-ship. My squadrons aren't able to win any real sort of squadron battle, and I didn't want to get completely hammered by MMJ, Tempest, and a handful of Defenders. So IG-88 sort of ended up being a sacrificial lamb. His dice were awful. He countered 5 or 6 times and never scored a hit. He didn't do any damage at all this match. Oofta. Sorry, Hondo - you're going it alone. You're going to be doing a lot of activating other squadrons and not a lot of shooting, which means you're gonna get dead. I slow-rolled, putting off squadron engagement as long as I could. This is, by far, the tightest formation in which I've ever flown my ships. I literally borrowed a tool from my gracious opponent at least twice a round as I had to mark ships before I could navigate my other ships. It was a little frustrating and slow, to be honest. But I only bumped once, and that was intentionally with my rear-guard flotilla. But my other two games had gone to time (we finished round 6 in both instances, but we were always the last to finish), and I was getting tired as I had been awake for something like 32 hours by this time. It was at this point that my out-activating him and using Tarkin to bump up my speed while moving shields around on my besieged Kuat was able to win me the day. I had one Glad trailing the other, and his Quasar had no choice but to fly into range in order to follow the squadrons. My Glad did some damage and then flew in front of the iSD-II to block it in from throwing blue dice at the Kuat. It activated and did some damage to the Glad, but I was able to eat some of it, move some of it around, and then after he rammed me, the Glad stayed in the fight. My Kuat activated next, hammered away at the ISD a little bit, then closed. It activated first at the top of round 5, managed to get its front arc on both the front and side of the ISD-II (as my Kuat was the beneficiary of Advanced Gunnery), used Vader to kill off the ISDs ECMs, fired twice from its front arc (APTs went off both times), and then skittered into the side arc of the ISD-II. After that, the ISD killed off my front Glad but flew right into range of my second Glad, which activated and killed the ISD for the table, netting me a 10-1.

 

I ended in 4th of 22 or 24, which is far better than I'd hoped for. I had really just wanted to be competitive and make a little noise with Tarkin, so I'm grateful for the opportunity to have done decently well with him (and was so pleased to see Tarkin show up in Vancouver, too!!). Cannot say enough good things about Hard Knox or the awesome Armada community, of which I am so proud to be a part. Thanks to everyone who was in Elizabethtown, good luck in your future tourneys, and hope to see you a little ways down the line!

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2 hours ago, cadetvw said:

Good read and great job placing 4th! And a very interesting build with the 7th fleet, not something I’d have given a try, especially with Tarkin. 

Thank you!

And it's funny you mention that, because I can't take full credit for it! The 7th Fleet idea came from my friend Damien in a 3 Glad Tarkin build he suggested I try. I didn't really like it much, but liked 7th Fleet. Then I read Giled's Fleet Build/Tourney report on CGYSO, and Giled talked about how his defensive cards were chosen not because they would "save" his ships, but because they would allow his ships to make their approach in the first place, then do work. So that's the philosophy that inspired this current 7th Fleet build, and why I prefer EWS to ECM for it: the defensive titles and card aren't meant to save my ships. They're meant to ensure that my knife-fighters get to close range and don't blow up before then. So while the final build is mine, and I'd built my way before I read how Giled built his (they're ridiculously similar), I owe Damien and Giled much credit for my final product.

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12 minutes ago, Bertie Wooster said:

4th place with Tarkin! Well done. 

Thanks! Someone else did the same thing on the same day in Vancouver! I believe it was a Tarquitens variation.

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