Sunday, January 31, 2016

2016 Dice Age Store Championships

Yesterday I had the opportunity to both play in and TO the Armada Store Championships at Dice Age Games.  This is the first tournament season for Armada and with wave 2 out there, I was really curious to see how everything would play out.
I had been toying around with an Ackbar based list using Assault Frigates and CR-90s, but had been on a pretty good losing streak with it.  So, I opted to go back to my Mon Mothma led CR-90 and MC-30 based fleet.  I borrowed a couple of squadrons and upgrade cards to get the fleet exactly how I wanted it and ended up playing this:

MC-30 Scout Frigate
- Mon Mothma
- Foresight
- Turbolaser Reroute Circuits

MC-30 Torpedo Frigate
- Ordnance Experts

- Jaina's Light
- Turbolaser Reroute Circuits

- Turbolaser Reroute Circuits

- Turbolaser reroute Circuits

4x YT 2400

I'd liked to have fit in some Assault Torpedoes or another Ordnance Experts, but there just wasn't room.  I had played with a fleet like this in awhile and it made me glad I had this blog.  I was able to go back through and read my old battle reports and remind myself of what I needed to do to win.  Mostly it came down to being patient and flying cautiously.

My first opponent made me feel both confident and nervous.  With only 2 ships, I knew that I would easily be able to outmaneuver him.  However, he also had a full 12 squadrons and I wasn't sure my YT-2400s woud be up to the task of slowing them down.

He chose to have me go first and I selected Most Wanted for our objective.  He surprised me a bit by selecting hiw ISD as the objective ship.  I opted to proceed full speed ahead, to minimize the time I had to deal with the squadrons.  He split his two ships up to deal with my flankers and I was able to setup a nice attack run on the ISD.

I lost a YT early in the game when it was jumped by TIEs, but then the others proceeded to do an excellent job killing his squadrons in return, with some supporting fire from my ships.

Knowing I had the first turn allowed me to put a ship each turn into a risky position that I could get out of at the top of the next turn.  I was able to setup lots of double-arc shots, which when combined with Most Wanted saw the ISD drop pretty quickly.  The Foresight was able to take out his Raider as it moved around the flank.

I ended up winning by a fairly large margin and was pleased that the enemy squadrons weren't able to cause me too much trouble.

My second match was against more Imperials, this time with an ISD and 3 Gladiators led by Ozzel.  This was probably one of the most challenging games of Armada I had ever played.  I won the coin toss and chose to go first.  We ended up playing Precision Strike.

I flew REALLY cautiously in the early turns.  I knew that I could get out of trouble by going first, so I made sure that only one ship was ever in any real danger.

My flanking CR-90 on the left was able to keep Demolisher distracted enough that it maneuvered itself mostly out of the game by getting pointed the wrong way.  I was able to get some long range pot shots in on the ISD, but my opponent was also playing cautious, so not too much fire took place.

He used a squadron command to jump in a and kill a YT, but I was able to kill Howlrunner with the return fire.  After that my squadrons mopped up his with no losses in return. 

Although damage was being dealt we made it through 4 turns without a ship being lost.  I had grabbed a couple of tokens from precision strike, but it was a very close game.  I finally ended up having to put a CR-90 in a really bad spot in turn 5 and it went POP!  Uh oh.  Then I forgot to take pictures..

I had rolled poorly with my Torpedo Frigate and failed to kill a Gladiator, which I thought had doomed it.  My opponent obliged me by also rolling poorly and despite the odds we both survived.  

Turn 6 saw the game swing my direction in a big way.  I was able to kill the ISD, the Demolisher, and a Gladiator to no losses of my own.  At the start of the turn we had a draw going, but I managed a 9-1 victory with that last turn.  3 of my ships were hugging the board edge within an inch of leaving the table.

I was so wiped out by that game, that I failed to take any pictures of my final game.  I was up against a double MC-80 list that featured Redundant Shields and Projector Experts on both ships.  I was again 1st player and we were playing Superior Positions.  I wouldn't be able to grind these ships down.  

We both made an error in this game.  I split my ships up with some going to block in the front while others tried to get around back.  I ended up not having the firepower on either end to real damage.  He made a larger error though.  In his first 2 games he had flown parallel to the long board edge.  Knowing that would be a poor choice against me, he was flying across the table.  However, he miscalculated and bumped his 2 ships.  That gave me the chance to block him with 2 of my ships and cause all kinds of collision damage to his lead MC-80.  I couldn't get through the shields until the very end, but it went down finally.  My surviving ships didn't have the firepower to kill the other MC-80, but earned me several objective tokens in the process.  Despite losing 3 ships to 1, I pulled out a 7-3 win!

3-0 and 26 tournament points was enough to win me the tournament overall.  There was a tie for second place by my second and third round opponents, so I know that I had to beat some good players to get the win.

As a TO, the tournament was really easy to manage.  We had 12 players total, 2 of whom were fairly new to the game.  I think that I only had to clarify a couple of rules points and there really weren't any disputes that I had to settle, which was a plus.

Some other thoughts on the tournament and my games:
  • I really liked the 4x YT-2400s as the squadron compliment.  They were effective and really easy to manage.  The 6 hull keeps them in the fight and I was able to do some anti-ship daage with them as well.
  • More than half of the fleets in the tournament only had 2 ships!  That was a huge surprise to me.  My experience had always been that there is a huge advantage to having multiple activations.  In this case, the top 2 finishers had 5 and 4 ships each.  I don't think that is a coincidence.
  • Swarm fleets are hard to play, but can really catch people off guard as they just take a different set of tactics.  I saw my opponents make several maneuvering errors as they were worried about my flankers.
  • Turbolaser Reroute Circuits turn the CR-90a from an okay ship to an absolute killer.  It has tremendously consistent damage output.
  • I rarely had conflicts between Mon Mothma and the TRCs.  By having 5 activations I usually knew who was going to be shot at and who could freely fire.
  • Despite only 4 hull and no Brace tokens, MC-30s are always surprisingly durable in a Mon Mothma list.
  • I still think people take too many upgrades on their ships.


  1. Great to see the blog back! Sounds like a fun tournament.

    I completely agree with your points above - people seem to love taking these 200pt Christmas trees with lots of upgrades. But they die just as readily in most cases. And activation advantage is huge. I am also choosing not to take gunnery teams, to force me into trying to line up better double arc shots for focused fire.

    My preferred Imperial build at present relies on multiple ships - Vader with ISD-1, 2 x GSD and a Raider. My conundrum is whether to take a modest bomber wing or TIE fighter screen to the next tournament. Which would you find most difficult to deal with?

    1. Hmm..I tend to favor the TIE screen when I play Imperials. The trick there is to keep them close to your ships. TIEs die quickly to anti-squadron shots, but your opponent won't usually shoot at them when they could shoot the ship instead.

      How many points do you have for squadrons?

  2. About 60 pts. Option 1 is 5 x TIE fighter, IG88. Option 2 is 2 x TIE bomber, Jumpmaster, TIE advanced and Firespray.

    Option 1 has been my tested choice, and it works. But I like the idea of extra punch in attack, even if it means ignoring enemy squadrons.

    1. Typically I would lean towards the extra anti-ship firepower. My attitude towards that has been changing lately. With more of my opponents taking squadrons, I've found myself preferring the anti-squadron firepower to quickly win the squadron battle.

      It protects my ships and gets me a chunk of points. I've found that tabling my opponent occurs less frequently, so being able to kill squadrons is another way to earn points in a game.

    2. So, I guess I would favor the TIE fighters in your case.

    3. Cool, thanks for the advice. I think that is probably the sensible answer - between the TIEs and my anti-squadron fire it should give me cover against enemy bombers which can really damage the ISD.

      Similarly, most folks are taking lots of squadrons here. Out latest FLGS winter tournament was won by someone fielding about 12 TIE fighters! He really benefitted from some others' poorly chosen Superior Positions objectives...