We'll start out with some definitions which are going to help in future articles, and then we'll move on to building the three different groups I'm about to define. Because of my play experience, my side is ALL going to be Rebel based and Rebel oriented. I have zero experience piloting TIE fighters or TIE bombers, so it's not worth my speculating when I can just let Eric give his opinions on those. My advice will be relatively general, so it should apply to both sides, but specific builds will definitely have Eric's input. When I started writing these posts, I had some trepidation about the entire thing. "Teach the entire Armada community how to squadron when only occasional people asked for it and may be silently judging you from their computer screen if/when you screw up" only causes SOME anxiety, it's fine!
|If you have a better example of anxiety, please let me know!
Generally, squadrons activated during the Ship Phase have an advantage over Rogue squadrons because those squadrons will get to activate first and get in the first punches. You can activate your Rogues with squadron commands just like regular squadrons to help them out, of course, but you're getting less mileage out of the Rogue keyword you spent points on when you do so. Or to put it in a shorter form:I'll talk about this more when we get into the different types of groups and how they're fighting, but this is the strongest and most important law of squadron combat. Remember that your squadrons exist to do generally one of three things: Fighters engage enemy squadrons, Bombers want to hit ships, and Support allows your squadrons to do what they were designed to do or provide your ships ways of winning the game (through Strategic shenanigans, basically). When you command your squadrons, they get to move and shoot, potentially killing other things. They ALSO get to go BEFORE anything else does for the rest of this turn. If you activate 3 X-wings, and they kill 2 TIE fighters, that's 2 TIE fighters that DON'T get to activate this turn. So that's less damage coming BACK at your X-wings. If you kill off his squadrons faster, you win the squadron game (but not necessarily the REAL game, you need to make that win COUNT! See the next paragraph.). The "downside" of Rogues is that they have to wait until the squadron phase to move and shoot, so they ARE in danger of getting jumped if they're too close. Keep the plan of hitting stuff that hasn't activated in mind, and you can still come out ahead.
Squadrons activated by squadron commands > Rogue squadrons > Unactivated regular squadrons
|Well, it's kinda true here....
If I'm a great player, I use my Squadron Blob Ship to take out the enemy's ISD. If you're the great player, it only gets to kill your 64 point TIE fighters Blob Ship (causing me to have a sad). The rest of your list (the remaining 336 points, for example) is best spent killing either my Squadron blob (through flak) or focusing on killing my ships. If I have 133 points in my Squadron Blob Ship, that's only 267 left in my other ships. So it becomes a 336 vs 267 battle for you, which should be good for your side, provided you can DO something about that. Your job is to keep it at that 336 vs 267 as long as possible. If I win the squadron battle handily but you blow up 3 of my ships, that's probably an actual win for you, even if I won the squadron battle. We're not playing Star Wars Squadron Battle, we're playing Armada. Win the ARMADA war, that's how you win the game.
|No one cares how many Y wings you have left at the end of the game. They care about how many ships they killed.
The first group is the Small Fighter Coverage (SFC). I'll also refer to this as the Interceptor Group, and it's somewhere between 30ish to 70ish points (these are NOT hard limits, don't take my numbers as gospel). These are a group of primarily fighters who are here to provide a token fighter force that prevents your opponent's Bombers from smashing your ships. The SFC is not there to win the squadron game, necessarily. They exist specifically to ensure you don't get blown up by intense bombers everywhere, forcing the enemy to do some work BEFORE they attempt to roll your ships. If they can kill some squadrons, gravy! Remember my earlier paragraph about equivalent squadron blob ships? This is a loaded CR90 or Nebulon B worth of points. It may get some solid damage in on that Squadron Blob ISD somehow, but it will most likely not kill it (barring incredibly terrible rolls).
Usually the squadrons game is happening intensely from turns 2-4, potentially 3-5 depending on the speed of ships and you in your meta. Every turn the SFC prevents bombers from hitting your ships is a great turn for them. You're probably not going to lock down everything, and you will almost guaranteed not be able to hold them for every turn. The SFC is full on Battle of Britain, throwing everything you can to buy your people/country enough time to survive. You are in Hoth Territory, holding out for one more turn until your transports can escape. In this case, the AT-ATs coming towards your troops is the Bomber Wing headed towards your fleet. Buy your ships time, and get out of that area.
|This is what 3 B-Wings under Yavaris command look like to enemy commanders.
The second purpose of them is with a little bit of luck (do NOT count on this) and a leaning heavier build, you might actually be able to take out the Large Fighter Coverage (LFC) group (or enough of it that it's effectively neutered and unable to meaningfully contribute). Depending on what was brought, what they roll, and what your opponent rolls, there's a possibility (I CANNOT stress this enough, do not count on it, just hope it works out for you that way) that you can kill an enemy Squadron Blob ISD. The 75-100 points is like a well loaded MC30 attacking a real ISD. You very likely won't roll Hits+Crits on every black dice and at least 1 blue accuracy in both arcs you have the ISD targeted under, but theoretically it CAN happen. If you REALLY want to ensure the victory/killing of the LFC, you'll need some flak help and some potentially bad rolls on your opponent's part. Again, fighting an uphill battle, especially here, is meant to delay the LFC from hitting the ships it actually wants to hit, and ensuring the most important parts of that LFC die.
|Isard's Revenge was my least favorite book in the series, but it allows me to extend the metaphor of fighting against the B wings under Yavaris bit. Ah well, someone get harpoons and tow cables!
|Then there was that time Wedge, Tycho, and Corran blew up 3 ISDs.
|You got this!