Thursday, January 25, 2018

Eric's Indianapolis 2018 recap

All right, so I'm a little bit behind John's quite lengthy summary, and mine is going to be a bit shorter. I too went to the Indianapolis Regional and I had a good time there - Family Time Games held a good event and the complimentary food was quite nice and not something I'd seen before at an event like that. I ended up getting 7th out of 38 people (with 28 tournament points), which got me my goal of some fancy acrylic scatter tokens and I also picked up some of the fancy new Regionals dice too!

Prior to the event I followed my own advice and had brunch with my Armada comrades from Fair Game. I also got a very encouraging text message from my wife and son back home:
and then I was off to the tournament!

Let's take a moment to cover the fleet I brought:

Faction: Galactic Empire
Points: 386/400
Objectives: Most Wanted, Hyperspace Assault, Solar Corona

Commander: Admiral Ozzel

Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer (56 points)
Demolisher  ( 10  points)
-  Skilled First Officer  ( 1  points)
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points)
-  Engine Techs  ( 8  points)
-  Assault Proton Torpedoes  ( 5  points)
= 84 total ship cost

Raider-I Class Corvette (44 points)
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points)
-  External Racks  ( 3  points)
= 51 total ship cost

Raider-I Class Corvette (44 points)
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points)
-  External Racks  ( 3  points)
= 51 total ship cost

Raider-I Class Corvette (44 points)
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points)
-  External Racks  ( 3  points)
= 51 total ship cost

Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 points)
= 23 total ship cost

Gozanti-class Cruisers (23 points)
= 23 total ship cost

[ flagship ] Raider-I Class Corvette (44 points)
-  Admiral Ozzel  ( 20  points)
-  Ordnance Experts  ( 4  points)
-  External Racks  ( 3  points)
= 71 total ship cost

4 TIE Fighter Squadrons ( 32 points)

The fleet is designed with a healthy but not extreme bid. It prefers to go first and with 9 deployments and 7 activations can often set up its heavy hitter (Demolisher) last against its desired target and I should be able to out-activate almost anyone, which is very helpful for the Raiders in general but also for setting up a possible last+first with Demolisher to get an explosive start on the round that combat begins, hopefully getting things started with a crippled or destroyed enemy ship.

The general idea is that any fleet I don't outbid I should out-activate and out-deploy. Given a lot of the Regional data up until Indy showed most bids topping out around 10-13, I felt pretty comfortable with a 14-point bid. The only bids larger than that were Avenger Boarding Troopers fleets, which I was not concerned about facing for the reasons already given (plus the combo at the core of that fleet is overkill against almost everything I was bringing, with the possible exception of Demolisher). 4 TIEs is not a lot and I expect them to get destroyed against a heavy-squad fleet, but Raider flak when used alongside the TIEs has often been enough to blunt heavier squadron offensives and the fleet then can usually chew up carriers for a solid win and/or slowly but surely grind down squadrons usually with minimal ship losses.

So how did all the rounds go?

Round 1 versus the desire to do something
Not intended as commentary on the people I spoke with, just Star-Wars appropriate
I used my store championship bye. I figured given the event was going to be 4 rounds, it was probably best to stave off brain burn by using my bye. I'm still not entirely sure if that was the right choice, but that was my round 1. Boring. Let's get to round 2!

Round 2 versus Anthony Imhof
 Anthony's fleet was:
  • Most Wanted / Hyperspace Assault / Solar Corona 
  • VSD-II with Jerjerrod, Skilled First Officer, Gunnery Team, Disposable Capacitors, Quad Battery Turrets, and Leading Shots
  • VSD-II with Warlord, Gunnery Team, Disposable Capacitors, Quad Turbolaser Cannons, Leading Shots
  • Gozanti with Comms Net
  • Gozanti, naked
  • Squads: Vader, Bossk, Zertik, Jonus, Jendon,  Jumpmaster
Anthony did not have a bid and I chose to go first. I agonized a bit over objective and went with Most Wanted. Given I usually have deployment advantage, I dislike giving that up with something like Solar Corona and I've been bitten by Hyperspace Assault before, as setting up a big hitter threatening several Raiders will usually net one dead Raider and my fleet has a hard time dealing with anything that gets behind it/flanking it, so the Hyperspace Assaulter usually gets to stay alive, frustratingly.

Anthony chose Demolisher and his naked Gozanti as the Most Wanted targets (as we both expected the moment I chose it). He was able to get some squadron damage into the Raiders on the approach, but I was extremely cagey in getting too close to the VSDs - I'd seen before that VSD-IIs with Disposable Capacitors are one of the few ships that pose a threat to Raiders at long range and I was not keen on sending them in crippled, much less getting one or two destroyed. Anthony reacted by decreasing his VSD speed to 0 to wait the approach out and (presumably) to deny me a backfield to regroup in (which was smart of him!). Because of all this, serious fighting didn't start until around turn 4, but Raider flak started taking a toll on his squadrons around turn 3.

As I got closer, Anthony sped up his VSDs, trying to use Jerry to keep them on target. Due to Ozzel, I was able to arc-dodge and got the jump on his Jerry VSD with Demolisher, although it took 5 total attacks to destroy it (my black dice were... uncooperative). The Raiders were able to take out the two Gozantis and between the Raiders and my TIEs, I was able to get all the squadrons by the end of the game. His non-Jerry VSD was able to slap down a Raider and a TIE Fighter of mine later on for his side. Several of my Raiders had taken some damage from his squadrons and ship attacks, but only the one was brought down.

Anthony and I were talking about it after the match and we both agreed that Ozzel was the guy his fleet did not want to see leading a swarm. With his potent long-ranged VSDs and maneuvering assistance from Jerry, those VSDs would have been a much more potent threat against a swarm commander that wasn't as adept at staying out of nasty attack arcs (like Screed or Rieekan or some such). Ozzel also really proved his worth through strong use of navigate tokens while Raiders used repair commands to move/regenerate shields from earlier squadron attacks, restoring shields to front arcs so VSD attacks couldn't finish them off. It ended up being a 9-2 win to me (as I recall, anyways). Sorry for the loss, Anthony, you were a really nice guy and I hope the game was fun for you too despite all the cagey maneuvering. You really made me carefully consider exactly where I was sending my ships because the slightest screwup would've likely meant death, and it got rather close a few times there. It also sure does suck getting paired against a fleet that seems to coincidentally undermine your advantages. Sure would suck if that happened to me, right? Ha, that can't possibly...

Round 3 versus Patrick Cutter
  • Most Wanted/ Fleet Ambush/ Superior Positions
  • Quasar-I with Sloane, Squall, and Flight Controllers
  • Glad-I with Demolisher, Intel Officer, Ordnance Experts, Engine Techs, and Expanded Launchers
  • 3 Gozantis, all naked
  • Squads: Vader, Saber Squadron, Lambda, Maarek, Mauler, Zertik, Jumpmaster, Jendon
  • 15 point bid(!)
...oh crap. So my fleet is designed to be able to handle going second against most larger bid fleets and it's fine going against heavy squads but it is not comfortable going both second and against heavy squads. I'd honestly never even heard of a squad-heavy fleet with a double-digit bid, much less one that outbid me. Womp. Patrick chose my Hyperspace Assault, I spread the three tokens roughly evenly across the middle of the board in a line, and we were off to the races.

Patrick set up with his Gozantis on the back edges spread apart and running along the edge of the board, with his Quasar and Demolisher deployed on my right and squadrons deployed near the Quasar. I deployed focused more on the right-hand side with 2 Raiders more towards the center. I figured I'd give it a run and see what I could bring down with the Raiders on the way in and hopefully at least bring down the Quasar and potentially the Gladiator if I could set up a Raider trap well enough.

The reality was far less pleasant. With Squall, Maarek and some friends were able to get the jump on a Gozanti on the bottom of turn one and finish it off just barely. The Lambda was able to move one of the Hyperspace tokens off a bit (which I expected), which more or less forced my Demolisher to show up top or turn 2 or risk the Hyperspace tokens being pulled too far out of position - given the Quasar and other Demolisher were the only good targets for my Demolisher, I had to get it out there ASAP. To make a long story short, I was able to get the flagship Quasar, but at the cost of everything but two of my Raiders, which made a run for it, which resulted in a 3-8 loss for me (just barely shy of a 2-9 by my rough estimate).

As mentioned earlier, this was a particularly bad matchup for me (on a side note, Patrick himself was a gentleman and a good player, so I refer purely to the two fleet builds here). It was a Sloane build I had no experience with previously (mostly having experience with the Quasar+VSD/ISD+Gozanti(s) build) and being second player took the wind out of my Raiders' sails, as their ability to meaningfully flak was curtailed by Patrick being quite proficient with squadrons and being able to activate his squadrons before the Raiders, allowing anything that was at serious risk to get out of range before the wave of flak arrived. I should've stepped on the gas, made a run on the Gozantis far away, and played for a 5-6 loss but that's not a lot of fun and I'm content with the Quasar going down in return for most of my fleet, haha.

Lesson learned: will likely need a larger bid for next time and I should look into replacing Hyperspace Assault with something else that won't get messed with by Strategic quite so much.

Round 4 versus Michael Dean
For a tournament that seemed so Rebel-heavy, why is there so much triangle-on-triangle violence?
Michael's fleet was:
  • Most Wanted/Hyperspace Assault/Solar Corona
  • Gladiator-I with Vader (commander), Montferrat, Ordnance Experts,  Assault Proton Torpedoes, Insidious
  • Gladiator-I with Demolisher, Intel Officer, Ordnance Experts, Engine Techs, Assault Proton Torpedoes
  • Raider-I with Kallus, Ordnance Experts, and External Racks
  • Raider-I with Ordnance Experts and External Racks
  • 2 Gozantis with Comms Nets
  • 4 TIE Fighters
  • 14 point bid(!) 
Michael and I had both taken store champ byes together and were chatting during round 1. We realized we had similar fleets and then disclosed we both had the same bid. We both hoped not to play the other and realized the coin flip for first player would be a very eventful fit of random chance. Haha, funny right? Well... hi, Michael, what are you doing across the table from me on round 4? Oh... well, okay, here we go.

Michael won the flip for initiative and chose to go first. We played Solar Corona and he set up on my left, veering a bit into the center. I set up on the right, also veering a bit into the center, with the corona to my back. Having deployment advantage and activation advantage (I got the final two activations) turned out to be rather helpful. Michael also had a Raider on the far end of his deployment who was having a hard time getting into the fight, which provided him with a good "empty" activation but at the cost of the Raider not really getting into the fight when it mattered.

Otherwise, the main event was Michael's Demolisher setting itself up for an attack run on a pair of my Raiders trying to fence it in. My Demolisher ran up, dropped off a side arc into his evil clone's side arc, and then Engine Teched right on out of range. Michael activated his Demolisher first next round and it lobbed its front arc at the Raider at short range of it in the front, getting 1 (or was it 2?) hull damage through. Michael went with speed 1 due to being caged in by angry tiny triangles, hoping for a tight turn to unload the side arc on the wounded Raider. Unfortunately, his Demolisher was just a bit too close and he bumped the Raider in question and went back to his starting position, unable to shoot his side arcs at anything. My surviving Raiders cleaned up evil clone Demolisher and my Demolisher went on to take out an opposing Raider and mop up the other 2 Gozantis, with some help from my Raiders.

In the end, it was an 8-3 win, I destroyed everything but the errant Raider and the Vader flagship and Michael took out all my TIE Fighters and I believe one Raider (sorry, my memory's already getting foggy on the event).

Not much else to add, really. The event was well-supported by Family Time Games (bringing us breakfast and lunch was amazing), I had nice opponents, it was great having 8 of us Fair Gamers up there all at once (we need shirts, I think), and 7th out of 38 people is pretty respectable. The event itself had much higher bids overall than many of the other Regionals so far, and it's making me rethink my bidding strategy/fleet build for any future events, assuming I keep a similar build (wave 7 seems likely to overturn everything, however).


  1. That double Gladiator list looks fun! I'm curious how the non-demo Gladiator preformed.

    1. It was one of the surviving ships, and it made me activate some ships earlier than I would've preferred just to make sure I got out of its way.

      I've used double Glads before, with the second Gladiator usually as a flagship. The rest of the fleet tends to get in the early punches and the HQ Gladiator can act as a finisher to get the final punches in on anything that gets crippled but not destroyed by the first wave and/or takes out sneaky ships that try to jump past the first line.