Monday, January 15, 2018

Fighting Fleets: Admonishing Admonition!

So today's the day I give it all away: the secret to fighting MC30s. All the Rebel players are going to look at me betrayed because of what I'm doing, but this is for the health of the game.
I could be talking about ANY specific title on this ship!
Originally, this article started out as a "How to fight swarms II" but we have one of those already.  Then this morphed into a "How to beat black dice ships" which, again, is basically "Fighting Swarms II: John Rehashes Points Previously Made!"  Then I realized why I'm really writing this article, and it's how to fight Admonition.  Yes, Demolisher is evil, and he'll blow up all your ships forever and he's a big stupid jerk that needs to go eat paste far away forever.
I don't have a quote here, I'm just amused by the gif
However, there's nothing added to Demolisher to reduce damage coming in (short of its defense tokens; Montferrat used to be seen there occasionally, but with points at the premium they are....).  For reference on fighting Demolisher, I point you towards the Fighting Fleets: Swatting Swarms article I've linked to again.

But MC30s and Admo especially are slightly different stories.  MC30s have one less hit point than a Demolisher, but 3 more shields and better ways of both getting around and using those tokens.  Naturally speed 4, they can streak across the battlefield to be out of range near the end of your turn and saddled up right next to you, double arcing you at the top of the next.  In short, this sucks.  It FURTHER sucks that they have 2 of each token, Evade and Redirect, to just keep pushing damage around and around.
I always knew I'd be making dumb jokes, but Ratt-related ones? That one surprised even me.
Then you take a BASIC MC30 which is already decent at pushing damage around and then you add in some combination of Mon Mothma (technically also Madine or Cracken, but Mon Mothma does the MOST for damage prevention.  As does Rieekan, who just doesn't CARE if it's dead or not already, it's still coming for you), the Admonition title, and Lando Calrissian, and the stupid thing just won't DIE.
Lock the token down! Don't care! At close range? Still don't care! Discard it and the dice is GONE.
As we can all read above, Admonition can discard a token (THIS DOES NOT COUNT AS SPENDING A TOKEN, SO EFFECTS THAT PREVENT SPENDING DON'T COUNT!) to remove any dice.  Screed smushes two dice together to get that crit he needs? Gone.  That one double hit red dice? Gone. Get some long range damage coming at Admo? He spends an Evade to remove one dice, and then uses his title ability to discard that Evade token to get rid of a second one.  It's annoying, he just won't DIE.

So how do you fight him? Admonition has that dangerous problem where (to quote Eric) "it's resistant to dice." Everything you throw at it, it just keeps shrugging off more and more damage at it, making your most important attacks neutered as it discards token after token to cancel your dice.  And then it comes in and blows your ships up next turn, which no one wants.  There's several schools of thought on how to deal with Admo, and I'll relate some of the more successful ones.
Yaaaay more stupid jokes! Get it, because Hogwarts is a school of witchcraft, wizardry, and fighting Nazis.
First School: IGNORE IT
This isn't the easiest one to always do, but sometimes it's the RIGHT one.  I know we've all looked across the board in terror and seen an Admonition built for murder and psyched ourselves up to the fact that "I have to kill it RIGHT NOW before it can do enough damage to blow me up and then I've lost everything because Admo is broken and stupid and I hate it and oh look it's Rieekan! Of course he brought Rieekan! Whatever, 3 CR90Bs, who cares, I need to kill Admonition right now!"

Annnnnnnnd you lost the game.  Or, more specifically, I, YOUR AUTHOR, lost that game.  Notice that last sentence where I glossed over the 3 CR90Bs? Guess what rammed and smashed their way through my Assault Frigate and didn't care about anything I did, because I only killed one of those a turn? I HAD to focus on Admonition, it was there, in the back, behind everything, and I had to get it before it could get me because.....?  Why? Because of what it COULD do? But that game, what it did was roll up and ram my Jaina's Light.  It may have lit that up, but so could have almost any other ship.

You have to see the forest AND the trees.  If your opponent has Admonition in the back waiting to strike at you, yes, it sure sucks.  But you're not going to be able to one shot it (barring incredibly lucky dice rolls and placings from whatever ships you've brought, and this also assumes your opponent didn't bring Lando), so you need to focus on killing what you can.  Each ship gets at most 12 shots (and you only get 12 from selecting certain objectives, most max out at 10, 2 a turn from turns 2-6, and that assumes your ships are all alive and firing until turn 6 as well!), and you need to realize what the best way to use those shots every turn is.
Don't throw away your shot.  Come on, you knew it was coming (also, Chicago version what up!)
Sure, you need to put several rounds into Admonition to make it realize it's supposed to be dead, but are those shots better spent on other ships this turn to kill them instead? If you can just keep running away from it and not landing near it so it can't start the turn and blow up 1-2 of your ships, that's good for you.  If it only kills 1-2 flotillas a game, that's an equivalent use of points (approximately, based on upgrades).  I'm not saying "Let Admonition do what it's gonna do, you're only gonna die tired." I'm more saying "Is what Admonition kills going to affect the rest of your list significantly enough to prevent the list from winning?"  Admo loaded up can potentially (with good rolls) one shot a Victory (sans Minister Tua).  That's terrifying.  It WON'T (barring a dice roll from Satan and a few other additional dice add on effects, such as Opening Salvo) end your Large Base ship.  Plan for THAT.

This may sound contrary to the fact that Admonition is a bunch of points that kills a bunch of things; but if you can wipe out the rest of the list (or put enough of a hurting on it to win by points) you'll likely win the game, no matter how many crazy points are tied into Admo.  Yes, Admonition can be terrifying, but it's not the WHOLE part of the list.  Related to ignoring it, I specifically mean ignore ATTACKING it.  Don't ignore the ship and expect your list to do fine when Admo gets into your backfield and starts blowing all your ships apart.  Just realize that while devoting most of your resources to killing Admonition is great and may result in a dead Admonition, it may also result in you overextending your ships and winding up getting wiped out by the rest of your opponent's fleet!
Yup, school related puns.  It's where we are now.
Our second school is the easy to say, harder to do "Swarm it even harder!"

I don't want to say anything about a "traditional" Admonition list because it takes all types to play Armada.  Some people use Admo as the finisher to their long range attacks, some people use it as their strongest punch that the OTHER ships then follow up attacking the weakened ship, and some people play 4 MC30s and 3 GR75s without any squadrons (what up Ard).  Depending on the list and if you determine you need to kill Admonition, the best way to take it down might not be one big shot but several small ones.  A non-Mon Mothma commanded Admo often does not do well against fighter attacks, and Yavaris hitting it in the side for multiple attacks can make it start spending tokens faster than it really wants to, especially if those attacks aren't wiping out the shields on one side or another.  When Admo finally dies, it will have no tokens left and be nearly empty of shields.  You need to find a way to get rid of those tokens as fast as you can.

You can maul it with squadrons, as it can't redirect or remove dice from multiple 1-2 damage attacks (before it runs out of tokens), and its standard plan of "live through the big attack and then counter attack back" doesn't really work when the attacks are from squadrons and (hopefully) ships out of black dice range of it.  Yavaris activating 3 B-wings is 6 shots of ~2-3 damage.  It needs to start redirecting and then discarding tokens quickly to not die, and even then it may not work, depending on dice rolls and all.  However, with your 6 B-wing shots, I refer you again to the first school.  Do you have a better place to put 6 B-wing shots (say, into 2 CR90B's after a first one under Rieekan is already being held alive from your earlier kill?) that will make more of an impact NOW?

Luke Skywalker is particularly fond of shooting down Admonition, as his shots go right through the shields.  Hit+Crits are 2 damage to the hull (if he lets them through, otherwise it's a token gone every shot, which is ALSO what you want).  Did you get a Structural? Admonition is LITERALLY one ram away from dying.
File this under "Jokes a solid half of my audience won't get"
And that's another potential point.  Admonition can't stop ram damage.  If you can team up a few ships (Hammerheads!) that can ram it on the same turn or right after each other, Admonition explodes.  4 Hull isn't impossible to ram to death (I don't recommend making ramming your ENTIRE plan), but Engine Tech ramming is still a thing you can do! Demolisher hasn't disappeared, he's still here!

Anything that puts hull damage right onto Admonition (ramming, Luke, crazy Dodonna's Pride builds) can't be dealt with easily.  If you can combine that ramming hull damage with some regularly dealt damage, Admonition will go down.  It's just going to take a fair bit to get there.

Related to swarming it with attacks, what about Intel Officers?  Well, they do make Admonition discard tokens faster, which IS what you want.  The problem with that plan is that to get effective use out of them, you'll have needed to attack it with something else first (maybe another arc?).  If I use Intel Officer on one of Admonition's 2 green Evades, he'll use the other one twice (first as an actual Evade, second to remove a dice).  But if one token is exhausted, and I use Intel Officer on the green one, he can't use his title power on THAT token (if he uses it as Evade, as it will already be gone after the Intel Officer).  He can still use that green one to evade a dice, and the exhausted red one to discard another, but your one attack just made Admonition discard 2 tokens.  That's a solid contribution.

Remember, above, though, how I said "non Mon Mothma commanded?" Yeah, I wouldn't necessarily try the squadrons plan against her.  Her ability lets her just reroll fighter shots with the Evade at close range, so fighters aren't necessarily the best choice against her, as she can just keep evading damage coming in at her, or discarding tokens to ensure that her ships stay alive.  It can get frustrating, so, uhhh, don't necessarily try to do that?  But in any case, the benefit of Admonition is limited to 1 dice removed.  So, if you have 3 red dice with damage coming in, that's one Evaded, one Admonition removed, and 1 dice of damage (probably a basic hit at this point) into its shields.  That's a heck of a start (you're a quarter of the way there on the tokens!), and you just gotta keep piling it on to get there.  Just keep wailing on it, and you'll overwhelm it's ability eventually.  Try not to die in the meantime?

Just make sure you're forcing it to discard the tokens.  A tokenless ship is a walking dead one, Admonition especially.  If it still has the tokens next round, it can still remove a dice coming at you.
Man, AC Slater is the worst.

And our last school is the most luck dependant (IMO).  Hit it with one shot and blow it all apart, ramming it if you have to to get that final damage onto it.  For this plan to work, you're going to need to realize several things.

First, you need to get 4 hull damage onto it, but I'll even allow 2-3 (if you have Engine Techs, you can get away with 2 and a double ram).  But you also need to get through its shields.  There's 3 in most every arc, so we're at 5-6 total (2-3+3).  And you basically need XI7s to ensure that it can't redirect its way out of trouble, otherwise add in another 3.  (Speaking of, XI7s, as previously mentioned, are great at shutting down swarm fleets.  CR90s, MC30s, Arquitens, and Demo really hate being unable to redirect their way out of problems).

But that's still 1 damage it can redirect (6-7 now).  AND you have to take into account its ability to void a token, so it'll be evaporating your best dice (whichever red/black dice has 2 icons on it or would give you the APT crit).  So let's assume for sake of argument that you only have 1 of those.  Which means we need 8-9 damage in one shot, and that assumes Lando didn't come along for the ride.
I met Billy Dee Williams once.  Real nice guy.  He signed my learner's permit in a K-mart, which may be the most random sentence I've ever typed.
If Lando did, you can definitely bet that Lando will be jumping out the airlock, so you'll need 8-9 damage AFTER Lando jumps.  That's doable.  But it's mainly doable on ships like Avenger Boarding Troopers (who still doesn't prevent Admonition from discarding a token or Lando from dumpster diving!) or an Ackbar MC80.  You CAN, just.... it's not easily done, is all.  I've seen Lando-Admonition survive Avenger-Boarding Troopers assaults at close range.  Not, ""Rieekan prevented it from fully dying", I mean "oh, it still has some health left."  It's BADLY wounded, and something else will finish it off, but it's going to get to throw dice at your ships.  I've also seen Lando not work as needed and Avenger-Boarding Troopers still finishes off Admonition, so that's definitely a possibility as well.  It's really a matter of if you believe your luck is better than the guy running LandoOh, and let's not forget the better bid you probably want in order to ensure you go first, before it can activate.  Unless it's under Rieekan, and then it doesn't CARE about if it gets to go first or not.  Of course, if your strategy is bid-dependent, you might get outbid!
There's always a bigger fish
Obviously, the more damage you put into it earlier, the less you need immediately, but if you've got Admonition in your face turn 3 (which is a usual occurrence on my part) you've got turn 2 to hurt it some.  Good luck?  I'm not as big a fan of this school, but I understand that sometimes that's how your list is built and this is basically your only option.  Avenger can prevent those tokens from being spent, but not from being discarded to remove a dice, so, you know, keep that in mind.  The new Vader Boarding Team can either remove Lando or the Admonition title, whichever you feel is more aggravating and causing you problems that prevent it from dying.
Ah, good old high res images.  So helpful!

Whatever you choose, get rid of its tokens and it dies just like any other ship.  It's just the work you gotta put in to get rid of those tokens is the issue...

6 comments:

  1. Ignoring it isn't going to do the trick. You must address it unless you are running a fleet that wins on objects. Specifically objects that let you farm points turn after turn. Standard Admo build like you've described here and in other articles runs right about 90 points. I mean, build to taste but about 90. Their commander may or may not be on the ship so that's an additional 20-30 points. If the guy is playing conservatively with it he’ll be going after flotillas or other small base ships. They’ll be easy to kill and pose little risk of hitting it back. Best case scenario with this school of thought: Admo comes in, blows up 18-100 points (assuming at least a flotilla all the way up to a couple Raiders/CR90s)and flies away without doing any more damage. When you count the points up, you’ve got to make up for the 90-120 Admo points plus whatever it killed. Tokens should be your out IF you’re going to try and ignore it. As an Admonition player, I’d love for everyone that reads this to ignore me.

    Swarming the swarm is, in this random unnamed internet guy’s opinion too much risk, too little reward. You want to see your smalls come off the table? Swarm an MC30. Lots of long range shots will do the trick but while you’re firing all those red dice at Admo, I’ve got ~310 points of fleet not taking those shots.

    If you really want to kill Admonition, layer your defenses in depth. You should be placing a ship that you can loose and reasonably expect to win the game without in front ships that are more important. The more important ship will likely have longer ranged attacks. This will do two things for you. First, it prevents Admonition from sucker punching your heavy hitter. If it physically can’t fit within black dice range than it’s irrelevant for the turn. Be careful, MC30s are a lot more maneuverable with a well-timed maneuver dial. For the most part, it’ll make the position Admo wants to be in harder to attain. You’ve got your “throw-away” ship that can make attacks that’ll hurt in close, think Raiders or CR90Bs and then your heavy hitter finishes the job. This method works even better if you can hit it with some long rang TRC attacks on the way in or even a couple of bombers as John mentioned in the article.

    TLDR: You need to kill Admonition. You do that by trading a “throw away” ship and some long range shooting.

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  2. XI7s melt anything that relies on shields, including Admonition so I'd say that's one of the better options

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  3. There is a paragraph about admonition using brace. It doesn't have brace.

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    1. John made a typo (I can attest that sometimes the words you want to communicate aren't the words you actually type), and he'll be fixing it tonight once he's got the time.

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  4. ECMs on Admonition. ~Shudders~

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    1. In the right meta it can be pretty good, but generally I find it's not common for most fleets to generate two accuracy results in most attacks so I don't find it gets used a lot. Again, though, in the right meta it really shines.

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