Monday, January 22, 2018

John's 2018 Indy Recap!

So, Eric and I went to Indianapolis. This post gets long, and somewhat more blathery than usual for me, so let's hit the jump for a lot here.  Explanation of why I brought what I brought, short writeups on my matches and the tournament itself, thoughts on my list, what I learned/didn't, and where I'm going from here.
Pic related and stolen from Reddit. <Waves>

So for a reference of what I brought, go HERE.  Let's talk about the list, now that I'm not in danger of revealing my plans early.

So, first, no, I'm not drunk.  This list came about as a factor of several reasons.  First, I didn't want to replay the squadron fleet.  I enjoy squadrons, but a version of this list had been kicking around my head for a solid 2 months while I was playing and prepping heavy squadrons.  I had my old Leia fleet initially, and I had been trying to cram in a 7th ship (you can do it, just not what I wanted/what I went away from).

To get a bit insider baseball-y here, there's been a large amount of statements made on The Forums about how
1) Leia isn't good

2) Medium squadrons aren't a thing

3) Hammerheads aren't good

So, I of course, contrarian that I am, decided that I was going to find a way to use them all.  After playtesting some times, I realized that you just need to know what you're doing with them....but I'll get to that.  The other half of this is that I see Wave 7 on the horizon, large ships all over the place.  And I know I'll play them and run Ackbar a bit, get big ships smashing everywhere.  And I have fun running Ackbar, blowing things up with red dice from DOWNTOWN.
Patrick Ewing makes a jump shot. The Knicks win an important game.
But I ALSO have fun being that guy who cobbles together a band of disparate forces and fights THE EMPIRE and Rebellion and things built on hope and Jyn Erso getting a group of rustlers, cut throats, murderers, bounty hunters, desperados, mugs, pugs, thugs, nitwits, halfwits, dimwits, vipers, snipers, con men, Indian agents, Mexican bandits, muggers, buggerers, bushwhackers, hornswogglers, horse thieves, bull dykes, train robbers, bank robbers, ass-kickers, shit-kickers and Methodists.  I like THAT.  I like Han and a random bunch of teddy bears and Chewie knocking over the shield generator like its a liquor store at 3 AM.  I enjoy the Battle of Endor where the Rebels said "F*** it, strap a gun to the medical frigate and bring it with, maybe it'll do SOMETHING." (Spoiler alert, it asploded)

And that's what playing Leia feels like to me.  You're ENTIRELY the sum of your parts and everything you can do.  My whole FLEET is a task force: Leia card.  Everything you do, you need to keep in mind what the rest of your fleet is doing that turn.  I love taking what feels like the pilot episode of a new Rebels TV show and getting the band together to go wail on Large bases.  I faced 3 ISDs and an LMC80 last Regionals, and I see next wave; big ships are here to stay and I'm trying to get ahead of the curve by killing them all.
Hello, Cymoon.
But there's also a very good part of me that wants to be KNOWN for something.  Eric runs Ozzel.  And I have learned to fear Ozzel's Raiders, because they can be MONSTERS when run well.  There's guys on the forums who've become synonymous with fleets or commanders.
Now that Joe Morgan has been fired, can we get rid of Joe Buck next?
To continue the insider baseball, I can name-drop Ardaedhel and his Mothma MC30 swarm, Biggs/shmitty and Garm, Truthiness and his Madine insanity, Green Knight and the 1+4, the entirety of Canada and the 2+3 (with the exception of Dras and the Nose Punch), Classic Ben and the LMC80, GiledPallaeon and his double ISDs.... I want that.  I want to be THE GUY!  And I still maintain that Leia is a good Commander.  So, my choice was set, wasn't it?
Thanks for the support, Princess.
I wanted to prove that I can do alright with Leia, that she IS a viable commander and you CAN build and win lists with her.  How did this all come together?  Well, much as I stated in the original Leia article, she's not JUST a squadron commander.  But Yavaris getting a free 3rd squadron is too good to pass up (which is really squadron attack activations 5 and 6).  And the ability to wreck Mediums and Larges with B-wings and Gold Squadron is great.  So, I put that in.  But I needed to protect those squadrons.  2 X-wings and Jan Ors is enough to occupy a minimal fighter screen of Tycho/Shara or Ciena/Valen or 4 TIEs or whatever that I normally see.
It's hammer time!
Related to those B-wings, I noticed that the Hammerheads are good at killing Larges.  And what did I see all over the place at Michigan, and what's on the horizon? Larges. Many, many, good larges.  Many larges that reeeeally don't want to keep getting hit with 2-3 dice attacks before getting walloped with a plethora of them from an ExRax one, huh?

I do maintain that Hammerheads ARE good ships, Bront.  They're very unlike most other ships in the Rebel arsenal, in that they're kinda like bargain bin Raiders (i'm aware I need to update ANOTHER article, and that Gallant Haven one still needs to get fixed).  Eric fought tooth and nail to prove to everyone that Raiders were good, and they're accepted as viable members of the Imperial navy (comma, as much as it hurts ME, haha).  Hammerheads may just become the hill I die on, as they can wallop the heck out of flotillas or ISDs alike as needed.  You just need to catch whatever ship wanders into range with them, which is NOT a Rebellion normal plan (It's not necessarily even a JOHN normal plan.... but I'm determined to try!).  Related to them, there's all sorts of complaints about how they die so easily because they don't have a Brace token.  Yeah, and? 5 health, 2 front shields, and a defense token suite that will prevent enough damage to the Hammerhead to keep it alive.  It's going to suck when they get wailed on, but its job is to put some damage in before it dies.  So long as I can wallop a large based ship before I get it killed, that's a good use of the points.  I just need to ensure that I steer them right before that happens...
Definitely need a new paint job, though, that's for sure
But look at their life this way.  With a general Nebulon-esque or LMC80-esque "Front Towards Enemy" approach and no Brace token, they can take 7 damage to the face and survive.  That's on average better than VSDs or ISDs can put out.  6 Damage and an accuracy is much easier to roll than 7 and an accuracy (to prevent me from redirecting anything).  I'm not claiming that they're easy ships to handle that will live forever, but they can take a heck of a beating before they explode.  All I need to survive a shot from Medium range is for my opponent to NOT roll 8 damage or more before I get to deliver them.  Hammerheads are whaling ships, built for killing whales.  You don't send one rowboat to kill Moby Dick, you send 2-3.  You may lose a boat of men, but their sacrifice will be appreciated when that whale dies and you get his delicious oil.

Now, as for the games themselves? Quick recaps (this article is already long) before we get to the extra stuff.

Before I begin game recaps, I'd like to thank Family Time Games for both accommodating 38 Armada nerds but for also providing lunch.  Look at that spread!
Nom nom nom sammiches.  There was also coffee in the morning!
Great store, great people.  If I lived anywhere near Indianapolis, I'd be going there and patronizing their business.  I'm not joining Yelp to leave a review or anything, but it gets the CGYSO Seal of approval.
Harf harf harf
Anyways, game 1 was against Matt, who brought Mon Mothma on an LMC80 along with Foresight, a GR75, 2 CR90Bs with Overload Pulse, 2 A-wings and 2 VCXs.  He had a bid, so he chose my Hyperspace Assault.  We deployed and durdled around a bit, and then who showed up turn 3?
Yes, Yavaris is both at long range of the Mon Karren and out of range of the CR90B's.  What a big hyperspacing jerk!
I ended up trading my Yavaris for his Mon Karren, and that was most of the action.  I ended up winning by about 44 points and I don't think anything else substantial died that game.  I did get to concentrate fire and wipe out a VCX with the External Racks on one of the Hammerheads.  So, a win.

Game 2 was against Joe, who brought Jerjerrod on a VSD-I with QBTs and Flight Controllers, 2 VSD-IIs with DCaps and Gunnery Team, and a Gozanti pushing Howlrunner, 3 Interceptors, and a Lambda.  He chose my Solar Corona and we deployed across the table from each other (I was quite fine with this, gives me more time to set up!) We got moving, and round about turn 2's start we were here:
I LITERALLY meant across the table from each other.  This keeps me ALIVE haha
He launched his fighters in with the flight controllers and took out Jan in 2 shots with those Interceptors.  That kinda sucked, but her counter 2 nailed both Interceptors, so they were on death's door.  Joe slowed down both of the two right most VSDs in order to ensure that I didn't get into short range with my hammerheads.  So I threw what I could at his VSD, killing it and then moving towards the one in the back, with Jerjerrod driving it.  My Hammerhead when it got to activate was at short range of it, so I fired everything I had at it, putting a solid 7 damage into the hull of a speed 0 VSD.  One of my later activating hammerheads rammed it for the final damage, and then I ran away with what I could.

Game 3 I ended up in some Fair Game on Fair Game violence where I played my buddy Nick.  Nothing better than driving 3 hours to play my buddy down the street (at least it's not Eric!).  He brought 2 Raiders with OE and ExRax, a Jerjerrod VSD-II with DCaps and H9s (this becomes important later...), a Gozanti, and Demolisher.  He chose my Solar Corona (this thing got picked 3/4 games, I may need to change it) and we deployed as such.
Clearly we only need an X-wing mat to play on
Well, let's zoom in here.  ENHANCE!
Solar Corona can only go well here....
So, I saw that I could deploy across the table on my left, but that would let Nick slow roll the game and use the asteroids that I NEEDED to hide in.  I also saw that there was a VSD and a Demo that could roll accuracies that I needed to NOT roll (less accuracies rolled means more surviving health on my hammerheads and Nebulon).

We rolled in, testing defenses, and got to about here:
Stupid Demolisher, go away! Away from Yavaris!
So, Nick lit up my Hammerhead and my flotilla.  Luckily for me, the Solar Corona pulled out the one accuracy he rolled.  My flotilla was fine!

Then he used the H9s after the Leading Shots.  Awww, darnit.

My Hammerheads rolled crazy and killed the VSD, and I got one more Raider before time expired.  His Demo got 1, maybe 2 of my Hammerheads.

Final round! Damian! Sloane on an ISD-II with Flight Controllers, a Gozanti, and a Quasar with Flight Controllers.  And a metric ton of squadrons.  He chose Solar Corona, and we deployed across the map (as per usual, game 3 was the exception!)
Stupid NOT MY squadrons, why are you attacking me?
So Maarek-Jendon killed Yavaris, and I threw what I could into the fight to try to stave off HIS squadrons.  In retrospect, what I should maybe have done (more articles to update!) would be to go for killing his ISD, ignoring his squadrons entirely and just going for straight killing his ISD.  But, that's for another day.

What I did have queued up, after Yavaris died, was 4 concentrate fires from the 3 hammerheads and Jaina's Light.  His ISD fired, but none of my Hammerheads died.  That turn (2-3 the next).  I threw everything, the kitchen sink, and the knives and forks sitting in it towards that ISD.  It took a LOT of damage, but it didn't die, sadly.  Damian wiped out most of my fleet, leaving me with Leia and Dagger Squadron left at the end and a win for him.
What up, haters?
So, a 3-1 record.  What did I learn from this? That Leia is still legit.  Every game, I had an opponent ask me "Wait, how did you do that?" How did I command 2 squadrons from a Hammerhead, how did I get the free con-fire reroll, how did I change nav speeds like crazy? Leia Organa, kids.  She's a legit commander.  I also learned that I really enjoy whaling on whales.  It's just fun when people look at Hammerheads and don't see them as threats, and then bam, squillion damage out the front!

One that was fired on survived (barely) the ISD-II shot, which was one of my main worries going into this tournament.  It's a very close thing, but HH CAN survive huge shots they seem unable to.  All I need is one shot and a ram, and bam, down goes the ISD!  Well, with some luck, of course.

I also learned that I needed more experience with this list (Yes, I have been practicing, but I need MORE).  Less than a week before this Regionals, I had Leia on Salvation.  I had to cut it because A) it wasn't performing and B) Leia needs to live.  This list falls apart without her, so I think I overdid it on the caution and keeping her out of the fire.  With some more experience (I haven't run a CR90A seriously in a long while!) and good positioning through knowing what I can and can't do, and can and can't be in range of, I can actually get more out of it, I think.  I also need to figure out what to do against Heavy Squadrons.  Looks like I need to go update my squadron articles to handle Sloane!
Fair Game brought 8 guys there, here's 7 of us.  And yes, that is our friend in a Star Wars suit.  I felt outdressed!

I had a lot of fun at Regionals, and I think I proved my points that Leia and Hammerheads work.  She's a good commander, Bront.  Now, to get even more practice with this list in order to get to murdering more with it!


  1. Congratulations, you've earned yourself the "Leia Commander" association.

  2. Very nice article! I play my dad every second week and one of his favorites is Leia and with reason. She is one of the few commanders that give me a shiver when I see her on the opposing team. I once tried an experimental Konstantine Interdictor fleet and boy did I regret it when I saw Leia roll out. Say you manage to use Leia Dial+token on half your activations on a 5 ship fleet, you gained 5x6x0.5=15 imaginary tokens which is pretty impressive!

  3. In my opinion you are absolutely correct. Leia can be used successfully, and so can Hammerheads in competitive play. Personally I used both in a fleet at the Scandinavian Nationals and placed eight out of 25 participants winning three of four games.

    Thanks for a great blog it's always a pleasure to read! :)

  4. Very valiant effort on your part to get the most out of Leia. You managed to take 80% of what makes Yavaris bomber lists so scary and still get most of the advantages of an MSU list. Unfortunately you seem to have also found out why most people don't think medium squadrons are viable - you ended up spending quite a lot on squadrons (and even more on squadron support), yet a "serious" squadron fleet simply obliterated everything you brought to the table. That seems to be a structural weakness of your fleet that you probably won't manage to overcome just by flying better or by improving your target selection. I'd suggest to consider dropping the scout hammerhead, as it seems to be the most expendable, and replace it with a slicer Quantum Storm. Squadron-heavy fleets tend to rely on just 1 or 2 powerful pushers. Sloane fleets in particular often only have one strong pusher (typically flight controller Avenger) and maybe a couple of flotillas that push squadrons through Jendon. With 6 activations it should be reasonably straightforward to spring forward in a crucial round and completely mess up his plan by convincing the Avenger that he needs urgent repairs and his squadrons do not need his attention at the moment. Even if this ends up being a suicide mission for Quantum Storm (quite likely, you need to get into medium range of an ISD)this one round when his squadrons are operating well below optimum might just give you the advantage you need. You might also take advantage of the fact that he'll REALLY want to get rid of Quantum Storm to close the distance with your Hammerheads in relative safety. You should also have enough extra points left to add Biggs to your squadrons and/or upgrade one of the B-wings to Ten Nunb (scatter aces REALLY don't like him, especially with Yavaris around). Of course that would mean that instead of a balanced MSU/squadron hybrid you'd end up with more of a squadron fleet with a strong corvette support but it would still be fun to play and it would give you an actual fighting chance against squadron fleets.

    1. I actually tested some changes for when wave 7 drops, but i came to very similar conclusions. There was a build I had with Ten Numb and a Z95, but I'm moving away from Yavaris. I'm aware it's GOOD, but I have other, zanier plans. Especially now that everyone will be pushing ISDs soon....