Sunday, November 13, 2022

Kelorn Day 2! Return of the Guest Post!

geek again, letting Kelorn take the wheel ONE MORE TIME! Enjoy the AAR, I'm working on another article myself currently....

In most stories, the hero gets in trouble, finds a mentor, gets stronger, overcomes adversity, and emerges triumphant. From the moment you start consuming the story through whatever media you choose, you KNOW that the hero will win in the end.

This is not one of those stories.

Reality can be a really unpleasant mistress, crushing dreams, ruining plans, and generally creaking havoc. When Patrick first told me that Golden State Games would take place on weekend of a conference my work was already sending me to, I thought the stars were aligning and this was my chance. In a way it was, I mentioned at the end of the last article that I met a ton of people, forging relationships that just never happen any other way. I will treasure those relationships for a long time, and I’m thrilled that I was able to meet everyone.

The situation at the start of Day 2 was not bleak in any way. There were four world’s invite tickets up for grabs and two of the Top 8 already had tickets. The odds were fairly good or so it seemed.

Game 1 - Patrick

First off, mad props to Patrick, he was the eventual winner of GSG and had just won the Endor championships on TTS with his Raddus MC80 list. I thought that I had a solution to his list and a way to destroy his flagship before he dropped. However, discussion with Patrick and the judge revealed a slight snag. My strategy was dependent on using a pass token on turn one as second player. However, there’s a sometimes forgotten clause for pass tokens, that you can’t pass if they do not have more unactivated ships than the first player. Because I had three activations and Patrick kept his MC80 in hyperspace, I couldn’t pass until he dropped. All of that being the case, I abandoned that plan and chose to go first, choosing Patrick’s Most Wanted objective.

As usual, I center deployed the Gozanti and squads, trying to determine where Patrick would deploy before committing my ships. His squads and GR75’s deployed to my left, so I put the Quasar on the outside and the ISD in the middle to oppose him. Raddus’s flagship deployed on the backline but with Speed 4 + engine techs, i knew it would be a factor soon.

Turn one, I slowly moved up while the CR90 flagship paralleled the backline towards the GR75s. I put my Interceptors out front a bit as bait, but he didn’t take it. My remaining squads took position to attack on turn 2. Patrick chose not to Raddus on turn 2 and off we went.

Turn 2 was interesting, I was first and Patrick had a slicer tools GR75 in position. With that in mind, I activated the Quasar first, blowing Shara Bey to bits and killing Rogue Squadron. The GR75 chose to slice the Quasar and the ISD retaliated by killing the slicer GR75. The real key here, however, was Jaina’s Light and her LTT flak. My generic’s started dying and I brought back two with reserve hangar deck, trying to maintain my squad screen and prevent a good raddus drop. 

I was partially successful and prevented my ISD (with its Most Wanted objective token) from dying. However, Patrick did manage to squeeze his MC80 into the gap and block my Quasar at the top of round 3.

The rest of this game was fairly pre-ordained. Despite the MC80’s first epic whiff of a front shot on the Quasar, there was no way to save it. My squads killed everyone but Ketsu, and Vader/Maarek chased down the Most Wanted GR75. In return, Patrick killed my gozanti and most of my squads. 

The game ended with a very close 6-5 margin, with Patrick edging me out by 12 points, which particularly hurt because his Jaina’s Light one shot Saber squad on turn 3, which was the entire difference. 

Game 2 - Samuel Wang

I wasn’t in a bad spot with a 5-6 and I figured that I had a decent shot of still making top 4. I paired round two with Samuel and his Sloane list. He had a slightly different flavor, with a Boarding Teams Kuat and two defenders. He chose second player and I chose his superior positions, fully deploying before my opponent.

Samuel chose to corner deploy in a way which would make it difficult to kill his Quasar. 

I’ll be honest, hubris bit me in the ass here. I expected to overwhelm my opponent and made critical errors. For his part, Samuel played an excellent game.

I chose to speed up to 3 on turn one, which was a critical error and would force me into close range too soon. I tried to cut across my quasar and ended up taking a boarding teams shot for 11 damage to the ISD. I didn’t want to burn the brace so I burned the redirect, taking four damage cards. 

This still left me at close range of the side arc of the Kuat and my ISD would eventually die. I managed to save the Quasar and kill all of his squads, picking up a couple net Superior Positions tokens. 

Once my flagship was dead, I no longer had the firepower to finish off the Kuat, which at one point was at 8 damage cards. Even with winning the squad war, it wasn’t enough, with me losing 194 to 290 for a 4-7. 

Game 3 - Jordan Shettel

At this point, I was starting to get very tired, it had been a long two days, a long week away from home. Later, when I got home the next week, I would learn that I had caught COVID as well. All of which explains the last game, but doesn’t excuse it. 

I essentially doubled down on my hubris, attempting to bully my final opponent, and getting tabled in the process (I told you this didn’t have a happy ending).

Jordan was playing an Agate MC30 fleet with Jaina’s Light and a medium squad ball in support.

Stupidly, I lined up for joust across the table. Turn 2, my squads pounced on his squads, killing Tycho and Shara and severely wounding Lando. Ketsu jumped to a rock to poke at my Quasar and Jordan maneuvered beautifully, trapping my ISD in four arcs from his MC30’s. 

I tried very hard to kill the non-flagship MC30 before it activated but didn’t manage it. Making matters worse, my quasar had no way to get away either because of my deployment errors.

Turn 3 my ISD died and I managed to kill Ketsu and Lando, but it wasn’t enough when my Quasar died Turn 4. Even Vader finishing off Jaina’s light didn’t change it out of a 10-1 loss and my hope went up in smoke for a world’s invite with an 8th place finish on day 2.

Traveling for tournament’s is hard. Competitive Armada is hard. Making it even worse, I KNOW I could have played better in games 2 and 3. But I didn’t and I have to live with that. Looking at the bright side, I did make day 2 cut, even after flying off the board game 1. I was happy with my list, it was a good meta call for the tournament and I have no regrets in playing what I played, merely HOW I played it. 

Will this make me a better player? Only time will, but I feel like I learned a lot. Ever game both days, I was thrilled with my squad play, never losing the squad war and leveraging Sloane in the anti-squad role very well. 

My biggest takeaway is to slow down, you don’t need to force engagement on turn 2 and 3, you can wait. Patience and control are key, the longer the tournament went on, the more I let those get away from me. 

Until next time, catch me and the crew on the Armada Podcast and fly safe out there!

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