Sunday, April 2, 2023

Armada Worlds 2023 LCQ Recap: Xantos1159

In what I'm hoping will be the first of many of these, I've reprinted Xantos's LCQ write below the jump. There will hopefully be more of these, but for now, hit the jump for one of the LCQ winners!

Amusingly, John was the one to grab this gif 
Greetings, blog-readers. My name is Damon, and I’m here to share some battle reports from the Star Wars: Armada World Championships, because John asked for some in the discord and I have an English degree, goddammit. You may know me from my performance at worlds this year (more on that later), or from my discord shenanigans (I’m Xantos1159 on discord, an amazing name chosen all the way back when I was 12), where I regularly make fun of comment on the Armada Podcast and hang out in Separatist chat, trying to help aspiring droid overlords. What follows is a very extended report (GPs not the only wordy one!) on my games and experience in the Star Wars: Armada Last Chance Qualifier, a tournament held at Adepticon prior to the actual World Championships. While worlds itself was restricted to people with invites from winning large tournaments, the LCQ was open to anyone, with the top 4 players advancing to worlds proper the next morning. With 50 top players signed up, it was going to be a tough ask. Let’s get into it!

Rick Flair? And Dusty Rhodes was RIGHT THERE


I’m going to talk about the list first, because I’m boring like that and enjoy my preamble. I’ve been playing seppies since they were released and our best lists were triple munificent and a supporting hardcell (we’ve come so far since then… now we take a recusant), and armada for a couple months before that, in mid-2020. I actually started with Dooku before quickly moving onto kraken, who I considered slightly less useless for my triple muni-archetype. Thankfully, we soon got the providence and recusant, which kraken loves to provide accuracies for. I ran a prov with IF for a while alongside a muni and two hardcells, before swapping to a recusant with Patriot Fist, which I affectionately refer to as “The Reason Seps are Viable”. I enjoyed this list, and toyed around with a couple variants, including double munificent, hie on a muni, mar tuuk, more squads, and even a goz or two when RR1 came out, but nothing stood out as significantly better than the rest. While the rest of separatist players were salivating over RMM, a PF recusant with two thermal shield and pdic munis, I thought two munis were a bit inflexible, and easy for opponents to fly around. I actually left the separatist faction for a bit, trying out some empire lists in search of a stronger competitive list. Then, enter FoxOmega and The Star Wars Armada podcast.

100% accurate picture of FoxOmega

For those who haven’t heard, Fox co-hosts a podcast with Kelorn and Armchairjedi (formerly JulietWhiskey) where they cover recent tournaments, meta developments, and all things Star Wars Armada. I highly encourage everyone to give it a listen, if only to hear the hosts argue about food. Anyways, Fox is also a separatist player, and regularly talked about his Dooku obsession on the podcast. One of the lists he mentioned was shockingly similar to my last kraken fleet, except with the aforementioned Dooku at the helm. I decided to give it a shot.

Dooku contemplating all the puns he can make with his list names

This is where I tell you that the fleet was amazing and clicked immediately and it was love at first sight and blah blah blah, but it wasn’t. I still thought Dooku was kinda trash. But I was enjoying my return to Separatists, and there was a tournament coming up, so I decided to make it work. I thought about what Dooku could do really well, and my answer at the time was objective play. The FoxFarmHawk and other second-player focused fleets were in vogue, so I cranked the bid up to 12, picked second player, and let Dooku do his raid thang. I’d been running ion storm with kraken, and thankfully it still works without him, albeit triggering the crit effect less often. Abandoned Mining Facility is the flashy objective, raiding opponents repair while Wat Tambor sucks up 50 points from the dust cloud r2. Finally, the bog standard infested fields rounds out the trio, either shoving rocks under ships or throwing hungry space worms at hopefully-helpless squadrons. It’s a nasty trio for opponents, and I was already practiced with all three objectives.

I did well in a few practice games, so I took the fleet to The Battle for Endor, an online tournament on TTS, where I ended up placing second overall, way outperforming any kraken fleet I’d flown. I tweaked the list, and took it to the Vassal World Cup with a reduced bid and the goal of learning how to play the list as first player. I ended up squeaking out of the pod phase, and did quite well in the swiss phase until I ran into Relent, who knocked me out of the running with his Sloane fleet (he ended up placing second overall, which makes me feel a bit better about the loss). I made a few more tweaks, dropped the bid again, and settled on this final version to bring to worlds:

I’ve been looking forward to this
Author: Xantos1159

Faction: Separatist Alliance
Commander: Count Dooku
Points: 394/400

Assault Objective: Ion Storm
Defense Objective: Abandoned Mining Facility
Navigation Objective: Infested Fields

Recusant Light Destroyer (85 points)
- Patriot Fist (6 points)
- Rune Haako (4 points)
- Sensor Team (5 points)
- Reserve Hangar Deck (3 points)
- Linked Turbolaser Towers (7 points)
- External Racks (4 points)
= 114 total ship cost

[ flagship ] Munificent-class Star Frigate (73 points)
- Count Dooku (30 points)
- Sa Nalaor (5 points)
- Wat Tambor (5 points)
- Medical Team (1 points)
- Thermal Shields (5 points)
- Linked Turbolaser Towers (7 points)
- Point Defense Ion Cannons (4 points)
= 130 total ship cost

Hardcell-class Battle Refit (52 points)
- Reserve Hangar Deck (3 points)
- Linked Turbolaser Towers (7 points)
= 62 total ship cost

Hardcell-class Transport (47 points)
- Tikkes (2 points)
- Slicer Tools (7 points)
= 56 total ship cost

4 Vulture-class Droid Fighter Squadron (32 points)
= 32 total squadron cost

Honestly it looks like really standard separatist stuff to me, but I’ll walk through it just in case. The most important piece is the recusant, and is usually my last deployment. It goes fast and blows stuff up before usually exploding itself. I prefer ltt to swivels/trc/slaved/other turbos because generally I aim to double-arc starting t3 or 4, and occasionally I need to tell Maarek Stele to F off. I found that guaranteeing an accuracy is really important, and since I don’t have Kraken, sensor team gets the job done (I tried vet gunners instead, but it was still too inconsistent). Rune lets me use a nav dial t1 while still having banked tokens later in the game, and ex-racks make this thing MEAN at close. You’ll see it come into play in a couple of the games, but unfortunately my opponents were usually trying to prevent it from triggering. Lame.

Enemies fleeing from the might of Patriot Fist

The muni is standard defense all the way down, with Sa Nalaor being a great additional layer of defense, often evading/rerolling nasty dice. Medical Team triggered 2/3 times in the tournament, once allowing the muni to survive on one hull, which is more than worth the points. I generally prefer thermals to ECM because I can use it twice in that crucial round, it doesn’t have a cost to refresh between rounds, and I don’t see a lot of dice-add in my games. The tikkes + slicer tools hardcell is there to actually shut down squadron or other crucial commands once they’ve cleared the raid, and generally just be a nuisance. The ships round out with a battle hardcell, a flexible piece that I can deploy first and nav to where I want to be, and then support my list with anti-ship or anti-squad, usually some mixture of both (you know I’m desperate when the battle hardcell starts pushing squads). I actually considered taking a second ltt battle refit over the slicer-cell, but decided to stick with what I knew (especially after seeing UFO win VWC with his Y-wings, can’t let those things run wild). Finally, 4 vultures (with two extra from RHD) add a few deployments and a bit of crucial anti-squad defense. Generally they’re able to delete a few key pieces with the help of all my ltt flak, as well as slow down some of the bombing. They did great work over the course of this tournament in most matches, only really folding to a couple Sloane lists.

They look so menacing, yet explode so fast

With the list recap out of the way, I’m ready to actually talk about the tournament! Are you excited? You should be! This was the biggest in-person Armada tournament ever (I think), and only my second in-person tournament (thanks, Covid). I was pumped, as was everyone else who traveled out to Chicago. Shoutouts to all the cool people I got to meet throughout the tournament! It was amazing putting faces to all the names I’d learned throughout the years, and getting to play some top-notch armada against some of the best players in the world. Seriously, this event was amazing, and I can’t wait to return next year, although hopefully with an actual invite this time. If I wanted to play in the actual worlds tournament, I needed to place in the top 4 of the last chance qualifier, which was stacked with 50 amazing players, all vying for one of those 4 spots.

Players getting the rules run-down before the tourney

I was confident I could win most of my matches, but winning big enough was another story. It wouldn’t matter if I went 4-0 if all my matches were 6-5. I needed to go for big wins. Luckily, the same was true for my opponents, meaning I could count on them not running away. One of us was going to win, and I just needed to make sure it was me. After some lovely leftover breakfast pizza, I headed to the venue for day one, nervously eyeing all the lists appearing around me. I hoped many of them would be inexperienced against Dooku with him being an unpopular admiral, and that they would be unprepared for my raid. However, I also had another secret weapon up my sleeve: this amazing world’s shirt with art by AdmiralTater, brought by John/Geek19 himself:

With my amazing purple shirt on, how could I possibly lose? Get im, Grimace!

Sooner than I was ready for, round 1 pairings were up. I was facing Jamie Nasmyth flying a Plo Koon list (full lists and standings are available HERE). Plo was on a Venator 2, supported by two peltas and a mix of y-wings and ARC-170s (alongside the usual Splashakin and Axe). I had bid and chose second, forcing a nasty choice for James, who eventually went with Infested Fields. Rather than risk running them over, he dropped his rocks on my side of the field, letting me grab all 5 infested tokens before the game was over, so I was already winning before we started deployment. To counteract this, he deployed the venator aggressively, flying right at my ships, with the two peltas trailing behind. He sent the squads in for an early run against PF, while my vultures bided their time.

Jamie lining up his bombing run

Due to his activation disadvantage and Dooku raid, his squads ended up out of position, with the bombers separated from the carriers and surrounded by hungry exogorths, while splashakin tried to deal with my vulture swarm. The Slicer tool hardcell chose this time to make its attack run, further hindering Jamie’s squad play. His Venator took heavy fire on the way in, and tried to turn away from Patriots to escape, only to be boxed in by a hardcell. With the rest of my fleet surrounding it, the venator dropped fast.

Hastily edited meme go!

Things went from bad to worse for Jamie. With his squads still stranded and hounded by exogorths, my recusant was still healthy enough to launch an attack on his peltas, actually one-shotting one with an absolutely disgusting 10-damage roll, with an acc from sensor teams to lock the brace. His final pelta quickly fell to the rest of my fleet, with only a few vultures being claimed in return. When the debris settled, I had won 475-16, a 10-1 with the highest margin of victory possible (mov caps at 400), a great start to my day. Jamie was a great sport about it, and would go on to 10-1 his next opponent before eventually finishing the tourney in 36th.

Since my first game was so fast, I had a bit of time to scout out the next round. There were several other players who got a 10-1 in the first round, including Colin flying a kuat + onager + demo, Scott flying another plo list with a clam and a victory, and Samuel, who was to be my r2 opponent. Keep those other names in mind though. They might show up later.

Samuel and I ended up being top table that round, meaning we had the pleasure of playing on the Ion Radio Stream (Their channel is, and here’s the link to my match if you’d like to watch). They streamed throughout the entire event with an amazing setup, providing play-by-play for the top table, as well as analysis of the lists and events as a whole. Huge props to them for streaming the entire event; go check them out and give them all the youtube money. It was super easy to be on stream, and they were very accommodating and nice to chat with. Seriously, go check them out. They’re amazing.

Seriously, how they kept the energy up for 15 games is beyond me

Samuel was running his brother’s (Louis-Andre, another amazing player who somehow made Konstantine look viable) fleet, a JJ fleet with an ISD2 and raider, along with a gozanti and a buttload of squads, including Maarek and his life-mate Jendon, as well as Defender Vader and two firesprays. Talk about bombing power! I once again chose to go second, with Samuel choosing my ion storm, a choice he told me he regretted after the match (spoilers!). We deployed on the left side of the map, with his ISD and raider staring down my Recusant, while the rest of my fleet looked to rush the ISD’s side while hopefully not dying to his squads.

Turn one was mostly positioning, and at the top of r2, Sam’s squads pounced on a couple exposed vultures. However, that left his bombers open to counter-attack, and my muni sniped a firespray with the help of two vultures who locked down his other bombers. He decided to play more cautiously with the squads from then on, clearing the vultures and moving away from my flak boats and towards the recusant. Unfortunately, by that point it would already be too late. My recusant had floated right in front of where the ISD was going, and it was raided for squadrons without a token, having burnt a token the round before. A crucial ion storm proc stole his nav token, sealing the ISD’s fate.

Hey, this looks familiar…

Without the assistance of its bombers, the ISD could not take out the recusant, and was forced (just barely) into a nasty double arc. The rest of my fleet finished what the recusant started, taking out the ISD, while the recusant flew away, taking out the gozanti as well. I picked off a couple more squads, and had scored ion storm several times, so I thought another big win was in the bag, until disaster struck.


It’s difficult to see in this picture, but in my excitement and haste, I neglected to slow my recusant and ended up off the board by a hair. That’s right, on the top table in the biggest tournament of my life, I flew my recusant off the board in front of stream, god, and everyone. Shame on me, on my father, on my father’s father, etc. Fortunately for me, I had more than enough points to counteract the loss of my recusant, still winning the game 343-146, an 8-3. Far from the worst outcome. While I was upset to not get another 10-1, it was still a large win, and I was making a strong case to qualify for the World Championships. I shook Samuel’s hand, and went about finding some lunch before returning for round three. Samuel ended up finishing the day with two more wins, ending up at 6th and just barely missing the cut to Worlds.

OM NOM NOM CON FOOD/Blogpost lunch break!

After some questionable lunch choices, I was back for round 3, although not at the top table. Colin had continued his dominance with another 10-1, and was set up to play someone at 19 TP.. Meanwhile, I was paired with one Scott Healy, who you might remember from getting a 10-1 in the first round. He was also flying Plo Koon, this time on a consular totally-not-a-lifeboat, with a clam and victory set to push the actual bombers, consisting of 6 (6!) ARC-170s, alongside Splashakin and Axe. I chose second again, and we set up my infested fields, with his ships deploying to the right of the rocks, and across from my recusant. It was a familiar set-up, but things wouldn’t go as well as they did in the previous rounds.
Table 3 swag!

His ships and squads moved up slowly, and I positioned PF right in front of the acclamator, planning to do the same maneuver as my last match. Unfortunately for me, he had a squad token to clear to raid, and Patriots took four ARCs to the side, rolling a perfect 8 damage after Nevoota Bee. I was alive, but barely. Then the Acclamator went to take its shot. He had ex-racks, but as long as I could redirect and brace, my front shields should keep me alive. He rolled as I waited with baited breath, and beheld his red accuracy. After ex-racks and my parting salvo, the recusant was removed from the board, and the clam scooted into the side of my fleet, damaged but very much alive. Meanwhile, the Victory was at full health and bearing down my hardcell, and my vultures were taking heat from Splashakin. Things were looking grim.

I feel like something is missing here…

This seems like a good point to talk about stress. 4 rounds of armada is a lot, especially in one day, especially especially when you’re in the biggest tournament of your life trying to qualify for the other biggest tournament in your life. I had a moment after my recusant died where I just sat down and felt my soul leave my body. I thought I was out, that there was no chance of a comeback, and that I’d be banished to the lower tables without a shot at worlds. This was my moment, and I had blown it. That’s it, go home, you’re done. It’s tough to keep playing when you feel you’re already out. I can only imagine some of my previous opponents felt similar dread when they realized their flagship was doomed. Armada is a tough game to play. I’m just going to take this moment to point out the mental fortitude of all the players in this tournament, playing 4 rounds of some of the most brutal armada I’ve ever seen. We all entered that gauntlet, and only a few of us emerged. It was an amazing experience, and simultaneously one of the most stressful times in my life.

After my brief panic attack, I recovered by chugging a water bottle and resumed the game. I knew it would be tough, but my munificent was untouched, and is one of the tankiest ships in the game. If I could stay alive and take out one or both of his ships, maybe I could make the game close. Thus, I spent the next hour and a half clawing and scrabbling the best I could. His arcs started to get chewed up by the exogorths, and my hardcell sacrificed itself to take out the clam and delay bombing on the muni. His victory traded shots and salvos with my flagship, with Wat Tambor frantically stealing shields from my surviving hardcell, praying for pdic to buy me just one turn. It came down to a bombing run from the Vic. Medical team saved me a damage, pdic saved another, and it came down to the final ARC. He moved in, prayed to his dice, and rolled two accuracies. The vic couldn’t finish me off, ended up colliding with several rocks, and eventually fell while my munificent scraped away on one hull. In the end, I had gotten enough from tokens and the exogorths to claim a 7-4 victory, 299-217. What a game.

Gosh, even writing this makes me feel like I need a moment. It was unquestionably the most stressful game of my life, coming down to so many crucial rolls on both sides. Scott was a fantastic opponent throughout, and we agreed that it could have gone either way very easily. In the end, Scott had a happy ending, winning his final game and finishing in 4th, making the cut for worlds tomorrow. I loved how weird his list was, and was super happy to see him make worlds after the tournament, and I continued to check his progress throughout the tournament. Even in midst of the stress, we made friends and had a great time playing. Star Wars: Armada is a truly special game, and I just want to stress again how amazing this event was. Onto the final match!

Bee da dee daaaaa....

My match took the full time to complete, so I had barely any time to prepare for my final match. I was in second place overall with 3 wins, and while there were a few other undefeated players, they all had smaller wins than me, with one exception: Mr. Colin Looney, otherwise known as OutboundFlight on Discord. He had destroyed his opponents in all 3 games, and was sitting at a massive 29 tournament points. He was all but guaranteed to make it into worlds. Meanwhile, while I was at the top of the pack, I was at 25 tp, barely above several other players. I had to win to move on, and I had to do it at the top table, against the best player that day.
Colin sitting at the top like

Exhausted, I made my way over to the top table to shake hands with Colin. This match was also streamed on the top table by Ion Radio (LINK here!), so another huge shoutout to them. I especially loved getting to use their official plastic range-rulers, a huge improvement over my single cardboard ruler. Colin was flying a Kuat, Demolisher, and an onager with Romodi, as well as a gozanti and small tie screen. While he could stomach a small loss, I knew I needed to win to advance, or risk getting passed by big wins at the lower tables. I had bid, and in a deviation from my previous games, chose first. It was a tough choice, but I wanted to deny a first activation to his black dice ships, and hopefully protect my ships a bit more. I was prepared to pick his hyperspace assault, when he surprised me and revealed rift ambush as his yellow. It was a no-brainer to me. He dropped the rift surrounded by rocks, and deployed behind them to gain romodi’s obstruction bonus. I dropped on the opposite side, planning to speed around the rocks and take advantage of the rift and rocks making Colin approach cautiously.

Check out the sweet paint-job on his ships!

It was clear from the outset that we were both exhausted. He forgot his rift ambush move, I activated both hardcells in a row without letting him activate, and then he forgot to put down an ignition token (I let him replace, although I don’t think he ended up with a shot). We were a sloppy mess after 8 hours of armada. As we got into gear, his Kuat swung towards my muni, and the rest of my ships surrounded him, while his onager and demo lined up attack runs from the rift. Mid-way through round 2, his kuat lept forward into my guns, looking to drop its boarding troopers and exracks, and then escape to the other side of the board. He also avoided being at close range of my recusant, denying me my return ex-racks shot. Unfortunately for him, he just missed the double-arc on the munificent, leaving him with only a side arc shot. Still, his onager and demo lined up their own shots, looking to be the first fleet to kill Dooku’s flagship.

Oh Mr. Kuat, where are your friends?

In the end, my damage would prove too much for the kuat, but not before he would severely damage my hardcell and flagship. The hardcells lept past to attack his onager, while the muni remained trapped between the smoking kuat and healthy demo. Patriot fist activated first to finish off the kuat, while the onager finished off Dooku’s flagship and tried to escape. I was hoping the rift would slow him down enough for my remaining ships to finish it off, but in the end, I didn’t have enough damage to take it out. I settled for his gozanti and tie-fighters. It was a very close match, but my bonus kills at the end dragged me exactly onto the 7-4 line, 190-130. Colin was still ahead of me in tournament points, but with 32 points overall, I had secured second place in the Last Chance Qualifier, and would be advancing to worlds proper the next morning. I had done it.

Victory indeed

A few things before I wrap up. I know I’ve written so much already, but permit me a few more words before I finish. First, I had so much friggin fun during this tournament, in case I didn’t make it clear. All my opponents were amazing people and I’m glad to have met and played with them. Two of them made worlds with me, and another just missed the cut. The tournament itself was run super smoothly, and we got tons of swag for playing. We all got a printed copy of RR1, a bunch of shiny alt arts, and some tokens, and a bunch of the top placers got to pick out expansions from the prize wall. Colin got an SSD for his amazing performance, while I walked out with a second Separatist Starter Pack. We all celebrated, and went our separate ways to prepare for day one of worlds. I made a particularly poor choice in dinner, but no one wants to hear about that misery. Instead, I’ll just thank everyone who made that tournament possible, all of my opponents, Ion Radio for the stream, and this blog for getting me into armada. Stay tuned for my report on worlds day 1!

Thanks Damon! We've got a few more of these reports lined up and some already written! Any interest in getting your own out there? Email me at!

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