Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Bonjour mon amis! I'm here (again) with Elred's article, as the first time it didn't seem to take and I was having trouble wit the pictures. So, let's let Nicolas take it away for trial number 2!

Worlds recap: how to steal a fleet and crash

Hello there,

I’m Elred, a not-that-experienced armada player from France who somehow managed to grab an invite at our local World Qualifier in Lyon last fall. I’m writing this recap because I’ve always been a big fan of this blog (it’s actually the reason I started playing Armada) so it’s a great honor to be able to actually write something for it ! Let’s hope it’s not too stupid…

So for Worlds I was planning to come with Ryan’s SSD/Onager fleet, as I took a big interest in it a few months ago, and started bringing it locally (it was my fleet for French WQ) and fiddling around upgrades and discussing with Ryan about it. I did okay at French WQ, I managed to win a small 12-players tournament in Paris. Then I played the fleet in the Vassal World Cup as a final prep for Worlds, made it out of pod and… Swiss phase kinda turned me off it. I noticed there was too many options for an experienced opponent to negate the strength of the fleets and not play along my plans. And experienced opponents were going to be all I would face at Worlds…

I reasoned to change my list at the almost-last minute, and go back to what I played at Italy WQ in September (and almost made cut with): Zeran’s triple recusant fleet ! We have a funny rivalry about building lists for starwars games (going back to X-Wing) and he was part of the French squad for Worlds, planning to play his signature list, so even if I crashed it was still going to be a very funny experience.

So here’s the list:

Name: Zeraneries

Faction: Separatist

Commander: Mar Tuuk

Recusant Light Destroyer (85)

• Tikkes (2)

• XI7 Turbolasers (6)

• Patriot Fist (6)

= 99 Points

Recusant Light Destroyer (85)

• Intel Officer (7)

• XI7 Turbolasers (6)

= 98 Points

Recusant Light Destroyer (85)

• Intel Officer (7)

• XI7 Turbolasers (6)

= 98 Points

Hardcell Transport (47)

• Mar Tuuk (28)

• Munitions Resupply (3)

= 78 Points

Gozanti Cruisers (27)

= 27 Points


= 0 Points

Total Points: 400

And just so he doesn’t murder me in my sleep. It’s ZeRan’s list. Golven’s. There I said it :D Context for those who don’t know, this fleet has been shaking up the French meta for the last year and a half or so, ever since CIS goz released. It is a very extreme fleet, and Golven is very good at it, so when he started winning events with it, it caught some experienced players unawares while CIS was still a very unknown faction at the time.

As you can imagine, the gist of it is burying the opponent in red dice while telling them the brace will only work once, and they can only redirect 1. The fleet strategy is pretty simple, aim for a full table against all fleets that don’t have Corvus or rogues. At least one Recusant will die in the process, but it’s okay. The actual goal is to limit the losses after that (usually by killing everything). 

The fleet can take down pretty much any ship in the game (save an SSD) extremely fast, and unlike some other ships, the Recusant can turn around and stay in the fight in round 5 and 6, so once battle is started you don’t really have a way out unless you start killing recusants fast yourself. It is pretty barebones for dice mods, but it does the job very well regardless, as Mar Tuuk + generous arcs will have you roll SO. MANY. DICE. At some point there will be damage, and it will drill through hull very fast. Even in such a build, PF still has about 55% of outright oneshotting flotillas at long-range, which can cause serious activation issue to the opponent as 5 activations is already a lot (with 2 of them being pseudo-pass-tokens).

At the same time, there are fleets out there that cause incredible issues to this fleet, and they are quite prevalent nowadays: rogue fleets, mainly, as these Recusants are pretty much harmless to squadrons. But matchup-dodging is a skill, right?

Anyways ! This is what happened at Worlds for me:

Round 1 against Jack Otto

Jack was running a Gunnery Team ISD2, an Interdictor, Demolisher and a Gozanti. He chose to go first, we played on my Contested Outpost and he grabbed it through Grav Shift.

As a first game, the matchup wasn’t too bad, as all of these ships will definitely not enjoy the xi7 IO combination. 

In turn 2, Demolisher made a quick pass to try to hit the right recusant as hard as it could, and then died to PF shot in the butt.

My fleet moved up to the interdictor next and chewed it up terrifyingly fast (I got quite lucky with some clutch accuracies), 

Initially, I wasn’t quite sure I could take down the ISD too for a full table, as I knew I was going to lose a Recusant by the time Demolisher and Interdictor died, but it became a very, very tangible prospect by the end of turn 3. And indeed, the ISD got taken down turn 4 to the massive xi7 red dice damage from long range. My Gozanti and Hardcell fell prey to the ISD’s gunnery teams as the 2 remaining recusants were tearing it apart, which combined with Jack’s early grab of the station brings the final score to an 8-3 in my favor.

Which was a very good start for Worlds day 1 ! My first objective of not getting completely beat up was already achieved.

Round 2 against Robert Coldwell

Robert (InRobWeTrust on discord) was playing a similar fleet to mine, though slightly more standard I would say. 2 Munis, PF Rec with swivels APTs, and a hardball BoB. It could be a good matchup that had the potential to snowball in my favor very fast, depending on if I was letting enough time for the Projection Experts to go to work. 

I was able to set up my PF on a flank so it would sweep around a Muni, BoB, and stay in a safe place to keep contributing.

But in any case, it was going to be a bloodbath, and a bloodbath it was. We played on my Contested Outpost again, though this time it was less contested. At the same time, there was so much damage coming from both sides that we basically annihilated each other. 

There were a lot of dice events in this game (some double damage rec salvo, a comms noise Muni at speed 0 not dying from a PF shot, etc), but it was a very fun one. In the end, it came down to my PF against his PF by the end of round 6.

Everything else was dead, and it was ironic because I’m a big lover of lean, max-efficiency PF and the score was such because Rob was running the fat PF. We end on a 6-5 to Rob with 15pt MoV

Round 3 against Adam Newton aka “AngryEwok”

So the fun fact going into this game was that I didn't know that Adam was AngryEwok. I could tell very quickly that he was very experienced though, and that I had a tough game ahead of me.

He was running Ackbar on a AMFk2, 2 CR90s, 2 GRs and a few rogues, though nothing really frightening at first glance.

Adam gave me first player, and I took some time to ponder whether I would be worse off with Intel Sweep or Advanced Gunnery. Now I know, taking Ackbar’s AG is bad, really bad. But maybe my AG recusant could be able to come at such an angle I would be able to AG 2 arcs on the same ship for a pretty much guaranteed kill? In the end, I decided to take the chance with AG, which was the biggest mistake I made on the day.

You see, I had failed to actually count my opponent’s deployments. And as it happened, he had 4 deployments before putting down any combat ships, i.e. my actual targets. Which means, as I was first, he would put every important piece of his for the matchup AFTER I put down my entire list. I notice this as we start setting up the AG and I already understand the mess I’m in. I’m not going to be able to set up PF to kill a CR90 fast to give me some breathing room on incoming damage from his AG potato. So I set up centrally and understandably he set up a gunline that can skirt around my long range and wait for me to come in before getting out.

Maybe I should have disengaged immediately but I reckoned I couldn’t prevent him from catching a recusant for at least a 4-7 anyway, and decided to see what I could do. Which turned out to be not much. I had to slow one rec down at speed 0 so it wouldn’t be instantly eaten and stay out of range so the other would come in. A single activation from the potato put 3 cards into another. The rogues, though not overwhelming, were very helpful to kill it fast. In the end, I tried to cut my losses seeing how there was nothing I could do, but not before losing 2 recs, including the AG one, for a 9-2 in his favor, having scored 0pts.

So I learned the hard lesson of not to take Ackbar’s AG, and most importantly, COUNT THE DAMN DEPLOYMENTS. What happened there is just not the kind of stuff you can do in such a competition if you want to do remotely well.

Also I must say, despite the schooling I received, it was a very enjoyable game, Adam was a very nice player and I really appreciated playing him :)

Round 4 against Robin Keats

So now I’m at 15pts and I pretty much know my only shot at day 2 is a 10-1, and (supposedly) so does my opponent. I’m up against an Agate HMC80, IF Pelta, 2 CR90s, a GR75 and Tycho/Shara. It’s a matchup I know I can handle, so I’m thinking maybe I can make it out.

Robin makes me go first, and I see he has Abandoned Mining Facility and Ion Storm (I don’t remember the blue but it was bad). My reasoning was, Ion Storm will have him make a line of obstacles and go speed 2 to get to cover. I can catch him fast and hard to overwhelm a few of his ships quickly, it could work out okay. AMF would let him farm the points while I close in, I’m not a fan and don’t take it.

And that’s the second big mistake of the day! I hadn’t accounted for the fact he was going to farm points like crazy on my ships. Overall, the game worked out like I thought it would (Robin made an L with rocks rather than a line), but we traded more evenly than I hoped. 

I had to spend one more shot than I wanted into the Pelta, and the Agate HMC80 took quite a longer time to take out than I thought it would. All in all it added up and by the time Agate was gone, I had lost all 3 recusants. In the last round, it was his CR90 vs my Hardcell, with the GR75 and the squads still alive. My hardcall shot his last 3-dice shot (2 reds + CF) of the game against the damaged cr90… for 3 blanks ! And that was it, betrayed at the end by the fact I didn’t bring much dice mod. Ironic !

Robin had farmed 120pts off my recusants through the ion storm crit (which caused all sort of trouble by the way by making me lose nav and CF tokens), which means he took the victory 8-3, 442 to 283.

As he kindly explained to me after the game, I should definitely have taken AMF. That was a mind-blowing discussion for me and I’ll remember it as a proof of how much I still am very much a newbie at this game. I had pretty much instantly dismissed AMF due to his 5 ships being able to farm on it easily. But the truth is, at least on AMF, I could match some of his farming while my recusants closed in, while Ion Storm was letting him farm *me* and cause me all sorts of extra damage and token discards. It made so much sense, except I wasn’t able to see it at game start.

Robin was also very kind, just like all my previous opponent, but I want to specifically mention it here, because we were fighting for day 2 on a big win (he missed it by 1pt as a result on our game) and that game was one the smoothest, most sportsmanlike game I’ve ever played considering the stakes.


In the end, I finished 65th. Which, while a bit disappointing after a good start, was to be expected. I didn’t practice the fleet as much as I should have (for lack of time), and I learned that I still have so much more to learn still, especially about playing first, playing out a game in my head at objective selection and not making dumb mistakes as a result.

Worlds was still a great, great experience for me. Meeting everybody was a blast, finally putting faces on discord names, and seeing what top-level Armada looks like was very interesting to me. Of course, I’ve said it a few times already, but all my opponents were super nice, and I really enjoyed the tournament, despite the ladder crash.

Also we were 12 French players total over X-Wing and Armada this year, it was the first time so many of us could come, and we’re all very hyped for next time.

(I’m the second guy from the right)

For what it’s worth, Golven (second guy from the left) finished 29, only missing the cut by taking a 10-1 loss in round 4 against RealVeers, running possibly the worst matchup imaginable for our fleet. Matchup-dodging is a skill, as I said :D

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