Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Gilarius and THE Sector Fleet Game!

I'm currently in process of getting more of these together; I've got a write-up from James, the winner, who I appreciate and have in a longer format that I promise I am getting to but currently have a bit of editing to do, along with a few more.  However, today I have Gilarius from the UK.  As a man after my own heart running Leia, how could I NOT give him the floor? Hit the jump for the details!

I have been advised to tell you lot that it is in fact, coming home. Also, Richmond FC wooo.

Sector Fleet at the World Championships 2023

(With All The Nebulons.)

Yes, I own a Nebulon suitable for playing X-Wing with. And an Arquitens too.

Gilarius (aka Ian F aka ‘that Nebulon Guy’) here.

The Nebulon is a poor, maligned ship. It is neglected by almost all players, used only because of its titles 95% of the time – and fails to pull its weight in many of the games it is present for.

John wrote a fine article about it here. He illustrates nicely what it is good at and what it is bad at. Sadly for the Nebulon, its weaknesses far outweigh its strengths. Most of the time…

Why do I play Nebulons then? Well, there was one large reason: several years ago, when I first started playing Armada, I ended up buying some second hand lots of ships. After selling off a spare Victory or two, I found myself with 5 Nebulons. No-one wanted to buy any of these off me. I didn’t want to waste them completely, so I asked around for fleet ideas using at least three. Justin Read suggested what turned into my first tournament fleet:

5 Nebulons (the cheapass version, also called the ‘Support Frigate’. This is the one I use exclusively), each with Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (LTTs had not been released) and Auxiliary Shields Team (recently released); and Leia Commander on board a CR90a with Jaina’s Light title and TRC. This was the 38pt commander version. (I remember those days....)

I tested the fleet out and loved it immediately. The ISD was the then king of the hill and about 75% of fleets I was facing had one. 5 Nebulons annihilated an ISD. 2 turns to kill it, and generally no Nebulons would be dead in return, although two or three would be limping. SSDs also died easily. And any enemy large ship that was silly enough to park in my front arcs.

I took them to my very first Armada tournament: a Regional, being held in Stirling in Scotland. I won all 3 matches, finishing in 8th place. Not large wins, but far better than I expected.

Massed Nebulons worked very well! Or so I thought…

Over the next two years, I discovered that their weaknesses were quite hard to cover up: those narrow front arcs that allowed such easy double-arcs on enemy large ships also exposed their sides. Bomber squadrons killed them easily. Gladiators (well, Demolisher at least), and MC30s would avoid their fronts and kill them in their sides. CR90s could kite them and win the damage race easily. I tried several variations, but in the end I had to accept their fate: with practice, I could win 75% of my games – but rarely by enough points to place well at events.

But my mantra that if you had enough Nebulons you could kill anything and everything led me towards theorycrafting fleets for Sector Fleet games. Covid and lockdowns world-wide prevented me from testing them out – but then Phoerix on discord proposed an online 800pts tournament!

I played a test game. And, to my utter disappointment, I had to report to Phoerix that spamming lots and lots of small ships was not a good thing for his event. They made the games take too long for a world-wide event where random time-zones were already an issue, and the unfortunate victim of the Nebulons really didn’t enjoy being blown to smithereens.

Consequently, the event changed rules to promote large ships and restrict my beloved Nebulons. The ‘Monster Truck Rules’ are much fairer for larger points battles though and I recommend them highly – for every small base ship or flotilla you have, you must take one large ship or two medium ships.

Lockdown over, covid pandemic easing, playing in person resumed. AMG announced the World Championships to be held at Adepticon in 2023!

Right, I just need an invitation!

London got a World’s Open Qualifier. Only 21 players turned up. Ok, I have a chance! I went unbeaten on day 1 to get the invite, and then finished 3rd behind a certain James McCartney and Jacek from Poland on day 2.

And then it was announced that one of the side events at the World Championships would be 800pts Sector Fleet!
With no special fleet restrictions!
If I was ever going to get to use my ridiculous fleet with 13 Nebulons and a Pelta, this was it. Who cares about making day 3 anyway? I was going to play Sector Fleet and enjoy myself!

The Fleet
-13 Nebulons (Aux Shields Team apiece) - I did have to borrow 5 and their AST cards;
-1 Assault Pelta (Leia, Intensify Firepower!, Hondo officer).

794pts. I dithered about whether to add anything else to the Pelta, but couldn’t decide between Ex Racks, Phoenix Home to add Raymus and swap Hondo for Ahsoka, or Aux Shield Team. In the end I went with the 6pt bid to keep it simple.


The ships needed names. My normal Nebulon fleet was called ‘The Nebulons of Death’ because they either killed stuff or died miserably trying. And those names needed to have a theme – of dying miserably. Sean Bean provided many more names than I needed, so I could avoid the most famous ones, and the ‘NebuBeans of Death’ were born!

I had a wonderful time at the World Championships; my vague worry that I might do *too* well and have to play in the Top 8 cut was unfounded as I crashed out on day 1, so I could concentrate on my main event.

I met loads of people who were only distant voices across online games, or names on discord chat channels. Famous folks, like John and Eric who wrote this amazing resource for all new players and continue to support the game. Bloggers, podcasters, and just good folks who love Armada.

Who are all these people anyway?

James, looking suitably amazed.

Karneck, of course, and his judging team. Ion Radio. Grant. And three of my friends from the UK: Chris, Rhys, and the new World Champion – James McCartney.
Whilst the top 8 battled it out, I played two games with my NebuBeans.

Game One, vs Robin.

Robin had a fully-equipped Executor-II class SSD, two Interdictors, and two Gozantis.
I had the bid, chose first, and picked Robin’s Fleet Ambush.

Turn 1, deployment

This went well for both of us: the SSD could reliably one-shot Nebulons by getting triple accuracies and 8 (or more) damage per front arc shot; meanwhile the sheer weight of fire meant that his ships burned down pretty quickly!

33 damage cards needed!

I tabled him in exchange for 8 Nebulons. A good win, very enjoyable. One of the most fun games of Armada I’ve played…but, as it turned out, not *the* best game…

Game Two, vs Truthiness (aka Chris Fritz)

My first game against a ‘name’ from the various blogs and discord. Truthi had brought Bail Organa on a Venator 2; plus a pair of Venator 1s running fleet commands (AFFM and IF); and 3 Peltas, with bombing upgrades – BCC, and a pair of Fighter Coordination Teams, to help his EIGHT (yes, eight) ARC170s to kill my ships, plus Kickback, Axe, Ahsoka, and Splashakin.

Have I mentioned that Nebulons really, really dislike being bombed a lot? I wasn’t afraid of his ships…but those ARCs could wreck my fleet!

I again had the bid, went first, and picked Truthi’s Blockade Run. This may or may not have been the ‘best’ choice, but as soon as I saw it I asked Truthi if he wanted to play it. He said ‘Yes!’ so we played it.

Observe the greatest Blockade Run there has ever been in the entire history of Armada, possibly the greatest game of Armada ever. Just look at it. Isn’t it beautiful?

Deployment. A full blockade!

Yup, that’s a Gunline alright!

Turn 3, no deaths yet....

Turn 4 begins

We played to the end of turn 4, where we were told to stop and pack up as quickly as we could. No time left!

I’d lost 5 Nebulons; Truthi had lost two peltas and two Venators. An 8-3 to me, but he’d have clawed back more points if we’d played on. 3 more Nebulons were on fire and I’d struggle to kill any more of his ships – although I reckon my own pelta would have been able to block his last pelta from reaching the end-zone.

Are massed Nebulons the best possible Sector Fleet? Hell no! But they were the most fun it’s possible to have!

(Nick Litrenta won the event, with a pair of 10-1 wins. I finished in 4th place.)

Thanks Ian! 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 geek19@gmail.com!

No comments:

Post a Comment