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Monday, February 22, 2016

Star Wars Armada - Tower of Games Store Championship Battle Report (Feb 20, 2016)

With the Store Championship season in full effect, I've been spoiled for choice for tournament attendance! Over the weekend, I made the quick drive to Tower of Games in Virginia Beach with my carpool buddy Sean S. from the RVA Armada crew. I hadn't fully decided on a list, but had something in mind. In talking it through in the car, I settled on a list I had previously run on Twitch. Sean had already won a store championship, and so decided to do something off the beaten path. He settled on a 4 Neb list with a swarm of B-Wings! More on that later. Anyhow, on to my list:

110- Imperial I Class Star Destroyer
024 Admiral Motti
004 Leading Shots
006 XI7 Turbolasers

120- Imperial II Class Star Destroyer
004 Leading Shots
006 XI7 Turbolasers
007 Gunnery Team

056- Gladiator I Class Star Destroyer
010 "Demolisher"
004 Ordnance Experts
008 Engine Techs

032- 4x TIE Fighters

TOTAL: 391
Advanced Gunnery
Fleet Ambush
Intel Sweep

The plan was simple. I wanted to try and go first. Motti's ISD would be the anvil. The ISD II would be the hammer. And to borrow an awesome analogy from Judson, the Gladiator would be the dagger behind the shield. I normally run Demolisher aggressively, but this time I would hold him back and be a finisher. The TIEs would do their job- die for the cause.

GAME ONE: Fleet Ambush as Player Two vs A.J.
My first game was against A.J. who was running Ackbar and 3 Assault Frigates. He had a 391 bid as well, so we diced to see who chose initiative. He won the dice roll and elected to go first. He chose Fleet Ambush.

His list had 3 Space Whales all with Gunnery Teams, XI7s, and ECMs. He also had Wedge, Jan, and 3 more X-Wings. 

His Assault Frigates were all speed 3, so I knew my chances of blocking him with my ISD I (on the right) were slim. With my ships so tightly packed I was also taking a huge chance vs his gunnery teams.

In the end. my ISD I got between his lead and 2nd frigate, and concentrated fire brought down the middle guppy. My TIEs went down hard, but his X-Wings were out of command range now, and I took every opportunity to fire AA and wiped them all out. Both Ackbar and the lead AF escaped damage, and my ISDs blew past them to make a break for open space. Demolisher was hurting, but not nearly as bad as Motti: He had zero shields and 13 damage! One more hit would've knocked him out and swung the game to a 5-5. In the end, however, with one AF down as well as his fighters, I won a narrow 7-3. A.J. was awesome to play against, and I hope he makes his way to future tournaments in RVA!

GAME TWO: Player One in Hyperspace Assault vs Scott
My next game was against Scott, who was running an Ozzel-led Rhymer ball. Scott was a ton of fun to play, and had one of the coolest tattoos I've ever seen. Scott had an ISD II with all the fixings (except, mercillessly- no Gunnery Team): ECM, Boosted Comms, XI7, Admiral Chireneau, Leading Shots, and probably some more. He also had 2 Gladiator Is, both with Assault Concussion Missiles and Ordnance Experts. Since he didn't have Demolisher, I wasn't too worried about the hyperspace assault, but I knew it was a bit of a gamble. His Rhymer ball was Rhymer, 3 bombers, and 4 Interceptors.

I knew this was going to be a slugfest. I figured I'd lose one of my ISDs, but hoped I could burn down the rest of his fleet. We unceremoniously raced towards each other, guns blazing. My ISD II (on the right) got Chinese finger-trapped between his two Gladiators, and the ACMs did work. The II went down, but not before taking down one of his Glads and putting a hurt on is ISD. My TIEs again died to a man, but they put a hurt on the Interceptors. My AA knocked out the rest of the Interceptors and put a hurt on his bombers. But Demolisher and Motti finished off his ISD, and were able to swing around and finish his last Gladiator. With all of his ships gone, and my ISD II down, which wound up giving me a 9-2.

And then it happened. Sean, with his crazy Nebulon list, was crushing it. He went into the last round with 19 points, and I had to face his crazy Neb B and B-Wing force! It was gonna hurt.

GAME THREE: Player One in Fleet Ambush vs Sean
Sean had 4 Nebs with these flavors: Support + Salvation + TRC. Escort + Yavaris + Raymus + TRC. Escort + Adar Tallon + TRC. Escort + Garm Bel Iblis + TRC. He had 6 B-Wings and a HWK-290.

I figured if I split my ISDs to the edges of the ambush zone, Sean would either load up on one or split his forces. In either case, Demolisher was in the back middle so it could react to either situation. Sean elected to load up on the ISD II, making it the anvil while Motti in the I was the hammer. Motti's dials were nothing but navigates to rush in and make it happen. To mitigate the B-Wings, the plan was to send the TIEs in to die, but hopefully hold up his B-Wings for a turn. To do that, I knew they had to kill his HWK-290, even risking the counter 2. 
The plan worked pretty well. The TIEs all died on the bottom of turn one, but they kept the B-Wings mostly at bay. The ISD II greedily took side shots on the top of 2, and (with some softening up from turn one) knocked out Garm and Adar Tallon's ship. By the bottom of two, the ISD II was dead, but Demolisher had Yavaris double arc'd. On the top of 3, Demolisher finished Yavaris, and Motti was giving chase to Salvation. On the top of 4, Motti had a blue-range side shot on Salvation, who was already hurting, and wiped him out. Wow! What a game! I had the same score as my previous game, having lost all of my TIEs and the ISD II. The final result was a 9-1.

With 25 points total, I secured the top spot. Second place was Steve W who was running an MC80 with Dodonna, 2 MC30s, and a smattering of fighters. It looked like a really fun list! Sean, with his early gains, was able to stay in the top 3 as well, having 3rd place by a large margin.

The tournament had a great turnout, so the prizes were fantastic. The store offered up additional giftcards, and some more stuff from a winter kit they had left over.
Sean on the left. Steve W on the right.

List Analysis: 
This was a fun list to run. I really really wanted to work in Tarkin, but I wasn't sure what I was willing to drop. The strategy worked well, and felt delightfully Imperial to boot. Would I have preferred to ISD IIs? Yes, but the I did its job by holding on for dear life and dealing death to its target while the II offered flanking fire. The TIEs sacrificed themselves every single game, but never was their loss in vain. They always allowed me to "trade up", or keep my ships alive for a turn longer- well worth it.

In all, this was a well run and fun tournament. The game store itself was fantastic, and I definitely hope to return in the future!

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