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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Rookie's Regional Experience

In the past couple of weeks I've written not one, but two articles on my preparations for the Star Wars Armada Regional Tournament in Selden, NY. This past weekend was the main event, where all of my preparations would be put to the test.

First of all, the staff at Brothers Grimm Games and Hobbies did a great job, especially considering they were at the shop until the wee hours of the morning for the previous day's X-Wing regional! Second, in the days leading up to the tournament there was concern about turnout, since the event was being held on a Sunday and was the day after another regional tournament. Luckily we had a solid showing of 16 come down to roll some dice, more than I was expecting.

My final list:

MC30 Scout Frigate - Admonition, APT's, Ordnance Experts
MC30 Scout Frigate - Foresight, APT's, Ordnance Experts
MC30 Scout Frigate - Lando, APT's, Ordnance Experts
CR90 - TRC's, Mon Mothma (MM)
3 A-Wings

384 Points
Objectives: Hyperspace Assault, Dangerous Territory, Most Wanted

Guess which ship is Lando's?

My first game was against... Matt? I'm terrible with names. Anyway, he was running an Ackbar list with an MC80 and two Assault Frigates. I made a mistake that I would eventually repeat by picking the wrong objective. In this instance, I should have chosen to pick Superior Positions, and instead I picked Advanced Gunnery... against Ackbar...

Mid-way through the game I made a movement error with MM's CR90 that would've led to her being destroyed by the MC80. I moved Lando's MC30 into position to obstruct the CR90 and make the ultimate sacrifice. Except, thanks to Lando's re-rolls and some poor dice on my opponent's part, that MC30 survived, and next turn Ackbar's MC80 was going to face the firepower of 2-3 MC30's.

Even then, the MC80 might have limped on, except one of my APT's flipped the damage card that reduces a ship's speed by 1, which dropped his to 0, leaving his defense tokens useless. After killing the MC80 I just ran like hell with my surviving ships (one MC30 fell to a guppy and the MC80). When the points were totaled I'd earned an 8-2 win.

Apologies on the blurry pic, but you can see my sharks (yes, they're sharks now) attacking his whale

So right away I accomplished my goal of winning a game. Now it was onto game two against Joshua to see if I could build on this success. Joshua was running a super-technical Riekken list with an Assault Frigate, two tricked-out Neb-B's, a CR90 with all the trimmings, and several unique squadrons. His list had a ton of synergy and is definitely something I'd want to try in the future. Once again, I chose the wrong objective (Contested Outpost) and should have chosen Precision Strike which would have played perfectly with all of my APT's.

One benefit to choosing Contested Outpost was that it did force him to concentrate his ships, which ended up giving my MC30's excellent shots. My ships took some damage during the fight, and I lost Lando's MC30 at the very end (his re-rolls were clutch earlier in the game), but 3 turns of MC30's double-arcing his ships left his fleet in tatters. In the end I tabled him, with a margin of victory that earned me a 10-0 win.

A shot of the winner's fleet in action, the only ship that isn't Paul's is Demo at the bottom

Now I was riding high, but the pressure was on! A player named Paul was cruising his way to the eventual win, so I had no delusions of winning the tournament, but I wanted to make sure that I got as much prize support loot as possible. Game 3 would be against John's Raider swarm led by Screed, with Demolisher thrown-in for good measure. This time I had no say in choosing objectives, as he came in with the ultra-low 380-point list. He chose Dangerous Territory, which I had never played before.

My fleet was not getting off to a good start in this game, and it became clear that Demo was going to run roughshod over my ships if I actually stuck around for the fight. I therefore made the decision to try and run the gauntlet through his Raiders, taking as many of them with me as I could, and then bravely running away.

The plan worked... sort of... Ultimately there's only so much a 4-hull point ship can withstand versus Demolisher, but I got my licks in and even destroyed Demo thanks to good placement of my A-Wings (one MC30 did a ton of damage to Demo, then Demo was forced to move either into an asteroid field or into my swarm of A-Wings). I lost two MC30's, but my opponent lost Demolisher and a Raider, plus I edged him on objectives, When the points were totaled we each had scored 235 points, leaving it as a 5-5 draw!

When the points were totaled and tiebreakers were applied, I ended the day with 22 points and a 3rd place finish! I was astounded that I placed so highly after only playing the game for a couple of months. I think that my preparation techniques were key to my success, but I encourage anyone looking to improve their tournament experience to just find what works for them. And, at the end of the day, I had a ton of fun pushing around little plastic ships and quoting Star Wars.

The medallion might be made of dark matter from a black hole, that's how heavy it is


1. I really wish I had gone with Rieeken instead of Mon Mothma. I was anticipating more Rhymerballs, and was informed that MM was better for dealing with them. Ultimately, I think Rieeken gives more tactical options than MM does.

A Rieeken list that I'm happy I did not have to fight

2. Study the objectives - This is what I'll be focusing on for a while. I really need to dissect each objective and get into the details. My first and second games might have been better if I'd chosen correctly (I did win both games but I still could have played better) and my third game could have been different if I'd forced my opponent to place asteroid fields for his objectives instead of debris fields.

3. Lando - Look, I'm a newer player, so I will sometimes fly my ships into places that get them into trouble, and once I get better at the game I won't be making as many mistakes. However, in this tournament Lando's card text may as well have read "Once per game, save a ship that should otherwise have been obliterated."

4. I hate being the second player. Granted, some fleets can be designed to benefit from being second player, but I feel that I will always prefer to be first player, if possible.

5. The Armada community is filled with a super group of players, and I'm grateful that I got into this game.

I hope you enjoyed reading these articles, and I hope that it gives newer players some encouragement when deciding whether or not to participate in tournaments. As always, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter @ParkerInce or on Instagram here.

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