Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Armada: The Empire Strikes Back

Chimaera was an ISD-II under the command of Grand Admiral Thrawn.

This is one of the Regionals lists that I've been pondering about over the last few weeks.  No joke, I'm very close to having a change of heart and possibly switching over to Imperials for the next couple of months.  The reason is actually quite simple for me:  There is a lot of people running squadrons in my area, a lot of people are running Rebels, and Imperials seem under-presented and thought of as weaker in most cases.

Having watched Rogue One a few times already and loving the hell out of it, I figure I'd bring back one of the most iconic ships of all time and use it as a mainstay in my list.  Yes, I'm talking about the Imperial Star Destroyer.  Although, I will be using the ISD-II in my list and not the I for reasons I'll mention later.

Without further ado, the list:

Author: HERO

Faction: Galactic Empire
Points: 385/400
Commander: Admiral Motti
Activations: 3
Drops: 6

Assault Objective: Most Wanted
Defense Objective: Contested Outpost
Navigation Objective: Minefields

[ flagship ] Imperial II-Class Star Destroyer (120 points)
-  Admiral Motti ( 24 points) 
-  Avenger ( 5 points) 
-  Agent Kallus ( 3 points) 
-  Gunnery Team ( 7 points) 
-  Electronic Countermeasures ( 7 points) 
-  XI7 Turbolasers ( 6 points) 
-  Leading Shots ( 4 points) 
= 176 total ship cost

Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer (56 points)
-  Demolisher ( 10 points) 
-  Skilled First Officer ( 1 points) 
-  Ordnance Experts ( 4 points) 
-  Engine Techs ( 8 points) 
-  Assault Proton Torpedoes ( 5 points) 
= 84 total ship cost

Gozanti-class Cruiser (23 points)
-  Suppressor ( 4 points) 
-  Comms Net ( 2 points) 
= 29 total ship cost

1 Darth Vader ( 21 points) 
1 Dengar ( 20 points) 
1 "Howlrunner" ( 16 points) 
1 "Mauler" Mithel ( 15 points) 
3 TIE Fighter Squadrons ( 24 points) 

I'm going to break this list down, piece by piece before we bring it back together for the bigger picture.

First, let's examine the ISD-II and why I think this is one of the strongest ships in the current meta:
  • For one, the weapon armament that it has stock is very good vs. the flotilla-saturated meta:  Having 4 innate blues gives you a very high chance to roll accuracies and stopping a Scatter from happening.  All you need is 4 damage to kill in most cases, 5 vs. Bright Hope and most of the time, the ISD-II will have no problem one-shotting the floaters.
  • Second, the ship has 2 blue anti-squadron dice that it can throw out in combination with Gunnery Teams.  This allows you to either engage either two different ships (possibly wiping out two flotillas), or allowing you to focus on one ship while bringing Imperial justice on all the squadrons in front of you.  There are not many ships in the game that can reliably throw out huge damage on ships and deliver two dice blues worth of AA from a large area.  This simply does not exist in the game and having this ability is a huge boon.
  • Third, Imperials have access to Agent Kallus, which is one of the most cost-effective Officer upgrades in the game.  The ability to throw out an extra dice of any color as soon as you're able to engage in AA as long as you're shooting a named pilot is amazing.  Just think about how many big names are in the meta:  Biggs, Ketsu, Jan, Tycho, Dengar, Rhymer, Norra, the list goes on and on.  Throwing out a black and 2 blues is no joke when you're shooting from blue range.  AA gets around the likes of Escort and being able to spray down an entire Biggsball will be huge in the upcoming meta.
  • Forth, the ship's upgrade slots gives you some of the best titles and upgrades in the game.  Look at Leading Shots for example:  If the only thing you see with Leading Shots is the ability to allow your ship to re-roll a bunch of ISD-II frontal firepower, you're not seeing the big picture here.  You can also Leading Shots your way with Kallus onto named fighters to re-roll a bunch of whiffs.  Let's say you roll 2 blues and a black on Biggs and whiff with all 3.  You Leading Shots a blue to re-roll 2 dice and you might turn that into raw damage.  The same can be said about fishing out killing blows on squadrons with scatter.  Throw out 3 blues and fish for that accuracy if all you need left is to push 1 damage.
  • Fifth, look at Avenger.  If the only thing you can think of when reading this is your ability to push after your Demolisher hits or when Suppressor triggers, then you're sorely mistaken.  Avenger's effect also works on shooting with AA onto squadrons that have exhausted their tokens.  You send in your squadrons, do big damage, force a few Braces and Scatters, and then you spray the lot with Kallus-driven AA.  Now you can't Brace or Scatter on those units and you're just taking straight damage while the ISD-II tears through ships and squadrons at will.
  • Sixth, you put all this above into one ship and you have one of the best ships in the game vs. the current meta.  The way I currently have it configured is big, mean, and heavily loaded to take on squadrons and ships via XI7s.  This is the biggest difference that the ISD-II has over the ISD-I, and that's the ability to take Gunnery Teams and Kallus with 4 blues vs. ships and 2 blues vs. squadrons.  In a meta like this one, you want blues and you want flak.  No other ship in the game can do that; which makes the ISD-II very unique and powerful in the meta.

Now that the mainstay ship of the list has been presented, let's add the rest.  The Demolisher shouldn't really need an introduction:  It's still one of the best ships in the game, being able to deal insane amounts of damage to any ship in the game, despite suffering a bit from being scattered to death by flotillas and man-handled by Slicer Tools.  Regardless, it's still a very credible threat and being able to out-run and threaten MC30cs from a good distance puts in up there overall.  The biggest play from Demolisher is being able to deliver the good ol' triple-tap, forcing a Brace and then Avenger will finish the rest.  I don't think there's a single ship in the game that can take firepower of that magnitude.

Next on the list is Suppressor.  This little guy is amazing in the current meta.  Again, it's the smaller things in Armada that really makes so enjoyable for me as a player.  Suppressor is incredibly strong right now because of its innate ability to hurr hurr, suppress infuriating defense tokens from everything around it; namely Scatter and Brace.  Even if it parks its ass behind the ISD-II and blows itself up after ramming into its ass, I'll be fine with it as long as it shuts down all the defense tokens that I care about and letting Avenger tear them a new asshole.  Not that it really matters because once Avenger enters kill range of flotillas (and it will, because most people forget the ISDs are actually fast), 4 blues on natural attack will most certainty do work.  Activation advantage is only temporary if you're able to reliably kill multiple ships a turn.  The Comms Net is only there to feed my ISD with setup tokens, but it's the title that really matters and the reason for bringing him.

Lastly, we take a brief look at the squadron selection since it's pretty straight forward.  You have Vader who does the best squadron damage in the game and has Escort.  Escort pulls the aggro off of Howl, which means the rest of the TIE Fighters keep hitting hard.  The reason why I need them to hit hard is because of the one-two punch with big squadron dice, followed by Avenger AA.  This combination is seriously deadly and it cannot be underappreciated.  Dengar is there to provide a little wiggle room and more Mithel play, since Mithel's job is to get around damage distributors like Biggs and Gallant Haven by doing indirect damage.  The Counter + Howl + Swarm also makes attacking into the TIEball a bad trade.  The weakness to taking TIEs however, is their serious vulnerability to enemy AA as well.  Thankfully, their damage potential is high enough that they cannot be ignored and must be dealt with.

The biggest weakness I see in this list is the drops and activations not being up to par with today's "standards".  I see a lot of 4 activation, 8 drop lists out there so deployment will be a bit trickier than most.  At 385, it's not the best initiative bid although it is pretty decent.  Activation wise, it's good at 3, but it can surely do better if I had more.  However, this means that MSU ships that do high damage with higher activation than me will give me the biggest problems.  The reason for that is because squadrons are built for anti-squadron, I'm flying around in a huge target, and getting DP'd by two shrimps from both sides is not the way I want to go.  This is a bad matchup I'm willing to take considering that the list will be really strong against the more squadron-heavy lists that rely on squadrons to do damage, and the faster initiative with two anti-ship capitals will give me the upper hand in exchanges where they only have 1 heavy hitter/flanker like the MC30c.  The only thing I'm worried about is the Admonition at this point.

Alright, well there you have it.  I'm working on another variation of this list that subs out a few squadrons for a Raider-I, but I will need a few more games with this list before I commit.  Besides, I have another Ackbar list in the works and it's going to be a difficult choice for which one I'm going to bring to Regionals.

No comments:

Post a Comment