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Monday, April 23, 2018

Take me to Worlds, A Raddus Fleet

Kylo Ren's sister, Alexis Ren

Bad news: I'm not going to Worlds (can't afford to, simple as that).

Good news: Who the winner will be is no longer a forgone conclusion!

Since I'm not going, I'm free to discuss what lists I might have taken. This Raddus list (which I know is already being netlisted - a high honor indeed) is one list I might have taken.

Looks like most players are expecting a strong Raddus showing at Worlds. I agree with this assessment. Raddus a strong commander, and still new enough that not everyone has their counter-play down.

He's almost like another fish-face admiral: took a while to figure out the counters to masses of red dice being thrown downrange.

So I think that gives Raddus (if you can use him properly that is) an interesting advantage. Not necessarily against every single player, but enoguh that you might score a few points extra during Swiss. Or even get one or more very helpful 10-1s...

On to the actual list:

A while back a wrote about my Regionals-winning Raddus fleet. It was a lot of fun to play, and despite having been thrown together with only minimal playtesting it worked quite well. I would not say surprisingly well, because I was quite sure it had all the bits and pieces needed to perform well. But as always in Armada it helps a LOT to have actually practiced...

Anyway, based on previous playtesting and my Regionals matches, I hade some tweaks to the list. DCO had worked OK, but in general I think Lando would be a stronger option.I also got rid of the Comms Net - it simply wasn't doing much work. Together with the leftover 1 pt bid, I could now afford Endeavor. In every game the BC had proven highly vulnerable to crits (no surprise there), and only luck (and well-timed repairs) had kept it from being blown up/crippled.

Not sure it makes the list much better, because there are definitely matchups where I'd be temped to go back to the original version... but that's always the case with Armada. But based on my limited playtesting v2 should be just a tab bit more versatile.

Name: Raddus Bail BC+OC v2
Faction: Rebel
Commander: Admiral Raddus

Assault: Most Wanted
Defense: Planetary Ion Cannon
Navigation: Intel Sweep

MC80 Battle Cruiser (103)
• Admiral Raddus (26)
• Bail Organa (7)
• Gunnery Team (7)
• Engine Techs (8)
• Leading Shots (4)
• Quad Battery Turrets (5)
• XI7 Turbolasers (6)
• Endeavor (4)
= 170 Points

MC75 Ordnance Cruiser (100)
• Lando Carissian (4)
• Ordnance Experts (4)
• Electronic Countermeasures (7)
• External Racks (3)
• Assault Proton Torpedoes (5)
• Aspiration (3)
= 126 Points

GR-75 Medium Transports (18)
• Bright Hope (2)
= 20 Points

GR-75 Medium Transports (18)
• Hondo Ohnaka (2)
• Quantum Storm (1)
= 21 Points

Squadrons:
• Shara Bey (17)
• Tycho Celchu (16)
• 2 x VCX-100 Freighter (30)
= 63 Points

Total Points: 400

So far, so good. Then along came the new FAQ...and it does affect the list. Some. Not a lot, but enough to require either adjustments to the list or adjustment to how it's played. The change to Relay means your flotillas can't stay on the flanks AND be effective squadron pushers. Not a crippling flaw, but it needs thinking about.

But before we get to looking at adjustments to the list: the FAQ makes the list stronger, not weaker. It makes it more difficult to relay-spam with flotillas, which is good for this list. The flotilla hard cap also weakens some of the popular squad-heavy archetypes (but do expect them to adjust and overcome). You're also well equipped to kill all of your opponent's combat ships if he's running only a couple of those. This can now give you a tabling, now that flotillas don't prevent this.

The list is also doesn't give away points easily (important in tournament play): the flotillas and squads are just over 100 points, so as long as no large ship dies you can't do worse than 7-4 (not accounting for objectives). That's not going to happen, so even of you lose you should lose small. Only the Liberty is worth a pretty penny (170 points), but it's also uniquely well equipped to disengage and run late game.

On to the adjustments:

It's tempting to just ditch the current squads and go all Rogue. Then you don't need to command squads at all, which is obviously an advantage. If you do this there are two options: pure YT-2400 (requires you to ditch something, such a Endeavor) or 3xYT + Rogue (1 pt left over).

Squadrons:
• 4x YT-2400 (64)
= 64 Points

or

• 3x YT-2400 (48)
• Rogue Squadron (14)
= 62 Points

The main issue here is the loss of Strategic. The VCXs are there primarily for the Strategic keyword: Intel Sweep and Ion Cannon just won't work without Strategic, so you'd have to come up with less powerful objectives. Also, Rogues is nice, but they lack the staying power and annoyance factor of Tycho/Shara.

Actually, if you go by this Rogue route, I'd actually recommend dropping the Liberty title, and taking 3xYT + Jan Ors. She can free up the YTs to shoot where it hurts the most, and 6 hull with 2 braces is STRONG. Sure, Jan becomes a target, but she's staying a bit further back, and has Counter 2 - and 2 braces. So either way you win.

• 3x YT-2400 (48)
• Jan Ors (19)
= 67 Points

Another option is to mix and match. Take Tycho (for his ability to scatter and move when engaged), only one VCX and 2 YTs. Only 1 source of strategic isn't as good as 2, but it let's you manipulate Intel Sweep sufficiently if you're clever. Probably Ion Cannon too. It's a viable combination I think, but I haven't tested it yet, so not 100% sure.

Squadrons:
• Tycho Celchu (16)
• VCX-100 Freighter (15)
• 2 x YT-2400 (32)
= 63 Points

The final option is to...keep as is. Sure, relay has a range-nerf, but you can keep Bright Hope close to the squads and just accept that you won't always be able to command all your squads. The VCXs are typically fine with going in the squad phase, and once the A-wing aces are engaged, they've done their job. Sure, being able to command them makes them a bit better, can let them shoot before dying, for example, or shoot and get away, or whatever.

But compared to many other lists the drop in efficiency really is minuscule: you squads are there for the drops, for strategic, and for dying as slowly as possible. Back in the day we did this with just Tycho and 3 A-wings. The kids these days are spoiled rotten: Tycho, Shara, and 8-hull generics...

So those are your options in terms of squadron adjustments. I can't say which is better, because that will depend on A) how you play and B) what you meet. All are viable options, although dropping 1 or both VCXs will have more far-reaching consequences (in terms of objectives).

Other things that can be tweaked without making this an entirely different list:

  • Endeavor is nice, but optional
  • Bright Hope can take Comms Net, if desired
  • DCO (instead of Lando) is an OK choice on the MC75, but very matchup dependent
  • APT can be turned into ACM, but I still think APT is the better (and cheaper) choice
  • Hondo isn't 100% essential, but he's SUPER useful for giving out a token to the Lib and Aspiration on that key round
  • Some people might prefer Spinals over QBT, but I would contend the Liberty is uniquely suited to use QBT bc of Engine Techs.
  • Aspriation is situationally VERY good, especially with DCO/Lando, but there will matchups where it's completely irrelevant
  • EWS can be btter than ECM in some scenarios, but most of the time ECM is the stronger option.
  • Intel Officer over Bail IS a possibility. But IMO you miss out on possibly the best officer in the game ATM (if used correctly). He works so well with the MC75 Raddus drop and the great speed options on the MC80.
  • Strat Adv over Bail. Sure, it's possible. but but you're now moved into the realm of mediocre lists, where you have failed to grasp the core concepts of what you're trying to replicate...
If you think this looks like a good list: feel free to bring it to Worlds (or any other tourney). Preferably to win, but top 4 is also acceptable :-P