Saturday I had the honor and pleasure of facing "Ruckdog's" Terrans at Eagle and Empire Game & Hobby Shop. We each play-tested a 1000 point fleet using Adepticon Primer Mission 1, Defense Network! We’re both going to Adepticon, and wanted to get some practice in.
I decided to use the last list I posted last week, as my Dreadnought/Battleship Interceptor list had proven its worth on Wednesday. Granted, "Hive" decided to use his fiancé's Aquans, and probably made several tactical mistakes, as it was his first time playing with them, but I did learn the pleasure of rolling 10+ defensive dice.
Ruckdog decide to play the X list he posted on the Man Battlestations Forum here. If you have not listen to his Podcast, or visited his website, I suggest you do so. I am looking forward to hearing their first Firestorm Armada review, and I expect this game will be mentioned at some point.
After a fantastic Indian lunch buffet, and a leisurely table set up, we finally placed our forces:
With all those nukes, I chose to reserve both Frigate squadrons, and one Cruiser squadron. Ruckdog deployed his entire fleet, which I felt was a mistake, as Reserves are very useful and powerful in Firestorm Armada.
I won the initiative, and felt I needed to go first to activate my Interceptor defense... Otherwise, one of my Escorts would likely get nuked. Two activations later, I had 11 Interceptors on the table. These guys essentially won the game, consistently blocking all of his nuclear torpedoes. Here is the table after Turn one:
I think the end result was 1HP knocked off the Terran Battleship, and 1HP off a Dindrenzi Cruiser
Ruckdog played Intel Gathered, and easily won initiative. None of my Reserves wanted to show up (I didn't want them yet anyway). The Apollo plinked a Cruiser with the forward fixed nuclear guns; Torpedoes once again did nothing, so I took a small risk, and activated my Carrier, so I could set up two Tokens: one to guard the Cruisers through the next activation, and the other to guard them after they activated. I was plinked again by his Cruisers, but could now activate without fear of all the nuke torpedoes.
I don't recall exactly what happened, but here is the table at the end of Turn 2:
I've found that, in most of my games, Turn 3 is the crucial Turn. I think it's because this is when both sides tend to be in their optimum firing range, and a lot of dice are rolled on both sides. A lot of ships tend to be destroyed on Turn 3. I didn't expect my Cruisers to live through the Turn, with the entire Terran fleet bearing down on them, but if they could do some damage first, I figured I'd be ok.
I played Perfect Timing; Ruck played Drives to Max on his Battleship and Cruisers. I the won initiative, and all off my Reserves arrived via Flank Entry with no displacement. I placed my Cruisers directly behind my Carrier (with the intent to catch up to the PD bubble), and both Frigate Squadrons on the table centerline to my right. First activation was the Cruisers. I broke my habit and decided to focus on the Apollo, as I had already inflicted 3HP damage, and probably wouldn't have a better opportunity to shoot it. Landed a Crit, and -3CP. The Apollo activated next, and Nuked my Carrier despite the -4AD from Crew Loss, and also Critted my right Cruiser, cracking the Abaltive plating. Fortunately, both damaged Cruisers had swung far right, barely getting the Asteroid Field between me and the Destroyers.
I think I activated the Carrier next, to again place the damaged Cruisers under the interceptor screen, and even managed to plink his Carrier. His Cruiser then activated, and I think he largly ignored my Cruisers and went for my Carrier, landing another Crit on it. (I think Ruckdog decided he'd had enough of my PD screen.)
The second Cruiser squadron activated, landing a Crit on the Apollo with their Rail-cannons and taking the Shields Off-line, and destroyed the damaged Terran Cruiser with torpedoes. I don't recall Ruckdog's response (probably the Destroyers plinking the undamaged Cruiser, missing a Crit by one success again) but I activated a Frigate squadron, destroying the Apollo with a 12AD shot, as well as a Frigate at the far side of the table with Torpedoes. The Terran Carrier went next, but the Bombers were just shy of attack range, and it missed my -3 HP Cruiser.
With the Apollo dead, I decided the Carrier was the biggest threat, so I lined up my Battleship's Rail-cannon + both Escorts on it for 18AD. I just wanted to ensure I landed a Crit, as I had just shown an observer 14AD gave me a ~66% chance to Crit vs 2 Shields and a CR 8. (I have an AD vs Target quick reference chart I made). After I rolled the dice, and we were all looking at them in shock, the observer asked, "How many sixes did you roll?"
"All of them; I rolled all the sixes."
Only two dice missed, and at least half of the 16 hits were sixes. Once we resolved the exploding dice and Terran Shields, I had 25 successes: Triple Crit!!! This immediately destroyed the Carrier, as I had managed a point of damage with my Carrier earlier.
This effectively ended the game; the rest of the turn involved our Frigates exchanging fire. Here is the table at the end of Turn 3:
Battlelog: 13/-6 Dindrenzi
We played another turn, but with my fleet mostly intact, and his below half strength, it was very lopsided. My damaged Cruisers and Frigates destroyed his Destroyers. My Battleship and Cruisers destroyed his Cruisers, but they took out one Cruiser in the process (and again barely failed to plink). His Frigates continued to evade fire, and destroyed my damaged Frigate. End result:
Battlelog: 15/-10 Dindrenzi
First, let me remind you, Ruckdog hasn't played in about a year... More importantly, he has played a lot of Dystopian Wars, which sounds like a straight update to FSA 2.0 rules. He was constantly slightly off in his rule memory, which never benefitted him, and honestly, the Dystopian rules sounded better.
Second, his list contained an under-strength Destroyer Squadron. Taking anything besides a full-strength Squadron is basically shooting yourself in the foot and wasting points. I'm hoping to help him rebuild this list. The dual Battleship list looks more solid at a glance. One with the Admiral to tank shots, and the other to Shunt-in and destroy everything.
I've certainly learned the value of building a PD Mountain, particularly for Dindrenzi and their low DR. I usually get plinked by Torpedoes, but this game, only Direct Weapons did any damage to me, and I rarely suffered a Crit. I can see why many advocate for bringing several Interceptor Tokens, and I am now strongly of the opinion that SRS in general, and Interceptors specifically, are too good at stopping Torpedoes and Boarding Assaults.
I was also very lucky, and not just with my attack dice. I did something foolish when facing Terrans, and had my models clustered together in the PD Bubbles. There were several times where a lucky Ruckdog Roll would have Nuked me, potentially splashing Tokens and Models... But this never happened. I also didn't comprehend Terrans had so many Nuclear Weapons; I thought it was only Nuclear Torpedoes.
Finally, like Sorylians, there is never a reason to start Cruisers and Frigates on the table. I probably would have been better off using those 180 points of Cruisers to give the RSN Carrier 2x Spook Cruisers for 140, and 40 points of Tier 1 Upgrades. I’ll try that next time, if I use the same basic list.
I’m just starting to learn how to use the RSN Spook Cruisers. The Fore Spook Torpedoes are ok, but the 8AD Beams at RB 1-2 is where they really shine. I think if the Carrier is going to start on the table like this, it probably needs that overpriced +1 Shield, and maybe just 8 wings and Quick Launch. A full Bomber Token Turn 1, and a two Interceptor Token Turn 2 should work pretty well as they advance down the table. Assuming I don’t get plinked before launching, that’s 16 dice vs. Torpedoes for the Carrier.
Maybe I can share some lessons learned after my next game, but I think BigBen and I are going to try my concept for a 600 point Tournament with some list restrictions.
Started playing Firestorm Armada December 2014