Raiders vs Rieekan

Hot off the heels of the Phoenix Games store championship, the Hobby Kingdom store championship was this past weekend.

Our local Armada playgroup seems to have taken the success of the SMASH list to heart. The Raider seems to have affected the meta significantly, either:
a. try to beat it – utilizing Rieekan or heavy squadrons
b. join it – take Raiders (+OE, Expanded Launchers) and/or Demolisher (+Intel Office, OE, Expanded Launchers, Engine Techs)

Based on the 8 person attendance at this tournament, 2 had taken Rieekan, 2 had modified their Imperial lists to include the SMASH-Raider. I myself decided to try some Rogue squadrons and modified my list to include one solitary Firespray.

_squadron-firespray

The SMASH List (v2)

Gladiator I
– Demolisher
– Expanded Launchers
– Ordnance Experts
– Intel Officer
– Engine Techs

Raider I
– Admiral Screed
– Ordnance Experts
– APT

Raider I
– Expanded Launchers
– Ordnance Experts

Raider I
– Expanded Launchers
– Ordnance Experts

Raider I
– Expanded Launchers
– Ordnance Experts

1 x Firespray
1 x Tie Fighter

Instigator was removed as well seeing as it didn’t go much last tournament.

Game 1 – Ron

Ron was relatively new to Armada and was playing in his first tournament. Welcome to the scene!

Ron’s List:
AF2
2 x MC30
Dash
1 x YT-2400
1 x YT-1300
+ other misc squadrons

Objective: Intel Sweep

_Objective Navigation - intel-sweep

I chose Intel Sweep because his placement of tokens dictates where his ships will likely be and how he will deploy. This would allow me to best position my fleet to intercept. Ron placed three objective tokens close to his side, while I put two close to mine. I deployed the Raiders on the right in a wall close to my tokens to intercept his objective ship. Demolisher was deployed on the left flank. Ron deployed his objective ship (MC30) on the right, AF2 in the centre with the fighter ball, and the other MC30 on the left. However, he deployed his objective ship in a position that made it difficult to get all but one of the three tokens on his side. So I suspected that he would rush his objective ship (MC30) to try to nab the two tokens on my side. This I was ok with. Additionally, his AF2 was deployed aimed at my Raider line too, so I expected a rush of from his AF2, MC30 and fighter escort.

Turn one saw him rush the MC30 up to meet my right flank, just out of range of the Raiders. Next turn, he keep rushing, getting into close range where my Raiders finished off the MC30 before he could claim a second objective token. Demolisher jumped up the left flank and took out the other MC30. Ron kept his fighters near the AF2 carrier, which turned out good for me. The next turn, the Raiders and Demolisher surrounded the AF2 and finished it off.

Result: 9-1, 266 MOV
Losses: 1 Raider, 1 Tie Fighter
Raider Kills: 1 MC30
Demolisher Kills: 1 AF2, 1 MC30
Note: a “kill” is defined as doing 50% or more damage

Lessons Learned:
– speed 4 is fast, and if I don’t deploy correct, can cause a lot of issues

Game 2 – Mac

Mac was paying close attention to the Raider SMASH list and had build his list to be a hard counter. I had not played against Rieekan before and I was itching to see what this “hard counter” was all about.

Mac’s List
MC80 (Defiance) Rieekan
MC30 Torpedo (XI7, OE, APT)
2 x Neb-B (Projection Experts)
Corvette A

Objective: Minefields

_Objective Navigation - minefields

Mac deployed the obstacles and minefields in the most defensive formation I have ever seen. He basically walled off one 1 x 3 section of the map using the debris, asteroids, and mines. The space station was inside this wall. He deployed his entire fleet inside the wall. To get to him, I would be taking damage from the mines/obstacles – not a good proposition for 4-5 hull ships. I did consider just deploying on the opposite side of the map and just waiting out a 5-5 draw. If this was a regional, I would do just that. However I wanted to face a Rieekan list to understand what makes it tick. So I decided to attack.

The minefields did a number on my fleet – I ran over three mines, for a total of 2 crits and 4 hits to the Gladiator and 2 Raiders. His long rage red dice also made it difficult to close the gap. Mac’s Neb-B with Projection Experts reinforced the MC80s shields, which made it a very difficult target to take down. In the end, he took out all my Raiders, with only the squadrons and Demolisher remaining.

Result: 1-9, 265 MOV
Losses: 4 Raiders
Raider Kills: 1 MC30
Demolisher Kills: 1 Neb-B

Lessons Learned:
– mines hurt
– Demolisher overruns are severely limited by Rieekan
– High-risk, high-reward assaults are punished by Rieekan fleets
– the loss was well worth the intelligence I gathered

Rieekan bring two unique aspects to the game – ships don’t die until the end of turn:
1. Dead ships can fire back. This means that they can run up to the Raiders, take fatal fire from the Raiders and still fire back. Raiders rely on obliterating their targets before return fire, because the are the glassiest of glass cannons.
2. Dead ships block flight paths. I’m used to Demolisher running up to a ship, triple tapping (destroying the ship), then overrunning into the enemies rear. With Rieekan, that ship will still be there, meaning it will block my overrun. This will cause Demolisher unexpected damage due to the dead ship blocking my escape and the dead ship firing back. This is easily fixed by adjusting the angle of approach for Demolisher, but it does take away some double-arc options and limits the flanking overrun.

Game 3 – Shereef

Good old Shereef… He has learned a lot since his last tourney and was sporting a very familiar looking list.

Shereef’s List
ISD2 (Gunnery Team)
Gladiator (SMASH loadout)
Gladiator
Raider (SMASH loadout)

Objective: Opening Salvo

_Objective Assault - opening-salvo

I picked Opening Salvo because I figured, that with Activation Advantage, I could lure him to me and fire before he could. I guess I didn’t truly understand that I would only get 2 red dice and he would get 2 black.

So we lined up, face to face. He rushed at me like a bull, I had to drop to speed 0 to maintain distance. It all went to hell in turn two. His Demolisher jumped in an killed my flagship with a 2 red and 6 black dice attack. My Demolisher then killed his Demolisher (4 red dice, 4 black dice). Turn three, his remaining Gladiator took out a Raider, but was finished off by the other Raiders and the Firespray. My Demolisher was able to get his Raider. Turn four saw his ISD staring at my two remaining Raiders, with Demolisher in his flank. I activated one Raider, and merely dented the shields of the ISD. His ISD then killed both Raiders – Gunnery Team FTW. Demolisher then activated and put some damage on the ISD. We were down to two ships, but I had position and initiative, with Demolisher double-arcing the ISD. Next turn, I was able to kill his last ship.

It was a bloodbath.

Result: 8-2, 126 MOV
Losses: 4 Raiders
Raider Kills: 1 Raider, 1 Gladiator
Demolisher Kills: 1 ISD, 1 Gladiator

Lessons Learned:
– don’t pick opening salvo
– Firespray is beneficial for cleaning up ships that are left with one hull.

Overall, I think the tournament was a success: I learned what Rieekan was all about; I realized that the Firespray is worth taking; and I had some good games!

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