This past Sunday I was lucky enough to play in the 2015 Canadian Nationals for Star Wars: Armada taking place at Fan Expo in Toronto. My main event was the Warhammer 40,000: Conquest LCG nationals that took place on Friday, where I made top 8 but was bounced in the first elimination round. I haven’t played as much Armada, so I had more modest ambitions for that event.
I brought a fleet list very similar to one I played in a tournament a few weeks before, but I traded in a number of superfluous upgrades to add Luke and one additional X-Wing. Since that was the primary tweak, I called the list:
Use the Force, Luke (295 pts)
- Assault Frigate Mark II B – General Dodonna, Adar Tallon (102)
- CR90 Corellian Corvette B – Jaina’s Light, Leia Organa (44)
- Nebulon-B Support Refit – Salvation, Intel Officer (65)
- Nebulon-B Support Refit (51)
- Luke Skywalker X-wing Squadron (20)
- X-wing Squadron (13)
- Objectives: Advanced Gunnery – Hyperspace Assault – Dangerous Territory
Beyond getting the two nebs into a suitable firing position as quickly as possible and then slowing them down, I didn’t have any set strategies in mind going in. Also, I’m probably going to get some of the details wrong in my report as I was expecting a middle of the pack finish at best.
We started with 11 players, predominantly Rebel admirals. There were only two Imperials in the field, though one Rebel player was wearing an Imperial uniform. Unfortunately one of the players had to drop after the first round to deal with a sick relative, but at least that meant there were no more byes for the rest of the day.
Round 1: Carlo
Fleet (294 pts):
- CR90 Corellian Corvette B – Mon Mothma (69)
- CR90 Corellian Corvette B – Adar Tallon (49)
- 4x CR90 Corellian Corvette B (4x 39)
- Luke Skywalker X-wing Squadron (20)
I was a bit nervous going into the day and made my first mistake when I thought I would get to choose his ship for Most Wanted, like Advanced Gunnery.
In the end, he ended up deploying his ‘vettes in two groups of three about 3’ apart, one group with Mothma and one with Adar + Luke. I had deployed closer to the group that contained Adar, so I thought I would just try to engage at speed and take out as many of his ships as I could before he could bring his other force to bear. He made my assault frigate the most wanted target and decided on his corvette with Mothma as the objective ship on his side.
As things started to develop, my nebs and ‘vette approached his group of 3 and my assault frigate swung a little wider to serve as a buffer for the 2 ‘vettes swinging in from the side. He started flying his flagship along his edge of the map to keep her out of the action.
I saw an opportunity to push the assault frigate and my two squadrons towards Mon Mothma in the backlines while my other three ships were trading fire with his three corvettes. Luke was doing a bit of work for him, but Salvation and the vanilla nebulon-b gave me the edge in damage.
I can’t remember too many of the specifics, but my assault frigate and squadrons were easily able to destroy Mon Mothma’s flagship and the rest of my fleet came out ahead in the engagement with the 3 corvettes. His other 2 corvettes just took too long to get across the map and we ended up going to time before they were able to engage fully. Dodonna did not proc once for me in the entire match for me, but I was still able to pull off a convincing win.
I don’t remember the specific breakdown, but I ended up with a 9-1 win and a 218 margin.
WIN 9-1 (218)
Round 2: Phil
Phil was a player from Montreal who completely trounced his opponent in the first round, scoring a full 10-point victory with a margin of 445 points.
Fleet (296 pts):
- Assault Frigate Mark II A – Garm Bel Iblis, Intel Officer, Gunnery Team, Advanced Projectors, Enhanced Armament (136)
- Assault Frigate Mark II B – Raymus Antilles, Advanced Projectors, Enhanced Armament, Paragon (100)
- CR90 Corellian Corvette B – Leia Organa, Jaina’s Light (44)
- Tycho Celchu A-wing Squadron (16)
That’s why I had Jaina’s Light, so I figured I could just split on the objectives while setting up to focus fire with the rest of my ships on one of the objective tokens that he would try to claim.
The game unfolded as expected and we quickly split the objectives. I was able to bring the firepower from the two nebulons to bear on one of his assault frigates. I took a pummelling from the assault frigates, but was able to wear them down. A key play was waiting for him to activate his assault frigate which bumped Luke out of engagement with Tycho so that I could start using him in conjunction with Adar to start piling some direct damage and crits on.
All the ships end up getting tangled in place in the middle of the map, which meant it was a pure war of attrition in which I was able to come out ahead, killing all of his ships.
WIN 9-1 (192 margin)
With this win I was in the lead in the tournament, ahead of two players at 16 and the next at 11. It looked good for top 4, but I wasn’t sure how I’d fare against a player with two wins under his belt. I was debating whether I should just play cautiously to avoid getting blown out, but that idea went out the window as soon as we started deploying.
Round 3: Don
Fleet (299 pts):
- Assault Frigate Mark II B – General Dodonna, Veteran Captain (95)
- 4x Nebulon-B Support Refit (4x 51)
I felt like my list matched up relatively well here. I decided that I would go second this game, so he wouldn’t have two ships that he could hold back until after I activated. He had a tough time deciding between my objectives but ultimately went with Advanced Gunnery.
I obviously chose Salvation while he put it on his assault frigate.
We had an interesting obstacle setup, where they mostly ended up on the left side of the board towards my side of the table. I decided that I would either come through the asteroid field or angle myself across it so that if he wanted to keep his nebulon-Bs focused forward, he would have to deal with flying into the junk.
After trading deployments, he ended up with two nebs and his frigate coming towards me from the right hand side while I had angled my ships to come across the face of the debris towards the two nebs he had deployed on the left side of the table. Based on the deployments I intended to swing back towards the right hand side with my AF on my left flank to take the brunt of those nebs when they arrived.
Unfortunately I ended up botching some of the maneuvers and the assault frigate ended up bumping into Salvation for the first two rounds and didn’t get positioned alongside to act as that buffer.
Jaina’s Light ended up rocketing forward from the outset, trying to stay in a single arc from the assault frigate and out of range of his nebs. Again, I thought my best strategy was to close quickly before he could bring the other two nebulon-Bs to bear. Luke ended up tagging along with the corvette to take some pot-shots at the assault frigate since it was his objective ship, though I quickly realized it was a bit wasted.
I managed to time our closing to range reasonably well, and Salvation was able to pour out a ton of damage from the forward arc. After no crits in the first match, I was landing a ton now. I actually went all the way through his damage deck with Dodonna’s ability by the end of the game.
Unfortunately, with an exposed flank, Salvation went down relatively early. I was able to take out the one neb that had accelerated into my ships and my racing corvette with Luke was able to take out the neb he had kept in reserve. With Salvation out of the way, my assault frigate was able to pour two arcs worth of damage into the other two nebs coming in from the side. And Adar was able to direct the other X-Wing into taking two shots a turn.
My other neb was turning to put a bit of damage on the assault frigate, but it wasn’t going to be long for the world between the AF and the two nebs. Meanwhile the corvette was swinging back around to re-engage.
At this point we heard that the other game had finished 7-3 for the 4th place player, so I knew if I played to a draw, I would claim the championship.
But I wanted to kill his last two nebs, so I continued to pour on firepower, now with Luke back to take his own potshots. The crits continued to rain in as my corvette finally got back in to range while his assault frigate lumbered towards us at speed 2. One of his nebulons went down and it looked like I was going to be able to take out the other.
He valiantly tried to take out the corvette, getting it down to only one remaining point of hull. Unfortunately it could not avoid colliding with the last remaining neb as it tried to arc away from his assault frigate – I’d actually forgotten that shield dials count as overlap, but I don’t know if I could have avoided it regardless. The next turn my assault frigate and fighters were able to take out the nebulon’s remaining hull while his assault frigate was still not in range. We both agreed that his frigate was not going to be able to catch up to any targets in the remaining round and a half, so we called the game there.
TIE 5-5 (-7)
And suddenly I was the 2015 Canadian National champion for Star Wars: Armada.
I was frankly stunned to have come out on top of the day. I had played some very talented players, both from the local meta and from Montreal. The large margins from my first two games kept me ahead. I was very happy with my list at the end of the day. In previous tournaments I felt like I had some wasted cards, but this time I felt like each decision paid off in key moments. I’m very grateful to Victor for encouraging me to go with Adar/Luke, a decision that paid off in each game.
I wanted to take a moment to thank my opponents for some great games and some great sportsmanship. Everyone was very friendly throughout the day, even at the end when the tournament was on the line. I also need to thank Victor and Jon, who helped to run the tournament (and the X-Wing nationals, the day before). Of course, I have to thank Fantasy Flight Games and Lion Rampart for the prize support, though hopefully next year’s tournament can be held at a more affordable venue.
The top table was filmed in each round, so at some point hopefully we will be able to release those with some commentary, but it might take a little while to clean them up.
Now I just need to figure out whether I am going to play at World’s.
To read Travis’ interview about his time time at Nationals, playing Armada and other musings click here.