The Imperial Assault Canadian Nationals was the largest turnout for an Imperial Assault event in Canada ever. Thanks in part to the “Michigan Meta Busters” from the Oxford and Lake Orion area. I will mention later about their contribution to one of the best Imperial Assault tournaments I’ve been privileged to play in. We also had players from Manitoba, South Dakota, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas, as well as many from Ontario, Canada.
Ok, before I put out my battle reports. Here is my summary of the tournament.
Many brought Ugnaught lists or variations on IG-88 Mercenary lists.
This is not surprising as these lists have been successful recently at
many major tournaments. Being that a lot of players come from all over North America (and the world I’m sure) for tournaments like these, I understand why you would want to come with what gives you the best chance to place the highest and take home the cool swag. However, I do feel the Ugnaught swarm is broken and needs an errata. There are many suggestions on the forum and I’m not going to discuss them in this article as it’s really meant to be more of a battle report. I also feel that players can field whatever they want as long as it is legal.
When I say bad, I mean “bad” as in badass! The “Michigan Meta Busters” brought non-meta lists and performed very well. Here’s the difference I notice with meta busters and meta players. I have way better discussions with meta busters than meta breakers. This makes sense as meta busters tend to have more love for the all-around game, trying cool shit, inventing new lists, and not wanting to be like everyone else. They feel more fulfilled. Case in point, the final was won by an Ug list player who narrowly defeated a “Michigan Meta Buster”. I think people were more excited for the guy who lost with a cool list than the guy who won by bringing essentially a can of spam. He ate his can of spam and had to pretend to enjoy it on the outside, but my guess is it tasted like shit.
The tournament was well run by the very seasoned Imperial Assault enthusiast Chris Engler. Not only did he keep things running smoothly and on time, he was patient with tile set-ups and most notably decided to distribute the top eight prizes to all attendees! So instead of getting five HK assassin cards of which you’ll never use more than two, he gave one to everyone in attendance and bonus ones to the top eight players. Chris is all about making the game more enjoyable and about building the community and it always shows. I’ve met other tournament organizers like this including Allen in Warren, Michigan. Not surprisingly it was at one of the home stores of the “Michigan Meta Busters”.
The list: http://ia-armies.com/army/sGrTtPzd
I knew the meta would be full of IG-88s and probably Ug spam, but I was more concerned with the IG-88s. I was getting recently sick and tired of having IG-88 stomp my recent lists, so I decided it was time to try to bring him down a notch.
My goal was to use a spy list and take his command cards away, particularly Blaze of Glory and Assassinate.
So my list revolved around Agent Blais who could use his Interrogate ability to see my opponent’s hand and possibly remove one of those offending cards.
The best way to do this would be to get Blais to attack as early as possible while keeping the rest of the squad spread out or back safely until then. (As you can see below, I forgot my game plan in my 2nd game. It cost me dearly). In order to help with the spy strategy and be able to use more spy cards, I decided to use two sets of elite elite Jet Troopers but with Cross Training.
Elite Jets are by far the best Imperial unit in the game. They can hit hard up close, can move away nicely after an attack, and are relatively tanky on defence. They can also make use of some dirty trick cards like Overrun and Call the Vanguard.
Now with Cross Training, they can have the spy trait and roll a white defence die. Having three sets of spies is key to use the cards Comm Disruption to nullify any one of your opponents command cards or Intelligence Leak to remove a card from your opponent’s hand.
This could be used for Blaze of Glory, Son of Skywalker, Assassinate, or anything that gets you in a bind when played.
I wasn’t sure how best to fill out the rest of the squad so I turned to a well know Imperial Assault player for advice. I contacted Jake Petersen from North Dakota and asked his opinion. He had just done a great interview about squad building while he was a guest on Eric Dietz’s Twin Troopers Podcast. He suggested I add in Captain Terro for some muscle and a Temporary Alliance with Greedo for some objective grabbing and other surprises.
Some may think spending five points to bring Greedo into an Imperial army is a waste, but let me tell you, it was far from that. Greedo was absolutely my MVP and likely won me some games. Why? Because he is fast, tanky enough to survive a few attacks (more if he rolls a dodge), hits hard, and will almost always get to shoot even if he dies. In fact, I used Greedo to get right in the mix and challenge my opponents to shoot him, knowing full well he’d take a Parting Shot at one of their squishy figures of equal or close to equal value. Also, his built in +1 accuracy and +1 damage is subtle but awesome. The key is using him to shoot at melee units (like the pesky junk droid) or from a spot against range units who don’t have line of sight. That way his target cannot benefit from his Slow on the Draw.
As for Terro, I found him hit or miss. If he can survive past the first round or two, he’s deadly. Otherwise, I find he’s a big target with not many places to hide. His Mounted is great for getting him to move fast across a board and his Flamethrower ability is pretty solid. He’s definitely an up-close fighter as his attack range for accuracy is small.
I rounded it out the deployment cards with two Imperial Officers.
Nothing ground breaking here. They’re cheap leaders/objective grabbers. Unless they’re focused, I found their attacks super weak and unreliable. However, this gave me four leaders in my list and a great bonus if I get to use New Orders.
Obviously my first priority with New Orders is to use it to get Blais to Interrogate and take away an Assassinate or Son of Skywalker.
Finally I put in Zillo Technique and Rule by Fear.
Zillo Technique is still a great one point card to save a figure’s life by adding a block by discarding a command card, but I didn’t use the block pierce 2 very often. Still, I would always consider this an auto-include in any of my Imperial lists. Rule by Fear is mainly there to allow me to get two more command cards right from the beginning. Since my list relies on how fast I can get Comm Disruption, New Orders, Intelligent Leak and/or Espionage Mastery, this card is very useful. Yes, you have to discard a command card, but I found this only caused me grief once when I decided to discard Element of Surprise.
Round 1: Nal Hutta Swamps – “Shielded”
elite Rangers, 2 x Elite Echo Base Troopers, Gideon, C-3PO, 2 x Smugglers, R2D2
My first game was against my friend Robert Polson. Out of 29 people in the tournament I draw my practice partner first round! Furthermore, it was on the Nal Hutta Swamps map and he has Alliance Ranger and eight activations. This means that I cannot afford to leave anyone in the line of fire for the first round as he could use his focussed Rangers last and shoot from potentially 17 spaces away (2 blues, 1 green, +1 accuracy built in, +3 accuracy from a surge) and do damage.
My strategy here was simple. Run up, spread out, and be ready to brawl close up and hope that I can keep some guys alive to hold the objectives or at least prevent him from getting the points from them. I sent Terro to the only safe spot he could be in, up the far hallway. Robert used this to his advantage as he dictated the action to the opposite side and the middle. I was able to sneak Terro back into the middle to claim some objective points and eventually do some damage. Greedo was my star in this game. He was able to do a lot of damage up close to some Rangers by shooting from around corners (thus avoiding Slow on the Draw). Robert dominated most of the game, but with some luck and sneaky moves, I was able to control some crates and gain some objective points and pull out the last second win at time.
Round 2: Anchorhead Cantina – “Line of Fire”
Jedi Luke, IG-88, Onar, Jawa, C-3PO, Temporary Alliance, Gideon
Next game was against Brett from South Dakota, who I recognize from past Worlds events. My list was built to counter his, so I was pretty pumped. For some reason, I didn’t follow my game plan that I’ve been practicing for a few weeks (as I mentioned above). The plan against Luke and/or IG-88 lists was to stay back with the door locked until I drew cards that I could get Blais to use “Interrogate” and get my opponent to discard either Blaze of Glory or Son of Skywalker. Against any other type of list, on this scenario I would run Terro up and pick up a crate in hopes of him running it to the waypoint for 10 pts on the next round while the rest of my squad held on for dear life. For some reason I decided to move Terro all the way up with the Jets (like I was playing a non-Luke/IG-88 list). Big mistake that cost me the whole game. He moved IG-88 right up on round one and used Element of Surprise to do 9 damage to Terro! The then played Blaze of Glory and Assassinate to finish him off and then run away. So, to review, he had Blaze of Glory, Element of Surprise, and Assassinate as his opening draw! I drew New Orders and Call the Vanguard, so I had the chance to wait and use Blais to do something about that, but I didn’t. It cost me. From then on, I decided to move my whole squad up (including Blais and the officers) to brawl. Without this one timely dodge with Luke that he rolled (although he was attacked so many times, it was bound to happen), I think I could have won that game. Losing Terro so early and NOT taking away Blaze of Glory cost me dearly. I won’t make that same mistake again. Brett went on to go 4-0 in Swiss, so I didn’t feel so bad.
Round 3: Jabba’s Palace – “Spoils of Crime”
Captain Terro, 2x elite Jet Troopers, BT1, Vinto, Onar, Temp Alliance, Zillo Technique
Next game was against Bailey from Michigan. He had a similar list to mine (Terro, elite Jets, and a Mercernary) except instead of spending points on having a spy list with Cross Training and Blais, he brought BT1 and Onar. My goal in this game was to use the Officers to grab the crates and move them back and defend them while hoping to take out some of his figures. The game started out great for me as he split his forces, some up the middle and some through the doors. I started focusing on Terro who had come through the door, but didn’t get much damage through. I had Ferocity in my hand, so I figured I would set my sights on attacking one of his Jets before end of round (instead of continuing my attacks on Terro) and play Ferocity at the end of round to use HIS Terro to attack and finish off his Jet. I think that was a mistake. I would have been better off focusing on Terro with my figures and using the Ferocity as a bonus on his Jet. That next round I had initiative, but I could not finish Terro off with my first set of Jets. That was when I knew the game would end up going downhill for me. Bailey played a very tight game and made no mistakes. I was leading most of the game, but he turned up the pressure and started taking my figures out one-by-one. I also spent a lot of time trying to take BT1 out, which was incredibly frustrating. Bailey would go on to meet his brother Logan in the semi-final, so again I don’t feel so bad for that loss. It was an incredibly fun game.
Round 4: Anchorhead Cantina – “Gaining Favour”
The Grand Inquisitor, BT1, 2x elite Jet Troopers, Jet Troopers, Imperial Officer, 0-0-0, Zillo Technique
My final match was against Peter and another set of e-Jets and BT1, but his list had the Inquisitor. I decided to move everyone up and brawl near the side with the 2 patrons. By the end of turn 1, I had Terro sitting on top of the patrons (and one taken) with the help of an Officer push, and Greedo had taken the patron in the middle of the board with some help from the other Officer push. My goal now, is to kill The Inquisitor, take the 3rd patron and try to brawl my way over to the 4th patron. I figured by then, I would have 20 points and would simply have to take that last patron for the win. The plan worked as I was able to pull off a win with 21 points of kills. He ended up with 25 total points. The truth is I probably had no business pulling that win off, as Peter played very well and I rolled some timely dodges with the Spy Jets. I find this map interesting. Do you risk “Gaining Favour” and getting yourself closer to victory faster while putting yourself at risk? It’s a tough choice really. This time it worked out for me.
I learned a few things. Cross Trained elite Jets are amazing. Rolling that white die is insanely good. Blais on the other hand is still very risky to use. I don’t find that you get to use any of his abilities that often or very effectively for my liking. I’m not saying I would never use him again, but I’m not quite sure building a list around him is a good idea. I think I would have been better off with BT1, which I may try at another time. Also, Greedo is by far my favourite figure in this game and almost certainly and auto-include for me. He’s so annoying to try to kill, but is dangerous to allow to stay around.
All-in-all I found this tournament one of my favourite to play in. Although the majority of players brought Mercenary lists, there were still some excellent original lists involving Rebels and Imperials. One thing I notice about my love for Imperial Assault is that I enjoy playing all three factions, which pleasantly surprises me. In saying that, the next wave promises to bring a lot more balance to the game. I honestly feel that a player can field a squad from any faction and do well. I’m excited for what is to come.