To DeMSU or not DeMSU…

This journey begins at the Montreal Regional. At this Regional, I took DeMSU, being the list that I was most confident and successful with. I was expecting a small turnout, which boded well for placing high – possibly even winning the whole thing.

Montreal Regional Mini-Batrep

My List: DeMSU

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

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

Raider I
– APT
– Ordnance Experts

Raider I
– APT
– Ordnance Experts

Raider I
– APT
– Ordnance Experts
– Admiral Screed

2 Tie Fighters

Round 1:
Ackbar Gunline
– 3 AF2 Frigates w/ Gunnery Teams
– light anti-squadron CAP (Dutch/Wedge/Tycho ???)

As per normal for a gunline, my opponent deployed his frigates in a standard broadside formation. This would buy him an extra round of firing while my fleet had to cross the battlefield to engage. I played it safe, hoping to have him make the turn away from the board edge and towards my fleet. He slowed down and as a result, I was not able to engage until turn 5.

When I did finally engage, Demolisher was able to take out one AF2, but in return, ate some Ackbar AF2 side arcs and was lost. The rest of the game saw me lost a Raider, while my opponent didn’t lose another ship.

Result: 4-6 Loss

Lessons Learned:
– I was too cautious – not engaging until turn 5 really hurt as I could not score enough points for even a tie.

Round 2:
A Forgotten Game
– I can’t even remember if my opponent was a Rebel or Imperial fleet…

Regardless, I do recall that my opponent was a relatively new player from Montreal. We had a pleasant chat during our game. I recovered a bit from Round 1 and I was able to table my opponent.

Result: 10-0 Win

Lessons Learned:
– I honestly cannot recall the details of this game…

Round 3:
Rhymer Ball
– ISD
– 2 Raiders
– Rhymer Ball (Rhymer, 2 Firesprays, Mauler Mithel, +others)

Ah the Rhymer Ball, the nemesis of DeMSU. I needed to minimize damage from the squadrons, so I kept my distance. I was once again too cautious. While I was able to take out one of his Raiders early, the Rhymer ball made short work of Demolisher when I ran out of room to maneuver. Demolisher did not kill a ship in this game. Unfortunately, the other elements of my fleet could not finish off his fleet, ending up in a loss for me.

Result: 3-7 or 2-8 Loss

Lessons Learned:
– I must be more aggressive. Sitting around waiting for the right time to
strike can be a bad thing, especially if a Rhymer ball is taking shots at you.

I had a lackluster showing at the Montreal Regional. While I still managed to win dice, I came in 5th out of 8 – which is in the bottom bracket. Overall, I still had fun, even with my poor showing.

In retrospect, I was way too cautious and not aggressive enough. I waited too long to engage (trying to be cheeky) and I was not capitalizing on Demolisher’s speed and maneuverability. Additionally, Gladiators and Raiders are very fragile – combine that with the Rhymer Ball’s threat range, I have to be careful. I was taking a lot of fire from squadrons and my paltry 2 Tie Fighter CAP was not doing anything at all.

After Montreal, I had a crisis of conscience (so to speak). This was my worst showing to date. I could not beat an Ackbar gunline or a Rhymer ball, which are two very popular lists. Was DeMSU still a strong list? Was DeMSU the right list for me?


The Lead Up to the Toronto Regional

I was trying a couple different lists in preparation for the Toronto Regional. I tried Rieekan Aces (Defiance, Admonition, Yavaris, Dutch/Wedge/Tycho/B-wings), which was strong, but it was slow – B-wings only move 2. This list required your opponent to also be aggressive and basically cooperate and fly into your fighter swarm.

I also tried an all capital ship Imperial list (2 ISD, Demo, Raider) led by Motti and without a large bid. This list was also strong, it was not as aggressive as DeMSU, but it had a lot for survivability. I played against a DeMSU list and the low maneuverability of the ISDs turned into a liability.

So which list would it be? Rieekan Aces was strong, but required an aggressive opponent to achieve a major victory. The Imperial list was also strong, but I felt it would not do well against DeMSU or a Rhymer Ball. I was leaning more towards the Imperial capital ship list seeing as it had firepower and survivability.

Fast forward to Friday evening, the day before the Regional. I was leaning towards the Imperial list and had packed everything up. I then started thinking about strategies and I could not come up with a way to effectively and efficiently counter DeMSU. In coming up with new lists and figuring out how to fly against DeMSU, I had realized that DeMSU was still the most effective list for me. The list I took to Montreal was sub-optimal and I did not fly it aggressively enough. I needed to tweak my list and change my flying to win the Toronto Regional.

My List: DeMSU – Purified

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

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

Raider I
– Expanded Launchers
– Ordnance Experts

Raider I
– Expanded Launchers
– Ordnance Experts

Raider I
– APT
– Ordnance Experts
– Admiral Screed

Note: My analysis and experience showed that the small 2 Tie Fighter CAP did not do much. Either add more points to round out a full anti-squadron CAP or eliminate those units all together in favour of more capital ship firepower. I chose the latter.


Toronto Regional Batrep

Last year, a couple of the GTA X-wing/Armada players had made the pilgrimmage down to Minnesota for Worlds. This year, I was not able to secure tickets due to issues with the FFG ticketing process. I knew my only chance to go to Worlds was to win my way in – Canadian Regional champions get a reserve spot. I had to win Toronto.

Round 1:
Store Championship Bye

Result: 9-1 Win

Lessons Learned:
– 9-1 is very high for a bye, fortunately FFG has change the scoring to reduce the effect of byes (took into effect two weeks after this Regional)

Round 2:
Rhymer Ball #1

Jordan is a member of the GTA/Ontario Armada community. I saw his list and knew this would be rough – potentially a repeat of Montreal. Rhymer Balls have the range and firepower to effectively deal with Demolisher. I had no CAP so his squadrons would have free reign of the battlefield. I knew I had to be aggressive and deal damage with Demolisher before his bomber wing took it out.

Jordan’s List
ISD
Gladiator I (Demolisher)
Raider
Rhymer Ball

After a little bit of posturing, I managed to take out his Demolisher using the patented Demolisher triple-tap. However my Demolisher suffered severe damage from his squadrons. My Raiders and Insiduous were able to deal tag team and kill his ISD and the remaining Raider. I survived with the loss of Demolisher and one Raider.

Result: 8-2 Win

Lessons Learned:
– against Rhymer Balls, I need to take the initiative, close the gap, and attack first

Round 3:

Kristian has another local Armada player. He had another Rhymer Ball and I knew that I had to be aggressive and take the fight to him.

Kristians’s List
VSD (carrier setup)
Gladiator I (Demolisher)
Gladiator I
Raider
Rhymer Ball (with lots of Tie Fighters in the mix)

He deployed his fleet line-abreast facing my fleet. I deployed with the Raiders in the centre flanked by my Gladiators.

In the early turns, Kristian’s Rhymer Ball went after my Raiders, killing Screed’s chariot. Losing Screed is not a severe blow, but I does reduce overall damage output. However, having all his squadrons going after my allowing Demolisher to triple-tap his Demolisher and turn to face the rear of his line unmolested. As a result (and with help from Insiduous), I managed to the VSD and both Gladiators for the loss of two Raiders and some damage on Demolisher. Kristian had one Raider remaining.

Turn 6 – I had a one hull Demolisher, full Insiduous, and full Raider left. Kristian had a Raider and his full Rhymer Ball left. His Raider was running away and out of range from all my ships at the start of the turn.

Given that I had first activation, I decided to activate my Raider first. Kristian then activated his Raider, moving it at speed 3 and into a place where Demolisher could get at it. I then activated Demolisher and used the move-then-shoot mechanic to destroy his Raider.

Even though Kristian lost all his capital ships, we still had to play out the rest of the turn. One of his Tie Fighters (with Rhymer boost) was in range of a shield-less, one hull point Demolisher. There was a 50% chance I would lose Demolisher. I activated Insiduous and placed him between the squadrons and Demolisher. This meant that all shots against Demolisher would be obstructed, meaning that Demolisher was safe. Given Insiduous was full health, Kristian’s squads would not kill Insiduous this game.

Result: 9-1 Win

Lessons Learned:
– being aggressive pays off

Going into Round 3, I was in third place with 17pts. Top table was composed of Yik and Norm, both with 19pts. My only chance of winning was if Yik and Norm had a close game, resulting in a 5-5 tie or a 6-4 small victory for either of them.

In the end, Yik beat Norm in a very close match 6-4. This gave Norm 23pts, Yik 25pts, with 26pts for myself. I had one point more that Yik, thus sneaking up the middle and taking first.

Carlo Regional Winner

Epilogue (Wave 3/4)

The GTA/Ontario Armada scene is filled with many very strong players. I feel that we have 3-4 people who can easily win any major tournament (which was verified when Norm took the North American Championship at GenCon). I’m glad to be part of a group that while competitive, also is friendly. We lend each other ships and squadrons. We teach and guide newer players. We share strategies and constructively critique each other’s lists.

Wave 3/4 will be released in a few days and I’m looking forward to the changes it will bring. Rest assured out local meta will be flush with new ideas in the lead up to the Canadian Nationals.

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