I entered into another pair of Star Trek: Attack Wing Organized Play events this weekend. Saturday was the first run of Resistance is Futile OP1 for this particular venue. Just like my first run through, it was at a venue which I hadn’t played at before, although there was a good bit of overlap between the players at each of these.
Again, for those just joining us, I’ve previously provided a summary of the Resistance is Futile Scenarios. This scenario is a basic fleet engagement, with the added mechanic of trying to not catch the attention of the nearby Borg fleet.
A TO at my home venue is decidedly anti-Borg (not that I really blame him for it), and his takeaway from my previous report was that Borg fleets were only defeated by other Borg fleets in that event. Having seen how effective the Enterprise-E turned out to be in that event, I decided that it was time for me to give it a spin for myself, and brought it to Saturday’s event.
Mirroring the previous event, the build was 120 point constructed lists with no fleet purity restrictions, no more than 90 points allowed on a single ship, and the blind boosters were to be opened and given out as prizes. Knowing that there would be overlap in the players, and that I was one of three Borg players on Monday, I expected to see some of the same lists show up on Saturday so I could either prove a point, or be proven wrong myself. Turns out, the Borg were not represented at all in this event. We had 3 Federation fleets, 2 Klingon, and one (drumroll)… Species 8472.
So here’s what I ended up bringing:
USS Enterprise-E – 32
Flagship Independent (Romulan) – 10
Jean-Luc Picard (+1 Tech version) – 5 (from the USS Enterprise-E)
Attack Pattern Omega – 3 (from the USS Defiant)
Tom Paris – 4 (from the USS Voyager)
Elizabeth Shelby – 2 (from the USS Yeager [Collective blind booster])
Hikaru Sulu – 3 (from the original Constitution class Enterprise)
Dorsal Phaser Array – 7 (from the USS Enterprise-E)
Enhanced Hull Plating – 4 (from the Enterprise NX-01)
Multi-Adaptive Shields – 5 (from the USS Raven OP Prize)
USS Voyager – 30
Mr. Spock – 4 (from the USS Enterprise Refit)
Pavel Chekov – 3 (from the USS Reliant)
Tactical Officer – 4 (from the IRW Valdore [Starter Set])
Cloaked Mines – 4 (from the IRW Praetus)
Earlier in the week, one of my readers ran a similar build for the E alongside an Enterprise D. I made a mental note that the Voyager would have probably been a better choice, and I suppose I must have said it to him as well, because he said as much when he showed up with a near mirror to my this list for his own fleet.
Going from Borg to high-speed Federation ships might have given me pause in this scenario had I not already played it once, loss of mission tokens didn’t really affect anyone (or happen much at all) in the prior event, and I felt confident that I could stay inside the boundaries.
With this list, I present two targets: The Voyager is a much lesser threat, but can be killed in a normal amount of time. The Enterprise E is a much tougher nut to crack, but also brings a lot more firepower to the table. My hope was to pass the enemy after the first round of shooting, rather than slowing to get an extra shot as many players do. Having ships fast enough to do it, I wanted the 360 degree arcs to be the only way that ships could fire if at all possible.
Species 8472 Bioship, Picard (9), Quantum Singularity, Bioelectric feedback x2, Flagship Independent (Klingon)
Species 8472 Bioship, Donatra, Quantum Singularity
Match of the tournament, right here, I knew it, and the TO knew it, but that’s how it works out sometimes with a random draw for the first round of an event. With 6 players present for this OP, I knew as soon as I saw this list that we were bound to face one another, but I was hoping to get in a bit of a warmup match first. I knew what to do with my list, but I hadn’t actually used it before. And I didn’t slow down and do the math until the combat phase rolled around, but Picard was capable of throwing eight attack dice with Scan, Target Lock, and Battle Stations every single turn. Ouch! I forgot how nasty the Bioships can be, because I never see them used in 100 point matches. With an extra 20 points to equip them and give them action economy, they get mean!
Battle: Having faced off against the other player’s variant of my list earlier in the week, my opponent was a bit cautious from the start, and wanted to wait to see that I would do first. He deployed in the opposite corner from my fleet, far right as I faced the table. Knowing that good positioning could potentially buy me an extra shot or two, I shot forward along the left board edge. The Bioships took small turning maneuvers for turn one, making sure not to overcommit, but leaving both ships in the no-fly zone and losing a couple mission tokens right off the bat. We closed to firing range on turn 3, but Picard’s ship was still within range 2 of the board edge on turn 2 because he was moving so slowly at an angle to avoid the Cloaked Mines I had just dropped, so he lost another token. Since Donatra was much less of a threat alone than Picard, I targeted his ship first as we got in to range, but I moving first meant I didn’t get Target Locks and I rolled poorly, doing very little damage. The fifteen dice of return fire wiped the Voyager’s shields and dealt a couple points to the hull.
Based on the relative positioning of the fleets, I knew the Bioships had three options: Come-about turns (and Aux tokens to go with them), potentially wasting a turn of shooting, or using their Quantum Singularities to re-position themselves. Accordingly, I took the tightest turns I could manage with white maneuvers back towards the battlefield’s center. I thought with that I would either would either still be in range with my actions against none for the opponent from the Come-abouts, be alongside the enemy and able to make use of my 360 arcs while safe from return fire, or potentially cause one ship to bump and lose their actions while the other used up the Singularity action, giving me a 2-on-1 shot. Also, moving towards the center, I gave less viable landing positions for the return from the Singularities. It turns out I was wrong as to which way the fleet would turn, and the Bioships moved towards the board edge before temporarily winking out of existence, giving up another mission token from Picard’s ship in the process.
Range 3 covers a lot of ground when you’re near the map’s center, and my opponent couldn’t find anywhere he liked to return his ships that wouldn’t commit him to flying by those mines again. Since he wouldn’t lose a token immediately, he placed his ships in a flanking position on the right side of the board, near the edge. The next turn, he moved up cautiously, knowing he needed to both be done with the Voyager and at least damage the Enterprise E on this pass, and also not wanting to hit the mines, but it was too cautious, and Picard lost his last token. After consulting the mission rules once again, I suddenly had a new target. If Donatra died or lost her tokens, I won the game regardless of what happened with Picard. Thankfully, my dice picked this prime opportunity to come back to life for me. I lost Voyager in the next round of shooting, but nearly cleared Donatra’s shields. The next round, I managed to get behind the Bioships, and snuck Picard’s critical hit through, which was turned into a Warp Core Breach via Attack Pattern Omega. Needing to repair that, the Bioships didn’t come-about like they probably should have, and Donatra’s ship regenerated, netting one HP back. The Enterprise E’s gunnery crew redoubled its’ efforts though, and hit with six out of seven attack dice that round, clearing Donatra from the field and immediately ending the match.
Key takeaways: Bioships hit just as hard as Borg, and are a little less predictable. Even players that say they aren’t scared of Cloaked Mines turn out to be scared of Cloaked Mines, even when they aren’t doing any damage. The mission tokens are hard to lose in this scenario, but if you’re not paying attention to them, they make a huge difference. I did panic a little for my standings in the tournament though, because it was ruled that even though I “won”, I didn’t get credit for killing Picard’s ship. Also, a player I hadn’t met yet had his own really mean Enterprise E setup, and he scored a big win in his own match. Since this venue compares total fleet points scored, giving a small bonus for winning a match, I knew I would not only have to beat him but do so decisively if we faced one another, a close win might still leave him with the lead…
USS Enterprise E, Picard (8, crew), Independent Flagship (Fed), Tom Paris, Hikaru Sulu, Elizabeth Shelby, Multi Adaptive Shields, Ablative Hull Plating, Dorsal Phaser Array, Fire at Will (I think)
USS Voyager, Mr Spock, Pavel Checkov
Battle: I was honestly expecting to fight the other player with an Enterprise E build this round, but it was not to be, we had to get this rematch out of the way. Last tournament, I faced this anti-Borg build with my Borg. This time it was closer to a mirror match. I thought it would have been a nastier fight than it was. But I was able to guess my opponent’s opening moves, and cause his Enterprise to collide with my Voyager, losing his actions in the process, and wiping out his shields on the first turn. Next turn, he tried to squeak by with a speed-1 bank, and didn’t quite clear my ships, losing his actions again. The E dropped like a stone without any defensive actions and with poorly rolling dice, and the Voyager followed behind quickly.
Key takeaways: For the second tournament in a row, movement and action denial really matters in mirror matches.
5x K’Tinga class Klingons with Gowron on one ship, Krell on another.
Battle: Somehow, this player had managed to defeat the other Enterprise E build in a close match in round 2. That meant all I had to do was wipe these ships out and first place was mine for the taking. And honestly, it wasn’t complicated. Two ships down on the first turn of shooting, two ships down on the second, one turn disengaged, and then the fifth ship down on the next turn. I think we spent more time discussing which ship I was shooting (“The K’Tinga. No, not that one, the other one. The one where the captain is looking off to the left of the camera. No, he shouldn’t be at full health, he’s the one that lost his shields to the Cloaked Mines…)”.
Key takeaways: Speaking of Cloaked Mines, they sped things up and my opponent blamed them for the loss, but it really didn’t matter here. Especially with Gowron being the first one to fall, I could have flown in circles for another 30 minutes before opening fire to finish them off, K’Tinga class ships with no upgrades weren’t about to do any serious damage to the Enterprise E.
Species 8472 is tougher than I remembered, I’m surprised they don’t see more play.
A lot of Fed players are leaning heavily on the Enterprise E, so much so that I’m not seeing builds without it. Granted, it’s really effective, but it’s opening them up to some interesting problems that I managed to exploit the next day in a VERY unusual OP event. More on that later.
I turned down a second copy of the Avatar of Tomed, and picked the Dominion / Mirror Universe ship instead, since I don’t have it yet. Getting the last remaining booster as well, I brought home a second Kazon Predator, which makes me tempted to run a Kazon list in fleet pure play. It might be almost as fun as the Vulcans I used at the next OP. But again, more on that later…
— The Tabletop General