Attack Wing 200 point league event #2

Captain’s Log: Star Date 13 (I’m REALLY not good at counting); After last month’s meeting engagements, reinforcements have arrived for all involved and all fleets are back to 200 point combat ratings. The contested area is shrinking, and the coming battles are sure to be bloodier than the previous fights.

The local Star Trek: Attack Wing community appeared to really enjoy opening up the floodgates and bringing 200 point fleets last month. Accordingly, that same setup was used again this month, but without the special flagship rules and on a standard sized map, so it was simply 200 vs 200, with up to 20 points to spend on any combination of resources.

Having gone through my collection during my recent move (one of several reasons for my posting hiatus), I was able to locate ships that I couldn’t find before, and I updated my list accordingly, removing the Federation ships, and slipping in one more ship for a few less upgrades.

Vulcan & Kazon Militia

Flagship Independent (Klingon) – 10

Tal’Kir – 26 (RiF blind boosters)
Cloaked Mines – 4 (I.R.W. Praetus)

D’Kyr – 26

Ni’Var – 20
(Flagship)
Combat Vessel Variant – 5 (Collective OP1 Prize)

D’Kyr Class – 24
Clark Terrell – 1 (USS Reliant)

Relora-Sankur – 26 (RiF blind boosters)
Donatra – 5 (I.R.W. Valdore)

Kazon Predator Class – 24 (RiF blind boosters)
Kira Nerys – 4 (Dominion War OP6 Prize)

Kazon Predator Class – 24 (RiF blind boosters)

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The Vulcan / Kazon militia, lined up and ready to go. I may or may not have had to spend about an hour practicing and re-configuring to get the positioning right for a clean deployment and minimal collisions during the game, while close enough to share all my bonuses across the fleet.

 

Individually, there’s nothing particularly exciting or powerful in the list. But it’s effective as a group. The whole team can methodically roll forward in tandem, the dials are near identical across the fleet. There are multiple effects in play that boost all the other ships in the fleet. +1 attack die at range 2-3 from the flagship, +1 attack die from Donatra, +1 defense die from Terrell, and Kira Nerys Space Oprah does her thing too (“You get a target lock! And you get a target lock! You all get target locks!!!”).  Every ship in the fleet can take a beating, the most lightly defended ship in the fleet has 8 hit points and 1 defense die (the D’Kyr class with Terrell on it), but it’s not an obvious target as it has the lowest damage output of any ship in the fleet (action economy plans aside), and it’s tied for second lowest point value in the fleet.

When it comes to offense, all seven ships in the fleet have at least six attack dice on the opening rounds of engagement. Kira/Oprah’s Predator most likely rolls an unmodified attack, but the remainder of the fleet stacks a Target Lock and a Battlestations action together to put those dice to maximum effect.  And to top it all off, it’s hard to outmaneuver the group, as all of the ships have 180 degree firing arcs.

End result: It’s nasty.

Round 1

Opponent:

Alpha Hunter (Hirogen Warship)
Karr (Hirogen Warship)
Stalking Mode (Hirogen Warship)
First Strike (Collective blind boosters)
Sensor Network (Hirogen Warship)
Monotanium Armor Plating (Hirogen Warship)

I.K.S. Ch’Tang (OP Prize)
Chang (Chang’s Bird of Prey)
Barrage of Fire (OP Prize)
Monotanium Armor Plating (Hirogen Warship)

Scimitar
Romulan Commander (I.R.W. Gal Gath’Thong)
Fleet Captain Independent (Dominion)
Fire At Will (USS Enterprise E)
Full Stop (Scimitar)
Thalaron Weapon (Scimitar)
Monotanium Armor Plating (Hirogen Warship)

Bioship Alpha
Khan (8) (USS Reliant)
Once More Unto The Breach (I.K.S. Kronos One)
Monotanium Armor Plating (Hirogen Warship)
Quantum Singularity (Bioship Alpha)
Extraordinary Immune Response (Bioship Alpha)

List Commentary: Well, this looked nasty. I haven’t played much recently, so this would be my first match against the Alpha Hunter, and I knew in the back of my mind what the Monotanium Armor Plating did, but I didn’t realize how effective it would turn out to be during the match.

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Note that Chang is in the back corner. This shows me that the player likely intends to approach quickly, because otherwise collisions will occur, scattering the squad.
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My low skill values meant that I had to set up blindly, but with the opponent having chosen to include an asteroid field, I thought that I could probably pull the enemy ships through it by moving forward rather than turning to engage them immediately.
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Not quite what I had intended, but the enemy formation was certainly busted up. Time to take advantage, and turn and engage before reaching the asteroids. I dropped my mines soon in an attempt to scatter the opponent even more.
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Slow and steady, my fleet crept forward, picking off ships one at a time. The Bioship did a great job of flanking via Quantum Singularity, but I just ignored it in favor of chasing sure kills.

Battle: Space Oprah (Kira Nerys, for those who skipped ahead and missed that reference) got really shut down in this match, as Monotanium Armor Plating and a hefty dose of cloaking denied me a lot of target locks. But when you make a cloaked ship throw enough dice, eventually it’s bound to fail spectacularly, as I’ve learned first hand many a time. End result was a solid win. I believe I lost one ship in the closing moments, but I managed a near wipe of the enemy fleet, with only the Bioship surviving. We said it survived at least, either a critical hit was applied by mistake with shields still available, or shield tokens were left on the ship’s card after being damaged.

Round 2

Opponent:

Fighter Squadron 6

Federation Fighter Squadron

Federation Fighter Squadron

USS Enterprise E
Picard (9) (Starter Box)
Independent Flagship (Federation)
Dorsal Phaser Array (USS Enterprise E)
Reginald Barclay (Collective blind booster)

USS Enterprise Refit
Clark Terrell (USS Reliant)

USS Voyager
Janeway (USS Voyager)
Charles Tucker III (Enterprise NX-01)
Pavel Chekov (USS Reliant)

List Commentary: Another build that looks like it could be trouble. Those fighters can pump out a lot of damage if left unchecked, but luckily I have lots of shots available. It’s refreshing to see faction pure showing up at times, and I don’t really feel like this player was “missing” anything by not crossing factions. From what I gathered, my opponent was relatively new to the game,  and that makes him a potential force to be reckoned with in future games with this group.

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It’s too nice of a fleet to mess up! I don’t want to shoot it! (But I suppose that I will…)

 

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They all moved as slowly as the Voyager can manage, keeping the formation nice and aligned.
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What better answer for a clean formation than a field of cloaked mines?

 

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I call this one “Parting of the Fed Sea”. It took just about everything I could spare to clear that one fighter squadron and the Enterprise Refit, but I don’t suppose that’s bad for one turn’s shots.

Battle: I missed a few photos that I wish I had taken, because the next turn was tricky and I had to really scramble a bit. I slid forward and had Space Oprah hand out a stack of target locks onto the Enterprise E, but to my great surprise both the Enterprise-E and Voyager took advantage of their speed and 360 degree firing arcs to zoom straight past my formation. This gave the enemy got some unopposed shots out of the deal there, leaving me nothing but fighters to pick on. I followed up on this by turning the entire formation hard right, loading up on aux tokens, but I still had target locks for days, and I found myself outside of the Voyager’s range, which meant this exchange was very much slanted in my favor.

Soon after clearing the E, time was called on what was a tough game to be facing a relative newbie. This is especially notable because I feel like I got lucky killing that last ship, and we played 50 minute rounds, which is really short considering these fleets are roughly double the normal size. When we finished, he had a decent position behind me, and had destroyed my Suurok class flagship and one of my D’Kyr already. He would have taken damage from the mines to chase me, but there wasn’t a lot I could have done to force shots on the Voyager for quite some time. With more time in the match, that would have been a lot closer of a finish.

Round 3

Opponent:

Counter Attack Die
Elite Attack Die

Scimitar
Karr (Hirogen Warship)
Fleet Captain Independent (Dominion) 
Stalking Mode (Hirogen Warship)
Tactical Officer (I.R.W. Valdore)
Antimatter Mines (Starter)
Improved Cloaking Device (Scimitar)
Reinforced Hull Plating (Prototype 01)
Polarized Hull Plating (I.R.W. Praetus)
Monotanium Armor Plating (Hirogen Warship)

Valdore
Jean-Luc Picard (9) (Starter Box)
Tactical Officer (I.R.W. Valdore)
Breen Aide (Gor Portas)
Dorsal Weapons Array (Dominion Koronak)

Valdore
Gul Dukat (Dominion Koronak)
Tactical Officer (I.R.W. Valdore)
Boheeka (Dominion Koronak)
Dorsal Weapons Array (Dominion Koronak)

Prototype 01
Gareb (Prototype 01)
Cloaked Mines (I.R.W. Praetus)
Cloaked Mines (I.R.W. Praetus)
Jammed Communications (Arena OP Prize)

List Commentary: This may not be the exact loadout, but it’s pretty close. My opponent had consulted me for my opinion on this list as written and a couple of alternatives prior to the event, and this was definitely the one that I didn’t want to face. The Scimitar looks all big and mean, but the Valdores are just as dangerous, if not more so.

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One of the few pictures that didn’t come out blurry from this match, this is halfway through the final turn.

Battle: This was to be far and away the toughest match of the day, and I wasn’t surprised in the least. My Vulcan / Kazon alliance lacks a lot of ability to react to my opponent’s moves, so the general plan is as follows: If there are enemies in front of me, float the group forward, shoot everything at something in range. If there’s nothing in front of me, say a prayer and start listing lazily to one side in search of target.

There’s not a lot of room in that plan for adjusting for highly maneuverable ships that can escape my forward arc, and there’s certainly very little ability to dodge mine fields, which is a big problem – 7 ships, 3 dice each… a single well placed set of cloaked mines will get 21 unopposed attack dice per turn, close to the damage output of some fleets at this scale, and for a mere 2% of the cost of said fleet.

To make matters worse, there’s still another 96% of the fleet to deal with. Namely, there’s a lot of action economy running around, translating into 3 attacks per turn that are all but guaranteed 5-6 damage to land home, and they’re all firing before any of my stuff. Then you can top it all off with the fact that the Jammed Communications upgrade is designed to temporarily cripple fleets just like mine, and it all looks to make for a bad day.

My solution? Slowing down to an average of a 0.5 forward movement as soon as those mines started hitting the field. With a 1-forward or 1-reverse movement not being sufficient to move completely through another ship, I caused all of my ships to collide and not move every other turn, taking 1-forward moves on the alternating turns. I gave up a lot of actions to do it, but it just made sense.

The durability of the fleet really showed itself here. By sheer luck, because I hadn’t been positioning it well, my opponent picked the Tal’Kir as his first target as our fleets engaged. Glance back up at the photo above, and you’ll see it at the top of the photo, still alive at the end of the game. The Tal’Kir has a neat little ability that says you can take an auxiliary power token to get an extra evade result each time you defend. So with two evade dice (thanks to Terrell), a timely Battlestations token spent on defense, and a stack of evade tokens, the Tal’Kir survived the opening round with somewhere around 3 hull points to spare. I put heavy damage on one Valdore, and scratched the other slightly, but didn’t clear anything from the table.

The next turn, knowing that it wouldn’t survive another round of shooting, I launched the Tal’kir right into the heart of the enemy fleet. It took damage from the mines, but survived with one hull point, and caused collisions and lost actions for both the Drone and the Scimitar. With this unexpected movement, half of the enemy fleet unable was unable to fire upon the Tal’Kir, and their shots went to my flagship, the Ni’Var, instead. With three out of four ships firing on it, the Ni’var’s three evade dice and Battlestations token had been overwhelmed, and the ship had taken a total of eight damage, holding on by a thread thanks to the durability boosts from the Flagship and Combat Vessel Variant. Now my opponent had a hard decision… the Drone would almost certainly be able to finish either the Ni’Var or the Tal’Kir, but the other would live through the turn. He selected the Ni’Var to destroy, and thus the Tal’Kir survived to break through the enemy lines and limp away from the fight.

Even with one ship in full retreat, and one ship and its’ aura bonus destroyed, I’ve still got 5 ships throwing lots of dice left at that point, and I put them to work, knocking out a Valdore and the drone ship just as time expired. A clever use of the counter-attack die resource took down another of my ships with those last attacks, but the battle was decided, as the Drone was worth more than either of the two ships that I had lost, and Gul Dukat’s Valdore was more than both combined.

Final thoughts:

Finishing 3-0 in a 8 (technically 9 with a player who had to drop) person event left me as the only undefeated player, yet I received a 2nd place finish by way of scoring less fleet points throughout the day than my 3rd round opponent. Sometimes, in scenario games, I suppose that might make sense, but I can’t say that it doesn’t irk me to “win” and be told that I didn’t “win enough”. By a similar token, though, I’ve been handed victories in events where I’ve gone 2-1 and that same player scored 3-0, but with less points, so I can’t say it wasn’t fair. What I can say is that I dislike the system. It’s extremely counter-intuitive, and hinges on unclear wording in the OP materials provided by Wizkids for events.

It was interesting to see what players are doing with ships that I don’t have (and won’t have), as the last thing I purchased was a Borg Scout Cube for a specific build last month, I don’t plan on buying anything more. With Star Wars: Armada approaching on the horizon, and the new Scum and Villainy faction releasing this week for Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures, I feel as though my time in the competitive ranks for Attack Wing is drawing to a close. I’ll still play casually at times, and I might enter in to the occasional Organized Play scenario just to see how it plays out, but the grind of event after event, and the constant flow of new ships and questionable rulings just doesn’t fit into my schedule as a priority anymore.

Live long, and prosper my friends.

— The Tabletop General