Sunday, November 13, 2016

Backstory - Part 3

With regionals completed, the IA community takes a break, plays other games for a while. Most go to X-Wing, some Armada, some just disappear completely. When the unusual second regionals looms six months later, nobody returns. One new player is recruited, but I don't play for the six months before that. We get a few games in, but it's not long before it's off to regionals. My list remains the same, partially because it performed well last time, partially because I'd had no playtime with or against anything for months.

But about a week before regionals, there's another big event: Worlds from the spring cycle. Troopers are the big thing, with Worlds finals being Rebel Troopers versus Imperial Troopers. The winner was the Imperial, with this list:

1x Agent Blaise
1x Elite Heavy /w Targeting Computer
1x Elite Stormtrooper /w Cross-Training
1x Elite Stromtrooper
2x Officer
1x Rule By Fear
1x Zillo Technique

Now, a major world-wide tournament days before our more local tournament? I wonder how that'll affect it! Exactly as expected, several clones appeared in the tournament.

(As an aside, I personally don't like net-listing. While I understand the benefits it brings on a competitive level, I think building the lists are a big part of the game and that skipping that portion lowers the skill level of the game. I'm not, however, going to crucify anyone who brings a net-list.)

First round, I'm paired with the player I drove to the tournament with. He's playing a Scum Bantha list he's played most of his skirmishes with, but unfortunately, seeing as it's a competitive scene, I'm not willing to pull any punches. There is a bit of a learning curve with this game that he had not had the time to surpass yet.

Second round, I'm faced with a Rebel list featuring Luke and a pair of Elite Rebel Troopers. My Troopers melt white dice figures as they do for a fairly quick win. I noted several questionable plays and suspect the player may have been new to either the game or the competitive scene.

Third round, I face down the player that eliminated me from the regional in the spring. This time, he's brought a new list:

2x Elite ISB Infiltrators
2x Elite Stromtroopers /w Cross-Training
2x Officers
1x Rule by Fear
1x Zillo Technique

Lots of elite troopers? Joy! The battle pretty quickly goes against me. Some small mistakes on my part, but I just can't attrition fast enough. Half of my troopers reliably die in one hit and the others can't make up the difference. It's a neat list he brings, and he has my respect for playing well and playing his own list. This is what I'd like to see in Imperial Assault. (Except for the "losing to him two regionals in a row" part.)

Fourth round, I stare at the world champion's list. Everything seems to go wrong here. My dice go cold and my opponent's go hot. Whatever, it happens. In addition to the aforementioned problem of my troopers failing to pull their weight, my opponent pulled this sweet triple activation of his Elite Heavies with normal activation + Change of Plans + Take Initiative. You know what Elite Troopers forced into a funnel love? 6x Blast 2. It was truly breathtaking.

I just barely squeak into the top 8, which immediately pairs me with the top player. (Seems legit. While I understand the idea of not pairing the best players at the start, pairing the best against the worst seems questionable.) But I've got one last chance to reclaim my honor, and go on to get my revenge against my round 3 opponent.

An interesting note about the top 8: 7 of the 8 were Imperial, one was Rebel. Of the 7, I was the only one without Zillo Technique. All of the worlds clones had made the cut.

He's running the world champion list, somewhat unsuprisingly. We're playing lair of the dianoga. My dice roll hot, his die. My first activation of the second round kills the dianoga, giving me 21 points. I can't lose now; I've only got to kill 19 points and he has to wipe me!

Or not. I kill Blaise and two Officers and he blows my list away.  (I'm going to note the presence of yet another 3-damage grenade) I'm a bit irritated that I blew such a lead, but this cemented my understanding of where I'd made mistakes.

I'd been out of touch with the world. The game had moved on and left me behind. My list had been good, but was no longer. I could have continued playing on Vassal or through other methods, but had not. This failure was mine to bear, and mine alone,

So I'll try to fix my mistake. I'll double down on tactics, strategy, and analysis. I'll keep in touch with the world's meta. I'll talk and discuss Imperial Assault through various mediums (mostly Facebook), and I'll get back into playing with Vassal. And heck, I might even try to get the community around here back up again.

But that's how I got to starting this blog. I hope you can benefit from my efforts to improve myself, and maybe even help me out along the way.

May the Force be with you.


  1. Nice write ups! I'd love to hear your thoughts on pikachewbacca's write up on the ffg boards about spies and troopers and strategy.

    The FFG board is where I frequent the most. The podcasts when they come out. Then Reddit and facebook. Rarely board game geek.

    But I love seeing a new blog. I've seen way too many start. Go for a few months and disappear. It's tough to keep up with but good luck and may the force be with ya!

    1. You didn't mention it, but I'll point it out just in case: pikachewbacca was the opponent I faced in the elimination round.

      His analysis is on point. He brings up several good points on the strengths of the Blaise-Trooper list. I can't deny the power in knowing and controlling the opponent's list and I obviously believe in the power Troopers bring, namely in dice control.

      My only disagreement is in how to counter the Stormtroopers without playing Troopers. I don't think HKs or the Bantha are enough, though I think they have some game into them. (He doesn't even mention Rebel options) I think Troopers board strength, combined with Blaise's meta-strength is very difficult to face.

      I did find it funny that he mentions Blaise as a necessary evil to counter Trooper lists... which means Blaise Trooper lists are the only thing that can beat Blaise Trooper lists. That's a problem for the state of the game, arguably worse than 4x4 (which had a Saboteur counter).

    2. And I hope to be around for a while. I survived my entire city quitting Imperial Assault, surely I can keep a blog going.

    3. I didn't realize you went against Brad. Should have put two and two together but I read his post really late last night.

      And yes, the Blaise is a big problem if it stays the meta. I don't know that it's as bad as 4x4. I'll be interested to see what happens during the regionals rounds with jabba out.

      I feel like Jedi luke might be able to hunt down those retreating troopers and make them take damage every time they shoot at him. Jabba can gain vps for them dying and get a second attack on something huge in scum.

      And I really want to see new command cards from the big box and see if there's any more toys to make some dangerous new archetypes. I mean some of the hunter stuff we've seen is pretty strong.

      And way to go surviving the city quit ;) looking forward to more and maybe you can get Brad and JD to contribute sometimes or something.

  2. And I'm masterchiefspiff on the ffg boards if that helps keep comments straight ;)

  3. Hey Colby. Keep the content coming! Interesting to see your side of it.

    Maybe I didn't come across the way I intended, but the comment about blaise being a necessary evil is in relation to minimizing the variance in the game. Knowing what is coming, stopping the oppressive cards from hitting you, etc.

    I won the Dallas reigonal with rebel troopers in a field full of storm troopers, and went undefeated through semis in Tulsa (where i conceded to jd) with Bantha against 2 trooper lists. Bantha and HK's can definitely go a long way towards beating troopers. I did mention elite Rebel Troopers in the paragraph about banthas. I edited it to make it more clear on a new line so it doesn't get missed.

    Also, your third round opponenet's list was created by me. Command deck and all. I respect that people don't necessarily like netlisting, but just wanted to let you know I'm not completely the worst at building lists!


    1. I'll agree that Blaise stops variance from command cards, but it's a variance every other list has to deal with and can be a huge advantage, particularly since it's limited to the one faction. I think it can be the factor between Trooper dominance and specifically IMPERIAL Trooper dominance.

      And I'm sure this post had a bit more salt than I necessarily intended, but I never meant to suggest that archetype trumps experience and skill. But in an otherwise even playing field, it can be the difference. Specific units can even out the playing field some, but it's a bit of a problem when you're forced to bring a few select units to even have a chance against the type of archetype.

      Also, to clarify my feelings on netdecking: I don't look down on an opponent that does it. But I've played a lot of games, and I've seen how copying internet lists can hurt a game's meta. Good opponents can build lists, I know, but netdecking is a crutch for many players that hurts the diversity of the game.

      But thanks for contributing your thoughts.