STARWARS: ARMADA – ROGUE MADNESS

On the cusp of the release of wave 3 of FFG’s spectacular Starwars:Armada strategy game, the Imperials have been proving dominant, winning around 67% of US regionals  Source .

65% of those Imperial winner’s lists included a gladiator star destroyer with the meta-defining ‘Demolisher’ title, the game’s most popular (and arguably most powerful) Capital Ship upgrade. 53% of the Imperial winner’s lists included Major Rhymer, the game’s most popular (and arguably most powerful) Squadron upgrade.  

The challenge for any competitive Rebel has been to counter one without losing horribly against the other – to counter the strongest Capital Ship list and the strongest Squadron-heavy list simultaneously. The data I linked to above is new, but the challenge goes back several tournament-cycles. As some people will know, I’ve been experimenting with a build I call ‘Rogue Madness’ for the last few months.

This list is great fun to play, but also has done too well for me to keep to myself. I’ve won a 28 games in a row against local and international players (including some who read this blog).  Some games were untidy, some were close, a couple simply lucky, but who cares — 28 wins 0 losses is an unusually consistent result so I thought it worth sharing the list and thought process.

Edit: A few players reached similar conclusions that Rogue fighter squadrons are very pricey, but there is a Critical Mass effect as become better as their numbers increase, and since I wrote this Q has actually gone on to win the US nationals (congratulations!) with a significantly different fleet build but a similar amount of YT2400 Rogues.

My version of ROGUE MADNESS was originally developed for one single purpose:

To Counter The Clonisher/Demolisher

In reality it was never a traditional hard-counter, and instead it used a high number of rogues to kill the Demolisher after it had (almost inevitably!) killed the carrier/flagship that would stump traditional squadron fleets. Thus it was really specifically made to hard-counter the Frustration of losing your key ship before it got to even fire its guns once. A well flown ‘clonisher’ style Demolisher makes a mockery of almost all ships, regardless of how expensive and upgraded and well armed, but I frankly enjoy the game much more if I can take that rulebending scumbag with me!

You will still probably lose that precious ship. But thanks to the rogues in pursuit, you will have your revenge.

So that’s the Rogue part of the name. The Madness is:

[] Capital Ship-boosting Admiral Akbar in a fleet with only 3 capital-ships
[] Ditch the usual superb Electronic Counter Measure defensive upgrade from the frigates
[] Ignore vital XI7 turbolasers that pair so well with Ackbar Frigates
[] Use inefficient 16 point non-Bombers as the list’s Bombers
[] Spend 120+ points on Squadrons… and not take an Intel ship to ensure they can even disengage from enemy squadrons
[] Take the overpriced (well, he is) Dash Rendar
[] Don’t worry about fleet point Bids for picking 1st player. Bids, Schmids. You’re not going to beat them to be player 1, so beat them as player 2.

The list

Rogue Madness
Author: Matt-Shadowlord
Points: 399/400

[ flagship ] Assault Frigate Mark II B (72 points)
–  Admiral Ackbar  ( 38  points)
–  Lando Calrissian  ( 4  points)
–  Gunnery Team  ( 7  points)

Assault Frigate Mark II B (72 points)
–  Gunnery Team  ( 7  points)

Assault Frigate Mark II B (72 points)
–  Gunnery Team  ( 7  points)

6 YT-2400s ( 96 points)
1 Dash Rendar ( 24 points)

Or version 2
1 Assault frigate  becomes a Corvette TRC Jaina’s light

8x YT2400s and some discretionary points

How does it work

[] Akbar in a fleet with only 3 ships
….that can frequently shoot from side-arcs 6 times. The whole point of this build is it doesn’t have to tackle opponents head-on, so it can kite them. I usually play the entire game at speed 3, or slow down in the final two turns to get kills. Kiting works really well with Rogues.

[] Ditch the superb ECM defensive upgrade
You’re counting on manoeuvring to be your defence. ECM is terrific, one of the game’s very best upgrades, but if I did have enough points to buy it I’d get another rogue 😀
I do however take Lando on the flagship; he’s a gambler’s card but does make the ship less of a certain kill. Demolisher players in particular prefer to go for certain kills.

[] Ignore XI7 turbolasers
I’ve run this vs several MC30 lists, and had a couple players ask how on earth I expect to ever hit hull without XI7s. The answer is of course YT2400s; they just keep plinking away on a facing until they finally bore through

[] Use inefficient 16 point non-Bombers as Bombers
YT2400s are terrible bombers for their cost (well for a start, they aren’t Bombers so all their Critical hits are discarded!), but make up for it with 2 factors. They are fast enough to pursue almost any target (note speed 4 ships do move slightly faster than speed 4 squads), and they can always move and shoot. That is a huge advantage over super-bombers like Bwings, who are amazingly good but might only shoot twice in a game.
Against ships, 6 YT2400s and Dash should do about 5.5 damage per turn (average 4.5 from YT2400, 1 from Dash), every turn from the 2nd.

[] Spend 120 points on Squadrons… and not take an Intel ship
I did experiment with Jan. She’s great but this list doesn’t need her. The way they get out of engagements is to blow all the other squadrons up. Say hello to 28 blue dice per turn . Every squadron should kill enemy fighters until they are all gone, then do the ships.

[] Take the overpriced Dash Rendar
Dash is pricy, and my earlier version of this list did have 8 YT2400s, a TRC-90 and some upgrades like ECM. However, in this 3 Frigate version Dash can also be the last squadron to activate, which improves the chance of his Bomber rule getting a crit through to hull. Or he can be the first to activate, and his rerolls make it more likely to kill or damage an enemy ace. He’s expensive, but does add additional options.

[] Don’t worry about Bids.
371 points is a serious bid now, thanks to Clonisher. Don’t waste your time. Vs many lists this doesn’t mind going 2nd, and vs non-rogue squadron lists it generally even prefers it. The fat-free version of this list is 387 (drop Dash for YT, drop Lando) but the list doesn’t gain enough from being first to start chasing other admirals to the bottom.

[] But YT2400s don’t do much damage to ships!
True, they do .75 damage at a cost of 16 points each. However, they also completely ignore most common defence tokens – they don’t care about Contain, Brace, Evade (except vs MM). YT2400s don’t like Redirect but at its heart this is an Akbar fleet, so Redirects are likely to be reserved for use vs fistfuls of incoming reds. They just do their little bits of damage, and it really does add up.

Mission Objective Suggestions

Assault Objective: Most Wanted
This is the one opponents frequently choose, mainly because it doesn’t look that great an idea. However, 7 Rogues should mean you will chase down your target even if it attempts to disengage. I’ve not yet had a game where I didn’t kill their MW, so it’s stayed in the list.

Defense Objective: Hyperspace Assault / Fire Lanes
HA is the most fun, and opponents seem to choose it 2nd most frequently. An AFB in the rear can get some serious damage done, and even though it means other ships can’t use his ability til he arrives I have sometimes used it with Akbar as a rear position helps to keep the admiral alive. Taking squadrons along is optional.
Fire Lanes potentially generates a lot more points, so is great for boosting tournament scores.

Navigation Objective: Superior Positions
Easy money for fast moving rogues, and the Superior Positions objective doesn’t care if the hits on the rear of ships are done by proper Bombers or not.

And now I’ll take this fleet into another tournament in a few days, knowing full well I’ve given it the kiss-of-death by writing an article about it.

Good times!

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6 Responses to “STARWARS: ARMADA – ROGUE MADNESS”

  1. PeterJ says:

    Demolisher ftw!
    You rebel scum.

  2. Goofy says:

    Put Admiral Montferrat on Demolish. Problem solved.

  3. Track says:

    You’ve been winning with that? You’re braver than I thought 🙂

    • Track says:

      Seriously though i can see what you’re doing there, taking the punch and then chasing the demo down. Worth a try.

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