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 Post subject: Dark Times in the Ice Caves of Hoth (DT Draft in ATL)
PostPosted: Sun Jan 31, 2010 6:34 pm 
Really Cool Alien from a Cantina
Really Cool Alien from a Cantina

Joined: Thu May 21, 2009 8:17 pm
Posts: 186
On Saturday the Atlanta crew had a Dark Times booster draft at Super Games in Roswell. To make things more interesting there was also a MTG release event the same day, so the store was jammed wall-to-wall with, uh, interesting-smelling strangers. The store owner graciously let us play in another storefront that he was leasing in the same shopping mall, which was perfect aside of the slight lack of any air-conditioning. People from north of the Mason-Dixon line can feel free to laugh, but it was (barely) snowing outside, and the 10 of us were not enough to keep the inside of that space warm. Shivering definitely puts some extra English on the dice!

We decided to play a 150 point, selected-draft format. We had eight people playing, so we busted up into group of four. Everyone took turns cracking open a booster, then we drafted serpentine-style (1-2-3-4-4-3-2). Everyone ended up grabbing the rares and super rares in their packs, although Daniel probably wished that he hadn’t. My packs contained A’sharad Hett (not bad) and Dengar (solid!). I also grabbed a Talz chieftain early, and had some Kota’s militia to pair up with him. Overall my squad turned out to be

A’sharad Hett
Dengar, Hired Killer
Talz Chieftain
501st Legion Clone Commander
501st Legion Stormtrooper
Kota’s Elite Militia
Kota’s Regular Militia
Rodian Raider
Arf Trooper

All around a very solid squad for draft. Dengar seemed like one of the best pieces to pull for this format overall, and the Talz chieftain would pump up Kota’s boys and the Rodian Raider. Even the 501st stormtrooper could benefit from a random CE. Overall I was feeling pretty good. I chose Mos Eisley (AKA the junkyard) as my map because I couldn’t remember playing on it before and it seemed pretty cool. Plus the lines of sight were all over the place so hopefully I could spread my pieces out a little and make it difficult to get melee fighters right up in my dudes’ grills.

First Game

First game was against Daniel, on my map. He deferred setup so I chose to pile my guys up in the open area in the middle right. A’sharad took up position in one of the few squares from which you could get into Gambit first turn (by spending a Force point). Daniel countered by setting up on the bottom of the left side, near the storage and shed, with the possibility of 4-LOM taking sniper positions in the doorway and picking off my guys without being able to get hit in return. He also had Bomo Greenbark and several melee combatants, including a Jedi Watchman, as well as a Trandoshan Elite Mercenary. First turn not much happened as we just ran into position. 4-LOM scoped something but missed it. In return I tried some very low-odds shots with my shooters and put maybe 20 damage on him with Dengar. A’Sharad sprinted into Gambit and the turn ended. Immediately after that, 4-LOM lit my Tuskan up for 30 damage, despite attempting to deflect it, and the Trandoshan poured another 20 on top. Ahh! Below half and losing his Niman benefits, A’Sharad sprinted back into the hanger and hid. Fortunately I managed to take advantage of 4-LOM using careful shot by unloading with Kota’s Elite Militia and the Arf Trooper, who both hit. The Stormtrooper managed to get another shot in (keep in mind these all needed >15 to hit), and suddenly 4-LOM was in the danger zone.

At this point it is easy to criticize Daniel for not screening his biggest shooter, but if you think about it his decision made a lot of sense. The only unique pieces he had were 4-LOM and Bomo Greenbark, who can’t even screen because of Stealth. Everyone else was non-unique, and therefore would have been subject to the Talz chieftain’s bonus making it not only easier to hit them, but making every shot that got through worse. If he had put the Trandoshan or something like that in front of 4-LOM, it just would have guaranteed that the Rodian Raider and Kota’s Basic Militia lit him up, killed him for basically no exchange, and then let the better shooters get back to 4-LOM. Plus, his non-unique pieces included a Jedi Watchman and a Sith Assassin, neither of whom can screen at range. A streak of luck by me put him in a very difficult position where the law of averages would have left him sitting comfortably.

Having said that, now 4-LOM was in danger of getting Final Shot’ed by Dengar, so he pushed his remaining pieces out ahead so Dengar had to shoot at them instead. I tried valiantly but everyone was out to lunch and the blizzard of fire from the Rodian Ranger didn’t touch the screening Trandoshan Mercenary, and no one else did much better. That presented a different problem entirely, because A’Sharad was already beat up badly (took another 20 from the Trandoshan) and no one else was what you would call a stout brawler. To keep Dengar and the Arf (who was giving me vital recon) alive, I pushed the Talz out front to make it harder to get around to the bulk of my forces, and ran Dengar into the back rank after getting a piece of the Sith Assassin (who was cleverly set up to screen the now-wounded Trandoshan so HE couldn’t get Final Shot’ed). Next turn he ran his beats up and killed the 501st commander, only to see basically everyone else turn around and light up his brawlers. Thanks to the chieftain, I had a big advantage in damage output and attack value, and I killed the Assassin and badly hurt the Watchman, with A’Sharad having to fight the Watchman due to my bad planning and not leaving him a spot to face the Assassin instead. Despite the Arf Daniel took initiative and killed A’Sharad, but the Watchman died in return and the Trandoshan shortly thereafter. Dengar then finally got off his long-denied Final Shot on 4-LOM and that was that.

Props: Dengar for being very strong, Talz chieftain for boosting weak pieces to very high relative strength.
Slops: Bomo Greenbark, who missed all but 2 of the probably 12 shots he took, usually needing less than 10’s. Ironically if 4-LOM had died earlier Bomo might have gone on a tear and caused some problems. A’Sharad for contributing almost nothing, including missing the Watchman twice in limited action.

Second Game

Second game was against Nathan, again on my map, again my turn to deploy first. I did almost the exact same thing as in the first game, set-up wise, but Nathan did the opposite, deploying on the “top” of the map relative to me. That was less good from a sniping perspective but he had Kir Kanos, a Watchman, an Inquisitor, and a Mando Jedi hunter as his main line, so it would probably be fought at dagger range anyway. His other big piece was Bossk, and he had a couple of Rodian Brutes and an engineer as well.

This game started more slowly than the first, with A’Sharad again sprinting into Gambit but not getting lit up due to the architecture of the storage room that occupies the bottom of Gambit. Nathan was very conservative in his advance, leaving most of his pieces either inside the shops or hugging the walls of the storage room, so I just tried to grab some useful shooting angles while he couldn’t fire back. The next turn I managed to flank his position by moving some pieces lower and by opening the storage room doors, putting some damage on his melee pieces without much risk to me. A’Sharad, who drew door opening duty, managed to get lit up again for 30 damage by Bossk and the engineer, again flubbing his deflection save. Criminy what a chump. The big problem Nathan had was that he ended up waffling on what to do and fed his pieces in piecemeal. Instead of the Watchman, MJH, Bossk, and Kir Kanos advancing as a solid block that I would have difficulty stopping, Bossk hung back to shoot and Kir Kanos dithered while the MJH got shot up before hiding in the storage room, and the Watchman moved way out of position from the rest of the squad into the pile of junk below Gambit. In the end he rushed Kir Kanos into Gambit, by himself, with the Watchman attacking the pile of low cover above where I had stationed some shooters. Kanos took some damage from Dengar and the Arf trooper, but was still standing tall.

The Arf gave me initiative for the 3rd turn, but Nathan psyched me out about what he was going to do and I gave him the go-ahead forgetting that his MJH could just waltz over and kill A’Sharad. Very fortunately for me, the MJH missed his second attack. Also fortunately, A’Sharad found his thumbs and hit back with both attacks, neither of which was parried, and the MJH was dead. That entire exchange was awful luck all around for Nathan – instead of killing my piece, he lost his. If both of his attacks hit, A’Sharad is dead; if either of mine misses or gets parried, the MJH stays alive and A’Sharad has to stay put because the Attacks of Opportunity would finish him off. Instead it’s the worst case scenario for him and A’Sharad lives, kills the Mando, and hides higher up the wall. Like Napoleon said, better to be lucky than good. The bright side was that after Kir Kanos, I got to activate the Talz Chieftain, who I had moved up to oppose Kir Kanos, and it hit with both swings! 40 damage out of nowhere on Kir, and now he was edging towards the danger zone. He swung back, but couldn’t kill the chieftain, so he ran into the small room there and let the door close. That forced me to waste an activation opening the door, and then running Dengar in adjacent to Kanos because there was no other way to get a decent LOS. Elsewhere the Inquisitor moved over to join the Watchman, who put 40 damage on the 501st commander but took 30 back from the 501st stormtrooper.

Next turn, Kir Kanos got Final Shot, A’Sharad almost went over to the Dark Side prematurely (passed the Inquisitor’s ability with a Force reroll), and the lonely Watchman got butchered by a horde of dudes benefiting from the Chieftain. The Inquisitor Force Pushed a couple of guys to death, and Bossk tried to move up and show something, but in the end the Inquisitor died to Kota’s beefed up militia and Dengar got yet another Final Shot off against his fellow bounty hunter.

Props: Dengar for delivering bigtime. The Talz chieftain for tanking, randomly putting 40 on Kir Kanos, and boosting my guys to obscene levels.
Slops: None on my team, but Nathan needed to take his Mando JH out to the woodshed. That guy flubbed everything hardcore when success should have been easy.

Third and final game was against Greg, again on my map, except this time he set up first. He took the same side I had been using, but set up in the barracks near the top. I went ahead and mirrored him, figuring that it would be easier to fight in and around the storage room than concede protected Gambit to him and try for weird deflection angles. He had Jax Pavan backed up with a Talz chieftain (uh-oh) with a host of dudes including a Rodian Raider and a Togorian. He even had an Arf trooper! All of my best advantages were either matched or neutralized. On the melee side he had yet another Jedi Watchman and one of the nasty Jedi Hunter droids. The jockeying for position didn’t last long this time. On the second turn we both opened “our” doors to the storage room and the carnage began. The first casualty was his Rodian Raider, which I was very happy about because with the Talz that thing is DEADLY in draft format. His Watchman ran a long flanking maneuver around the bottom of the storage room, and his JH droid rushed up to take some of the fire away from his other pieces. Unfortunately for me Dengar pulled a Dash and missed his Final Shot, but everyone else chipped in a lot of damage. I ended up moving my Talz chieftain into the storage room entrance to block his JH droid from getting to A’Sharad, and he responded by moving his Talz chieftain opposite it, making for a very weird tabletop. It gets a little burry after that, but the massed firepower on my side could not be matched. The Watchman finally got into combat and killed maybe a stormtrooper, but got lit up by A’Sharad and finished off by the Rodian Raider (or maybe it was the other way around). His Talz fumbled badly and missed both attacks on my Talz, giving me wide open options when he was running out of pieces. In the end he managed to put the Talz in the ground, but by then there wasn’t that much left. The Rodian Raider went nuts on Jax, rolling back-to-back 20’s, and A’Sharad finished off the dregs by running up and using Force Repulse. Greg had pretty consistently bad luck throughout, but also made some positioning mistakes (mostly leaving the Raider up front where it was the first target) and I don’t think splitting off the Watchman for an end-around was really the best way to go. For whatever reasons it was just not that close.

Props: A’Sharad for doing useful things and not dying. Arf trooper for matching Greg’s recon which was vital. And definitely the RODIAN RAIDER for pumping out huge damage and really giving Jax a nasty surprise.
Slops: Dengar caught a case of the misses and did not deliver very much. He was probably tired from killing so much the last two games.

Overall it was a lot of fun, both drafting and playing. This set drafts very well. None of the Jedi are huge beats, there are lots of Jedi Hunter pieces around to contain them, and there is enough stealth and cloak to make it harder to run massive shooters. I do think that the Talz chieftain is one of the best pieces to pull, especially with Kota’s militia to back him up, double especially with RODIAN RAIDERS in the house. Dengar was also immense because with one accurate shooting character you can screen him and get Final Shot off pretty safely on many maps. His total damage output for the tournament was really high.

GMB from ATL

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