Hello loyal readers!
Welcome to part two of three of my World Championships report for Imperial Assault. Last time, we had a look at the list that I played and all the others I considered, as well as why I ended up playing what I did. This time, I’ve gotten my team ready and I’m ready to dive into the swiss rounds of the tournament and see just how all my meta calls and decisions have paid off (or not). After travelling such a great distance, it was time to play the game that had brought me here and represent Australia in the roles of both the only Australian playing and, of course, the national champion. I was intent on bringing home the trophy and showing the world that the land down under has got some serious game. With that said, it all started off with:
Round 1 ~Nationals Bye~
Well, I earned it, right? I noticed that some people in other games were purposely not taking their byes (the Australian Armada Champion forwent his, only to naturally receive the bye in the first round!), but for Imperial Assault, I could see no reason not to take it. Thankfully, I saw Constant Motion, one of my least favourite missions, leave the map pool this round. This meant that of the remaining maps, most of them favoured my team (To Your Stations, Surveillance and Lair of the Dianoga mainly). Considering that 4-2 with good strength of schedule would make the top cut, this was a great thing for my chances.
Round 2 ~Jorgen (Imperial/To Your Stations!)
Squad: 2 Elite Stormtrooper (1 w Cross Training), Elite ISB Infiltrator, 2 Elite Probe Droids, Regular Imperial Officer, Rule By Fear, Zillo Technique
Of all the games I played, this is one of the one’s I can’t remember too well, probably because it was the one that was longest ago. That said, I can remember what a top bloke Jorgen was! I know that I managed to gain a significant advantage in this one due to control of the turrets (I finished off a Stormtrooper and an ISB Infiltrator in a single round!). I also learned that it is super important to always be sure to declare all of my abilities, even if they’re assumed *cough* Battlefield Leadership *cough*. After the game, Jorgen showered me in promos as well (after finding out that I was relatively new to the game), and the day was off to an excellent start with both a pleasant opponent and, of course, a win.
Round 3 ~Jason (Imperial/Lair of the Dianoga)
Squad: Agent Blaise, 2 Elite Stormtrooper (1 w Cross Training), Elite Snowtrooper, 2 Regular Imperial Officer, Zillo Technique
This map, as well as To Your Stations, is pretty much the optimal missions for my team. Obi-Wan and Leia can do more than half to it in a single round, and between Luke and the Saboteurs, it’s very easy to score more than twenty points from it in round one. As it turned out, that was pretty much what happened (he scored six, I scored nineteen). From there, Obi-Wan charged head on into the enemy army, soaking up many Stormtrooper shots before going down (but not before heavily wounding Blaise).
There was a very interesting timing situation which came up during this game which ended up working in my favour, but I emphasise it here because it stresses again the importance of a clear timing diagram, which is still lacking in Imperial Assault (it’s there, but not easy to understand). I went for a big snipe on an Imperial Officer with one of my focused Sabs. From so far away, it seemed like I was going to miss on accuracy. After asking my opponent if he was fine to let the dice stand, I used Lock On to add three accuracy, allowing me to snipe the Imperial Officer and cause huge blast damage. Jason rerolled into an X, and that’s when the judge got called to clarify that he now couldn’t reroll because we’d passed that step. It’s a subtle thing, but very important.
Even though I scored nineteen points from the Dianoga, I ended up pretty much chopping up the Imperial army anyway. At the end of the game, Jason was left with only elite Stormtroopers and an officer. I was growing more and more confident in my team.
Round 4 ~Sam (Imperial/Surveillance)
Squad: Agent Blaise, 2 Elite Stormtrooper w Cross Training, Elite Snowtrooper, Regular Imperial Officer, Rule By Fear, Zillo Technique
Imperial again! This game started off fairly slowly, with neither of us opening Sam’s door on turn one, and Obi-Wan charging up to contest Sam’s terminal and drop a camera for a sneaky four points (to Sam’s one). Obi-Wan then charged in to try and put an end to Agent Blaise, but Sam played it smart and discarded for Zillo to leave him on three, just enough to allow him to survive Force Surge. The firefight continued, with both sides taking heavy casualties. However, Reinforcements came for Sam, and the battle was decidedly against the Rebels
On the very last turn of the game, the score was 34 to me and 36 to Sam, with his activation first. I was left with a very exposed Gideon, 3PO and Luke to his group of two Stormtroopers, another group of three, and an officer. I thought Sam would go straight for Gideon, but he instead opted to try and take down 3PO with no success, thanks to a timely non-rerolled X dodging the Tough Luck in his hand. Sam then decided to focus on taking out as many cameras as possible, but Luke was still able to plant a final camera to see all six remaining figures and secure the game, 38 to 40 on the last turn.
Just a note, if Sam had killed 3PO, he would have ended on 39, not 40 (he would not have been spotted by a camera!), so whilst the X was fortunate, it wasn’t the defining roll of the game.
At this point, I was fairly certain I was locked for top 16, which was a bit of a relief. Even if I lost the next two, I figured I would still end up around the 12th to 16th mark. With that, I entered the next two rounds with much less tension.
Round 5 ~Curtis (Mercenary/One Man’s Trash)
Squad: Bantha Rider, Regular Nexu, Regular HK Assassin Droid, Elite Tusken Raider, Gideon Argus, Regular Rebel Smuggler, Greedo, Temporary Alliance, Devious Scheme, Beast Tamer
Having played a Bantha to great success at my national championship, I honestly had never played against one myself, so this was going to be an interesting learning experience. Early on, we both went for the doors, with me having a much easier time breaking it open. R2-D2 opened up the top door where the Bantha was, allowing my focused Rebel Saboteur to take a shot at and try and stun the Bantha; unfortunately, I rolled great damage but no surges. I ended up sending Luke up there as well to try and bait the Bantha away from the main squad, and this succeeded; I also lined the three up in a triangle like formation, which happened to ensure that Luke would always end up outside of trample range.
I use the word “happened” because this was not at all intentional genius play by me, but a happy accident which I then used to my advantage in the next round too. Sometimes, things just work out. Not this game, though. Even without trample, Jundland Terror and Crush, the Bantha managed to take Luke and R2-D2 out before either of them activated on round two. However, this did allow my Rebel Saboteur to sneak into his back line and fire a very fortunate shot off at Gideon, blasting everyone for some light damage and allowing the second focused Sab to get in a sneaky shot too to heavily damage Gideon and the HKs, also eliminating the Smuggler.
From there, however, things just fell apart. A few key die rolls didn’t quite fall my way (Gideon died in a single hit to a Tusken!) and I was already too far behind to make a catchup. In the end, the Bantha dropped off a box to seal the game, and deliver me my first loss of the tournament.
The standings were posted after this round and basically confirmed my thoughts; I had the highest strength of schedule out of all 4-1 players, meaning that even if I lost this next one, I’d make it in. That is when the real games would begin. Still, with a promo Han Solo on the line, I wanted to play hard and win my next round.
Round 6 ~Alex (Rebels/Fallout)
Squad: Leia Organa, Luke Skywalker, 2 Elite Rebel Saboteur, R2-D2, C-3PO, Gideon Argus.
I won the initiative roll off (which I absolutely did not want) and set up with Luke, Leia and R2 near the locked door (Battlefield Leadership would blast it open, allowing R2 to draw a card immediately) and the rest of my team in position to grab the broken droids. Alex, however, set up his entire squad outside the command room. Not wanting to lose R2 and cede the terminal, I decided to run my squad back to the command room. This, I believe, proved to be my undoing.
Aggressive chains of command cards in the form of Change of Plans and Squad Swarm meant that my figures were very quickly being gunned down by waves of Sab salvos. Although I did manage to take out Leia and some Sabs, it simply wasn’t enough, and soon my whole squad succumbed to the positioning advantage I’d foolishly handed him. Had I just let R2-D2 fall and gone for the objectives (I would have gotten all three), perhaps this would have been a very different game.
After two humbling losses, it was time to check myself. I’d only gone 3-0 really (thanks to the bye) and whilst I was able to ride my strength of schedule to 12th place and the cut, it was all down to business now. I feel I had gotten a little complacent and careless during my last two games, and I couldn’t have any more of that going into the top 16.
I was certainly overall pleased with how the team had performed; despite many believing otherwise, I feel like Rebel heroes had performed exceptionally well. There was not a single game where I felt overwhelmingly behind or pressured; in fact, I felt like I was more than able to pressure my opponents at least as much as they were me. After defeating three Imperial opponents consecutively, I felt confident that, as long as I could get past my Alex rematch in the Top 16, I had a solid chance of taking it out, especially if I ran into Imperial players. How did it all pan out? Well, that’s a story for next time.
Thanks for reading and, until next time, MTFBWY!