UPDATE FROM April 2021: While the lists in the match are quite dated, I find the thought process of how to approach turn 0 is still valid. Enjoy!
Hello and Welcome back for another battle report, this time, from round 1 of the Yavin Base Team League (YBTL). If you don’t know what the YBTL is, you can find out more by going to Yavinbase legion blog. Check it out!
This battle report is by guest author and teammate of mine, known to the online community as Screwtape. If there’s one thing Screwtape and I agree on, its the importance of turn 0. In his battle report, he shares the strategic thinking that went into everything he did during turn 0.
Screwtape vs. Stevens
Screwtape’s list 797 points
- Darth Vader – Force Push, Force Choke, Saber Throw
- Stormtroopers – naked
- Stormtroopers – DLT-19 x5
- Imperial Royal Guard – Electrostaff Guard
- Scout troopers Strike Team – sniper x2
Stevens’ list 800 points
- General Veers – Esteemed Leader
- Boba Fett – Hunter, E-stims
- Snowtrooper – Flametrooper, Frag Grenade, recon intel x3
- Stormtrooper – DLT-19 x3
- Scout strike team – sniper x3
The Bid – Phase 1
Garn asked for a battle report from the first game of the Yavin Base Team League. I told him that the report would be short because the game was mine to lose after turn 0. With that in mind, this report is going to be more of a turn 0 report.
Because I’m a Vader player (both online and offline) I will throw in tidbits for Vader players (all two 2 of us?) given how he, and his army, play differently from other commanders / armies.
Turn 0 begins with the bid. My assumption (and I guessed correctly this game) was there would be very low / non-existent bids now that KP has been altered. I went with a three point bid for two reasons. Firstly, I was happy with my army at 797. Secondly, I thought that if someone else had a spare 2 – 3 points, they would buy Hooks or Intel. (I mean … who doesn’t want Intel?) Thus, the bids would be 0 or 1 point. Three felt safe. I would bring close to 800 points, even if I guessed incorrectly and the bids were still in the 15 – 30 point range. Perhaps those ~20 points would help me win as red.
As I guessed, Stevens brought an 800 point army. Phase 1 of turn 0 was a win for me.
Defining the Battlefield – Phase 2
Phase 2 is battlefield definition. Endless was nice enough to stream the game, so I can capture the card selection
I knew there was one thing I wanted off the board for sure, Breakthrough. My logic is twofold. First, Boba, with Speed-3 and Jump, can win this objective alone. Second, I did not want to march my Storms into the Frag/Flame meat grinder (since, due to Boba, I would need the ability to score at LEAST one). Therefore, my first choice was easy, eliminate Breakthrough. Stevens eliminated Key Positions. Good choice!
With one veto remaining, I knew I did not want Disarray and I wanted Limited Visibility. I passed knowing that Stevens would probably veto Limited Visibility and, of course, he did.
Phase 2 of turn 0 was a push? I got Breakthrough off the table (good), but Limited Visibility was also out (bad).
Placing Objectives – Phase 3
Onto phase 3, placing objectives. In the following images my deployment (Battle Lines) is at the bottom of the image and Stevens is at the top.
I wanted to have an aggressive first placement. I went for the center of the board to try to force him into poor choices. In truth, this placement was probably a bit too far to his side of the board. I could have had similar results moving it a few inches closer to my side. The blue circle shows the area this placement excluded. My hope was to use the stairs for the approach. I would have heavy cover from the hill as well as from the barricade and the turret.
If he wanted “safe placements” (i.e. close to his deployment zone) to the left of this objective his only real option would be 1.
1 isn’t terrible as it would probably give heavy cover to the unit doing the objective. Although, a unit coming down off the hill on the far left would probably circumvent that cover and give open shots.
Option 2 would be out in the open. The large hill would block Line of Sight (LoS) but once around the hill the units on that objective would be in trouble. This option would also be bad for another reason; Vader would love to sneak around that LoS blocking terrain and eviscerate whatever poor unit happened to be stationed there. Lastly, option 2 is closer to my deployment zone.
Option 3 gives heavy cover from one approach (like option 1). However, option 3 is closer to more LoS blocking terrain (the hill to the right of it and the bunker above and to the left of it) than option 1. After deployment we will see why Stevens liked the right side of the board more than the left.
Stevens went with option 3. Probably the best choice. My next placement was far away from the first. Again, I liked having the hill to provide heavy cover from shots. My thought is that this would box him off from the left side of the board. You never really know what would happen in deployment, but I felt like the left side of the board was good for me. Lots of heavy terrain from the hills and LoS blocking terrain for Vader to sneak around and not be shot.
The options for Stevens’ last placement are terrible. Option 1 looks even worse now. I want to be on that hill for the objective I just placed. That would potentially negate cover from the boxes on that side. Option 2 isn’t much better as it has zero cover from attacks coming from the right edge of the board. I believe that Stevens already decided that he liked the right side of the board better due to more, and larger, LoS blocking terrain for his three sniper units. He selected option 2. Of the two, this was probably better? Both were bad choices.
After phase 3 I feel the game is mine to lose. I have legitimate plays for the two objectives I have placed, and I feel like I have legitimate plays for the to objectives Stevens has placed. My long range shooting (DLTs) can put serious pressure onto the two objectives he placed due to so little cover. Vader can make a play for the center objective. Perhaps my left objective doesn’t matter? But you never really know until deployment is over.
Here is what deployment looks like. The letter indicates the unit, the number indicates the order in which each unit was deployed. E.g. My first deployment (S 1) was my naked Stormtooper on the far right of the board, Stevens was a Storm with DLT (D 1) on the right side.
S = naked Stormtroopers
D = Stormtrooper with DLT
F = Snowtroopers with Flametrooper and Fragmentation Grenades
N = Scout Troopers Strike Team with DLT-19x Sniper
I = Imperial Royal Guards with Electrostaff_Guard
G = General Veers
B = Boba Fett
V = Darth Vader
I open with my naked storms on the far left objective, Stevens with DLT on his far right objective. Next, DLT at the base of the stairs for “my” middle objective, Stevens with DLT on “his” middle objective. My 3rd and 4th are two more DLTs shoring up the center and making a play for the right side of the map. Stevens’ 3rd and 4th are DLT to the center and Veers behind LoS blocking terrain.
With this early Veers placement, I can see where Maximum Firepower could target on round 1. I try not to not fear MF, but I have been stung in the past with 4 blanks to watch a DLT die after the first activation of the first round. No fun!
At this point I make a move to the left again. All his DLTs are out, as well as Veers. I know a sniper unit will be safe from MF. I place my first sniper on the left side. His 5th placement is a Snow pushing up the center.
At this point I have choices to make. I’m up two units on the left side. I’m 100% sure where Vader will be placed now. As a Vader player you must always think about Vader first. He is your centerpiece. Your opponent must attempt to take him down quickly or have a plan if they don’t. My rule for a “good” Vader game is to make sure that Vader is a 4 or fewer wounds after round 2. Because Vader at 5+ wounds may not see the end of round 3 (where he really starts to do serious work).
I now know where Vader must be placed. When placing Vader I ALWAYS consider where Vader will be at the end of round 1. Why is this important? Vader will be one of the (if not the) last activation for round 1 and round 2. You want the enemy to close the ground for you allowing Vader opportunities to use Saber Throw or, better yet, combo a Force Push with a melee attack. The highlighted barricade will be where Vader ends round 1. This will allow him heavy cover for most of (all of?) round 2. All incoming shots must go through that cover saving Vader wounds. This will (hopefully) give me a “good” Vader game going into round 3 with four or fewer wounds.
From this heavy cover Vader can then move into light cover (better than nothing) on round 2. From this crater he has options. Anyway, back to deployment.
My 6th and 7th deployments show more attention to the center of the map. His 6th and 7th show more Snows to the center as well as snipers behind LoS blocking terrain.
At this point I have three units: IRG, Vader, and one DLT. I am still not 100% sure where the DLT will go.
My thought, at this point, is that Boba is going to solo flank the right. I don’t think that Stevens will allow my naked Storms to get the objective without a fight. If he does place Boba there do I use my last DLT to contest it? What if he commits more than just Boba to the left? If does does commit more would I just abandon the objective? What to do with this last DLT?
I choose to place the IRG and Vader for my 8th and 9th wanting to see what he does before I commit my last DLT. I know these two placements are already set it stone for me. Vader will be placed to get the barricade on round 1. The IRG will be placed to give Vader Guardian 2 cover when Stevens spends activations to kill the Dark Lord.
Stevens’ 8th and 9th are more Snipers to the right. With one set and Snows and Boba, I commit my DLT to the far right, hoping to overrun the objective on the far right. Stevens closes with more Snows to the center and a solo Boba to cover the left objective.
Closing thoughts on turn 0
With turn 0 now over how do I feel? I still feel like this is my game to lose. Unless there is crazy luck, or I make a terrible blunder, I should use my long range fire to annihilate anything that Stevens sends to “his” objectives. I have multiple firing lanes that will provide my units with cover while his units will be in the open.
The Snows are scary, but Vader isn’t scared of Snows. At range they shoot white, in close they will be in melee. Vader also has a perfect spot to move twice on round 1 AND be in heavy cover for round 2. It doesn’t get any better for the Dark Lord. From his potential ending spot on round 2 he can influence two different objectives (the two centermost ones).
The left flank is an odd one. Who “won” this side of the deployment? Hard to say. I deployed 2 units at a cost of 88 points (naked Storms 44, Snipers 44). Stevens deployed 154 points (Boba with Hunter and Emergency Stims) with just Boba.
I had (assuming 6 rounds) 24 potential actions on the left flank, while he had only 12 potential actions. I knew that those two units had zero chance to kill Boba. Boba would kill them and make some points on that objective. My plan was to get the VP on the objective ASAP and then hide out of line of sight as much as possible. Hopefully, Boba would spend many of his 12 actions chasing and shooting, instead of earning VPs from the objective. Also, with Boba fighting my two units and scoring that objective, the odds are very low that he will be able to have enough time to fly to the other side of the board and attempt to kill Vader. The 1 VP Bounty can swing Sabotage from a tie (win on points killed) to a VP victory for the Bounty Hunter.
The Battle Plan
Here is a map of what was in my mind after turn 0. I would make a play for the two center objectives and the right objective. I was unsure how the left objective would play out.
- D10 squad would clear out his DLT squad on the far right, as they would have no cover, and damage that objective.
- D6 squad would do the same to “his” center objective.
- D4 squad had two options to cover 10 or 6, depend on the outcome of the dice.
- D3 squad would push to “his” center objective.
- D2 would run up the stairs for “my” center objective
Vader and the IRG would push the center and move the right or the left depending on how Stevens moved.
My two poor left flank units would cap the VPs quickly and hold on.
In the end we both had good rolls and bad rolls. round one my D2 squad ran up the stairs, hit 4 at one of his Snows in the open, and Stevens blanked the defense roll, losing a Flamer in round 1.
The next round he returned the favor to that very same DLT squad but running another unit of Snows up, hitting all 8 (without using his aim!) and I only blocked 2 removing he DLT from the board.
I sent two squads of DLTs to the right side, they wiped out his DLT and scored 2 points of the far right objective.
I sent 2 squads of DLTs to “his” center objective (with support from Vader) and scored 2 points.
Vader moved to “my” center objective, cleared two squads of Snows and scored 2 points. The IRG did their job soaking wounds for Vader.
The left flank went about as well as it could. I put two wounds on the objective early. Boba swooped in, killed everyone, and removed my two VPs. That objective was a push, 0 for both of us.
Final score Screwtape 6 – Stevens 0.
Here is the Vader score card:
Total dice rolled 15, only 6 damage inflicted. To that, Dark Lord I say … most UNimpressive.
Choke covered up for the bad dice. Choke was used 4 times to kill 2 Flamers and 2 Snow leaders. The two Snow leader kills did take those activations off the board, so not bad.
Thanks for reading!