Greetings all, and welcome to the last entry from this blog in 2018!
It’s been an interesting few weeks in the X-Wing world; the worldwide release of Wave 2 has happened, we’ve been treated to the first looks of what the Hyperspace half of the Organised Play tree will look like for the first six months of 2019.
Others have already gone into detail about how Hyperspace and Extended differ (PhilGC has written about this several times, his latest entry went live while I was writing this one), and there has been a great deal of discussion on the topic on both Social Media and the FFG forums (not all of it positive). Personally, I’m a fan of not having to worry about Punishers or Phantoms in every Imperial list, though I see the points many players are making about the restrictions being just that; restrictive. It will be interesting to see, with a lot less Trajector Simulator Proton Bombs being thrown around or Quadjumpers generally ruining people’s lives with Tractor Beams, whether some old favourites start seeing a revival: much as I detest the Admiral Sloane card (not that we’ll be seeing her) and still fail to effectively combat large numbers of ships, I think it’ll be nice to see an old-fashioned Imperial TIE Swarm again.
In other news, the local gaming group (TNX Squadron) have started yet another league at Warboar; it’s simple enough, play one game against everyone else in your designated group before the league ends like a giant round-robin tournament. As I’d not participated in the previous leagues, I find myself in Group 3 with such august bodies as Joel North (author of It’s Getting Hot in Here), Dale Cromwell (current Italian National Champion), and Martin (who I have, at time of writing, still never beaten). I think my chances of winning the group are slim at best, but I can at least give it a good go! In addition to playing many rounds of the game we all love, each group appears to have developed its own little gimmick; some are playing a format where both players agree to use either Hyperspace or Extended lists, while Group 3 is playing it in Hangar Bay format for those who are able; I’ve been running both of my triple X-Wing lists (one Rebel, one Resistance) and have had reasonable success. To make it even more interesting for my opponent and I, I’m generally laying out Poe and Wedge on the table and asking my opponent (or another player nearby) to pick the card and decide what I fly. It’s been…interesting, to say the least!
I do quite enjoy the Hangar Bay format for playing, though the reverse-Hangar Bay is arguably more fun, as your opponent decides what you fly and they decide what they fly. It’s a great way to mix things up and ensure that you’re not going to have to fly the same list four or five times a day, which can be both mentally taxing and a little dull.
That wasn’t going to be the case this Sunday, however, as Warboar hosted their Christmas Tournament: four rounds with more goodies from the Wave 2 kit as prize support. With a lot of the usual suspects busy with family in the run-up to Christmas, I might even stand a chance of coming top ten! But what to fly? What to fly? An event really isn’t the time to start experimenting, but Poe/Rey needs investigating, as do the RZ-2s. I’ve also never flown Luke Skywalker, which is an oversight that needs correcting in the New Year, especially in the run up to the Hyperspace Trial being hosted by Warboar in March. The decision came down to either of my triple-X lists: the first being three T-65s all firing at I6, but Garven really hasn’t been pulling his weight/sharing focus tokens like he’s meant to and I’m tempted to drop him for something else (perhaps Norra again?); the other option is the Heroic T-70s, which while a more expensive list overall, has more shenanigans and, unlike the T-65 list, can operate independently of one-another.
I’ve had more practice and greater success with the Rebels (12 wins from 15 games), but the Resistance (6 wins from 9 games) are more fun to play, and I started this week wondering if I’d played too many games too quickly since 2.0 came out. Fun it is, then! Now to see if I have a suitably-garish Christmas jumper to wear!
Fast forward to Sunday morning…
Nope, no Christmas jumper! I shall just have to be boring and wear a hoodie or something (which would be warmer)!
I also had a touch of last-minute list anxiety when I saw people unpacking their stuff. In the end, I picked blind with the assistance of another player, and ended up running Rebels rather than the Resistance.
Game 1 vs. Malc – Redline, Deathrain, Lieutenant Sai
Oh joy, Punishers…
My opening manoeuvres were bold, boosting straight up the left-hand side of the board and forcing Malc to turn to engage. Sai kept bumping thanks to her placement on the outside edge of his formation, preventing any actions being taken. The initial engagement saw Deathrain deleted, and the subsequent phase saw Sai halved and Garven killed.
Things went south so badly immediately following Garven’s death. My dice went ice cold, and Thane found himself joining Red Leader (in the Blue X-Wing) in death. Sai didn’t last long, but with Wedge now down to half points, and Redline reloading Torpedoes, it was going to be an issue. I was having visions of a reversal of my last game against Malc, with him soloing my entire list just with Redline. Fortunately for me, the damage started to pile up and Malc misunderstood the wording of Loose Stabiliser, K-Turned himself into a one-shot kill, and was promptly dispatched by a range three hail mary shot from Wedge.
Final result, 200-150 Victory.
Game 2 vs Simon – Nien Nunb, Ello Asty, and Ben Teene
This was going to be interesting; Simon was flying a Resistance Bomber and two T-70s so he could throw bombs around and still claim it as Hyperspace Legal. I’ve not fought against the Resistance, yet, so this ticked the fifth and final faction from my list.
As in the first game, the initial engagement claimed a victim; this time Nien Nunb. Unlike the previous game, I only fired one Torpedo to do it. Thane and Wedge both lost a shield, which did not prevent them turning in against Ben Teene the next turn and crippling him. Ello and Ben weren’t going down without a fight, however, as Garven and Thane were both brought down to half points by highly-accurate return fire.
The one-hull Garven nailed Ben on the following turn, while a one-hull Thane bugged out through the Asteroid field. Ello, now shield-less, found himself going one-on-one with a full-health Wedge at Range One; a situation that proved to have disastrous consequences.
Result: 200-58 Victory
Game 3 vs Osman – Redline, Deathrain, Deathfire
Oh joy, more Punishers…
I’ve now drawn both Punisher lists attending the event, and I’m beginning to wonder if they know how much I loathe them and fate is cruelly intervening to ensure I suffer them as many times as possible?
I screwed up here, slightly. The initial deployment saw all three X-Wings facing off against Deathrain, so I decided to turn and engage somewhere else, on my terms. This bit me in the behind, and bit me hard when I killed Deathfire (who had K-Turned in front of me), who then dropped a Proximity Mine on Thane (stripping his shields), who in turn ate a Torpedo from Deathrain. After that it was an uphill struggle, and one that I can’t say was the most enjoyable of experiences, but nor was it my worst – the two named Punishers simply have a bit too much action efficiency to be healthy, especially Redline with his free Target Lock nonsense.
I bugged out, managing to put damage on Redline and Deathrain on the way. I had a kill-shot lined up on Deathrain with Garven, but he was just a touch outside of Range One so could not benefit from Swarm Tactics, and ate a Torpedo before he could fire.
I finally managed to get Redline and Deathrain both down to two Hull. Wedge was half-pointed and stressed, and time was running out. I also really needed the bathroom by this point. I’d ditched the R4 Astromechs weeks ago, and suddenly I was missing them immensely. All I had to do was get myself into a position to kill one of them, and the match was (probably) mine.
Unfortunately, I second-guessed myself. Instead of doing a 2 turn to chase down Redline or a 1 bank to engage Deathrain head-on (the safer option), I did 2-bank which narrowly avoided missing a Proximity Mine (and only because I clipped Deathrain’s base). No shooting, the points were tallied…
123 – 150 Loss. If only I’d done a one bank, it could have been so different… (If my maths are right, I would have come third instead of sixth! But coulda, woulda, shoulda…) Still, not bad for a Hyperspace list in a mostly-Extended environment!
It was a great way to finish the year, having played way too many games over too short a period of time! (I’ve recorded 59 games on LaunchBayNext, but I only started recording there after the Wave 1 tournament that wasn’t in October, and I’ve played a number of games I’ve neglected to tally). I’m now going to rethink my list a bit; Garven isn’t pulling his weight, and I think another pilot might be better (maybe a Y-Wing such as Norra Wexley, or a Partisan U-Wing such as Magva Yarro). That’s something I can worry about next year, however, as I have family to see, food to eat, and models to paint when I’m not doing either of those.
I’d like to express my sincere thanks to everyone who has supported the revival of this blog; it doesn’t get the most likes or the most views, but every one I get means a lot to me, and it wouldn’t be here without your support.
I hope everyone enjoys the holiday season, and I’ll see you all in 2019!