Swarm Power! – Gamerz Nexus X-Wing Store Championship Report (Part 1)

Happy Easter everyone! Today’s offering is a report of last Sunday’s X-Wing tournament at Gamerz Nexus in Rayleigh, Essex. The tournament was a late-starter (5pm) so with a four round swiss followed by the cut, everyone knew it had the potential to be a very very long night…

To begin, let us examine my list:

Tala Squadron Z-95 x4
Bandit Squadron Z-95 x4

Eight ships, dead on 100 points, and a healthy mix of Pilot Skill four and two. I’d never run a swarm competitively before, and had been actively advised against running this list… As you can see, I ignored that advice😉

Game One (Rob) – Wild Space Fringer (Outrider), Blue Squadron Pilot x2, Bandit Squadron Pilot

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Turn one saw the B-Wings and evil Bandit turn in towards the swarm, while the Outrider moved straight forward in an attempt to remain at a decent range for its Heavy Laser Cannons. The Swarm moved forward as quickly as it could manage, but there was no shooting.

Turn two saw the B-Wings and evil Bandit  move forward a lot slower while the Outrider turned left to engage the swarm and the swarm split up to engage the multitude of targets approaching it. The initial fire exchange saw a Bandit blown away by four Heavy Laser Cannon hits which weren’t evaded, but in return the Outrider and the evil Bandit both lost two shields.

Turn three saw the ranges closing up. A Tala Squadron Z-95 was destroyed in exchange for five shields and a hull point from one of the enemy B-Wings and a further three shields from the Outrider.

In turn four, the evil Rebels were bunched up to the point they all crashed into one-another while the Outrider blasted straight forward away from range one and back into Heavy Laser Cannon range. The bunching caused the remaining Talas to crash as the Bandits all K-Turn, the following round of shooting bringing down another Tala in exchange for the damaged B-Wing.

Turn five saw the ships break away from one-another, with the remaining evil Rebel fighters K-Turning and the Outrider trying to flee. The Outrider took two criticals and a hit from the pursuing Z-95s, injuring and blinding the pilot and preventing it from shooting that round.

Turn six saw the fleets moving in against one another again, with the Outrider suffering yet another Blinded Pilot result while the evil Bandit is swarmed and destroyed.

Turn seven saw the fight devolve into a turning knife-fight, and while my fleet had more firepower overall, it was feeling like it lacked the dice to do any decisive damage. That being said, the swarm stripped all five shields and a hull point from the surviving B-Wing for the loss of a Bandit.

Turns eight and nine saw the evil B-Wing attempt to K-Turn onto an asteroid, losing a hull point in the process. The remaining ships from the swarm followed and surrounded the Outrider, hitting it just enough to blow it out of space before they simultaneously K-Turned to blow the remaining B-Wing from the board.

Result: 100-50 victory

Game Two (Chris) – Rear Admiral Chiraneau, Carnor Jax, Academy Pilot

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Turn one saw the two squadrons accelerate towards each other at full speed, with Jax attempting to flank the swarm. Because of the Decimator moving so quickly with a large base, some shooting happened turn one – with a Bandit losing two shields and a second Bandit losing a single shield because of Ruthlessness. In return, Chiraneau lost three shields of his own.

Turn two saw everything close to point blank range. Chiraneau crashes into a Bandit and unleashes his rage on the shieldless Bandit, but in return finds himself the focus of the swarm’s wrath – his ship reduced from two remaining shields and twelve hull to a meagre five hull.

Turn three saw the Academy Pilot crash into an asteroid while Carnor continues to try and flank the swarm as it continues to surround and pursue Chiraneau – resulting in the Decimator becoming free-floating atoms.

First Decimator kill EVER!

Turns four and five saw the swarm divert its attention to Jax’s lovely red Interceptor, with the exception of the one critical that sneaks through onto the Academy Pilot and causes a Direct Hit!

Turns six and seven were essentially the end-game. First the swarm surrounded Jax and blew him away despite his preventing me spending focus tokens, and the Academy pilot fell to the guns of the swarm soon after.

Result: 100-12 victory

Game Three (Tom) – Soontir Fel, Howlrunner, Academy Pilot x4

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Swarm vs swarm… This couldn’t end well…

Turn one saw everything move foward to engage, the Imperials moving a little more sedately than I would have imagined…

Turn two saw me make my game-changing mistake. The swarm moved four forward, while the Academy Pilots had moved five forward – leaving me out of arc and out of position. My shooting accomplished absolutely nothing, and for my mistake I lost a Bandit.

Turn three saw pretty much everything K-Turn with the exception of Fel, who was off doing his own thing as he is wont to do. Howlrunner crashes into an asteroid, much to my opponent’s annoyance (and probably why from this point on he argued every close call he stood to benefit from). Here I get my revenge for my early mistake, stripping two hull points from an Academy Pilot and blowing Howlrunner off the asteroid she had perched on.

Turn four was a bit of a clusterfrag, with everything getting so close it crashed. Fel picked off a Z-95 while another Bandit picked off the damaged Academy Pilot.

Turn five saw some appalling flying on my part, with every ship crashing into another. There was (thankfully) no shooting however, I’d gotten away with this mistake!

Turns six and seven saw the minutes winding down. My opponent liked to take his time with his dials, which you can’t really afford to do with a swarm, and I was beginning to wonder if he was deliberately running down the clock because he was (at this point) going to get a modified win. That being said, the two final turns saw Fel kill a Tala in return for two Academy Pilots and two hull from Fel. Three hits against the damaged Interceptor at range one were met by three natural evades just after time was called – jammy bastard!

Result: 54-37 victory

Game Four (Dan) – Boba Fett (scum), Black Sun Soldier x3

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I hate scum Boba, I just want to get that out now – the ability to re-roll a die for every ship in range one is broken, it should be one per turn.

Turn one saw the Bandits all turn to face their opponents while the Black Sun and Boba all charge forward.

Turn two saw everything move into closer range, with Boba hitting a Bandit for two shields and a hull, but without taking any damage in reply (damn Heavy Laser Cannon…)

Turn three saw the Black Sun Soldiers crash and Fett piled into the back of them. Shooting from both sides accomplished nothing.

Turn four saw the Talas strip three shields and a hull from Boba in return for one Tala losing two shields and a hull, the final hit point being claimed by a Black Sun Soldier while a second Soldier kills the damaged Bandit. In return, the remaining Bandits pull three hull from Boba.

Turn five saw the Bandits and Talas deliberately crash so Boba cannot move (no actions for you!) and converge on the Black Sun Soldiers. Boba’s shooting is ineffective, while the Bandits swarm and destroy one of the Black Sun Soldiers.

Turn six saw the swarm scatter in a (successful) attempt to continue to prevent Boba moving and manage to knock two shields from a Black Sun Soldier, although this is punished (rather vindictively in my opinion) for the loss of a Tala.

Turn seven saw Fett bumping (again) while the remaining Black Sun Soldier tries to flee and in the attempt blows a Bandit out of space.

Turns eight and nine saw the remaining ships attempt (and fail) to block Boba, though they do manage to kill the remaining Black Sun Soldier and then finally manage to not only block Fett one last time, but also get enough hits through that not even his broken re-roll power could save him!

Result: 100-50 victory

So ended the swiss, at about 9.30PM. We were all tired, and though I knew I’d done well I wasn’t aware of how well anyone else had done… Turns out I was the only person with four wins, which put me into first place… My good friend Pete was in second, Tom (with the Imperial swarm) was third and Dan’s broken Fett list had come fourth.

All that was needed now was to play two more rounds and see which one of us would be crowned store champion. It was going to be a long night!

But that’s a story for another time, I think…

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