On December 6 and 7, a little under one hundred people descended on the Pennsylvania Convention Center for the first System Open of the 2020 series. Being the first in the new Hyperspace-form of System Open and given the late announcement (two weeks prior to the event), the low attendance is perhaps understandable; players who had registered for the event prior to the announcement either cancelling their ticket or not attending for a variety of reasons – disappointing for them and for the competitive X-Wing community as a whole, but not necessarily surprising.
Being Hyperspace, the range of list diversity was going to be smaller than I think anyone would like; and with four T-70s (especially low Initiative T-70s), I’d need to avoid Imperial Aces and Triple Jedi if I was to have any chance of competitive success: the downside of the event being before January’s rebalance.
Game 1 vs Jesse – Vader, Soontir, Duchess
Imperial Aces, great…
I started the game aggressive, using prodigious use of the T-70’s four-forward and native boost to force an engagement on my terms. The first engagement saw both Vader and Duchess halved for half points on Temmin, which was a favourable result for me. I made a crucial mistake the following turn, changing Bastian’s lock from Vader to Duchess before she died, meaning Vader could swing back in without feeling too cautious.
Temmin was second to fall, followed by Soontir and the Blue Rookie. Bastian and Jess, both on half, vs a 2-hull Vader should be easy, right? No. I couldn’t push the damage through, having changed that lock from Bastian and being unable to really reacquire it.
Result: Loss 130-something – 200
Jesse would later go on to make Top 4, well done sir!
Game 2 vs Marc – Resistance Beef
Early engagements yielded poor or worse results, often netting one hit with a double-modified shot that was then promptly evaded even by a one agility Resistance Transport; being brutally honest with myself, I wasn’t flying at my best, and was on the ropes from the moment my dice first went cold on me.
Fortunately, the dice swung back in the final turn of the game. Last-minute heroics from Bastian and Temmin managed to cinch me a win by seven measly MoV.
This was a game I don’t think I deserved to win based on my early strategic decisions, but also probably did not deserve to lose based on my absolutely atrocious luck, which would come back to bite me again later on in the day.
Result: 131-124 Win
Game 3 vs Justin – Vennie, Rey, Greer
This game was brutal. The initial engagement saw Rey dropped to one hull before dying to a Console Fire the following turn. Vennie then found herself surrounded and killed while Greer, despite putting up a valiant fight, found herself corralled into a corner before the end came for her.
Result: 200-24 Win
Game 4 vs Tom – Grievous, 2x Fethan Autopilots, 2x TF Drones, Baktoid Prototype
Ever have a game where you can’t hit anything? This was that game. Three shots into the Baktoid Prototype, one of which was double-modded, no damage. Tom’s evades were as hot as my attack dice were cold, and his attack dice were as hot as my evades decided they were taking their union-mandated lunch break.
Bastian managed to one-hit-kill a Trade Federation Drone and Temmin finally put the kill hit on the Bomber, but it wasn’t enough to recover from a few disastrous turns of combat.
Struts need to go up to two points, I think, the ability for things to land on rocks or debris without penalty then rotate to their heart’s content while still getting actions means that you’ve got two choices when fighting against Droids – take gas clouds, or hope they screw up. Neither happened in this game.
Result: 58-200 Loss
Game 5 vs Ben – Obi-Wan, Plo, Luminara
Who doesn’t love Regen Jedi? Oh wait, my list. Ben is a lovely guy, and a great player, but no amount of description or analysis of my moves or his moves will change the simple fact of the matter that Jedi were always going to wipe the floor with this list.
And they did.
Game 6 vs James – Sun Fac and Maul
This list was…interesting. James had gone 2-0 early in the event and then dropped to play with the fun people down at the 2-3 level. Maul with Dooku is bad enough, but when you’re also factoring in Sun Fac? I was in trouble.
Enter Blue Rookie, Hero of the Resistance.
Banking across a rock, the Rookie blocked Sun Fac. Sun Fac tried to tractor Bastian onto the same rock, failed because of angles, and promptly missed. Jess did, well, Jess things…and Bastian finished the Nantex off with a range one shot with both Focus and Target Lock.
Maul put up a fight; stripping Temmin and Jess of their shields, but he couldn’t quite do enough damage to get anyone off the board. Bastian half-pointed himself on a Proximity Mine which I knew was coming and decided to do the K-Turn anyway (Maul had like three Hull left anyway so the game was mostly in the bag by this point), before James conceded before losing Maul to the Rookie (who more than earned his fancy blue paint scheme).
Result: 200-24 win.
Overall Result: 3-3, 45th/98
3-3 echoes my performance at the UKSO and 45th out of 98 is better than 299th out of 560-something. So I can be pleased I haven’t gotten worse. That said, I’m disappointed I didn’t do better. Still, it was a fun event, and I got to meet the legendary Dion Morales, Dee Yun, Chris Allen, Marcel Manzano and Paul Heaver; all of whom are really nice people with an abundance of enthusiasm for the game; if these people were in charge, X-Wing wouldn’t have any problems at all.
The points rebalance and alleged changes to Hyperspace can’t come soon enough. I wasn’t alone in feeling a little annoyed by the format change so close to the event, especially since the changes will affect every other competitive event of the 2020 season except this one: had this been Extended or post-change Hyperspace, I might have done better. I may also have done worse. The fact that I only faced one Nantex is fortunate, I believe there were four at the event spread across three lists, but I couldn’t avoid running into Jedi – I used to love flying them, but now I’ve sold mine and have to fly against them, I now understand where people were coming from.
I leave you with an obligatory swag pic before I pack away my X-Wing until the New Year’s points are released, crack open my Black-Friday Legion stuff, and start learning how to play a game that, while not a replacement for competitive X-Wing, will probably allow me a chance to breathe and reflect on why I play these games and really, whether or not competitive play is my thing after all.
If I don’t write any further entries beforehand, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, etc and a Happy New Year! May 2020 bring balance to the meta, allow us to see through the lies of the Jedi, and introduce Baby Yoda to the game!