Journey to PAX Unplugged – System Open the Second

Back in April, I attended the UK System Open, which I believe remains to this day the largest X-Wing event ever. Things did not start well, having purchased (well, re-purchased) my ticket during a low point in my competitive X-Wing career. I finally settled on a list, a modified version of the “Danger Zone” Resistance list, but my five play-test games had not gone particularly well, leading me to believe I was making something of a mistake. Fortunately the event went reasonably well, going 3-3 in the main event and ending up 299th; a score I hope to better (since I doubt there’ll be 299 players) at the Philadelphia System Open hosted at PAX Unplugged in exactly one month.

Annoyingly, System Opens in the US appear to be connected to larger events, meaning you need a ticket for the event and the tournament, bumping up costs fairly significantly. Fortunately, I live close enough to the event that I won’t be needing a hotel, otherwise we’d be looking at a pretty expensive weekend!

So, tickets bought, what to fly? I’ve got three weeks to practice, since my FLGS has X-Wing nights on Thursdays and the last Thursday it’ll be closed for Thanksgiving (and all that yummy Turkey); it’s not a lot of time to conjure up a new list and get the reps in, so I’ll likely be resorting to an old favourite. But what?

  1. Danger Zone is a competitor; it served me well in the past but that was before the points change, having become more expensive since then. That said, without Trick Shot on L’ulo, it probably still comes in below 190 points to ensure I move second against most things. Nantices and deep-pocketed Imperial Aces/Jedi will probably still outbid me, so I can probably play with whatever points I have left (Autoblasters on Nien, perhaps?). Still, that’s one list I’m reasonably confident with, though my competency with Resistance Aces has never been anywhere near 100% and this room is going to be as tough as the UKSO was, but with tighter margins between below average, average, and above average player skill.
  2. 5x RZ-2s is always a solid choice; they served me well at Highlander Games despite not a whole lot of practice beforehand, and are definitely my backup option should nothing else pan out. Though running without a bid still feels weird, if I can block a Nantex and deny its action, I stand a decent chance of bringing it down with focus-fire if I need to. Crucially, this list is also less susceptible to Torkil Mux shenanigans than many of my other lists.
  3. 4x X-Wings, be they T-65 or T-70 variety. Simple to fly, reasonably manoeuvrable, and tanky to boot. Biggs with some Red Veterans with Selfless or four Black Aces with Heroic are my current ponderings; the latter’s I4 giving me the opportunity to trade simultaneous fire with meta staples like Grievous or Chertek should I need to, while also giving me options to outflank or arc-dodge lower-Initiative pilots should the need arise. Only problem is, I’d need a fourth X-Wing and the required cards/tokens (I left all of my generic bits back in the UK because I was on a Unique pilots-only rampage at the time).
  4. Rebel Aces, whatever that may be. I’ve currently got a few ideas how to run this; all of them involving Wedge and Luke (who should, in my opinion, star in every Rebel list) with one or two friends. I’ve got ideas about Torpedoes and Jake Farrell, upgrade-lite with Jake and Arvel Crynyd, or throwing Thane Kyrell or Corran Horn into the mix and running a three-ship build of some form. Though all of these appeal to me one way or another, the Torpedo-throwing shenanigans of Wedge/Luke/Jake probably appeals to me most. The issue is I am uncertain exactly how to engage with it, so I will probably choose one of the other options simply for simplicity’s sake, and for the sake of my own psyche and/or ego when it comes to playing the game and probably getting it wrong.

Of the above, the only thing I haven’t tried yet is the four X-Wings; mainly because, as I said, I don’t own four. Though I could get a fourth and repaint it in the white/orange scheme we’ve seen in Rise of Skywalker teasers; there’s also rumours of a white and green variant of the same pattern, but that’s based off marketing material for toys, and Hasbro has to make their money somewhere!

orange70

It’s bold, I’ll give it that!

It should, however, prove reasonably simple to fly; so long as I stay in formation and don’t self-bump (which I’ve not done for a while unless I was blocked by someone else). The old “One-Forward to Victory” should work, right? My main concern with this list is the likelihood of getting Initiative-killed by aces (or Torkil’s mates); even a T-70 is likely to die in one round under concentrated fire. The Selfless/Biggs damage-spreading of the Rebel variant means things might survive longer, and I can afford R2 Astromechs on 3 of the 4 ships, but that’s not necessarily a good idea either…

So as you can see, I’m in a dilemma…

I don’t even know what the 2019/20 Season’s prize support will be like, so beyond a 3-3 win/loss ratio, I’m not sure what I’m aiming for! What goodies do you have planned for us, FFG?! I’d quite like to finish my Red Squadron card collection, I need Jek Porkins and Garven Dreis (I foolishly bought a Wedge earlier this year); I also enjoy frosted cards, though knowing my luck they’ll be for ships I don’t own or fly! Anakin, Poe, and Norra need frosted friends!

Speaking of Anakin; I haven’t been enjoying Republic since my move to the US, so I sold them all. It was a rough decision, and I regret it a little bit because I really did have fun with the Fine-Tuned Controls shenanigans, but with so few events locally that are easy to get to without a car, I need to concentrate on lists that will do well rather than ones that’ll just be fun to fly. That may mean moving further away from ace lists and towards more generics, which isn’t the way I want to play X-Wing, but at what point do you start to sacrifice fun for competitiveness?

In other news, with the release of Epic, I’m really excited to try the new Aces High format: a furball situation reminds me of the good old days when I was in an X-Wing vs TIE Fighter/X-Wing Alliance clan/gaming group and we used to have weekly online melee combats either internally or against other groups. Perhaps when PAX is done with, I’ll dive into making some fun Aces High builds for certain points values, see what I can come up with, and whether or not temporary alliances built over the tabletop survive the crucible of battle!

Finally, I purchased, read, and finished the new Star Wars novel (Resistance Reborn) yesterday; which details the gathering of new assets for the Resistance in the immediate wake of The Last Jedi; it was a good read, and brings several older characters back into play (General Rieekan, Wedge Antilles and Norra Wexley to name but three). Makes me hopeful that someday we’ll see Resistance Wedge/Norra, and maybe, just maybe the T-85 will get it’s own official model…

Xwing-resistance

It’s not the prettiest in the X-Wing line, but it might make a good showing…

Check back next week to see what I decided, and whether or not my first week of testing fills me with confidence or leaves me thinking I’m going to crash and burn like Porkins into the Death Star…

What Makes An Ace?

I’ve been thinking recently about people’s play styles and the list archetypes we know exist out in the wide world of X-Wing. Two of the major contenders appear to be “Triple Aces” or “Ace and Friends” (Or Ace Miniswarm, Ace + 4, call it what you will).

But what is an “Ace”? We’re not talking about a pilot with five or more confirmed kills here, that’s far too real-world for this blog, but in X-Wing terms what is an Ace and what do they do? Is it down to their Pilot Ability? Initiative? Is an Ace an Ace all the time? These are questions that have been rattling round my head for a while now, and I think it’s time to put them “on paper” so to speak…

But first, this happened:

achievement.png

This blog started in 2011 as a method of keeping track of my 40k games and holding  myself accountable about progression in my hobby. Back then I had a core of readers centred round my local Games Workshop, and when I started blogging about X-Wing at the start of 2.0 this focus changed. My readership may not be huge, but every view I get or every comment I receive is much appreciated – thank you to everyone who graces this pokey little blog with your presence, it means a lot!

What is an Ace?

When I think of Aces in X-Wing, I immediately think high-Initiative ships that can reposition while still benefiting from offensive or defensive dice modification, or ships that can reposition twice to ensure they never take incoming fire while being in a position to capitalise on this the next round (or that round if they are lucky). We’re looking at our Soontir Fels, our Kylo Rens, I5 and 6 Jedi, and to a lesser extent ships like Fenn Rau, Quickdraw or Poe Dameron; though I’d consider these pilots brawlers rather than Aces.

But is this necessarily true? Do Aces have to be High Initiative? Or is it more about positioning and capitalising on it? I put it to a few X-Wing Discord servers and got a variety of responses; many agree with the concept listed above; High Initiative, probably low health, decent options for repositioning and damage output. However, one reply stuck in my mind:

“Anything that is mobile can be an ace; I2 Striker vs I1 Vulture is insane levels of ace.”

If this is true, it turns the concept of the “Ace” on its head; if your opponent lines up and jousts you, even your average T-65 or TIE Fighter can become an Ace so long as it doesn’t just obediently line up and commit to the honourable joust itself. There are pilots whose built-in abilities seem to imply they are built for Ace-style play, speeding up the flank, dropping in behind the enemy, and generally making a mess of things for them. Of  course, some might say this is a “Flanker” rather than an “Ace”, but are the two mutually exclusive? Are all Flankers Aces? Probably not. Are all Aces Flankers? Well that’s where this gets a little muddled and comes down to play style; your expensive Ace isn’t going to last long if they fly up the middle of the board, so it’s probably best to stick to a flank at least early-on.

So who are some of these Flankers who might be Aces but also might not be?

  1. General Grievous:
    grievous
    Grievous enjoys being in something’s flank, or behind it. Throw on Soulless One, and he even doesn’t mind facing the wrong way when you’re shooting at him. He’s got the dial and action economy to get around behind your force and really start wreaking havoc if you allow him. Initiative 4 doesn’t do him any favours against High-Initiative pilots unless you’re using that mobility to block, but against your average block of ships it’s more than enough to make a mess of things.
  2. Kullbee Sperado:
    kullbee
    One of the unloved T-65 pilots from Saw’s Renegades, Kullbee can really shine if people would give him the time of day. The ability to Focus and then link into a Boost before opening his S-Foils means that he gets the best of both worlds; throw an R4 Astromech on him for another two points and next turn he’s able to turn behind an opponent without losing an action and likely be able get a better shot than he otherwise might have. Again, I4 means he’s less likely to be useful against Higher-Initiative ships in this manner, but against Vulture Droids or a TIE Swarm, this ability could prove pretty useful.
  3. Karé Kun:
    Kare
    Who doesn’t love Daredevil being built-in to the ship? And without that pesky Stress token as well? Kare functions much in the same way as Kullbee except she never needs to close her S-Foils unless she wants to barrel-roll, which she may do every so often but not on a regular basis. Throw Afterburners onto this pilot and you get to do that hard-turn boost essentially for free twice per game, freeing up her action step to take a Focus or Target Lock as required (or barrel-rolling if that’s your thing). Once again we’re talking I4, it’s like we’re seeing a pattern here…
  4. Greer Sonnel:
    Greer
    Look at that dial, and that pilot ability! Greer is, probably understandably, my favourite RZ-2 pilot to fly; she can go anywhere, do anything, and will have shots 99% of the time unless I’m flying perpendicular to a target I need to re-engage. The ability to rotate her arc, take a modification, and reposition is huge, but perhaps so is her ability to roll and boost while still rotating her turret. Unlike the others, she cannot benefit from a Talent such as Outmanoeuvre thanks to no front arc (unless you give her Missiles), but unlike the others the Initiative 4 poses less of a problem; she can just zoom and rotate and get the shot regardless where her target ends up.
  5. I’d talk about Temmin Wexley but everyone just gives him Composure and fails his free Boost, so he no longer counts. Sorry Snap!

The pilots above are by no means the only pilots who can be both Flankers and Aces when the opportunity arises, they’re just the only ones I’ve got experience flying and thus am truly comfortable discussing. A special shout-out to the E-Wing (all pilots) should be mentioned as well; the combination of fast and slow manoeuvres plus that hard-one turn mean that it can get up in people’s business from all angles when required. The same can be said for A-Wings of both varieties, and even the lower-Initiative Jedi make effective flankers and can arc-dodge with the best of them (or better in the case of Jake Farrell and Jedi pilots) when required.

So why does “Ace Play” seem to revolve primarily around Initiative 5 and 6 pilots?

I would assume, perhaps erroneously, that it’s due to the prevalence of other Initiative 5 and 6 pilots out there. For example: Howlrunner is not an Ace, for example, but if you intend to deprive a TIE Swarm of its rerolls before it fires you need an Initative 5 or 6 pilot to kill her; usually both, since she’s squirrelly as hell when she wants to be and when Iden’s in play you need to kill her twice to make sure she stays dead. Guri, on the other hand, is an Ace and will look at where you put your I4 flanker, Advanced Sensors roll or boost to avoid your firing arc, and still hit like a tonne of bricks; sad times for all.

This contributes to something of a “No-Man’s Land” between I3 and I5, which is where these interesting pilots with flanking abilities all seem to fall; they’re useful against low-Initiative swarms, but not so great against the higher-Initiative Aces (they get out-Aced?) With the introduction of the Nantex and its ability that makes effective blocking a thing of the past, we’re probably even less likely to see some of these ships in play; a sad day for us all, unless you play CIS, in which case you’re probably cackling away in your evil lair while the Nantex debate continues to burn the internet to the ground…

Having discussed this with others, and re-reading what I have written, I wonder if the whole concept is subjective; what makes an Ace an Ace for me in my list isn’t the same as someone else’s Ace in their list. I’m back flying Wedge/Corran/Luke, for example; none of them are what I would consider Aces, they can be if used correctly, but as a general rule they’re probably brawlers with Ace-like qualities. A Poe/Nien/Ello (or L’ulo) list on the other hand, has more Ace-like qualities despite being similar in playstyle thanks to the way the T-70 and the pilot abilities work, but again they have to be played as Aces to count. I’m sure the same can be said for Darth Vader, Fenn Rau, Sun Fac (boo hiss!) and others.

What is clear in my mind, however muddy the issue of Aces may or may not be, is that there are a few stand-out pilots who you could not accuse of anything other than being an Ace: Anakin Skywalker, Soontir Fel, Kylo Ren are but a few. Keep them out of your opponent’s firing arcs, they’ll fly around like wrecking balls; let the enemy get a decent shot on them, and they go all glass-cannon on you and shatter into a billion pieces.

That said, I’m intrigued about what people think about the lower-Initiative pilots; they’re out there, they’re waiting to be flown, and I’m interested to see what people have to say on the matter!

Thanks for reading!

Palate Cleanser

After the Top Deck Games Hyperspace Trial, I was in a bad place when it came to X-Wing. It hadn’t been my worst performance in the six or seven years since Wave 1 of 1.0, but it was bottom two when it came to fun (February 2018’s event at Wayland takes top spot thanks to things like Harpoon Missiles). I felt dejected, despondent, but most of all, I felt embarrassed – I’d let the whole “Two-Ship Paul” thing become something I prided myself on, and it all came crashing down around me in a torrent of sweat and poor decision-making. It’s probably not surprising to many, especially those who have been in similar situations, that I almost took a several-week long break from X-Wing.

Fortunately I cooled down enough to remember that first and foremost, X-Wing is meant to be about fun. Winning is the icing on the cake, and I can’t go to Worlds anyway! I packed the Jedi away, and broke out a faction I have flown once since arriving in the US – the Rebellion. I briefly considered Resistance, but they’ve always been my more “serious” faction, and that’s how they’ll stay for now.

Why Rebels, you may ask? These guys:

68482514_731571257296407_1286401941340946432_n

Rogues Old and New!

These three represent my favourite Star Wars characters, old Legends or new Canon. Sure, Corran is a bit (a lot) of a Mary Sue, but he’s still pretty cool. They’re also three of my five favourite Rebel pilots, and they all have funky official alt-arts (Thane still needs one, and Frosted Norra only comes out on special occasions).

The list itself is pretty simple:

Palate Cleanser

Corran Horn [E-wing]
-Fire-Control System
-Predator
-R4 Astromech

Luke Skywalker [T-65 X-wing]
-Servomotor S-foils

Wedge Antilles [T-65 X-wing]
-Servomotor S-foils
-Predator

Totalling at 191, I have points to spare for toys such as regen on the two T-65s, but I wanted something I didn’t have to think too hard about. And it’s done me a world of good. The Rebel faction doesn’t have any true Aces; those with the Initiative lack the double-reposition without upgrades, and anyone that can double-reposition is I4 or lower (looking at you Jake Farrell!) This list isn’t designed to just joust, though it’s fairly good at it assuming it’s not outnumbered.

68527759_1142753232586120_7175551820763234304_n

Corran makes for an excellent flanker, as does Luke when you get it right.

The key is to bait and switch. Corran can fly in infinitely-tight circles with the one turn being white rather than red; this allows him to have more time on target with actions; it also makes him effective bait, allowing Luke and Wedge to mop up. Mostly people tend to go for Wedge first, however, which means Corran and Luke do the heavy lifting.

I’m currently 5/3 with this list, so it’s not perfect; I need to learn to fly it better, and it probably needs refining with the nine points I have left. Still, it’s not given me any true hard feelings (though Strikers with Proximity Mines remain a challenge), so it’s doing the job.

I was even taking it to a tournament yesterday, until pride got the better of me, and I decided to shamelessly rip off Jon Fawcett’s list from the Sith Takers tournament held in Stockport on the 3rd of August – the day before my 30th birthday. I felt this might be a sign, and “Two-Ship Paul” wasn’t resting as easily as I’d hoped. I’d even painted a CorSec E-Wing for Corran!

68250235_2369578126488920_3334369685264138240_n

Be gentle, it’s not finished!

There were only seven of us, and I got the first round bye which kinda sucked, but it meant I got a proper feel of the rest of the competition before my first game.

Which was almost a mirror-match: Luke and Corran vs Luke and Corran. Fortunately I had the choice on initiative as my opponent had loaded up with a few more toys such as Lone Wolf on Corran and Supernatural Reflexes on Luke, which meant my opponent was going first.

68633253_363714020975881_6774394191620341760_n.jpg

Honourable Joust!

During the first engagement, Luke ate two Torpedoes which dropped him to one Hull. My own rolls were less spectacular, and it was only the double-tap from Corran which levelled the playing field. Unpainted Luke bugged out, followed by painted Luke who used his Afterburners to line up a Torpedo shot and delete his evil and extra-expensive twin. Alas, even with three charges from R2-D2 Luke could not evade Corran forever (mine was larking about on the wrong end of the board and unable to intervene) and he fell.

I could’ve run for 45 minutes, I had a 16pt bid and my Luke was cheaper than his, but that’s not how X-Wing should be played at an event like this. Corran vs Corran, what could go wrong?

68784099_518838512192253_7899962600002158592_n

Round and round the gas cloud…

Eventually, with minutes to go both E-Wings were down to one hull. The fateful encounter could not be prolonged any longer. I should’ve disengaged, but that felt like it wouldn’t be a suitable ending to this game; I had to kill Corran, or he had to kill me. It was the only way.

68663108_222678751966716_3226143153719345152_n

Standoff…

Unpainted Corran fired first with Focus, Lock and Lone Wolf. One hit snuck through; painted Corran was dead. Painted Corran returned fire, with only his Target Lock to modify. Again, one hit snuck through. Unpainted Corran was also dead.

We looked on in amazement, or possibly horror; the previous 70 minutes had been some of the most stressful and enjoyable play either of us had ever had, and it meant nothing; for the first time since Wave 1 of 1.0, I was going to Final Salvo.

Graham rolled, two hits, some focuses, some blanks. My roll had a lot of focuses and I prepared to congratulate my opponent, until I saw the third hit result. First Final Salvo, first win on Final Salvo. A 200-200 victory.

My second game was against Wedge/Luke/AP-5, and though I managed to delete Luke it came at its own cost; my Luke was crippled and easily finished off by Wedge, who then spent the next thirty minutes chipping away at Corran as he tried to re-engage; leaving me 1-1 with a Bye and 5th out of 7.

Normally, I’d be disappointed with a result like that; nobody likes a bye in 3 round games and I felt I could’ve played both my games better; not jousting Torpedo carriers with Torpedo carriers or focusing on Wedge rather than Luke would be my two lessons to take home from this. That said, it was a lot of fun, and that’s the point of the game, isn’t it?

I may keep this as a backup for games when I just want to chill out with a beer, though Brilliant Evasion is going in the bin. Heightened Perception may be the way forward, possibly for Luke/Wedge 2.0?…

Though I cannot make the NOVA Open due to monetary concerns (moving abroad is expensive), I need to look to the future – there are still Hyperspace Trials to attend, and potentially PAX Unplugged this winter. This list, while fun, isn’t going to do me any favours competitively and only really serves as a reminder of importance and relevance of the Rule of 11. For competitive play, I think I need to go back to the Resistance and investigate the Transport and Pod (the Silver Ace has been experimenting with Finn, he’s apparently A Big Deal), or table the N-1 and see if I can make a halfway decent showing with the Republic.

Although this guy could tempt me towards The Dark Side…

resistance-the-recruit-ep-guide-02

Thanks for reading!

Embrace the Silliness 2.0 – “Two Ship Paul” Returns!

April is drawing to a close; the System Open is long done, there are no Hyperspace Trials or serious events in the near future, and aside from a few TNX colleagues heading to the UKTC on the 5th of May, it’s time to relax and break out the silly lists for some poops and giggles.

Last week, PhilGC posted that his preferred archetype is the dual-ace list; two chunky aces with all of the toys, and requiring a healthy dose of skill, patience, daring and blind luck in order to do well competitively. Two ships require bold yet cautious play, and it requires them in equal balance; get it right, and you’ll have a degree of success (though you might not actually win); get it wrong, and your plastic spaceships are going to have a bad day…

Though in terms of skill, Phil and I are light-years apart, we seem to enjoy the same things; ships with funky abilities that you can load up with toys, enjoy the crazy shenanigans, and be reasonably assured of a good game; win or lose. Boba Guri, for example, has this by the bucketload; which is why I’m tempted to break my “no more than three factions” rule and dip my toe into Scum and Villainy. It’s going to happen eventually, but the longer I hold off, the more comfortable I can get with the factions I actually play!

how2guri

Guri has many shenanigans, all of them crazy and fun!

Prior to wandering down to Warboar today, I was at a loss what to fly: did I want to fly Rebels, Resistance, or Jedi? One of the benefits of two-ship lists, is that they don’t take up a whole lot of space! With that in mind, I fit all three lists into my tiny Feldherr Mini case, packed enough tokens for all of the silliness (it’s a lot of tokens), and made my way down to Bromley.

Game 1 vs Republic – Wolffe, Sinker, 2x Blue Squadron Protectors w/ Crack Shot

Game 1 I broke out Poe and Nien, a variation of the list Phil used the week after the Warboar Hyperspace Trial and went 5-1 with (I think). To emphasise survivability as I tend to get a touch over-aggressive, both Poe and Nien were rocking Shield Upgrades. Poe had Ferrosphere Paint (I’d wanted to see what it did last week, it seemed pretty fun so I kept it), and Nien had BB-8. Both had Torpedoes because why not?

The game started heavily in my favour: Wolffe died early, followed by one of the Torrents. It was as the game entered the second half-hour that disaster struck; Nien found himself victimised by a Panicked Pilot crit, and was just outside of Range 1 of an enemy ship; the resulting predictability got the Sarcastic Survivor very dead, very quickly.

58419782_2346236815665953_4899396716421185536_n

Little did Nien know, this would be the beginning of the end…

Poe finished off the last Torrent and got Sinker down to a half-health, but himself was on life support with only two health. With five minutes to go, my opponent decreed that he wouldn’t be able to chase down Poe and conceded; a mistake, in my opinion, as I’m 99% sure that had he continued, he might have survived whatever Poe threw at him and then killed him in return.

Result: 200 – 136 victory

Game 2 vs Republic – Wolffe, Sinker, 2x Gold Squadron Troopers w/ Concussion Missiles

A variation on the above list, hoping to engage me at slightly longer range and avoid double-modded Poe shots and Nien Nunb-related shenanigans. For this game, I swapped out the Resistance for Luke and Wedge; same list as the Hyperspace Trial, but Lone Wolf dropped for Predator to bring it in line with the original list from the Polish national champion.

The first engagement was, in a word, brutal. Wedge put four natural hits into Sinker, dealing a Hull Breach. Luke’s Torpedoes then set off a chain of critical hits that vaporised what was left of the ARC and denied the Torrents re-rolls. Or so I thought. Wolffe and the two Golds then rolled nothing but paint with their attacks, allowing the Target Lock to be sent down the line thanks to Synchronised Console, and where there had once been a full-health Wedge, there was now an 86pt hole in my list! This was my fault for getting too aggressive, too soon, and forgetting that while a T-70 has three or more shields, a T-65 does not!

58461567_2376590085903881_2294743125798682624_n

Luke vs two I2 Clones, this was really only ending one way…

At this point, I was thinking it was game over; but Supernatural Luke is a squirrelly sod, and being able to regenerate both Force and his shields meant that the Torrents were simply unable to put any telling damage through. There were a few moments where the wrong move could have spelled disaster, but fortunately I did manage to pull through; Wolffe fell first having been limping along for twenty minutes on low health, followed in short order by the two Torrents.

Result: 200 – 86 victory.

Game 3 vs Scum and Villainy – Fenn Rau, Old Teroch, Kad Solus

Three Fangs scare me a bit. They’ve been a bogeyman of mine since my first 2.0 tournament, and yet are also like forbidden fruit; I want to fly them. I want to experience the sheer joy of a being the one rolling for a Range One Fenn Rau attack rather than against it. When the Starviper gets its re-release, I may use that as my excuse to also pick up a Fang and a Firespray and finally scratch that itch.

For this game, I broke out the Jedi. I’ve had some success with Jedi, but that was with Anakin and two Jedi Knights in Delta-7Bs. When I remembered to use the Jedi as blockers, I was successful. When I didn’t, I wasn’t. This list, being two ships only, consisted of Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi both with Brilliant Evasion, R2 Astromech, Afterburners and Brilliant Evasion. Dan, playing said Fangs today, is a much more skilled pilot than I am, and his list is tried and proven while I threw this together last night. Confident, I was not.

The opening engagement went…poorly. I managed to cripple Kad Solus, but Obi-Wan found himself hurt in return. The next turn saw an ill-timed R2 use for Obi-Wan, denying him a return shot at Fenn and meaning the Mandalorian was able to happily finish him off the next turn. This is where Anakin really came into his own, however, the list came in at 180pts which meant he was moving after everyone; Kad died first, followed by Old Teroch.

58376316_328100617899938_2938665225773121536_n

Like gunslingers in a Western, Anakin and Fenn begin the dance of death!

A Fenn moving first is a sad Fenn, but he also makes an irritatingly effective blocker. Thankfully, in my case, I was able to more-or-less predict where he was going and ensure that nine times out of ten, if he had arc on Anakin, Anakin was going to be at Range Zero and thus safe. Eventually Fenn’s luck ran out, and Anakin managed to finish him off.

Result: 200 – 86 victory

Three games, three lists, three wins. I’m pleased I brought all three with me, though the Jedi need some tweaking (Brilliant Evasion didn’t trigger once – well, it did, but I had a Focus token and no arc to fire back).

More importantly than the wins; none of these games were un-fun. Sometimes flying “proper” lists can get boring or tiresome, and though trying to keep two aces alive despite being outnumbered and outgunned is mentally exhausting, it’s a lot of fun to fly and I’ve always maintained that that is the reason why we all play!

I also have something of an announcement to make:

aaaaaa

So this happened…

I recently received confirmation that my Visa to enter the United States has been approved; this means I need to get my act together and start packing! It also means that, sadly, I’ll be leaving the fine UK X-Wing community behind and diving head-first into the X-Wing community along the US East Coast; specifically the Delaware Valley area.

I have no idea what to really expect on the other side of the pond; from what I’ve seen on the FFG forums and the various X-Wing Discord servers and chat rooms, bids of more than ten points are rare. The competitive meta seems fairly similar to that of the UK: Rebel Beef, Phantoms, Resistance 5s or 5x RZ-2s are all popular choices (if it works, fly it!) I’ve been in contact with a few people local to where I’ll be living, and though I probably won’t be attending any Hyperspace Trials for the foreseeable future, I’ll continue to document my thoughts and feelings with regards to the game; except this time I’ll be running the risk of embarrassing myself and my country!

No pressure there, then!

At the risk of sounding emotional, I do want to thank everyone who I’ve played or spoken to in the UK X-Wing community, plus everyone who has liked or commented on this blog, for being awesome. I can’t name you all, there are too many of you, but if it weren’t for this community being awesome, I’d probably have found myself doing something different (and potentially cheaper) on a Thursday evening – and then what would I have to write about?

On that note, it’s now past midnight, and I need to start looking at storage/shipping solutions for my stuff, and selling the things I never use… Does anyone want a Rebel Transport and Blockade Runner?

Journey To The System Open: Eep!

After a particularly negative day’s play of X-Wing back in February, I considered refunding my System Open ticket. There were several factors involved, including family obligations and my impending move to the United States. Mostly, however, I decided not to go because I wasn’t enjoying X-Wing and a small tournament had already led to one anxiety/panic attack; what was a six hundred person tournament going to do to me? It simply seemed safest not to go.

Then I played in the Warboar Hyperspace Trial and had oh so much fun flying Wedge and Luke. I didn’t do terribly well, made silly mistakes against PhilGC, Alex Birt, and Lloyd Boman (who are all phenomenal players in my opinion) that cost me potential wins, and got diced in the sixth and final game (up yours Proton Torpedoes and Ello Asty!) This started that nagging wheel of doubt turning again; had I made a big mistake in deciding not to go? Was I cutting myself off from the local community and the community at large for not going? I began to think I was, especially given the outpouring of support from the community, including promises of drinks, a wingman for the day, and help finding a quiet corner if I should gave an attack; I was genuinely touched by these sentiments, especially since many of them come from well-known players in the community, but for over a month I stuck to my guns. By that time I’d refunded my ticket already, there was no chance of going.

Then, when playing at Warboar last week, someone pointed out there were still tickets left.

I debated it for several hours, and originally wasn’t going to go, until it dawned on me that this is possibly my last chance to play properly competitive X-Wing in the UK. With that in mind, I checked tickets and hotel prices, and within thirty minutes I was somewhat poorer, but going to the System Open with my TNX fellows.

What am I getting myself into? Zombie Squadron actually just wrote a fantastic article as I typed this one, which sets out how best to prepare for and survive a big event. I’ll probably be saving that to my iPad and taking it with me next weekend to ensure I’ve

So the ticket is bought, the terror is real, and I have no list. Luke and Wedge are fun, but they are by no means good. I might fly them in the Hyperspace on the Sunday, but for the Saturday I thought I’d need something that might actually work.

Enter the Jedi Order.

Having dabbled with Anakin/Ahsoka and Anakin/Obi-Wan just to see if they had legs (spoiler alert: they don’t), I took to searching for a semi-decent all-Jedi list, and found it in Anakin and two Jedi Knights in Delta-7Bs with R4 Astromechs. It’s like flying three 1.0 X-Wings in terms of health, but with Force-based shenanigans to up the ante. Games one and two I won, against Fel and twin Punishers and Rebel Beef respectively. The third and fourth games I lost, mainly because I got too aggressive with Anakin and once he’s dead, the Jedi don’t really stand a chance of catching ships that are bigger, faster, and moving after them (Initiative 3 really hurts!) They might be fun, but I’m not sure a full-Jedi list is a viable competitive list.

That said, they did look pretty once I’d repainted them:

56506535_10156433704333212_3568416072564473856_n

Simple repaints: Anakin, Obi-Wan and Ahsoka.

So that’s the Jedi out. What else do I have? Rebels and Resistance. Could I borrow another faction? Yes, but that’s not something I really wanted to do: flying something I’m not comfortable with seems silly, and being responsible for ships I don’t own is simply added stress that I neither want nor need. However, I found myself in this position anyway as I was asked to repaint some ships for my fellow TNX-ers! I do enjoy painting though there are certainly better painters out there, and sadly I don’t get enough time to do it most of the time but this gave me an excuse to break out the brushes and run down some more of my supply before I move; I doubt paint travels well internationally!

56285250_2567333233281173_1724710711176724480_n

Orange ships in an orange tub for Denny! Painting TIE panels sucks!

Painting Denny’s ships allowed me to focus on being creative, something that meant I came up with some interesting but terrible lists. It was while browsing through memories on Facebook that I came across an article that Joel North had written about attending your first tournament; I’ve always been a fan of his blog (though this was for the 186th blog), as it’s an incredibly honest account of his X-Wing journey, and the same point stuck with me last week that did all those years ago, a point I have made on this blog and in person: fly what you enjoy flying.

So what do I enjoy flying?

The System Open is an Extended event, and the only Extended ship I both own and have any experience with is the E-Wing. Is it fun to fly? Yes. Am I good with it? Probably not enough to be a viable choice. Which means we’re digging into the Hyperspace stuff: old favourites that have been staples since December or even before.

Norra_Wexley

Norra Wexley, my #1 Y-Wing pilot. Deserving of an alt-art card of her very own…

56325243_2267875866799519_8371685206083502080_n

…like this but less “Jurassic” (Thanks Omer!)

If I’m going to survive this event, I need a list that’ll be fun for eleven games. A list I can enjoy losing with eleven times. Much as I love Norra, and acquiring that frosted card will be my goal for the weekend, I’m not sure I have a list involving her (or possibly any Rebels) that I’ll enjoy using. Rebel Beef is a very broad meta call, but not one I feel that determined to make.

So, Resistance it is. I could fly Trip-70s or Resistance 5s; both lists I enjoy, and both now meta staples (I remember when three T-70s in a competitive list was considered absurd back in 1.0, how times have changed). The main benefit here, for me, is that recently I’ve had a nasty habit of blanking out, and with Heroic stapled to anything that can take it, that’s much less of a concern.

I’ve seen a few variations on the above list archetypes; one I particularly like the idea of substitutes Ello Asty in Trip-70s for Temmin Wexley with Composure. I’m a big fan of Snap in general, and the potential ability to get double-modded shots every turn without stress intrigues me. And if he doesn’t fail the boost, he can block or arc-dodge to his heart’s content. I’ve also seen the AAXX archetype substitute Ello and Nien for Poe and Bastian, and I’m a big fan of Greer Sonnel’s ability to rotate her arc for free when she completes her move, thus preventing her being stressed at an inopportune moment (or being unable to rotate thanks to Panicked Pilot, for example).

Greer_sonnel_purple

Greer is such fun to fly, and an interesting character, too!

Whatever I choose, I’ve got to do it soon and get some practice in! Then some more practice. Then I need to get everything painted. And then I need to pack. My lists need printing. And then a whole host of other little things that need to be done before Friday morning…

Help…

Embrace the Silliness: Warboar Hyperspace Trial

Yesterday, Warboar Games in Bromley held London’s first Hyperspace Tournament. 76 people had bought tickets, there was allegedly a long waiting list for players who had unfortunately been unable to acquire tickets in time. It promised to be a day of challenging play, good laughs, and hopefully a degree of success for everyone involved. The event was also raising money for the Chartwell Cancer Trust, and I believe totalled about £600 in overall donations across the course of the day.

Last article I wrote, I talked about flying what you loved, and the response on Facebook was great: one comment being along the lines of “fly something you enjoy losing with”. The list I chose, I had flown four times ever – on Thursday. I wanted to do something stupid, something akin to the twin E-Wing list, and it was suggested I might enjoy Luke and Wedge with all of the trimmings: I figured it’d be fun, and I’ve actually not flown Luke in 2.0, so I gave it a go.

The List, aka “The Silly List of Silliness”

Luke Skywalker T-65 X-wing
Supernatural Reflexes + Proton Torpedoes + R2-D2 + Afterburners + Servomotor S-foils
Wedge Antilles T-65 X-wing
Lone Wolf + Proton Torpedoes + R2 Astromech + Afterburners + Servomotor S-foils

Two ships, loaded to the gills, promising raw hilarity or pure disappointment. I’d originally flown with Outmaneuver on Wedge for -2 Agility when outside of an opponent’s fire arc, but with the number of Falcons, Firesprays, Special Forces TIEs and RZ-2s I expected to see, it didn’t seem worth it. Lone Wolf would provide me a handy reroll which might make the difference between living or dying.

I even went back, acquired myself a pair of new T-65s with the flappy wings, and did custom paint jobs for them both:

53790529_2118714454844865_6797917976608636928_n.jpg

Corran Horn (Luke Skywalker) and Wedge Antilles custom T-65s and dials.

I went in to the tournament with a goal: have fun. If I won a game, I had a moral victory on top of an actual victory. If I went 3-3 which was my original goal, I would have more than proven myself in my own eyes, and could walk out of the event proud of myself. My TNX squadmates, of course, all thought I was insane, as did several others, but they agreed that I had to fly something fun.

53373593_10155826390127035_1316809575357218816_n

Speaking of TNX, we’re an attractive bunch, aren’t we? Note 186th/TNX Member Ben Lee distancing himself on the left 😛

So, let’s dive into the action, shall we?

Game 1 vs Raihan – Wedge Antilles, Luke Skywalker, Dutch Vander

Raihan’s list scared me. Wedge with Swarm Tactics, Luke with Heightened Perception, and Torpedoes EVERYWHERE. If I got this wrong, I was going to suffer, and suffer hard.

Raihan’s first Torpedo Luke was…lacklustre. He rolled one hit, then a second hit with the reroll from his Target Lock. My Luke evaded both, then dealt four damage back with his own Torpedo. Wedge suffered at the hands of Raihan’s Wedge, being half-pointed in one shot, while only dealing two shields’ worth of damage to Dutch.

53469088_2276920239186946_6571287799532617728_n

Initial engagement over, Luke and Wedge disengage.

Begin the engage/disengage and regen routine. Every time shields went down, the ship disengaged to regenerate them and swung back in. Dutch did not last long, and Wedge was hunted down; bringing my Wedge’s shields back down and half-pointing him again in the final volley before being destroyed.

53747534_359869861282641_4218257865833447424_n

Alone and outnumbered, Wedge’s days are numbered…

Result: 200-40 Victory

Round 2 vs PhilGC – Poe Dameron, Nien Nunb, Ello Asty

Not the list I wanted to be playing against the UK’s most famous X-Wing blogger with, and not the list I expected him to be using. This game was rough, and a mistake I made very early on led to a sound defeat:

Having learned never to straight joust, I tried to get clever. I figured letting Phil move first would mean Luke could arc-dodge everything, and in theory that is correct. UNLESS that person has Nien Nunb. Letting your opponent go first lets him do his shenanigans (which I think FFG really need to address and I say this as a Resistance player), meaning that no matter what you do, he’s got a double-modded shot back at you.

I should have gone first, aimed straight at Nien with both ships, deleted him with Torpedoes and then run the hell away. That would have been what I did if I’d been running an Alpha Strike list, but I didn’t, so I got hammered.

Still, I killed one of his ships, and it wasn’t an un-fun game (that would come in Round Six and also involved Nien Nunb), and I’m glad I finally got to play Phil. I know he’s already written his article and has his own thoughts on this game, but I haven’t read it yet!

Result: 63-200 Loss

Round 3 vs Lloyd Boman – Fenn Rau, Boba Fett, Autopilot Drone

Oh if only I’d had Predator rather than Lone Wolf, I could have made Lloyd move first! This is the same list Paul Full-On flew at the Magic Madhouse tournament, and I was determined not to get a measly twelve points this time.

Step one: slow roll until the AP Drone explodes. That done, I could engage at will. We flew round and around in circles, either arc-dodging or failing to put telling damage on one-another for what seemed like an eternity. Boba got halved, then Luke, then Wedge was in trouble. Then Boba was in trouble again. It was an enjoyable game, both of us with two ships we needed to fly extremely carefully in order to get the best from them.

54220508_428774457893570_4964661394478727168_n

Boba and Fenn are a lot less scary when they can’t shoot back!

Sadly, as the game drew to a close, I made two fatal mistakes. Failing to go for the block on Fenn meant Wedge ate a range one shot and died, though he’d half-pointed Fenn in doing so. Likewise, I second-guessed myself and changed my mind on a dial so that Luke didn’t block Boba onto his own Proton Bomb, but ate it himself.

Still, it was a hard-fought and ridiculously good fun game, and Lloyd is always a pleasure to play against!

Result: 110 – 200 Loss

Game 4 vs Chris – “Howlrunner”, Iden Versio, Del Meeko, Gideon Hask, “Wampa”, Academy Pilot

Swarms are the bane of my existence, though fellow TNX squadmade Chris is an excellent chap and a good player, so I wasn’t too displeased to see it in front of me. I knew I was going to have to be cagey.

53373567_338723740076131_4931727752756723712_n

Luke circles the debris as bait while Wedge flanks.

For about forty-five minutes we danced around each other, neither of us landing any telling blows on the other. Chris kept the swarm together for the most part and seemed to be intent on Luke’s downfall, especially following a miraculous Supernatural Reflexes barrel-roll into two turn that fit comfortably between two TIES), which led to his eventual defeat.

53400579_265715631015355_3349610870635233280_n

Luke and the TIEs flew around this debris so often they got dizzy!

While Luke circled the debris, Wedge did what Wedge does best; delete TIE after TIE. I missed Outmaneuver, but the Lone Wolf re-roll meant I wasn’t spending locks when I didn’t need to, and not taking damage when I couldn’t afford to. The game ran to time, with Iden and Gideon fleeing back towards his board edge.

Result: 148-0 Win

Game 5 vs Alex Birt – 6 Mining Guild TIEs and Outer Rim Pioneer

Second swarm of the day, third member of the 186th, podcast host and all-round nice chap; Alex Birt.

This game was so much fun. I made a horrific mistake and got too bold with Wedge far too soon, earning him a painful death too early in the game to make a critical contribution to the outcome of the match.

What happened next though, was insane. Luke went on some kind of dark-side rampage or something, deleting TIE after TIE (one a one-hit KO with his S-Foils closed after a K-Turn), and generally wreaking havoc. At one point, Alex was certain he was going to lose.

53407612_2151829681814036_8686899066459652096_n

Having prodded the hornet’s nest, Luke runs for it.

Sadly, no matter how many Supernatural Reflexes plus Afterburners hijinks you can do while recharging shields with R2-D2, the charge system means that eventually you will run out and you will get hurt.

54080423_839156666423452_4509147157453864960_n

Re-engaging, Luke passes through the formation to deny all but one shot.

Eventually time ran out, Luke was half-pointed with no hope of regeneration, and Alex took his remaining three TIEs and rather wisely ran for it. A last-minute snap-shot to try and half point a damaged TIE failed, and the result was a loss.

That said, this was easily the most fun I’ve had a) with this list and b) against a swarm. For that, Alex has my eternal gratitude.

Result: 109 – 134 Loss (Reported as 135 because I can’t count)

Game 6 vs Andy – Ello Asty, Nien Nunb, L’ulo Lumpar, Tallisan Lintra

This game was rough. The list I fly detests variance, and variance is what I got (although bent over by the dice gods and spanked would also be appropriate). As I said last article, dice shaming devalues your opponent’s efforts, so I won’t blame my dice as the sole reason I lost, but then four Proton Torpedo shots (so sixteen dice with rerolls) only deal three shields’ worth of damage to one ship (which rolled a total of six evade dice thanks to Wedge), the maths simply do not add up.

I had four or five uninterrupted turns of shooting into the backs of two fleeing T-70s, and just couldn’t put the damage through. My opponent, on the other hand, seemed to lack that particular issue, and was landing hit after hit after hit on Luke and Wedge despite my best efforts.

In the end, I deliberately flew a one-health Luke into a rock (I didn’t actually have much choice) in order to end the game on my own terms.

Result: 57 – 200 Loss

Final Thoughts

2-4 was more than I could have asked for with this list. I also didn’t feel that any of my match-ups were unwinnable: I lose to Phil through mistakes I made, I lost to Lloyd due to mistakes I made, and I lost to Alex due to mistakes I made. We won’t talk any more about Game 6. Obviously Phil, Lloyd and Alex all definitely deserved their wins based on the fact they’re fantastic players, but my mistakes didn’t help my chances of winning.

Overall, I came 42nd; lower than I’d like but higher than I expected. I’m told Phil won the event overall and is now going to World’s, if this is true, well done sir!

I’d like to thank Jason for running the event and my opponents for all being so very, very awesome!

 

Hyperspace, Hangar Bay, and Leagues, Oh My!

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.

31451_10151390490618212_1698777070_n

Maybe not this many TIES, though… I do miss my Rogues, sometimes!

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.

48426453_520557491784660_8238440575938854912_n

I have advantages in Agility, Initiative and Manoeuvrability; what could go wrong?

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.

48992771_2146650108928585_9172874495742967808_n

Fortune favoured me here, but it could easily have screwed me…

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.

48424310_206788933537748_2418802865301618688_n

Ben probably thought twelve overall health would offset his one Agility die. He was wrong…

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.

48969019_1852299331542538_6951504873242230784_n

Not a great place for anyone to be at the best of times…

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!