The X-Philes: Silent Night (well Christmas is coming)

It’s finally here, a whole 5 new ships to play with, a world of options and possibilities. So far the biggest outcry has been that the TIE Silencer is in an “over sized” box… if this is the only outraged cry from the community about stuff from the waves being Over anythinged then FFG has performed a miracle!

running away stormtroopers

However, the in’s and outs of how bust the bullseye turns out to be, or whether rebels having a crazy cheap co-ordinate brings unbalance to the force, or maybe slamming missiles could be an issue… That can all wait. There’s a lot we’ll find out over the next few weeks and months and people seek potent combinations and the new meta settles in place. There are plenty of opinions available on what’s works but I expect certain things will rise to the top over time. I’ll be trying bits and pieces here and there.

This weekend was due to be a double header, firstly to Eclectic Games in Reading.  Wave 12/13 is legal at this tournament and I’m going to be trying out the ship that I find the most exciting by far. The TIE Silencer.

silencer

Ok, Kylo Ren Crew is the thing I dislike most in the game. I think it is just stupidly good in lists that let you make your opponents gaming experience “less positive.” But Kylo pilot is a very different story:

  • Your opponent controls when the Darkside triggers.
  • Unless you’re using a crit mechanic (Palp, RAC, ATC, etc) then actually triggering it becomes significantly harder.
  • The Silencer is designed NOT to be hit so an ability that only triggers when you get hit is somewhat counter intuitive. Personally I think it is rather nicely balanced.

There are two play styles that I enjoy, the first is the joust, the line up, run at people, hit them really hard and see if you can win the damage race, if you’ve been reading this blog for a while then this will come as no surprise to you.

The other style is trying to never be shot. Since I started writing in February earlier this year arc dodgers haven’t been much of a thing. Quite simply there has been too much bombing about for them to really enjoy it. I’ve had the odd foray with some A-Wings, Poe, Corran… but for the Saturday event I’m going to use consummate arc dodgers.

We’ll start with the old guard. Soontir Fel. He was the king of X-Wing a few waves back, could the changes to bombs be bringing him back?

Soontir Glorious.jpg

There are two builds with Soontir that are considered standard. They all involve:

  • TIE Royal Guard
  • Autothrusters
  • Push the Limit

There is the Stealth Device option, Soontir with two focus tokens and and evade token, autothrusters and four green dice is stupidly hard to kill, even without Palpatine giving him a guaranteed evade. The perk of this build is that he is massively tanky, and with a bit of luck he can even take a five dice cruise missile. However his attack consistency is not quite as potent as you need.

Which brings us to the alternative: The Targetting Computer. He hits things a lot harder, has less tokens and green dice for defense, but carries much more threat.

advanced-opticsIn a world full of big turrets, big munitions and high pilot skill, defense has to be the primary objective, so Soontir gets the stealth device and a bit more durability.

Next up we have Kylo Ren, he’s new, shiny, and has the most ridiculous dial that the world has ever seen. The Silencer is such a versatile ship. Having access to System and Tech upgrades makes the ship immensely versatile. There are so many options available but I think I’ve gone for the “obvious choice” with Advanced Sensors, Push the Limit and the Advanced Optics.

I’m pretty sure I’ll be trying other options in the coming weeks but this seems the perfect place to start.

Soontir Ren (82)

Soontir Fel Kylo Ren
Push the Limit Push the Limit
Autothrusters Autothrusters
Stealth Device Advanced Optics
Royal Guard TIE First Order Vanguard
Advanced Sensors

Having not flown a proper arc dodging list for a while there’s a lot I’m going to have to remember! It’s a very different game to flying big ships like the Falcon and Slave one, so I suspect that I’m going to be somewhat out of practice. (get those excuses in early is best I feel).

Yes, there is an 18 point initiative bid in this list, yes I know I can fit in an Academy Tie and still have a 6 point bid. But that just wouldn’t be as cool… and would give my opponent 12 MOV without having to do anything! These two are hard to kill.

Kylo vs Rey

16 players 4 games, and lots of fun had, by the end of the day I remembered how to arc dodge and really enjoyed flying it. Despite going 3-1 and winning my 3 games 100-0 I am under no illusion that this is a genuinely competitive list.

Eclectic vs Andy B
Game 1 vs Andy from the 186th. That bomber is a scary beast, and when Rey gets it right she’s a monster, but the arc dodgers were able to mitigate anything that was thrown at them.

It’s as entertaining as you like, but the second you run into something with a higher pilot skill than you it’s almost automatically game over, as proved in my second game.

Andy Henderson’s RAC with Kylo Crew and Vader has been my undoing before and was once again. The moment the pairing came up I know there was nothing I was going to be able to do to win the game except ride some fearsome luck.

Eclectic vs Andy
Game 2 vs Andy. If I could have got that crit through then I could have maybe swung the game in my favour. But if you’re hoping for a natural crit to turn up as your only hope then you’ve probably lost already.

I did get to show the Dark Side to the Decimator but when you have no inbuilt crit mechanic, as nice as it is to see 4 hits turn up, they won’t make the big ugly PS0… had I got that luck then the game could have been very different but but against Kylo, Rebel Captive and Gunner there is very little my two ships were able to day against higher pilot skill arc dodging and consistent dice. Soontir out up a good showing but when we shook hands at the end we both knew there was no way that match up was going to go in my favour. 100-0 loss had been all but inevitable.

Eclectic vs Aaron
Game 3 vs Aaron, flying 3 T70s. I love those ships, and felt bad for Andy as Soontir and Kylo danced around him picking his ships apart one by one. It was a hard match up for him.
Eclectic vs Conor
Game 4 vs Conor with Bossk Ketsu. Once Kylo Taloned behind Bossk the Trandoshan was screwed. Then the two aces set about picking Ketsu apart.

Conversely the other three games I had initiative or PS advantage and the two ships were able to dodge and dance, taking it in turns to dive in and give damage out, then re-position and pick another shot. I love flying these two, but there is a lot out there that IS going to ruin their day.

Over all I came third behind Jesper Hills and Mishary Al-Faris, so I’m happy with that result. I’d like to have had the opportunity to see how these two handle multiple bombers, lots of turrets, or a swarm. 3-1 is a great start for the list but it has bigger tests to come.

Kylo_Ren_Vader_Helmet_Chamber.jpg

Day two was meant to be a visit to The Weekend Warlords.  Those guys have some of the most successful X-Wing players in the country and have been going from strength to strength over the last couple of years.

Weekend Warlords is both a shop and a (large) group of players from all over the north of the UK. There’s a lot of love between the the 186th and the Warlords, but there is also a lot of banter… and I was really looking forward to visiting their home in Loughborough.

Unfortunately 3 inches of snow fell over night which made the hour and 40 minute drive from where I was staying in Cirencester to the venue impossible, so after travelling 4 miles in 40 minutes myself and wingman Conor returned to his house for The Force Awakens on DVD and some casual games.

Hotshot Han is going to be making a comeback if arc dodgers return in force. At my suggestion (after getting repeatedly frustrated against the arc dodgers) Conor put Han and Miranda on the table and the game was arguably more uncomfortable than playing against RAC on Saturday.

Han Kylo.jpg

I think variants of this list may be a thing in the coming weeks, and Cormac Higgins said he was retiring his version of this build after his strong showing in Belgium a few weeks ago… we’ll see.

Well Hello Kylo (100)

Han Solo (Young) Miranda Doni
Veteran Instincts Twin Laser Turret
Luke Skywalker Rey
Hotshot Co-Pilot
Engine Upgrade
Millennium Falcon (HotR)

Anyway, that’s enough from me this week, looks like there are a couple more tournaments to get to this year, and I guess I better pick what to fly with Regionals and Open systems coming up!

NEXT TIME: SOMETHING WILL BE FLOWN!

If you’re looking for tournaments then head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar to see what’s going on!

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Millennium: We Got Stars Directing Our Fate

I’m not a huge fan of being cold, it doesn’t make me happy, I’d rather be warm, comfortable, on a beach somewhere with the sea lapping at my toes. So Norway in December… that fits the bill right?

Hoth

Leaving work early on Friday afternoon and heading to Gatwick to meet up with 186th squad mates Ben Lee and Oli Pocknell is the start of my first Nordic adventure, and excited doesn’t cover it. We’re off to the Trondheim regional, out first regional this season and being the entirely noncompetitive people we are winning isn’t at all on out minds! This will be the last tournament before waves 12 and 13 drop on December the 7th so we’re all flying things we are familiar with as next Thursday everything changes.

Oli is taking Dash Poe, he’s been flying his variant of the list for a while now and is definitely quite astute with it. Oli is one of the most consistent gamers in the UK, making cut after cut at major events where ever he goes.  His engagement management is probably as good as anyone you’ve every played against.

Ben is taking Dash and Miranda, for those that don’t know Ben, he is one of the UKs most successful competitors at Worlds and his approach to the game is one of the most thoughtful and considered I have ever seen. He has a very nice collection of dice…

And then there’s me taking Lowhhrick and Rey. I’ve come second at a couple of store championships… and like rolling lots of red dice.

All the lists from the weekend can be found here.

BIG GUNZ

Our host for the weekend, on top of being event organiser and judge is Robert Mortensen, and a better example of all that is good in the X-Wing community is hard to find. He’s given us space to sleep and been hugely supportive in our visit.

This is my second experience of international X-Wing and I am thoroughly looking forward to playing some new people!

The event is small for a regional, with 16 players anticipated but one drop making it a very compact field. However chatting with Robert we found out that the entire X-Wing population of Norway probably weighs in at about 50 active gamers. We in the UK are so fortunate to have such a large scene and I think that sometimes we take for granted the regularity of tournaments and size of community that we enjoy.

Yavin Open
The Yavin open has been one of the best organised and attended events in the X-Wing world for the last couple of years, but that room gets really, really, really, really hot…

But it is worth pointing out that quality of player and quantity of player don’t equate. With a small field the three of us felt fairly confident, all using two ship lists that we’re pretty competent with, only to find out on being greeted by Robert that there were potentially 5 Kylo Rens coming, exactly what our lists want to see….

The event was tucked away in the top floor of a university building, Robert’s excellent stream channel table in the hall way, the rest of us playing in a large class room. I’ve played in events where 30 people would have been crammed into the same space and we have been grateful! But the space provided to walk around the table, have loads of room for cards and templates contributed to the chilled out atmosphere of the whole event. Rarely have I enjoyed playing X-Wing in such comfort.

Chewie relax

15 players and going to go to a cut to top 8. Some people might think that’s excessive, but given that three of us had come from the UK and a few guys had made the drive over from Sweden I think it was a great decision to give us all the opportunity to play more games.

In the four rounds of swiss we played, I had one of my most memorable games ever, against fellow 186th Ben, with a small field it was inevitable that we would play each other. I think it is one of the most intense games have ever played, and finished with a final salvo due to mutual destruction.  The whole game can be seen on Robert’s excellent twitch channel if you fancy it. It was a great game against one of the finest opponents I have ever played, mistakes were made at the end cause our brains were fried!

I went 2-2 and scraped the cut by 19 points, had the player who came in 9th taken one more hull of RAC in his final game he would have trumped me. Had I not rolled a crit when Rey dodged Poe by zipping over debris I might have gone 3-1. X-wing is a game of small margins, where one dice roll can made all the difference, or clipping a rock can mean the difference between Rey ruining Dash and her taking 6 damage.

he put me on a rock AGAIN

Oli came in top of swiss with 4-0 and Ben, despite taking on Kylo RAC twice with Dash and Miranda managed to come in 5th. So we all got shiny dice. Oli would go on to smash me in the top 8 match, lining up a semi final with Ben. If you want to watch the best game of X-Wing I have yet to see then watch this. Two players playing almost perfectly for 75 minutes with the game swinging one way then the other was an enthralling watch, do yourself a favour and have a watch. I’ve watched it again this evening while writing this and it’s just as good the second time round!

Oli hides
Time expired. Oli is dials down and can’t bring himself to watch the table while Ben decides on his last move.  The tension was unreal.

Players hung around and watched, enjoying the atmosphere of final, which was not won by a visitor, but by one of Trondheim’s own flying Thweek, Guri and Fenn Rau. Fantastic predictive flying by Gaute screwed Oli and the event had a well deserved champions. The whole event ran smoothly, was full of the exceptional standard of sportsmanship I have come to expect from the X-Wing community where ever I travel and the quality of players was incredibly high.

Hopefully people reading this will come along next year and make a bigger event of it, the guys in Norway would love some more visitors to show of their beautiful home to. I suspect that if we give Robert more to work with then the standard of the event will be worth all the time and money it costs to get there… and I haven’t even mentioned the incredible prize support.

Last week I debated between LowRey (or as it was dubbed for the event Furrey) and Boba Fenn. I should have taken Boba and Fenn with me:

  • I love them more
  • It would have been a more interesting meta call
  • Both ships can actually hurt things. Lowrrick is 30+ points of never hurting things.
  • Lowrey is a really, really good list, but Rey has to do a lot of work, if she gets it wrong…

Chewie Rey

But as of Thursday everything changes so who knows where it goes from here.

I’m not going to pretend that the three of us didn’t travel all that way because we didn’t want dice, of course we want the shiny dice. However anyone who travels 1000 miles for some dice needs their head read about as much as someone who spends £100 on a set! But X-Wing is about so much more than shiny bits of plastic: the community, the experience and the people you meet. Norway was a revelation for all of us and we all left wanting an excuse to come back. I would hope that any one visiting the UK to play X-Wing enjoys their experience half as much as we did.

And it would be morally abhorrent not thank Robert, his wife and children for opening their house out to three strangers from a foreign land, feeding them, driving them around and being the most exceptional example of hospitality. On behalf of Oli, Ben and myself Robert you are a hero.

International X-Wing. Give it a go.

NEXT WEEK: A MEMBER OF THE 186th VISITS THE HOME OF THE WEEKEND WARLORDS…

If you’re looking for tournaments then head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and see what’s going on that you can get to.

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Firespray 31: How Many Weapons You Plannin’ on Takin’?

Next weekend is a really exciting one, I’m off to Norway for the Trondheim Regional with squad mates Oli Pocknell and Ben Lee, which should be an utterly awesome time. It’s my first regional of the season and is in a country I’ve never visited before. International X-Wing is so good, if you’ve not tried it I highly recommend it. With the UK Open selling out in a night (rumours of more tickets abound) then check out the pages for Poland, Germany and Italy (plus a couple of others still to be announced) 2018 could be the year to give international pew pew a go.

I have two lists auditioning for the flight to Norway and two tournaments this weekend, which is convenient.

First up “That’s Nuts” (97)

Boba Fett Fenn Rau
Harpoon Missiles Proton Torpedoes
Veteran Instincts Push the Limit
Dengar Concord Dawn Protector
Bomblet Generator Autothrusters
Glitterstim
Andrasta
Ion Cannon
Engine Upgrade

Boba going to norwar

I think this is the weaker of the two lists auditioning but it is so much fun to fly and totally suits how I play the game. It’s a guarantee that Saturdays event at Ibuywargames is going to be a test of it. Some of the best pilots in the South East of the UK are going to be there, the field is so strong we dubbed it the “Woking Masters”. Twenty Three players, 4 rounds of Swiss and a top four cut.

I’ve played a couple of games in practice with this list with mixed results. It is a really unforgiving list. If my opponent makes a mistake it goes very wrong for them very quickly, if I make a mistake the same happens to me. And a room full of people not known for making mistakes playing X-Wing is a daunting prospect.

tough crowd

My four games (spoiler alert – I didn’t make the cut or win) were a mix bag and I finished rather confused but those dice things. These two ships can absolutely batter things in the right circumstances, the trick is engineering those right circumstances.

In game one the obvious threat of their damage output caused Luke Berry of the Womprats to make a wrong turn with Fenn Rau, leaving him relatively unprotected against the opening salvo of munitions from my ships. Fenn did his best to dodge but even the hero of the Concord Dawn can’t handle suffering two crits and a hit. After that the Mandalorians went into mop up duty. The fragile nature of the firespray came to the fore though as Luke was able to get Boba down to one hull before his last ship went boom.

Sorry Luke.jpg

Next up Calum Brown, who would go on to win the whole thing, with Miranda, Lowhhrick and a bargain basement hawk with the Crow title and a TLT. I made one mistake in the game, chosing a primary attack on Miranda over an ion cannon attack. Had I Ioned Miranda would have been stuffed the following turn, rather than able to drop a bomblet and zoom off. The opening exchange went badly, the green dice decided to punish me for the rest of the game as Boba dropped and despite his best efforts Fenn can’t handle two TLTs.

At 1-1 I moved on to play Sim Singh, our games are always monumental.  The opening engagement went to plan, Quickdraw Exploded, Fenn took a pasting but survived one more turn. Then Sim flew Vessery off the table, and the X-7 did it’s stupid thing of making defenders unkillable, as a PS 1 defender on 2 hull took down Boba on 8 hull. Negating 3 hits every turn without fail… I just couldn’t get that 4 dice hit on him to make his dice go away. At the end of the game Sim was kissing his X-7 and I… I wasn’t angry with Boba… I was just disappointed.

Hera Tie Defender

Last game and playing for pride. Zombie Squadrons Tim Farmer with double IGs. Tim and I have played many times, the games are always close but he has a tendency to edge them. IGs are such strong ships, they take so much killing and toward the end of the game Tim was very much in the driving seat, but Boba had other ideas. The IG was running it’s luck a bit chasing the firespray around, taking bomblet after bomblet without suffering any damage. Then he rolled the hot dice I needed and shield, crit Harpoon, damage game on. Boba swung in for a range one attack, perfect dice for me. With an evade token the IG had the chance to tank it with equally perfect dice. Perfect dice didn’t happen and that bomblet won me the game.

IG-88

Finishing 2-2 and coming 11th out of the 23 there was a good result considering the field but I can’t help feeling disappointed by my mistakes that led to losses, or the fact that the list, whilst being great fun, does have huge vulnerabilities. The lack of consistency did get to me a bit by the end of the day, but Sunday at Warboar gives the other list an opportunity to strut its stuff.

Kanan and Fenn.jpg

My list for day two is LowRey. It’s the list I took to GvC and did pretty well with, and which I think is more consistent than Boba Fenn. It lacks the threat and mobility, but it better defensively and the damage it does, whilst being less intimidating, is more reliable.

LowRey MK III (100)

Rey Lowhhrick
Expertise Selflessness
Kanan Jarrus C3PO
Finn Jan Ors
Millennium Falcon (HotR) Hull Upgrade
Smuggling Compartment
Counter Measures
Scavenger Crane

Another strong field and a crowd of almost 30 players descended on Warboar for a Sunday spent playing with toy spaceships.

Sorry Harrison.jpg
Game 2 against Harrison Sharp was a tight one, the Wookie dropped eventually but the hull upgrade kept him alive long enough for Rey to do her job.

5 Rounds to play, after 3 rounds I was 3-0 up, and looking at the top four pairing options thinking “please not Calum again”… it was Calum again. Calum running his list of Miranda, HWK and Lowhhrick that had been so frustrating on Saturday for Boba Fenn. He won (again), but it was great to get a direct comparison. LowRey did better, where the Mandalorians were unable to get through the huge amount of damage mitigation Calum’s list has the Rebels were more successful, dropping his Wookie and with a final throw of dying dice killing Miranda as well.

My final game was against Ben Lee was one to learn from. By the narrowest of margins I dropped Rey onto a rock in the opening engagement and the die was cast. Ben’s Palp aces dished out a bucket load of punishment and as so often happens: when you make a stupid mistake, the dice punish you for it too. Rey couldn’t dodge anything coming in despite countermeasures, a rock, Finn and having all incoming fire being in arc. A turn later she was finished and there’s no way the wookie was going to do anything.

R.png

I finished 10th, which considering my cataclysmic mistake in the final game was a result I’ll happily take.

Two hours drive home, a stop for the biggest kebab I have ever seen and some time to reflect on a great weekend with some great people for company. Which list gets to go overseas?

3-2 for the day, 5-4 for the weekend. Nine games played and a decision to make. Painful only from an emotional point of view…

Norway is over there

LOWREY WILL RETURN!

If you’re looking for local tournaments then head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and see what’s around.

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Firespray 31: I mean, let’s say you did kill us. Or didn’t.

“Some things in life are bad,
Nym can really make you mad,
Quickdraw just makes you want to swear and curse.
When your space ships feel brittle,
Tweak your list and give a whistle,
And this’ll help things turn out for the best”

the grail

It’s hardly a secret that I have a bit of an obsession with the Firespray 31, and that the Protectorate is a ship that has found itself deep in my affections. With all the changes of late, all the upgrades from Guns For Hire I couldn’t help but take a good look at these ships again and see what I can get out of them.

must be the new meta

The Protectorates died a death when Nym first appeared. The combo of PS10, Accuracy Corrector Autoblaster, Genius and Bomblet Generator was utterly unmanageable for the 4 hull Fang. He just deleted a ship a turn with nothing much to be done about it. The Concord Dawn found another big issue in Miranda. Her ability to just jump over their heads and drop bombs was something they couldn’t handle. But the bitch in K-Wing and Nym are very different prospects since the FAQ.

The Change to Mindlink has impacted heavily on how my Protectorate lists of the past have worked, but that is less of an issue than the current Pilot Skill Wars that the game currently finds itself in. Be it my PS9 Kihraxz, Dave Sutcliffe’s very entertaining PS10 Rebels or Dale Cromwells PS11 Imperial Alpha Strikers it is evident that high Pilot Skill is at a premium right now. Kad Solus and Old Teroch, for all their being super fun to fly are just not going to cut it in the meta.

Bloody Mandalorians.jpg

The Firespray was flattened by Kylo Crew on RAC, and the base pilot skills of Kath and Boba are no where near high enough to contend with the munitions race going on at the moment. The good news (from my perspective) is that RAC has been even more put out by the emergence of Harpoons, which means Kylo is less likely to be about in his favoured ship.

The other issue they have is that it looks like arc dodgers are finding a place in the game again (which is awesome)  but with no built in re-positioning on a spray the get killed very fast by the likes of Jake, Soontir and Fenn. (as was seen at the Reading Original Trilogy tournament a few weeks back)

A couple of Scurrgs is a lot of health to chew through in a badly worked opening engagement, so that needs to managed effectively, and Talonbane and the Harpoon Brigade are just SO good at flattening things…

Bring out your dead

So, it’s time to sit down, binge watch the Punisher on Netflix and look at bringing these ships back into my world.

Boba Fett

 He has to change. Fearlessness Boba is an absolute beast, but it limits him to Pilot Skill 8, and at the moment that isn’t going to cut it. So this iteration of Boba is going to jump on the Veteran instincts band wagon, I hate having to use it as the EPT when there are so many more entertaining things out there, but there is a balance between flying what you love and anticipating it losing, and flying what you love, and giving yourself a chance of winning.

At PS10 the engine upgrade becomes well worth having. I’ve gone on record before as saying that I don’t think the the Spray needs an engine, I’d go so far as to say when I was flying the twins I got better as a player without it, and did better without it. Engaging at range three then closing fast was something I got very good at with Boba and Kath. But that was because all the munitions in the world weren’t pointed right at me. Now the ability to get to range one to avoid those munitions is more important, so an engine upgrade becomes a somewhat essential addition.

Three heads

Boba is taking Harpoons. They are the new hotness, they are shiny, they make things go boom. I debated taking K4 Security droid to further add to the missile element of the list, but with only one missile on Boba it felt gratuitous and move limiting… Especially when Dengar is available.

Harpoon missiles are the hotness
A side note on harpoons: Surely the condition card should only be applied if there is actual damage to the hull? I mean the whole point of the thing is that some big lump of metal is suddenly sticking out of the side of your ship, by very definition that is hull damage…

As ever Glitterstim is included, I can’t envisage the Spray without it. Boba at range one of multiple ships with stims and an evade token is one hell of a tank..

Begrudgingly I’m not taking Slave 1 as the title, which feels wrong and dirty. So no extra munitions, but Andrasta lets me take the Bomblet Generator. It’s shiny, useful and all together bust. I can’t believe it’s 3 points and you get it forever… I’m taking it cause it’s a massive deterrent to people parking behind me and the threat of it controls a good area of the table, if it does any damage then that’s great but I’m not counting on it.

no slave one for you

With a bunch of points spare, but wanting a decent initiative bid I am throwing in an Ion Cannon. If there is a list of things that the likes of Miranda and Nym really aren’t fans of, Ion is probably number one the list. There is little they can do to dodge it and it will set them up to take much pain from the ordinance coming their way the following turn.

Fenn Rau

For months Fenn was the terror of the tables. He just wouldn’t die with a stack of focuses from Mindlink. Then Nym turned up and killed him.

I can’t take Mindlink in this list with Boba taking Veteran Instincts, which I think leaves me looking for other viable options.

and what can replace mindlink

Expertise is great, and means that he is always resolving focuses in attack, however it means only one action a turn, which is pretty much a focus for defense. The biggest plus with expertise is NO STRESS! which means keeping the hard one turn free, Fenn’s best move.

Push the Limit is THE classic EPT. Next to Veteran Instincts I’d wager it is probably the most used talent in the game. Maybe not in recent months but over the history of X-Wing it is likely the king. And with 6 green moves on the dial Fenn can handle a bit of stress once in a while.

Kanan talks Fenn into coming back

I have plenty of points to play with so I am throwing in Proton Torpedoes, flipping a focus to a crit should hopefully trigger Boba’s Harpoon. Torps are not great next to all the missiles we have now that don’t spend locks. Compared to Cruise and Harpoons, Torpedoes need some loving. Conveniently it also increases his threat from range three considerably.

“That’s Nuts” (97)

Fenn Rau Boba Fett
Push The Limit Veteran Instincts
Concord Dawn Protector Andrasta
Proton Torpedoes Harpoon Missiles
Autothrusters Engine Upgrade
Glitterstim
Ion Cannon
Dengar

How many upgrades is too many

I’m pretty sure this list isn’t the new hotness, it might not even get more than one or two flies out, but you gotta fly what you love, and I love these two ships. So I have to try it. The name “That’s Nuts” is thanks to Janus Avivson’s reaction to when he saw the list. Hopefully it’s not as nuts as he thinks.

Insult time

No tournaments this weekend, instead an evening gaming with Nic Harris and Dom Flannigan of Firestorm Squadron. Nic took Nymanda to the top 32 of 2017 Nationals and is looking to revamp it post FAQ and Dom got to the cut at Yavin “the Paratanni show” 2017 with Paratanni. He is looking for something to fall in love with in the game again and trying out a few different things. Casual practice with competitive gamers always has a little bit of an edge.

The evening started with Nic and I putting down our lists. And we quickly learned that my list was very strong against his. There was nothing that Nic’s one agility ships could do against the salvo of munitions that hammered his ships. The ion cannon was the game winner here, 3 times in a row in less than an hour Nic found one of his ships floating helpless in space with a Firespray and a Protectorate closing in fast.

Ion Miranda
The board edge is not a friend to an ioned Miranda.

Dom arrived and put his list on the table, Harpoons all around, Nym, Jostero and a Black Sun Ace. Dom deployed Nym, possible a little to far away, seperately to the two Kihraxz, allowing Boba and Fenn to hammer Captain Jostero with everything they had. If Nym had been closer to the other two ships then the initial engagement may not have been so favourable.

Fenn died the following turn, as did the Black Sun Ace leaving Boba and Nym to hunt each other. However with Boba moving second Nym was unable dodge the bounty hunter and the Spray’s damage output proved too much for the Scurrg.

Fenn about to Drop
Yes, that is a second harpoon about to hit Fenn, but trading two Kihraxz for one Protectorate was a fair swap.

For the final pairing of the evening Dom pulled out a hard counter to see how that would affect the game. Tomax at PS10, Vader and QuickDraw at PS11, all with Harpoons. The initial engagement is key when there are two lists that want to shoot first and shoot hardest, a fight that my ships will always lose in this instance.  The only chance for preserving a ship against a superior alpha strike is to get into range one as fast as possible. I was able to do this, and managed to get away from the initial engagement without any damage, and landed a direct hit on Tomax.

Trade off
The second engagement Boba dropped Tomax and QuickDraw dropped Fenn, but with no shields left and no munitions the Tie SF would be easy pickings for the Firespray in the next turn.

The game came down to a limping Boba vs a limping Vader, but with PS advantage Boba was always on an uphill struggle. With the last shot of the game Vader triggered the Harpoon nestling in the side of the Spray and Boba blew up. The explosion leaving Vader on one hull.

Darth drops Boba
When you need your opponent to roll cold… and he does this…

The Mandalorians did me proud over the games played, and I they have earned the right to another run out. Even losing with them didn’t feel bad, the odds were stacked against them and they so nearly overcame.

I’ve rarely had so many things in the game at the same time that I think are both viable and a joy to fly: Star Vipers, Kihraxz, The Falcon, A-Wings, Mandarlorians… I’m in such a happy spot right now. Come the next wave five new ships will change the game dramatically and so might my contentment! Maybe for the better maybe not.

bridge questions

With the bounty hunter themed prizes available at the System Opens I really want to have a good shot at getting some of those shiny things. As an optimist and dreamer I would love to get some Boba templates with Boba himself. I am almost entirely convinced this is an unrealistic prospect, but there a few months between now and then to have a good look. Next weekends double header at Ibuywargames and Warboar should be a good test, looks like strong fields at both events.

THE MANDALORIANS WILL RETURN!

If you’re looking for local tournaments head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar.

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Millennium: Some Say We Are Players

This weeks tournament is another great example of how the gaming community at large is awesome. The fantastic idea that is Gaming Vs Cancer is having a fund raising weekend. I know I always tag in venues and things, and sometimes people click on them, but please click on the GvC link and have a look, find out what they’re doing and see if there is anything you’d like to get involved with to support them. They’ve been organising gaming events for over 4 years now to raise money to help beat cancer.

gvc logo

32 tickets for X-Wing, they sold 35, excellent. 5 Rounds. The ability to purchase re-roll tokens to raise extra money for the cause. A good day out with great purpose. One pilot would be on 5-0 at the end of the day and the prize was one of four only shiny spot-gloss Miranda’s in Europe. One hell of a prize.

I’m anticipating a few standard archetypes to be about, Miranda is still awesome. Dash isn’t going anywhere, Alpha Strikers (both high PS and deadeyed) the meta always has a limited pool of ships to chose from because some ships are just better than others, and people like to win.

The arrival of the PS11 “Dale Cromwell Special” Imperial Alpha Strike, the explosive impact of Captain “even with Genius nerfed I’m still awesome” Nym and even more recently Harpoon “OMG We’re The Best Munitions Ever” Missiles (which have been showcased in this blog somewhat recently) have bought significant changes in the last few months, and the latest FAQ has certainly shaken things up a bit.

Kaylee Firefly Shiny
So many posts referencing Firefly in the last few months, and finally Kaylee gets a look in.

Playing X-Wing is exciting enough for me anyway but there’s a double thrill this week.  When I started getting into X-Wing it was my good friends Pete Wood and Chris Millhouse who showed me the ropes, took me to my first events and introduced me to the larger community. I wouldn’t have the love I have for the game without them, I wouldn’t have made as many friends in the game without Firespray phil 186ththem, and I wouldn’t have started writing this blog without them.

They are both longstanding members of the 186th Squadron, a group of players who love the game and the community. I am thrilled to have become a member of the squadron.

This is  my first tournament as an official member and I am both humbled and proud to join a group that contains many of my best friends in the X-Wing community.

 

Lets go play pew pew

I had planned on flying some Imperial ships for the first time in what feels like forever, but I couldn’t find one of the dials I needed so had to change my plans. As you may have guessed from the pictures I have picked up Rey. Now, I am aware that at times I may have been a little critical of Rey in the past…

She is rather good but there is very much a standard build to her, something which generally puts me off ships. But she is actually pretty fun to fly. I finally get it.

For a while I hated her, and there were many games that made me “GAH” as she hit me time and time and time and time and time again… but now the world has changed the cycle of Jank to Meta is circling back to her being acceptable in my head. She’s still good but so much has changed since a few months ago that… she says it better than me:

Rey confused

A couple of weeks ago I was playing Oli Pocknell (a shock to regular readers) who was practicing for the Belgian Nationals (that happened this weekend) with his take on Dash/Poe and I threw this list on the table. He made one mistake and it went badly for him, in 6 turns both his ships were dead, a very rare occurrence. We reset the board to where the mistake was made and he won the “perfect knowledge” version, but only by a whisker. Nicholas Yun (also of the 186th) joined us on Skype and we chatted at some length about the list I was running, and between the three of us made some tweaks. Which resulted in the the list I took to GvC:

LowRey MKII

Lowhhrick Rey
Selflessness Expertise
Jan Ors Finn
C3PO Kanan Jarrus
Hull Upgrade Millenium Falcon (HotR)
Smuggling Compartment
Scavenger Crane
Counter Measures

I opted for Lowhhrick because these new fangled munitions are amazing and I really want to keep Rey alive as long as possible. The guys from the 186th Podcast had a theoretical and brief chat about using the pair in their latest episode as well as chatting FAQ and Guns For Hire.

Falcon on canvas

Between Counter Measures, Selflessness and Lowhhricks ability there is a LOT of Tankability in this list. Rey can hit as hard as anything, but like all one agility ships she is vulnerable. With the damage output from munitions being so significant right now I have opted for counter measures and a scavenger crane. I’d really like an engine upgrade on her as re-positioning is one of my favourite elements of the game. Sadly it’s an either/or choice and common sense dictates that target lock removal is better than the chance of arc dodging with a PS8 large base ship.

Game One against Jack using Poe and Rey was an interesting prospect, BB-8 PTL Poe is a ship I know well from the ETC  and I have flown him LOTS in the past. He can be devastating. Thanks to points limitation Jack had had to make slight compromises on Poe (PS8 not 9) and he didn’t have Expertise on Rey, opting instead for Veteran Instincts, a not entirely bad shout in the high pilot skill meta we are looking at right now.

The match up was decided in the initial engagement, as they so often are. Lowhhrick helped Rey absorb all the damage that Jack’s Falcon was pushed out. Then my Rey hammered his Rey back. Hard. The Wookie eventually dropped, but not until mine was the only Rey on the table and Poe was all but dead, 100-37 was a good start to the day.

Rey bb8

My second game was against Phil Barber of Meeple Squadron who I have somehow never played despite both attending a lot of the same events in the last year or so. His list was super fun, Intensity Guri, VI Talonbane “harpoon delivery system” Cobra and Push the Limit Fenn Rau. Phil went straight for the Wookie and hammered him with everything, he took some killing and was mighty! A one agility ship should not be able to take thirteen red dice in a turn and somehow walk away, but Reinforce is amazing.

The quality of decision is like the well timed swoop of the falcon which enables it to strike and destroy its victim” Sun Tzu

Opting to shoot the wrong thing is a painful lesson to reflect upon, and I did it at least twice during this game. I fixated so much on Guri when she was in my firing arc that I totally ignored the better shot out of arc: KILL TALONBANE. At range one he is monstrous, and he is the least evasive ship in the list. I had a couple of chances to shoot him which with hindsight I really should have taken as he was the easiest ship to kill on the table. Admittedly Phil’s green dice worked, they worked very well, but I should never have given him the option of having those dice.

The outcome of all this was that Rey was harangued and battered across the table and Mr Barber earned his second 100-0 win of the day. If only life had a rewind button!

Angry Rey

At 1-1 and full of Burger King (other fast food providers are available) it was on to round three and a game against Aaron, flying in his first tournament and playing in one of his first games. Dash and two B-Wings have a lot of fire power, but he split them up and let me hammer into them piece meal. In a straight joust I might still have come out on top, but the focused fire from his three ships could have cranked out some serious damage. 100-0.

B-Wing go BOOM
I felt bad killing B-Wings, they are sorely missed from the gaming table at the moment, I hoping that  Linked Battery card from the Alpha-Class might make it more feasible in the current game.

My next game was against a new comer to the competitive scene. Craig has been playing with a group of friends for the about a year but this was his first tournament. He picked a strong list in Dash and Miranda. First Counter Measures and then Selflessness reduced the potency of his missiles from Miranda. Meanwhile I was able to turn in on Dash and manufacture a joust. For those who aren’t aware Rey is better at jousting than Dash, especially with the Auzituch backing her up. Another 100-0 win to help smooth over the frustrations of bad choices from game two.

I chatted with both Aaron and Craig about their lists and how they flew after the games and hopefully gave them some useful advice. They were both great sports and from what I could tell were really enjoying their first tournament experience. I love the fact that the game is attracting new players and for every person who puts their dice in a draw another person is cracking open a starter set and enjoying their first bouts of dice rage…

X-Wing Friend

The last game of the day was against Firestorm Squadron member Phil Pond. Phil and I have run into each other many times at tournaments over the last year, and he was fielding one of the ships that Rey really doesn’t want to see on the tables. Ventress. The stress giving, Latts crewed bitch remains one of the best ships in the game, and when she is teamed up with Nym you have a list with a lot of threat to it. Lowhhrick took a Harpoon to the face which wasn’t really in the plan…

After a somewhat unfavourable initial engagement Ventress was forced to take evasive action and edged herself onto the mustache rock. Why is it always that smallest of rocks that scuppers peoples plans? At this point in the game she was sitting on one hull. The following turn Nym fired his second harpoon into the Wookie which triggered the harpoon that was already there… which meant that Ventress took a splash damage.

And died.

Goddamn harpoons are fun.

Ventress in a bad spot

The end game saw a full health Rey and half health Lowhhrick taking on Nym, not a fight that the villainous Captain particularly fancies his chances in. It wasn’t long after that he disappeared in a ball of flame. I don’t recall ever putting three 100-0 wins in a row together before, I think I like this list.

GvC rankingsWatching the rest of the games unfold was a bit nail-biting. Two other players were in a position to pip me on MOV so I paid fairly close attention to those games, and I’ll readily admit to breathing a sigh of relief when one of Richard Smith’s TLT wielding HWKs dropped in his final game, leaving me to edge him to third place by a meager 6 points.

Looking at the meta of the event you can see where the power base currently lies.

  • 7 Imperials (Luke Berry was actually flying Scum)
  • 12 Scum
  • 16 Rebels

For a while people have been saying things like “the rebel faction is founded on Biggs.” Well, it seems not.

Dash, Nym, Miranda, Rey, Poe, Han, Lowhhrick and a few other ships showed today that Rebels never have been dependent on a certain T-65 Pilot.

With five ships looking likely to land before Christmas though this is going to be a very short Meta, I doubt it will even settle. We’ve had preview articles for three ships (Alpha Class Star Wing, Kimogila, Phantom II) and a generic spoiler for the movie ships that are coming. I would suggest things are going to be changing.

Yoda Future

Daniel Prewitt won the Miranda spot-gloss. An appropriate prize as he went 5-0 flying the K-wing with Captain Nym.

Biggs Alt ArtFinishing where I did I won a Biggs spot-gloss card… sweet irony given my “love” for the recently nerfed, mustache sporting, I will never fly him on principle pilot.

But as a collector of things, it is a nice thing to have!

I also got myself an Alt Art Tycho and the Interceptor Push the Limit card, both cards I’ve been hankering after for a while.

Card swag.jpg
Some fantastic card swag from the event, a brilliant pool of prize support cards provided by Alex Watkins and Alec Thorne of Asmodee/Esdevium Games.

I somehow managed to get three of the five fastest victories of the day, as Kieron, one of the Judges for the day pointed out: “You’re just not very subtle are you?

Belgian Hero!

I mentioned earlier that the Belgian Nationals were on this weekend, and a bunch of some players from the UK went over. On Saturday evening Mr Pocknell sent me this photo.

This fine young man is Greg Decuypere and he had the courage to do what I didn’t! Take some very familiar looking twin Firesprays to a tournament in a Harpoon meta! Hero.

I am left in a bit of a quandry. I love the Star Vipers, I think that the Harpoon wielding Kihraxz list is really strong, and I enjoyed LowRey far more than I thought I would. It’s great to have so many options in the game of things that make you smile. Well done FFG, that FAQ was on point.

Rey talking to BB8

I don’t think Rey or the Vipers are going to be regular top table ships in the world of the Scurrg, so much health to chew through… but they are most definitely fun to fly, which ultimately is the point.

I GUESS: THE MILLENIUM FALCON WILL RETURN?

If your looking for local tournaments then head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and see what’s going on local to you.

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Moby Dick: I Try All Things, I Achieve What I can.

Last week I wrote about the Star Viper, and I waxed lyrical about just how much I love it. BECAUSE IT’S SO MUCH FUN. I also mentioned that a certain Mr Hills had rather a successful time with a list full of harpoons, and I’ve previously written about how freaking excited I am for these munitions… so this week I’m taking a break from long games with bendy barrel rolls and going for maximum damage output in minimum game time. It’s Kihraxz time.

Captain Ahab III (96)

Talonbane Cobra Viktor Hel Captain Jostero
Vaksai Vaksai Vaksai
Swarm Tactics Veteran Instincts Deadeye
Glitterstim Scavenger Crane Black Market Slice Tools
Harpoon Missiles Harpoon Missiles Harpoon Missiles
Guidance Chips Guidance Chips Guidance Chips
Stealth Device Stealth Device Pulsed Ray Shield
Vectored Thrusters Vectored Thrusters Weapons Failsafe

It’s not subtle, it’s not pretty but it could be effective. Three harpoons at PS9 could do very bad things to people. The PS11 Alpha’s on the Imperial side could be an issue for it, and I’m expecting the current meta to evolve into big ships with Counter Measures stapled to them.

If I owned three Quadjumpers then I’d probably be running three Scavenger Cranes, but the Stim on Talonbane makes his alpha strike ridiculous, and the Slicers on Jostero are a great threat for taking advantage of the stress someone gets from shooting Victor. So a bit of diversity on their load out isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

quadjumper

This weekend I’m really excited to be visiting the Consulting Gamer in Ashford, Kent. It’s their first ever X-Wing tournament with a modest field of 10 players, but they have sold out. It’s great to have new venues opening their doors to the X-Wing community and to see the community responding by making sure they sell out. There were even a couple of pilots flying in their first ever tournament, which is fantastic.

The first game was against Fred Bettesworth flying the daunting prospect of Dengar and Ventress. Even post nerf expertise Dengar with a K4 Security droid carries a lot of threat, and Ventress really takes some killing. But the ability of my three ships to unload their arsenal at pilot skill 9 with brutal efficiency made short work of both ships and within 15 minutes one Kihraxz had been traded for two big ships, the Khiraxz that died doing so from being too close to an exploding Dengar. All the while watched by this familiar chap:

Why Aren't I Golden

My next match up included one ship I really didn’t want to see, PS11 Vader and a shuttle with Kylo Crew. Ashok Photay knew of my dislike for a certain force user… and part of me wanted nothing more than to gun for the shuttle. But the threat in the list was Vader. Had Vader decided to dance away there is little this list would be able to do about him picking off one ship at a time. However landing a block on him with Jostero, allowing Talonbane to deliver a coup de gras early in the game meant that the shuttle and the Inquisitor were on the back foot, at which point the Kihraxz were able to push home their advantage.

When Vader Bumps
Jostero gets the block allowing the locked and stimmed Talonbane to punch Vader VERY hard in the face. The double damage crit was both fortunate and game changing.

More familiar ships awaited in game three, Han and Miranda, both able to absolutely motor around the board without a care for firing arc, a list with a lot of damage potential. Andi Robb went evasive, knowing how much damage my little ships could do. He skirted around the edge of the board so forcing the Kihraxz to navigate the asteroids in the middle of the table was a good ploy. This was the first instance of the day where I was left somewhat speechless by the potency of the Harpoons. Miranda just evaporated. Passing damage off onto Han, at this point Han did what he could to make a fight of things, but between Jostero becoming his personal blocker and the rebel desperate not to get cornered he turned into a world of range one Kihraxz shots.

Han and Miranda evaporate
Much munition. Much explody. A taste of things to come?

If game three had made me speechless the my final game, against one of my favourite people in the X-Wing community, Alex Krysta was a whole other level. Alex had jumped on the deadeye/harpoon train with two Scurrgs and Victor Hel. Because he had lower PS ships than me I got to know exactly where he was going to be deploying and set up for the joust. 25 health is initimidating, and due to my significant PS advantage I knew I was going to unload my munitions first. Round one, 2 forward. Round two, 2 forward and missiles flew.

Force v Harpoons

Holy hell, 18 damage across Alex’s 3 ships in one turn of shooting was more than I could have anticipated.  One Scurrg and Victor never even fired. Three damage from harpoons exploding taking over half the shield of the other. One more turn and it was game.

Alex gets hammered
Ok, so I “may have rolled three natural crits then modded a hit into a crit with guidance chips…”  I am a bad person.

It was an interesting experience. I don’t think I’ve ever played four games in a row and only lost one ship over the course, and I wonder what this could do in the hands of a genuinely good pilot! I think it has it’s limitations, just like anything that relies on alpha strikes and doesn’t have strong green dice, but the threat for people flying against it is to get the damage through faster than the kihraxz can give it to them.

Consulting Gamer Final Scores
Fred’s exploding Dengar killing Talonbane was the blip in an almost perfect day of results.

So, hypothesising a bit: PS11 Alpha strikes, Deadeye, these things feel like they could be a big part of the meta going forwards. Things that negate munitions could well be a good call at the moment. Personally I’m happy to see ships that need to be looking at what they’re shooting being present in the meta!

So if this is the evolving meta, what could be a good counter for it?

Deadeye Me Then (98)

Han Solo Poe Dameron (Ps9)
Veteran Instincts Veteran Instincts
Hotshot Co-Pilot Black One
Gunner BB-8
Counter Measures Autothrusters

Whilst both are not quite optimised they are both very good at either getting rid of target locks or getting out of arc. Their damage output might be limited and their action economy isn’t great, but neither of them are going to be eating any munitions anytime soon. Poe can dodge them and get rid of target locks with Black One and Han can either shrug off locks with Counter Measures or use his gunner and hotshot combination to strip threatening focus tokens off, all at pilot skill 11 with a fairly solid initiative bid.

Millenium Falcon Junk

Guns for Hire offers two very cool ships, but which one do I prefer? My normal playstyle is to just of go for the throat so the Kihraxz is should be a natural choice. There’s just something special about the Star Viper, it’s almost everything that I want to play in X-Wing. The only complaint I have is that there isn’t a natural PS8 or 9 in the toolbox.

One thing I’ve been thinking in the last few days, and have bounced it off some people is a change I would love to see in the game: cap Pilot Skill at 9. It would mean that top tier pilots like Poe, Vader, Soontir would be the best pilots and have the freedom to pick any EPT they want.

A PS 7/8 pilot could boost to 9 to stay on level pegging with the true aces but the advantage would remain with THE BETTER pilot. If it was capped at 9 then Nym couldn’t jump to 10, put pressure on Vader/Quickdraw to go to 11… it would redefine the meta and open up a world of list building possibilities.

Cartoon Fenn PS

There are so many cool Elite Pilot Talents out there that just get pushed to the side because Pilot Skill advantage is SO strong in the game. It’s a simple idea, but I really think it would improve the game.

Anyway.

The Kihraxz have been a lot of fun… but…

THE STAR VIPERS WILL RETURN!

If you’re looking for local tournaments head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and get involved.

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BattleStar Wars Galactica: If You Want me to Dance, just ask.

I’ve been looking forward to writing this one for ages. Ever since those exceptional people at Eclectic Games in Reading gave me the opportunity to win a set of Guns for Hire I have been itching to use them in a tournament. Sure I’ve had games with them but next to putting them on a table in a genuinely competitive setting that’s just a bit of fun and games!

But before that a quick word on one of the best documents I have ever read…the FAQ… all I feel I need to say is WHOOP! Now that’s dealt with: Star Vipers.

For those who haven’t enjoyed the official preview articles about Guns for Hire:

Wednesday evening at Firestorm Cards in Basingstoke  to play a couple of warm up games to see how it goes on the table.

What do you hear? (95)

Torkhil Mux Dalan Oberos Thweek
Ion Cannon Turret Veteran Instincts Star Viper MKII
4-Lom Star Viper MKII Autothrusters
Ion Discharger Autothrusters
Pulsed Ray Shield Virago
Mouldy Crow Advanced Sensors
Glitterstim

I’ve finally bowed to the many comments running along the lines of “Why haven’t you flown Thweek yet?” because he is an answer to so many questions in the meta. I’m just sad the Virago title is unique so I can’t have both him and Dalan dancing around for fun.

No Guri

A five point bid is probably excessive, but there’s nothing else that I want to spend the points on!  Pilot Skill wars have been a thing since Wave 11 dropped and this list can mix it in that particular fight with Dalan topping Dash and Miranda, Thweek able to go toe to toe with PS 10 and 11 ships, and importantly Torkhil dropping them down to 0. Regardless of any other factors not getting shot is a good way of keeping MOV on the table! (That’s Margin of Victory for those who don’t live their lives surrounded by Tournament Speak.)

A bit of tweak was very apparent. Action economy leaves a lot to be desired. Pushing damage through proved to be very inconsistent as the ships spent so long gleefully barrel rolling around that they very often neglected those essential of ingredients to being successful: Target Locks and Focus Tokens. So some minor alterations; Dalan’s toys moved to Thweek and he stepped aside to let Guri enter the fray.

happy starbuck

Nothing but the Rain (96)

Torkhil Mux Thweek Guri
Ion Cannon Turret Glitterstim Star Viper MKII
4-Lom Star Viper MKII Autothrusters
Ion Discharger Autothrusters Intensity
Pulsed Ray Shield Virago
Mouldy Crow Advanced Sensors

One of the big perks of this list is the points spread, not something I have really considered before, Guri is 31 points, Torkhil 32 and Thweek 33, which means no obvious target for my opponent for a points victory. No half point targets anywhere, and importantly a still solid 4 point bit to make use of Thweek.

After making the changes I won my second game against Chris Morrel’s twin Falcons having narrowly lost the first. I also used it in vassal games against Tom Duncan of the 186th and Damien Metcalfe, and managed to come up trumps in both. These games lined me up with a bit of confidence for a double header of Q4 kits over the weekend.  Now it has been confirmed how Jabba actually works those illicit tokens are a bit shinier, not that I can see myself ever flying a 666.

jabba leia

Day one at Firestorm in Basingstoke, always a competitive crowd. The start of the day 9 of the 15 X-Wingers taking part in the event descending on a local cafe for epic breakfasts was definitely a good thing. The locals from Firestorm squadron hosting myself and Jesper and Alex from the 186th in a fiesta of coffee and fried food. Suffice to say I was ready for a nap at by the time we got underway, just as well I pulled the bye in round one.

One of the things I loved about the event was that everyone just chose to use FAQ ready lists. No last hurrahs for mind linked triple jumps, not four ship rebels, but lists using all kinds of new toys and getting ready for the new meta that will inevitably evolve in the next few weeks.

aladdin-genie-hug

The day was a great learning experience, Thweek is a real handful and Guri really is beautiful to fly. Out of the 3 games I played I won one, lost 2, but there were clear dice moments in every game that swung them one way or another, sometimes you have to take in on the chin and realise that these things happen. Blanking out on 3 dice when you have a ready and willing focus is frustrating but that’s all part of X-Wing.

The game I won was a particular joy. Firstly it was against Firestorm Squadron member Jason Barton who has a very good record of beating me, secondly he was running a certain list that I have somewhat well documented bad juju with. But most importantly after the game he went and bought two sets of Guns for Hire to start building Star Viper lists with. They are obnoxiously fun to fly.

Kylo Vader

Jesper Hills went on to go 4-0 on the day with 3 Harpoons attached to Nym and two Kihraxz.  Goddam those things are savage. When GfH first got announced I fell in love with them and they are as spectacular to watch in play as I thought they would be. I suspect it won’t be long until they are declared utterly broken and an negative play experience, which I can see peoples point on, but they are also hugely entertaining to play with and to spectate.

Jesper’s Harpoon List (100)

Captain Nym Black Sun Ace Black Sun Ace
Deadeye Deadeye Deadeye
Harpoon Missiles Harpoon Missiles Harpoon Missiles
Twin Laser Turret Scavenger Crane Scavenger Crane
Guidance Chips Guidance Chips Guidance Chips
Dengar Munitions Failsafe Munitions Failsafe
Extra Munititions

gaius 6.png

My list did enough to show me it has potential, it positions amazingly but the concern is it’s cutting edge and dice consistency, so there aren’t any changes being made for Sundays event in Shoreham hosted by KD GamesShoreham hosted by KD GamesShoreham hosted by KD Games, trying to fly better(er) before making changes after a handful of games is the mature way of developing a list right?

Shoreham was a smaller event, with only 10 people playing, and the Star Vipers continued to make me smile with glee, and my opponents say “what?” as they spun and danced out of firing arcs.

I had a better day of it than I did on Sunday, my only loss to Oli “Natties” Pocknell with his Dash/Poe build he’s been practicing with for weeks. An incredibly close win over Nymanda, a battle with some imperial Aces backed up by an Upsilon shuttle and finally taking 4 T70s on a merry dance.

Vs Nym
When Nym is being awkward, make him PS0. Shoot hit with everything and Ion him… Miranda is still kinda impossible to kill but it was a narrow points win against them and the only loss that these particular rebels suffered all day.
Vs Empire
Backdraft didn’t take kindly to Ion Tokens, landing on rocks, being made PS0 and shot to hell and back, next Omega Leader dropped, then my opponent conceded to the two surviving Vipers as they prepared to dance around his Kylo Ren piloted shuttle.
Vs T70
The nobility of anyone who takes 4 T70s is beyond question. It’s a beautiful ship, and if someone honourably fronts up to it then it is highly likely they will not walk away from the fight. Guri and Thweek however don’t play that game and danced around the righteous X-Wings with their crazy maneuverability.

So with a good few games under my belt with the Star Vipers I do have to conclude that they are definitely not going to regularly feature on the top tables at tournaments. They have potential as part of a squad but I don’t think you can build a list around them. I am however (predictably) going to persevere and see what I can do with them.

Things that need trying:

  • Thweek with a Fire Control System. Advanced Sensors makes him unreadable and virtually impossible to pin down, however it limits his damage output so brutally.
  • Xizor. Yes, I’m very much not a fan of his pilot ability, I think it’s utterly awful. But maybe with Veteran Instincts or Intensity he could well be strong.
  • Expertise and Fire Control System. That could be fun. Would make Thweek a lot less useful as the ultimate arc dodger (no system as Virago would have to go onto a pilot who has an EPT slot), but if you can’t damage your opponent in return then all the avoidance in the world doesn’t help anything.

Xizor_and_Guri

I cannot praise the performance of Torkhil enough though, he is such a leveller and his performances against RAClo, Nym, Backdraft, and a host of other ships this weekend made him a vital component of the list, but I think I will be taking a shot at a pure Star Viper list. They are more fun than anything else I have ever flown.

THE STAR VIPERS WILL RETURN

(But I gotta try some Harpoon wielding Kihraxz nonsense soon)

If you’re looking for tournaments local to you then head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and see what’s going on near you.

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The X-Philes: Dreams Are Answers to Questions We Haven’t Yet Figured Out How to Ask.

The gunboat is coming! The gunboat is coming! More importantly the “re-balancing” of Advanced Slam has been confirmed, Guns for Hire is now only 4 days away and illicit tokens in the Q4 kits surely this mythical FAQ can’t be far away now.

New Advanced SlamThere’s an interesting debate on the gunboat and it’s interaction with the newly worded advanced Slam. A lot of people are saying they have hammered the K-Wing as it now won’t be able to Slam and Bomb, yet this ship can slam and shoot missiles…. That’s FINE, Missiles have range limitations and more importantly only work in firing arc.

Having Miranda bop over you head and hit you with bombs that you can’t do anything about compared to a firing arc you can avoid isn’t unbalanced, it’s fine.

Black one X-Wing

If it wasn’t for the presence of Nym then arc dodgers could well return. As I’m a fan of ships that can take autothrusters this pleases me…

Genie it says here

One of the big rumours of things that are going to change in that Attanni Mindlink may well be a very different animal in the future. I’ll be the first to admit that it is among the most potent Elite Pilot Talents in the game, and here is the inevitable but:

Mindlink’s success was based predominantly on the potency of Fenn Rau with a stack of focus tokens. The emergence of Nym has all but deleted Fenn from the top tables in tournament play and mindlink only really finds a consistent home on triple Contracted Scouts. I think changes will happen to it, and I think they should, my preference would be something range based (or just change the Contracted Scout…) If they change it I won’t cry about it. It’s been a blast having it.

Genie count the focus tokens

With this in mind I put my thinking cap on for two events this weekend. I had great fun with the A-Wings last week, but they’d have been more satisfying had they been able to actually hurt things once their crackshots had burned. If Mindlink is to have a last hurrah I want to have a play with it because it’s so much fun. And came up with this:

Inaldra’s Protectors (99)

Inaldra Concord Dawn Veteran Concord Dawn Veteran Concord Dawn Veteran
Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink
Heavy Scyk Concord Dawn Protector Concord Dawn Protector Concord Dawn Protector
Pulsed Ray Shield Autothrusters Autothrusters Autothrusters
Tractor Beam
Inaldra
This list has given me a slight crush on her…

It’s a very simple list, and a lot of fun. Inaldra acts as the focus battery, the protectorates take target locks, the tractor beam shoots first and then shooting happens. I took it down to my new local store, Firestorm Cards in Basingstoke on Wednesday night for a couple of practice games and it made me smile. So I figured before Guns for Hire drops and I get horribly distracted by Star Vipers and things totting Harpoon Missiles I’d give it a bash.

The weekends first tournament was a Q3+Q4 kit at Warboar in Bromley, one of my favourite shops to visit, and 18 other people did the same.

I lucked out in round one, pairing against Alex from Meeple Squadron who was flying four TIE Aggressors with TLTs. It’s a list that Protectorates are always going to enjoy playing thanks to the PS advantage, autothrusters and significant damage output, and the lack of Crits landing in return. Alex did his best but it was a fight he was always going to struggle with.

Aggressors go pop

I paid for that luck in the next two games, first against Tom and then Jonny both from the 186th. I really had to pick hard at my game plan to find out what I did wrong to take the absolute hammerings I recieved. Both guys were kind enough to concede that their reds were outlandishly hot, but it’s frustrating to review a game and find no glaring issues, I’d me much happier if I’d done something stupid to deserve it. Six three die attacks with a focus at a Lambda shuttle and doing no damage is somewhat soul destroying!

Genie Jaw Drop

The final game of the day was against Matt flying Nym and Miranda, on paper not exactly a great match up for me. Matt and I played at the Woking Store Champs a few months back and he butchered my Firesprays. Two ships that can give low Pilot Skill shieldless ships a really hard time with their abundance of bombs. But what they really don’t like is tractor beams. Inaldra shone in this game, moving the high PS bombers around and letting the protectorates hammer free hits into them. Both ships had TLTs so again the threat of Crits was minimal, and double focus, three evade dice with Autothrusters are pretty resistant TLTs. Agility one ships REALLY don’t like tractor beams.

I finished 10th for the day, which considering the terrors of games two and three I was pleased with. Callum Brown won the day going 4-0 with OPQ, a list he has only lost once with (in it’s current format over about 20 games), which was in the top 8 at UK Nationals… his Miranda does fine without advanced slamming… just saying.

Sunday was a trip to the Dice Saloon in Brighton, a venue that always sells out and always provides some stiff competition. Kris Mitchell, the resident TO recently came top 8 at Nordics, which was a great performance especially as he went 6-0 in the swiss.

The event had 30 players so ran to 5 rounds, personally I love 5 round tournaments. The day started badly though, on Saturday I had 2 horrificly bad dice games against Quickdraw and Vessery with their respective plus one, and the first game on Sunday was much the same. It was bad. Starting a day off with a 100-0 loss is never great.

Genie dice shock

It was a great event with a hugely mixed Meta and some really strong performances. I ended up going 3-2 for the day and finishing 10th, which considering the start was pretty good. I have to give a big shout out to Greg for his flying of Hera. On paper we both thought that it was going heavily in my favour but after some excellent flying and range management the Ghost got the damage through and he won a savagely hard fought game.

Jess goes pop
When Harpoons land flying like this will be a really bad idea…

The atmosphere was great and there were some brilliant games to watch once mine were finished, one of my favourite things about X-Wing is the “watching your friends play while whispering behind your hand to another friend about what he should or shouldn’t do in the next turn…” And enjoying Joel North’s residence on table one as he took game after game to time and scraping the win by 5 points here or 7 points there led to some great banter!

I enjoyed everyone of the 9 games I played this weekend (even the ones where the dice left me dumbfounded), and all in all I’m happy with the 5-4 scoreline. I love this list, which does make it a little sad that I’m going to retire it after just two events. With Harpoons coming on Thurdsay I suspect formation flying is going to take a bit of a hammering. Then with Mindlink potentially changing it’s time to play with some other things. Star Vipers are going to be hitting the table very soon and I am really looking forward to taking them to their maiden tournament in Shoreham next weekend.

Cheers Kara

In other Star Wars related news Rebels Season 4 has kicked off and it has started rather well. If you’ve not watched Rebels I highly recommend putting some time aside and giving it a go. So much of the lore of X-Wing that we are currently enjoy comes from the show. Kanan, Hera, Zeb, Sabine, Chopper, Ezra, Fenn Rau, Protectorates, Ketsu, The Inquisitor, TIE Advanced Prototypes….

And finally, I have handed in my notice to my good friends at Zombie Squadron and have hung up the red shirt. I had a great couple of years flying with them and will forever be grateful to how they have helped develop my love of the game, I was a tough decision but I don’t get to Ibuywargames (the home of the Zombies) as much as I used to and it just feels time to move on.

 NEXT TIME: STAR VIPERS MKII FINALLY GET A RUN OUT!

If your looking for local tournaments head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and see what you can get to.

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A-Wing & A Prayer: The UKTC

We had a team event in Woking a few weeks back, I was the rebel component. It was an excellent lesson in how not to fly a Millennium Falcon, and why I’m not taking the Falcon again!

At Yavin 2016 I flew and A-Wing crack swarm (started well, went downhill), and think that it could be a good shout in a team meta. My team mates Graham and David will be again running their Triple Scouts and Imperial Alpha lists respectively so we should have a pretty efficient toolbox between the three of us.

I’ve tried variants of the list Crack Swarm cause since I last ran it damage spikes have become much more dramatic in the game and they generally need both a focus and evade every turn to have a chance of tanking the damage coming their way. I previously run 4 A-Wings pretty successfully (with Push the Limit and Juke), until one fateful Regional at Warboar in Bromley where it got utterly eaten alive and had a woeful day of it! Largely due to the heavy presence of Ventress and Latts.

VEntress beats ashoka

I don’t think I’d take them to a standard format tournament, but where there are options to dodge certain lists they could be considerably stronger. I have also tweaked the list that I was using then to try and make it’s damage more consistent. I did have Juke and PTL on my four but there are points there for Predator, to get Juke to work you have to have the hits in the first place, and not have spent your evade earlier in defense. Predator gives a better chance of that. Convenient that between then and now Predator was an alt art card so I have plenty…

Y-wing

I’ve also looked at the classic Wingman option to keep them stress free but with great action economy. Problem is with Wingman there is no damage output, you’re just running naked dice most of the time unless you haven’t had to spend your focus on the way in, very rarely would I envisage taking a target lock with this list. If we were still in the Parattanni Meta then I think Wingman would be the best option.

Green Squadron Pilot x5
A-Wing Test Pilot x5
Chardaan Refit x5
Adaptability x5
Crack Shot x5
Autothrusters x5

Jonathan Scott wrote a great article on flying A-Wings in formation, one written with so much detail that I’m slightly jealous of his analytical writing skills. It’s a good read and if you’re trying to get better at formation flying I highly recommend it.

Having not played for a while I headed to Basingstoke and Firestorm Cards to get a few games at a Q3 kit event. It didn’t go well. I finished 1-3 for the day and the black pit of despair filled my mind at having to wake up at 6am, travel 2 hours, play 6 games, lose 6 games, let my team mates down, travel 2 hours, collapse of exhaustion and then wake up for work with a proper gaming hang over… Or had I just forgotten how to fly them after over a 12 months absence?

What could possibly go wrong.png

Arriving at the UKTC on the Sunday I still felt like I should have bought something else, but others were more positive about my choice as we put stuff on the table. The event was awesome, so much more impressive than I had imagined it would be, and the caliber of players was staggering. There were quite a few rounds when I just thought to myself “if I lose quickly then I can go and watch that game” this was especially true in round four seeing Rasta, Sim and Kev of the Warlords lining up against Andrew, Jesper and Ben of the 186th. Scratching the surface that’s the European Champ, 2 Nerf Herder Champs, Yavin 2016 champ, UK 2015 Champ, and worlds top 4 player (robbed by dice) all playing at the same time. As a fan of the game that’s a genuine blockbuster of a match up.

My teams first round pairing was against Tee Squadron, and a jubilant Lee Dalton gleefully declaring “I’m playing the A-Wings”. An ominous greeting. His two decimators like running into things and rolling lots of red dice, he even has an A-Wing modelled as having been rammed on one of his Oicun… Psycological warfare there. His amazingly good range 3 green dice got crackshotted multiple times, had to use them while I could right? It came down to his big hitting Oicun on 3 health vs my one remaining full health A-Wing. I wasn’t feeling too confident… then the Deci took a crit, and if I could have picked a crit I would have picked it: Stunned Pilot. All of a sudden the ship that loves to bump didn’t want to bump, with little option Lee threw Oicun into a hard turn, but there wasn’t enough table edge left and the decimator left a very relieved A-Wing on the table.

A-wing Nervous

The next game was against Ben of the Weekend Warlords. Double IGs are a bit daunting for A-Wings as they generally just shrug off two attack dice for fun while throwing a load back. In the opening engagement one of Ben’s IGs got blocked, then popped glitterstim as 2 A-Wings had a range one shot on him. The A-wings pretty much bounced off him, but the following turn the same IG got blocked again and had 4 A-Wings pointing at him, 3 at range one. Naked red dice from k-turned A’s vs naked green dice on the IG. Ben braced for a painful turn and prayed to the dice gods, who promptly didn’t listen to him. Repeated rolls of 3 green dice saw nothing good happened and by the end of the turn it was four A-Wings vs one IG. It was a cracking game, and Ben dropped another A before his second IG dropped, but like so many games the opening engagement was utterly decisive.

A-wing start

With two team wins under our belt we were feeling better than we expected and I was beginning to believe in the A-Wings. Memories of Yavin still persisted though and having already enjoyed the “bad roll kills a ship” feature that all A-Wings come equipped with and still couldn’t feel really confident.

Cue game three, and the first of two Scottish teams we would play. My opponent for round was Ed Holmes, who was flying a U-Wing! Someone with as much disregard for the meta as me… except that Biggs and Miranda were also in the list. I got the opening to this one right and Ed winced as one A-Wing blocked his entire list, while the other 4 locked Biggs.

A-wing vs ed.jpg

I had to shoot him anyway so it made sense. Biggs melted. Then the A-wings set about the U-wing as it’s easier to kill than Miranda. It dropped pretty quickly, but not fast enough, surviving for a turn longer than it should have done, which was enough for the A-Wings to be down to 3. They chased Miranda but the irrepressible K-Wing did what she does best and I couldn’t get enough damage through on her. Down to two A-Wings and equal on points I could have tried to run and play for final salvo, but that’s not fun! I probably should have had less fun as Ed got Miranda into position to drop first one then the other remaining A-Wing. It was another brilliant game though (making three for the day). TLT Miranda is really tough for A-Wings to take on. We lost the round but the lads from Common Ground were truly excellent competition.

A-wing concerned

Game four arrived and the titanic “Game of Champions” between the Warlords and the 186th was kicking off about 10 foot away from us, Ian Wardle, organiser of the brilliant event wandered over and it was great to have a chat, apparently 5 A-Wing was worth coming to visit for. I managed to blag 4 extra Alt Art Cards A-Wings from people at the start of the day…

My A-wings

As we lined up against a second team of Warlords (there are A LOT OF THEM). I got to pick my opponent for this one and I somewhat selfishly picked Stuart flying 4 TLT aggressors. I flew against Richard Smiths 4 TLT HWKS on Saturday at Firestorm Cards, and it was my only win of that day, so I was feeling confident against the Aggressors. Autothrusters and staying out of arc against them is what the A-Wing is designed for and Stuart was an absolute gent as his Aggressors were bullied across the table. Not getting light weight frame most of the time and having to spend his focus tokens on defence every round meant that the damage input vs output of his ships was the wrong way round and whilst a couple of A-wings dropped this was a list mismatch in my favour.

By the fifth game my head was really hurting from swarm flying, I don’t know how people fly 7 tie fighters!

More Scots in round five. I was frustrated by a 2 hour journey and several hours of X-Wing. Theirs was 7 hours! Total admiration for their commitment.

king fergus

Nick put 32 health on the table. A Trandoshan Slaver and two Scurrgs is ominous. Nick was a phenomenal sport, I put one of my dials down with a bank the wrong way, which would have taken me off the table with my lead A-Wing, but he graciously allowed me to flip the move the other way around. The opening engagement went right (after that glaring error), the squadron raced around the board and hammered 10 damage into the slaver in a joust, not what Nick expected. It died soon enough after but there was still 20 health of Scurrg to chew though. After my success against the aggressors it was only a matter of time before I chipped them down. Nick realised pretty quickly that his TLTs weren’t going to damage me fast enough, so switch to his primary attacks, which really hurt. Using Outlaw Tech to talon roll and shoot with a focus dropped three A-Wings before the last damage went through on the scum.

Which took us to game 6, the final game of the day and I was paired against the same man who started my losing streak at Yavin getting on towards two years ago. Lewis Witham of Team Harlequins. He was flying Dash and the ship that had already proved my nemesis once on the day, Miranda. Lewis had gone for the mangler option on Dash, trading the output of the HLC for not having the range one bubble for Nym to exploit. The A-Wings did bad things to Dash. Dropping him without loss before gunning for Miranda.

A-wing vs lewis.jpg

100 points vs 40 something points. Surely I had this game in the bag. I was thinking it, Lewis was saying it, Miranda was got rinsed down to one health in one attack. Then one turned flipped everything. Two attacks through a debris field, one unobstructed, all with target locks.

bad start, just unluckyFirst roll, two hits, Miranda rolls double focus. Lewis Spends his focus. No Damage.

Second roll, one hit, spend the lock, two hits, Miranda c'mon the dice will get betterrolls two natural evades. No Damage.

Third roll, unobstructed with a target lock. One hit, re-roll, one hit. Miranda rolls one dice, evades.

really

 

And thus did the rest of the game go. Neither Lewis, myself or any observing team mate/spectator could quite believe just how good one green dice can be. Lewis flew like the veteran he is, running away, healing up, turning in to fight when it favoured him, then dodging away again. The A-Wings needed to get to range one of her to have a real chance of hurting her, but that was just never going to happen. He got me down to two A-wings and could have run with point advantage and no hope of me ever catching him, but he didn’t cause that wouldn’t have been fun. Instead he fought on until the end, killing me agonising slowly, we finished 10 seconds from time with the last A-Wing going pop.

A-wing gonna die

His win put the Harlequins team third. If I had won that game or at least kept 40 points on the table then one of the other Zombie Squadron teams would have come third instead… I should have been gutted but it was such a great game, one of the best I have ever played in, and he’s such a top bloke I couldn’t help but be really happy for him getting that third place trophy.

not bitter

David, Graham and I finished 15th for the day going 4-2 overall, and we were really please with that, I’d have settled for finishing 3-3.

So could A-Wings be a thing? I went 4-2 with them and enjoyed every single game I played on the day. Am I brave enough to continue using them in the meta we currently live in where bombs and big turrets rule the roost? I don’t know, I think they could be better than I first thought but a format that lets you pick match ups to some degree may have reflected favourably on both them and me. I definitely don’t think they’re bad though, their only draw back is the two attack dice, but with so many ships being low agility at the moment that isn’t nearly as crippling as it could be.

Again that haunting question “how well could I do if I fly something properly ‘meta’?” rings in my ears and part of me wants to have a go at something that is considered top tier, just to see. My house mate asked the other side of that question: “are you scared to fly the meta in case it doesn’t go well for you?” So there maybe some soul searching over the next few weeks, likely followed by Star Vipers and Tie Silencers!

TIE Silencer

The UKTC isn’t an official FFG event. It’s an offspring of the community, it’s a lot of hard work by people who love the game and it was awesome. 52 teams from across the country, 156 gamers, and I only played one person who I had played before. Events rarely come with a better atmosphere than this and it was great to get to meet so many people who I’ve only known through reputation/facebook spam before.

The attitude and sportsmanship maintained the unflinchingly high standards that I have come to expect from us lot and it made me feel genuinely proud to be a part of this community. This was epitomised by the auction that was help halfway through the event where hundreds of pounds were raised for charity. Superb job Ian Wardle and team.

The day was won by the Weekend Warlords team, George, Sim and Kev in a very tense game against the Podcasting members of the 186th. It seems that the Dellapina household is rather keen on making 2017 their year. They’ve won Euros, Nerf Herder, the UKTC but you know… only second at UK Nationals though. Maybe in 2018 someone else will get a shot.

Q4 kits are finally here and this weekend sees the first of them. Regional season is fast approaching and I need to work out what the heck I’m flying!

SOMETHING WILL RETURN!

If you’re looking to get into organised play head over to the 186th Event Calendar and see what is going on local to you.

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Battlestar Wars Galactica: The Difference is My Flaws are Personal.

The continuing adventures in Star Vipers, some more vassal and some more options to try out. As has been mentioned before my natural tendency is to play very aggressively, I do rather like to line up and joust with some big guns. However this route won’t work with the Star Vipers, although lining 4 PS1 Vipers with the Mark II and Pulsed Ray Shield is quite tempting.

Battlestar Galactica

I’m going to need to learn to play a different way. I’m pretty adept at high PS arc dodging thanks to extensive Soontir Fel hours. I’m pretty comfortable with low PS swarms, thanks to more than a few games with Green Squadron Crackshots, and I’m more than happy with “line up and joust” cause of Firesprays. But the Mid Pilot Skill control style of play is one that I’m not used to.

Starbuck and Apollo

There is a distinct art to flying ships in the PS 4-8 bracket. You aren’t low enough PS to guarantee blocks, but aren’t high enough to be able to avoid them. PS1-3 have empty spaces to fly into, and PS9+ often have perfect knowledge of where everthing is. In many ways you have less control over the battlefield than other lists do. And Star Vipers are very much mid Pilot Skill ships. In order to get better at the game I’m happy to take on the challenge.

I’m playing a vassal game on Vassal with the most defensive player I know. Oli Pocknell of the 186th is a good mate, top bloke and a really good pilot. His record at major events is staggering, he has made the cut at both Yavin Opens, the Euros, the 2016 and 2017 UK Nationals, been to both European Team Championships (leading England to second this year), won the Nordics in 2015… the strange thing is he very rarely 100-0s anyone. His play style is to only take on an engagement when it is optimal in his favour, focussing fire on an exposed ship. I’ve seen him go 30 minutes waiting for the moment to strike. He’ll happily break away if this is going to be at the expense of one of his getting the same treatment. (written down this is SO obvious, but in practice this is SO difficult)

His games go to time fairly often but rarely ever to final salvo, something mine pretty much never do. But then, he win’s a lot more games than me… If you want to get better than you are, then play people who are better than you.

Mindlink Gaius
If you haven’t watched the BSG remake this means very little to you. Go watch it.

I’m trying a different list to last time out, the three Vipers with Mindlink is a lot of fun and definitely going to be revisited but I want to try something else that I think could be useful. It’s a measure of how far the game has come, since I first flew Attanni Mindlink. It was an eye-opener to experience the power it offered, but since wave 11 has dropped it is so much less prevalent in the meta. It’s almost like it’s fine now that there is a Pilot Skill War going on.

Don't Nerf Just Nym

Guri Dalan Oberos Torkil Mux
Expertise Outmaneuver 4-Lom
Star Viper MKII Star Viper MKII Ion Cannon Turret
Autothrusters Autothrusters Ion Dischargers
Virago Pulsed Ray Shield
Advanced Sensors
EMP Device

I’ve gone for the Torkhil I mentioned in my last post as a utility ship, he could be a right pain in the neck and adds a sizable chunk of control to the list. No one wants to be in range two of Torkil, and at range one he is even more problematic as his Ion Dischargers let him heal and use 4-Lom and his Pulsed Ray Shield without fear of getting Ioned himself. Hopefully Nym won’t be a fan!Kanan_Jarrus huh

But trying something different today: Guri is taking Expertise, one of my favourite EPTs. Consistent damage output leaving a focus for defense is great, sure it costs a bit but on a ship with three red dice it should keep the damage ticking over. It’s a lot more expensive than running Mindlink, and the list does suffer from a reduction in action economy as a result. But the ships are more independent than when they have Mindlink, in addition stress causing mechanics don’t completely ruin your day! (just partially)

It’s a tidy little combination and I’m looking forward to seeing if it works. With the mobility of the Star Vipers it could be a very difficult range 1-2 bubble to get out of. I don’t really know what I’m doing with HWKs having only used them in a couple of rebel lists so getting some table time with one is probably a good idea anyway.

swx73-dalan-oberos
I wish he was PS7

Xizor is out of this list, instead Dalan Oberos comes in. Xizor sitting outHis ability is likely to be useful with the threat of Ion from Torkhil, he should be able to tuck in behind things that are ioned and crank out some damage. He’s got Advanced Sensors on him so that he can take a action before getting himself stressed which I suspect he’ll be quite often. Admittedly it means he might only use it every other turn but it’s the best option I can see. His presence is also a very good reason not to take Attanni Mindlink!

Kanan understands

As I’m expecting him to be able to avoid firing arcs fairly well I’m putting Outmaneuver on him. Just as Fearlessness theoretically suits the Protectorate well, Outmaneuver feels like an EPT very suited to the Star Viper, especially on Oberos.

No point having a 2 point initiative bid with a PS 3, 5 and 6… so lets throw on an EMP Device for good measure.

So after an arduous day lounging about, writing the preamble for the blog and watching the Saturday Sportsball all afternoon it’s late night game time. A couple of radically different games against Martin Chivers first though. The lesson from the first game was “don’t just fly a HWK straight foward” the lesson from the second is that this Dalan Oberos is hard for your opponent to fly against provided you’re happy with naked dice the whole time!

Oli’s List for the Game

Jake Farrel Miranda Doni Jess Pava
Veteran Instincts Twin Laser Turret R3-A2
Push The Limit Sabine Wren Integrated Astromech
A-Wing Test Pilot Bomblet Generator
Autothrusters
Proton Rockets

Oli and I have been playing each other for a while now and use these games as learning tools, for me it’s the primary purpose of Vassal. It means games sometimes last a while as we discuss mistakes and look at what could have been done differently. Learning from your mistakes after a game has finished is great, but be able to learn from them mid-game and see how the outcome could have changed as a result is even more valuable.

The key moment in this game was the initial engagement. This is by far the most important part of any game. Get this right and more often than not you win, get it wrong and you’ll lose. It’s not the dice, its the positioning. It’s giving your opponent ample opportunity to focus fire while you don’t return the favour you will lose. This game had a perfect example of that.

angry kanan laughing ezraGuri breaks north to threaten Miranda’s approach in turn 3 then turns in behind the rock to get shelter from the TLT. At which point Jake has come zooming across, survived being made PS0 by Torkhil and then smacked Guri off the table with Prockets. Miranda Jess, and Jake were all able to shoot the blonde assassin in one turn. Ain’t no coming back from that. Meanwhile Dalan is in total no-mans land to the south.

So we hit the undo button and instead Guri kept the threat on Miranda, and Jake tokened up for incoming attack from Dalan and Torkhil.

03b
Torkhil’s sphere of control was a huge influence on the game, it allowed the Star Vipers to put their shots in before two of Oli’s ships every turn (Jess being PS3). And Jake burned everything to not take any damage form the combined fire of Torkhil and Dalan.
outrageous re position.jpg
Guri was forced out of the fight for couple of turns while by the presence of a Sabine Fuelled bomblet, but the Ion Turret was doing it’s job in controlling one ship a turn. Meanwhile Dalan performed probably the move of the match to boost with advanced sensors and then sloop next to Jess in a flanking position on Miranda.
05
Much pain for Jake, but the HWK-290 paid the ultimate cost and it’s reign of being a pain in the arse was over.

A key moment came when Torkhil got an ion shot through on Jake, landing him on one health and parked right in front of a rock. Some good dice on my part, not so much on Oli’s. Oli’s list has it’s own control mechanism in it, Jess with the stress bot, shutting down Dalan’s movement options was frustrating but probably not as frustrating as what I was doing to him!

This would have been an epic moment to fire my EMP device had I remembered that I had it! Jake had to fly over the rock twice (thanks to 3 hits from Torkils Ion turret), with one health that should kill him right?

07
Jake finally dies. One health, over a rock twice and I STILL have to shoot him to get rid of that last hull. Pushing those three dice into Jess would have been infinitely preferable at this point!

Miranda kept doing Miranda things and with the TLT regenning shields every turn and with the bomblet generator she was in a great spot to force my ships into some evasive maneuvers. Oli’s let Jess take a bomblet so that Guri would take one too.

smug sabine GURI

08
Guri tried to avoid the bomblet but there was literally no way, however Jess did take a bit of a battering from the bomblet and the range one shot from Guri.
09
With Miranda limping, Jess Limping and Guri limping, Oli had to to take the shot on the Android.  Had she been able to fire there was a good chance that Jess would have died this turn, but as ever the TLT did what TLTs do. The threat of the bomblet had forced Dalan to run away because he couldn’t take the Sabine hit of another possible bomblet drop.

petualant sabine

Which put the game at a 2 on 1 in favour of the Rebels, and so we hear the that awful phrase “trust your dice” come into play for Dalan Oberos.

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Dalan was all lined up to kill Jess, out of ark with 4 natural dice. “All” he needed was 2 evades and a blank (twice) and he’d have made it…

It was a great game and a real learning experience, the obvious mistake of the initial engagement aside my list gave Oli some real problems, and me some real opportunities. It still definitely feels like X-Wing on hard mode, but these ships are all the fun.

Torkhil only got to regen a shield once, but it made a difference in the game. With the likes of Miranda, permanently stressed Jake and a stress bot Jess there was no way that Oli was ever taking one of my ion tokens off me to get rid of the Discharger, but he did stay out of range one most of the time so I couldn’t get full use out of it either.

raptor and vipers

Guri is solid, I just need to remember that I have Expertise on her. Several times in the game I had to be given a friendly reminder it was there! But she does work well.

The star performer was Outmaneuver on Dalan, his ability means he is almost never in arc and to constantly remove a green dice is huge. As much as I’d like Fire control on him to make his damage output even passably more consistent the Advanced Sensors are way more helpful to the job he has to do. I will drop his EMP Device though. Glitterstim has long been my default illicit of choice and for that one turn of “action economy” that it provides I think it is a much better option for him.

Still lots of options to consider, Intensity high up on that list. It’s fair to say that while I’m not entirely happy with my flying of the HWK I do have an definite appreciation of how much it can influence games, it’s probably worth getting better with it. But as far as it goes with Guri and Dalan – I am getting feels…

starbuck and apollo drinking

In other news; Piers Horry, Ryan Davies and myself are on Cloud City Radios latest podcast looking back at our time representing Wales in the European Team Championships so if you have 90 minutes free go have a listen.

THE STAR VIPERS WILL RETURN!

If you’re looking for local tournaments then head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and see what you can see.

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