Firespray 31: Hope to Hear from you Soon. Love, Your Mother.

A Saturday off, but a Sunday tournament at my home store: Ibuywargames. It’s not the biggest X-wing community in the world, but we have some very good regular players and we REALLY LIKE our Star Wars. The local meta is generally decided by people asking themselves “if I try A and Q will I get something that works?” which suits me down to the ground. If you’re ever around the Woking area on a Wednesday or Thursday night and fancy some X-wing come play come see Ian and his team. There is also beer available from midday…

I’ve been coming here for about 18 months now. It’s where I learned, and continue to learn, to play X-Wing.  As such there are even more familiar faces than usual, which means I’ll probably play people I’ve played “a few” times before. I don’t know about you but I actually find these games harder than lining up against a total stranger, the regulars know each others playstyles.

zombie squadron

Ibuy is also Home One for Zombie Squadron so it’s no surprise to see a bunch of my fellow Zombies here.

It’s Mothering Sunday and great to be one of the fraternal gathering of sons, fathers and husbands coming to play with tiny plastic space ships as a sign of gratitude to the women that bore us.

luke-and-leia-skywalker-photo-u1Yes I know Star Wars was 1977, but her children’s antics wouldn’t make Padmé turn in her grave until 3 years later.

I think I’ve earned a day off Firesprays. What could be sufficiently different from two sledge hammers like Boba and Emon? Yes, that’s right: A-Wings. People who know me are aware that I love this little ship more than anything else in the game, and I’ve had a craving that needed meeting ever since the FAQ came along. I’m weak, forgive me!

I have two distinct takes on A-wings. Option one I go for Jake and Tycho dancing around trying to get that inevitable misfiring procket shot off. I have historically struggled to find complimentary ships to go with the pair but since the Rebel Tie came out my options have improved somewhat. This is something I have been dying to try out.

Fulcrum’s Wing (97)

Ahsoka Tano

  • Push the LimitTycho
  • Sabine’s Masterpiece
  • Recon Specialist
  • Engine Upgrade

Jake Farrel (Green 4)

  • Push the Limit
  • Veteran Instincts
  • A-Wing Test Pilot
  • Autothrusters
  • Proton Rockets

Tycho Celchu (Green 3)

  • Expert Handling
  • Push the Limit
  • A-Wing Test Pilot
  • Autothrusters
  • Proton Rockets

Fulcrum's Wing 2I need rebel dials to come back into stock! No list is complete without painted dials!

Tycho’s second Elite Pilot Talent after Push The Limit is always a debate for me, I love Expert Handling on him for maximum re-positioning. Rage is so effective though, essentially giving him a target lock, focus and still leaving him with one more action option.  However I’ve gone with Expert Handling in this instance, keeping out of arc of things like like defenders is key to keeping alive, and I’d rather not get one-shotted for parking in the wrong place.

Now I know that my Ahsoka isn’t the emerging standard “you can’t shoot me” variety but hear me out: maximum re-positioning. In the shooting phase I should be able to outmaneuver my opponent after everything has moved, failing that turtle up. She’s able to trigger herself or if she’s close enough to one of the boys then then can do all kinds of shenanigans in the shooting phase if I’ve got the movement phase right. I think she makes for a versatile support ship, which in the right situation could be game changing. Or she could just be a Tie fighter, that costs 28 points…

Ashoka.png

I could have taken an illicit, like an EMP or Black Market Slicer Tools but keeping that bid strong is important!

Alternatively I could go with a PTL mini-swarm. As secondary EPTs I’ve tried nearly everything worth looking at, Juke, Intimidation, Wingman… I’ve not tried it with Swarm Leader yet but I’m very tempted to. If I was, this is what I would run:

Panda Swarm (97)

Green Panda Squadron

  • Chardaan Refit
  • Autothrusters
  • Push The Limit
  • Swarm Leader
  • A-Wing Test Pilot

Green Panda Squadron x 3

  • Chardaan Refit
  • Autothrusters
  • Push The Limit
  • Juke
  • A-Wing Test Pilot

panda squadron 1Panda Squadron started as a five man adapt/crack swarm but has since evolved into a 4 man line up trying various EPTs along the way.panda squadron 2

The Pandas make up several of my favourite lists. I normally run PTL and Juke. I figured that the one with Swarm Leader just becomes a huge target and the ability could be tough to trigger regularly. However after reading fellow Zombie Ian Coutney’s latest blog it is even more tempting to give it a try.

crashing a-wingBoth lists put me in my happy place, but looking at the evolving meta it seems that big ships are still likely to be a thing, so the added mobility of Ahsoka and the boys tips the balance in their favour over the “legendary” Panda’s.

I really want to shoot some prockets.

Sure I’d rather not see Ventress on the table, or any Lancer for that matter, or my Boba build, or K-Wings… come to think of it there are a lot of things I don’t want to see…

Games start and it’s Dash and Miranda first up, Andy Hazard-Wall at the helm. A-Wings generally don’t mind turrets, except when they roll 4 dice all the time. Andy played it right, I played it wrong. Through out whatever I write I can blame dice, they weren’t particularly great, but that won’t help me reflect and improve as a pilot.

I didn’t make too many mistakes in this game, except bringing a knife to a gun fight. Andy flew his list very well, especially using slam to get Miranda out of the way as my A-wings donuttired to close her down. My logic was splat her with proton rockets as fast as possible then close down dash. With PS advantage and 2 Mobile A-Wings I’d be confident of eventually chipping Dash down in the donut, unfortunately Andy didn’t want to play that game!

Ahsoka did great on her first proper move. Dancing into range one of Dash in the shooting phase with a boost and a barrel roll, only to suffer at the hands of Miranda’s TLT. The rest of the game went down hill from there, Jake and Tycho trying to close down the slamming Miranda while Dash did his thing and pottered about 4 dicing me relentlessly.

I’m not going to lie, it was pretty terrible. I couldn’t hurt him fast enough and he was able to take a health or two here and there, and with only 4 health that ends up being a very one sided game. I lost 100-0, that’s fine, Andy would go on to win the day with solid flying and a solid list.

tycho accessory pack.jpg

When I saw the draw for round two I was very pleased. Alex Krysta and I first met at Warboar in what was a first tournament for both of us. I was flying A-wing then too. Alex is a true gent of the game and a joy to play. Despite having both attended at least 10 events in the passing 18 months we’ve managed to not play each other since.

Alex had bought my worst fear. Not the jumpmaster, or the TLT totting Y-wing, but the dreaded Asajj Ventress – with Latts Razzi crew. If you don’t understand why this is just about the worst thing in the game for an A-Wing to come across then I’d recommend just taking my word for it…

LattsRazzi

The plan was drop the little ships and then focus on the Lancer, I did the first part of this really well, managing the opening of the game well enough to kill the Y-Wing in 2 turns of shooting with Jake, and then shutting down the scout in double quick time. Ahhoka was of course dead by this point, but 2 A-Wings vs Ventress can’t be THAT bad of an equation can it?

Yes.

Yes it can.

Jake died relatively easily after throwing dice in vain hope for a few turns. I then proceeded to go on to my best flying of the day, dancing around Ventress’s firing arcs with Tycho, I was rolling 3 attack dice a shot, not receiving incoming fire, anticipating Alex’s moves really well. AND DOING NOTHING. Between PTL and Expert Handling, Latts could have kept Assaj in evades for another week and a half. All I needed was one more point of damage then I could have run away for a cheeky half points win!

Inevitably I mis-predicted and when I should have done a hard one I did a hard three expecting Alex to go somewhat faster than he did. I was met by 4 dice to the face. It did not go well.

Asajj-Ventress- (1)

In 18 months of playing at tournaments I’ve never had a bye, well all good things come to an end. To be honest my form here didn’t merit anything more than that. I sat and watched Pete Wood play Alex and proceeded to feel bad as I watched Pete use Fenn to put five damage through onto Ventress in one attack. Alex had unfortunately parked Dooku’s assassin on a rock, then got blinded and then got dead.

My Final game of the day was against Craig Clarke, we played once before, he had 2 defenders back then, now he only had one. I was happy. Instead of the defender was a PS 11 Darth Vader, Oh well. Arc dodging less of an option. I think this game wasn’t either of our finest moments, we both bumped crashed, and generally had a pretty poor time. Unfortunately my time was poorer and Craig smashed me in the end. 100-0. Oh yeah, Ahsoka went pop here too.

It was a shocker of a day, I can’t totally hide behind the dice, but I’m glad of the experience. I put A-Wings down because they just didn’t cut it against Parattani and Fangaroo. I love Jake and Tycho but I don’t think I can build a list around them anymore. The Pandas are probably a more viable option in the game as it stands. I was pleased to hear of a Snap Crack A-swarm coming in second at a tournament on Saturday.

A Moment of Reflection:

ahsoka-tano-snark-star-wars-the-clone-wars

After the last few weeks of having a ship of the week I noticed something while chatting on Facebook on Monday night:

If you take Rage Ezra from here

Stress Braylen from here

Regen Norra from here

You get a 99 point list that I’ll leave here.

I would find this tempting, except that it has Arcs in, and I don’t really like flying them. And remember: TLTs are not and never will be cool. If anyone gives it a go though, I’d love to hear how it flies.

If you’re looking to get out and get flying at local tournaments then I highly recommend the excellent tournament listing kindly maintained by the good folk  of the 186th.

The Firesprays Will Return

 

Firespray 31: Someone Tries to Kill You, You Try & Kill Them Right Back.

It’s been a double bill weekend, not flying last weekend clearly left me needing a fix. Bromley and Brighton my destinations to roll some dice!

The weekend started with a Saturday visit to one of my favourite places. The heavenly Warboar: a place where beer and burgers are bought to you while you game. I used to work in Bromley and know quite a lot of the regulars here so I always feel very welcome and at home. It was great to see Jason, his team with their bustling café full of people happily playing board games.

The first question of the day was which two of my three Sprays would land on the table. After painful deliberation the beautiful Kath was the ship that didn’t make it out of the case, she cried a bit but was understanding. Instead my freshly painted Emon found his way to the table with his bombs in tow, sure the Twilek pin-up isn’t exactly the sexy babe I hoped she might turn out to be, more a stick man with 2 large dreads, but I didn’t plan on winning a painting competition, I was there to win a Q1 Tournament Kit…

emon

Ok, I was there to compete in a Q1 Tournament Kit.

Alright, alright, I was there to participate in a Q1 Tournament Kit.

It’s an early start to get to Bromley, and unhelpfully those pesky Netflix people uploaded Iron Fist yesterday! Also going live yesterday was the new FAQ, so a world of unknowns lies ahead of the game at the moment. We’ve had 12 days knowing what changes are coming. Looking around the room it wasn’t a surprise to see no Paratannis around.

My list for the day ended up being this:

Bobbing Emon v2

Boba Fett

  • 4-Lom
  • Slave 1
  • Homing Missiles
  • Extra Munitions
  • Glitterstim
  • Guidance Chips
  • Veteran Instincts

Emon Azzameen

  • Dengar
  • Andrasta
  • Cluster Mine
  • Conner Net
  • Burnout SLAM
  • Advanced SLAM

Why I play2The English language is massively enhanced by these words.

I’d had an evenings to practice with it and my general feeling was “If I don’t face any swarms then I could be ok.” The list is a hammer and anvil, catching people with a handy mine drop then a volley of homing missiles is pretty much the objective. As I wrote last time I think that Kath is probably more predictable as a wingman for Boba than Emon. Kitted out to blast forward with his Advance Burnout SLAM does end up being quite an expensive one off trick with Mr Azzameen, but when it works it is game changing.

Highlights

Cluster mines were effective in every game, here’s a couple of examples of “Emon’s Jank.”

It was great to see such a diversity of lists on the tables. I’m not going to go through every game because, basically, I get lost in the game and if I try to record everything that’s going on my game suffers!

targetting boba

When playing 4 U-wings with FCS it is worth loading up on Glitterstim….

I don’t think any of the 38 people playing would have been able to get a mirror match: it was great. The meta is wide open. Lots of familiar ships around making some interesting lists. Mindlink is still going to be strong, but there is a place for everything at the moment! It was great to see such a wide range of ships, especially on the top tables. The feeling in the room was really positive, the general consensus that the FAQ has opened up the game up to flying what you want to fly and having a chance.

Saturday table

That’s me, at number 5, not as good as some people but better than others!

I went 4-1 for the day, needless to say I was very pleased. The only game I lost was an absolute nail biter to triple defenders (they are still very much a thing) but I had the best score against them I’ve ever had taking two down and leaving the last on 2 health. My opponent did manage to roll 3 natural evades both times I hit him with 4-Lom’d homing missiles, but everyone who has ever played against defenders knows that ALWAYS happens!

A long day, a good day, home to more Marvel on Netflix (other streaming services are available, but they don’t have Marvel)… tomorrow, Brighton.

Day Two

Another drive, but not such an early start. Made it to Episode 9 last night, then found the will power to go to bed.

I lived in Brighton for a couple of years whilst studying music, at the time I was in a hiatus from gaming. The Dice Saloon didn’t exist then, I’m happy it does now.

The shop isn’t easy to find, but when I got in there I instantly liked it. I’ve spoken to Kris the resident TO and Axel the man in charge a few times so it was great to finally meet them in person. The shop is a hive of activity, lots of gaming going on, and importantly: REALLY NICE PEPPERONI AND MOZZERELLA PANINNIs.

It was great to see some familiar faces from the South East and loads of new faces (to me). One of my absolute favourite things about X-wing is the community and meeting new people, chatting about what they love in the game and the list they’re excited about right now is a constant source of pleasure. It’s great that no matter what venue you go to for events there is the a commonality of friendliness, sportsmanship and enthusiasm.

Today didn’t go as well as yesterday. I ended up going 2-2 and the important lesson of the day: flying a full health Firespray off the table in turn 3 is a bad idea. I possibly could have gone 3-1 if not for that catastrophic flying.

arc charging

The game I lost without argument was to Ben, who went on to go 4-0 for the day, brilliantly flying  a mini swarm of 3 PS2 T65s with R2s and Integrated supported by a very familiar Arc-170. I killed the Arc but it took too long and there is not a lot in the game that can take focussed fire from 3 X-Wings, but the time I could de-stress the damage was done.

The  whole weekend was fantastic, 5/38 and 14/28 are perfectly respectable placing. I went 6-3 over all, which if you had offered me on Friday night I would have taken without hesitation, however knowing I made a stupid mistake which cost me potentially going 7-2 did sour it slightly, but this whole journey is a learning curve and the main thing is; I had fun.

norrawexley

The ship of the weekend for me (other than my Emon ) is another one of these pesky ARCs. I didn’t even fly against it, but watching it work was very impressive. The Arc may be a new ship, but it proves that old cards are still up to it.

Its very simple, and very, very resilient. Target Lock. Push the Limit. Focus. Get shot. C3PO guesses 0 Evades. Get one Evade guaranteed. Add a focus. Spend the focus. Get 2 evades. Do a green. Clear the stress. Gain a shield. Rinse and repeat.

You can have this and the stress Arc for 71 points. And rebels can do a lot with 29 points….

Few days off flying now. Thanks to everyone I’ve played this weekend and everyone I’ve got to chat to. It’s been a pleasure. Now to finish Iron Fist and watch Rebels!

 

Firespray 31: I Killed the Ship that Killed Us, Not Very Christian

“A week is a long time in Politics”

Harold Wilson

So before the inevitable skim over a certain FAQ and other X-wing related news I am going to remember the whole point of why I started writing this blog: flying what you love rather than flying what wins, which for me in order of preference goes A-Wings, T-70s, Firesprays, other things that aren’t that common on the tables. I’m still loving the Firesprays, I’m pretty sure they’re out to get me,  but I still love them.

This week I flew a couple of variants, predominantly against Tie mini swarms. It seems they are back and full of tricks.

Tie Swarm

Firstly and with much excitement I flew Sam Abbott’s list. This is good, really good. I think for a Scum Kath and Boba list this is possibly as refined as it gets. A strong alpha strike, 3 point bid, lots of health and a Kath’s rear arc…

This list requires a totally different way of playing for me, normally I just steam in and start punching whatever is there, but the homing missiles on Bob mean that a bit more caution is required in preparation of the alpha strike, you need to hit the right thing first and the right thing hard. I found out very quickly that a tiny misfly with Boba that lands him by a tiny margin on a piece of debris is the difference between an alpha strike potentially wiping out one of your opponents ships and him getting killed stupidly fast, escpecially by a Swarm Leading “janky as hell” Quickdraw. If I got the alpha strike off then I might not have had to get shot by that pesky Tie S/F repeatedly. Stress kills way more people in a galaxy far, far away than it should.

I also came a cropper of an old favourite. Soontir. Even with the inability to do hard turns thanks to an early crit a good pilot can use him to great effect, if not somewhat fortuitously rolling 5/6 dice in one turn with  natural evades and having an evade token for the last one….

SoontirFelAltArt_web.png

Not having the ability to boost with Boba in this list is uncomfortable, it’s such a handy get out of jail free card. It does mean that taking target locks and focus tokens are now something I actually do, flying proactively rather than re-actively.

It would seem that Firesprays really don’t like playing more than 3 ships. Against 3 it’s fine, you can pretty much level one ship pretty fast then make it  2 on 2, generally with health in your favour, unless one of those ships is a barrel rolling Y-wing with a 4 dice TLT… which is my ship of the week.

cavil

Pete Wood seems to use this Cavil to make people cry as a replacement to Manaroo in the list that saw him go 9/1 in Swiss at Yavin. Consistent damage output is not to be sniffed at (frowned upon maybe, envied almost certainly) and being able to have a focus token on both of your 4 dice TLT shots means anything that isn’t rolling 3 evade dice with a token is likely to take a hit each time… Even Soontir might be able to shrug it off once only to find the second volley hurting him quite badly. With a green hard 3 and vectored thrusters it is fairly easy for Cavil to keep himself effective, and in a list with Fenn and Old Terroch in it you can’t afford to go straight for him.

My other list this week dropped Kath for Emon in a list that I think may be my favourite variation so far.

Bobbing Emon (100)

Boba Fett

  • Veteran instincts
  • 4-Lom
  • Homing Missiles
  • Extra munitions
  • Guidance Chips
  • Glitterstim
  • Slave 1 (pointless AND obligatory)

Emon Azzameen

  • Dengar
  • Glitterstim
  • Andrasta
  • Proximity Mine
  • Proximity Mine
  • Proximity Mine

The reason I think I like this so much is that Kath forces you to fly in a certain way. Constantly trying to get her tail pointed at people means the engine upgrade is firing almost all the time and a canny player can just stop that happening with a casual block. Emon however can be hugely unpredictable and drop bombs on people from all over the place, he has Dengar crew because he needs something to compensate for when his action is “drop a bomb” to make his guns have a chance of working.

Both ships have a clear and defined purpose in this list and I’m definitely going to spend more time with this because it really is a lot of fun!

Again, while playing this list swarms are a pain, I let my ships get separated and they got swamped by tie fighters one at a time. However playing against Palp Aces, using them as a hammer and anvil they were very effective. Palp is still a thing, dropping bombs directly onto Soontir repeatedly and your opponent making one of the dice rolls into a blank is really annoying, especially when their dice only hit themselve once! Carnor doesn’t like Homing Missiles and 4-lom at all. Soontir meanwhile just doesn’t care about them because a good player will have him double focused so 4-Lom does nothing.

It was great to see Kris Mitchell taking a variant of the imperial Boba/Kath/Kylo/Kallus list out on the Dice Saloon’s Tuesday night X-wing feed. Mainly because I got to see it’s not just me that can’t roll dice with these things, I think it must be a worldwide Firespray phenomenon! His version of the list swaps Kylo and Kallus crew around and takes VI over A Score to Settle. Personally I’d leave Kylo on Boba so that Kath has more chance of pushing through the crit with the Mangler and Krassus but it was great to watch how other people use the ship. And as stated last time out I think VI is essential on Kath.

Now I don’t want to go into the FAQ from this week too much, there’s already a load of conversation about it and opinions are flying. If you’ve been reading this blog for the last few weeks then you’re going to no doubt have guessed that I did a little dance inside about the big changes. What I am interested in is what I think comes next?

Swarms, Aces, TLTs, Stressbots, K-wings, Brobots, Regen, Mindlink… everything has the potential to come back. The playing field has been leveled to some degree and it’ll be interesting to see what the meta evolves to. I doubt twin Firesprays will float to the top but they could definitely be a thing!

matrixspoon_neo

Talking to people in the community everyone expected certain things to get hit with the nerf stick. Anyone who has been to tournaments lately will have seen a lot of somethings and not so much of another, which is not only bad for the scene, it’s bad for FFG. If only 6 or 7 ships are dominating the tables then guess what is going to happen to the sales of everything else? It is in FFG’s best interest to keep the community interested and keep all their ships viable as much as possible, diversification keeps things alive.

I anticipated a blanket “get rid of unlimited range” nerf, but I think that FFG have been way more clever than that, my hammer would have gone “THUNK”, their scalpel cut deep but elegantly. I’ll be interested to see what happens in the future to Sabine crew because I think she meets the criteria for a nerf. (If only I could take her on Emon!)

Mindlink is still VERY strong when compared to other EPTs, I know it has the downside of stress BUT I ask this: If every faction could take Mindlink who wouldn’t be able to make use of it? (Soontir is the best answer I can come up with) Push the limit cost 3 points, affects one ship and is a guaranteed stress. Mindlink is generally on 3 ships and effects 3 ships and costs 3 points to do so, essentially giving 2 ships Push The Limit but without having to take stress. So that’s 3 points verses 6 for a better effect in my mind. Just saying…

K4 Security droid, complete a green move  gain a free target lock. This is a 3 point upgrade so costs a premium but it does reflect the old X-7 ability somewhat. Could they turn this into a free target lock action to reflect the mechanics introduced to the Defender? I doubt it as the most obvious use of this was on Manaroo and she’s now… well, less potent. Plus it’s not a negative cost card.

Whether you are happy or sad as a result of the FAQ though remember:

bill and ted

The other big news is the Syk announcement which I think looks great fun. Hawks, Khiraxz, Syks, just got some new options so I hope we see a few more of them hanging around (well, there are a fair few HWKs already). Anything that results in me thinking “that’s cool, I’ve not seen it before*” at a tournament is, in my opinion, going to be good for the game.

Got me a couple more tournaments this month and I suspect there will be bombs involved. I will be revisiting the Imperials again at some point, but I just can’t see a way of making Boba a genuinely viable imperial pilot for his points cost. (So suggestions welcome.)

Thanks to all the guys who I played this week for putting up with the endless Firespray shenanigans!

*TLTs will NEVER be cool. They will always be good, but they will never be cool, I don’t care what ship you’re putting them on. TLTs are NOT cool. Everyone you play will be made sad by their presence.

Firespray 31: Ships Like This Will Be With You the Day You Die.

“Hey Boba. I hate these Imperial contracts.” Kath Scarlet 04.03.2017

No Saturday morning lazing around in bed, rather a drive to The Game Shop in Aldershot for a Q1 2017 tournament run by Lee, one of the orange clad Womp Rats.

Not a huge turn out but some quality people to play games with, from new members of the community playing in their first event to veterans who had made the second day at Yavin.

After a disastrous mid-week practice I elected to go for the Imperial list with the wave 10 cards to see what I could make of them. So Bob and Kath were joined by Kallus and Kylo along with the new “A Score to Settle” card. It’s an untried list really, only a couple of outings but as good a place to start as any other.

imperial-cards

Looking around the room at the start of the day I did feel that maybe I had bought a knife to a gunfight, Paratanni lurked in a corner, glaring in defiance at any who would take her crown as first among lists. Trip Jumps, Palp Defenders, Ketsu/Bossk and Fangaroo were all there eyeing her out of the corner of their eye. The clock struck 10.30 and we started off, round one:

Game 1. Sam Abbott.

Nien Numb, Biggs Darklighter, Braylem Stramm

I’ve not met Sam before, but before gaming started I found out that he had taken two Firesprays into the second day of Yavin, so straight away hero status there (and his list stolen for another day). He bought a B-wing! I liked his list instantly. We set up, got playing, Biggs died. This was good. With the firepower of the twin Sprays a T65 is generally going to go down fast.

stress-that-killed-me

Sure I took a bit of flack on the way in, but with Biggs out of the way how hard could it be for 2 Firesprays to take down 2 one agility ships? Then the trick came up, and I cannot stress enough how much I admired this trick. Braylem, the humble PS3 ARC-170 began to shoot, as he did he took a stress, and so did Kath.

Oh.

I wanted to K-Turn Kath next turn. She was perfectly lined up to jump behind the impudent rebels with a 4k and follow them along hammering her Mangler Cannon into them.

Some games have a clear defining moment, and this was the one in this game. Both of our lists had the ability to smash out crits with Mangler Cannons (and Nien with his unblockable one is a pain), but the Arc-170 was the ship that totally turned this game.

ship-that-killed-me

Rebel player looking for something really useful to fly? Look no further than Sam’s Stramm.

I’m going to take a minute to wax lyrical about how Sam used Braylem in his games during the day. The Stress Hog has been the preserve of the Y-Wing for a long time, but its problem is it doesn’t clear stress very well so has lousy action economy. With 6 useful greens on the dial and a 50/50 chance of clearing a stress every turn Braylem is a seriously useful ship

Braylem takes a target lock, then fires his first shot. It’s only a 2 dice attack so there is a good chance of it not being very effective, except that R3-A2 kicks in. Then when he doesn’t cause any damage gunner kicks in, applies another stress and he rolls a 3 dice attack which conveniently has a target lock there. It’s not pretty, but it is mighty effective.

The game was a effectively over when the stress kicked in. Biggs lay splattered across the quadrant but Nien and Braylem limped away from the fight. Meanwhile Bob, Kath, Kylo and Krassus floated through space arguing about whose fault it was that everything went wrong.

100-25 Loss

Game 2. Chris Powell

Pure Sabacc, Epsilon Ace, Epsilon Squadron Pilot, Carnor Jax

After a somewhat stressful first game the Firesprays lined up against some other Imperials. Chris split is forces allowing me to go gunning down one side and control the opening engagement.

There was no way that Carnor was going to be allowed to live. I’ve messed about with interceptors enough to know that letting Carnor get in and ruin your action options is a really bad idea. He was shot at. With extreme prejudice.

Chris wasn’t having a good day of it, and after a revealing a couple of dials with costly wrong maneuvers he offered his unconditional surrender rather than allow himself to get increasingly frustrated. Playing games should be fun, if you’re not having fun then stopping is a good option.

100-0 Win.

Game 3. John Wainscott

Bossk and Ketsu

John and I have played quite a few times, we share a FLGS and are both part of Zombie Squadron. John was trialing his list for a regional next weekend and if his performance at this event was anything to go by he could do quite well.

John won the roll of for initiative and put me into play first. The PS clash between his two ships and Kath was a key factor in this game and having Kath move first was a definite disadvantage in this game. I put her down and he lined up to joust. Well, that was never going to be an option! Straight away Kath was on the back foot, having to fly off in a different direction.

Lancers are FAST and party buses take some killing. I managed to avoid Johns biggest trick, but in doing so had to take some positions that probably weren’t the most effective for my ships. In his previous game Bossk took 9 health of a Lambda Shuttle in one attack, thanks to a somewhat sickening combo of Fearlessness, Cluster Missiles and Guidance Chips. He of course has a Scavenger Crane so he can get the ordinance back….

Theoretically this attack can one hit a Firespray, and that was something I had to avoid!

bossk

Arc dodging with Firesprays is tough, especially against a ship with essentially a 180 degree arc and another ship with a mobile firing arc but I did it pretty well. Unfortunately constantly having to boost and fly unpredictably to stop getting hammered limited my opportunities to put damage on him.

Always having to boost took away more aggressive actions. It was a tough game of cat and mouse, and unfortunately in this instance I ended up being the mouse.

I did get to trigger “I’ll show you the Dark Side” a couple of times but not with anything like the consistency I needed to.

swx62-inspiring-recruit

Of all his crew Inspiring Recruit was probably the most mighty for John, at a crucial points in the game he was able to totally de-stress himself and ruin my game plan, negating Kath’s ability and keeping himself in actions. A point very well spent.

100-0 Loss

Game 4. Tom Iannacconne.

Bossk, Torkil, Y-wing

I played Tom at his first tournament a few months before, he was running Poe and Rey, and had just started playing.  We had also flown against each other at another local tournament and I’d won that one as well, so going into the game 2-0 should have given me confidence. However, having just had my ass handed to me by one Hound’s Tooth I wasn’t exactly keen to fly against another one. Plus, if you’ve ever flown agility 2 ships against TLTs then you know the sense of dread I felt seeing two of them on the table.

It was cagey at first we danced around the middle of the table, then the turning point happened. Kylo worked and Bossk became PSO! He had been PS9 which made Kath feel pretty redundant for a lot of the early game but as soon as I was running 2 ships with PS advantage the game flipped in my favour.

Torkil died first, I had put “A Score to Settle/A Debt to Pay” on him, knowing that if he got a free crit with his TLT the worst it could come to would be a hit, where as Kath would be able to load Crits onto him. I debated putting this on Bossk but there was no way I was going to give the Trandoshan more chances of landing a crit on me!

The HWK had been a pain, dropping one of my ships to PS0 every turn, so I did do a little dance inside when it went away.

Unfortunately the damage had been done and Boba died next, having been chipped away by a gazillion TLT shots, but he had done his job by making Kath the top pilot on the table.

Ms Scarlet hunted down the Hound’s Tooth (Kallus actually proving to be quite useful for the first time in the day) all the while trying to avoid the pesky TLT on the Y-Wing either by being far away or by getting close.

As we hit the last turn of the game Kath was on one hull and the Y-wing was on two, I had expected Tom to run, keeping the TLT window between him and me, but he slowed hoping I would over shoot him. I had expected to have to boost to get into range one and take a naked dice roll at him, instead my hard 2 landed me in range one. Target lock and 4 dice did with the Y-wing, but it was a win by the narrowest of margins.

100-75 win.

So what did I learn?

  1. I hate flying Kath at PS7. I suspect this is down to me being so used to flying high PS Aces with re-positioning options.
  2. Firesprays don’t like being on the back foot.Or maybe that’s just me. I’m naturally an aggressive player and having to play evasively isn’t my game. I suspect having higher PS on Kath could have made my life easier. Bounty Hunters should hunt, not be hunted.
  3. Imperial Kath could be really good. Her ability is solid, Krassus works really well on her. No illicit hurts. I would love to try Imperial Kath and Scum Boba but that’s just not going to happen.
  4. Bumping big ships is annoyingly easy. Planning boosts better is going to be vital for me getting the best out of these ships. Bumping means no actions. No Actions is BAD.
  5. I’ll Show You the Dark Side” is very powerful. However it is yet another action diversion, so unless you can get action economy around it using it will compromise other more immediate actions. I really think that RAC is probably the best place for Kylo, maybe with a co-pilot and gunner so that the crit is there at range three as well. Blinded pilot is not the first card to deal your opponent. Make them PS0 first!
  6. A Score to Settle is not for me. At least I know that now!
  7. Remembering to take lots of photos at a tournament is hard! I had a big plan for what I wanted to do and totally messed it up due to being far to engrossed in the games. The good thing is I’ll get plenty  of practice in the coming weeks!

So that was my first competitive outing in this little journey. 2-2 with a poor MOV left me a relatively lowly 8th out of 13. It was good fun and I thoroughly enjoyed flying the ships, even if I do have a strong urge to buy new green dice.

Should get a couple of evenings next week to try some more Firespray lists out. Please share any more suggestions you have for build ideas, I’m sure there are several tricks I’m missing out on at the moment!

Firespray 31: They’re Not Going to See This Coming.

The good news is that a whole week of looking at all kinds of combos on the Firespray has passed and I’ve not lost interest in the plan at all. The bad news is that I haven’t found the mythical combination of upgrades that makes the Firespray a top tier competitive ship, but it has only been a week…

I had a little fly out with the Imperial list from last time out. It was fun but I don’t think I made best use of it because, well, picking a Y-wing as your ship to slaughter with 2 Firesprays has a distinct touch of overkill to it. And boy did they overkill. Admittedly I didn’t have a huge amount of choice. I played against a scum list with Cavil and then a rebel swarm list with a stress-hog, so realistically the Y-wings in both lists were the most threatening ships. The games also probably weren’t the best tests for the list as I was playing fellow gamers who are also in an experimenting phase. However I can definitively say, now it has been scientifically proven, that low agility ships don’t like getting smacked with a load of consistent crits; who knew?

Anyway, I beat the scum and lost to the rebel swarm. The list was fun to fly and will be revisited, still don’t like not having PS9 on Kath though. I suspect the list will be more effective against bigger ships. Definitely merits another fly out, definitely worth a punt at a tournament sometime.

Then I took last weeks Scum list and went up against a nice Upsilon shuttle list, staring Kylo, Backdraft, and Omega Ace. We both made some clangers, each flying one ship off the table before annihilating one another. This led to the inevitable and intense climatic final salvo, which of course I lost. Really fun game though.

monty-id

Another Imperial variant I am keen to try at the moment is this one:

Bob & Kathy: A Stressful Couple

Boba Fett

Veteran Instincts

-Tactician

-Engine Upgrade

-Flechette Cannon

-Thermal Detonator

-Slave 1 (pointless but obligatory)

Kath Scarlett

-Veteran Instincts

-Mangler Cannon

-Tactician

-Engine Upgrade

If I can manage the opening engagement (which I should be able to with high PS, a fairly versatile dial and an engine upgrade) then my opponent could be in for all kinds of grief. If both ships land at range 2 and open up then in theory I can load 4 stress onto my opponents ships (ideally 2 and 2). Mindlink lists will still get around this with a focus or two, and depending on the variant of Manaroo, a target lock to. The trick will be keeping the two stress on whoever you’re unloading into until they’re dead.

imperials-2

Each ship has 2 stress causing mechanics. Imperial Kath’s ability seems to make a mangler cannon an essential choice. Boba with the much maligned flechette cannon is worth a punt, even if it’s just for that initial shot. Then both also have the tactician with their front and rear arcs to make peoples lives difficult, and Boba has his cheeky Thermal Detonator for when someone lands in the wrong place.

As I said in my last blog one of the biggest issues with the Firespray is getting action economy going, but…

syndrome-points-in-the-incredibles

New fangled cards like Inspiring Recruit are probably going to shrug this off, but from what I can see he seems to be very popular with rage, so if you already have 2 stress tokens and I give you 2 more then it may not work quite so well.

As an aside, while we’re looking at that combo here’s a punchy little Ezra build that I have to try out sometime in the future, thanks to Ollie Pocknell for sharing this one:

ezra

There has also been some progress on the Scum variant of the list, the Autoblaster Cannon, glorious when it works… if it works… that one time in every three games that it does work… has been benched for the moment, freeing up a whole load of points to potentially get Bob and Kath a bit more productive. At range one I’m throwing 4 dice anyway so it should work right?

After having a chat with Pete Wood of the 186th some tweaks were made, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it goes.

Bob & Kathy: V2

Boba Fett

-Veteran Instincts

-4-Lom

-Glitterstim

-Engine Upgrade

-Ion Bombs

-Slave 1 (pointless but obligatory)

Kath Scarlett

-Veteran Instincts

-Dengar

-Glitterstim

-Engine Upgrade

-Ion Bombs

Losing Inertial Dampners and Tail Gunner is a tough one for me, but fortuitously doesn’t have to be permanent! I love those upgrades, but Dengar jumping on Kath (entirely platonically, otherwise Manaroo might have issues) does ultimately increases the reliability of her rear arc. 4-Lom being on Boba hopefully keeps him pushing damage through.

The Glitterstim is very similar to the Inertial Dampners in that it’s a one use only get out of jail free card, but with two ships that can give out as much damage as a Firespray can they could be definitive cards in the game narrative. If they are both at range one, both can essentially have a quasi-target lock and a focus for free, and maybe get that little bit more survivable when getting hammered by a swarm.

scum-2

It’s also been a fun few days of hobby. Getting emotionally invested in a project like this is easy and personalising the models with a new paint job is a natural step in the process. Painting Kath and her dials was a glorious! I know repaints aren’t for everyone, but I’ve been painting models for 27 years now so it’s kind of hard to get out of the habit. Whilst I remain distinctly average at it, painting is just something I love doing.

kath2

Everybody needs a hobby, mine is painting dials

One more evening of testing lists then it’ll be time to decide which of the lists I’ve tried out so far will be going to a tournament on Saturday.

So the next post will be the first proper tournament report on how things go. Which means I’ll be that guy at a tournament with pen and paper writing things down and taking photos! I might even learn something from my inevitable mistakes for once…

Thank you to everyone who has made suggestions already and please do keep feeding in ideas for Firesprays, so far I’ve only really looked at the “Big 2” but there are so many more options available.

Firespray 31: I aim to Misbehave.

I am an unashamed X-Wing Hipster. If a ship is heavily part of the meta then I’m just not interested. At a tournament I’d rather have people say “I like your list” as they beat it into the ground than have them thinking “oh god, it’s that/those again”. This is not a criticism of people who play the big hitting lists, it’s just not for me, I like being a precious little snow flake.

Now it needs to be said that my favourite ship in the game is the A-wing. I love them ridiculously and have flown them religiously since I started playing in wave 7 (the one with the K-wings). I have been to loads of tournaments with Jake/Tycho/Gemma or a swarm of Green Squadron and I’ve had some success but also some catastrophic failure. Anyone who flies things like A-wings a lot comes to the realisation pretty quickly that at least once per game you will blank out on the greens and lose a ship in one hit. It just happens.

My favourite non-rebel ship and the only big ship I enjoy flying is the Firespray. They are just plain cool, and quite simply the Rule of Cool should transcend everything else the game has to offer.

Sure it’s hard to get it having a brilliant action economy.

Sure it only has 4 green manoeuvres where a Lancer has 7 and a Jumpmaster has 6 (without unhinged).

Sure it’s shield to hull ratio is a pain cause crits start landing way to fast.

Sure it’s hugely expensive next to certain other big ships….

But I love it. It’s so much fun to fly, so much fun to paint (and then I can paint the dials too!) I currently own two but I have a third on the way, so I can get started with another repaint.

ships-and-dials-1

Scum and Imperial options are both available. More dials to paint!

It is a ship that is dicey as hell. What I’m trying to say is that I know there are better ships out there, if I want to win, win, win then I probably shouldn’t fly Firesprays.

BUT

At Yavin I flew a really fun rebel list, thoroughly enjoyed it, didn’t do to well, my brain melted. It was great. Then at Hangar Bay I pulled out my favourite Firespray list and it was awesome. It was so much fun to fly, loosing with it or winning with it, it’s just fun, and puts a massive smile on my face. A friend runs the same list, after I beat him at a local tournament with it, and he loves it too. I can’t figure out how to make this list better, I’m sure there are cleverer people than me that can.

Bob & Kathy (99)

Boba Fett
– Veteran instincts
– Autoblaster Cannon
– Inertial Dampners
– Engine Upgrade
– Dengar
– Slave One (pointless but obligatory)
Kath Scarlett
-Veteran Instincts
– Inertial Dampners
– Engine Upgrade
– Tail Gunner

Games generally only last 20 minutes with this list, you either win or lose really fast. Well I do, because I fly it stupidly aggressively… why play slow when you can charge in and start rolling dice?

scum-1

Are these sleeves the best thing to happen to X-wing since dials you can repaint appeared?

With just over 3 months to the European Championships I’ve decided to go on one of these journeys I read about on other peoples blogs and take a look at getting the most out of Firesprays. I want to see if I really focussing in on flying them and getting them right can make them, if not Parattani efficient, at least competitive. Every tournament I go to I will take a list with at least one, most gaming nights I attend, I’ll take two. I know what the list above can do, so I’m going to try different things and take a look at how they do. I’m in this for the fun, I do like winning, but I’d rather be a hipster…

With that in mind my first alternate to the list above is even further from the accepted way of Firespraying, because it uses the Imperial variants.

I’m looking at this initially is full of wave 10 things, well, I say full of, what I really mean is it has a couple of cards from wave 10 with these new crazy status shenanigans.

Bob & Kathy: They have their Critics (99)

Boba Fett
-Veteran instincts
-Engine Upgrade
-Kylo Ren
-Mangler Cannon
-Slave One (pointless but obligatory)
Kath Scarlett
-A Score to Settle
-Engine Upgrade
-Mangler Cannon
-Agent Kallus

imperials-1

Probably.

This came about after talking to a friend who flew against a list with a similar Kath in it, and Kylo hanging about too. In his words “it was horrible”. I’m not sold on a score to settle because it benefits your opponent, and it stops me having Veteran Instincts, which I think really helps get the best out of a Firespray, but at PS7 Kath never needs to take a focus for attacking purposes (against one enemy ship) as she slams crit after crit into them.

a-score-to-settle

If they cancel the crit, they get stressed, if they get hit by the crit (even on shields) then they take a crit from Kylo. So Fenn Becomes PS0 (which goes someway to counteracting his score to settle) Ventress gets blinded, but more importantly the health of the ship gets chewed away really fast, and with average rolling resulting in 2 crits a turn that is not something to be sniffed at.

kylo

Plus it feels very bounty huntery, right?

Well there’s my introduction to this little quest, we’ll see how it goes and I’ll post updates as I along the way. I’m sure I’ll come up with other ideas on the way, or steal them of cleverer people as they present themselves!

4th of March will be my first tournament trial for whatever Firespray list floats to the top. Thank you for reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and if you have any build suggestions I’d love to hear them!