The X-Philes: Maybe Your Mind Has Become Too Open

As incredulous as it may sound I’m beginning to believe in my twin T70s. Their record isn’t a patch on the Firesprays (T70s are currently 7-5), but the more I fly them the more I enjoy them, and the more potential I think they have. Sure they are as unforgiving as you might expect when things go wrong, but they are so much fun to fly.

I think this build of Poe is exactly what I want it to be, and as much as I have niggles with Nein I genuinely can’t think of a way to make him more useful than the snap stress. I don’t think he’s ever fired his Advanced Proton Torpedoes, but he gets in there and makes peoples lives uncomfortable.

nein numb apt

I’ve played 4 games with them this week, every game I’ve gone into I’ve had the mentality that this is their last game, that they’re going to to retire and I’ll be trying something else. They went 2-2 in my games during the week, if that had been 1-3 I’d probably have written them off, but even in 100-0 losses they show their potential.

In the interest of full disclosure I should probably admit to having flown the Firesprays this week too… only 4 games with them. I’m sorry, I’m weak! They did win all four games though… They’ll be cropping up centre stage again really soon….

boba and slave one

If you’ve been reading The X-Philes from the start you’ll know that I haven’t actually changed this list since I started flying it, and today is probably going to be it’s last fly out because I need to try other things out… like more than two 6 hull ships.

The Hunters (92)

Poe Dameron

  • Push The Limit
  • BB8
  • Sensor Cluster
  • Advanced Proton Torpedoes
  • Black One
  • Autothrusters

Nein Num

  • Snap Shot
  • R3-A2
  • Pattern Analyzer
  • Advanced Proton Torpedoes
  • Autothrsters

At Firestorm Cards in Basingstoke today I was debating taking Wedge instead of Nein. But when you see 2 Telgars (or Dentels depending on which shop you are local to)  a Rau-Boat and a host of other horrid lists hit in the field of 12 player, deciding to fly something more familiar becomes a relatively easy choice. What can two T70s do against such reckless hate?

scully tape machine

Game one. Chris flying Dengar and Ketsu. Unfortunately tractor beams, when crewed by a gunner are fairly horrific for small based 2 agility ships. Nein got rolled onto a rock, taking a damage, then flew off the rock, taking a damage. Having taken 3 damage from the initial shot, he was out of the game.

Poe put up an unbelievably plucky performance against the two big based ships. Taking the Shadowcaster down from full to two health while dodging everything that Dengar could throw at him was pretty impressive. It was only a matter of time until they got the better of him and he too met his maker. There’s just not a lot you can do against tractor beams! BUT if I could have landed that extra 2 points of damage on Ketsu, then one on one with Dengar I think Poe would have stood a real chance.

Score 25-100

Jyn Erso 1

My next game would bring arguably the WORST decision I’ve made in piloting terms for months. Flying against Nick and his 2 K-Wings (which he has been flying solidly for several weeks) was always going to be a challenge. Stupid ships and their silly Sabine fueled bombs.

It started so well. Esege died faster than he could blink, importantly dropping the cruel and vicious Sabine. Then Miranda Homing Missiled Nien, before Poe got Conner Netted, but its ok right? I know I’m Ioned, all I have to do THIS turn when I reveal my green dial is barrel roll away from the table edge to give myself the maximum amount of room and just take those two TLT shots from Miranda on the chin with autothrusters and a focus… I skip the take actions step, but BB8 triggers before then so it’s ok.

Except when for some inconceivable reason you decide to roll towards the edge of the board instead and watch your heroic ship inevitably fly off the board. Poe against Miranda would have been a long drawn out game which could have gone either way, but I threw away the chance of finding out if I could have taken her down.

Score 45-100

Jyn Erso 3

The third game was by far the most entertaining of the day. Grand Moff Andrew Pattison of the infamous 186th Squadron and I have been flying at events together for a couple of years now, and this is the first time we have actually played each other. It was one hell of a game… He had a Hux shuttle and 3 (yes THREE) tie strikers. Total respect to for even trying to process that much adaptive ailerons.

There were some dice in this game…

  • Poe unloaded 5 APT hits into the duchess, who proceeded to roll all paint and spend a focus and evade token to only take one damage
  • Poe rolled 4 NATURAL CRITS against the shuttle, which of course went to remove 4 shields…
  • A stressed Duchess at range three took a pot shot at Nien, rolling a a natural 2 crits and a hit, only for Nein to blank out and die. One bit of paint to go with the autothruster and he could have survived one more turn, or shot back at a least!

With 2 strikers vs Poe, Andrew was sure Poe would win, I was sure Poe would lose. I made the mistake of hitting some debris, and Poe went from the aggressor to the defender, having to clear stress and push the limit every turn to have a hope of surviving. With 2 strikers following it was only a matter of time until the Hero of the Resistance dropped. But he put up such a good showing of it, 5 more minutes and I’d have scraped a win on points.

Score 55-100

Jyn Erso 4

Rey-EvilThe final game of the day was against Robert, with Jess, Braylem and a Resistance Sympathising Falcon, I thought it was  Rey for a moment and wanted to cry a bit inside cause she’s evil. Nein was fairly traded for Braylem and most of Jess. That was the stress bots gone.

Poe then took out Jess before hunting down the Falcon by chipping it to death from range three. I did make a very silly move which could have cost me the game while Jess was still on the table but got away with it. Fortunately the resilience of  range 3, autothrusters, Poes ability and sensor cluster paid dividends and the game was won.

Score 100-43

9/12 wasn’t the worst result… reason for more optimism!

Jyn Erso 2

The day was rounded off with a reminder of what makes X-Wing so very great: The people who play it. Sitting down with Andrew, Jesper and Alex of the 186th, playing a couple of great board games, (KingDomino and Century: Spice Road if you’re interested) and ordering a couple of giant pizzas was probably the best part of the day. Cheers guys.

For all my complaining about the cost of Poe he is worth every penny. If he was a bit cheaper I wouldn’t complain… I am less convince by Nien being 43 points, but that’s future Phil’s problem.

I’m going to have to drop the Advanced Protons. They are potent, but not great on Poe because he inevitably has to spend his focus of them which he’d kind of like to keep most of the time. Whilst on Nein they only ever triggered twice (admittedly to great effect). The two T70s have done me proud, finishing their run on 8-8, but now to change that and see what else I can do. Pretty sure Poe is going to stay the same, albeit without the APTs, 67 points to play with… I have some ideas…

THE X-WINGS WILL RETURN

If you’re looking for local tournaments to go and play at head over to the 186th Event Calendar to see what’s going on near to you.

 

 

 

The X-Philes: Just Say No to Cosmic Radiation

What happens when you take a list two T-70s to a tournament? Well, you hope to win a game, anything more than that is a bonus. Sunday dawns and it’s off to a new venue down in Shoreham on the South Coast for a fun little tournament. Always a pleasure to meet new folks and play some games, be it at the big events like the Euros or more intimate ones like this.

The heady days of smashing stuff off the table with Firesprays is, for the time being, in the past. Learning to fly another type of ship is a new challenge. Every ship takes time to get your head around and an age to master. I find one of the great joys of the format of this blog is that I give myself a lot of time to focus on one specific type of ship.

ProtonTorpedoPractice, practice, practice. It’s an old golf quote ascribed to several people but it’s true in every walk of like. The more I practice, the luckier I get.

Dice will always rear their heads to bite you in the ass from time to time, but practice (in theory) prepares you for that.

That means play lots of games. Against lots people. Against lots of lists.

Getting to know a few guys who regularly compete at the later stages of big events has taught me that. They fly the same thing for months, sure they throw in the odd game with something else but they go back to what they’ve been working on for ages for when it counts. If they have practiced the list enough and it has good enough DNA then they can rightfully expect to go into games with a good chance of winning.

Don’t assume that guys this good are arrogant because of their confidence. They’re only arrogant if they underestimate how much preparation you have done, and guys who practice a lot for competitive play take every opponent seriously.

Anyone can win and be a dick, but if you can win and give your opponent a positive gaming experience at the same time then you are doing it right.

My list for the day is a repeat of what I took out last Wednesday. All the jank.

The Hunters (92)

Poe Dameron

  • Black One
  • BB-8
  • Push the Limit
  • Sensor Cluster
  • Advanced Proton Torpedoes
  • Autothrusters

Nien Numb

  • R3-A2
  • Snapshot
  • Pattern Analyser
  • Advanced Proton Torpedoes
  • Autothrusters

The list is designed to pick one enemy ship, lock it in place with Nien, then hammer it with both lots of torps, hopefully battering it off the table. Simple right? The theory is sound the practice is lacking.

Top-Gun

In my last post I talked a lot about the weaknesses of this list but it is worth mentioning some of its significant strengths.

Nein’s Trap: I love and hate his pilot skill. 7 is perfect for getting in the way of the likes of Dengar and Fenn, either as a blocker or with the snapshot stress trick he pulls. Against lower pilot skill lists it is significantly less useful. If I could swap on a game to games basis I’d trade out Snapshot and Stay On Target then R3-A2 for a Targetting Astromech depending on what I’m playing against. If the trap is triggered things get hurt.

nein numb

Damage Spikes: No munition is as reliable as Advanced Proton Torpedoes. When these trigger I am essentially guaranteeing 5 hits. Low agility ships are going to get hammered and with Poe moving after anything PS9 or lower he’s got a great shot at putting in some serious hurt.

Mobility: Where Nein doesn’t need to be super agile, because his job is generally to get in an attacking position Poe is just ridiculous. The staggering options of movement that he has from his 5 green moves is simply brilliant. Dial in a green and see just what he can do.

poe move

smug fenn POEDurability: Less Nein, more Poe. I don’t get why people take Pattern Analyser on this build of Poe. If you’re K-Turning or T-Rolling you’ve probably ended up in a slightly awkward spot it may well be better to run away and re-engage. Sensor Cluster, Poes ability when combined with Autothrusters and a Sensor Cluster is insane.  Sure he’s going to take damage. Most of the time he’ll be avoiding two damage whenever someone shoots at him. With his mobility and late movement there are very few excuses for getting caught in a primary arc ever.

The Bid: I’ll admit 8 points is excessive. If there were upgrades I could take that would keep the list flying how I want it, and close that to 4 or 5 points then I would take them, but their aren’t! The option to dictate the pace of play with a bid this large is not to be sniffed at, especially at 2 such well filled pilot skills slots.

Anyway, game time…

10 players, four games and an interesting mix of lists, some familiar, others distinctly less so. One massive issue made apparent very quickly.

Game one was 5 tie bombers, with Thread Tracer, Plasmas and chips. I might have still had Firesprays in mind in my initial approach. I probably went in a bit too aggressively given the weight of fire coming my way. Nien died ridiculously quickly, Poe danced around for a bit before he too died.

But game 2 couldn’t be worse could it? …and 4 Deadeye A-wings repeated the process! Black one is an amazing title at shutting down munitions, unless you don’t need a target lock to fire them….

mulder scully guns

…I definitely should have spotted the Deadeye before I had committed fast and hard in a  flanking attack against the A-Wings! But credit to Mark and Mike for flying them well, those lists both delivered savage alpha strikes.

Agility two ships hate alpha strikes.

Two ship builds hate alpha strikes.

On big ships at least you can soak up a bit of the damage, but with six health the T-70s really felt the pain. Regen wouldn’t have made a difference to the sheer weight of damage hitting my boys. Two 100-0 losses in less that 40 minutes total game time was not a good start to the day. I can’t fully put those games down to bad match ups, but I think that was certainly a factor.

Facepalm-Top-Gun

The next two games were against Imperials, a mix list of Deathrain, Rexlar and a bomber, and then a thoroughly themed game against 2 Tie FO, Backdraft and Omega Leader. Both games were really entertaining. I lost Nein in one and Poe in the other, but managed to get wins in both.

ackbarI got a much better insight into what the list can do. Nein’s Trap fired a few times to great effect: stopping Deathrain landing the perfect cluster mine, shutting down Expertise on Backdraft and pinning down Tie FOs everywhere. Combined with Poe dancing in and hitting stuff hard the list was a lot of fun.

Pulling the day back to 2-2 was somewhat satisfying, and managing to finish 6th out of 10 after the disastrous start felt good. All in all the list struggled for effectiveness (like we didn’t know it would?), part of that was my flying, part of that was I was using two T-70s. Still, I’m going to try the list again, maybe with some tweaks. (and some better flying!)

…’CAUSE IT’S REALLY GOOD FUN…

THE X-WINGS WILL RETURN

If you want to find tournaments local to you head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and see what’s going on.

The X-Philes: I Want to Believe

The Firesprays have run their course, and it’s a bit emotional putting them aside (for now). The European Championships were the end of that story. There are neither beginnings or endings to the turning of the wheel of X-Wing, but it was an ending, and that means there is a new beginning.

my job here is done

Another journey now begins with the main protagonist, as you may have guessed, being the humble X-Wing (both T-65s and T-70s). The UK National Championships are coming in Liverpool this September, and I plan on seeing if I can get the X-Wings to the same place I got the Firesprays – and resist the urge to return to my beloved bounty hunters! The Firesprays will definitely re-appear from time to time – this is more of an “open relationship”.

As I said in my last post of the Firespray 31 series, I did genuinely consider the Kihraxz as an option for this project until Hired Guns was announced! I even had conversations and shared list ideas with Oli Pocknell of the 186th (Talonbane led alpha strike that can delete Dengar in a turn) and Luke Berry of the Womprats (Luke loves his Star Vipers so I sent him this one). Two weeks later FFG made the announcement. It was like when Game of Thrones came out on TV and suddenly everyone loved it… when I’d been waiting for A Dance with Dragons for 5 years!

red wedding

But they were always the second choice. I think the X-Wing is, the most iconic space ship in the ‘verse. It’s the ship that the game we love is named after. It rarely finds it’s way onto top tables in competition, a certain Mr Darklighter excluded, but I get the feeling it is getting more popular with some of the upgrades that are coming out.

People make all kinds of useful tools for X-Wing, and looking at the Meta Analyzer to get some initial impressions we find the following (data is pre-Euros):

Biggs is the 6th most used ship in the game. I’d say that’s more down to his ability than him being an X-Wing.

  • Jess 11th (actually surprised by her rise in popularity)
  • PS8 Poe 54th
  • PS9 Poe 60th
  • Snap 63rd
  • Nien 65th
  • Wes 73rd
  • Blue Squardon Novice 80th
  • Wedge 87th

9 of the top 100 ships are X-Wings. With a total of 20 pilots available that works out that 45% of all available X-Wings are top 100 flyers.

But if we do the whole “meta thing” 4 out 4 of Jumpmaster pilots are in the top 15, and with Tels popularity after Worlds increasing you can expect that dominance to become stronger. 4 out of 4 Arc-170 pilots are in the top 35. Without even looking at the % of lists that different ships are used in there is no doubt that X-Wings are under-represented. (Biggs excluded).

I think it all comes down to points – compare PS9 pilots in small based ships and you get this:

Pilot Points
Soontir Fel (free title) 27
Fenn Rau 28
Talonbane Cobra (free title coming) 28
Wedge Antilles 29
Darth Vader (free title, potenitally -4 points) 29
Quickdraw (free title) 29
Poe Dameron 33

Poe is 5 points more expensive than the most popular ship in the game! (A clue: Talonbane Cobra is not the most popular ship in the game… for the next few months at least) Poe might have 2 more health than Fenn, but he has one less agility, a worse dial and less built-in actions. It get’s worse when you look at “standard builds”. Even with all the usual toys Fenn Rau comes in Cheaper than a naked PS9 Poe!

Pilot Upgrade Points
Fenn Rau Mindlink, Title, Autothrusters 32
Poe Dameron None 33

If you are honestly going to tell me that this Poe is better than this Fenn I am just going to ignore your opinion on everything else in life…

finn poe

I can do the same with every other pilot skill available to the X-wing family. At no point do they come in as cost effective ships. I do think there are ships out there with a worse deal than the X-wing especially: named B-Wings, non-Corran E-Wings and Star Vipers (at least until the boat lands).

I-want-to-BelieveMoving on though because X-Wing isn’t about number crunching and data analysis, as good as those things are. It’s about flying things you love. That’s why the title of this particular article is

I WANT TO BELIEVE.

When I was a child I wanted to fly X-Wings. I’d build squadrons of them out of Lego, far more rudimentary than the fancy ones people buy these days. Star Wars for me was always about space ships, sure Jedi are cool, but the space battles are what captured my imagination. And the X-Wing is just the coolest fighter in the galaxy.

iconic x-wingIconic you say? 

I thought Firesprays were going to be a challenge when I began investing all my time in them. But having looked it over in depth (significantly more than the cursory glance above) I think X-wings are going to be a much bigger challenge. In addition to points cost we can add:

  • Two Green Dice
  • 5 or 6 Health (not enough to be a tank)
  • Green Moves (4 and 5 respectively)
  • Slot options (especially on the T-65)
  • Lack of a hard one (It baffles me that the YT-1300 and 2400 can hard one but the X-wing can’t)
  • No Barrel Roll (I’ve seen the movies, they do it all the time!)

It’s not a jouster like the Defender or Protectorate. It’s not an Arc Dodger like the A-Wing or the Tie Interceptor. It’s certainly not a support ship. It’s too expensive to be a proper swarm ship like a Z-95 or a Tie Fighter. It’s a swiss army knife of a ship that you can tailor to be any number of things, but it is never going to the best at any of those things.

black one poeThe one thing that I have found it to be is an excellent hunter. Once an X-Wing gets on your tail it is a hard thing to shake off, and Poe is probably the best ship in the game at this job.

The art of being a great pilot  is the tricky balance of flying with list building. If it was purely one or the other it simply wouldn’t be a good game. Personally I lean towards the game being about how good you are at flying rather than optimal lists, but I’m far from naive enough to think that the best pilot with the worst list will win much. That doesn’t mean I’m going to take a list I know is bad just to try and prove a point! (I might take it to have some fun)

There is one pilot that will be relevant in this journey who I am going to discount, mainly because to me is he purely about list building mechanics and not about fun, Biggs. I know a lot of people fly him, but is it because of what he does for the rest of your list or because you love playing him? If you could only have one ship for the rest of your life would you’d take Biggs?

biggs darklighter shine

It’s a sad fact of life that having the galaxy’s most famous mustache does not qualify a pilot for the rule of cool.

Poe Dameron

Poe is my favourite pilot in any X-wing, and possibly my favourite in any ship (Jake Farrel comes close). The version of him I particularly like is this one:

Sure it makes him somewhat expensive at 43 points but he is really good fun.

I’ve seen lots of builds for other X-Wings and come up with a few myself, all kinds of fun and Jank to be had, but can they be good? Can they compete? No one gave Leebo a chance at winning the Euros, but George did it… can I learn to fly X-Wings to that level?

This is one of the Hangar Bay lists that I took to Euros but never got to fly. Now I’m definitely not saying this list is the finished article by any stretch of the imagination. In my mind Hangar Bay is a venue for fun and silly lists. You take your serious list to compete in the main event, then something to entertain you for when it goes wrong!

The Hunters (92)

X-wing photoPoe Dameron

  • Black One
  • BB-8
  • Push the Limit
  • Autothrusters
  • Sensor Cluster
  • Advanced Proton Torpedos

Nein Numb

  • Snap Shot
  • R3-A2
  • Pattern Analyser
  • Advanced Proton Torpedos
  • Autothrusters

Yes, that is an 8 point initiative bid. I really want to move Poe last OK! I could have put in a third ship, like Ahsoka or something with the 12 points spent on the torps, but that’s just less thematic and means I could be forced to go first. I have no pretense that this is a “competitive” list, but it is a fun list, and who isn’t going to root for 2 X-wings taking on the world!

scully microscope.jpgFortunately the internet is home to a wealth of photos of Gillian Anderson looking up in disbelief. It is a resource I plan to make great use of over the coming weeks. 

The list is designed to hunt things. Try and get on the tail and stay there. Obviously certain ships have built in counters to this, specifically the Tie Defender, the white slooping Falcon and Jumpmaster. So it’s not going to like Rey or Dengar very much… just like EVERY OTHER LIST! I’m going to have to become a much better pilot to have a chance of winning games with this.

As much as I want to put Vectored Thrusters on Nein to give him the barrel roll option to make sure he can land at range one from anywhere the Autothrusters are too good an options not to take. If only there was a precedence for non specific titles allowing multiple modifications….

But until that happens staying alive trumps maneuverability. Nein is potentially a great trap for a ship and hopefully can double stress an opponent whilst unleashing a volley of Advanced Proton Torpedoes into them.

Before all the useful and relevant comments of “REGEN!” appear I’d just like to state that personally I find regen to be 95% boring… It’s a totally valid mechanic and on Red Ace it’s a given that you take it. Too many ships can damage spike hard enough to negate the one shield you get back once a turn. Personally I find it limiting and it shapes the way I play too much. So don’t expect to see R2-D2 and R5-P9 too often! (I have one list where they both feature)

After a first ever game on Vassal against a rebel pick’n’mix the list amused me enough to want to fly it in real life. The vulnerabilities are obvious but it’s fun to fly. So once again my case was loaded up with 2 models, only this time they had a total of 12 health rather than the usual 20, same number of green dice and red dice though!

Wednesday night at ibuywargames and X-Wing is very much a thing right now, if you’re ever in Woking come on down and play. I got 4 games in during the evening, mainly against people trying new stuff out, just like I was. I won 3 of those games and the list showed potential in the fourth. It did enough to get me thinking it has legs. The most important thing though is that it was so much fun to fly.

Winning with it was definitely an unexpected positive step! There is going to be a lot to learn, but I think enough of it to make me want to take the list to at least one tournament just to see….

Loads of people have great ideas for X-Wing builds, if you’ve found anything particularly fun or effective that you reckon I should try out please let me know in a comment! I have loads of ideas but I’m sure you guys must have too. The one (other than NO BIGGS) rule I’m going to enforce on lists I try out is that they have more points spent on X-wings than other ships.

THE X-WINGS WILL RETURN!

If you want to get involved in tournament play head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and see what’s going on local to you!

Firespray 31: I am a Leaf on the Wind, Watch me Soar.

The European Championships are here. I started this adventure on the 23rd of February, I estimate I have played around 200 games with a Firespray in the list. I have won significantly more than I have lost. I have learned from mistakes and got better as a gamer.  Back in that first post I gave myself this weekend just gone as the end point of the story, and I can’t quite believe how quickly it has got here.

the great battle

This is my third major tournament in Birmingham, Yavin 2016, Yavin 2017 and the Euros. I have more hope and expectation for how I might do in this event than either of the ones I have been to before. It’s a phenomenal venue and some of the best pilots from around the world are gathered to win R2-D2 measuring thingys!

I have settled on a slight variation of Julian’s Worlds list based on some experimenting from the last few weeks.

My list for Euros

Boba Fett

  • Slave 1 (pointless but obligatory)
  • Glitterstim
  • Concussion Missiles
  • Guidance Chips
  • 4-Lom
  • Fearlessness

Kath Scarlett

  • Dengar
  • Heavy Laser Cannon
  • Expertise
  • Black Market Slicer Tools

The first change is that I have dropped out the Extra Munitions for Glitterstim. I rarely fired both lots of munitions in a game. They were strong and very useful, but I have also found Glitterstim to be so potent in the one turn you know you are going to get hammered by multiple ships, and lets you take the evade action just to sure things up.

Fenn Rau range 3

I have dropped Homing Missiles down to Concussions. This is a choice I’m not quite 100% on and will inevitably ruin my day at some point when I have to spend the lock to fire and can’t re-roll. But here is my reasoning: There are not a lot of ships that are dominant in the meta at the moment that take evades except the Shadow Caster or Defender. If a Shadow Caster is on the table, odds are the missiles will be pointed firmly at Fenn Rau. With Concussions and Chips I’m guaranteed a hit and a crit, and on odds should roll 2 hits a focus and a blank, so that “should” be damage results on all the dice. It is also a point cheaper…

Which gave me a point to add Black Market Slicer Tools to Kath. This is as a response to Andy Brazier’s excellent flying last weekend with Jake Farrel. If there are Push the Limit arc dodgers around they are going to have second thoughts about how close they want to get to me and be stressed. Jake, Soontir and co have a healthy respect for that 50/50 dice roll…

So how did it go?

LONG.

Seriously, physically and mentally that was a challenge. 9 rounds being on your game is tough.

dogma.jpg

I went 6-3 in all and finished 48th in Swiss, which if you’d offered that to me before the event I would absolutely have taken. In each game I lost I can point one mistake:

Taking a range one shot on a tokenless Carnor Jax with Kath when I had a range 3 shot on RAC out of her rear. I should have killed the crit machine Palpatine then had 2 firesprays to close down Carnor with. The temptation was too great!

The loss to Rey was frustrating, Chris didn’t let me engage the falcon with both at the same time for an alpha strike, the concussions really let me down and the Rey re-rolls paid off for him early on…. I came in too fast then at the end I forgot about that pesky Chewbacca! Chris did brilliantly keeping that ace up his sleeve for just the right moment.

In my final game had I not gone in quite so fast I’d have had Boba and Kath both at range one of Ketsu, rather than only one of them, at which point the second round shot rom Boba would probably have killed her and then Kath would have been able to take her shots on the slooped Dengar. Sure he would have got the revenge shot BUT I would have had two firesprays going after a weakened Dengar for a turn or two more.

hindsight_2.jpg

Leaving the 3 lists that beat me with a total of 4 health between them shows how ridiculously close those match ups were. I didn’t loose a game by more than 35 points. Dice are sometimes unkind, that’s literally a green or a red difference here or there, but such is the difference between making the cut and not!

The changes to the list served me well. I didn’t really miss the evade ignoring homing missiles. When I came up against defenders I was able to bludgeon off the table with weight of fire. I only missed the re-roll of Homings once, when I rolled 3 blanks and a focus… against that evil witch Rey of course.

rey crying.png

The Glitterstim (8 games out of 9) was effective, so I’m definitely keeping that in there, it proved it’s worth.

And Black Market Slicer Tools came in mighty handy twice. When your opponent is not prepared to Push the Limit on their ace because they might get slicered then your one point spend has negated their 3 points. That’s a good trade, and they have totally justified their place in the list on that alone.

My final game was broadcast on the FirstEarth live stream, (you can see it here), watching it back it was great to see that people were rooting for the Firesprays around the world!

And I think THAT’S the point. I started off wanting to have some fun with a ship I love, that everyone seems to love, and hopefully I’ve shown it can do well despite not being a “meta ship”.

Rasta wins it

I stayed on to watch George win the tournament in a brutally close fought Dash/Miranda vs Leebo/Miranda face off, with Leebo/Miranda coming out on top. Massive respect to both finalists for getting through the sea of jumpmasters that blocked their path!

N3RF TH3 YT-2400 PLX

I have to give massive props to Alex Watkins for his organisation of the event. Yes, the computers let us all down on Friday but that was not his or his teams fault, stuff just happens. I’m glad that the vast majority of our community are level headed understanding people who know that sometimes shit happens. Also a big shout out to Vince and his entire judge team for all being fantastic examples of what makes this community awesome.

It was amazing to meet people from around the Europe, make new friends and play some really memorable games. Nationals are just around the corner in September!

So what next for me? I love the Firesprays, and I know I can do even better with them than I have. But I also want to fly other things for a bit, I mean, 3 months on one ship is a long time right?

kihraxz.jpg

I debated the Kihraxz until the message came up that they were getting a fix… still tempted to see how I can do with them before they get it because I think they are criminally underrated ships and I have a list to try… For me they have an optimum build at the moment and not a lot of room to play around, so that wouldn’t make for terribly interesting reading!

000144.0022649.tif

They’re going to be very “meta” in a few months time and starting to fly them now only to say “I flew these before they were good” is shameless band wagon jumping in my opinion. Still, I might take them to an event or two just to see how they fare currently. But that is a conversation for another day, for now:

The Firesprays are the stars here.

They’ve mixed it with the best of them.

Slave one

In 15 tournaments since I started this journey the Firesprays have won two games for every one they have lost (roughly…).

THE FIRESPRAYS WILL RETURN

But they may have a holiday so I have something else to write about for a bit.

As ever, if you want to get involved in tournament play, I can’t recommend it enough. The best resource I know of is the 186th calendar. Go see what’s going on in your local area. (if you’re in the UK)

Firespray 31: We’ve Done the Impossible, and That Makes Us Mighty

Two tournaments to go before the Europeans, and right now I’m just about here with Kath and Bob…

Frodo Sam Mordor

Me and the Sprays have come a long way in the last few months and I’ve gone from it being my favourite scum ship to being my favourite ship. But more than that, it has changed the way I look at the game and the way I look at myself as a gamer.

Discipline has been a hugely significant part of the venture. I think the excessive amount of flying paired with an almost clinical level of self analysis had bought me some kind of self enlightenment. Each of these posts has taken at least 6 hours to write, then re-write then edit. Hopefully the level of scrutiny has made it as enjoyable to read as it has been to write. My original goal was to have fun, and I most certainly am having that.

The biggest challenge before the European championship is yet to come. One more visit to Warboar in Bromley lies between me and Mordor (apologies to Birmingham for that analogy). Whilst South East London is a slightly more pleasant place than Shelob’s lair my fellowship of two are looking at huge challenge. 50+ players, 6 rounds of swiss, a top 8 cut. Nine games in a day (a good number for a fellowship I feel) is a daunting number. Whoever wins this store championship really will deserve that trophy!

sam frodo stairs

Last week at the Dice Saloon mistakes were made and lessons were learned. To get to the next level I’m going to need to eliminate bad habits and poor choices, and hope the dice feel like contributing.

Tweaking the list after next last weeks success seems somewhat fool hardy, so I’m going to stick with what has been tried and tested. Julian’s worlds list has served me so well in recent weeks…

baroque1

In case you need a refresher on the list:

Boba Fett:

  • Fearlessness
  • Homing Missiles
  • Extra Munitions
  • Guidance Chips
  • 4-LOM
  • Slave One

Kath Scarlett

  • Expertise
  • Dengar
  • Heavy Laser Cannon

If I get to play 7 games I will be well pleased. If I can play more than that I will be ecstatic!

On Friday I had Christian Naslund from Sweden keeping me up to date with how his first tournament running twin sprays went. He ended up going 3-1 and making the cut, which was great to hear. I love how big and friendly the international X-wing community is! He too found his nemesis list to include the cursed Rey, I’d like to avoid her if possible.

The good news is that I didn’t have to fly against Rey, but it wasn’t a great day of flying.

Rey

Making all my excuses now, a bad night sleep, not feeling particularly “on it” etc. Not taking anything away from the 4 people who I lost games to today, because those games all taught me a lesson and they deserved the wins.

My game one pairing with Alex Birt (again… if we pair at the Euros when there are 400+ people there we’re going to call it rigged!) where he was running Fangaroo taught me not to get over excited about the tricks in the tool box. I had pulled of a k-turn with Boba but had an existing lock on Fenn. Fenn was on one health at range three and wasn’t getting out of arc. I fired the homing missiles and between the reroll and guidance chips landed 2 hits and 2 crits. Then declared excitedly I was going to use 4-Lom…

Only as Alex reached for his dice did I realise Fenn was only going to roll 3 dice so it didn’t matter if I 4-Lommed him or not. So rather than destroy the pesky blighter and then one bank in towards an approaching Manaroo and getting an action and potential fearlessness shot on her I did a white one forward, remained stressed and got killed by an out of arc 2 dice attack.

Lesson: Don’t just shout 4-Lom cause you have the card there!

facepalm-picard

Game two against Sam Ledwich. The sprays did exactly what they are meant to do, ish. After turn 3 Sam’s Fenn was on 2 health and hard turns were red, his quadjumper was on one hull and his Ketsu was on 3 health. I then failed to chase down the injured Fenn, failed to prioritise the one hull jumper and chased after his Ketsu. Predictably enough the match was won but the quadjumper tractor beaming me and Fenn rolling 4 natural hits against an agility one Kath… Sam flew his Fenn brilliantly to get him back into the fight, but I should have pressed the advantage when I had it.

Lesson: An injured ship can still hurt you. Finish them off when you get the chance.

double face palm

Game 4 was against Andy Brazier I had a simple choice. A fearlessness, focus supported, range one shot on either a tokenless Jake or a tokenless Tycho. As I mentioned a few weeks ago A-Wings are one of my favourite ships. I have flown them a lot, and know exactly what they can do. So naturally I know Jake is one of the very best end game ships in a one on one setting, so obviously I killed the barrel rolling and boosting fella. Except I didn’t. I smacked Tycho off the table. Dumb.

Tycho would have been much easier to hunt down at the end of the game. Andy put together some of the best arc dodging I have ever seen. This was comfortably the longest game the sprays have had, weighing in at 60 minutes and he thoroughly deserved his win, but if i had shot Jake when I had the chance…

Lesson: Making a bad decision at one point in the game can really come back to haunt you. 

triple-facepalm

Game 6 was against Pete Wood flying Dash and Miranda. I pulled off a solid block on Dash with Kath and closed in with Boba, but I missed the range one doughnut by about 3 millimeters. This meant the HLC came hammering into me where Mr Rendar wouldn’t have had a shot had I got that little bit closer. Boba would still have died a turn or two later but that extra turn of shooting without reply would probably have done for the YT-2400. Pete won the roll for initiative, which with both of us flying PS 7 and 8 ships was a hugely important roll.

Lesson: Just Fly Betterer

I finished a somewhat disappointing 37th of 51 starters. From a 19-2 record to a 21-6 record doesn’t sound too bad a drop, but 4 of those games being in the same day has been a frustrating turn of events.

It appears that Shelob’s Lair had a significant bite.

shelob

So that means Monday at Ibuywargames’ Star Wars 40th event is the bit where Sam comes in and saves Frodo right?

40th_combined

Trying something a bit different on Boba for this event. I’m dropping the Guidance Chips for the moment and taking long Range Scanners, and throwing in the Glitterstim in place of the Extra Munitions.

Boba Fett:

  • Fearlessness
  • Homing Missiles
  • Glitterstim
  • Long Range Scanners
  • 4-LOM
  • Slave One

Kath Scarlett

  • Expertise
  • Dengar
  • Heavy Laser Cannon

The day was fairly full of tight games. The most important roll of the game between myself and Pete Wood was again the roll for initiative, and again I lost it! However I did a lot better, and Pete did worse that he did on Saturday. At Warboar it was 100-24 at Ibuywargames it was 100-76 so I was happy with that improvement.

The day had one too many tight losses in it for my liking, but it was so much fun in all with a really good crowd. Special shout of to Jesper Hills for our Final game, well, final 2 games, cause we finished the first excessively quickly. Tie SFs and Firesprays gunning for each other is a highly entertaining (if somewhat short lived) encounter. All the firing arcs putting out all the hurt! The most amusing games I’ve played in the last few weeks.

space explosion

I went 2-3 for the day and left smiling because fun was had. Which is after all, the main reason to go to tournaments!

I don’t like Long Range Scanners over Guidance Chips, whilst it is better action economy I just like knowing that one of my dice is definitely going to crit! If I could have both that would be a thing of beauty. So Scanners don’t make the cut for the Euros. I’m hugely tempted to swap them down to Concussion Missiles for the final event, I know the “ignoring evades” is really strong, as is the not spending your lock to fire them, but with chips and the free mod of a blank dice Concussion Missiles have a really strong hit ratio. One to contemplate for the next couple of days.

Glitterstim I like, I can’t get away from how useful it is, so I will be keeping that instead of the extra munitions.

There’s no getting away from how much I miss VI on Boba, but that feeling of just placing a hit down when fearlessness kicks in is just to joyful I can’t give it up!

4 sleeps until Euros! I’m now really excited for it, and after a total 4-7 result tally for the weekend a little nervous. The journey is coming to an end. Ahead lies the trek to Mount Doom and hope I have enough in the tank to get it right on the day.

mount doom

If you’re in the UK and  want to get involved in playing in X-Wing Tournaments get yourself over to the 186th Event Calendar and find out what is going on locally to you!

THE FIRESPRAYS WILL RETURN

Firespray 31: This Must be What Going Mad Feels Like.

Today is the second store champs of the season, home of the finest paninis of any FLGS I have visited, The Dice Saloon in Brighton. It’s always a pleasure to see Kris (TO) and Axel and Matt (proprietors). The guys maintain a youtube channel and post regular live streams every Tuesday evening if you’re ever at a loose end.

I’ve been here a few times now, enough to feel at home in the surrounds and recognise a few faces. Hopefully that will help me settle into what is one of the most over subscribed events going! Limited capacity has put a serious waiting list on this event so I feel lucky to be here, and pleased I got my ticket early!

The Sprays are back, and I’ve spent a lot of time this week thinking about things I did wrong last weekend in Aldershot, things that gave my opponents an edge. There’s a few big things that need to change and be tested this week to see if my endless analysis is correct.

THE ROCKFirstly I have stubbornly stuck with BIG ROCKS. My X-wing history is predominantly filled with small, agile ships so big rocks are my my go to. Some silly delusion about better pilots use bigger rocks has wormed it’s way into my head when picking the right tools for the job is actually a more sensible option.

If my opponent also has big rocks this means a lot of the table is covered. When six big rocks are close together my Sprays get limited movement options, which in turn limits my firing arc.

The list is about delivering consistent damage output, having to wiggle through asteroids is a way of decreasing that consistency. Opening up the table may help my opponent, but I think on balance I can make it play in my favour.

slave one asteroids.png

Big rocks combined with my tendency to populate the middle of the board with them has allowed my opponents flying more nimble ships to get the upper hand in certain engagements. So this week I am going to be using a totally different tactic. Rock placement is a hugely important part of the game and doing some homework is a sensible option!

asteroid

I’m going to take small rocks, if my opponent has larger rocks I’ll use them to cover my end of the board so I can fly past them. Keeping the majority of the table as open as I can should allow the Sprays as much room as possible to bring their guns to bear.

do you even joust

The second thing I have noticed is that I have been afraid to joust. I am flying two ships with hugely reliable damage output, enough agility to take some of the sting off an incoming hit, but more importantly enough health to take an alpha strike. I’ve lost games against Rey and Tengar because I’ve been afraid to just face up to them and slam my guns into their faces.

Looking at these slugfests if I can get the engagement right then there is no reason why they shouldn’t come out in my favour. At Range three Rey is pumping out 3 dice + Finn with expertise against my 3 green dice, I can take that hit. Then I can give it back to her with missiles from Boba and the HLC from Kath. Whoever Rey has as her wingman is unlikely to be able to punch as much damage out as the Firesprays are.

chalkboard

Kath is probably going to take the lion share of the damage here. If I was flying Rey I’d go for her and try to get the PS kill. BUT I get more red dice, I get more green dice, I have more health. At range one the last health of the Falcon should only require a fairly average roll to get her gone. I might lose Kath in the trade off, but Kath for Rey is an exchange I’m prepared to make.

slave 1 falcon

The same for Tengar. Two lots of missiles are going to hit one of the sprays really hard, I have to just accept that. But as long as I can land enough hurt on Dengar in that initial exchange then finishing him in the second should be fairly do-able. Tel with his 2 red dice is less of an issue than Dengar, his higher PS and mobility are a problem, but that’s why I have two firing arcs!

Finally, I’ve got to be disciplined with my flying, which means breaking away from a combat if I’m chasing after bad engagements.

Basically Firesprays are a sledgehammer, so I might as well fly them as such!

Nice in theory right? Maybe I’ll get to try it out. One thing is for sure, if I do, those games are going to be quick!

For this jousting approach I’m going back to the extra munitions on Boba. Being able to slow roll in and sustain the damage output on both ships is something I really need to implement effectively. So Julian’s worlds list appears again.

Boba Fett

  • Fearlessness
  • Homing Missiles
  • Extra Munitions
  • 4-LOM
  • Guidance Chips
  • Slave 1

Kath Scarlett

  • Expertise
  • Dengar
  • Heavy Laser Cannon

So four rounds of swiss flew by, and I stuck to the plan. The rock choice made a huge difference to my game and mobility. My round four game against James has a stellar example of just how aggressively this list can perform. Backdraft vs Kath in a rear off and Kath wins…

I even got to try jousting Tengar. Elliot Weights lined them up against me and we went for it. Moving first and getting blocks on the jump masters tipped the slugfest in my favour. It was a brutal game, with Kaths rear arc proving to be the match winner.

At the end of swiss I was somewhat shocked to have gone undefeated, and sitting second to Cormac “the Top Ranked Irish Player in England” Higgins, who was flying that Parattanni thing which apparently isn’t worth taking anymore…

MOV is going to be a constant issue because Firespray’s just can’t win clean, but it seems they can win.

swissRegardless of what the photo says we weren’t all flying Imperials! Although it definitely felt like it at times! There were A LOT of Imperials present. Far more than I had expected. With Backdraft and Quickdraw the main representatives. The top 4 was 2 Imperials and 2 Scum, Cormac and I both won our respective semi finals.

I’ve never made a cut, I’ve never been on a stream, so today felt like a big step forward for me as a player. Making it to the final table was way more than I had hoped. I’d have been delighted with top 8 to be honest. Making it all the way to the end is the highlight of this journey so far.

The video of the final game can be seen here. Without posting too many spoilers… Cormac wins the game. He got it right, I got it wrong. Dice always balance out in the end, and my red dice on Kath failed me a bit here having been superbly consistent all day. The crit that got through on Boba was fairly disasterous and the writing was on the wall at that point! Cormac put himself in the right positions, I didn’t.

As we chatted about the game afterwards I think the foundations for my loss were laid in deployment. I trapped myself in the narrow path  on my left hand edge rather than using the open field on the right. And I am still under no illusions that Ventress is one hell of a ship, taking her down seems utterly impossible!

Going 6 games undefeated is no small achievement, and there were some very good players in the field today, and the best pilot on the day won. I didn’t want the regional bye anyway… I mean… if I’m paying to go to a regional I want to play every game right..? Value for money and that sort of thing!

I learned some lessons, proved some theories correct and got some swag. I’ve never got store champs level swag before! Not only the lovely FFG orange rulers and Kallus token but Kris provided alt art Rey card and Palpatine token for everyone as a participation prize. Then the top four got an alt art pilot card that may actually get me to fly imperials again, even if it’s only a one off!

swag

With only a week until my third store champs of the season I can’t help but look forward to having another go. It seems Firesprays can definitely cut it! A massive thank you to everyone I flew against, Matt, Elliot, Luke, Jamie, Dale and of course the victorious Cormac. A a massive big shout out to Kris Mitchell for hosting a great event.

The Firesprays Will Return

If you’re after tournaments in your area (UK only) then head over to the 186th Tournament calendar.

Firespray 31: Would You Like to Lecture Me on the Wickedness of My Ways?

As we move inevitably closer to the D-Day that is the European Championships the journey has become a very enjoyable ride. This makes it 14 Firespray blogs written, not many more to go and I’m feeling positively excited about what it to come. Could that illusive day 2 actually happen for me at the Euros? We’re not there yet but I have reason to be optimistic. Cue inevitable failure and crashing and burning.

palpatine2

If you haven’t seen the gamer bling up for grabs at the Euros… this ups the “hhhhnnnnnggg I really wanna win stuff!” feeling massively!

Euro prize

Twin Firesprays have given me two of the three best results I have ever achieved in organised play. Boba and Emon gave me a top 5 finish at Warboar in the middle of March and again at Warboar last week I managed to go 5-0 in a Q2 event and get me that precious Ello Asty card!

Julian’s list from Worlds has me totally hooked and this is what I will be flying for the next few weeks. Not only did it go unbeaten at Warboar last week, but I also managed to take it through 6 games without loss at Star Wars Wednesday at ibuywargames against a variety of opponents with differing lists.

king starscreamWith an 11-0 record with the list I am a prime candidate for “pride comes before a fall“, or as head Zombie Ian talked about in his thought provoking post: Success Disease. Fortunately with the level of competition being upped imminently this weekend with store championship season starting, I have no time to rest on my laurels and take anything for granted. It’s time to fire up the burnout slam and see if I can keep the ball rolling.

The South East of the England has some very, very, very, very, very good players who I have no end of respect for (and a not great record against). From numerous, talented non-affiliated pilots to the hefty presence of the lovely guys from The 186th there is no game that can be taken lightly when bits of plastic are on the line!

mount everestAmong the 186th who usually frequent the events I go to are the 2015 UK Champion, 2016 Worlds Top 8 (robbed by dice), not one but two 2017 Yavin Top 8. Not to mention the plethora of players wielding store champs rulers that are a clear indicator that (as nice as they all are) they’re not to shabby at this little space ships thing!

There are two tournaments to have a crack at this weekend, a Q2 kit at Firestorm Cards in Basingstoke on Saturday, followed by the first store Championship of the year at The Games Shops, Aldershot on Sunday. So a warm up and a main event then…

the princess bride

But before we get on to this a bit of hobby. An idea shamelessly stolen from fellow Zombie Squadron member, Steve Burton… this is what happens when FFG release numerous games set in the Star Wars Universe.

dial

The paint job is getting pleasantly worn in, but that “shield token” from Destiny just makes me so happy!

Saturday at Firestorm Cards had a turn out of 11. After 3 games I was 3-0 up, and game 4 was Alex Birt of the 186th. Alex was running Experitise Rey and a Warden Squadron Bomber. As I have mentioned a few times before managing the initial engagement is probably the most important part of this game, especially with ships that can joust as effectively as Rey and the Firesprays.

Alex got it right whist I landed on a rock by a millimeter. Boba not triggering at range one because of the rock swung the initial damage exchange in Rey’s favour. Between that mistake and Alex’s pinpoint flying, first Kath then Boba were hunted down by the Falcon.

falconIt was helpful chatting to both Alex and Jason Barton (also flying Expertise Rey on the day) about possible changes to the list. It has been hugely effective but nothing is beyond tweaking. My one issue with it has been having two lots of homing missiles, I think in tournament play I have only fired both rounds twice. It’s great at range but Boba excels when close up so staying back to get the second shot off seems wasteful.

What Boba really doesn’t like is getting shot by lots of things, green dice, even with re-rolls are not friendly. I’m dropping the Extra Munitions for a Glitterstim. I’ve used ‘stims a lot on Sprays and I’ve found it one of the most useful get out of jail free cards out of all the illicit upgrades. Taking an evade and popping ‘stims at a key moment could be the difference between Boba taking it like a pro and getting squished horribly. It can also be used when up close and personal to make that 5 dice range one fearlessness shot really hurt someone. In an ideal world it will do both!

kat

MOV is an issue for the list, it wins, but winning clean is not something it is very good at. 100-0s are definitely not something it does easily. Still I came third for the day and now have two Ello cards.

Saturday was made complete by a message on Word Press from Julian Rincon (the man who’s list I have been running) wishing me luck for the Euros! He also took the time to talk a bit about how he put the list together over the 18 months building up to Worlds 2017.

Knowing the man who wrote the list is looking over my shoulder is both incredibly cool and mildly nerve wracking!

Yoda_bed

Saturday night was the first time I suffered from “tournament sleep” in ages. Waking up at 3am only for my brain to spend the next hour or so “theory-hammering” x-wing and pondering life’s great questions. Aspirations to compete at a higher level than I have previously is something I’m obviously going to have to adjust to.

Sunday morning and Aldershot seemed full of people waiting to play X-Wing. A really strong turn out of 37 players all with their sights set on some pretty orange range rulers.

I’m not going to beat around the bush, it wasn’t a great day. Out of the 5 rounds played before the cut today I only managed to get two wins. Obviously full credit goes to my opponents for their victories. Without looking at the losses and working out what I could have done differently I can’t improve as a player so it’s important to reflect. On my drive home I had time to ponder.

darth boba

One game I can partially ascribe to dice. It seems that my good friend Mr Pocknell is my dice pariah. Every tournament you play you’ll have that moment where you wince as for the fifth time in a row Kath Scarlett throws a double blank, and breath a sigh of relief as you spend that all important evade token only to sign again cause that’s still 2 damage going through. But I could have flown better. One key turn I had the choice between turning in and attempting to keep the pressure on Ollie, or putting some space between us which would have taken the pressure off me. I turned in, I should have flown away and not pushed for an advantage that wasn’t there to be had.

In the last game of the day, a return match with Jason Barton from Saturday the initial exchange of his Rey shooting Boba at range three through a rock and putting in 4 hits, only to have a focussed Boba roll 4 blanks was pretty painful. Kath made up for it later in the game… when she was on one hull for about 7 turns! But it was too little to late.

shannon and jason

The key lesson that I have to remember is that one Firespray on it’s own dies easily, two together kill things easily. The common thread of the games I lost was that I allowed the Sprays to get picked off one at a time. Giving my opponent the option to focus fire on one knowing that the other is not going to respond is something I mustn’t let happen if I want to be successful going forwards. Deployment is definitely something to evaluate in future to work out how to avoid getting compromised on the initial approach.

kat2

The big plus from the day is that Glitterstim is a positive change for the way I use the list.

A disappointing 25 out of 37, but some valuable lessons to take away for next week, when it’s another visit to Brighton for the Dice Saloon’s store champs.

X-Wing boasts probably the most friendly and enjoyable community of any competitive gaming scene out there. Find events local to you (if you’re in the UK) on the 186th Tournament finder and go play pew-pew.

THE FIRESPRAYS WILL RETURN!

Firespray 31: Some of us Think the Wrong Side Won that War, Sir.

It was a Friday night and there I was peacefully catching up on the Last Kingdom and trying to wrap my head around the pre-ample of this weeks blog when suddenly Facebook told me I should be interested in something. Two upstanding members of the community were looking out for me…

I instantly jumped onto the twitch feed to be greeted by the dulcet tone of Mr Jesper Hills and his co-commentator (jump in 22 minutes), and there, on screen a list that would be burned into my memory in the next few minutes.

So I selected all and pressed delete on what I was writing…

I had been all set to run my double fangs and Mandalorian merc list at Warboar on Sunday and then up to and including the Euros but then this happened:

Julian Rincon Alcantara’s World List

Bob Fett

  • Fearlessness
  • Slave One
  • Extra Munitions
  • Homing Missiles
  • 4-LOM
  • Guidance Chips

Kath Scarlett

  • Expertise
  • Heavy Laser Cannon
  • Dengar

Julian was playing this against a fangaroo variant. Being honest his opponent Kevin didn’t get the best approach, then suffered some shocking green dice on both his Fenn and Old Terroch. Julian tabled him in less than 40 minutes to win 100-0.

Putting the game in context both players were 3-0 going for 4-0 at worlds. Kevin Leintz was runner up at Worlds 2016, so obviously knows his stuff. Julian’s clever approach forced him into taking the initial engagement on weakened terms but before Kevin could re-position himself the damage was done and both the Protectorates were gone in two turns.

How could I not look at this list with excitement and want to give it go?

Almost every element of this list I have used, but the particular Kath combination is one I have not tried. Boba is for all intent and purposes the same as the one I took to The Dice Saloon in Brighton recently, just stripped back a bit, and I have used the homing missiles 4-LOM combination many, many times.

I have previously been quite harsh on Mrs Fett, or rather I have had a one track mind on her. “She’s too predictable, get the rear round, endlessly use engine upgrade, waste actions” The addition of the HLC means that she is no longer optimised for her rear arc, except at range one. Which means she is no longer predictable. Investing 14 points in attacking upgrades? Surely rule number one is keep your ships alive?

scarlett rear

Well, last time out I wrote about how well Andy Wall had spent 12 points on a gun and the evidence there was the expertise, target lock and HLC were very much a thing. This build doesn’t even need the target lock! So may be I should give her another go. Expertise and Dengar mean that every action taken can be used defensively, either for a focus (if you trust your dice) or an evade (if you don’t).

darth-vader-luke

So I loaded up the sleeves and got the appropriately painted Firesprays out of the case. It seems we are almost back to where we started! I know the vulnerabilities of the list, but maybe, just maybe this can dish it out with enough speed and reliability that the health won’t vanish too fast!

The list pleasingly moves me away from the relative meta heaviness of protectorates and mindlink, which I have come to love and cherish, but would prefer not to use if there is another viable option.

A with over 30 players rocking up on a Sunday, the event was a lot busier than our host Jason was expecting. A strong field from players in the South East and a fairly eclectic mix of lists. The rebels predominantly being represented by the Heaver Special (Miranda, Biggs, Stress Bot) and Scum having the usual Ketsu/Bossk and Ventress/Fenn/+Friend, Imperials still finding their feet but Tie SFs and Defenders definitely seeming to be the core of where they are headed for the time being.

I’m not going to go into individual games, except to use examples of what I learned from the day but I’d like to thank the guys I played against today:

  • David (in his first tournament) running Tycho, Wedge and a good ol’ HLC B-Wing
  • Abs with his 3 T70s, Jess, Snap and Nien
  • Olly bringing Bossk, Palob and Fenn
  • Will with the horrible Dengar and Tel double Jumps
  • Matthew with Bossk and Ketsu

I managed to go 5-0 for the day and win my second tournament at what feels like the 1000th time of trying. Reflecting on what you did wrong seems relatively easy, reflecting on what you got right feels, well, just more uncomfortable!

Firstly the list. Julian found the chemistry that I’ve been trying for with twin sprays, and I’m not ashamed to say that using his version of it was an utter joy to fly. It perfectly fits how my play style has evolved with these ships over the last few weeks.

chemistry

It is relentless in its damage output. Abs’ T70s made a fist of it, but watching four red dice hit you time and time again definitely isn’t what you want to see. Especially when the two times I used 4-Lom he went on to roll double green focuses.

Which leads onto point two. Practice. As regular readers will know I have spent a significant amount of times on tables with these things now. I’ve learned what they can and can’t take, where moves will put me… This allowed me to get approach play right. In the game against Olly I was able to quickly swing Boba round so that he could get the homing missiles off onto Fenn, because lets face it, no one likes a Fenn end game. Olly was forced to choose between Target locking me at range two and boosting into range one. Defensively Fenn might have been better off at range one, with concord dawn cancelling out fearlessness but then he would have had to take a range one Boba shot while 4-LOMMED. He elected to stay at range 2 and the Homing missiles landed two crits on him. Opening salvos in X-Wing are hugely important, and way more interesting than final salvos.

kanan fenn

Conveniently leading to point three. Tactics. Being aware of who needs to die first helps preserve what I still consider to be a relatively fragile ship. It can take a hit or two, but really not more than that. In my game against Will I knew Dengar had to go, with extreme prejudice. Will said that I was the only player to go for Dengar first, taking the Punishing One title out early doors gave me better chances of not getting hammered in the end game. Doing this essentially cost me Kath, but not before she unloaded 5 dice into a weakened Dengar to finish him off. Dengar

The trade off of losing her (Will was the only person to go for Kath “Mrs Consistent” Scarlett first) to two volleys of torps from Tel was a one I was prepared to make. Dengar v Boba is a fight Boba looses. Boba v Tel is a very different story. It was a ridiculously close game, literally coming down to one hull a piece, but Boba was able to kill the Jumpmaster after a blinded pilot crit bought me that all important turn to, erm, turn.

InertialDampeners-XWM.png

The final game of the day against Matthew was the harshest joust I have ever been involved in. Ketsu Bossk and the Firesprays just ploughed into each other. I can only blame 5 games of brain drain for Matthew losing the joust. All day his Bossk has been doing a green move, K4 then focus, but on this one, to my benefit he forgot the focus. The difference was that Boba limped away with four health instead of a likely one which gave me the opportunity to keep him alive for that little bit longer. Whether it would have change the result will never be known. (I’m sure there are bigger questions to wonder in life. Like why do most Brits wear relatively plain colours but have really vibrant socks hidden away?) But there is no doubt that Kath on her own would have had a much tougher job of finishing Bossk and hunting down Ketsu on her own that she did with an extra turn of support from Boba.

MOV is going to be an issue with this list. 100-0s aren’t really in it’s repertoire, and once the ships are hurting they can die fast, but it is relentless, it is effective and it certainly has the Rule of Cool going for it.

Warboar 7.5.17

With 4 tournaments left until the European Championships I have decided to run true to the roots of this journey, and see if stealing Julian’s list can help me finish the adventure in the manner I intended.

Julian went 5-2 on day one of Worlds with his Firesprays. Emulating that would get me through to day two of the Euros, that would be a huge achievement.

Incidentally, at Worlds Kevin would go on to go 6-1 on day one. Not bad considering Manaroo is apparently redundant. His only day one loss was to Julian’s Twin Sprays.

If you’re interested in getting involved in X-Wing tournaments then I highly recommend the 186th Squadrons guide to events.

THE FIRESPRAYS WILL (MOST DEFINITELY) RETURN

 

 

 

 

Firespray 31: I’ve Been Sane Too Long Anyway

Over the recent 3 day weekend I played 11 competitive games and one friendly one at the end. Those 11 games were a learning curve. It was pointed out to me by Michael “the Jank” Manners that I always seem to do well or badly. I simply refuse to finish a tournament in the middle. Which got me thinking about why this is the case:

Dicey Lists

I have a propensity towards list that burn hot or cold depending on the dice. They are high risk, high reward. Taking actions that don’t allow you to modify defense, or burning those tokens on attack when they might be better spent being used on defense. Then getting the hump when things go wrong. Dicey lists are for gamblers who want to fly by the seat of their pants. You can win in style but for every 100-0 you pull off there will be a 0-100 coming up in a game or two.

I’m not criticising this approach, because that would make me an outrageous hypocrite. There is a lot to be said for throwing caution to the wind and getting butterflies in your stomach every time you or your opponent rolls some dice. Not taking tokens on an A-Wing, but instead choosing to boost and focus with your PTL is a brilliant example of doing this, meaning you put all your faith in the green and autothrusters to preserve your fragile ships…

gambling

If you play this way you live and die on the dice rolls. Action economy is a key part of countering this. Mindlink is probably the best example of an EPT that allow you to play. In a three or four ship build you have your “focus battery” then everyone else gets free actions, all you need to do is work out who only needs one action that turn. I found with my Fearlessness based build last week that where action economy was massively compromised ships died a little too easily.

When you play this way though there is one thing you cannot do: Blame the dice.

Bringing an Ewok to a Wookie Rumble

In the dark days before the nerf there were certain things that were big and fearsome, and other things that were not. Don’t get me wrong Ventress and Fenn in their own rights are big hitters, but the magic of the list was Manaroo enhancing their hitting power no end. It was simply a brilliant piece of list building, sacrifice fancy upgrades for a synergy of great abilities.  It is no wonder Maciej Paraszczak’s Paratanni list became so hugely dominant on the tournament scene, it was the biggest Wookie. The fact that the list that requires the games designers to revisit and rewrite a pilot card just shows how effective it was.

The concern was that people who weren’t bringing a wookie cause they loved ewoks generally didn’t have a chance at getting anywhere near the shiny alt art card that they kinda hoped they might get. The reason I celebrated the “Balance to the Force” FAQ was that it opened the game up to far more diversity, it meant that the Ewoks got a little bigger and the Wookies got a little smaller.

Wookiee-Jedi

Let’s be honest, Scum are still dominant, with Rebels and Imperials still in their wake. There are a lot more options for effective Scum lists than there are for the other factions. At tournaments the only Rebel ships I consistently expect to see, and find constantly problematic are Arcs (with Biggs), and for imperials the TIE SF. Of course any ship can cause problems. But Bossk, Lancers, Protectorates, Jumpmasters, are so frequently seen because they are the biggest wookies. The meta is defined big Wookies.

croc dundeeLast week at Ibuywargames I had the perfect example of this. I had my two pilot skill 5 Protectorates and in game one I played Tom Catchesides for the first time. He had Fenn and Terroch. What followed was two big wookies mugging my two ewoks dressed up as wookies. The second the ships hit the table there were three options:

  1. My dice would burn so hot that Tom’s Superior ships with their superior abilities would stand by in disbelief as I smote them.
  2. I could totally out fly Tom and leave him humbly in awe of my magnificent prowess, and acknowledge me as the greatest X-Wing player of all time… I think losing 8 out of my eleven games over the weekend is probably proof that this is not the case.
  3. The better ships flown well would beat the inferior ships flown well.

Care to guess? Yes it was number 1, oh wait, no, it was number 3 (bet you didn’t see that coming). Now I’m not saying you have to bring the biggest wookies everytime, if you can find a way to make your ships bigger and better then go for it (it’s what I’ve been trying to do with the Firespray after all) but remember, whatever list you fly against, someone will have a bigger and better ship than you.

Unless you’re flying Ventress/Latts, as it stands she is pretty much the best thing in the game as far as I can tell, until you run into the Wainscott Bossk (fearlessness, clusters, dengar, chips, crane, zuckuss, inspiring recruit) who can all but delete her in a turn.

david-versus-goliath

When you bring an Ewok list you can’t blame the people for running Wookies for you losing. When you pay your tournament money, it’s up to you what you want to take, just like it’s up to them what they want to take. If you don’t choose to take triple defenders (which earns you a gold star) then you can’t moan when someone who has chosen to jousts your l33t Syk and Star Viper combo off the table. You win on fluff, they win on game. Be happy with your win.

Don’t get Cocky Kid

“I played and won 3 games in a row with this list… against my nephew… he’s six… it’s clearly unbeatable”

Soooooo…. that’s a little bit of exaggeration but we’ve all been there. The harder the competition the more you get tested. You get a sense of confidence from winning games. It might be a false sense of confidence but it is still a sense of confidence.

good against remotes

The best players can win with a list that looks nothing special on paper because they know what they are doing with it, a bad player can take the best of lists and fly it like a numpty.

Flying against Ben Cooper in Brighton taught me this. A very unassuming list, 3 PS2 X-Wings, Braylem stress arc. No tricks, nothing fancy, just move, focus, move, focus, move, focus. A brick of low PS unrated ships backed up by an Arc. Then bang, a ship dies. Then bang, another ship dies. And suddenly these lowly wave one ships are going 4-0 in Swiss for the day.

If you play this way you can’t be surprised when the list you’re really good with gets thumped by the list someone else is even better with. You might well have spent 4 weeks flying that list, but your opponent might have spent 4 months, or even 4 years flying theirs.

Where does he get those Wonderful Toys?

Upgrade cards. Sometimes you look at them and go “WOW! THAT IS ALL THE UBER.” cause in your head you’re always going to be able to park at range one with that autoblaster cannon and make ships vanish one at a time. Then the reality crops up that you can’t move fast enough and get things in arc to use it. 5 Points for one shot in the game. Sure it could pay off, but this is being dicey with cards! Betting 5% of your list on a trick that may only trigger once might not be the wisest idea. You could have just given your opponent a 5 point advantage at the start of the game and called it at that.

pointy endAgain I had this pointed out to me rather mercilessly at Ibuywargames on bank holiday Monday when Andy Wall and I played each other on the bottom table on the last game of the day. As Andy said “so playing for pride then”. We both had invested 7 points in a Heavy Laser Cannon. Only thing is mine was on the front arc of a PS 5 Firespray, his was on Dash Rendar. Come to think of it, with the title his had cost him 12 points with the Outrider title.

I think I fired maybe twice all game, where Dash obviously used his every turn to gradually remove one ship at a time. Once mine was pointing the wrong way there were 3-4 turns until it could maybe get a shot again. Meanwhile Dash just cruised around taking target locks and letting Expertise do it’s thing.

Lesson learned. My 7 points was wasted. His 12 points were well invested.

All day my HLC only fired a few times, that’s 7 points only firing a few times. It needed to be doing more than that, the problem is it can be very hard to keep what you want to shoot in range 2-3 in arc of you…

Picking the right upgrades is so important, and sometimes what looks great on paper simply doesn’t confer to the table top.

But you can’t complain about mis-spending points because you spent those points, you wrote the list (unless you’re a netlister, at which point this is clearly someone else’s fault).

Just Be Betterer

Sometimes you just make silly mistakes that cost you. Second guessing, over-thinking, under-thinking. Misreading your opponent. Placing a left when you should go right.

I remember playing a game at Yavin 2016 when I had my opponent bang to rights. I had gone 3-0 on day one, then my day turned suddenly bad. I was flying 5 A-Wings with adaptability and crack, he had imperial aces. The Inquistor was left against 3 A’s. All I needed to do was a hard 1 right and I had him blocked and tokenless with 2 A’s ready to finish the job, I knew it.

I flipped the dial, it was a hard 1 left. Fatigue and over enthusiasm had cost me. Sure enough when he revealed his move I had read it perfectly. The inquisitor got out of dodge and was able to pick off my remaining ships one at a time. That was a hard lesson, but still one of the highlights of all the games I have ever played! I went on tilt for the rest of my day, luck and judgement both deserted me and I bombed out of the event brutally disappointed.

Lando left

Practice, experience and confidence are built over time. I know that is not a mistake I would make now.

I couldn’t blame the dice, I couldn’t blame the lists, I had to blame my own mistake.

So what’cha gonna do ’bout it?

That’s a lot of reflection. This is the 12th post I’ve written with the Firespray at the core. The three days last weekend have helped me to assess and evolve the list. This has been the whole point of this journey.

DarthvaderGen-black-logo

Looking at the list I have been most keen on.

Ewok 1: Concord Dawn Protector, Mindlink, Autothrusters 27pts

Ewok 2: Concord Dawn Protector, Mindlink, Autothrusters 27pts

Big Ewok: Heavy Laser Cannon, Dengar, Slave One, Long Range Scanners 48pts

100 points.

But I learned that the HLC, as scary as it is isn’t that useful. So that can go. Which free’s up 7 points. to upgrade Ewok 1 to Wookie 1 I need 5 points, so a Concord Dawn Ace becomes Fenn Rau. He was so much fun to use in the games where I used him with fearlessness, and I’ve seen how devastating he can be with mindlink, so that’s a natural progression.

So I now have 2 points left over. I’ve said several times that certain ships when tokenless become dead real fast. So if there was a mechanic I could fit in that would let me take tokens away from targets and fit in with my general Mandalorianess… oh wait, there is, Old Terroch, he’s definitely a Wookie not an Ewok, so I sub him in. That puts me 1 points over…

The only option is Dengar has to go, which drops me down to 98 points. The Firespray might need to take a target lock because I don’t have in built re-rolls, so long range scanners are out.

slave1_geonosis

Next problem is pushing damage through with the Spray. I don’t have 4 dice at range 2 and 3 anymore. I can already do things to my dice, but what can I do to yours… oh, hi there 4-LOM. He worked brilliantly on my homing missile Boba build, so could be just as effective at focus denial here.

Which leaves me on 99 points. As a rule I don’t think it’s worth having an initiative bid if you’re not going for at least a 2 points. With Terroch in the list I don’t mind having to go first, it’s not like I’m running Whisper or Soontir. Fenn can front up to things if he has to, and if you’re happy to let me shoot you first with 5 dice at range one…

fenn piloting

The other upgrade I have found surprisingly good on a Firespray is the Burnout Slam on Emon. He uses it to drop bombs in unexpected places. Here it can be used to push a turn fast with a hard 2 or 3 followed by a second hard 2 or 3. A way to get back in the fight and get the intimidating presence of the Spray where it’s needed most.

fireworks

With the first store champ coming in a couple of weeks I think I have the list I’ve been working towards. It looks familiar, it reeks of the “meta” but the way I got here is the important thing.

I’ve always known how good the Fangs are, I’ve seen them at dozens of tournaments.  I’ve got to this list over time, the journey is all important. Everything has a reason and purpose, understanding those will hopefully make me a better pilot with this list.

Mind of the Concords (100)

Fenn Rau

  • Concord Dawn Protector
  • Attanni Mindlink
  • Autothrusters

Old Terroch

  • Concord Dawn Protector
  • Attanni Mindlink
  • Autothrusters

Mandalorian Mercenary

  • Attanni Mindlink
  • 4-Lom
  • Burnout Slam

So far I have played one game with this list. It was the casual game I played last weekend. I flew it against Quadunkers (as coined by Tom Duncan) which is a solid list that Mike Manners has done very well with lately. My list did what I wanted it to do, it won.

There have been a couple of really good blogs recently along a similar vein to this one. Fellow Zombie Squadron member, Ian Courtney put up his really well researched X-Wing Theory: To Net List or Not To Netlist and Joel North of the 186th provided a really insightful look into what makes the Meta with What’s the Meta With You. And if you want to read the “classic”  from waaaay back in 2014 then Assembling Your Squadron is definitely worth a look.

THE FIRESPRAYS WILL RETURN

 

 

 

Firespray 31: We May Experience Some Turbulence and then Explode

The rapidly approaching European Champs are going to be held over 3 days. 3 DAYS! That’s potentially a lot of gaming, so practice and stamina are going to matter. Conveniently this weekend has produced three tournaments. Gotta love a bank holiday.

It’s a Trilogy! The question is, will it be something good like The Lord of the Rings, or sodding awful like the Hobbit? (any other trilogies worth mentioning? Nope, I can’t think of any either) Hopefully I won’t be left clawing my eyes out in frustration like certain cinematic exploits have done.

Not looking at either of these fine series as being huge disappointments in my life….

Three tournaments and a chance to test my Space Wolves against a few things. Theme wise I prefer the Twin Sprays, they are just cooler. However, I have totally fallen for the Mandalorian Merc with his Protectors. I’m sure with time I’ll get over the dirty feeling of using Mindlink.

tokens

Thank you world for accessories that make managing your stuff at events easier!

There is no two ways about it, the list with the Fangs is better than the twin sprays, or maybe I just fly it better. It has more damage output, durability and action economy. So far I have played 12 games with it and lost 2. It’s not unbeatable (clearly) but it is solid and it works for me. It has had other people look at it and go “that looks fun” on a fairly regular basis since I started flying it, which I can only take as a positive sign.

Two MandaloriansThe objective of this blog journey was to have fun and enjoy games with a Firespray involved. If I can maybe win a match or two in the process then so much the better. It feels good to have found more than one list built around Firesprays that I totally love flying and I think have potential to be genuinely competitive.

Sabine Wren PS5

-BUT-

In a few short weeks I’ll need to know which variation of Firespray I’ll be taking to the European Championships in Birmingham. Store Champs season is coming and the whole game gets a little more intense for a couple of months.

timon pumba

attanni-mindlink-194x300I’m clearly favouring the more “meta” mindlink and protectorate list (for an excellent and eloquent look at the subject of “The Meta” may I recommend reading this by Joel North of the 186th) because it is more consistent and reliable. My main issue it that there is a distinct lack of Mandalorian in the mindlink picture.

-A New Firestorm-

And I’m off to Firestorm Cards in Basingstoke, first time I came here I was baffled, surely there couldn’t be a shop hiding here? But there is! With ample free parking, a burger van down the road (for a proper gamers brunch) and fairly good turn out to regular  monthly tournaments Jimmy has a nice little set up.

I’ve been coming to events here since the early days of my tournament going career but this is my first visit since I started writing this blog.

I’m going to skip straight to my third and final game of the day; pretty much the most bizarre game I have ever played in.

I went into the game 1-1, and for the first time got to play Ollie Pocknell, fellow blogger, maintainer of the tournament calendar and all round good bloke.

Today Ollie flew 5 A-Wings with trick and crack, a list that I obviously have to love. When we set up we commented that the game should be an interesting one because the lists looked very evenly matched on paper. However, there is no measure of how strongly I would like to make this point:

DICE GAME

We both got our approaches pretty spot on, neither of us getting the upper hand or any clear tactical advantage. Then dice happened. No exaggerations or hyperbole follow.

In the second turn of shooting I open fire with my HLC firespray, a 4 dice attack from one fang and a 3 dice attack from the other on an A-wing. I hit a total of 9 times. With his one focus token Ollie loses a total of two shields.

Ollie then returns fire. In fairness five of his ships had a shot on the firespray, and clearly there was some good flying to get to that position. Using two A-Wings at range 1 (with one focus token between them), 1 at range two (with no tokens) and 3 crack shots he drops the Firespray from 8 health to none.

Then in the same turn using one A-wing at range one and one at range two he opens fire on one of the protectorates, neither of his ships have any tokens and this happens… without spending a crackshot.

the first protectorate

Well that just wasn’t right… his naked 5 red dice vs my six green dice WITH A FOCUS caused a whopping 8 points of damage.

Which leads us onto the next turn, which was equally remarkable… My one remaining ship now faces five A-Wings.

  • One has one hull and no shields.
  • Two have no shields but two health.
  • One has one shield.
  • One is on full health.

There are two crackshots left. The task ahead looks insurmountable for the lone protectorate. Then to make it worse Ollie lands probably the most perfect kill box I have ever seen.

Ollies Killbox

  • Red and Orange dotted ships have a range one shot with the Concord Dawn title kicking in.
  • The Yellow dotted ship has a free shot out of my arc so no title.
  • The blue and the green both have shots at range 2.

The Fang shoots blue, blue is on one health and getting rid of him is a key objective for the round. Of course I only roll one hit and the A-Wing dances out of the way.

What happens next is a sequence of dice rolling so hot neither of us will ever forget it. The A-Wings unleash hell on the Protectorate: Even with the two crackshots at their disposal the A-wing fail to even scratch the Mandalorian’s paint work, and not for lack of trying.

The next turn:

escaping the kill box

The Mandalorian gets out of Dogde, a 4K and a 4 dice shot on the nearly dead blue. Again, one hit on 4 dice, easily deflected.

Another turn goes by, 4 dice attack for me, one hit, in return the Mandalorian finally took some damage. Fighting on into the next turn another 4 dice attack results in one hit and 3 focuses, clearly not spending the focus here because it’s necessary for defense. Only to blank out totally on my greens and get taken of the board.

Some people say you can’t blame your dice, but in this game there was nothing that could be said except “the dice did it”. Probability goes out of the window when you see 12 hits on 12 dice, 4 of which are crits. No planning can make that happen, or compensate for it.

We both kind of stood back and scratched out heads trying to figure out:

a) what the hell either of us could have done different in the game?

b) what the hell happened to the dice?

c) when we could get a rematch that might not be quite so ridiculous?

zeb and ezra

I got a bye for the fourth and final round, so headed home to get this bit written up while it was fresh in the brain. Happily I did get a shiny new Tactician card because there were enough to go around.

-The Dice Saloon Strikes Back-

Ah well, it’s a new Concord Dawn and a new day. It’s off to the Dice Saloon in Brighton for a Hangar Bay event. As frustrating as it was getting my Firespray gunned down yesterday the turn where Concord Dawn Protector title kicked in against five A-wings did totally make up for it. The range one trigger was so good, it made me really want to give Fearlessness a run out. It’s so very, well, Mandalorian…

Mandalor’s Fearless Sons (96)

fearlessnessBoba Fett

  • Fearlessness
  • Autoblaster Cannon
  • K-4 Security Droid
  • Glitterstim
  • Extra Munitions
  • Homing Missiles
  • Thermal Detonator
  • Engine Upgrade
  • Slave 1
  • (9 upgrade cards!)

Fenn Rau

  • Fearlessness
  • Concord Dawn Protector
  • Autothrusters

big boba

Define “too many” upgrades?

To take this list I’ve had to drop the Slave One title and long range scanner from the Mandorian Merc in the other list as duplicate unique cards aren’t allowed.

The rules of the day say that both lists have to be used at least once in the four rounds, and I had made up my mind at the start of the day to us the Fearlessness list for the majority of games because it’s the new thing to try out.

Game one against Dale, and the list starts well. Then goes downhill from there. Defenders continue to be the bane of nearly everything’s existence, but at least Dale has the decency to run them with cannons. This two ship build suffers from the same thing that every two ship build gets to suffer from, the inability to spread damage about and limited firing options.

I lose, it’s tight but Dale getting an unintended block and then my dubious decision to place a Thermal detonator cost me rather dearly and he went on to win.

Quick break for one of the Dice Saloons epically tasty pepperoni and mozzarella panninis.

Game two I got the mindlink list out against Greg, lots of hot dice on both sides early on swung in my favour when Corran found himself beached on a rock in view of two ships. Greg conceeded when Biggs dropped the following turn, the way the dice had gone I couldn’t blame him for the decision. Ahsoka taking on a full health firespray and protectorate, and one on half health probably only had once conclusion.

In game three I played Pete, we met the last time I was here and I got that one right, this time I got it wrong, and after Boba got the “don’t crash” crit and Fenn ended up at PS0 there was only one way the game was likely to end. Fenn would have to solo Rey and 3 Z-95s on his own… at PS0…

boba vs rey

If ever there is a time NOT to pull stunned pilot on Boba…

He took two Zs down and jousted Rey 4 times before the 5th attempt took him out. If ever a game was an advert for the strength of Concord Dawn Protector as a title this was it. But with Rey rolling reliable dice and me having to use my focus tokens for defence constantly I just couldn’t put the damage through that Mr Rau has the potential to do.

My final game of the day was against Andrew, who wielded the ultimate anti-Protectorate ship. VI RAC, Hotshot co-pilot, Vader, gunner, Engine upgrade. Boba makes a good fist of it, but with Fenn essentially being a non starter this game was a “hard counter” foregone conclusion. The second the Protectorate got within range 3 of the decimator he was dead. Sure enough double damage from Vader, followed by PS0 and I might as well not have put him on the board to blank out when Ryad put four dice into his back at range one.

The Fearlessness list is so much fun, but looking at the scores for the day one thing should be made pretty clear:

  • Game 1 used fearlessness, lost 60-100
  • Game 2 used mindlink, won 100-0
  • Game 3 used fearlessness, lost 25-100
  • Game 4 used fearlessness, lost 67-100

The old issues of action economy reared their heads, both Fenn and Boba struggled to land exactly where I needed them, or if they were in the right place desperately needed a focus when they didn’t have one. The results show that there is clearly potential there, and I think it could work.

In a perfect storm this list could delete anything, but make a mistake and your opponent will find it relatively easy to punish you heavily for it. I’ll definitely be flying it again, but unfortunately it won’t graduate to store champs level.

Fenn Rau

-The Return of the Ibuy-

And for the and final third installment it is back to ibuywargames in Woking, where I came 5th of 24 last time out. Back to Mindlink, it’s the strongest option I have that still sits with my “but it’s not quite the meta” mentality, because everyone is from the same planet I’m ok with it.

Ian has been running Bank holiday x-wing tournaments since just after Christmas last year, and they get a good turn out of regulars, with new faces coming in all the time.

I won’t go into the details of the day, suffice to say it was a bit of a poor showing from my boys. Some of it dicey, some of it bad match ups, some of it making mistakes due to second guessing myself, then third guessing, then fourth guessing, then back to first guessing only to realise that the third guess was the one I should have gone for.

I went 1-3 for the day and some issues with the list became apparent.

  • The HLC is great for two turns, then it becomes a 7 point waste of space.
  • PS5 all round is awesome, but unfortunately PS 7 and 9 have a good chance of ruining you before you even get to shoot.
  • Ventress and Latts are still a bitch to fly against.
  • Expertise on Dash with a target locked HLC is so reliable it hurts.
  • Trading a firespray for Quickdraw is a totally fair trade.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 is freaking awesome.

Asajj-Ventress- (1)

A new list has been written, it had a trial fly out, but more on that next time.

A weekend of hanging out with old friends and making new ones can’t have a value on it. Driving over 200 miles in 3 days to play 12 games with little space ships probably seems insanity to some but i’m not worried if they don’t get it. It’s been said many times before, recently by Mr Pocknell, that we buy this game cause we love Star Wars, we stay in the game because the people in the community are awesome.

The good news is there is no day 4 for you guys to endure. We all know there are only 3 Indiana Jones movies. The mere thought of a 4th one is an aberration, I suspect another tournament in a row would leave my head feeling fragile, like a Crystal Skull.

Sharknado-4-Title

Ok, one more might not ALWAYS be bad…

If you’re interested in getting into tournament play I would recommend the excellent 186th Tournaments Database as a way to find out what is going on in your local area.

THE FIRESPRAYS WILL RETURN