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.
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.
The 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.
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.
I’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:
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.
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.
- 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:
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?
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…
- Autoblaster Cannon
- K-4 Security Droid
- Extra Munitions
- Homing Missiles
- Thermal Detonator
- Engine Upgrade
- Slave 1
- (9 upgrade cards!)
- Concord Dawn Protector
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…
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.
-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.
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.
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.