It’s a funny old game this business of little space ships. The London Regional hosted by Warboar Games in Bromley is what I would consider my home regional. The UKs biggest this year with 2 flights over one weekend and then a top 32 cut made up of the best scoring pilots on both days happening next Sunday.
Having had a relatively successful weekend with the Star Vipers last weekend I was really looking forward to flying on the Saturday. I knew I couldn’t make the cut because I’ll be in Copenhagen for the Open so it was a chance to take the vipers and hopefully get some really good practice in. Sometimes things just don’t gel well for you on the day and it all goes wrong.
I went 2-4 for the day, and was frankly disappointed. I don’t think salty is the right phrase. I flew against some really good opponents, flying some really strong lists and a combination of them flying well, me making silly mistakes here and there, match ups being slightly off, and the dice spikes hitting at the wrong time made the whole day really frustrating.
I can’t blame any one thing, but by the end of the day I felt like I had fallen out of love with the Vipers. I don’t think I’ve ever lost 3 games 100-0 in a tournament before, and that hurt. It was just a bad day. I got so frustrated I forgot to even Instagram…
So instead of talking about that I’m going to talk about the positives.
Firstly the focus of the Event. This is by far and away the most important thing. For a couple of years now Warboar have been supporting a local charity called The Chartwell Cancer Trust which looks after kids with Cancer and Leukemia. It’s a really good cause helping children and their families who are going through unimaginably tough times.
Owner of Warboar, Jason Grimwood has taken this cause to his heart, when he talks about it his emotional attachment if obvious, and the X-Wing community has played a huge part in raising money for the last few years to support it. This year was no different and the 150 odd gamers for the weekend bought raffle tickets to raise a staggering £2760 from this years event. That is something that he and his staff, and we as a community should be rightfully proud of.
Despite how my day flying was I had a fantastic time, the atmosphere was it’s usual brilliant self, and this year Warboar drew in people from all over the place, a far bigger pull than it had from previous years. My friend Robert, who so generously hosted Ben Lee, Oli Pocknell and myself when we went to Trondheim for their regional in December, came over for it, and it was great to spend some time with him. Folks like Lewis Witham and Ed Holmes making the trip down for the Saturday, I love those guys even if their podcast is bonkers… Fellow Team Wales members from the ETC 2017 Ryan Davies and Pier Horry turned up to. And of course catching up with a whole bunch of guys from the more local crowd was great to.
I got to watch some superb players play some engrossing games, and really enjoyed the community that is X-Wing. That in itself was worth the ticket entry. Top of Swiss day one was fellow 186th member Paul, his second year achieving this in a row. (even if he was flying Nymanda…)
I do want to give special mention to the game between Cormac Higgins (Twin Shadows) and Andrew Pattison (Spanish Inspired Bomb Nonsense) cause watching their match up was hilarious. The banter between two great pilots was superb and their utterly laid back attitude (everyone else in the room is leaning over tables and focusing really hard on their next move while these two were lounging around on chairs not really looking at the board from sensible angles) made their match a true spectacle. Even if it did give another reminder to just how ridiculous Sabine Wren crew is, especially when combined with Rattled from Crimson Leader.
On the Sunday I had offered to help run the event alongside Jason, I had nothing else to do and was going to be around anyway so got my first taste of being a Judge. Which largely involved answer 4 questions all day and watching some amazing flying. There was an invasion on the Sunday by a bunch of people calling themselves the Weekend Warlords, and a finer bunch you couldn’t hope to meet. These guys are probably the best X-Wing team in the country right now, having won the UK Team Champs, Nerf Herder, and counting the reigning European Champion among their number, and this was their first en masse visit to 186th Territory. It was so good to see them make the trip down.
I hung around the top tables a fair bit, watching Rasta Maice (European champ and painter extraordinaire flying Dash/Poe) for a couple of games, his game against 186th member James Dowdall (Rey/Miranda) was recorded for all to see and was a huge game in shaping the tournament.
I thoroughly enjoyed watching the games of James Findlayson (Nora/Fenn/Lowhhrick), Alex Birch(Lothar Rebel/Fenn/Zeb), Paul Smith (Kylo Ren/Soontir/Wampa) and Simeon Dellapina (Twin IGs) too, they just always seemed to be on the tables nearest where it was convenient for me to be standing, providing some great entertainment and some exceptional play. Paul and James played an unbelievably close game, which you can see here. Warboars local video channel is here and there are some games definitely worth watching on it.
At the end of the day Paul Smith was on 5-0 and got paired with James Dowdall who was 4-1. The top Warlord vs the top 186th of the day. Some local pride on the line, who ever won this one would go on to be king of Swiss.
Having watched Paul do some ridiculously good flying during the day, and knowing that this was James’s first tournament since he turned up and won the Store Champs here a few months back (after not flying for about 4 months before that) I didn’t fancy the 186th’s chances of coming out on top… if you want to see the game it is definitely worth watching. (link to follow later)
During the Final I started to get messages from a fairly wide variety of sources about something happening in Indianapolis. The Gold Squadron Podcast was streaming a top 8 match between Anthony Marchland (4 Wookiees) and Ben Knotts (3 STAR VIPERS). And Ben Won! You can see the game here, 3 hours 17 minutes in! (the Gold Squadron Guys haven’t had a chance to edit it down yet) What’s more is that Ben would go onto make the top 4! And that can be seen 4 hours 47 minutes in. Maybe, just maybe I could fall in love with the Star Vipers again after the pains of Saturday.
However the coolest thing about Ben’s performance for me was waking up to this message on Monday morning:
So freaking proud of his achievement, glad that it was my list that helped him do it, and so glad to be part of a community that spans the world but is so tight knit and friendly.
If Ben’s flying over in Indianapolis made him a bit of a hero, then him taking time to message me about it on Facebook makes him a total hero!
All of which has left me in a bit of a quandary about what to fly when I go to the Copenhagen Open next weekend. I want to fly the Star Vipers, I do love them really, even if they hurt me and let me down on Saturday (or did I let them down?) Talking to Lewis and Rasta this weekend has made me think if I’m travelling all that way maybe I should fly something that isn’t quite as likely to bite me in the arse… The words of Alex Birt keep coming back to haunt me “What if you actually fly something good?”
And finally… Solo… First feeling is I’m somewhat excited. The Falcon is there after all…
Next Time: The 186th Head to Denmark
If you’re after some competitive X-Wing head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar.