It took a whole 48 hours for me and the Vipers to reconcile after last weeks debacle going into the Copenhagen Open. Those glorious Boba templates may be beyond me, but once all the salt washes away I can echo Mr Sinatra’s most famous lyrics, “I did it my way”.
And so it is that the Star Vipers find their way to Copenhagen to play some X-Wing, it’s a bit of a longer trip than my usual drive. Everyone I have spoken to this week and mentioned I’m going has said that it’s a fantastic place, some even describing it as the best city in the world, which has done nothing to hinder my excitement. And I have to say, they were all right, Copenhagen has rapidly become one of my favourite places in the world. Go visit.
A bunch of people are headed over from the UK fellow 186th members Jesper Hills, Mike Dennis and a bunch of other people I know. Plus there will be more people to meet! The X-Wing social whirlwind is a joy.
It’s been an interesting week of prep for the event. Lots of talk about Star Vipers on Facebook, apparently they’re a thing now. Including getting asked for some input into this article by Sam Page, which he wrote on Ben Knotts after he came top 4 with them at the Indianapolis Regional. Dee Yun of the Mynocks Squadron Podcast even updated his Star Viper Article to include the list!
I had a trip to Firestorm Cards in Basingstoke for some games. I learned some things, and felt the games with Dan, Nic and Dom of Firestorm Squadron taught me some good lessons.
During our game Nic and I carried on a conversation we’ve been having on and off for months and came to a fairly obvious but useful conclusion, success at tournaments is based on three things:
- Pairings: This is hugely list dependent, but even the strongest list is going to run into things that hurt them. Nymanda is a brutally efficient list, but it really doesn’t want to see RAClo and Vader/Quickdraw. If you get good pairings in a tournament then you’re on for a good start.
- Luck: It’s a dice game, and while I’m not a believer in blaming the dice, no one can deny that sometimes they can change a game dramatically. We all remember the spikes that have gone against us. When your opponent just rolls 4 hits and you blank out as game changing, and forget when we roll 3 natural evades… but those moments are game changing.
- Piloting: You got to be good with your list, you’ve got to play well. A good opponnent will capitalise on any mistake you make, so cutting out mistakes is imperative to do well.
You can’t control your pairings, that is entirely out of your hands, all you know is that as the tournament progresses if you win expect things to get harder.
Luck can be controlled a bit with how you fly and your list choice, but sometimes it just happens, the odds get defied and the ship with all the green dice, all the tokens and autothrusters goes pop.
Which means piloting is the only thing that you can work on, that you are in control of. I’d be shocked to hear anyone tell a story where they flew perfectly and lost. If you’re not making mistakes and your opponent is then 9/10 your opponent loses. This is where practice comes into play and after several weeks running these things I am feeling more and more confident in my ability to take things on. Sure it’s not a super powerful list so I have to rely more on my piloting than I can luck or match ups, so no matter how much I may moan after the event I’m going into this with my eyes open.
As Polonius advised his son, Laertes, in Hamlet: To thine own self be true. His son died, and he got stabbed through a curtain by a crazed Danish Prince… so…
I’m not going to go into details of very game I played. 12 Games is a lot for a weekend, even by my standards. So we’ll break it down into lists instead.
Section 1: Star Vipers.
I flew them in the main open, going 1-2 and failing to make the second phase, the two games I lost both had one clear dice roll that changed the game from winnable to unwinnable. Such is X-wing. 4 dice, lock and focus vs a 1 health 2 agility Quickdraw, 3 hits to kill him. 2 hits, re-roll, still only 2 hits. Another game, 3 hits at range two on a stressed one health Quickdraw, 3 natural evades. These things happen.
I know I flew well and the list held up convincingly until those moments, but those moments changed the games. Looking at those 3 criteria for doing well, I was stuffed by one. A high variance list like Vipers is going to do that sometimes, you just have to live with it.
Moving into Hangar bay I got to play two hugely enjoyable games with the Vipers, firstly against Eric, who’s defenders proved that they are a serious challenge even for the agile vipers, 4k and a barrel roll makes for some interesting movement options and surprisingly hard to get out of arc of. It’s the one ship I’ve flown against that I find myself wishing for more greens on the Viper dial!
The second game was against Klaas, who was running three Star Vipers with Push the Limit. My first ever mirror match, rarely have I wanted to win a game as much as this. It was mighty close but when my Xizor was one on one with his Guri the writing was on the wall, but what a joy to get to play the mirror match! A throughly entertaining game, if you want to have a lot of fun get a friend and play this mirror match.
So the Vipers went 2-3 overall, but things could have swung either way in a couple of them, not disappointed, not let down or frustrated, of course I hoped to do better with them, but have no regrets on taking them.
Section 2: Soontir, Ren and the 18 Point Bid.
I had this as my second list for Hangar bay, just cause it’s easy to carry and very fun to fly. When my opponent in the third round of Hangar bay put Blackout, Kylo and the 11 point bid on the table I had to trump him. He conceded about halfway through the game due to having to leave early but until that point it had been thoroughly entertaining.
Section 3: We’re going to take a minute here.
For a long time I have flown sub-optimal lists, things I love flying that aren’t necessarily top tier, or even anywhere near it. The Firesprays overachieved, Corran and Poe did a great job, and the Vipers have performed pretty well consider their weaknesses.
Over the last year I’ve had a lot of conversations with people about what I fly and why I fly it, and a fair few have gently challenged me to see if I can actually achieve anything in the game. The first was fellow 186th member Alex Birt, with the words that still ring in my ears “What if you actually fly something good?” back when I was flying Firesprays.
My house mate Alec said “Are you scared to fly something good in case you fail with it?” which was a challenging question, when you can’t hide behind dice or janky lists then it’s down to ability. If I can’t do well with a more powerful list then what does that say about my piloting ability?
Add in comments from Nic Harris, Lewis Witham and Rasta Maice in recent weeks, all saying I should try and I feel I owe it to myself, and people who believe in my ability, to try. What’s the worst that can happen? I don’t win? Well that’s not the end of the world, I’m used to that!
Last week at Warboar I had good chats with Lewis and Rasta both encouraging me to fly Dash and Poe, and I debated it hard. The 186th’s finest Irishman Cormac Higgins threw a good plan at me, fly the Vipers at the main event and see how it goes, then try Dash Poe at Hyperspace if it feels right.
Initially I discounted this and planned on taking the Vipers again (but after a fantastic and very filling Chinese in Copenhagen with Alex Krysta) I watched Rasta and Ash of the Weekend Warlords do a run down of Rasta’s list, and they tipped the indecisiveness in favour of taking Dash and Poe. At the end of the video I got a little choked up cause of what the guys said about me.
I want to prove them right.
For those who don’t know the list here it is:
|Poe Dameron||Dash Rendar|
|Primed Thrusters||Heavy Laser Cannon|
If you want a deeper insight into it then watch Rasta’s video. He explains it better than I can.
Copenhagen resident Christian Hyldager was kind enough to lend me the bits I needed to get the list functional and as I signed up for Hyperspace with Kris Mitchell he looked confused.
The games didn’t go exactly as planned, I lost to Ghost Fenn, I beat a Ghost Fenn, I lost to twin Firesprays (even with the worst green dice ever on Dash I couldn’t help but smile at seeing those things on the table) Beat control-bot IGs. I managed to misjudge a boost and so the next turn flew a nine health dash off the table having just killed Miranda…
I had a useful having a chat with Simon Green, the hero who runs the First Earth Twitch channel, who pointed out that I’m used to flying ships that stay in close proximity to each other to work together. Which means Dash Poe is a weird one for me because of the importance of Lone Wolf on Dash. That observation really helped me plan and play better. All the streamed games from the weekend can be found on First Earth.
I finished 3-3, which considering I had 4 hours sleep and had only flown the list a couple of times on vassal before, and had never flown Dash on the table ever I was kinda pleased with. (Except for the flying a 9 health dash of the table thing, that made me kinda pissed with myself.)
All in all for the weekend I went 6-6, and had a fantastic time.
Alex Watkins, Vince Kingston and the team of judges as ever did a phenomenal job. The Danish hosts were exceptional and the whole event has to be the best X-Wing tournament I have ever been to. I can’t wait until the UK open next month.
The Copenhagen Open itself was won by Mankit Liu flying the Ghost with Fenn, a list I suspect we will see a lot in the coming weeks. Jesper Hills of the 186th won Hyperspace with his IGs in a gripping encounter that is totally worth watching. The 186th was greeted by further good news of Paul Owen winning the London Regional at Warboar and Matt Button won a Qkit at Ibuywargames.
Away from flying: a couple of weeks ago I was asked by my good buddy Ben Cooper, who is an instagram lover (@starwarsxwing) to help judge a competition he was running for cool X-Wing photos. There were some most excellent entries but the panel settled on these three as the winners.
The panel was unanimous in the first choice, the modelling on @Miniature_dudes exploding Tie is absolutely beautiful, the time taken and old school hobby skills are amazing, superb and a thoroughly deserving winner.
Coming in second and using distinctly more modern techniques, but no less skillful, was @xwingtmgphotography’s entry of this Tie Interceptor zooming along a canyon. There is some serious eye candy on their page to check out.
In third place cause the judges loved the tongue in cheek nature of the photo was this entry from @mathiuskeeperoftheblade. The judging chat was filled with #DOGGO (largely from me spamming it) when asked for our favourite photo’s.
It’s great to see the creativity that the X-Wing community has and was an honour to be asked to be involved in judging. Congratulations to all the winners.
There’s no tournament for me next weekend, I’ve got an epic weekend of board-gaming with a bunch of mates so there is something slightly different planned for my next post. Hopefully it will be interesting.
Next Time: A Year in the Making
If you’re looking for tournaments head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar.