HST3: Aces High

After last weeks marathon at Warboar in Bromley this weekend I’m trying something a bit different. Not totally different, just a bit different. The boldest list I saw last weekend was Paul Braggin’s double T65 list, flying it because he loves the ships, because it’s cool, because those are the best reasons to fly a list. Off the top of my head the list looks something like this:

Luke SkywalkerWedge Antillies
Supernatural ReflexesLone Wolf
R2-D2R2
Proton TorpsProton Torps
AfterburnerAfterburner

I know that Bartosz Wojcicki, Italian Open Champion, has been running something very similar and to somewhat terrifying effect in the upper echelons of the current Vassal league, so I thought: Why not have a go at something similar with the T70s?The 70s have a lot more tricks up their sleeve than the T65 when it comes to movement. It’s why I fundamentally love a T70 but don’t really have much time for its older relative. Positioning is what I enjoy most about this game, and baring the Star Viper I can’t think of another ship in the game that is as much fun to fly.

So with that in mind I set out to write a duel aces T70 list. The first question was an easy one to answer, out of Poe, Ello and Nien who get’s dropped? Ello. No second guessing, no need to phone a friend that is my final answer. Nien and Poe are the stars of the three variant list I have been running so they get the nod as the starting ships in the list.

We’re going to start with Poe cause he’s Poe. The core of the ship is still the same: Heroic, S-Foils and an R4 astromech. I can’t think of anything wrong with that. He’s 71 points of really good. So what can I add to make him better?

  • With two actions a turn Poe is the ideal candidate for Proton Torps. The ability to lock and focus any given turn and fire a fully modded torp at someone is too good to turn down, so Poe is getting those, that’s up to 83 points.
  • The Tech slot is being filled by Primed Thrusters. I had looked at Pattern Analyser but because Poe often runs stressed his chances of actually doing a red move are somewhat slim. Primed Thrusters, though gives him that turn of being unpredictable when your opponent is looking for a block on the “obvious hard 2”. It also means as an endgame ship he should be fairly untouchable. Up to 93 points.
  • Finally a shield Upgrade. Poe is a monster of an end game ship, so helping him get there is ideal. A stealth device is ok at this, but it vanishes fast and adding more green dice makes Heroic worse, so I’m being sensible and taking shield upgrade. Means he can take a Proton Torp himself without having that crit. That’s 99 points expensive.

Which brings us onto the real star of the show, Nien. He’s a beast of a ship. He doesn’t mind moving first because it means he knows where his anchors are for those red moves to trigger his cascade of abilities, to what I’ve done here is build on the basics that have served me so well for the last few weeks. Pattern Analyser and Black one give him toys, get behind people fast and shoot them without stress. He’s good at it, but can I make him better? Yes.

No doubt you have all seen the plethora of Ion Cannon Y-Wings that are filling hyperspace with one forwards. It’s an annoying list, people flying it know it’s an annoying list. Seeing two people flying Y-Wing lists against each other is actually funny. Ion Control with double tap guns is a pain. If only there was an upgrade that could make it less annoying. And if by magic:

Static Discharge Vanes. An Ion Cannon Turret is 4 points, the thing that gets rid of ion in the right circumstance is 8 points. Normally it’s not worth it: but Nien’s ability, much like how he synergies with Pattern Analyser could make it worth more than you think.


If he has an enemy ship at range one in arc then he can pass them an ion token, and then when he takes a stress it just vanishes. Useful for those pesky Y-Wings, they end up Ioning themselves.

However it doesn’t work with Black One. The interactions are quite complicated because of the way the replacement rules work. In order to remove the weapons disabled from Black One he has to gain an Ion token, however the static discharge trigger as a replacement so that means he would never receive the ion which means that the weapons disabled stays put.


BUT he can still hand that Ion off to a ship at range one, then take a stress for it (and using his ability clear the stress) for which he keeps the Weapons disabled. This is something very circumstantially useful. Say you end up behind Fenn Rau and you have the choice of maybe having a shot on him and taking an ion token for it OR you can keep the Weapons disabled but guarantee that he gets Ioned then that seems a very good trade. It’s a one use only thing, but the ability to lock down a high value target,= like Fenn, Poe or Vader for even a turn can be the difference between a win or loss. So we’re putting that on Nien that gets him to 71 points.

The next thing with Mr Numb is that he really wants as much freedom of movement as possible, and to do that he has access to a droid who is most helpful. BB-8. Sure BB-8 is only two uses, and I think it is terrible on Poe (because it doesn’t work when you’re stressed unless you have primed thrusters, and Poe kind of wants to run stressed) but a well flown Nien shouldn’t ever be stressed, it also makes him virtually unblockable. At 7 points BB-8 is definitely not cheap, but I think it can pay for itself here, so 78 points it is.

And finally Proton Torps, because Nien can potentially lock focus in a turn thanks to Pattern Analyser 8and if he uses and I6 ship moving after him as his anchor there is a good chance that the ship will move out of range one and be looking at that lock and focus with a sense of dread. That makes him 90 points. Bringing the entire list to a wholesome 189 points. Pretty sure I should get the choice of moving first or second there.

Poe DameronNien Numb
HeroicHeroic
S-FoilsS-Foils
Proton TorpedoesProton Torpedoes
Primed ThrustersPattern Analyser
R4BB-8
Shield UpgradeStatic Discharge Vanes
Black One

I’m not going to say this is a tournament winning list, hell, it may not even be a game winning list. But it is a fun having list.

Threats: 5+ ship builds, an abundance of Ion Cannons. Unforgiving to mistakes.

Strengths: Fun, action economy, mobility.

Playstyle: Cautious approach, flank, dodge, disengage, patience!

This weekend affords a good opportunity to test it out. 6 rounds of Hyperspace at the Game Shop Aldershot, with the potential of a top 8 cut, the aim is 4-2, which may be overly ambitious, but I’m going to give it my best shot! Lot’s of top players from the South East have made the trip so I’m not expecting much, but more dice would be nice.

My first match up was one I really didn’t want to see. 5 Y-Wings flown by Graham Gibbon of Zombie Squadron. With some degree of patience I was able to use the mobility of the T70s and the rocks to draw the Y-Wings out of formation, letting Nein punch a ton of damage into one. Poe got Ioned a couple of times, it’s almost inevitable that that happens in this match up, but fortunately Graham wasn’t able to capitalise on it as his unmodded dice didn’t punch through. One Y-Wing taking leave of the board helped a lot and once we were in a two T70s with three Proton Torps left, vs 2 Y-Wings Graham conceded the match. 200-50 win to start against one of the bogey lists of the meta. It can only get easier right?

Well, hello Inferno squadron, flown by current UK open Champ Martyn Chivers. Not getting any easier then… I was able to split the swarm and put a fully modded proton torp into a tokens less Howl who was not at range one of Iden. Howl kindly exploded robbing Martyn of those all important re-rolls. A series of blocks in the corner made for a tense engagement, broken by a somewhat tired Martyn accidentally flying a ship off the board. To be fair he got back from a couple of weeks in Australia the day before and it was basically midnight to him. That made all the difference and I got the 152-140 win.

On to game three and the realisation that there are no easy games for this list. Nic Harris of Firestorm Squadron with Vennie, Bastian and Lulo. I was able to isolate L’ulo and get rid of that pesky blighter with a kill shot from Poe. It ended up Nien against the world, well Bastian and the Star Fortress, fortunately Vennie had damaged weapons. At the end of the game Nic commited hard to a block on Nien. I had a Loose Stabilizer and 2 health on the T70, so it was a fair shout. Instead I did the Talon, got out of Bastions arc, who was lined up for the kill shot, and put myself at range 2 of Vennie’s side arc (so a 1 dice attack) I got the lock focus and was able to drop Nic’s T70, the one dice from Vennie didn’t get me and I edged the win 200-144. Had Nic done a one bank with Vennie, then he would have a) not flown off the board next turn, and b) had 2 dice into Mr Numb, which would have killed him.

So at this point I am 3-0 with a list I was not expecting to do very with… I was having a lot of fun but take it from me, this is a stressful list to fly. A slice of luck here, a non optimal decision from an opponent there…. but loving every minute of this.

Game 4 vs Vid Cleal with Dutch, Wedge, Garven and a Leia U-Wing. Despite some early, and glorious, shenanigans from Nien Wedge just proved too much of a handful. I can usually factor in what each ship is doing, but when the Princess is giving a load of extra options it’s so hard to stay out of all those arcs. Vid got the first engage wrong, but the second and third he nailed, which meant T70s took damage, and I don’t have the health to handle that. Lots of big guns were a problem and when I thought I’d just dodged out of arc Wedge opened up and killed Poe at the crucial time. If Poe lives there then it’s probably game the other way, but Leia is SO good with ships like these. 73-200 loss and a dent in my 4-2 ambitions… still 2 more rounds.

So after that it’s on to Dan Bouckley with Han and Luke, and I’m moving first. My game plan is simple, Poe hunts Luke and Nien hunts Han. What I am not expecting is Luke to die to two proton torps from Poe, 2 double damaged off the same torp is harsh, been there been annoyed about it. Then Han to take three crits from a torp from Nien at once seemed a little savage. Dan conceded at that point, with Weapons Failure, Disabled Power Regulator and most importantly a Structural Damage to contend with there was no way the Falcon, even moving second, was going to take on two health T70s. 200-0 win, and I got the 4! Dice secured, job done, but boy did those dice burn hot.

So it comes to round 6 and I am somehow in with a shot at the cut with my two T70s. And I get more Y-Wings. This time the Dirty Ys flown by Phill Pond. Phill plays it slowly and keeps his formation, I run around him like a mad man, chipping away at one then killing it. Disengage, Re-engage. Nien does his job and I’m left with Poe vs 2. Which become Poe Vs 1 and as time is running out half of Poe has to put half one on the Y-wing. Phil got the Ion but wasn’t in a position to get the primary firing as well, but 4 dice from Poe with a focus was enough to finish off the Y. It was an incredibly tense game, running very nearly to time, a 200-144 win was enough though and I had gone way past my expectations and gone 5-1! Not only that but when the rankings for swiss came up I was 3rd of the 52 players!

Into the cut and paired against Dom Flannigan of Firestorm Squadron, running Vennie, Bastian and L’Ulo. I gave it my best shot, but it wasn’t quite enough to beat the list again. I left Dom’s three ships with 5 hull between them but in the end it proved too much of a mountain to climb and Dom went on to a deserving top 4 spot: a player who has worked his backside off over the last couple of years and totally deserves to be playing at the top end of tournaments.

The event (and invite to Worlds) was won by my good friend Oli Pocknell with Fenn and three Fangs, he took on Dan Bouckley in the final and Fenn did what Fenn needed to do.

So that was my adventure with the T70s, I don’t know if I’ll do it again. It was so difficult, so much fun, and so beyond my expectations. If you want a LOT of interesting games though, I can highly recommend giving this list a whirl. I’ve got the bug for hard mode X-Wing though, so expect some crazy lists to come up in the next few weeks. 2 Cuts in 2 weeks is a nice feeling, hard work pays off (with a smidgen of luck dropped in for good measure).

Next Time: TO BRIGHTON!

If you’re looking for X-Wing events to attend then head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar.

6 comments

  1. Definitely had that feeling with Ello yesterday, but don’t feel there’s many useful replacement options in the Resistance reserves – didn’t think to pile all the points in to the other 2! Though Nien definitely felt like he could easily justify having a few more spent on him

    Liked by 1 person

  2. […] apparently taken this idea to heart and taken two silly yet effective lists to Hyperspace Events at Aldershot and Brighton. I’m pleased my thoughts hit home with someone, and a fellow TNX member spoke to […]

    Like

  3. Any thoughts on revisiting this, now that FFG has changed their rulings around Static Discharge Vanes and paying costs? Nien Nunb seems even nastier now.

    Like

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