Once More With Theme-ing: Let’s be Bad Guys

“Are you paying attention, boy? The Jedi are dead, but there is another path…the dark side!”

The Inquisitor, Star Wars Rebels

So this little adventure has turned to a mini-series within a series, an homage to David Filoni cartoons, wouldn’t be complete without dipping into the villains of the piece. Seeing as how we did Rebels last week, this week we are doing the Imperials who doggedly hounded the crew of the Ghost for so long.

I remember when the Inquisitor first appeared in X-Wing, he let me drop Omega “Midnight” Leader and have a third double re-positioning ship to go with my Soontir and Carnor aces. Basically cause Omega Leader was so miserable to play against I didn’t want to inflict her on my opponents. Then Miranda appeared and killed interceptors with her slam bombing, so that got retired. A short while later the Firespray became part of my life and the rest is documented in the 140+ blog posts that came before this one….

My best memories of the Inquisitor are not of me flying him, firstly there was Ben Lee winning the European Championships with him in 2018, and the clutch moment in the cut against Adam Stainton where he landed the against the odds Hail Mary shot against Nym for the win. Secondly Oli Pocknell taking him with Vader and Whisper to the title of the X-Wing World Champion in 2019. He may not have ever won me anything, but he has shone in the hands of two of people who I am proud to call friends. It’s amazing how many wonderful memories are made by other people rolling dice and flying little plastic space ships.

But anyway, enough with the winsome nostalgia. Fortunately Mr Filoni’s cartoon gave us a good selection of evil force wielders that we can build an entire Inquisitorial list from, and my word, I am resisting making Monty Python references like you wouldn’t believe.

The TIE Advanced V-1 is the Imperial ship we have been given to play with from Rebels, other ships appear but none gets the significant air time that the V-1 gets, and you can field a list of force users (THEME SOLVED). Do not be fooled by the 4 health into thinking these things are squishy. With the force and the ability to take an evade the odds of these things being able to produce 3 evades on demand is strong. We can take the Grand Inquisitor, 5th Brother, 7th Sister and a generic Inquisitor and have plenty to of points to spend on some toys for them.

5th Brother is a ship I have seen a lot of lately, and he’s REALLY good. The particular combination documented below is not the result of me thinking things through, it is the work of much finer X-Wing minds than mine. Homing Missiles and Passive Sensors doesn’t seem an obnoxious combination until you combine it with 5ths inherent ability.

While you perform an attack, after the neutralise dice step, if the attack hit, you may spend two force to add one crit result.

One of the most unpleasant abilities in 2.0

With a homing missile giving your opponent the choice of either roll or just take a damage that decision gets much much harder with 5ths ability. You opt for the one damage and I get to hit you with a single hit, spend two force and put a crit in there too. Alternatively take the risk of a four dice shot with a target lock and 2 force to either modify the dice, or add a crit if it hits, so potentially 5 damage from my four dice.

This wouldn’t be so bad if Fifths initiative 4 standing meant that he could never get a lock due to moving before aces. But to compensate for this we have Passive Sensors, the “initiative and movement order doesn’t matter” upgrade. Fifth gets to move and trigger Passive Sensors creating a no fly zone for aces. Single-handedly this is a ship that can push Soontir, Fenn or any of the “top (but fragile) aces” out of a game. It is so very good and for a mere 50 points I can’t see how he isn’t an auto include. If I was regularly building Imperial lists then this ship is 100% first name on the team sheet.

As his ability requires using the force, and it’s dirt cheap, I have also given him hate. It means that if I do get shot at I can spend force on defence to deflect some of the damage and still have force in place to trigger his ability.

He’s the star of the list but if we’re looking at theme we better go to the Grand Inquisitor next, y’know, cause nominally he’s in charge of the other Inquisitors, being Grand and all. Again Passive Sensors comes into play, the list won’t be running with a bid. And he’s not an i6, is carrying munitions and can take Passive Sensors, so let’s add those to him too. As he will be the first to shoot he will be taking Mag-Pulse Warheads. They are incredibly useful at making shots of lower initiative ships better.

If this attack hits, the defender suffers 1 critical damage and gains 1 deplete and 1 jam token. Then cancel all hit and crit results.

Mag-Pulse Missiles

In the firing order of this list the crit is arguably the “best part” of this for the defender as its likely to be only a shield. The deplete is annoying, and makes the missile actually very defensive. The jam is key. Bearing in mind the defender is likely going to be the recipient of the homing missile quandary from 5th Brother, not having tokens is going to make that decision tougher . With a lock and 2 force the chance of landing all three hits from the Mag Pulse is over 80%. Dodging it is not as likely.

Our third ship is Seventh Sister. She’s good, but not as scary as 5th brother. Her ability of having “1.0 crackshot” from her primary attack every other turn means she has a threat, and once the Grand Inquisitor and 5th Brother have done their thing it means more damage coming your opponents way. No passives sensors here, if she takes a lock she’ll do so off her own bat, again taking hate though, for exactly the same reasons as 5th brother did.

Finally we come to the third most important ship in the list (sorry Sister, this guy matters a little more important in the grander scheme of things) we have a generic Inquisitor with Sense. He brings us up to 200 points exactly. The potential weakness of this list is that it can get out-initiatived all over the place. Sense overcomes that to some degree, allowing all ships the potential to act as blockers and allow the other ships in the list to point their guns in the right direction.

Which means the list looks like this:

Grand Inquisitor5th Brother7th SisterInquisitor
Passive SensorsPassive SensorsHateSense
Mag Pulse MissileHoming Missile

So that concludes the somewhat more in-depth than normal look at the list, got a bit into some details there, hope that’s ok. Of the four thematic lists I’ve taken so far in this event this one is comfortably the most competitive. I’m really excited to give it a whirl.

My opponent this week is fellow blogger Dylan Jones, we’ve never played before and he has been paired up due to the brackets being un-even. His list for this game is Lando and Dash, he has some great tricks for action economy and a couple of big guns. Dash with his four dice is definitely a threat, he is just plain scary. One on one, even two on 1 his ships can over power me, I have to use the list as a wolf pack and focus all my efforts of taking down a ship. You can read about Dylan’s thoughts on his list here his own blog about the game.

Lando CalrissianDash Rendar
Jyn ErsoPerceptive Co-Pilot
Nien NumbShield Upgrade
Millenium FalconExpert Handling

In tribute to the way my esteemed opponent lays out his blogs with detailed review on a turn by turn basis, and knowing that he will be doing the same for this game, I am going to mimic his approach. It’s not something I normally do, but as you can read his turn by turn thoughts I felt that it would allow a rare opportunity to look into what both players were thinking during a game and you can watch the whole game on the Firestorm Firecast with commentary from World Champion Oli Pocknell and the Firecast crew.

Turn 0. Dylan is at 198 and I am at 200. My list is entirely happy moving second and I’m hoping that Dylan gives me the initiative so that my i5 will be moving and shooting before his two i5s. There are two main reasons for this. The first is that if I am moving first it gives me 4 blockers, which is better than 3, and I’m not really looking at this match up as one I can necessarily arc dodge. The second is the Mag Pulse Warhead. The defensive buff that this provides with it’s deplete and jam is going to be very useful when it comes to mitigating the consistency of Dash’s big gun, but I need to shoot first for it to have any impact. Provided I can park my Grand Inquisitor somewhere where Dash is going to be in arc this tool is likely going to help protect my ships.

Dylan gives me the initative. Time for turn 0.

Oli recently did a video on turn 0 things, and if you watch the game you can hear his thoughts through out on some of the key issues that rock placement caused in this match up. As promised I’m going to go in depth on things here and turn 0 is probably always the turn worth paying the most attention to. I have bought the 3 largest Asteroids. Dylan has bought two debris and a cloud. His obstacle selection is intended to keep him shooting, he can land on any of those and Dash does’t care, and with Nien on the Falcon he can clear stress easily enough. I have the initiative so I have control over obstacle placement to some degree. Already I am thinking about how to disadvantage my opponent, OBSTACLES ARE A PART OF THE LIST, just like you need to think how you will use them, you need to work out how to use them against your opponent.

Turn 0 and the order the obstacles were placed

Dylan’s choice of obstacles for his list is excellent. They favour his ships, I need to place them in a way that provides him with the least benefit from them possible. With 6 hefty obstacles on offer there are 2 options: spread them wide or bunch them up. Against big ships like Dylan is using I want them spread out. his ships are designed to kite around the board, so the best way I can A) remove the advantage of his obstacles and B) hamper his list is to corner things. So I start with obstacle one in the bottom corner nearest him. Next he corners one of my rocks, hoping to get it out of the way. Then I corner another one of his on the same edge as the first. He corners another of mine. Already obstacles 1-4 have given me what I wanted, the “kiting space” for his two big ships has been significantly reduced and where he want’s those corners spacious and free flowing they are now cluttered with obstacles. My final obstacle goes on Dylan’s edge to provide one last infringement to movement on his side of the board before he centres the big rock in the middle.

Looking at the board there is an edge that favours Dylan, and an edge that favours me. He wants to play the game on the southern board edge, where the debris and gas clouds are in his favour, I do not want him to have that advantage, so I set up the Inquisition in a block on that edge, he sets up almost opposite me but a key tell is that Lando starts off on the back line of the board, giving him room to turn up the table if necessary, with his arc set sideways and having given himself that space I think this is likely. With my munitions and things Dylan would be foolish to take on the joust, so I anticipate him turning up the board and heading north.

Turn 1

On to turn 1 and time to set dials. I have 3 options here:

  1. 5 forward and threaten. This is wrong because I am expecting him to turn up the board and would allow his ships to kite away from me while I chase, I need to get in front of him so I can block. If I think Dylan is going to joust me this is the correct decision. I do not think Dylan is going to joust me.
  2. The non commital 2/3 forward. Which gives me time to react to what he is doing later but again, it would be crap because I would be playing reactively to a list that is able to react better than mine is.
  3. Hard one and move up the board. This is what I did, I am already aiming at cutting Dylan off at the top of the board, the north west rock is ideally placed for me to pin him. If he goes that way. It also means that if he comes into the middle of the board I can turn in on him fairly easily and bring guns to bear.
Turn 2

Turn 2 and I move my ships pretty fast towards the north west corner, depending on what Dylan does this turn I can either turn in on him if he heads into the middle of the board or I can continue towards the corner and play for blocks. Dylan keeps heading north with his ships, this is going where I want it to be. I fail the boost with the Grand Inquisitor as my spacing at deployment was incorrect. At this stage of the game that makes 0 difference, as he is comfortably fast enough to catch up if he wants to.

As we begin setting dials I am expecting Dash to head up around the corner, I am also half expecting a 3 bank in with Lando which would mean both his ships beginning to engage. Dash is my priority target here. Yes, I know the Falcon is where the action economy for the list comes from but Dash is the one with the big gun that can kill one of my ships in a single shot. Plus his ability to ignore obstacles means that he’s hard to pin down, especially if I start losing ships. The Falcon is easier to deal with late on, sure it has more health but worse agility and a smaller gun. But if I get an opportunity to turn on the Falcon I will. The key is that whatever I hit I need to hit multiple times in a turn.

Turn 3

Rather than banking in with Lando, Dylan goes one forward, which has me expecting the hard 2 in next turn, but Dash is very much my primary objective. I’m basically ignoring the Falcon in order to hit Dash, and as the guys in commentary say, I am very much aiming at blocking him next turn. A fairly inconsequential exchange of fire see’s dash lose a shield, and we’re on to blocking!

“I’m not sure how good sense will be in this game”

Phill Pond 12/06/20… sorry Phill but this quote is too good not to use in the context of this game.

Sense come’s into play. My little fella at the front knows roughly where Dash can be, so a casual 2 forward and then use anyone of my re-positions to block anything Dash is going to do here. In commentary the guys were talking about Lando giving Dash a barrel roll, something I had basically forgotten he could do ONTO a rock. For some reason I had it in my head that it was only when Dash was active that he could do these things… however the little fella didn’t care, he was in the right place for whatever happens next. I know where the block is going to be so my other ships are just homing in on that area wanting to bring guns to bear on Mr Rendar.

Turn 4

So now I do something that confuses the commentators, I fire a Mag Pulse at Dash, which their general consensus is that it’s the wrong thing to do. So let me explain why I did it:

Currently Dash has 2 shooting options. 1 is the Grand Inquisitor. At the moment that is 4 reds vs 3 greens, but the more likely shot he is going to take is on Seventh Sister, which is only 3 vs 3. With the locked shot from Lando coming in this turn as well so that’s a lot of red dice heading her way. Dropping Dash’s attack with the deplete means that the 2 dice he will roll at her are a lot less scary so he is unlikely to take that shot, or he can roll 3 into the inquisitor vs my three where I have mods. The point of the Mag Pulse here is to reduce incoming damage. Sure these little ties are tanky, but it only takes one good attack roll vs some bad greens to really hurt them. I’m trying to control where Dylan is going to shoot by making his options worse.

The outcome of the turn is that I take no damage and Dash takes three, I think I probably should have got a bit more from the 9 red dice I rolled into him, but that’s ok. I’ve done a total of 4 to Dash and he’s down to just the one shield, which means Dylan is going to have to think about being careful with him because I have things that give me guaranteed crits. I know that the next turn Dash is likely to fly away and I can’t maximise firepower on Dash. But I can on Lando. Even before we have started rolling dice I know that board state dictates that next turn I am hunting the Falcon. Seventh sister become the designated blocker.

Turn 5

After forgetting how many force and things I should have (SO MANY TOKENS) I’ve got another situation where I’ve got multiple shots going into one ship, and importantly I land the Hull Breach crit.

“Sure these little ties are tanky, but it only takes one good attack roll vs some bad greens to really hurt them.”

Me, a couple of paragraphs ago…

But Dash with free reign hits really hard, and I find myself flipping over a crit on the Grand Inquisitor, praying it’s not a double damage! It’s not, he lives but on one health vs two big guns he now needs to be very careful. I can probably afford to lose him, but not while Dylan still has 2 ships.

Again, before rolling dice I am already trying to work out just how I can keep Lando on that rock and exploit it. I really want seventh Sister to shoot but actually I need her as my blocker again. The moves I need to cover from Lando are the right banks and the hard right turns, so I set dials to cover these, and to keep guns on Lando. Then once I have used sense know that I can use my repositioning to fine tune anything which will ensure I get the block in.

Turn 6

Dash continues to fly around unharrassed, but I need to punish the Falcon here, that’s the ships I have on the ropes and I need to finish the job. Dash’s best chance of a kill is on the Grand Inquistor so I token up and hope that dash doesn’t roll four paint again. Forgetting that the little inquistor had a target lock is probably a second sign that I am suffering from “too many tokens syndrome”.

Another solid exchange for me punches a whole bunch of damage into Lando, two weapons failures mean he is offensively not a threat, and he still has that hull breach on him. I can keep him on the rock here but doing so will reduce the effectiveness of my fire power. There is no point blocking your opponent for the sake of blocking if you can’t capitalise on it. I’m not content to just deny actions. I need to do damage.

I also need to start hampering Dash as he is now the threat, and hopefully finish the Falcon. So the Inquisitor dials in the three bank towards Dash and then will use his reposition to block anything that Dash tries to do, the YT-2400 will still get to fire his big gun but it will be un-modded. Again Sense coming into play here. So far it has let me fine tune every block I have planned for to capitalise on getting the other Imperials to shoot Dylan’s Rebels.

Turn 7

The Grand Inquisitor moves into the space vacated by the little guy to resume the “three bank blocking duties”, it also means he is going to be at range three of Dash with two force and and evade and therefore incredibly unlikely to die. Meanwhile Seventh Sister goes into a spot that blocks any hard turn or the one and two bank from Lando, and gives her a shot on Dash. I still have to keep the pressure on the bleeding falcon and Fifth Brothers K-Turn allows me to do just that.

A crit cascade of glory does the Falcon in after it’s one dice attack was unable to penetrate the four green dice (with a focus) on the Sense carrier. Dash fails to punch anything through with his shot. 4 ships vs 1 in the end game. Dash is still a threat, he can totally kill my ships in one shot with a lucky roll, so I need to work out how to bring guns to bear quickly and effectively whilst still hampering his flying with blocks.

Turn 8

So we’re into turn 8 and this turn for me is about re-grouping. The Inquistor again Sense’s to guarantee the block. Seventh turns in for a free shot. The Grand Inquistor takes his lock for Mag Pulse fun later and fifth brother tucks in behind the rock to give him self a bunch of green dice and threaten the homing missile.

I made a mistake here. When Dash shot Fifth he rolled 3 hits. I rolled an evade and two focuses. I spent both force to take no damage. What I SHOULD have done was let one damage through, regenerate the force with Hate, which would have given me the basically fully modded homing missile into Dash with the threat of Fifth’s ability. I was up in the game and controlling each engagement. Taking one shield would not have lost me anything here. Instead I instinctively spent both force. Obviously I realised this about 1.76321 seconds after I declare that I am blocking all the damage. Because I did this I didn’t shoot the Homing Missile back, it would only be single modded and I didn’t feel it was worth firing. I wanted to keep it for a better opportunity. Pretty sure I may have mentioned “remembering your list” as an issue in the Vagabond Open last week as there is not a lot of time to learn what stuff can do when you are trying new things out.

That missile could have been game ending, and I probably could have just shot one anyway cause 4 dice is probably going to do more damage than 2 dice! Either way with Seventh prodding 2 more damage through and me taking none it wasn’t a bad turn.

Turn 9

Another sense inspired block from the little guy allowed me to close with my two i4s and the Grand Inquisitor to take his time coming in and clear his Blinded Pilot, meaning that should I fire a Mag Pulse again I would be able to use the lock if necessary. More plinky damage into Dash.

As turn 9 ended I was less fussed about blocking Dash, my regroup was complete and with only two health left on the YT2400 I could pretty much bring overwhelming fire power on him. Grand would have a Mag Pulse and at least two force to modify it with. Fifth would have his homing missile fully modded, which Dylan would have no choice but to make me roll as just taking the damage would be a death sentence. Seventh just had the option to be annoying. I set my dials with my munitions carriers to be as flexible as possible. Sense would let me know how I would need to reposition.

The little guy went to cover the run away move, just in case Dash decided to do that, seventh moved into a spot where she could act as a blocker should Dash survive the next turn and turn back up the board. It was time for the big guns to deliver the killing blow.

Turn 10

With one health left after the Mag Pulse, Dylan had no choice but let me roll the Homing Missile and hope I rolled blanks into blanks. Fifth Brother had other ideas… 3 hits and 2 crits after mods and his obnoxious ability… and a 200-31 win for the Inquisiton.

I think I flew the game really well. I had a plan from the second the Dylan corned the rock in the North West corner of the board and I was able to execute it fairly ruthlessly. Without doubt the most potent piece on the board was the Sense Inquisitor. In a game against 2 ships the ability to utterly hamper the efforts of 50% of your opponents list, with basically perfect information, is unbelievably powerful. I don’t think it comes in anywhere near as useful if your opponent has more ships than you and is totally redundant if you are not moving first.

The durability of the chassis with force and evade is ludicrous, unless you can consistently punch four modded dice into them they will basically shrug off anything you throw at them. The argument that they only have two red dice to attack so lack punch is harpooned by the aggressive abilities of Grand, Seventh and Fifth which mean you can push damage through consistently.

Playing the list I felt like the bad guy, menacing, controlling and dictating the tempo. It’s a very characterful list; it felt like I was an Inquistor from Rebels. The Force is really powerful… who knew?

My question to me is: Do I like feeling that way when I play? Or would I rather feel like the free spirited ace, weaving through the melee of space, living by the seat of my pants, praying to the dice gods every time my opponent picks up his red dice that my greens be better?

I’ve spent a lot of time analysing the game, I hope it’s been interesting going into this much depth. I actually think the game was won in turn 0. When all four corners were obstructed and the kiting ability of Dylan’s list was restricted the match up fell in my favour. Before anything was placed I think that the Rebels could well have won that game, indeed the guys in commentary seemed to think that they had the upper hand on paper. I was able to utilise the obstacles in my favour, and once I was able to block the Falcon on the rock, baring a couple of very heavy dice swings from Dash, the writing was on the wall.

Dylan was a great opponent, he took it all in such a good spirit. I mean, obviously I couldn’t see him while we were playing, but had I had my options restricted as heavily as his were in that game I would have been cursing under my breath! I’m really looking forward to reading his side of the story, and our next game.

With three games left I am now at 2-2, so it will be interesting to see what the remaining lists I have prepared are going to be able to do.

Next Time: Something Else Gets Crossed Off The List.

  • Droids
  • First Order
  • Imps
  • Rebels
  • Republic
  • Resistance
  • Scum


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