Moby Dick: For There is No Folly of the Beast of the Earth Which is Not Infinitely Outdone by the Madness of Men

We know that Guns for Hire isn’t far away, it’s been on sale at Gencon since Thursday and should be with the rest of the world in a few weeks.

We know that Guns for Hire is going to make the Kihraxz freaking awesome and the Star Viper all kinds of fun.

And if you read my last post you know that I am more than a little excited about the Harpoon Missile.

I’ve given the Star Viper a run out with the new title online and it was all kinds of confusing entertainment, those barrel rolls are cool. I don’t think that the Star Viper is going to have a strong presence on the top tables at tournaments. It’s a huge amount of fun, but I’m not convinced it’s all that good. The Khiraxz though, could be a bit of a monster.

I very much doubt the expansion is going to be out in time for UK Nationals in a months time but that doesn’t mean I can’t look forward to flying it and get some preparation in! Even in it’s current “under-powered” state I think the Kihraxz has definitely got bite. The combination of Homing Missiles, Guidance Chips, and Glitterstim is about as reliable an alpha strike as you can put together, add in Crackshot and it gets very punchy. The main issue that I have is the relatively low Pilot Skill, except of course for the mighty Talonbane.

harpoon

The Kirhaxz has often been compared to a Scum T65 and that’s probably not far from the truth in terms of flying it. They’re less durable than a T65, the shield to hull balance is not as good, and as ever two green dice isn’t brilliant…

But they do come with “the best move in the game” a hard one. They miss the hard three for sweeping in, but if I had to chose between a hard one and a hard three I’d go for the one every time. They also come with the illicit slot which gives access to a whole host of toys.

Mav Stim

My pre Guns for Hire list is very simple, it’s a missile delivery system. It relies on alpha striking a ship off the table in the first engagement then hoping the consistent damage output of the Kihraxz can make up for it’s lack of mobility. Better to burn all three munitions taking a ship off the table than burn two and leave a limping enemy. It’s an all or nothing list. At 98 points it should be able to outbid a fair few lists that feature in the meta at the moment.

Talonbane Cobra Black Sun Ace Black Sun Ace
Crackshot Crackshot Crackshot
Glitterstim Glitterstim Glitterstim
Homing Missiles Homing Missiles Homing Missiles
Guidance Chips Guidance Chips Guidance Chips

Khiraxz 3.jpg

My  Kihraxz are hunters, picking their moment to terrorize and bully a foe, hence their Nightlord’s inspired colour scheme. Ave Dominus Nox.

Get it wrong and it’s going to get horribly killed. As most of my lists are it’s going to be vulnerable to the big hitting turrets. Dash, RAC, Rey, those big turrets are going to really hurt unless I can get enough damage through on them early on. Arc Dodgers are also likely to be a problem unless you can smash them off the table early, but one good shot should be able to punish any ace that lands in a bad spot.

In a few weeks this can happen, which also weighs in at 98 points!

Talonbane Cobra Victor Hel Captain Jostero
Crackshot Crackshot Crackshot
Glitterstim Glitterstim Glitterstim
Harpoon Missile Harpoon Missile Harpoon Missile
Guidance Chips Guidance Chips Guidance Chips
Vaksai Vaksai Vaksai
Stealth Device Stealth Device Stealth Device
Vectored Thrusters Vectored Thrusters Pulse Ray Shield

purrgil rebels

A mere 7 upgrades per ship! The Stealth Devices will let the ships be that little bit more durable in the initial exchange. Give a hint of regen to the lowly PS4 Jostero and a re-positioning option to the higher Pilot Skills ships means that they should be more versatile. Obviously there are going to be loads of build options on the Vaksai Kihraxz but this is what I’m looking forward to running initially.

But all this is for the future, for this weekend it’s a trip to Worcester Wargames for five rounds of their 40th Anniversary Tournament, and some fun to be had with “old” Khiraxz. I’ve never been before so it’s a first visit, first and possibly last tournament with this particular alpha striking Nighlord’s list!

40 odd people turned up, and there was a massive mix of lists on show, a really diverse meta. Obviously the regulars were there: Dash, Nym, Dengar etc. but there were plenty of less standard issue lists around.

I flew against an 8 ship Z-95 swarm, 3 T-65s, Imperial Aces, a bunch of rebels and Dengar and Fenn, and I went 2-3 for the day, two games I lost by one hull (so frustrating!)…

Wookie Hunting

But what are the lessons of the day?

  • Homing Missiles, Guidance Chips, Crackshot and Glitterstim as a combo is utterly savage. Watching a Wookie evaporate under two missiles and a primary shot was somewhat eye opening, seeing 3 of 8 Z95s just disappear in the opening salvo was brutal. Dropping Dengar to one hull was agonizingly frustrating… These things punch through damage like almost nothing else I’ve flown.

T65 Joust

  • PS11 > PS5 Well duh! my final game against Luke with his VI Vader and Quickdraw with cruise missiles liquidated one of the PS5s in the opening shot, I was still able to kill Vader and Sabacc in his list before Quickdraw put the final damage through on me.
  • 5 health is good, better than 4 that’s for sure, but 2 green dice, poor action economy and only one shield are an issue.
  • There is no word more gratifying in the English Language than “Crackshot”, I mean you kind of feel like a douchebag when you say it, then stuff dies and you feel less of a douchebag so it’s ok.
  • When all is said and done the Kihraxz is pretty handy… if only they could have a re-positioning option, or maybe regen, perhaps even both then they’d probably be REALLY good…
  • Games don’t last long with this (which gives plenty of time for messing around with picture for Instagram.)

Z-95s go boom

Admittedly I didn’t run into any “heavy meta” lists today, probably thanks to not winning my first game (One hull left on dengar… ONE HULL!) so I didn’t get to see how they’d fare against more competitive lists but they were so much fun, and will be even more so in a few short weeks.

I’m not entirely convinced how they will function as a squadron (but will blatantly be trying them anyway), this build is an all or nothing list and when it does all it is scary. I didn’t fail to get 4 damage on any of my missile shots, and only against the PS11 Alpha-striking Imperials did I not get to fire all three munitions in the list. However throwing one into a list (especially with harpoons) will carry a lot of threat. Hopefully there will be plenty of Vaksai in the future.

Next weekend is a bank holiday weekend. So that’s a triple header then…

REBELS AND A CERTAIN SCUM LIST WILL RETURN

If you’re looking for tournaments local to you head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar.

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Moby Dick: I know not all that may be coming, but be it what it will, I’ll go to it laughing

After ranting and raging about the silliness of what wave 11 has to offer, especially in regards to the LowBiggs combination I went away and licked the salt from my wounds and planned on how to kill it, much like the “hero” of the book Moby Dick, Captain Ahab did with his unkillable whale.

I began by muttering incoherently to some of my fellow pilots about the Khiraxz and how I like it as one of the most single purpose ships in the game. It’s not great, but I do have a soft spot for it, I even debated making it the main theme of my blog a few months ago (which I blatantly haven’t followed through with, cause reasons.) but then FFG gave us this: and I did a little dance…

Moby-Dick-2

I would hasten to point out that I am in no way an advocate of Whale Hunting, I would really prefer it didn’t happen… I rooted for the whale all through Moby Dick.

We already knew the Khiraxz was going to be cool after the initial preview article, but today Harpoons became a thing, and the level of cool transcended everything that has gone before. (Sorry Craig Bradford, Captain Ahab is mine!)

Now it could be down to going on tilt since I put 16 damage on Biggs in two turns and only took two shields…  but this filthy broken weapon (and what it can do to LowBiggs) is (in my mind) the greatest munition ever and I am very, very excited to jump on a band wagon for once. Any list that likes to fly in close formation is going to hate this.

Jumpmasters didn’t appeal, Parattanni didn’t appeal, I dabbled with mindlink but it never held my interest for long. Miranda, Dash, Dengar, Ventress, Quickdraw, RAC have never seduced me to fly them. But Harpooning ships has got me asking “how many can I fit in a list” at the deepest level of my soul. It’s space piracy of the highest order.

arnie harpoon

When hunting down your prey with extreme prejudice and a maniacal grin are the order of the day, accept no substitutions.

I’m off to Worcester Wargames this weekend for another gaming jaunt with Captain Conor. Last time we had a good go at Incom Gaming in Cheltenham (won in style by the aforementioned Craig Bradford), so hoping for more of the same on Sunday, the list I had already elected to take is this:

Talonbane Cobra Black Sun Ace Black Sun Ace
Crackshot Crackshot Crackshot
Glitterstim Glitterstim Glitterstim
Homing Missiles Homing Missiles Homing Missiles
Guidance Chips Guidance Chips Guidance Chips

I’ll be the first to admit that it’s not subtle and is very fragile, but the joy of this alpha strike hitting that bloomin’ Wookie should more than makes up for it! (watch me never play LowBiggs again now…)

Sad Chewie

To celebrate the new found enthusiasm of the day I had a game with this list against Martyn Chivers on vassal. Martyn was running Fenn, Teroch and Palob. To be fair to Martyn he didn’t fly it right and the alpha strikes with the crackshots punished him pretty heavily. Talon Bane did drop but only after Fenn and the HWK were gone, so a 100-36 point win did the trick.

When all the new toys land in a few weeks time this list gets totally ridiculous. Thanks to the crazy Vaksai title Harpoons work out 2 points cheaper than the Homings, the Crackshot is free, the Glitterstim costs one point less, which is a total of 12 points more to spend (unless you want to spend the bid and have 14 points to play with) this should more than cover the cost of upgrading to the two new named pilots in the box and lots of other toys.

If only Graz the hunter had an Elite Pilot Talent slot! However we’ve seen the value of double tapping attacks with Corran, Dengar and Quickdraw for some time now, Jostrero comes in and fits the theme brilliantly. He was made to fly along ships with harpoons! I’m not a fan of his pilot skill being 4 but he’s the kind of ship who would be horribly over-powered at higher PS.

I’ve even ummed and arrrhed about taking this list to Nationals, I do love it, and there are a few weeks until I have to decide what to go with for the event. It’s on the shortlist but I doubt it will make the cut as there are too many things that will totally ruin them around right now, most obviously the big turret ships out there.

Boba National.jpg

Incidentally there are less than 80 tickets to UK Nationals left, get one if you haven’t! I don’t care how good or bad you think you are at this game: come and play. Big tournaments are so much fun and the social side of it alone makes it worth the money. You really will be missing it out it you miss it.

The Kihraxz’s will have a run out or two in the next few weeks. At the moment I don’t think I can do much more with them than I have, there are a couple of variations on the list revolving around EPT changes (swarm tactics, swarm tactics and deadeye for all the PS9 shots), but the point of the list is to deliver that crazy strong alpha, which crackshot does better than any other option.

But that’s enough random mumblings for tonight, as I said last time I have faith in FFG and expect a lot from them, they have set the bar very high and long may that continue. With an expect FAQ, Guns for Hire, the possible announcement of Wave 12 at Gencon this weekend there is a lot to be excited over in the growing world of X-Wing, even if toys and my pram do go in different directions once in a while!

THE KIHRAXZ’S WILL RETURN

If you’re looking for tournaments local to you head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar to see what is going on!

 

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The X-Philes: And If I Quit Now They Win

It’s another double header weekend. The first Q3 kit event I’ve been able to attend and a store champs. We’re now on the second event I’ll have been to where Wave 11 is legal and I know my personal bogeyman will be there in at least one list. I’ve chosen to run what I love flying over what is probably more effective, a choice which I may well live to regret in terms of results but a choice I won’t regret in terms of conscience! Of course I play to win, but I’d rather lose on my terms than win on someone else’s so simply put: I have to fly better. Whether I can do that or not remains to be seen.

The last time I was at Eclectic games in Reading was for their store champs. I finished second for the event but had the best record on the day, finishing up 5-1 and having a resoundingly solid MOV of over 900 points (Margin of Victory/goal difference) including winning three game 100-0. It was a good day. The Wave 11 Meta has taken a firmer hold since then and there are going to be more from “the bombing wave” than there was list time.

shark in a wave

Interestingly, fellow bloggers, Oli Pocknell and Joel North have also singled out Nym as the ship of the Wave and it was fun to read their takes on him during the week, some recommended reading.

I’ve still yet to run into a minefield mapper or a Bigg’s Fury Friend list, maybe I will this weekend.

The list for Saturday:

Fenn Rau Old Teroch Kad Solus
Concord Dawn Protector Concord Dawn Protector Concord Dawn Protector
Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink
Autothrusters Autothrusters Autothrusters
Ion Torpedo

Aces are in my blood and my philosophy of the game generally revolves around fragile ships that go pop when you get it wrong (or Nym is at range one). I’m not going to change that and go to something new because things get tough. That way the “meta” wins. My list might get beaten by the Meta but the Meta won’t beat me! However, I’m not a total idiot, introducing an Ion Torpedo to the list in place of the plasma torps for an added element of control is probably the right thing to do!

Chris Burnett commented on my last post, “If everyone actually just used what they enjoyed using, surely the ‘Meta’ would be thrown open anyway?” and he’s absolutely right.

One shall stand

There is no such thing in X-Wing at the moment as a “good against all comers list”. The pairing system at the European Team Championships showed me that. Sure things like TIE Defenders are good all rounders, but they have definite weaknesses. There is an element to match ups where a rock, paper, scissors analogy is usable. I know it’s a simplistic analogy but it works to a degree. Some lists SHOULD just beat other lists, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Hopefully I’ll avoid lists that SHOULD beat me this weekend!

Day one went badly, a small crowd at Reading, 9 players, 3 Nyms. Not great odds of avoiding him! Game one was a chance to keep my winning run going over my good friend Martyn Chivers…. it’s now 5-0 in tournaments play, but that’s where the positives for the day stop! Nic Harris has had a lot of practice with his Miranda, now he has Nym to go with her… it wen’t badly, and it went badly fast.

Optimus shot

Game 3 against Andy I ran into my old “favourite” RAC and the combo of Hotshot, Gunner and Rebel Captive made life painful for the Protectorates. It is the anti-mindlink version of the big beastie. It started well but once I lost Kad it all went wrong very, very quickly. The Bye in round 4 meant saying goodbye early and I headed home musing over what I could fly on Sunday!

Megatron beats Optimus

And came up with even more nonsense than normal.

A few weeks ago Jesper Hills pulled out his IG-88s from his cupboard, dusted them off, put some unusual upgrades on them and won a store champs with them. I tried flying IGs an AGE ago, Jesper’s and fellow Zombie Squadron member Tom Forstner’s success with them drew my eye. I tried it, it was a disaster as I had no idea what I was doing with large based ships at the time. Since then it’s safe to say I have had some practice with big base ships.

IG’s are just like Firesprays, except for all the ways they’re totally different, but hell, I had a bad day on Saturday with a list I’ve flown before. Best take a list I’ve never flown before to a store champs then.

IG-B IG-D
Crackshot Crackshot
Fire Control System Fire Control System
Ion Cannon Ion Cannon
Flechette Cannon Tractor Beam
Ion Bomb Thermal Detonator
Glitterstim Glitterstim
IG-2000 IG-2000

Welcome to the IG-Tool Box! In a meta dominated by two ship lists with relatively low agility it could be hilarious! The way I figure it they’ll probably never kill anything, but they could well be abusive to the activation phase of any ship out there!

Reasons this list is a bad idea:

  • Minimal damage output on those cannons
  • I have no experience flying them (the only big ship I have any real experience with is the Firesprays and they took months to get right.)
  • The field at this event is crazy strong
  • I’ve built them horribly, I mean, I’m using IG-D not IG-C, but it’s better than IG-A right?
  • Both ships have to work together for the list to be effective, which means that I will be vulnerable to other ships coming in and taking advantage of my focused fire.
  • Bombs are bad for me, there are probably going to be lots of bombs

Reasons this list is a great idea:

  • I don’t really care about any of the above.
  • I can use Transformer pictures, cause Robot’s, right?

I’ve been to Shoreham once before, the event is KD Game’s store champs and held at a sea scouts venue with FREE PARKING! This alone makes it a great place to attend.

To celebrate using them, I did a quick repaint on Saturday night before sleeving up all the upgrades known to man.

Optimus repaint.jpg

However my IGs aren’t quite as, erm, interesting as Michael Bays “pimp my prime” vision but I like them. The list certainly isn’t a meta call, but it could be perceived as an anti-meta list. I’ve never flown a control list before so it’ll be interesting to see how it goes. Whilst this list does similar things to the list I came up with in the preview of this weekend, it does it with a whole lot more theme and I think a more interesting take on the concept than the other control list. Plus the lack of Teroch and Ventress mean the list is made up of less common ships so that lets me continue to feel like a precious little snowflake with a unique list…

necron individual

So today I ran into Lowhhrick flying along side Biggs, twice. The IG’s cranked out all kinds of damage, and I managed to kill Biggs twice. It only took over 30 hit and crits to drop both Biggs’s, which seems a touch strong… I “may have” already mentioned that Biggs is an issue for me in the game, that issue just got a whole load larger.

I had looked at the theory of Biggs and his wookie friend but seeing it in practice left me dumbfounded. I’ve always been able to see the positives in wave after wave of releases but I genuinely don’t understand how what wave 11 is offering has added to the enjoyment of the game. I doubt it will diversify the meta at all, rather it will likely increase the dominance of certain archetypes of lists.

Before wave 11 was released Biggs was a pain, but flying my Firesprays I could reliably delete him in a turn pretty much every time, it was a waste of a turn but once he was gone I’d have a limping firespray and the game became a damage race. However now I think Kath and Boba would be lucky to take one shield off him in a “standard” rebel four formation.

Zombie Optimus

The other two games I played were really good fun, very entertaining and apart from a moment of very silly flying by me pretty close. (Those hard three sloops from IG-D are hard to get your head around.)

Right now I’m living in hope that the next FAQ absolutely demolishes a whole host of things. For all the complaints people have had against jumpmaster, TLTs, Sabine, Mindlink etc since wave 7 appeared I don’t think anything has left me as deflated at the end of this weekends gaming. I lay that firmly at the feet of Nym and Lowhhrick/Biggs.

I’ve got a week to wash the salt out, have a think and reflect, and look for something that can have a go these new bogey men. There must be something out there I can love and fly and have a chance of winning with!

Hotshot with the matrix

I have always had faith in Fantasy Flight games as a company, most of my favourite games come from them. I am confident that they are aware of issues within the game, and that they care enough about the community that has grown up around it to look at our feedback.

SOMETHING WILL RETURN

I mean I have no idea what… Nationals are in 5 weeks and am totally clueless what to fly… But I have to admit now, it’s not going to be X-wings… Sorry.

To Find local tournaments head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar.

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The X-Philes: There are Hits, and There are Misses

There are terrors hidden in dark places in a Galaxy a Long Time Ago Far, Far Away. One of them is new, and he’s the absolute death of Aces. At a “standard” 39 points the monstrous Captain Nym has surged into the Meta, and shaken it up. If you haven’t met this ridiculous brute then allow me to introduce you:

Captain Nym
Autoblaster Turret
Accuracy Corrector
Genius
Bomblet Generator
Veteran Instincts
Havoc

If you’ve been blessed not to run into this beast here’s he is so savage:

Nym toys

Firstly he’s pilot skill 10, which means that the likes of Fenn Rau, Soontir Fel and the other aces in the X-Wing world are suddenly reconsidering their choice of elite pilot talents. Having a 3 dice primary with a barrel roll makes him very good at ace hunting, even without the other toys he has on him.

The first pair is “Genius” and the Bomblet Generator. A free bomb every turn is one thing, but the ability to drop this before or after movement and NOT be affected by the explosion means he can get into things and bomb them with total impunity. And because he’s PS10 he can pick the most damaging point of his move to do it.

The second pairing is the Autoblaster Turret and the Accuracy Corrector, two unblockable damage at range one every turn is crazy good, and because (again) he’s pilot skill 10 he can get close to whichever low health high agility ship he feels like ruining.

mulder surrender

All this together gives one mean monster of a ship. Even more potent because he can do all these things while stressed. I’m expecting him to be everywhere in the next few weeks and months. If he couldn’t take Veteran instincts he’d be manageable for aces, if Genius was restricted by bumps, or one use only then he’d be manageable. Potentially four unblockable damage, a minimum of two is utterly filthy, and the bane of so many ships out there. If Cad Bane is in the list too then that consistency gets even better. The word “broken” get’s floated around a lot in this game. I think “hard to counter” is a better description.

cad bane unblockable.jpg

His choice of wingman is massively important. Dengar is an obvious one, but with 61 points to play with the scum arsenal is full of options that are worth looking at.

Of course there are ways to beat him down. He is a one agility ship after all. A certain brace of Firesprays would ruin him on the way in… Kath and Boba could potentially drop him to two health before he ever gets into his really damaging range. They just need to kill him before he gets too close and personal.

Two tournaments this weekend and I’m trying something new. After suffering from the potency of Andrzej Rodziewizc’s Ion Turret on his Hawk at the ETC I got to thinking, that would really ruin Nyms day, the question is, how to make it as reliable as possible. Ion cripples Nym as it takes away his ability to drop bombs as he doesn’t reveal a dial, rather is assigned a white one forward. Plus the turret is range two, which means well managed moving can keep the autoblaster turret at bay.

I got to thinking, who is the most consistent turret wielder in the game?

CAVIL.jpg

Now I’ve got that out of my system:

Kavil

The consistency offered by potentially having a four dice attack against a one agility ship means that Nym isn’t going to be keen on closing to where he needs to be. He’ll be aiming to bump the Y-Wing for sure. As far as Astomechs go the only choice for a Scum Y-Wing is an Unhinged one in my opinion.

Ion is great, but again a savage lesson I learned form Andrzej was just how brutal Ion and Stress can be, which means getting a stress token and an Ion Token on Captain Nym would effectively end him. Just keep putting that Ion Token on him. Which means finding a stress causing mechanic in the list is important. I looked at options, like Syks with cannons, and various others, but ultimately there can be only one pick…

Assaj hello boys

Yes, she has caused me so much pain in the last few months, yes she is a brutally effective member of the “top table squad” and a key part of the Meta. The fact that I am going to take her just shows how much I think Nym is going to be a thing. He is such a strong counter to most of my usual nonsense.

Elite Pilot Talent choice for the list is, for the moment obvious, Mindlink. The action economy it offers is just too good to pass up. Changes may happen in the future but for now I stand by earlier posts that Mindlink is the most efficient EPT in the game. Points are going to be tight here so I’m not going to have much to spend on her. The choice of optional extra I have gone for is an old favourite of mine, Black Market Slicer Tools. Aces aren’t a fan of it plus any sort of control is good. The normal Latts option is incredibly useful but she’s too expensive here and I kind of like leaving the stress on. Especially with that Ion Turret around.

Which gives me a few points left to play with… 30 to be exact.

old terry

I did look hard at Fenn Rau, cause why wouldn’t I? But there weren’t the points there for him, and weighing in at one hundred points the list will have no initiative bid which Fenn kind of needs. But Old Teroch, he fits rather well, mindlink, autothrusters and concord dawn title weighs in at 30 points. Plus his token removal is yet more control in the list. Fenn might be able to bludgeon things to death but Terry fits the feel of the list more. There aren’t many lists that like the idea of having their tokens stripped.

All of which makes my list look like this:

Asajj Ventress Old Teroch Kavil
Black Market Slice Tools Concord Dawn Protector Ion Cannon Turret
Attanni Mindlink Autothrusters Unhinged Astromech
Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink

There are other things that this list is going to be good against. Miranda isn’t going to be a fan for a start, she won’t want to get into range two of either Ventress or Kavil, Expertise gets shut down, so Dengar and Rey have to be careful, Even RAC can’t stop the damage coming his way with blinded pilots. I suspect it is a bit of a tool box of a list. I’ll have to fly it differently to how I normally approach games but that’s ok.

Yoda Shakespeare.jpg

Or I was going to fly this… until I flew a couple of games with it on Vassal tonight and just didn’t enjoy it! It’s a genuinely good list, and as you can see I spent and age thinking about it.

It’s just not for me. I play this game because it’s fun, and I’d rather lose weeping as one of my ships explodes into a thousand pieces as Nym tears through it but go home having enjoyed the rest of my day than beat the dirty git into the ground with a list tailored to ruin him, only to not enjoy the rest of my games. Of course I like winning games! I don’t go to this many tournaments because I love the thrill of losing…

scully facepalm.jpg

If you can’t beat them join them is an old adage with a lot of truth. But if you join them then you end up with mirror matches and feeling the hollowness of people sighing as they have to fly against the same things again and again. If you’re a complainer about the Meta (even if you fly the meta) then it’s up to you to choose, you can be a part of the “problem” (in some peoples minds) or you can be a part of the solution. Winning isn’t everything. Just fly what you love and love flying it.

Fenn Rau Old Teroch Kad Solus
Concord Dawn Protector Concord Dawn Protector Concord Dawn Protector
Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink
Autothrusters Autothrusters Autothrusters
Plasma Torpedoes Plasma Torpedoes

Last time I was at Reading Mark F tore my three protectorates apart in the final with his Dengar Nym List, and there was nothing I could see to do about it. But I had a great day flying these ships. Yet fully aware that there is a strong possibility of that happening again I’m going to fly the same list. Cause I love it. I’ll play the two tournaments over the weekend and write about it on Sunday evening. Of course my reckless enthusiasm may have turned to salty tears by then…

Fenn, Terry And Kad Will Return… (hopefully not in body bags)

If you’re looking for events local to you then head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar.

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E.T.C: Communicating. Keeping Up Foreign Relations

The European Team Championship (ETC) is a monster of a tournament. Only in its second year the X-Wing event had teams from 7 nations, plus a United Nations team to flesh it out to 8. Around the hall hundreds of other gamers competed in other systems like Flames of War, all the Warhammers and a few more besides, it’s a seriously cool event to go to.

Not only teams representing European nations, but as far afield as Australia and Argentina, and the hope is that in future years that X-wing portion of the event will grow as more nations are represented.

game face

This is a tough competition, no two ways about it. If you play competitively and have been to local tournaments you’ll probably know the feeling of being 3-0 with two to play and that tension in your stomach when you realise next game you’re playing someone else who’s also having a good day… every match up you prepare for in the ETC has that feeling. There’s no chance you’re getting a lucky draw against some Janky nonsense here. (Not even any daredevil U-Wings!)

Each round starts with a drama on par with a Game of Thrones. The pairings, where match ups are decided. Each team puts forward a name face down, then the opponents submit two lists that the first team picks one of to play against. This game continues until all match ups are done.

Deployment can decide the result in a game of X-Wing, and in the ETC this is the deployment phase. Sometimes that first player needs to pick a list they shouldn’t be able to beat in order to give more favourable match ups later in the pairings. It’s a team event.

Mountain vs viper

I was flying my Corran Poe Rebels list, it’s all kinds of fun, and turns out to be a real handful for contracted scouts to deal with as they just can’t stomach target locks vanishing and needing chunks of consistent luck to punch through any damage with their main guns. Black One may have come along as a way to do something about “Omega ‘I’m still a dick’ Leader” ruining Poe’s fun but boy is it effective against the scouts…

I played and beat three triple Jumpmaster lists, and to some amusement found myself being referred to in various languages as a something of a negative play experience for the dedicated Contracted Scout Player. Entirely by aiming for something fun to fly I somehow created a hard counter to one of the lists that has dominated the meta lately.

Hannibal-Smith

I won’t go into each game as that’d just take too long, but I learned some lessons… a whole different level of competition really emphasises some pre-existing points.

Lesson 1: Positioning is Everything

One of the keys to being a great X-Wing player is to fly well defensively. The game literally is physically weighted to benefit the attacker. Nearly anyone can take Fenn Rau and punch through a load of damage, and aggressive play is a skill of itself.

However I would argue that mitigating damage you are going to take is the greater skill. I think this is one of the reasons I’ve been so open of my dislike of Biggs and Kylo/Palp RAC. Each in their own way is a very defensive tool, but they just work by being there.

Ventress/latts is a pain but at least you have to get you plan of attack right and read the board well for her to trigger, and a savy pilot can fly in a way that limits her potential.

Asajj Eyes

Four Y-wings with TLTs is a torrid list, but equally the scope for getting that list wrong defensively is huge. In a game where any number of alpha strikes and damage spikes can legitimately kill a Y-wing in a turn the Y’s simply can’t make mistakes at this level.

Sure the TLTs give you a nearly unparalleled consistency in a attack to allow you to focus on getting this right but get your positioning wrong and you lose. Watching Seb Brady win a couple of games that on paper he had no right to this weekend convinced me that there is far more to playing that list at a high level than I had previously given credit for. Outmanoeuvring ships with Poe and Corran is one thing, but doing it with PS2 y-wings is a whole other venture.

Lesson 2: Positioning is Everything

Yes, it’s the same title!

Predictive flying is another element of the game that you have to get right, and the higher the level of competition the better you have to be at it. Anticipating every move your opponent is likely to make, narrowing it down to a couple of options then setting your dials to match that, knowing that your opponent is probably doing the same and trying to counter it… it’s no wonder some of the best players I know take their sweet time    placing dials. (*cough* Pocknell, Paul Smith*cough*)

The more fragile a ship, the more important this is. I was chatting with Tom Duncan over the weekend about the art of predictive flying and more importantly the fading skill of the block. As a well established (and decorated) tie swarm player Tom has had more practice than most at anticipating moves and using fragile ships. Blocking used to really annoy me! I mean how hard can it be to park a ship in front on someone? But I have come to appreciate the significant skill involved.

Blocker.jpg

(It may be an issue to maybe look at elsewhere as to why blocking us less a part of the game now than it was, but I think the short answer is upgrades that give you the benefit of an action without ever having to actually do an action: K4 Security, Expertise, Mindlink, Bomblets with Genius, Dengar Crew… it’s an increasing list of cards as action economy is now an uncompromising part of the game)

Again, anyone with a few games under their belt and knowledge of a dial can predict a hard or bank 3 is coming from a Shadow Caster or a 4K from a defender. But the Art of predictive flying is to land that block and most importantly capitalise on it by having your other ships pointing in the right direction at the same time!

One thing I found running Corran Poe was that they made this really hard for my opponents. Something Scott Reed can attest to… when Poe doesn’t want to be shot, landing damage on him can be nigh on impossible. Black One ensures the target locks fall off at every move so no re-rolls. Even with two turret ships it took Scott 35 minutes to close the trap enough and land the right dice rolls to drop Poe.

HERE TELGAR HAVE GOOSE.jpg

Without the Punshing One title Jumpmasters simply cannot land damage on this Poe build without a huge dose of luck. But Dengar got me in the end! The only game I have lost with this list to a pure jumpmaster build (out of about 15 games). Fair play Scott.

Lesson 3: A Bit of Jank Never Goes Amiss

Having something unexpected tucked away in your list can be a deal breaker in a game. On my Firesprays it’s the Black Market Slicer Tools, with Corran Poe it’s the Seismic Torpedoes.

If you’ve read previous blog posts about this list you’ll know that RAC with Palpatine and Kylo is one of my least favourite things in the game, and generally eats this list in minutes. I managed to beat it for the first time ever at this tournament.

And it was the Jank that did it.

Blowing up a rock at range one of the Decimator, rolling a crit and getting Structural Damage was game changing. The Decimator is about all out attack, forcing it to play defensively makes it incredibly vulnerable, and the second Poe becomes the aggressor in that match up, tucking in behind him and staying at range 3, the Decimator is on a countdown.

Sure there was a heavy dose of luck in the stars aligning on my behalf with dice and cards, but without the seismics I wouldn’t have been able to create the opportunity for that luck to matter.

WE ONLY WENT AND DID IT!

Incidentally, using advanced sensors to blow up a rigged cargo chute with Corran then flying over where it was is one of the most entertaining tricks in the game…

A Final Anecdote

Lining up for my game against Pablo Pintor of Spain I had a little shiver of excitement. He was running Soontir, Vader and Omega leader both of us were salivating at the prospect of of a proper aces off. 5 of the best aces in the game on the table at the same time, X-Wing as it should be!

smug fenn top aces

But dice ruined the game… And all credit to Pablo, he was as frustrated as I was by how insanely hot his dice were. As much as he was happy with the result he was gracious enough to be unhappy with how it happened. The dice robbed us of what should have been a truly great game. Just a great example of the spirit that I believe X-Wing should be played in.

I went 4-3 for the event, in single standings 23rd out of 48. Not bad for 2 rebel ships with 11 health. Finishing with a positive score in such a challenging event was more than I had ever expected.

Mav thumbs 2

But what next for Corran and Poe? Sadly sometime on the sidelines. Unfortunately the heavy presence of Scum Nym in the emerging wave 11 meta makes the list just too vulnerable. Against the VI, autoblaster, accuracy corrector, genius and Bomblets madness that is about to ensure no amount of arc dodging can help. But bloody hell, they’ve given me some good memories!

Team Wales finished 6th but joint on points with both the UN and Italian teams, and only not making the cut on MOV. Had we managed one win against (now double) champions Poland then we would have made the top 4. England went on to finish second by a handful of MOV. I’m saving up for next year already in case I qualify!

ETC SWAG.jpg

Finishing the weekend in Salamanca’s main square in joyful banter with representatives from England, Wales, Italy, Greece, and TO Krzysztof from Poland just pushed home the fact that even on a global scale it is the community that makes this game.

ETC everyone.jpg

If you’re reading this from a country  that wasn’t at the ETC and are interested in getting involved in next years event then get in touch with either Oli Pocknell or Krzysztof Piszcz through one of the main X-Wing Forums on Facebook and find out how to get involved.

NO IDEA WHAT I’M GONNA FLY NEXT WEEK YET…

If you want to get involved in competitive X-Wing head over to the 186th Event Calendar.
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E.T.C. This Is What I Call A Target Rich Environment

It was fairly inevitable that I’d be writing a preview article about the European Team Championships (ETC), there’s no way I’d be able to get it all into one place after the event without it being an actual book.

There are some very strong players going to this event, pretty much every team has national and regional champions in their ranks and we’re all getting together to see who can play with plastic space ships the best.

ETC Tom Cruise

I’m hugely proud to be going to the event in Salamanca, Spain, to represent Wales. My Grandfather was Welsh, and I feel very honoured to represent Wales in memory of one of my true heroes for this event. The rest of my team are:

  • Stephen Gage (Captain), Dash/Miranda
  • Piers Horry, Ketsu/Ventress
  • Seb Brady, All the Y-Wings
  • Ryan Davies, Ryad/Vessery/Duchess
  • Jack Mooney, Carnor Jax/RAC

team wales arrive in spain.png

Events like this are very interesting for looking at the state of the meta. Or rather in this case the evolved Wave 10 meta, which is now in flux since the release of Wave 11. Every list going to the event is designed to be competitive, and while people will be playing for fun there is definitely going to be an edge to it.

ETC Imperial list

So… can anyone else guess what ship is the most favoured in the European Meta? I’m struggling to see it myself… Remember wave 11 isn’t legal for this event.

Not much of a surprise there then, anyone who’s been playing competitively in the last few months will be well used to the contracted scouts being very much a thing, now lets break it down by faction, starting with the Imperials.

ETC Imperial list.jpg

Deci crewThere are 16 lists of any given faction at the event. Each faction cannot include the same unique cards in both of their lists. So that means any named ship can only be used a MAXIMUM of 8 times. So with that in mind 6 Rear Admiral Chiraneau out of a possible 8 shows how strong he is.

The Tie Fighters are an anomaly as they are all in one list! But it is no surprise to see Defenders and Special Forces ships topping the lists here. Vessery and Quickdraw are the most popular options in those categories. Out of a possible 15 chassis available there are 12 ships represented, so 80% of the ships are thought strong enough to feature at the event.

Which leads us onto scum:.

ETC Scum.jpg

So where Imperials had an impressive 80% penetration of ships scum have a meager 5/12, 42%. This is defintely a reflection on the strength of newer scum ships, a certain Mr Brady’s love of the “archaic” Y-Wing aside. The older ships just don’t cut it in really competitive games at the moment. With 21 Jumpmasters and a combined total of 20 other ships though it is no wonder that there is significant talk about necessary changes to this incredibly powerful chassis.

Punishing one

Which leads us to my faction for this event, the Rebels.

ETC rebelsWho have 10 different ships represented out of the 16 at their disposal, so 63%. Which means they are more diverse than the Scum, but less so than the Imperials.  Miranda is the queen here, she in the most used named pilot in the competition, featuring in every team! Pleasingly not all those T65s are Biggs, one of them is Wes Jansen, as a prominent part of Alessandro De Bono’s Rebel Pick and mix list.

ETC Biggs.jpg

We could spiral these stats out of control into breaking down every ship by pilot all over the place but you can look at that yourself by clicking here if you really want to, but just because it is probably the one that is of most interest to the debate at the moment here you go:

ETC Jumps.jpg

People sure do love that PS3 non unique pilot. I’m personally delighted to be a part of the only team not taking a single Jumpmaster to the event!

So looking at it the other way, which ships are one offs? 5 get to be the only one in their class for this weekend:

  • Captain Yorr, Lambda Shuttle
  • Tomax Bren, Tie Bomber
  • Kylo Ren, Upsilon-Class Shuttle
  • Duchess, Tie Striker
  • Corran Horn, E-Wing

Next to the numerous RAC + Friend lists, the Mirandaspam and Jumpmasters it’s going to be really interesting to see how these ships that have to be considered peripheral to the meta of the ETC are going to perform. Yorr is in his traditional Palp carrying role, Duchess, a cheap high pilot skill ship, (my) Corran is a regenning arc dodger. Kylo and Tomax are the most interesting uniques as they aren’t commonly seen in competitions that I go to. Tomax even less so than Kylo.

top gun sunset.jpg

I can’t wait to get to Spain and meet up with the rest of Team Wales, it’s going to be an awesome weekend playing games and meeting new people! I know what I want to pair against, and I know what I don’t want, but I’m not going to go into that in a preview article! (Most people can probably guess what my bad match ups are!)

Corran and Poe are off to take on the world! Due to flying back on Monday night the write up will be early next week sometime, but I’ll be posting up pictures on instagram over the weekend and I’m sure there will be plenty of other social media coverage if anyone wants to follow what’s going on.

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The EX-Wings Will Return, and so will the Protectorates, and the Firesprays, and probably some other things too…

If you want to get playing some tournaments then head to the 186th Tournament Calendar to see what’s going on local to you.

The X-Philes: I Think You Just Lost Your Credibility

The debate on the meta rages on, “leaked FAQs” filling the aether with opinions and angst. I don’t particularly care about what we don’t know in the world of X-Wing, I care about what we do! Fellow Zombie Ian Courtney shared a really well thought out, if somewhat deep, post on the meta. Really worth reading… maybe twice…

nerf bat 2

A week to go before jetting off to the European Team Championships in Spain, and I’m practicing flying my Corran Poe list with the cunning use of flying Scum. Not the usual Firespray laden list with that I’m asscociated with, however Mandalorians are very much going to be present.

I’ve had an idea stirring for a few weeks in the deepest recesses of my jank filled mind, which as the title of this post may imply is contrary to what I’d be expected to fly by most. Last weekend after the tournament in Aldershot the esteemed Alex Birt made a passing which flushed the idea from those darkest recesses into the light.

“I wonder how you would do if you actually flew a good list…” Alex Birt, 186th Squadron 23/07/17

confused han

Backhanded compliment acknowledged. I wonder too. Let’s find out!

So this week we’re getting filthy, well as filthy as I can bring myself to come to be. Oli Pocknell and I have talked several times about this list over the last few months. It’s been on my Radar for several months and fits my natural inclination to play somewhat aggressively. The aces tournament at Warboar recently reminded me how much I love flying ships that have to point at what they’re trying to kill, and how much fun flying by the seat of of your pants is. One bad dice roll and…

smug fenn master again 1

I do need to have a theme, and for this theme we’ll be going with the Concord Dawn, because y’know, more than one Protectorate in a list is SO VERY RARE these days.

 

Naturally the next ship in the list is going to be Old Terroch, because he’s brilliant… there are just so many ships that hate seeing him on the table. For the third Ship we’ll be taking the least used of the named Mandalorians. Kad Solus, is a natural fit in how I want to play…

As far as build goes there were a couple of options to look at, but only ever one that was going to make the cut in the current game status. The ships are going to have the classic combination of upgrades that you find on Protectorates everywhere:

 

All of which would leave me with a somewhat excessive nine point bid. So I’m going to spend 6 of those points giving Fenn and Terroch some plasma torpedoes.

This isn’t the first time that I’ve run protectorates with mindlink, but it is the first time I have run three of them competitively.

Here’s the full 97 points.

Fenn Rau Old Terroch Kad Solus
Concord Dawn Protector Concord Dawn Protector Concord Dawn Protector
Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink
Autothrusters Autothrusters Autothrusters
Plasma Torpedo Plasma Torpedo

I’ve shared these boys before but here’s them again. Nickname a ship the Fang and an Old Wolf Player will be compelled to grab a paint brush.

Prot Character

Kad Solus is the Blood Claw, Fenn Rau the Grey Hunter and Old Terroch the Long Fang. And for those of you who STILL don’t paint your dials: try it, it is the best part of this hobby… ish.

When I bought these happy chaps it was with the intention of running them as a squadron with Push the Limit. There’s a natural flow to the Protectorate from my early tournaments running A-Wings and Interceptors. Plus they are possibly the best looking ship in the game. At first I didn’t get them, they’re high risk jousters, not arc dodgers and I wanted them to be arc dodgers, but now I get it.

Fennly Rau.jpeg

There are certain things that I’d rather not see, bombs… autoblaster turrets… so Nym then… he’ll likely put big holes in my little squishy ships very fast. Maybe not as fast as the three of them can put holes in him but that’s an equation I’d rather avoid balancing. My usual unhappy match ups aren’t going to be so prevalent here, Miranda is an issue, Dash, RAC and Rey are always going to be tough, but not easier for this list than others I have flown recently.

Getting the excuses out of the way early:

  1. I’ve never flowng this list before..
  2. I was at a stag do in Bristol yesterday and got 5 hours sleep…

This weekends tournament is the sold out Store Champs at Eclectic games in Reading and it’s my first visit to the store, there are some familiar faces, all somewhat surprised by what I’m flying. Four rounds and a top four cut could be ahead.

So how did it go?

boom tie

Game one made the whole thing about more than seeing if I could do well over all. I was thrown in against my good mate Martyn Chivers. Now Martyn and I play a lot on vassal, where it’s all a little crazy thanks to the dice generator. But in tournaments Martyn has never beaten me, so he really wanted to end that streak and I really wanted to keep it going. Martyn’s list is a joy to behold, 6 tie fighters all from wave one and two and he fly’s it well. Protectorates though are pretty good against tie fighters, and as time on the round was called I had lost Old Terroch, and Martyn had only a PS1 Tie interceptor list. So that was a win, 82-33.

Fenn go boom.jpg

The second game was another grudge match, this time against Phil Pond of the Basingstoke based Firestorm Squadron. He’s been running Fenn, N’Dru and Ventress for months and we’ve had some crunching games in the past. But again I have a 100% record against him in tournaments, and that’s not something I wanted to lose.

This game was decided in the first engagement when my Fenn fired some Plasma Torps at his Fenn and hit a natural 2 crits and 2 hits only for Phil to blank out, so one evade from autothrusters. From there on in it was a hunt, his Fenn died next turn. N’Dru got battered and Ventress against three functional Protectorates was always going to have a very hard time. 100-0

I didn’t even get a picture of game 3… it was that intense!

To say game three was epic doesn’t cover it. Elliot Roberts with his Dash Miranda… YAAAAAAY. Anyone who’s been reading this over the last few months knows that Dash is one of my pet hates and I’m not really Mirandas biggest fan. I was helped early game by Fenn managing to only take 2 lots of Sabine damage from three cluster bomb tokens. Fenn kept the pressure on Miranda while the other two hunted down Dash.

It ended with Fenn against Miranda, and with two minutes to go Fenn landed the killer blow on Miranda, with only one hull left to his name. It was a truly epic game, and I was relieved to win it 100-62.

The last game of swiss was against Dan Flewit running Vessery, Quickdraw and Backdraft. I flew this one pretty well and Dan had PS advantage over two of my ships with VI, VI, and Adaptability giving him PS 8, 9, 10. I had to block, and I did. Trapping Quickdraw on a rock so Fenn could mug him from range one, then to finish a block on Vessery so Fenn could mug him to. Another 100-0.

standings after swiss

So that was swiss done, and I was top. This is unusual for me! Mr Birt’s question seems to have found an answer: I can do pretty well with ships that are used to flying on the top tables, and had a lot of fun flying them.

beautiful t65

So to the Semi-Final against Richard Elliots beautiful T65 swarm! Such a beautiful thing. Unfortunately for Richard I’ve flown against similar to this flown by Ben Cooper down in Brighton, so know what happens when it gets to focus fire on something. The fact that Richard has got this list to the top four today means he knows what he’s doing with them too.

I set up looking like I was going to joust, and pulled his formation into the middle of the table, then scattered, using my ships in built re-positioning to stay out of danger. He turned and understandably went after Fenn, which let the others close in on his formation from behind. What ensued can only be categorised as brutality as the Fangs tore through the X-Wings from every direction at once.

t65s dropping

At that moment my brain just screamed “GODDAM I LOVE THIS LIST”. My third 100-0 win of the day and my second Store Champs final of the season.

On the other table Dom Flannigan and Mark Feldschreiber from Firestorm Squadron were battling it out for the other spot. The incredibly effective Fenn, Dengar, Inaldra list and Nym/Dengar. Mark won with his shiny wave 11 ship and the Final was set. I love playing good mates… but when they have a ship that is categorically built to kill lists like yours then a bit of anxiety is permitted.

x files nerf bat

My Anxiety was justified! Nym battered me faster than I could put damage through on him. The combination of Veteran Instincts, Bomblets, Genius, Autoblaster Turret and Accuracy Corrector makes very short work of 4 health ships. Mark flys well, and has been running Dengar with expertise pretty much since the U-Wing came out. Flying against him is always a cagey encounter, but when he has a ship that can kill a Protectorate a turn with ease the game was only ever going one way.

TO for the day, Sketch Drayton, handed the winners plaque to Mark. Congrats buddy, you smashed me!

angry fenn.jpeg

6 games, 5 wins, 3 100-0s. Good day! I really can’t complain. Before I started this blog I had never made any cut or come close to top 8 finishes in any tournament. Since then I have made 3 top 8s and 2 top 4s. Practice helps.

Mindlink is still godlike and I do think changes are needed to it. Protectorates are hugely fun and potent ships to fly and I think I’ll be flying them again sometime, but with the Rise of Nym is their time limited?

Nym_singlecell 2.jpg

Next Week: THE EX-WINGS GO TO SPAIN

If you want to find tournaments local to you then head on over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and find one to go to!

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Battle Star Wars Galactica: Sometimes You Have to Roll a Hard Six

Ok, so the title is tenuous but a hopefully a dead give away to the educated geek. I’m excited about the Star Viper getting more use, and the second Guns For Hire lands later this year I’m going to be flying them, cause they’re awesome! I’ve started the experiments on Vassal well in advance because I desperately want to get used to them before they appear. That Barrel Roll is going to take some adjusting to.

swx73-starviper-mk-ii

Thankfully the Star Viper has had it’s spoiler article and now that they have shown us the pilot abilities of the named pilots shenanigans can begin! There’s a battle report coming later in the article where I take 3 Vipers against my good mate Conor McNama on Vassal because I really want to see how they go.

There are now 4 named pilots for the Star Viper, here’s a brief summary of what I think they are about:

sw-Prince-XizorI hate to say it but I think Prince Xizor is criminally bad. His pilot ability is arguably one of the least useful in the game, along side Imperial Boba Fett. If he was a top level ship then keeping him alive with it might be good but the fact that he’s in PS limbo for an ace is really frustrating. If he was PS9 with an EPT slot that you could do things with then it might be useful. He’s not got enough damage output to warrant saving (unless you start to stack the points on him for a fire control system to get some consistency). The ability to boost and roll clearly makes him an arc dodger, he’s certainly not a jouster, but a PS7 arc dodger is pretty pointless (Jake Farrel and his 2 EPT slots aside) Odds are whatever you pair him with you’ll want to stay alive more than him… Veteran instincts is his go to EPT, maybe Push the Limit (although the limited green options on a Star Viper make this a risky choice). I suppose putting him at PS9 with his new barrel roll and auto thrusters is an option, but there are clearly better ways to spend points out there.

swx73-dalan-oberosNext in line we have new boy Dalan Oberos. He’s a frustrating PS6. If only he was 7 then add VI and you’d have one of the most exceptional Arc Dodgers in the game, probably why you can’t! There is no way around it, this guy is designed to run stressed, and be a reactive pilot to what your opponent does. In their article FFG are pretty good with their build for him, Veteran Instincts, Virago, Advanced Sensors with Starviper MK2 and Autothrusters is strong. I think this is likely to be the “standard” build for him, at least initially. Wired could be useful, but at PS6 his ability is going to rely on the gamer being very good at predictive flying.

Guri-1-The third pilot in the line is probably the most used of all the Star Vipers out there. Guri, the free focus ship. Fits in well with a lot of lists out there and now she’s going to be three points cheeper I can see her being very well used. In a Mindlink list she is a natural focus battery, but is a strong ship all around. Fire Control System and a free focus every turn is potent, but if you put Expertise on her you get a very strong attacking ship, albeit with a low Pilot Skill, that should have a free focus every turn for defence. I do think she is still the most useful all-round pilot the Star Viper and now she is only really 27 points I expect her standing to increase.

kara thrace 1

swx73-thweekFinally we come to the ship that has probably spawned the most excitement of the new pilots in the Guns For Hire Box. Thweek. The ability to copy either an opponents pilot skill or ability could be game changing, there’s enough chat online already without me throwing in my two cents to that conversation, suffice to say I can see Thweek being a very popular, if not necessarily strong, ship. Certain abilities are going to be hugely useful, but some games you’ll get nothing you can really use. However Thweek is a tool box that gives you options and that is not something to be ignored. With title and autothrusters Thweek weighs in at a mere 27 points, which is a good level, if only he had an EPT slot! (which is why he doesn’t)

loosing their minds

I’m a believer in autothrusters (not such a believer in Harvey Dent), especially on ships that are meant to stay out of arc like these clearly are, so they get stapled on automatically  as far as I am concerned. I am also a huge fan of Seismic Torpedoes. Having used them a lot on my Corran and Poe list I think they are even more useful on Star Vipers because these ships don’t like things being in the way of where they want to roll.

For the game I played against Conor this evening I used the following 100 point list:

Dalan Guri Thweek
Autothrusters Autothrusters Autothrusters
Seismic Torps Seismic Torps Seismic Torps
Star Viper II Star Viper II Star Viper II
Veteran Instincts Expertise (which I forgot to use all game)
Virago
Advance Sensors

Conor is flying a 100 point list that is new to him too, so mistakes are going to be made on both sides.

Captain Nym Tel Trevura
Veteran Instincts Punishing One
Autoblaster Turret Predator
Bomblet Generator Experimental Interface
Accuracy Corrector Gonk
Havoc Salavaged Astromech
R5-P8 Glitterstim
Engine Upgrade

I’m just going to throw this out there. Regening Jumpmasters are a pain in the arse.

Turn 1

Deployment, Pushing the rocks to my left hand side to limit turning in opportunities for Tel is a standard deployment against Jumpmasters. Conor’s deloyment ensured that he’d have to go near to some rocks, which I thoroughly intended to blow up before we got too close to each other!

Turn 2

The Vipers move into a fairly aggressive position, leaving plenty of room to close in at different angles depending on what Conor does with his moves.

turn 3c

Things start blowing up, Thweek and Guri get rid of some asteroids, causing one damage on each of Conor’s ships. Nym takes a pounding from both Thweek and Dalan while Guri does very little to tel. In response the autoblaster turret starts working on Guri.

The acrobatics begin, 3 sloops puts the Vipers behind Nym and Tel, sure they’re all stressed but the positioning is strong. The Bomblet goes off and does nothing to Guri but puts Dalan on one hull, before he is finished off by the Autoblaster. However Guri and Thweek finish off Nym. He’s a scary ship but he does die fast. Thweek is left hurting from hitting a rock and the revenge bot!

Turn 5b

Guri gets in a block, and Thweek has a long shot. The return shot from Tel kills Thweek, so Guri has it all to do on 3 hull against a regening ship.

The big ship barrel rolling is SO ANNOYING, especially when Gonk is working overtime to add shields back onto to Tel. However Autothrusters and free focus tokens are equally annoying the other way!

Forgetting Expertise meant forgetting to take target locks! Target locks would have meant when I got to push through damage on tel it would have actually mattered and made a huge difference to the game. The joys of flying a new list!

Turn 9

In the final Turn the inevitable 4 hits happened on Guri and the green dice failed, she went pop. But it was a really enjoyable match up and showed me that the Star Viper could be a thing in the future, whether that is a top table thing or a Jank thing has yet to be decided!

centurtion

Key Lessons:

  • Remember the EPT you spent 4 points on!
  • Those barrel rolls are going to take some learning.
  • It’s almost harder to stay in arc than stay out of it!
  • Vipers are unforgiving and their action economy is lousy.
  • Nym dies fast to focussed fire.
  • Star Vipers die fast to focussed fire.
  • Regening Jumpmasters are a pain in the arse (did I say that somewhere already today)
  • I will be flying this list again. It is fun.

The Star Vipers Will Return (in a bit)

If you want to get playing competitive X-Wing events head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar

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The X-Philes: We can only hope to go down fighting

A double header weekend, I love these. So much hanging out with friends and getting annoyed with dice rolls. Two events in a weekend is always good fun. First up is another visit to Warboar in Bromley, however there are some additional rules at this event to make it all a bit spicy:

  • No Turrets, if you have a 360 arc it is restricted to printed arc.
  • No Duplicate Cards in a List
  • No more than one big ship

one big ship and no turrets

All this leads to aces being very much the expected flavour of the day. Strong initiative bids, high pilot skill and lots of arc dodging are on the cards, and I thought long and hard about going with Poe and Corran, I even wrote a list for them that met the restrictions of the event. It’s also going to be the first event where Wave 11 is present, so I’m anticipating some nonsense from there, even turretless Nym and Miranda are a threatening prospect. However I’ve discarded my current Rebellious flavour of the week for something altogether more unique to this event.

Vader is likely to be a strong ship today. No turrets, PS11 and two stress free actions are going to make him probably the alpha ship of the day. It’s not like the Imperials have plenty of options of friends to support him. It’s going to be a very interesting day to see what people come up with in response to the restrictions.

Darth Scariff

I’ve come up with some nonsense for this, things I never really fly for a one off event could be fun, and that is the name of the game. A couple of “meta” ships who’ll be flown in a very much “non-meta” way!

Fenn Rau Contracted Scout Jakku Gunrunner
Veteran Instincts Intimidation Outlaw Tech
Concord Dawn Intelligence Agent Thermal Detonator
Stealth Device R5-P8 Pattern Analyzer
Rigged Cargo Shoot Black Market Slicer Tools
Anti Pursuit Lasers Space Tug Tractor Array

MS2The concept of the list is very simple. The Gunrunner and the Scout get in the way and be generally obstructive (the anvil) and then Fenn comes in  and bludgeons people (thus becoming the hammer in this metaphor). An eight point bid and a PS11 Fenn should ensure he gets to be a douchebag to people. Joel North, Hero of Phoenix Squadron (when he’s not flying Scum) and resurgent blogger flew a similar contacted scout last week at ibuywargames, and the potential for frustration is massive!

  • Stealth Device over Autothrusters because no turrets
  • Jumpmaster with a turret that won’t work, so he finds other ways to do damage
  • Gunrunner with BMST because I expect Push the Limit will be a thing.

I guess if there is an expected meta to this one off event then this list is designed to be very much an anti-meta list. It’s a sound theory, but will practice be a different story?

I’ve only flown Fenn a few times before competatively, never flown a contracted scout (dabbled with Manaroo way before the mindlink thing became a thing) and literally took my Quadjumper out of the packaging on Friday night! To paraphrase Captain Solo:

never tell me the odds

So it started badly, paired against serial “make the cutter” and good friend Oli Pocknell. Managing to roll two evades in a game is always fun, 6 dice from fen and one evade… I’m not going to lie, it was painful and 100-0 later in 20 minutes I knew I’d be looking at the bye in round two… Oli was getting his wave eleven on with Nym, Jess and his favourite ship, Jake. I was using things I am less experienced with. But the dice hurt. He’d have won anyway but the 100-0 was a tad harsh.

NEXT GAME WILL BE OK

After the bye the day went up hill, I finished 3-2 in the end and came in 4th out of 13 which all things considered I was very happy with. I have two special mentions to make though:

Game 4 against Will Haselwood from the 186th was ridiculously close, and I totally mis-calcualted my end game! It finished 25-24 to him… the thermal detonators on my quadjummper, that I didn’t use all day were under my damage card on the ship… and I FORGOT to add those points on thinking I was ahead by 2 points!

We was using a Tie Punisher, and It was SUPER COOL!

Advanced sensors then barrel roll when revealing the bomb, then the move was really strong and made a ship much maligned in the meta genuinely impressive, and he flew it brilliantly.

As bad as my green dice in game one had been my red dice in game five were good. And When my Fenn lined up a target locked shot on Tim Choy’s Fenn (who had 6 green dice thanks to his stealth device) and then one shotted him… I did feel a that maybe, just maybe Nuffle was apologising to me for earlier indiscretions.

blanking out be like

Sorry Tim…

Key lesson from the day:

  • Flying ships you don’t know isn’t a great way to win games!
  • Bumpmasters are great when they bump but they’re actually really hard to bump.
  • Quadjumpers with pattern Analyzer and Outlaw Tech are amazingly fun. “oh look at that big scary rock I’m going to hit next turn… never mind, just fly backwards, barrel roll and get a focus.
  • Thermal detonators you don’t ever use are a WASTE OF POINTS
  • Bye’s are not as fun as playing games and losing
  • Alternative format X-Wing is FUN, big shout to Jason Grimwood all-round gaming community hero for putting on something fun and different, looking forward to the next one.

A certain Mr O. Pocknell went on to go 5-0 for the day, which was an impressive display.

SUNDAY…

It’s a trip to The Game Shop in Aldershot for a Q2 kit event hosted by the Womp Rats, Luke from the Womp Rats posted up his report on the even here. Not had one of these in ages because store champs season isn’t massively accommodating to the more general tournament but it’s a chance to fly the list I was looking at a couple of weeks ago which can accurately be described as rebel Jank, but also a pleasantly themed for the Battle of Scariff. I’ve had a couple of games with it on Vassal and it is a lot of fun. I would have flown it yesterday had it not been for the turret restrictions making Dutch somewhat redundant.

The Battle of Scariff art

The Heroes of Scariff is a lot of good ol’ rebel synergy that buff each other, with a U-wing to make it all together awesome!

Cassian Andor Dutch Vander Garven Dries
Daredevil Targetting Astromech R2 Astromech
Kyle Katarn Ion Turret Intergrated Astromech
Kanan Jarrus
Engine Upgrade
Advanced Sensors
Pivot Wing

Clearing Stress with Cassian, sharing focuses with Garven and spamming target locks with Dutch does all seem quite fun. Keeping everyone at PS6 makes me happy from a squad building point of OCD! It does require squadron flying because everyone’s ability requires being within range 1-2. Fortuantely it’s not close formation flying because I’m not very good at that!

Any list that includes Rogue One, Red Leader and Gold Leader has gotta be good right?

All three pilots had very different reactions to finding out they were going to a tournament…

It’s fair to say that a three 100-0 loses and one win out of four games is probably not great but the FUN that U-Wing provides is simply incredible. Teamed with something that does a bit more consistent damage that ship could be utterly brilliant. Its ability to zoom around the table is second to none. Even against a stressbot it doesn’t struggle too much due to Kanan and Kyle churning out a focus on every move bar one as you clear a stress!

In fact, Lee, the TO for the day like my list enough to reward me with Lego for having a cool list! He was particularly impressed by my opening move, which was the U-Wing on the edge of the table facing the wrong way.

The day was won my Jason Barton running the Rey/Norra list he has been using for the last few months to great effect. The fact that he can’t roll any dice that don’t land on paint aside, he has that list down. Naturally I lost to it quickly and graciously. My love and admiration for Rey just increases every time I play her….

Rey with a hat

It was a great fun weekend, full of laughs, games and fun. Next week I’ll be at Eclectic Games in Reading’s store champs for one last fly before getting on a plane to Spain for the European Team Champs with Corran and Poe. I have a couple of options to look at flying… it should be fun.

Neds Head

As a total aside: Creativity is cool, if you didn’t catch Brecht Cuppens post of some awesome X-Wing related photographs then you should have a look.

The EX-Wings Will Return

Head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar to find events going on near you.

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I don’t know about you, but my alarm is set for 6am to watch a certain TV show before work.

Eleven

“The Meta of X-Wing turns, and Lists come and pass, leaving memories that become Jank. Jank fades to nostalgia, and even nostalgia is long forgotten when the Meta that gave it birth comes again. In one Wave, called Wave 11 by some, a Wave yet to come, an Wave long past, a wind rose in the Forest of Kashyyyk. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Meta of X-Wing. But it was a beginning.”

On top of my usual posts about competitive play and flying unusual lists I’ve a new, less frequent theme to look at. New waves. This is my first wave as a blogger so my first article of this kind. (and my second post of the day…)
Despite a whole load of hi-jinx that Wave 11 has to offer I think it can be summed up with one word. Bombs. For everything else that is on offer this mechanic is the one I suspect to see increasing in popularity. Dramatically.

A brief history of bombs in x-wing.
1) They were rubbish
2) The K-Wing turned up
3) They became ok
4) Sabine turned up
5) They became awesome
6) Provided you were a rebel

7) Wave 11 turned up

Scum and Bombs.

Two words. Cad Bane.

He’s an obvious choice and you are going to see him a lot. Just like Dengar crew is a standard fixture in an awful lot of scum lists because he lets you re-roll attack dice, Cad is that for bombs.

cad bane clone wars

Currently Cluster Mines are probably the “best bombs” in the game for damage output, but Cad changes all that. His ability actually works better with Proximity Mines, as he can only work on one bomb token a turn having one where 3 dice can be re-rolled instead of two, and they can resolve crits, is more consistent than the cluster. It’s still a pretty big template plus cheaper.

EmonThis on a certain Emon Azzameen is going to be very very strong. You do have to trade in consistency in firepower but you will get consistency in bombing, and that tasty firepower. At PS6 Emon is a bit in no mans land for pre-move bombs so I wouldn’t put the bomblet generator on him. But with Cad and Extra Munitions on him he gets 4 proximity mines. My personal build for him would be:

Emon Azzameen

  • Slave One
  • Extra Munitions
  • Proximity Mines
  • Proximity Mines
  • Cad Bane
  • Burn Out Slam
  • Advanced Slam

He weighs in at 49 points but each of those bombs just became reliable, and once he is in among the opponents squadron he can still crank out 4 dice from either his front or rear arc. The Advanced Burn Out Slam is something that I have used before, and it is really strong! The three by a three and then Emon’s ability mean that your opponent will have to be very careful until you have sprung the trick.

We then have the somewhat spectacular Scurgg bomber. I got to have a run out against one of these recently and there is definitely potential there. With Nym the obvious place to start is the Bomblet Generator, Havoc and “Genius”.  High PS and the ability to drop a 2 dice attack before or after you move and totally ignore any damage that might come your way from its strong. Throw in  an Ion Turret and you have a very handy 42 point ship that can exert a lot of control over the battlefield.

Captain Nym

  • Havoc
  • Ion Turret
  • Bomblet Generator
  • Genius
  • Long Range Scanner
  • Genius

Sol SixxaBut if you want to continue Emon’s theme of throwing bombs all over the place then Sol Sixxa with Veteran Instincts some Cluster Mines and a Bombadier isn’t a bad place to look. 40 points of a pain in the neck.

Sol Sixxa

  • Twin Laser Turret
  • Cluster Mine
  • Cluster Mine
  • Extra Munitions
  • Bombardier
  • Long Range Scanners

They might have 10 health but they die fast due to their one agility. Gonk could be fun at keeping them around a little longer.

If you don’t fancy these behemoths then think how good the humble Y-Wing bomber might be with those re-rolls.

Imperial bombs

Minefield MapperNow I’ve already seen plenty of people on facebook using it, but the there’s a rumour that wave 11 has a fix in it for what is one of the best looking and least used ships in the game. The Tie Punisher. All we need is an FAQ to stop people arguing over the wording of just how many bombs the Minefield Mapper actually lets you put down… But regardless, the Punisher is definitely the best place for this mighty card. Just as the Warden Squadron K-Wing has become a controlling fixture on tables everywhere this card can elevate the Punisher to a legitimately competitive ship.

Cutlass Squadron99 points gets you three Cutlass Squadron Pilots with a lot of toys.

  • Minefield Mapper
  • Lightweight Frame
  • Extra Munitions
  • Cluster Mines
  • Cluster Mines
  • Unguided Rockets
  • Light Weight Frame

Regardless of how the FAQ turns out this list puts a huge amount of control on the table. The Light Weight Frame adds a hint of durability to the ship and the Unguided Rockets could add a bit of punch to the rather limiting 2 dice attack the Punisher has. Even one of these backing up an Ace or two could make your opponents decisions a little tricky.

the punisher

Sure they don’t have the buff that Scum or Rebels get from certain crew members… but they make up for their lack of quality with quantity!

Rebel bombs

In case I hadn’t made it obvious earlier:

REBEL BOMBS ARE ALREADY REALLY GOOD.

But they get some help too… Nymander is going to be a thing. Everyone knows that Miranda with bombs, Sabine and advanced Slam (plus TLT) is very much an established ship in the game now. Now you can have rebel Nym flying along with her covering the table in tokens.

With bomblets going of every turn (but only if you want them too) Sabine gets better and better and better, all kinds of unblockable damage going through. You can either use the ability to stop a Bomblet going off, or just casually fly right over a template and just decide it doesn’t go off.

Unless Wave 12 sees a mine-sweeping mechanic of some kind these ships are going to be a strong part in the meta for some time to come. So if you don’t like bombs: I’m afraid I may have some bad news for you…

Nym seeing you