Battlestar Wars Galactica: The Difference is My Flaws are Personal.

The continuing adventures in Star Vipers, some more vassal and some more options to try out. As has been mentioned before my natural tendency is to play very aggressively, I do rather like to line up and joust with some big guns. However this route won’t work with the Star Vipers, although lining 4 PS1 Vipers with the Mark II and Pulsed Ray Shield is quite tempting.

Battlestar Galactica

I’m going to need to learn to play a different way. I’m pretty adept at high PS arc dodging thanks to extensive Soontir Fel hours. I’m pretty comfortable with low PS swarms, thanks to more than a few games with Green Squadron Crackshots, and I’m more than happy with “line up and joust” cause of Firesprays. But the Mid Pilot Skill control style of play is one that I’m not used to.

Starbuck and Apollo

There is a distinct art to flying ships in the PS 4-8 bracket. You aren’t low enough PS to guarantee blocks, but aren’t high enough to be able to avoid them. PS1-3 have empty spaces to fly into, and PS9+ often have perfect knowledge of where everthing is. In many ways you have less control over the battlefield than other lists do. And Star Vipers are very much mid Pilot Skill ships. In order to get better at the game I’m happy to take on the challenge.

I’m playing a vassal game on Vassal with the most defensive player I know. Oli Pocknell of the 186th is a good mate, top bloke and a really good pilot. His record at major events is staggering, he has made the cut at both Yavin Opens, the Euros, the 2016 and 2017 UK Nationals, been to both European Team Championships (leading England to second this year), won the Nordics in 2015… the strange thing is he very rarely 100-0s anyone. His play style is to only take on an engagement when it is optimal in his favour, focussing fire on an exposed ship. I’ve seen him go 30 minutes waiting for the moment to strike. He’ll happily break away if this is going to be at the expense of one of his getting the same treatment. (written down this is SO obvious, but in practice this is SO difficult)

His games go to time fairly often but rarely ever to final salvo, something mine pretty much never do. But then, he win’s a lot more games than me… If you want to get better than you are, then play people who are better than you.

Mindlink Gaius
If you haven’t watched the BSG remake this means very little to you. Go watch it.

I’m trying a different list to last time out, the three Vipers with Mindlink is a lot of fun and definitely going to be revisited but I want to try something else that I think could be useful. It’s a measure of how far the game has come, since I first flew Attanni Mindlink. It was an eye-opener to experience the power it offered, but since wave 11 has dropped it is so much less prevalent in the meta. It’s almost like it’s fine now that there is a Pilot Skill War going on.

Don't Nerf Just Nym

Guri Dalan Oberos Torkil Mux
Expertise Outmaneuver 4-Lom
Star Viper MKII Star Viper MKII Ion Cannon Turret
Autothrusters Autothrusters Ion Dischargers
Virago Pulsed Ray Shield
Advanced Sensors
EMP Device

I’ve gone for the Torkhil I mentioned in my last post as a utility ship, he could be a right pain in the neck and adds a sizable chunk of control to the list. No one wants to be in range two of Torkil, and at range one he is even more problematic as his Ion Dischargers let him heal and use 4-Lom and his Pulsed Ray Shield without fear of getting Ioned himself. Hopefully Nym won’t be a fan!Kanan_Jarrus huh

But trying something different today: Guri is taking Expertise, one of my favourite EPTs. Consistent damage output leaving a focus for defense is great, sure it costs a bit but on a ship with three red dice it should keep the damage ticking over. It’s a lot more expensive than running Mindlink, and the list does suffer from a reduction in action economy as a result. But the ships are more independent than when they have Mindlink, in addition stress causing mechanics don’t completely ruin your day! (just partially)

It’s a tidy little combination and I’m looking forward to seeing if it works. With the mobility of the Star Vipers it could be a very difficult range 1-2 bubble to get out of. I don’t really know what I’m doing with HWKs having only used them in a couple of rebel lists so getting some table time with one is probably a good idea anyway.

swx73-dalan-oberos
I wish he was PS7

Xizor is out of this list, instead Dalan Oberos comes in. Xizor sitting outHis ability is likely to be useful with the threat of Ion from Torkhil, he should be able to tuck in behind things that are ioned and crank out some damage. He’s got Advanced Sensors on him so that he can take a action before getting himself stressed which I suspect he’ll be quite often. Admittedly it means he might only use it every other turn but it’s the best option I can see. His presence is also a very good reason not to take Attanni Mindlink!

Kanan understands

As I’m expecting him to be able to avoid firing arcs fairly well I’m putting Outmaneuver on him. Just as Fearlessness theoretically suits the Protectorate well, Outmaneuver feels like an EPT very suited to the Star Viper, especially on Oberos.

No point having a 2 point initiative bid with a PS 3, 5 and 6… so lets throw on an EMP Device for good measure.

So after an arduous day lounging about, writing the preamble for the blog and watching the Saturday Sportsball all afternoon it’s late night game time. A couple of radically different games against Martin Chivers first though. The lesson from the first game was “don’t just fly a HWK straight foward” the lesson from the second is that this Dalan Oberos is hard for your opponent to fly against provided you’re happy with naked dice the whole time!

Oli’s List for the Game

Jake Farrel Miranda Doni Jess Pava
Veteran Instincts Twin Laser Turret R3-A2
Push The Limit Sabine Wren Integrated Astromech
A-Wing Test Pilot Bomblet Generator
Autothrusters
Proton Rockets

Oli and I have been playing each other for a while now and use these games as learning tools, for me it’s the primary purpose of Vassal. It means games sometimes last a while as we discuss mistakes and look at what could have been done differently. Learning from your mistakes after a game has finished is great, but be able to learn from them mid-game and see how the outcome could have changed as a result is even more valuable.

The key moment in this game was the initial engagement. This is by far the most important part of any game. Get this right and more often than not you win, get it wrong and you’ll lose. It’s not the dice, its the positioning. It’s giving your opponent ample opportunity to focus fire while you don’t return the favour you will lose. This game had a perfect example of that.

angry kanan laughing ezraGuri breaks north to threaten Miranda’s approach in turn 3 then turns in behind the rock to get shelter from the TLT. At which point Jake has come zooming across, survived being made PS0 by Torkhil and then smacked Guri off the table with Prockets. Miranda Jess, and Jake were all able to shoot the blonde assassin in one turn. Ain’t no coming back from that. Meanwhile Dalan is in total no-mans land to the south.

So we hit the undo button and instead Guri kept the threat on Miranda, and Jake tokened up for incoming attack from Dalan and Torkhil.

03b
Torkhil’s sphere of control was a huge influence on the game, it allowed the Star Vipers to put their shots in before two of Oli’s ships every turn (Jess being PS3). And Jake burned everything to not take any damage form the combined fire of Torkhil and Dalan.
outrageous re position.jpg
Guri was forced out of the fight for couple of turns while by the presence of a Sabine Fuelled bomblet, but the Ion Turret was doing it’s job in controlling one ship a turn. Meanwhile Dalan performed probably the move of the match to boost with advanced sensors and then sloop next to Jess in a flanking position on Miranda.
05
Much pain for Jake, but the HWK-290 paid the ultimate cost and it’s reign of being a pain in the arse was over.

A key moment came when Torkhil got an ion shot through on Jake, landing him on one health and parked right in front of a rock. Some good dice on my part, not so much on Oli’s. Oli’s list has it’s own control mechanism in it, Jess with the stress bot, shutting down Dalan’s movement options was frustrating but probably not as frustrating as what I was doing to him!

This would have been an epic moment to fire my EMP device had I remembered that I had it! Jake had to fly over the rock twice (thanks to 3 hits from Torkils Ion turret), with one health that should kill him right?

07
Jake finally dies. One health, over a rock twice and I STILL have to shoot him to get rid of that last hull. Pushing those three dice into Jess would have been infinitely preferable at this point!

Miranda kept doing Miranda things and with the TLT regenning shields every turn and with the bomblet generator she was in a great spot to force my ships into some evasive maneuvers. Oli’s let Jess take a bomblet so that Guri would take one too.

smug sabine GURI

08
Guri tried to avoid the bomblet but there was literally no way, however Jess did take a bit of a battering from the bomblet and the range one shot from Guri.
09
With Miranda limping, Jess Limping and Guri limping, Oli had to to take the shot on the Android.  Had she been able to fire there was a good chance that Jess would have died this turn, but as ever the TLT did what TLTs do. The threat of the bomblet had forced Dalan to run away because he couldn’t take the Sabine hit of another possible bomblet drop.

petualant sabine

Which put the game at a 2 on 1 in favour of the Rebels, and so we hear the that awful phrase “trust your dice” come into play for Dalan Oberos.

10
Dalan was all lined up to kill Jess, out of ark with 4 natural dice. “All” he needed was 2 evades and a blank (twice) and he’d have made it…

It was a great game and a real learning experience, the obvious mistake of the initial engagement aside my list gave Oli some real problems, and me some real opportunities. It still definitely feels like X-Wing on hard mode, but these ships are all the fun.

Torkhil only got to regen a shield once, but it made a difference in the game. With the likes of Miranda, permanently stressed Jake and a stress bot Jess there was no way that Oli was ever taking one of my ion tokens off me to get rid of the Discharger, but he did stay out of range one most of the time so I couldn’t get full use out of it either.

raptor and vipers

Guri is solid, I just need to remember that I have Expertise on her. Several times in the game I had to be given a friendly reminder it was there! But she does work well.

The star performer was Outmaneuver on Dalan, his ability means he is almost never in arc and to constantly remove a green dice is huge. As much as I’d like Fire control on him to make his damage output even passably more consistent the Advanced Sensors are way more helpful to the job he has to do. I will drop his EMP Device though. Glitterstim has long been my default illicit of choice and for that one turn of “action economy” that it provides I think it is a much better option for him.

Still lots of options to consider, Intensity high up on that list. It’s fair to say that while I’m not entirely happy with my flying of the HWK I do have an definite appreciation of how much it can influence games, it’s probably worth getting better with it. But as far as it goes with Guri and Dalan – I am getting feels…

starbuck and apollo drinking

In other news; Piers Horry, Ryan Davies and myself are on Cloud City Radios latest podcast looking back at our time representing Wales in the European Team Championships so if you have 90 minutes free go have a listen.

THE STAR VIPERS WILL RETURN!

If you’re looking for local tournaments then head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar and see what you can see.

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Battlestar Wars Galactica: I Thought We Were Sparring

I need to start of with an apology. It’s not a secret that I don’t like the Kylo crew card at all. However if my dislike of the card and it’s place in the game has in anyway impacted negatively on your enjoyment of flying what you enjoy then I am sorry. Just because I don’t understand why you enjoy it, it is entirely out of place for my opinion to be detrimental to your experience of X-Wing.

As I said at the end of the last post, I am moving on from Firespray’s because I don’t want me being so salty about something during a game that it affects my opponents enjoyment, and Kylo and the Sprays is just going to do that. If I have an equation that doesn’t work out then I need to change my part in the equation. And there is a whole world of spaceships out there to enjoy, with many more more coming soon.

pick a ship son

I’ve written previously about my excitement for the new Khiraxz and the new Star Viper titles. I’m unconvinced by how effective the Star Viper is, but it is definitely up there in term of the Rule of Cool. So that’s where I’m starting off in the post-Firespray world. I mean, with the Virago title a Viper can have both BMST AND Seismic Torpedoes right? That’s two of my favourite cards in the same place…

I’m not expecting the Star Viper to be great, sure it’s cheaper and on paper it’s dice stats are pretty handy. Three red dice, three green dice and 5 health on a ship that seems suited to arc dodging everywhere is really strong, but on first glance it has two major issues as a ship.

Firstly: I love the moves on the dial, what I struggle with is the lack of green on there for a ship that looks designed to dodge with, stress is fatal on them and they have very little way of clearing it.

flying drunk

Secondly: Natural PS, the highest is 7, not great. That’s 9 with VI on a ship that really needs some form of action economy, and not having action economy is an issue in the world today. However I do think that if they had a high natural PS, with the new barrel roll, they would be utterly broken straight, and no one wants another ship to complain about.

The conclusion of this is that either these are very bad arc dodgers or I have totally misunderstood their purpose!

apollo and starbuck.jpg

Well as ever google is a very helpful tool, it re-affirmed a comment made by someone on my last Star Viper themed post. The Viper is not an interceptor, it’s a heavy fighter, more in tune with the B-Wing, it’s meant to sit back and shoot things from range. So compared to a B-Wing it has an AMAZING dial. This would also explain why the ship can’t take an evade as a natural action, it’s not meant to be ridiculously dodging everything in sight, just everything at range.

All this means it doesn’t need a crazy good pilot skill, it’s intended play style is to sit back, make use of hit high agility/good firepower at range then rapidly re-deploy to another awkward angle. Now the ship and it’s intended play style make sense! Thank you internet for being useful!

It did however also say that that Star Vipers generally aren’t squadron ships. I’m flat out ignoring that bit. I like squadrons too much…

star viper redeployThe big question is, am I good enough to fly them? (I suspect that they most definitely fit the “X-Wing on hard” category, or the “why do you do this to yourself?” category) High PS alpha strikers and fast moving big base ships are going to be an issue because they unleash so much damage from such a great distance, which is where 3 agility, autothrusters and a focus token for defense are going to have to be a thing!

After a less than inspiring performance at UK Nationals my confidence isn’t particularly high, so as well as writing lists that look fun I have been looking at lists that could compete (which don’t feature a huge amount of Star Viper) but that’s not where I’m going to start.

Guri Prince Xizor Black Sun Assassin
Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink
Autothrusters Autothrusters Autothrusters
Star Viper MK2 Star Viper MK2 Star Viper MK2
Virago
Advance Proton Torpedoes
Fire Control System
Scavenger Crane

Mindlink as the EPT is option 1 as it is in almost every 3 ship Scum list, because it is simply the most efficient available. I did debate other options initially and have plenty more choices available should they be required but at the moment it’s got to be Mindlink.

I’m fairly confident in saying that things like Imperial Alpha Strikers, and fast moving big ships are simply not going to give this list he time to whither them down at range three, which will mean no jousting against big hitters. With no need for an initiative bid I do have plenty of points to spend on toys. As the bearded hero that is Filippo Bosi claims “real men spend all 100 points” I’m not sure he’s always right, but it is an amusing shout of bravado!

guri 6
In no way am I using my love of BSG and Star Wars to facilitate comparison between a blonde female android with a penchant for killing people and a blonde female android with a penchant for killing people. Number 6 and Guri have nothing in common.

Guri is the focal point of the list, she is able to be the focus generator in the list without need for an action and her ability means that the entire list can double focussed if need be. Having flown Fenn a lot that is a very useful trick.

I looked long and hard at Dalan Oberos, but the fact that his ability triggers a stress which in a Mindlink list is something you want to avoid if possible. I think that if I was going to use him then either Lone Wolf or Wired would be the first choice option, Lone Wolf because it works every turn where Wired only functions every other turn.

Xizor can take Advance Sensors, and my general rule of thumb is “if you can take advance sensors you take advance sensors” BUT at PS7 he is not working of perfect knowledge, so can still get it wrong, and ships like Nym will be able to adjust anyway with their re-position. The title makes him unpredictable enough with his barrel rolling to not need to zoom off, but most importantly Virago is MEANT to have a Fire Control System. The guys from the Carolina Krayts have some interesting opinions on Advance Sensors’s place in the game in Episode 30, worth a listen.

LEIA MEETS XIZOR

As ever there is always a bit of hobby when I get started on a new list, my Protectorate “Fang” Fighters are all painted up as Space Wolves, my Kihraxz are all painted as Nighlords…

 

So my Star Vipers get a Games Workshop inspired paint job, I’ve gone for an Imperial Fist inspired colour scheme. I’ve always had a soft spot for things that go into battle painted bright yellow.

Viper squadron assemebled

The issue I have for the next couple of weeks is I don’t have any tournaments to go to. (Not to mention that the expansion hasn’t been released yet so it’s not technically legal) So I’m going to have to get practice in on Vassal against some of my regular opponents to see how the list competes and to see if I can learn how to fly it. It’s a good place to start but I suspect there will be some fairly significant changes as I go.

Using a slightly different list I got a practice game in against Conor, he was using his TelJank and Ventress. Assaj is always going to be an issue for Mindlink lists, she can just mitigate so much damage with the stress control that she has and Latts. He also has Tel with all kinds of toys that made life very difficult. This Tel is one of the most amusing ships I’ve ever seen. Predator, Punishing One, Revenge Bot, Gonk, Black Market Slicer Tools, Experimental Interface, he’s a veritable tool box of “ways to be a pain in the arse.”

gonk tortured

It was a win to the big ships, but a great lesson in just how useful the Star Vipers could end up being. The re-positioning of that barrel roll is phenomenal, and time and again they ended up in a really annoying place, delivering some really good blocks or getting out of the intended firing arc. But they are fragile, even with three green dice and autothrusters.

In the early stages of the game I was definitely on top, but the consistent damage mitigation from Ventress just makes her so durable and swung the game in Conor’s favour. With some more practice flying the Vipers I think they could be better than I had previously given them credit for.

In playing around with various ideas I did come up with one ship in the last few days that made me laugh out loud at the sheer “what a bastard” level it attains.

  • Torkhil Mux
  • Ion Cannon Turret
  • 4-Lom
  • Pulse Ray Shield
  • Ion Discharger

29 points of being a right royal douchebag. I definitely have to get him on the table soon.

At my next tournament I’m going to be flying rebels, I should probably get some practice in with them at some point! But:

THE VIPERS WILL RETURN!

If you’re looking for local events then head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar to see what’s going on.

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Firespray 31: Just Once I’d Like Things to go According to the Gorram Plan.

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail” – Irritiating management slogan.

Irritating cause it’s so very true.

This isn’t the biggest event I’ve been to, in fact at around 280 people its only the 4th biggest but it is the one I feel most equipped for. Whether that translates to doing well or not is an entirely different matter. The Firesprays I took to Euros did well, 48th out of 350 was a pleasant surprise. That’s the top 14% or so. To make the cut at Nationals I’m going to need to get into the top 11.5%.

Han Fixes the Falcon.JPG

That’s only a 2.5% increase… in the last four months have I got 2.5% better? Well, I’ve flown a lot more stuff that’s for sure! The meta has changed. When I got the Firesprays ready for Euros they were geared to taking on Mindlink and Defenders, both of which are still a thing but no where near what they were. There are new monsters in the darkness waiting to take advantage of a couple of bounty hunters. New lists to take on, new challenges to prepare for.

I won’t take a list just because it is strong in the current Meta, that is not the way I play the game. Tweaking things to get more out of a list though, that is entirely acceptable.

C3PO and Padme

I have to say a big thank you to Oli Pocknell, in the build up to Nationals he and I have had 2 titanic sessions of Vassal looking at just how our lists are going to handle various challenges we know will be coming over the weekend. So much running and re-running scenarios late into the night to see what we can do to make up for the weaknesses in our lists. I’d also like to thank Ian Courtney for his input into the list, he’s come up with numerous suggestions (including the changes I have made) over the last few months, and I really appreciate his contribution.

As a result of this practice changes were made to my Euro lists for the first time since I finalised it months ago. Firstly and seemingly simply I have changed Guidance Chips on Boba for Long Range Scanners, secondly I have dropped the Concussion Missiles for Cluster Missiles. When I needed a range three threat against Defenders and Fenn Rau the Concussions and Chips were the right call, pushing damage onto them at range was imperative before they closed in.

However with the introduction of things like Nym and the rise of FSR close range damage is more likely to be an issue, so I have opted instead for cluster missiles and long range scanners.

smug fenn laments.png

Kath has long enjoyed the advantage of taking and evade every turn, and changing Boba’s build means that he is essentially able to do the same.

UK Nationals:

Boba Fett Kath Scarlet
Fearlessness Expertise
4-Lom Heavy Laser Cannon
Cluster Missiles Dengar
Long Range Scanners Black Market Slicer Tools
Slave 1
Glitterstim

I’ve beaten pretty much everything with these two on any given day, all I need to do is beat everything on one day. I’ve met plenty of the guys at this event before, I’ve played many of them, and I know how high the standard is going to be. I desperately want to get the Firesprays to day two and the top 32 cut, but I am well aware of how challenging this will be. Still, you gotta try right?

Pods and Things

I arrived early on Friday with fellow flyer Conor McNama, we went straigth into some of the 4 man pods. Played a lot of games, earned enough tickets to claim some regional dice, they look great, but they’re rolling over the weekend would not measure up to their blingyness. I also got a phenomenal limited edition templates set from the guys at Cog’O’Two, utterly beautiful piece of kit.

templates.jpg

The Main Event

It started with a beast of a game, Twiggy and I have played once before, at Euros, when we were both on 4-0. So this was a game neither of us hoped to see in round one, he’s a great opponent and a top bloke but I really didn’t want to have to play him this early in the tournament with Nymgar.

I made a mistake, a characteristically over aggressive move. I turned into the initial engagement with a pair of hard 3s, Twiggy played it right and was able to arc dodge Boba and torps him. Had I done what I originally planned and banked in 1 and 3 to keep my firing arcs wide then Dengar would have been in real trouble in the early game. But like all good opponents do Twiggy capitalised on my mistake and got an early lead in the damage race. All the while being really nice about it!

This positional error put me in a place where I had to trust in dice the following turn. Boba had two rerolls and glitterstim on his green and just needed to see a bit of paint on any one of four dice to be able to cluster Dengar in the flank. Of course they failed to do so. However this wasn’t the dice ruining my day, it was a direct result of my error the previous turn that put me in that situation, I shouldn’t have let myself be hoping on dice to stay in the match up.

He went on to win with Nym limping away on 3 health. Lesson learned be less aggressive.

boba long day.jpg
Game two was against a fine Scotsman named Chris who was flying Corran, Snap and Sabine in a Tie. I flew a full health Kath of the table, but I’m doing so BMST’d Corran to death and put Snap on one health. I was losing the game anyway, with Boba limping and Chris having two regenning ships on the table I simply couldn’t afford to have both of them in the end game.

Chris should have won this game, he should have run away with Snap and taken the win, but credit to him for being utterly sporting he played for the kill rather than just boosting around and regenning. Boba took a risk, ran stressed and engineered a range one joust. Chris could have boosted away but instead took it on. This time my dice rewarded my ballsy flying and between 5 hits and 4-Lom my opponent was left needing perfect dice. He didn’t get them.

If Corran had been around in the end game I would never have won it so Kaths earlier sacrifice (which admittedly massively trusted to luck) was worth it.

Lesson learned – If a sacrifice get you a win it’s heroic. If it doesn’t, it’s just bad flying.

young anaking

Game three was against another Scot (apologies I’ve forgotten your name, there were so many new ones over the weekend!) using the one list I didn’t want to see, and don’t ever want to see really, Kylo on RAC. It’s just miserable to play against with two big ships. But having had time to reflect I know I could have won this game. I got 10 damage onto RAC in a turn, then for some unknown reason blocked him. With dauntless this is stupid! It takes one of my guns out of the game and gives Kylo an obvious target for I’ll show you the Darkside. Had I flown away and kept 2 firing arcs on him I might have dropped him and gone on to win the game. He was only on 3 health but my utter distaste for Kylo crew and frustration at how he functions made me see red and I made mistakes. If he had to chose who to blind I could have gone onto win the game cause one ship would still have hurt him.

Lesson learned – blocking a ship that can take actions when it bumps is dumb. Don’t do it in future please….

Game three was against at Austen, who’s been out of the game a while. For reasons unbeknownst to both of us he elected to joust 2 firesprays with two T65 rookies. It ended how you might expect, as they went on to corner Dash and rip him to pieces. It was over in 15 minutes.

Austen looked at the table and simply said “why on earth did I do that”. It was brutal and uncompromising, but we’ve all been there and he was incredibly gracious in defeat.

porkings boom.png

Lesson learned – T65s can’t joust firesprays (That’s one for you Mr Cooper)

And onto game 5 against Andy, and another RAC with Kylo. Andy knows my distaste for Kylo, we’ve had the conversation before and was immediately apologetic for the match up. He’s a lovely guy to play against but bloody Kylo…

I put 15 damage on RAC in 3 shots… why do my Firesprays always pull a double damage and my opponents never seem to? Boba took a battering, RAC ran away. Vader killed Kath. The most ridiculous moment of the game was a range one shot from Vader, Palp nominated a crit. Vader rolls crit crit blank, which flips to a crit, then adds his ATC crit…. so…. that went well.

I got my initial engagement wrong, again put on tilt by my least favourite thing in the game, had I started on the back line I would have been able avoid getting clustered, had that happened Rac would have got a bit more hammered without reply as I pulled a solid block on RAC the following turn.

Kath had 3 green dice, RAC at range three with weapons s failure has 2. Kath was never beating Vader anyway, but surely Kylo was at last going to die… oh wait, no, she blanks out on one health and dies.

Kylo chats to Darth.jpg

Lesson learned: The best players in this game aren’t put off by things, if I have a mental block against something I need to think my way round it, not just default to baseless frustration.

My final game of the day though washed all the salt away. Getting to play against the UKs first ever national champion and legend of the game Craig Reed was just an utter pleasure.

Telgar vs The Sprays in an utterly bruising encounter. For me this game represented exactly what big ship x-wing is about. We utterly sledgehammered each other. The damage output from both lists was horrific. All four ships died in the game. Unfortunately Tel came back to life and finished Kath off, but what a game it was and such a privilege to play someone of Craig’s standing. As I said goodbye to him on the Sunday we agreed that next time we’ll try some more flying based ships! I look forward to that very much.
I finished up 186th with a 2-4 record. A couple of bad match ups that could have been avoided with some better flying in the first game… the butterfly effect in action. But I’ll take all that frustration with a smile cause of that game with Craig. Class.

Another reminder that what makes an great x-winger great is ability AND attitude. That game alone was worth the entrance fee of the event.

Hangar bay. Let the Jank begin!

Or not… it seems that hangar bay is rather serious nowadays, so Major Stridan and Kath got used a little less than I had hoped. I had a rough round, but did get to play reigning Yavin Champion Mishary Al Faris, much like Craig it was an absolute joy to play against him, an utter gent and I hope to get to play him again sometime.

His comment at the end of the game was “Why do you do this to yourself?” gesturing at the Firesprays, and he has a point. As much as I love what the Firespray should be: they aren’t what they should be (in my mind) it really is struggling in where the meta is right now and I can’t quite see how if fits in, they were great against the Fenn/Mindlink meta of a few months ago, but since the release of Nym and changes that have happened in the game in response to him the are markedly less useful.

So it is with heavy heart that I’m retiring them to the case for the time being and seeing what I can do next. They will come back at some point, it’s pretty inevitable, but I’m going off to see if I can make some other left field things work.

Slave-1 adios

A huge shout out to the guys from Esdevium Games who made the weekend happen, Mike Budd, Alex Thorne and the others behind the scenes for putting an incredible event together. And of course a massive thank you to Vince and his team of judges for their essential part in the event, you guys shape the character of these events and the spirit of the community so much more than you realise.

Finally a HUGE congratulations to Faan Langelaan for becoming UK National Champion, but an equally huge cheer for George Dellapina for his insane year of consistent flying, are there any major finals you’re not planning on being a part of?

Where do we go? Where do we go now?

I get so frustrated by endlessly seeming to be put against Kylo/RAC that it’s removing my enjoyment of the game, so I have to try something different because I don’t want to be that salty gamer moaning all the time. My philosophy of not wanting my opponent to be miserable while we game means that I have to take responsibility for my own enjoyment, if I’m having fun and keeping my toys in my pram then it’s likely that they will be enjoying the game more too. (so apologies for to those who suffered “gah” moments over the weekend as yet another Blinded Pilot card was dealt to me, I’m seeing a therapist and working on my issues…)

There are plenty of fun toys coming in the next few weeks/months, and thanks to Eclectic Games being awesome I was able to win a set of Guns for Hire that they bought over from Gencon, so that’ll be a fun place to start, so you can probably expect lots “interesting” ideas to appear as I try things out, and hopefully learn different to play in different way.

The next big event is the UKTC in October, which will see me teaming up with Graham and David from Zombie Squadron again, I think I’m meant to be playing rebels, it depends on whether a certain official document drops and has some of the rumoured changes in it that the interweb claims it has. We shall see what we shall see.

The future’s not set.

There’s no fate but what we make for ourselves.

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Firespray 31: You Know, You ain’t Quite Right.

Something  a bit different in this article, since I started writing this blog and and trying to get better at X-Wing I have had the privilege to go to some great events and learn from some great pilots. One of the things I love about the FFG organised play structure is that it is giving not only a great community  but a heritage within the game that I think is genuinely something we can learn from and be proud of. To that end I’m going to look through our (currently short history) of Majors here in the UK and look at how it ties into the evolution of the meta as FFG have given us more and more things to play with! I’m going to be as accurate as I can be, apologies if I’ve got anything slightly out of order.

han ben luke

The first three waves of X-Wing were all directly tied into the original trilogy, the only ship in those waves not to feature in the films was the HWK-290 which I remember from the computer game Dark Forces.

The first UK championship was won by Craig Reed in 2013. He played the 2014 winner Keith Wilson in an all tie fighter final. 13 ships on the table! Will we ever see the like again?

Keith Wilson won the UKs second National Championship, 32 players made the cut to day 2 (which was four rounds of swiss). They had qualified through local and regional championships. There were four rounds with a cut to the top 4. Keith won with a tie swarm.

  • Howlrunner – Stealth Device
  • Black Squadron Pilot – Draw Their Fire
  • 3 x Obsidian Squadron Pilots
  • 2 Academy Squadron Pilots

On his way through the event he beat decorated players like Duncan Callander and Craig Reed. 7 Tie Fighters eh? I’m sure that’ll never catch on. There was no crackshot here, that wouldn’t appear until wave 6, which was the wave that Scum appeared as a faction and the galaxy changing Autothrusters came about. Autothrusters were monumental as they help sell the Star Viper…. and more importantly elevated Soontir Fel to the upper echelons of the game, but before that there was the era of the Phantom.

Tie Phantom

I wasn’t playing at this point so can only comment from hearsay but apparently turning up with Echo and Whisper to a tournament with a 20 point bid was a perfectly legitimate list and it eventually bought about the first famous nerf that FFG would produce in an FAQ. It’s easy  to see how these two ships would run riot if they didn’t have to reveal their decloak until it came time to move!

The next UK Nationals in 2015 was a somewhat bigger affair, with 118 people playing. It was won by a certain Mr Jesper Hills of the one hundred and eighty six squadron with a couple of IG-2000s, it’s safe to say that a fair few people have tried that list out since then. Jespers list was built around good action economy, consistent damage output and resilient ships, so the things that any good list should have wrapped into it. Making good use of the strong green dial on the IG and the ability to Push the Limit off Advanced Sensors.

The meta at this time though was dominated by the aforementioned Soontir Fel, generally accompanied by Palpatine on a shuttle making him virtually unkillable alongside either Darth Vader of Carnor Jax. The Imperial Aces box allowed him to take both autothrusters and either a stealth device or a targeting computer depending on how you wanted to kit him out. Bombs really weren’t a part of the meta at this point, and TLTs didn’t exist. The supreme arc dodging Baron was phenomenal in his heyday.

Soontir debrief

Between 2015 and 2016 the game took on some dramatic turns, wave 7 and 8 appeared bringing Miranda and the Punishing One, two ships that have gone on to be fairly dominant in the meta since. Wave 7 gave the game the TLT, something that bought a resurgence in the effectiveness of turret ships like the Y-Wing. Seb Brady still hasn’t quite got passed this fixation…

Miranda was good in 7 but became great in wave 8 when Sabine Crew came along and made bombs reliable. Wave 8 gave everyone else the Jumpmaster 5000. In the USA it was twin Jumpmasters (Dengaroo) that would go on to win the World Championships not only in 2015 but also, much to fellow Zombie Ian’s surprise, in 2016.

grafitti sabine

Miranda’s presence, and consistent damage output from bombing, often combined with the evergreen Dash Rendar (who always has and always will be brilliant… because he ignores the rules of the game) pretty much killed off Soontir Fel and the fragile Interceptor, and while almost everyone I know wishes he could once again be great the state of the game has evolved to a place where we will never see the return of the king.

In the UK Duncan Callander won the 2016 national championships with triple dead eye contracted scouts, beating Ben Lee (another of those 186th chaps)  who was flying Whisper and Oicun in the final. This event would also introduce the second great nerf in the game, Deadeye got made small ship only.

we flew too close

2016 saw the advent of the Open Series, this was my first major event and as far as I know remains the biggest event in X-Wing history. 414 players descended on Birmingham, and played X-Wing… a lot of X-wing. my day one was somewhat ignominious but the eventual winner (and ANOTHER 186th member) was Andrew Pattison with a ties swarm… 7 tiefighters… where have we seen that before? This was my first big event, it did not go as well as I had hoped…

TIE_Defender_SotG

We got the Imperial Veterans pack and Wave 9 between the two UK Yavin opens, the first giving us the Tie X-7 Title for the Defender, which instantly elevated the ship from a “I own one but never use it” ship to a terror on the tables. One of the most difficult ships to kill in the game. Two defenders combined with Palpatine in a Shuttle was a match for anything, well almost…

I'm Fenn Rau

The introduction of Fenn Rau in Wave 9 sent waves through the game, as what appeared to be an almost unkillable small base monster appeared. But it was a combination of Fenn, Manaroo and Ventress that became known as Parattanni (created by Maciej Paraszczak) that came to dominate the meta in a way that nothing has before or since. I still think this is the finest example of list crafting that I have ever seen in X-Wing.

Mike Dennis of the 186th took it to the 2017 Yavin Open… he played 9 rounds and 7 mirror matches… 370 players came to contest the second Yavin Open (personally I’m very excited for Yavin 4) I was among them and did even worse than I did the year before, but I did fall in love with the Firespray at this event, and where I decided to try the whole blogging thing…

mirror matches.jpg

The final of Yavin 2017 between Paratanni and Herogator flown by Mishary Al-Faris and Cal Jones (Heragator’s creator) respectively saw two very tired gamers take each other on for one of the most prestigious titles in the X-Wing world. It was won by Mishary flying Parattanni, who also now sports one of those 186th T-Shirts.

In the States Expertise from the U-Wing set revitalised the (not exactly in need of revitalising) Jumpmaster and it was two Jumpmasters that would go on to do rather well, this time though it was the combination of Dengar and Tel that went on to win things in style.

The next major event in the UK was the inaugural European Championship. Between the Yavin Open and the Euros the biggest nerf of them all happened. In response to the dominance of Parattanni and Tie Defenders big changes were made that did big damage to the dominant lists. They were still good, but somewhat more challenging to use than they previously had been, Parattanni and Palp Defenders are still tough lists, just not all conquering. George “Rasta” Dellapina won the event with a deliberately “left of centre” list with Leebo and Miranda created by his son Simeon.

kylo ren.png

Since then we have had Wave 10 and 11 land. The most notable addition from Wave 10 being the Kylo Ren Crew card, a mechanic that in one 3 point card gave Imperials an incredibly strong option for taking control in a meta dominated by 2 ship builds.

The emergence of Captain Nym in wave 11 saw him become a top table monster almost over night. Biggs, the most constant of rebel ships got a furry friend and the Four Ship Rebel build became even more unkillable than it had been previously. We are very much in the first season that these ships have been tried and tested. So far they are certainly having an impact.

Agile nym

All of which brings us to the 2017 National championship this weekend coming with around 280 people going to Liverpool to see who can get to that final table. Major events are awesome, and I suspect this one is going to continue that trend.

The Meta has and will continue to evolve, facebook will be full of comments about things being overpowered and needing a nerf. History shows us that FFG will nerf things that are detrimental to the health of the game. The community grows, the game grows and Star Wars gets ever more popular. We have already created an exciting past, who knows what the future holds?

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Firespray 31: Haven’t You Killed Me Enough for One Day?

Another double header weekend, this time a hangar bay style event (with tweaks) at Eclectic Games in Reading, and a Q3 kit at Incom Gaming in Cheltenham, two venues I have visited before and had a lot of fun at.

The Tournament at Eclectic is a 40th Anniversary event (I suspect my last one of the year, surely everyone has run them now!) and to celebrate the rules of the event are that ships must have featured in the original trilogy. You can take whatever upgrades you want but ship selection is limited. That’s ok, I can take the Firesprays.

Vader and Boba Discuss Reading

Boba Fett Kath Scarlet
Fearlessness Expertise
4-Lom Dengar
Glitterstim Black Market Slicer Tools
Concussion Missiles Heavy Laser Cannon
Guidance Chips
Slave One

The second provisio is that the event is a twist on Hangar Bay. Whichever player has the lowers ranking chooses which list their opponent uses, however they cannot fly a list of the same faction against it. I really like the format.

So I need a second list, ideally one that people won’t choose so I can practice with the sprays. Why hello there Palp Aces… No one likes flying against them do they! (Well that’s my theory, I’m taking them with the express hope that no one makes me play with them!)

Palpatine

I’ve never flown Palpatine before, and would kind of like to avoid it if possible, but in an event like this Soontir could be king again! I used to fly Soontir and Carnor a lot, first with Omega Leader and then with the Inquisitor (cause whichever way you look at it Omega Leader is a Dick) so getting my Ace on again as a special event sounds fun.

Soontir Fel Carnor Jax Omicron Group Pilot
Push The Limit Push The Limit Emperor Palpatine
Royal Guard Tie Royal Guard Tie
Stealth Device Stealth Device
Autothrusters Autothrusters

When we were unpacking our ships in the morning it was quite an interesting experience. I don’t think I have ever seen so many YT-1300s in my life. 19 players and many of them had bought two Falcons. Two friends had bought my Firesprays with them, Darth Vader and a host of the old guard of Imperial list were there.

Game one was ropey with the Firesprays scraping past Luke and Han with a 100-76 win, but from there the day got smoother. It was such a fun event and was a stark reminder of how the meta has change with the addition of bombs and a host of other elements to the game that FFG have bought in. However… Soontir OMG he was amazing! He probably did need to be a bit less potent (maybe not as impotent as he has become) because in the meta at this event he was monstrous.

defending the death star
Soontir lands a killer blow on one of the MANY MANY TY-1300s in attendance. Goddam I miss him. Can I Fly Soontir & Fenn in the same list please? They’re both Nym fodder but so much fun.

Sorry Andy
Andy Ballingall took a rather familiar list against me, Kath died first & then Boba got blocked to death. 4 naked dice from Soontir with Palp adding crits for two turns saw the bounty hunter drop before he and Palpatine would have flown off the table the following turn.

sorry sketch
In a flurry of destructive firepower Robert & Katherine blew up two BlackCracks before they could get to shoot in the initial joust. The combo of Boba re-rolls & Glitterstim saw him only lose two shields. Sketch Drayton’s green dice needed to be hotter as the Sprays chewed through 7 Tie Fighters in 5 turns.
I flew the Sprays twice and the Imperials three times, resulting in a grand total of 5 wins to top the event and win the fantastic top prize of  copy of Guns For Hire that the awesome guys from Eclectic had bought over from Gencon! The plan had been to fly the Sprays as often as possible, but in the meta of the event the aces were irresistible. If anyone out there is running events and wants to use a truly enjoyable format then I would highly recommend this one.

IMG_5870

And that was Saturday! For Incom on Sunday distractions happened during the week:

My adventure with Ketsu a couple of weeks back has stuck in my mind and I’ve wanted to give the Shadow-Caster another spin ever since. So I got distracted… again… The meta has moved on, it’s not like Ventress and Ketsu are everywhere nowadays. I go to a lot of tournaments and I don’t see them nearly as much as I used to!

shadow caster

My first port of call for looking at them as a list was Tom Reed, he did do rather well with them at worlds in recent history (top 16) so figured his opinion on the matter is worth asking. Tom is a defensively minded player, I am more aggressive. We could take identical lists and fly them totally differently.

Tom’s Worlds List (99)

Asajj Ventress Ketsu Onyo
Push the Limit Push the Limit
Glitterstim Glitterstim
Latts Razzi Dengar
Gyroscopic Targetting Engine Upgrade
Shadow-Caster

Tom flew this list when Aces and Defenders were big parts of the meta and ran me through how he used to approach games with it, and everything in the list makes perfect sense.

Ventress vs Ahsoka

The one point initiative bid was worth it in the meta Tom was flying in as the pilot skills he was running up against were very similar and having a point bid would at least have given him the potential for a dice off for initiative. But now the meta is somewhat different with PS8 and 9 actually being relatively low, and more and more PS10 and 11 based lists emerging. PS6 and 7 just don’t need a bid of any kind anymore.

I tired Fearlessness last time out, it was super strong when being aggressive especially with multiple firing arcs, and I am very familiar with the brilliance of Expertise, but the consistency of Push the Limit means it is still among the best elite pilot talents on offer. I can’t find a reason that it isn’t the best option available to me. The dial has as much green as you could wish for on a big ship and the ship wants to be doing multiple actions a turn. Being able to take a focus and evade every turn just works! It works on everything and makes the ship stronger both in attack and defense.

LattsRazziI can’t really fault the crew choices either. Dengar I know and love from my time with Kath and having played against Latts countless times I know just how stupidly useful she is. I think everyone knows! If I wanted to be more aggressive then a K4 Security Droid would be a great shout but I know how fast 10 health 2 agility ships can melt under focussed fire. If only they could have two crew… and be three points cheaper.

The gyroscopic is brilliant, it might give an indicator of where you’re going next turn but in regards to action economy you can’t not take it. Again I can’t take issue Tom’s use of engine upgrade, Ketsu is less likely to be moving her mobile arc, and I found out when flying her that the boost option would have come in handy multiple times. The Shadow-Caster title is in the right place too, put it on the ship that shoots first!

So what would I change? Nothing, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, but I would add something. I have a point free, and and two illicit slots available. So I can only fill one of them. The options are:

  • Inertial Dampners: I’ll probably be running stressed thanks to push the limit, so not moving, losing actions and getting a second stress probably aren’t the best options.
  • Rigged Cargo Chute: I love it, it’s hugely useful and at low PS can be totally brilliant. But I don’t think I want clutter on the table, fast moving big ships don’t really enjoy obstacles, and ultimately it would just help Dash… who seems to be everywhere at the moment.
  • Black Market Slicer Tools: I love them. They remove a stress, cause a damage and are a huge deterrent to ships with push the limit from pushing the limit, but Latts wants people stressed to keep Ventress alive so removing it,while damaging might not always be the best idea.
  • Burnout Slam: The final option. The greatest strength of the Lancer is that is is fast, but it is also fairly predictable, something that can make it faster and less predictable is an improvement on the ship, even it if is only one use only.

If I could I’d have double glitterstim on both of them because it is my favourite illicit upgrade by miles. Alas I can’t crowbar more in, so a burnout slam gets given to Ventress. Ketsu already has the facility to boost so is fast enough already.

ketsu sabine

All in all this makes my “different play style” list not exactly different to Tom’s original design. I just don’t need a bid in this meta.

Asajj Ventress Ketsu Onyo
Push the Limit Push the Limit
Glitterstim Glitterstim
Latts Razzi Dengar
Gyroscopic Targetting Engine Upgrade
Burnout Slam Shadow-Caster

On the Sunday morning with an hour before needing to get in the car and go I was torn between whether to fly the Sprays or give the ShadowCasters a proper run and see if I can love them. Both options were in the case but my connection with Firespray 31, not only as a gaming piece but emotionally really made it a tough call on what to fly. I get that the ShadowCaster could well be the better ship in the current game state, and if you read regularly you’ll know that I am a big fan of all things from the cartoon Rebels…

But they’re not Firesprays!

The seed of doubt thrown in was would one tournament be enough practice for nationals with expectation to actually do well? (clearly not, I’m no Pete Wood, that’s the kind of thing he does) But the more important questions was what makes me happier to fly? What do I love more? I imagine you can guess the answer to that question, it is after all why I started writing in the first place.

Biggs NOI play to win, but winning and not flying something I love seems hollow. My concern with the Firesprays is the inevitable FSR (which I have no time for as a list, it seems to be anti-X-wing X-wing) and how they would handle it. The ShadowCasters have a lot more tricks for dealing with it, but if I let the need to win dictate how I approach the game then I have missed the point of X-Wing.

I have long held the opinion that just as both players are responsible for maintaining the game state, both players are responsible for making sure that their opponent is enjoying the game. There are certain things in the game that have detracted from my enjoyment of the game, ergo I will not use them. You’ll never see me running Genius Nym, Biggs, Kylo Crew, TLTs… Which doesn’t mean I don’t want to win every game 100-0.

So it was that the Firesprays came out of the case when we arrived in Cheltenham.

It didn’t start well, my first match was against one of the things I find most frustrating in the game. RAC with Kylo, but in fairness to Toby we was trying something interesting with it, most important among which was Kath Scarlet of the Imperial persuasion so that was a thumbs up straight away. The issue I have had and will always have with Kylo crew when flying two ships is that the second that first crit lands it’s just a matter of time before the game end in defeat. Toby is very good at rolling crits, despite his list being designed to push through crits, he didn’t really have any need to use his modification. However in his later games in the day his great crit rolling did continue as he critted himself on a debris field in each subsequent game! When you’re hot you’re hot!

Kylo Rants at Rey

The next three games in the tournament went considerable better, game two against my travelling companion Conor. His twin YT-1300s and my twin Sprays have run into each other many times before, and to say the mutual damage output is ridiculous doesn’t cover it. I got the key damage through on Chewie and once it was two Firesprays against Rey it was a big ask for Conor to turn it round, in searching for that miracle Rey edged herself of the table, giving me a somewhat fortuitous win by more MOV than I deserved. Had he landed the sloop then I have little doubt that mutual destruction and final salvo would have been the outcome.

Boba blowing things up
We Came, We Saw, We Blew Stuff Up
My last two games were against Chris Chivers and Palp Defender and a gent who’s name eludes me at the moment. Chris and I tore chunks out of each other, but when defenders want to joust Firesprays the damage vs health leans in favour of the bounty hunters. The final game was a hunt for three low PS scum ships, (Zuckuss, Cavil and a basic Scurgg) and once again the consistent damage output of the Firesprays did the job with ruthless efficiency.

I finished up 3-1 and coming third and having a rather enjoyable day all round. The burritos they get in for events at Incom really do help.

For the weekend I went 8-1. Admittedly most of the lists I flew against weren’t what you’d consider top table Meta lists, but there were some really good pilots among my opponents. I’ll dose my achievements with a heavy load of realism, but it was a great weekend of gaming with some quality people.

So now it really is the count down to Nationals, and I cannot wait!

THE FIRESPRAYS WILL RETURN!

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

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The X-Philes: Reputation? I have a Reputation?

So with two weeks to go to a 250+ person event which I’m flying Firesprays at I may have got distracted. Last week at ibuywargames’ bank holiday Monday tournament I saw Henry Westcott flying a rather tasty Poe which got me thinking about intensity. A few days later the thoughts turned into a list and the list decided it needed trying and so I had to bench the firesprays and try out some untested jank this week because I am a somewhat compulsive human being. Practicing the firesprays should be the order of the day, but I want to do silly things with boosts and barrel rolls!

EPIC BOBA2

Henry’s Poe build has been stolen without shame. He flies him very well with Rey, but I think it is safe to say that I won’t be flying a falcon anytime soon, and certainly won’t be flying Rey. Which means I’m looking at other rebel ships to fly that make me happy.

Poe Dameron (PS9) – 41 Points

  • Intensity
  • BB-8
  • Primed Thrusters
  • Black One
  • Autothrusters

Biggs NO

I am somewhat limited for options as there aren’t really that many rebels I actually enjoy flying. As much as I want the T65 to put me in a happy space it just doesn’t in game terms. But T70s… they kinda do, they make me happy. If they had 3 agility then I’d be even happier.

The theme I’m going for is as much Intensity as possible so I’m looking at ships that will work well with it and in the T70 the second best candidate after Poe is definitely Mr “Snap” Wexley. I looked at him when I was flying all kinds on nonsense with Daredevil, and that build was really entertaining. Free boost to flip intensity on a range 2,3 or 4 move? It’d be rude not to right?

So I looked at what I can do to make him work better. Initially I went for Comm Relay, take an evade early on and save it, it’s a legitimate choice, but it restricts his options once the dog-fighting begins. Talon Rolls are a thing y’know.

Next I looked at Primed Thrusters, Poe is running it so why not on both? Well, Snap can boost if he’s stressed which helps but then he can’t do an action after his free action because of the stress. Which means that option isn’t one I’m goingt to pursue.

Pattern Analyzer though, now you’re talking. He can Talon/K then perform a free boost, flip intensity for a token, then take an action before getting stressed. At last we have a winner on the tech slot.

Points are going to be an issue with a 41 point Poe and a currently 34 point Snap. The astromech has to be an economical choice and the very useful generic R2 is hard to fault. He’s going to be K/Taloning a fair bit so it gives plenty of choices for clearing stress. As I think I have said before if you can take Autothrusters, you should take Autothrusters, they are an unbelievable economical upgrade.

“Snap” Wexley – 35 points

  • Intensity
  • R2
  • Pattern Analyzer
  • Autothrusters

The list now has 2 ships that are each essentially doing 3 actions a turn without getting stressed and weighs in at 76 points. In my head there is only one ship that can fit in with this crazy action economy and points cost in the Rebel stable that I can see and that is everyone’s favourite Mandalorian: Sabine Wren.

boba eh

I used to run this Sabine with Push the Limit but it required having crew like Kanan around to clear any stress she might incur.

Taking Intensity on Sabine is an obvious choice, the Attack Shuttle is too expensive to put any decent upgrades on with this list, as much as I’d love those three red dice, so I’m going for my favourite version, the one in the stolen Tie Fighter. Everyone knows that tokenless Tie Fighters die really fast, so that is going to be the first obstacle to overcome, Recon Spec to give two focus tokens, an evade from the barrel roll or boost so she should be good with 3 tokens.

Sabine with Kanan

I debated taking Rey crew because she’s cheaper than a Recon Specialist but too often I have seen her run out of focus tokens at the most inopportune time. Having to spend a focus to flip Intensity and have another one to put on Rey for the next turn just means that plan is doomed, she is going to spend tokens staying alive every turn!

Rec Spec is more expensive but more consistent in this build. The final upgrade is a stealth device to give a better chance for survival against all the big turrets going on in the world right now. Sure it won’t help against Nym but everything else (that’s not a bomb) it could be pretty useful against.

Sabine Wren – 24 points

  • Intensity
  • Sabine’s Masterpiece
  • Stealth Device
  • Recon Specialist

All this gives us three ships that can all perform multiple actions every turn without getting stressed, but no initiative bid for Poe unfortunately. The only options I really have that can be changed are the Stealth Device or the Rec Spec and I don’t want to do that…

fenn and kanan

Jake is an option for this list too but once the Prockets have gone his primary weapons are largely reserved for scratching paint work, but he does this at considerably more cost than Sabine does.

Poe Dameron (PS9) “Snap” Wexley Sabine Wren (TIE)
Black One R2 Intensity
BB-8 Intensity Recon Specialist
Intensity Autothrusters Stealth Device
Autothrusters Patter Analyzer Sabine’s Master Piece
Primed Thrusters

intensity pic.jpg

The tournament at ibuywargames could have been called the “Dale Cromwell Cup”… With three of the fourteen lists bearing a striking resemblance to the one he did so well at the French Nationals last week with. If it features in the same strength at UK nationals there could be over 50 high PS alpha striking imperial lists at the event… ouch.

The truly shocking thing is that there were only 2 Rebel and 3 Scum lists. Where the hell has the meta gone? It was just plain weird. 9 Imperial lists out of 14… Imperials are rubbish right?

MS4

It’s important that before reporting a 0-4 performance I do emphasise how much fun this list is! The movement options are staggering, if you like FLYING ships rather than playing cards then I recommend having a go with it. If only all the ships were PS11 then it would be most ridiculous list I have ever come up with.

Unfortunately they’re not all PS11 and there are some issues with the build, which come more from the current game state than the actual ships I’m flying. Of the four games I played 3 were straight up dogfights against Imperials which featured a generally higher pilot skill, which mean that no matter how unpredictable my flying was there were barrel rolls everywhere to leave my firing arcs devoid of things to shoot at. But every single one of these games was a bit of a thrill to play and hugely thematic.

calvin and star wars

The other game I played was against everyone’s “favourite” petulant brat, the totally not unbalanced Kylo Ren. I knew the second it was announced that Vader and Kylo were my second game I was going to lose it. I had a good go, I killed the Sith Lord (eventually) but just couldn’t over come the PS10 battering ram of ruthless efficiency that is RAC. The presence of a PS10 Kylo, Gunner and Hotshot Co-pilot is really not a good combination for Intensity and 2 agility ships…

Ibuy scores 020917
A really strong field, a really bad day for the Rebellion.

There were some dice, some moments when I should have evaded and some fantastic dogfighting which was great fun, but here is my problem with intensity:

NO TARGET LOCKS

You have to token up to keep the Intensity flipping, especially with lower PS that your opponents, so taking locks is generally never done. The only ship I would really rate it on is Sabine (with the rec spec) but she comes equipped with a primary paint scratcher. Poe and Snap would probably have fared better with Push the Limit, but then they wouldn’t have had evades and would have died faster!

For the most part I enjoyed the games because I loved what I was flying, but it was the final nail in the coffin of any ambitions to take the X-Wing to Nationals in two weeks time. (still time to buy a ticket!)

Away from the games, the dice and the pinch of salt there was a great day had with a really high standard of gamer present.

During the week I got a deliver the most exquisite alt art card I have ever seen. Sure I’ve a soft spot for gamer bling in general but this is a different level of absolutely beautiful:

All Wings Fenn Rau It’s (limited edition) available from All-Wings who you can follow on Instagram (@all-wings) and Facebook. If you want to see some serious talent and lovely artwork then I’d recommend checking them out. Their limited run cards aren’t cheap but they are bloody gorgeous! (Kath please!)

While we’re on the topic of artistic talent: I was left with a severe “hhhnnnnnngg” moment at seeing George Dellapina’s Boba paint job this week.

And finally, if you haven’t seen the second trailer for Rebels Season 4 then you should probably go and do that… unless you haven’t seen seasons 1-3, then you should definitely go and watch that first.

THE FIRESPRAYS WILL RETURN!

(baring any distractions that appear)

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Firespray 31: You Can’t Take the Sky From Me

Barely have my feet touched the ground from the team event in Woking on Saturday and it’s off to Big Orbit in Evesham for a Q3 kit on Sunday, then it’s back to Woking and  ibuywargames on Monday for the now traditional bank holiday tournament.

Boba Fett Han Helmet

They’re back, the two dragons that I love so much. Last time I flew them I wasn’t feeling it particularly, but we’re now very much in countdown mode for Nationals, and despite trying with the X-Wing idea, I just couldn’t make it work for me, certain ships match a certain mentality and whilst I found I have a real affinity with Poe I can’t quite find a way to build a list around him with other X-Wings.

MS9So it’s back to what I know best, these five remaining events before the big one should give me enough practice with them in the Wave 11 Meta that will inevitably be rife at Nationals (go buy a ticket!).

Nationals could well end up being some crazy number of games so I want something I can fly well, not over complicate and more importantly not lose my brain flying! The Sprays have done me proud time and again and I trust them against nearly all comers. I’ve said it before and I still think it stands true, they really don’t have many bad match ups and unlike some lists I’ve flown recently they don’t have any match ups “unwinnable”.

daenerys-dracarys.png

An added bonus is that game time tends to be fairly short as one way or another hull disappears when they turn up!

Boba Fett Kath Scarlett
Fearlessness Expertise
4-Lom Dengar
Concussion Missiles Heavy Laser Cannon
Guidance Chips Black Market Slicer Tools
Glitterstim
Slave One (pointless and obligatory)

Kath comic
I was having a chat the other day with Alex, James and Mike from the 186th about Firesprays and jank in general. We talked about practice, list development and “getting betterer” at flying things. One of the points raised was about twin Shadow-Casters being a more effective version of the Firesprays which they probably are, but are they as cool?

Nym EPT rageIn terms of lists I enjoy flying as much the only other real option is my triple Protectorate list but unfortunately there are just too many things that make them cry at the moment, and I really don’t want to go through the next few blogs just getting annoyed by Nym and Miranda. I mean that could well happen anyway but I don’t want to start writing about prepping for a major event KNOWING that it’s going to happen…

Evesham is a long drive from where I live so I have stayed a friends house on the way, much appreciated Captain Conor McNama. I’m hoping to visit more places around the country in the coming months because I love seeing X-Wing EVERYWHERE and visiting people is cool.

Kath Case
I got given a case with my favourite ship in the game on it. SO COOL!

It’s my first visit to Big Orbit and a small 8 man tournament seems a good place to start my re-adjustment to the sprays.

It’s only three rounds and I won the first two games pretty quickly (in less than 40 minutes combined) losing only half points on Boba in both games. Then in the final I play Martin Wilks with his brilliantly devised 3 Scurrgs and 2 Z95s list. Thirty-eight health on five small based ships is no joke, the opening engagement sees me drop one of the Scurggs to one health, but when the crit flipped over it wasn’t a double damage, so the bugger survived.

Had that ship died then I might have been able to swing the game in my favour. The trade of damage was too much and he used his Boba crew to take Kath’s expertise. He flew it very well and it was great to see a Scurgg’s that I didn’t want to smash with a hammer straight away!

Rey dies to sprays!
Finally, after months and months and months of trying I got Rey with the Sprays and got her good! Fearlessness Boba in the front and Kath’s rear arc ripper her apart.

On the drive back I got to thinking about the list and ways I can further maximise it’s potential. I think as two sprays go I have it as refined as I can make it. So it might be worth playing around with other options to see if I can get to the next level. James Dowdall’s thoughts about the Lancer came into the conversation Conor and I had. We played a couple of VERY quick games and I decided I had to try it out against some other competition to see if I can get it working.

So for the tournament on Monday this will be my list:

Ketsu Onyo Kath Scarlett
Fearlessness Expertise
K4 Security Droid Dengar
Gyroscopic Targetting Heavy Laser Cannon
Rigged Cargo Shute
ShadowCaster

Ventress points.png

At range one Ketsu is dishing out just as much damage as Boba, she might not have the survivability of the Fett at range one with all his re-rolls and the glitterstim but she can double tractor beam things which means that the potential damage output of both ships jumps up massively. In a tester game Rey took 9 points of damage in a turn before crumbling the next turn! Plus it means an actual member of the Firefly crew is in my list.

Infront of the shadow caster

Twenty players for a bank holiday tournament is about standard at Ibuywargames these days, and it was a really strong field.

The ladies went 3-2 for me, and I can very much see the potential of Ketsu, when she gets it right she is absolutely fantastic. But she’s a lot harder to get right than I had envisaged she would be. A bit more practice and maybe I could see do well with her, but I rarely got her ability to trigger, more often than not I ended up with front and rear arcs firing…  now where have I seen that before? I enjoyed flying her more than I thought I would but not more than Boba.

The two ships did put out some fearsome damage, especially with that tractor beam token kickin in, but she’s not Mr Fett. That stupidly fast green dial doesn’t work for how I am used to playing. I just want to joust all the time and that dial just doesn’t let you!

There are some other highlights from the day to mention. First congratulations to Martyn Chivers, he’s made it 1-6 against me in tournaments with an all Tie FO list that we came up with during the week and I have lost my perfect record against him.

Secondly I have to mention Pete Woods spectacular flying of five PS1 Tie interceptors with autothrusters. For Yavin a couple of years ago Pete and I had talked about the list, I ended up going with Adapt/Crack A-Wings, but he flew the Interceptors Brilliantly today. And went 4-1 with them finishing second in a meta full of 5 dice alpha strikers, bombers, big turrets, which is bonkers.

ibuy2
Latts was working over time as Ventress was blocked time and time again by the swarm of Interceptor, but even the excessive stress removal evades that the K turning Imperials were giving her wasn’t enough to stop the inevitable.

And finally from today a massive well done to my travelling companion for this weekend Conor McNama for getting his first ever tournament win with Rey and Chewie. Blocking and bludgeoning his way to 5-0 with the twin YTs.

Rey Chewbacca
Millenium Falcon HOTR A Score To Settle
Expertise Chopper
Finn
Kanan Jarrus

After a weekend of gaming I have enough of the new crackshot cards to do an A-Wing crack swarm and the Q3 focus tokens, I’m back in love with the firesprays but will at some point have to try the Lancer again. The supposition that the Lancer is “what the Firespray should be” used to be one I agreed with, but now I know it is a totally different animal to fly, and I genuinely don’t think it’s a better ship.

Boba and Slave 1

That’s enough about firesprays and Lancers for now. Before I go a big shout out to fellow X-Wing traveler, funny man and all round top bloke Dale Cromwell for his performance at the French Nationals, he finished 11th in Swiss with his alpha striking Imperials: Vader, Quickdraw and Kestrel before making the top four! Awesome result for one of the nicest people I’ve met playing the game in the last few months.

Darth Vader Quickdraw Lieutenant Kestrel
Veteran Instincts Veteran Instincts Veteran Instincts
Cruise Missiles Cruise Missiles Cruise Missiles
Tie X1 Special Ops Training Autoblaster Turret
Guidance Chips Guidance Chips Guidance Chips
Advanced Targetting Computer Targetting Synchronizer

It’s great to see “the other ship” from wave 11 being used and doing well!

THE FIRESPRAYS WILL RETURN!

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

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The X-Philes: I’m Done Chasing Monsters in the Dark

The first of two posts this bank holiday weekend, and it’s a team event in preparation for the UK Team Championships (UKTC) that are coming in October. The event is being hosted by Zombie Squadron and supported by Ibuywargames.

zombie squadron

After the European Team Championships I have a developed a real taste for team X-Wing, the format is far simpler here than it is in the ETC but still takes some thinking through.

Each team is made up of three players, each player must use a different faction. No unique cards can be used in multiple lists, so Boba could only feature as a Scum or Imperial variant, not both.

Lists add together to give a cumulative initiative bid for deciding match ups. The team with the lowest points score chooses to select the first match up or the second match up. If they pick the first match up then the opposing team gets to decide the second (and therefore the third) so both options are really strong depending on what you bring and what you are playing. Once pairings are decided it then becomes a normal game of X-Wing just with a cumulative score at the end of the round.

Zombie Squadron has produced three teams for the event, I am in one with David Robinson (Imperials) and Graham Gibbon (Scum) which means that I am playing with rebels. Unlike the format of the ETC where throwing one list under the bus so that the other 5 might benefit resources are slightly more limited here, the luxury of a specialist list like my Corran and Poe build could well be liability in this format, it is very, very good against some things but against certain things it is really going to struggle.

tortured poe

Which leaves me with choices to make:

  • Nym: I’m not really a fan, brilliant against some thing (me generally) but decidedly average against others
  • Dash: I’m so bored of seeing YT-2400’s on the table at the moment, I’m not going to bring another one
  • FSR, FSR2: I want to enjoy my games at the event, and give my opponent a chance at enjoying them too
  • Miranda: I’m just not good enough with K-Wings. For all the power of Miranda I still find her one of the trickiest ships to play with in the game
  • A-Wing Crackswarm: So very tempted to get these out again, I love the list, but right now there is just too much in the game that will make them cry
  • Rey: There a “one or two” incidents in the past where I “might” have said how frustrating I find her…

After weighing up what would suit and what takes on all comers well I’ve decided to go for a Falcon option. It’s not something I’ve flown in competition before but I have flown against, and lost to it plenty of times. But I’m not going with Rey, I just can’t quite stomach flying her after all the runs ins I’ve had over the last few months, and how frustrating I’ve found her. I am well aware how good she is, especially with her standard build, but I’m just not going to fly her! Sure I’m probably cutting off my nose to spite my face but…

rey fixes the falcon

I’ve decided to go for Han, the young variety.

Because he’s Han.

Personally I think that’s justification enough.

young han

Looking at the build I’ve gone for I think he should be very interesting in the current meta. At PS11  with an engine upgrade ships like Nym are not going to find it so easy to pin him down and just put damage onto him. His crew combination is designed to strip tokens then deliver a big hit to defenseless ships.

Young Han Jan Ors
Millennium Falcon (original) Moldy Crow
Veteran Instincts Veteran Instincts
Luke Skywalker Nein Numb
Hot Shot Co-Pilot Ion Cannon Turret
Engine Upgrade Vectored Thrusters

For the wingman I’ve gone for a support option rather than another fighting ship. 37 points is quite a lot to mess around with. Keeping the high pilot skill across the list was something I wanted to do and Jan pushes the damage output that Han can deliver up significantly.

Falcon TFA

I simply won’t use a Twin Laser Turret, I have an intense dislike for the card and whilst I accept it is brilliant, I just don’t find it fun (for either me or my opponent). The Ion Cannon Turret is a strong option in the current meta, especially with some high profile one agility ships around. The Falcon is considerably faster than an HWK so putting Nein crew on should help it keep up a bit and give more options when clearing stress. Veteran Instincts and Vectored Thrusters also give the ship the option to  dodge arcs to an extent.

In an ideal world Jan sets them up, Han knocks them down, in an ideal world.

Graham is using a scum classic which he has flown for months, triple Contracted scouts is always a solid list to have in the armoury for an event like this.

Contracted Scouts Contracted Scouts Contracted Scouts
Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink Attanni Mindlink
Plasma Torpedoes Plasma Torpedoes Plasma Torpedoes
R4 Agromech R4 Agromech R4 Agromech
Extra Munitions Extra Munitions Extra Munitions
Guidance Chips Guidance Chips Guidance Chips

And David is taking Imperials that can nuke things off the table before they get to shoot. Potentially 10 damage from two ships in an alpha strike is similar to the Imperial list I ran into last week with the Kihraxz, I know how hard it can hit so hopefully it will threaten anyone who puts themselves in front of it.

Darth Vader The Inquisitor Quickdraw
Veteran Instincts Veteran Intincts Fire Control System
Cruise Missile Autothrusters Cruise Missiles
Advanced Targetting Computer Tie V1 Pattern Analyser
Tie X1 Guidance Chips
Guidance Chips Special Ops Training
Veteran Instincts

I’m not going to dress it up at. I am god awful at flying YT-1300s. I mean, really really bad. I don’t know why but when I fly against people using them I find them ridiculously hard to kill, but when I fly them they die faster than a light Syk jousting Fenn Rau.

We played 4 game today and had a bye, the other guys pulled their weight for the team and I contributed 4 loses. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy flying it, I’m just really bad at flying it. Admittedly I did run into a fair few turrets which do make the one agility of the Falcon as effective as the agility zero Decimator, but I think my lack of understanding the ship and it’s woeful action economy didn’t help my performance.

Han Solo Pointing

It’s kind of similar to when I first started with the sprays, some very similar issues due to the wave the ship comes from, however I just can’t be bothered to mess around with it enough to make it do what I want it to do!

However I did have one most excellent game, during out bye Graham and I had a little game, I pulled out the Protectorates and they went into a mindlink off with his jumps. There was shooting and dice rolling and arc dodging and it was a stark reminder to me of what I totally love about these ships and this game.

Mindlink off.jpg

I’m not sure Graham enjoyed it quite as much as I did, cause Fangs really don’t like dying! In a Nym free meta they’d be my first choice list without hesitation, but alas the Fenn Rau “Nerf” exists. I am very tempted to see if I can learn how to handle him with them because they are so much fun to fly.

I think I probably have to accept that I am now a scum player who dabbles in rebels rather than a rebel player who dabbles in scum… As for Imperials well, no.

The format of the event was an interesting one because it doesn’t really reflect the Meta as people can’t just take what they want. However it is fair to say that Nym, Dengar, RAC, Dash and Miranda were all obviously popular choice.

Pete Wood, Tom Duncan and Alex Birt of the 186th won the event with an impressive display, only losing one round and finishing top on MOV. Well played guys!

A two hour drive to my bed for the night, where I sit typing up the last of this post. It’s off to Evesham in the morning. One, down, two to go.

NEXT TIME: NATIONALS PRACTICE BEGINS

If you want to find local tournaments to go to head over to the 186th Tournament Calendar to see what’s going on locally.

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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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