A New Season

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

I’m back after a week off and there’s rather a lot to talk about and not a lot of time to write it so let’s get cracking!

There’s not been much in terms for X-Wing news* directly (like releases or anything like that) but we’re now fully into Store Champs season with events happening all over the place. Congrats to those who have got their hands on a Worlds 2024 invite and it’s been amazing to see so many events going on and people getting back into playing regularly.

*this became a false statement pretty late on in the blog timeline. AMG announced Worlds Qualifiers dates for like, the rest of the year! I’m not sure I can make any of them but it’s pretty cool nonetheless!

Patreon Update…

Yep, it’s that time again! I’ve got several different goodies lined up for supporters this month but I’ll start off by showing you some alt arts that I’ll be sending out.

I’ve got a few other things in store which I’ll share int he coming weeks. If you’re interested in supporting me and/or if you’d like to get your hands on these or similar shiny X-Wing related things then you can do that by signing up here.

Anyway, that’s enough shilling of my stuff, let’s get on with the X-Wing!

The main bit…

I’ve you’ve been reading the blog recently then you might know that I’ve been flying some sort of weird Rebel blend.

Ezra Bridger (Gauntlet Fighter) (6)
Shattering Shot (3)
Trick Shot (4)
Hera Syndulla (4)
Nightbrother (0)
Swivel Wing (0)
“Chopper” (Crew) (1)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Magva Yarro (5)
Fire-Control System (2)
Ursa Wren (6)
Tactical Officer (3)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Pivot Wing (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (14/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

Saw Gerrera (5)
Hopeful (1)
Leia Organa (7)
Jyn Erso (7)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Pivot Wing (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (18/18) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

Bodica Venj (4)
Marksmanship (1)
Clan Training (1)
Beskar Reinforced Plating (3)
Mandalorian Optics (3)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (8/9) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z520X419W133W35WWWWWWW448W449W23Y34XW113W439W61W92WW140Y35X378WW46W40W92WW140Y499X125W423WW445W446&sn=Beefy%20Rebz%201.3&obs=

It’s been very fun but in all honesty the points change sucked a little of the joy out of it. Ezra lost a bit of load out and the U-Wings lost some toys. Technically the change from Keo to Bodica was an upgrade but while the list was still fun, it wasn’t quite the same as before. I’d also been told (and not incorrectly) that since the last points change the U-Wings were definitely not on the upward trajectory of the power curve and not really the most efficient use of points nowadays. They’re still fun though….

I’d taken this to the Welsh Open with the plan to play but of course that didn’t happen in the end. With the event now in the rear view mirror, was it time to change the list too?

There had been a LOT of Rebel lists at the Welsh Open, in fact when I was chatting with Martyn Gruffydd, he said that he’d only faced Rebels all day. 5 games in a row! A quick scan through showed some very interesting combinations but one thing that became clear was that the higher up the standings you go, the pieces start looking rather similar.

In particular you’d find BoY Luke, TIE Fighter Sabine and then custom Han Solo built out with Perceptive Copilot, Bistan gunner, Trick Shot and the title. All good pieces that can do certain jobs in objective play.

Bartozs’ winning list from the UKGE at the start of June had these pieces as well as Keo and Wedge in A-Wings which both come in at 3 points.

Now, one thing I really enjoyed about my list was Ezra in the Gauntlet. I’ve mentioned it before I think but since first putting it on the table back in November last year, I actually can’t think of a list that I’ve flown which didn’t have one in. I don’t know what it is about this ship that I find so fun but in all honesty it’s very close to matching my feelings on the YT-2400. Bonkers.

Anyway, with Ezra having dropped to 3 points, well, you can see where this is going, right?

Ezra Bridger (Gauntlet Fighter) (6)
Shattering Shot (3)
Trick Shot (4)
Hera Syndulla (4)
Nightbrother (0)
Swivel Wing (0)
“Chopper” (Crew) (1)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Han Solo (7)
Trick Shot (4)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Bistan (8)
Millennium Falcon (0)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (20/20) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 6

Luke Skywalker (BoY) (5)
Instinctive Aim (0)
Attack Speed (BoY) (0)
Proton Torpedoes (0)
R2-D2 (BoY) (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Sabine Wren (TIE Fighter) (2)
Beskar Reinforced Plating (3)

Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (3/3) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z520X419W133W35WWWWWWW448W449W23Y42X133WW54WW77WWWW154Y555X73W475W136W477Y13XW445&sn=Beefy%20Rebz%201.3&obs=

So, I’ve got 2 large base ships (good for Assault), a cheap and nimble objective monkey in Sabine, Proton torps for damage output, double taps and double mods (well, sort of?) for Han and Ezra who could be a trade piece or a distraction you can’t ignore.

So, the theory is fairly solid. Is it any good in practice though?

The batreps… (JARGON ALERT!!)

Game 1 – Alex Jensterle

After some disappointing results recently, Alex has been looking for alternatives to his beloved Republic faction. The lists that are most viable in Republic right now are very clone heavy and rather light on double reposition, high initiative aces, the latter of which is Alex’s wheelhouse.

After some discussions over Messenger, Alex asked to borrow some ships in order to fly John BL’s list that won the Welsh Open.

Darth Vader (BoY) (6)
Marksmanship (0)
Hate (0)
Afterburners (0)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3

Fifth Brother (4)
Brilliant Evasion (2)
Homing Missiles (5)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (7/7) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

Captain Jonus (4)
Saturation Salvo (2)
Barrage Rockets (6)
Bomblet Generator (2)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (10/10) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Major Rhymer (3)
Saturation Salvo (2)
Barrage Rockets (6)
Concussion Bombs (4)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 3

Tomax Bren (3)
Saturation Salvo (2)
Barrage Rockets (6)
Bomblet Generator (2)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (10/10) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 3

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v9ZhZ20Z564X125W204W105Y394X199WWW100Y203X129WW97WWW67WWY204X129WW97WWW355WY205X129WW97WWW67WW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Those bombers are a menace. They roll 3 dice with the Barrage rockets, can get rerolls from Jonus and then spend the focus for the double mod. They can also make you reroll your green dice. Yuck. Not only that, they’re 6 health behind 2 green dice but after you finally kill one they’re only worth 3 points (well, 4 for Jonus). Then you’ve got 5th Brother who can point a Homing Missile at you and then either roll 4 dice or, if he’s got both Force active, give you a hit AND a crit. Horrible.

Oh, and then there’s Darth Vader. Cool.

It’s a tricky list to face down and the only thing I know about it is to not joust it.

So of course, after advising Alex to take a look at this, we end up playing!

Let’s hit the Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Chance Engagement
Target/Objective Priority – Ideally I’d like to take out Vader but those bombers need neutering too. Tricky.
Obstacles – As close to the middle as possible for Han rerolls and trick shots. Also it might help to break up Alex’s formation.
Deployment – This is where I struggle with a new list. I’m going into the game with a rough idea of a gameplan (send Ezra up the middle) but other positionings are something I’m going to need to experiment with.

Time is rather limited for getting this written down and with 2 games to cover this is going to be a bit more of a rough summary than a full batrep. Sorry.

Oh, also, with the house move still very much in my recent past, I needed to borrow some ships to get this list on the table (thanks to Josh and Steve B for those!). Of course, it was only as I arrived at the store that I remembered that I actually needed some sort of list. My printer is still offline so I’d not printed it from Infinite Arenas. Being the resourceful person that I am, I improvised:

Easy enough to follow, right…?

We place the objective, obstacles and ships and we’re ready to go.

Alex managed to scupper my initial plan to send Ezra straight up the middle by placing the middle finger rock right in the middle. Still, I sent Ezra straight, Luke and Han straight and fast while Sabine hard turned in case Alex decided to come speeding in at me. He didn’t, deciding to hard turn all his bombers, go slow with Fifth Brother while Vader went out for the flank.

Now, I feel that I made a mistake from here. I elected to 2 bank right with Han while Luke went 1 straight. I’d initially wanted to 1 bank Han but I wasn’t quite sure that it would fit so I bottled it.

It turned out that not only would it have fit but would have given Han two targets to fire at instead of the choice I was given – double focus but only have 1 thing to shoot at or rotate and only shoot once. Neither a great option.

This run of shooting didn’t go too well for me, exchanging shields on Han for half of Jonus and a damage onto Rhymer.

I then snuck Han out behind Alex’s bombers but the decision to 1 bank Luke instead of 2 hard in and block Vader proved costly as he got hit by three of Alex’s ships and ended up taking 7 damage cards. Ouch.

I did get Jonus though, took Fifth Brother to 1 hull and halved Vader. So it wasn’t all bad.

The next two turns were a little blood bath-y as ships gave up points left and right with Vader managing to pop Han after a cheeky Afterburners into range 1 while Han’s return shot failed to finish the dark lord off. It did enough to soften him up for Ezra to finish him though as time went. We tallied up points and somehow, it was a draw!

Final result: 15 – 15 draw

Mini conclusion…

Ok, so against a good player who knows how to play aces and chunky ships together (i.e. Ani and ARCs) I managed to play out a draw while making a couple of mistakes. Not too bad I suppose! Admittedly Alex is learning his list too so I don’t really know how much there is that I can take away from this in terms of judging how strong the list is. I need to work on my turn 0 though. Some plans might be match up or first player dependent of course but I think I need at least a basic plan for what to do with Han and Luke.

I’d managed to get to Firestorm fairly early so there was time for a second game!

Game 2 – Steve Boulton

So, having lent me that very lovely Falcon, Steve was now tasked with trying to blow it up!

Steve and I had a little chat before the game where he explained to me that he’d been out on a walk, thinking about this list had then messaged Martyn Chivers to ask his opinion of it and the next thing he knew, Martyn and Dale Cromwell had taken it (well, a slight variation on it for Dale) to the Gaming Den in Basingstoke and did alright with it!

Still, it’s Steve’s list (in his mind, at least!) and it’s really rather nasty looking.

“Quickdraw” (5)
Fanatical (2)
Swarm Tactics (5)
Targeting Synchronizer (3)
Special Forces Gunner (0)
Fire-Control System (2)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

“Midnight” (3)
Fanatical (2)
Proud Tradition (2)
Targeting Synchronizer (3)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (7/7) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

Major Vonreg (5)
Lone Wolf (3)
Deuterium Power Cells (6)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (13/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

Commander Malarus (3)
Cluster Missiles (4)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (4/4) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

“Whirlwind” (4)
Fanatical (2)
Marksmanship (1)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Advanced Optics (5)
Enhanced Jamming Suite (0)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=First%20Order&d=v9ZhZ20Z243X181W132W177W182W113WY233X181W319W177WWY381X124WW318W311WWY266XWW98WWY490X181W125W98WW186W413&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

So, that’s THREE i6 ships AND Swarm Tactics to bring another one up too. Double taps from Quickdraw (if I shoot at her) and some ordnance. It’s also got numerical advantage over my list. Eesh.

I’d best do some Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Salvage Mission
Target/Objective Priority – Ummmmm….. pick up at least one box, try not to get initiative killed. Avoid Quickdraw double taps. Try and get a ship off the board quickly.
Obstacles – I’d prefer a tight cluster again if possible. More on that in a second.
Deployment – This time I’m at a disadvantage in terms of ship initiatives but I need to plan for it. I try something a little different.

We place objectives, obstacles and ships and we’re ready to go.

Now, thinking about obstacles, I was listening to the Tin Squadron Podcast this morning and Sean is also flying this Han (or a very similar one anyway) and made an interesting point. He’d originally thought tight clusters were preferable, looking to orbit with Han and get Trick Shots out of the side arc while staying range 1 for rerolls. All well and good, but what about if you need to turn in? With Han being a large base ship, range 1 from it is actually a pretty decent distance. I ended up with this rock formation sort of against my will but actually, looking back at it, there’s rather a lot of the board where Han would be range 1 of a rock. Not only that, it gives him space and options to turn into the middle if needs be.

It’s rather a shift in perspective and I like it.

Anyway, Vonreg is opposite Ezra and everyone else is diagonally opposite and we’re ready to go.

My plan with Han is to skirt the board edge and either hard or bank turn in between the right hand and middle rocks. Ezra will go fast up the left side, pick up the top left box and then rotate/sit as needed. If he can give Vonreg something to think about, all the better. Luke and Sabine will go through the middle with Sabine picking up a box. Probably.

The plan goes well initially until I realise a small mistake.

An initial 1 straight with Han means that a 2 hard turn keeps me a little close to the middle rock and a 3 hard turn takes me a little further forwards than I’d like. In the end I 1 bank to keep my distance but that locks me in to the 2 hard turn next time. Not ideal.

Ezra’s fast bank puts him in Vonreg’s way and while it saves a dangerous shot ontot he Gauntlet, Vonreg targets Sabine instead and forces her to drop her crate. Luke and Sabine take shots into Malarus who’s approaching through the middle but that blasted FO staves off a heavily modded Proton Torp and Sabine’s pea shooter, surviving 6 hits/crits from my 6 red dice by means of the pilot ability. Stupid FO. She did drop her box though.

Sabine dives out and cheekily pics up that box while Ezra stops and rotates, hoping to get a juicy shot on Vonreg. Vonreg stays put, blocked again but now with nothing to shoot at.

Steve’s other ships do have something to shoot at though and it’s Luke as Steve comes in for the kill.

There’s some heavy damage trading this turn as I manage to finish off Malarus and strip shields from Whirlwind in exchange for shields on Luke.

Ezra turns in while Sabine tries to escape with Luke failing a 2 bank right (no, I don’t know what I was thinking either) and Han tries for a 3 bank right but also fails.

This time Luke takes a real beating, getting initiative killed thanks to some great dice, some poor dice and a very ridiculous crit chain. Balls.

Still, I can probably kill Whirlwind, right?


Han gets him down to 1 hull and when Ezra rolls natties (JARGON ALERT!!) I think I’m home and dry and then, well…

Double balls.

I did mange to halve Midnight with Han’s other shot but that’s not taken any extra ships off the table and that could be a problem, especially with Vonreg taking Sabine down to just 1 hull.

I decide to send Sabine 5 straight, finding that her carrying a box is really frustrating as it prevents me from making use of her ability to reposition before moving. Still, if Steve wants those 2 points he’s going to have to split Vonreg off to chase them.

Han embraces the bumps with a 1 straight as Whirlwind smashes into Ezra.

This time things do align for me and not only do I finish off Whirlwind but I nail Midnight as well, halving Steve’s shots. Nice.

It’s all about game management now. I’m 3 points ahead and just need 4 to win. I’ve got 2 chunky ships left who are very healthy and Vonreg is disengaged.

I pick up a box with Han while looking to escape with Ezra, reinforcing to the rear and twice declining shots into Quickdraw so as not to trigger the double tap.

Steve picks up a box with Vonreg to stay in the points race but it ultimately costs him, meaning that he can’t boost in to push damage into Ezra in the final turn.

Final result: 21 – 16 win

The conclusion…

Not too bad! It kind of feels like cheating to say that I’m unbeaten with this list but it is technically true!

I am enjoying this list. I’m probably not as familiar as I’d like with Sabine and getting my head around all the places she can be is a little tricky but I can see the potential in her, I just need a few reps.

Losing Luke in both games disturbed me a little at first but thinking about it, Sabine aside (who is equally as likely to be targeted as she is ignored), Luke is the easiest, squishiest target in my list. He’s dangerous and worth good points but actually, he’s fine to sue as a trade piece provided I can use his position to draw my opponents into places where Han and Ezra can punish them. Either Luke or Han are fine as end game ships and Ezra feels just as comfortable sitting and tanking as he is running away.

Yeah, I like this. Can it be improved? I’m perhaps tempted by changing Han’s loadout, dropping Trick Shot in favour of Engine Upgrade in case I need to boost. It might be worth a try.

Sorry to cut it short (well, ok, it isn’t short but I felt I could have maybe elaborated some more if I’d had more time!) but that’s it for this week. I hope to see you back here next week!

The outro…

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Exile Initiates:
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