Welcome to this week’s blog!
First off I feel that an apology is in order.
The last few weeks have been absolutely crazy.
After the weekend of the Sith Taker Open a deluge of ‘life stuff’ has bust through and is eating all of my time. A car crash, a change in my work role (making me a heck of a lot busier!), volunteering for a mega busy charity event, preparing to move house and, most recently, my wife caught Covid which wiped her out for a while.
In all this I’ve wanted to post in detail about the two days of STO and while the posts still came out at around 8000 words combined, looking back I don’t quite feel like I did them justice.
So for that I am sorry. I know you probably aren’t judging me (though maybe you are?) and maybe you haven’t felt like there’s been a drop in quality (though maybe you do?!) but personally, I’m of the opinion that both of those apply when I think back to bits that I’ve missed or things I wanted to say that didn’t come to me until after I’d posted.
With all this stuff happening, plus what’s in the pipeline (actually moving house, going away for a week, our wedding anniversary!) I am planning to take a short break from the blog. Nothing major, just a couple of weeks and not just yet although next week may be the last one for a week or two. I’m hoping that the massive flurry of excitement from Worlds will make up for it and that results and possibly some announcements (I can hope, right?!) might mean I’ve got some amazing stuff to recap when I come back.
But don’t worry, this is NOT the end. Not by a long shot. I’ve got far too much cool Patreon stuff lined up to stop now!
Speaking of Worlds, ITS ALMSOT WORLDS!!!!
The hype has been building over the last few days as I’ve seen posts from people preparing to head out to the US from here in the UK.
Good luck to all involved and I’m really looking forward to a mass of posts from people having a great time playing in a huge global tournament. A special shout out to two of locals, Steve and Alex Boulton who are already making us jealous in our local group chat! Maybe I’ll have to try and get there next year….
On the subject of tournaments, there was one this past weekend at Firestorm Games in Cardiff. I wasn’t able to go myself (see above reasons!) but I do want to congratulate Andy Cameron for going 4-0 and bagging themselves not only some sweet swag from a Louis Leong kit but a free ticket to the Welsh Open 2023!
If anyone’s interested, the full results for the tournament are here.
If you were one of the many people who would like to come to the Welsh Open then you can grab your ticket here.
While we’re talking tournaments, I guess I should mention that we are looking to do one in Newport soon some time soon once we can nail down a date and there’s going to be another free ticket for the Welsh Open available as a prize there (or just get your money back from the ticket you already booked!) too so why not sign up once tickets are out and see if you can win it!
Right, I think that’s enough intro-ing for now. Let’s get to some actual *content!
*I mean, using the term very loosely of course!
The batrep(s)… (JARGON ALERT!!)
So, with the Sith Taker Open an increasingly distant memory, surely it’s time to move on to some other list, right?
As I mentioned before, life has become significantly more busy of late and one of the jobs that I rather dislike doing is repacking my X-Wing bag. I mean, the actual thought o doing a new list is fine, it’s literally the act of digging through my stuff while feeling terrible and frustrated about how disorganised it is while also wondering if my wife has noticed just how much of it there now is.
So for the game that I’m covering now, no, there’s not a new list. I literally picked up my bag and left the house with it. If it makes you feel better, I do have a new list and I’ve played a game with it already but I’ll get to that next week.
For now, I was using the STO list:
Alexsandr Kallus (7)
Dorsal Turret (2)
Saw Gerrera (9)
Veteran Turret Gunner (5)
Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 7
Ezra Bridger (Gauntlet Fighter) (7)
“Chopper” (Crew) (1)
Veteran Tail Gunner (3)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Swivel Wing (0)
Hera Syndulla (4)
Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5
Airen Cracken (3)
Plasma Torpedoes (7)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (9/9) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2
Keo Venzee (3)
Concussion Missiles (5)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (7/8) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2
While recovering from STO a few of us have missed a week or so at casual night and for a while it looked like I maybe wouldn’t get a game but then Paul Westwood chimed in on the group chat and said he’d come on over to Newport to play. Yay!
Paul was testing a very experimental list for a special league they’ve got going on in Cardiff where you can change your list every week but once you’ve used a unique pilot, you can’t use it again. Very interesting! As a result, he was rocking this list:
Countess Ryad (7)
Fire-Control System (2)
Passive Sensors (5)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3
Thermal Detonators (5)
Shield Upgrade (8)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (15/15) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
“Pure Sabacc” (4)
Thermal Detonators (5)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (6/7) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
Thermal Detonators (5)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (7/8) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
So, yeah, a Defender and 3 Strikers. That’s a lot of manoeuvrable three dice guns right there plus the initiatives are higher. I’ll have to be careful here.
Paul was proxying some pieces here (which I’m totally fine with!) but I wrote most of this post under the impression that the Defender was Vessery, not Ryad before Paul confirmed it for me. I’ve gone through and changed the names but the moving and shooting order is a mess and not one I’ve got time to change since it means rewriting several paragraphs. Sorry!
Let’s hit those Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Scramble the Transmission
Target/Objective Priority – What’s been obvious following STO is that my objective game hasn’t been strong so picking up AT LEAST one is imperative. Then kill whatever I can get guns on.
Obstacles – As ever, it’s small rocks for my big ships and spreading them out is helpful.
Deployment – Close together I think. Jousting these ships should be scary, right?
Paul is player 1 for setup but I’ve got i3 ships so some of mine still go down first. We place objectives, obstacles and ships an we’re ready to get started.
With a limited lane through the middle (but one I’m confident I can navigate, I need to get up the board quickly. It’s fast moves from all my ships except (ironically) the A-Wing who will hang behind Ezra in case I need to go right early with him.
ROAD 1st Player – ME
I shoot my ships up the board while Paul’s approach is somewhat mixed. Ryad does a 4-k (JARGON ALERT!!) while the Strikers aileron mostly forwards except for Pure Sabacc who banks in.
Sabacc’s last second barrel roll means they have a shot on Ezra which plinks a shield off. How annoying!
I’m annoyed with Ezra’s position. Going fast is what I wanted but now he’s stuck between rocks and while a 1 bank will be fine, I’ve got a feeling it means there won’t be shots on the furthest Strikers and he’ll get flanked.
I decide to stop and will rotate. The Ghost will bank in and Cracken nestle in behind. Keo will hard turn right to keep any approaching Strikers honest.
ROAD 1st Player – Me
Ezra stops, rotates and uses Nightbrother for an evade, Keo turns and focuses. All good.
Kallus banks in fast and reinforces to front.
Now, here’s the problem I’m going to face here. Three of Paul’s ships can effectively double reposition. The choice of whether to use ailerons before moving combined with having higher initiative means he can do nasty things.
Which he proceeds to do.
Sabacc dances in the middle and rolls left, dodging arcs of both my big ships. Countdown and Duchess decide to stay away (while claiming the far right objective) and cruise down the flank while Ryad does another 4-k to end up where she started.
Cracken banks in behind Kallus and grabs the objective.
This is not ideal. I mean, look at this. LOOK AT IT
Sabacc is the only ship with a shot and takes it at Kallus. It’s just 2 hits and the reinforce cancels on, meaning it’s just 1 shield off. Could have been worse.
End of turn score: 1 – 1
Now, I’ve got myself in a rather interesting position here. Kallus needs to pick a target. It’s got to be either Ryad or Sabacc. Since I’ve no idea where Sabacc is ending up, I go for Ryad.
Cracken will just bank in and see what’s in front of him. It’s Ezra and Keo that I’m stuck on. In teh end I decide to send Keo between the rocks to face off with Duchess and Countdown and Ezra will stay where he is, facing the same way. Maybe I’ll catch them.
ROAD 1st Player – Me
Ok, here we go. Keo banks in and locks Countdown. Ezra stops, picks up a 3rd stress and ditches it with Hera for the cost of a damage.
Kallus goes 1 straight and reinforces to front.
Let’s see what Paul’s done….
Sabacc sloops (JARGON ALERT!!), Interesting.
Countdown *checks screenshot. Twice* I think ailerons forwards, banks right and then barrel rolls, dodging both Keo AND Ezra’s arcs. Balls.
Duchess does similar, also rolling to dodge Keo’s arc and get further from Ezra.
Cracken banks in but clearly misses arc on Sabacc so just takes a lock for future turns.
Ryad comes in at Kallus with a 3 straight, gets a free evade and focuses.
One thing’s for sure, there’s definitely shooting happening this time.
Duchess goes first, just catching Keo in arc but I spend a force to dodge a poor roll from Paul.
Now it’s Kallus who rolls five and then another three dice into the Defender, taking a damage to convert results on the first shot and takes 2 shields from Ryad.
With Cracken not having arc it’s Ryad who goes next, launching into…. no, not Kallus but the tokenless Cracken at range 3. This time it’s a strong roll from Paul and I forget Elusive and the Z-95 is halved. Oops.
Sabacc and Countdown both go into Ezra but the tanky Gauntlet takes just 1 hit from both attacks. Nice.
Keo doesn’t have a shot but Ezra does and takes it into Countdown, putting one damage through.
End of turn score: 1 – 1
Total score: 2 – 2
The scores might be level but this doesn’t feel too great right now. I’ve got Ezra jammed between rocks and Keo under threat. Cracken is halved and Kallus is about to pull the most obvious 4-k of all time.
How can I play this?
I decide objectives are important and while it takes him out of the action in terms of shooting, Keo will 5 straight and claim. Kallus will do that 4-k but I think I’ll do one with Cracken too. No, wait, I’ll do a 3-k instead. That way if Sabacc has gone fast and it’s blocked, at least I’ve got a chance of facing the right way.
Ezra… hmmm…… After some deliberation I decide to stay put. Again. I’ll rotate to be able to shoot at Sabacc and perhaps catch something in the back arc too.
ROAD 1st Player – Me (again!)
Right, let’s see how this goes.
I stop with Ezra, take a damage (from Hera crew) but also rotate AND take an evade with the Nightbrother title. I do love this ship.
Keo 5 straights and claims. Kallus does his 4-k which puts his annoyingly far out.
Sabacc just cruises forwards (no ailerons this time) and takes a focus while Countdown banks in and, confident of dodging the arc, takes a focus.
Cracken takes his 3-k, landing right in front of Sabacc before Ryad cruises up and bumps into the Z-95. Nice.
Duchess cruises around the rock, tucking in behind Countdown and, despite being in Ezra’s arc, takes a focus. Paul want to kill my Gauntlet.
Cracken shoots first, putting a hit into Sabacc, leaving them on 2 hull. Ryad takes a range 0 shot into Cracken but whiffs (JARGON ALERT!!). Duchess fires into Ezra and puts 2 damage past the reduced green dice.
At i4 Kallus doesn’t have Sabacc in range but strips the last 2 shields from Ryad who sorely misses his free evade (which Cracken denied with the block).
Countown goes next, firing at Ezra who uses his evade to take just 1 more hit as Paul’s dice decide they don’t like paint any more. Sabacc, waiting to see what Countdown did before picking a target, fires at Cracken but ALSO whiffs, leaving Cracken still with his 2 hull intact.
With Keo out on a solo adventure, Ezra fires at Sabacc and, being stressed, spends 1 force to turn 2 eyeballs into hits and kills the Striker.
He follows up with a VTG (JARGON ALERT!!) shot into Duchess and does a damage there too, stripping her shield upgrade.
End of turn score: 6 – 1
Total score: 8 – 3
Well, that took a turn! I’ve got some choices to make now though. Kallus needs to come back in and clear stress. No worries, a 2 bank is good. Keo, with Force spent, will sideslip to turn around.
Cracken, with the path cleared now Sabacc is gone, will 2 straight to clear stress. But what about Ezra? His health is lower than I’d like but I opt for the stop again and will take a damage for it. I hope it’s worth it!
ROAD 1st Player – Paul
Alright, let’s do this. Keo sideslips, recovers Force and takes a focus.
Ezra stops but this time doesn’t rotate, returning his wings to normal position. He takes a damage for his trouble.
Countdown sloops over the top of Ezra. Kallus banks in and locks Ryad before the Defender takes a 3 hard turn and boosts to try (and fail) to dodge the VCX. Duchess comes in behind Countdown but falls just short of bumping.
Cracken goes 1 forwards and claims the middle objective back.
Sadly, it seems I forgot to take a pic here. Booooooo!
This turn is a bit of a damp squib all round when it comes to shooting. I think Ezra took another hit or two to hull and put a damage into Duchess in response. Kallus did put another hit or two into the Defender though. More disappointing for Paul than for me I’d say.
End of turn score: 3 – 0
Totals score: 11 – 3
As uneventful as it felt, that turn was important for me. Nothing died and I got all three objective points. I’ve got a cushion in points for when something does die and I’ve got Kallus just desperate to kill something.
With a Defender looming large, I decide to try and block the 4-k with Keo, dialling in a 1 hard. Ezra will, you guessed it, stop again but this time will rotate. Cracken will 4-k to perhaps get a gun onto something while also staying out of too much trouble while Kallus will cruise in with intent.
ROAD 1st Player – Paul
Keo hard turns and, in a slight panic of not being able to measure the distance of a 4-k, rolls. Wise? We’ll see.
Ezra stays still and roates, taking a Nightbrother evade again.
Countdown goes straight to clear stress and bumps into Ezra while Ryad hard turns away, keen to steer well clear of Kallus and claims the right hand objective.
Kallus roundly ignores Ryad and goes 1 straight and, feeling cheeky and having plenty of health, locks Duchess.
Duchess bumps into Ezra and takes a red focus before Cracken takes his lazy 4-k out in the middle of nowhere.
Paul’s now got 2 range 0 shots into the 3 health Gauntlet and manages precisely zero damage from either Duchess or Countdown. Cracken snuck a cheeky hit onto Countdown to take him to 2 health.
As if to rub salt in the wound, Kallus fires at Duchess, range 3 obstructed. Spends his lock for 4 paint and takes a damage to convert eyeballs to crits.
Duchess blanks and dies. Rude.
Paul calls it there, even if Ezra or Cracken dies next turn, Countdown probably burns too and Paul is 2-1 down on claimed objectives and it’s almost impossible to stop me scoring 2 more.
End of turn score: 7 – 1
Final score: 18 – 4 win
That was unexpected, unlikely and probably a little unfair. Perhaps more than a little actually.
Paul outflew me. There’s no doubt of that. He dodged arcs with several ships on multiple occasions, leaving me with no shots while getting shots into my ships. Ezra should definitely have died here.
But yet I still managed to win. By quite a bit actually.
I’m coming to find that results like this seem to be a ‘feature’ of this list. And I’m pretty sure it’s just down to dice.
If Kallus gets range 1 of a ship he’s going to roll 8 dice into it and convert eyeballs to crits. Maybe it’s none, maybe it’s 2, maybe it’s all 8. Who knows?
If you’re going to shoot Ezra, he might be reinforced (depending on just how much stress he’s been running with), he might not. He’s rolling at least 2 green dice (up to 4 range 3 and obstructed) and, if stressed, can convert 2 to eyeballs with his pilot ability.
Maybe you’ll hit him for 4 damage. Maybe you won’t get any.
Maybe you’ll one shot Cracken or Keo. Maybe you won’t.
Despite as many upgrades as possible to mitigate all of this, at the end of the day this list rides heavily on variance, both in attack and defence.
As a result it seems to be quite inconsistent in results which, if looking at it as a ‘serious’ player is clearly not great. Across the 2 days of STO I played 8 games and lost 5. Not a great result. That said, some were close and one was only lost because of a Direct Hit – yet another source of variance.
This list is fun. It doesn’t quite squeeze in everything I’d like it to have but given the very average choices for 3 point ships in Rebels (compared to FO and Empire especially), it’s been fine.
It’s time to move on though. Well, sort of. If one thing has become apparent over the 12-ish games I’ve used this, it’s that this Ezra build is both fun and effective. Is it in the new list I mentioned earlier?
You’ll have to come back next time to find out for sure!!
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