Welcome to this week’s blog!
As the title implies, this blog is a bit of everything! Some Patreon news, a new release, a follow up to last week AND a game to discuss! We’d best get on with it!
I’ll start with the Battle of Yavin release because it’ll be the shortest to cover. Why is that you ask? Well because I haven’t picked mine up yet!
I’m getting it tomorrow (at time of publishing) and a few of us are planning to run the scenario at casual night so I’ll do more about it next week.
In the meantime I’ve seen some posts about how it plays. If anyone has played it and has any tips on setup or play or whatever, please let me know!
Just a quick one really, the last quarter of 2022 is now closed! Anyone who was signed up as of this morning is IN for gifts and was IN for the live draw!
Speaking of which…
I did the draw on Instagram live as usual but for some reason that I cannot fathom it isn’t showing on any feed?! (I might work in IT but Insta is not my area of expertise!).
Anyway, I’ve stuck by what the draw came out as since if I re-record it I’ll almost certainly get different winners and that feels a bit unfair!
So, congratulations to Sean Saville for winning the Decimator and also to Nick Hyatt and Paul Westwood who won faction damage decks!
I want to say a HUGE thank you to all my Patrons (past and present!) for supporting me in doing this blog. When I first thought of setting up a Patreon account I never thought that I’d get the support that I have nor that I’d love getting swag together to give away just this much.
It’s been a wild ride and I’m looking forward to more in 2023! Oh, and some more Instagram Live testing I guess……
Since I talked about points last week, I figure it’s only right to talk about them again now that the points update has actually happened.
Before we get started, for reference, here’s a link to a spreadsheet which outlines all the changes from last week.
Following last week’s post there were a LOT of opinions flying around on the Reddit post. These opinions were wide ranging but most were thought provoking. The only thing that’s obvious is just how much people are on the extremes of agreeing on things. There are people who still don’t like 2.5 and others who think it’s the best version of X-Wing to date. As with anything, I expect that the majority of people land somewhere in the middle of the two extremes, although leaning to one side or the other.
I did reply to one post with the following which, rather than just retype, I’ll embed here because it’s fancy and I didn’t know WordPress could do it until now!
And so, as was sort of wanted by some people, last week’s points update was VERY minimal. Basically, the Battle of Yavin (expected) and Siege of Coruscant (not expected!!) pilots got points, Wampa, Valen Rudor and Jingos went up (and got more loadout), Malarus (TIE/FO) lost loadout, 3 point Resistance Y’s got bumped, Hound gained a point and Hawk lost loadout and some upgrades got pointed up (notably Prox mins, Chaff missiles and Notorious).
Now, in a way I get it. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The risk of accidentally making some VERY broken overpowered combo is very real and very high when changing a lot of points.
Like I said last week (and in the Reddit comment), the game is actually reasonably balanced at the moment. There are a few things above the curve but the variety of lists doing well is pretty good and we’ve not seen ‘one list to rule them all’ just smashing face in every tournament.
When you break it down faction by faction there are fairly obvious choices. One of the comments from that Reddit post was literally “All I know is that the Sith Infiltrator desperately needs some love.”.
And it isn’t the only one. If you go through faction by faction there are ships that just never see play. And I’m not just talking about Extended, in Standard there are ships that are just bad choices when you look at the faction as a whole.
The thing is, by going with the 20 squad point model, AMG have somewhat boxed themselves into a corner for this. At 6 points Luke is great, at 7 you’re unlikely to take him, even if he did have more squad points. That single point change can take something from bonkers good to just unplayable, mostly down to what else you can fit in the list with it.
Loadout points can be tweaked of course but you could give Luke 50 loadout (a randomly chosen purposely silly number!) but if he’s too many squad points to have something else in the list that’s good (whether an alternative threat, support ability, enough ships, etc) then he’s just not playable in anything close to competitive.
And I guess that’s fine?
Having a low (I mean, it isn’t low low but compared to the total number of pilots that are available, even excluding extended, it kinda is) number of properly competitive ships is fine as long as it’s spread across factions (which, broadly, it is).
My only issue there though is that there’s a decent number of ships/pilots that are usable, for the most part you see the same ships over and over.
I don’t want to repeat myself here (as I did a section on this last week) so I won’t go on much more. I’ll just say that it would be nice to see some ships represented that have barely seen play since March or May.
I understand that it’s likely at the expense of ships that we currently see and I’m ok with that. A full rotation of pilots in and out of favour seems like a lot of work though. More work than AMG are willing/have time to do? I’ve no idea. I just think that if AMG do follow through with their plans to reprint currently unreleased 1.0 ships (apparently starting with the TIE Bomber and the YT-2400) then this is only going to get even more complicated moving forwards.
It’s going to be interesting to see how it all plays out for sure!
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!))
And so, we get to a game!
With a points update pending, (and as I either stated or implied in last week’s post) I decided not to repack my bag with something different when it was highly likely I’d just be repacking again soon.
And so, I took what I’d been flying for the few weeks previous:
Fenn Rau (4)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Drop-Seat Bay (1)
Swivel Wing (0)
Cad Bane (3)
Mandalorian Super Commandos (7)
Ship Cost: 9 Loadout: (20/20) Half Points: 4 Damage Threshold: 5
Lando Calrissian (Scum) (4)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Razor Crest (0)
Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 4
Gar Saxon (Gunner) (6)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Punishing One (0)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (15/15) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
It’s beefy, it’s punchy and the more I use Super Commandos, the more I like them. Most of all, it’s good fun.
In my last batrep post, I talked about having played one of our newer players, Flora. Well, this week it was the turn of our other newbie (and Flora’s significant other!), Liam.
In fact, when they arrived Flora asked if I had brought the same list as last time. Since I had, she was less keen to play me again! Oops!
We got set up and I took a look at Liam’s list:
Darth Vader (7)
Predictive Shot (1)
Swarm Tactics (5)
Advanced Optics (5)
Fire-Control System (2)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)
Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (21/21) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 2
Maarek Stele (5)
Crack Shot (3)
Fire-Control System (2)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Munitions Failsafe (1)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (10/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
Zertik Strom (4)
Fire-Control System (2)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (6/6) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
Storm Squadron Ace (4)
Fire-Control System (2)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (2/2) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
Interesting! Four 3 agility ships could be tricky to deal with, especially the turn after they’ve got their locks and not spent them (by using Fire Control System instead) and can be double modding.
We roll to randomise scenario and it comes up as Chance Engagement. Probably one of the tougher ones for my list since fortressing points on high hull ships is one of the features of it.
Let’s see how it goes!
Scenario – Chance Engagement
Target/Objective Priority – Probably Vader or Maarek to start with.
Obstacles – A nice wide spread to give me space for my big ships
Deployment – Spread across my side of the board, Q9 in the middle, Manaroo right and Maul left.
We place the central objective, obstacles and ships and we’re ready to go!
So, with Liam’s ships deployed in the middle, I decide to go for a slow(ish) pincer. If he turns one way or another, I can turn in after him. If he continues down the middle it could be a little tricky but provided I can get some big hits in, I might be ok.
To that end, I send Manaroo and Maul straight while Q9 will stop.
ROAD 1st Player – Me
Manaroo goes 1 straight, Maul 2 straight and Q9 stops. Meanwhile, Liam’s x1’s all go 3 straight and focus.
No shots here (and no scoring either) so it’s back to planning.
Already I feel like I’ve made a mistake. When I placed Maul I debated exactly where between the edge and the corner rock I should place him. Given that the Gauntlet doesn’t have a 1 straight but also that it can boost after dropping a device (Cad Bane crew with the device being the Commandos) I knew that angles of approach were going to be important. Did I get it wrong?
Time to find out I suppose! Fully intending to drop Commandos I’ll bank Maul right. It’s a red boost so the move itself needs to be blue. Where do I go? I think that a 2 straight after the boost will be a little close to the rock for my liking so I set a 2 bank right. Id have set a 1 but neither of my other ships will make range 2 of the objective and I don’t want to give away an advantage unnecessarily.
Q9 will 2 straight to clear the stress. It won’t get me range 2 of the objective but if Liam commits to fast moves at least he’ll only have range 3 shots on me.
And then Manaroo. Hmmmm…… The turn in is tempting but instead I set her a 4 straight. It means she can turn in the following turn (between the obstacles) and might take less incoming shots.
ROAD 1st Player – Liam
Alright, let’s see if I can get these triggers right!
I drop the Super Commandos out of the side and with a 1 bank template (with Drop seat bay). I then give Maul a red boost right (from Cad Bane crew).
Then, at initiative 0 the Commandos move, going 2 straight.
All fine so far I think!
Liam’s two i3 TIEs take just a slow 1 straight. Interesting. With nothing yet in range, both focus.
Manaroo goes next, taking a 4 straight and focusing.
Q9 goes 2 straight and double calculates (with IG-88 crew) and then Maul 2 banks right, clears his stress and takes a focus.
Maarek and Vader both form up with the i3’s with Vader taking a focus but Maarek has Manaroo in arc for a lock.
Right. We have a partial engage. Which, I’d say, favours me.
Vader (the 3rd x1 if you’re counting from the left) doesn’t have arc. Phew! Q9 is out of arc so it’s Maul who fires first, putting a few hits to Zertik but Liam’s green dice mean no damage is taken.
Maarek goes next, getting a single hit onto Manaroo once I’d decided to not spend her focus on defence.
Manaroo shoots back at Maarek and the gamble pays of as I convert eyeball results against a tokenless ship and the roll isn’t great. Shields down. Nice.
Zertik and the Storm ace both focus on Maul and take a single shield from him.
Two shields down each then. Pretty even!
We both have ships at range 2 of the objective so score 1 point each.
End of turn score: 1 (me) – 1 (Liam)
Now it’s time to figure out what to do next. Liam will need to either split up or focus down one of my ships. Can I take advantage here?
I set Manaroo a bank left. If Maarek and Vader come in at her then I’m not too worried. Hopefully she’ll tank some shots but if it allows me to bully the other two TIEs with my high initiative ships I’m ok with that.
Maul will stay put. I’ll red stop and use Nightbrother to take a focus or evade. Q9 will 2 straight to clear his stress and see what’s in front of him to shoot.
ROAD 1st Player – Me
It’s trigger time again! Maul drops his second set of Commandos with a 1 bank out the side but this time doesn’t boost.
Those Commandos then go 2 straight, hoping to clip the closest TIE with a strain. The other Commandos also go 2 straight, sitting behind the cloud but looking to take a shot this turn.
Manaroo goes next, taking the 1 bank left and focusing. At this point I wish it was a 2 hard. Ah well.
Zertik and the Storm Ace bank in at Maul and take locks. This could get interesting.
Maul reveals his red stop and spends 2 charges from Nightbrother and takes an evade. I suddenly feel like he’s going to need it!
Q9 goes 2 straight and takes a double calculate.
Maarek and then Vader also both bank in at Maul and lock him.
My positioning here is…. not ideal.
Vader shoots first, rolling 3 dice at Maul and knocking both shields off. I go next, with Q9 levelling his Heavy Laser Cannon at Vader. It’s a decent roll out of hand and I come out with 3 hits. Vader rolls 3 natural evades. Cool.
Maul takes his shot at the range 1 Storm Ace but whiffs the shot (JARGON ALERT!!) and Liam evades it. Oh dear.
With Manaroo missing arc on, well, anything, Liam takes 3 shots in a row at Maul from Maarek, then Zertik and the Storm Ace. My greens come up trumps though and Maul loses just 3 hull. Wow.
Lastly, one of my Commandos have a shot and take it at the Storm Ace. Ironically, THIS is the one that gets through, putting 1 hit on.
We’re both still in range of the objective but that’s the only scoring.
End of turn score: 1 – 1
Total score: 2 – 2
Now, one of the advantages I’ve got here is that Maul can stay still (by triggering Contraband) while Liam’s ships can’t. But do I want to?
I stare and I ponder for a little while. Maul is the one in danger here. He’s got 4 hull left and probably won’t survive another barrage of fire. The two closest TIEs will move first and I can’t see an easy way for them to turn while Maul is in place so they’re not likely to be able to shoot him. Looking at my dial, a 3 hard will get him out of the way, even if I’m first player since Maarek can’t occupy that space. Contraband will let me take an action and then the following turn I can Nightbrother again. If he survives, of course.
Liam seems set on Maul as a target so I’ll keep Q9 where he is, spending Contraband for calculates with a red stop while Manaroo needs to hard turn in to do some damage.
ROAD 1st Player – Me
Time for my Commandos to earn their keep. The red Commandos (dropped last turn) hard turn right while the blue stay put.
Manaroo hard turns in and focuses before Liam’s i3’s move in. The Storm Ace moves forwards and bumps Maul (but opts against a red focus) while Zertik banks and, for reasons that become clear soon), rolls left. On to my Commandos. Nice.
Maul’s red 3 hard turn carries him clean over the i3 TIEs and he takes a lock on Maarek.
Q9 flips Contraband, stops and calculates.
Maarek, somewhat unpredictably, banks out towards Q9 and swaps his lock over. Vader banks neatly into the space that Zertik rolled from and focuses.
This turn my positioning is MUCH better.
Of all Liam’s ships, only Maarek has a shot. Despite Maarek already having shields down, the temptation of shooting at Vader range 1 from Maul is too great and I take that shot, stripping Vader of shields. Q9 and Manaroo combine to take out Maarek at the cost of Q9’s shields. I’ll take it.
My blue Commandos are range 0 of an enemy so can’t fire and the red ones (underneath Maul!) don’t have a target so we’re all done!
End of turn score: 6 – 1
Total score: 8 – 3
There’s daylight between scores now and Liam needs to turn around. Maul’s going to errr….. tactically relocate.
Manaroo will dive in to deal some more damage while Q9 will go straight to clear his stress.
ROAD 1st Player – Me (yes, again!)
This, in my opinion, is where the Commandos come into their own. The red Commandos (under Maul) hard turn right again to try and shoot. The blue ones hard turn left, landing them underneath both Zertik AND Vader. That’s a strain for each of you boys!
Manaroo banks in gently, stopping short of bumping Maul and takes a focus.
Liam Talon Rolls (JARGON ALERT!!) BOTH his i3 TIEs. Zertik to angle in at !9 while the Storm Ace wants to shoot Maul.
Maul 1 banks away, clears 1 stress and spends Nightbrother to take an evade. Q9 slots into the space the Maarek used to occupy, clearing stress and (you guessed it!) double calculates.
Vader takes a 4-k (JARGON ALERT!!) and sits with a stress and a strain.
Q9 not having a shot is a tad frustrating but given the current game state, it could be worse.
Vader just about has Maul in arc, takes a shot and puts a hit on (after I spend the evade). That’s half points on Maul for Liam though. Maul fires back but it’s just 2 red dice versus 5 as it’s range 3 AND obstructed.
That’s ok though because that’s not my real shot. Manaroo fires at Vader and, spending the stress to get a 4th red die(with Gar Saxon ), gets 2 hits past Liam’s green dice, leaving Vader on 1 hull (and netting me half points)!
Zertik fires at Q9 and puts a hit on while the Strom Ace targets Maul and puts another damage on him too.
We’re not done though, the Commandos are still to fire! Could they get the ultimate disrespect kill shot on Vader?
No, they can’t. I roll 2 paint, getting 2 hits after the auto convert but Vader dodges it by spending Force.
In a rather interesting/terrible/brilliant turn of events, this is the state of Liam’s closest ship to the objective:
End of turn score: 5 – 4
Total score: 13 – 7
At roughly this point I remember that I didn’t set a timer. Oops!
If I can kill Vader, it’s over. So how can I do that? I want Maul to survive so he gets a 2 bank this time, getting away from Liam while clearing the last stress.
Manaroo will 3 bank, looking to block Vader (denying him a re-lock on someone and hopefully keeping him away from Maul) while Q9 will 1 bank in behind.
ROAD 1st Player – Me (YES, AGAIN!!)
First though, the Commandos. Blue hard turn left, looking to strain Vader if he 1 banks left. The red ones hard turn right. They’re not close enough to strain anyone but they can still shoot.
Manaroo takes the sweeping 3 bank right and focuses.
Liam sends the Storm Ace forwards and he takes a lock on Maul.
Zertik… poor Zertik. Liam misjudges the 3 bank and Zertik lands on the gas cloud and takes a strain and ion. Ooof.
Maul takes his 2 bank which looks beautifully positioned until I try for a lock and find the Strom Ace is actually still in. Balls. Still, he can’t evade without Nightbrother and has full Force so no need to focus.
Q9 banks in and, well, you know what he does.
Vader…….. takes a 4-K! Definitely NOT what I was expecting. At. All.
So, looks like Vader isn’t dying this turn!
He shoots at Manaroo, range 1 (but without a lock it’s just 3 dice) and does just 1 damage.
Maul takes a long range double modded shot at the Strom Ace and takes a shield off before Q9 and Manaroo follow up too but between them they can only do another two hits. Enough for half points but not to kill it.
The Storm Ace responds by putting another hit onto Maul. Down to 2 now.
End of turn score: 3 – 1
Total score: 16 – 8
At this point we’re not quite sure whether the game should have ended but a game going on behind us draws to a close. We go for one more turn. I think Liam wants the rest of Maul.
So what should he do?
Look, it’s the objectively right thing to do, ok? Maul will go 4 straight.
Manaroo….. I’ll go for a 3 sloop (JARGON ALERT!!) with her. It gives the best chance of a shot with the least chance of being blocked.
Q9 will stop in order to get the best chance of catching Vader.
ROAD 1st Player – Me (really?!?)
Time to relocate the Commandos. Sort of. Blue will stay where they are but Red will hard turn right to catch the Storm Ace.
Alright then. Manaroo goes first, her sloop neatly clearing the Storm Ace. Not bad.
That Storm Aces goes next, pulling out a 5 straight and, since he already has a lock on Maul, focuses.
Zertik takes his ion move, going 1 straight and focusing.
Now, it appears that I might have somewhat cheated here a bit (must be Steve Boulton’s influence! ?) and triggered Contraband to get double calculates. Oops. Looking back over the batrep I also triggered them in turn 4. Sorry Liam!
Maul takes a 4 straight, just missing the rock (phew!) and meansures for a lock on the Storm Ace, hoping to be out.
It is not out. He gets the lock.
Vader swings a hard 2 to the right but is still stressed so can’t do any other action.
Now, I don’t have damage info here but I’ll tell you the net results.
Vader can’t shoot anyone except the red Commandos who he mercilessly annihilates.
Maul fires his range 3 pea shooter at the obstructed Storm Ace. Two red dive vs 5 greens. Did I get those 2 last hits? No, I did not. Obviously.
Q9 shoots at Vader but, despite my cheaty calculates, he doesn’t die. Justified.
Manaroo goes next, hitting Vader hard (with her only mod being from R5-P8’s last charge) and takes him out.
Zertik, now off the gas cloud, takes a range 1 double modded shot into Q9 and while it does’t kill him, he does get the half points threshold.
The Storm Ace takes his range 3 obstructed shot back at Maul and, well, this happens:
FOUR NATURAL EVADES. Filthy. Suuuuper duper harsh.
With my red commandos dead and blue facing the wrong way, there are no more shots and the game is done!
End of turn score: 5 – 4
Final result: 21 – 12 win
An exciting finish to an interesting game! When the first proper engagement went the way it did I thought Maul was toast but thankfully it swung back my way once the TIEs needed to start turning and my Commandos got in the way.
Now, I had thought that there wasn’t going to be much point talking about this list following the points update since I imagined it wouldn’t be usable but that hasn’t quite been the case.
In fact, the only thing that’s changed is that Notorious (which is on Manaroo) has gone up from 2 to 5 points. Keeping it is tricky. I initially just dropped it and kept R5-P8 but I have played a game since then with this list and I did miss it. I’ve now dropped R5 to get Notorious back but it does leave a point unspent.
That other game, by the way, was a sort of loss. TTS kept on bombing out and we gave up with around 15 minutes left on the clock. It was close-ish and things were close to dying and the dice could have swung either way but my positioning was definitely not great and so I wouldn’t consider it a win. That doesn’t mean I’m done with this list, of course, but it has given me some more perspective on it.
There’s still a good number of triggers I’m either missing or not getting right but I think I’m getting there slowly. To what end though? Will I be playing this at a tournament any time soon? Well, maybe? It’s certainly fun enough to play 4 games in a row with and the low ship count means it’s less taxing on my brain than other lists.
Right, I think I’ve waffled on enough for this week! Come back next week to see how we all got on with the new Battle of Yavin stuff!
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