Welcome to this week’s blog!
This week it’s half term with us so the kids are off school and my wife and I have taken the week off as well. We’ve no specific plans which means I may or may not get an in-person game in this week and might mean that there’s no blog next week, depending on how much time I get.
Other than that it’s been a relatively normal week now that the house is no longer Covid-ridden (yay!) and thankfully I’ve had plenty of time to tinker with lists, lark about in Fly Casual and even get a game in. More on that last one in a minute, firstly, let’s get back to the current ‘hot topic’ (as far as the blog is concerned anyway!)
Sticking with the theme over the last few weeks, what I guess we have here is another edition of – what to fly with Dash? It’s starting to feel like I’ve travelled back in time 2 years!
Wedge is pretty good of course but my experiences with him so far have been somewhat underwhelming. I’m sure that’s 100% to do with me and not with him but the fact is that I need to find an option that suits me and my play style. I’m not expecting to find some ‘broken, disgusting, auto-win’ combo here, just something that I like and can get some reps in to improve upon.
And it’s not even that I don’t like the options I’ve tried so far, it’s more that nothing is really jumping out at me and given the significant points changes for Dash there are now a LOT of options, most of which I need to test in real games.
I have had a fair few comments off the back of the last couple of blog posts as well as the games I’ve played with many different suggestions of what I could use. In fact it’s probably too many for me to properly digest and test with the number of games I’m getting recently. When you couple this with my general need for a few reps with a list to really get a feel for it, it could actually be a little while before I decide what to settle on.
But I have a game to play and so I need to pick which option to run with. My first wingmate pick is actually getting easier and more obvious with more games.
I’ve run AP-5 a few times now and he may well have overtaken Jake as my support ship of choice. The flexibility of the coordinate over Jake’s focus passing, not to mention the range 2 advantage too.
Ok, AP-5 is in.
But who else? Do I try Wedge with Proton Torps again and learn from my mistakes in the last game? Do I revert to Wedge with R2 Astromech and Afterburners and see if I can make better use of those upgrades? Do I drop both Wedge and AP-5 and take 2 B-Wings as suggested by Brian Lindamood, my last opponent? What about something completely off the wall like Wullffwarro with Zeb and Intimidation?
After posting last week’s blog out I got still more options including Hera and Ahsoka, Lando, heck, even Leebo is getting used!
In the end it was an impassioned argument made by u/KC_Canuck on Reddit that piqued my interest the most.
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it till the day I die; Luke>>>>Wedge. Luke is much more likely to survive to the late game, he always has a defensive mod on hand, he’s got a smaller target on his back, and most of the time has double modded shots without needing support from another pilot.
His consistent damage output and surprising tankyness would make a great wing mate for Dash and AP5, especially allowing AP5 to feed Dash actions. Even if dash goes down, Luke is a great late game ace. Put an R2 unit on himu/KC_Canuck
Now, historically speaking, my track record with Luke isn’t great. I took him to the System Open in 2020 with not so great results. People keep telling me that he’s tanky but I tended to find that he evaporated rather too quickly for my liking.
First of all, I’d like to hope I’m a slightly better player than I was 18 months ago. That’s certainly not a given though…. Secondly, he was the very clear main target in that list while in this one he isn’t. Thirdly, there are some spare points available to try some funky things.
Sure, why not. I’ll give it go!
u/KC_Canuck was even kind enough to build the list out for me:
Ship total: 100 Half Points: 50 Threshold: 5
Ship total: 35 Half Points: 18 Threshold: 3
Ship total: 65 Half Points: 33 Threshold: 3
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW40W54WW157WY72X122WWWWY4XWW2WW142&sn=Dash%2C%20Jake%2C%20Gavin&obs=
The ‘what I now consider standard’ build of Dash (which I’m very happy with), Luke with regen and AP-5 with… intimidation. I looked for other options with those 3 points but heck, if he’s moving at i1, can coordinate for his action, deny an action with a block AND reduce someone’s agility, then why the heck not?
I load up TTS and get a room set up ready.
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
The Sith Taker league is officially over for this season but a few weeks back I missed a game against a good friend due to the general busyness of life. There was never any chance that I would just let that game slide though and on the day that the pairings are normally drawn I got in touch with the very lovely Mr Steve Boulton.
As I’ve mentioned before, if there’s a tournament we’re both in, it seems that Steve and I will get paired at some point! I think we’ve played each other twice in person and at least 3 times online since meeting at the 2020 System Open when he was paired against Cai.
I cannot say enough nice things about this lovely bloke who seems to me to be the very embodiment of what it is to be a great X-Wing player. He’s got a great understanding and knowledge of the game, is competitive and more often than not towards the top end of a competition. At the same time he is friendly, approachable, chatty, kind and without any hesitation would concede a game rather than give his opponent a bad experience.
Yes, when I grow up I want to be like Steve.
I already knew that I wouldn’t get down to Firestorm for some in-person play due to a pre-arranged social engagement and so imagine my disappointment when Steve suggests that he come over to Newport for us to play the game in person.
I was gutted. I suggested we wait a week (since we have a grace period at the end of the league to catch up games) but that wasn’t going to work out either. Balls.
Still, I really wanted to make sure we got the game in and so we arranged to play on the Tuesday night.
With TTS loaded up Steve and I chatted about our lists and thoughts and life in general before he showed me his list and ran through what disgusting things it was going to do to me.
Ship total: 65 Half Points: 33 Threshold: 6
Proton Torpedoes (12)
Weapons Systems Officer (5)
False Transponder Codes (3)
Ship total: 73 Half Points: 37 Threshold: 5
Ship total: 62 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 3
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZsZ200Z153XWWW31W66W83WWWY115XW136WWW368W369WWY114X333WW91WWW156&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
Ok then. First the obvious – Dengar with Torps. Yuck. Torkil to reduce my initiative. Yuck. Bossk and Greedo. Yuck. At least Zam isn’t on there anywhere. Then Steve runs me through 4-LOM and Zuckuss and WSO and it just all feels so very typically Scummy.
I hate it.
While we assign dials and the like I try desperately to figure out what to do in my Pre-Flight checks:
Target Priority – I mean… Bossk, I guess. If Torkil’s cloaked and Dengar will revenge shot me, I should start with Bossk. Right? RIGHT!?
Obstacles – tight clusters. Steve’s brought small rocks which Dash isn’t too keen on but tight clusters is more of a disadvantage to Steve than to me. I think.
Deployment – With this being literally my first rep with this list, I stumble here. I decide to place all 3 ships close together. Is it a good idea? Probably not. I think that placing my ships in the opposite corner from Steve’s general deployment will possibly do 2 things for me though. 1 – draw Bossk towards the obstacles and 2 – make Dengar go left early, hopefully making him need to turn right later.
We roll for first player (Steve gets it) but with no crossover of initiatives it only really matters for obstacle placement. We place obstacles and ships and are ready to get started!
My first thought here is to get Luke down the other side of the board. I set both AP-5 and Dash a 1 bank right while Luke has foils closed and will go 4 straight and boost.
Steve sends Bossk 1 straight and Dengar 2 straight but curiously Torkil has hard stopped. While I get that Steve wants to screen him with Bossk he’s prevented himself from stocking up his first focus. Steve later regrets this.
Obviously there’s no shooting and so we’re back to dials.
Do I stick to the plan with Luke or bring him in with a 3 bank? Hmmmm….. I decide to stick to the plan and give him another 4 straight. I want to go slow-ish with Dash, staying in the obstacles but I’ve made the classic error of putting the i1 ship behind the i5. AP-5 will 1 straight (bumping) while Dash needs to go a little faster to give the droid room to move next time. He gets a 2 bank.
This time Steve swaps things around, going 1 straight with Torkil while Bossk does a hard stop. Dengar hard turns in.
No shooting again and I feel like Steve’s slower approach has vindicated my decision. Hopefully it’ll allow me to get both Luke and Dash firing at the same target.
Planning then. I’m expecting a hard turn from Bossk and a fast straight move from Dengar, so what do I do? Hmmm…..
This time I do 3 bank with Luke, keeping foils closed and boosting left to run parallel to the board edge. Dash just takes a 1 straight while AP-5 does the same behind him and coordinates a focus and evade.
Steve has slow rolled for one more turn, banking Mux and Bossk and running Dengar into the YV-666 to keep it back. Smart. He feels like he’s still trying recover from Torkil’s stop on turn 1.
Still no shots but this is almost certainly the last time that happens.
I’m suddenly rather nervous about my positioning. Bossk and Dengar can both turn on either Luke or Dash here and despite Steve claiming he’s messed up, his positioning looks better.
I consider some nonsense with Dash (having AP-5 coordinate him a barrel roll left and then hard turning left, hoping to hit the obstacle to clear the stress) but it all feels a bit unnecessary. In the end I play cautious – a 2 hard left for AP-5, a 1 straight for Dash and a 1 bank for Luke.
AP-5 turns and gives Dash a focus and evade. Torkil banks left (stopping just short of bumping Bossk) and cloaks. Bossk hard turns left. Yikes. He locks Luke and it seems I have my answer.
Luke opens his foils (I remembered! Yay!), banks in and locks Bossk. Dash goes 1 straight and locks Bossk too. Dengar goes 1 straight and takes a lock on Luke.
Now, we shoot! And the shenanigans start – Torkil drops Luke’s initiative down to zero. Yuck.
Dengar goes first, firing Proton Torps at Luke. They’re only single modded though (Steve could have used Hondo to coordinate him while jamming Bossk but opted not to) and after spending the lock (and then reacquiring it with Weapons System Officer) only 1 hit gets through which Luke takes to his shields.
Next is Dash who broadsides Bossk with a double modded 4 dice attack, taking 3 shields. Bossk goes next taking a range 2 shot into Luke. As Steve rolls dice I remember that Dash could have used Greedo but we realise that it’s irrelevant since all his hits went to shields anyway.
Bossk is also only single modded and his 3 dice attack ends up only taking Luke’s second shield. Phew.
Torkil is cloaked and doesn’t shoot so AP-5 goes next, just about getting a shot into Bossk which does nothing at all. Luke goes last but has more joy than the droid, sinking 3 hits into Bossk’s hull and getting him halved. Nice.
At this point Steve remembers he has False Transponder Codes on Dengar which should have triggered. Oops! In terms of this turn of engagement it didn’t matter since Luke didn’t need to spend his lock. Still, ANOTHER forgotten trigger!
Back to planning then. And I really don’t like my positions here. Luke is a bit limited on where he can go while it seems that I’ve been slowly driving Dash into a corner. Time to make some smart decisions.
First the easy one – AP-5 will bank right and coordinate Dash. That means Dash can do a 4-K (JARGON ALERT!!) and still have an action. Cool, I’m happy-ish with that.
But what about Luke? I initially dial in a 3 hard to the right, intending to regen a shield, close foils and then boost left to (hopefully) dodge some arcs. But what If I don’t dodge them? Bossk’s 180 arc is a pain and Mux has his arc set that way too. Dengar’s appears to be pointed forwards so maybe it wouldn’t be too bad?
Bossk HAS to go forwards as he took a stress to make me reroll a defence die last turn. That means a 4 straight should take me over the top. Sounds good. I might even get a nice shot onto Dengar if I don’t regen.
Torkil decloaks in the Systems Phase, going forwards. Hmmm… I start with AP-5, bank, coordinate Dash, all good. Then Torkil goes 1 straight and bumps Bossk, landing him exactly where Luke should be going. Balls.
Bossk moves 1 straight and locks Dash. Luke goes forwards and bumps Bossk while Dash’s 4-K lands rather closer to Bossk than I’d like.
Dengar simply takes a 1 straight again and moves his lock from Luke to Dash. Oh.
This time Mux reduces Dash’s initiative to zero. I hate that HWK.
Dengar fires his last Proton Torps at Dash but AGAIN they’re single modded (since Torkil bumped and couldn’t Hondo) and takes 2 shields after I spend the evade. Could have been worse.
Next up is Luke. I mull it over for a moment. Hang on, Dengar’s mobile turret is facing forwards and Luke isn’t in that arc, he won’t get a revenge shot! I mention it to Steve and he says, no, the arc should be out the side. It seems that while checking front arc for torps he’d accidentally rotated! Oops!
Ok, shooting Dengar is less appealing now (although it would be a range 2, 2 dice unmodded return shot). I opt to shoot Torkil instead but it’s all moot as Luke’s red dice crap out and Torkil evades easily.
Bossk fires at Dash at range 1, takes 2 ion tokens to prevent me spending the focus, takes a stress to make him reroll a green and manages to strip his last shields using the Bossk crit splitting nonsense. Absolute filth. Then Torkil’s shot forces Dash to spend his focus to not get halved. Not. Good.
The (almost) forgotten droid shoots at Bossk (doing nothing, again) while Dash’s reduced die range 1 shot into Bossk still manages to get 2 hits on. Sadly Greedo has been spent so no crits this time.
Back to dials we go!
This next turn is where I feel that AP-5 comes into his own (despite his attacking failings!). I dial in a 2 straight which I think gives him range 2 to coordinate Dash (as AP-5 can coordinate stressed ships). This in turn means that Dash isn’t limited to a 1 or 2 straight or 1 bank. Lovely. Dash gets a 4 straight.
But Luke? Hmmm… I do want to regen the shields but doing so means no shooting and really, I need to do damage.
The compulsion to utilise the R2 Astromech points is too strong though and I set Luke a 3 bank right to get him out for now.
AP-5 moves and easily reaches Dash for the coordinate. Yay!
Even better, that means that he neatly blocks Torkil’s 3 bank, once again preventing any Hondo nonsense. Yay!
Bossk 1 banks to clear his stress which bumps into Dash who in turn takes his 4 straight but as he’s stressed, can’t take any other actions.
Luke closes foils, regens a shield, 3 banks right and then boosts left. Y’know, I imght be getting the hang of this!
Dengar joins the bump train with AP-5 being where he wasn’t really expected. Yay!
Dash gets Mux’ed again before Dengar (who both spent and reacquired a lock in the last engagement) discovers that the bump means he’s got no shot since his arc is facing left. Yay!
Luke is both disarmed AND facing the wrong way so it’s Bossk who actually fires first, rolling 3 unmodded dice at Dash and getting nothing. Torkil goes next and not only is it range 1 (boooo!) but Torkil rolls fire, getting 3 paint and spending his focus for 3, forcing Dash to spend his evade to take just 1 hit.
AP-5 can only fire at Bossk and, despite what my eyes tell me, it’s apparently range 2:
Somewhat predictably, AP-5’s roll isn’t great but this time, despite being range 2 AND obstructed Bossk blanks on his green (finally!) and I sneak another hit on. 3 to go!
Dash shoots last and doesn’t have arc on Bossk so, with Dengar’s arc safely pointed elsewhere, fires at the Jumpmaster, managing to take 2 shields off.
Back to dials then.
When I set the 2 straight for AP-5 last turn I already knew what I wanted to do next. Reverse. With Torkil and Dengar’s position here I like it even better. Luke will 2 hard turn while Dash…hmmm….. He’s stressed but I don’t want to stay in close. I dial in a 3 bank, looking to clip the debris to use the title to get rid of it.
AP-5 does his sneaky reverse but Torkil is wise to it and 3 banks over the top of him and uses Hondo to coordinate AP-5 (who is stressed so can’t take an action) and jam Dash. Sneaky.
Bossk hard turns (which is red) before Dash goes for the 3 bank. It falls short of the debris but it’s irrelevant anyway since Torkil jammed him.
Luke keeps his foils closed, hard turns and then boosts left, landing neatly next to the debris. Lovely!
Dengar doesn’t get past AP-5 though and bumps, once again meaning he can’t turn his turret.
Dash get Mux’ed once again and with Dengar’s arc the wrong way (from Steve’s perspective!) it’s Luke to shoot first at range 1 and he rolls 2 hits and a crit. Dengar dodges one but the crit is a Direct.
Bossk fires next but his unmodded shot fails to do any damage to Dash. Torkil, however, continues to roll like an Arcona (yes, I looked it up!) possessed and gets 2 more hits into Dash’s hull, leaving him with 3 left.
AP-5 takes a range 1 shot into Bossk but blanks out before Dash fires at Dengar (with Bossk just out of arc) and gets another hit onto him.
With the clock now at just over 10 minutes to go we go to planning.
This time Dash will bank again and will definitely hit the debris, clearing stress. Luke will go 1 straight while AP-5 needs to clear his stress so can only really bank at Bossk.
AP-5 banks and, with nobody close enough, calculates.
Torkil hard turns and takes a focus before Bossk banks in and reinforces to front. Damn.
Luke opens his foils and goes 1 straight and with a lock on Bossk already, takes a focus but uses Jyn to make an evade, just in case. Dash banks, removes the stress and takes a focus and evade. Dengar, finally out of the traffic jam, 3 banks over the top of Bossk and focuses into a linked rotate to get arc on Dash.
Torkil reduces Dash’s initiative to zero and I realise that I should have either gone 4 straight on have barrel rolled for his action. Balls.
Dengar shoots and spends his lock which forces Dash to spend his evade.
Luke fires at Bossk, spends his lock but rolls a blank into another blank. It’s 2 hits and with Bossk having the reinforce to front it’s just 1 damage no matter what he rolls.
Bossk fires at Dash and scores a hit to leave him on 2 hull before Torkil once again rolls all paint with 4 dice and Dash dies without firing. Poop.
Can AP-5 be the saviour here? No, he can’t. At range 1 he rolls blank, eyeball, crit and spends his calculate for another hit. The reinforce is forwards so doesn’t protect Bossk here but he rolls an evade to take just the crit which is a Damaged Engine. I could have done with a Direct there!
Back to planning then and as I ponder my choices Steve points out that this is most likely our last turn in case that affects my decision. It does.
I was considering flying AP-5 backwards in order to go forwards next time and coordinate Luke but it seems I won’t get time to do that.
I send AP-5 1 straight while Luke will do a 4-K to try and finish Bossk. If I can kill Bossk without losing half on Luke, I win.
AP-5 goes 1 straight and calculates. Torkil banks right and takes a focus linked to rotate to point at Luke. Bossk goes 3 straight and reinforces to rear.
Luke’s 4-K lands nicely behind Bossk before Dengar goes 1 straight and locks into a linked rotate, just to make sure he’s got arc on Luke.
Torkil reduces Luke’s initiative to zero again.
Dengar shoots at Luke and spends hit lock for 2 hits. Luke evades them both without spending a Force.
Torkil goes next, again rolling 2 and again Luke easily evades.
AP-5 just barely has range out of his rear arc, rolls and gets blank and eyeball, spends the calculate but Bossk easily evades it. It’s all down to Luke.
He needs to score 4 hits to kill Bossk for sure or 3 with Bossk blanking out to get past the reinforce. I check the arc for range.
It’s range 2 by a whisker. Balls.
Luke rolls. It’s 2 hits and a blank. It’s not good enough no matter what Bossk rolls. The reinforce cancels a hit and Bossk survives on 1.
Bossk rolls dice and he’s fine and the game is done.
Steve then realised that we forgot to use Greedo on that last attack from Luke. He flips the hit to a crit…
It’s a Console Fire.
It’s not relevant since by the time it would have taken effect Bossk had already engaged (since Luke had been Mux’ed) but Steve rolls a die for it anyway and it’s a blank. Any way you slice it, Bossk lives.
Result: 70 – 100 loss
In the immediate aftermath of the game we start to discuss our (many) collective mistakes and missed triggers (which were more than just the ones I mentioned in the baterp!) and Steve tells me I need to include the two old blokes from the Muppets since we are (and I quote) ‘two old gits who don’t know what we’re doing’. Harsh but on reflection of the game, probably fair.
As if to reinforce that observation, as I idly scroll around the TTS table while we chat, something catches my eye…
OH DEAR LORD! I FORGOT INTIMIDATION ON AP-5!!
Looking back through the turns while writing this out, I’m not sure it would have made a massive difference. AP-5 bumped into things twice in total, once was Torkil while not cloaked and it may have changed my target choice but possibly not (I shot Dengar while his arc faced another way). The second time was on Dengar and I did shoot at him so it might have meant an extra hit onto him which, given his final health tally, wouldn’t have killed him.
Ok, overall it was a little bit of a debacle with some forgotten triggers AND of course I did lose the game but actually… I think I might quite like this list?
I’m happy that I remembered to flip foils in the relevant places and I felt that overall Luke was more of a threat than Wedge just because I was able to bring him in, tank some shots and then leave, regen and come back.
The down side of how that worked out is that when Luke left, Dash became the main target and while AP-5 helped him survive, he did burn down a little bit faster than I’d have liked.
But then again, if that leaves me with Luke and AP-5, maybe that’s ok? Dash is worth a lot of points though so it’s not an ideal situation but it isn’t too terrible. Staying on this line of thinking begs the question – when stand-alone, who is the better end game ship, Wedge (higher initiative and reduces agility) or Luke (lower initiative but ALWAYS has defensive mod and potential for double modded attacks)?
And what if you factor in AP-5? Does that change things? I mean, double modded Wedge will be packing quite the punch but won’t he still be lacking defensively?
I’m not sure I know the answer. In fact, I know that I don’t. What I do know though is that I felt better about Luke in this game than I have about Wedge in the last two and while this game is objectively about stats, strategy and probabilities, irrational feelings certainly have a strong influence!
So will I pick Luke next time? I don’t know. I’ve got a lot more options to test out (mostly in Fly Casual) but he certainly stays in the running.
In terms of how I played the game, I think that chasing Bossk was probably fine although checking the points values half way through I noticed that Torkil was only 3 points less and caused me rather more trouble throughout the game. I think that the Cloaking Device dissuaded me from targeting him early on and I never really revisited that.
Dengar was less trouble than I expected once I realised that he didn’t have the title and once his 2 Torpedo charges were spent he was just plinking 2 dice at me like a toilet shaped A-Wing. I should probably have barrel rolled Dash left in the turn that he died in order to prevent the shot from Bossk and reduce Torkil’s shot to a 2 dice r2 side arc shot.
In the end I believe it’s Torkil’s ability that swung this game I think or rather, my lack of experience against it and understanding how to deal with it. On one hand it did come down to the last roll of the dice (when Luke failed to finish Bossk) but while Steve claimed to not deserve the win, the fact that he managed to do it while screwing up his first 2-3 turns means I should probably have never been in the running.
I thoroughly enjoyed this game, mostly for the fact that I got to talk to Steve for two hours. Thanks for the game mate, I hope it’s not too long until the next one!
While we talked afterwards Steve asked me if I’d seen the list Marcel Manzano won a store tournament with a week or so ago and that he’s been thinking about flying which, I think (since I now can’t find the post on Facebook!), was this:
Ship total: 107 Half Points: 54 Threshold: 5
Ship total: 93 Half Points: 47 Threshold: 7
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW41W314WW157WY61X122W111WW137W65W58WWW&sn=Dash%2C%20Jake%2C%20Gavin&obs=
I said that I had actually seen this and gave it a go in Fly Casual to pretty disastrous results. Whether it’s the fact that Fly Casual likes to use 3 agility swarms or that my dice were just consistently bad (across 4 games in a row…), I just could not make it work very well at all.
I then admitted that Marcel just probably flies it better than me since ‘he’s a pretty ok player I suppose’ (a direct quote that Steve found quite funny).
Anyway, I’m going to stop here because I’ve already typed FAR too many words. If I’m not back next week, I’ll definitely be back the week after. I’ll see you then!
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