Back to reality

The intro…

Well hello there and welcome to this week’s blog!

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted so let’s have a little catch up.

I took a bit of a break as I was on holiday with my family (and strictly no blog work when on holiday! Well, not with my nose buried in a laptop at least…). We went to the south of France with friends and while the driving (yes, we drove all the way there and back!) was laborious at times, we LOVE the area and we had an amazing time.

Monte Carlo Casino baby!

It came after we’d spent what felt like an eternity (but actually only about 2 1/2 weeks) decorating in our new house as we had new carpets being fitted and a deadline that, looking back, was ludicrous. But we did it and it’s great.

As for X-Wing, well apparently stuff has happened with that too!

There’s been a few tournaments (including a big(ish) one in the US) and the meta game (JARGON ALERT!!) is developing. Some are pointing at Han Solo as being the current ‘big bad’ (although Luke Skywalker is in more lists) but it’s actually Republic ARCs and Padme that have won the last few big events. It’s all quite interesting.

I was quite surprised walking into my FLGS (JARGON ALERT!!) last week, intending to pre-order the shiny new things to find them already on the shelf!

Points didn’t arrive until 2 days later (and I’ll talk about that next week I think!) but still, they appeared with what felt like very little fanfare. I can forgive Firestorm perhaps but I feel that AMG could have made a bit more noise about them, especially given how often I seem to see Shatterpoint posts.

Even the points update from AMG actually didn’t mention new ship releases AT ALL:

Anyway, new stuff is always a positive and while I clearly don’t need a 4th YT-2400 (drop me a message if you’re interested in buying one!), I of course had to get my hands on the new pilot cards so I guess it was inevitable really.

Going back to tournaments, I want to give a shout out to the guys from Why Squadron who held a tournament last weekend with a prize kit from the always awesome Louis Leong. Congratulations to Ben Saunders for winning! (And to Mark Beor for coming a very close second!)

It seems a good time to mention that that’s a few more tournaments happening local to me (which I’ll be at!).

First up is the Firestorm Games Cardiff Store Championship on Saturday the 9th of September. There’s a Store Champ kit up for grabs and while the ticket does look a little pricey in comparison to others, lunch is included (which is handy since you can’t take your own food in!) and it is a TOP venue with tons of space and great facilities. I’ll be there, looking to try and get my hands on a Worlds invite! Also it’s my birthday weekend so come celebrate with me!

Secondly there’s my home store’s event, Firestorm Games Newport Store Championship on Saturday the 21st of October. Again we’ll have a store champs kit and maybe a few other goodies left over from previous tournaments to dish out to people too!

You can get tickets from here and you can get in touch or ask any questions by checking out the Facebook event page here.

I’m really looking forward to both events!

Alright, I think that’s about all there is to catch up on now, let’s move on…

The batrep(s)… (JARGON ALERT!!)

Yes! After a few weeks away I managed to get to casual night at Firestorm in Newport and get some games in!

Not only that but I got out of work early and got TWO games in. Two! It was a very good day.

Being that I’ve been away and, in fact, that a good chunk of my stuff isn’t in our new house yet, I am still flying the same list as I have been for the last, erm, I actually don’t know how long? I don’t think it’s what I was taking to the Welsh Open exactly so let’s say around 7 weeks I suppose:

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

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:

I’ve done a little experimenting over the weeks with various aspects of the list and I fell like I’ve broadly got the hang of what I want to do with it. Broadly. I’m still trying to make sure I don’t make stupid, overconfident moves with Sabine and while I know that the generally accepted wisdom with Han is to set his arc side to side and orbit, I’m feeling slightly more comfortable with setting it to the front. But I’m willing to be flexible.

Game 1 – Mark Hall

I got down to the store and was delighted to set up across the table from Mark. He’s our TO and doesn’t always get to play that often. Not only that but a change in work circumstances a few months back meant that he wasn’t able to be at casual night every week and so getting a game in is a rare occurrence of late. Also, he’s bought in to Shatterpoint and it was nice to drag him away from that for a little while!

Now normally at this point I’d show you Mark’s list and go through some interesting things but this time is a little different.

Mark brought the wrong list. More specifically, he’=d put together a list specifically to use Durge to regen abck to life but he’d put together a Scum list. Oops!

Boba Fett (9)
Marksmanship (1)
Kuiil (4)
Thermal Detonators (5)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Slave I (Separatist) (0)
Veteran Tail Gunner (5)

Ship Cost: 9 Loadout: (18/18) Half Points: 4 Damage Threshold: 5

Durge (4)
Marksmanship (1)
Predator (3)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Engine Upgrade (3)

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

Cad Bane (4)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Engine Upgrade (3)
Xanadu Blood (0)
Seismic Charges (3)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (9/13) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Foreman Proach (3)
Marksmanship (1)
Lone Wolf (3)
Precision Ion Engines (2)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (6/6) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Total: 20

View in YASB 2:

By the time I’d arrive he’s had this mistake pointed out to him and had planned a CIS version using Jango and with cannons on teh Rogue classes but for now, this is what he had.

Since I’ve got 2 games to talk about here this will be a short-ish summary, not a full batrep, as per usual!

Let’s quickly do the Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Assault at the Satellite Array
Target/Objective Priority – I mean, at 9 points it’s got to be Boba. I can perhaps out-muscle Mark’s ships on some objectives with 2 large bases but if I can get Boba as a trade for a cheaper ship then I’m doing alright.
Obstacles – I don’t especially mind how these shake out. A tight cluster means Han orbits, wide lanes means Han cruises with arc to front. The main thing is to get Ezra somewhere fairly central-ish to be a threat.
Deployment – Here’s where I stumbled.

After a few weeks of not playing this actually took me a minute to think about and I think I took an unnecessarily risky position with Han.

Being that most of Mark’s ships were right of centre (from my point of view), he could actually basically avoid Han by going all in on Luke. Han’s position was intended to go straight and then turn in between the two rocks but it’s a small space and (spoilers) I didn’t judge it correctly.

I also went bold with Luke, going 4 straight, attack speed boost and then locking Durge on turn 1 and firing a Proton Torp, taking his shields.

Han (with arc front to back) and Ezra managed to get range on Boba as well, nicking 2 shields off the Firespray.

I decided to go all in on Boba the next turn, going for a block with Ezra while Han would rotate arc (having focuses from being coordinated by Ezra) and go straight and Luke hard turning in.

Mark, meanwhile, had decided to go all in on Luke…

Cutting to the chase here, I got a bit lucky.

Han’s Trick Shot was just about in range to clip Boba while I managed to get three other fairly good shots into him.

Mark’s green dice totally abandoned him as even with rerolling two green dice on every attack, he rolled blank after blank.

Mark’s red dice had a similar experience as Luke came out of the engagement having lost shields and taking 1 crit. He almost certainly should have died.

That put the score to 12 – 1 to me as I’d also got some decent objective position and taking Boba off meant I got the middle.

We played out 1 more turn but Luke didn’t die and I picked up 2 more objectives. Mark decided to call it there as there wasn’t really a way back for him.

Result: 14 – 1 win

Mini conclusion…

Obviously Mark didn’t have the right list and so since he had the wrong ships and the wrong upgrades in the wrong faction, this result isn’t exactly a surprise.

Added to the fact that my dice were on fire at certain points, it’s hard not feel a bit bad about this. Mark shrugged it off, knowing that the result means little for him since his list is a non starter but what does it mean for me?

Regardless of the opposing list I hstill had to do my part, approaching with a plan and take out the targets. An early chip of damage onto Boba helped to take him down in the first meaningful engagement which isn’t something you often see. I got pretty lucky not losing Luke when he got blocked into the killbox and the game was done there really.

The more reps I get with this list, the more comfortable I get with how to work the ships together, particularly turn 0. I do struggle to ‘see the matrix’ when setting up and it does take me reps and making mistakes to make progress on this front. I do really admire players who can just look at a list on the table (or even just in YASB) and think ‘oh, I’ll just do , Y and Z’ and can still win. I’m definitely NOT one of those players!

I overplayed my hand with Luke in order to chase the turn 1 torp and committed even though he’d be potentially targeted. Between Han’s poor placement and Luke’s over-reach on turn 1 there’s a bit to think about here.

Game 2 – Peter Hall

No relation!

Peter and I played a few weeks ago (just before I went away and so haven’t blogged about) and neither of us has changed our list so this might be an interesting one as we both figure out how to leverage an advantage.

“Vizier” (4)
Imperial Super Commandos (8)
Tactical Scrambler (2)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (10/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

Major Rhymer (3)
Disciplined (2)
Multi-Missile Pods (4)
Skilled Bombardier (2)
Ion Bombs (4)

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

Lieutenant Lorrir (3)
Elusive (4)
Targeting Computer (1)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (5/6) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Academy Pilot (2)
Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (0/0) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Morna Kee (7)
Disciplined (2)
Darth Vader (12)
Minister Tua (4)
Agile Gunner (1)
Seismic Charges (3)
Dauntless (0)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (22/22) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 8

Total: 19

View in YASB 2:

Peter often builds lists that are very off meta but there’s a lot of thinking that goes in as to how things work and what interacts with what else. Also he loves to be able to barrel roll a Decimator. This will be very interesting.

Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Scramble the Transmissions
Target/Objective Priority – As it is with any list with a large beefy ship, you’ve got to either go all in on it immediately or you ignore it completely. IF the Deci isn’t flanking then I’ll focus there.
Obstacles – Peter’s got seismics but I want Trick Shots and lanes.
Deployment – This was going to be a little simpler as Peter has a lot of lower initiative ships. I’ll set up Ezra to cruise into a lane, Sabine where she can nick an objective and just react to Peter’s set up with Luke and Han.

We set up objectives, obstacles and ships and we’re good to go.

Now it’s relatively obvious that Vizier will go fast for a flank and Morna will go straight down the lane in front of her. I’m just not sure what the others are going to do.

I’m aiming to come up the side reasonably quickly to turn in to the middle to catch Morna while Han will turn in behind my other ships.

Peter suffers an unfortunate self bump as he got his dials mixed up but after turn 2 it becomes clear that my decision to chase Morna might have some consequences.

I decide to go for a bold move in turn 3 but this time it’s me who makes the dial error. I plan to boost then 3 bank Sabine in to claim the middle and 1 bank in with Ezra to target Morna. Unfortunately I had previously set Ezra a 2 bank and for got to check it…

No reinforce and no stress makes for a sad Ezra. Especially when he’s being shot at by 4 ships. Potentially.

Morna’s seismic goes off and Sabine and Ezra take a hit. Not what you want on a TIE fighter.

My dice roll hot (especially Han’s re-rolls) and I put 8 damage into Morna. Not a bad start.

A tokenless Sabine is too tempting a target so while I was worried about Ezra, it’s Sabine who burns down.

I now have a slight dilemma. I’m down a gun and I need to finish that Deci. I’ve also got Ezra being swarmed by TIEs. If I lose Ezra this could be bad.

I get two full strings of hits into Morna from Luke and Han including a Direct Hit to take 6 more health. So close!

Ezra does take a beating but definitely not as badly as he could have and also lives on 2 hull. Peter’s decision to fire at Luke from Scourge made the difference here.

At this point it’s a 5 – 5 tie so ti’s SUPER close and on a knife edge.

Luke goes hard into Morna, dialling in a 2 hard turn.

Han goes straight to try and keep his firing options open. Ezra banks away, in full ‘run away’ mode.

Peter’s seismic tags his interceptor which is unfortunate (for him!) but now I make my own error, firing at Morna with Han’s first shot and finishing her off. Now Luke has no target to fire at. Han’s second shot is into Lorrir to try and finish him off but he can’t.

Thankfully Lorrir’s shot whiffs HORRIBLY as Peter rolls 4 dice for 1 hit and 3 blanks, spends the lock and rerolls 3 more blanks. Ouch. Luke blanks out too. That could have been game changing.

Ezra continues to run while Han turns right to catch anyone chasing the Gauntlet and Luke will just turn around.

This time Han does the business, initiative killing Lorrir and putting 3 hits into Vizier’s hull.

Only Rhymer has arc on Ezra now and Ezra dodges with relative ease at range 3 with an obstruction.

We’ve not been timing the game but I’ve been ticking up objectives fairly consistently and with the score at 18 – 8, we call it there.

Result: 18 – 8 win

Mini conclusion…

Right, this one was really interesting. Going in I felt reasonably confident (probably off the back of the previous game) but after two turns in I felt that I’d made two big mistakes. First was the misdial of Ezra’s 2 bank which should have been a 1 bank. More than that though, I think that turning in on Morna was a mistake. The risk paid off as the Deci did explode but things could have gone very differently with a swing in dice variance. Morna could have lived and I could have lost both Ezra and Luke for a pretty big swing in points and probably the result.

The conclusion…

Well, 2 games, 2 wins! That can’t be bad, right? I think that the results are perhaps papering over a few cracks, mainly in the second game but these are more mistakes that I’m making rather than any issues with the list. Are there better, more efficient lists out there? Yes, even in Rebels. But, as I’ve heard on a recent Sith Takers podcast (featuring our very own Steve Boulton!), just picking up a ‘known good’ list and taking it to a tournament with very few reps is unlikely to get you a win by default.

I’ve been thinking lately about my Han build being different to the more popular choice which has Chopper crew. Clearly I’ve been using Chopper on Ezra which means I can’t but while playing about with another list (more on that in a minute), I might have found a new combination that I like. I will test it before talking about it though.

That new list I mentioned? Look, I know I’m about to go into two Store Champs and that it’s better to have a list you know…


How can I not look at this?! Do I think Dash is viable at 7 points? Meh, probably not when you’ve got Han for the same cost but heck, I was flying Dash in 2.0 when he was almost 100 points. I don’t think the newer version is as good (or at least he’ll have to be flown quite differently to be decent) but at the very least I need to try one game with him. Who knows, maybe it’ll be good?

Anyway, that’s it for me this week. I’ll be back next Tuesday, I’ll see you then!

The outro…

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