Correct choices…

The intro…

Hello! Welcome to this week’s blog!

There just TWO WEEKS until the next store tournament at Firestorm Games in Newport! We have some tickets still available so if you fancy coming along and getting your hands on some of those sweet, sweet Holocron metal objective tokens as well as some alt arts and, just maybe, a BEAUTIFUL TIE Advanced x1 trophy (!), grab a ticket and come on down!

A work in progress!

Firestorm has free covered parking (well, it’s Tesco’s parking but we can use it too!) and there’s plenty of choices for food without going outside. Plus of course you’ll get to play X-Wing!

There’s also still time to get a ticket for Firestorm Games Cardiff’s Christmas event on the 10th of December! Christmas jumpers are optional but encouraged!

I don’t normally mention Patreon stuff outside of the 4 weeks leading up to the end of a quarter but I do want to mention that I’ve just added a new support tier. It’s £2 a month and members of this tier will get quarterly gifts (which the £1 per month members don’t) but those gifts will only be alt art cards (not tokens). This is because cards are much cheaper to post than anything that’s over 5mm thick!

Cards baby!

So if you’ve considered being a supporter before but found the £3.50 package maybe a little much then perhaps this option is the one for you! No pressure, of course, if you’d like to support me in what I’m doing here I would be HUGELY grateful!

Right, I think that’s all the housekeeping for this week, on with the show!

The pre-amble…

Ok, well sort of.

Before I get started about the game(s?) I played this week I want to talk about the list I’ve been flying, just a little bit.

Before I dive in, I’ll just put it here for reference:

Maul (9)
Marksmanship (1)
Fenn Rau (4)
Greedo (1)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Drop-Seat Bay (1)
Nightbrother (0)
Swivel Wing (0)
Cad Bane (3)
Mandalorian Super Commandos (7)

Ship Cost: 9 Loadout: (20/20) Half Points: 4 Damage Threshold: 5

Q9-0 (6)
IG-88D (3)
Lando Calrissian (Scum) (4)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)
BT-1 (2)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Razor Crest (0)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 4

Manaroo (5)
Notorious (5)
Gar Saxon (Gunner) (6)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Punishing One (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (14/15) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v9ZhZ20Z512XW125W428W83WWW92WW465W448W449W20W466WY521X36W45W10W79W92WWW451Y117X455WWWW441W92WW159W&sn=3%20ships!&obs=

Now, I have been having fun with this list. I enjoy flying it win or lose and that’s a great place to be. It’s beefy, it can punch and the one target who can be a bit squishy (Manaroo) is only worth 5 points. Oh, and Super Commandos are awesome fun!

That said, I am seeing some drawbacks. The clear and obvious one is ship count. A low number of ships means that it isn’t often that I’m scoring a lot of objective points, mainly when it comes to Scramble and Salvage. It’s fine for Assault since big ships count for two and being able to stop with two of the ships (potentially for multiple turns) means I can get some points there. Chance is a little less fine since halving two of my ships (Maul and Q9 for example) nets you a lot of points. I feel like that’s sort of counterbalanced by all these ships having 2 agility and each one having one mechanic that puts people off shooting at them (Force for Maul, Lando rerolls for Q9 and Notorious for Manaroo).

In Scramble and Salvage it’s more a case of claim what I can early (so as not to get behind, or at least not too far behind) and then try and kill some ships. It doesn’t always work but big hits from Maul and Q9 (and potentially Manaroo) followed up by plinky shots from Commandos seems to be mostly doing alright.

So what am I not using? Let’s start with Maul.

Marksmanship is really just a filler here anyway but am I likely to get bullseye with a large base non reposition ship? No, not really.

Cad Bane crew is fun for sure but the last 2 or 3 games I’ve played, I’ve planned to drop Commandos and then looked at where I want to go. More often than not I’ve elected NOT to boost and just taken a normal move instead of the reposition and then dialling in a blue to clear the stress.

Then there’s Fenn Rau. Fenn, Fenn, Fenn. I am losing count of the number of times I want to trigger this but can’t. The stressed ship is either outside of range 2, stopped (so didn’t go 1 or faster) or doesn’t have a ship in it’s front arc at range 1. Granted I’m not playing specifically for it but at 4 points there’s got to be something more useful hasn’t there?

Dropping Cad, Fenn and Marksmanship gives 8 points and I could get an extra 1 of I drop the pretty optional Greedo (although I like the crit generation for Salvage).

Maclunkey?

I’m pretty happy with Q9 all in all. The HLC (JARGON ALERT!!) doesn’t trigger all that often but if it makes people take suboptimal moves to dodge my bullseye then I figure it’s still got some value. BT-1 is nice for Salvage but doesn’t combo with HLC, plus I forget it sometimes but the IG and Lando combo is pretty nice.

Similarly I think Manaroo is fine too. The recent points hike for Notorious meant I had to pick what to drop between that, Gar Saxon and R5-P8. I tried dropping Notorious and keeping the droid but I think I like the threat of straining and the reroll more. Maybe. I’m not 100 sold though. I’m also not against dropping Gar and getting R5-P8 back but then what do I do with the 3 left over points?

It’s interesting because even with these doubts and considerations, I still like the list and I’m doing ok with it.

Anyway, I didn’t make any decisions or changes before going to casual night so I’ll talk about the game and then come back to changes later!

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

Right, I’m going to start here with a little disclaimer/apology.

This week one of the guys asked about borrowing some Imperial ships to field a squad and I offered to help. While doing this I, very efficiently I might add, tidied up my Feldherr case.

A little too efficiently it seems. When I started unpacking my bag I found that I’d removed my printed Infinite Arenas sheet for this list.

Big oops.

AS a result, I flipped over the one sheet that I’d left in my case and got out my pen.

Quick and dirty!

Fixed!

With 6 of us turning up and my having played against our two newer players with this list reasonably recently, we rolled a die and it seems I would be flying against Mr Steve Boulton!

Steve was preparing for a team tournament on the weekend and had put his list together not long before. With this being a prep game for him I was more than happy to chat through stuff as we went.

So, what would I be facing?

Kazuda Xiono (4)
Trick Shot (4)
R3 Astromech (4)
Deadman’s Switch (2)
Advanced SLAM (3)
Targeting Computer (1)
Kaz’s Fireball (0)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (14/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Poe Dameron (HoH) (6)
Heroic (2)
Elusive (2)
R4 Astromech (3)
Overdrive Thruster (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
Plasma Torpedoes (7)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (19/19) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3

BB-8 (2)
Ferrosphere Paint (3)
Automated Target Priority (1)

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

Rey (8)
Heroic (2)
Rose Tico (9)
Finn (9)
Deadman’s Switch (2)
Engine Upgrade (3)
Rey’s Millennium Falcon (0)

Ship Cost: 8 Loadout: (25/25) Half Points: 4 Damage Threshold: 5

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Resistance&d=v9ZhZ20Z378X133WW4W93W104W249W315Y442X172W119WWW5W345W175W234Y349X198W348WWY244XW172WW173WW174W93W107W193&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Ok! Let’s see, heavy hitting Rey, Commander Poe with torps (Plasma not Proton but still…), Kaz and BB-8. Interesting.

With no preference from either of us, we rolled to pick a scenario. Let’s tie that in with Pre-Flight checks shall we:
Scenario – Salvage Mission
Target/Objective Priority – grab some crates to not fall behind, take out one of the high point ships. Which one depends on deployment I think.
Obstacles – Hmmm….. I’d prefer to spread them out to give my ships some space but that….. isn’t what happens…
Deployment – same as usual, spread out along my board edge with Manaroo on the right.

I was first player for set up and while I feel that objective deployment went ok, I think we both dived hard into the ‘stop the big ship picking things up’ frame of mind when placing obstacles. As a result, once we’d put everything out this is what we had:

Two easy objectives for me to pick up and a bit of a ‘no-go zone’ in my top right. Not terrible but I’ve given Rey free reign to come and smash me up I think. Anyway, let’s get planning….

Turn 1

What I don’t want here is to allow Rey or Poe to come in at the back of my ships. With how Steve is deployed though I don’t know if that’s avoidable. I decide to stall a little, setting Manaroo and Q9 a 1 straight but Maul a stop.

ROAD 1st Player – Steve

Steve’s ships mostly open conservatively too with Rey and BB-8 going slowly towards me while Kaz flys towards Rey.

Poe is going fast though, taking a 4 straight and then boosting in towards Manaroo.

Poe didn’t get range for a shot though and so it’s back to planning we go!

Turn 2

So, despite intending to bank left with Manaroo and launch for the middle here, I think I can get Poe isolated and maybe knock some health off.

I debate a 1 bank for Manaroo but Poe will be double modded and punch harder than me so I decide to set a 3 bank instead, hoping for a block.

Meanwhile Maul will bank right to clear stress and pick up a box while Q9 will hard 2 right and pick up the box that I’d intended Manaroo to get.

I internally debate whether spending Overtuned would be a good idea or not….

ROAD 1st Player – Me

Steve starts with BB-8 who systems phase rolls right and then 1 banks left and picks up a box. Manaroo takes her raking 3 bank and focuses.

Kaz goes next with a slow 1 straight (and focus) before Maul banks 1 right and picks up the crate before Q9 hard turns right and does the same.

Rey then 3 banks out towards Maul and focuses.

Poe goes for a 4 straight but Manaroo’s 3 bank has blocked it! Yay! He takes the red focus.

Well, kind of yay.

Poe declines to shoot at Manaroo (for fear of Notorious) so it’s Maul and Q9 to shoot. Remember I said I was debating Overtuned? Well I didn’t and now, I wish I did. Q9 fires at Poe range 3. It’s 1 hit, 1 blank, 1 eyeball and Poe dodges it.

Maul takes a shot at Rey and makes her spend her focus but she opts to take a hit in order to use her Finn blank to acquire a lock.

Rey shoots back, adds a blank, spends the lock and some force (though I can’t remember how much!) and while Maul evades, he still loses both shields and takes a damage card. Ouch.

Only Manaroo still has range and takes her range 0 into Poe, rolling 2 hits out of hand. Nice!

Poe responds by rolling 2 paint and spending his focus to dodge it all.

End of turn score: 2 (me) – 1 (Steve)

Turn 3

Ok, not a terrible start. I have now turned on Poe though and so I’ve got to commit to doing some damage which is somewhat complicated by having Rey approaching from behind.

Time to drop some Commandos I guess!

I’ll turn Manaroo in left while Maul and Q9 fire at Poe. He’s stressed so is more limited on where he can go but obviously his R4 astromech helps with that. I’m fairly confident I can shoot at him with both though. I’ll stop with Q9 (so he doesn’t sneak past) while Maul will 3 bank right.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

It’s Commando time! I drop the Commandos out of Maul’s left side with a bank template (thanks to drop-seat bay) and at i0 they hard turn right.

It’s Manaroo to go next and she takes the 2 hard turn and picks up the box.

BB-8 hard turns right before Kaz 1 banks in towards the action.

This time Q9 did take the Overtuned Modulators and so has 3 calculates despite the red stop. Maul banks in and, with full Force charge, takes a lock on Rey. Poe would have been nicer but he’s still too far out.

Rey goes 1 straight, landing right on the Commandos and picks up a strain. Steve eyes up the angle, is confident he’s got Maul in arc and decides against the boost, taking a red rotate instead.

Poe takes…. a 1 straight. Interesting! Steve had considered boosting and rolling in some combination but doesn’t want to risk getting closer to Maul or Q9 nor boxing himself into a corner.

Poe’s cautious position means he still can’t shoot so Q9 goes first and knocks 2 shields off. Maul doesn’t have range on Poe so takes the range 1 shot out of the back at the strained Rey and strips the last of her shields.

Rey responds with a range 1 shot of her own but despite lacking her shenanigans (since it’s out of the side arc), does 3 hits on Maul as my green dice blank out ouch.

Kaz is STILL out of range so Manaroo shoots at BB-8 but can’t land a hit before BB-8 gets a cheeky hit on an obstructed Maul.

I’ve managed to pick up an additional crate here so I’m creeping ahead now but Maul is in a world of pain.

End of turn score: 3 – 1

Total score: 5 – 2

Turn 4

It’s at this point that I consider that, despite the additional health, Rey would have been easier to kill than Poe. It’s too late now though, she’s behind me and Poe’s in front and neither of the ships in place for shots can easily turn around.

Or can they…?

I set Q9 a 5-K (and will use Contraband) while Maul will also use Contraband to stop. Manaroo will take a slightly risky hard turn left which, depending on initiative order, may or may not bump into BB-8 if he goes where I think he’s going (at Maul). If I get this wrong she will end up on a rock.

ROAD 1st Player – Me again!

I’m initially pleased that I’m first to make sure BB-8 isn’t in the way but then Steve declares a systems phase roll.

At that point I remember the actual rules for the game – you can’t boost or roll when carrying a crate! We undo BB-8’s roll (and decide to forget about previous ones!) and carry on.

Maul drops his second Commandos out of the back and facing the same way as Maul.

Manaroo takes her hard turn and lands perfectly in amongst (but not touching!) the rocks. Beautiful!

BB-8 hard turns and ends up directly in front of Manaroo. Oh dear.

Kaz continues to slow roll in at Manaroo and takes a lock before Maul flips contraband and reveals a stop. Q9 1 straights and takes a double calculate.

Rey 1 banks left, landing on the new Commandos (and taking another strain), dodging arc of the other ones and almost but not quite bumping Maul. She makes use of her Engine Upgrade to white boost out of Maul’s arc. Balls.

Poe goes for a bank in but does indeed bump again! He takes a red focus but to be honest he isn’t in much danger.

Annoyingly I’ve not got a photo of this turn. Sorry!

Poe takes a range 0 into Q9 and my greens blank out again to lose shields on the Razor Crest. Q9 responds by shooting at BB-8 since Rey is just barely out of range and knocks his shield off.

Maul goes next but he can’t shoot either of his preferred targets (Poe and Rey) so settles on BB-8. He does nothing other than make him spend his calculate.

Now Rey goes for a haymaker and again, despite not having access to the front arc mods rolls 4 paint. Maul rolls a single evade and it’s 3 more damage. He’s got 4 left…

Kaz takes another shot at Manaroo, spends his lock and comes up with another string of hits as my greens blank again and she loses her shields and takes a damage.

This feels a bit relentless but now it’s my turn to shoot. Manaroo rolls and now it’s my turn for a string of paint. I spend the focus for a full compliment of hits.

Coming full circle it’s Steve’s turn to have his greens blank and BB-8 burns down and drops his crate. Steve’s only crate.

End of turn score: 5 – 0

Total score: 10 – 2

Turn 5

Things are looking pretty good on paper but losing Maul is a very real risk. He needs to clear his stress but a 2 straight is too fast and I’ll want to bring Manaroo in to that space. Maul will 1 bank right while Manaroo 2 hards again. Q9 now has 2 stress and only has straight moves to clear so a 1 straight it is.

ROAD 1st Player – Steve

I move both Commandos to try and get range for a shot but they’re both pretty far out unfortunately.

With BB-8 gone it’s just Manaroo at i3 now and she takes the hard turn and focuses. Kaz banks in behind her and takes another lock before Rey banks again but left this time to straighten up her angle and she re-locks Maul.

Maul banks right and locks Rey while Q9 goes 1 straight, clears one stress but still has the second.

Poe turns and finally isn’t blocked. He locks Maul and spends his charge to get a red focus too.

I can’t see Maul surviving this.

Poe fires at Maul. He goes with a primary shot and comes up with a full 3 hits after modding. Maul dodges one but takes the other two. Two left. But for how long?

Rey fires out of her side arc, range 1 and again comes up with a full string of paint. She spends her Force and no matter what Maul rolls, he’s dead. Booooo.

Q9 fires at Rey and while the roll is decent (and includes a crit), he gets just 2 damage past. Maul can still fire though as we’re still at i5 and launches everything into Rey. It’s not enough to kill her no matter what I roll though and she’s stopped short of Manaroo’s arc.

Kaz pumps 2 more hits into Manaroo who in turn fires at Poe and gets 2 hits onto him too.

At that point though the timer goes off and the game is done!

I remember about my Commandos right at the end but the only shot they have is at the full health Kaz. It’s obstructed and does nothing, of course!

End of turn score: 2 – 9

Result: 12 – 11 win

The conclusion…

A win! Yay!

A close one though and one that feels a little undeserved. In that last turn it could have gone either way with Maul blanking on greens repeatedly to give Steve those 9 points. Thankfully I’d banked enough objective points earlier in the game.

My commandos didn’t shoot (ok, one did at the end, a pointless obstructed shot at undamaged Kaz and it missed) and I didn’t manage to kill Rey or Poe which was how I’d guarantee the win here.

Also, if there’s one more turn then Steve definitely wins. Rey, Poe and Kaz can all converge to wipe out Manaroo (for 5 points) while Q9’s position and stress means that he either goes straight to clear stres and doesn’t shoot at all or takes a white hard turn and maybe gets an unmodded shot at Kaz.

Being that Steve was prepping this list for a tournament then we did discuss different options and target priorities. Personally, had Steve put Rey and Poe loser together and got Kaz into the game sooner (and picked up a crate!) then he’d have won this and pretty comfortably. My choice to turn on Poe and then fail to take him out while leaving Rey alone was where my troubles came from.

Overall, a good fun game but I didn’t play my best here and a win feels a little undeserved. My target priorities weren’t correct and I rather got away with this!

As much as it feels silly to make changes to a list that’s been proven (well, once, by a player who designed it and has a LOT of reps with it), as I detailed before the batrep, I don’t know that I’m getting full value out of all the upgrades here.

And so, I started tweaking and then I sort of rabbit-holed from there with the help of a friend.

The result? Well it’s 3 new variants of scum 3 large (or, not small) ships. Some of them with totally different ships. Because of course!

Option 1:

Manaroo (5)
Cutthroat (2)
Gar Saxon (Gunner) (6)
Overtuned Modulators (3)
Punishing One (0)
R5-P8 (4)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (15/15) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

Q9-0 (6)
Lando Calrissian (Scum) (4)
IG-88D (3)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)
BT-1 (2)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Razor Crest (0)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 4

Maul (9)
Notorious (5)
Mandalorian Super Commandos (7)
Veteran Tail Gunner (3)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Drop-Seat Bay (1)
Nightbrother (0)
Swivel Wing (0)

Ship Cost: 9 Loadout: (19/20) Half Points: 4 Damage Threshold: 5

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v9ZhZ20Z117X375WWWW441W411WW159W8Y521X45W36W10W79W92WWW451Y512XW455W466W89WWW92WW465W448W449WWW&sn=Scum%203%20ship&obs=

The same ships and Q9 is identical. Notorious is pushed over to Maul who also adds Vet Tail Gunner for potential double taps. If I can drop Commandos under people he’ll have rerolls plus Force and can reinforce for his action. Manaroo gets Gar and R5-P8 for potentially double modded 4 dice shots plus can Cutthroat back either the Contraband or Overtuned Mods charge if needed.

Option 2:

Rook Kast (7)
Notorious (5)
The Mandalorian (2)
Drop-Seat Bay (1)
False Transponder Codes (3)
Swivel Wing (0)
Mandalorian Super Commandos (7)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (18/18) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Kath Scarlet (7)
Fearless (3)
Ahsoka Tano (Crew) (9)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Marauder (0)
Veteran Tail Gunner (3)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (18/18) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Han Solo (Scum) (6)
Trick Shot (4)
Lando Calrissian (Scum) (4)
IG-88D (3)
Agile Gunner (3)
Overtuned Modulators (3)
Engine Upgrade (3)
Lando’s Millennium Falcon (0)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (20/20) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v9ZhZ20Z514X455W452WWW465W369W449W466WY105X121WWW424WW92WW153W89Y89X133WW45W36W76W411W107W152&sn=Ham%2C%20Kath%2C%20Rook&obs=

So, big changes here, clearly. Changing Maul to Rook frees up some squad points to use elsewhere but still allows me to keep Commandos and the pilot ability and Notorious allow for mods on attack. Meanwhile Manaroo becomes Kath in the always good Firespray chassis with Ahsoka for Force and the occasional stress coordinate while Q9 becomes i6 Han Solo who, if I can manage it (with trying to play specifically for it) could be rolling 6 red dice (chassis 2, Han ability +1, Trick shot +1, title +1 and range 1 +1). It would be one of those Holy Grail moments I’m sure but it is possible. If you were calculating you could be double modded for it too.

Option 3:

Rook Kast (7)
Marksmanship (1)
Mandalorian Super Commandos (7)
Gar Saxon (Gunner) (6)
Drop-Seat Bay (1)
False Transponder Codes (3)
Swivel Wing (0)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (18/18) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Han Solo (Scum) (6)
Trick Shot (4)
Lando Calrissian (Scum) (4)
IG-88D (3)
Agile Gunner (3)
Overtuned Modulators (3)
Engine Upgrade (3)
Lando’s Millennium Falcon (0)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (20/20) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Bossk (7)
Notorious (5)
Jamming Beam (0)
Gamut Key (6)
4-LOM (5)
Greedo (1)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Electronic Baffle (2)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (22/22) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 6

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v9ZhZ20Z514X125W466W441WW465W369W449WWY89X133WW45W36W76W411W107W152Y153X455W12WW386W31W83W92W106W&sn=Scum%203%20ship%20v3&obs=

So this Han is identical and Rook stays too but swapping Kath out and Bossk in for a super chunky face lunchy sort of ship. No Zam for double tapping (or free locks) but will be getting rerolls with Notorious, denying token spend with 4-LOM and be reinforced and focused with Gamut.

Which will I use? I’ve no idea yet. I’ve also got one eye on possible lists with the new Battle of Yavin pilots so who knows what I’ll be flying next time!? You’ll just have to wait and see!

The outro…

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