Experimentation…

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

It’s been a great one for X-Wing in terms of in person events with LVO having happened this past weekend (congratulations to James Stumbo flying CIS!) as well as a Last Chance Qualifier happening on the same day for tickets to this year’s Worlds at Adepticon in March. I’ve got many thoughts about OP at the moment but now’s not the time to share them since I am desperately hoping for a major info dump by AMG once Worlds is over. Optimistic? Maybe, but I’m an optimist at heart.

Back in the UK Steve Boulton held his first tournament at Atlas Games in Gloucester with a sell out attendance of 26 players! I’ve heard it was a great day and was won by Chris Chivers flying the sort of list that I really wish I was good at!

I’ll give a special mention to fellow Exile Alex Jensterle who also went 4-0 on on the day but fell just three points short of Chris’ final total and so coming a very tight 2nd place. So close mate!

In case you’re interested the full event details and results are here.

Straying from this topic completely, last week I posted a pic of what I used to keep my X-Wing stuff in:

I then mentioned that I’d get a photo of my storage now.

Well, the opportunity presented itself while we are packing some things up and this is now fully out in the open. I guess in the modern vernacular you might say ‘mistakes were made’ (though I can’t find the obligatory image to match this statement. Anyone got it handy to post int he comments?)

In my defence, two of the four Pokemon boxes are currently empty and at some point I’m going to transition my cards from folders to the boxes. It won’t be easier to find stuff (although it’s unlikely to be harder since I’m AWFUL at putting cards away after I’m done with them) but they will theoretically take up less space. It maybe isn’t clear that there are TWO full length plastic tubs behind the stack of KR/tool boxes which contain two medium Feldherr bags full of ships plus a good few unopened ships. It’s a LOT of stuff. Oops.

Of course, this doesn’t include the carry case of ‘club stuff’ which technically isn’t mine (I just manage it…) and doesn’t include the tub of Patreon stuff which I (probably incorrectly) class as something else. Speaking of Patreon…

Patreon Update…

Right, today is THE LAST DAY that you can qualify for this quarter’s stuff (it almost never lands on an actual Tuesday!) but signing up to be a Patron!

I’ve already revealed some lovely cards, tokens and a 3D printed ship, today I’m announcing the giveaway prize which one Patron, selected at random, will have added to the rest of their stuff.

This quarter it’s going to be:

sorry for the stock image!

A brand new, still sealed Jumpmaster 5000!

So if you’d like to be in with a chance to win this as well as getting hold of the other goodies I’ve pulled together then you can sign up to be a Patron here – https://www.patreon.com/dylansxwingblog . As ever, there’s no pressure to do so and if you already support me then THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Right, that’s it for now, let’s move on!

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

The Sith Taker Open (STO from here on in) is now LESS THAN A MONTH away and I’m still playing about with what list I might take. In all honesty I am leaning toward the Ghost list from a few weeks ago but I really do feel like I’m doing the faction a disservice by not trying out some of the newer releases. Obviously last week’s T-65 trial didn’t go especially well and while that’s definitely more to do with my flying than the pieces in the list, I don’t think I’ve got the time to invest in working on turn 0 and positioning from scratch which is what I think is needed.

So, what am I looking at for this week?

Now, if you remember when I first started looking at options for STO I picked out three different lists. I’ve tried two of those but not the third. The list I wanted to now look at was this:

Han Solo (BoY) (7)
Chewbacca (BoY) (0)
Rigged Cargo Chute (0)
Millennium Falcon (0)
L3-37’s Programming (BoY) (0)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 6

Luke Skywalker (6)
Debris Gambit (6)
Proton Torpedoes (12)
R3 Astromech (4)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

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

Airen Cracken (3)
Elusive (2)
Plasma Torpedoes (7)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (9/9) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

Garven Dreis (BoY) (4)
Adv. Proton Torpedoes (0)
R5-K6 (BoY) (0)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z559X474W96W154W145Y4XW118W136W4WW142Y54X119WW234WY554X134W484&sn=Unsaved%20Squadron&obs=

The main draw here is Battle of Yavin (BoY) Han. i6 with focus & evade every turn with defensive rerolls and a semi-coordinate and/or self rerolls. All for a point cheaper than normal Han. Lovely.

The list is then packed out with Luke for damage output, Cracken for shield stripping and action passing and then BoY Garven for more action efficiency and damage.

When it came to packing my bag for this week (yes, I did actually re-pack for it!) I had a slight dilemma.

I’d listened to the Tin Squadron Out of the Mines podcast in the lead up and Sam had played against a list with some similar elements to a mix of the above list and the Ghost list I’d flown a few weeks earlier.

I took the bones of it, tweaked for my personal preferences and wound up with this.

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

Luke Skywalker (6)
Brilliant Evasion (2)
Elusive (2)
Proton Torpedoes (12)
R3 Astromech (4)
Munitions Failsafe (1)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (21/22) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3

Han Solo (BoY) (7)
Chewbacca (BoY) (0)
Rigged Cargo Chute (0)
Millennium Falcon (0)
L3-37’s Programming (BoY) (0)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 6

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z392XWWW137WW58WW90WY4X199W119W136W4W108W142Y559X474W96W154W145&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

It’s three pretty self sufficient ships who have the potential to put out a LOT of hurt. What’s becoming clear to me at the moment is that I’m not settled on a Luke build that’s 100% won me over. He dies faster than I’d like a decent proportion of the time and so I figure that leaning into defensive upgrades (Brilliant Evasion and Elusive) brings more benefit than ‘win harder’ damage related ones. We’ll see though I guess!

Kallus is the same as I’d previously flown and BoY Han is fixed so it’s fairly straight forward!

I pack my bag (yes! I actually packed!!) and headed to Firestorm Games Newport. And of course, since I’ve GOT the Patreon swag and I’m flying the ship, it’d be wrong not to use it, right?

It’s….a Winnebago!

A few of us arrive and after a little dice rolling, we pair up and I’m playing Peter. He’s an Imperial enthusiast and, more specifically, a big fan of some ships that haven’t been reprinted and so he’s got an Extended list to play:

Major Rhymer (5)
Saturation Salvo (3)
Multi-Missile Pods (4)
Skilled Bombardier (2)
Seismic Charges (3)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Commandant Goran (4)
Shield Upgrade (8)
Sensitive Controls (0)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (8/8) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

Black Squadron Ace (2)
Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (0/0) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Lieutenant Sai (5)
Fire-Control System (2)
Jamming Beam (0)
Gar Saxon (6)
Grand Moff Tarkin (4)
Targeting Computer (1)
ST-321 (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (13/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 5

“Vizier” (4)
Imperial Super Commandos (7)
Angled Deflectors (4)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (11/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v9ZsZ20Z204X129WWW326W88W71WWY465XW165W374Y227XY166X113W12W429W34W249W162Y185XW467W247&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Now, I’ll follow through with what happened in the game and not go through what this list can do until it actually happens.

Based on my knowledge at the time (limited, by my own doing!) let’s run those Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Salvage mission
Target/Objective Priority – Salvage certainly doesn’t favour me but I want to try and get at least one or two objectives early to start racking some points. I know Sai has shenanigans so I want to try and take out the low agility action efficient ships early.
Obstacles – Spread out is better but we’ve both got small rocks so it’s not the end of the world.
Deployment – Ah, yes. The Achilles heel of any new list I try. I want to take out the Lambda or Reaper first so will deploy accordingly since Peter’s ships are almost all lower initiative than mine.

We place objectives, obstacles and ships and are ready to begin!

Turn 1

Following on from my initial thoughts, I’m going to go in at Sai and Vizier with Luke and Han going straight while Kallus banks into that nice, open lane.

Peter’s spread of ships might look a bit odd but I’m just realising that they’re going to find it quite easy to converge if they want to. Hmmm….

ROAD 1st Player – Peter

All of Peter’s ships go straight with the exception of Goran who hard turns in to head towards the bigger Imperial ships.

Kallus banks in while Han and Luke both plod forwards and both lock a rock since there’s jam in play.

No shots and no scoring so back to dials we go.

Turn 2

So, the TIE is going to hang out and pick up the objective, the bomber will come in at Kallus, not too terrible. Goran isn’t close to the fight yet so I’m not worried about him. It looks like I’m relatively free to just dive in and hammer my pick of the Reaper or Lambda. I don’t want to get too close though so it’s just 1 straights from Luke and Han. Kallus is going balls to the wall. 4 straight baby.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

Right, this is the turn that we get down to business.

In the systems phase Goran boosts while Vizier drops commandos.

Vizier then comes forwards and coordinates a focus to the bomber. Interesting. Peter moves the TIE and collects the crate. No surprise there.

The it’s Sai. Oh boy.

Sai comes forwards, coordinates a reinforce to Vizer. That allows Sai to take a reinforce of his own and *checks notes*, with the title takes a lock on a target that is range 0-3 of Vizier. He picks Han.

Right.

Kallus moves 4 straight and, confident of blowing a hole in something and not especially caring about taking damage, picks up the central objective.

Then the bomber moves in and locks Kallus before Goran turns in to sit nicely behind Vizier.

Luke moves forwards and, with R3 locks both Vizier and Sai before Han shuffles forwards and takes a focus & evade (with the help of Chewbacca crew).

At the start of engagement Goran *checks notes again* gives Sai an evade token and removes Luke’s lock from him.

Riiiiiiight.

So, let’s list the issues I now have.

  1. Han has Sai in arc but not Vizier.
  2. Sai is reinforced AND has an evade
  3. Luke has lost his lock on Sai and so can’t fire torps at him and lastly
  4. ALL of Peter’s ships appear to have Kallus in range, in arc and he’s got no reinforce.

What have I done?!

Han takes the only shot he has which is at Sai. He can’t reroll because Luke is too close and just takes 1 shield.

Luke goes next and, after a little deliberation, opts for the shot on Sai which, after spending a force, takes another 1 shield.

Oh boy.

I’m first player so Kallus is next and I’m hopefully of chunking some damage onto the Reaper. It’s range 2 so I roll 4 dice….. it’s 1 hit and 1 eyeball. I opt not to Saw Gerrera to turn the eyeball to a crit because I feel like he’s about to take a real pounding.

Vizier blanks and takes the hit.

I take the double tap and attack with the Dorsal turret and that also flops and Vizier dodges it.

Now it’s Peter’s turn.

I can’t remember the exact breakdown but every one of Peter’s ships registers some sort of damage to a greater or lesser extent and when it’s all done and dusted, Kallus has lost his 4 shields and taken 5 damage to hull including a Fuel Leak crit. What I do remember is that the bomber not only get Kallus in front arc for the multi missile pods but in bullseye, spending 2 charges for 4 dice and rolled all paint out of hand.

Big. Ouch.

That Fuel Leak meant that he drops the crate too.

End of turn score: 0 (me) – 1 (Peter)

Turn 3

Right. So I’ve lost my only crate and my main damage dealer not only failed to do any significant damage but is basically guaranteed to die next turn.

And in exchange I took 3 shields from 2 ships.

I have approached this ALL wrong. And, given how points rack up and the general number of turns per game in 2.5, I think there’s actually no way back.

Still, I only get 1 game in on a Wednesday and I’m sure as heck not conceding it. Let’s see what I can learn.

The thing is, my position isn’t great either. I bank in with Luke while Han will go straight since I’m doubting the Lambda will turn towards the board edge.

I’m basically going to yeet Kallus with a 3 bank since Sai is blocking the 4-K (JARGON ALERT!!). If I dodge arcs, great, if I bump something, it’s fine. I’ve written him off anyway.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

Goran boosts in the systems phase which, since Kallus moves before him, now means that he’s definitely going to bump. No arc dodging then.

THEN Sai activates Grand Moff Tarkin which gives EVERYONE locks on Han. Awesome.

Vizier drops his second batch of commandos before pulling some absolute nonsense. Are you ready for this?

Vizier moves forwards and takes a red coordinate action. He coordinates Sai who, for his coordinated action, takes a coordinate. He coordinates Vizier a reinforce which Vizier takes to the front (where Luke is) while Sai can then take his own which he takes to the rear (where he’s expecting Han to be.

Now, on reflection here, I’m not 100% sure that was all above board given that Vizier’s coordinate was red. Does he take the stress at the point of taking his first action or at the end of his own activation? I don’t know but in all honesty I’ll allow it because that was a MAD sequence of events and I respect the thought process that went into it.

The TIE banks in before Sai takes a 1 straight and focuses (y’know, since he’s already got a reinforce and a lock and is likely to get an evade from Goran too). Baller.

It’s Kallus next and he 3 banks left, straight into Goran and on the commandos, taking a strain. He takes a red focus because why not, he’s about to die anyway!

Goran attempt a 1 hard turn but with Kallus right there he doesn’t move before the bomber neatly slides in right behind Kallus and, with his lock unnecessary in the previous turn, takes a focus.

Luke 1 banks but basically doesn’t move, bumping into Vizier but not taking a red focus.

Han goes 2 straight and while it gives him arc on Sai without needing to rotate, it means he’s fully in the rear arc and the reinforce is going to neuter his shot. Again.

That was a LOT of text all in one go.

Han fires at Sai and takes his last 2 shields when Peter realises he forgot to give him an evade from Goran. I let him take the evade and so he dodges an extra one but as he’s taken a hit I can spend a Han charge to coordinate Luke a lock which he takes on Sai.

Luke then fires a Proton Torp at a non-evading reinforced-the-other-side Sai and does…. 2 hits. There is a crit to the hull though and it’s a Blinded Pilot so the lock and focus are now pretty much useless. It’s a tiny victory but I’ll take it.

As I’m first player it’s Kallus to shoot next and he takes a range 0 4 dice shot into Goran. You know this can go one of two ways and of course, it goes the wrong one. It’s 2 hits and Goran dodges it all. Cool.

Kallus has a dorsal shot at the commandos and takes it but can’t even kill them off. Come on Kallus!

It’s Goran’s turn now and he fires range 0 into Kallus. Remember that ‘one of two ways’ thing? Well, Peter rolls 3 hits out of hand. Who needs mods, right?

With Kallus down to 2 hull it’s Rhymer in the bomber to go next and he finishes Kallus off with his primary gun.

The TIE no longer has a shot so Sai goes range 1 into Han and takes 2 shields before Vizier goes in at Luke range 0 and takes one of his too. Somewhere in that melee one of the commandos took a shot at Han and took another shield.

Sometimes it’s just not your day!

End of turn score: 0 – 8

Total score: 0 – 9

Turn 4

Well, this isn’t going very well is it!?

Part of me want to take some drastic ‘Hail Mary’ move but given my positioning, what can I actually do?

I set Luke a 2 bank in to try and get something in arc while not being lashed by multiple shots while Han needs to hard turn in to avoid needing to spend an action on rotating.

ROAD 1st Player – Peter

In the systems phase Goran boosts in before the commandos relocate. Vizier moves first, turning in and picking up a box (remember those?!). The TIE simply takes a 2 straight before Sai banks out towards the board edge and, well, I can’t actually remember. He doesn’t have any tokens in the pic so I assume it’s a coordinated focus to Rhymer.

Goran hard turns while the bomber goes 1 straight and rolls right, trying to catch Luke.

I check the board state and I don’t like it. I cloase Luke’s foils and 2 bank him and then bank boost him right in at Goran. It’s risky…

Han hard turns in and takes a focus & evade.

*IMPORTANT* this image is from the END of this turn so positions are weird in way that will become clear…

Han shoots at Goran, lands a hit and spends a charge to coordinate Luke who rolls to his right and totally dodges Goran’s front arc.- Nice.

Luke then takes his range 1 (but wings closed) shot at Goran, rolls 2 hits and Goran rolls 2 evades. Why won’t these ships die?!?

Rhymer still technically has Luke in his 180 degree multi missile pods arc so fires them but it’s just 2 dice and doesn’t hit.

Sai and the TIE both fire at Luke but with his force regen and range from Sai gets away with losing just 1 shield. Lucky.

End of turn score: 0 – 2

Total score: 0 – 11

Turn 5

Now, technically speaking the timer went off before we started planning but let’s face it, NOBODY is happy with a 4 turn game, right? We decide to go for one more turn and dammit, I’m GOING to kill a ship.

I set Han another hard turn in while Luke, going all out, will Talon roll (JARGON ALERT!!) to his left, consequences be damned.

ROAD 1st Player – Me (not that it matters since Kallus died…)

Another systems phase, more shenanigans from Peter. This time it’s Goran boosting but then Rhymer drops a seismic charge. Because of course he does.

Vizier boosts right with ailerons and then hard turns in, putting his gun back in the fight before Sai gently banks further out of danger, thankfully, far enough to not be able to coordinate anyone.

The TIE and Goran both 3-K before Rhymer hard turns out towards Han. Interesting.

Luke takes the talon roll and lands squarely on the seismic charge. There’s no avoiding it even if I could reposition.

Han turns in, bumps into the TIE and takes a red focus because at this point, what does it matter?

The seismic charge goes off and Luke takes a crit (I don’t have a pic so I assume it’s not important!), leaving him on 3 hull.

I mentally debate for a moment. Do I fire at Rhymer – 6 health on 2 green dice – or at Goran – 3 health on 3 green dice? Both are stressed and have no defensive tokens.

As I’m considering it Peter reminds me that Goran has a shield upgrade and suddenly my mind is made up. Kill the bomber.

Han rolls 4 dice at him, spends a charge to reroll one and spends his focus to end up with a full string of 4 hits.

Rhymer dodges one, leaving him on 3 hull.

Han spends his last charge to coordinate Luke a lock which he takes on Rhymer and fires his last Proton Torp.

He spends the lock and…. yeah, screw it, spend both Force for 3 hits and a crit. Peter rolls his 2 green dice, needing natties (JARGON ALERT!!) to live. He doesn’t get them, Rhymer dies.

I literally don’t care what happens from here. I’ve scored points, I’m happy.

Ironically, Goran, the TIE AND Vizier then ALL fire at Luke and, with Force regen in full flow, bing him down to 1 hull but he does not die.

End of turn score: 5 – 2

Final score: 5 – 13 loss

The conclusion…

Oh boy.

The ONLY saving grace in that game was Luke being lucky enough not to die in that last turn. Also I got a bit lucky with killing the bomber. Let’s face it though, neither of those is a particularly great feature to be the highlight of my game.

Immediately after the game I thought that my biggest mistake was targeting the Lambda and Reaper ahead of the other ships, especially given their placement before Kallus was placed.

I feel that if I’d had all three of my ships on my left I could have charged with Kallus and flanked with Luke and/or Han and perhaps removed the bomber and maybe the TIE before the two coordinators got into the fight.

On reflection though, I was beaten well before that simply because I didn’t know, fully look at or take time to understand Peter’s list.

Yes, the nonsense he pulled with ridiculous action efficiency on the Lambda was a bit bonkers and, since the ship isn’t standard legal, not something I’ll face in a tournament BUT the principle remains. If I had taken a minute or two to chat with Peter and gain an understanding of what I was facing, I’d probably have changed my turn 0 setup and my overall strategy. Did he have any obligation do tell me? Of course not. But I’ve found that if you ask people, they are normally happy to tell you what their list is and what it does because ‘gotcha’ X-Wing isn’t fun for the person on the receiving end and people who have experienced it do not usually want to put other people through that.

So, poor judgement from myself aside, what about the list?

Well, despite a TERRIBLE showing in this game (I mean, doing just TWO damage before dying?!?), I know that this Kallus build is solid and I like it. There was a major mis-play on this occasion but overall I’m fairly happy there.

Luke? Well, Luke is Luke. Sometimes he will virtually solo a list and never die. Other times he’ll whiff attacks and explode if you look at him funny. Mostly it’s about trading other pieces and protecting Luke past the first alpha strike since he’s pretty tanky when taking minimal shots. I’m still not sure on a build for him though. Maybe R3 is too much of a crutch and I should free up those points for something else. Maybe I should look at BoY Luke? Hmmm…

Speaking of BoY, what about Han? Well, this wasn’t exactly a great showpiece for him was it. Luke was mostly too close for the Solo ability and I didn’t get full use of the pilot ability either. I think that’s mostly just going to be practice though. Rigged Cargo feels like a bit of a waste but maybe I can make better use of it. Chewbacca is GREAT although taking evade/focus every time is a little boring and also since you get the focus when taking an evade action, you can’t get both when bumping into an enemy. Also (and I should know this already), jousting with him isn’t the best idea. He’s always been better with arc sideways and orbiting the fight. I don’t know why this Han would be any different there.

Overall I think the list would be ok if I got a bit more time with it and planned my turn 0 better. Will I try it again? Ummmm, I’m not sure. Maybe? I’ll see how I feel next time I get to Firestorm since I now have everything for all three lists in my case (yes Alex, even small bases AND dials!).

I think that’s it for this week. Remember, if you’re thinking of joining my Patreon TODAY (Tuesday 31st of Jan!) is the last day to join for the Spaceballs swag! Catch you next week!

The outro…

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed it! If you’d like to support me in continuing my X-Wing blogging adventure there are a few ways you can do that.

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Exile Initiates:
Douglas Thomson

Exile Rookies:
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Exile Veterans:
Mark Beor, Daniel Barringer, Michael Bird, Steve Boulton, Jason Desmarais, Darin Schwarze, Alex Peters-Bean

Exile Commanders:
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You are all amazing humans!

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