The intro…

No time for long meandering intros this week. No news updates nor comments or observations on life in general.

No. This week there is something so significant, so important to talk about that there’s simply no space (or more to the point, time!) for anything else.

This week, local play returned to Firestorm Games in Newport.

Oh yes! After almost 15 months without being able to simply turn up on a Wednesday evening and push plastic spaceships around it was finally time to get back to it.

Yes there were restrictions, yes we now have to buy tickets in advance, yes we can no longer eat at tables. Do I care? No. Local play is back and I don’t care what hoops need jumping through to keep it.

So, with a store tournament coming up just 3 days after our casual play night which would be using Hyperspace format. Now, I’m generally a fan of Hyperspace at the best of times but having looked around at the current crop of ships/pilots/upgrades which are valid, I’m actually even less enthused about it

While I think that the alternating of unique/generic pilots for different ships is a pretty cool idea (for example, the TIE/ln has ONLY unique pilots available while the TIE Advanced X1 ONLY has generics), I don’t know that it works especially well.

I don’t for one second envy the person whose job it is to curate the format, I certainly could never do it. But it seems that while the intent is to shake things up, get some pilots being flown that don’t see much play perhaps, that’s tricky when some of the stronger lists in Extended are Hyperspace legal (I’m looking at you Jango/Zam!).

I have also realised how spoiled I (well, all of us really!) have been with TTS. 6 Barons of the Empire? Sure, let’s do it. Oh, wait, I’ve only got 2 TIE Advanced v1’s. Ummm…..

Suddenly actually owning the stuff becomes a thing again. Interesting.

And so if you read last week’s blog then you might already know that with my current list (Heratanni) and my previous list (Rey-Wings) both out of the running that I had decided to try Matt Cary’s Rebel list from the GSP Flight Club Aces tournament.

However, I was very soundly beaten by the very lovely (and very good!) Jon Vicary and, in typical ‘me’ fashion opted to try out his list instead since it seemed better than mine (at least for my play style anyway!).

And so I dusted off and dug through my X-Wing stuff, desperately looking for the right ships, base tiles, pilot cards and upgrades. I haven’t put things away very well it seems and it took me an awful lot longer than it probably should have.

Anyway, what I ended up packing to take was this:

L’ulo L’ampar (42)
Predator (2)

Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

Lieutenant Bastian (47)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 47 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 4

Jessika Pava (51)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 51 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 4

Temmin Wexley (52)
R6-D8 (4)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 4

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0:

Well, almost. It turns out that, like I said before, having the stuff is a thing now and it appears that Temmin’s R6-D8 droid came in the Heralds of Hope pack which I don’t have. So I’d like to give a shout-out here to the awesome Josh Hall who lent me the card. You’re awesome! Thanks mate!

So, the list. The idea here is that, in a slightly 1.0-esque way, every ship has the potential for soft mods. Lulo has Predator (and also his pilot ability for extra nastiness), Temmin has the R6-D8 droid which lets his reroll dice when friendly ships have the target in bullseye, Jess gets rerolls from friendly ships being close and Bastian gets a lock when a ship takes a damage card. Providing everyone picks up a focus action during activation you’re pretty likely to hit things hard.

Incredibly there are just 2 ‘proper’ upgrades in the whole list (5 if you include s-foils but in my mind they don’t quite count!). Bonkers.

So, with the Rebel list packed as backup in case I’m awful with this list, for the first time in over 15 months we got in the car and made our way to Firestorm Games in Newport to play some X-Wing. Finally!

The batrep(s)… (JARGON ALERT!!)

When we arrived tables and boards were out and a couple of guys were already setting up. Oh man I have missed this!

After some enthusiastic ‘hello’s and slightly awkward socially distanced elbow bumps we chatted a little as we unpacked and started to pair off for games.

Now, I’m not afraid to lose games. I am very much a proponent of the ‘losing is learning’ theory and if I’m going to take this list to a store tournament then I want to challenge myself with a tough game to exploit flaws in my setup and general use of the list. Better to find those now than on Saturday.

Game 1

So my first opponent for the evening was the ever enigmatic Dan Eggs, sporting his very lovely Gold Squadron Podcast templates (FLEX!) and bringing a Hyperspace legal droid swarm.


I’ll preface this game by saying that I have NEVER beaten a droid swarm list. Granted I’ve only played against one three or four times but I have lost each and every time. They always seem to live just that little bit longer than is reasonable and regularly utilise their umpteen calculates to pump out enough damage to give me cause for concern.

Plus Dan is a rather good CIS player. This should be interesting.

DGS-047 (35)
XX-23 S-Thread Tracers (2)
Kraken (11)
Repulsorlift Stabilizers (3)

Ship total: 51 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 4

Baktoid Prototype (28)
Diamond-Boron Missiles (5)
Landing Struts (1)

Ship total: 34 Half Points: 17 Threshold: 3

Trade Federation Drone (20)
Energy-Shell Charges (5)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 26 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (20)
Energy-Shell Charges (5)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 26 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (20)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 21 Half Points: 11 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (20)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 21 Half Points: 11 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (20)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 21 Half Points: 11 Threshold: 2

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0:

Filth. Utter filth. It’s a LOT of ships with some munitions and free extra calculates and struts/stabilisers so everything moves weirdly.

I have the bid but other than obstacle placement we’ve no crossover in initiative so it doesn’t matter too much. I’ll go first though to try and get the obstacles I want.

Right, time for Pre-Flight checks:
Target Priority – The HMP is the points fortress and allows the list to have extra calculates. However, I also need guns off the table and he’s likely to try and joust with the droids and my list jousts quite well.
Obstacles – Right, pre-game I wasn’t really too sure, so I’ll come back to it later.
Deployment – Dan will deploy first so I’ll be able to decide which side to pick. I don’t think I want to straight up joust so I’ll go elsewhere when I know.

We place obstacles before ships go down and we’re ready to start.

DISCLAIMER! I’ve got 2 games to cover so these won’t be full batreps, just summaries.

The first few turns see me bank in with the T-70’s while Lulo slides up the edge. Dan turns the droids around the debris with the HMP in behind and by the time we start exchanging shots we’re approaching the middle of the board.

Jess and Bastian manage to wipe out the leading Vulture with no return shots. Not too bad!

Dan then pulls a block out of the bag with the Hyena bomber, flying onto the rock and then rolling off it. The rest of the Vultures come in behind but Dan has made a mistake with the HMP’s stabilisers, leaving it WAY out behind.

The T-70’s fire on the closest Vulture but this one survives on one hull. Balls.

The droids return fire and manage to burn down Bastian in one round. Double balls.

Over the next few turns I whittle down a few more droids in exchange for precisely zero damage before the last turn when Dan manages to point 4 arcs at a full health Temmin. I finish off one droid to register an additional 10 points (pfffffff…..) before the droids start firing back.

The last shot of the game finishes Temmin off to give Dan a last second victory.

Result: 81 – 103 loss

Brief conclusion…

A close game right to the end. Allowing a massive rock in the middle of the board was obviously a mistake but Dan’s a good enough player to have engineered an engagement near any big rock where it suited him better than it suited me anyway. Overall I’m pretty pleased with how I played, I got good utility out of pilot abilities and in particular I’m happy with how I played Lulo. A loss, sure but could have been a win with some different dice at the end so overall, not too bad.

On to the next then!

Game 2

While Dan and I had been playing our game another battle had been raging on the table next to us which I had paid a little bit of attention to. A few of us decided to stay for another game and so I ended up facing off against Peter. And he was flying, well…

Scarif Base Pilot (39)
Ship total: 39 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 4

Scarif Base Pilot (39)
Ship total: 39 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 4

Scarif Base Pilot (39)
Ship total: 39 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 4

Scarif Base Pilot (39)
Ship total: 39 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 4

Lyttan Dree (37)
Synced Laser Cannons (6)

Ship total: 43 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 4

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0:

What fresh hell is this?!? Initiative 1 reapers that can really shift, lots of red dice and 40 health. Crikey.

Some brief Pre-Flight checks then:
Target Priority – Ummm, the Brute might be worth marginally more points but is also lacking shields which will trigger Bastian’s ability if he’s in the right place. Will Peter let me shoot at it though?
Obstacles – The mid-size bases may struggle in tight spaces but that said I’m not familiar with the dials for either ship. I’ll try to cluster a bit to make it tricky.
Deployment – As before I’ll keep the T-70’s in close together and keep Lulo out on the side for some flanking.

We place obstacles and ships and are ready to go…

I already don’t like what I’m seeing here.

If you know Reapers well (or at all I guess) then you might have guessed that all 4 quite quickly breezed past the obstacles into my half of the board as I slow rolled forwards. Not great.

Over the course of the 75 minutes I learned to hate those stupid Reapers as they took turns to approach me, block me, jam me and blast my ships with little to no reply.

Some very poorly judged moves by Temmin and Lulo resulted in the bumps you see above. Lulo survived but Temmin didn’t and from there Peter just kept alternating which of his chunky jammers were shooting and blocking. It was quite fantastic flying from him actually and completely neutered my list.

I mean, it didn’t help that when Bastian took a 4 dice range 1 shot at one he totally blanked out but still, I hadn’t done enough with my list.

When the timer sounded I was down to just Bastian left while all of the Imperial ships were still on the table in varying state of repair.

Result: 40 – 151 (ish) loss.

Brief conclusion…

That was hard.

I had underestimated the speed of the Reapers and once I saw it I panicked with Lulo and kept him in close with the others, simply herding all my ships together for a nice big target for Peter to point at.

The white jams didn’t help, stripping focuses or preventing locks for Bastian but the main mistakes were my turn zero positioning/general approach and misjudging manoeuvres with Lulo and Temmin.

I’m still not 100% sure what the best strategy for my list would be against this but I’ll keep pondering it!

The conclusion…

I’ll start with the least important part of this section. The games didn’t go fantastically well from a play point of view.

Or did they?

I was fairly happy with how I did against Dan considering that he’s not only a better player than I am but was flying a list with good pieces and some of the dice results were a little swingy. On another day I’d have taken out that second Vulture, denying another incoming shot. Also I only took fire in two engagements. Granted I did lose a whole ship each time which was unfortunate but I feel that on the whole I did things mostly right. Mostly. Then again, Dan messed up with the approach of his most expensive ship which gave me the opportunity to dive in and do some damage first.

The game against Peter is a little harder to judge. He mentioned before we started that the list was built for aesthetics rather than effectiveness but the combination of five 8 health ships, four of them moving VERY fast (with ailerons), being able to turn with a 1 sloop and having access to white jam meant that I was overwhelmed very quickly.

In contrast to the first game I played very poorly with Lulo and two key bumps (one with Temmin and one with Lulo) really hampered my play. I failed to consider final locations of his ships (although granted it’s really hard to do that with the aileron repositions first) and, them being medium base, that caused all kinds of havoc. If I was to play this again I’d probably try and pick a target (the Brute probably) and approach it quickly rather than give him time to box me in.

So, two games, two losses. Not the greatest preparation for a tournament coming up in just 3 days time BUT I learned a lot I think. Particularly about keeping the T-70’s together and being careful about when Lulo opts to engage as it leaves him pretty vulnerable. Without triggering the soft mods on this list (bullseyes and staying close) then the power of the list falls off a bit which is important to keep in mind.

As a side note, it turns out that moving physical ships is harder and more time consuming than just clicking a button on a computer. Who knew!?

Dan grumbling about his choice to bring a swarm. So many ships to move!

But now to the MOST important part. How good it was to be back. I cannot even begin to describe how great it was to rock up, see the guys, chat a little, put some ships on the tables and roll some dice.

Hilariously at least four of the eight of us managed to forget something, mostly important things (ships, cards, dials!) but incredibly between us managed to lend each other the things we needed or find some paper to proxy cards. Then at the end Dan told us that he’d sorted out his alt arts, laid his duplicates out on a table and told everyone to help themselves.

All these things highlight to me the friendship, generosity and sense of community that has somehow managed to survive a year of total chaos.

I’ve missed it and I’m so glad to be back.

Next post – On to the tournament*!

Funnily enough, the tournament has already been and I know what there is to talk about but I’m keeping for next time! Mwaaahaaahaahaaaaaaa!

If you’re looking to buy some gaming ‘stuff’ and don’t have a local gaming store, you can use my affiliate link for Firestorm games. They’re great!