Hello 2024!

The intro…

Well hello and welcome to the very first blog post of 2024!

While the last blog signed off on what was a pretty good year of X-Wing for me, I’ll take a quick look now at what the new year will bring!

First off is Worlds! Yes it’s still two and a bit months away but since I’m (very sadly) no longer going tot he Sith Taker Open it’s now the first major X-Wing event in my calendar. I’ll be honest, I’ve burned SO many wife points in flying almost 4000 miles to Chicago that it might be quite a while before I dare to venture out further than Cardiff!

Over Christmas I’ve booked my flight, travel to airport, travel insurance, got my ESTA, confirmed my hotel booking AND bought my Adepticon badge and event tickets. It’s all feeling VERY real (and expensive!). I guess the last thing to do is to… practice?

Something else I’ll be looking at in the coming weeks will be XTC 2024. Already?! Look, XTC 2023 was rather late in the year compared to 2022 (group stage June-ish, finals in August). Many captains voiced concerns about this, myself included, and we are hoping that 2024 will be much earlier in the year. As such, it’s going to be time to start looking for players soon!

If you think you’d be interested in representing Wales in XTC then keep your eyes peeled for info in a month or so!

RIGHT before I finalised the blog AMG decided it was the right time to release info about the new Battle Over Endor pack!

There’s a release date of the 23rd of February (which is causing the organisers of the Sith Taker Open a little bit of headache!) which implies that the points will be valid for Worlds! What effect will it have? Will any other points be changed? Will something from the new pack take the meta by storm?

Speculation and discussion are all part of the fun of it and I guess we’ve got over 6 weeks of it while we wait!

Lastly (for now at least!) is the Welsh Open 2024!

Tickets have been on sale for a while but being SO far ahead of the event I’ve only been plugging it sporadically so far.

Last year’s inaugural event was amazing and this year we are looking to go bigger an better! We’ve started work on prizes and while we’ve no idea whether Store Champs kits will look the same yet, if it’s possible then we’ll be hoping to have some decent official prize support in some form or another.

The box of goodies for the bounty table is already overflowing and will only get more full the closer we get!

So if you’d like to come and be part of the fun then you can get tickets from here and check out any upcoming info by following the Facebook event page!

Patreon update…

What?! Already?!?!

Yes, it’s January so we are approaching the end of Q1! I’ve got a few irons in the fire to kick off 2024 and first up I’ve got a couple of alt arts to show you:

Second Sister and Notorious

PIC COMING SOON!

As I said, I’ve got a few other things brewing which I’ll post in the net couple of weeks as we lead up to the end of January. If you’d like to get your hands on these cards or if you’d just like to support the blog then you can sign up to my Patreon page here.

I’d like to thank all those who support me in doing this, you guys are truly awesome!

Right, moving on!

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

If you’ve been following the blog over recent months then you’ll most likely be aware of two quite specific things.

  1. I’ve been flying a 5 ship Resistance list and
  2. I’ve been meaning to try something else but always forget/run out of time to repack my case.

With a break from both X-Wing and blogging over Christmas was that about to change?

Yes, actually!

I’ve been pondering what stuff to take with me to Worlds and while I’m reasonably sure that for the main event I’ll run Resistance, I have given consideration to taking something rather off the wall for any side events just in case I get a bit burned out.

But what to take?!

I decided to try and mix things up a bit and eventually came up with 5 lists to try. Three Rebels, one Imperial and one Scum.

Now, I’m not even going to pretend that these lists will be any good. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like them to be reasonably competitive and not get stomped all over, but the aim is more fun than win harder. Know what I mean?

My first shot is to try out something akin to what I was running in the last points iteration (remember that? No, me either really…). A Gauntlet, two U-Wings plus something. A year or so ago that something was Keo but since Ezra dropped a point (and lost a shedload of loadout but hey…) that can now be a 4 point ship. Not bad.

After a little messing around and some insight from others, I came up with this:

Ezra Bridger (Gauntlet Fighter) (6)
Heightened Perception (3)
Hera Syndulla (4)
Nightbrother (0)
Swivel Wing (0)
Magva Yarro (5)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Saw Gerrera (5)
Hopeful (1)
Jyn Erso (7)
Leia Organa (7)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Pivot Wing (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (18/18) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

Corran Horn (X-Wing) (4)
Marksmanship (1)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)
R3 Astromech (3)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (8/9) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Benthic Two Tubes (5)
Hopeful (1)
Fire-Control System (2)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Novice Technician (2)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Pivot Wing (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z520X72WW35WWWWWW448W449W51Y35X378WW40W46W92WW140Y594X125W311W4W142Y36X378W113W54W53W92WW140&sn=Worlds%20Jank%20v1&obs=

The idea is to be able to stop multiple times (with Leia and Contraband) and disrupt my opponent’s play. Saw and Magva give me free/passive attack mods, Jyn allows my to evade with non-naturally evading ships and Corran allows me to get the odd free lock at a high-ish initiative as well as having crit generation and potentially disrupting opposing shots.

All fine in theory but can I make any of it work in practice? Time to find out!

Now, hilariously I actually did run out of opportunity to get this list together properly. I ended up pulling ships and dials out of a box from under the bed at 7:30am with only my phone for light and being deathly silent.

I grabbed a bag of things that I hadn’t properly put away, hereby known as ‘the bag of shame’, reasonably confident that it had at least 70% of what I needed.

The bag of SHAAAAAAAAAAAME

On arriving I found that I actually had all the stuff to put ships on the table AND set dials. What was I missing? Oh, that’s right CARDS!

I’d fully intended to print of an Infinite Arenas list at work but of course, I hadn’t. So what did I do?

Yes, more shame!

Still, I have a good enough idea of how all the ships work to not need card text (well, mostly).

So what is Steve flying? Well he’s on a big ‘prep for Worlds’ kick too except he’s going rather more serious than I am here. He ended up playing 3 games in total while at the store and used a different list for each one. On this occasion he flew this:

Major Vonreg (5)
Marksmanship (1)
Lone Wolf (3)
Deuterium Power Cells (6)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)

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

Kylo Ren (TIE Whisper) (5)
Instinctive Aim (2)
Brilliant Evasion (2)
Predator (3)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)
Targeting Synchronizer (3)
Enhanced Jamming Suite (0)

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

Commander Malarus (3)
Cluster Missiles (4)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (4/4) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

“Midnight” (3)
Swarm Tactics (5)
Fanatical (2)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (7/7) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

“Whirlwind” (4)
Fanatical (2)
Marksmanship (1)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Advanced Optics (5)
Enhanced Jamming Suite (0)

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

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=First%20Order&d=v9ZhZ20Z381X125W124W318W311WWY487X73W199W127W311WW177WW413Y266XWW98WWY233X132W181WWWY490X181W125W98WW186W413&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Oooh heck. High initiative hard hitting FO nonsense. Ouch.

Let’s check those Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Assault at the Satellite Array
Target/Objective Priority – Kill something before it kills me. Honestly, the list is so squirrely that anything I point at can likely just run.
Obstacles – If Steve has any sense (and he does!) he’ll try and block my ability to hit multiple objectives at once. A fair spready is helpful but as long as I can keep my ships relatively together I’ll be ok
Deployment – Keeping y ships relatively together I guess!

We place objectives, obstacles and ships and we’re ready to go!

Turn 1

I already don’t like what’s happening here. I’m placed in a block and my general plan is to send Ezra and Corran up the one edge while Saw and Benthic head slowly for the middle. That should allow Ezra to turn in, park and shoot.

The thing is, Steve can easily flank me and, depending on ROAD, take ALL of his shots before I do.

Not only that, I’ve negated my own game plan by placing my ships on the side where Steve placed a rock in between two objectives and NOT on the side where I placed a rock so that he couldn’t do it there.

Not only that, Steve’s set up his fast ships for a full flank.

Man, I feel rusty.

ROAD 1st player – Me

I go fast with Ezra and Corran while Saw and Benthic stay still.

Steve turns Malarus away from Ezra while Whirlwind and Midnight turn towards him. Kylo and Vonreg zoom down the left, angling menacingly at my U-Wings.

I already don’t like how this is shaping up.

Turn 2

I consider turning the U-Wings left to threaten Vonreg but with Benthic right and Saw left, the intiatives don’t lend themselves to it. Instead I set Saw a 1 straight and Benthic a 2 in order to clear stress and head to the middle as planned.

Further up the board I consider sending Ezra 3 bank but can’t see where Corran will fit so I set Ezra a 1 bank left and Corran a 3.

ROAD 1st Player – Steve

Saw and Benthic, having stopped in turn 1, now move forward and lock Corran to make use of his ability.

Ezra’s 1 bank sails over Corran and he reinforces as well as taking a Nightbrother focus.

Whirlwind creeps forward and Midnight just clips the back of him, taking a damage while Malarus turns back towards Ezra and rolls out of arc. Kylo turns in while Vonreg bears down on Saw.

Corran picks up a lock on Kylo by virture of moving afterwards but, being a doofus, I forget to pick up a second lock with R3.

Vonreg takes a long range shot into Saw and knocks 2 shields off.

Midnight swarms Whirlwind up to i6 who picks a shield from Corran. Malarus tries to add to that but (thankfully) fails.

Corran fires at Kylo with Mag-Pulse but even spending the lock gets just 2 hits while Kylo shrugs off. I did take the opportunity to shift Ezra’s lock over to Kylo though.

Kylo just about reaches the central objective so Steve edges points this turn.

End of turn score: 2 (me) – 3 (Steve)

Turn 3

I have a couple of choices to make here.

Firstly, what to do about Saw/Vonreg. I could turn in at him but unless I get lucky with a block it’s reasonably likely he can just reposition to dodge my arc while still shooting me.

I opt to just go forward as fast as possible.

The next is Ezra and Corran. I set Corran a 4 straight as well, looking to leapfrog Corran who will go 1 straight.

Benthic will 3 bank in towards the middle.

ROAD 1st Player – Steve

Balls. I could really have done with moving first here.

Benthic banks in, double focuses, taking one as an evade and then passing that evade to Ezra.

Whirlwind comes forward and then boosts at Corran.

Ezra now can’t complete the 4 straight and bumps into the back of Corran. It would have passed him though so it’s not a friendly bump, allowing him to take a red focus.

Saw streaks 4 forwards and takes a focus.

Malarus gently banks in and locks Corran before Kylo hard turns right and then boosts into Saw’s face and jams off his focus. NOT where I thought he was going.

Corran tries to 1 straight but bumps Whirlwind and takes the red focus.

Midnight just trundles 2 forwards and also locks Corran before Vonreg banks left, boosts and takes a strain to squeeze a barrel roll in beside Saw.

This is where things start going downhill.

Vonreg hammers Saw from close range, taking his last shield and putting a Fuel Leak into his hull.

Whirlwind and Midnight fire into Corran, followed by Malarus but between them only do 2 damage. The second is a Panicked Pilot though which isn’t ideal.

Kylo fires 4 dice into Saw and while on 1 crit lands it’s another Fuel Leak which triggers the first one to leave Saw on 2 hull.

It’s finally my turn to shoot. Corran goes into Midnight but can’t do any damage.

Saw goes into Kylo but having lost his focus can’t take advantage of the eyeballs he rolled. Balls.

Ezra, missing arc on Kylo, is tempted into the range 1 shot into Malarus and takes her shield and puts 1 into hull before Benthic fires into Kylo and strips his shields.

We’ve cancelled out each other’s ships in the middle so score 1 point each.

End of turn score: 1 – 1

Total score: 3 – 4

Turn 4

The scores are close and low but Saw and Corran are on shaky ground here. I decide it’s time to active Leia.

Saw will stop, as will Benthic and Ezra. I look at setting Corran a 4-k (JARGON ALERT!!) but it looks like it’ll bump Midnight so change it to a Talon Roll (JARGON ALERT!!) to the left.

ROAD 1st Player – Steve

Leia gets activated and Benthic stops, taking a double focus and passing one as an evade over to Saw.

Whirlwind banks right, takes a focus.

Ezra stops but is already stressed so while the stop is white he can’t take an action.

Saw stops but doesn’t turn (he doesn’t want to lose an agility) and focuses.

Kylo 1jumps over the top of Saw, focuses and rotates his arc while Malarus, with both charges spent, turns away from Ezra and focuses.

Corran takes his Talon roll and lands squarely in Whirlwind’s front arc and while the move is white because of Leia, he’s already stressed so can’t do anything else.

Midnight hard turns in, right in Corran’s flank while Vonreg bumps into Saw but, with his ability, strains the U-Wing. Not. Good.

Midnight swarms Whirlwind up to i6 again and this turn goes exactly how you’re expecting it to.

Corrand and Saw both die before they can fire.

Not only that, but I fail to finish Malarus with Ezra but Benthic, having taken a Hopeful boost after Saw’s demise, halves Vonreg.

It’s something but not enough.

Ezra claims his objective but Vonreg gets the central one.

End of turn score: 1 – 10

Total score: 4 – 14

Turn 5

I’d expected to lose Saw there but losing Corran as well has really done me in here.

I don’t think there’s anything I can do to prevent the win for Steve. Malarus is only worth 3 points, Kylo is disengaging and Vonreg is slippery. Whirlwind and Midnight are both undamaged. Still, I’ve got to try something!

Both ships will stop and turn, Benthic turning right and Ezra left.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

Benthic stops and rotates, activating Contraband to take a double focus and passes one as an evade to Ezra.

Ezra stops, rotates and, also having activated Contraband, takes a reinforce to front.

Whirlwind hard turns at Benthic and jams the focus off. Malarus goes straight and focuses while Kylo banks around the rock and also focuses.

Midnight hard turns and focuses before Vonreg AGAIN bumps into a U-Wing.

Whirlwind get swarmed up to i6 again and smashes 4 dice into Benthic, stripping his shields. Midnight has just missed arc so fires at Ezra but fails to land any damage. Vonreg’s range 0 shot puts a hit onto Benthic’s hull.

Ezra fires a pot shot at Vonreg but missed before Benthic puts a hit and Crit into Midnight but the FO survives on 1 hull.

End of turn score: 1 – 3

Total score: 5 – 17

Turn 6

All Steve has to do here is score 3 objective points and, given my position, I can’t do much to stop him.

I set Ezra a 2 straight in a vain attempt to get 2 more hits into Vonreg while Benthic will go 3 straight to try and catch Malarus.

ROAD 1st Player – Steve

Benthic leapfrogs Whirlwind and takes a focus while Ezra goes 2 straight at Vonreg.

Whirlwind turns away and focuses. Malarus hard turns and focuses, Kylo comes around the rock, takes a focus and jams Ezra’s focus (which was from Benthic).

Midnight hard turns away while Vonreg piles into the front of the Gauntlet.

The VERY best case here is that I nail Vonreg AND Malarus here for no loss. That would give me 9 points (3 for Mal, 5 for Vonreg and 1 objective) and Steve 2 (both from objectives), making it 14 – 19.

As it goes, I fail to do either. I score 1 point and Steve gets 3 objectives to hit the magic 20.

End of turn score: 1 – 3

Final result: 6 – 20

The conclusion…

Ok, that was… not great.

While a loss never feels great (especially one where I failed to take out ANY ships) I have to try and remove the feelings. It’s time to get my unbiased, non emotional analytical head on.

First off is to separate the three major factors in a result. The dice, the list, the player.

The dice were, well, they were fine. No major swings in either direction based on natural rolling. The difference seemed to be that Steve was regularly able to turn 1 natural hit into three or 4 hit results with various different mods whereas I wasn’t. Which leads me to the second point – the list.

Now clearly there’s a bit of disparity here between something that I’ve cooked up containing not one single strong meta ship and what Steve’s brought which, let’s face it, he’s looking at being serious with in the most challenging tournament in world X-Wing.

Fine.

My aim was to find something fun to fly which might be able to throw people off (by not being something they’ve seen a billion times already) and be at least a little competitive. I mean, nobody likes losing EVERY game, right?

My overall thoughts on this is that my low initiatives really hampered me. Steve was taking three shots at i6 but also had a higher ship count. The thing is, by sticking with the chassis that I have in this list I can’t make anything any cheaper.

Ezra could shoot at i7 but it generally cost him his mod and the few times I tried it, I gained nothing from it (not even stripping a token). Ezra lived but did very little damage and while he did score some objective points, this was the scenario to really leverage that and I failed to execute that.

Saw having both Jyn AND Leia crew painted a huge target on his back and Steve’s easy flank with Vonreg meant that Saw didn’t last too long.

Benthic was… meh. The token passing was negated by Steve’s list jamming it to kingdom come and while that’s a very specific matchup disadvantage, it’s not like it’s only FO who are jamming. Again, the low initiative hurts.

And then there’s Corran. I’ll be honest, I could have maybe done something else with these 4 points but I felt that the i5 was helpful and the capability of passing locks would help with dice mods, especially with that higher initiative. In the end though, he is just a T-65 and he died to 4 shots across 2 turns having been jammed.

And then lastly the player. Me. I have to admit, I did not do well here. I laid out the board and then ignored my own game plan and I had no real idea of how to deploy my ships. I was never going to win the game but losing without taking ANY of Steve’s ships out feels rather disappointing.

It was my first time using the list though and it’s been interesting to learn as I’ve played and again reviewing while writing.

So the big question – do I stick with the list?

In short, no. I do like these ships but something needs to change so I can be more effective with it.

I’ve toyed with it a little and made a few changes for a second rep.

Ezra Bridger (Gauntlet Fighter) (6)
Heightened Perception (3)
Hera Syndulla (4)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Electronic Baffle (2)
Nightbrother (0)
Swivel Wing (0)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Saw Gerrera (5)
Hopeful (1)
Fire-Control System (2)
Tactical Officer (3)
Leia Organa (7)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Electronic Baffle (2)
Pivot Wing (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (18/18) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

Corran Horn (X-Wing) (4)
Marksmanship (1)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)
R3 Astromech (3)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (8/9) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Cassian Andor (5)
Hopeful (1)
Fire-Control System (2)
Jyn Erso (7)
Electronic Baffle (2)
Pivot Wing (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z520X72WW35WWW92WW106W448W449WY35X378W113W61W46W92W106W140Y594X125W311W4W142Y32X378W113W40W106W140&sn=Worlds%20Jank%20v1&obs=

First off is changing Benthic for Casian. I lose Contraband but it allows me to split Jyn and Leia and also to use Casian’s ability to enable multiple stops by removing the stress.

Baffle on everyone (well, except Corran) also allows for more stopping. Do I think it’s good? Not really, no but is it better than the last one? Maybe.

I’ll be trying to mix up reps with my main Worlds list and experimenting with things for side events just to keep things interesting in the build up. Now, I just have to work out how to deploy it!

That’s it from me for this week, call back next week to see how potentially disastrous this list is!

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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