Welcome to this week’s blog!
Yes, I know what some of you are thinking – does a post mean still no house move? Sadly, it does. It’s getting close to the wire now and I could really do with thoughts, prayers and good feelings. It’s holding up on paperwork and I’ve just got this horrible feeling it’s going to end up happening right on the…
Yep, it’s becoming a VERY real possibility!
Anyway, whatever happens the Welsh Open is going be a GREAT weekend of X-Wing with tons of prizes and swag to give out and, of course, a Worlds Invite!
I guess it’s probably about time for another swag spoiler, right?
Well, now that Expo has been and gone and announcements have been made, I can tell you that I’ve been in touch with Louis Leong and while he was planning his most recent (and amazing!) unofficial prize kit, he offered us an option on a part of that new kit for the Welsh Open! An so, we will have a bunch of these STUNNING metal Mando head tokens to give out!
We’re now just TWO AND A HALF weeks away from the event so if you’ve been thinking about coming but haven’t got your ticket yet, don’t wait any longer!
You can get tickets from here: https://www.thebattlefields.co.uk/events-at-the-battlefields/star-wars-x-wing-welsh-open-2023-cardiff
And if you want to keep up with news then you can check out the Facebook event page to stay informed!
Hopefully next week I can show you a picture of the trophies! YES, PLURAL!!
Since we’re talking about tournaments it would be a good idea to mention that UK Games Expo happened this past weekend!
There were over 90 players taking part in what looked to be a VERY tough room at the NEC in Birmingham. It looks on the surface that nobody went 6-0 on day 1 but it might be that the top two went for an intentional draw to confirm their progression to the cut.
Congratulations to Bartosz Wójcicki who beat Martyn Chivers in the final to become champion using a Rebel list!
I want to give a few shout outs too, firstly to Kris Mitchell and his team for running another great (and big!) event, to the Firetcast Focus team who streamed the whole weekend and finally to our very own Exiles who attended, Mark Beor, Steve Boulton and Alex Boulton, especially to Steve who finished in 16th and came away with a pretty nice haul of swag. Not bad Steve, not bad.
If you’re interested in seeing placings or lists, here’s the Roll Better link for the event:
Alright, I think that’s enough for now, let’s get to some “content” shall we?
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
So, if you read last week’s post then you’ll know two imortant bits of information:
- the points change forced me to change my list
- my first attempt at alterations didn’t go too well
I found that Dutch wasn’t a great fit in the squad. I didn’t know exactly what to do with him and while his pilot ability needed him to go ahead of the other ships, his higher initiative made this difficult and, once he was in the mix, he couldn’t stop like the others.
I missed having Keo as a fast flanker/objective monkey too. He may not have done all that much damage but having the threat was good.
I also found Ezra to be far less effective than under the previous points, mainly because he lacked Notorious for straining and rerolls.
Off the back of the last post I got a few suggestions for changes I could make.
Dan Barringer (fellow Team Wales XTC’er and a Patron of this blog!) suggested putting Bodica Venj in the Fang instead of Dutch. The points drop on several Mandalorian related upgrades means she can be decked out nicely and she’s fast with linked repositions, much like Keo.
David Sutcliffe (of the Stay on the Leader blog) suggested putting Trick Shot and Shattering Shot onto Ezra and parking behind a rock.
I made a couple of other tweaks too, dropping The Child from Saw, allowing me to out Jyn back in the list and leaving space for Enduring on Magva because, why not?
With very little time to even actually make the changes to my list, I dug out a Fang and dial and reprinted my list (well, eventually. My printer decided to have some sort of breakdown when I was in a rush. Of course!).
Ezra Bridger (Gauntlet Fighter) (6)
Shattering Shot (3)
Trick Shot (4)
“Chopper” (Crew) (1)
Swivel Wing (0)
Hera Syndulla (4)
Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5
Magva Yarro (5)
Ursa Wren (6)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Pivot Wing (0)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (14/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
Saw Gerrera (5)
Jyn Erso (7)
Leia Organa (7)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Pivot Wing (0)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (18/18) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
Bodica Venj (4)
Clan Training (1)
Mandalorian Optics (3)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (9/9) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
Still a little flustered from the printer debacle (and now 25 minutes later than I wanted to be), I turned up at Firestorm, ready(ish) to play.
I’ll give a special mention here to Peter Hall who, having started to unpack, passed up on playing because we were an odd number. He brings his son Dylan (not me, obviously) to play 40K on a Wednesday and will play if someone is around. I was happy to let him continue but he insisted.
So that put me up against Alex Jensterle. He’s Republic through and through and the points update has got him experimenting with some variations on a list he’d basically been playing for 6 straight months (and to good effect too!).
This time he’d decided to diversify his list a bit:
“Odd Ball” (SoC) (4)
Veteran Tail Gunner (0)
R4-P Astromech (0)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 5
“Wolffe” (SoC) (4)
Wolfpack (SoC) (0)
Veteran Tail Gunner (0)
Q7 Astromech (0)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (3/3) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2
R3 Astromech (3)
Alpha-3B “Besh” (1)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (8/8) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2
Anakin Skywalker (Delta-7b) (7)
Shattering Shot (3)
Shield Upgrade (8)
Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (15/15) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3
Alex is a menace with that Anakin but the fact there’s now 4 other ships (up from 3) makes things interesting. He’s also managed to upgrade SoC Jag to SoC Odd Ball so it’s higher initiative AND got an extra shield. Yuck.
Let’s hit those Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Assault at the Satellite Array
Target/Objective Priority – It depends on deployment but I think taking down an ARC or two is going to be important. Ignoring Anakin is always hard but with the Shield Upgrade he just never seems to die so going for him feels like a massive waste of time and effort.
Obstacles – I realised that I’ve still brought small rocks where bigger would now be better for Ezra but getting them up into the middle has the best chance of getting me obstructed shots.
Deployment – I want to ideally park Ezra somewhere to score or contest 2 objectives (or 3 if possible?!) AND get obstructed shots. Magva in between Ezra and Saw (so the ability catches both) and then Bodica to flank.
We place objectives, obstacles and ships and we’re ready to start.
Most of Alex’s ships went down after mine and I’m especially concerned for Bodica with Anakin directly opposite. I’ll bank in with Ezra, 2 straight with the U-Wings and turn in with Bodica to see what Anakin is up to.
ROAD 1st Player – Me
All of my ships moving first is a bit of a theme in this game! I shuffle my ships up the board, hard turning in with Bodica and see what Alex has done.
The ARCs have come straight in at Ezra, pretty expected. Boost has hung back, looking to score an objective point ntext tune, fine. Klick has come screaming into the middle. Ok. Anakin has gone 5 straight, rolled away and boosted in? Yikes.
No shooting and no scoring this turn so it’s back to dials.
Hmmmm….. If I was a little on edge about Anakin before, I’m well over that edge now. There’s so many places he can get from there and I’m just fully expecting him to take a 2 or 3 straight and just reposition once he knows where my ships are and there is NOTHING I can do about it.
Initially I think about pressing forwards. If I bank right with Ezra I think I can be in a position to claim/contest 2 objectives. I would then go fast with the U-Wings and bring the fight to the middle. I reconsider, though, deciding instead to stay put with stops, draw the ARCs into the rocks and try to avoid being shot at range 1 by Anakin.
ROAD 1st Player – Me
I activate Leia and stop with Magva, Ezra and Saw while Bodica just hard turns again and focuses.
The ARCs trundle forwards while Klick goes 2 straight and Boost slowly banks in. Anakin 3 banks to his right, barrel rolls right with Fine Tuned and then boosts to his left.
Alex debates his target for a minute and settles on Magva since at least 2 of his other ships have him in range. Bodica breathes a sigh of relief!
This engagement doesn’t exactly go to plan for Alex though as his red dice crap out spectacularly and my greens hold up. Magva loses 2 shields. Not bad.
In exchange I focus on Klick (since Magva got a free lock on him when he locked her) and somehow the U-Wings manage to take him out. Noice!
Ezra takes a pot shot at Wolffe and strips a shield. It’s only as we plan for the next turn that I remember that I have Trick Shot AND Shattering Shot and that could have been 5 dice. Idiot.
Positionally, Alex has the jump on me though as he claims THREE objectives and I get none.
End of turn score: 3 (me) – 3 (Alex)
Now, I could pull the ‘I’m not moving’ trick here but with Klick gone I think I want to focus down on the ARCs. I’ve tried too many times to pin down Anakin and while it pains me to ignore him, he’s just so slippery and Alex is so good with him that I don’t feel it’s worth it.
I’ll stop with Ezra (even though banking in might cause some sweet bumps) and bank in fast with the U-Wings, mostly because I want as much distance between them and Anakin as I can.
Bodica will cruise in behind them.
ROAD 1st Player – Me (again!)
As I start moving my ships, Alex groans a little. Interesting. Ezra stops and takes a focus with Nightbrother, Magva and Saw bank fast in at the ARCs and focus, Bodica hard turns and then boosts into a red focus (that’s important later). Killbox achieved.
Alex is not happy.
Boost banks in, staying out of the way and scoring his objective. Wolffe goes 1 straight and focuses, Odd Ball banks in and does the same.
Now, go back up to the last board state pick and guess what Anakin does. I’m thinking probably a 2 bank personally but you make your own guess and come back to here.
Got your guess? Ok, let’s see…
Inexplicably, Anakin goes 4 straight.
Alex couldn’t really explain it. He says he’s never made such a horrendous move with Anakin. I think he’s right.
Ok, next reader participation question – would you try a boost in this position?
Somehow, Alex didn’t know you can’t boost off the board. I guess it probably says more about his general positioning in games than it does for mine that he does’t know it but that I do.
Still, he looks, he considers and then (very sensibly) decides to roll left and then boost left.
But would it have fit?
Yes, I’m padding here to make the images be a little further apart.
Anyway, here’s a clue.
What do you think now? Looks like it might maybe fit at the back, right? But what about the angle? Is it 45 degrees or just off?
The answer is, it doesn’t matter, actually
Anyway, I digress. Like I said, Ani rolls and boosts and Alex is furious with himself for playing like a doofus.
He takes a long range shot into Ezra and takes 1 shield.
Odd Ball fires into Magva and this time punches pretty hard. I decline the Bodica revenge shot though as I don’t want a depleted shot into Wolffe, just in case.
Saw and Bodica fire into Wolffe and I roll a LOT of paint, taking Wolffe down to 2 hull. Wolffe shoots back, putting a Structural damage onto Magva and leaving her on just 2 hull.
She responds by finishing Wolffe off. Brutal.
Ezra fires range 1 into Odd Ball and strips 3 shields. Nice.
Boost puts a range 3 pot shot into Saw but it doesn’t do anything and the turn is over.
I’ve managed to do some objective scoring too. Nice
End of turn score: 6 – 1
Total score: 9 – 4
I have a reasonable lead here but a totally undamaged Anakin is about to come in and cause me trouble I think. Looking at Odd Ball’s position I think he’s got to either go straight or K-turn (JARGON ALERT!!) if he wants to shoot effectively. Leia isn’t back online yet but the U-Wings can Contraband and Ezra can stop with Hera so it doesn’t matter.
I consider stops all around but Magva is looking ropey and I don’t want to give up those 5 points too easily. I set her a 3 bank away. Saw and Ezra will stop and I think Bodica can fit a 2 Talon roll (JARGON ALERT!!) to sit in front of Ezra, facing Anakin.
ROAD 1st Player – Me (yes, again!)
Ok, let’s do this. Magva banks, clears Odd Ball and focuses but takes it as an evade with Jyn crew. Ezra stops and rotates, turning to face Anakin. It costs a damage though as my Hera crew limit of 3 stress is reached. That’s shields down.
Saw stops and rotates, turning to face Ezra and takes a focus with Contraband.
Bodica ta… oh balls. Remember I said that boost into focus last turn was important? Well, here’s why. Bodica can’t Talon roll becuase she’s stressed. She takes a white 2 straight instead.
Boost speeds in at Saw before Odd Ball takes the slightly expected 4-k.
Alex groans again.
He reveals Anakin’s 1 hard turn and it bumps into Odd Ball.
Alex is not having a good day.
With Magva having run, Alex focuses fire on Saw and finally his red dice have woken up as Saw is taken down to 2 hull in 3 shots. Ouch.
My poor play with Bodica means I’ve only got 2 shots into Odd Ball (as tempting as it was to fire at Anakin!) but still manage 5 hits as Ezra’s range 1 shot is FIRE
I’ve managed to get 2 objectives to Alex’s none so I continue to creep ahead.
End of turn score: 2 – 0
Total score: 11 – 4
I’m ahead BUT I’ve got two heavily bleeding U-Wings worth 5 points each. I need Odd Ball dead.
Leia is now back online so stops are available. I decide to go for it. I set Saw and Ezra a stop while Bodica can now do a 4-k (since it’ll be white from Leia). I consider some options with Magva. I think about hard turning away but eventually decide to also stop and rotate to maybe get a shot.
Yeah, I know….
ROAD 1st Player – Alex (finally!)
So, my thinking that Saw was relatively safe with a stop is suddenly dispelled as Boost sideslips right. Ah.
Magva stops and turns, as does Ezra. Odd Ball goes 3 straight and focuses before Saw opens his wings and stops (but can’t take an action because of a Panicked Pilot crit he took last turn) and Bodica 4-k’s.
Anakin hard turns right, boosts left and focuses.
What on EARTH was I thinking leaving Magva there? There are TWO ships taking shots before she does and she’s at 2 hull with a Structural Damage and now her wings are closed.
That was stupid.
With his dice being inconsistent Alex shoots at Magva with Anakin and she dies. Bummer. I’d hoped it would be Odd Ball so Bodica could double tap.
Odd Ball fires at Bodica and gets a hit on. Bodica fires back and Odd Ball dies.
I can’t remember who Saw and Ezra fired at exactly but no damage was done.
Boost fires at Saw….. and blanks out. Bullet literally dodged. Phew!
End of turn score: 6 – 5
Total score: 17 – 9
Time is almost up but we got for another turn anyway. Alex thinks the result is settled but I’m less sure, trying to work out what points he could score.
He can easily kill Saw. If Boost could hit Saw then maybe Anakin could get Bodica. That would give him 9 points. I’m unlikely to kill anything now, well, actually, that’s not quite true. I could kill Boost, he’s just a 4 health 2 agility ship BUT it’s risky and it’s possible that Saw will already be dead. Also, Leia and Contraband are both spent and Saw has 3 stress tokens. He’s got to move.
I decide to go conservative. Saw will 3 bank away from Boost, Ezra will try and score objectives and Bodica will… do what exactly?
If Ani goes for Bodica it’s likely to be fast so he can get range 1. I dial in a 2 hard to clear stress and will boost in, maybe getting a block? It feels a little risky but if I can score at least 2 objectives then it won’t matter.
ROAD 1st Player – Me (back to normal I guess!)
Ezra 2 banks right, landing short of the rock and squarely between 2 objectives and takes a damage to reinforce to rear.
Boost goes 1 straight and focuses.
Saw 3 banks right. Bodica 2 hards to her left, boosts right and takes a red focus.
Where’s Ani going…..?
He sloops (JARGON ALERT!!) right, clears the stress with Anakin’s ability, Fine Tuned boosts into range 1 and takes a focus.
Man I hate Anakin.
Anakin dispatches Saw quickly. He’s also managed to dodge Bodica’s arc (did I mention I hate Anakin?). Ezra takes a 2 dice rear arc shot at Anakin and Boost fires at Ezra but none of it matters as nothing dies.
I score 2 more objective points and the game is over.
End of turn score: 2 – 5
Final score: 19 – 14 win
Ok then! A win is nice but… Yes, there’s a but. A few of them, actually.
First of all, Alex didn’t exactly play his best game here. His list is, like mine, a little experimental but he would be the first to admit that he misplayed Anakin in this game and not just once.
Not only that but he has every right to feel aggrieved about losing Klick so easily. That was a bit of freak dice coupled with Alex’s inexperience with the V-Wing (he’d intended to dial in a 1 straight instead of the 2 straight in turn 2 until he realised it doesn’t have it…)
Secondly, my dice were pretty hot. Ezra rolling 2 hits and 2 crits out of hand is the sort of thing you can go 10 games without seeing and it wasn’t the only instance of all paint that I rolled. Dice are part of the game, of course, but you can’t depend on above average (or even just average) dice rolls to help you, it’s not going to be all that common.
Thirdly, the scenario definitely favoured me. Yes, I have a lower ship count but my ships being able stop over and over coupled with being medium/large base gives me a definite advantage. Had this been Scramble or Salvage it would have been quite different.
BUT (or counter-but, if you will) there are definitely positives.
I like Bodica.
A fast ship with repositioning and linked to a mod is definitely what this list needs. She’s an upgrade from Keo in that she’s a native 3 dice gun and also has a bump in initiative.
Saw didn’t really miss The Child. I mean, I don’t think so, anyway. I’m pretty sure that shifting Jyn to him is the right move.
I made mistakes and missed triggers. I know it’s a bit weird to count this as a positive but hear me out. I played sub-optimally which means that this list could actually have done a bit better. I’ve said before that I need reps to catch all my triggers and so I’m not surprised by this, really. Being clear over the timing of Clan Training and Mandalorian Optics will take a little time to become second nature. Oh, and deciding when to revenge shot. I missed two on purpose in this game only to have it mean I didn’t do it at all. Oops.
And Trick/Shattering Shot on Ezra. I missed that once and then never triggered it again. Misplayed in two different ways. I can do better there.
List wise I think there are two parts that I’m unsure about.
One is the Tick/Shattering shot combo on Ezra. With nothing else obvious that I can do with those points though I feel it’s worth giving that time. I can work on how to position him to take advantage and then train my brain to actually remember to use them.
The other is Magva. Enduring isn’t cheap and while it did trigger once, saving me a crit, I’m not sure it’s worth the points on her. I also don’t want to over-stress with the second part of the card and so not using all parts of it feels like waste.
Since she’s often getting free locks- (and holding two of them!) with Ursa Wren I’m thinking that Fire Control System might be worth it. That leaves 3 points to spare. Looking at available slots, I feel that Predator isn’t likely to trigger and Lone Wolf doesn’t combo well with her pilot ability.
None of the Modifications take my fancy so it’s a crew I guess!
Looking at the options, none really stands out. Zeb will allow me to mod at range 0 but it also allows my opponent. I don’t much like Lando crew and Tristan Wren is pointless as I’ve not got any ordnance. Novice Technician is a possibility but then made redundant by Chewbacca having the same effect with no risk of down side.
Freelance Slicer might combo well with the free Ursa Wren locks but it requires spending the lock and risks jamming myself. It’s not out of the question, though.
That leaves Tactical Officer. Magva can coordinate and making it white might help? I’m not likely to do it all that often is the thing.
Alternatively I could not take FCS, leaving 5 points for a crew?
I just don’t quite know! I thought Enduring would be good (and it may yet be) so I think my best bet here is to keep trying some different stuff until I find what feels right. And what I remember to trigger, of course.
Man, I’ve already wittered on for too long I think. If anyone has any suggestions on how to fill out Magva I’m certainly open to them! Drop your ideas as a comment wherever you found this blog posted. I’d really appreciate it!
And so, I’ll leave it here for this week. Thanks for reading, I’ll catch you next week!
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