Welcome to this week’s blog!
There isn’t a huge amount going on in the world of X-Wing right now in terms of news I guess. I keep hearing that we may or may not be expecting a huge/reasonable/negligible points update when the Battle of Coruscant pack comes out next week. I guess at the very least there will be points releases for the new pilot cards so while it does make sense in a way, we’ve actually only had the current iteration of points for just over 4 months which isn’t really all that long.
After discussing it with Steve Boulton at casual night last week, my personal opinion/preference would be for a major update (if that’s even what AMG are intending) some time late November or early December (but mid-Jan at the VERY latest) as a new meta (JARGON ALERT!!) for Worlds 2023. It gives time for things to settle and for players to get reps before the end of March.
What will actually happen? Who the heck knows?! Still, I’m really looking forward to the new releases (yes, I’ll even get Siege of Coruscant despite not owning any CIS!). New content can only be a good thing!
Alright next I’m going to bang on about local tournaments again!
There are still tickets available for the next tournament we’re holding at Firestorm Games in Newport. We’ve got participation prizes including store credit, Exile themed alt art cards, maybe a couple of dial covers and set of Louis Leong’s metal Holocron objective tokens for everyone!
Plus a trophy for the winner, obviously!
You can find the Facebook event page here for more information!
Firestorm in Cardiff also have a couple of events coming up with a Halloween themed event on the evening of the 27th of October as well as a full day of Christmas themed tournament play (including food!) on Saturday the 10th of December.
I’ll also mention that Richard Greenaway is hosting a tournament at Excelsior Comics in Bristol on Saturday the 3rd of December.
All in all, there’s a lot going on!
Yes, it’s still that time where I’m going to plug my own stuff!
I’ve already shown the ‘mine’ claim tokens and Afterburners and Hera (A-Wing) alt art cards. The last few bits to cover are the plastics for Commander and Legend tiers…
Yep, we’ve got Exile Squadron 3D printed dial covers (which are magnetised!) as well as some beautiful ‘BOOM’ bomb tokens supplied by Cog O Two!
If you’d be interested in getting your hands on these or any of the previously mentioned bits and bobs then you can sign up to be a Patron here and support me in my blogging adventure. There’s no pressure, of course! If you’d like to just not do that then that’s perfectly fine too!
I want to say a big thank you to all my Patrons, your support is massively appreciated!
Keep an eye out next week, the last reveal is for the giveaway prize draw!
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
Right, so I guess it’s time to get down to the real meat of this week’s blog.
In last week’s post I talked about playing a new list. While it might now be considered as a ‘strong meta list’ by some, it’s only had one real showing that I’m aware of (which was at the London GT a few weeks ago) by someone who has been honing their skills with it for months.
What’s funny about it is that, considering that I’d not seen anything at all like it before that tournament, it seems that people are suddenly very interested in it!
In fact, when I rocked up to casual night with it the first time, Mark Hall commented that he’d thought about flying it and then this past week Steve Boulton had said the same. Then when I listed to last week’s Sith Taker Snapshots podcast Liam Baker also suggested that off the back of a bit of list burnout from XTC that it looked like a really fun list that he wanted to give a go as well.
So it looks like I’m maybe inadvertently jumping on this bandwagon?!
Anyway, after my rather poor showing with it last week I was hoping that having analysed my actions and mistakes (mostly mistakes…) I could have a slightly more productive game with it this time around.
Fenn Rau (4)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Drop-Seat Bay (1)
Swivel Wing (0)
Cad Bane (3)
Mandalorian Super Commandos (7)
Ship Cost: 9 Loadout: (20/20) Half Points: 4 Damage Threshold: 5
Lando Calrissian (Scum) (4)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Razor Crest (0)
Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 4
Gar Saxon (Gunner) (6)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Punishing One (0)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (15/15) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
So, what does it do? Well, for starters it’s pretty chonky with plenty of health and each ship has 2 agility. Not bad for big ships.
Manaroo’s potentially rolling 4 dice most turns with Punishing One and Gar Saxon plus gets rerolls from R5-P8 and Notorious. Q9 is effectively double modding when holding two calculates (from Lando crew) and can get into/out of the way with evade into red roll if needs be. Then Maul has a heap of health behind two green dice, can double mod between locks and Force, push crits with Greedo and Marksmanship and ditch stress with Fenn Rau. Oh, AND there’s Super Commandos which Nightbrother allows me to drop from the side and Cad allows Maul to boost afterwards.
The downside of the list? I mean, it’s a LOT of triggers to remember! But that’s why we do reps, right?
So, with my case in hand I head down to Firestorm for casual night.
After sorting out who was actually coming we work out who’s going to play I we realise that I’ve not flown against EITHER of the two newer players that have joined us recently. Time to resolve that I guess!
I end up playing against Flora who has brought a chonky Rebel list.
Ten Numb (5)
Fire-Control System (2)
Proton Cannons (4)
Thermal Detonators (5)
Delayed Fuses (1)
Stabilized S-Foils (0)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (14/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
Garven Dreis (5)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Veteran Tail Gunner (3)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (11/11) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Veteran Tail Gunner (3)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (14/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
Ahsoka Tano (A-Wing) (5)
Heightened Perception (3)
Shield Upgrade (8)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
Very interesting! There are some heavy hits that Flora can make (and double taps from teh Arcs if I get in the wrong places) so I’ll need to be careful but while they are scary, those are some real juicy 1 agility targets to shoot at.
Let’s hit some quick Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Salvage Mission (yuck!)
Target/Objective Priority – My previous experiences in Salvage have shown me that I need to pick up at least one, preferably two crates. This is even more important when I’ve only got 3 ships on the board. Pick up some boxes and then smash a one agility ship is the general plan here.
Obstacles – I want a big open space to navigate my big bases through.
Deployment – Now, this is where I struggled last week, getting this completely wrong. Since then I’ve still not had time to watch Dimitris play a full game with the list but, I have looked at deployment. Maul on the left, Manaroo right and Q9 in the middle.
We place objectives, obstacles and ships and we’re ready to go!
Now, let’s see what I’ve got here. A nice big space for Maul, a straight run for Q9 to get to the middle and a lane for Manaroo to pick up a crate and turn in at her favoured side.
I want to keep things slow and casual for now so it’s 1 straights for Q9 and Manaroo while Maul will 1 bank because the Gauntlet doesn’t have a 1 straight.
ROAD 1st Player – me
ROAD isn’t playing a part this turn but it will further down the line. I take my slow moves while Flora turns with Ibtisam to pick up a crate next turn and the others plod slowly forwards (ok, well not slowly for Ahsoka but, y’know what I mean).
No shots and no objective scoring so we’re back to dials.
Time to make some choices. Do I want boxes? Or kills? Or both?
I think both but with Flora’s ships all pretty spaced out I’m reasonably confident I can pick up 3 boxes here. I just need to eyeball these distances properly.
Maul 1 banks left which will get a box and threaten Ahsoka. Q9 will 2 straight which I think will get him range 1 of the middle. Manaroo will bank left. It does leave her flank open if Ten Numb comes hurtling in fast but she’s tanky (JARGON ALERT!!) enough to take one shot without too much worry.
ROAD 1st Player – Flora
Ibtisam moves first, going straight along Flora’s board edge and picking up the crate. Manaroo banks in left and picks one up too.
Then Garven hard turns right and takes a double focus before Ten Numb takes a big 4 straight. Ahsoka banks to her left and picks up a crate as well.
Q9 and Maul both move forwards and pick up their own crates.
A curious move by Garven there and despite Manaroo getting pretty handily flanked by Ten Numb, I’m actually ok with how things look right now.
Ahsoka fires first with Maul her only target but it’s just a 2 dice shot and the Gauntlet’s greens come up trumps and he takes no damage.
Maul fires at Ahsoka (since Garven is just out of range) and chips off her shield upgrade. Q9 takes a shot at Garven and while he doesn’t get any damage on, Garven has to spend a focus to dodge it.
Neither ARC has a shot so Ten Numb takes the shot into Manaroo’s flank and takes 2 shields. Annoyingly Notorious can’t trigger but conversely Manaroo just barely has Garven in arc. I roll 3 dice (thanks to Punishing One) and they all come up hits. Flora rolls 3 greens (as it was obstructed too) and they all come up blank. Harsh. That’s shields down on Garven.
End of turn score: 3 (me) – 2 (Flora)
Ok, so I’ve got a crates advantage and I’ve put some decent damage onto Garven. Looking at the position he’s in I’ve got good positions to try and finish him off.
I set Maul a 1 bank right and Q9 a 2 bank left. With Ten Numb bearing down on the Jumpmaster I decide to send Manaroo a 3 bank left since I don’t think the B-Wing can get around the rock easily.
ROAD 1st Player – Flora
I drop some Super Commandos from Maul, out of the side and with a 1 bank template (attempting to strain or shoot Ahsoka).
Ibtisam moves first and carries on straight along his board edge (keeping a safe distance, I assume). Manaroo banks in and while it’s a little closer to Q9 than I’d like, it fits and she focuses.
Garven goes 3 straight and takes a double focus before Ten Numb takes a K-turn (JARGON ALERT!!).
With Flora being 1st player Ahsoka moves next and she takes a 5-K, avoiding the Commandos and landing behind Maul.
Maul then moves, banking in at Garven and taking a lock before Q9 does the same and double calculates.
Ahsoka takes the slightly controversial decision to fire at the Super Commandos. The cheek of it! She rolls 3 paint at range 1 and spends Force to make it 3 hits and my greens come up 1 blank, 1 eyeball so They are gone. Maul and Q9 hammer Garven, getting 5 hits on and bringing him down to 1 hull.
Flora’s positioning means she’s got no more shots so Manaroo takes the range 2 at Garven and finishes him off.
End of turn score: 8 – 2
Total score: 11 – 4
Right, one down. Now what?
Given Ahsoka’s high agility and high Force means I’m going to get more joy attacking the other ships plus she carries a bit less threat to my ships with just a 2 dice gun. Manaroo and Q9 are facing the wrong way though so I need to remedy that.
Maul will stop while Q9 hard turns right and Manaroo will sloop (JARGON ALERT!!). The question is – do I pop Contraband?
ROAD 1st Player – Flora (again!)
Flora hard turns Ibtisam as I remember that I wanted to drop my last Super Commandos. Oops! I opt against using Contraband on Manaroo’s sloop so no actions for her.
Ten Numb 1 banks left, clearing his stress and taking a focus before Ahsoka takes a nice easy 2 straight to clear stress. She can’t boost though because she’s carrying a crate and so she’s stuck in Maul’s rear arc at range 1. Dropping the Commandos would have worked a charm there!
Maul also opts against Contraband and just stops before Q9 takes the 2 hard turn which puts him slightly closer tot he rock than I’d have liked and calculating.
Ahsoka has just barely missed arc on maul (which feels bad). Maul takes a range 1 rear shot at Ahsoka but turns up a whole lot of blanks and she gets away with it.
No damage done!
End of turn score: 3 – 2
Total score: 14 – 6
Right, time to go get something here. Maul will 1 bank to clear the stress. I eyeball the bank for Q9 and decide a 2 bank will fit and risk it. Manaroo will 2 bank right to angle for a shot at Ten Numb.
ROAD 1st Player – Flora (4th time in a row!!)
AGAIN I forget to drop Commandos with Maul. N00b.
Ibtisam doesn’t turn in as I’d expected, instead attempting a 4-K but failing it, bumping into Ten Numb. There’s no stress in the picture but it did get added later!
Manaroo’s 2 bank takes her further than I’d like on reflection but I spend Contraband to get a focus.
Ten Numb hard turns in towards Manaroo and takes a focus. We did discuss how going for a focus into barrell roll with Ten would give him effectively 2 focus tokens. HOWEVER, with Gar Saxon on Manaroo allowing me to remove that stress to roll an extra die AND BT-1 on Q9 allowing me to turn a hit to a crit I suggest that it’s probably not a great idea on this occasion.
Ahsoka hard turns and takes a focus before Maul banks right and takes a lock on Ten Numb and Q9 banks right (misses the rock) and double calculates.
Maul takes damage from Ahsoka this time, losing his 2 shields. Q9 doesn’t have arc on Ten (just barely) so fires at Ibtisam and lands 3 hits, taking his shields.
Maul fires at Ten and knocks off a couple of shields and then it’s Ten’s turn to fire. He fires Proton Cannons into Manaroo and puts 3 hits into her hull. Not only that but there’s an uncancelled crit and so she drops her crate too. It does trigger Notorious though….
Manaroo opts to remove that strain to roll 4 dice at Ten and rolls all paint, spending her focus for a devastating barrage. Ten rolls an evade but now sits on just 2 hull.
End of turn score: 2 – 2
Total score: 16 – 8
Alright, we’re on the home stretch here. Ten Numb is close to dying and while I will probably lose Manaroo (more on that in a second) I’m confident I can see this out.
My issue with Manaroo is that 2 bank from last turn. A 1 bank would have given me space to go straight or 1 bank left this turn whereas now I’m a bit stuck. A 1 bank left will possibly put her on a rock (which is, of course, not great) and I’m not sure a 1 straight will be much use. In the end I decide to go full ‘run away’ mode and 3 bank right, keeping the stress.
I dial in a reds stop for Maul, hoping that Ahsoka will bump into the back of him while Q9 will hard turn again, hoping for a kill shot.
ROAD 1st Player – Me (finally!)
This time I DO remember to drop Super Commandos and I’m fairly confident they’ll strain Ahsoka.
Manaroo 3 banks right and, well, she’s stressed so nothing else.
Ibtisam (fresh from remembering he was stressed), just goes 1 straight and double focuses. Manaroo is worried.
Ten Numb goes 3 straight, looking to get out of dodge and picks up Manaroo’s dropped crate.
Q9 hard turns and double calculates before Maul reveals the stop, pops Contraband and…. I’ve made a mistake.
Firstly, Maul already has a lock and 2 Force for his shot. A focus just seems overkill. Not only that but at this point it dawns on me that I’ve hard stopped in front of a rock and spent my Contraband unnecessarily. I could have kept Contraband and spent it next turn to hard stop a second time and pivot the wings to rotate and avoid the rock.
Three minutes later I realise it doesn’t matter as the timer goes off. Bullet dodged.
In the end I decide to coordinate with Maul, giving Q9 a lock on Ten Numb.
Ahsoka takes a 2 straight which does NOT bump Maul (boooooo!) but DOES land on the Commandos (yaaaaaaay!). She takes a focus.
It’s shooting time.
Q9 fires first but rolls poorly at Ten (despite the multiple mods). Just one damage goes through and Ten lives.
But not for long as Maul’s follow up shot comes in hot, rolling all paint as Ten blanks. B-Wing down.
Ahsoka rolls at Maul and gets a few hits onto hull but it’s nowhere near enough to make a difference at this point. There is a crit in there though so Maul drops his crate.
With Manaroo facing away it’s only Ibtisam left to shoot and he does, getting 3 paint and spending a focus for 3 hits on the Jumpmaster. I roll greens…. and get blank and evade. Manaroo lives on 1 hull. Rude!
Flora makes use of VTG (JARGON ALERT!!) to also take a shot at Q9 but the so far undamaged ST-70 remains undamaged as the 2 die shot fails to land.
We’ve hit time AND points so the game is done.
End of turn score: 6 – 2
Total score: 22 – 10
Right, so, this is a slightly ‘feels bad’ win for a couple of reasons.
First of all, Flora is a pretty new player and is (as I’m sure she’d admit) still learning. Then again, she didn’t go 0-4 at the recent doubles tournament (her first one) so she’s not exactly a total n00b. We talked after the game about some of her tactical choices (deployment and movement) and about possible action choices at a couple of points during the game. I have very mixed feelings on ‘going easy on someone’ but I feel like, were the roles reversed (and of course they have been way back when I was learning the game), I’d find more value in making mistakes and then discussing them afterwards or talking about options during the game than simply getting a victory. Still, I remember how it felt as a new player getting beat.
Second, my dice were pretty hot and Flora’s (her green dice in particular) were not. I know we can’t pick when this happens but I sure wish mine would have done this in the third or fourth round of some tournament rather than here but hey, what can you do?
Lastly, is that the score feels a bit skewed because in all honesty Manaroo should have died. I’d already dropped a crate (in terms of scoring more points myself) and was going to hit the points threshold anyway but the reality is that Flora should, under any kind of normal circumstances, have bagged an extra 5 points there. Harsh.
It was a good fun game though and Flora, if you’re reading, thanks!
In terms of looking at the list, well, I’ve already covered the main focus of it in last week’s blog. I had fun. I dropped Super Commandos (with negligible effectiveness on this occasion, I’ll admit!), I dished out tokens and I rolled a lot of dice.
There were certainly still some mistakes though.
I messed up with my Contraband usage on Maul at the end (which went unpunished at the timer went and points threshold hit) and I misjudged the distance of Manaroo’s bank following the sloop. She should have 1 banked instead, allowing her to stay engaged in the last turn rather than having to turn and run.
Neither of these affected the result on this occasion but they are definitely poor choices or missed triggers that could be turning points in future games.
One thing I’m happier with was my objective play. Despite having just 3 ships I made sure that I stayed at least in parity on objective scoring through the game. I felt that Salvage is potentially tough for this list (due to low ship count and the reposition restrictions once carrying) but my objective placement and ship deployment helped to mitigate that. Considering that I also find this scenario tricky irrespective of the list I’m flying, I felt like this game was a step forwards in my own mind.
As I mentioned a moment ago, I’m still forgetting or misusing some triggers (Contraband, Commandos, Nightbrother, BT-1, Fenn Rau) and preventing myself from others (Cad Bane once carrying a crate, Notorious when facing the wrong way) but I like how most of it works. The ship I’m still getting my head around would be Q9 in the ST-70. Taking the calculate is the ‘objectively correct decision’ since it allows mods and/or rerolls but it does sometimes feel like there should be just a bit more that I can do with it. Still, I don’t know what’s better that I could replace it with and someone much better at the game than I am has put this list together so I’m thinking that it’s much more a case of me getting to grips with it rather than making changes.
Dropping Commandos is cool though. Even if I can’t fly them properly yet!
I think that’s about it from me for this week. Please remember to check out our tournaments (if you’re local enough!) and I’ll catch you next time!
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