Losing is Learning

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

Lots to say and not a lot of time to say it so I’ll dive right in!

An oldie but a goodie

Store Champ season is definitely in full swing now with a couple of UK events having happened this past weekend.

I want to give a shoutout to Ben Saunders (of the What the Actual Zuck blog!) for winning at the Atlas Tabletop Gaming event on Saturday and also to Steve Boulton for running it and the level of prize support he sorted. Top effort!

There was also an event right down in Truro won by Stuart Confrey and ANOTHER event in Milton Keynes which was won by Ian Wardle!

Congrats to all winners and also to the TO’s for holding them!

And big thanks to AMG for sending us out kits to play with too!

Patreon Update…

Yep, I’m still banging on about my Patreon account! This quarter’s prizes are all pretty cool if you ask me (although I am VERY biased on that) and after last week’s reveal of two Resistance alt arts, this week’s reveal is the next component of the template set – a 2 straight.

If you stick around as a Patron long enough you’ll get a full set and if you joined after I started sending them out then don’t worry, I’ll fill in any blanks for you once I’ve got through them all. I promise!

For top level Legend Patrons there’s also going to be a very beautiful spot gloss card…

Now, VERY annoyingly I left the hose in a rush this morning and forgot to snap some pics of these lovely things so I’ll maybe update this later but I’ll also pop the pics into next week’s blog to make up for it.

I have to say, I LOVE these cards! Cog O Two are producing these as well as the templates and they are absolutely amazing! Huge props to Dan Eicher too for doing the design work, the cards are incredible!

So if you’d like to support me in the blog and get your hands on some of these lovely goodies then you can check this link and select a tier. I haven’t mentioned it in a while but I added an ‘in between’ tier – Exile Rookie. This is just £1.50 a month and while you won’t get acrylics or giveaway entries like the higher tiers, you will get the standard alt art cards.

As ever, please don’t feel obliged to sign up. Support is greatly appreciated but it’s not a requirement and the blog will continue whatever happens.

Right, on with the show then eh?

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

If you read last week’s post you’ll know that I’ve pivoted away from the double U-Wing plus Gauntlet to a more meta (JARGON ALERT!!) list, but still with a Gauntlet.

Ezra Bridger (Gauntlet Fighter) (6)
Shattering Shot (3)
Trick Shot (4)
“Chopper” (Crew) (1)
Nightbrother (0)
Swivel Wing (0)
Hera Syndulla (4)

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

Han Solo (7)
Trick Shot (4)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Bistan (8)
Millennium Falcon (0)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (20/20) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 6

Luke Skywalker (BoY) (5)
Instinctive Aim (0)
Attack Speed (BoY) (0)
Proton Torpedoes (0)
R2-D2 (BoY) (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Sabine Wren (TIE Fighter) (2)
Beskar Reinforced Plating (3)

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

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z520X419W133W23WWWWWWW448W449W35Y42X133WW54WW77WWWW154Y555X73W475W136W477Y13XW445&sn=Summer%202023&obs=

The first two games went alright with a draw against the Welsh Open winning list and a win against Steve Boulton’s final table FO list. I was happy with the pieces and confident in how to fly it. Well, mostly.

So of course I headed back to Firestorm last week to give it another run out. This time I was up against Josh Hall. Josh and I have played many times and at the Welsh Open he not only made it into the top cut but to top 8. Pretty good!

He was still running his WO list which, in all honesty, is pretty nasty.

“Kickback” (SoC) (3)
Diamond-Boron Missiles (0)
Munitions Failsafe (0)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 3

“Odd Ball” (V-wing) (3)
Plasma Torpedoes (5)
R4-P Astromech (2)
Synchronized Console (1)
Alpha-3B “Besh” (1)

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

“Contrail” (3)
Elusive (4)
R7-A7 (5)
Synchronized Console (1)
Alpha-3B “Besh” (1)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (11/11) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

“Klick” (3)
Dedicated (3)
R3 Astromech (3)
Synchronized Console (1)
Alpha-3B “Besh” (1)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (8/8) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

“Boost” (2)
Dedicated (3)

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

“Slider” (2)
Dedicated (3)

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

Padmé Amidala (4)
Elusive (4)
Proton Torpedoes (12)
R4-P Astromech (2)

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

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v9ZhZ20Z582X238W108Y435XW234W213W211W337WY434X119W364W211W337WY433X210W4W211W337WY548X210WWWWY545X210WWWWWY332X119WW136W213&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

It’s 7 ships, high initiatives, three ordnance carriers and the synchronised console to enable them. Three agility on the V-Wings is annoying too.

We rolled to randomise the scenario and neither of us was especially overjoyed.

Let’s get those Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Salvage Mission
Target/Objective Priority – I need at least one, preferably two boxes. As for targets, well, whatever I can get really, Padme is the most expensive ship at 4 points but I need to get his guns off the board ASAP.
Obstacles – I had thoughts on this last week about spreading out a little more than I had done. I don’t know that I achieved this.
Deployment – Oh boy. I made a mess of this. I’ll get to more detail in a minute.

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

Turn 1

Now, Firstly, I apologise for not getting the picture before Sabine moved but you get the idea of where she was. Once obstacles were down I had a basic plan. Run Han diagonally across the middle to get Trick Shot double taps and rerolls. Luke and Sabine would flank left while Ezra would go up the middle and be a menace/distraction. Keeping the fight mostly in the middle would give Josh’s ships more issues than mine. Probably.

I also knew that Josh’s ships can’t really be jousted since he’s got Proton torps, Plasmas and Diamon Boron and they will very happily ruin Han’s day.

As you can see, I placed Han diagonally, ready to go straight and fast along that lane. As you can also probably see, that’s going to give me an issue in a turn or two.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

So, as planned, Sabine pre-boosts and 5 straights. Ezra stops, Luke goes 4 straight and Attack Speed boosts and Han goes 3 straight.

Josh simply 3 straights with everyone.

At this point it’s a LOT easier for Josh to get decent position than it is for me, especially with, wait, I hadn’t seen it yet so I’ll just say in a minute.

No shots, no scoring, on we go!

Turn 2

Dilemma number 1 – bump with Ezra and clear the stress? Or stop and take a second stress? Of course I could have avoided this problem altogether if I hadn’t placed Han like a total idiot. Still, I am where I am. I flip flop for a minute or two but eventually decide to stop again (Hera FTW!) after thinking that the positioning forces Josh to make a decision.

Dilemma number 2 – What speed for Han? I slightly regret not boosting last turn since that would have solved the Ezra problem but double focusing in order to double tap is what’s likely to win me this game. I go for a 3 straight.

Luke will bank in slowly and Sabine with bank in too. Both will pick up a box.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

Sabine rolls right, zooms forwards and grabs a box. Ezra stops again.

Josh banks his ships in with the exception of Slider who sideslips around the rock. Two ships manage to pick up locks on Han. Yuck.

Luke banks in and picks up a box while Han takes his 3 straight. With the locks on me I debate boosting but I want to shoot, it’s kinda important. I decide to focus.

It has to be said, this turn goes poorly for me. Han’s first shot is completely neutered by Padme’s ability. The second doesn’t go much better and all I manage is 1 shield from Boost.

In return Han takes a Proton Torp and two other shots and loses all his shields.

Balls.

Still, I got 2 boxes and Josh got none. It’s a small victory but I’ll take it.

End of Turn score: 2 (me) – 0 (Josh)

Turn 3

So, what now? At this point I’m lamenting my choices with Han quite badly. His position means he can’t 2 hard to the right and even if he could, can I risk taking another volley of ordnance with multiple double mods? I go for a 2 straight.

Now that Sabine has a box her ability is offline. She will stay pretty neutral and hover in the top corner.

Luke will 1 straight and pick a target to torp. Ezra will 2 straight and see what he can shoot once everyone’s moved.

ROAD 1st Player – Josh

Oh boy. Massive mistakes are made here. MASSIVE.

Sabine hard turns and focuses. Nice and easy that one.

Ezra goes 2 straight. He’s cleared 1 stress but it’s possible he’ll be facing down 7 ships. I take a red reinforce to front and take a shield off with Chopper crew. Feels like it could be worth it.

Josh moves his lower initiatives and then I move Luke.

Mistake 1 – I move Luke….directly into Han. Because initiative is a thing and for a moment it seems I forgot that. What. An. Idiot.

Mistake 2 – I moved Luke BEFORE Josh moves his i5’s despite Josh being first player. Is this important? Well yes, actually. Very.

Luke can only sit there as Josh’s i5’s bank in and two of the pick up locks on him. Odd Ball can only just barely reach and once we get to firing we realise that actually, had we moved in the proper order, that lock wouldn’t have reached. Is it really all that important though? Well, since Josh’s list leans heavily into Synchronised Console and lock sharing, yes it does.

We discuss it for a moment but it was my mistake so we leave things as they are and I’ll take my punishment.

Oh, and Han went 2 straight and, with nobody in his side arc, rotates to have a shot.

There are so many shots going on from Josh’s list that it’s hard to keep track but let me give you the summary – things don’t go as badly as the first engagement but it still isn’t great.

Josh strips Luke’s shields and puts TWO crits on (Console Fire and Panicked Pilot), forcing him to drop the box.

Ezra loses a shield and nobody shoots at Han nor Sabine.

I manage to take out Boost and knock a shield off Contrail but Padme’s ability is really hurting my offence and my ships are taking a real pounding.

End of turn score: 3 – 0

Total score: 5 – 0

Turn 4

I’m 5 – 0 up and haven’t lost a ship but that’s really not the story of the game so far. I need to take guns off the board and I’m struggling badly in doing that. Josh’s lock sharing shenanigans aren’t helping either and now I’ve got Han WAAAAAY out of position.

Ezra’s going to make the distraction play and 2 straight right into the mix. Luke will turn away and regen a shield, Han will hard turn to start coming back in while Sabine will need to bring her gun to bear, even though it’s just a 2 dice one.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

Sabine hard turns in and evades before Ezra takes that 2 straight, clears one stress and reinforces, taking a damage from Chopper crew to do so.

Josh pulls a switcheroo and turns in on Ezra but I’m not sure he expected the 2 straight and it all goes a bit bumpsville. He takes a few damage here and there. Almost certainly more than I’ve done to his ships with my shots.

Luke regens a shield with R2-D2 and hard turns. I’d have liked to barrel roll or focus or something but that panicked pilot crit is seriously bothering me.

Han hard turns and focuses. It seems a bit pointless but since he’s hard turning again next turn, rotating is a waste and boosting hinders that turn.

It’s bad. So, so bad.

I think Luke’s got away with it here as Josh starts firing into Ezra but a range 2 obstructed shot from Padme takes off the shield I got back after the console fire adds another hit. Eesh.

Ezra gets shot A LOT but comes away with just 2 crits. Sadly, one of them is a Hull Breach. And it’s going to matter later on.

Josh picked up a box somewhere in that mess of movement so we’re now ticking up points at the same rate.

End of turn score: 1 – 1

Total score: 6 – 1

Turn 5

Han’s going to turn in, Luke’s going to run and regen again. Ezra, now slightly concerned at how much health he lost, will 3 straight and shoot out of the back. Sabine will hard turn in order to not smash into Ezra. Probably.

ROAD 1st Player – Josh

Josh was fully expecting a stop from Ezra and the resulting chaos draws a few more self bumps while all my moves go mostly to plan.

Mostly.

Luke’s escape is tracked by Padme but otherwise Ezra’s only taking 3 shots (mostly unmodded and at range) and two of Josh’s ships aren’t shooting at all. It certainly could have been worse.

But alas, it wasn’t great. Despite regenning another shield, Padme caught Luke in arc and while a 2 dice range 2 attack maybe shouldn’t have killed him, it did.

I again fail to do any significant damage to anyone really. This is frustrating.

End of turn score: 1 – 6

Total score: 7 – 7

Turn 6

Ok, things are not looking good. My best shot here is that Han kills something and Ezra picks up a box.

Han dials in a 2 bank while Ezra will go 3 hard right and Sabine will go 3 hard left. Yes, I’m relying on Han to win me the game.

ROAD 1st Player – Josh

It’s about time for another massive mistake, right? How about one I never saw coming?

Ezra, already stressed, takes the 3 hard right. It’s red so he picks up a third stress, takes a damage with Hera which is now a crit from the Hull Breach. I then opt to pick up the box.

Oh boy.

Since I’m stressed, I have to take a damage from Chopper in order to do it. The thing is, see, the Hull Breach meant that the damage is a crit and then forces me to drop the box.

What a stupid.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Sabine turns and evades.

Josh brings his ships back up the board but picks up two more boxes while he’s at it. The most important move, though, was bringing the Torrent up at Han. The 1 bank was reasonably obvious looking back but still…

Well, crap.

Han’s blocked onto the rock and while that means that both he and Sabine don’t ahve a shot, even Ezra’s shot onto Kickback is useless as he gets handed a Weapons Failure crit in the final round of shots.

Josh’s grabbing of boxes right at the end just about puts him over the edge as time is up.

End of turn score: 1 – 3

Final result: 8 – 10 loss

The conclusion…

So, as the title implied right back at the start of the blog, I lost the game. The question is, did I learn anything?

Well, looking back, I’m pretty sure I lost this game (or at least seriously hampered my chances) at turn 0. The rocks (including ones I placed) hampered Han’s route quite badly. I was looking for the Trick Shot by crossing the front of Ezra but it was just a terrible idea from the off. The trick shot isn’t something I should be chasing. Han’s placement in turn 0 was also a disaster given that I had to hard stop Ezra to stop one bump and smashed Luke into him as as the entire principle of initiative movement just slipped my mind for a turn.

But, even with a bad setup things weren’t dead in the water. It was my choices during the game hampered me more than they could have. Well, a lot of them.

Han’s speeds cutting across Ezra were wrong, meaning that instead of being able to turn in between the rock and the debris he had to go out and around, taking 2 turns to come back in. In the end, out of 6 turns in the game, Han only fired in 3 of them and 2 of those were single shots, not double. It’s really not good enough.

Then there’s the mistakes. Moving Luke before Josh’s i5’s when Josh was 1st player meant that he got a lock on Luke when he shouldn’t have (my fault). Setting Luke a 1 bank when Han was in front of him cost me a lock and therefore a Proton Torp onto something (also my fault). Electing to stop with Ezra 2 turns in a row, keeping him perma-stressed and having to take damage to take actions out him closer to death than he should have been.

Then of course there’s taking a damage with Chopper to pick up a box that got converted to a crit with Hull Breach to make me drop it again. Idiot. I can’t believe I didn’t see that.

You could say that sticking Han on a rock at the end was a mistake but I feel it was more a calculated risk. If the torrent hadn’t blocked it then he’s double tapping with rerolls and a focus and could possibly have grabbed me those 2 extra points. The others were more unforced errors than calculated risk.

These are the things that make me think. These are what I’ll remember and that will hopefully prevent me from repeating these atrocities. Maybe.

Now on the one hand, the game was still miraculously close given how it felt I was struggling for the whole thing. When you consider that I’m playing against a fairly established meta list and a player who knows the interactions (and went to top 8 at the Welsh Open with it…) that’s actually pretty decent and leads to believe that this list is actually pretty strong once I work out the links.

Then again, between Padme neutering my shots and Han deciding to deny himself shots, Josh actually did more damage to his own ships than I did. You could argue that a few of the bumps were from Ezra’s positioning but between a couple of self inflicted bumps and sending Booster over a rock at the end, Josh was certainly more responsible than I was for damage on his side of the board.

So what actually is my conclusion? Well, the list is good. I like it and I’m comfortable with the ships. It’s my turn 0 that needs work. Particularly with Han. Maybe I’ll watch a few streams to get an idea of how to run him but as long as I’m getting some shots with him, I’ll be doing better than I did here.

That’s twice I’ve played salvage with this list now too, perhaps I need to run Assault and Scramble to check how they feel too.

Overall, I think some more reps and some purposeful planning will reap some benefits. Especially now that I’ve picked up a ticket for Cardiff’s store champs in September and have something to aim for.

I think that’ll do it for this week. Thanks for reading, please comment wherever you found this blog if you’ve got anything to say about it and I’ll be back next week, hopefully with a better result!

The outro…

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