Welcome to this week’s blog!
It’s been a fairly eventful week in X-Wing terms but since that’s mostly XTC related I’ll save that for later on!
There’s only really one other bit of news although it’s a fairly exciting one! A few weeks ago I was made aware of a document that was doing the rounds in some X-Wing groups which had a lot of great content and links for new players (and experienced ones too!).
I’m always curious about these things and any effort that people make to contribute tot he wider community is always great. Imagine my surprise when, around half way down it, I found my name, a credit and a link to the blog!
After a little investigation I found that the author of this document was USA XTC player and all-round lovely guy Mr Levi Schadt. I got in touch and after a couple of conversations I have invited Levi to update some of the slightly (ok, maybe more than slightly) out of date pages on the blog. There’s no time scale (since real life comes first!) but some time soon there will be some major updates to the Jargon Buster, Player Resources and Dylan’s Picks pages as well as an additional page to cover the Tips and Tricks info from the document.
I know he hasn’t started it yet but I want to say a HUGE thank you to Levi for agreeing to do this. He’s put a lot of work into that document and the more people that get to access and use that information, the better!
In the mean time the Google Doc will be the best place to find the info
Alright then, let’s get to the XTC!
Ok, it’s been a real rollercoaster of a week and not just for Team Wales! The group stage is now (largely?) complete and we have the 10 teams through to the finals locked in!
Let me start in group A. Not so much drama here with Germany going 4-0 and topping the group while New Zealand take the second spot by way of 2 wins, 1 loss and 1 draw.
In group C it was down to Hungary to play king-maker in their match up with England. A loss for England had the possibility of letting Australia and Brazil through but the English managed a 4-1 win in the end to confirm their place in the top spot. Australia’s loss to Brazil then didn’t matter as they had already taken three rounds and all but sealed their place in the finals already.
Group D (dubbed the group of death!) was where a LOT of the drama was going down. The USA and Spain were the seeded teams for this group (due to playing the finals last year) but the group also contained perennial powerhouse Poland (not a seed due to not participating in 2022) as well as Mexico, the US Islands and Serbia.
Mexico bounded back from a round 1 loss against the US Islands to then beat Poland, Serbia and Spain, putting them in a good position. In the final week it came down to USA and Poland as to who would take the other qualifying spot.
USA took a 2-0 lead but Poland pegged them back to make it 2-2 with everything riding on the final game. No pressure eh? And who was the USA player to take on this game? None other than the previously mentioned Levi Schadt! He took it in his stride and played out a 22-7 victory to take the USA into the finals,
Group E had become a 3 horse race between France, the Pirates and reigning champions Canada. In the final week it all came down to Canada getting a 4-1 victory over France to take the top spot while the number of individual game wins (the first tie-breaker) meant that France pipped the Pirates to second place by 2 wins. Very close!
So that just leaves group B then. Wales’ group. Now, it’s actually probably not quite as exciting because technically, the two qualifiers were already all but confirmed quite early on.
As at time of publishing the last blog, technically we (team Wales in case you’ve not been paying attention!) could still qualify if Hellas won the 2 remaining games against Ireland and we beat Ireland 5-0. Or at least, that’s how it looked.
Hopes were dashed pretty early as on Monday Steve Boulton played against Conor Holmes and, by losing Lulo right at the death of the game, lost our first game 17-21.
On Tuesday Ireland played out their last 2 games against Hellas and won both, meaning they’d beaten both Scotland and Hells 5-0. Wow.
With Colombia already qualified with 3 wins and Hellas already having played their 4 rounds, hopefully we could avoid being bottom by getting a few wins. Qualification was now mathematically out of the window though.
I was out at an event on the Thursday night when, as it happened, three of our games were taking place.
As the evening unfolded I could feel my phone buzzing intermittently but I resisted the urge to check until the event was done.
And when it was done, it was interesting reading.
I now present to you, some screen grabs of our Whatsapp from that night.
There’s then a pause of 2 days (well, aside from the usual banter between us!) until the Saturday…
Yes, we take the round 4-1 to put us on 2-2 and 3rd place!
Looking closer at the final table, it’s agonising how close we actually came to finishing second. If Steve’s Lulo hadn’t died in that last turn (to a Direct Hit no less!) then we’d have taken the round 5-0 and finished on 12 wins and 8 losses, same as Ireland. Since head to head is (I believe) the second ti-breaker, we would have gone through.
On reflection this is both heart-breaking AND encouraging. I honestly hadn’t expected us to get through to the finals and just a few weeks prior both Oli Pocknell and Liam Baker (oh yes, I’m calling you out!) had predicted we’d finish bottom of the group on the Spicy Podcast.
All in all, we’d come 1 Direct Hit away from making the finals. Not bad for a team predicted to finish bottom. The team have been amazing representing the country and have certainly done me proud.
I guess that’s it for Wales in XTC this year. Right…?
There is an ongoing situation which is probably not quite ready to go public yet. More news when it happens I guess!
You can’t beat a good cliff hanger can you!
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
And so, on to an actual game then!
Life being what it is for me at the moment, I hadn’t had a chance to think about a new list to fly, let alone repack my bag for it so I turned up at Firestorm with my Resistance list once again.
A few of the guys were down and it worked out that I would be playing against fellow XTC Team Wales player, Steve Boulton. Again!
In a turn around from last week when Steve was flying this Resistance list as a practice for his XTC game into Scotland’s First Order list, this time I was flying the Resistance and Steve had brought Frist Order!
In case you’ve not seen it, I’ve been flying this:
L’ulo L’ampar (4)
Shield Upgrade (8)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
Jessika Pava (4)
Electronic Baffle (2)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (7/7) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3
Temmin Wexley (4)
Ferrosphere Paint (3)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (9/9) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3
Ello Asty (4)
Swarm Tactics (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
Jamming Beam (1)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (8/8) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3
Zorii Bliss (4)
Dorsal Turret (2)
R4 Astromech (2)
Wartime Loadout (2)
Plasma Torpedoes (5)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (11/11) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Resistance&d=v9ZhZ20Z239X125W127WW165Y296XW197W106W175WY297X172W198W359WWW175WY299X132W172WWWW175W12Y477XWW137W5WWWW409W234W&sn=XTC23%20-%20STEVE%20BOULTON%20-%20WALES%20-%20RESISTANCE&obs=coreasteroid0,coreasteroid5,core2asteroid0
It’s a fairly well known commodity at this point in the meta. Lots of passive mods and reasonably high initiatives, ships that aren’t all that easy to kill and can hit like a truck (I’ve one-rounded a Ghost with just four of the five possible shots…).
And what did Steve have? Well, some new fangled concoction that I’d not seen before.
Interesting. It’s not hugely different from Scotland’s FO list that I’d flown last week but this had Vonreg instead of Blackout. WAs that a play style choice or just a straight upgrade? It’s hard to say for sure since I don’t fly FO but it’s interesting for sure.
Right, let’s get those Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Salvage Mission
Target/Objective Priority – Ummm…… it’ll be targets of opportunity more than anything else I think. Keeping my ships together and focusing fire feels more important than hunting down one particular ship.
Obstacles – A wide spread I think, allowing me a nice wide lane to bring my block into.
Deployment – The usual for this list, a block of 4 with Lulo looking for a flank.
We place objectives, obstacles and ships and we’re good to go!
Nothing too out of the ordinary for me here. Take everyone forwards and be ready to turn in. The rock is quite far up the board so it’ll be a 4 straight. It stresses Zorii which isn’t ideal but since it’s only turn 1 it doesn’t matter too much. Probably.
Lulo will streak ahead with a 5 and boost.
ROAD 1st Player – Steve
We begin moving ships and Steve does something rather curious, sending Vonreg right into the middle. All his other ships move a bit slower and along the right hand board edge.
No shots and no objective points so back to dials we go.
Now, this is interesting. If Steve’s trying to bait me to chase Vonreg then I think I know better than to chase him. He’s got escape routes and will move after all my ships no matter the ROAD roll. I’m also not particularly well positioned relative to the rock so I’m going to resist the temptation.
I initially set Jess a 3 hard turn and Temmin a 3 bank so he can free boost and claim but in changing my mind to go slow and take an extra turn before turning in I screw myself over…
ROAD 1st Player – Me
ALL my ships will move before Steve when I’m first. Yuck.
Jess and Zorii go 1 straight while Temmin and Ello go 2 straight with Ello picking up the objective. I’d initially planned for Zorii but I figure is Vonreg comes at me to make me drop a box with the Mag-Pulse, Ello’s got more greens.
With Temmin not picking up the top right box I send in Lulo witha bank and the second I pick it up, I regret it.
Steve’s ships creep towards the middle with Malarus and LeHuse closest (and picking up boxes) while Midnight and Kylo flank out wider.
Vonreg barrels down the middle at me with a 5 straight and then rolls and boosts to nestle in right behind Zorii. Balls.
I REALLY don’t like my positioning here.
Vonreg has the only shot and rolls 4 dice into Zorii but whiffs ends up taking just 1 shield. Close one.
With 2 boxes each, the turn is done.
Score: 2 (me) – 2 (Steve)
Things aren’t great here. Vonreg is behind me, Kylo is approaching my right flank when I turn in, LeHuse on my left and Lulo’s ability is hampered by not being able to boost for the stress. I have made a mess of this. What can I do about it?
I make a few decisions. Not all of them are good ones.
I decide to give Ello a Talon Roll (JARGON ALERT!!) in order to shoot at/scare off Vonreg. Lulo will hard turn in while Zorii will 2 hard around the rock. Jess and Temmin will also hard turn in since they need to make room for Ello.
ROAD 1st Player – me
All my ships move again before ANY of Steve’s (I do NOT like how this feels!). Steve continues in but mostly keeps his distance. Midnight stays out wide but Kylo, LeHuse and Malarus are dipping in to striking distance but all from very different angles. Vonreg turns in but Ello’s position forces a roll left and boost to try and dodge the arc.
Midnight tries a pot shot at Lulo but misses. Vonreg also can’t land a hit on, well, whoever it was he shot at. That’s a decent start for me.
I swarmed Jess to i5 but with the anlges I’ve got, I simply can’t focus fire here. Malarus’ ability is active but I still opt to shoot her with Jess, Zorii and Temmin and do exactly zero damage. Lulo doesn’t have a shot but Ello makes it count, landing full paint onto Vonreg who rolls just 1 evade and loses both shields.
The return fire is better from Steve this time though and importantly, he can focus fire. Three shots into Temmin make him drop the crate he (stupidly) picked up and strip shields but more significantly, push through a Disabled Power Regulator cirt. Ouch.
End of turn score: 2 – 2
Total score: 4 – 4
That crit is pretty much a death sentence for Temmin. Even a 1 bank in either direction doesn’t really help and with Ello facing Vonreg I can’t easily swarm him up to i5 before he dies either. The annoying thing is that if I’d focused instead of picking upt he crate I would have avoided the crit and still been boxless. Ah well.
I dial him a 1 bank at Le Huse because, well, actually, I don’t know why.
Jess will 4-K (JARGON ALERT!!) to get out of Lulo’s way as he(?) comes in 3 straight. Zorii will 1 straight to possibly block Kylo (or get blocked, depending how ROAD goes).
With Ello I look at the board and figure andother Talon from him will get me behind Vonreg and maybe get the kill. It looks tight though. Will he make it? My other options are fairly limited so I guess it’s worth a go!
ROAD 1st Player – me
I start with Jess’ 4-K and Temmin’s bank out. Lulo moves forwards and, after a long pause to consult the rules, opts not to drop the box (as it happens AFTER the action step which is why I wanted to drop it) and takes a focus, allowing Zorii to pick one up too.
Zorii mvoes 1 straight, drop the stress from taking that focus and lcoks Malarus before Ello goes for the talon…. and fails it. Balls.
Steve’s ships continue in at me with Kylo bumping Zorii and Vonreg getting right in behind Lulo.
The foundation was already in place but this engagement is where the pendulum really swings.
LeHuse and Midnight wipe Temmin out before he can shoot.
Malarus, Kylo and Vonreg focus down on Lulo and the A-Wing pops all too easily, costing me a crate as well.
What damage did I do? Two shields on Kylo from Lulo and Malarus’ shield. That’s it.
End of turn score: 1 – 10
Total score: 5 – 14
Oh boy. That was tough to take. If I’d had the sense to point Temmin at Malarus then maybe Steve would have needed an extra shot to take him down, saving Lulo. Also, if I’d really thought about where Vonreg was coming in, I could have rotated Lulo’s arc and either scared the TIE\BA off or nailed him with a 4 dice range 1 shot, maybe finishing him off.
So I’ve got 1 box, 2 ships down and one facing completely the wrong way. Can I do anything about it?
ROAD 1st Player – me
ROAD certainly isn’t helping my cause here. Moving all my ships before Steve all the time means he can reposition at will. Still, I move Jess 1 straight and focus, Talon toll with Ello again and bank Zorii left.
Steve smells blood here and brings almost all his ships to bear on Jess (the one ship he knows where she will be before ROAD). Kylo is the exception, diving past the melee to relative safety and rotates his arc to the rear.
Steve starts firing at Jess who, if I’d only done a 2 straight instead of a 1, would have dodged two arcs and blocked Vonreg. As it is she takes 4 heavily modded shots and despite her re-roll and focus, fails to register more than a single evade on 8 dice and promptly dies.
Zorii only has Malarus to shoot at with a poor range 0 shot before Ello tris to hit Vonreg from range for a few consolation points but Steve’s dice pick this very moment to nattie out (JARGON ALERT!!) and he escapes unscathed.
With 2 boxes and Jess dead, Steve has his the magic number!
End of turn score: 1 – 6
Final result: 6 – 20 loss
If I’m totally honest, it’s a well deserved loss here. I’m not entirely sure how I got there and I suppose that’s exactly the reason that I did.
Steve’s opening gambit of dangling Vonreg worked for him, just not in the way he might have expected. I would never have thought that he’d YOLO 5 points of his list into a very efficient kill box and so the duck out was, in my opinion at least, reasonably obvious. The issue was that once he ducked him back out of the way it wasn’t just out to the side where he’d need to spend a turn turning around but behind my list and there was very little that I was actually able to do about it.
Looking back I think that game swung on two poor decisions. First was to pick up a box with Lulo. As soon as I’d done it I knew it was wrong and the fact that I’d planned to pick that box up with Temmin and then changed my mind just makes it more annoying. Carrying the box neutered the A-Wing and shut down the pilot ability and while it feels blindingly obvious now, is certainly not something I’ll be doing again.
The second was the failed Talon Roll with Ello. Granted, had I pulled it off then there’s a reasonable chance that Vonreg dies and the game goes very differently but having already done the Talon to get where he was, it should have been obvious that it wasn’t going to fit.
It took Ello too far out of action for far too long and by the time he was back in, that game was gone.
Two silly and avoidable mistakes.
While I did make some errors, Steve played an absolute blinder here. His scattered approach meant I had to pick a target and when I brought my guns to bear, the only real target was Malarus with the ability active who was only worth 3 points anyway. He had the flank with Vonreg AND Kylo and by the time his ships were close enough to shoot at it was far too late for me to do anything about it. My block was scattered and my ships started popping one by one.
What I did realise once the game was done is that it was actually my first loss in something like 12 games, easily the biggest win streak I’ve ever had! I guess I was overdue a loss, even if just to keep me grounded and not start getting delusions of grandeur!
It’s made me think about how to handle things strategically with this list when the opposing list is a bit more acey. Do I have answers? Probably not, not yet anyway. Finding them is part of the journey I guess
That’s it for me this week. I’ll catch you next time!
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