Welcome to this week’s blog!
I won’t lie, it’s been a very strange week.
I’m sure pretty much everyone on the planet knows by now but last week the Queen died.
I know not everyone is a huge fan of the royal family (I’m pretty neutral myself) but she was a very remarkable woman whose reign not only last more than any other in history but arguably saw the fastest changes in culture and society that there has ever been. With so many having lived their lives with just one monarch on the throne, I really can’t see that being the case in the lifetime of my children and it just feels a bit weird.
In real terms for the UK it’s both a massive change and a big deal but at the same time, everything just carries on as normal (normal being a pretty relative term I suppose!). I was listing through with my kids all the things that will have to change such as money, stamps, passports, post boxes, police uniforms and more. Small, gradual changes, yes but changes nonetheless.
All in all, it’s just a slightly strange time.
Right, I think that’s all for the moment! Let’s get on to the ‘content’ (a very loose term!). At the time of playing things were still a bit up in the air as to who I’d be partnering in the doubles tournament so I was still repping the Imperials….
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
So, with my hastily (and, it turned out, poorly) packed bag I headed down to Firestorm to see if I could not totally screw things up (unlike last time).
Why was my bag poorly packed? Well, guess what I’d managed to do AGAIN? Yes, I forgot my Infinite Arenas sheet.
Thankfully my list isn’t all that complicated and, some of the pilot abilities aside, I was pretty confident I knew what I had and how it worked. A few sheets out of my notebook and I was good to go. Well, sort of…
In case you don’t have superhuman eyesight, here’s the list in full:
Captain Oicunn (7)
Trick Shot (4)
Seventh Sister (9)
Agile Gunner (3)
Seismic Charges (3)
Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (19/19) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 8
Iden Versio (3)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)
Precision Ion Engines (2)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (8/8) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1
“Mauler” Mithel (3)
Jamming Beam (0)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (2/4) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1
Swarm Tactics (5)
Targeting Computer (1)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (8/8) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 1
“Scourge” Skutu (3)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (2/3) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1
I’d made a couple of tweaks after last week’s disas…ummm.. game. Gideon was out, replaced by Mauler Mithel (primarily for the i5) and Oicunn’s loadout had been altered quite a bit. Special thanks there to one of my Patrons Darin Schwarze who pointed me towards an episode of the Fly Better podcast that I hadn’t got to yet where the Random Pilot Card Discussion section talked about Oicunn and I straight up stole one of the suggested loadouts.
I was expecting to do a little better than the last game but mostly because I was quite determined not to fly it like a complete spanner with self bumps all over the place. My bar was quite low, I guess.
My opponent for the evening was my junior namesake, Dylan Hall.
Whilst he has been tempted over to the Dark Side of late (Warhammer 40k!), he came with X-Wing list in hand this week, also looking to prepare for the doubles tournament which he’s entering with his dad Peter.
Having known him for quite a while now, I knew what he would bring. Well, what faction, at least.
Norra Wexley (6)
Nien Nunb (5)
Veteran Tail Gunner (3)
Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 4
“Dutch” Vander (4)
Dorsal Turret (2)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Proximity Mines (6)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
Saw Gerrera (5)
Hera Syndulla (4)
Fenn Rau (4)
Shield Upgrade (8)
Pivot Wing (0)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (18/18) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4
Bodica Venj (5)
Crack Shot (3)
Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (5/6) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2
Interesting. Hera and Fenn crews were cards I’d not seen played before so I had a little read. Very interesting.
Time for some quick Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Salvage Mission
Target/Objective Priority – Norra. Must. Die. Not only is she the most expensive ship but if she gets in close she will have 4 red dice to roll at me AND an added free evade for EVERY shot I take at her. No thank you.
Obstacles – I want an open board as much as I can to let Oicunn cruise around freely. The odd obstacle in the way for me to use Seismics on wouldn’t hurt though. Well, it won’t hurt me….
Deployment – Anything other than what I did last week is fine. Oicunn goes down before anything else so I’ll put the TIEs in a block out to one side or the other.
We roll for ROAD 1st player during setup and Dylan ‘wins’ and gets first player. This is pretty huge because while Iden has to go down before Norra, I can put the other TIEs in place for a joust after the ARC is placed.
Objectives, obstacles and ships go down and we’re ready to begin!
Now, a small note here on my objective placements. I’m FAR from some master strategist or anything but my thought here was to place objectives relatively lose together and mostly on Dylan’s side of the board. This either tempts him in to going slowly so he can pick them up turn 2 OR ignore them. Both have benefits for me.
With that in mind I wanted to go reasonably fast to start off. Norra is pretty isolated so if I can get rid of her before she a.) gets close enough for free evades and b.) gets support, that’d be ideal.
I set everyone a 3 straight.
ROAD 1st Player – Dylan (no, not me!)
It isn’t easy to see in the image but Dylan has Saw set up sideways. Dutch goes straight, heading for the closest objective token, as does Norra. Saw goes fast along his board edge while Bodica takes a 5 straight and boosts. Dylan is looking to get 3 objectives next turn it seems.
All my ships go 3 straight and focus.
No scores this turn so we’re back to dials.
It seems that Oicunn is going to get hit by Dutch at least, maybe Saw and Norra too. My advantage here is that two of Dylan’s 3 engaged ships are pretty likely to pick up an objective and, therefore, have no tokens. I need to keep up too so I’ll pick up with Oicunn and one of my TIEs.
ROAD 1st Player – Dylan
Oicunn moves 1 forwards this time and picks up the central objective. Dylan’s i4’s move next with Bodica going straight and picking up a box, Dutch doing the same and Saw banking in and coordinating Norra a focus.
Iden moves next, going 2 straight and focusing before Norra takes a 1 straight and picks up an objective too.
Now my i5 TIE’s move up in formation to match Iden and while I’d like to pick up the box with Howlrunner, she’s just a little too far away to risk it so Scourge picks it up instead.
Annoyingly, I didn’t get a picture here. Sorry.
I do remember what happened though.
Norra fired at Iden but failed to do any damage before the front two TIEs (with Iden swarmed up to i5) and Oicunn fired at Norra, taking out her 3 shields AND putting 3 damage cards on with the aid of a Direct Hit! Ouch. My back two TIEs had been marginally out of range too. The key factor here was that crit though, causing Norra to drop the crate. Being the nasty, sneaky player I am, I placed it behind her, taking it out of the game.
In response I 3 shields on Oicunn from Dutch and Norra.
A pretty good trade then.
End of turn score: 2 (me) – 2 (Dylan)
This would be the crunch one. Already.
Unsure whether Norra would go fast or slow, straight or banked, I slightly hedged by just going 2 straight with my TIEs. If I got 2nd player I’d know where Norra would be when my TIEs moved and could perhaps roll to get her in arc.
Planning to reinforce this time, I sent Oicunn 4 straight. Hopefully I’d get a bump on Saw and then reinforce to rear with Dutch behind me.
That’s the plan anyway…..
ROAD 1st Player – Dylan (again!!)
Oicunn dived forwards and reinforced to the rear. I successfully get the bump as Saw banks in and smashes into the Decimator. Seventh Sister isn’t quite as effective as I’d like though since a single tractor token won’t move or reduce the agility of the U-Wing as Dylan opts to take a red focus. In the end I opt to keep the Force to use on his attack.
Bodica Talon rolls (JARGON ALERT!!) to get the angle to start coming back in while Dutch hard turns in and takes a focus.
Iden goes 2 straight and focuses before Norra also takes a 2 straight which falls just short of bumping. Wow! She then takes a red barrell roll which, after the rest of my ships move, takes her out of Mauler’s arc but keeps her in the other 3.
Bracing myself to spend Iden’s charge, Dylan fires at Scourge, range 1 from Norra. Sadly for Dylan, the 4 red dice whiff (JARGON ALERT!!) spectacularly and Scourge dodges the shot without spending a focus. Harsh.
Iden fires next (now at i5 with Swarm Tactics), followed by Howl and Scourge but that free evade EVERY TIME for Norra means she still lives on 1 hull.
Mauler takes a range 3 pot shot at Saw, the only target in arc and, despite the probability of it, takes 2 shields. Cheeky.
Dutch sinks 2 hits and a crit into Oicunn (but the reinforce cancels one but Oicunn’s crate is dropped) while Saw opts for the range 2 onto Iden but fails to damage her either.
All in all, a pretty uneven spread of damage dealt.
Wait, Oicunn still hasn’t fired though. He rolls 4 dice at range 1 into Norra and spends the Force for 3 hits and guarantees the kill. Ouch.
End of turn Score: 7 – 2
Total score: 9 – 4
That was pretty swingy! I decide that now is the time to disengage with Oicunn and start turning around. On the way out though I’ll drop a Seismic charge. Yes I will catch myself but the Deci still has 10 health and won’t get shot while dealing a damage to, potentially, both the U-Wing and Y-Wing feels worth it.
I’ll just do a 1 hard with the TIEs and look to burn down Dutch. Hopefully before he can fire those cluster missiles…..
ROAD 1st Player – Dylan (yes, AGAIN!)
Oicunn drops his Seismic (to Dylan’s slight disbelief) and hard turns left, over the top of Saw.
Dutch trundles 1 straight and locks, uhh, someone, before Saw (who handily removed his stress during the last turn with Fenn crew) does a red stop.
Bodica banks in, clearing the stress, but is still just too far away to do anything.
My TIEs neatly 1 hard turn in at Dutch and all focus.
No picture AGAIN! So, so sorry!
Neither the range 1 (for Mauler) nor bullseye (for Scourge) line up so my attack isn’t quite what it could be. With Iden again swarmed to i5 I put everything into Dutch and fall short by 1 of taking him out.
We hit i4 so now he can respond and fires a cluster missile at one of the TIEs and follows up with a second unmodded cluster shot at another. I can’t remember exactly who he fired at but I know that I spent Iden’s charge here while Scourge kept his box.
Saw fires next but whiffs again, dealing no more damage.
With Bodican still out of range Oicunn wraps things up by dealing the last damage needed on Dutch and the Y-Wing burns down, dropping his crate in the process.
End of turn score: 5 – 1
Total score: 14 – 5
Right. At this point I remember feeling like I’d got this in the bag. However, looking back, my next moves were, umm, suboptimal.
For some reason, I shifted my focus to Bodica. Yes, the 3 agility ship with a free evade conversion at range 1. What I should have done was turn on Saw who has less agility and was already damaged. Still, I’m sure I had good reasons at the time.
Not only that but I dial in 5 straights for all 4 TIEs. Again, a move I came to regret.
ROAD 1st Player – me (finally!)
Oicunn hard turned to come back in and took a focus before Iden took her ill judged 5 straight and also focused.
Bodica moved next, banking in, just dodging Iden’s arc and took a lock on her. Saw turned in too, hard turning despite still having a stress from last turn.
Then I moved my three i5 TIEs, clearing Saw with Mauler but bumping Scourge into Bodica. Eesh. I took the red focus before Howl crept in behind.
This time there was no point swarming Iden as she had no shot. Mauler, Scourge and Howl all took their shots into Bodica who happily rolled exactly enough paint (with the aid of Concordia Face Off) to take precisely one damage. It was, however, a Loose Stabiliser crit, meaning she dropped her crate. Handy.
Then Bodica fired at Iden, spent the lock for 4 hits and Iden rolled 2 evades. Close one!
Saw followed up though and while Dylan almost fired at another target, he went for Iden and got the final hit through to take her out.
Oicunn fired at Saw and took another shield off to close out the turn.
End of turn score: 1 – 3
Total score: 15 – 8
Right, as harsh as it’s going to feel, if I’m trying to get my head into tournament mode I need to do what I’d do get the win in a game.
After rather a lot of eyeballing the angles and trying to count imaginary ship bases in my head, I set Oicunn to bank in (and bumping, but it’s Oicunn, who cares?!) while the TIEs were going to scatter, picking up boxes on their way.
ROAD 1st Player – Dylan
Oicunn moved in, bumped and took a red reinforce to the front (with the title ability). Dylan stopped with Saw before Bodica 4 straighted out of the melee and repaired the Loose Stabiliser.
Scourge banked left, clearing the stress and evaded while Mauler took a hard right and picked up a box and Howlrunner took a 4 straight and picked one up too.
GUESS WHAT THOUGH?! NO PIC!!! AGAIN!!!
Only Oicunn and Saw had shots here which- they took at each other. Saw put 3 more damage onto Oicunn while only taking Saw’s last shield in return.
End of turn score: 3 – 0
Total score: 18 – 8
Ok, I need to put my sensible hat on here and put the game to bed. Run. Away.
ROAD 1st Player – Dylan (yes, that’s EVERY turn except one, including turn 0 setup!)
Oicunn 1 banks in and, despite the temptation of a mod for the potential range 1 shot on Saw, picks up an objective. I can’t kill that U-Wing so why waste the action?
Bodica turns in and boosts into a linked focus, looking to chase Mauler.
Saw closes wings, reveals a stop and rotates right to also point at Mauler.
The TIEs continue to scatter with Mauler, unable to roll away because of the crate, takes an evade.
No shots for my TIEs so Dylan goes first. He fires with Saw and then Bodica but can only get 1 hit into Mauler and it isn’t a crit. Mauler lives AND keeps his box.
Oicunn fires at Saw but fails to put any hits on. It’s it’s fine though, on this occasion, I don’t mind.
End of turn score: 3 – 0
Final score: 21 – 8
Well that went pretty well!
Chatting through the game afterwards I suggested to Dylan that he’d probably isolated Norra a bit too much and that Bodica’s solo mission to get a crate put her out of the fight for far too long. I managed to leverage both of these, taking out Norra for very little cost and then turning on Dutch and taking him out basically in exchange for my Iden charge.
For my point of view, charging at Bodica once Dutch was gone was really not the best move. I’d have been much better off focusing on Saw and picking up boxes to get me over the line. Gunning for the Fang cost me a ship but thankfully the game was relatively in the bag by then.
I think my Oicunn play went well, pushing him into the action and then diving out (before giving up points) and then coming back in seemed to work out ok. The risk with him in this scenario is that he can’t evade crits to avoid dropping a box but at least he can take a hit without being in too much danger. His chonky health meant that it would be hard for Dylan to get points from him.
I’m pretty happy with my TIE play right up until that rush of blood to the head that made me send them all 5 straight at a Fang Fighter. Like I said earlier, turning at harass Saw and maybe pick up another box would have been a much better move.
Anyway, that’s enough about the game, there’s a little bit more news…
Something else that happened this last week is that Cai and I had an honest conversation about his feelings towards X-Wing after he ducked out of casual night again.
The long and the short of it was that he just isn’t as interested anymore and he only agreed to play in the doubles tournament because he wanted me to be able to go. Which is really sweet of him.
I don’t want him to do stuff that he doesn’t want to do though and so, after assuring him it was fine (multiple times), I was now without a partner.
So, being the ‘if you don’t ask, you don’t get’ sort of person (although mostly only on the internet. I find it very difficult in person!) I chanced my arm and semi-jokingly asked in out XTC Whatsapp group if any of the guys from up north fancied coming down to Newport for a tournament.
Someone said yes… BUT THEN found out they were double booked.
THEN a team dropped out due to one person being too busy. I asked the other team member if they wanted to play and they tentatively agreed if I wasn’t able to find anyone else.
AND THEN…… ANOTHER team dropped out (due to work being stupid) and this time the other team member DID want to be my buddy!
Yes, Mr Kyle Hopkins had been the chosen one, ready to step up and take his place in (optimistically) mid-table obscurity with me! We had a very brief chat about lists and it turned out that he’s been preparing…. a Scum list! So, having tested and tweaked and got reps with this Imperial list I was now going to start again from scratch!
Still, it’s all good fun isn’t it!
I patched a list together from a couple of different onesI found on listfortress and threw it into Fly Casual. A few of the upgrades were missing/didn’t work as they should but it allowed me to get a general feel of how to set up how the ships fly and how best to approach. Provided I get a little time I’ll pack it in my bag for casual night this week and see what I can do with it!
Right, that’s it from me for this week. I’ll see you next time!
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