Sith Taker Open 2023 – The Side Quest

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

Before I get started I want to cover a few things that I ran out of time to write about last week (despite still hitting almost 5000 words!).

First, I don’t think that I really credited my opponents enough. All five games from day 1 were a huge amount of fun and I’m thankful that I got the opportunity to play them and more importantly, to meet and spend time with them. Mark, Oli, Niels, Kayleigh and Tom – thank you! You’re awesome!

Secondly, I realised I hadn’t posted any pics of the swag I picked up. Time to resolve that:

I love this community. I really do. The effort that people go to and the money people spend to have stuff made simply to give away to people never ceases to amaze me.

Again, thank you to everyone who gave me any of this lovely, lovely swag. The actual monetary value is neither here nor there, for me it’s the memories attached to the games and the experience of meeting people that I treasure.

I also want to give a shout out to one of my squad mates, Mark Hall. One of the features that STO has had is their bounty system – certain things that, if they happen, mean that one or both players could claim a prize. For example, if you cause a ship to leave the board, you get a bounty. There’s an easy way and a hard way to claim this. The hard way is to block an opponent’s ship off the board. The easy way is to fly your own ship off. I mean, if you’re not going to win, might as well get something for it, right?

Other bounties included things like – taking 4 damage from obstacles on 1 ship, performing a stress manoeuvre 3 turns in a row, rolling 4 natural evades out of hand, that sort of thing. Basically events in the game that are either rare or silly and self inflicted.

Oh, and player collusion was encouraged.

Cue Mark. Having, errr, not done so great in his first couple of games (and to be fair, those games were against players who made cut in the end), he decided lean REALLY HARD into the bounty system. In game 4 he played fellow South Walian Chris Fear. The game ended up being a 23-21 win (both got a bounty for them both having mroe than 20 points) and between them they notched up ELEVEN bounties.

There was also an extra prize for having claimed the most bounties which he managed to claim. Epic.

Want to see what he claimed altogehter? Alright….

And yes, that Millennium Falcon Bluetooth speaker at the top is the prize for most bounties. Top effort mate, top effort.

Before we move on I do want to give a bit of a shout out for a tournament happening this coming Saturday in Cardiff hosted by the Firestorm Womp Rats.

There’s plenty of Louis Leong’s beautiful swag to win so if you’re free, why not pick up a ticket and head on over! Tickets are available here and if you want any info or have any questions you can check out the Facebook event here.

Right, that’s it for intro-ing. Let’s get on with it!

The batrep(s)… (JARGON ALERT!!)

We had arrived at Saturday evening of STO with NONE of our illustrious group having made it into the top 16 cut of day 1. As a result our thoughts now turned to the day 2 action – a team event.

With 3 players per team and no restrictions on list building (meaning you could just use the same list from the day before if you wanted to), we now just had to do the hardest bit. Pick teams.

To avoid the whole schoolground style ‘who gets picked last’ sort of thing, we left it up to…

James Humphery, who had joined us for dinner at Mister Ali’s Indian restaurant and, having not made cut either, was in search of a team to be part of, found a randomiser app for his phone and put everyone’s names in. One by own names were drawn and grouped into three’s.

In the end, my team was to be myself plus Alex Jensterle and Alex Boulton. There had been another Alex (Whitehead) and so apparently I’d ruined it being a trio of Alexes! (Alex’s? Alexi?)

With no pun based inspiration for a team name at short notice and most other people in our group chat being, uh, slightly intoxicated to varying degrees, a name was suggested and I simply accepted and submitted it.

Oh, and if you want to know about the team above us, you should speak to Steve Boulton or Richard Greenaway. I’m sure as heck not covering THAT here.

After turning up for breakfast in very differing states (I was fine, by the way), we headed over to Element Games to find out how this was actually going to work.

Once the top cut had been kicked off, pairings were drawn for the team event. We had been told to allocate ourselves a number in our team – 1, 2 or 3. Once pairings were made, the TO would announce which numbers would play which, taking the thought of strategic pairing away from us. Phew!

All three of us were flying the exact same list as we’d flown on the Saturday:

My list:

Alexsandr Kallus (7)
Dorsal Turret (2)
Saw Gerrera (9)
Veteran Turret Gunner (5)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 7

Ezra Bridger (Gauntlet Fighter) (7)
Notorious (5)
Hera Syndulla (4)
Veteran Tail Gunner (3)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Nightbrother (0)
Swivel Wing (0)
“Chopper” (Crew) (1)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Airen Cracken (3)
Elusive (2)
Plasma Torpedoes (7)

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

Keo Venzee (3)
Elusive (2)
Concussion Missiles (5)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (7/8) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in YASB 2:

Alex J’s list:

“Jag” (SoC) (4)
Veteran Tail Gunner (0)
R4-P Astromech (0)
Synchronized Console (0)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

“Wolffe” (SoC) (4)
Wolfpack (SoC) (0)
Veteran Tail Gunner (0)
Q7 Astromech (0)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

“Hawk” (5)
Dedicated (1)
Agile Gunner (3)
Seventh Fleet Gunner (8)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 5

Anakin Skywalker (Delta-7b) (7)
Crack Shot (3)
R4-P17 (4)
Shield Upgrade (8)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (15/15) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3

Total: 20

View in YASB 2:

Alex B’s list:

Academy Pilot (2)
Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (0/0) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Academy Pilot (2)
Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (0/0) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Moff Gideon (3)
Crack Shot (3)
XX-23 S-Thread Tracers (4)
Munitions Failsafe (1)

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

Iden Versio (3)
Elusive (2)
Crack Shot (3)
Jamming Beam (0)
Precision Ion Engines (2)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (7/8) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

“Howlrunner” (4)
Swarm Tactics (5)
Crack Shot (3)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (8/8) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 1

“Mauler” Mithel (3)
Crack Shot (3)
Jamming Beam (0)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (3/4) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

“Scourge” Skutu (3)
Crack Shot (3)

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

Total: 20

View in YASB 2:

Three pretty varied lists! we chatted amongst ourselves and pretty soon the first pairings were published.

Game 1 – Episode 1 – The Pillow Menace – Chance Engagement

An immediate friendly fire match!

Their team was made up of Steve Boulton, Richard Greenaway and James Humphery. With pairings being decided by player number I would be facing Steve, Alex J would play James and Alex B was taking on Richard.

Steve was flying an FO list that he has since dropped so I don’t have it here but the ships he flew were:

“Ember” (4)
Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (0/7) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

“Whirlwind” (4)
Enhanced Jamming Suite (0)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (0/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

Lieutenant Galek (3)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (0/8) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

Commander Malarus (3)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (0/4) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

“Scorch” (3)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (0/8) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

DT-798 (3)
Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (0/8) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in YASB 2:

We’ve played each other a good few times now, particularly since Steve started coming along to Newport for casual night but after our results being quite even initially, without realising it’s happening (well, I haven’t realised it) Steve has now proclaimed me to be his Kryptonite. Would the trend continue?

We start out by circling a little as I feel like I’ve messed up my approach.

I will apologise right now for having to take photos on this horrendous mat.

Kallus is definitely eating that rock next turn but Ezra is going to have to stap and turn in order to shoot something while Cracken hides behind that rock.

I decide to embrace the pain with the VCX and the gamble pays off as I manage to delete two of the TIE/FO’s and Keo survives when he probably shouldn’t have.

The rest of the game continues in the same vein as I plough damage into Steve’s ships while his return fire fails to land consistently.

Whirlwind is next to go and when Steve sends Ember in for a kill shot on Keo, I call it and manage to one-shot him with Kallus. Simultaneous fire means Ember can still shoot Keo but Steve’s luck is still rotten and Ember fails to land that last hit.

Steve calls it here as the writing is well and truly on the wall.

Result: 18 – 4 win

Mini conclusion…

Steve wasn’t looking forward to this matchup before we started (in terms of the lists – I hope!) and his fears were realised as his green dice abandoned him in the face of my repeated big hits from Kallus.

Meanwhile, Alex B had experienced his own poor luck with dice (must be a Boulton thing!) but still pushed Richard close with a 17-20 loss.

Alex J was having a storming game though and got a 20-6 win over James. Nice!

Team result: 2 – 1 win

Game 2 – Official Team Funwok – Assault at the Satellite Array

At first I was a little confused as to why Funwok was in the team tournament when he’d made cut…

It turned out that this team was Funwok’s official fan club comprising of Mark Packer-Hughes, Matt Coggins and Travis Williamson and the numbering system had lined me up with a rematch from day 1…

Same player, same list, same scenario! Would Mark get his revenge or would I be able to get the same result?

Poe Dameron (7)
Heroic (2)
R4 Astromech (3)
Ferrosphere Paint (3)
Adv. Proton Torpedoes (8)
Overdrive Thruster (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
Black One (0)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (25/25) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3

Rey (8)
Heroic (2)
Novice Technician (2)
Rose Tico (9)
Finn (9)
Engine Upgrade (3)
Rey’s Millennium Falcon (0)

Ship Cost: 8 Loadout: (25/25) Half Points: 4 Damage Threshold: 5

Temmin Wexley (5)
Heroic (2)
R6-D8 (4)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (10/11) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Total: 20

View in YASB 2:,core2asteroid0,core2asteroid2

With some time to think about it, Mark came into this game with a different plan. I approached with the intent of taking out either Rey or Poe but an unfortunate crit onto Kallus turned the game.

With my biggest gun pointing the wrong way I had to try and kill something and Temmin was the target that presented itself.

He managed to arc dodge my big ships several times though and after Kallus finally gave up the Ghost (see what I did there?! Haaa…. Sorry), Cracken got one-shotted by Rey and even though I’d been outscoring Mark on objectives, failing to kill any of his ships across 7 turns ended up being pretty decisive.

End result: 11 – 17 loss

Mini conclusion…

Fair play to Mark, he approached this game much better than the day before and made this much harder for me. The dice played their part a little but once I had Kallus stressed and facing the wrong way the writing was on the wall.

Thankfully, things were looking much better on either side of me. Alex B’s TIE Fighters had dispatched Travis’ list and as my game was ending, time was called with Matt and Alex J in an interesting position.

Alex had a 1 point lead and they decided to continue with another turn as it felt bad to leave it so close. The borderline turn ended up swinging the score massively though as Alex took out Matt’s Falcon and scored a few objectives, picking up a 23-12 win.

Team result: 2 – 1 win

Game 3 – 186th Squadron – Scramble the Transmission

Ok, I guess if you’re 2-0 in a tournament, something like this is bound to happen. There was a late re-pairing and we went from playing a team who were all using double Firesprays to a pretty scary team of 186th members – Dale Cromwell, Martin Chivers and Louis Leong. The numbering had me playing against the legendary Mr Leong!

Louis was flying his list from day 1 which was a pretty scary looking Republic list:

“Sicko” (5)
Dedicated (1)
Seventh Fleet Gunner (8)
Agile Gunner (3)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 5

“Klick” (SoC) (3)
R3 Astromech (0)
Precision Ion Engines (0)
Alpha-3E “Esk” (0)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

“Contrail” (SoC) (3)
Ion Limiter Override (0)
Precise Astromech (BoY) (0)
Ion Bombs (0)
Alpha-3B “Besh” (0)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

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

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

Anakin Skywalker (6)
Extreme Maneuvers (5)
Predator (2)
R7-A7 (3)
Calibrated Laser Targeting (0)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (10/10) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in YASB 2:,core2asteroid0,core2asteroid2

I came in aggressively at Louis’ list, deciding to basically ignore Anakin initially and take out that LAAT.

My aggression came with a cost, though, as I basically ignored objectives while trying to take down some clones.

It did not pay off.

The major turning point came not long after I missed a stress token hiding behind the annoyingly massive VCX, meaning Kallus did a 2 straight over the top of Sicko rather than a 4-K (JARGON ALERT!!), leaving him facing the wrong way (again) and unable to reinforce.

It still took Louis a couple of turns to finish him off and I eventually took the LAAT down but Louis’ consistent picking up of objectives made the score line unassailable once my ships started blowing up.

End result: 8 – 21 loss

Mini conclusion…

A pretty expected loss here, really. Louis is a top player and his list is among what you might consider the top meta lists right now.

The stress thing with the VCX was a very annoying mistake and totally avoidable (since it was from a Cracken passed action the turn before) but it is what it is. I think the result would probably have been the same without it although I’d like to think I could have taken it a bit closer.

Elsewhere, Alex J had managed to get a win versus System Open winner Martin Chivers with an 18 – 14 score but unfortunately Alex B had come unstuck against, uh, System Open winner Dale Cromwell and gone down 17 – 20.

Team result: 1 – 2 loss

The conclusion…

So, it’s weird.

First of all, this side event reiterated to me just how great team events are. In a way you have pressure to try and do good for your team, in another way you feel less pressure because how well your team does overall isn’t solely down to you.

Whichever way you look at it, they are an enormous amount of fun. Whether you’re keeping tabs on the games happening next to you or trying to ignore it. If you finish before the others and watch them or your game drags out later and everyone swarms around your table, it’s similar enough to normal X-Wing to feel comfortable but just different enough to give it a new twist.

I lost two of my three games but overall we still won two rounds and let’s face it, losing to three members of the 186th, all of whom have been to Worlds and two whom have won very large events isn’t a disgraceful result at all. We still finished 5th out of 20 teams overall which, in a real shark tank of a room, is pretty good I think!

The event was won by ‘Spray it, don’t say it’ which comprised of Conor Holmes, Rory Wilson and Andreas Tolman. Not a bad team eh? They were all flying double Sprays and Kannan which sounds…. uh, well, terrible to face, actually.

If you’re interested in overall team standings then you can find that here:

I already covered my thoughts on the list last week so I’ll leave it there for this week. It’s a lot of fun though and while Kallus can punch pretty hard I still think Ezra is the star of this list with his flexibility and unpredictability.

That’s it from me for this week, I’ll catch you next time!

The outro…

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Exile Initiates:
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Exile Rookies:
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Exile Veterans:
Mark Beor, Daniel Barringer, Michael Bird, Steve Boulton, Jason Desmarais, Darin Schwarze, Alex Peters-Bean, Mark Packer-Hughes

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