The SAXH Invitational – Part 2

The intro…

Welcome back! And so soon!


At this point I will assume that you have either already read the last post or you simply don’t care and want to just read this one and please stop banging on about that other post.

Ok, cool. As long as we’re clear!

Just a quick recap for you before I get started properly. The illustrious Mr Phil GC invited me to take part in a tournament to celebrate his birthday. Phil is rather good at the game and so are a LOT of people that he knows and so I found myself playing in a group of very highly decorated players. To say I was out of my depth would be an understatement.

In my last post I batreped the first game in which I played against 2019 (and still reigning!) world champion, the one and only Oliver Pocknell. I don’t think it’s really a massive spoiler to say that I lost but as I said last week, I’m not in this tournament for the wins, I’m in it for the experience.

So, my first game was against a world champion. Fine. Sure. No problem. With the swiss system pairing wins with wins and losses with losses my second game is technically easier now, right?

Well, as I mentioned before, there are no easy games in this tournament. Actually, that’s not strictly true but I don’t think I’m allowed to play against myself.

We are keeping the same lists for the whole day and so my list is the same as in the last post:

Dash Rendar (85)
Expert Handling (4)
Bistan (10)
Perceptive Copilot (8)

Ship total: 107 Half Points: 54 Threshold: 5

Ten Numb (48)
Marksmanship (1)
Fire-Control System (2)
Autoblasters (3)
Stabilized S-Foils (2)

Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 4

Jake Farrell (36)
Ship total: 36 Half Points: 18 Threshold: 2

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0:

It isn’t meta, it isn’t fancy and you could argue that it isn’t actually any good but it’s mine and I like it and, for better or worse, I’m stuck with it for the day!

Phil does the draw and begins to read out pairings. Who do I have this time? Why it’s only a System Open winner and 186th member, Mr Martyn Chivers.

TTT still seems to have a rather twisted sense of humour!

Being game 2 of a 4 game day we didn’t have a huge amount of time between rounds to chat too much and so I created a room in TTS, Martyn jumped in and we began setting up to play.

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

By this point in the day the lists had been published but with not much time between rounds, I certainly didn’t spend any time looking at who was running what. Surprises are fun, right?

When Martyn spawned his squad I was somewhat concerned.

Gideon Hask (Xi Shuttle) (40)
Kylo Ren (11)
Agent Terex (6)

Ship total: 57 Half Points: 29 Threshold: 4

Major Vonreg (55)
Daredevil (2)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (6)

Ship total: 63 Half Points: 32 Threshold: 2

Lieutenant Rivas (27)
Ship total: 27 Half Points: 14 Threshold: 2

Epsilon Squadron Cadet (25)
Ship total: 25 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Epsilon Squadron Cadet (25)
Ship total: 25 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Total: 197

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0:

Now I will admit to being slightly relieved when I noticed that the Xi pilot was Gideon and not Malarus (having faced that a few weeks ago) but Gideon’s ability could really hurt if Dash was to start haemorrhaging damage (which he is prone to do).

So, target priority? Got to be the shuttle and Vonreg, in whichever order they are presented to me. Particularly when Martyn explained to me how he would be able to use Kylo crew to get a crit assigned, trigger it with the Mag-Pulse from Vonreg and then the FO’s would get the option of extra dice once my ship was damaged.

Ok, so kill stuff quick and avoid getting hammered by crits. That’s now my strategy. Sounds good, let’s go.

Martyn had the bid and our only crossover was at initiative 4 but that’s sort of important given that Gideon is his second most expensive ship and the one that makes the whole list tick and probably doesn’t want to be locked by a potentially double tapping (JARGON ALERT!!) Ten Numb. Rather unsurprisingly Martyn gave me first player.

We placed obstacles and then ships and were ready to go with the board set like this:

My initial thought when placing ships was to try and drag him over to the middle. I had gone along with placing obstacles on Martyn’s side as I had given myself the option of going down the left hand side with Dash and Jake but still felt like sticking to my usual opening was what I wanted to do. If I could stop Vonreg from flanking really wide then that would help too.

I set all my ships to hard turns (with a white 2 hard for Ten this time, unlike against Oli!).

Martyn staggers his FO’s before bringing the Xi in behind. Somewhat unexpectedly he turns Vonreg towards his other ships. No flanking today it seems.

With no shots we go back to planning.

Now, my ideal engagement will be to get Ten into range of something at lower initiative (and preferably in bullseye) and lock it while Dash turns in on a flank. Can I pull that off?

I give Jake a straight move while Ten banks and Dash hard turns up the middle of the board.

Martyn’s FO’s keep their staggered formation while Gideon forms up behind. Vonreg does a 4k (JARGON ALERT!!) behind them. Maybe he is doing something sneaky after all.

We’re still a little far out for shots and so it’s back to dials.

It’s time to commit to the joust with Ten and so it’s a straight move for him and also for Dash to keep his side arc pointed at the bulk of Martyn’s list. Jake will hard turn behind Dash and do his focus monkey thing.

Martyn moves his FO’s, banking in with the two Epsilon Cadets but going straight with Rivas.

Ten goes straight and rolls left. I can’t quite tell which of the two FO’s is more likely in bullseye so I plump for the linked lock on Rivas since he’s more annoying than the others. Picking up the stress triggers Rivas’ ability and so he gets a lock on Ten.

Jake turns and rolls, handing off a focus action to Dash before Gideon moves forward into the screen of TIEs and for his action spends a force to use ‘I’ll show you the dark side’ onto Ten Numb, handing him a Blinded Pilot crit for later.

Dash just takes a 1 straight and rolls right to get range on some ships since he already has a focus.

Vonreg sneaks around the debris to get arc on Dash.

This time there is shooting. Oh boy is there.

Vonreg has a pop at Dash but does no damage. Dash fires first at Rivas to soften him up but takes a shield without stripping his focus. Dash takes a second shot at Gideon who again, loses a single shield.

Jake is just hanging out in the middle of nowhere with no shot so it’s Ten next. We check range and, well, see for yourself…

Yep, Ten Numb missed bullseye on BOTH FO’s by almost no margin at all. I do have a lock on Rivas though and so it’s a 3 dice primary (with FCS reroll and a stress for a focus) followed by a 2 dice Autoblasters shot for a grand total of…. 1 damage. One. Single. Damage. Still, it’s half points on Rivas. It’s not too bad.

Then the FO’s began to fire.

The first Cadet fires and rolls hit, crit. Ten blanks. The crit triggers the blinded pilot crit which now means that Ten is damaged. The second Cadet takes a strain to roll an additional die. He rolls hit, hit, crit after spending a focus. Ten blanks. Rivas rolls, spends his lock and his focus to end up with hit, hit, crit. Ten blanks. Ten is dead.



Martyn needed to roll exactly 8 hits in that attack with at least 1 crit in the first shot and I needed to roll zero evades. Statistically unlikely. And yet…

Still, in exchange for my 56 point ship and potent attack I’ve manage to get…. half of an FO and 1 shield from Gideon.

It suddenly feels like there’s an awful lot for Dash to do.

Back to planning then. At least that’s quicker now, right? Always look on the bright side!

I set Jake to head straight up to Dash (who really needs to pull his weight this game) who in turn gets a bank to the right.

Martyn’s FO’s turn in to the middle and focus. Jake zooms up to Dash, rolls left, gives himself a focus and then boosts right to hand one off to Dash.

Gideon moves in behind the FO’s again and does his ‘I’ll show you the dark side’ action again, this time on Dash. *shudders*

Vonreg banks and then Martyn takes a little while to decide where exactly Vonreg should end up. It’s either range 1 of Dash with no mods and a shot (and a deplete token) or range 2 of Dash with a mod but no shot. In the end he goes for the range 1 deplete shot since it removes one of Dash’s red dice.

Vonreg shoots at Dash and plinks a shield off. Dash returns fire and even though he’s a red die down, Martyn’s greens are a mix of blanks and eyeballs and with no mods he takes all 3 hits.

Dash takes his second shot at Rivas to try and get rid of him but he just isn’t having it and takes a single hit, leaving him on one health.

We check range on Jake.

Yes, ok, this is technically Vonreg’s arc but obviously it works both ways.

It’s in range. Just. Martyn was not expecting this. Frankly, neither was I.

I roll with Jake. It’s 2 hits.

Martyn rolls greens. Again it’s a mix of blanks and eyeballs. Vonreg is dead.

Martyn was not expecting this either. Frankly, neither was I.

Maybe I need to try and get Jake to shoot more often?

Dash is in arc of two of Martyn’s remaining ships and takes a further 3 damage, stripping his last shield. Crucially though, none are crits.

Suddenly my feelings of redemption are shaken as that ‘I’ll show you the dark side’ crit looms large and Martyn (wisely) picked a Panicked Pilot.

Ok, so after some rather brutal engagements we are back to dials.

What now?!

Jake gets another straight move, looking to buff Dash again. Dash will hard turn to maybe avoid at least 1 arc.

Martyn banks teh yellow FO, hard turns the green one and K-turns (JARGON ALERT!!) with Rivas.

Jake does his Jake thing, rolling and then boosting to give a focus to himself and to Dash.

Gideon banks around and this time jams a focus from Dash.

Dash takes his hard turn and takes a lock on Rivas. That guy has got to go. I need another of Martyn’s guns off the board.

Dash shoots at Rivas and manages to finally finish him off. Ok, good, that’s one less incoming shot. Crucially I didn’t spend my focus so there’s a chance for a second shot which I take on Gideon, getting 3 hits through and taking him to half points.

Jake has no shot and so Gideon fires at him, followed by the yellow FO but can only do 1 damage between them.

The green Cadet however manages to get 2 hits onto Dash, getting him half points. 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

Back to dials we go. This is intense!

Jake gets a hard 2 to clear the stress while Dash will take a 3 bank as I’m hoping that the green FO can’t block that.

The yellow and green FO’s both hard turn and focus. Jake hard turns and boosts towards Gideon, handing a focus to Dash.

Gideon takes a red stop, leaving Jake in his arc. Ah.

Dash’s 3 bank clears and he takes a lock on Gideon.

Dash fires at Gideon double modded but those 2 green dice come up trumps and keep Gideon alive on 1 health. Dash takes his second shot at the green FO, hoping to make him spend his focus. He doesn’t and loses a shield.

Jake takes an unmodded range 1 shot at Gideon and lands 2 hits killing the Xi. However, simultaneous fire triggers and Gideon puts a hit onto Jake before burning down. The yellow FO follows this up by hitting Jake with a Disabled Power Regulator crit. But he lives!

The green FO taps Dash with a hit and a crit. Dash blanks out and the Panicked Pilot crit is triggered, handing Dash two stress tokens and effectively shutting down his double taps. Ouch.

So I’ve got Jake on 1 health and Dash on 2 health against a full FO and one with 1 shield down. I’m up on points but my chances of survival are…. improbable.

I set Jake a 2 straight to try and dodge arcs. The obvious move with Dash is a blue one to start clearing stress but I figure that if I’m going to die anyway I might as well try and be a little unpredictable in the process. I set a 2 hard turn.

The yellow FO hard turns and rolls. The green FO sloops (JARGON ALERT!!). I hadn’t seen that coming.

Jake’s forward manoeuvre just about clears and he rolls to his right to dodge the arc.

Dash takes the 2 hard. Unfortunately he’s sitting in arc of both FO’s with a lovely pair of stress tokens. Balls.

Ok, fine, let’s see what happens here.

Dash takes a range 2 unmodded shot at the green FO and rolls 3 hits. Martyn rolls to defend. His greens come up with blanks and eyeballs. He’s stressed from the sloop and so he’s dead.



Martyn’s last remaining FO, armed with a focus, shoots at Dash. It lands 1 hit. Dash is now on 1 health remaining.

Tension is rising.

Back to dials we go. I had forgotten about the crit on Jake so he just gets a white 1 forward, right towards the asteroid. For Dash I decide to try and do the unexpected again and dial in a 2 hard right.

Martyn sloops with the FO. Damn.

Jake takes his ion move and takes a focus.

Dash takes the hard turn.

Oh balls.

Dash shoots and knocks the shield off the FO.

The FO fires at Dash. 2 hits.

Dash rolls greens. 2 evades.

MASSIVE sigh of relief.

Onto the next turn then!

I think about starting to reduce the stress and so I set Dash a 1 forwards beofre changing to a 2 forwards instead.

Jake needs to try and not hit that rock because that’s just a really stupid way to die.

The FO takes a blue 2 hard turn and locks Dash.

Jake takes his 1 hard turn. OOoosh that’s close.

I now REALLY regret changing the 1 forward to a 2 forward with Dash.

Oh man.

Surely it’s over now, right? Jake has no shot and neither does Dash.

Martyn rolls. 1 hit. I roll. 1 evade.

It’s unbelievable. I literally cannot believe it.

We are back to dials AGAIN.

This time I want an action with Dash and I also want range 2. I go 2 straight. Jake gets a 2 hard turn to try and get in on the action.

Martyn moves his FO 2 forwards and bumps into Dash (on purpose I assume in order to keep him in arc).

Jake turns, rolls, gives himself a focus and bank boosts at the FO.

Dash takes his 2 straight and can finally take an action. he rotates his turret to front/rear.

Dash fires but does nothing to the FO. Jake fires and hits a hit through at range 1. The FO is at half points (finally!).

The FO fires at Dash. 2 hits out of hand.

Dash rolls greens. 2 evades out of hand.

I am running out of words to describe what is happening. It is literally beyond belief.

Looking at the timer we still have enough on the clock for one more round.

Jake gets a 2 straight, Dash gets a 3 hard turn. Let’s see.

The FO takes a bank and a focus.

Jake moves 2 straight, rolls right, gives himself a focus and then just barely has room to boost into range 1 of Dash and hand off a focus.

Dash takes his 3 hard turn and rotates his turret back to the side.

Dash shoots at the FO, using a focus to land 3 hits.

Martyn rolls his green dice and gets a single evade and 2 blanks. The FO is dead.

30 seconds later the timer beeps. Wow.

Result: 200 – 128 win

The conclusion…


That is, without doubt one of the most crazy, funny, entertaining and statistically unlikely games I think I have had for a while, possibly ever.

AND I freaking won it.

I’m not sure I’d go quite as far as to say I diced Martyn since his dice were pretty hot in the opening engagement where he took Ten Numb off the board with precisely the number of hits (from him) and blanks (from me) but it rather felt like it flipped the other way at the end quite significantly. There’s no doubt in my mind that Dash should have died but it seems on this occasion the dice sided with me. I’ve certainly played in games before where the dice variance swings one way and doesn’t swing back and this certainly wasn’t the case in this one.

I really loved this game against Martyn and the fact that we had such a great time laughing at the dice results in the last few turns makes it a really memorable one too.

In terms of tactics/strategy, I feel that I definitely played this one better than the first. I was disappointed to have lost Ten Numb after just one ineffective round of fire but very glad to have been able to pull it back from there. Taking Vonreg off the board in one round without having fired his missiles was a huge bonus and Jake continued to be the unlikely hero of the list when opportunity came his way to score unlikely hits.

So, that’s a win in a tournament where I’d expected to lose all my games. I’m happy! I’m 1-1 for the day so far and among this calibre of competitors it’s better than I’d expected. Next time, on to the next game!

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