Worlds 2024 Prep – Part 1

The intro…

Hello and welcome to this week’s blog!

There’s a bit to cover today so I’d best get straight on with it!

I want to say a HUGE thank you to Levi Schadt for the guest blog he wrote last week. It was a great piece and there were a lot of comments which agreed that Heroes of the Aturi Cluster is a fantastic way to play X-Wing and also a great way to introduce new players. Once Worlds has been and gone I think I’ll be looking at how we can accommodate a regular HotAC night locally.

In other news there have been events in both Bangor and Basingstoke this past weekend with people I know attending both. Fun was had by all as far as I’ve seen from various posts!

At Replay Games in Bangor there was a host of well known names taking part with Store Champ professional Dom Flannigan going 5-0 for the win and the invite passing down to Chris Bobby.

In Basingstoke Denny the Sicillian topped the swiss going 4-0 and the invite going to Ed Gold who upgrades his LCQ ticket!

There was also the Las Vegas Open in, well Las Vegas, which was the last Worlds Open Qualifier before Adepticon. I didn’t manage to see any of the stream but I gather that it was won by Doug Howe

This leads me on to a post that cropped up last week and, in all honesty, I ran out of time to mention it in the blog.

Now apart from the obvious great news that we’re getting more events in the UK with the scope for being pretty large AND the fact they’re pretty reasonably spread out, thinking deeper and reading between the lines is pretty exciting.

These events state that they’re supported by Asmodee and AMG so they’ll have official prize support. It also directly mentions a roadmap of Store Champs, Regionals, Nationals and international events. Of course I’m sure we won’t get a proper official announcement from AMG or Asmodee until Adepticon in a few weeks time but it certainly gives me MUCH more hope of a Worlds in 2025 and ongoing support for the game than I had if you’ve had asked me a month or so ago.

An OP track is a big investment and while there’s still a little less than I’d like to see in terms of product news (as in, none, excluding Endor) it FINALLY seems like things are starting to pull together.

That’s about it for news I think, moving on!

Patreon update…

Yep, it’s week three of shoving shiny things in your face! Now, I made a boo-boo a few weeks ago, talking about but not adding a photo of the alt art cards. That’s my bad.

Then last week I did EXACTLY the same with the 1 bank template. Ironically, I don’t actually have those in my hand yet so I’m not even sure why I thought to do a photo!

Anyway, spoiler number three for the Patreon supporters is one for the Exile Legend tier, it’s a SPOT GLOSS DARTH VADER!

Yes, top tier supporters will be getting a transparent Battle of Yavin Vader X1 card, brought to you by Cog O Two and designed by the incredible Dan Eicher! Incidentally, if you’re interested in having cards designed by Dan, let me know and I’ll put you in touch!

SO, if you’d like to get your hadns on these lovely things (and others in future of course!) OR if you’d simply like to support the blog and help me cover running costs out of the kindness of your heart then you can sign up to be a Patron here.

I appreciate the support more than you can possibly imagine so to those who support me, THANK YOU!

Next week I’ll show you what the giveaway prize will be. Until then, let’s get on with it!

The pre-amble…

As of the time of publishing, there are EIGHT more Wednesday casual night before Worlds. One of those falls on my son’s birthday.

There are plans afoot for a bit of a get together between a few of us in the area to throw into the mix as well but it’s in a little bit of a state of flux at the moment.

Despite doing a lot of the prep (ticket buying, mainly) quite recently and in a short space of time, it still feels like Worlds is rather far away but counting down my available practice nights has give me a bit of a reality check.

First off, I want to set out my expectations. Actually, let’s look back at my normal tournament expectations first:

  • My primary goal in a tournament is to have fun.
  • My minimum expectation of myself is to be a good opponent.
  • My hope is to break even.
  • My dream is to make the cut (or, with no cut, win?!)

This is my go-to now but given that Worlds is a rather different beast to you’re average 20 person store tournament, it’ll need some significant adjustment.

Let’s break it down:

~My primary goal in a tournament is to have fun.~

No change needed here. I am SUPER pumped to be flying across an ocean to meet and play with people from all over the world. Meeting some people in person who I’ve only ever interacted with online is another exciting thing and going out for food and spending time talking with people, well, I can’t wait for that!

~My minimum expectation of myself is to be a good opponent.~

Same again. ‘Don’t be a jerk’ feels like a simple thing to achieve but actually there is the possibility of falling down a rabbit hole of ‘I’ve come all this way, I should do well to justify it’. I did NOT come all this way to win Worlds, I came all this way to take part and enjoy the experience. There’s no need to ruin someone else’s experience.

~My hope is to break even.~

This is where things get hazy. Technically Worlds is a 10 game swiss with top 16 cut. To make day 2 you need 8 tournament points (I think?!) or better which I believe equates to 3 wins (points) or, technically, 2 wins and 2 draws.

Do I back myself to achieve that? Well, in a normal tournament maybe. But this isn’t a normal tournament. Everyone who attends Worlds had to earn their spot. Nobody there is some n00b who just turned up having bought a core set last weekend. My good friend and fellow Exile Steve Boulton attended last year. He’s a good player for sure. He did not make day 2.

So, revising this expectation seems sensible. My hope is to register a couple of wins. Let’s say 2. Yeah, 2 wins is my hope.

~My dream is to make the cut (or, with no cut, win?!)~

AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!! Ok, sorry. This one will need adjustment.

Making the top 16 cut out of what could be a few hundred players is nothing short of delusional fantasy. For me, anyway. Qualifying for day 2 though? Maybe that’s a dream I can believe in. Anything more than that is just super fancy icing on a very delicious cake.

So, let’s revisit the expectations with those adjustments:

  • My primary goal in a tournament is to have fun.
  • My minimum expectation of myself is to be a good opponent.
  • My hope is to win 2 games
  • My dream is to make day 2 of the main event

There we go, much more realistic. I can hear some of you thinking that it’s pessimistic and sure, I see where you’re coming from. Speaking for myself though, since I put words around these expectations and started reminding myself of them before attending any tournament I’ve found myself much more relaxed when playing and enjoying the time much more.

Everyone’s different of course but this is what works for me.

So, what am I going to fly? Surely there’s still time to decide that, right?

Well, I’ve pretty much settled on playing Resistance in the main event. I’ve wanted to do alt arts to give out to opponents so I’ve committed to having alt arts made of my painted ships (provided they get delivered in time!) and will have a few acrylic ones made for myself. More than anything, there will be a little memento for myself to look back on in years to come.

So with AMG having confirmed no major changes to points (except new points for the Endor pack) I know that what I’ve been flying works and will still be legal so I’m all good.

But.

If you think I’m flying 4000-odd miles with just 1 list in my bag you are crazy

I’ve signed up for the Worlds Warm Up event the day before the main event as well as the Sunday Swiss and the Saturday doubles tournament. I assume there’s also a possibility of Aces High at some point so while I do like my Resistance list, there’s no way I’m using it 15+ times in 4 days.

And so, the hunt for a list begins!

Ok, well continues. Two weeks ago I wrote about a Rebel list I wanted to try out. It did not go well and not simply because I lost the game. The ships weren’t powerful enough to deal with some strong ships in the meta (JARGON ALERT!!) and while I’m not exactly looking to discover the ‘next big thing’, I’d like to avoid being battered repeatedly.

Among several lists I threw together over Christmas was an Imperial one that I quite fancied.

Rear Admiral Chiraneau (7)
Ruthless (1)
Death Troopers (4)
Darth Vader (12)
Agile Gunner (1)
Electronic Baffle (2)
Dauntless (0)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (20/20) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 8

“Deathfire” (TBE) (3)
Swift Approach (TBE) (0)
Conner Nets (0)
Proton Bombs (0)

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

Rexler Brath (7)
Disciplined (2)
Fire-Control System (2)
Heavy Laser Cannon (5)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (13/13) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3

Tomax Bren (TBE) (3)
True Grit (TBE) (0)
Plasma Torpedoes (0)
Ion Bombs (0)

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

Total: 20

View in YASB: https://yasb.app/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v9ZhZ20Z214X128WW27WW26W76WW106W147Y644X494W68W69Y196X381W113W10W311WWY647X497W234W317&sn=Worlds%20Jank%20v4&obs=

It’s 4 ships (a bare minimum at the moment I’d say), pretty chunky and, most importantly, I love Decimators. They’re just cool.

So, I pulled together what I could find which, in the end left me short by 1 TIE Bomber dial. I know I’ve got more but it’s been a while since I flew Empire and I couldn’t think where they could be! On arriving at Firestorm I then found that my Defender and one Bomber had been magnetised (and I hadn’t brought any magnetised pegs) and the other Bomber was missing it’s peg altogether.

Pro level gaming eh?

Thankfully I got around some of it as you’ll see. Thanks Mark Beor for the loan of a dial and 2 ships!

Anyway, I unpacked and was ready to give it a go.

The batrep(s)… (JARGON ALERT!!)

Game 1 – Mark Beor

Mark and I both got tot he store ahead of anyone else and while we set up to play he talked to me a little about the list he was trying out today. He’s among the handful of us who are heading to Worlds and is looking for a list that will help him get through the last change qualifier.

“Midnight” (3)
Fanatical (2)
Swarm Tactics (5)

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

“Null” (3)
Swarm Tactics (5)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (5/5) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

Major Vonreg (5)
Marksmanship (1)
Deadeye Shot (1)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Shield Upgrade (8)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (14/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

“Blackout” (5)
Trick Shot (4)
Pattern Analyzer (5)
Sensor Scramblers (1)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (10/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

“Whirlwind” (4)
Fanatical (2)
Marksmanship (1)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Advanced Optics (5)
Enhanced Jamming Suite (0)

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

Total: 20

View in YASB: https://yasb.app/?f=First%20Order&d=v9ZhZ20Z233X181W132WWWY290X132WWWY381X125W343WW98W165WY237X133W206W415WWWY490X181W125W98WW186W413&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

He’s clearly been talking to Steve Boulton and there’s very much a theme of leveraging multiple Swarm Tactics to get everyone up to at least i6. I felt that my having 3 i5 was would be high enough. I guess not!

Let’s have a quick look at some Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Assault at the Satellite Array
Target/Objective Priority – The two 5 points ships are also the most dangerous so if the opportunity arises
Obstacles – I’d prefer a wide spread of rocks to make space for RAC but of course I’m only 50% in control of that.
Deployment – I want to place RAC in a way that allows him to follow a path, the Bombers will stick together while the Defender flanks. I think.

Now, as I’ve got 2 games to cover and have talked a lot already, this isn’t going to be an in-depth batrep as I usually would.

We place everything down and are ready to start.

Immediately I’m feeling a bit annoyed at myself for not thinking enough about deployment. Mark’s placement means that the Bombers need to go really fast and Rexler needs to turn away which is annoying.

I send RAC a bit faster than I think I should have while the bombers go up the side.

Mark realises he’s made a mistake with Blackout who wants to decloak next turn and go fast but the little rock (which he placed) is a little in the way.

This time Oicunn goes slow while I then mess up bringing the bombers around the rock.

Mark’s mis-cue plays out with Blackout unable to decloak and then ships bumping all over the place.

RAC takes a bit of a beating, osing shields and taking a crit (Console Fire) but I do chip some damage into his ships.

I brace for an all-out assault on the Decimator but Mark switches up and dives in on Rexler. Thankfully I went faster than he anticipated and picking up the evade and focus and dodging 2 arcs means he’s ok.

Blackout dies which, along with the objectives I’ve been racking up (RAC-ing up! AHHHAHAHAHA! Ha! No? Ok) I’m now 10-3 up.

Mark does a full disengage while turning around but I’ve still got arc on a damaged Null who dies the next turn.

Time runs out in the next turn and it’s too late for Mark to get enough damage onto anything as I out-score him on objectives again while failing to kill any more ships.

Final score: 18 – 5

Mini conclusion…

Ok, I have to say, this is not quite what I expected. Yes this scenario suits this list but not to lose any ships when I was out-initiatived (Come on spellchecker, IT’S A WORD!!) and Jam was in play to interfere with my reinforce.

With some better setup and more thought in my approach to engagement this could have legs. Also maybe I should drop some bombs. That seems like a good idea.

With not much time for analysis I moved on to the next game!

Game 2 – Steve Boulton

Now, while Mark’s FO list was somewhat experimental, Steve is much further down his list tweaking journey.

“Whirlwind” (4)
Marksmanship (1)
Proud Tradition (2)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Advanced Optics (5)
Enhanced Jamming Suite (0)

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

Kylo Ren (TIE Whisper) (5)
Heightened Perception (3)
Malice (4)
Predator (3)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)
Enhanced Jamming Suite (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (14/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

“Midnight” (3)
Swarm Tactics (5)
Fanatical (2)

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

Commander Malarus (3)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)

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

Major Vonreg (5)
Lone Wolf (3)
Marksmanship (1)
Deuterium Power Cells (6)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (4)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (14/14) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in YASB: https://yasb.app/?f=First%20Order&d=v9ZhZ20Z490X125W319W98WW186W413Y487X72W418W127W311WWWW413Y233X132W181WWWY266XWW311WWY381X124W125W318W311WW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

I’ve played against Steve using these ships before but with some of the upgrades having been changed it was likely to be a different experience than before.

Time for those Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Scramble the Transmission
Target/Objective Priority – Again it’s a higher initiative list but I know Steve flanks wide with Vonreg usually. Annoying as it is, I’ll have to pile in on what’s presented, likely the TIE FO’s
Obstacles – Wide spread again
Deployment – This time I think I’ll put the Bombers more central while RAC comes up behind them.

We place everything and get ready to start.

I already think I prefer how this position is looking over the last game. Rexler will play chicken with Vonreg while the Bombers will shoot forward and RAC turn in behind them.

Steve starts to execute what looks like a slow wide pincer with my ships sailing into the middle.

Next turn Deathfire screams forwards, fires the Conner Net forwards at Whirlwind and then does the roll, lock, focus nonsense which we both read about 3 or 4 times before deciding it was probably fine.

Jonus moves up and rolls into his place while RAC follows up and Steve’s ships continue in at mine. It was at this point I realised that the 1 red hard in turn 1 followed by the white 3 straight was probably not the best move.

Given that Vonreg can basically be wherever he wants and is definitely moving after Rexler I decide to get into the mix instead of being arc dodged.

To say this engagement went poorly is a bit of an understatement.

Tomax dies while I manage to get 2 damage into Steve’s ships (not including the 1 damage from the Conner Net). Not. Good.

I’m feeling a little like all is lost already but nobody has claimed any objectives yet so I’m not too far behind.

Deathfire’s free boost after dropping an Ion bomb puts him well out of the area Steve was expecting while RAC turns out to find some space.

RAC fails to put any decent damage onto anyone while Steve goes all in on Deathfire and does a grand total of 2 damage.

A Proton Bomb gets dropped this time by the Bomber while RAC banks in and FINALLY clears his stress to pick up a reinforce.

This time Steve goes all in on the objectives while Rexler chases down Whirlwind and Deathfire k-turns (JARGON ALERT!!) out of the melee.

Malarus takes the Proton Bomb while I use Vader crew on Kylo who doesn’t have a green token due to bumping Midnight. Vonreg has bugged out for now.

RAC picks up some damage from Kylo but Midnight can’t put anything into Deathfire again.

RAC goes in toa Kylo but my reds abandon me.

Not so with Rexler though as he wipes Whirlwind out to keep me in touching distance of Steve’s score as he doubles his score with objectives making it 4 – 6.

Malarus is limping, Kylo is hurt and Midnight has lost half his health. Maybe all isn’t lost?

Deathfire dives back into the middle and claims the objective while RAC hard turns and, slightly sick of rolling rubbish red dice several turns in a row, takes a focus instead of the reinforce.

Rexler takes a white 4-K and claims as well, looking to even the odds.

This time both RAC AND Deathfire whiff (JARGON ALERT!!) their range 1 shots into Kylo. Balls.

RAC takes a bit of a beating, finishing the run on 5 hull but with a Panicked Pilot among a few other crits.

Time is running out but the score is 6 – 7 now. The question is, will RAC survive?

With his ships low on health, Steve bugs out with Midnight and plays conservatively with Kylo. Annoyingly I forgot to rotate with Agile Gunner the last turn so can’t Vader OR shoot Kylo. Balls.

RAC goes 4 straight, keeping both his stress but crucially, gets range 1 of where Vonreg ends up meaning that he can’t remove his stress to reposition out of arc or get a better shot on me.

Malarus has to come back in to the middle but since Steve’s moving after me she can arc dodge where Rexler ends up.

Nothing else dies and with time up, I score 2 objectives to Steve’s 1 and we tie the game.

Final score: 8 – 8

The conclusion…

Well that is interesting.

I had expected to get soundly beaten by Steve’s list and while it had really felt that’s how it would go at the start, my keeping it to a draw has, at the very least, stopped me from immediately scrapping this list.

While you could argue that Deathfire lasted longer than he should have and lived on luck (which is fair), I would counter that by saying that Tomax died without shooting to similar luck (except of the bad variety) and that RAC’s inability to roll more than 2 hits after modding was in a similar vein.

The list needs tweaking for sure. I failed to either trigger or remember Ruthless, Electronic Baffle or Mag Pulse, failed to drop a single bomb in the first game, totally forgot Rexler had a pilot ability. I also forgot Agile Gunner at a crucial time and only landed a HLC shot once.

While I didn’t lose either RAC or Rexler in either game this isn’t going to be the case in every game (although I’d say that losing both in the same game would be unlikely, infrequent at worst). The question I’m asking myself though is this – is Rexler the best way to spend 7 points? What if i changed him for Vader? or another Decimator?

The variants would fly quite differently I think but I’m open to making some changes. If you’ve got any ideas I’m always open to making changes!

Of course I’m not exactly inventing the wheel here. RAC plus things is something already established in the meta but while I’m not looking to just cookie cutter an existing list I’m also aware that list building isn’t my thing and iterating tweaks and learning what triggers work for me is something that’s produced for me in the past.

In terms of the chassis I find the Defender fun to fly (although the blues on the dial make it a little more restrictive than I’d expected!) and I like flying big base ships. The Bombers will need a bit of learning, Deathfire especially as his low initiative makes him a juicy target.

This week I listened to the Sith Taker Snapshots podcast (as I do every week!) and they talked about a list that won the Chile Worlds Open Qualifier which had piqued my interest. Ionically, when playing against Steve he asked if I’d listened to the podcast and said when he heard that list he thought it would be something I’d like so maybe I should give it a go next week!

Bo-Katan Kryze (Republic) (6)
Clan Training (1)
Veteran Tail Gunner (5)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Beskar Reinforced Plating (3)
Swivel Wing (0)
Gauntlet (0)

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

“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

“Odd Ball” (SoC) (4)
Selfless (0)
Veteran Tail Gunner (0)
R4-P Astromech (0)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (0) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 5

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

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

“Slider” (2)
Dedicated (3)

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

Total: 20

View in YASB: https://yasb.app/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v9ZhZ20Z510X423WWW89WW92W445WW449W447WY579X89W213W211Y577X130W89W213Y578X492W89W365Y545X210WWWWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

The question is, can I find all the components I’ll need and will I actually remember to take them all with me!?!

That’s it from me for this week then. Thanks for reading and I’ll catch you next week!

The outro…

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed it! If you’d like to support me in continuing my X-Wing blogging adventure there are a few ways you can do that.

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Exile Initiates:
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