A last Hurrah?

Or How to Write an Ambiguous Title

The intro…

After months of waiting, scheduling issues, a points update and the small matter of a global pandemic, the day had finally arrived.

The Firestorm Cardiff Store Championship.

With all the updates and changes we weren’t sure it was going ahead even as late as the middle of last week. Caerphilly Borough (not all that far from Cardiff) had been placed into localised lockdown at the start of the week due to a sharp rise in covid cases and many people suspected that other areas (Cardiff included) could soon follow.

Then the announcement of the ‘rule of 6’ in England coming into force from the 14th of September triggered cancellations of store championships across the UK.

THEN the Welsh government announced that they too would be adopting the rule as of the same date.

Thankfully we were still good to go (although with strict social distancing rules, mandatory masks and regular cleaning of tables). I took a look at the TTT page for the event the night before just to see how many players would be there. Although the numbers had dropped due to some players being affected by the lockdown, I was very pleasantly surprised to see some familiar non local names (as well as the local guys, obviously!) and looked forward to seeing friends, making new ones and pushing plastic spaceships around for real.

Online X-Wing is good but it’s definitely no match for the real thing.

The list…

Ok, I know what some of you are thinking: ‘we know the list, you’ve blogged about it loads!’. Well, yes.

But also, no.

Having lost with the list AGAIN in the last week I had a slight last minute panic and changed it.

Yes, I know.

Now it wasn’t wholesale changes, not even close. Having narrowly lost the bid last week when it really seemed to matter I considered dropping Chewbacca crew to gain 4 spare points to put the list at 194.

Then I thought about adding FCS to Hera since I do tend to lock with her and being able to save that lock for the next turn might be handy and it’s just 2 points.

THEN I considered Chopper crew to be able to take an ection while stressed (i.e. when she does a 4K) for the cost of a damage.

I chatted the changes through with Dan Eggs who suggested putting Informant on Hera. After all, being able to see someone’s dial and then change my own is generally pretty good (see Sense, Cassian Andor). And if you know what someone’s doing, who needs to bid, right?

I agonised over these options for a while. On Saturday morning I printed BOTH lists and took both sets of cards.

I arrived at Firestorm, greeted those that I knew and started to unpack my case.

I still hadn’t decided. I asked someone else’s opinion (it was Paul Fallon, this becomes relevant later). He agreed that Informant was a decent shout.

‘Stuff it’ I thought, and I went with it.

Lando Calrissian (78)
Agile Gunner (5)
K-2SO (8)
Nien Nunb (5)
Engine Upgrade (7)
Millennium Falcon (3)

Ship total: 106 Half Points: 53 Threshold: 7

Hera Syndulla (VCX-100) (72)
Intimidation (3)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
“Zeb” Orrelios (1)
Informant (5)
Hull Upgrade (2)
Agile Gunner (5)

Ship total: 93 Half Points: 47 Threshold: 8

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z43XWW76W314W52W107WW154Y61X122WWW138W65W37W164W76W&sn=Lando%20%26%20Hera%20-%20Hyhperspace%208%2F8%2F20&obs=coreasteroid1,coreasteroid2,coreasteroid4

Now, theoretically speaking, I can fly the list the same way but with the added bonus of looking at the dial of a ship moving after me (provided Hera is within range 2 of it).

The only down side? It’s 1 more point than Chewbacca so I’m at 199. Could be tricky against lists with initiative 5’s. How many of those am I likely to face though? (Spoiler – it was a lot).

The matches…

Clearly I’m not going to fully batrep (JARGON ALERT!!) All my matches. Firstly you’d fall asleep, secondly I can’t remember every detail and thirdly I wouldn’t have had the time to do it by Tuesday.

So instead I’ll break it down with a summary, one game at a time.

Let’s go!

Game 1 – Steve Boulton

Filthy Droidses

Trade Federation Drone (20)
Discord Missiles (4)

Ship total: 24 Half Points: 12 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (20)
Discord Missiles (4)

Ship total: 24 Half Points: 12 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (20)
Discord Missiles (4)

Ship total: 24 Half Points: 12 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (20)
Concussion Missiles (6)

Ship total: 26 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (20)
Ion Missiles (3)

Ship total: 23 Half Points: 12 Threshold: 2

Techno Union Bomber (25)
Plasma Torpedoes (8)
DRK-1 Probe Droids (5)

Ship total: 38 Half Points: 19 Threshold: 3

Techno Union Bomber (25)
Plasma Torpedoes (8)
Proton Bombs (5)
Delayed Fuses (1)

Ship total: 39 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 3

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Separatist%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z279X224WWY279X224WWY279X224WWY279X99WWY279X101WWY324X234WW221WWY324X234WW69W236W&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

So when I talked earlier about looking forward to seeing people, Steve was one of those. Having met earlier this year (although it feels a lot longer than that!) at the System Open when he played Cai we had a great chat afterwards and connected on Facebook. He is also the absolute legend who organised the Vagabond Opens when lockdown started, keeping many people (me included) interested and active in X-Wing. What a hero.

Anyway, I was very pleased to have been paired against him (to be able to spend some time across the board from him). At least until I saw the list.

A small preface to this game summary – I don’t recall having EVER beaten a droid swarm (outside of Fly Casual). Now granted, I’ve not played against it all that much but still, a 0% win ratio is never good no matter the circumstances.

Part of the issue is that I simply don’t know how best to approach it. I definitely don’t want to straight up joust it, even with Hera. I want to sltry and force it to split up and hopefully catch just a couple in arc in the first engagement before smashing in and hopefully deleting something.

That is not how it went.

Steve did split his squad having run up the board edge. I took a marginal decision to send Hera into the lion’s den when my other option was to further delay engagement.

The decision point.

It did not pay off.

Abort! ABORT!!

Now I don’t like to talk about dice. I know that the best players do well because of the green dice they don’t have to roll, etc, etc. I know that.
What I will say though is that, as far as I can recall, Steve’s first 3 attacks (2 at Hera, 1 at the Falcon) were all combinations of hits and crits. Not even eyeball results. That trend continued too (although he did end up spending the odd calculate here and there). Hera is reinforced to the front in the picture above but still took 10 damage this turn. Ouch.

In return I rolled….poorly. Even in turns when I had mods (and in teh odd case, double mods). So poorly in fact, that when Hera died, I had put a total of 2 damage into Steve’s list. I don’t remember whether Hera did 1 or 2 of those hits but it doesn’t even matter really, both are a spectacularly terrible return.

Lando managed to stick it out though and in the end had peppered the Hyenas with some damage (not enough for half points on either though) and removed one measly droid.

Result: 24 – 136 loss.

Ouch.

Game 2 – Paul Fallon

Dark Lords

General Grievous (44)
Outmaneuver (6)
Hull Upgrade (5)
Soulless One (6)

Ship total: 61 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 4

Count Dooku (63)
Hull Upgrade (3)
Scimitar (4)

Ship total: 70 Half Points: 35 Threshold: 6

Darth Maul (65)
Hull Upgrade (3)

Ship total: 68 Half Points: 34 Threshold: 6

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Separatist%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z305X126WW164W229Y334XWWWWWW164W216WY272XWWWWWW164WW&sn=New%20Squadron&obs=

Round two paired me up with a fellow Exile, top player, lovely person and my mate, Paul. On a first look I thought that this list was a better match up for me than the droids. Paul had the bid and so he gave me first player. Not ideal. I put Informant onto Maul (since he was the only ship moving after mine) and so we began.

Ideally I wanted to focus down Grievous since he’d be a lot harder to hit once I’m down to one ship but Paul’s play dictated otherwise as Dooku zoomed forwards.

Time to smash face Hera!

The initial exchange was balanced and followed up by each of us chipping damage onto both Hera and Dooku respectively. Then I managed to land a bump onto Grievous with Hera with Lando also in range. I halved him with no shot in return but Maul and Dooku poured the pain onto Hera who succumbed that turn.

I then managed to land the perfect move with Lando, escaping the arcs of both Infiltrators and with a range 1 double modded shot onto Grievous.

Die Grievous! DIIIIEEEEE!!!!!

Thanks entirely to Soulless One, Grievous survived with 1 hull left and returned the favour by sticking 4 damage onto the Falcon.

Grievous died the following turn (when, had he died before, I could have had a shot at finishing Dooku) but now I had the two Dark Lords chasing me down. I tried to range control to just keep one in range and limit incoming fire but Paul, being the rather good player he is, made sure it was the almost unhurt Maul who was closest. Time was running out when Maul managed to get the final kill shot on Lando but not before being halved himself.

Paul commented himself afterwards that had dice been a bit more balanced (i.e. his reds and greens were both pretty good!) then it would have been a bit closer, that Grievous should probably have died earlier and then it’s a very different game. Still, it was a very enjoyable game and although this one went to full destruction I felt like it was much closer than the droid swarm game.

Paul went on to make the top 8 cut which made me feel better too!

Result: 130 – 200 loss

Game 3 – Cai Jones

How to eat pizza Covid style

Feelin Acey

“Duchess” (44)
Outmaneuver (6)
Fifth Brother (12)
Hull Upgrade (5)

Ship total: 67 Half Points: 34 Threshold: 3

Darth Vader (67)
Brilliant Evasion (3)
Fire-Control System (2)

Ship total: 72 Half Points: 36 Threshold: 3

Turr Phennir (42)
Outmaneuver (6)
Targeting Computer (3)
Hull Upgrade (7)

Ship total: 58 Half Points: 29 Threshold: 2

Total: 197

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZhZ200Z211X126W82WW164Y173X199W113WWY180X126W249W164&sn=Cai%20Hyperspace%208%2F8%2F20&obs=

Yes, that’s right. Not content with putting me against a fellow Exile in round 2, TTT paired me with my son in round 3! Playing against Cai is always an interesting game as he generally knows what I’m trying to do with my list (since I like to talk it through with someone) and I’ve generally helped him with strategy on his list.

In this case though I’d never played against this list and while he’s not played against mine either we have talked about it a lot. He even reads my blogs! Sometimes…. ok fine, rarely.

I put Informant onto Vader but on reflection I wonder whether putting it on Duchess might have been a better call since he had the bid and gave me first player. Again.

I moved forwards aggressively with both ships and spooked Duchess into disengaging early.

I managed to strip Vader of shields before turning on him with Hera and flanking with Lando. He refused to die but getting ioned by Hera 2 turns in a row put him well out of the fight.

Sad Vader is looking the wrong way!

Duchess burned down under Hera’s fire while Cai chipped away at her in return, eventually finishing her off with a range 3 shot from Turr.

In the end it was all decided by a boost which allowed Lando to arc dodge both Turr and the returning Vader (by a very small margin!) while taking a range 2 shot into Turr when time ran out.

Result: 132 – 93 win

Game 4 – Chris Fraser

Hi Chris!

!*%?!&% Inquisitors

Darth Vader (67)
Fire-Control System (2)

Ship total: 69 Half Points: 35 Threshold: 3

“Duchess” (44)
Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

Fifth Brother (42)
Ship total: 42 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 2

Seventh Sister (43)
Ship total: 43 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZhZ200Z173XW113WWY211XWWWY394XWWY170XWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

My first two games (in particular the MoV (JARGON ALERT!!) from the first game) had determined that I wasn’t going to make the cut, even with the rounds being arranged for a top 8 cut with probably one of the 2-2 players making it.

Still, I had my pride (lol) to play for and maybe some extra swag.

I was happy to be paired with Chris who was the first person I was facing who I didn’t already know. I took a look at his list. Hmmm…

It was rather similar to Cai’s list in terms of having Vader and Duchess but by stripping back almost ALL the upgrades could fit in two of the named TIE v1’s. I don’t have a great track record against the v1’s.

It started very well (for me anyway!) as Chris misjudged the distance covered by ailerons and 3 forwards on Duchess and proceeded to be 1-shotted by Hera. It was one of those moments when it feels good but you also feel bad. It was also the first time all day that I felt the dice had rolled heavily in my favour.

From there I proceeded to pick on Vader while Chris chipped away at both of my ships.

Goodnight Mr Darth.

When Vader finally fell I had lost half on both ships but they we still ok-ish. One Inquisitor (I don’t recall which) had lost a shield, the other was at full health.

A misjudged talon-roll from Chris put Fifth Brother in a bad spot and Lando wiped him out.

So I had both my ships left and one little TIE v1 to deal with. Easy, right?

At this point the game took a turn for the comical when firstly I flew Hera off the board with a very poorly judged 4K (JARGON ALERT!!). Well. It’s been a while since that’s happened! Hera had 4 health left and was the closest ship to the v1 and so was a huge blow.

That’ll fit, right? RIGHT?!?!

Still, I should be able to sort this with Lando, right? Or at the very least avoid getting killed with just 8 minutes left on the clock?

A few times we approached and fired and each time the TIE managed to land hits while rolling just enough green results to not take any damage.

I started to get a little concerned and so decided that a ‘tactical retreat’ might be called for. Lando ran away with just 1 health left and the clock ticking slower than I thought possible.

Chris wanted to bring the game to a meaningful conclusion (and maybe win I suppose!) and so with just 8 seconds on the clock we revealed dials.

Seventh Sister moved to intercept Lando.

I had deliberated between aiming for a bump and trying to get out of range. In the end I went with a 3 bank, intending to banked boost to get away.

The 3 bank landed me on an asteroid by approximately 2mm.

Well, crap.

I rolled the die.

Hit.

Lando dies (as did a part of me) and the game goes to Chris.

Talk about snatching defeat from the jaws of victory!

While a loss never feels amazing I have to say that it was one of the most exciting finishes to a game I’ve possibly ever had.

Chris admitted himself that once Vader had gone he was expecting to go on to lose. Those damned v1’s just won’t die though!

Result: 177 – 200 loss

The conclusion…

Well. While I may not have had the results I would have wanted when the day began, I really enjoyed my day.

No matter what the results, playing this game is always SO much fun.

The event was won by the enigma that is Dan ‘Eggs’. I will out him as having flown a list of filthy bugs but to be fair, he has been all over the Nantex chassis since it’s release last year. He’s pretty good with them.

In case you’re interested, here’s the TTT link for the tournament. And yes, while it wasn’t the best I’ve ever done, I did finish above Cai (just barely) which makes me the best X-Wing player in the house again (following my rather poor showing at the System Open earlier this year!).

Dan pointed out that the clock over his shoulder shows how much the match up was in his favour and he was thankful that the other top 4 game went the way it did. Thankfully he isn’t letting it go to his head.

In terms of my results? Well obviously they weren’t great. This clearly isn’t a top tier list and I’m obviously not a top tier player. Still, I’d have liked to have gone 2-2 (and almost did!) and despite going 1-3 two of the results were at least close.

Having lost out in the bid in 3 out of my 4 games I think that perhaps the FCS and/or Chopper option would probably have been a better option. I did get a little utility out of Informant but only in the last game and just once. It’s almost like people didn’t want to go anywhere near Hera!

The thing is, the Firestorm Newport Store Champs have now, with the new local laws in place, been cancelled and so this was my last Hyperspace tournament.

How do I feel about that? Pretty relieved actually. I know that lots of people like it as a format and I do understand why it exists in the way that it does. It’s just not my preference. And y’know what? That’s ok.

MY focus now goes back to the Sith Taker league and maybe, just maybe…. I might get Dash back on the table. It’s been too long old friend.

So with regards tot he title of this blog (which is rather ambiguous I suppose!), no I’m not giving up on the game, no I didn’t do too great. It is likely that these will be the last few games of physical X-Wing for a while though as rules and guidelines change and localised lockdowns start cropping back up. It may not have been the result that I’d have liked but it was still a great day of spending time with people and thoroughly enjoying rolling dice and pushing plastic spaceships around. And what could be better than that?

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