If it ain’t broke?

The intro…

I’m back again! It’s the final week of season 2 of the Sith Taker League. So far it’s been 7 rounds of really fun games with, well, interesting results. Meaning losses, mostly. The first few games I was trying to hone my skills and tactics with a Hyperspace list before then changing to a list with the ship I love – the YT-2400 light freighter.

So after 2 games with Dash, Wedge and Jake I was ready to give it another try and see if I could improve on what I’d managed with the list so far.

At least, that was the plan.

You see, I spend a lot of time in the car for my job and use that time to listen to various X-Wing podcasts and keep up with what’s going on in the wider X-Wing world. Over the weekend of the 3rd/4th of October Gold Squadron Podcast ran the fourth in their series of Galaxies qualifiers on TTS. These events, if you’re not aware, are the closest thing we have (or are likely to get for the foreseeable future!) to premium level events like System Opens or Prime Championships. This particular one had 265 players and, being such large events, several podcasts covered the lists that did well in the tournament.

Gold Squadron, Fly Better and the Sith Takers all covered the top 32 of the tournament and gave their impressions of the lists that had done well. The current ‘big bad’, the 6 Petranaki Arena Aces (often known as Spamtex) won the tournament (again) and also had a strong showing in the top 32.

As a faction, Rebels are in a bit of a tough spot at the moment and generally speaking, not too many Rebel lists are making top cuts. With Rebels being my favoured faction, when I heard that a Rebel list (that wasn’t 4 Auzitucks +1) had made the cut, my interest was piqued.

The list in question was this:

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

Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 4

AP-5 (32)
Ship total: 32 Half Points: 16 Threshold: 3

Wedge Antilles (55)
Crack Shot (2)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 57 Half Points: 29 Threshold: 3

Lieutenant Blount (30)
Crack Shot (2)

Ship total: 32 Half Points: 16 Threshold: 2

Bandit Squadron Pilot (22)
Ship total: 22 Half Points: 11 Threshold: 2

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z74X125W113W232WWWW313Y72XWWWWY5X116WWWW142Y55X116WWY57XW&sn=Chacho%20RTLO%20Septiembre&obs=vt49decimatordebris1,vt49decimatordebris2,gascloud4

It’s quite similar to the list that made the final at Worlds last year, making interesting use of the rarely seen Z-95. But that isn’t what interested me. No, what interested me was the B-Wing. A tooled up Ten Numb was just one point more expensive than naked Wedge? Really?! How hadn’t I seen this?!

Now I know everyone has their own preference when it comes to certain ships. I do like the T-65 X-Wing, I just find it a little bit too squishy sometimes. Sure, those 2 green dice have saved my bacon when it was unlikely but more often than not, it’s blank & eyeball or double blank. And 6 health does not last long when the greens stop cooperating.

The Ten Numb build though? It’s interesting. I ran Ten with S-Foils at the System Open and while I didn’t exactly do particularly well, I found him to be a solid ship with reasonably reliable damage output thanks to the barrel roll linked to red lock meaning he’s double modded quite a lot.

EEEEEEEYYYYYYYY!!

Then there’s the upgrades. Adding Autoblasters means that if you didn’t spend the lock on the first attack, you can fire again with 2 dice. Or 3 at range 1. OR 4 at range 1 with bullseye. Adding FCS means that you’ve got a partial mod for the first shot without spending the lock and Marksmanship combines nicely with Autoblasters, making the crits unevadable (autocorrect does NOT like that word!).

The whole idea of putting Wedge in with Dash is to provide a viable alternative target. Wedge is dangerous and if you leave him alone there’s a good chance you’ll regret it. He’s also got less health than Dash, making him a very tempting first target.

Ten Numb is less of an obvious target in that sense. BUT, in the right circumstances he can double tap (JARGON ALERT!!) a target with TWO 4 dice attacks. Can you afford to ignore that?

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: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X120WW77W54WWWY74X125W113W232WWWW313Y50XWW&sn=Dash%20Ten%20Jake&obs=

I build the list to test in Fly Casual. I managed 3 test games and I like it. Even when I throw Ten into the lion’s den he doesn’t generally die in one round of fire (though it is possible). Also in each game I did get at least one (often more) double tap. In fact, in one game he took out a T-70 X-Wing in one round of shooting by himself. Beast.

That said, this was in Fly Casual. Notorious for jousting and focusing no matter what. How would this fare against a real life opponent? Only one way to find out I suppose?

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

After a bit of a mix up (I think that pairings were re-done at some point) I was paired with someone who was, again, much further up the table than me with a 5-2 record. Could be a tough one again!

My opponent was Jason Sharp and we got in touch and arranged for a Friday night game.

I load up the room in TTS and prepare for the game and when Jason loads in his list it feels rather familiar…

Boba Fett (86)
Fearless (3)
Maul (12)
Proximity Mines (6)
Contraband Cybernetics (2)
Slave I (5)

Ship total: 114 Half Points: 57 Threshold: 5

Captain Nym (47)
Expert Handling (3)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
Dengar (6)
Proton Bombs (5)
Seismic Charges (3)
Hull Upgrade (3)
Havoc (2)
Trajectory Simulator (6)

Ship total: 80 Half Points: 40 Threshold: 6

Total: 194

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZsZ200Z103X121WWW48W70W92WW161WY144X120W138WW80W69W71W164W149W114W&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

It’s very similar to the list I faced in last week’s game with Nym and a Firespray. It’s missing Zuvio but has replaced him by going all-in on the bombs. Interesting. My initial thought is to target Boba first. He’s pretty freaking dangerous and worth rather a lot of points.

Jason has the bid and (sensibly) makes me first player. It’s definitely not ideal and makes me think that maybe I might want a bid with this list.

We place obstacles and forces and are set like this, ready to begin.

Now, my plan had been to go down the right hand edge with Ten and around to the left with Dash. I hadn’t expected Jason to deploy where he did and now was a little stuck. I definitely don’t want to joust with Dash.

Hmmm….. Planning turn 1 and I’m on the back-foot already.

I decide to try and swap them over. It’s not the end of the world to bump myself in the first turn or two I suppose. I set Ten a hard left while Jake and Dash both hard turn right with a few barrel rolls thrown in for good measure. Nobody bumps. Marvellous.

Jason just slides his ships 1 forwards.

Clearly there are no shots on and we go back to planning.

Time for phase 2 of ‘try not to screw up’.

Ten gets a 1 forwards which bumps (which is fine!) before Jake hard turns left and boosts to get out of Dash’s way. Dash doesn’t bump Ten (thankfully!) with a bank to the left.

Boba and Nym both continue forwards but Boba goes faster while Nym then barrel rolls in to the middle a bit more.

Still no shots so it’s time to plan again.

Now I’ve got my ships in slightly less terrible positions it’s time to think about where to engage. At this points I realise Ten Numb isn’t in a great place.

Assuming Boba will come in around the outisde of the asteroid and Nym probably between the asteroid and the debris, I want Ten to be in someone’s face while not being overly close to the other. At the same time, I want Dash at range 2/3 so that I can hit something pretty hard in one turn. I have to try and stall with Ten while I get Dash somewhere useful. The thing is, Jake is currently in front of Dash which isn’t really where I want him to be. He should be somewhere behind him, catching up, handing off a focus and being left behind. Still, it is what it is and I have to do the best I can.

Ten Numb hard turns right, Jake hard turns left and rolls away to allow Dash to bank in next to him.

Jason then does something rather unexpected. Nym goes forwards and rolls back out towards the board edge while Boba banks in left before boosting right to end up like this:

‘Ok’ I think to myself, ‘this isn’t too bad’. On the face of it I’ve got probably an extra turn before we engage properly to put Ten somewhere decent and try to put Jake somewhere useful.

Obviously we still can’t shoot and so back to dials we go.

This time I go straight with Ten and roll away from Jason’s ships, hard turn and barrel roll with Jake (handing a focus to Dash) and bank in with the YT-2400, taking a lock on an obstacle because moving first at initiative 5 is horrible.

Jason hard turns both ships in and boosts with Boba, starting to approach my ships to engage.

Annoyingly, Boba just barely has a range 3 shot onto Ten and takes it, knocking 1 shield off him.

There are no other shots so it’s back to planning.

Ten hard turns left (a little risky), lands just short of the debris, rolls left and links to a red lock on Boba. Jake goes 2 forwards (since I wasn’t sure the 2 bank would fit) and rolls right because, well, actually it was a terrible choice. More on that later.

Dash banks in and, since he already has 2 focus tokens, does nothing because Jason’s ships are too far away to lock. Dammit!

Boba and Nym both angle in at Ten with Boba going all in with a boost to get range 1.

That boost actually suited me just fine since it landed Boba in Ten’s bullseye. He just has to survive long enough to shoot!

Dash shoots at Boba but the roll is terrible and he evades. Dash takes his second shot at Nym and again, rolls poorly, spending a focus for 2 hits. Nym evades one and triggers Dengar which hits, taking a shield from Dash.

Boba and Nym both fire at Ten Numb who, somewhat against the odds, takes 4 damage altogether. Not too bad, but there’s a crit and it’s a structural damage.

Revenge time. Ten fires at Boba with all the tricks. 4 dice primary, FCS to reroll one, spends the stress for focus. Spends the lock to fire Autoblasters and Marksmanship one hit to a crit. He gets 3 shields from Boba.

Jake is terribly positioned and does nothing.

Overall that’s not exactly the damage trade I wanted. I expected to take heavy damage on Ten but had hoped to maybe get half on Boba in return.

Still, it’s a start. The question is, where do I go next?

I bank right with Ten and roll, possibly looking for a block on Nym. Jake banks left, trying to make up some ground and be useful again. Dash goes 1 forwards, rather counting on the block with Ten on Nym.

Boba shuffles 1 forwards, clearing the stress he picked up by using Maul to regen his force last turn. Nym blasts right over the top of Ten, evading his arc and getting range 1 of Dash. Oh dear.

It’s worth mentioning also that Nym Trajectory Simmed a Seismic charge in the systems phase but chose not to detonate it. It’s important for later…

Dash fires at Boba and then Nym and does ZERO DAMAGE TO EITHER. That is certainly sub-optimal.

Nym puts 2 damage onto Dash while Boba puts 2 more onto a very sad Ten who not only can’t shoot anyone but has no defence dice to roll.

After a spectacularly terrible turn, it’s back to dials again.

I NEED to get Jake in play so he takes a 3 hard turn, rolls (give himself a focus) and boosts… and falls just a few mm’s short of passing a focus action to Dash. Damn.

Ten? Well, he’s in a really, really bad place. It pretty much doesn’t matter where he goes as I’m fully expecting the seismic charge the Nym drops during the systems phase. There’s no escape. He’s going to die before shooting. Damn.

Dash 1 banks left (although I almost went for the 3 hard until I realised the seismic would probably catch him) and, not wanting to be close to Nym, barrel rolls out towards the board edge. Desperate times.

Boba hard turns around the debris and locks Jake before Nym banks left and locks Dash.

The seismic charge goes off and Ten is dead.

A non-focused Dash shoots at Nym (as Boba is out of range) and does ZERO DAMAGE. This triggers Dengar which, inevitably, takes another shield, his last one.

Nym shoots at Dash, spends his lock and does 1 damage, getting half points.

Boba shoots at Jake but even with a lock misses him. Jake shoots (rare, I know!) and does something Dash can’t seem to, takes 1 shield. Crazy.

It’s planning time again but the writing is really on the wall here. Dash is halved and Ten is gone meaning Jason has already scored over 100 points. I, on the other hand, am yet to score any.

I send Jake 5 forwards, landing just behind Dash. He rolls to his right and hands Dash a focus but, unable to boost anywhere, leaves himself tokenless. Risky. Dash hard turns and takes a lock on Boba.

Nym banks left and falls just short of bumping Jake.

He locks Dash. Boba also banks left and also locks Dash.

Dash fires and this time, he means business. On the ONE turn he has a lock and focus, he rolls 4 natural hits at Boba. Boba evades 2 of them but teh remaining 2 finish his shields and put a damage onto hull to score half points.

On a roll, Dash fires at Nym and rolls all paint again, spending a focus to make it 4 hits. Nym rolls his 1 die and gets the evade he needs to avoid being half pointed (since he has a Hull Upgrade).

Nym and Boba both fire at Dash, Nym with his Ion turret (which lands 2 hits, doing 1 damage and 1 ion token) and Boba aided by a lock (getting 1 crit, a Damaged Sensor Array).

Jake is facing the wrong way (again) and doesn’t shoot (again).

Back to dials we go and with time running out and Dash on just 3 hull it’s time to pull out the ‘meh, screw it’ moves.

Jake goes 2 hard to his left, rolls (and gives himself a focus) and boosts (giving himself a stress and Dash a focus).

Dash, looking for a bump on Boba to reduce incoming fire and hopefully scrape back some MoV by halving Nym, hard turns left. Yes, left. Now, being that he has a Damaged Sensor Array and has already focused, he takes no action. Oops.

Jason turns Nym hard left and just falls short of bumping Jake. Again.

So close!

He takes a lock on Dash.

Now, at this point I began to realise two things. Firstly, Dash was now right next to a debris with a Nym’d seismic charge next to it. Damn.

Also, Boba had the Slave I title. He revealed his hard left turn, changed it to a hard right and just noped out of the bump and away from the soon to be exploding debris.

Well….

The debris explodes and Dash takes a damage. Now limping with just 2 hull left, I can only hope to try and salvage some pride by halving Nym before Dash meets his demise.

Spoiler – he doesn’t. In a return to my previous dice rolling, Dash fails to land ANY damage on Nym before Boba finishes him off.

Nym then fires range 1 on Jake but misses.

It’s planning time again but with the clock on somewhere between 1 and 2 minutes remaining there’s very little to be done. Jake is stressed and can’t turn around. I only need 1 hit on Nym to get half points but there’s simply no way to do it and risk being blown up in the process.

Reluctantly I set a 5 forwards and roll/boost to get the distance between us.

Nym banks while Boba talon rolls.

Nym does have the range 3 shot on Jake and takes it but Jake nimbly dodges it and the game is over.

Result – 57 – 163 loss

The Conclusion…

Well…. What to say?

Yet another loss. I’ll get to that in a minute.

First, the list. Changing out Wedge for Ten is a choice that I think I like. He’s always going to die first (just like Wedge) because he’s there to turn my opponent’s head away from Dash. I think that this Ten build does that better than a naked Wedge. The prospect of the 4 dice double tap feels like it should do more than Wedge’s attack, particularly when he’d be relying on Jake to make his attacks double modded and, let’s face it, Jake’s got more important places to be.

Jake. Kinda

My approach to Jason’s list wasn’t the best, not helped by having to move Dash before either of Jason’s ships. Changing my mind about where my ships were heading after a rather ill thought out turn 0 definitely wasn’t great but the prospect of sending Dash in for a joust was a no go so I had to adjust as best I could. The first proper engagement was ok from Ten Numb but Dash’s failure to get damage through over several turns made the difference in the end. Had I done better with positioning for Jake then Dash could have locked a bit more often and maybe it’s a different story.

Overall I like the list. I feel that Ten is a better choice for me than Wedge and deserves a few more goes. Maybe I’ll drop the Marksmanship for an extra point of bid but let’s face it, you’re either trying to bid or you aren’t and if you are, you’re going lower than 198. Maybe it stays.

Back to the loss bit. Does it feel great? No, no it doesn’t. Did I enjoy the game? Yes I did. Playing against a similar list to last week was an interesting factor. I had said in last week’s post that I thought that of I faced it again I’d do better. This rather disproves that theory. Instead I was more wary of what had hurt me last time (bombs and Dengar) and let it affect my play. According to the stats my dice were below par (-1.8) while Jason’s were above (1.6) but I think overall that’s just how it is sometimes (except the game a few weeks ago where mine was -5.9 and my opponent’s was +6ish. That was crazy.)

Anyway, my point is, I’ve lost. Again. I could go back and look up my win/loss record over the last few months but I know that it’ll make me feel worse, not better. The thing is, I’ve made a point of flying lists that are, well, not exactly meta shattering. There are certainly better lists out there than what I’ve been flying and so I’m putting myself at a competitive disadvantage from the off.

So I have to ask myself whether I’d prefer to win with a list that isn’t fun or lose with a list that is?

The thing is, I’ve asked myself this question before and the answer hasn’t changed.

So the league is over! I managed to finish, well, almost but sort of not quite last. Technically. I’m actually the lowest ranked player to have played all 8 games. Again, this doesn’t feel particularly fantastic BUT it’s certainly better than not having played any X-Wing at all.

In case you’re interested, here’s the TTT event link. And yes, a certain Akhter Khan went 8-0. Crikey,

So what next? I’m not sure actually. There’s a knockout event being run by the Sith Takers in a week or two so that’s one game. I may just have to set up some casual games so that I’ve got something to write about until we can finally get back to real life games!

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