Knowledge is Power

The intro…

A quick recap before I begin! I am involved in the ongoing Sith Takers league on TTS (JARGON ALERT!). I got off to a good start last week with a win in my first game flying the Hyperspace legal list that I’m thinking of taking to the Firestorm Cardiff store champs on the 12th of September.

Having originally not been too sure about some elements of the list when I first ran it at Cardiff a few weeks ago I flew it again unchanged for last week’s game because of time constraints for testing and the upgrades that I’d considered dropping actually made the difference in the game.

As much as I’d love to fly Dash as much as I can (especially with his amazing paint job, courtesy of Dan Lines and LED lights and moving magnetic turrets thanks to Kei Taniguchi), having two Hyperspace events relatively close together (12th of September and 10th of October) means that I need reps with a list to be able to fly it as effectively as possible.

Another excuse to post this image? Sure, I’ll take it!

So Lando and Hera it is. Hera hits like a truck and Lando is there to use his high action efficiency to help her smash things up before she inevitably burns down, after which he becomes pretty darned efficient in his own right.

Lando Calrissian (78)
Agile Gunner (5)
Nien Nunb (5)
K-2SO (8)
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)
Chewbacca (4)
“Zeb” Orrelios (1)
Hull Upgrade (2)
Agile Gunner (5)

Ship total: 92 Half Points: 46 Threshold: 8


Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z43XWW76W52W314W107WW154Y61X122WWW138W21W65W164W76W&sn=Lando%20%26%20Hera%20-%20Hyhperspace%208%2F8%2F20&obs=gascloud3,gascloud5,gascloud6

As I mentioned earlier, in last week’s blog I had questioned some of the upgrades and looked at options available by taking them off. I didn’t in the end and said upgrades (namely Agile Gunner, Engine Upgrade, Chewbacca and the Falcon title) made significant contributions.

In the wake of that blog I got some very helpful feedback from people about their thoughts on what to do with this list. David Sutcliffe (of the Stay On The Leader blog which is REALLY worth reading) suggested some changes including adding Kanan to Lando in place of K-2SO (for the ‘always on calculate’) and changing Aglie gunner for Veteran Turret Gunner on Hera (because double tap is good, obviously), both of which are good, solid options.

Lando Calrissian (78)
Lone Wolf (5)
Nien Nunb (5)
Kanan Jarrus (12)
Millennium Falcon (3)

Ship total: 103 Half Points: 52 Threshold: 7

Hera Syndulla (VCX-100) (72)
Intimidation (3)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
Chewbacca (4)
“Zeb” Orrelios (1)
Hull Upgrade (2)
Veteran Turret Gunner (7)

Ship total: 94 Half Points: 47 Threshold: 8


Total: 197

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z43X124WWW52W41WWW154Y61X122WWW138W21W65W164W90W&sn=Lando%20%26%20Hera%20-%20Hyhperspace%208%2F8%2F20&obs=gascloud3,gascloud5,gascloud6

The thing is, VTG and Lone Wolf aren’t Hyperspace legal and this is a list I want to run at Cardiff so unfortunately, it’s out.

Another suggestion was from u/writerpilot on Reddit to also add Kanan but to put him on the Ghost purely for the Force token while also adding Ion Missiles to Lando for a threat from 3 firing arcs.

Lando Calrissian (78)
Ion Missiles (3)
Agile Gunner (5)
Nien Nunb (5)
K-2SO (8)
Hull Upgrade (3)
Millennium Falcon (3)

Ship total: 105 Half Points: 53 Threshold: 7

Hera Syndulla (VCX-100) (72)
Intimidation (3)
Kanan Jarrus (12)
“Zeb” Orrelios (1)
Hull Upgrade (2)

Ship total: 90 Half Points: 45 Threshold: 8


Total: 195

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z43XW101W76W52W314W164WW154Y61X122WWWW41W65W164WW&sn=Lando%20%26%20Hera%20-%20Hyhperspace%208%2F8%2F20&obs=gascloud3,gascloud5,gascloud6

They also added that the Ion missiles could be upgraded to Mag-Pulse and maybe think about dropping the title if a bid was still required.

After a game or two testing this I found that the way the I generally fly the Falcon meant that I didn’t fire missiles. Not even once. I also found that, having had Engine Upgrade before, I missed it now that it was gone and that the freedom of giving my K-2SO tokens to myself became something to weigh up a turn before (since if I’m stressed from a boost then I’d be double stressed if I take it, stopping Lando’s built in action efficiency) rather than an automatic choice. I did like the Force charge on Hera though and when K-2SO passed a calculate her way it was possible to get a lock (from Lando) and be able to mod two dice even when bumping.

Not for me, at least

As game day rolled around I found myself again short on time/opportunity to test as much as I’d like, except to discount the changes. I found that, in general, I like how my original list works and I guess I’ll live or die by it’s virtues and weaknesses.

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

Speaking of game day, I’d better tell you about my opponent!
With quite possibly the most Norwegian name I’ve ever seen I’d been paired with Torbjørn Østbø. We contacted each other once pairings were up and arranged to play on Friday night which, theoretically, should have given me some prep time. It did, but just not as much as I’d have liked.

Once work and dinner were all done with I loaded up TTS and we got the game set up and I got a look at Torbjørn’s list.

IG-88B (62)
Elusive (3)
Jamming Beam (0)
Tractor Beam (3)
Contraband Cybernetics (2)
Stealth Device (8)
IG-2000 (1)

Ship total: 79 Half Points: 40 Threshold: 4

IG-88D (62)
Elusive (3)
Jamming Beam (0)
Tractor Beam (3)
Contraband Cybernetics (2)
Stealth Device (8)
IG-2000 (1)

Ship total: 79 Half Points: 40 Threshold: 4

Constable Zuvio (30)
Unkar Plutt (2)
Proximity Mines (6)
Contraband Cybernetics (2)
Delayed Fuses (1)

Ship total: 41 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 3


Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZsZ200Z82X119WW12W13WW92W166W151Y84X119WW12W13WW92W166W151Y140XWW64W70W92W236&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=coreasteroid5,core2asteroid1,core2asteroid5

What the crap is this?!

Right from the off, I was in trouble. I have faced IG’s maybe twice ever. I’ve faced Quadjumpers possibly 3 times. Ever. I had no idea what the list did, about any of it’s tricks or what strategy might be used with it.
None. And with it being quite late in the day (especially for Torbjørn who was +1 hour time zone wise) I didn’t feel like I had the time to stop, read the cards and ask questions and this was almost certainly my first mistake. (spoiler – it wasn’t my last).

I had brought 3 gas clouds while Torbjørn had brought 3 medium sized rocks. With me having a 1 point advantage in the bid and with no crossover of initiative I took first player to try and take control of the obstacles. We took turns placing and then Torbjørn deployed all his ships before I deployed mine.

My initial intention was to bank left with Hera and cruise up the vague lane to go joust something. Then I doubted myself. Do I want to joust these things? A quick re-check of the cards showed me 3 attack dice and 3 agility. Not ideal. Able to dish out some decent damage while also able to avoid it. I chickened out of the joust and set Hera to go 1 bank right with Lando zooming off ahead with a 4 straight.
I think this was my second mistake. Not specifically the ducking out of the joust but more the changing of my mind over opening tactics once my ships had already placed.

Torbjørn’s ships took a combination of straight/turn/roll to start moving down the edge of the board.

Obviously there’s no shooting this round and so we go back to planning.

I set both ships a 1 straight to see what Torbjørn will do with his.

He begins to send the IG88’s around the asteroid while Zuvio hangs back a little.

Again there’s no shooting and so back to dials we go. It’s at this point that I start wondering what to do with Hera since her really big gun is now facing totally the wrong way.

I set Hera a 1 bank to straighten up while Lando banks left.. I give Hera the K-2SO calculate and stress before Torbjørn then moves his ships.

The red IG sloops (JARGON ALERT!!) while yellow comes around the asteroid. Zuvio continues to hang back.

I move Lando first to get out of Hera’s way before realising that, since she has the K-2SO stress, I can’t give her a free action. Oops.

I boost and focus with Lando before Hera banks with her white manoeuvre and doesn’t clear here stress. Double oops.

Thankfully it’s of little consequence this turn as everyone is still out of range. Phew!

You’d also think that, having narrowly got away with that mistake that I’d get my brain in gear.

I decide to send Lando 3 forwards to see if I can sneak some damage onto Zuvio while with Hera I set a 2 bank

Torbjørn slowly turns in with Zuvio while the red IG advances and the yellow one sloops to turn towards the middle.

Lando moves forwards and takes a lock on Zuvio for his free action and a focus as his main one.

Hera’s 2 bank fits nicely and, as a bonus, she is out of range of everyone. However she is not in a great place for next turn.

Lando is the only ship with a shot here and takes it but Zuvio spends a focus to evade them all.

Back to planning we go and HERE is where I get into trouble. I am tempted by the 3 bank with Lando but am also wary of Zuvio’s Proximity mines. I set a 1 straight instead. With an asteroid looming I set Hera a 2 bank to the right having moved my Ion arc to the rear during the end phase with Agile Gunner. The thing is, I’m really not happy with it. It’s going to trap me in and have me facing the board edge, clearly having to 2 hard turn the following turn. If it even fits. Still, I stick with the 2 bank since I can change my mind before moving using Hera’s ability.

Torbjørn’s ships begin to approach the Ghost.

I move Hera first, agonising over the decision before changing her move to a blue 2 straight. The 2 bank right would have put me outside of firing range for my ion turret anyway so I think to myself that I might as well take the hit now and be better placed (hopefully) for the next turn. She takes a damage from the asteroid.

Lando moves, gives Hera a reinforce (to the rear) and takes a lock on Zuvio.

Hera can’t shoot so Lando fires first, putting a hit and a crit past Zuvio’s green dice and stripping a focus in the process.

Torbjørn’s ships fire, all at Hera. The reinforce saves her a little and 3 damage gets past, removing the last shield.

Back to planning we go and now I want to try and leverage the big gun. I set Hera a 2 hard left while Lando will bank around the asteroid.

Torbjørn drops a Proximity Mine with Zuvio before shuffling him 1 forwards and then splitting the IG’s around the gas cloud.

Lando moves and gives Hera a reinforce (front) before taking a lock himself (while also having the K-2SO calculate). Her moves the 2 hard and falls just short of bumping Zuvio. Damn.

Lando and Hera both concentrate fire on Zuvio and between them manage to land just one single crit. In return Torbjørn’s ships fire, two at the now unshielded Hera hitting 5 times including a crit (which I can’t make out now but I seem to recall was a Damaged Sensor array) and once at Lando, getting 2 shields off. That is certainly not the damage trade I wanted. Still, Hera is alive and Lando still relatively healthy. I can still try and do something.

Back to dials we go and this time I set Hera a 1 bank left (looking to avoid that Proximity mine) and Lando a 1 forward (looking to have a decent shot at something).

In the System phase Zuvio drops his second proximity mine. Out of the front. Looking back at the earlier section where I wrote about not knowing these ships, this is where it hurt me. Hera took an immediate damage but thankfully rolled 2 eyeball results for no additional damage.

Zuvio then leapfrogged Hera while the red IG slooped (triggering Contraband to also be able to action) and yellow hard turned to get the bump.

Hera bumped into the IG while Lando moved his 1 forwards, gave a lock to Hera and took a lock himself, both on the yellow IG.

Again both my ships fired on the same target. This time though the result was a little better as the IG took 4 damage, giving me half points.

In return the two IG’s fired on Hera and got another 4 damage on including a Weapons Failure.

At this point we realised two things. Firstly, I had taken a lock with Hera and spent it (gaining 1 more hit) when she had a Damaged Sensor Array crit and couldn’t spend it. We rolled back the 1 extra damage to the IG. Half points restored.

The second thing was that I’d missed the ‘start of engagement’ trigger for Chewbacca. If I’d caught that then I’d have repaired that Damaged Sensor Array and the hit would have stood.

Another silly mistake.

With Hera limping badly we went back to planning.

This time I set Hera a 1 bank to avoid the Proximity Mine while Lando took a 3 straight to get safely around the asteroid.

This time I did remember to trigger Chewbacca and repaired the Weapons Disabled.

Torbjørn moved the red IG forwards (clearing stress) while the yellow IG slooped, using Contraband to get mods too. Zuvio continued to move away and repair hit crit.

Hera’s 1 bank missed both the gas cloud and the mine and took a focus. Lando moved his 3 forwards and, being out of the fight anyway, boosted left to start coming around.

Hera fired at the yellow IG with her Ion turret and scored 2 hits (only missing the 3rd hit needed to ionise the ship because of it’s Elusive reroll!) to put on 1 damage and 1 ion token.

Then, with Hera on just 1 health, Torbjørn decided to take the rather risky comedy option of firing at Hera with Tractor Beam from both IG’s. Red fired first and registered 2 hits to put 2 tractor tokens on. Yellow rolled…..exactly 1 hit after mods. Hera’s 3 tractor tokens meant that Torbjørn then barrel rolled the Ghost onto the Proximity mine to get the last damage needed to finish her off. Both cheeky and hilarious!

Did you ever hear the tragedy of the barrel rolled VCX?

Time to plan again but this time I’ve just 1 ship and around 20 minutes to keep it alive. I dial in a hard turn to set myself on a path around the outside of the right hand gas cloud.

I missed a screenshot here but the two IG’s split their approach around either side of the central gas cloud, coming in at Lando as fast as they could while still being able to adjust direction for my moves. Zuvio turned in his corner to start heading back in.

By the time we got to this position I had taken 1 more damage from a long range pot shot and was in all kinds of trouble.

I’ve got options for shooting but they’re all bad. Red is untouched but has stealth device active. The yellow IG is exactly halved so there’s no advantage to shooting him plus he has a gas cloud for cover. I’m also going to take 3 shots coming at me.

It’s just all bad.

Lando fired at red and, unsurprisingly, did no damage. The return shots weren’t as bad as they could have been with my use of the Falcon title making the most of my evade token. 2 shields down and still not given up half points. I can’t say it’s good but it could have been worse.

Planning time again. I knew at this point that Torbjørn is a very good player. Lando’s next move is being blocked pretty much no matter what I pick. I suppose at least it’ll mean I’ve one less ship shooting at me.

I set Lando a 1 bank and wait and see.

Torbjørn moves his ships and the red IG and Zuvio manage to block every bank move I could have taken. I think a 2 hard turn would have cleared but it would have been onto the gas cloud and wouldn’t have cleared the stress from my K-2SO calculate.

Lando fires at the yellow IG with just a calculate for modding. When we check range we find that the shot is obstructed by the smallest margin ever. Ok, fine. I roll 3 hits and an eyeball. I spend the calculate. Torbjørn rolls all blanks but between the evade token and gas cloud, he takes 2 hits.

Then comes the return fire with the yellow IG and Zuvio getting 2 hits onto the Falcon’s hull and getting half points.

With the clock running down this next turn will be our last. I set Lando a 3 forwards, just to make sure I clear the ships in case they bump again. I had also rotated his turret in the end phase.

I don’t have an image for this turn (again! sorry!) and can’t remember positions either except that Zuvio didn’t turn and the two IG’s turned on Lando.

Lando fired at the yellow IG, needing 2 hits to finish it off and a lock and calculate to help me do that. I rolled 3 hits out of hand. Nice.

Torbjørn rolled hit, blank, blank. Yes! No, wait, he’s got Elusive! He re-rolled a blank into an eyeball and spent a calculate. Boooooo!

The IG’s returned fire but this time my green die (combined with the evade and Falcon title) did it’s very best and limited it to 2 damage. Lando survives!

Result – 61 – 145 loss

The conclusion…

Ok, where to begin?

Mistakes were made, clearly. I do think though that, all things considered, I didn’t do as terribly as I could have. I really felt like I was on tilt, for the first few turns at least, making less than sensible decisions which, soon afterwards, cost me Hera in exchange for for half of a Quadjumper and almost half of one IG. Far from ideal.

I forgot triggers, I missed stress tokens and generally made some terrible decisions. This doesn’t normally happen to me and actually I felt during some turns like I wasn’t even considering what Torbjørn was going to do next, just what I could do to try and make things ‘less bad’ and so I was only considering half the picture. Interestingly, what this made me realise once the game was over is that this is how I used to feel during games and it showed me how I’ve progressed as a player (this game aside) in terms of how I think during play.

I made a reasonable hash of the rest of the game with Lando but just found it rather difficult to push through enough damage to get in front points wise. In the end I was lucky to finish the game with him of the board. That said, Torbjørn admited afterwards that IG88B was rather lucky to still be around and a couple of different dice rolls here or there would have swung the game. Perhaps not enough for me to win but it may have been closer.

We brought up the dice stats since they’re often interesting and these were no exception.

Now the variance of these results is one thing but there’s something far more interesting here that I notice and that’s the totals of the dice rolled. I rolled 77 in total (55 red, 22 green) while Torbjørn rolled 109 in total (68 red and 41 green). That, for me, is the story right there. This list can hit big and take a punch but when my opponent is rolling 50% more dice than I am then I’m at a major disadvantage.

I mean, the ‘luck score’ indicates that overall Torbjørn’s dice were better than mine (5.8 vs -1.7) but the point is that he gave his dice more chance to be better by throwing more of them than I did.

For his part, Torbjørn was a really great opponent (and a really good player!) and afterwards we chatted for quite a while about the game, some of my choices (mainly the questionable ones) and just X-Wing in general. He also ‘gave’ me (y’know, virtually, in TTS) a crit token and some cards which I was able to save to use myself in future. Cool guy.

Something I may need to look at in future if I want to improve as a player and in turn improve my chances of doing better competitively is my overall knowledge of the game.

More than anything else I feel like that’s the root cause of my loss here. Not knowing any of the pilot abilities or the dials of what I was facing off against threw me for a loop as we were starting and I found myself questioning my decisions more than usual.

Also not knowing whether to try and joust with Hera once my ships were placed caused me to turn right (and away) instead of left (towards) and then a few turns later Hera is on a rock taking damage and not shooting anyone with her spectacularly large gun. Fail.

I guess from here the further question is, what am I expecting of myself? Am I aiming to be a ‘top half of swiss, looking for cut’ player? Or am I a ‘I just like playing the game, win or lose’ player? I have generally believed myself to be the latter BUT who enters a competition to come last? I know someone has to, I guess I’m just usually hoping it isn’t me!

So the final question I suppose is this – am I able/willing to sacrifice something in my life to make the time needed to learn what I would need to learn in order to get better?

I’m pretty sure I know the answer to this but it’s always good to revisit it every now and then when I feel like I ‘should be doing better’. That’s just my hurt pride talking.

So, 2 games down and I’m 1 – 1 in the league. 4 games altogether with this list and I’m 2 – 2. Mid-table mediocrity beckons!

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