Schooled

The intro…

A bonus blog! Woo!

I feel that it’s important to get this blog out this week as a bonus post since I have the Cardiff Firestorm store champs coming up this weekend (that’s tomorrow at time of publishing) and, therefore a whole day of in person gaming to talk about in next week’s post and I played a game this week which really deserves more than to be lost in a bunch of summaries. Since I’m a little shorter on time to get this out it may a bit more truncated than usual but I’m sure you can deal with that!

But first…

Before I get into it I also need to say something about the GSP/FB Galaxies Dathomir tournament that happened last weekend now that I’ve listened to the GSP and Sith Taker podcasts that covered it.
No, it’s not about Nantex. Well, ok, it sort of is but indirectly. No, what I want to talk about is my favourite pilot, the main subject of a large percentage of my blogs, the Correllian who cares not about rocks or debris – Dash Rendar.

I will take literally ANY excuse to post this beautiful ship!

Pretty much exactly a year after I started flying him regularly again (since 1.0), not one but TWO lists featuring Dash made the top 32 cut and was also flown by world champion Mr Oliver Pocknell. Incidentally, when I checked my very long list of squads in Launchbay Next I had already built out the exact list that Oli flew.

This has been here for ages I SWEAR!

Anyway, whilst his current resurgence in popularity might be a combination of his recent points drops and being a counter to the Nantex, I love that he’s getting some table time but also doing well. Once my Hyperspace tournaments are all done and dusted maybe someone will have come up with THE definitive Dash list to save me months of testing 😂.

Congrats on making it back buddy, I always believed in you.

Can I get a badge saying I flew Dash BEFORE he was good/popular again? No?

Back to the point…

This week in the Sith Taker league I was paired with the mysteriously named Sad Toaster. With the league being run as Round Robin (rather than Swiss) he was already in 3rd place on 3/0 while I’m languishing toward the bottom with a 1/2 record. Still, you never know what might happen!

We got in contact and arranged to play on Wednesday evening. I later found out that his name is actually Matthias so I’ll call him that for the rest of the post since calling him Sad or Toaster or Sad Toaster doesn’t quite feel right!

The batrep… (Jargon Alert!!)

My list, well you might well know by now I’ve somewhat tied myself to a Hyperspace list for this weekend’s tournament:

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=core2asteroid3

If I’m being honest a few losses in a row with it has dented my confidence with it but with just 4 days until the tournament I’m not really in a position to change it now. I’ll just need to get better!

Once TTS had loaded I took a look at what Matthias had brought:

Plo Koon (45)
Delta-7B (21)

Ship total: 66 Half Points: 33 Threshold: 3

Obi-Wan Kenobi (49)
C1-10P (7)
Calibrated Laser Targeting (4)

Ship total: 60 Half Points: 30 Threshold: 2

Anakin Skywalker (Y-Wing) (55)
Dorsal Turret (2)
Proton Torpedoes (13)
R4-P Astromech (2)

Ship total: 72 Half Points: 36 Threshold: 4

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v8ZsZ200Z312XWW201WY278XW252W200WY359XW137W136WW213WW&sn=Sad%20Toaster&obs=

Hmmm….

Picking a target wasn’t as obvious as I might have liked but with the highest value and 2 Proton Torp charges I figured that Anakin was my best option.

We both came in at 198 points and so we rolled for initiative. I lost and Matthias made me first player. In this particular match up that’s a pretty big deal since Hera’s ability becomes null and void and Matthias’ Jedi can dance around both my bulky ships.

We place obstacles and forces and end up like this:

It’s clear that Obi isn’t going to try and joust Hera but I’m aiming to send her straight and then bank right through the lane towards Anakin while Lando will look to cross over to be close enough to shoot and pass off a calculate or other action if needed.

I set Hera to 3 forwards while Lando will go straight for now before banking later..

As I sort of expected, Obi-Wan banks/boosts away from Hera while Plo goes straight (looking for the flank) and Anakin banks in towards the middle.

Clearly, no shooting this turn and so back to planning we go.

Lando continues straight (although I’m slightly regretting not rotating his turret to front/back using agile Gunner at the end of the last turn) while Hera banks in, neatly missing the gas cloud.

Matthias’ ships all start to move towards the centre of the board, preparing for the inevitable messy engagement I’m looking for with Hera.

This time there is some shooting as we discover that Lando just barely has Plo in arc, Obi has both Lando and Hera in arc and Hera has Obi. However all the shots are long range and/or obstructed and nobody does any damage to anybody else.

Back to dials we go and I’m now slightly concerned that I’m going to bump myself. I set Hera a 4 forwards (Hera smash!) while Lando gets a bank to (hopefully) not bump, avoid the central asteroid and get his side onto something.

Thankfully it all fits and Lando ends up with a calculate (from K-2SO) and a focus. I can’t remember what Hera had but it’s irrelevant because this is when Obi-Wan started with the Chopper nonsense and jammed her.

Before that Obi had bumped into Hera and possibly landed on the asteroid. TTS said it was on. It looked off. See:

Black pixels between base and rock. Just.

In the end I suggested we roll to decide and it went in Matthias’ favour.

Plo and Anakin also advanced on my position, taking locks on Lando.

Matthias focused fire on Lando, stripping him of shields while I fired on Anakin with Hera before eventaully deciding to do the same with Lando. I’m not sure that was the right call with an Intimidated Obi right there but I figured I needed to try and get one of his gun off the board and my ‘fake out’ with rotating Hera’s arc to right hadn’t worked.

Anyway, Anakin was now halved and I had to figure out what to do next.

I set Lando a 2 bank while Hera would 4K (JARGON ALERT!!) to keep the big gun in play.

Plo and Obi swarmed after Lando before Anakin 4K’s himself, cleared stress by having Hera in bullseye and taking a lock. Damn Jedi.

At this point I knew I was in a spot of bother. Anakin fired his Dorsal turret at Lando which was followed up by shots from the Aethersprites. Thankfully it wasn’t as bad as i could have been but he still took 3 damage, reducing him to 5 hull and giving up half points.

In return Lando’s only shot was at Plo which took 1 shield away. I agonised over who to shoot with Hera (Plo or Anakin) before eventually deciding to try and wipe out the future Dark Lord. It almost worked too as 3 hits went through, leaving him on 1 hull.

This time I rotated Hera’s arc to the right during the end phase but left Lando’s where it was.

Looking to finish Anakin off I set Hera 1 forwards while Lando tried desperately to escape teh chasing Jedi Masters.

It was in vein though as they moved to pincer him, getting into range 1 and Obi-Wan getting the bullseye.

Anakin, looking to use his R4-P astromech to barrel roll out of Hera’s arc just caught the edge of the asteroid and rolled a hit, finishing him off without another shot fired.

Hera and Lando both tried but failed to do anything at all to Plo before the Jedi proceeded to wipe Lando out. Ouch.

So I’ve traded 106 points of Lando for 72 points of Anakin.

The question is, can I do anything to either of the other ships?

Since time is short, I’ll give you the answer. It’s no. In fact I did absolutely zero damage to either of them in the remaining turns of the game while haemorrhaging hits and crits myself. Hera was almost constantly jammed by Obi-Wan’s Chopper (oh-err!) and Matthias totally called my every move, completely dodging my arcs in two turns while still getting range 1 shots himself, finishing me off with a quite spectacular 5K from Obi-Wan.

(although I had managed one more hit and an ion onto Plo just before that happened. Not that it mattered…)

Insert classic Obi-Wan quote here

Result: 72 – 200 loss

The conclusion…

Another defeat. Another heavy one, in fact with over 25 minutes left on the clock when Hera finally gave up the Ghost (aaahhhaaaahahahahaa..haaha…ha? I’ll get my coat…..). It doesn’t feel too great but what happened next is what I really want to talk about.

You see, following on from this rather short encounter we stayed and talked about the game for quite a while. Possibly even as long as we played for. And it was the most useful, informative and insightful X-Wing chat I have had, well, definitely in a very long time. possibly ever.

We miss you Bob!

We talked about target priority. But not just that Anakin was the wrong choice but WHY he was and also which other target was better AND why.
We talked about obstacle placement and ship deployment. But not just that my choices were perhaps not ideal but WHY they weren’t and also where would have been better and why. We even then dimmed out where my first two/three turns could have been with these new placements and how it would have been to my advantage.

Now I get that a lot of the topics were specific to this particular game or match up but in broader terms it helped me to re-think how I weigh up target priority and obstacle selection and placement and that in itself is a pretty big deal.

I guess that what I’m saying is that even though I may have been playing for longer than Matthias (which, going from what he said, I’m pretty sure I have) I haven’t done so to the level that he has nor do I match the volume or regularity of games. Also, I know myself and that tactical/strategic thinking isn’t a strong point of mine and so I shouldn’t pass up on any opportunity to discuss and learn if I want to get better (which I do!).

There’s an X-Wing addage/cliché that says you learn more from a loss than a win and while I have always found that to be true I have to say that I learned more from this loss than many others because I was actually taught off the back of it with specific information and reasoning rather than just drawing my own conclusions based on my existing knowledge and experience.

And for that, Sad Toaster, I would like to say thanks you.

So yes, it’s another loss in this league, but, in coming just 4 days before an actual real life tournament, I feel that the lessons I learned here far, far outweigh any negative linked to this game. In fact, I think I’d say that I was better off losing than winning this one, particularly so close to the Store Champs.

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