First of all, welcome (or welcome back if you’ve been before!). I am always blown away by just how many views these blogs get and how much support there is out there for this game. With the announcement last week that FFG have ‘completed’ (or discontinued for those of us in the real world) the Star Wars Destiny game I hope that none of us take for granted the ongoing support and development of X-Wing. I hope it’s got a good long life ahead of it!
In last week’s blog I talked about the recent changes to the Hyperspace format and, to a much lesser extent, the points update.
Having had some time to look into things a bit more over the last week or so it’s very interesting that very little (generally speaking) went up in points. Many people have been surprised that droids stayed where they are points wise and the same for Jedi but very interestingly the associated ‘toys’ for those faction’s strongest lists (Sear/TA-175 for CIS and R2 Astromech for Republic) did go up. Looking at it overall it appears that FFG have decided to rebalance the stronger performing factions by bringing down other things rather than putting the stronger things up as they have in previous updates. There are also some points increases for supporting pieces (like the aforementioned Captain Sear and the TA-175 tactical relay) as well as updates to the rules for some mechanics (like the Aftermath step, tractor and gas clouds) which will shake things up a bit. It appears to have been far more thoroughly thought out than the last two points changes (i.e. not just nuking the best things) while at the same time taking some risks with the rules updates. It’s going to be an interesting 6 months while a new meta (JARGON ALERT!!) starts to form and people get the hang of what’s changed.
I guess part of the beauty of 2.0 is that rules and points can be updated, tested by the public and then changed if broken (JARGON ALERT!!) or just bad.
So that’s my very, umm, what’s the opposite of in depth? Shallow? That’s my very shallow review of the changes. Of course, deep analysis or meta prediction is not my MO so I don’t feel bad about it. There are plenty of blogs and podcasts that will review this far better than I could.
No, what I’m here to do is talk about things from my perspective and how they affect me, a very average middle of the road casual player.
The Intro… Part 2?
As I mentioned last week I feel like I’ve personally been hit hard by the Hyperspace changes. I know that’s a very selfish view since literally EVERYONE attending the UK System Open on the 8th-9th of Feb has also got to deal with these changes (and at a likely attendance of 400+ it’s not an insignificant number of people) but like I said, this blog is about my perspective.
I also mentioned that squad building is not my strength. Off the back of last week’s blog a few people got in touch with me about putting new lists together and had some suggestions. I had a particularly interesting chat with Chris Stevens about some options with the Resistance.
I have flown Rebels almost exclusively over the last year or so, to the point where (despite having bought an RZ-2 A-Wing and a Resistance Transport Pod) I almost sold out of Resistance since it seemed a waste to not be using the ships. I don’t have a huge amount of them but I’ve enough to cobble something together.
Having written about using 4 T-65’s in last week’s game (and having enjoyed it) Chris suggested a list with some T-70’s. Like many other generic pilots in the game following last week’s update, the points have dropped and there are a few options available. After a little too much to’ing and fro’ing I actually didn’t end up packing a list in time for game night so (contrary to what I normally do, as mentioned in last week’s post) I took everything. Well, almost, sort of. I packed up a load of T-70’s an RZ-2 A-Wing and a pair of B-Wing’s model wise and the bag of folders with all the dials, pilots, etc. When I arrived I still hadn’t really made up my mind which option I was going to run.
I really do like the look of B-Wings, particularly with the new S-foils configuration. My only reservation is that it’s still not 100% clear whether the official release date makes them available for the UK SOS. Also since Fly Casual hasn’t yet been updated (which is no surprise given the rules/interaction changes AS WELL as the points update) I can’t sim them to make sure I’ve got the interactions right and get some practice in.
In particular I like the look of Ten Numb with S-foils, FCS (JARGON ALERT!!) and a cannon (probably Ion). Of course this is for Hyperspace (otherwise I’d be tempted to throw HLC (JARGON ALERT!!) on there too), that’s pretty much exclusively what I’m looking at for at least the next month or so. I simmed a list on Fly Casual of 2 B-Wings and 2 A-Wings (including Intimidation Arvel) which hammered a 4 x T-70 list, taking a ship off the board in each of the first three engagements. And this was WITHOUT the S-foils which allow them to double-tap if they have a lock.
Anyway, back to the point, that’s not what I played. No, in the end, after digging out all the cards and dials I played this:
Ship total: 69 Half Points: 35 Threshold: 4
Ship total: 45 Half Points: 23 Threshold: 4
Ship total: 45 Half Points: 23 Threshold: 4
Ship total: 39 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZhZ200Z231X172WWW175WWWY257X172WWW175WWWY257X172WWW175WWWY300X172WWW186&sn=Poe’s%20Bro’s&obs=
It’s light on upgrades (I mean, so is Hyperspace now I guess), has a good (but expensive) ace with 7 health behind 2 agility, 3 initiative 3 ships which, depending on the opposing list, can act as blockers or maybe jousters and a mix of tanky and agile between the T-70’s and the RZ-2. It all sounds good in my head at least!
How to fly it? Well, that’s my next challenge.
My opponent for this game night? Mark. Mark is Josh’s dad (who I played last week). He is still quite new to the game so actually playing the list I’d put together slightly flies in the face of what I talked about last week (not going all-in full tilt ‘try hard’ against newer players). That said, I AM getting low on time for System Open practice and I did literally pull the list together while standing at the table. Plus on first glance Mark’s list is a fair amount of stuff I’ve rarely/never faced. That’s how I justified it anyway.
Mark’s choice of list was very interesting as it contained a ship I don’t know that I’ve ever flown against before – the Jumpmaster 5000, accompanied by 2 Fang Fighters.
Ship total: 80 Half Points: 40 Threshold: 5
Ship total: 64 Half Points: 32 Threshold: 2
Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZsZ200Z115X121W134W11WW79WW108W159W6Y100X121W234Y101X121W134&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
Ok, first hurdle to jump – rock placement. With no clear or obvious tactic to employ I go for the ‘what’s safe for me’ route and aim to get a reasonable spread of obstacles to make sure I have a decent mix of option for space to move through and places to hide if needed.
Now ship placement. I want my I3’s in reasonably close formation to be able to focus fire while looking to flank with Poe. Getting Poe to the end game is the goal so I’m looking to be fairly cagey with him (which isn’t particularly my style) and if he gets chased bludgeon the opponent with the grunts. It’s rudimentary but it’s a plan.
I place my I3’s first on the left. Mark’s Fangs go down right of center followed by Dengar to my left facing the right of the board. I place Poe down opposite the angled Fangs and we begin.
I send the I3’s 3 forwards and boost. Mark send the fangs generally straight and towards the I3’s while Dengar takes a banked turn in. I move Poe 1 forward and boost.
Nothing too committed. So far, so good.
With the Fangs looking like they’re heading to the oncoming pack I decide to try and face off with the T-70’s while sending the A-Wing wide around the rock. I got roughly the placement I wanted with the T-70’s but, assuming the final position of the Fangs I sent the Green Squad pilot forwards and boosted forwards. Looking back, I don’t know that I could explain why. Especially when, looking at the picture above again, it looks like a 3 bank and banked boost would have got him around the rock. Oops.
Mark then turns all in on Poe. Double oops.
The Fangs make it to the middle while Dengar edges forward but keeping his turret to the side.
I now regret my move with Poe. I had originally put in a 1 forward but had changed it to a 3 forward at the last second, going with my assumption that the Fangs were moving forwards towards my I3’s, not in on Poe.
I took the focus and used Poe’s pilot ability to take a lock on the closest Fang while staying at range 2.
Dengar shoots at the closest T-70 but at range 3 nothing gets through. Poe take a double modded shot at the closest Fang and gets 2 hits past the green dice.
The Fangs fire back and between the two of them strip Poe of his shields.
With the A-Wing off in no-man’s land the Red Squadron Experts both fire and together put 3 hits on to the second Fang.
No ships destroyed but I very definitely came off best in that first engagement. One Fang half dead, the other on just 1 hull.
The next turn is where things got messy. Assuming that the Fangs would press in on Poe the Red Squad T-70’s continued to move into the fight, the furthest forward going 1 straight, the back one going 1 bank, both taking a focus.
The silly A-Wing took a 2 hard right and banked boost to try and get into they fray somehow.
Mark’s more advanced Fang took a 2 hard turn and boost around the gas cloud and ended up sitting at a very close range 1 of the closest T-70. The other tried a 1 hard turn but was blocked by that same T-70. Dengar took a bank into the middle and (crucially) kept his arc to the side, taking a lock on the closest Red Squad T-70.
I had made the correct call with Poe as he moved a 2 bank in. Again I didn’t boost in order to stay out of Dengar’s arc while keeping a Fang in mine. With a lock on the Fang I couldn’t shoot I decided to not use Poe’s ability, making sure I wasn’t tied down to a blue move to clear the stress next turn.
The dice in this round were brutal. Really brutal.
Dengar rolls reds at the front T-70 and pushes 1 hit though. Poe shoots at the closest Fang and rather over kills it.
The remaining Fang takes a range 1 shot at the now damaged T-70 and puts on 2 more damage.
The second Red Squad pilot shoots at the second Fang and pops that too.
The now returning A-Wing takes a range 3 pot shot at Dengar, followed by the further forward T-70 and between them strip Dengar of his shields.
At this point there’s no real way back for Mark. I didn’t (and would never) suggest calling it off though. I can see it’s only really headed one way (literally in the case of the ‘left turn only’ Jumpmaster) but I’d never say to someone ‘it’s game over, just give up now’. There’s always something to learn in any situation where this game is concerned (as was about to be underlined to me).
And so, we press on.
I dial in a 2 bank with the first T-70 to attempt a block on Dengar, with a 2 forward foe the other to try and capitalise on that. The A-Wing gets a 4 forwards to get a bit more involved and I decide to Talon Roll with Poe.
Things did not go to plan.
Fail #1 – due to the initiative, first T-70 smashes into Poe. No action, no block. Note to self – initiative is a thing. Idiot.
Fail #2 – Degnar pulls a 4 forwards out of the bag. Crap. Follows it up with a red rotate action. More crap.
Fail #3 – I brain fart and totally forget how Talon Rolls work. I also apparently forget that I take a lot of pictures of my games and can check which way I was facing. Poe should be 90 degrees anti-clockwise of his final position. When did I notice? While writing this up. Yes. Idiot. Definitely.
Dengar takes a shot at the wrong facing T-70 and misses. The only shot back is a range 3 obstructed 2 dice attack from the Green Squadron A-Wing. Needless to say, it was also rather ineffective.
Another round and more mistakes. From me. *sigh*
So I have a ship to chase down. Better get some super stylish sexy flying going on, right? Poe has a stress to shed so he gets a 3 forwards, plus if Dengar goes right I’ll possibly have arc on him. Closest T-70 gets a Talon Roll (done right this time) to cover the middle of the board. At this point in planning Mark makes a comment about the ‘stupid ship not being able to turn right’ (not a direct quote, more a paraphrase). Ah, yes, of course. Can’t turn right (at least, not very well). I knew that.
I have already set 2 dials based on the possibility of Dengar turning right. My conscience wins out and I leave them as they are. I consider it my punishment for not remembering.
So with 2 dials to go and a pretty good idea of where he’s going to be, I give the second T-70 a 2 hard turn and the A-Wing a 4 forwards.
We play the moves out and Dengar takes a 1 bank left, clears stress but clips the debris to pick up another one immediately. Harsh.
Dengar’s arc is still rear facing and he pushes a damage onto the A-Wing at range 2. With 2 of my idiots, sorry, pilots facing the wrong way, the other 2 get 2 hits and crit past Mark’s green dice with the crit being a Fuel Leak.
With my memory now being fully jogged with regards tot he Jumpmaster dial we go back to planning. Still trying to get my stragglers into range, I plan in 3 hard turns for them while my A-Wing and undamaged T-70 take fowards moves to close in on their target.
Dengar takes another 1 bank to clear his stress and then rotates arc left to get a shot.
Dengar shot at the A-Wing and missed. The T-70 shot at Dengar and missed. The A-Wing shot at Dengar. He’s got Advanced Optics which, it turns out, is really good. Dengar rolls an evade and escapes with just 1 damage but has just 2 hull left.
Back to dials we go.
Damaged T-70 takes a 4K because, well, why not? He’s not doing anything useful out there! The A-Wing takes a 2 bank to get a block on the rather inevitable 1 bank Dengar is about to do. The second T-70 takes a 1 forward while Poe (finally) rushes in and takes a focus and lock.
Dengar took the 1 bank and is blocked by the A-Wing.
Dengar shoots unmodded at the closest T-70 and misses. Poe returns fire and, even obstructed and at range 3 gets the 2 hits required to end the game.
So there we have it. A win. Not only that but a win with no ships lost, not even half points given up.
What does it mean though? By his own admission Mark said not to read too much into the result and he’s right, but not for the reasons he thinks. You see I made some rather stupid mistakes during the game but more than that I mis-read what was happening. I overplayed my hand with Poe early on and could have been heavily punished for that. I got away with it this time. Between that and the A-Wing position I feel like I probably got away very lightly with my mistakes. I still can’t believe that Talon Roll error.
Another reason I can’t read into the result though is the variance. My red dice were embarrassingly hot and Mark’s greens stone cold. How much that affected the final result is hard to say, perhaps it just sped up what was coming, perhaps not. Even discounting the A-Wing’s consistent hits with Advanced Optics I managed several turns with 3 or 4 hits/crits. It’s certainly not something I’ll be able to replicate any time soon.
I think this list has potential, the question is – can I unlock/figure out that potential in the time I have before they system open? My guess is probably not. I just don’t have the time for reps. I can sim this in Fly Casual but it comes nowhere close to replicating flying against a real person. While it’s great to get to grips with available manoeuvres and remembering triggers, it’s (relatively) straightforward to beat the AI once you know it’s tricks.
Overall, I quite like this list. Normally that wouldn’t be enough to convince me to take it but between more limited options and a severely truncated timescale it still stays on the shortlist.
Come back next week to find out what the next option is and how testing went!