The Meltdown

Hey there! Welcome to my blog and thanks for taking the time to have a read. I hope you find it worthwhile!
Before I get started I just want to quickly touch on on some of the stuff that’s been happening with FFG over the last couple of weeks. If you want lots of info and a really in-depth look at what is happening then have a read of David Sutcliffe’s excellent blog ( https://stayontheleader.blogspot.com/2020/01/x-wings-going-through-changes-wave-6.html) which he posted last week. It is of course just hypothesis but in my opinion it’s very insightful and probably quite accurate (not that we will ever know for sure I suppose). I do hope that the future of the game is clear and stable from FFG’s point of view and a large part of that is the support that the game gets from the player base – you and me.

As a link between the last paragraph and my actual content, this week has been a bit of a roller coaster. On Tuesday the 21st of January FFG announced that wave 6 releases would be legal for the UK system open despite the official release date being the 31st of January (FFG’s 11 day rule means that new content is only tournament legal 11 days after the official release date) but then the following day it was announced that, due to supplier issues, wave 6 may not make it to the UK in time to be played anyway. Fast forward to Monday the 27th and another update seems to indicate that some massive efforts have been made to get the stock over to the UK and sent out to stores in time. When you couple all this with some of the insights from David’s article it does all seem a little bit worrying and I really hope that the disjointed organisation that we have been seeing of late doesn’t have a negative effect on the overall game and more importantly doesn’t negatively affect how the powers that be within FFG view the future of x-wing.

I love this game and the community of local national and worldwide and want to see it flourish and develop and not wither and die.

Right, enough of the doom and gloom, on to that link I mentioned and the actual content.

This week I got to game night and just about had time for two games (woop!). Having pondered all week on what to do, I’ve had many thoughts (far too many) and discussions with various people about what list to try out. I enjoyed the Resistance list I played last week but had some other lists that I just had to try, even if only to rule them out. I eventually took this.

Braylen Stramm (52)
Tractor Beam (3)
Hull Upgrade (3)
Stabilized S-Foils (2)

Ship total: 60 Half Points: 30 Threshold: 5

Ten Numb (48)
Fire-Control System (2)
Tractor Beam (3)
Hull Upgrade (3)
Stabilized S-Foils (2)

Ship total: 58 Half Points: 29 Threshold: 5

Jake Farrell (36)
Outmaneuver (6)

Ship total: 42 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 2

Arvel Crynyd (34)
Intimidation (3)

Ship total: 37 Half Points: 19 Threshold: 2

Total: 197

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z73XWWW13WW164W313Y74XW113W13WWW164W313Y50X126WWY51X122WW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

The reason this links into the intro (finally!) is that the stabilised S-foils upgrades for the B-Wings may well be legal for the system open but will I have received my Hotshots and Aces card pack pre-order in time? I don’t know . And I don’t know that anybody knows actually and what this appears to create is a situation where new stuff is tournament legal specifically for the UK (and Fort Worth, Texas) System Open but potentially only some people could actually have access to the items, which seems a bit odd at best. An update yesterday seems to indicate that it’s now more likely than it was last week at least, so there’s hope!

Anyway, since properly reading the card, I wanted to see how the B-Wing’s s-foils work in practice and whether I can get my head around how to use them on an actual table in real life. The potential to fire twice and use Braylen and Ten’s pilot abilities to mod seem pretty good.

The turn out at game night wasn’t as high as it has been recently but the guys who were there where are strong players and had brought strong lists. New points means experimentation from everyone but some are more adept at this than others (yes, I’m one of the others). Whoever I ended up playing it was going to be a tough evening.

Now, before I go any further, I want to try something different. I played 2 games and batreping (JARGON ALERT!!) both of them will make this a massive post. It’s also VERY likely that I’ll have more games to write about next week without separating these two games to their own posts. Adding to that, the fact that my results and conclusion are more interesting (well, to me anyway) than the nitty gritty of these games, I’ve decided that I’m just going to quickly summarise the games with highlights.

In my first game I lined up against Luke. I’ve blogged about games with Luke before but will reiterate he is a very good player with lots of experience and a very deep knowledge of the game and tactics. I was putting a brand new squad down on the table with not much an idea of what to do. Could be a quick game if I don’t get this figured out quickly.

As for Luke’s list, I still can’t quite believe that list is actually even possible (points wise). Darth Vader and 6 Academy Pilots. 6.TIE’s.

6.

TIE’s.

Me at the thought of facing Vader plus 6 TIE’s

Darth Vader (67)
Ship total: 67 Half Points: 34 Threshold: 3

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

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

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

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

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

Academy 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=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZhZ200Z173XWWWY229XY229XY229XY229XY229XY229X&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Luke still isn’t quite sure if he’s going to the system open but joked that if he did go and lost in the final because someone read my blog and worked out how to beat him, he wouldn’t be very happy! I declined to offer to pay for the flights and accommodation to America if that happened. Maybe I’ll start a Go Fund Me if that happens!

Anyway, back to the game. With 2 points less in my list I had the choice who goes first but with no crossover in initiative it wasn’t a crucial decision point. I decided to take 1st player to start the obstacle placement and ships were placed with the game set up like this ready to start.

Now, I’ll reiterate that I’m new with my list and am working on a plan. My initial thought is to just have Arvel smash into something and then while it has 1 less agility (from Intimidation) hammer it with a double tap from one B-Wing (hopefully reducing the agility again with Tractor Beam) followed by the other. Jake is there to either flank or support Arvel depending on the situation. It’s rudimentary but it’s better than flying blindly. The question is, can I actually manage to do it?

Well, keeping this low on suspense, the answer is no, I cannot.

I started the A-Wings a way off from the B’s (since they are faster) with the plan to chase down one group of TIE’s (hopefully before Vader gets there) with the B’s and have the A-Wings overtake them and smash in.

Is that what happened? No, not exactly.

Arvel bump? – check
B’s stressed and in range? – check
Jake… Jake? JAKE!!!

Yes, in a total rookie move I dialed in a 3 bank right with Jake instead of a 3 bank left. Luke offered to let me change it but I needed to feel the pain of the error. So Jake 3 banked over a rock. No damage from the roll but no action and no 4th shot at the left hand group of TIE’s.

Then variance happened.

My Rebels took out a single TIE with their combined firepower. The Empire removed Jake from the board. Luke’s dice, reds and greens, were, by his own admission, rather hot.

From here the game went downhill for me. I managed to get just 2 more damage onto one TIE and take Vader’s shields (not quite getting him to half).

bad bad bad bad bad bad bad…..

The game was finished with just over 20 minutes left on the clock.

Ouch.

Post game analysis will come later, I had a second game to play.

Somewhat reeling from the trouncing I just took I seriously considered packing the list up and swapping to Dash & Jake, just to feel more at home. It’s only really how fast Dan set up and my shell shock from the last game that prevented that. A few moments of rational thought put me straight, another go with this list would be needed to really see if there’s anything in it.

Maybe this game might go better?

I took a minute to reset my play area and my brain. My plan hadn’t worked and I’d made a massive error on my first engagement costing me a ship. I can’t change variance but I can change the opportunity for variance to matter. Make sure to learn from mistakes and so on.

My next opponent is Dan Eggs. All round good guy and great X-Wing player. He brought droids. Hmmm.

No Sear but still TA-175 tactical relay and, a first for me to face, discord missiles.

Trade Federation Drone (19)
Discord Missiles (4)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 24 Half Points: 12 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (19)
Discord Missiles (4)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 24 Half Points: 12 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (19)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 20 Half Points: 10 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (19)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 20 Half Points: 10 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (19)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 20 Half Points: 10 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (19)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 20 Half Points: 10 Threshold: 2

Trade Federation Drone (19)
Grappling Struts (1)

Ship total: 20 Half Points: 10 Threshold: 2

DBS-32C (40)
TA-175 (9)
Landing Struts (1)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Separatist%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z279X224W208WY279X224W208WY279XW208WY279XW208WY279XW208WY279XW208WY279XW208WY328XW239WW237&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

No point in dragging these things through the rocks as a tactic, so what do I do?

I decide to force some sort of decision to either commit or split, sending the B-wings up the middle and the A’s off to the right. It can’t go worse than last time, right?

Twice as many ships, same amount of health. Crazy.

In an attempt to keep this short I won’t do details or all the pics I have, just some highlights.

The good:

  • In general, I think the tactic worked ok. Droids ended up on rocks as expected but at no point did I have all 8 guns pointed at just 1 ship. Bonus.
  • I didn’t lose any ships. Also bonus.
  • Variance was a bit more even in this game.
  • The most epic Arvel move ever.
An unobstructed bump while on an obstacle. Go on, zoom the picture and check!

The bad:

  • Discord missiles
  • Losing half points on 2 of my ships
  • Discord missiles
  • Only actually killing one freaking vulture
  • Discord missiles.
  • Performing the most epic Arvel move ever and doing no damage with the shot
  • Discord missiles.
  • Only scoring 36 points (while Dan scored 49).
‘Freaking discords’ as they shall be called from now on.

So yes, another loss. This one more encouraging though. I still made errors (those B-Wing dials are a LOT more restricting than you’d expect) but against what I sort of expect to be a common list archetype in Hyperspace it didn’t fold and came down to the last round of shooting. I came up one hit short of half points on the Hyena and one hit short of another dead droid which would have given me an extra 37 points and a win.

So what do I do? Stick or twist? Well, I still don’t really know. I would certainly change some aspects of this list. Tractor beam, while handy in reducing agility is only really useful for the first ship to shoot and even then only when more than one ship will be firing on that target. More damage output would be better (pretty obvious really!)

I also found that Ten Numb got more/better use out of the S-foils linked lock than Braylen did. I would be tempted to run Braylen naked (JARGON ALERT!!) but keep the foils (and FCS) on Ten.

Arvel has grown on me. Maybe a few months of flying Jake and getting a feel for how the A-Wing moves has helped but I quite enjoyed the challenge of judging the range and then smashing into something with him and still being able to fire.

And what about Jake? I definitely didn’t get the full value out of him in either of these games. Is he the right piece to fill that slot? Or, with points dropped elsewhere, could I change him out for something better suited to the list?

So many things to consider.

But am I any closer to a list for the System Open? No, not really. This list is ok but there are some more options I’d still like to test out before deciding for sure. So it seems I’m in list meltdown. Listageddon, even.

And the thing is, I’m running out of time…..

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