As rare as a blood moon or total solar eclipse (and yes, I have researched, just to be sure and they are not common occurrences!) I made it down to Firestorm for a second week in a row!
Following on from last week, I still wanted to try out Kyle Katarn (in a HWK-290) as a wing-man for Dash. His ability (passing a focus token to a friendly ship in firing arc) works beautifully with the Moldy Crow title (keep up to 2 focus tokens at the end of the turn AND add a 3 dice primary weapon) as it’s quite easy to keep another ship in arc when you’re covering 180 degrees out of the front and one side. Combining this with Jyn Erso (when a ship at range 0-3 takes a focus action they may take an evade token instead) means that Dash (with perceptive co-pilot) can potentially end up with 2 focus tokens and an evade and Kyle with a combination of up to 2 focus/evades.
A very different type of pairing to having Norra (in a Y-Wing, who is there is be an annoying distraction), Kyle is a true support ship, enabling Dash to tank more hits and (theoretically) last longer and, because of this, deal out more damage.
Now if you’ve read last week’s blog (which is here) you’ll know that I fully intended to play this combination last week but, between being in a rush and being a slightly forgetful person, I left some bits at home and wasn’t able to play the list.
So having remembered to pack the base tile and dial this time I was all set!
Dash Rendar (98)
Trick Shot (4)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Ship total: 138 Half Points: 69 Threshold: 5
Kyle Katarn (36)
Jyn Erso (2)
Shield Upgrade (6)
Moldy Crow (18)
Ship total: 62 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 3
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW77W54WW157WY48XWW40WW165W156&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
We turned up at Firestorm early and got some tables out as we waited for others to arrive. I ended up playing against Alex. Alex is fairly new to X-Wing but is one of those really annoying people who ‘just gets it’ and got good very quickly (having placed top 8 in the recent Worcester Hyperspace Trial). He also almost exclusively plays Jedi and so knows how they work inside out and upside down. He was trying out a new list but, knowing his previous lists (and penchant for Jedi), this was less of an experiment on his part than on mine.
Plo Koon (44)
R2 Astromech (6)
Ship total: 69 Half Points: 35 Threshold: 3
Obi-Wan Kenobi (47)
R2 Astromech (6)
Ship total: 77 Half Points: 39 Threshold: 3
Ric Olié (42)
R2 Astromech (4)
Ship total: 52 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 3
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v8ZsZ200Z312XW2W201WY278X75W2W201WY333X126WW2W&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
You will (probably) be glad to know that this week I took MANY pictures.
Ok, let’s get started!
With my list at a full 200 Alex gave me initiative. He had brought 2 gas clouds and a fairly big rock (and I had brought the 3 bigger debris) and so we placed obstacles. I’d say that the placement turned out quite favourable for me as we ended up with a cluster in the middle of the board which is pretty much exactly what I want to be able to use trickshot and outrider to the biggest effect.
Kyle went down first in the bottom right corner and then Dash before any of Alex’s initiative 5’s who I placed off to the left. Alex spread his ships across his side, more towards where Dash is starting.
The first couple of turns are a little bit cagey as Alex works out which ship to approach and how to do it. I start to push Dash up through the middle, maximising my chance of making multiple shots (which is what all my upgrades are geared towards doing).
Plo hangs back while Obi and Ric come in for a sniff at Dash. Having done the same speed manoeuvre, Ric fails to gain an extra die and takes a range 3 trickshot outrider attack. I roll a crit, a hit and 3 focus, spend a focus for 5 hits. Alex rolls his 3 greens and gets 1 evade and uses his free evade to block 2 of the hits to put a crit through on Ric (fuel leak). This is not what Alex was expecting. Ric’s return shot (2 dice, range 3 obstructed) did nothing and Obi-Wan (out of Dash’s arc at range 2) does no better. As we pick up dials Alex looks perplexed. How do you shoot a ship that you don’t want to get into range of?
The answer is, you don’t, you point your guns at his buddy. Dash takes a 3 bank to try finish off Ric while Kyle turns in to keep Dash in arc and the ability (passing a focus/evade) open. Ric turns hard while Obi and Plo turn in on Kyle. With the range 1 bubble in full effect (the YT-2400 rolls 1 die LESS at range1, not 1 extra) Dash rolls 3 reds but Ric, even without his free evade, takes just 1 hit (which fuel leak changes to a crit – Damaged Sensor Array). Dash then takes a pot shot at Plo (who is marginally within range) and takes off a shield. Ric fires back with 3 dice at range 1 and Dash rolls nattie’s (JARGON ALERT!) to take just 1 shield off. Meanwhile Obi and Plo go to work on Kyle and strip his 3 shields. In return Kyle takes a shot at Plo and plinks another shield from him.
At this point in the game, things look quite rosy for me. Ric is in trouble, Plo is damaged and Dash is fine. But from here is where regen starts to change the game.
Plo and Ric both engage ‘run away’ mode and regen a shield. Kyle’s stop manoeuvre catches Alex off guard and Obi ends up between Kyle and Dash. Between them they put 4 damage through (all 3 shields and 1 hull) while Obi’s shot on Dash misses.
This is where I I started to make poor choices when when things could have been pushed to my my advantage. What I hoped I could do at this point was finish off Obi-Win before the other 2 ships can get back into the fight.
#Spoiler Alert# – That isn’t what happened.
Kyle took a 1 bank left which I hoped would put Obi-Wan in range whilst Dash went three bank over a gas cloud hoping that Obi-Wan would either bump or fly away to regen a shield. Instead Obi-Wan took a 4K ok to put him right behind dash in range 1 and out of arc of both of my ships. Unexpected.
Ric and Plo took the opportunity to start turning back in and use the second regen charge on their R2 astromechs. In the only shot of this round Obi-Wan put another two to damage on to dash meaning he only had one shield left.
On to the next turn we go! Kyle starts to turn back in towards the center of the board with a 2hard turn to possibly block Obi or get behind where he might end up while Dash comes back in to try to pour out some more pain. Obi regens a shield, takes a 2 bank left (clearing his stress from the 4K) , boost and (after some deliberation) a barrel roll. While this puts him range 2 obstructed from Dash (bad times, for him) it does get him completely out of Kyle’s arc (bad times, for me).
While all this is going on, Plo and Ric have quietly rejoined the fight and line up to take some shots.
Dash’s 5 dice attack isn’t as effective as I’d like and only takes 1 shield from Obi. Meanwhile Ric takes an outmanoeuvre shot at Dash (1 hit gets through) and Plo takes a range 3 obstructed shot at Kyle whose green dice abandon him and takes 2 hits leaving him with 1 lonely hull point left.
Next round and Kyle opts for the hard 2 right to try and get an unlikely shot while Dash takes ANOTHER 3 bank and lands 1-2mm in front of Plo and is able to get his focus tokens. Plo bumps Dash, Ric passes over but has no shots while Obi 4k’s. Obi shoots at and finally kills Kyle (boooooooo!) which leaves no other shots this turn.
At this point I’m not 100% sure where we are on points except that I’m almost certainly behind (I was) and to pull it back need to put some massive hits in to something, two something’s probably. And the clock says we have around 7 mins left. Tricky.
The next 3 turns (2 of which I took no pictures of annoyingly) went as you might expect. Obi-Wan ran away (like, REALLY far away) while Ric and Plo played it safe and, being sure he was up on points kept out of Dash’s arc at the cost of getting any shots themselves. In the very last turn Alex landed Plo right behind Dash and put 1 more hit in to take him to half just make sure of the win.
So what’s the verdict? Well, it’s tricky to nail down really as there were several factors.
First is initiative. All 3 of Alex’s re-positioning aces were moving after me. Once they started to evade arc it was really very hard (even with Dash’s great dial) to get consistent shots, particularly double taps which, after all, is the whole purpose of this Dash build. On reflection I should probably have rotated my turret on at least 1 occasion to try and get a shot but then who’s to say whether or not he would have landed them where they were if I had done so (damn you repositioning aces!!). I also could have dropped the 6 point shield upgrade on Kyle to have the bid. Having Dash move last and then decide whether or not to rotate the turret while still potentially getting a focus (needed for the 2nd Bistan shot) from Kyle would, I believe, have changed the game quite drastically.
What is encouraging (I guess? I mean, I have to try and get some positives out of it!) Is that for one, Alex’s red dice were pretty hot on occasion (I think 3 separate times Plo rolled all hits/crits out of hand) and Dash was still around when time was called. Not only that but Alex used all 6 of his R2 charges to regen and I still had Obi-Wan down to 2 health left and was 1 hit away from half on Ric. Plo had gone back up to full health though.
But really, what I’m trying to decide here is who to put with Dash. The HWK-290 felt an awful lot more fragile than Norra in a Y-Wing despite the extra green die on defence and the opportunity to take an evade. What happened is that I played him a little more cautiously than I do Norra (who really wants to be in range 1 of enemy ships for the free evades) and he hits less hard (than a double tap Y-Wing at range 1). I’m just not sure that the trade off of giving the odd evade to Dash is really worth it.
That said, it is just 1 game. I don’t feel it was an unwinnable one against what is a pretty strong list in the current meta (JARGON ALERT!). As I’ve said before, what’s hampering my quest for that perfect partner ship to Dash is the number of games I’m able to get. That’s not likely to change so I have to accept that my journey will continue at the same pace. I do have a couple more options I’d like to try out and will keep blogging about it. Maybe by Christmas I’ll have settled on a plan (just before the next points change throws everything in the air again!)
But, for now at least, I think Norra is the hero I need.