UK SOS 2020 – The Main Event

The intro

We’re now just over a week(ish) on from the UK System Open 2020. Last week’s blog, while being all about the event, was actually nothing to do with actual X-Wing. No mention of awesome manoeuvres, dice rolls (good or bad) or poorly judged actions.

This was done very much on purpose since, as I briefly mentioned last week, I didn’t do very well. I didn’t have time to properly assess what happened (game-wise) and write it all down (and edit, etc) and do a good job of it. I also wanted a bit of time to allow myself some reflection and take some of the emotion out of my response.

So now with some more time and some notes and results to reflect on I think it’s time.

It’s been well documented (by me, in these blogs) that I’m not overly enamoured with how the lead up to this system open has panned out.
Changes to format being used (from Extended to Hyperspace), short notice to plan (between date announced and date of event) and points/format changes all happened in the space of 9 weeks (from announcement to event) which spanned over Christmas and New Year (family time not practice time) all of which meant that I never really felt like I got to get myself set properly. Now before you say anything, yes, I know that everyone was in the same boat. The playing field was level. That’s fine. My issue is more of a personal one since I feel that i need more time than other (i.e. capable/good) players do.

All that said, our attendance (Cai and I) was never in question. We would go no matter what. Last year was SO good that we had agreed to return while on the drive home and the possibility of not going was never once brought up.

No, he hadn’t had any sugar by this point.

My dilemma in the build up had been picking a list and then practicing with it. I’m the sort of player who needs to know a list properly. I’m just not good enough at the game to pick up just any list and fly it well. Each component needs to make sense and I need to repeatedly try interactions to make sure I’ve got them right.

If you’ve read any of my blogs from the last few weeks you’ll probably know the list that I ended up taking:

Luke Skywalker (62)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 62 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 3

Ten Numb (48)
Stabilized S-Foils (2)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 4

Braylen Stramm (52)
Ship total: 52 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 4

Jake Farrell (36)
Ship total: 36 Half Points: 18 Threshold: 2

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z4XWWWW142Y74XWWWWWW313Y73XWWWWWWY50XWW&sn=Unsaved%20SquadronSOS%2020%20HS%20List&obs=

It looks quite straightforward but actually, for a list with just 2 upgrade cards in it has a lot of triggers and tricks. To make the most of everything available to me I had to be sure I knew which ships to put where, when to reposition and in what order (for the initiative 4’s) to move.

Going in to game 1 I can’t say I was feeling confident but I was happy enough that I knew how everything worked and had a rough plan of what to do. Knowing how the swiss pairing system works I was sort of expecting to start with a loss or two anyway before things started to level out.

I will add here that I took NO pictures of ANY games all weekend. I did this on purpose because, while I’m sure most people wouldn’t have minded, we were playing a timed game in a competitive environment. Also, taking pictures helps me remember the ‘step-by-step’ of games but since I’m recounting 6 games here I think it would be a bit overkill. 😁

I will also add here that all my opponents over the course of the day were really great guys and a joy to play against. Most games started quietly (as they might when two strangers meet!) but as the turns progressed the conversations started to flow and I consider myself blessed to have spent that time together.

Ok, mushy stuff over, on with the detail!

The batreps (JARGON ALERT!!)

Game 1 – Mateo Cano

Kylo Ren (76)
Brilliant Evasion (3)
Advanced Optics (4)

Ship total: 83 Half Points: 42 Threshold: 3

Lieutenant LeHuse (39)
Mag-Pulse Warheads (6)
Passive Sensors (3)

Ship total: 48 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 3

“Holo” (54)
Proud Tradition (2)
Deuterium Power Cells (9)

Ship total: 65 Half Points: 33 Threshold: 2

Total: 196

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=First%20Order&d=v8ZhZ200Z236X199W186WWY397XWW311WW240WY382X319W318WW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

This game started out very cagey with no dice being rolled until we were around 30 minutes in. Things went very evenly for a while with Kylo and Luke both staying on the outskirts of the fight. I took out the SF and then half of Holo before losing half on Jake and Luke. Holo then regenned (grrr!) (JARGON ALERT!!) and Luke’s green dice betrayed him. With time called I swung I for one last round of firing with all guns pointed at Holo. Kylo finished Jake (taking 2 hull with a range 3 potshot) before both B-wings failed to get the single damage I needed to get half on Holo despite being double modded.

Now I will admit that at the time here I blamed dice (like a n00b) but looking again, had I been better with positioning with Luke, he stays alive and maybe the game is mine.

That said, (and even though it seems like it, I’m not blaming dice, honest!) a few different rolls in the last engagement would have given me a win of something like 100-80. Given that it’s the first game, I’ll take that.

Score: 76 – 98 Loss
Record: 0 – 1

Mateo went for the ‘surf’s up dude’ pose. Unique

Game 2 – Jaume Pujol

Boba Fett (85)
Fearless (3)
Maul (12)
Seismic Charges (3)
Contraband Cybernetics (2)
Hull Upgrade (5)
Slave I (1)

Ship total: 111 Half Points: 56 Threshold: 6

Fenn Rau (68)
Fearless (3)

Ship total: 71 Half Points: 36 Threshold: 2

Total: 182

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZhZ200Z103X121WWW48W71W92W164W161WY97X121W&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Hmmm. Boba & Fenn. I’ll be honest, when I saw this I had NO idea how to approach it (and I can’t say that’s changed?!). Can’t ignore Fenn but also can’t catch him with the ships I have if he decides to run. Boba is dangerous and worth the most points but chasing him is ignoring Fenn.

As it went, this game was even more cagey than the first with no dice being rolled for 45 minutes as Jaume expertly moved to engage and then disengage with Fenn and then Boba without my ships getting close enough to put any meaningful damage on. All the while he chipped away at Ten and Braylen one hit at a time. I did get a Fuel Leak onto Fenn but in the last but one turn I misjudged position with Luke and landed him at range 1 of Fenn and Boba. He was promptly deleted but at least I got the initiative shot onto Boba. Which blanked. Typical.
In the last turn I managed to get 2 crits onto Fenn which, with the Fuel Leak meant a direct hit would finish him off but it never came. With Luke gone and Braylen at half even killing Fenn wouldn’t have got me the win.

In light of this match I may need to watch some videos of ‘how to fly against Boba & Fenn’ (links if you have them please!).

Score: 36 – 88 Loss
Record: 0 – 2

Jaume goes more traditional ‘thumbs up’

Game 3 – Robert Parker-Bowen

Kylo Ren (76)
Brilliant Evasion (3)
Advanced Optics (4)

Ship total: 83 Half Points: 42 Threshold: 3

“Midnight” (42)
Fanatical (2)

Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

“Blackout” (63)
Fanatical (2)
Advanced Optics (4)

Ship total: 69 Half Points: 35 Threshold: 3

Total: 196

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=First%20Order&d=v8ZhZ200Z236X199W186WWY233X181WWY237X181W186WW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

More First Order and more Kylo. At least this time I have some previous experience to look back on. Except Rob played it very differently. In a very unexpected opening move Kylo came hurtling down one side of the board, forcing me to turn Jake and Luke on him earlier than I’d have liked while my B-wings approached Midnight and Blackout. Shots were traded and I first halved then removed Midnight in exchange for just half of Jake as our forces started to converge. I then lost 2 shields on each B-Wing as the clock counted down towards the end of the game. In the final turns I got 3 damage onto Blackout, taking him to half points, while only losing 2 more shields on Braylen (taking him to half too). With time called I was ahead to get my first win of the day.

Score: 79 – 43 Win
Record: 1 – 2

Robert gives a very enthusiastic ‘thumbs up’

Game 4 – Mark Feldschreiber

Krassis Trelix (65)
Autoblasters (3)
Perceptive Copilot (8)

Ship total: 76 Half Points: 38 Threshold: 5

Fenn Rau (68)
Fearless (3)

Ship total: 71 Half Points: 36 Threshold: 2

Skull Squadron Pilot (47)
Fearless (3)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 2

Total: 197

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZhZ200Z107XW232WW54WWWWY97X121WY101X121W&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

More Firespray!! I can’t say I was overly happy to see Mark’s list across the table when he turned up. Thankfully my feeling about his list were counterbalanced by him being a thoroughly nice chap.

Unfortunately by this point in the day I had stopped taking sensible notes (in fact my notes for this match just say ‘second engagement, silly dice’) and hadn’t taken any pictures. My feelings towards Fenn were reinforced as I couldn’t ignore him but also couldn’t seem to hit him. All the while my ships were chipped away. The only other thing of note is that this was the only game of the day that didn’t go to time with Mark destroying all my ships with time left on the clock. I can’t say that it helped my overall mood at the time but I was glad of a few minutes to take a breather and get myself right for the next game. I did kill Krassis and got half the skull squadron pilot mind you, so not totally terrible.

Score: 101 – 200 Loss
Record: 1 – 3

Mark with a very tribal ‘bearing chest’ pose

Game 5 – Mark Beor

Epsilon Squadron Cadet (25)
Ship total: 25 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Epsilon Squadron Cadet (25)
Ship total: 25 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Epsilon Squadron Cadet (25)
Ship total: 25 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Epsilon Squadron Cadet (25)
Ship total: 25 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Epsilon Squadron Cadet (25)
Ship total: 25 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Epsilon Squadron Cadet (25)
Ship total: 25 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Epsilon Squadron Cadet (25)
Ship total: 25 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Epsilon Squadron Cadet (25)
Ship total: 25 Half Points: 13 Threshold: 2

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=First%20Order&d=v8ZhZ200Z269XWY269XWY269XWY269XWY269XWY269XWY269XWY269XW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

And here it was, the terrible and statistically unlikely scenario – drawn against a squad mate. Not only that but my fellow Exile Mark was flying the dreaded ‘FOcho’ list. Being the only swarm I faced all day I actually have some decent recollection of what happened in this game.

Mark set up his forces in pairs spread across his side of the board while I took my normal set up – B-wings in one corner, Jake in the opposite corner and Luke in the middle. Looking back, this is where I lost the game, without a ship moved or a die rolled.

On reflection what I probably should have done was line up to engage one pair of the TIE’s really fast with Luke and Jake, backed up by the B-wings. With two TIE’s off the board (or limping at least) my chances would have been much improved.

What I did was move my forces to group together half way up the board on one side and engage once turned in but in doing so allowed Mark to do the same with his ships meaning that by the second engagement he had a lot of guns pointed at my ships. Variance swung in my favour of my green dice initially as Mark struggled to register hits on my ships but once the bumps started and mods stopped flowing the damage started coming thick and fast.

With time called we roll dice for the last engagement and as we tally up scores I’ve destroyed 2 of the FO’s and halved 2 more but Mark has destroyed Ten and Jake to give him the game by 10 MoV.

I was pleased for Mark (who went on to win his next game to go 3-3 for the day!) but also more than just a little frustrated with myself.

Score: 76 – 86 Loss
Record: 1 – 4

Mark sticks with the ever popular ‘thumbs up’

Game 6 – Rudi Schön

Ten Numb (48)
Stabilized S-Foils (2)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 4

Braylen Stramm (52)
Ship total: 52 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 4

“Dutch” Vander (40)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
Delayed Fuses (1)
Proton Bombs (5)

Ship total: 51 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 4

Garven Dreis (X-Wing) (47)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 47 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 3

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z74XWWWWWW313Y73XWWWWWWY27XW138WWW236W69WY6XWWWW142&sn=Unsaved%20SquadronSOS%2020%20HS%20List&obs=

Having taken the few minutes between rounds to mentally dust myself off to try again I was very pleasantly surprised to see Rudi walk up to the table. Rudi and I had played each other as the last game of the day last year and I had been very thoroughly schooled in how to fly a VCX-100 in a very memorable game. And here he was again, this time with a list rather similar to my own and the first non Scum or FO list of the day.

It was a tough slog of a game (shots wise) which was about level all the way to the last couple of turns. In the end it was a rather stupid error on my part that contributed to my downfall. I knew that Dutch would drop a proton bomb but sent Luke through that area anyway fully intending to barrel roll to get clear. Dutch covered significantly less distance than anticipated and therefore blocked an unshielded Luke onto the bomb and so began the pain. Luke then takes the crit which is a panicked pilot and is pointed unavoidably at a debris cloud. Sad times for Skywalker.

Hits went through on all ships from both sides but as time was called Rudi still had Ten Numb and Dutch on the board (both halved) while I only had a half pointed Jake left.

Score: 150 – 182 Loss
Record: 1 – 5

Rudi bucks the trend with a ‘peace’ pose

Side note…

Over the weekend I used the Launchbay Next’s app ‘Tournament’ feature. I have to say I am really really impressed. As most people had their squad lists printed all I had to do was enter their name and scan the QR code and the list was added to my phone. I could then use the calculator feature to easily work out points at the end. There’s a space to write notes (which I sometimes did but not as much as I should have!) too which is super useful.

Since there’s recently a web version of Launchbay as well (which sync’s lists when you log in) it’s super easy. One feature I’d like to see added though is for the tournament data to sync as well.

I would encourage anyone going to a tournament to get the app and use it. It’s awesome! (and no, this is not sponsored content!)

https://launch-bay-next.herokuapp.com/

Conclusions

A slightly frustrating day of play combined with a thoroughly enjoyable day of socialising meant I was in a rather odd place emotionally. Since I already covered the social side last week, I’ll just concentrate on the play side today.

I was very annoyed at myself. I felt that I’d been so close to success in several of the games and frustrated that I’d either made mistakes or been relying on dice to see me through (NEVER a good idea. Particularly with green ones). This was backed up by the stats as I found myself on 1026 MoV, third out of all 1-5 players and higher than a LOT of players with better results than me. They had all been close games.

That said, if you’ve been following my posts over the last month or so then you’ll know that I’ve struggled to find a Hyperspace list that I like and have had no time to practice with it (or at least, not as much practice as I’d have liked to have with it). As such my expectations going in weren’t particularly high but I seemed to find myself disappointed with the losses simply because most of the games had been so darn close.

This leaves me with a dilemma. I had initially intended on ditching the list once this weekend was done and start messing with Extended lists again. However, I then found out that the Cardiff Firestorm store championship is in March and also that my home store Firestorm Newport had also got one that was slated for April. Exciting news! But both are Hyperspace! So again I have the question – stick or twist?

Overall I found that I did enjoy flying the list. The restrictive B-Wing dial can be worked with provided you either plan ahead or just stay stressed and be happy with single mods. I did find that Ten just didn’t want to roll the eyeballs for me to be able to use his ability to spend his stress as a focus (leaving me with less options for the next turn) but not so much that I’d drop him.

My game against Rudi has given me food for thought though. Luke in my list is not only pretty expensive (I mean, justifiably so for what he does but still…) but sticks out to my opponents as an obvious priority target. I tried not to engage too eagerly with him but I can’t face just having him sat on the periphery while the others get in the mix, especially when he’s a 3 dice gun with the capability of firing double modded shots regularly (taking lock action and using Force to change eyeball results). I guess that’s a play style thing.
I wonder whether swapping out Luke for another ship suits me better. Dutch with some toys (R3 astromech, ion turret and maybe proton bombs?) Gives me 4 initiative 4’s to move in any order I want.

Or do I keep the list the same as I’ve now got 6 more reps with it?

OR do I drop the rebels and pick up a resistance list like this one from a few weeks ago?

Lots of choices. I look forward to working it out!

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