UK SOS 2020 – The Worlds Qualifier

Before we begin…

The 2019 UK System Open was our ‘first step into a bigger world’ and the build up to it was both exciting and scary as we prepared for a 550+ player event. One of the people who helped to not only allay my fears as a father (with a child in a room of so many strangers) but make us both feel so welcome and help us to have the most amazing time was Vince Kingston.

Sadly Vince passed away last week. The outpouring of love that I have seen for this man who I barely knew is testament both to his character as a man and the incredible X-Wing community. I just couldn’t let this blog post pass without saying anything. Vince, even though I barely knew you, Cai and I both thank you so much for everything that you poured into this game’s community. It is so much richer for it.

There are various details on Facebook but I want to highlight one thing in particular. Cog ‘O’ Two have designed a keyring in memory of Vince and are donating funds to a cause to be decided by Vince’s family. If you want to show your appreciation, I think this is a great way to do it.

http://www.cogotwo.com/x-wing-compatible/charity-keyring-detail?fbclid=IwAR0fBmlejs7LK9SAP44rHS6lE2fTBv7RDP-tmwW_C0JYw5n7uKUAFzUusO8

The intro

Welcome! Or if you’ve been before – Welcome Back!
I am regularly astounded by just how many views these blogs get and I always appreciate so much any comments or feedback that people give in response to them. Thank you.

My intention for this blog is (and has been from the outset) to track my X-Wing journey and reflect on how (or if?!) I’ve grown in the game.

If you’ve followed my blogs between September and December you’ll know that I spent many a day/week building and refining a list including Dash Rendar in the YT-2400. After much experimentation, chopping and changing of wing-men (and wing-women) and upgrades I eventually put together a list that I really enjoyed and was relatively successful with in my local store meta (JARGON ALERT!!).

Dash & Jake doing….well, Dash & Jake things.

I fully intended to run the list exclusively for the following few months building up to taking it to the UK System Open. Yes, I know what you’re thinking. ‘Dash isn’t in Hyperspace?!’ and you’re right. At this point the changes hadn’t been announced. My expectation was that the UK SOS would be using the Extended format and be in April as they had been in 2019. As it turned out, neither of these things were true.

Once the new format and date were announced and with a local win-loss record of 7-1 with the list in it’s final iteration, I was happy to temporarily shelve it while I found something Hyperspace legal I could run on day 1. I would keep Dash and Jake back, ready to unleash on day 2.

As I stumbled from list to list over the course of January I eventually found something I liked and managed a massive two games with it before heading to Milton Keynes. You can read about how that went here (spoiler – not fantastic).

Being somewhat of a realist I knew that I wasn’t going to do amazing on day 1. I was never going to make the cut or anything like that. That’s ok, what I REALLY want to do is to fly Dash and Jake. Yes, day 2 is my jam. Bring.it.on.

In amongst the whole Hyperspace change furore there was actually a points adjustment and it turned out that Dash had dropped by 7 points. SEVEN POINTS.

Now, that should be a good thing, right? I mean, I spent many weeks talking about how Dash is stupid expensive and I’m basically running this list for the LOLz. Heck, I even started using a hashtag (#justiceforDash) in some vain hope that FFG might hear my plea and make him cheaper so I can try some other stuff out.

Then they did.

Wait, hold on. No. I’m not claiming credit for the points drop. I do not believe that someone in FFG read my blog and thought ‘hey, he’s right! Let’s drop those points, just for Dylan!’.

But anyway, I should be pleased, right? Well….yes! And also… maybe no? I’ll explain…

In the whole process of finding/testing/hating/changing/testing a list which was Hyperspace legal, Dash and Jake got put on the back-burner. Meaning that, in actual practical terms, I hadn’t put them on the table since mid-December.

Dash’s points dropped, I cheered, I carried on looking at Hyperspace lists.

As I approached the week of the System Open I had a mild panic. Do I remember what I’m doing here? I have spare points now, what do I do? Change the wing-man? Throw extra stuff in? I had neglected poor Dash and his buddy Jake and now had no time left to work any of that out.

So with zero reps and zero time I decide to stick with the ‘accidental bid’ and keep things as they are, confident that my experience with the list will see me through.

Dash Rendar (91)
Lone Wolf (5)
Bistan (14)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Shield Upgrade (6)
Outrider (14)
Rigged Cargo Chute (4)

Ship total: 142 Half Points: 71 Threshold: 6

Jake Farrell (36)
Crack Shot (1)
Outmaneuver (6)
Proton Rockets (7)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 2

Total: 192

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X124WW77W54W165W157W96Y50X116W126W102&sn=Dash%20%26%20Jake&obs=

As with last week, I will just put this out there – I took NO photos of any games ALL WEEKEND. This was done on purpose because, while I’m sure most people wouldn’t have minded, we were playing a timed game in a competitive environment. Annoyingly though whilst on the Saturday I had taken notes for every game, on Sunday I took NONE. So this is all from memory, my apologies in advance to my opponents if I get any details wrong (and I almost certainly have, particularly as I played 2 lists with TIE Defenders in them). Please feel free to comment and correct me!

The batreps (JARGON ALERT!!)

Game 1 – Paul ‘Full-on’

General Grievous (44)
Outmaneuver (6)
Soulless One (6)

Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 4

DBS-404 (30)
Adv. Proton Torpedoes (6)
Afterburners (6)
Landing Struts (1)

Ship total: 43 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 3

Chertek (39)
Ensnare (14)

Ship total: 53 Half Points: 27 Threshold: 2

Stalgasin Hive Guard (34)
Ensnare (12)

Ship total: 46 Half Points: 23 Threshold: 2

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Separatist%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z305X126WWW229Y326X134WWW105W237Y356X248WY353X248&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

So here was challenge number one. A name that I recognise from the X-Wing online community and a member of the infamous 186th Squadron. Also the list contained some pieces that I’ve had bad experiences with before (Nantex and Grievous – I’m looking at you Dan Eggs!). The exact ins and outs of the game elude me but I remember feeling that I was doing ok except that I just could not get hits into targets reliably. I also remember that Dash got a fully modded shot into Chertek in the opening engagement but that the little blighter managed to dodge it all.

As the game progressed I killed DBS-404 (who hadn’t fired his advanced Proton Torps) but hadn’t managed to half anything else meanwhile Paul had killed Jake. Going into the last turn with time called Paul was deliberating his moves but to me it was clear. He was ahead. Just avoid getting shot by Dash and it’s a win.

Score: 43 – 50 Loss
Record: 0 – 1

Photo bombed. Classic.

Game 2 – Barrie Robinson

Onyx Squadron Ace (74)
Juke (7)
Jamming Beam (0)

Ship total: 81 Half Points: 41 Threshold: 4

Onyx Squadron Ace (74)
Juke (7)
Jamming Beam (0)

Ship total: 81 Half Points: 41 Threshold: 4

Black Squadron Scout (34)
Intimidation (3)

Ship total: 37 Half Points: 19 Threshold: 2

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z197X123WW12WY197X123WW12WY212X122WWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Interestingly Barrie was the first person of the weekend to admit to reading my blog 😂

We set up and Barrie brought his ships in, not quite sure exactly how to approach Dash. The Striker came in a little too close and Dash took the opportunity to shoot, got 4 hits/crits and Barrie’s greens all turned out blank. TIE Striker one shotted. Harsh. We did have an attack that threw this beauty of a result up too:

The very definition of ‘natties‘ (JARGON ALERT!!)

Variance swung heavily in my favour as the game progressed and a decision for Dash to drop his rigged cargo directly in the path of a TIE Defender also paid dividends. Dash continued to pour fire into the two TIE Defenders and with a few minutes left on the round both were destroyed with both Dash and Jake still intact.

Barrie mentioned that this was the first time he’d been beaten 200 – 0. Dash is a beast. When he feels like it.

Score: 200 – 0
Record: 1 – 1

Barrie and Skeletor are on team ‘thumbs up’

Game 3 – Dave Blenkley

Darth Vader (67)
Fire-Control System (2)

Ship total: 69 Half Points: 35 Threshold: 3

“Duchess” (42)
Ship total: 42 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 2

Rear Admiral Chiraneau (76)
Agile Gunner (8)
Seismic Charges (3)
Hull Upgrade (2)

Ship total: 89 Half Points: 45 Threshold: 9

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z173XW113WWY211XWWWY214XWWWWW76W71W164W&sn=New%20Squadron&obs=

Buoyed from my win I wasn’t too disheartened when Dave showed up with RAC (JARGON ALERT!!), Vader and Duchess. I should have been.

Dash and Jake made a valiant effort in taking out Duchess. Pushing damage onto the Decimator was tricky with Jake only rolling 2 dice and Dash unable to roll enough hits to put damage past the always reinforced RAC. With shields gone a crit chain started on Dash which ended the game very much sooner than I’d have liked and with Vader totally untouched. Very much a reality check following on from the previous game.

Score: 87 – 200
Record: – 1 – 2

Dave gives a double ‘thumbs up’

Game 4 – Piers Horry

Lieutenant Sai (47)
Emperor Palpatine (11)
ST-321 (4)

Ship total: 62 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 5

Delta Squadron Pilot (67)
Fire-Control System (2)

Ship total: 69 Half Points: 35 Threshold: 4

Delta Squadron Pilot (67)
Fire-Control System (2)

Ship total: 69 Half Points: 35 Threshold: 4

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z166XWWW29WW162Y198X113WWY198X113WW&sn=New%20Squadron&obs=

Having been brought very much back down to earth in my last match I found my focus was on the wane as the day wore on and the 10-ish hours on my feet the day before was catching me up. Piers’ list didn’t especially concern me (aside from the spectacularly garish USA paint job which I forgot to take a picture of!) given my previous matchup against Defenders and underestimating the ships was probably my downfall.

The Lambda fell first (as I was keen to get Palpatine off the table) but I just could not get enough damage through on the Defenders. Dash suffered another crit chain as the green dice betrayed him and he burned down yet again. I can’t remember when in the game Jake disappeared but it was neither here nor there as I suffered my heaviest loss of the weekend.

Score: 62 – 200
Record: 1 – 3

Two thumbs up from Team Porg

Game 5 – David Bryan

Braylen Stramm (52)
Ion Cannon (6)
Stabilized S-Foils (2)

Ship total: 60 Half Points: 30 Threshold: 4

Lando Calrissian (79)
Leia Organa (7)
Nien Nunb (5)

Ship total: 91 Half Points: 46 Threshold: 7

Thane Kyrell (48)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 48 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 3

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z73XWW11WWWW313Y43XWWW46W52WWWY9XWWWW142&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

It is not an overstatement here to say that by this time my head had gone. I was mildly amused as I noticed that both days had ended with a matchup against a Rebel list. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of that….

This game was really very even until I made a few questionable decisions. The main one was deliberately being ‘unpredictable’ and rather than take a 1 bank, taking a 4 forwards onto a gas cloud in order to bump or arc dodge Dave’s Braylen but ending up sitting 2mm away from it. I took a red barrel roll to try and make it to range 2 (which didn’t come off) and ended up staying stressed for the next 3 turns because of it. This in turn meant no focus token which then meant only one shot per turn. It’s games like this where I started thinking of swapping Rigged Cargo for Contraband Cybernetics. With time running out I managed to knock Braylen out but in turn, having already lost Jake, took the last couple of damage Dave needed to get Dash to half to take the game.

Score: 60 – 121
Record: 1 – 4

Dave goes with the popular ‘double thumbs up’ while I grimace at my photo-bombing son.

Conclusions

Well, this hadn’t exactly gone to plan. I don’t know exactly what I’d expected but it wasn’t this. One of my goals with this list was basically a long term experiment. Can someone of average skill (me) take a very non-meta list/ship (Dash) and put in enough reps with it to get a respectable placing in a tournament. The answer here appears to be a resounding ‘no’.

There are mitigating circumstances, of course. I’d not flown the list in almost 2 months, it was the second long day of standing and playing after an even longer first day of standing and playing and, inevitably, variance (particularly on the green dice) and the unpredictability of the damage deck both played their part.

In all honesty I’m disappointed. Who wouldn’t be? I love the YT-2400 and while some of it’s tricks had been new to some people (I think I called judges over 3 times on day 2?!) the vulnerability of it had been very clear. People commented several times though the day ‘this seems amazing! Why does nobody play this?’ as they went on to beat me. This is why – Dash hates the crits. The shield upgrade is there to push the half point threshold up and mitigate an extra potential crit but when it comes to it, when the crits start coming (as Darth Vader and RAC in particular like to throw around) it’s curtains for Dash in rather short order.

Interestingly I AGAIN finished with relatively high MoV (881) which put me top of my results group (1-4) and was actually better than many 2-3’s. Not that it makes any difference but still, I’ll take a positive where I can find one.

So am I finished with this list? No way, it’s just too much fun. There may be a bit of break from Dash and his YT-2400 as I prepare for store champs (which are Hyperspace) at Firestorm Cardiff and Firestorm Newport in the next two months but in May Cardiff is holding a Prime Championship and it’s Extended. In the mean time I may have to do a little tweaking and re-evaluation of the list (i.e. figuring out whether I use those extra points to try and stick a different/extra ship into this list) but Dash will be back.

These ships are ‘lit’ (in both senses of the word). Lighting courtesy of Kei Taniguchi – Fully Modded Lighting

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