Up for the Cup

The intro…

Welcome back!

Well this has been a week for X-Wing hasn’t it. Between the Swedish Open (online), the next GSP Flight Club event (also online) and some more reveals about the upcoming releases (well yeah, ok, everything is online right now I suppose…), there’s been plenty to keep people talking.

The biggest and most controversial revelation in the FFG (yes, still FFG for now in terms of who created it and which website published it) news was that the Skystrike Academy pack will have DARTH VADER IN A FREAKIN TIE DEFENDER. Get ready to see that EVERYWHERE, even if the points end up being ridiculous! In addition to the already spoiled info on Hera in a B-Wing we found out that we’ll get i6 Hera in an A-Wing (yay!) AND i5 Ahsoka in an A-Wing too! (i5 with Force! Take that RZ-2!).

Other spoiler images have revealed title/config cards for both mentioned ships too which change the ship ability when equipped. I think this is a really great design move and is hopefully the signal for more to come on this. In particular I think that it would be great to see some ships currently without ship abilities (T-65 X-Wing, K-Wing, ARC-170, etc…) to have them added in future. Most brand new 2.0 ships (or all maybe? Perhaps not) seem to have ship abilities and while I can’t blame FFG for that considering the HUGE number of ships they needed to convert to 2.0 and have ready for release in the conversion kits, there’s certainly scope to change things up moving forward and potentially bring some forgotten ships back to relevance (especially Rebel ones! Nudge nudge!).

On the tournament side I’ve not entered either of the two that I mentioned (6 game/1 day online tournaments don’t appeal to me personally) but I bring them up because they are additional data points in the current meta. While there may well be a bit of a shake up when the new content is released next month, I can’t see any existing points being changed, just new ones added and then we’ll be keeping those points until probably the summer.

What is also interesting is that GSP’s Sigma Qualifier was the first major Hyperspace format event for, well, ages.

It was won by Sebastien Demers who was flying a Scum list with Nom Lumb and 5 M3-A’s. Slightly unsurprisingly this list included Zam Wessel (crew) and Thread Tracers. I won’t go into details because I’m not very good at that and other people will be doing it anyway. I just thought it was interesting to see what a Hyperspace meta would look like after all this time.

What’s REALLY interesting is that the Swedish Open was won by the same list that came second in the GSP event – 5 Tie V1 Inquisitors all with Foresight. Incidentally, a ship with Zam crew came second…..

So if I’m not in those, what AM I doing? Well, with the Sith Takers league taking a rest ahead of season 3 a new event was organised – Sith Taker Cup “THE SEQUEL”

How is it different to the league? In a few ways actually. Firstly, the league is round robin, meaning you could face ANYONE in the league with you and has been done that way in case games aren’t completed in time. In that case the results can be added later without having affected pairings. The cup is the more traditional ‘Swiss’ system, meaning that you are paired with people on the same result as you, theoretically pairing you with players of the same ability.

Secondly, in the league you can change your list week to week. In the cup it’s locked in (although lists are unlocked after week 2 in case you hate it!). It’s extended format, in case you were wondering.

Last of all it’s everyone all in together. The league is split into 6 league tables where you can move up or down based on results each season. This cup is 193 (!!) players and once 6 games are played (at one game per week) then there will be a top cut knockout to find an eventual winner.

With the league not returning until the swiss part of the cup was done I decided to sign up to get some games in. With it being Extended I’m still able to play the Rey-Wings list which is good because I feel like I’m just starting to get the hang of it.

Rey (68)
Korr Sella (6)
Rose Tico (9)
Finn (9)
Rey’s Millennium Falcon (2)

Ship total: 94 Half Points: 47 Threshold: 6

Tallissan Lintra (37)
Heroic (2)
Proton Rockets (5)
Advanced Optics (5)

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 2

Zizi Tlo (41)
Heroic (2)
Proton Rockets (5)
Advanced Optics (5)

Ship total: 53 Half Points: 27 Threshold: 2

Total: 196

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZsZ200Z244XWW245W173W174WWW193Y240X172WW102W186Y387X172WW102W186&sn=Rey-Wings&obs=coreasteroid5,core2asteroid1,core2asteroid2

Now, going back to the differences between the league and the cup I mentioned that lists were locked in. What I discovered 2 days after the draw was done is that lists are also public which would give me the chance to see what I’d be facing….

The batrepish… (JARGON ALERT!!)

I was paired with someone with possibly the most awesome username I have seen – Chuckleslam. Epic.

We got in touch over Discord and found that we had an 8 hour time difference. He asked if I was free Saturday and so arranged to play at 3pm UK time (7am for him!).

I took a look at his list:

Jedi Knight (37)
Delta-7B (12)

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Jedi Knight (37)
Delta-7B (12)

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Jedi Knight (37)
Delta-7B (12)

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Yoda (48)
Battle Meditation (3)
Patience (2)

Ship total: 53 Half Points: 27 Threshold: 2

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v8ZsZ200Z277XWW201WY277XWW201WY277XWW201WY437X212W342WWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Hmmm… interesting. Yoda’s Battle Meditation means that going into the first engagement two of the Jedi could be double modded. They can also spend a Force to reposition and steal one from Yoda to convert eyeball results if they like. Plus Yoda can charge Force back up with Patience.

I played a few games against the list on Fly Casual with good results. I then decided to fly AS the list against my own list just to see. I won but it was close. As much as Yoda is the support ship in this list (and often you hamstring the offence in lists by removing support first), he can’t deal as much damage as the others and so he probably won’t be my focus here.

I get in touch with Dan ‘Eggs’ (not his actual name) to see if he happens to be available for a test game. He is so I send him the list and ask if he can play as it so I can get a feel of how a real person will play it.

I won’t batrep that game here (because 2 batreps in one post is rather a lot. And because you’re here for the main event, not the training!) but there are a couple of things I took from it.

  1. Jedi like gas clouds. Take them away.
  2. Yoda’s 2 dice gun doesn’t do much. Don’t prioritise him.
  3. I can trade Rey for 2 Jedi (any 2) and the A-Wings can still do good work.
  4. Prockets (JARGON ALERT!!) can be brutal.
  5. Initiative killing really helps.

I’d been expecting all Jedi deployed in a block (for that range 2 Yoda nonsense) but Dan didn’t do that. That helped me to break that pre-conceived idea. That game definitely confirmed that removing Jedi Knights is more of a priority than taking out Yoda. I also did a little better than previous games in flanking with the A-Wings but getting them intot he fight at the same time as Rey. Well, sort of. A failed boost from Tallie did mess me up a little but it was mostly ok.

So a good result and a boost in confidence. It’s a pretty decent match up for me, I just need to avoid screwing up.

Time to get on with the real game then I suppose!

ChuckleSlam (whose actual name is David which is what I’ll be calling him from now) and I got a room set up on TTS and got started with chatting on Discord. It turns out that I’ve actually been to where he lives (a long time ago). Small world!

As we got lists generated I started to run over some things in my head (Pre-Flight checks):
Target Priority – Not Yoda. Whichever of the Jedi I can focus fire, I’ll go with that.
Obstacles – Keep the clouds on my side of the board and try to make a decent lane for Rey to cruise down.
Deployment – In a corner, everyone together. Which corner depends on where David deploys.

I have the bid and so I take 1st player to take control of the obstacles. Placement goes pretty well but when David starts placing ships I’m slightly surprised that he’s gone for the middle and not a corner. Interesting.

We finish setup and the board looks like this ready to start.

With obstacle placement as it is I decide to send the A-Wings up the left flank while Rey will head ‘north-east’ between the gas clouds. With this in mind and conscious of my usual tendency to send the A-Wings the really long way around, Rey gets a 1 straight while the A-Wings get 2 straights.

David sends his Delta 7’s 5 straight and they all either boost and/or barrel roll. Yoda takes a 3 straight to sit in behind.

Ooooooo-kay then. That’s significantly more aggressive than I was expecting.

We’re back to dials but it’s seriously looking like we’re going to do some meaningful shooting next round.

What can I do about that? Let’s see…

Rey will slow roll with a 1 bank left while the A-Wings will hard turn at 3 speed to get the distance and I’ll try and adjust angle with a boost afterwards.

David again moves his ships and again, they’re all going fast.

Green goes 5 straight, clips the gas cloud, picks up a strain and then boosts off it with Fine Tuned Controls. Red also goes 5 straight and boosts. Yellow banks to his right then boosts left to end up straight. At some point in the mix Yoda goes 3 straight and uses Battle Meditation to co-ordinate a focus to two of the Jedi (green, who hit the cloud, and one other). One of those takes a lock on Rey as it’s own action and the one Yoda didn’t pick takes a focus.

Rey takes the 1 bank and focuses. Zizi turns, focuses but it looks like the banked boost won’t fit past the cloud so it’s just a straight to close distance. Tallie hard turns but is facing the gas cloud so can’t boost. She takes a focus and stays put.

Crucially, Tallie has the red Jedi in bullseye and range 2… First things first though, let’s see if Zizi can strip the focus. The 2 dice heroic/optics/focus combo does it’s job and 2 hits are met with 2 green blanks from David.

Ok.

Zizi fires the Prockets, rolling 4 paint and spends the focus. Even with the extra green and gas cloud evade, the Jedi takes 2 more hits.

Now it’s Rey’s turn. It’s just about range 2 and so it’s 3 dice plus a Finn blank, spend the blank with Rose for a lock, spend the lock for 3 hits.

David rolls 2 blanks. The Red Jedi is dead. Wow. Not bad.

Yoda is out of range but the yellow and green Jedi wreak revenge on Rey, stripping shields and putting a Panicked Pilot on but Rey cares very little about stress. In the process Rey uses Rose to pick up a lock on green.

Back to dials then and overall, I’m pretty happy with the opening exchange. 4 hits onto Rey for a gun off the board.

How to capitalise on that now? Back to dials then.

I think that one, possibly both of the Delta 7’s will sloop (JARGON ALERT!!) to their left. I’m thinking that Yoda might not fancy facing off with Rey so he may take a systems phase roll away and bank around the cloud.

Well the 1 straight from Rey is a little obvious. He’ll be expecting me to do something blue to clear the panicked pilot stress but I don’t really care about that. If I can bump something it’ll mean Rey takes 1 less shot anyway and will still have a Force for something.

Zizi still has a Procket to shoot so will go 2 straight and see what she can get. Tallie is a bit more tricky. I’m not fussed on potentially getting strained so will avoid the cloud and maybe set up for next turn with a 2 bank.

David starts moving ships.

Green, slightly unexpectedly, banks towards Rey, clearing the strain. Yellow does sloop while Yoda chose NOT to move in the systems phase and does a 5k (JARGON ALERT!!). Interesting.

Rey’s 1 bank slams into the green Jedi. That’s fine.

Zizi goes 2 straight, focuses and banks right. Tallie’s 2 bank clears the cloud and, not wanting to stress herself, she just takes a focus.

Can you spot the green Jedi?

Can you spot something else too? That’s right! Zizi has Yoda in bullseye! She fires Prockets, again rolling 4 paint and spends the focus. Yoda also rolls all paint, spending a Force to evade 3 but a crit goes through and it’s a Direct Hit, taking him down to 1 health.

Rey follows up and smashes through the last damage needed. Dead Yoda.

In reply David shoots at Tallie with the (hidden) green Jedi and takes a shield from her. The yellow Jedi gets a hit and a crit past Rey’s single green die (with Rey picking up a lock in return) and it’s a Loose Stabiliser. Hmmm… Not what I want given the direction I’m facing but it could be worse. I’ve exchanged half of Rey for 2 of David’s ships. Pretty decent!

Back to dials then.

With the crit in mind and the stress still in tow, I give Rey a 2 straight (in case the green Jedi bumps in place). Both A-Wings will 2 hard turn to the right to clear stress.

David hard turns the green Jedi and boosts right, the yellow banks right and then rolls right. Both have taken a focus.

This time my moves weren’t so great then. Tallie bumps into the green Jedi. Zizi boosts right and rotates arc but as such ends up with no token.

Rey’s 2 straight bumps into the yellow Jedi.

Now it’s the yellow Jedi’s turn to hide!

So this time Rey doesn’t have a shot (nor is she getting shot though). Tallie and Zizi both fire at yellow but with no tokens both shots are ineffectual. In return yellow shoots at Zizi but her greens bail her out and no damage goes through.

Back to planning then. I need to get Rey back in here. I do have that Loose Stabiliser but…do I just trigger it? Going straight and then repairing it will take Rey WAY out of the fight AND won’t leave room to sloop the following turn. Maybe I’ll just 2 hard turn and take the damage.

Zizi will take a 2 hard right to circle around the gas cloud but what about Tallie? Looking at where David’s ships are, Tallie can’t be blocked if she turns right, plus she isn’t stressed so it can be a 1 hard to minimise distance. Yep, I’ll do that.

David moves yellow a 2 bank right and rolls left, realising too late that it’ll cause green to bump.

Zizi turns, focuses and boosts straight, getting the gas cloud between her and David’s ships. Tallie’s right turn surprises David. She focuses and rotates.

Rey takes the 2 hard, takes a damage from (and repairs) the Loose Stabiliser, rolls a blank for no strain. YOLO.

Things are looking bad for yellow…

Rey fires at yellow. Oh my.

It’s 4 hits/crits out of hand. I add the Finn blank, spend the lock and it’s another hit.

David rolls greens… and blanks out.

Brutal.

Shields are gone and it’s a hit and a crit going into hull. David flips the crit and, quite unbelievably, it’s ANOTHER Direct Hit! Dead Jedi. In one shot.

I feel simultaneously elated and guilty. It’s such a weird feeling.

Both A-Wings fire at the remaining Jedi but, almost like they can feel my guilt, can’t put any damage onto it.

In response the Jedi fires at Rey, range 1 and sinks a hit and 2 crits. The first crit comes out and it’s (another!) Panicked Pilot. Ok, I can deal with that. The second comes out and it’s…..a Fuel Leak. Very inconsequential given she’s now on 1 health but had those come out the other way around she’d be dead. Man this game is fickle.

So dials then. Me with 3 ships and David with 1. Crikey.

Ok, so what shall I do now. Rey can sloop (because the title is awesome), Zizi will complete her turn around the cloud but Tallie? Umm…. I’m undecided but eventually settle on a 5k.

It surprised me a little that David then hard turned his Jedi at Tallie as I’d sort of expected him to try and finish Rey. It hard turned right, boosted with FTC and took a focus.

Rey’s sloop landed, Zizi turned, focused and rotated and Tallie just did her 5k and sat there, right in front of the Jedi with no token arc facing the wrong way. Oops!

Now here is where David gets even more unlucky then he’s already been (with Direct Hits and blank greens).

He’s out of Rey’s range though, right?

Nope!

But at least he’s range 3 of Zizi. Right?!

Juuuuuuust range 2. Just.

Nope again.

It’s so harsh. Rey and Tallie both fire and strip the Jedi’s shields.

In return the Jedi takes 1 shield from Tallie, getting half points.

There’s just over 15 minutes to go at this point for me to chase this ship down.

But where will David go?

I play is safe with Tallie – 5 straight. Rey will 2 bank in to clear all her stress (yay Korr Sella!) while Zizi will go 2 straight in case he decides to change target again.

David instead goes defensive and banks right, boosting for cover behind the gas cloud.

Tallie’s 5 straight is followed by a boost and rotate while Zizi’s 2 straight now feels way too short so she boosts too. Rey’s 2 bank clears stress but I opt against boosting.

Only Zizi has a shot and it does nothing.

Short turn. Back to dials!

This turn is a little more direct.

Rey will bank right to approach what I think the Jedi’s vector will be. Tallie will hard turn (hopefully not hitting the debris) while Zizi will cover the possible hard left and roll from the Jedi by banking left.

David catches me out by doing the 2 sloop.

Zizi’s bank is followed up with a focus & boost. Tallie’s 2 hard fits perfectly, allowing a focus & banked boost for her. Rey’s 1 bank looks a little short but I opt for the focus.

This time David’s luck has held up (well, a little) as Rey is just out of arc. Zizi and Tallie both put 1 damage through each, leaving the lonely Jedi on 1 hull with just over 5 minutes to go.

Can he hold out?

Come what may, this will be the last turn so I decide to go for it. Zizi will 2 hard right in case he escapes that way. Tallie dials in a 5 straight to cover that direction while Rey will sloop right in case he decides to YOLO a 5 straight over the cloud.

He does not. In fact, he simply takes a 1 bank left and focuses.

Zizi’s 2 turn bumps into him. Tallie takes the 5 straight, focuses and rotates.

Rey’s sloop now looks a little silly but with 2 Force to spend she just rotates her arc for a second stress.

Needless to say, the Jedi’s journey ended here rather abruptly and just as the timer beeped.

Result: 200 – 72 win

The conclusion…

Ho-ly cow.

I don’t know that I’ve ever experienced a game like that. Everything that could have gone right for me, did. And everything that could have gone wrong for him, also did.

Usually this is me. Today it was David.

Taking out a Jedi before it fired was ideal for me but I don’t know that I was expecting it. Hopeful, yes, but not expectant. That’s pretty much where the game turned (on turn 3!!) and it was a huge uphill battle for David from there on out.

He did well to get blocks in on Rey and Zizi in places to deny shots and actions but then when Rey managed to one-shot a FULL HEALTH 7B Jedi the writing was very much on the wall. (Incidentally, I’ve NEVER seen that happen before. Has anyone out there? I mean, I’ve one-shotted 3 and 4 health ships before but not a 6 health/2 agility one!).

I’m really happy with how I played this. David really caught me off-guard with how aggressively he approached Rey but my decision to go 2 straight and roll with the A-Wings rather than 5 straight and boost (as I was tempted to do) in turn one meant that I could adjust my strategy and bring them in quickly which then enabled me to take one out before it fired. Had I not done that then I’d likely have lost Rey after 2 turns of engagement in exchange for maybe one and a half 7B’s and it’s a very different game.

I think that the prep game against Dan a few days before stood me in good stead. It helped me to decide to focus on the Jedi first (although Yoda came up as a decent target of opportunity in both games) and to focus down on one at a time, accepting that Rey will take damage (and likely die) but to do what I can to trade well.

Overall I’m pretty happy with how this went. I’m reasonably sure that this was a good matchup for my list and was confident I could do ok (by avoid screwing things up) but the way the dice fell (for both of us) accelerated the result to full destruction. Had the dice been a little more even early on then it would have been more of a game but when Rey decides to roll well then things are going to be in trouble!

So it’s a decent start in the Sith Taker Cup, let’s see what week 2 brings!

Cheer up Geoff! It looks like you won!

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