And now for Something Completely Different

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

Summer is unofficially over, school is back, long dark nights and cold temperatures (that said, it was 27C yesterday but still….) are coming and it’s my birthday tomorrow! Yes, September is here!

From an X-Wing stance that also means that the new releases are almost here and that a points update should be imminent! Exciting times!

On top of that, starting on Thursday AMG are running another ‘Ministravaganza’ streaming event where they will talk about various aspects of their gaming systems.

The bad news is that out of 3 days and 21 streams there is just one that looks like it focuses purely on X-Wing. Read into that what you will (in my opinion it doesn’t mean all that much but some people are freaking out about it!).

The good news? The tag line for that session – This is the Way

Now, it didn’t take a huge amount of wild speculation to think that perhaps this meant an announcement for the release of the Razorcrest. Finally!

And then last Friday, quite casually, they drop a single tweet stating they will be discussing points, rules updates, Organised Play and new products along with this image

ERRRRRMEEEEHHGEEEERRRRSSSSHHHHHHH

That’s going to be a rather significant stream session!

Now I’ve been a 2 faction player since 2.0 came out (Rebels and Resistance). Mostly by preference but partially down to other factors such as cost and storage. Cai also plays 2 factions (Imperial and Republic) and in fact we sold off our First Order ships around 2 years ago as he never played them.

But.

I will 100% be buying the Razorcrest.

Why? Well firstly for the model. It’s a great looking ship and it’s chunky, likely to be at least a medium base ship (maybe large?! who knows?!). We love the show and, from a personal view, The Mandalorian is the joint most ‘Star Wars-y’ feeling media (along with Rogue One) since the original trilogy.

And secondly? Well….I may have a confession to make.

I’ve been bulk buying some ships for some future plans. Some are Exile Squad related but some are blog related. And somehow I have ended up with 2 Firesprays. At the Excelsior tournament in Bristol a few weeks ago Cai’s bottom 3 finish meant he was given a ship as a prize – a 1.0 Quadjumper. I also have several cross-over ships (Y-Wings, Z-95’s, a Falcon). On top of that, I found a Scum conversion kit for £9.99 which mysteriously found it’s way into the basket and was checked out before the logical/reasoning part of my brain understood what I was doing.

Yes, it seems I am (semi reluctantly) buying in to Scum.

I know that the current hot pieces of the meta (JARGON ALERT!!) are likely to get hiked in points and will break up the strongest lists but I heard a good point on the Sith Takers Snapshots podcast the other day with Ben Hibbert pointing out that with such a huge number of ships/pilots AND with so many crew carriers of all sizes that if there’s going to be a great/broken combination following a points change, the Scum faction is where it’s most likely to be found.

It’s a fair point I think and while I’m not a ‘tournament every weekend/find a strong meta list to crush people with’ kind of player (not that there’s anything wrong with that!), it would be good to have some options available if I fancy changing things up or want to have a tilt at doing well in one particular event.

Anyway, this isn’t even what I want to talk about this week. No, like the title implies, this week is about something rather out of the ordinary.

The main bit…

After a few weeks of running my slightly altered Heratanni list into things (with mixed but mostly good results) I felt like a change was perhaps necessary. The next store tournament isn’t until the end of September and that list (namely Hera) isn’t likely to survive the expected points change intact. So, what shall I fly?

If I’m being honest (and I try to be!), list building isn’t a strength of mine. I’ll throw some things together but I struggle to ‘see’ those combinations that make a list great.

My main tactic is to tweak an existing list (unless it’s been totally nuked) until some genius finds some combination that I can steal.

Anyway, even this is not what I want to talk about this week!

No, the story begins back in July some time….

I mean, it wasn’t really all THAT long ago….

A few weeks ago one of our local players Mark suggested that we do something a little bit different on one of our Wednesday night gaming sessions. I paid a little bit of attention, something to do with huge ships and thought ‘that would be cool’.

Fast forward a few weeks and Mark has picked a date (during his week off to have enough time to prepare), arranged with the store to set up the tables differently and been offered a little prize support for it. What a freaking hero!

As we approached the Wednesday in question Mark asked in our chat group who would be coming and outlined what we would need to bring. I’ll be honest, I hadn’t put together in my mind that it was the upcoming Wednesday until he mentioned it. Still, Cai and I were up for doing something a little different and read down through the information.

Each player should bring two 150 point Extended format lists, one being ‘the good guys’ (Rebel, Resistance, Republic or Scum) and one for ‘the bad guys’ (Empire, First Order, CIS or Scum).

*Before anyone says anything along the lines of ‘certain point of view’ or ‘Rebel terrorists!’, I understand these views are subjective, it’s just the easiest way to differentiate and group together!

Very mysterious!

Caution – be careful what you Google. Also, the song is in your head now, right?

With no further prompt or clue as to what we might be doing (or what might be good) I set about picking two lists.

First the ‘good guys’. Rebel is my go-to faction so it makes sense to start there. I briefly consider taking just a fully loaded Dash before finding that it no longer makes 149 points like it did 2 years ago. Interesting. I drop one or two pieces and add in a Bandit Z-95 for a round 150.

Crazy.

But funny.

It goes on the back burner.

What else? Well, I do have four VERY beautifully painted A-Wings. What can I do with those? Some interesting things it turns out.

Hera and Jake (both naked) as support ships and Shara and Wedge both with Predator and Marksmanship for damage dealing all comes in at 149 points.

Ok, what’s one more option? What about X-Wings? I can fit 3 Red Experts with R4 astromech and Plasma torpedoes.

Hmmmm…..

After some short deliberation I notice that I’ve been staring at the painted A-Wings and I guess that means they win me over.

Jake Farrell (34)
Ship total: 34 Half Points: 17 Threshold: 2

Hera Syndulla (A-Wing) (42)
Ship total: 42 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 2

Shara Bey (A-Wing) (32)
Marksmanship (1)
Predator (2)

Ship total: 35 Half Points: 18 Threshold: 2

Wedge Antilles (A-Wing) (35)
Marksmanship (1)
Predator (2)

Ship total: 38 Half Points: 19 Threshold: 2

Total: 149

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z50XWWWY451XWWWY462X125W127WWY452X125W127WW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Ok, that’s one list. What about an Imperial one?

Thinking along the same theme, I decide on a bit of a whim to go for Inferno Squadron. It turns out that they all fit plus an Academy Pilot plus a sneaky Marksmanship on Seyn to try for those crits.

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

Del Meeko (29)
Ship total: 29 Half Points: 15 Threshold: 2

Gideon Hask (29)
Ship total: 29 Half Points: 15 Threshold: 2

Seyn Marana (29)
Marksmanship (1)

Ship total: 30 Half Points: 15 Threshold: 2

Iden Versio (40)
Ship total: 40 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 2

Total: 150

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z229XY222XWY223XWY224X125WY218XW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

My last task was to help Cai put lists together. Deep joy!

In the end we ran out of time for two lists and he ended up with just one. But oh boy, what a list it was.

Captain Oicunn (74)
Intimidation (3)
Proton Torpedoes (12)
Seventh Sister (9)
Darth Vader (14)
Grand Inquisitor (13)
Fifth Brother (12)
Proton Bombs (4)
Hull Upgrade (2)
Dauntless (4)

Ship total: 147 Half Points: 74 Threshold: 9

Total: 147

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z215X122W136W60W26W33W82W69W164W147&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Wow. Now, you’ll notice that standard rules haven’t been applied here because a legal list should be at least 2 ships. But who cares? This list is HILARIOUS! It sports 4 Force charges (despite not having a Force sensitive pilot!) and is dangerous from all angles.

Bonkers.

So with everything packed up, we headed out to Firestorm to see what Mark had in store!

WHAT IS HAPPENING!?

We arrive to a very interesting set up.

First, we pick teams. Cai is one of two who has only brought one list and both are Imperial and the rest of us split into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sides. We have 8 players in total so have 4 on each side. Now we get to the setup.

There are 4 boards set up in a line. At one end of the row are two capital ships, an Imperial Raider and a CR90 Corvette. Across the remaining 3 boards there are obstacles scattered (5 per board I think?) plus a Gozanti right at the other end which is purely there for the fact that it looks cool. It’s an extra obstacle.

The two capital ships will start with the back of their bases against the board edge and each turn they will advance 5 forwards at initiative 0 using the Epic movement template.

Now for the rules. Each individual player scores points when getting uncancelled damage into another player’s ship. So, for example, if you roll 3 hits into someone and they roll 1 evade, you score 2 points.

Additionally, you can shoot at the capital ships, specifically, the corresponding enemy of your side (i.e. Imperials shoot at the CR90, Rebels at the Raider). If you decide to attack one, you score two points for registering two damage (but nothing for 1 hit). They don’t have green dice.

HOWEVER

If you shoot one, it shoots back with 3 dice. Even if you didn’t hit it. If it registers two hits on you (after you roll green dice) then you LOSE one point.

Lastly, if you are in the path of one when it moves at initiative 0, your ship is bumped out of the way (physically moved) one side of it or the other (depending on your position relative to it) AND you roll 3 red dice and take whatever damage you roll.

So don’t be there!

With the capital ships on the first board, the remaining 3 boards are split into four equally sized sections (yes, we had a tape measure!) and drew tokens at random to determine our positions on the board. The ‘good guys’ had the bid (just!) and so we elected (by virtue of a dice roll!) to be the second player(s) and then began to set our ships in initiative order.

One last rule before we began – NO CONFERRING BETWEEN TEAM-MATES!

Could be interesting trying not to bump your own team!

We began planning as everyone now had to decide for themselves what strategy to take – shoot at players or shoot at the capital ships?

Being the second furthest from the ships along my side of the board, I opted to go pick off some ships while I waited for the big boys to arrive.

Most of us began pretty cagey with Josh turning his double LAAT’s away from Luke’s incoming TIE’s (plus Vader!) while I twisted and turned my A-Wings with one eye on Peter’s TIE’s plus Heavy and the other on Mark’s Boba Fett who was heading towards me.

At the other end of the board Matt’s two aces (Vader and Soontir) were looking to leverage position on little Dylan’s B-Wings while Cai’s Oicunn crept torwards them too.

The first moment of hilarity came when Cai proudly announced he was dropping a Proton Bomb. Cai beamed. I smiled. Matt grimaced. Luke laughed. The penny dropped. Yep, the no conference rule was about to take it’s first victim.

There’s a bomb out there somewhere!

First engagements were about to take place as Matt banked Vader in towards the approaching B-Wings. He opted to use Afterburners to try and escape the bomb but didn’t manage it, losing a shield to the bomb after landing in a position that he didn’t want to be in.

As the shooting began Matt’s aces put some damage into little Dylan’s B-Wings but in response they took Vader off the board.

First blood to the good guys!

I managed to score a couple of points by chipping some damage into Peter’s TIE Heavy but in response he managed to halve Wedge from range 3. Typical!

Into the next turn and somewhat anticipating the attempted bump from Peter, I banked in with 3 of my ships while Hera took the safer route around the back of the formation.

The Heavy was softened up a bit by Mark’s Boba and was finished off by my A-Wings but his TIE Fighters replied at initiative 3 and my green dice had, it seems, decided to take the night off as I lost Wedge and Shara lost shields.

Meanwhile Matt’s Soontir had managed to avoid little Dylan’s B-Wings altogether, Mark was sending one M-3A down that end of the board, Cai’s Oicunn was now approaching the rear of our little melee in the middle and Luke was still chasing Josh’s deceptively fast LAAT’s.

A few turns later and things were really starting to get messy.

Luke had given up on chasing the LAAT’s now that Mark’s Boba was in range. Meanwhile, Peter’s TIE’s were turning to chase my A-Wings who had tried escaping to the edges to begin turning.

Cai’s Oicunn was now right in the mix and, by some miracle, had yet to take any damage while at the same time scoring points by using the Darth Vader crew for auto damage on tokenless ships. Sneaky.

Josh was finally turning in with his LAAT’s to fire from their side-to-side arcs while Matt’s Soontir chased down and destroyed one of little Dylan’s B-Wings.

Crucially, the other B-Wing had been crashed into by the Raider, looking like it was well out of the fight, and taken no damage. This is important later.

Things were now moving on apace and while the Imperials had taken early losses, Rebel ships were now dropping while TIE fighters simply refused to roll blanks and die.

Having scored a few points early on I was now unable to leverage my 2 dice guns to hit things and so, in a slight fit of rage, Jake jousted some TIE fighters.

Incredibly he survived but having rolled 3 hits at the closest TIE, Luke rolled nattie (JARGON ALERT!!) evades to prevent me scoring points.

Meanwhile, Mark’s Boba had melted under rather a lot of focused fire and one of his M3-A’s finally chased down by Cai’s Oicunn. His other M3-A was (quite comically) trying to chase down Soontir who was paying it zero attention whatsoever.

Remeber little Dylan’s surviving B-Wing? it was now basically farming points by double tapping the Imperial Raider and managing to take little to no damage in return while the rest of us idiots were shooting at each other.

Had we all made a mistake with our strategy here?!

We hit another high point as Cai opted to drop his second Proton Bomb to catch Josh’s LAAT’s.

Hey Matt, Soontir’s not going 5 straight….is he?

He in fact was.

Many LOLs were had.

As turns progressed I lost Hera to stupidity by not anticipating the location of Luke’s TIE’s and bumping her ONTO A ROCK. At least the damage from the rock denied someone getting a point.

Things really got interesting as the captial ships finally arrived where we were all fighting each other. Cai’s Oicunn had left to turn around as Jake, my last ship, banked in at him, rolled left to dodge his arc and focused, following up with 3 hits to score 3 points with no return shot. Lovely!

The next turn was not quite so good. Jake slooped (JARGON ALERT!!) in behind the now ioned Oicunn (due to a Disabled Power Regulator a few turns before) to get a juicy range 1 shot outside his arc.

Except.

Cai remembered to use Seventh Sister and tractored Jake back into arc.

Jake fired with no mods and scored just one point. Oicunn returned fire and, with Jake down one green die from the tractor, finished him off.

Nice move son, nice move.

Matt’s Soontir had been finally taken out by Mark’s little i1 M3-A so at least I wasn’t the first one out! (Sorry Matt!)

I watched on as the game continued and having led the points tally at one point, other players were now jockeying for position on the remaining Rebel ships and/or the CR90.

When Mark’s M3-A finally bit the dust, the game was called. The imperials had won.

But which player had won?

Amazingly, both Luke AND Cai had ended up on the same points tally.

I can’t quite decide who was more unlikely to have won, Cai’s single ship build (with zero agility!) or Luke who had spent at least 5 turns not shooting while chasing down the LAAT’s!

With nothing else to separate them, they rolled to see who won…

Cai picked hits and, typically for my dice, I rolled a blank and Luke was the winner!

The conclusion…

Not your typical conclusion this week but I will share some thoughts on this format.

Firstly (and most importantly!) it was fun. Like, really, really good fun. It made me realise that sometimes we can turn up, speak mostly to the one or two people that we end up playing games against and then leaving. This game brought us all together and was great throughout. Except possibly for Matt what with losing half his list in the first engagement.

Secondly, knowing what I know now, I wouldn’t pick the same list again. To do damage with 2 dice guns is hard. I didn’t end up shooting the capital ships but even then, I’d have to register all paint to score points. Around half way through I was sort of wishing I had those three T-65’s or something that could punch a little harder which could score some more points.

Thirdly, it was a LONG game. We stopped when all ships on one side were destroyed but the capital ships probably had another 5-ish turns before escaping out the other end of the run and the game went on for almost FOUR hours. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t feel like four hours (due to the fun!) but practically, it’s a long time.

I want to say a MASSIVE thank you to Mr Mark Hall who took this idea from concept to completion. You’re awesome!

Not a great pic of Mark, granted, but the only one where I got than his arm in shot!

Thanks to Firestorm for humouring our setup requests and providing some prize support!

And thanks to my fellow Exiles for being genuinely great people to hangout with.

And so that’s it for this week! Something a bit different for us here but I also want to know what YOU think! Is this something your group might like? Has your group got an alternative format you play? I’d love to hear about games or ideas outside of the normal 200/6 (points/obstacles) or other ‘official’ formats (such as Aces High or others in that pack).

I’ll be back next week with at least one (maybe two?!) games from the Sith Taker league and almost certainly some thoughts from AMG’s live streams. Exciting times!

The outro…

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