A change of pace

The intro…

Hello there!

After a few weeks of truncated/rushed posts it’s time for something with a slightly more leisurely pace. I feel like I have the opportunity to take my time and it’s a good job because there’s a LOT to talk about.

First of all just a quick new development. Early this year as part of the game’s transition from FFG to AMG, the FFG Rules Forum was mothballed with the intention of AMG bringing in a replacement. Well yesterday was the day it finally arrived!

https://forums.atomicmassgames.com/forum/43-star-wars-x-wing-rules-questions/

This will be used for any rules questions, errata and holds any rules reference corrections so from here on in will be THE place to find that sort of thing.

Right, moving on to the biggest and best news…

YES!!!! My local is opening back up for real life play! WOOHOOOOO!!!!

Yes there are restrictions and (for the first time) ticket charges but I do not care. I’m just so glad for the opportunity to go and see my mates and throw dice with them (not at them, although it’s nice to have the option!).

When I turn up tomorrow (well, tomorrow from time of publishing) it will have been around 16 months since I was able to go to my local and play. I’ve missed it. A lot. Yes there have been 2 one-off tournaments that I’ve been to in Cardiff but it’s not quite the same when there’s a schedule and you’re somewhere that isn’t ‘home’.

Anyway, I can’t wait. And yes, this is what next week’s blog will be about. Well, some of it at least.

Secondly, and still in the vein of in-person play, I’ve got a tournament coming up this week! (so I guess some of the next blog might be about that too!)

Yay!

I’m super excited for this and the fact that I’ve got my X-Wing Wednesdays back in the same week is just a massive bonus.

If you were reading a few weeks ago you might remember that this tournament is Hyperspace and last week I asked for some list advice/suggestions since I’m pretty out of the Hyperspace loop.

The reason I chose the title for this blog is that after 5 games (well, 5 competitive, 8 in total) with the Heratanni list, it’s time for a change. Not because it’s no good (because it is!) and not because I’m tired of it ((because I’m not!) but because it isn’t Hyperspace legal and, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the kind of person who can just pick a list ont he day, turn up and do ok with it. I need reps.

I’ve got one online game (maybe more depending on work) and probably two in-person games to pick a list, tweak it if necessary and then figure out turn zero and openings. Easy, right?

And so, in what is now the very last week of season 3 of the Sith Taker league, I’m going to run this:

Luke Skywalker (61)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 61 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 3

Blue Squadron Escort (38)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 38 Half Points: 19 Threshold: 3

Ahsoka Tano (A-Wing) (49)
Instinctive Aim (1)
Proton Rockets (5)

Ship total: 55 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 2

Hera Syndulla (A-Wing) (42)
XX-23 S-Thread Tracers (2)

Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z4XWWWW142Y1XWWW142Y463X73WW102WY451XWW332W&sn=Hyperspace%20June21&obs=vt49decimatordebris0,vt49decimatordebris1,vt49decimatordebris2

It’s basically Matt Cary’s list from the most recent Hyperspace tournament of a good size (player-wise) that I’m aware of. I’m fine with flying both types of ship and have got some good reps with Hera for judging the range 2 bubble for her ability.

Now, I’m aware that Matt has since said that he’d swap the Blue Squadron Escort for A-Wing Wedge but the prospect of a blocker who has a bit more chunk to it than a fragile little A-Wing holds some appeal for me.

The tweak that I did make was to put Instinctive Aim on Ahsoka so that she can lock for her action (into a boost if necessary to get bullseye) and spend a Force to launch the Prockets without a focus while still having potentially 2 force to double mod that 5 dice attack. Nice.

I’m still not totally sold on Thread Tracers on Hera. Maybe I’m just flying her wrong but in order to maximise her ability I’m generally not prioritising pointing her at enemy ships, I’d rather have her ability (i.e. token) available for other ships. This has meant that I’ve mostly not fired the tracers when flying her over the last 5 weeks. It feels like it’s the right choice to have it but honestly I’m not using it and so it’s a waste of points. They stay on though, mostly because I forgot to remove them.

Right then, on with the game!

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

So who is my opponent for the last game of this season? Well it’s non other than Mr Jon Vicary! Jon and I played each other in September last year and just like he did then, when I contacted him to arrange the game he asked if there was anything in particular I wanted to fly against. While I’m not sure he’d have gone for some totally stupid suggestion like Defender Vader, an Academy Pilot and a 63 point bid in order for me to have a better chance for a win, even the fact that he offered with no thought of what he’d prefer to fly shows the kind of bloke that Jon is.

As it happened, he had read last week’s blog and noticed that I was looking for a Hyperspace list for the tournament and so took it upon himself to come up with something Hyperspace legal for me to go against. What a guy.

When we loaded up TTS Jon was actually still deciding on a list to play but eventually settled on this:

Lieutenant Bastian (47)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 47 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 4

Jessika Pava (51)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 51 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 4

Temmin Wexley (52)
R6-D8 (4)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 4

L’ulo L’ampar (42)
Predator (2)

Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZhZ200Z254XWWW175WWY296XWWW175WWY297XW359WWW175WWY239X127WWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Interesting. I never seem to have a great time against T-70’s but I felt that if I could leverage my higher initiative, token sharing from Hera and Ahsoka’s coordinate then maybe I could do some damage.

Jon explained the some of the interactions in the list before we got started which seemed quite good (more on that later). Did it inform my decisions for Pre-Flight Checks? I’m not sure…

Target Priority – ummmm…. I’m not sure? Each ship is worth roughly the same with Temmin coming in highest. There’s no obvious target and each ship has potential soft mods on offence. I guess I’ll have to see what opportunities I am presented with.
Obstacles – all ships are reasonably manoeuvrable here so I’m sure there’s a configuration which becomes more beneficial for one of us than the other really. I opt to try and push them more towards Jon’s side of the board.
Deployment – at this point I had basically just copied Matt Cary’s list and not done ANY research or preparation in how to fly it well (i.e. like Matt). I had toyed with it in Fly Casual a little and seen some success by having Luke attempt to flank. I would continue this by having an X-Wing in each corner and the faster A-Wings in the middle, able to turn and join whichever X-Wing needed more support.

With boht of us being on 198 points we rolled to see who would pick initiative. Jon won the roll-off and made me second player since we overlapped at initiatives 2 and 5 and Jon would maybe look to get some blocks in.

We placed obstacles and deployed ships and were ready to begin.

Now, with my i2 having been placed first I was slightly surprised by Jon’s deployment. I definitely didn’t want to joust his 2 ships with my 1 though and so I will start by running away. Hard turns to the right for the Blue Squaddie, Ahsoka and Hera while Luke would go 3 straight to make his way up the board edge.

Jon shuffled Jess and Bastian up a little while Temmin cruised along his own edge to catch them up and Lulo turned in behind to chase them.

My intended roll right with Ahsoka was blocked by Hera’s starting position (learning point, switch them over!) so Ahsoka ended up further from the board edge than I’d intended but not disastrously so.

No shots and so we’re back to dials.

Now, at this point I’m intending to draw Jon’s ships through the rocks, hopefully forcing a mistake, before looking to engage in the open space just right of the middle.

Now, how do I achieve that?

The Blue Squadron Escort (or BSE from now on because I’m lazy!) would go 3 straight while Ahsoka and Hera banked in and then rolled back out. Luke took it slower this time with a 1 straight.

Bastian and Jess both turned in towards the middle of the board, joined by Temmin who snuck in a cheeky boost to sit next to the rock. Lulo K-turned (JARGON ALERT!!), mostly because Jon said he wasn’t quite sure what else to do with him.

No shots again so back to planning we go.

Right, time to start putting things in position. BSE will bank in (a bit early to hard turn I think) and so will the A-Wings, who also barrel roll left. Luke 1 banks in and then rolls right to give a potential escape route to his right if he doesn’t fancy the engage.

Jon banks Jess and Bastian in while Temmin sneaks in a 1 straight without bumping. Just. Lulo also banks in, clearing his stress.

Nobody has range on anybody else and so back to dials we go again. We will definitely be shooting next time.

Suddenly Luke feels VERY outnumbered and unsafe. All of Jon’s ships could be bearing down on him next turn and so I decide to take the aforementioned escape route with a 3 bank.

BSE will bank left while the A-Wings will both hard turn to stay close to him for support. Let’s see how this goes…

BSE banks in and takes a focus.

Bastian and Jess both go straight, taking focuses as they go. Temmin banks in behind Jess and also takes a focus.

Luke’s 3 bank is followed by a boost to sit behind the rock. Ahsoka turns, spends 2 Force to give BSE a barrel roll and then takes a lock on Bastian as her action.

Lulo just goes 2 straight and takes a focus before Hera hard turns and takes an evade, ready to support whoever might be getting shot in her group.

While we ARE shooting, there’s not an awful lot of it happening. Hera, Luke, Ahsoka, Lulo, Temmin and Bastian all have nothing in arc/range.

Jess takes her pot-shot at Luke, range 3 (and only just barely in range) and obstructed but with rerolls from her ability. She rolls 2 hits.

Luke blanks out and loses his shields. Ok then.

BSE fires on Bastian double modded but fails to get anything though. Oh.

First blood to Jon then!

Back to planning and now I realise just how bad my approach has been.

Luke is in trouble here. Jon could turn everyone in on him and wipe him out in the next round of fire. So Luke gets another 3 bank to try and get as much distance as possible.

On the other hand, the rest of my ships could deal some significant damage here.

Looking to potentially get a block in I dial in a 4 straight for BSE while Hera and Ahsoka will both hard turn right.

Bastian turns….right at the A-Wings. Ah.

BSE takes his 4 straight and focuses.

Jess banks right and bumps into BSE before Temmin turns at Luke and focuses.

Lulo simply goes straight again, focusing and rotating his arc to rear.

Ahsoka’s hard turn lands right in front of Bastian. I debate rolling out of arc (but right in front of the asteroid) and opt to focus, hoping to deal some major damage from fully modded Prockets shot.

Luke banks and then boosts right, towards the board edge in order to try and escape Temmin’s arc. It’s desperate and puts him in a horrible position for next turn but I have to try and escape further damage.

Hera hard turns and takes a focus, opting to stay where she is to put damage into Bastian too.

Ok then, let’s do this.

Hera fires first, spending her focus to take 2 shields from Bastian. Lulo goes next but can’t get any more damage onto Luke (who doesn’t have a shot himself). Ahsoka follows up with her Prockets shot, spending the lock and focus for 4 hits, one of which Bastian avoids.

Temmin’s next up and has just barely got arc on the corner of Luke’s base. He rolls well and I roll poorly. Again. Luke takes another hit and gives up half points. Ouch.

Jess and Bastian both fire at Hera. My bad greens just keep on coming and between the 2 shots Hera rolls no evades and dies. Oh dear.

BSE hits Temmin with a range 1 shot and takes 2 shields but it’s little consolation. This round went very badly.

Right then, on to the next turn! But what now?!

Luke HAS to do something. Anything! He gets a talon roll to turn around and get his gun on someone.

Assuming that Temmin is going to chase Luke I set BSE a 1 straight to potentially block him while Ahsoka will go up behind and see what she can do once everyone has moved.

Bastian talon rolls (not entirely unexpected) before Jess hard turns at Ahsoka. Oh no.

I start with the BSE, moving up and taking a focus.

Temmin hard turns right and takes a free boost to bank past the BSE and takes a focus.

Lulo hard turns, to clear stress, focuses and rotates his arc to get the stress back.

Luke’s talon roll finally turns him around but he’s not really got anyone to shoot at…

Ahsoka’s 3 straight falls short by just millimeters and so she bumps into Jess. Oh man.

It’s all just so, so bad.

Right, let’s get on with it….

Luke doesn’t have anyone in range. Ahsoka shoots at Temmin (who is just barely in arc) and knocks off his last shield (which still isn’t half points…).

Lulo, Temmin and Bastian then all fire on Ahsoka who promptly dies.

Right, back to dials then.

I dial in a 4-K for BSE while Luke will go 1 straight.

Bastian takes a 2 straight and clears his stress before Jess and Temmin take their own 4-k’s (a lot of those this turn!).

Lulo takes a 2 hard turn, focuses and boosts to regain his stress before Luke takes the 1 straight and rolls to his right, gaining the unobstructed shot on Lulo.

Luke’s force modded shot does nothing to Lulo but the return shot puts another damage card onto Luke.

The rest of Jon’s ships don’t have range so BSE fires on Lulo and (unmodded!) takes a shield from him.

Back to planning then and things are looking pretty grim.

Looking to escape and regroup again with Luke (because that worked out so well last time!) I set him a 3 bank while BSE will get a 1 straight to clear his stress.

Jon calls the 1 straight and moves Bastian in with a 3 bank and boost. BSE promptly slams into him. No actions for me I guess!

Jess and Temmin both takes slow straight moves to clear stress before Lulo dives in at Luke and rotates his arc.

Luke’s 3 bank gets over the top of Lulo but I forgot to close his foils and so can’t boost. Jon says he’s fine with me opening them if I want to but I remember what I heard Mr Akhter Khan say on a Sith Takers podcast recently – we only learn from pain!

No boost and rolling only makes it worse. Luke focuses.

Lulo opens fire and, typically, kills Luke at the first time of asking.

Luke does get to shoot though and takes that shot at Jess, the only target in arc. He misses and does no damage.

BSE also takes a shot but I can’t remember who at and can’t check because no damage was done there either.

Back to dials we go and I want to try and inflict some damage with my full health T-65. Should be fine, right?

I dial in a 2 straight.

Bastian talon-rolls to his right to turn around. BSE’s 2 straight clears and he takes a focus.

Jess cruises 1 forwards before Temmin 4-k’s (missing the debris) and Lulo just takes a 2 hard turn (around the same debris).

Jon has 3 ships with arc on my lonely survivor and puts 4 damage past his green dice before my return shot takes a single shield from Jess.

At this point there’s absolutely no way back and so I concede to avoid stretching out the torture!

Result: 24 – 200 loss

The conlcusion…

Ok, that was a bit of a disaster wasn’t it!

I ain’t no Matt Cary!

First of all, I want to talk about dice.

The dice were mean to me. Losing Luke’s shields to a range 3 obstructed shot was unfortunate and somewhat unlikely. Losing Hera’s too. And then losing Ahsoka completely in one round of shooting wasn’t great either.

Did the dice let me down? Yes they did. Did the dice put my ships in the positions they were in though? Nope, I did that all by myself.

As long time reader of my blog Ian Franklin is keen on saying, all dice should be assumed to be blank until proven otherwise. If you’re relying on your dice to bail you out, you planned poorly in the first place.

And that is precisely what happened here. I had no real plan going in to the game. I don’t know how T-70’s seem to be SO much more durable than their Rebel counterparts when it’s simply 1 more shield but they somehow just are. It’s very odd.

That mindset (whether accurate or not) then gives me pause. His ships are stronger than mine. I can’t joust him (and I still believe jousting Jon’s list would have been wrong) and while I need to try and split his ships up to try and pick one off, he simply has to just not split his. If he keeps his ships relatively close together and points them in roughly the right direction then they’re going to do some decent work.

My rough plan to try and draw attention with Luke and hit with the others fell apart once I failed to put significant damage in and take one of his ships off the board coupled with the slightly unlikely (but still possible) early damage to Luke and then Hera. As a result, Luke was caught in arcs when he shouldn’t have been (and some of them were SUPER close to being out of arc) and only fired once all game, taking a single shield. And that is really not good enough.

At the point that I lost Hera I pulled up the dice stats and confirmed that my results were very poor (-5.3) while Jon’s weren’t (+0.25).

As you can see, by the end the dice had swung back to be a little more level (or rather, Jon’s dice got worse, mine stayed almost as bad) but by then the damage was done (literally) and there was no way back WAY before I conceded.

As ever, dice stats in a vacuum mean very little, what matters are the match ups (like rolling 4 hits into 2 blanks vs rolling 3 hits into 2 evades) but also check out the numbers of dice rolled. Jon rolled almost double my number of reds and I rolled almost 50% more greens. That shows me that I didn’t get enough quality shots and got shot at far too many times.

The key thing for me to recognise is this – the dice didn’t lose the game for me, they just highlighted my poor choices.

Overall, a very poor game from me and I’m a bit disappointed about it. That said, it was great to play against Jon and the fact that he was still picking his list when I joined the TTS room and claimed to have no real plan of what to do (I believe you mate!) really highlights just how good a player he is.

While discussing the game afterwards I took a closer look at Jon’s list as he walked me through the interactions. The key difference between our lists was that while I was relying on support ships for mods, the bulk of Jon’s ships all have access to passive mods on offence.

Now, without wanting to overreact and throw the baby out with the bathwater (as they saying goes!), I have some decisions to make. Well, one main one – stick or twist?

No time to fill in the meme!

My list is clearly decent for Matt Cary to have taken it to a final in a field of really good players. What’s in question is my ability to fly it properly. To have a solid overall strategy and find openings that I can use against several different list archtypes.

And so the thought pops into my head – why don’t I try Jon’s list then? I’ve seen it flown, seen how effective it can be and I own all the ships/pilots/upgrades that are in it. Just as I’m thinking it, Jon then suggests it too.

And so, going in to my first casual Wednesday play in well over a year I’ll likely to packing two lists to test out ready for Saturday’s tournament. What could possibly go wrong!

Before I sign off I just want to say thank you to everyone who suggested lists for Cai and I to use in the upcoming tournament. It certainly gave us lots of food for thought.

I want to thank Elliott Weights, Jacob Weeks, u/satellite_uplink (David Sutcliffe), u/redditjw4, u/RiseOfTheBoarKing and in particular Barrie Robertson who went all out and suggested 6 Empire lists for Cai to try out!

Cai has decided to try these 2 lists out at Firestorm this week in the lead up with a view to running one on Saturday. Whether that changes by the weekend is anyone’s guess!

List 1 – Empire

Baron of the Empire (28)
Proton Rockets (5)

Ship total: 33 Half Points: 17 Threshold: 2

Storm Squadron Ace (39)
Fire-Control System (2)

Ship total: 41 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 3

Captain Feroph (47)
Ship total: 47 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 4

Onyx Squadron Sentry (36)
Synced Laser Cannons (6)
Target-Assist MGK-300 (3)

Ship total: 45 Half Points: 23 Threshold: 4

Black Squadron Scout (33)
Ship total: 33 Half Points: 17 Threshold: 2

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZhZ200Z172XWW102Y177XW113WWY184XWWWY417XWW354WWW356Y212XWWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

List 2 – Republic

“Warthog” (54)
XX-23 S-Thread Tracers (2)
Wolfpack (4)
Hull Upgrade (3)

Ship total: 63 Half Points: 32 Threshold: 6

Squad Seven Veteran (44)
Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 5

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

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Squad Seven Veteran (44)
Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 5

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v8ZhZ200Z414X332WWW352WWW164Y340XWWWWWY277XWW201WY340XWWWWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Anyway, I can’t wait for real life play this week. Next week’s post might be a big one!!

LAST SECOND UPDATE!!!

I’ve been made aware that a single ticket has become available for the tournament I’m attending on Saturday! So if Pontypool isn’t too far for you to travel to (or even if it is and you don’t care how far!?) then you can grab a ticket from here.

There’s only 1 mind so be fast if you want it! Let me know if you pick it up, I’ll want to meet you on Saturday!

If you’re looking to buy some gaming ‘stuff’ and don’t have a local gaming store, you can use my affiliate link for Firestorm games. They’re great!

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Links from cards mentioned in the post will take you to the relevant page to buy that card from their website. These links are sponsored.