A Fresh Start?

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

We’re in 2022!!

Yes, we’re past the future date from Back to the Future 2 and we’re well on our way to Jetsons territory here (well, not quite, it’s set in 2062 apparently and this year is when George Jetson was probably conceived but I digress…) but no flying cars or jetpacks. Yet.

But what about the future of X-Wing? (ooooooh, what a segue!)

Well, having dropped some pretty massive rules update bombshells a few weeks ago which left parts of the community reeling, AMG has been drip feeding some spoilers of the new content which is due out at the end of next month.

Just to be clear, I’m not going to look at anything to do with the new rules (specifically the ones from the December Twitch stream) until they’re out in full. It can take me a few goes to get my head around lots of rules at the best of times and so trying things out with no guides or points of reference other than a Twitch stream just feels like a really bad idea. When new rules are out and I can stop and look at them easily during a game, I’ll use them.

Anyway, the new content! I’m sure you’ve already seen most or all of the cards already via AMG’s Twitter or Facebook or reposts in various groups but there are 2 that I want to talk about in particular.

I don’t know that I was expecting Maul as a Gauntlet pilot but not only is he here (and looks decent?!) but he’s got 3 Force! THREE!!! This triggers me a little as it makes me think (again!) about 2 Force Luke. Justice for Luke AMG!!! I want Jedi Master Luke with 3 Force please!

And the other card?

Ah yes. Here she is.

Considering that it’s basically the Razorcrest’s fault that Cai and I bought into the Scum faction (having resisted for 4 years!), I’m very glad that it seems like it’s got the potential to be good or, at the very least, interesting. When the pilot card for The Mandalorian was revealed by AMG with no ship ability I was disappointed and a little sceptical (although I still pre-ordered it…) but this title has certainly caught my eye. Effectively a side-board to change out situationally? Well, yes please Mr Mando!

With new packs and new rules February is certainly looking interesting for the world of X-Wing. It’s still a little while until we get any of it though so what do I do with myself in the mean time?

Well, a thing happened at Christmas…

Yes! I’m going to the Sith Taker Open!

In previous years we’ve booked tickets for Cai and I to attend the UK System Open but with official OP still ‘on the boat’ at the moment, we still want to go to a big, 2 day event. Aside from the System Open in Milton Keynes, the furthest I’ve travelled for a tournament is just over the Severn Bridge to Bristol for a 1 day tournament at Excelsior! and getting to more tournaments further afield is something I’ve been mulling over for a little while now.

Covid restrictions in the UK have ramped back up recently but an email just a few days ago suggests that they’re confident things will still go ahead as planned. Yay!

And so then, I’ll need some lists!

The lists…

Before I get started on lists, I’m going to need to know the formats.

Now, the main event was always going to be Extended but with the specific ruleset being finalised closer to the time. The email last week confirmed that unless AMG release their upcoming new rules by the 7th of January (which is spectacularly unlikely) then the current (‘old’?) official FFG rules reference would be in play.

Initiative bids decide player order, no auto damage for asteroids and no range 0 shooting. X-Wing as we’ve known it is having a last hurrah.

Day 2 will be the cut for the main tournament but for those who don’t make cut (*puts hand up*) there is a side event. The original Facebook event (created in the summer) listed this as being Hyperspace format but clearly a LOT has changed since then and a quick clarification question over Discord revealed that day 2 will be using Extended like day 1 but will utilise the new ROAD rules (JARGON ALERT!!) as we currently understand them (since there’s no official documentation on that yet. We have seen it in action though and have enough information to work from).

Ok then, formats understood, so what do I fly? Let’s start with the main event.

Before I got side-tracked identifying a Hyperspace list for Cardiff I was taking a very enjoyable deep dive into experimenting with my long time favourite pilot – Dash Rendar in the YT-2400. The significant points drop on both him and his title meant that a LOT of new combinations were possible. I just had to find them.

After some initial experimenting and during my switch to Hyperspace testing Dash got REALLY popular in the general meta.

At the GSP Battle for Alderaan (the invitation only final of the Galactic Championship series of events), there were 18 Dash lists out of 255 players with 3 of them making the top 32 cut. All the lists that made cut included Jyn Erso, Perceptive Co-pilot and the Outrider title.

At the GSP Scarif Galaxies Qualifier a few weeks before that, there were also 18 Dash lists but this time out of 178 registered players (so a higher percentage representation). Dash performed even better here with 5 of those lists making the top 32 cut, 2 of them making the top 4 and one winning the event with Pierre “Qu1oeil” Binetruy bringing this:

Dash Rendar (79)
Expert Handling (4)
Jyn Erso (3)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Stealth Device (6)
Outrider (6)

Ship total: 106 Half Points: 53 Threshold: 5

Jake Farrell (34)
Proton Rockets (5)
Vectored Cannons (RZ-1) (0)

Ship total: 39 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 2

Hera Syndulla (A-Wing) (48)
Concussion Missiles (6)
Vectored Cannons (RZ-1) (0)

Ship total: 54 Half Points: 27 Threshold: 2

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X120WW40W54W166W157WY50XWW102W371Y451XWW99W371&sn=Dash%20Luke%20AP-5&obs=

A Dash list also won PAX Unplugged with Jeremy Chamblee taking this:

Dash Rendar (79)
Trick Shot (4)
Jyn Erso (3)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Outrider (6)

Ship total: 100 Half Points: 50 Threshold: 5

Hera Syndulla (B-Wing) (48)
Jamming Beam (0)
Stabilized S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 48 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 4

Kyle Katarn (31)
Cassian Andor (5)
Moldy Crow (16)

Ship total: 52 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 3

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW40W54WW157WY450XWWW12WWW313WY48XWW19WWW156&sn=Dash%20Luke%20AP-5&obs=

It seems I’d identified quite early what Dash should look like (objectively speaking, taking the above data as proven results). Jyn Erso crew pairs nicely with Perceptive Co-pilot with the second crew slot replacing the removed gunner slot (RIP Bistan!) and allows Dash to focus & evade OR double focus OR even double evade. Nice. Outrider becoming so cheap meant it was an easy choice to take with it’s double benefits (removal of red or orange token when overlapping or passing through an obstacle and removing the obstacle bonus when firing an obstructed shot) which in turn means that adding Trick Shot becomes a relatively easy choice too.

But the question that I’ve been asking for the last 2 1/2 years when it comes to Dash still remains – what else goes in the list?

The above lists have quite different options but one thing in common. Support. Having lost the ability to double tap you’re now looking at having to make full use of Dash’s big 4 dice gun for longer which means making sure he survives as long as possible. When he makes up roughly half of the list in terms of points he makes for a very juicy target for opponents.

Opponents looking at Dash

In this case Pierre’s choice of Stealth Device plus Hera being able to send over a token at any point makes a lot of sense.

Jeremy takes a slightly different approach by using Kyle to generate and pass more tokens but changes Hera from A-Wing to B-Wing for the increased damage output.

I’ve long debated (with myself) how best to build out a Dash list and for me (and my play style) there should ideally be 2 elements to it:

1 – support for Dash.
4 dice shots are great but they do increase the chances of blanking out. Rolling 4 reds and getting just a single eyeball feels really bad. Giving Dash an extra action means being able to double mod shots, making Dash more deadly. A support ship also means that he can potentially reposition to get out of trouble (namely taking multiple range 1 shots) and with the title allowing you to remove red tokens when passing over or landing on an obstacle, it’s relatively easy to ditch the stress from a barrel roll.

2 – alternative threat.
Dash is quite likely going to die. Yes he’s 10 health with 2 green dice and being able to take a focus and evade certainly helps but under focussed fire Dash can potentially burn down quite quickly. When this inevitably happens, what do I have left? Jake Farrell isn’t exactly an end-game monster. Ahsoka and Hera (either A-Wing or B-Wing), while being high initiative and able to hold their own to an extent, are more support ships than anything else (depending on how you load them out, of course).

I know there are other ways and clearly the lists I mentioned above are both Dash + 2 support but in a 3 ship Dash list this is my preferred method.

Now, I could go into various builds and options that are possible and test them all out but I hit on one fairly early after the points change that I really like and that (so far at least!) has worked quite well for me.

Dash Rendar (79)
Trick Shot (4)
Jyn Erso (3)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Outrider (6)

Ship total: 100 Half Points: 50 Threshold: 5

Luke Skywalker (60)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 60 Half Points: 30 Threshold: 3

AP-5 (32)
K-2SO (6)
R4 Astromech (2)

Ship total: 40 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 3

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW40W54WW157WY4XWWWW142Y72XW314WW5W&sn=Dash%20Luke%20AP-5&obs=

As you can see, Dash is using the ‘typical’ build. In all honesty here Trick Shot is reasonably optional. With the email a couple of days ago confirming that the ‘old’ rules (or as I call them, the most recently official rules) are in play, it’s possible that I could (and probably will) drop it for a 4 point bid.

It’s pretty obvious that in this list AP-5 fills the support role while Luke is the alternative threat. What I really like about this list though is the flexibility.

AP-5 can give a K-2SO calculate to any ship and it isn’t really an issue. AP’s got more blues with R4, Luke has Force mods anyway (so could take a blue or white manoeuvre) and Dash, while not having very many blues, with Outrider he can shed stress by flying over obstacles. AP’s coordinate means Dash could have focus, evade and lock, or focus and evade and then roll. He can even have rolled last turn (or be given a K-2SO calculate) and still get coordinated by AP because the pilot ability allows it.

Or Luke could possibly end up with 2 Force, a calculate (from K-2SO) and a lock (his own action) AND an evade (a coordinated focus from AP-5 turned into an evade by Jyn crew).

It has sometimes boggled my brain.

But it works.

For me.

So far.

Mostly.

So, aside from some small tweaks along the way if I come across anything in testing, I’m pretty set on this list.

Thanks Dwight!

Now for day 2! Sort of.

You see, I had a whole section already written here about the Hyperspace list that I ran in Cardiff (Leia, Luke and Ahsoka) and how it’s still valid and I like it and the archetype suits me and so on. Then I got the email about the tournament and the clarification that day 2 would ALSO be extended.

Hmmm.

Now I’m certainly not complaining, any opportunity to fly Dash is very welcome! I just wish I’d had the email before writing a few hundred words about it!

Still, that makes this decision really very easy. I will definitely fly the same list as day 1.

Probably.

I know that sounds like a contradiction, let me explain.

I love flying Dash. I’ve flown him a LOT over the last 3 years or so, winning some and losing some. He’s great fun to fly and that’s why I’m prepared to fly him 11 times in 2 days.

That said, the last time I took Dash to a major event (the UK System Open 2020) I played 5 games and lost 4 of them. Hard. I mostly still enjoyed playing but the frustration watching him melt quickly over and over was, well, frustrating! So I might maybe want a second option for day 2 in case day 1 goes horribly wrong. If I do though it’ll just be something I throw together last minute (maybe that abandoned Hyperspace list?). My primary plan though is to use Dash.

So do I make any changes from the day 1 list? Probably not. If I do end up dropping Trick Shot for a bid for day 1 I’ll certainly put it back on for day 2 since ROAD rules more than likely means deficit scoring too. Other than that a straight 200 point list works just fine for me.

That was quick.

Time for some testing!

The batrep…? (JARGON ALERT!!)

At Firestorm Games in Newport we had initially planned to do some sort of scenario type game on the Wednesday after Christmas but new covid rules had unfortunately put pay to that. It would now be just normal casual night so my plan was to take the Dash list and get some practice in.

Was.

At lunchtime on that Wednesday something happened.

Yep. An awkward fall while tripping over (an unsigned!!!) step while playing laser tag resulted in a fractured ankle and means up to 6 – 8 weeks of no driving. With casual play on Wednesdays normally starting before my wife finishes work this means that getting to play in person at my FLGS (JARGON ALERT!!) is, at least temporarily, off the table.

Balls.

Before I go any further, I’m ok (well, when I’m on the painkillers), it does hurt and I’ve got a follow up appointment next week where I get x-rayed again and find out what happens next (I’m really desperately hoping to not need surgery!).

What does this mean for X-Wing? Well, at least for now my Wednesday evenings are out. For the Sith Taker Open? Well, here’s where awesome people come in. I have had not just one but two offers of a lift. Amazing.

So, I will be at the Sith Taker Open. I will just have to do all my prep for it online.

Still, it could have been worse!

As a result of the injury and New Year’s Eve and time off with family and friends I haven’t actually played any games in a couple of weeks (except the odd one in Fly Casual) so there unfortunately isn’t a game to talk about today. However with my wife and kids going back to work and school respectively while I’m at home unable to drive or work I’ve got scope to get some reps in with TTS to make sure I’m as prepared as possible to try and make a decent showing at the STO.

So it’s not all bad I guess?!

The conclusion…

Well, to say this has been an unusual blog is probably quite accurate! No conclusions to draw exactly (other than to be careful when playing laser tag!) and not exactly the post I’d planned to write but here we are.

I guess at this point I touch on the other reason for my flying Dash that I didn’t talk about earlier but warrants mentioning.

It’s a bit of a goodbye.

AMG have announced their intention to discontinue Hyperspace as we currently know it and move to having ‘standard’ and ‘extended’ formats. They have also said (or implied? I can’t remember word for word) that ‘standard’ will be their preferred format for their future official OP structure.

As far as I understand it, this format will include any ship that has had a ship model released in 2.0.

Now, that’s not quite as straightforward as it sounds. For example, you WILL be able to use Rebel ARC-170’s because the ship model was released for the Republic in 2.0 packaging and the Rebel pilot cards are in the Rebel conversion kit. You WILL be able to fly a Resistance Falcon (Scum model, conversion kit cardboard) or a Rebel HWK-290 (Scum model, converstion kit cardboard) for the same reasons. The U-Wing and TIE Reaper are also fine because their boxes contained both 1.0 and 2.0 components.

But, alas, there is not a 2.0 released YT-2400.

Sad times.

The same goes for things like the Lambda and Upsilon shuttles, the K-Wing, the E-Wing, the TIE Bomber, the Kihraxz Fighter, the Starviper and many more. Yes there are some obscure ships (Star Ware lore-wise) in there but the Lambda shuttle?! That’s a big one to leave out.

I get it, of course. AMG want the game to be as accessible as possible and for new players to get hold of modes that haven’t been reprinted can be expensive and that doesn’t feel great.

Now, AMG have said that they will put a focus back on reprints so it is possible that these ships will be playable again some day in the future. Also this is only for official OP events, TO’s for literally ANY OTHER event can decide to do whatever they like and so extended is an option that they can continue to use if they want.

That said, if ‘standard’ is to become the main official format I can definitely see most events using the most popular format and, given that AMG will be points balancing with standard in mind going forwards, it wouldn’t surprise me if extended gets left by the wayside.

And so, despite my general (but not exclusive) leaning towards not really picking the strongest meta thing, I will be proudly taking my beautifully painted and lit YT-2400 to Stockport and parading her for all to see. It could well be the last time for a while.

That’s me done for this week then, come back next week and I’ll hopefully have a batrep of some sorts!

The outro…

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