Deadlines…

The intro…

Welcome to my little blog! Please make yourself at home, kick off your shoes (unless you’re on the bus or train or something. Probably best to keep them on there..) and settle in for another tale of X-Wing escapades.

Before getting to the actual X-Wing content I want to just give a couple of shout-outs.

Last week I posted some images on my blog that very kind people from Reddit had created based on (badly taken) photos of my (very beautifully) custom painted YT-2400. I’m intending to get them made in to physical alt art cards to be able to give out to people once I (finally!) get back to in person play.

It’s just SO beautiful

Off the back of that blog I was contacted by the awesome Louis Leong. You may or may not recognise the name (he’s got several different aliases for Facebook, TTT and Discord!) but he’s a member of the infamous 186th Squadron and is rather renowned for creating alt art cards, metal ones in particular.

He said he had an idea for a card based on my ship and after some additional photography, tweaking of light sources and a change of camera I managed to provide an image that he could work with.

It’s still in development at the moment but since you guys are totally awesome I thought you might like a sneaky little preview…

Once it’s all complete I will let you know with full glorious pictures!

My second shout-out is to the guys at Tin Squadron.

The Pride of Cornwall!

Chris Burnett got in touch and asked me if I’d be interested in co-commentating with him on their live stream last week. Despite never having done it before, not having an especially broad knowledge of all factions and not being all that good at the game, I said yes and in fact I really enjoyed the experience. Sean and Sam played a good game which they’ve since reviewed in the latest episode of their new podcast – Out Of The Mines.

If you want to give the game a watch it’s here (intro starts at 12:20 and is worth seeing!).

Thanks for asking me on guys, I loved it!

Next, a confession. For almost 2 years I have managed to puts blog out every Tuesday. It’s actually pretty crazy when I think about it considering the time it takes to write, edit, correct, check, re-write and add pictures.

Most of my blogs are batreps – battle reports. I run through a game turn by turn to identify what I did well and particularly (and more commonly) what I did wrong in order to try and improve.

To do this I need to play a game, obviously.

Why am I saying this? Well, this week Has turned out to have slightly unusual circumstances. I was away over the weekend with my family doing family things. Clearly this has been rare over the last year (the going away part, not the family things part!) and so we wanted to squeeze every last drop out of it, getting home on Sunday evening.

Then there’s the game. Normally I try and play Wednesday to Friday some time so that I have a couple of opportunities to start writing once the game has been played.
This week that hasn’t been possible, the only days that my opponent in the Sith Taker league could do was on the weekend and as a result we ended up playing on Sunday night

So I guess this is just a really long winded way of apologising because this post may not be as good/complete/detailed as I’d like it to be because time has really been against me.

(Some of it was written before the game, if you’re wondering why it’s still quite long!)

Right, let’s move on to X-Wing then.

Before I get into the game though I just want to mention a post in the Fly Better Facebook group that kicked off a bit last week. I mention it because it’s specifically about the list I’ve been flying recently.

The original post described the list as a negative play experience to go against and described as ‘immoral’ and an ‘aberration’. Strong words indeed. The post went on to get 123 comments ranging from ‘I completely agree! Nuke it from orbit!’ to ‘it’s totally beatable, just do X, Y, Z’ (and no, I’m not telling you on here, I’m still flying it!!).

As someone who flies this at the moment it certainly stung a little. Maybe my perspective is skewed because Rebels is my favoured faction or maybe because there’s finally a list that’s strong that I don’t have to learn how to fly from scratch and some people are annoyed about it, I don’t know.

I don’t like the idea of flying a list that makes people internally (or even externally I guess!) groan when they see it. On the flip side, at the 2020 UK System Open I faced a good few Boba & Fenn lists which gave me that reaction and saw a whole lot more across the room. It was generally the strongest list around at the time and not one person apologised for flying it and neither should they.

Is the list strong? Yes. Does it win without any effort? Absolutely not. Can it be beaten? Definitely. It’s unusual for me to be on this side of the puzzle that people are trying to solve but if you find this list immoral or an aberration, don’t worry, I’m sure that the next points change will kill it off.

Until then, I’m sticking with it.

Right then, on with the game!

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

Ok, as I’ve mentioned already, I’m still flying the ‘Heratanni’ list with all it’s focus/evade passing shenanigans:

Kyle Katarn (31)
Jyn Erso (2)
Moldy Crow (16)

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

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

Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

Benthic Two Tubes (46)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Leia Organa (7)
Pivot Wing (0)

Ship total: 61 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 4

Garven Dreis (X-Wing) (46)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 46 Half Points: 23 Threshold: 3

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z48XWW40WWW156Y451XWW332WY36XWW54W46WW140Y6XWWWW142&sn=Rebel%20Focus&obs=

If you’re not sure what it does check my last couple of blogs for a description. I’m short of time doncha’ know!

My opponent in the Sith Taker league this week? Mr Marcin Pommersbach, hailing from Poland. He’s someone who’s new (to me, I’m sure he’s been around for at least a couple of years in general) which is always cool.

We got set up for the game eventually, delayed because for some reason that I was unable to fathom under pressure, the mic on my headset wasn’t working. While it wasn’t the end of the world and we could continue without voice I really prefer to be able to talk to my opponents and feel like I’m missing out on a better experience when I can’t.

Marcin was flying a very interesting list…

Soontir Fel (54)
Ship total: 54 Half Points: 27 Threshold: 2

Ciena Ree (48)
Ship total: 48 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 2

“Duchess” (44)
Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

Fifth Brother (42)
Homing Missiles (5)

Ship total: 47 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 2

Total: 193

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z179XWWWY455XWWWY211XWWWY394XWW100&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Have I mentioned I struggle against aces? Oh, I have?

Aces. Two i6’s to boot. While the list is very short on upgrades, the one that it’s packing is a nasty combo in itself and really, does Soontir need any upgrades? He can double reposition and get a focus (if done well) or single reposition and end up with focus & evade. He is nasty.

Time to break out the Pre-Flight checks then:
Target Priority – Erm….. it depends on deployment I think. Soontir is worth the most points and is the most dangerous to my ships but if he’s flown well I’ve got little chance of hitting him. Second I guess is Fifth Brother because I really don’t want that Homing Missiles combo landing.
Obstacles – He’s got acey ships, mine are mostly slow and tanky. I’ll try and put the big rocks on his side of the board to make his ships come past them so that a) he can’t hide behind them and b) I’ve got less chance of hitting them.
Deployment – Since 3 of my 4 ships will go down on the board first, it’ll be my standard corner opening on whichever side has the best/ least worst rock arrangement.

Marcin’s 7 point bid means I am first player (we overlap at i4 and i6…), we start with obstacles and then place ships and are ready to begin:

Now, while I’m tempted to start with the Leia/hard stop/K-turn (JARGON ALERT!!) nonsense, I’m conscious of being simultaneously flanked by two i6’s AND face a Homing Missile shot from Fifth Brother. I feel that doing something different to start with is preferable and there’s a not too terrible space to work with just after I pass the first rock. I set Kyle and Benthic to go 2 straight, Garven 1 straight. Hera will hard turn towards them, she can catch them up later no problem.

Kyle, Benthic and Garven all move and focus with Benthic charging up Kyle’s focus stack.

Marcin starts with a turn away by Fifth Brother AND (to my surprise) Duchess. Cienna 5 straights and boosts in while Soontir does the same but with a straight boost instead.

Sadly no screenshot here! So back to dials it is.

Now, I’m still unsure what Marcin will do with Fifth Brother and while Duchess appears to have committed to going around the far side of the rock, Soontir will likely come screaming in at my flank if I allow it.

I decide to stall now. If I wait much longer I stop myself from recharging Leia in time so It’s a hard stop from Kyle and Benthic. I don’t want to 4-K with Garven in case Marcin comes in hard and he’s left exposed so he will 1 straight again. Hera will just take a nice and neutral 2 straight.

I activate Leia, stop with Benthic and Kyle, 1 straight and roll left with Garven.

Fifth Brother hard turns back again and rolls, ending up virtually where he started from. Duchess continues into the middle of the board, just right of the middle. Cienna turns in towards Duchess and rolls right, giving her options for next turn while Soontir goes the long way around the board to my far right flank.

No shooting here and so back to dials we go. Now I have some decisions to make. How fast will Fifth Brother go? Will Duchess be able to use Ailerons? Does it matter? Which side of the rock will Cienna go? How fast is Soontir going to approach? More to the point – who is he going to target?

Going straight isn’t going to do much for me here. Banking in will give me the best target options but I also want to threaten Fifth Brother. Whatever happens I should be able to hit either Duchess or Cienna with Benthic if they decide they want to shoot at me.

Benthic goes 2 bank, Kyle and Garven a 1 straight while Hera… ummm….. I consider a 2 bank and then focus into boost to get distance from Soontir but I can’t decide if it fits so I go for a 3 hard turn instead.

Benthic banks and focuses, passing one to Hera. Kyle moves and focuses, Garven shuffles forwards and bumps into Benthic.

Fifth Brother comes forwards and rolls to his left. Duchess opts not to aileron and banks in towards my ships.

Hera takes her 3 hard turn and focuses.

Cienna disengages, hard turning left and rolling away but Soontir 3 banks in and takes a focus and boosts.

Now we’re going to have some shooting.

First though, Soontir picks up a focus by having Hera in bullseye and Kyle passes a focus to Hera.

Hera has no target and neither does Cienna but Soontir does. He fires at Benthic but it’s obstructed and he has a focus and takes an evade from Hera for no damage.

Duchess follows suit but also fails to get any damage on.

Fifth Brother is out of range and so the only ship with a target left is Benthic. He rolls poorly at Duchess who evades easily.

First engage, no damage done. Interesting.

Planning, then.

What now? I can’t activate Leia just yet (though I now have my 2nd token recharged) so I need to pick some targets.

Benthic will continue his push to the middle, taking a 1 bank. In fact, why not, Garven and Kyle will both 1 bank as well. That should give me a decent chance of catching something in arc.

Hera will still play it safe, taking a 2 straight to stay behind. Then again, how safe is anyone with Soontir following them?

Benthic turns, focuses and passes one to Hera. Kyle moves and focuses. Garven banks and locks Fifth Brother.

Fifth Brother banks in but it seems the lock from Garven has him spooked and he opts to roll out of Garven’s arc rather than take a lock. Phew. No Homing Missiles this turn.

Duchess ailerons towards Benthic and then banks over the top of him, straight into Garven. No tokens for Duchess this turn.

Hera takes the 2 straight and focuses nervously, checking behind for Soontir.

Soontir goes straight, clears his stress, takes an evade and boosts in at Hera. He’ll pick up a focus in a moment. I hate that ship….

Cienna turns in to face off with Benthic and takes a focus.

Soontir gets his focus and Kyle passes one to Hera, giving her 3 in total.

This time Hera can shoot. After a little deliberation, I take a Tracers shot at Fifth Brother (no, I don’t know why). Predictably, it misses.

Soontir fires at Hera, range 1. Clench!!

Marcin’s dice are fairly average but Hera’s are slightly above and she spends a focus to take no damage.

Cienna fires at Benthic but Marcin’s dice again betray him and he rolls a single eyeball and opts to keep his focus for defence.

Duchess fires range 1 at Kyle but again, the dice are poor and Kyle escapes unharmed.

Garven has no shot and so Fifth Brother takes his turn at Kyle, managing to take 1 shield off him.

Kyle responds by firing at Duchess with a range 1 front arc shot which rolls a crit, 2 hits and a blank. Duchess rolls to defend but can only roll a single eyeball and she has no token…

I hold my breath as Marcin draws… a Panicked Pilot. Duchess lives.

Benthic takes the last shot of the round, rolling maximum paint against Cienna who rolls 2 paint and spends her focus to take 1 hit to hull.

Shooting is done and we’re back to planning. Suffice to say, a very decent turn for me.

But what next? Well, this is a little simpler. Leia is now fully charged.

Benthic will hard stop, as will Kyle. Garven will 4-K. Hera…. wants to stay as close to the middle of everyone as possible so I’ll go with a 1 hard turn. Hopefully that will also cause Soontir to bump me.

I activate Leia and hard stop Benthic and focus, passing one to Hera. Balls. I forgot to flip the wings. Still, he’s threatening Cienna.

Kyle stops and focuses. Garven takes his 4-K and, being that he’s a little further out than I’d anticipated and already has a lock, takes a focus.

Fifth Brother reveals a bank and just squeaks past Kyle, taking a lock on Benthic. Duchess takes the tactical retreat option, going straight and clearing one of her stress tokens.

Hera’s 1 hard turn bumps into Fifth Brother which, while not terrible, means I’m a focus down this turn.

Soontir hard turns, missing Hera. Oh. It’s a 1 hard turn so he keeps his stress.

Cienna hard turns left but is still in front of Benthic so she takes a focus and links to a boost to dodge him.

Soontir AGAIN has a ship in bullseye and gets a free focus.

Hera’s only target is Fifth Brother at range 0 so no shot for her.

Cienna has nothing either and so Soontir is first to fire, doing so at Benthic and taking 2 of his shields. Could have been worse.

Duchess has no target and so Garven is next, rolling 3 natrual hits into Fifth Brother. He spends a Force to take just 1 shield.

Kyle follows up with a range 1 side-arc shot and does the same, stripping a Force and a shield.

Nobody else has any shots and so we go back to dials.

So I now have half of Duchess, half of Fifth Brother and a damage on Cienna in exchange for 1 shield on Kyle and 2 on Benthic. Pretty good.

I decide that Benthic needs to turn so he will hard stop again, this time remembering to pivot his wings. Garven will come in with a 1 straight. Hera will 2 bank to sit in next to Benthic. Kyle, while I’d like to boost him back up to 2 focus tokens, will stop as well, hopefully causing some bumps.

Frustratingly, I didn’t screenshot again.

But the net result is a few bumps and while Fifth Brother did fire Homing Missiles at Benthic, he didn’t have 2 Force available to add the crit so I took the hit to lose his last shield.

Dials again and there’s now around 20 minutes left and I need to try and get something off the board to reduce incoming damage.

Benthic banks left to clear stress. Garven continues in while Kyle turns to chase/threaten the escaping Duchess and Hera circles the rock, just there to pass tokens around.

After this I’m afraid my screenshotting prowess totally fell off a cliff so I will summarise as best I can.

I managed to block Fifth Brother and finish him off with Garven before he was able to use his second Homing Missile charge (yay!) but in exchange Soontir and Cienna both turned on Kyle and wiped him out (booo!).

Marcin then turned Soontir back in while Cienna and Duchess were turning around, allowing me to spend Hera’s second Tracers charge and get locks on the Ace of Legend for all my ships. Nice.

In response, Soontir hammered Benthic, bringing him down to just 2 health.

As Soontir banked away to avoid bumping Benthic, The U-Wing turned in place (with Leia, of course), Garven turned at Cienna and Hera followed up, giving Garven a double modded shot at Cienna.

Cienna took a shield from Garven but his response was 3 hits and her green dice failed and she was destroyed.

‘Cie’-nna ya later! Sorry. I’ll get my coat….

At this point Marcin called it and conceded. As there were less than 5 minutes left (probably just 1 turn), I think it was a reasonable call. Soontir was on 2 health with locks from 2 ships while Duchess was still limping about on 1 health.

It didn’t feel right to take the 200 points so I called points as at the end of that turn.

Result: 144 – 80 win

The conclusion…

That was… interesting.

As I’ve said before (several times!), I generally struggle somewhat against aces but recently things have been improving. Is that me or is that the list? That is the question.

Marcin faked me out a bit with Fifth Brother, turning out and then back in. I’ve been hurt before by Homing Missiles on this pilot and so it did turn my head a little.

A few turns in I started to regret not stalling in my corner a turn or two but the possibility of being turned on by all 4 of Marcin’s ships simultaneously was just a bit too risky. In the end, getting the block on Duchess and almost wiping her out was enough to scare her off for a few turns and while turning after her with Kyle proved a mistake, preventing a second Homing Missile shot in the same turn (and then taking Fifth Brother out) paid off.

As I said, I’m a bit short on time so I’ll bring the post to a close here.
I really wish that my mic had worked properly so I could have got to know Marcin better. Playing without voice is functional but it’s really not a patch on being able to talk to someone (which itself doesn’t compare to in person of course). He played well and I wish him luck in the rest of the tournament.

And so onwards I go to the next match. I’ll see you next week!

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