Let’s get started!

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

It’s been a funny week this week. While things have been a little quiet on the general X-Wing front I’ve been busy organising and planning and so the time has gone REAL fast. I’ve reshuffled things a little bit here too so let’s dive in!

First of all, another reminder about the upcoming tournament at Firestorm Games in Newport!

We’ve got one of Louis Leong’s AMAZING prize kits, a load of Exile Squadron themed prizes on top AND a trophy!

On top of all that we’ll have the guys from Firecast Focus to stream it too!

With just under 4 weeks to go now you can pick up tickets from here or check the Facebook event here for updates. Go on, get a ticket, you know you want to!

Reigning champ Liam Burnett!

Patreon Update…

It can’t be that time already can it?! Yes, it really is!

My next Patreon quarter ends at the end of July and so I’ll be spending a little time over the next couple of weeks showing you what goodies I have prepared for my supporters, starting with these lovely bits for Veteran tier…

There’s more to reveal for this quarter but maybe I’ll show you a little more next week!

If you’re interested in becoming a Patron, getting your grubby mitts on some swag and supporting what I do here then it would be MASSIVELY appreciated. You can sign up here but remember, there’s no pressure from me. Not now, not ever. And if you want to sign up just for 1 month just to get that quarter’s stuff, I’m ok with it. Honest.

The timing on how this has worked out in terms of the work I need to do to get things ready is quite amusing this time. I mean, there’s not really all that much going on in July this year, right…?

XTC Update…

No, wait, there really is!! Yes, XTC is now in full swing with week 1 of the group stage all wrapped up and week 2 under way.

In case you’ve been living under a rock (or just not reading the blog I guess?!) then I’ll catch you up really quick:

  • Somehow I’m captain of Team Wales
  • I picked a team and we picked lists
  • We were drawn in a qualifying group with Malaysia, Spain, South Africa and the Czech Republic
  • We had our break week (everyone gets one due to odd numbers in the groups) in week 1

Is that everything? I think it is!

If you want to keep track of what’s happening there are a few ways to do it. For starters you can find the Challonge page here which follows the overall results and qualification progress.

If you want info on specific groups or matches, you can check out the Tabletop.To pages from the links on the official XTC website (on the ‘2022 Edition Info’ page). The overall picture isn’t quite so simple to follow on these pages due to each team’s lists being entered as separate ‘players’ so the Challonge page is probably the simplest way.

What’s happening specifically for us in Team Wales? Well, our pairings for week 2 are all done and we’re matched against Malaysia as follows:

How am I feeling about the matchups? Well, time will tell I suppose but on the whole, given the strength of matchups my players indicated when we were planning, I’m pretty positive. That is, however, just the first of many hurdles and while it may influence how the games go, the pairings certainly don’t guarantee any results. I’ve heard stories this last week of pairings where every game was deemed as favourable and the team lost all of them and another where there were many unfavourable games and the match was won. At the end of the day there’s still a game to be played and I’m looking forward to getting started!

On a slightly bizarre note, my teammates and I were all a little surprised to be tipped by Marcel Manzano from Gold Squadron Podcast to get out of the group stage and then by Dee Yun from the Fly Better podcast as ‘dark horses’ for the tournament! We’ve been feeling reasonably casual about the whole thing but it feels like the pressure is on a little bit now! Thanks to both for the mentions, we’ll do our best, we promise!

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

So, time to talk about a game then right!

You may recall from last week’s blog that I was tying out Martyn Gruffydd’s XTC Scum list since it’s possible that I may need to fly it at some point. Well, in the absence of time to repack my bag before heading to casual night, I was going to be flying it again! Maybe this time I won’t mess it up so badly!

Fair

Quinn Jast (3)
Deadeye Shot (1)
Burnout Thrusters (6)
Jamming Beam (0)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (7/7) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

Gamut Key (3)
Elusive (2)
Protectorate Gleb (6)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (8/8) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

Kad Solus (5)
Elusive (2)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Beskar Reinforced Plating (6)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (12/12) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

Boba Fett (9)
Fearless (3)
Jamming Beam (0)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Proton Bombs (4)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Marauder (0)
The Child (7)
Greedo (1)

Ship Cost: 9 Loadout: (22/22) Half Points: 4 Damage Threshold: 5

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v9ZhZ20Z135X343W462W12Y473X119W388WWWWY99X119W98W445Y103X121W12W98W69W92WWW153W453W83&sn=XTC22%20-%20MARTYN%20GRIFFITH%20-%20WALES%20-%20SCUM&obs=pomasteroid1,pomasteroid2,pomasteroid3

And who would I be flying against this week? Well, none other than Josh Hall who had brought…

Captain Sear (5)
TA-175 (8)
Impervium Plating (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (8/15) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 2

DFS-311 (3)
Shield Upgrade (8)
Grappling Struts (0)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (8/10) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

DFS-081 (2)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Grappling Struts (0)

Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (4/7) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Separatist Drone (2)
Discord Missiles (3)
Grappling Struts (0)

Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (3/3) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Separatist Drone (2)
Discord Missiles (3)
Grappling Struts (0)

Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (3/3) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Separatist Drone (2)
Discord Missiles (3)
Grappling Struts (0)

Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (3/3) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Separatist Drone (2)
Grappling Struts (0)

Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (0/3) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Separatist Drone (2)
Grappling Struts (0)

Ship Cost: 2 Loadout: (0/3) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 1

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Separatist%20Alliance&d=v9ZhZ20Z308X239W207WY337XW165WW208Y311X98WW208Y343X224W208WY343X224W208WY343X224W208WY343XW208WY343XW208W&sn=Unsaved%20Squadron&obs=

DROIDS! Like, a LOT of them. Now while I think there might be an argument to be made that Boba wants to face high ship count lists to trigger his ability, I think this is a little too high for my liking. Coupled with endless calculates from TA-175, this list could be an issue for me.

Alright, time for some quick Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Salvage Mission
Target/Objective Priority – Oh man. Josh has 8 ships that he could use to pick up objectives. This is going to be an uphill battle I think. I’ll use Quinn to get one, further than that it’ll be as and when I can pick up versus doing good shots. Shots will be the priority.
Obstacles – Josh has big rocks (while I’ve brought small ones) so I’m going to get those on to my side, as far from objectives as possible to minimise Josh’s use of them.
Deployment – After rolling for ROAD, Josh is first player so ALL of his ships will go down first. Personally I’ve NO idea quite how to deploy this list except that I want Quinn to be range 1 of an objective in turn 2.

We place objectives, obstacles and ships and are ready to begin!

Now, sadly I totally forgot to take a photo before turn 1 so I’m going to skip directly the planning for turn 2 which looked like this:

Now, before you have a go at me, yes, I know my deployment isn’t great. Yes, all my ships went down after Josh’s with full knowledge and no, I wouldn’t do the same again.

Now, while Josh clearly wants to joust me, is totally doing so and it looks unfavourable, I’m not THAT concerned about it at this point.

At this point though I have a choice. I’ve got room to do a hard right turn to steer Boba away from the swarm. That leaves Gamut exposed and alone though, plus I’ve Gamut Key’d a reinforce to front from turn 1 so I’m reasonably sure I can withstand a range 2 or 3 engagement and maybe take a droid out in return.

I don’t want to go straight though so I dial in a 3 bank left, keeping him in range of Gamut for a coordinate and if things look sticky he can boost either straight towards the board edge or bank right to go past the swarm.

On the other side Quinn will bank in and pick up the objective while Kad will also bank in to attack the swarm from the flank.

ROAD 1st player – Josh

When Josh picks up his first dial and reveals a 2 bank right, I know I’m in trouble. Slow straight moves were what I was expecting. That 1 hard right is looking REALLY good right now.

Still, it’s too late to take things back. My saving grace is that TWO of Josh’s droids bump and both take damage. Nice.

Gamut moves and coordinates Boba a focus, Quinn banks and picks up the objective and Kad banks in and takes a focus and red boost.

Boba takes his 3 bank and, falling short of bumping the front droid, locks Sear.

EMERGENCY!

Shooting time then.

Gulp.

At the start of engagement Josh launches discords from 2 of his droids, landing directly on Boba. He puts one on the front and one on the back. Oh dear.

Boba goes first, firing cluster missiles at Sear and taking both shields. Decent start. I then take the second cluster shot at the front droid and put a hit onto that too.

Kad goes next, firing at range 2 and putting 1 hit onto the front right droid. At this point I’m annoyed that I didn’t take the lock in order to fire clusters too.

Now it’s Josh’s i3’s to fire. I brace myself.

Josh launches shot after shot at Boba but between the reinforce and Boba’s ability, he takes just 2 damage from 8 shots. Decent.

Quinn’s out of range and Gamut puts another hit onto the closest droid and we’re done with engagement. Annoyingly, Boba takes 2 more hits from the Buzz droids. Bad times.

End of turn score: 1 (me) – 0 (Josh)

Turn 3

Ok, not too terrible considering I landed my most expensive ship right in front of a swarm. The Buzz droids were a bit annoying though and now Boba is out of shields.

The question is, what next?

Quinn and and Kad are reasonably obvious – get closer to the fight.

Gamut? Well, that’s going to depend on Boba.

I narrow it down to 3 options. I can 3 bank right and boost away. It’s likely that is what Josh is expecting though and it’s very blockable. That’s out.

The next option is a 4-K (JARGON ALERT!!). A little crazy maybe but it does have its merits. I can fire cluster missiles again (which I can’t out of the back), I can be potentially facing the droids while leaving them no space to turn around themselves the following turn, I can possibly even drop a bomb next turn to give them even more issues. On top of that I can coordinate a focus or lock and then spend contraband to take a reinforce too.

The third option is simply to take a 1 hard left. It’s the safest choice and following it up with a boost puts Boba out of most (if not all) arcs, depending on which way the droids go. The down side here is that it puts Boba right in the corner which isn’t where he wants to be.

I opt for the 4-K.

This means Gamut will go 1 straight. Since he’s staying in that area, I won’t drop a bomb with Boba.

Alright, let’s do it.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

Josh starts moving droids and it seems that again I’ve made a bad positional choice as the vultures all bank or hard turn to their right. Eesh.

Gamut moves and coordinates Boba a lock which he takes on Sear. Quinn banks but it’s rather close to the gas cloud. I think about the barrel roll until I realise that as he’s carrying a crate he can’t. Oops.

The rest of the droids move before Kad takes a 2 straight and locks the rear droid.

Boba’s 4-K fits (yay?) and, having spent contraband, takes a red reinforce to front.

EMERGENCY!!!! NO, REALLY THIS TIME!!

Another discord is shot out by a droid before we being firing. Man I hate these things.

Boba fires first, clusters at Sear. A crit goes through but Impervium Plating drops it. Balls. The second shot puts another hit onto the closest droid but it’s still not dead.

Kad also fires clusters but they’re single modded, putting two hits onto one droid and one onto another.

Crucially, no droids are dead. Not. Good.

Gamut tries a shot at a 1 health vulture but misses and Quinn is out of range.

Now the droids shoot back and it’s brutal.

Nearly all of Josh’s dice rolls are paint and he’s got calculates all over the place. Not even the reinforce nor the regenerating Force from the Child can help as Boba suffers 2 Direct Hits and he’s dead before the buzz droid can finish him off.

Oh dear.

End of turn score: 1 – 9

Total score: 2 – 9

Turn 4

At this point the game is effectively over. I’m not feeling deflated or defeatist, just looking at things realistically. My main damage dealer and most expensive ship is gone and I’m left with a support ship (in a horrible position), a fragile face puncher who is flanking and a blocker who is out of the fight and too high initiative to block.

Still, there are 4 (FOUR!!) droids on 1 health and Sear’s shields are down. Maybe I can pull a few points back.

I set Quinn a 1 hard left to avoid the cloud, Kad a 3 hard turn to get into their faces and Gamut a 1 bank since he’s surrounded by buzz droids.

ROAD 1st Player – Josh

I know I’m done for as soon as Josh starts doing 1-K turns with his droids. I’d forgotten they had those.

One of the rock droids turns but the other doesn’t while Sear begins a long turn around and picks up a crate.

Gamut banks into the flank of the front droid and focuses, Quinn does manage to dodge the cloud and also focuses while Kad, still carrying the lock from last turn, hard turns and also takes a focus.

The ship that Kad has locked is out of arc (on the rock to his right) and so he fires at the closest droid he has, putting 2 damage onto it. Josh responds but while he’s unable to get any damage onto Kad, just 3 shots into the focused Gamut takes him from full health to fully destroyed.

He takes a simultaneous fire shot into the 1 health droid at range 1 in front of him and whiffs (JARGON ALERT!!) the shot and the droid lives.

End of turn score: 1 – 4

Total score: 3 – 13

Turn 5

There are now 5 droids on 1 health, one on two health and Sear without shields. I simply cannot finish anything off!

Given his position, I decide to send Kad straight, hoping to avoid any blocks while Quinn will turn, simply to actually fire for once.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

The droids begin moving 2 straight to clear stress (or turning on the rock) while Sear turns again.

Quinn’s turn puts him in front of the oncoming swarm while Kad goes straight and, going against what’s sensible, boosts right and picks up a buzz droid. Why, you ask? I want to talon roll (JARGON ALERT!!) next time.

Kad has successfully dodged all arcs thanks to that boost but Quinn is in some trouble. He loses his shield and 1 hull while taking nothing back from the droids.

End of turn score: 1 – 1

Total score: 4 – 14

Turn 6

At some point I had paused the timer and not restarted it again at the proper time and so it’s debatable whether this turn would have actually counted. Still, we played it out anyway because why not!

As I mentioned last turn, I set Kad the talon roll while Quinn… hmmm. I set him a 2 hard turn right, planning to SLAM with Burnout Thrusters to get out of the way.

ROAD 1st Player – Me

Initially I was lamenting my being first player until I realised that if Sear came in fast, player order wouldn’t matter since he’s moving at i2. Sigh.

Out of nowhere Josh sends his i1 droid a 5 straight. Poop. He also picks up the central crate.

Sear does indeed streak in towards Quinn whose hard turn is indeed blocked by that i1 droid.

The other droids also close in before Kad just barely completes that talon roll without picking up another buzz droid.

Yoikes!

Kad’s ability means that he picks up 2 focus tokens for a red move. Nice.

Kad takes his shot at the locked droid on the rock but for the umpteenth time FAILS to kill it. COME ON!

I get a second shot with the cluster missiles though which I take at Sear. I roll a full string of hits out of hand and Josh (finally!) blanks out and Sear dies.

It’s a small triumph but I’ll take it.

The droids start firing and wipe out the tokenless M-3A in one shot.

End of turn score: 5 – 5

Final score: 9 – 19 loss

The conclusion…

Yes, I guess we could all see that coming once I started posting the pictures. A 10 point loss feels pretty bad but in the grand scheme of things, I think this came down to two positional mistakes (well, three if you count deployment!). Let’s break them down.

I’d still argue that my 2 straight with Boba in turn 1 was fine. It doesn’t tip my hand to what I’m looking to do. That’s fine.

In turn 2 I had a split choice: I count on the droids coming straight at Boba, 3 bank left and boost away OR I hard 1 to the right and either boost for better position next turn or stay hiding behind the rock.

Given that I had Gamut in that corner, I felt that hard turning away with Boba was leaving Gamut to die a horrible death and so I opted for the 3 bank, particularly as I’d Gamut Key’d the front reinforce from the previous turn. Hindsight now tells me that I should have left Gamut to his grisly fate. Of all the moves that Josh could have made, the 2 bank is one I had simply not considered.

Despite my initial feeling of impending doom I think that, given that Boba got shot 8 times and only lost 2 shields, this wasn’t an especially terrible position. Rerolls and reinforce can deal with 2 dice shots quite nicely. Clearly my temporarily forgetting about the Buzz droids didn’t help, doubling that tally but still, not too awful.

Moving on to turn 3 then (which was awful) and my ill fated 4-K. At the time I went back and forth between the 4-K and a simple 1 hard left. I figured that a Contraband reinforce might again save me but pulling not one but TWO Direct Hits meant that I didn’t even survive to take the Buzz droid damage.

The 1 hard left (followed by a bank boost) would have avoided the droids almost completely. I think, given Josh’s end positions, Boba would have taken maybe 3 shots, had a decent shot out of the back at the droids AND been in position to drop a Proton Bomb next turn to disuade the droids from turning to chase him. Not only that but two of Josh’s ships would have been facing the other way and more than likely not had a shot (or at least not a good shot) the following turn.

So why didn’t I pick this move? Looking back, I actually can’t quite remember what swung it. I figured that I’d be able to initiative kill at least one (possibly two) of the droids before they fired, mitigating some of the incoming shots. I also figured I could proton bomb next turn although in practice the bomb would have been off the board edge given how close he now was. Lastly, I actually wasn’t sure what happens with buzz droids when you k-turn. Would it go on the back? That’s my best chance to get rid of it. I now know that once you move through a buzz droid (which I do as I’m moving forwards), the player who controls the droid gets to pick whether it goes on the front or back. Josh did put it on the back anyway so had Boba survived it was no longer going to be there to bug me.

Still, it’s pretty obvious that the best move in this already poor position was the 1 hard turn.

These choices were then compounded by NONE of the droids dying despite my taking at least 4 cluster missile double shots and a couple of range 1 hits with 4 dice and tokens to boot.

So what am I learning here? That flying Firesprays is a skill that I need to learn that isn’t coming easily to me. I think I’m also learning that my self reflection is improving. I knew that I’d made those mistakes almost immediately (rather than a few days later while writing this). The fact that I was considering the alternative moves in the first place is progress in itself. I’m not a particularly quick learner and I do need a good number of reps to get used to lists, and that’s with ships I’m familiar with.

Baby steps I guess! The Firespray certainly is a fun ship to fly, I guess it’s more fun when it doesn’t die in short order!

That’s it for me this week I think. There’s a big week coming up all round with plenty of XTC games going on. If you want to see if any streams are going on you can see the schedule on the XTC website here. Keep an eye out for any Welsh games going on!

Catch you next week!

The outro…

Thank you so much for visiting my blog, I hope you’ve enjoyed it! If you’d like to support me in continuing my X-Wing blogging adventure there are a few ways you can do that.

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