Line of Duty

The intro…

Hello! Welcome to this week’s blog!

It’s been a little bit of a strange one to be honest but I’ll get to why that is in a bit. Before I get started though I do want to touch on one thing that happened this week.

EDIT – I’ve picked up some false info it seems so this section has now been updated. I apologise for perpetuating a false narrative!

You or may or may not be aware that in the last week the XWINGTMG subreddit experienced a bit of drama as one of the mods kicked all the other mods, made the sub private and then deleted their account.

Crazy

Anyway, the group is now back up and running as requests were made to Reddit and people who are hopefully a bit more stable and less dramatic are now installed as admins.

Alright, time to leave the drama behind, let’s do some updates!

Patreon Update…

Yep, it’s still that time! The cut off for be eligible for this quarter’s Patreon rewards is the END OF THIS MONTH (that’s the 31st of July in case you weren’t sure!). As ever, if you would like to support me in what I do here I would HUGELY appreciate it! If you’d like to sign up as a Patron, these are some of the gifts you could be getting your hands on this quarter:

SHIIIINNEEYYYYY

Yep, like pretty much EVERYONE I’ve gone the objectives route because we all need them now! These baeuties were knocked up by the lovely Jon and Michaela at Cog ‘O’ Two. They’re freaking awesome (the people AND the tokens!).

Remember, there’s never any pressure to be a Patron, I’m not going to stop blogging or anything, it just allows me to do some cool stuff for people (like the gifts!) and I’m starting to look at changing my hosting to somewhere a bit more reliable.

Aaaanyway, that’s enough of that, let’s move on to the next update…

XTC Update…

Yep, the XTC is still in full swing as we start week 3.

My Welsh team mates put in a sterling effort this last week, negotiating a tricky 7 hour time difference against Malaysia, led by the amazing human that is Louis Leong.

Alex Whitehead’s game 1 didn’t go exactly to plan (tell me, how do you feel about rerolling 2 blanks and an eyeball into… 2 blanks and an eyeball…TWICE IN A ROW!?!) but a tight win by Adam Shipley’s Rebels followed by a good inning from Paul Westwood flying Resistance put us 2-1 up going into game 4.

Phill Blackmore took on Louis (who subbed in to fly the Scum list to overcome scheduling challenges!) with his FO list on stream with Nickel City X-Wing. The game did have a little controversy but in the end it didn’t matter as Phill managed to initiative kill a Firespray in the last turn to secure not only his game but get the last of the 3 wins needed to take the round!

Chill out guys, it’s just one round!

Martyn’s Monday morning game was a dead rubber and could be played with no pressure. He lost it but only just and, of course, it doesn’t affect the overall result.

I want to say well done to my team, not only the guys listed above but also Dan Barringer whose input on strategy and test games helped too!

I also want to give HUGE props to Louis. I know this can be said about a lot of people I believe that he genuinely is THE nicest person in X-Wing.

You want proof? Fine, I have it:

As well as this he walked me through our pairings since it was my first time doing it for real.

What a hero.

Anyway, now we move on to week 3! Well, week 2 for us, week 3 for the tournament. Man, that break week really throws things off!

This week we have Spain and pairings are done:

If you want to keep up with what’s happening then look out for any streamed games (the schedule is updated on the XTC home page!) or just pop back next week! The overall standings are updated every few days on the Challonge page if you’re interested in that too.

Alright, that’s enough XTC for now. Or is it…..?

The batrep(s)… (JARGON ALERT!!)

Right, so, let me get back to what I mentioned in the intro. It’s been an odd week. For the first time in ages (probably since my ankle break) I missed casual night. Work has been a bit bonkers and I’ve done WAY more driving than usual due to two of my colleagues being off work with no cover. This culminated in doing almost 6 hours of driving on Wednesday to complete 4 jobs. It isn’t a HUGE amount of the grand scheme of things but by the time I got home it was pretty late and the list that I had packed in my bag just didn’t motivate me to fight the fatigue and go anyway. Plus my wife was having a tough day at work and I wanted to be home when she got in.

So, no game to talk about this week then, right?

Wrong!

My wife then went away for the weekend with some friends to celebrate a birthday, leaving me a decent amount of free time to do some games. Nice!

So who/what did I play? Well it was my time to do my captain-ly duty.

Game 1 – Paul Westwood

Yep, time to ‘get my captain on’ (wow, that sounds all kinds of wrong) and play a test game.

Paul (who goes by PinkPrincess on TTT and Discord) is our Resistance player and against Malaysia I paired him up with – Resistance. Interesting. Given that his game would be early on the Sunday morning and that we were both free on Saturday morning, I took on Malaysia’s Resistance list for Paul to experience it in action:

Rey (8)
Heroic (2)
Rose Tico (9)
Hondo Ohnaka (5)
Finn (9)
Rey’s Millennium Falcon (0)

Ship Cost: 8 Loadout: (25/25) Half Points: 4 Damage Threshold: 5

Ello Asty (5)
Heroic (2)
Marg Sabl Closure (1)
Primed Thrusters (6)
R4 Astromech (2)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
Jamming Beam (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (11/11) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Poe Dameron (7)
Heroic (2)
R4 Astromech (2)
Primed Thrusters (6)
Ion Torpedoes (4)
Munitions Failsafe (1)
Afterburners (10)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
Black One (0)
Jamming Beam (0)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (25/25) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Resistance&d=v9ZhZ20Z244XW172WW173W333W174WWW193Y299X172W331W178W5WW175W12Y231X172W5W178W135W108W105W175W171W12&sn=XTC%2022%20-%20NICHOLAS%20WONG%20-%20MALAYSIA%20-%20RESISTANCE&obs=gascloud1,gascloud2,gascloud3

Interesting. Rey that hits like a truck, Poe with a LOT of toys and Ello, a solid T-70. I’m experienced with Rey (I mean, sort of) and while I’m less experienced with Poe and Ello (I’m not sure I’ve EVER flown Ello?!), I have flown my fair share of T-70’s and, of course, their older equivalents in the Rebels, T-65’s.

So what is Paul rocking?

Poe Dameron (7)
Crack Shot (3)
R4 Astromech (2)
Ferrosphere Paint (3)
Proton Torpedoes (12)
Overdrive Thruster (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
Black One (0)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (25/25) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3

Nien Nunb (5)
Crack Shot (3)
Pattern Analyzer (5)
R4 Astromech (2)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (10/10) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Rose Tico (3)
Marksmanship (1)
C-3PO (Resistance) (7)

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

Zorii Bliss (5)
R4 Astromech (2)
Wartime Loadout (10)
Proton Torpedoes (12)

Ship Cost: 5 Loadout: (24/24) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 4

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Resistance&d=v9ZhZ20Z231X116W5W198W136W345WW175W171WY298X116W206WW5WW175WY345X125WW191WWY477XWWW5WWWW409W136W&sn=XTC22%20-%20PAUL%20WESTWOOD%20-%20WALES%20%20-%20RESISTANCE&obs=coreasteroid2,coreasteroid3,coreasteroid4

I won’t go in to much detail here as I don’t want to give our future opponents easy tips!

Except if you fully analyse my screenshots I guess….?

My feeling is that Rey doesn’t mind the joust so I placed her and Ello directly across from where Paul had deployed Rose while Poe went off to the flank.

I rushed with Poe to come in through the middle while Rey and Ello approached carefully along my left side.

The first engagement really didn’t go my way and all I could do was get 2 shields from Poe and one from Zorii. What did I trade for that? Almost all of Ello, he lived on 1 hull. Not. Great.

The second engagement went better though as Rey put FIVE hits into Poe at range 1 and he popped. Ello died too of course but that’s a trade that I can deal with.

My Poe took another 2 hits to leave him on 3 health while Rey had lost her shields.

Rey sloops to keep face punching

Things are tight but I need to run away with Poe. There are objective points to be scored and I wonder whether he can go score them while Rey keeps Paul’s ships busy.

Rey’s forced to rotate her arc to threaten Nien but despite Poe’s best efforts to get away, Nien nails him with a single modded range 3 shot. Of course. Afterwards I remember that Black One is a thing and Poe could have SLAMed a 3 straight after his 3 bank to be well out of arc. Oops.

At the death Rey turns in and manages to initiative kill Rose, claim 2 objectives and prevent Paul’s claim with Rose but it’s too little too late.

Result: 15 – 19 loss

Honourable mention for the ballsy K-turn at the end!

Mini conclusion…

A very interesting (and entertaining) game! Paul’s target priority was not quite what I expected and while I managed to keep myself in the game with some wild shots from Rey (she’s so freaking consistent!), losing a gun early took it’s toll and fighting back was pretty difficult.

In the actual game (against Malaysia) Paul did get a bit smashed up by Rey (halving but not finishing 3 of Paul’s ships!) but managed to take out Poe with his own Poe. ROAD meant that Paul’s fired first and sunk 2 crits in, one of which was a Weapons Failure, meaning the return shot didn’t take Paul’s out in return.

Things escalated towards the end meaning that Paul took the match 25 – 8. Pretty good!

Game 2 – Phill Blackmore

In the spirit of keeping up my duties as captain, I played another game! ON THE SAME DAY!!! Crazy, right? Yep, as Saturday evening rolled around Phil’s plans changed and I was called into action once again.

So what was I doing this time? Well, Mt Blackmore was due to play against Malaysia’s Scum list the following day so I obliged him with a test game:

Krassis Trelix (7)
Ion Cannon (6)
Jamming Beam (0)
Hondo Ohnaka (5)
Marauder (0)
Suppressive Gunner (7)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (18/18) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Emon Azzameen (7)
Cutthroat (2)
Jamming Beam (0)
Cad Bane (3)
Proton Bombs (4)
Rigged Cargo Chute (4)
Andrasta (0)
Concussion Bombs (4)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (17/17) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 5

Old Teroch (6)
Lone Wolf (5)
Fearless (3)
Shield Upgrade (8)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v9ZhZ20Z107XW11W12WW333WWWW153W350Y104X375W12WW20W69W96WW146W355Y98X124W121WW165&sn=XTC%2022%20-%20KELVIN%20CHEE%20-%20MALAYSIA%20-%20SCUM&obs=gascloud1,gascloud2,gascloud3

Alright then, what’s going on here? Double sprays (they’re good) with a decent sprinkling of bombs (which are good) and cannons (also good), joined by an i5 Fang Fighter (which is goo…you get the idea).

Super interesting. The big question is – can I actually fly it? My recent track record with Firesprays (and Scum generally) is pretty sub-par. Still, Phil will benefit from trying it out on the table, even if I don’t quite know what I’m doing.

And what is Phil bringing to the table?

Kylo Ren (7)
Malice (4)
Proton Torpedoes (12)

Ship Cost: 7 Loadout: (16/16) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3

“Blackout” (6)
Trick Shot (4)
Sensor Scramblers (1)
Targeting Synchronizer (3)
Proton Torpedoes (12)

Ship Cost: 6 Loadout: (20/20) Half Points: 3 Damage Threshold: 3

Commander Malarus (3)
Marksmanship (1)
Cluster Missiles (4)

Ship Cost: 3 Loadout: (5/5) Half Points: 1 Damage Threshold: 2

“Grudge” (4)
Elusive (2)
Automated Target Priority (1)
Electro-Chaff Missiles (4)
Skilled Bombardier (2)
Proximity Mines (6)

Ship Cost: 4 Loadout: (15/15) Half Points: 2 Damage Threshold: 3

Total: 20

View in YASB 2: https://yasb.app/?f=First%20Order&d=v9ZhZ20Z236X418WW136WWY237X133W415W177W136WWY266X125WW98WWY496X119W348W420W88W70WW&sn=XTC22%20-%20PHILL%20BLACKMORE%20-%20WALES%20-%20FIRST%20ORDER&obs=gascloud1,gascloud3,gascloud5

There’s all the usual FO staples in there – Malarus with clusters, a bomber with chaff missiles and, of course a Kylo Ren.

We get set up but I have a confession to make.

When setting up the game we got as far as placing all ships and starting to set dials when Phill asked why I was flying the list I had.

‘Because it’s the list you’re facing tomorrow mate?!’ was my reply.

Alas, no. I had inadvertently copied and pasted South Africa’s Scum list. Oops.

Thankfully we hadn’t got far and resetting was easy. However, in this reset, we did NOT move objectives or obstacles and Phill didn’t move any of his ships. When reflecting afterwards it probably turned out to be a good thing because he then changed what he would do for the real match.

Anyway, when we finally got properly set up, it looked like this:

Now, I’ve played against Firesprays a fair few times and while I might be trash at flying them, I know what I want to do here. Fake in, turn away, shoot out of the back and drop bombs (well, with Emon at least!).

I managed to draw Phill in to the middle but where he thought I was going to joust, I turned, meaning he wasted his chaff cloud.

Emon was in range of Kylo though and took some hits while I failed to have anything in arc.

The next turn Phill came in with Blackout and got the Trick Shot Proton Torps to trigger and they really hurt. Kylo whiffed (JARGON ALERT!!) though and Emon survived when he had no right to.

I did manage to tag Blackout from range with Old T as well, bringing him down to 1 hull.

The next turn was BONKERS. Emon dropped a bomb, 3 banked and then dropped his rigged cargo to annoy Kylo.

Krassis turned to go the opposite way to Emon and boosted… INTO the bomb radius. Ugghhh.

Old Teroch dived in around the central rock and focused, looking to try and murder something.

Blackout tried to bug out but in using his actions to get out of bomb range left himself in front of Krassis with no tokens.

Grudge and Malarus finally came in to the fight while Kylo also had to use his double repositions to avoid the bomb AND the dropped cargo.

Let’s see if I can recount this in the right order.

I was 1st player. I debated shooting someone else with Teroch but I’ve played enough games where I’ve left a 1 health ship alone to shoot it later with another one and it’s survived. I’m not doing that again. Old T fires at Blackout and kills him.

Kylo has a RANGE 1 shot into 1 HEALTH, UNMODDED Emon and guess what happens…?

Kylo rolls 4 dice AND BLANKS OUT, spends a lock and after spending force gets 2 hits.

Emon rolls natties (JARGON ALERT!!) and lives.

What. A. Jerk.

Krassis, having lost a shield from the bomb, loses 2 more from shots from Malarus and Grudge while his return shot knocks a shield from the bomber.

At this point I attempt the run away with Emon but with the super repositional Kylo in chase there’s no real hope. Well, there shouldn’t be but this is Kylo’s first dice roll:

He had locked and a full reroll came up trumps for him. Finally.

On the other side of the board Krassis has changed tack and turns towards the objective to start scoring while Teroch turns to give chase but bumps.

I manage to kill Grudge but now Teroch is facing the wrong way and while Krassis is positioned well for claiming points, the Fang is way out. Phill’s ships are in a much better place.

From here we actually openly discussed what each thought would be best for Phill to secure the win.

He was 16 – 14 up and would have at least 1 turn to rack up 2 more points to my 1. The question is, how best to get over the line?

Having this chat was actually really constructive as my opinion was that Phill was almsot uncatchable and my win condition needed everything to go perfectly. Phill needed to just not die. But in his view, he was considering diving in at Krassis to finish him off and secure those 7 points.

In the end he managed to keep both his ships alive and while he fell short of collecting 2 objectives, the timer went and he was ahead when the game was over.

Result: 18 – 19 loss

The conclusion…

Two games, two losses, blah blah, whatever. The results don’t actually matter here. Really.

I am, I swear!!

Playing these games was just the weirdest feeling because in both games, while I was trying to do the best I could (y’know, given that I don’t know the lists AT ALL), I was actually rooting for Paul and Phil to win.

Now, I know the old adage that often you learn more from a loss than from a win and all that but during both these games we stopped and discussed various options and choices, looking at the game state from both sides. In all my time playing X-Wing it has been very rare to experience this in a game with this level of honesty. Even in casual play there’s a part of you that wants to win, to get the advantage and leverage it and that means keeping your thoughts to yourself during play.

But here I was finding myself pointing out movements and actions that would benefit my opponent more than it would myself, ones that were perhaps not obvious when looking from their side of the board but that were to me. I’d do that with beginners, of course (I mean how else will they learn if options aren’t highlighted?), but against more experienced players? Probably not. I mean, telling someone that they forgot an action on a ship is common courtesy but saying ‘if you do X, Y and Z here, you win the game and there’s nothing I can do about it’ is something else completely.

And yet I found myself doing it because the learning experience (for both myself and my opponent) was of higher value than any momentary rush or pride in ‘getting one over’ on someone and winning the game.

And by no means do I think that I’m some genius level player who can ‘see the Matrix’ or anything like that, it’s simply that a change in perspective and an honest discussion can bring a HUGE amount of value no matter what skill level either player is at.

And y’know what? I really enjoyed it. Both games. Even though I didn’t know what I was doing with the lists and even though I lost them both. That is really, really interesting.

I’m quite enjoying this captain lark y’know!

Please remember to come back next week and see how we got on against Spain!

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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A MASSIVE thank you to my wonderful Patrons for their ongoing support for the blog and enabling me to give away shiny things!

Exile Initiates:
Douglas Thomson

Exile Veterans:
Mark BeorJoshua Watson, Barrie Robertson, Matt Jennings, Daniel Barringer, Dan Xuereb, Michael Bird, Steve Boulton, Jason Desmarais, HasNolo

Exile Commanders:
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Exile Legends:
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