I didn’t mean to do it. But then, maybe I did. Did I? I hadn’t intended to. But if that’s true then why did I take the stuff?
What am I talking about?
I snuck down to game night. My intentions were innocent enough. See some of the guys, get some details about upcoming stuff (no spoilers, covering it in another blog), pick something up from someone. Half an hour while the kids were at youth club. Maybe 45 mins. No problem. Easy.
But I took my stuff.
Why? Why did I do that?
Maybe I really did want a game. Maybe I thought I could just sneak in something quick and dirty. Maybe I just couldn’t face leaving Dash and Jake on an odd number of reps.
Whatever the reason. I played.
Arriving pretty early a few guys were already there. 2 were already paired and setting up, another almost done.
‘Quick game?’ he said, oh so innocently. ‘I hadn’t planned to but yeah, go on then’ came my reply, falling from my mouth without having been filtered by my brain.
Still, I had to pick up the kids at a reasonable time so I knew it had to be pretty brisk.
Quick and dirty.
I set up super fast. I’ve got this process down now. Plus, it’s just 2 ships. 11 cards, 7 shield tokens, 4 charge tokens. And yes, that’s from memory.
My opponent? Luke. I’ve talked about Luke on here before. One of the strongest local players we have, very experienced, very good and on top of that a really nice guy, always helpful and insightful.. Winner of local leagues and just 1 game away from winning the local store tournament held a few weeks ago.
I almost didn’t want to put Dash and Jake through this. A proper test, for them and for me. Especially if we were going to play quite fast.
I take a quick look over at Luke’s list. Vynder (Alpha-class Star wing), Jendon (Lambda shuttle) and Vader (TIE Advanced x1). Hmmm. Alpha strike. Could be bad news if Vynder got his way. Slam into range, fire proton torps at range 2-3 (at least twice, maybe more with reloads) and then advanced proton torps at range 1. Early locks from Jendon for Vynder and Vader. And Vader, well is Vader – I6, moving last and loving the early target lock. Yuck.
Here’s the full list.
Ship total: 60 Half Points: 30 Threshold: 5
Ship total: 65 Half Points: 33 Threshold: 4
Ship total: 75 Half Points: 38 Threshold: 3
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z167X240WW29WWWY161XW113W134WW104W139W136WY173XW113WW105&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
I’m not even going to bore you with details, my list is the same. I’ve even stripped all other options out of my case at the moment. I’m all in on this list until I start prepping for the System Open.
Ship total: 149 Half Points: 75 Threshold: 6
Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X124WW77W54W165W157W96Y50X116W126W102&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
(JARGON ALERT!! for batrep!)
With a 1 point bid I give initiative to Luke and we start placing rocks and forces and we set like this:
Interesting. Spread forces. Clearly the main ‘trick’ of the list is to slam into range with Vynder (who, with the title, can still shoot secondary weapons while having a weapons disabled token taken after a SLAM action) and nuke something. Luke has spread a net to catch me in with Vader threatening on one side and large base , 2 arcs Jendon on the other to block with.
I decide to hard turn both ships and bide my time a little to see where everyone is headed. While Luke’s forces shuffle forwards with Vader taking a bank turn and roll towards the edge giving him a nice approach angle. Jendon and Vynder both lock Dash.
I commit to the stall and send both Dash and Jake along my board edge, biding my time before turning in. The Lambda turns in a 1 bank while Vynder and Vader both take a 2 forwards. Vader then picks up a lock on Dash too.
Now it’s time for some action (meaning actual dice rolling). The Lambda takes a 1 forwards to start angling in for a shot while Vynder goes 3 forwards, slams a 3 bank and (with Advanced SLAM) takes a focus meaning he will have a double modded shot on Dash whether at range 1, 2 or 3.
Having semi-expected something along those lines (but now REALLY glad I gave 1st player to Luke) I send Jake 3 forwards, roll in to the middle, give Jake a free focus and then do a red banked boost to give Dash a free focus. More importantly than that, I have put Jake at Proton Rockets range of Vynder.
Dash takes a 1 bank and, with focus tokens in the bag opt to take a red barrel roll away from Vynder to give him a standard Proton Torpedoes shot (rather than Advanced) and also get him out of Dash’s range 1 bubble to increase my shot from 3 red dice to 4.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
Vader shoots at Dash and gets nothing.
Dash shoots at Vader and takes 2 shields.
Dash shoots a second shot at Vynder and gets… 2 shields.
Vynder shoots at Dash and gets…2 shields.
Jake rolls for Prockets (JARGON ALERT!!) and rolls….2 crits and 2 hits. Vynder rolls 1 single evade, taking the 2 crits (Console Fire and Damaged Engine)
So in the first exchange I have lost just 2 shields on Dash in return for taking shields from Vader AND taking the gunboat down to just 2 hull. Brutal.
We plan the next round and after we start activation Luke makes a comment about potentially blocking Dash off the board. I laugh nervously while looking at the angles. I’m pretty sure that can’t happen. I think…
We start moving ships. The lambda takes a 2 bank turn over the debris to get into range before Vynder also banks in towards Dash.
Jake takes a 2 hard turn to the right (clearing the stress) before rolling right (and giving himself a focus). At this point I remember that Dash is stressed and so there’s no point in taking a red boost just to get into range 1 so stay put.
Dash reveals a 3 hard turn. It’s going to bump but who will I bump? Bumping Vynder keeps Dash safe (although I’ve no idea where Vader will end up) while bumping Vader means that Vynder is likely to get an Advanced Proton Torpedo shot on Dash.
Thankfully Dash bumps Vynder. Vader takes a bank away from Dash and bumps Vynder but (much to Luke’s relief) stays out of Dash’s arc.
So Vader shoots at Jake and misses. Dash shoots at the Lambda and also misses. The Lambda takes a shot at Dash and gets 1 damage through, making it 3 shields down in total on Dash.
What to do now? Desperate to get rid of the stress I go for a 4 forwards with Dash to try and land on the debris, allowing me to remove the stress with the Outrider title. My blue moves (1 or 2 forwards or 1 banks) will clear stress but I’ll probably still bump and since he moves after Jake I still can’t take a free focus due to the stress.
Luke reveals his Lambda dial with a 1 bank left, potentially blocking Dash’s escape move. Vynder takes a 3 hard left close to the board edge.
Jake pulls another 1 hard turn and roll to self focus.
I reveal the 4 forwards, put a template down and… have mixed feelings. There’s no bump (yay!) but I’m way short of the debris (boo!) and have landed squarely in front of the Lambda, giving him an extra red die and me one less (if I shoot at him). Still stressed, still no action.
Vader takes a 4k and ends up sitting behind Jake. Hmmm…
Engagement this turn was interesting. Luke chose to shoot at Dash with Vader and got another 1 damage on. Dash (still with a stress and just 1 unmodded shot) fired back at Vader and missed.
Vynder engaged and rolled for the aforementioned Console Fire and took a damage, leaving him on 1 health. Harsh.
Jake fires at Vynder and gets a hit. Vynder rolls blank and eyeball, using his Palpatine charge to evade it.
Jendon fires at Dash and gets *something* but I can’t remember what. Now here is where it gets complicated. I remember that Luke should have rolled 1 less green with Vynder due to Outmanoeuvre. However, he also used his Palpatine force charge which then may affect Jendon’s shot on Dash. We decide to roll it all back and go again from Jake’s shot.
I roll for Jake and get 2 hits. Luke rolls and gets the same result as before, blank, eyeball. This time though the force charge won’t save him. Vynder is gone (yay!) but the Lambda now gets a second bite at Dash (boo!).
Luke rolls and BAM hit, hit eyeball. He spends the Palp force for 3 hits. Dash rolls 1 evade but can’t Lone Wolf as Jake is *just* too close (by about 2mm). 2 damage onto hull means that Dash is on half points. Ouch.
At least the gunboat is off the table I guess?
Back to dials and now some choices to make. Vader is the danger man but him moving last is making things tricky. Maybe time to hedge my bets.
Jendon reveals…actually I can’t remember what but he bumps Dash to stay basically where he is.
Jake takes a 2 hard left and then rolls left to try and block Vader. This has a bonus benefit of avoiding Jendon’s arc. Noice.
Dash takes a 2 hard left, a white move but because it’s over the debris he (finally) clears the stress and takes a focus).
Luke has seen the Jake block coming a mile away and sends Vader 5 forwards and takes an Afterburners boost for good measure.
At this point, Jendon is in a spot of bother. I’ve managed to evade his arc with both of my ships while having shots on him from both.
Dash and Jake both pour fire into Jendon and he goes from full health to half in one turn. The range 1 Outmanoeuvre shot from Jake with 2 crits and a hit out of hand was particularly brutal.
The next turn was a set up turn from both players. Everybody was now facing every which way so it was now about planning 2 turns ahead.
Luke sent the Lambda 2 forwards to relative safety. Jake took a 3 sloop (JARGON ALERT!!) to turn around, ready for a move on Vader. Dash took a bank turn which barely fitted next to Jake, intending to hard turn next time to put the side arc on Vader. Vader took a turn in and measured for a lock on Jake but came up a few mm’s short.
So with Vader too far from everyone we do a little measuring and find that Jake and Jendon can shoot each other. Jake takes a pot shot and sneaks a single damage (well, a Panicked Pilot crit) onto Jendon while the return shot on Jake misses.
So here’s my plan. Send Jake in at Vader. Moving first is risky as I’ve only a rough idea where he’s going to end up but at this point he’s spend both Afterburners charges so reposition isn’t going to be as easy. Then bring Dash’s guns to bear on Vader and see what I can get. Easy, right?
Jendon takes a 1 bank out of the fight and clears one his stress tokens.
Jake takes a 2 forwards, barrel roll (free focus) and then red boost into where Vader will hopefully end up. If I’ve misjudged it then hopefully I’ll either get an outmanoeuvre shot on him or make a really tempting alternative for shooting at Dash.
Dash takes the 2 hard turn and focuses.
Now… here’s what I’ve been waiting to see.
Vader reveals… a 2 hard turn and bumps Jake. Yes!!
With just a single force charge left he fires at Dash and misses.
Dash fires back with 3 hits (after spending a focus). Luke rolls his greens…. double blank. Vader is dead. Luke then concedes the game. 4 health Jendon versus Dash and a full health Jake is not going to go well.
So there it is. I diced him (JARGON ALERT!!). In 50 minutes. Quick and dirty.
If I’m honest, I’m a bit conflicted about how I feel.
On the one hand I feel like I finally got the hang of Jake, making him more than just Dash’s ‘focus lackey’. He added so much value and was more the MVP than Dash in this particular game. I didn’t play great with Dash, the red barrel roll had merit for that turn but I was playing catch up for the next 3 because of it.
I’m also very pleased at beating Luke. He is a great player and he reads the blog so knows what my list wants to do.
On the other hand winning basically just because of dice feels a bit wrong. In the opening engagement I stripped shields from Vader and hammered Vynder and in return lost just 2 shields on Dash. I don’t know what the figures would say from a probability calculator (Luke said he might run the numbers when he got home. I don’t know if he did?) but in short, I should probably have bought a lottery ticket on my way home.
I even had 2 turns where Dash had no focus, (so just 1 shot per turn), I didn’t get the distance between him and Jake to trigger lone wolf (not even once!) and rarely got Jake in close enough to give a free focus. Crack Shot and Rigged Cargo both went unspent and yet when the game was conceded it was a full Jake and 4 health Dash against a limping and lonely Jendon on 4 hull.
Trying to be objective about the game is tricky, but I’ll try. Luke’s set up threw me a little. He spread a net to catch me in. Discussing it afterwards, there was basically a single turning point in the game. The first engagement. Jake’s Prockets shot on Vynder came in with 2 crits and 2 hits going through after Dash had already taken a shield and, crucially, a focus. Brutal is not the word. From then on Luke was flying Vynder differently, running plan B and not plan A.
Looking at myself, I know I did better than usual with Jake (but worse with Dash). Dice variance aside I feel so familiar with what manoeuvres are available to both ships that for the most part planning moves and actions is starting to come as second nature. I like it.
So, what does it mean?
At this point I think it’s time for a little self reflection.
Dash and Jake as a list in this state (or thereabouts) are now 7-1 (7 wins – 1 loss). That’s insane. I don’t know that I’ve had a record like this, well, ever. I’ve flown it over the last few weeks against a wide variety of list archetypes and player experience. Add in the countless reps on Fly Casual and I’d definitely say I’m at home with this list. I certainly rode my luck in this game but in order to grow I have to try and identify what I did that worked versus what was lucky. Dice rolls are lucky. Bullseye arcs and blocks somewhat less so. Variance played it’s part but in order to get the good rolls I had to be in the right places and I did that here.
As I discussed at the start of this previous post, I am a little disappointed that the UK System Open will be Hyperspace format for the main event and also that it’s so very soon (just 6 1/2 weeks from time of publishing and with a points update about half way between then and now) but it is what it is. I’ll be looking for something else to fly for the Saturday but, barring a stunning (and HIGHLY unlikely) performance from whatever jank (JARGON ALERT!!) I pull together and making the day 2 cut, I will be flying Dash at the Super Duper Worlds Qualifying Championship Thingy (or whatever it’s actually called) on the Sunday.
So with that in mind, I think this may be my last Dash & Jake blog, for a while at least. I’m happy with this build and what I’m doing with it and, in order to not totally embarrass myself at day 1 of the SOS I need to put some time into a new (Hyperspace legal) list. If this journey has shown me anything, it’s that I can’t just pick up a list and smash face, I need to figure out how it works and make mistakes with it to be the best I can be. Don’t worry, Dash isn’t being left behind or forgotten, just rested for now. I have big plans for him…
In the mean time, what’s next?
Well, Christmas is looming and I’m going to be off work for 2 weeks and spending time with family. I have a blog planned/written to publish but feel that perhaps it’s best left until the new year (new beginnings and all that), so my next blog will be put out on the 7th of January.
As I mentioned last week I’m actually quite surprised/impressed with myself that I’ve been able to put out as many posts as I have. I hope that you’ve found them entertaining and informative (probably not either but I can hope!). I know that when I’m reading blogs the writing style has a significant impact on how readable they are and I like them best when it reads like someone is just chatting with you, like a recounting of a story to a friend. This is what I’m aiming for, just a casual chilled out post, pouring the contents of my brain onto a keyboard. Wow, that’s some strange imagery. Sorry.
Anyway, if you have actually managed to get this far, well done! I hope you have a very Merry Christmas, a fantastic New Year filled with joy, peace and love and I hope that you’ll come back in 2020 as I start a new chapter in X-Wing.