Sleeping Satellites

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

Life is finally returning to (pretty much) normal following my little accident after Christmas which is both good and bad. The return of the routine of life is fine but the delaying of some things while I was out of action has basically just stored them up for later and later, it seems is now.

So whereas I had a period where there was plenty of time to do things (like write the blog and play games), that’s balanced out a little more now. You’ll probably also have noticed that it’s meant this blog has come out a little later than usual. Sorry about that!

That this has coincided with the release of 2.5 feels rather unfortunate. I’d love to put in some more time finding TTS opponents to run several reps of each scenario to get a feel for how best to approach them but at the moment (and for the foreseeable I guess) it’s just not possible.

However, I DID get down to casual night last week and I DO have a game to talk about! Yay!

On a separate note, the Sith Taker League (which I’ve played in 3 or 4 seasons of now) has been reset and restructured to reflect the massive changes to the game. A ‘sorting league’ will start next month which Ben will then use to create new leagues in future. Where will this put me in future seasons? Who knows?! All I know is that I’ll have some online X-Wing to look forward to.

I crawled up from the bottom, where will I be next?!

Right, I think that’s about all for now so with no further ado, let’s crack on!

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

Following last week’s game with the Gauntlet I decided I should try out my other new toy – the Razor Crest!

After being asked if he could use a photo I’d randomly taken of him during the Sith Taker Open, I’ve been chatting a bit with one of the Sith Takers Podcast hosts Mr Liam Baker. He’s been flying a scum list recently which contained the ST-70 and I thought I’ve give it a try since list building was never my strong point and even less so with a total overhaul of points and how lists are constructed.

So yes, I stole it.

Well, sort of.

If you’ve been reading the blog for a while you’re probably aware that in order to do ok with a list, I need reps with it. Clearly that’s all out of the window recently and this would now be the 3rd different list in 3 weeks for 3 games. I guess that might be why I’m forgetting triggers and rules left right and centre.

I loaded up Liam’s list and stared at it a while.

YASB & me

There were some issues with it (not for him of course, just for me), the foremost being that I don’t own a Mining Guild TIE. That was simple enough though, I just subbed in N’dru in a Z-95.

I then set to tweaking things. Not because there’s anything wrong with the list but because there was enough unfamiliar content that I’d end up missing triggers again and just generally making a mess of things and I’m tired of that happening now.

I juggled things over and over and then chatted things through with Jordan Bishop (of the Tales of a Space Junkie blog). The structure of the list (in terms of ship chassis and pilots) is good. It’s five ships, meaning a good number for claiming objectives, and two of them medium base and with a good amount of health is good in terms of area control and tanking shots.

Jordan extolled to me the virtues of Jabba crew with various annoying upgrades (annoying for my opponent that is) and after some deliberation and LOTS of swapping things in, then out, then back in again I ended up with this:

Manaroo (4)
Marksmanship (1)
Tracking Fob (4)
Punishing One (0)
R5-P8 (4)

Ship total: 4 Half Points: 2 Threshold: 4

Gamut Key (3)
Notorious (2)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Engine Upgrade (3)

Ship total: 3 Half Points: 1 Threshold: 2

The Mandalorian (7)
Elusive (2)
Fearless (3)
Jabba the Hutt (11)
Boba Fett (Separatist) (4)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
Mandalorian Optics (5)
Razor Crest (0)

Ship total: 7 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 4

Kad Solus (4)
Fearless (3)

Ship total: 4 Half Points: 2 Threshold: 2

N’dru Suhlak (2)
Ship total: 2 Half Points: 1 Threshold: 2

Total: 20

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://yasb.app/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v9ZhZ20Z117X125WWWWW454WW159W8Y473X455WWW92W107WY522X119W121W39WWW334W92WW446W451Y99X121WY156X&sn=Unsaved%20Squadron&obs=

The idea is generally to get passive rerolls. Mando has a good pilot ability for turning blanks to eyeballs, Optics gets you free locks, Fearless and Boba gunner turn blanks to hits while Elusive helps defensively. Jabba means that you can trigger Contraband ad nauseum while still getting actions. Seems gross.

Manaroo’s Tracking Fob and droid combined with Marksmanship means that he should be rerolling fairly often while Gamut Key can roll around somewhere in the back and make sure someone keeps their focus.

Kad and N’dru are there for picking up/claiming objectives and threatening where possible.

It all works in my head. Can I make it work on the table?

My opponent this week was Josh Hall. Like me, he’s been experimenting with different stuff since the rules update and also fancied flying something new, bringing his massive Gauntlet to the table.

Rook Kast (7)
Fearless (3)
Qi’ra (2)
Veteran Tail Gunner (2)
Thermal Detonators (5)
Shield Upgrade (6)
Swivel Wing (0)

Ship total: 7 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 6

The Mandalorian (7)
Fearless (3)
Kuiil (4)
Unkar Plutt (2)
Heavy Laser Cannon (4)
Greedo (1)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)
False Transponder Codes (3)
Beskar Reinforced Plating (6)
Razor Crest (0)

Ship total: 7 Half Points: 3 Threshold: 4

Kad Solus (4)
Fearless (3)

Ship total: 4 Half Points: 2 Threshold: 2

Ahhav (2)
Ship total: 2 Half Points: 1 Threshold: 1

Total: 20

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://yasb.app/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v9ZhZ20Z514X121W55W89W339W165WW449Y522X121WW459W64W10W83W92W369W445W451Y99X121WY249X&sn=Unsaved%20Squadron&obs=

Interesting.

His list is similar to mine except that his Gauntlet basically replaces my Jumpmaster and HWK. His Mando is built out pretty differently too.

That said, with barely being able to digest what my own list is doing, I scan read what he’d brought and thought no more about it which is increasingly what I’m doing in 2.5 so far.

Let’s do some quick Pre-Flight checks:
Scenario – Attack on the Satellite Array
Target/Objective Priority – Tricky. I’m finding this difficult to gauge at the moment and to be honest, my feelings writing this up after wards aren’t the same as what I felt pre game. My pre game plan was to gun for 3 objectives in turn 1. I think this is more doable since you don’t need to spend actions to claim in this scenario.
Obstacles – it could be importatnt to stop the Gauntlet coming in and claiming things so clustering might be worth a try.
Deployment – I want to try and spread out so that I can reach 3 objectives turn 1 and then slow roll for another turn to claim again before the scrum happens.

ROAD 1st Player for turn 0 – Josh

We places objectives and then obstacles and finally ships and were ready to begin.

If I’m honest, Josh’s deployment here surprised me. I can see that Ahhav could challenge for the centre objective and clearly he claims the top right but leaves the rest of the board clear. Interesting.

I’m looking at sending Kad fast up the middle while going fast with Manaroo and slow with N’dru for the bottom left and then slow with Mando and Gamut.

Clearly I’ve made deployment mistakes. Manaroo doesn’t enjoy turning right but equally, Josh’s deployment scared me off going in the opposite corner. I’m also not too happy with Mando’s position. His ability feels like he wants to joust but I’m nervous to do so against that many ships. Hmmm…..

Turn 1

ROAD 1st Player – Josh

I set about my plan. N’dru shuffles 1 forwards while Manaroo zooms 4 straight, looking at the top left objective for next turn. Kad takes a 5 straight and links a boost to a focus to reach the middle. Gamut stops while Mando goes 1 straight.

Meanwhile Josh sends Rook 2 straight, Kad 3 straight around the outside of him and Mando hard turns to fall in behind the Gauntlet. Ahhav goes 2 straight, nowhere near the centre objective and takes an evade.

As I’m finding is common in 2.5, I’m engaging in turn 1. Still feels odd.

Kad takes a shot at Ahhav and gets 1 hit past his dice and token. Ahhav’s return shot does the same to Kad. Typical.

That’s the turn done and dusted though and so we tally up the points.

End of turn score: 3 (me) – 1 (Josh)

Turn 2

A decent start then!

Time to continue the plan. On my left side I’ll continue as I started with Manaroo gunning for the top left objective while N’dru slow rolls to keep the bottom left.

Kad will go 2 straight to lay claim on the middle.

Now, I know that the pilot ability is designed to do so but having Mando face off against 3 ships does NOT feel right. He will hard turn left while Gamut will bank in to clear his stress and hopefully keep out of harm’s way.

ROAD 1st Player – Josh

Josh banks Ahhav into the middle and focuses before Rook takes what feels like a huge leap forwards, clearly wanting the joust with Mando.

Manaroo gently banks in and takes a focus while Gamut does the same (with his arc facing right already).

Josh’s Kad goes next, taking a 4 or 5 straight and then a banked boost into focus.

Now my Kad takes his 2 straight, landing in relative safety but still taking a focus and opting not to link it. N’dru rolls forwards and takes a focus.

Josh’s Mando takes a 1 straight and remains behind the Gauntlet before mine takes a 2 hard left followed by a focus.

There will be some shooting, but not much. Josh’s Kad goes first, taking a range 2 shot at Gamut and stripping his 2 shields. Rook follows that up with a range 3 shot that puts a damage onto hull. Yikes.

Gamut has taken the opportunity to use Notorious on both of them, meaning that they take a strain and Gamut uses that to get a reroll when he shoots Kad and gets 2 hits onto him in return. Not bad.

Ahhav takes a shot at my Mando but with an evade being his only token, his range 2 obstructed shot doesn’t land any damage.

Points wise I’ve got ships around 4 of the objectives but Ahhav’s presence int he middle means I only claim 3. Josh, however, doesn’t claim any.

End of turn score: 3 – 0

Total score: 6 – 1

Turn 3

Ok, things are looking good! At least on the score board. I can’t say I’m too happy with my positioning. Turning away with Mando has put me in a weird position plus Gamut is only 2 hits from death with 2 ships closing in.

Let’s start with the easy ones. MAnaroo and N’dru will continue their slow shuffles to keep on the objectives. Kad will 3 bank right to reach for the top corner. Simple enough. But what about the other two? Since the Gauntlet isn’t too manoeuvrable I set Gamut a 3 bank right, hoping to land in it’s flank. But Mando? Hmmmm….. I debate a 5-k (JARGON ALERT!!) but that seems a little much and won’t claim me the middle objective. If I could bag that then I’ll potentially pick up 4 more points this turn. No, I’ll go with a 2 hard turn in to the middle. Wait, will that fit? Maybe I’ll go 1 hard instead and use Contraband. Yep, that’ll work. Sorted.

ROAD 1st Player – me

I’m first for the first time this game! Alright, let’s get going. Gamut takes his 3 bank and takes a white boost in to the middle. Manaroo 1 banks right which takes him a little further from the objective than I’d have liked, followed by a focus and linked rotate, setting his arc right.

Josh moves Ahhav, banking him right and landing almost exactly on the objective. Rook then1 banks right and takes a lock on Mando since Gamut has totally dodged him.

N’dru and Kad both move, landing well within range of their targeted objectives (although Kad needs a boost to get there). Josh’s Kad banks, realises it isn’t blue and simply keeps his stress.

I flip Contraband and turn Mando in, taking a lock on Ahhav who is sitting squarely in front of him.

Josh turns in with his Mando too and has a nice juicy range 1 shot into Gamut. Oops….

Time to shoot, then! My Mando goes first and obliterates Ahhav. Nice. Josh’s Mando takes the range 1 shot into Gamut after deciding not to shoot my Mando at range 3. It turns out to be irrelevant because Josh’s dice crap out and he does nothing.

Neither of my i4’s have shots so Josh’s Kad and Rook both target my Razor Crest and between them manage to strip his shields. Not ideal but could have been worse!

And with that, firing is done. Do I manage to pick up FOUR objective points this round?

I do not. Balls.

Still, I’ve got 2 for Ahhav and 3 for objectives so it’s not disastrous.

End of turn score: 5 – 1

Total score: 11 – 2

Turn 4

At this point it’s starting to feel like a foregone conclusion. I’m 9 points up and sitting relatively pretty. That said, Gamut is looking shaky and Josh clearly has his sights set on Mando.

So what do I do now? Well, Manaroo is finally going to not score objective points. His turn 0 placement meant that at some point he’d have to do some of the unfavoured right turns and so I decide to start getting angles in to take advantage of that. He will go straight in order to bank his way to the top right corner objective next turn.

N’dru will abandon his bottom left corner and gun it toward the top right while Kad will continue to claim top right. What about Gamut and Mando though? Hmm.

Gamut is in the way. I decide he really should try and live so he gets a left bank. Hopefully he can then boost to get out of Mando’s way. Mando will bank right and try to do some damage to his doppelganger.

ROAD 1st Player – Josh

With Ahhav gone it’s Rook to move first. Josh has misjudged the angles though and he just catches the rock. Harsh. One auto-damage is done but no 2nd hit is applied. Manaroo shuffles forwards (clearing stress) and takes a focus while Gamut’s bank fits perfectly and allows him to boost left, nestling in between two asteroids.

Josh thinks Kad won’t make it past the Gauntlet but he takes his hard right turn and neatly slots in next to it, facing his ST-70. I slide N’dru and Kad on towawrds their respective objectives and each one takes a focus.

Josh then flips contraband and stops with his Mando, taking a focus.

I bank mine in and he focuses too.

It looks a little congested but there are surprisingly few shots to take. Josh’s Mando goes first and blanks for the 2nd turn in a row. My return shot isn’t any better and so our Razor Crests fail to do any damage to each other.

Kad Solus decide that isn’t for him and manages to get 3 hits past my green dice, bringing my Mando down to 4 hull remaining. Ouch.

Neither of us have any other shots and so we end the turn.

End of turn score: 3 – 1

Total score: 14 – 3

Turn 5

I’m confident. Three more objective points and maybe kill a ship and I’ll get the 20 points. What do I go for though? Josh’s Mando and the Gauntlet are barely touched. Hmmm….. Well, I’ll start with the easy moves. N’dru will go 1 straight to stick to his objective, Kad will hard turn to do the same. Manaroo will 3 bank to close in on my Kad to support him. Gamut will have to take the 2 turn to avoid smashing into the rock since he only has 2 hull left. And Mando? That’s tricky. I’d like to 5-k. It’ll put me over the rock for an auto damage, yes but I think it would dodge arcs. But will it fit? The last thing I want is to land him on the corner rock for more damage and no shots.

Maybe he should run? But then I’ve not managed to trigger his ability ALL GAME and where’s the fun in that?

I look at the board again. What about the 2 Talon Roll? (JARGON ALERT!!) Could that work? I might get a shot into the Gauntlet maybe? At the very least Josh won’t be expecting it and might not get any shots on me.

Yep, I’ll do that.

ROAD 1st Player – me

Alrighty then, here we go.

Gamut’s 2 hard turn neatly dodges the asteroid and he follows it up with a banked boost, trying to gain some distance from the fight.

Manaroo launches towards the top right and takes a focus.

Josh moves Rook, coming off one rock and RIGHT onto the next one. So. Harsh. He rolls but doesn’t take damage.

My i4’s are next. N’dru slides 1 straight and focuses while Kad hard turns and takes a lock on Josh’s Mando.

Josh’s Kad surprises me with a nicely executed 4-K. Ah. And since it was a red move, he gets 2 focus tokens. Double ah.

It’s my Mando to move. I reveal the 2 Talon. Josh is surprised.

I place the template down. And I’m surprised.

Very definitely probably the very worst move I have EVER made in X-Wing.

Yessir he not only clips the one asteroid but LANDS ON THE SECOND ONE!!!!

Disaster!

He takes an auto damage and rolls for a second…. and takes it. Oh balls.

He takes another auto damage for the second rock, leaving him on 1 health. He rolls for a second…. it’s blank! Yay!

Josh then reveals a red stop*. Oh.

*now, I know that I said he used Contraband earlier and I’m racking my brain for how this worked. I’m pretty sure there’s just something I’ve missed somewhere!

I can’t believe there are this many non-shots with so many ships left on the board.

Josh’s Mando goes first, rolls 4 dice at my limping ST-70….AND MISSES. It’s unjust. I fully deserve the death that is heading my way.

My Mando can’t shoot on the rock and so it’s my Kad who manages to clip a shield from Josh’s Mando.

Josh’s Kad then mercilessly murders my ST-70 with 4 paint.

I deserved that.

Manaroo manages to clip another shield from Josh’s Razor Crest before Gamut’s pot shot at Rook also chips one.

End of turn score: 2 – 7

Total score: 16 – 11

Turn 6?

Ok, a few things happened here. The loss of Mando has bumped Josh’s points RIGHT up and my failure to do significant damage in return is telling.

But, during that last turn, the timer went off.

I won!

We both feel a little unsatisfied with just 5 turns though. Josh suggests another turn and I agree. Back to planning then!

I have to hard turn with N’dru to make he doesn’t fly off the board so that’s fairly straightforward. I want to hard turn Kad right to point at Mando but Manaroo will move first. I will bank the Jumpmaster which means that Kad will have to just go straight to avoid bumping.

I can’t quite decide where Josh will put Rook. I debate giving Gamut a 4 straight and boost for distance or a 3 bank right and boost for angle.

I opt for the 4 straight.

Right, moves dialled in, let’s go!

ROAD 1st Player – Josh

Josh sends his Gauntlet 3 straight, rather more aggressive than expected (that 3 bank looks good right now….) and focuses. Oh dear.

Gamut takes his 4 straight and I have a choice to make. Focus and stay in range 2 or boost out to range 3 for an extra defence die.

I opt for the boost.

Manaroo 1 banks and, with his arc already out to the side and a lock on Josh’s Mando, takes a focus.

Josh sends his Kad WAY out of the fight. He doesn’t want to chance it. He boosts and links to a red focus, just in case.

My Kad takes his 3 straight and focuses since no reposition will help here. N’dru takes the 2 hard turn. I look at whether a roll will get him arc on the Gauntlet (I don’t think it does) and while I’m tempted to still do it to distract Josh from Gamut, I just take the focus.

Lastly, Josh hard turns with his Mando to come in close to Manaroo.

Things are about to get interesting.

Mando fires at the so far undamaged Manaroo and takes 2 shields. No problem. Neither Kad has a shot, nor do N’dru or Gamut. It’s only Rook left.

He takes the range 3 shot at Gamut, rolling all paint for maximum hits.

Gamut blanks out and dies in a puff of disappointment. Oh dear.

Josh scores 3 points for ships but what about objectives?

Oh.

Holy cow.

Between Rook claiming 2 and Kad off in his corner, Josh scores 3 objectives to my 1

End of turn score: 6 – 1

Total score: 17 – 17

Result – Draw

The conclusion…

Well, that was….. interesting!

Having previously experienced (and heard other people experience) a sort of snowball effect of not being able to catch up when behind on objective points, I found this pretty fascinating.

Of course that extra turn is what stung me here. Having been 16 – 11 up when the timer went but only at 5 turns we mutually opted for another and it cost me. Josh’s Gauntlet picking up 2 objectives was rather unfortunate (for me!) and my choice to 4 straight and boost with Gamut rather than the 3 bank right that I’d considered meant he was squarely in arc and bit the dust.

So what can I take from this?

Given what happened in a game I played on TTS the following day against Jordan Bishop (which I lost) where I was again significantly ahead in the early-mid game and then lost a big chunk of points by losing Mando late on, I think I have an issue with my overall strategy.

What I’m finding is that when I’m lining up to deploy, I’m looking at how to immediately get some points ticking over. That’s fine initially but my ships are then not necessarily in position to do effective and/or focused damage to opposing ships as shown by my only taking 1 of Josh’s ships and was actually the case against Jordan too.

It seems that what I need is a better overall strategy. The thing is, finding and developing strategies is not a strength of mine. When you combine that with the fundamental shift in list building and my capacity to generally only get one game a week makes me feel like I’m lagging behind in terms of building up the experience I need to improve.

That’s a general 2.5 thing that will just change or improve over time.

As for the list? Well, looking at the combined experience of the two games from last week, I think it’s… ok.

N’dru can hold/pick up an objective and potter around with it. Even if he dies (which he did against Jordan), if he’s acquired more than 2 points in objective play (which he did) then that’s fine.

The issue so far seems to be with The Mandalorian himself.

I’ve been reluctant to joust him against multiple ships despite that being what his pilot ability is designed to actually do. Whether that’s years of avoiding the joust with Dash or just because I love my shiny new ST-70 I can’t really say.

I do like the list though and did get good utility out of the Jabba/Contraband combo (more so against Jordan than Josh) and from Elusive but Optics, Fearless, Boba Gunner and Mando’s ability, not so much.

I feel like it’s more a play style thing than anything else and given that he’s died in the two games I’ve used him in without really earning back as many points as he’s cost me, I do wonder whether I’m possibly better off splitting those 7 points into 2 ships. Then again the Razor Crest is really pretty and looks awesome on the table so maybe I’ll just keep it!

About the scenario itself? It was refreshing not to have to make the choice between claiming an objective and taking an action in order to score points. After one game of it I’m not really sure I’m in a position to say whether I like it more/less/the same as the others but now that I’ve played three of the four (with Chance Encounter being the one that I haven’t played) I think that it’s probably Salvage Mission that’s my favourite.

Since I’m already about 10 hours late posting this out I’ll leave it here for the moment. Hopefully the next week will be a bit quieter and I can get things done in good time!

I’ll see you there!

The outro…

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