Taking The Actual Sith

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog! Has it really been a week already?!

It’s certainly been an interesting one all round.

First of all, I had a follow up appointment at the hospital. My bone is healed (yay!) and I no longer need the crutches or space boot (yay!) but the soft tissue damage could take months to fully heal (booooo!). I’m cleared to start driving again (yay!) but don’t quite feel ready for since since I still have pain in my foot when I’m walking (booooo!).

Goodbyeeeeeeeee!

Still, overall it’s good progress!

There’s also been some not insignificant X-Wing news this last week which I’ll share for those of you who get all their X-Wing info from here (and I know there’s one person for sure so I feel justified in saying that!).

After rather a lot of hoo-ha last week about the release of points (or lack thereof to be precise) for the semi-partially-accidentally released Pride of Mandalore pack, AMG have informally (i.e. in a paint stream) revised their rules/points update schedule to maybe the middle of February. Or maybe the end. It depends on LFL licensing apparently.

It also seems that the remainder of the wave (The Gauntlet and, more importantly, the Razorcrest) may be delayed until the end of April according to some updated product info on the Asmodee web shop.

Sad times.

I think it’s fair to say that X-Wing has had a reasonably rough 6 months or so and I’m at the point where I feel it’s actually the delays and the waiting that’s now hurting more than the possible impact of any rules changes, points updates or release delays. We just need the new into please AMG. Please?

And then, as if they’d actually been reading my mind (or hacked my partially written post), almost as if to pacify the growing rage, AMG went on a full charm offensive, announcing in one fell swoop that they’d not only be running official OP at Adepticon this year BUT that it would be a path towards WORLDS qualification which would be planned for late 2022! Yep, Worlds is back on the menu!

If nothing else, especially in as turbulent a period as we’ve had of late, this is a ray of hope for what’s to come. The post came just 6 weeks before the event is due to happen which, while not ideal for many, gives hope that there’s more going on in the background in terms of event planning for OP this year. I’m optimistic that qualifiers outside of the US will follow and that come this time next year, we’ll have had a Worlds event and be looking forward to another.

Right, I’m done with all that, let’s crack on with the main event. I went to the Sith Taker Open! Wooooo!

As I said last week, 10 games is far too much for one blog so today will cover the 6 games of day 1

Are you ready? Ok then, there’s a LOT to cover so let’s get on with it!

The batreps… (JARGON ALERT!!)

Having travelled up on the Friday night with the very kind Mark Beor, he and I joined fellow Exiles Mark and Josh Hall for a curry (at Mr Ali’s just down the road from Element, highly recommended!) before heading over to Element for a little nose around and to scope the place out a bit.

Still being on crutches at that point, the stairs were a slight pain but once I was up there it was all on the flat so it was all looking fine. We had a brief chat with TO extraordinaire Mr Tim King who showed us where the fixed tables would be (since Mark and Josh would be on them too) and with that we made our way over the the Premier Inn (which feels further than it should be when on crutches) and I aimed for an early night.

It did NOT work out that way though as I had a pretty terrible night’s sleep without quite putting my finger on why.

Waking rather fatigued, I met the other guys and we headed over.

Before even getting started, the feeling of building atmosphere in the room was electric. Squad mates chatting with each other, friends seeing each other for the first time in months (or years? or at all?!), unpacking of cases, checking out lists and showing off beautifully painted ships.

It was great.

Tim and other organiser Rich Polley opened registration and gave safety information and a quick briefing and then we were ready to go as pairings were made and displayed on the screens.

I feel this is good point to re-iterate what my expectations were for this (or any!) tournament):

  • My primary goal in a tournament is to have fun.
  • My minimum expectation of myself is to be a good opponent.
  • My hope is to break even.
  • My dream is to make the cut.

Let’s go!

Game 1 – Conor Holmes

If anything was going to be an indicator of the strength in the room it was this draw. First pairing and it’s a member of Ireland’s XTC team. Sure, why not!

Despite only getting involved in X-Wing since some time around the start of the pandemic, Conor is a SERIOUS talent in the game. I’ve said before that some people just naturally have the right brain wiring to ‘see’ things in this game that make them good and Conor is very clearly one of those. My only ray of hope was the he was feeling juuuuuust a little bit hung over.

He’d brought a rather tasty list along:

Zam Wesell (84)
Count Dooku (14)
Proton Bombs (4)

Ship total: 102 Half Points: 51 Threshold: 5

Jango Fett (80)
Chancellor Palpatine (14)
Proton Bombs (4)

Ship total: 98 Half Points: 49 Threshold: 5

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Separatist%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z428XWWW218W69WWWY429XWWW217W69WWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Double Firesprays. Yuck. Still, it’s 20 health in total and I might be able to throw 5 double modded dice at them. I can hope, eh?

I started by flanking with Wedge and then running away while Dash managed to sink a decent unanswered shot into Zam.

Wedge got halved and Dash had been chipped down a bit but I was able to keep putting damage into Conor’s ships (although not killing either one outright). Conor was lamenting his decisions and debating courses of action when I mentioned off-hand that I’ve lost many a game from a winning position.

Was that about to be a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Apparently it was because I then made what later turned out to be a significant mistake. With the Separatists on the ropes in the top right corner, I disengaged with all 3 ships. My thought was that my ships were not quite together enough and with each Firespray on just 2 or 3 health, I’d be able to get at least one off the table with some focus fire.

What I had done though was given Conor time to get his ships back together (I even commented that it looked like we were just starting!) and he came in hard and coordinated (as in, his approach was coordinated, he didn’t perform the action, just to be clear!).

Wedge blanked out and was gone before Jango and Zam closed in on Dash.

In a brutal exchange of shots, Dash was taken down to 1 health while both Firesprays simply refused to take the necessary damage to finish them off.

One turn later and with just 6 minutes left on the clock, Dash took that last hit from Jango, the initiative kill denying his chance to shoot back. I still had Ahsoka on the board (and at full health too) but with her position and both Firesprays still around and able to move and boost to hunt her down, I called it.

Result: 100 – 141 loss

Record for the day: 0 (wins) – 1 (losses)

Mini conclusion…

Right, first things first, objectively speaking (and in Conor’s opinion), I should have won this. Had I pressed the attack with the Firesprays bleeding (rather than disengaging and regrouping) I could have probably taken one off and from there I can afford to lose any of my ships in exchange for the win.

I also regretted calling the game once I belatedly realised what the points actually were. Had my full health Ahsoka managed to do that 1 final hit onto Jango in those closing minutes I’d have scored an extra 49 points and won the game. Oops!

Conor was a great opponent (and went on to make the cut!) and it was a really fun game. A great way to start the day, despite the loss! Thanks for the shot glass Conor!

Game 2 – Joel Farley

Despite losing the first game I was in a positive mood. I’d taken on a top player and come thiiiiiiis close to a win. Time to see who I’d get next.

The answer was Joel! And what had he brought?

Lieutenant Sai (46)
Advanced Sensors (9)
Jamming Beam (0)
ST-321 (3)

Ship total: 58 Half Points: 29 Threshold: 5

Rear Admiral Chiraneau (75)
Intimidation (3)
Novice Technician (2)
Darth Vader (14)
Agile Gunner (3)
Hull Upgrade (2)

Ship total: 99 Half Points: 50 Threshold: 9

“Countdown” (41)
Predator (2)

Ship total: 43 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z166X111W12WWWW162Y214X122WW53W26WW76WW164WY209X127WWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Good Lord! What the heck is going on here?!

My initial plan to stay as clear of the the Decimator as possible was self-sabotaged quite early on. I took a greedy barrel roll with Dash to get a modded shot into Countdown which (typically!) did nothing at all. As if to compound the punishment for my greed, the return shot took 2 shields from Dash. Balls.

Countdown then proceeded to dive in and block Dash two turns in a row while Sai and RAC (JARGON ALERT!!) decided that strains and mods are of no consequence and just ploughed over obstacles to chase Dash down.

Dash started to push damage into the Decimator but whilst my red dice were painfully inconsistent, Joel just kept on rolling lots of paint with his 3 and 4 dice shots and I was very quickly losing the damage race.

Once Dash cleared that stupidly acquired stress, a cheeky roll and hard turn (aided by Ahsoka of course) meant that I managed to pull off a rather spectacular arc dodge with a large base ship…

LIKE A GLOVE!

Only for Sai to roll all paint and continue the pain. Sheesh.

Now that he was in close, Joel could leverage Vader crew to strip a green token each turn which started to limit my damage mitigation. Things were going downhill fast.

Joel managed another crucial bump on Dash, denying him an action and triggering Vader to take his last hull point. Balls.

Wedge and Ahsoka stuck around a little longer and between them got half points on Sai and Countdown but both burned down without me even taking an enemy ship off the board and with about 20 minutes left on the clock.

Result: 51 – 200 loss

Record for the day: 0 – 2

Mini conclusion…

If my first game had me riding high on a close potential win, this one had me pretty deflated. After the game I was still slightly irate at myself for that needless barrel roll by Dash to force an unnecessary first engagement when staying further away would have allowed me to dodge a block and trade shots with RAC from distance.

In the end I got nowhere near the 17 hit points that the Decimator was packing but seriously hampered my means of doing so by getting Dash stressed so early and relying on Ahsoka to feed him actions when she could have been doing damage of her own. Even now, the thought of rolling Concussion Missiles into a 0 agility ship with it’s shields stripped makes me seriously regret my strategic choices for this game.

Joel was a lovely guy to play against and I’m very pleased that the Exile Squadron sticker I gave him sits proudly on his massive dice tower.

Still, no time to dwell on the past. Onwards and upwards!

Game 3 – Seth Bryan

My third opponent of the day was the very lovely Seth Bryan of Meeple Squadron. He’d brought Boba and Guri, a list I’d read about plenty on various different blogs but never actually faced.

Boba Fett (85)
Fearless (3)
Jamming Beam (0)
Thermal Detonators (5)
Overtuned Modulators (3)
Shield Upgrade (6)
Slave I (Separatist) (3)

Ship total: 105 Half Points: 53 Threshold: 6

Guri (60)
Predator (2)
Primed Thrusters (9)
Shield Upgrade (8)
Virago (7)

Ship total: 86 Half Points: 43 Threshold: 4

Total: 191

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZsZ200Z103X121W12WW339W411W165WW370WY147X127W178WW165W163W&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Boba was also sporting a rather unfamiliar upgrade…

How am I supposed to shoot at them?!

The 9 point bid means that all my ships will be moving first and while that’s typically a disadvantage, I decided I needed to try and leverage that as best I could.

Never being blocked meant that Dash was never short on tokens and as we slowly made our way to the middle of the board, I got a nice range 1 Outmanoeuvre shot from Wedge into Guri to put some serious hurt on quite early.

Meanwhile Ahsoka was chipping health from Boba and Dash was tanking some damage with plenty of nattie (JARGON ALERT!!) evades (unlike he had in the last game!).

A block from Dash on Guri (leaving her nothing to shoot at) started limiting Seth’s damage output and with health points running out, I managed to get a Disabled Power regulator crit onto her while she was already facing away from the fight.

Then in one highly bloody turn I managed this:

Dash’s range 3 Trick Shot finished Boba off (robbing Wedge of his juicy Outmanoeuvre shot!). Boba’s simultaneous fire failed to land anything significant before Ahsoka brought Guri down to 1 health. A sloop (JARGON ALERT!!) from Ahsoka the following turn allowed her to get the kill shot on Guri with about 15 minutes left on the clock. Nice.

Result: 200 – 71 win

Record for the day: 1 – 2

Mini conclusion…

Well, that’s a bit more like it. I felt that I engaged my brain a bit more than in the previous game and properly thought about how to engage. Seth’s dice weren’t amazing and my greens bailed me out of a few occasions but my being able to consistently get guns on target and mod the shots meant it was only a matter of time before something went pop.

Seth was a really great opponent and at no point acted salty (JARGON ALERT!!) about how the game was going.

At this point we broke for lunch (I think?!) and while I was on a negative record, I felt that things were going ok.

Game 4 – David Wynne

I got a Sith Taker! Woooooo!

So what had he brought? Well, something I perhaps wasn’t expecting:

Grand Inquisitor (52)
Ship total: 52 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 2

Darth Vader (66)
Afterburners (7)

Ship total: 73 Half Points: 37 Threshold: 3

“Whisper” (60)
Fifth Brother (12)
Targeting Computer (3)

Ship total: 75 Half Points: 38 Threshold: 3

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z169XWWY173XWWW105Y199XWW82W249&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

The game opened pretty slowly as David sent his ships up my left flank while I crawled along my own board edge before heading up the right. Vader dived in to the middle burning one of his Afterburners charges to get a chance shot on Wedge.

He failed to land damage but not only that, he had unfortunately (for him!) crept into Dash’s arc. Dash took full advantage and took Vader’s shields in a single shot. Ouch.

I dangled Wedge for David to chase, unexpectedly doubling him back and dodging Vader and Whisper while the Inquisitor failed to land any damage. In return I managed to strip the shields from the X1, giving me half points.

With the clock ticking down I then made what turned out to be a rather massive error.

Stupid move in 3…2…1….

At this point I set Dash a 4-K (JARGON ALERT!!) as I suspect David will turn and chase Wedge and I want to keep Dash away and not risk the points. As I want to keep Ahsoka with him I go to set her a 3 sloop right (towards the board edge) but decide a 5-K will do the same job.

I was wrong.

I move Dash first and then Ahsoka bumps into him, leaving her facing the wrong way.

‘No problem’, I think to myself ‘I can sort this out’ but while Vader stays WELL out of harm’s way (not wanting to give up that health for half points), Whisper and the Inquisitor forget all about Wedge and chase Ahsoka down into a corner.

As time is called we are planning one last turn. I’ve scored half on the Inquisitor and given up no points.

Whisper is clearly going to do some sort of turn around while the Inquisitor can just roll in slowly. I want Ahsoka to have an action and so while I carefuly consider a 2 straight, that might land right in front of Whisper. I set a 4 straight instead.

Whisper k-turns. She already has a lock from a previous turn. The Inquisitor just plods slowly forwards and focuses.

Time is called on the round.

Yeesh.

Ahsoka takes her 4 straight. The 2 straight would have bumped into the back of Whisper and the game would be over.

But no, I picked the 4. Awesome.

She takes it and lands range 1 of Whisper. Not good. After some deliberation (and it looking like just the boost on it’s own doesn’t get her out of range 1), she rolls left and bank boosts.

No shots for me so David rolls. The Inquisitor goes first, rolling 2 paint and spending the focus. Ahsoka rolls 2 blanks and an eyeball. I spend her last Force to dodge 1 and lose 1 shield.

Whisper fires. 3 dice with a lock gives her 2 hits. I roll greens and it’s trail mix (JARGON ALERT!!) – one blank, one eyeball and one evade. With no Force left Ahsoka loses a shield and with the last roll of the dice, she’s been halved.

Result: 26 – 28 loss

Record for the day: 1 – 3

Mini conclusion…

Oh come on! TWO POINTS?!? 🤣

This was quite possibly the cagiest most tense game I have ever played. It was on a knife edge most of the time and to have lost it right on the last dice roll feels, well, I don’t know. On the one hand it feels harsh since I’d got the half on the Inquisitor much earlier and just needed to hold on. On the other, it feels like the right result since my bungled 5-k with Ahsoka is what put her so far from the others. Maybe Dash could/should have swept in behind the Inquisitor to threaten a kill shot from the rear but I also had to be wary of Vader.

David was a great opponent (I know I’m saying it a lot but it’s true!) and came aroud the tables after the game for a massive hug (with my permission, of course, covid and all that) saying that it was the hardest game of X-Wing that he’s played in ages.

I’ll take that!

On the plus side, losing a game by less than 5 points meant that I qualified for a bounty, picking up a really nice Sith Takers squadron patch.

Game 5 – Darren Grainger

ANOTHER Sith Taker!

Nom Lumb (38)
Adv. Proton Torpedoes (5)
Ion Cannon (6)
IG-88D (3)
Dengar (6)
Contraband Cybernetics (3)

Ship total: 61 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 5

Fenn Rau (68)
Fearless (3)

Ship total: 71 Half Points: 36 Threshold: 2

Old Teroch (56)
Fearless (3)
Stealth Device (8)

Ship total: 67 Half Points: 34 Threshold: 2

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZsZ200Z400X134W11W36W80W92WWY97X121WY98X121WW166&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

The slight advantage I have here is that this is a very similar list to what Cai had been planning to bring so I’m at least semi-familiar with the ships. I have the bid to move after Old T but I felt that Fenn could be an issue.

I was proved right as Darren launched him 5 straight 2 turns in a row to boost in with a focus to be at range 1 of Dash and outside of his arc in turn 2. Bold.

EMERGENCY!!!!

I immediately went on the defensive, trying desperately to avoid those 5 dice range 1 shots.

I didn’t manage it very well but thankfully Darren’s red dice weren’t playing ball and the 5 dice shots were landing 1 or 2 hits at most once I’d spent tokens. Phew!

In the mean time I hit Old Terroch from range and (despite the Stealth Device) landed him a Loose Stabiliser crit while he faced the board edge. Harsh. The inevitable straight move was chased by Wedge from behind who finished him off.

Meanwhile I was (semi-successfully) trying to cause bump trains in order to keep Dash from being hit with 5 dice from Fenn, only to have him take Wedge out instead.

Nom Lumb eventually went down (despite lasting 3 turns on 1 health while sporting a Disabled Power Regulator that eventually triggered) and that gave me 2 ships vs Fenn and typically, Darren’s full health Fenn died in one shot from Dash. Super. Harsh.

Result: 200 – 91 win

Record for the day: 2 – 3

Mini conclusion…

This one did feel a little harsh as Old T’s Stealth Device disappeared with no impact and Darren’s dice simply didn’t show up. Darren had also had a long day of not great results and then dropped after this game in order to have some social time (his primary reason for coming!) before leaving. I can’t say I blame him! He didn’t take the game badly though and was a really good opponent to play against.

Overall I think I did ok after the initial shock of being jumped by Fenn. I do have to bear in mind that self bumping to cause other bumps won’t be as viable once the new rules come into effect!

That puts me at 2 wins for the day. Can I get 1 more to break even?

Game 6 – Lian Smith

Well, well, well, a (relative) local to me!

Lian is a member of Vagabond Squadron and while I’ve seen, know and played against a fair few Vagabonds in my time, Lian hasn’t been one of them until now.

Like me, he chosen to fly Rebels today:

Wedge Antilles (54)
Predator (2)
R2 Astromech (5)
Shield Upgrade (6)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 67 Half Points: 34 Threshold: 4

Corran Horn (59)
Predator (2)
R4 Astromech (2)
Shield Upgrade (8)

Ship total: 71 Half Points: 36 Threshold: 4

Jan Ors (41)
Engine Upgrade (3)
Moldy Crow (16)

Ship total: 60 Half Points: 30 Threshold: 3

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z5X127WW2W165W142Y21X127WWWW5W165Y46XWWW107WW156&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Now, my brain was a little frazzled by this point and during the game I kept forgetting who had the regen astromech. Other than that, I thought I had a fairly decent handle on what was happening here.

Thought.

I committed the worst possible Dash offence by mistake. I sent him into a corner.

In my defence, Lian’s ships approached FAR faster than I expected and a combo of brutal dice and poor planning on my part (with a big 3 hard turn juuuuust failing to block Wedge) meant that Dash was off the table in just two (possibly three?) engagements.

Ouch.

This is bad, right?

With my main offensive piece out of play I tried to leverage Wedge’s ability and Ahsoka’s concussion missiles to level the playing field but to no avail.

I eventually managed to get Jan off the table but it was far too little, far too late as Lian made full use of Corran’s double taps and Predator rerolls to fully wipe me out with time to spare in the round.

Result: 60 – 200 loss

Record for the day: 2 – 4

Mini conclusion…

A poor game by me, running my opening on autopilot and getting heavily punished for it. Had I been able to isolate Wedge earlier or taken out Jan a turn earlier or even done better avoiding Corran’s bullseye (although not easy with a big base ship!) then I may have lasted out a bit longer but there’s no taking this away from Lian, he fully deserved this win.

To make matters worse he was a lovely bloke and even though I was being battered mercilessly I was having a really great time all the way through the game!

The conclusion…

First of all, what an excellent day I had!

The feeling of being in a room of fellow nerds, trading stories about games and watching from afar as other games were finished off, well, there’s nothing quite like it.

In terms of the games and the list? Well clearly it wasn’t AMAZING. For all the talk of ‘Dash is broken’ and ‘he needs to go back up in points’, I have to say that despite my being pretty experienced with him, my overall record isn’t great.

Of course, experienced doesn’t always mean good and while I’ve been playing a good while now and have a couple (not many, but a couple) of big scalps to my name, none that I can immediately recall have been with Dash. My results with him have always been fairly mixed at best and downright terrible at worst.

Is he bad? No, certainly not at these points. Does that mean I know how best to utilise him? Also no, despite my flying him reasonably regularly for around 2 1/2 years now.

When I compare any Dash list I’ve flown with the Scum list I faced a few times back in September (Bossk, Asajj and Lando), even though I only flew with it once (and against it maybe 3 times?), it really did feel like an ‘auto-win’ list unless things went horribly wrong. Which they didn’t (for the person flying the list) in the games I experienced.

Still, in the hands of someone experienced (and good!) who fully understands the ship, yes, Dash is good. Not broken by any means, but good.

Did it affect how good a time I had?

I love to fly that ship and while wins are nice, fun is better.

With new rules on the horizon and ‘black box’ becoming the possible (probable) norm, I felt this was a good way of ‘signing off’ in a way with my journey with the YT-2400. Yes, there may be tournaments in future which he’ll be valid for

In the end I finished 78th out of 116 registered players on the day and, with a not terrible MoV (JARGON ALERT!!) was 4th of the 2-4 players.

But that’s not the most important thing. No, regardless of results I’d actually had a really fantastic day doing something I greatly enjoy with some good friends and in the process had met some incredible new people and had participated in an awesome, shared, large group experience.

And that, my friend, is the essence of X-Wing.

So that’s it for this week, I’ve waffled on MORE than enough. Next week I’ll be covering the 4 games from day 2’s event using ROAD rules.

I’ll see you then!

The outro…

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