That Awkward Moment…

The intro…

Welcome to this week’s blog!

I’ve got 2 games to cover today (I know, right!? Me from two years ago would be be so pumped at the prospect of 2 games EVERY WEEK!) and so I’ll try and keep it short on the intro, I promise.

As I mentioned last week, I have a tournament to prepare for. It’s using the current tournament rules and regs (so, none of the new stuff) and on top of that it’s Hyperspace.

Now if you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might already know that Hyperspace isn’t exactly my favourite format. I totally understand the need for it (or something like it) in terms of new players being able to easily access ships and upgrades that haven’t been reprinted from 1.0 without scouring eBay. I also understand that limiting some of the crazy nonsense that’s possible with certain card combos helps to eliminate some of the ‘feels bad’ moments.

But I’ve spent a lot of money on this game over the years and for me not to be able to use some of the things that I’ve paid for isn’t a great feeling.

It doesn’t help that my favourite ship is one of those things.

Anyway, it is what it is and I of course have a choice whether or not to participate in the event and by choosing to do so, I accept that I’ll be playing Hyperspace.

Last week I blogged about 2 games that I played with a list that was suggested to me by Steve Boulton.

As the week progressed and conversations took place it turned out that Steve had seen the list played (to great effect) by Jordan Bishop (writer of the Tales of a Space Junkie blog).

Following last week’s post, Jordan got in touch and we began talking about the list and some of the changes I had made/was thinking of making.

Slightly awkwardly, Jordan is also going to Cardiff and is planning on taking the same list. Oops!

Thankfully Jordan’s a really great guy and isn’t annoyed that I’m planning on flying it at Cardiff, far from it. In fact we chatted at length over the pros and cons of upgrade options available and how best to fly the list to good effect. What a guy.

As we continued to chat Jordan offered me a game online and, since my Tuesday evenings are currently free for such frivolous things, we arranged to play.

Now, it did cross my mind to change to a different list and keep my cards close to my chest since:
1 – Jordan is attending Cardiff and this could help him beat me on the day
2 – He’s intending to play a different list against me in this game (so I can’t glean any info on how he plays it)
3 – I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of the person who I ‘appropriated’ the list from in the first place.

All reasonable points.

Then I realised:
1 – in a 5 round tournament, I’m aiming/hoping for 3 wins. In Jordan’s last tournament with this list he went 5 – 0. I don’t think it’ll make a huge difference (despite us almost guaranteed to be drawn against each other in round 1, because somehow TTS always knows!). Past that we’re not especially likely to be paired I reckon.
2 – who better to play the list against than someone who’s already done well with it to get help and feedback from?
3 – I regularly embarrass myself on this blog by highlighting stupid decisions and mistakes. I can hardly make it worse, can I!?

Cool. I’ll stick to the plan and continue testing.

While talking to Jordan before the game, he warned me not to underestimate Shattering Shot in the list and while I totally see where he’s coming from, I don’t have a copy of it (although he did then offer to lend it to me for the day if needed) and I want to check out the other options that I have on the table at the moment. I’ve still got at least 3 opportunities to play following this game which is enough time to fine tune.

With last week’s tweaks, I’m flying this:

Leia Organa (77)
Chewbacca (3)
Millennium Falcon (3)

Ship total: 83 Half Points: 42 Threshold: 7

Luke Skywalker (60)
R4 Astromech (2)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 62 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 3

Ahsoka Tano (A-Wing) (49)
Instinctive Aim (1)
Proton Rockets (5)

Ship total: 55 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 2

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z393XWWW21WWWW154Y4XWW5WW142Y463X73WW102W&sn=HyperForce&obs=

No bid, sure but I could remove R4 and/or Chewbacca if I think one is needed. If I want to put Shattering Shot onto Leia I can drop R4 from Luke and change Chewie back to Novice Technician to free up the points. There’s lots of flexibility in this build.

A few more test games in Fly Casual went well (despite Instinctive Aim not working correctly in it). Yes, I like it. Threat from Ahsoka, good support, hard target priority for my opponent.

Bring on the test game!

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!) – part 1

We started up a Discord chat while loading in to the room.

Jordan had picked an interesting list for me to face:

L’ulo L’ampar (40)
Ship total: 40 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 2

Tallissan Lintra (37)
XX-23 S-Thread Tracers (4)

Ship total: 41 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 2

Ello Asty (53)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 53 Half Points: 27 Threshold: 4

Nien Nunb (54)
Daredevil (2)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 4

Total: 190

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZhZ200Z239XWWWY240XWW332WY299XWWWW175WWY298X117WWWW175WW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Hmmm….. All i5 AND he has the bid. Thread Tracers on Zizi means I could be taking a chunk of double modded shots. If I decide to shoot Zizi then if she target locked for her action she could be firing double modded Tracers to boot. Nasty

Let’s do some quick Pre-Flight checks:
Target Priority – The T-70’s are worth slightly more than the A-Wings but aside from trying to prevent Zizi getting the Tracers off, any target is good, provided I can try to focus fire.
Obstacles – As spread out as possible in order to give Leia room to move would be ideal
Deployment – Since Jordan has the bid and every ship on the board is i5, I’m VERY likely going to be moving first. I’ll just have to pick a corner and see what happens.

Jordan does indeed make me first player, we place obstacles and ships and are ready to start.

This won’t be a turn by turn batrep since I’ve got 2 games to cover, just so you know…

I spread my 3 ships out in the first turn but it’s immediately apparent that Jordan is going to joust me. And why not? His list is well suited to it.

A few turns in I realise that he’s going to catch me up before I can get anywhere for cover and that I really want to shoot things. Time for some bold moves.

Leia hard turns in and takes a focus before Ahsoka banks around behind and spends 2 Force to give Leia a boost, right into Jordan’s face. Ahsoka evades into a boost for her own actions before Luke hard turns in and locks Lulo.

Lulo decides against getting stressed (to help his defence) but his straight move doesn’t avoid Leia’s arc. The T-70’s follow in behind and both lock Luke because Jordan can see that Zizi will bump and won’t have the focus token needed to fire the Tracers.

I can’t say I’m overly pleased with Luke’s position here but feel slightly vindicated as Luke and Leia combine to wipe Lulo out. In exchange Luke loses his shields and takes a Fuel Leak crit.

I’m still undecided if that’s a decent trade or not but given that I’ve taken a ship off, I’ll take it.

The next turn ended up being a big turning point in the game.

While Leia and Ahsoka turned away I opted for a talon roll with Luke which Jordan hadn’t seen coming and thought was disastrous for him.

Ello bumped Luke and Nien missed arc with his 4-k (JARGON ALERT!!) so kept his stress. Zizi also k-turned and everything looked good/bad (for me/Jordan).

Then we rolled dice.

It started off promisingly as Luke and Lei stripped Nien’s shields. Then Ello’s range 2 unmodded shot at Ahsoka and Zizi’s range 1 unmodded shot at Luke came up with a lot of paint while my green dice decided to blank out.

Luke dead and Ahsoka halved.

Ouch.

Over the next few turns Jordan chased Leia, just barely getting range for a lock with Zizi which was followed by double modded Thread Tracers the next turn which was itself followed by double modded shots from the T-70’s.

Leia suddenly went from full to half to almost dead.

All the while I managed to put precisely zero damage into any of Jordan’s ships.

Frustrating.

With Leia limping around on 3 health I made my move with Ahsoka, slooping in front of his ships.

Nein obligingly 1 straighted into her bullseye arc and immediately after deciding to focus with him, realised what he’d done.

Ahsoka spent a Force for Instinctive Aim and, with a lock acquired in a previous turn, launched her Prockets. With a little help from Leia’s shot, Nien was gone.

Realistically I knew it was probably too late to do much more but I felt a little better having taken another ship off the table before the end.

Over the next few turns the pattern repeated, Leia’s health chipped down while my shots do nothing to Jordan’s ships.

With the timer almost out we went for one last turn and I went fast with Leia, looking to overshoot Zizi’s arc and fast with Ahsoka to try and shoot someone (anyone!) at close range.

Jordan banked away from Leia with Zizi and rotated her arc while Ello just banked in gently and landed right behind Ahsoka.

In keeping with the rest of the game, Leia and Ahsoka managed to not damage either of Jordan’s ships. Adding to the comedy of the moment, Zizi finished off Leia before Ello killed Ahsoka.

Result: 96 – 200 loss

Mini conclusion…

Well, that score probably looks worse than it could have been. With one less turn I’d have still had 68 points left on the table and it’s a 96 – 132 loss instead. Still a loss but it looks a little more reasonable.

Jordan and I chatted for quite a while after the games was done and he continued to extol the virtues of Shattering Shot in the list over Chewbacca. Speaking of which, Chewie didn’t trigger even once as (somehow) every damage Leia took was just a hit, not a crit. Interesting.

Also interesting is that Jordan had kept track of how many times Shattering Shot would have triggered through the game. It was 4 times. Now whether I had taken a focus or lock would have affected how much extra damage that would have done, plus Jordan’s green dice results obviously, but essentially I would have done at least some more damage.

Something to ponder as I prepared for the next game.

It was great to chat with Jordan afterwards and he was very generous with his time and with his insight into a list that he has a lot of experience with (and success!). I will plug his blog here one more time because it’s great and also because he’s a nice guy.

Here’s to the inevitable 1st round mirror match at Cardiff buddy!

The batrep… part 2

As has been the case pretty regularly of late, as well as an online game on a Tuesday evening I’ve been getting down to Firestorm in Newport for in person play. Yay!

As I arrived we chatted for a few minutes before pairing off for games. Since I had a Hyperspace list to test my preference was to play another HS list but I didn’t really mind if it wasn’t. I ended up playing against Mark Hall who had brought a double Firespray list that his son Josh had put together for him.

Boba Fett (Separatist) (70)
Thermal Detonators (5)
False Transponder Codes (3)
Hull Upgrade (5)
Slave I (Separatist) (3)

Ship total: 86 Half Points: 43 Threshold: 6

Zam Wesell (84)
Treacherous (2)
Count Dooku (14)
Thermal Detonators (5)
False Transponder Codes (3)
Hull Upgrade (5)

Ship total: 113 Half Points: 57 Threshold: 6

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Separatist%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z427XWWW339W369W164W370WY428X228WWW218W339W369W164W&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Double Firesprays are not exactly my favourite list to play against at the best of times and Mark really knows his way around Firesprays.

I made a few tweaks to my list from what I played the day before, dropping Chewie for Shattering Shot on Leia and dropping R4 on Luke for a small bid. It turned out to be worth it here as I came in 1 point under Mark’s list and gave him first player.

Let’s do some very quick Pre-Flight checks:
Target Priority – tricky. Zam is worth more points but the double tap and free locks make me wary.
Obstacles – I need lanes for Leia but keeping them tight will help to trigger Shattering Shot. I’ll just have to be careful with my positioning!
Deployment – I’ll keep all my ships together in a corner. Which one will depend on where Mark deploys.

We place obstacles and ships and are ready to start

Mark’s deployment has me thinking. Where is he going? I’m very wary of 2 things on these Firesprays – the 3 dice rear arc and the Thermal Detonators. Mark wants me to chase him. I won’t.

As we activate in the second turn he has me in an interesting position though.

I boosted Leia to this position, thinking about the Thermal Detonators that would follow. Unfortunately that put her in arc of both and, in a great engagement for Mark, he rolled all paint from both shots and I blanked out twice, stripping Leia of shields and taking a hit to hull.

In return I took 1 shield from Zam (and gave her a charge).

Not. Great.

For the next few turns we jockey for position. I disengage and start to circle around the top of the rocks while Mark, seeing that I’m not chasing, turns back in. Sort of.

Those Firesprays can really shift when they’re mostly boosting.

At this point I manage to chip 2 shields from Boba while taking nothing in return.

Again I go cautious, turning away rather than dive in as Mark anticipated.

I take another couple of turns to turn around, looking for how best to engage before deciding to dive in with Leia.

It doesn’t go great as she lands on a rock.

Oops.

Ahsoka comes tot he rescue though, turning in, spending 2 Force to give Leia a boost which takes her off the rock and into range 1 of Zam. Ahsoka then locks Zam (for a future turn) before Luke banks around the top rock and locks Zam too.

A bold move but it doesn’t quite pay off as much as I wanted it to. Ahsoka, Leia and Luke can only manage to take Zam’s shields off, meanwhile Zam’s double tap plus Boba’s shot bring Leia down to 1 hull.

Ouch.

Time for some more big brain moves.

Leia picked up a Loose Stabilizer in the last turn but I need her to bank away. I hard turn in with Ahsoka, spend 2 Force for Leia to repair the crit and then she 2 banks right and boosts to get right out of the action.

Meanwhile Zam has had no choice but to go over the rock (taking no damage) but does so with a 4-K while Boba has gone 4 (or 3?) straight and boosted to his right. A move that Mark regrets later.

Luke has turned in and, still having a lock on Zam, simply rolls out of her arc.

Luke puts 2 damage into Zam (inclusing a Console Fire) which puts me ahead on points (since Zam is worth more than Leia) but loses a shield from Boba’s long range attack. Still, worth it.

With time running out, Mark decides now is the time to fully commit and go for it. He turns both ships in Leia’s general direction with Zam clipping to rock again (and this time taking a hit).

Ahsoka and Leia are staying well clear though and hang around the board edge as much as they are able. Luke is now hunting Boba since I need less hits to half Boba (3) than I do to kill Zam (4).

Only Luke has a shot and hits Boba for 2, stripping the last of his shields but not halved. I’m still just about in front (55-ish to 41-ish)

We go back to dials with just about 1 minute left on the clock. Last turn.

I have some decisions to make. Given the position of the ships, Leia IS going to be taking fire. Therefore I NEED to either get half on Boba or kill Zam assuming that Leia dies. Leia is too far out to go for a bump on Boba so I opt to hard turn in. Ahsoka is going to hard turn and try for a bullseye. Luke has got to keep chasing Boba.

Time to move.

Boba, for some reason I’m not sure I understand, pulls out a 4-K. NOT what I expected. Zam banks in gently, keeping her arc open for any target.

Right. My turn.

Luke 3 banks at Boba and locks him.

Ahsoka takes her hard turn. Boba isn’t where I expected but it’s ok, a Barrel roll left gets me bullseye. It isn’t ideal as I wanted to switch my lock over from Zam but I’ll just have to take my chances.

Leia hard turns in.

Here we go….

Now, it doesn’t look like it in the pictures but Leia actually dodged Zam’s arc. I know.

Zam, therefore, fires at Luke and takes 1 shield. Not enough for half points.

Luke fires first, rolling full paint at Boba who takes a hit and a crit which is a Fuel Leak, leaving him on 5 health (and scoring me half points).

Ahsoka spends a Force for Instinctive Aim and fires a Procket at Boba.

I roll 2 crits, 2 hits and an eyeball and spend a second Force to make it a full sweep of hits/crits. Mark blanks out and, against all odds and not even needing the Fuel Leak, Boba is dead.

Wow.

Adding insult to injury, Mark remembers to roll for the console fire from when he engaged and Zam takes a hit before Leia fires at her with a hit and 2 crits. Zam also blanks out and somehow she is also dead.

Result: 200 – 42

The conclusion…

Ok, that was crazy.

Again the score didn’t really reflect how close the game was, except this time it was in my favour, not my opponent’s.

I’m actually really happy with how I flew in this game. When Leia got smashed in the first engagement I thought the writing was on the wall and I was done for. I knew that getting Zam would balance things back up and when I decided to dive in and go for it things didn’t exactly work out as I wanted but then swung back sharply in the other direction right at the death.

When talking afterwards Mark knew he’d made a mistake when he sent Boba out to the outskirts of the fight, leaving him too far away to quickly come back in.

It was a good game though and what I really learned from this game is that it isn’t over until it’s over. After that first engagement there was a part of me that just thought ‘screw it, let’s joust this out and get it done’ but being that we had engaged so early there was actually plenty of time to pull things back. Hopefully I’ll remember that in the heat of the moment in a tournament setting!

I can’t decide if I’m amused or frustrated at not triggering Shattering Shot even one time in this game. I didn’t forget it, it just never happened. It’s frustrating in terms of feeling like the points were wasted but I also should remember that the Firesprays in particular will boost more than most other actions and so it’s tricky to achieve that against them. I think Shattering Shot deserves more reps before I decide for definite whether to keep it in or not.

Overall though I’m happy with the prep work I’ve done and with the tournament fast approaching, I’m feeling reasonably ready for it!

Come back next week to find out how I got on!

The outro…

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