Another week and I make it down to game night AGAIN! If I keep managing to come this often I may actually start getting good at this game!
This last week I felt a bit conflicted about my journey over the last few months with ‘Dash & x’. On the one hand I feel that chopping and changing Dash’s partner isn’t going to make me any better with the list and that every time I change the list I’m having to fly differently meaning that I’m not going or perfecting any tactics.
On the flip side, I’m still looking for something that I’m happy with but at the same time unsure whether I have already found it (I’m looking at you Y-Wing Norra) but am wasting the opportunity of reps with that list by looking for something even more perfect.
I guess that’s what happens when you lose a game – over-thinking!
Off the back of last week’s game (which I talked about here) against Dan he actually took some time to think about my list and what might work with Dash.
He offered this:
“The speed that Dash burned down got me thinking about how to make him more durable. Maybe it’s biased because of that fix crit or turn arc choice that you were faced with, but I wonder whether Chewie crew might be worth considering. You could still double up your focuses by having Benthic as a wingman, and that would allow you to take Jyn on him too, which would allow you to take focus evade if you only had one shot. Also leaves room for a shield upgrade on Dash. The U-Wing can use the rotate to play around in the rocks a little more, and is a bit more durable than Kyle in the HWK, with a very similar ability. And using the U-Wing to provide a focus opens up Dash to lock if you have a really juicy single shot you want to take, rotate the arc, barrel roll for position, etc. Not sure if that’s any use! I’ve never flown Dash or Benthic, so I’m probably not the best to be giving list ideas in that area, but it looks solid to me on paper and might be worth a bash! It also gives a 3 point bid, which might be nice against other fives. Or you could throw Contraband Cybernetics on Benthic to give you a turn where you can stop and still pass off the token.”
Dash Rendar (98)
Trick Shot (4)
Shield Upgrade (6)
Ship total: 140 Half Points: 70 Threshold: 6
Benthic Two Tubes (47)
Jyn Erso (2)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Pivot Wing (0)
Ship total: 57 Half Points: 29 Threshold: 4
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW77W21W165W157WY36XWW40W54WW140&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
So I built the list in Fly Casual and try it a few times to see how it goes.
It was… not too great.
The theory was solid but I think I need to adapt my play style to fly a support ship properly. I would either end up with the two ships too far apart or trying to prioritise the U-Wing’s attack (i.e. keep the focus on Benthic) when really it’s just there to make Dash better.
Chewbacca crew gave the option of fixing crits but I found I was struggling for focus tokens to make sure Bistan would trigger and if Dash isn’t shooting twice per turn then 140+ points for the ship is just too high a cost.
Okay, I tried, time to move on to the next idea.
Back when I first got the YT-2400 out and blew the dust off (which was only, like August I guess) I had been inspired by Jack Mooney’s System Open winning list of Han and Jake. The premise of a really fat built (JARGON ALERT!!) big hitting ship taking up 75% of the list cost and a cheap but efficient wing man to support/distract/annoy is what made me wonder if Dash really could be ok. So maybe the answer had been staring me in the face the whole time.
What about Jake?
Now, with my preferred Dash build (Outrider, Trick Shot, Bistan gunner and Perceptive co-pilot crew) I have 62 points left. It’s not quite enough to run 2 other ships (well, actually it is, I can run some Z-95’s but I’m not great with using blockers, something to work on in future maybe) so I’d been looking at something that could tank some shots while being a bit annoying.
But what if I looked at it differently? What if I run Jake and can give Dash his focus action for free meaning that Dash can take a lock for double modded shots or barrel roll if needed (since he can clear stress quite easily by blasting over an obstacle) and still have not one but 2 shots (since Jake gives a focus action, unlike Benthic or Kyle or Garven or Esege who all just pass a token).
The thing is, Jake is pretty cheap, even when loaded up. I figure that proton rockets and crack shot make him dangerous to ignore and adding Snap shot (at 7 points) means he can potentially shoot twice in a single turn. So that puts Jake at a massive…. 51 points. With Dash at 138 that’s an 11 point bid OR some more toys on Dash. Whether it’s the right choice or not, I ALWAYS go for the toys.
Rigged cargo chute means I can thrown another debris on the board to trigger the trick shot/outrider combo so that goes on.
(Before we get to photos of the game I would like to point out – I have no dropped cargo cardboard. I tried to borrow one but nobody had one handy. That’s why what I dropped is Spare Parts.)
With points to spare Shield upgrade takes Dash up another health point meaning the threshold for half points is 6 health and not 5 and shield over hull means that I can hopefully mitigate some crit damage.
So the list looks like this:
Dash Rendar (98)
Trick Shot (4)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Shield Upgrade (6)
Rigged Cargo Chute (4)
Ship total: 148 Half Points: 74 Threshold: 6
Jake Farrell (36)
Snap Shot (7)
Crack Shot (1)
Proton Rockets (7)
Ship total: 51 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW77W54W165W157W96Y50X256W116W102&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
So I make my merry way to Firestorm with list packed,. excited to try out something new. As we get tables and boards out Neil asks if I fancy a game. Neil is a relative newcomer to our X-Wing group and to the game in general having turned up one evening, watched a bit, chatted with a few of us and walked away with a core set just a few short months ago. He has played other war games previously but X-Wing took his fancy and I’m glad it did!
This week Neil had brought a CIS list so he could fly some of his new toys and this included the infamous Sun Fac. My 2nd game in a row against him!
Sun Fac (54)
Snap Shot (7)
Ship total: 85 Half Points: 43 Threshold: 2
Bombardment Drone (32)
Trajectory Simulator (10)
Seismic Charges (3)
Ship total: 45 Half Points: 23 Threshold: 3
Ship total: 23 Half Points: 12 Threshold: 2
Haor Chall Prototype (21)
Ship total: 21 Half Points: 11 Threshold: 2
Trade Federation Drone (19)
Ship total: 19 Half Points: 10 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Separatist%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z357X248W256Y325X114WW71WWY337XWWY310XWWY279XWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
Neil has brought small and mid-size rocks we place obstacles ending up with a tight-ish cluster in the middle of the board. He places his 3 vultures and 1 hyena in my too right corner. I place Jake opposite and Dash just left of the middle. Neil then places Sun Fac approximately opposite Dash.
And so, we begin.
Having faced Nantex last week I’m more aware of how they move (both themselves and others) so I know that I want to point Dash’s big gun at him as soon as possible, definitely before he gets close enough to Jake to do anything nasty.
Jake hard turns left and Dash takes a bank to begin the flank. Neil sends everyone 3 forwards. No engagement this turn so back to dials we go.
This time Neil sends his droids faster while taking a 2 forwards with the Nantex. I read the fast droids and send Jake 5 forwards and boost to get out of range (giving out a focus in the process) while Dash banks again (but in the opposite direction) to straighten back out and I decide to drop the rigged cargo (since he’s already focused). Now, looking back, this probably wasn’t the best move for various reasons. One of those reasons was about to become very clear.
Dash takes a range 3 potshot at Sun Fac and I think I managed to squeeze 1 damage through. Not much but it’s a start.
At this point I had a very clear idea in my mind of what was going to happen next.
4 forwards with Jake, barrel roll left to avoid the newly dropped debris and then red boost right bank to end up range 1 of Dash to pass off a focus. Then I would 3 bank right with Dash, clean over the rock and take a lock on Sun Fac.
That is not what happened.
Here was what the first part of that plan looked like.
Yes, I misjudged the 4 forwards by about 2mm.
Ok, so stressed Jake with no reposition and no free focus for Dash. Not a total disaster (although had the droids been closer it could have been).
I 3 bank with Dash…. and land on the rock. AAARRRGGGHHHHH!!!!
So, with Sun Fac having not moved and me not being sure which way he’s going I red barrell roll off the rock (and forwards) to make sure that I can shoot if the opportunity presents itself. As Sun Fac turned away it became clear that the opportunity was not being presented.
Now, the tricky thing here was what to do next. Jake is going to go over the debris with the template so another stress is incoming. I want to bank or hard turn right but the stress means no reposition and those droids want to make him hurt. Grudgingly I dial in a 2 forward and hope for the best. Dash dials in a 1 bank to try and take advantage of an obstruction.
Neil’s Initiative 3 Vulture droid turns in while the other 2 go 2 forwards, the Hyena bomber turns in on Dash while Sun Fac makes a ‘tactical retreat’.
Dash takes a shot at the Hyena bomber and….
Statistically unlikely but hey, that’s dice games for you.
The single I3 Vulture takes a shot at Jake who is at range 3 but is (quite unbelievably) NOT obstructed (yes, I know it looks like it is and yes, we did check several times). Neil rolls 2 natural hits, Jake rolls 2 blanks and 2 eyeballs.
Well, at least he isn’t dead!
With no other viable shots we move to the next turn.
Neil turns his 2 Initiative 1 vultures around, sends the I3 vulture and the Hyena up towards Dash and turns Sun Fac in.
Jake takes a hard turn, boost and free focus to try and get back into the action while Dash sails right over the top of the Hyena and focuses up.
Sun Fac shoots at a non-tractored Dash (since 1 tractor token does nothing on a large base ship) and does no damage. Dash shoots range 1 at the Hyena (with just 3 dice because that’s how YT-2400’s roll) and gets a crit through which turns out to be a direct hit. Dash then takes a range 3 pot shot at the I3 vulture and gets a hit and a crit through. The crit turns out to be a direct hit. Goodbye vulture.
Jake takes a range 3 obstructed pot shot at the Hyena bomber but nothing gets through.
At this point I need to turn Dash in since a straight manoeuvre will start putting me close enough to the board edge to be predictable and decide to press in with Jake and see what happens.
I can’t quite remember exactly what happened here with Neil’s positioning, I think that the Hyena took a hard right turn while the Nantex took a straight manoeuvre before taking a bank boost and then barrel rolling with a tractor, handing the tractor token to the Hyena and then rolling that away from Jake.
Bloomin Nantexes, messing with positions!
Sun Fac took the range 3 shot at Jake from his side arc. Jake responded by swinging my dice variance in the other extreme.
Jake’s return shot did nothing but further down the board Dash was trying to do nasty things to Vulture droids but only had 1 in arc. Still he managed to put 2 damage onto it, taking 1 in return.
Now this next turn I’m actually quite proud of. Jake went forwards, boosted a 1 bank left and gave himself a focus to put the Hyena into bullseye. Dash YOLO’d over the debris to minimise incoming shots from the vultures. This meant that he only got 1 shot but it was worth it to protect the points.
Then Sun Fac moves. Now, Neil is still getting to grips with the Nantex and while he is trying to get out of the slight predicament he has put himself in he moves Sun Fac before handing off the tractor to the Hyena to roll it out of Jake’s bullseye arc. Jake (finally) uses Snapshot and blanks out at some point during all this nonsense.
So on the plus side (for Neil) the Hyena is out of Jake’s bullseye arc. On the plus side (for me) Sun Fac is still in it and I’ve got a focus and some Proton Rockets.
Jake fires the Prockets (JARGON ALERT!!) and rolls, blank, 2 eyeballs and 2 crits. I spend the focus for 2 hits and 2 crits.
Sun Fac has 3 health left, rolls eyeball and evade, spends the focus for 2 evades.
So I Crack Shotted. I feel a little dirty. Sun Fac is dead.
In immediate response the Hyena unloads a range 1 shot into a modless Jake and blasts him off the board.
So Jake is gone but Dash is left in quite a strong position. With 2 shields gone (if my memory is correct!) against 2 vultures (1 of which is on 1 hull) and the Hyena (with 1 hull remaining) I feel the game is in my favour.
At this point the clock runs out but we decide to run a couple more turns just to see how it goes.
The 1 hull Vulture does a 5 forwards barrel roll to make absolutely sure he’s out of Dash’s reach. The healthy Vulture heads off towards his buddies to regroup while the Hyena starts to head back in to the fight.
Dash turns in to try and press the issue and (hopefully) get multiple shots in.
Dash takes a range 3 pot shot (well, it’s still 4 dice) at the full health Vulture and manages to get a damage on with no shots coming back at him.
Another turn and the 1 health Vulture starts to take the long way around the rock while the 2 health vulture turns towards the board edge and the Hyena heads in towards Dash.
Dash takes another hard turn, losing a potential shot in the short term but setting something up for the next.
A long range shot from Dash on the Hyena (his only viable target) does nothing, the Hyena’s shot doesn’t do much either.
We decide another turn is doable and so planning begins.
Dash takes a bold 3 forwards while the Hyena is caught off guard after a 1 forward (although that could have been from a Disabled power regulator crit? I really should record this better) that means it has no shot on Dash, the 2 health Vulture does a 1K (which, being honest, I didn’t know if could do!) and the 1 health Vulture angles in towards Dash too.
Being the highest initiative left on the table Dash shoots first and it’s a blood bath. Well, if droids bled it would be.
The first shot finishes off the 2 health Vulture while the second shot wipes out the Hyena bomber.
We decide to call it a day and end the game here.
Well, poor manoeuvres in a few turns aside (and the stupidity in dropping the rigged cargo where/when I did), I feel the game went reasonably well. Jake is a little more fragile than the more chunky ships I’m used to flying but while the intention was to fly him next to Dash to hand out focuses he sort of held his own when separated which, if I’m honest, I didn’t expect (holding his own, that is). The turn where he lost shields showed just how fragile he can be, relying on multiple green dice, but unless I’m being an idiot he should be able to boost and/or roll AND end up with a focus to make him a super slippery target but also can potentially throw a mean punch with the proton rockets. I’m still not 100% sold on Snapshot. It triggered only once or twice all game and never hithe inability to mod those shots with a 2 dice attack makes it unreliable. That said, when it does come off it’s a nice bonus. The question is – is it worth 7 points? Or am I better off with some other talent or a bid? Maybe Lone Wolf for when he does get split from Dash?
Dash, well, he’s just Dash isn’t he. 4 blank reds isn’t a very nice feeling but it doesn’t happen very often. I’m still more than happy with the basic build, the only thing I’m debating is whether to keep rigged cargo or use the points for a bid.
So is Jake the new Norra? It’s hard to say after just 1 game. It’s definitely worth another shot and if I can avoid shooting myself in the foot by running Jake directly over an obstacle that I’ve dropped then I think the list may have some legs.
The news that we holding a 1 day tournament this month means that the pressure is on a little to make a decision although we are also looking at doing a winter league through December and January so I think that 4 games in 1 day will help me to actually decide whether the one I pick is the right one. Which one will I pick? That’s a great question, can I get back to you on that?