I have a confession to make. Over the last few weeks Epic Games have been making some of their games free to download. Last week Football Manager 2020 became available.
Now, I’m a bit of a sucker for Football Manager and have been for….ummm…I don’t know how many years but it’s FAR more than I want to admit (Nineteen-ninety something or other though…). It is a weakness of mine.
Why am I talking about it? Well, you see, like many (well, all I suppose) people I only have a finite amount of available time in my life. This last week FM ate it all up and as such, I’ve not put as much time into X-Wing practice as I normally would. I was going to end the last sentence with ‘as I would have liked’ which is sort of feels true but actually can’t be since I actively chose to do something else (i.e. win the Premier League) in the time when I could have practised.
Anyway, following on from last week’s drubbing against Akhter I had been tempted to try out his Wookiee list myself. I also wanted to try the other Dash list that had been flown in the Dathomir tournament by Bartosz which consists of Dash with Trick Shot and Outrider as well as Bistan and Perceptive CoPilot, paired with Chopper in the VCX-100 with Saw and Zeb crew and may also have had a Dorsal Turret to make it a full 200 points.
All of this went out of the window though as time slipped away from me and I managed to get to Friday afternoon without having fired up Fly Casual even once all week.
What to fly then? Following a hasty (and disastrous) attempt at the Wookiee list in Fly Casual I decided to run with the same list as last week. Yes the game was a bit of a disaster but let’s be honest, the biggest mis-match was in player skill not in the list and, despite a definite lack of reps with it, I decide to stick with Dash, Wedge and Jake. After all, how am I going to get better with it if I don’t actually fly it!
Dash Rendar (85)
Expert Handling (4)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Ship total: 107 Half Points: 54 Threshold: 5
Wedge Antilles (55)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)
Ship total: 55 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 3
Jake Farrell (36)
Ship total: 36 Half Points: 18 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X120WW77W54WWWY5XWWWW142Y50XWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
I think it’s reasonably obvious how the list works but just in case – you want to smash people up with wither Dash’s double tapping 4 dice gun OR with Wedge. Whichever of those two is targeted first by my opponent will (attempt to) run away while the other flanks. Jake is there to give focus tokens to whoever needs them most.
Now the main weakness of this list is also the main strength. It’s Dash. While 4 dice attacks are great on paper you generally need to roll a fair amount of paint to make it worthwhile. The same goes for 2 dice defence. A lot of the time that 10 health does NOT last as long as you’d like.
Anyway, list selected, it was time for my game…
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
My opponent in the Sith Taker league this week was Gavin Boyle. Somewhat more local than a couple of my recent opponents (Norway, Germany, Netherlands, Australia) and also somewhat closer to me in win/loss record.
We arranged to play on Friday night and, as I mentioned earlier, I ‘arrived’ (in the front room) slightly underprepared. Still, whatever happened I was looking forward to a good game.
After a slight delay while trying to make sure I could hear Gavin properly over Discord (which was heavily hampered by Cai playing Xbox next to me, bellowing into his headset every 30 seconds!) we set up and I took a look at Gavin’s list.
Ooooh! New toys!
Wolf Pack (4)
Hull Upgrade (3)
Ship total: 61 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 6
Bravo Flight Officer (33)
Adv. Proton Torpedoes (5)
Ship total: 38 Half Points: 19 Threshold: 3
Bravo Flight Officer (33)
Plasma Torpedoes (8)
Ship total: 41 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 3
Gold Squadron Trooper (25)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Synchronized Console (1)
Ship total: 30 Half Points: 15 Threshold: 3
Gold Squadron Trooper (25)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Synchronized Console (1)
Ship total: 30 Half Points: 15 Threshold: 3
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v8ZsZ200Z414XWW352WWWW164Y323XWW134Y323XWW234Y321X98W211Y321X98W211&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
The LAAT/i is a brand new ship and while we have bought one, we’ve not yet used one in a game. A quick look over the list marks out Warthog as the clear first target since the Naboo N-1’s will be hard to hit with their free evades and the Torrent’s not worth that many points. Plus Warthog’s ability means that once he’s gone (well, the turn after he’s gone anyway) I’m free to initiative kill things. Lovely.
We set up obstacles and Gavin places all of his ships before mine. I place mine and we are ready to get started.
From the start I know I’m looking to take Warthog out and so Jake and Dash both hard turn in while Wedge (with foils closed) takes a 4 straight and boosts.
Gavin sends his forces in towards the middle, looking to close in and use the ordnance on his smaller ships.
Obviously we’re not shooting and so back to planning we go.
Gavin turns his Torrents hard to my right while the N-1’s just sort of amble and Warthog does a hard stop.
Jake zooms forwards and gives a focus to Dash, whose bank move lands him onto a rock (which he promptly rolls off). Wedge continues his race down the board edge and while he’s not shooting this turn he is nicely positioned for the next.
There were one or two long range pot shots this turn but nothing that landed any damage. The questionable roll inwards from Dash was obviously still safe from Gavin’s ordnance since he wasn’t close enough to take locks during activation.
Back to dials we go!
Now, if I’m honest here, last week’s game was still somewhat in the back of my mind. I am really very sure that I don’t want Dash taking 4 missile shots this turn. Yuck.
With this in mind (and still regretting not doing a similar thing last week) I set Dash a hard 1 left. It’s definitely risky but even if it bumps I can still pass Dash a focus from Jake before moving so he won’t be totally stranded.
Gavin moves his ships and angles in towards where Dash would have been, had he gone 1 forwards. Phew!
Jake does his thing, giving a focus to himself as well as Dash before Dash hard turns and rolls away from the danger. Wedge hard turns around the obstacle with Warthog in his sights.
While this move with Dash has put me in some firing arcs it definitely gives me better options for getting away next turn. The down side is that he’s only got 1 ship to shoot at.
Wedge strips Warthog’s shields and puts a crit through. Dash fires at the brown Torrent but can only score 1 damage (but it is a crit). Jake’s shot is ineffectual against the closest Naboo N-1.
Gavin returns fire but between all 5 ships all that he can do is to take one shield from Dash.
As exchanges go, I’ll take that.
The next turn could be a different story though as Gavin will likely try to close the gap and hammer Dash.
I set Dash a 3 bank left, Jake a 1 hard and Wedge a nice, easy 1 bank in.
Gavin goes for the block on Dash and converges the rest of his ships to point at where he should end up. However, in the process, BOTH Torrents go over the debris, BOTH roll crits and BOTH pull out Direct Hits. Big ouch.
Jake hard turns and rolls to give Dash a focus. Dash goes for the 3 bank and lands it! He then rolls towards Warthog to dodge all but one of Gavin’s arcs. Wedge banks in a takes a focus.
Wedge tries to finish off the brown Torrent but only manages to get 1 damage through, 1 shot of what’s needed. Dash fires two range 1 shots (not ideal!) and gets 2 damage onto Warthog and takes 1 shield from the yellow N-1.
Jake takes the brunt of fire from Gavin’s forces and loses 2 shields for his trouble while the brown Torrent fires on Dash and plinks another shield off.
Engagement done it’s time to go back to planning.
It’s fairly straightforward for me this turn. Or so I thought. Jake is sort of written off. He’ll just turtle up in the corner and see if he can draw any fire away from the big hitters. Dash will hard turn to his right but the question is – will Warthog try and block? And if so, what speed to I need to clear it? I go for a 3 hard and hope for the best.
With Wedge I want to 2 forwards but it looks like it may clip the debris (which would be disastrous) so I bet on Warthog going for a block on Dash and bank him right.
Gavin’s ships start moving in a sort of disjointed conga line, sorting themselves out and trying to shed red tokens. Warthog goes for a 2 bank but bumps Dash.
Jake turns, rolls and boosts to give himself a focus and some distance but doesn’t quite get behind cover of the rock. Dash’s 3 hard doesn’t quite put Warthog at range 2 but hopefully it will be enough. Wedge’s gamble sort of pays off and the LAAT is a sitting duck right in front but crucially is just barely outside of range 1.
Now even before shooting begins I know some important information. Firstly, Dash has dodged every arc except Warthog. Wedge isn’t getting shot. Jake is only getting shot once, at range 3 from a 2 dice gun. It’s all good.
Wedge fires at Warthog and lands 3 hits, leaving him on 3 health (due to the Hull Upgrade). Dash fires. After spending a focus it’s 3 hits. Gavin rolls his single green die. And gets the evade. Damn. Warthog lives. The repercussions for this turn I had factored in. The bad bad news is that, whatever happens, I’ll be taking more shots next turn than I’d like.
Dash takes his second shot at the green Torrent (as the brown is just outside of range) but does nothing.
Time for the return fire. Gavin has 2 shots available. Warthog fires range 1 at Dash and gets 1 more hit through. The yellow N-1 fires at Jake and rolls 2 hits. Knowing my luck with green dice (even 4 of them) I wince as I roll them. No need to fear. Jake rolls 4 natural evades. What a hero.
Back to dials we go.
A quick check on game status. I’ve halved Warthog and a torrent and have the other torrent 1 hull away from half. In return I’ve lost half of Jake (likely to be dead next turn) while Dash has lost 3 shields and Wedge is unhurt. Not bad. Feels like I’m in control of the game.
I set Dash to hard turn again while Wedge banks in and Jake takes a 2 hard to clear stress.
Gavin sends one N-1 in at Jake while the other Talon Rolls to turn on my other ships. The brown Torrent banks to clear a stress while the green one does the 2 Talon roll. Warthog red stops.
Jake hard turns, rolls to give himself a focus and (somewhat questionably) boosts into range 1 of the N-1. Death or glory. Dash hard turns and focuses. Wedge takes the 1 bank which is short of bumping by a rather small margin. Nice.
It’s at this point that things begin to go wrong.
Wedge, confident that Dash can finish Warthog and may not have any other ships in range, opts to shoot at the brown Torrent. Torrent dies horribly.
Dash fires at Warthog and (rather predictably with hindsight) fails to do the single point of damage to finish him off. Oh dear. Dash takes a second shot at the green torrent and fails to do the single point of damage to take him to half point. Very oh dear.
Jake fires range 1 at the oncoming N-1 and gets 1 shield from him.
Gavin returns fire. Warthog fires at Dash and strips his last shield. The green Torrent fires at Wedge and drops 1 shield from him. The red N-1 fires at Jake and absolutely annihilates him as Jake fully blanks out with all 3 green dice and ends up with 6 damage cards. Ouch.
Back to planning we go just before the timer runs out, meaning this is definitely the last turn. A quick check tells me that getting 1 damage onto Warthog AND the green torrent is enough, provided I don’t lose half points on both Dash and Wedge (half on one would be fine though). Ok, that’s doable.
Dash wants to make sure he’s getting a 4 dice shot on someone so it’s a 4 forwards for him while I give Wedge a 1 forwards, hoping to keep something in arc.
Gavin starts moving ships. The Jake slaying N-1 simply 1 banks, knowing he’s out of the fight. The yellow N-1 takes a 3 straight, claims his free evade and takes a focus. The green Torrent also goes straight to clear stress and takes a focus. Warthog hard turns, keeping his stress.
Dash and Wedge both move and focus.
Wedge fires on Warthog and this time finishes him off.
Dash fires on the green Torrent and gets the single hit needed to get half points.
It’s all going so well. So you can image what happens next, right?
Warthog, still on the table due to his pilot ability, fires at Wedge and gets 1 hit through. The green Torrent fires at Dash and rolls 2 hits. Dash blanks out and is halved. The yellow N-1 fires at Wedge and rolls 2 eyeballs and spends his focus. Wedge blanks out and is halved.
Final Result – 106 – 118 loss
Now that was a tight game. In the immediate aftermath I have to admit I’m a bit frustrated. Frustrated at myself for not running away with Wedge (or Dash I guess) and, to an extent, frustrated at the dice.
Yes, I know only bad players blame dice but I’m just going to leave this here…
I had been so focussed on getting Warthog off the table (and not trusting Dash to do it) that I effectively sacrificed half of Wedge to make sure. The kicker here is that Warthog’s pilot ability meant he was still around to shoot back at Wedge. Basically, the fact that Warthog didn’t die in either of the 2 consecutive turns where he was on 1 health was rather important.
Still, having given myself a bit of time before writing this up I can see a few things I could have done differently (other than roll better!).
I could probably have focused down Warthog a bit better than I did. Him being on the table was really a force multiplier for the remaining ships. What I didn’t mention during the batrep (because I couldn’t accurately remember when it happened) was that Gavin made good use of the Wolf Pack to give locks to his ships, making them more effective in their return fire.
I gave away Jake too easily. While he was effective in the early game by enabling Dash to barrel roll out of trouble while still having the option of 2 shots, I could have probably done better with Jake than I did once he split from Dash. He’s not a huge amount of points to give up if he dies but it’s obviously still better to have him on the table.
Knowing the win condition. Having looked back at the points now, I could have banked with Dash tog et range on Warthog and fired at both him and the green Torrent to probably do the damage needed while running away with Wedge. Had I managed to land those 2 damage and not be destroyed in return, I’d have won.
Overall it was a great game which I enjoyed. I wish I’d been able to hear Gavin a bit better but it was great to (sort of) chat and it was definitely interesting to come up against one of the new ships.
So that’s 1-5 for me now in the league. Safe to say it’s not going particularly well but keeping in with the game and meeting new people is far more important!
Onwards and upwards I guess?