Challenge Accepted…?

The intro…

Welcome to the blog!

The weeks are really flying by now and somehow we’re in July and the kids break up from school at the end of next week. That is crazy.

Contributing to this feeling is the fact that I’ve now had 3 Wednesdays in a row (IN A ROW!!!) playing X-Wing in person (IN PERSON!!!) down at Firestorm Games in Newport. AND there was a Saturday tournament (AN ACTUAL TOURNA… ok, I’ll stop now. Sorry.) thrown in there too.

That’s right, I’ve played more in-person X-Wing in the last 3 weeks than in the previous 16 months put together. And it’s glorious. Really, beautifully, spectacularly fantastic.

How it feels. Incidentally I have a funny story about these steps but that’s not one for today…

And so, I’ve found that this has brought a new challenge – what do I fly?

Now before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s maybe not quite what you might think. Now yes, actually picking a list has become slightly more, umm, constrained, because I’m limited by what models/cards/dials I actually own in person. Well, sort of. I’m sure the guys wouldn’t mind things being proxied while lists are tested out and put through their paces but generally speaking, I’m now technically limited to using stuff that I can physically put my hands on. Unlike TTS.

But then there’s another hurdle and this is the one that’s tripped me up recently. Where is the actual stuff?!?

The first Wednesday after the tournament was actually not supposed to happen. Firestorm in Newport has basically split it’s gaming nights up so that different game systems don’t mix and there’s more space for social distancing. As a result we were due to have X-Wing every other Wednesday. The week after our first session back we had a message come through in the chat group that a different game’s tickets hadn’t sold and we could play X-Wing if we wanted. We had about 2 hours notice and 5 of us got there. Not bad.

Now the problem this gave is that a list that I wanted to fly wasn’t in my bag (because I had another week to look at that!) and so I ended up flying the list that had won me the tournament on the previous weekend (oops! spoiler if you hadn’t read that one!).

Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing. I enjoy the list and its’ good, it’s just that I actually have a sort of waiting list of things I want to fly and I’d done my turn with this one.

I’m sorry Resistance buddies, it’s time to move on.

Still, I had no time to pack stuff to change it, rocked up to Firestorm and played against Josh (who, ironically, had lent me R6-D8, the only card I didn’t own for that list!) and we played out a close run game where my Resistance efficiency list eventually chipped down his beefy Republic ARCs.

This week though? I’ve got time to switch things up. There’s a list I want to fly and it’s got a back story.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Around 5 or 6 weeks ago I put out a post on Reddit asking if someone could help with creating an alt art Dash card based on my rather spectacular YT-2400 repaint by my mate Dan (check out his Instagram page for custom painting!).

I had a rather fantastic response and ended up with 3 in particular that I really liked (and have now got printed!).

I posted about them briefly in one of my blogs at the time and off the back of that I was directly contacted by the pretty awesome Louis Leong. Now Louis is a master alt-art-er (not a real word but I think it’ll catch on) and is particularly fond of creating metal cards which are both printed, shaped and etched. In fact, I have one of his Naboo Royal N-1 Starfighter cards. You should DEFINITELY check out his Etsy store.

Anyway, he had seen the images and it had sparked something in his mind and sent him down one particular rabbit hole.

I took some more pictures from different angles he wanted and after some back and forth (i.e. once I got the good camera out!) he sent me this…

Low res tease shot!

Wait, you didn’t think I’d show you before I have one in my hand, did you?!

Anyway, as part of of our conversation Louis asked whether it should be Leebo on the back or the generic pilot, Wild Space Fringer. I said that I’d actually never flown a YT-2400 that isn’t Dash. He replied with (and I quote):

So here’s the deal, you play the list in a match and blog about it, your card is free

Dash and Leebo and 39 points of whatever else you want.

Louis Leong, May 2021

And so my challenge is set.

Dash, Leebo and 39 points of ‘whatever else I want’. Awesome.

Now, going back to what I said earlier about packing my bag up, despite having a week to think about this and get things ready, I did end up packing it in somewhat of a rush and while I did debate between a couple of options (loaded Dash with naked Leebo being the main one), my choice was actually made by me not quite having time to dig out the upgrade cards I needed for that other list. (in fact, I even missed 2 cards I needed for this list but still…) I’d be going basic. Really, really basic.

Dash Rendar (85)
False Transponder Codes (2)

Ship total: 87 Half Points: 44 Threshold: 5

“Leebo” (76)
Ship total: 76 Half Points: 38 Threshold: 5

Jake Farrell (34)
Ship total: 34 Half Points: 17 Threshold: 2

Total: 197

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39XWWWWWW369Y40XWWWWWY50XWWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Yep, three ships, one upgrade. I’d be using Jake as Dash’s focus monkey to try and make Dash’s thumping 4 dice shot double modded. Leebo would be on his own (but still rolling 4 attack dice so, that’s not too terrible).

As a strategy, I’m thinking that throwing Leebo under the bus, doing as much damage as possible on the way would leave Dash (and hopefully Jake) to get to an endgame state with not too much left to do. Hopefully. I mean, with only 11 points difference between them, for once Dash isn’t a major stand-out target in my list.

So, with bags somewhat packed, Cai and I got in the car and headed down to Firestorm.

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

A few of the guys were getting down later so initially there were just 5 of us to start with. As we began pairing up I happened to be playing against Josh again.

Josh has the odd favoured list but is very much a fan of putting together new lists and seeing how they work. This week he had put together a First Order list…

“Rush” (57)
Ship total: 57 Half Points: 29 Threshold: 3

“Blackout” (63)
Daredevil (2)
Primed Thrusters (9)

Ship total: 74 Half Points: 37 Threshold: 3

“Muse” (30)
Ship total: 30 Half Points: 15 Threshold: 2

Commander Malarus (38)
Ship total: 38 Half Points: 19 Threshold: 2

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=First%20Order&d=v8ZsZ200Z386XWWWY237X117W178WWWY235XWWY266XWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Hmmm… Double Silencers is something I don’t like the look of. Like my list it’s fairly short on upgrades but the Malarus/Muse combo is an interesting one, with Malarus’ ability (I’ll be honest, I didn’t even know she was a pilot in a TIE/FO!) allowing her to spend a charge and turn all eyeball results to hits/evades for that turn (two charges, non-recurring) in exchange for a stress which Muse can just make disappear. I’m not overly concerned about the effect on the 2 dice gun but getting damage into it’s 3 agility during those turns could be tricky.

Still, it’ll be interesting to find out what happens!

Some quick Pre-Flight checks then:
Target Priority – I think Blackout is the one who can hurt me the most since I’ll want Dash in and around the obstacles. I don’t fancy taking too many shots into Dash with one less agility thank you very much (yes, I know it’s two but you get the one extra from the obstacle and then remove two for Blackout. I think.).
Obstacles – Hmmm…. a tight cluster favours Dash and Jake but not Leebo. It also favours Josh’s Blackout. Maybe close-ish but not TOO close. Also, while Dash can ignore obstacles while moving, he doesn’t igrnoe while shooting so he will have to make sure not to land on the massive rock Josh has brought.
Deployment – Since this list isn’t tried or tested, I’ve no real world scenarios here but making sure Dash doesn’t bump into Leebo or Jake seems sensible. I should line up accordingly.

I have the bid and give Josh first player. I don’t want to reposition with Dash (leaving him stressed) but it’s nice to have the option. We place obstacles and then ships and are ready to begin.

And yes, I’m now very aware that this game mat is not very good for pictures. Sorry.

I’m expecting the silencers to come in fast (since that’s a thing they like to do) and so I’m not going to play that game. Hard turns to the right for everyone.

In fact I decide that hugging the board edge is what I want here and follow up the hard turns with barrel rolls for everyone (which are red for the YT-2400’s. It’s important for later…)

Josh does indeed hammer in hard towards me with the silencers going 5 straight and boost while the FO’s go a little slower, looking to come in to the middle. Exactly where I’d like them to be.

Back to dials then and I realise my mistake with the barrel rolls. Dash will 1 bank to clear stress but in order to prevent him bumping Leebo, the droid needs to go faster than that. However, on the YT-2400, the only blues are 1 and 2 straight and 1 bank. I also would rather that Leebo hard turn so he’s not too far out when the shooting starts. It’s a 3 hard turn for him and he will keep his stress.

Jake will bank left, roll and boost.

At least, that was the plan.

Josh’s i2’s lead, with both banking in towards my ships.

Leebo takes his hard turn before I find that Jake’s bank hasn’t gone quite as far as I’d expected. He can still boost right to get some distance (and give himself a focus) but he’s closer to the silencers than I’d like.

Josh’s i5’s slide in behind their wingmates before Dash takes his 1 bank and focuses.

Danger Jake Farrell!

Jake is in arc and range of two ships while I have no shots. Not great.

However, Jake does the A-Wing thing and manages to roll enough paint to totally avoid taking any damage. Nice.

On to the next turn and now to start getting my big guns into play.

I want to range control here to avoid getting anyone in range 1 of Dash (which takes him to 3 dice attacks). So I have to compromise. Again. Leebo will go 4 straight (keeping his stress. again) to make room for Dash to bank into the debris.

Jake will just blast past Dash with a 5 straight, looking to get out of danger AND pass off a focus. Like a boss.

Josh’s FO’s approach in a line through the middle of the board while the silencers bank in and then boost towards my ships.

Malarus and Muse do their little trick, meaning all of Malarus’ eyeball results this turn will be hits/evades and Muse takes away the stress that Malarus pays for it with. Neat.

Now we can do some serious shooting.

Blackout and Malarus both fire at Dash who evades Malarus’ shots but takes a shield from Blackout.

Dash fires back, choosing to fire at the tokenless Muse and rolls all hits. Noice. Muse evades two though and loses it’s shield and takes one to hull. Leebo fires at Muse too but the shot is obstructed and modless and no more damager is done.

Josh’s i2’s now fire, both at Dash but can only take one more shield from him.

That’s 2 damage each this round. Normally I’d be ok with that but 2 damage on Dash is more significant than 2 damage on Muse I think.

Anyway, we’re back to dials and I need to work out how to press in for more damage.

I want Leebo out of Dash’s way (again) and to clear the stress so he will 1 bank. Dash is a little more tricky since a hard turn in might put me on the rock. He won’t take damage from it but the issue is that he won’t be able to shoot and I can’t have that. I guess Dash is banking too then. Jake is more simple, he will hard turn to clear stress, get a focus, boost and pass a focus.

Josh starts moving ships and it becomes clear he’s going all in on Jake. I believe that’s a pretty big mistake…

After his i2’s move I pick up Leebo for the 1 bank…and it lands on the debris, giving him the stress straight back. Doh! He doesn’t take a crit though. Small blessings….

Jake then turns and shuffles his way out of trouble, passing a focus to Dash.

Josh’s i5’s move and it’s not good (for him) as Malarus bumps. Blackout has a shot though.

Dash’s bank puts him in a lovely position. He has a focus so he takes a lock on Muse to try and finish him off.

Blackout’s shot on Jake is just barely unobstructed (phew!) but still takes a shield off him. Sadly for Josh, that’s the only red dice he’s rolling this turn.

Dash takes the double modded shot at Muse and comes up all paint but Josh’s green dice rescue him and he only takes one to hull. It’s a crit but it’s a very irrelevant Fuel Leak since Muse is only left on 1 health. Annoyingly (for me), Leebo doesn’t have Muse in range and so takes a shot at the tokenless Malarus, managing to take her shield.

Back to dials then and I think Josh’s positioning has him in trouble as I don’t think he can avoid having to go around the debris.

My choices are fairly easy this time. Hard turn for Dash to keep his side arc on target. Leebo’s template will go over the debris again so it’s a blue 1 bank for him to keep me to one stress token. Jake is a little exposed but a hard turn and boost should keep him out of most arcs.

Josh turns Muse and Rush around the debris, making sure to keep them out of the way of the i5’s but meaning he will need an extra turn to get guns on target.

Leebo clunks over the debris, losing and then re-gaining a stress and again avoiding taking a crit. Jake turns, rolls, takes his free focus and then boosts, giving Dash a free focus. Man I love this ship.

Josh moves Blackout first, a 3 hard turn followed by a focus into a primed thrusters/daredevil hard turn boost (which we think works!?). He is right behind Jake. Balls.

Malarus moves next but the 3 hard turn leaves him in no-man’s land with nothing to target.

Dash goes last, taking the hard turn and, with focus in hand already, locks blackout.

This turn is really not as much of a bloodbath as it could have been. Blackout fires at Jake, range 1 with a focus but my greens roll well and Jake loses his last shield, taking him to half and that’s it.

I fire on Blackout, first double modded with Dash and then with no mods from Leebo and get a total of 3 hits past his green dice.

And….that’s it. Nobody else has arc!

Back to planning then and now I’ve made problems for myself with Dash’s position as he’s now in front of Leebo. Oops.

Leebo wants to bank to clear his seemingly permanent stress but Dash in in the way. Going straight means going over ANOTHER debris though so I decide to take the bump. Jake has a clear run ahead so he will go 5 straight before rolling/boosting across Dash’s face and handing off a token. Dash will then do a 2 bank over the top of Jake, ignoring the debris. Cool, solid plan. Ish.

Rush hard turns and boosts in, trying to close down space on my ships. Muse banks in, trying to catch up with his squad.

Leebo takes the bank, loses his stress and bumps into Dash, AND LANDS ON THE DEBRIS!! DAMMIT!! Another stress and AGAIN avoids the crit.

Jake takes the 5 straight….and clips the debris. Oh. Should have gone 4 then. Oops.

Malarus hard turns again and stops just short of bumping Rush and then takes a lock. Blackout goes to chase down Dash but Josh has horribly misjudged the distance and angle and Blackout lands squarely on the central rock. Ouch.

Dash’s well judged 2 bank is no longer well judged and he slams into Jake.

What. A. Mess.

With Blackout not shooting, Malarus goes first with a long range obstructed pot-shot at Dash that misses.

The only other shot this round that does anything constructive is taken Rush who plinks another shield from Dash, leaving him with just one left (plus hull, obviously!).

Back to dials then.

I got a few things I need to do here. I need Jake to clear stress and become useful again, I need Dash to get guns on target, preferably with a mod of some kind, and I need Leebo to try and take an action for just the second time this game. Given current positions though, I’m not optimistic on that last one.

Jake will 2 bank, clearing stress and hopefully not taking a crit (especially since a Direct Hit would kill him!), Dash will 2 hard turn and Leebo will accept his fate and 1 bank into the back of Dash. Again.

My hopes fade a little when Josh sends Rush in hard at Dash. Muse continues to bring up the rear.

Leebo grudgingly accepts his bump into Dash (at least he didn’t land on the debris again…) before Jake banks over the corner debris, loses and regains a stress and doesn’t take damage from the roll. Phew!

Blackout pulls a 4-k out and after a little bit of measuring, marking and deliberation, we decide it fits. Leebo no like.

Malarus turns around the debris, lining up behind Rush before Dash hard turns and smashes into Rush. No mods again then!

This turn though, things really start to go off the rails.

Blackout fires range 1 unmodded at Leebo, rolling 2 natural hits. Leebo responds by rolling 2 natural evades. No big deal, right?

Malarus fires at Dash range 1 and scores 3 hits. Dash responds by rolling 2 natural evades. Ummm… Ok?

Dash decides to take the long range pot shot at Muse and manages to get the last hit through needed to take the FO off the board.

Jake is being Jake and so can’t shoot anyone.

Leebo takes the sub-optimal range 1 point blank shot into Blackout and, of course, misses.

Rush has bumped Dash and missed arc on Leebo but it’s ok because it’s Jake that he really wants to shoot at but it’s just barely range 3 and obstructed and, well, does no damage.

On to the next turn then.

Jake needs to at least look like he’s trying to be useful so he will hard turn left to try and get back in the action. Leebo will bank again. Yes, he’ll bump Dash but at this point I’ve given up on him taking any actions. Dash wants actions though and so he will hard turn left into the space that Malarus vacates (yes, I remembered that initiative is a thing!).

Josh starts by moving Rush who lives up to his name a dives in at Jake. Interesting. He takes a focus and barrel rolls left, looking to hit Jake.

Leebo takes his bank and bumps Dash – as expected. Jake takes his hard turn and bumps into Rush. No shots incoming to Jake? I’ll take that.

Malarus takes a 2 straight and bumps into Dash before Blackout hard turns and bumps into Leebo.

Dash’s 3 hard turn takes him neatly over Malarus and he takes a focus.

Now things are hotting up. Malarus and Blackout both fire at Jake – their only valid target. Both of them miss. Harsh.

Dash then unleashes a volley at Blackout and rolls full paint, spending a focus for 4 hits. Blackout responds by blanking out and exploding. Also harsh.

Jake doesn’t have a shot (shock!) but Leebo takes the range 1 unmodded shot on Malarus and gets a crit though and even worse for Josh, it’s a Direct Hit, leaving Malarus on 1 hull.

Back to planning then.

Jake needs to get back up to Dash so it’s a 3 bank for him. Leebo will bank again even though it’s going to bump the FO. Actions are for looser organic beings apparently. Dash will keep circling the rock to make sure his side arc is on target. Time to start moving…

Rush wants to turn around but is still stressed from the last turn so it’s a hard turn from him and just a focus for his action.

Jake takes his 3 bank, rolls left, gives himself a focus and then boosts giving Dash a focus.

Malarus banks past Jake and takes an optimistic evade before Dash hard turns around the rock and measures for a lock on Malarus. And gets it.

Things are looking a bit grim for Josh here. Dash shoots his double modded shot at Malarus and doesn’t even need the lock, it’s 4 paint. He spends a focus and Malarus dies.

Leebo takes an unmodded pot-shot at Rush but doesn’t hit.

At this point, with about 5 minutes left on the timer, Josh concedes. I can’t say I blame him, Rush has quite the job to do.

Result: 142 – 17 win

The conclusion…

Ok, let’s get this out of the way. I won, yes. Quite convincingly? It certainly seems that way, yes.

But OH MY WORD were my dice SUPER HOT

My dice but in sauce form

There were a good few turns with lots of hits on my reds and when you’re rolling 4 dice that come up like that, you’re going to be dishing out the pain. Josh’s greens weren’t too bad either but my consistent hits just kept on grinding his ships down.

I was apologising regularly for my dice, rolling above the average time and time again.

And this is what makes it difficult to evaluate this game.

On the face of it, I won, only losing half points on Jake, 3 shields on Dash and nothing (NOTHING!!?) on Leebo. Looks like a solid win. But I also know that there are games where Dash’s dice come up blank more often than not and he’s not only not doing damage but he’s dead pretty fast. And the same goes for Jake.

I also made mistakes with Leebo. Between bumps and stress he didn’t calculate EVEN ONCE in the whole game. The decision to do the red roll with him in turn 1 set him up poorly and from there he did as well as he did (in terms of damage output and evading attacks) literally more by luck (dice) than judgement (me).

Josh also made some mistakes (namely Blackout on a rock and having to circumnavigate the corner debris, allowing me to get position) and struggled to recover while my dice were happily destroying his hopes and dreams.

Trying to look at things objectively, Josh’s list was experimental, my dice were hot and Josh’s mistakes were punished far worse than mine were. While I took the actual victory, I don’t think I can take the moral one.

And so what then for the list? Is it a meme list? Absolutely. Would it be taken apart by a strong meta list? No doubt. Will I fly it again? Heck yeah! I enjoy rolling dice and this list lets me do lots of that. When they fall my way I’ll win. When they don’t, I’ll get battered. It’s just the way it is.

What a beautiful sight!

And so what for next week’s game? Well, it depends actually. We are checking for an available date for a store tournament at Newport. If we get a date and it’s soon then I’ll get some real table practice in with a competitive list. If it isn’t? Well maybe you’ll get a little more Rendar in your life in some form or another. Heck, I may even fly Dash for the tournament if I’m feeling brave/stupid. Am I that brave/stupid? You’ll have to wait and see!

Before I go…

In last week’s blog I pegged a little survey on the end of the post, just to get an idea of what kind of support (financially, via Patreon) I could maybe get in order to try and improve the blog. I got a decent number of responses but less than I had hoped and actually only about 15% of the number of page views.

So ONLY IF YOU HAVEN’T ALREADY RESPONDED, can I ask if you could please take just 90 seconds of your time to answer a couple of questions? (it’s 7 actually, all multiple choice). I would really appreciate it!

https://dylan-jones.co.uk/xwing/

Challenge accepted

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published