Closing out

The intro…

Well here we are, another week, another blog post!

January usually feels like a really long month in a sort of ‘post-Christmas’, ‘got paid early in December’ kind of way but I sort of feel that, particularly compared to some months last year (I’m looking at you April), it’s actually gone pretty quickly.

Lockdown is still in full (strongest) effect where I live. My wife is working at home, the kids are doing their schoolwork at home but I’m back out & about at work. It means that the most normal/mudane parts of life are carrying on and all the extra/colourful parts of life are the parts on hold. I sort of feel like it makes a lot of days feel the same but since there’s actually stuff that needs to be done (unlike while I was on furlough), that’s making time feel like it’s going faster not slower. It’s weird.

Anyway, why am I rambling on about this? Well, to be frank, online X-Wing is one of the things that helps to break that up. In the continued absence of the ‘colour’ of real life X-Wing with the guys at Firestorm in Newport, I love having an arranged game to look forward to. Prepping for it, playing it and then blogging about it is something different I can focus on.

This is leading me on to talk about the last game of this season in the Sith Takers league but first, an aside:

Actual X-Wing content?

Yes, that’s right. Actual information. Don’t get too excited, I don’t know anything totally secret or exclusive. I’m just a little excited.

On February the 3rd (which is tomorrow at time of publishing) Atomic Mass Games (AMG) are running a live stream about Star Wars games. WOOP!

If, by some chance, you don’t know who AMG are or why this is relevant let me give you the short, short version.

Thinking of this line made me look to see if Spaceballs is on ANY of the streaming services I use. Sadly it is not (not without paying extra, that is).

A few months ago Asmodee (the parent company of Fantasy Flight Games) decided that FFG should concentrate on board/card games and moved development of all tabletop games to another of their subsidiaries – AMG. Since then there have been only small tidbits of information about the future of X-Wing (and Armada and Legion which have had the same treatment) which have been responses to somewhat panicked questions from the community (mainly: ‘what about OP?!’ and ‘will models need to be assembled/painted?!?’).

Ok, I guess it wasn’t THAT short. Sorry.

So at 1pm PT (9pm GMT I think…) we will (hopefully!) find out more information as to what is happening with X-Wing (and other games I guess) in the short, mid and long-term future. Maybe.

Anyway, if you want to watch, here’s the link: https://www.twitch.tv/atomicmassgames

I know that the Fly Better Podcast is delaying it’s weekly recording from the usual Monday to Thursday this week so they can review the information rather than wait until the following episode.

I’m not doing that, by the way, as you’ve probably (hopefully?) noticed by now. Anyway, diversion over, I’ve got a blog to get back to.

Back to the point…

Right, yes, Sith Takers league. Ok.

With just 1 game to go in the season I have managed to get to 4-3. Not bad (for me!). Yes, technically speaking two of my wins were without actually playing but still, I’ll take it. Last week’s game ended up being quite ridiculously close in points but I’m reasonably sure I didn’t deserve to win it given how many times I got bumped,

My list for this week is unchanged since I want to get more practiced with it:

Rey (68)
Korr Sella (6)
Rose Tico (9)
Finn (9)
Rey’s Millennium Falcon (2)

Ship total: 94 Half Points: 47 Threshold: 6

Tallissan Lintra (37)
Heroic (2)
Proton Rockets (5)
Advanced Optics (5)

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 2

Zizi Tlo (41)
Heroic (2)
Proton Rockets (5)
Advanced Optics (5)

Ship total: 53 Half Points: 27 Threshold: 2

Total: 196

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZsZ200Z244XWW245W173W174WWW193Y240X172WW102W186Y387X172WW102W186&sn=Rey-Wings&obs=coreasteroid5,core2asteroid1,core2asteroid2

So with just this one game left and my 4-3 record appears to have put me in the top half of the table. Will I be able to get a win to go 5-3 or will I end up with a level 4-4 record and mid-table mediocrity (which is usually my goal!). Let’s see!

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

This week I’d been paired with Eirik Grønmo Bjørnsen (which is a fantastic name!). Eirik and I had almost played each other before, we’d been briefly paired the previous season before pairings were redone and we were matched with other people. This time we were definitely playing though.

We arranged a day to play, met up (via Discord) and got to chatting while we set up. It actually turns out that Eirik spent 6 months living not far from me about 8 years ago and so we were able to talk about the terrible weather and the fact that ‘mountains’ in Wales aren’t even close to being like the real mountains in Norway.

While chatting, I perused Eirik’s list:

Temmin Wexley (HoH) (53)
Advanced Optics (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 58 Half Points: 29 Threshold: 4

Red Squadron Expert (43)
Advanced Optics (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 48 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 4

Red Squadron Expert (43)
Advanced Optics (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 48 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 4

Blue Squadron Rookie (41)
Advanced Optics (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 46 Half Points: 23 Threshold: 4

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZsZ200Z443XWW186WW175WWY257XWW186WW175WWY257XWW186WW175WWY258XW186WW175WW&sn=Rey-Wings&obs=coreasteroid5,core2asteroid1,core2asteroid2

Resistance Beef, then. Sort of. Eirik talked me through the list, explaining that Temmin’s ability would mean that every ship *could* end up with a focus AND a calculate. Combined with Advanced Optics he would be able to turn an average roll (hit, eyeball, blank) into 3 hits. Interesting.

Right, a quick review of my Pre-Flight checks:
Target Priority – Temmin. All day long. He enables the shenanigans and is worth more points to boot.
Obstacles – T-70’s aren’t the most manoeuvrable but they’re no slouch either. I want Rey to have as much space as possible but debris aren’t too bad for her. The main goal is to keep rocks as far away from each other as possible and then fill out with debris.
Deployment – I’m going to change from my usual opening here a bit (more on that in a moment). Rey is Eirik’s clear target so I’ll try and slow roll her while I get the A-Wings flanking.

I had the bid and took first player since there were no overlaps in initiative.

We placed obstacles and ships and were set like this, ready to go:

In my last few games I’ve opened by stalling. I bump Rey into Zizi and vice versa while Tallie sloops (JARGON ALERT!!) across my board edge. The following turn Zizi would move, Tallie would take a blue hard turn and roll into Rey’s way to make her bump again. Two turns gone and, without fortressing (technically), I’ve a better idea of what my opponent is thinking before I commit my ships to a direction. That’s the theory anyway.

Eirik’s list wants to joust me. His fire power is better than mine and so it’s reasonably obvious that he will most likely send his ships straight before turning in to the lane between the debris and the bottom right rock.

With that in mind, I want to flank with my A-Wings with no stalling. Rey still gets a 1 straight to bump into Zizi but both A’s go 2 straight and then roll left. Ideally I’d have gone 5 straight but the spacing between them would have had to be tighter (which doesn’t allow for formation bank turns) to make sure Tallie definitely doesn’t go over the debris.

Eirik’s T-70’s move up as a block, rather as I’d expected.

Ok, back to dials. This choice is fairly simple too. 5 straight for the A’s, 1 straight for Rey.

Eirik’s ships bank in, keeping in formation. Zizi and TAllie both boost while Rey takes a focus.

No shooting, clearly, and so it’s back to planning.

I slightly regret the boost with the A-Wings. I expect Eirik will start to slow roll in at Rey and the boosts mean that I have to put Tallie ahead of Zizi if I turn them in hard now. If they hadn’t boosted I could have done 2/3 banks to keep them together and maybe looked for good angles of approach next turn. Still, it’s not the end of the world, If the T-70’s do slow roll I can just go another 4/5 straight and swing around the corner rock to approach from behind. This is what I decide to do. Rey will just 1 bank in.

Eirik takes me slightly by surprise by sending 2 T-70’s at Rey but banking away with the other two. Scaring off the A-Wings maybe? Fine by me, I’ll just try and hit them with Proton Rockets and then blast past them, shooting out the back as I go.

The A-Wings so 4/5 straight and banked boost while Rey banks in and takes a focus.

We’re still too far out for shooting but this is the last time. Back to dials we go!

Bearing in mind how fast/slow T-70’s can go when they want to I send Rey 1 forwards. They are chunky with 7 health but there’s a reasonable chance Rey can halve one in a turn. The A-Wings? Well, that’s more tricky. I give both 1 hard turns, enabling them to keep their distance.

Eirik starts moving ships.

Balls.

Everyone turns back in on Rey with the green T-70 YOLO’ing over a debris to do so. All the rest take a focus and have closed (or kept closed, I can’t remember) their S-Foils.

The A-Wings take their hard turns and focus boost (splitting around the rock). They’re still pretty far from their targets though.

Rey goes forwards, takes a focus and braces for incoming fire.

At the start of engagement Temmin’s ability let’s all 4 T-70’s open their foils and get a calculate. Even the stressed one. Oh boy.

Rey fires first, picking the red T-70 as I’m hoping that the rest are range 3. She manages to strip it’s shields. Zizi doesn’t have a shot and Tallie’s range 3 shot does nothing.

Now for the return fire

It’s as brutal as I expect. The focus AND calculate allows Eirik to mod lots of dice and while my greens do well Rey still loses shields and takes 3 hits and a Wounded Pilot crit.

Ouch.

Back to planning we go.

I’m fully expecting Rey to die this turn so my priority is to figure out how to do the most damage before that happens. My options are limited though. I can’t sloop right as it puts me on the rock. The sloop left might fit but if Eirik’s got any sense he’ll try and block that, potentially leaving me no shots.

I decide to try for the sloop left. If he blocks it I should at least be able to shoot what’s behind that. And with his ships moving first his talon roll/4K (JARGON ALERT!!) options are somewhat limited.

If Rey manages to finish off the damaged T-70 then the trade certainly isn’t great for me. However, it would leave my undamaged A-Wings with unanswered shots so I need to try and leverage that.

Tallie gets a 3 straight while Zizi gets a 2 hard turn. Both blue, enabling linked actions and lets me see where Eirik’s ships will be.

The T-70’s start moving. Green moves 1 forwards and focuses, as does yellow. Red talon rolls (to block Rey’s possible sloop/cover the 4 straight) but clips the rock in doing so and takes the damage from it. Temmin also goes 1 straight and bumps into the green T-70, giving him a clear range 1 shot on Rey.

Rey goes for the sloop but bumps. Not entirely unexpected.

Tallie goes straight, clearing stress, focuses and boosts to get the stress back. No bullseye shot. Damn.

Ziz hard turns, clearing stress, focuses and boosts to get the stress back. She’s got Temmin in bullseye but he’s too far out for Prockets. Damn.

So the bad news is no Prockets shots for my A-Wings and Rey is getting shot range 1. The good news is that Rey’s only taking two shots and they’re only going to be modded by a calculate. The added bonus is they’re going to have to take a strain to do that.

With the red T-70 out of arc (but also not a threat) Rey targets Temmin with a 4 dice shot and rolls 3 hits and an eyeball out of hand. Ooosh. There’s no point adding the Finn blank since she only has 1 Force change and spends it to make 4.

Temmin rolls his single green and blanks out, losing shields and taking a damage card to be halved. Not bad. Tallie and Zizi follow up but one attack is obstructed and the other is range 3 (plus the strain is now gone) and Temmin escapes without any further damage.

Temmin and the yellow T-70 fire at Rey.

Somehow, between the 8 red dice and 2 calculates, Rey takes just 3 damage. 3. She survives on 1 single hull.

Wow.

Back to dials then and I’ve unexpectedly got 3 to set now!

Rey will try again for the sloop (thanks to the title) as she’s very unlikely to survive again and all her nonsense is front arc only.

Zizi gets a 2 bank so I can have some flexibility on targets and Tallie gets a 2 straight for the same reason.

Eirik 4k’s with both the green and yellow T-70’s. Red hard turns left, clipping the rock again (and taking the damage again!) to block Rey’s escape. Temmin Talon rolls to make sure he’s still got Rey in arc.

Rey sloops, avoiding the red T-70, landing on the debris (not taking any damage) and now has 3 stress. Not that it matters. She also has a lock on the red T-70 from spending a blank green result in the very first round of shooting.

Tallie’s straight move lands her right in front of Temmin and while I’m sure that he’d shoot Rey, I play it safe and she focus/boosts around him. Zizi’s 2 bank lands her squarely next to Temmin with no bump.

Ok, shooting time.

Rey mercilessly murders the red T-70. Zizi fires Prockets at Temmin and rolls 3 blanks. Disappointing. He chose NOT to take a calculate and strain this time and rolls nattie evades (JARGON ALERT!!) to dodge taking any damage. It feels bad but considering what happened with Rey the previous turn seems fair.

Tallie leverages Advanced Optics to get 2 hits on the yellow T-70 who blanks out and loses 2 shields.

Temmin finishes Rey off despite having no mods before the yellow and green T-70’s both miss their shots at Tallie.

That was a big turn.

I’ve lost Rey but in return I’ve taken down a T-70, have put damage on another and I’ve halved Temmin.

As we go back to planning I realise that I can press this further. Temmin is stressed and so can’t turn on my ships. The other T-70’s are also stressed and so will need to go 1 or 2 straight or bank to clear it. I mean, they don’t NEED to but since I can get around them either way it makes sense to clear them.

Anyway, since they HAVE to move I figure that a 5 straight from Zizi and a 3 straight from Tallie will both clear.

Eirik moves the yellow and green T-70’s, both 1 banking to their left. Temmin bugs out, not wanting to risk getting burned down.

Both Zizi and Tallie clear their moves, take a focus and rotate arc, giving them range 1 shots onto the already damaged yellow T-70.

Both A-Wings roll full paint at the yellow T-70 and, despite Eirik choosing not to strain for a calculate, the greens fail him and the ship dies.

Eirik has no shots in return.

At this point I have a choice to make. Having set up the TTS points calculator and tracking damage, we both know I am now ahead. The clock has just under 30 minutes left.

I am tempted to just run away.

BUT.

I have my doubts about doing that for 30 minutes without screwing up. Also, am I in this for the win or am I in this for the fun? I’m not saying that the challenge of running isn’t interesting (and running is almost certainly the smart thing to do) but rolling dice to blow things up is what this game is about (for me, anyway) and so I decide to compromise.

Tallie still has Prockets. Can I use them to wipe out Temmin? Zizi plays it safe though and angles away from Eirik’s ships.

So it’s a 2 hard left for Zizi and right for Tallie.

Temmin hard turns while the green T-70 just goes 4 straight, looking to regroup.

Zizi boosts into a red rotate to put her arc back around the front in case of future engagement. Tallie’s hard turn gives me pause. Focus and rotate or boost and rotate? I went for the boost and rotate.

It was a mistake.

It turns out that the boost put Temmin and Tallie into each other’s arcs. Oops.

Tokenless Tallie fires at Temmin but nothing gets through.

Temmin’s return shot halves Tallie. Dammit.

I should have run then. I’m still ahead but my cushion is gone.

Back to dials. But what to do? After a quick assessment I figure I have two options. 5 straight and boost or hard turn right and see where Eirik’s ships are.

The green T-70 will probably bank left to avoid the debris. And Temmin? Well, I don’t know.

Feeling a little flustered I dial in a 5 straight, reasonably confident that Temmin will either 1 bank or 1 straight.

I was very, very wrong.

The green T-70 pulls out a 4K, hitting the debris (and not caring one bit). He takes two stress tokens but no damage.

Temmin talon rolls. It’s obvious when I think about it. Like, really, really obvious.

Eirik has perfectly telegraphed my 5 straight and Tallie smashes into the green T-70, landing at range 1 of Temmin. No actions, no reposition, no shot, no hope.

Zizi hard turns, focuses and boosts. She’s too far away but I have to try and threaten someone somehow.

No shots for me. Bad times.

Still marvelling at my capacity to snatch defeat from the jaw of victory, Temmin rolls dice. He has taken a strain to get a calculate and at range 1 is rolling 4 dice.

Hit, hit, eyeball. He spends the calculate.

I roll greens.

Evade, evade, eyeball. I’ve no tokens so take the hit. But she’s alive. ALIVE!!!

At this point I’m slightly rueing my decision to 5 straight when a 1 or 2 hard turn to the right would have made both Eirik’s ships stressed and facing away from Tallie. I could then have tried to ride out a ‘5 straight to victory’ (what do mean that’s not how it goes?!). But no, I had chosen poorly.

Right, so that’s a 1 turn reprieve. We’ve got around 15 mins left. What can I do?

With the green T-70 now facing Zizi again she decides against engaging head on and will hard turn left. And Tallie? Well now it’s about leveraging that dial. If Temmin wants mods (and he will to make best use of Advanced Optics), he will need to do a blue manoeuvre. A 5 straight from Tallie will get distance from him. Looking back, a hard right turn would have worked better but the risk of being blocked by the green T-70 again wasn’t one I wanted to take. At least I knew the 5 straight was unblockable.

Right?

The green T-70 goes 1 straight, clearing 1 stress. Temmin 2 banks left, clearing stress and takes a focus.

Tallie’s 5 straight takes her well past Temmin and she follows it with a focus into red boost (because being without tokens is NOT how I try to survive this). Zizi hard turns and focuses followed by a red rotate.

Zizi plinks a shot at the green T-70. He’s at range 3 but took a strain to get a calculate and 1 hit gets through, taking a shield. Tallie’s arc is the wrong way so no shot for her.

Temmin fires at Tallie. It’s crit, eyeball, blank. Eirik spends the calculate on the eyeball and the focus for Optics to get hit, hit, crit.

I roll 4 greens. Evade, eyeball, eyeball, blank. I spend the focus and Tallie lives. Oh boy.

The green T-70 fires range 3 at a focused Zizi but nothing lands.

It’s back to dials and time is ticking down.

Zizi gets a hard turn left again (very much going in circles). But what about Tallie? I want to do a 3 bank and boost but I’m not confident she stays on the board. Unwilling to risk death by major stupidity I opt for the slightly less (but still a bit) stupid option of 2 hard turn. I need the token so have to clear stress.

The green T-70 has clearly give up on having actions ever again and hard turns over the debris to collect another stress, angling in at Tallie.

Temmin takes a fairly obvious (and perfectly correct) 2 bank around the rock and focuses.

Zizi takes her totally inconsequential 2 hard turn and takes a focus.

I ask Eirik if we can stop the clock. I reveal the 2 hard but ask if I can just see if the 3 bank fits before doing it.

It fits. It bloomin well fits.

Ok, fine. I undo, reset the dial to the 2 hard and move Tallie. I now have a choice. Focus and stay where I am (range 1 of Temmin but probably out of arc of green) or boost (range 2 of Temmin, probably in arc of green).

I focus and boost. Screw range 1.

Clearly no shots for me (again).

Temmin fires. One hit and 2 blanks. He converts one with Optics for 2 hits. Tallie rolls 2 eyeballs and a blank and spends the focus. She lives. For now.

The green T-70 does have arc(just barely) and fires. Hit, eyeball, blank. He spends a calculate for 2 hits. With no tokens left I roll greens. 2 eyeballs, 2 evades. She lives. Somehow.

Wow.

We’ve got less than 3 minutes left so this is most likely the last turn.

I’m expecting a 4 straight from green and a 3 bank from Temmin. There’s no doubt in my mind that Tallie gets a 5 straight. And Zizi? Who cares?! Ok, I do actually have to set something so I set a 3 hard left.

The green T-70 does indeed go 4 straight. No actions though because he’s still stressed.

Temmin….also goes 4 straight?! That’s unexpected. I guess he was covering my going a 3 bank to the corner. He then tries for a boost. It fits. Just.

No exageration. It just barely fit.

Zizi takes the hard turn left, focuses and boosts.

Tallie takes the 5 straight, focuses and boosts too.

The clock chimes. Time over.

Tallie can’t shoot. Zizi has the green T-70 in arc and gets 2 hits. The strained green is range 3 obstructed and rolls evade and eyeball. There’s no chance he spends the calculate though and takes the inconsequential hit.

Temmin checks arc.

OH COME ON!!!

Eirik rolls 2 hits and an eyeball and spends the calculate for 3 hits.

I roll greens. Evade, evade, evade, blank. Out of hand. Oh.My.Gosh

The green T-70 rolls next. Hit, crit, blank.

I roll greens. Evade, evade, evade, blank. Out of hand.

And with that, the game is done.

Result: 125 – 119 win

The Conclusion…

I’ve heard it said that to win a tournament you need a bit of luck. You need to ‘steal’ a game (i.e. win one you probably shouldn’t have) and not get one stolen from you.

Ladies and gentlemen, I stole this game. 100%.

Looking back over it, Rey should have died a turn earlier than she did which would have kept Eirik’s first T70 alive for longer. If I’m using Gate of Storms correctly (and I don’t know that I am) then it’s predicted that Rey should have taken 4.2 hits. She took one. ONE!

And then there’s Tallie – the unkillable queen of the greens. She should have been dead. Several times over. Not just once or even twice but FOUR times she was in a position of taking fire (taking a defensive token at the cost of not firing back in return), twice from multiple ships (with mods!), and just casually rolled her way out of trouble. Every. Time.

Its incredible, it’s unjust and it’s one of those times when you feel so pumped that you rolled exactly what you need to survive but simultaneously really guilty that you know it’s statistically very unlikely and if the roles were reversed you’d be really REALLY cheesed off about it. To his credit Eirik took it really well and in fact messaged me the following day:

at work today I suddenly thought of the never dying Tallie  I laughed

Eirik Bjørnsen – total legend

In terms of the game itself, I know I made mistakes. In the turn when I chose to send the A-Wings further around the rock Eirik had played me really well, scaring the A-Wings off to give him extra time to attack Rey. Thinking about it, the 5 straight from Tallie that was blocked by the green T-70 was not incorrect, strictly speaking, but it was fairly obvious and so therefore not the right move.

I still don’t think that I could have got away with running with both for 30 minutes, nor that I would have enjoyed it. Though the fact that the RZ-2’s could shoot at their pursuers might have changed that. Maybe.

Still, I got away with it somehow.

The win puts me at 5-3 for this season. I’d love to tell you where that places me but as of publishing there are still 3 games to be played this round so I may still drop a little further down.

But yes, that is me in 5th place. 5th! Whether this means I move up next season remains to be seen but whatever happens, I’m pretty chuffed to have done as well as this.

I guess this is what you get when you fly a decent, recognised meta staple rather than some jank that you like. That doesn’t mean I’m done with Dash though, he’s just on the back burner for the moment.

So, what next? The next Sith Takers league season won’t start for a good few weeks I imagine since they’ve launched the SITH TAKER CUP “THE SEQUEL” which will be 5 or 6 rounds of Swiss followed by a cut which will run at least the swiss part before the league restarts. I’ve signed up for it, signups are open until the 13th of Feb, details are on the Sith Takers Discord channel or via their Facebook page if you’re interested.

In the mean time, who knows?!

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

Closing out

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