Here in the UK, last week marked a full year since the first lockdown due to Covid-19. The #DayOfReflection on the 23rd saw a minute of silence, the lighting of candles and the lighting in yellow of various landmarks to reflect on the tragic loss of life over the last year. I am in the privileged position of not having lost any close friends or family to Covid but for those who have I can’t even begin to imagine how that already horrendous experience would have been exacerbated by the lockdowns and restrictions in place.
On a personal note, life took another step back towards what we knew before with the kids going back to school for a day before the Easter break with a view to returning fully after the two weeks. Also, here in Wales restrictions have been lifted a step further by removing the ‘stay local’ rule so travel within Wales is now possible again.
It’s been a busy week in the world of X-Wing as the new squadron packs were released. Well, I say released, I mean officially. I had pre-ordered the Rebel and Imperial packs but have yet to be informed they’re ready for collection. I know that stock availability has been limited across the board for these packs but thankfully it’s not a huge issue at the moment with in-person play still either limited or not possible in most places.
I’m sure they’ll get here eventually and look forward to it when they do. In the mean time we do have points and so the list building and experimentation can begin!
But first, it’s the last swiss round of the Sith Taker Cup!
If you’ve been following the blog recently then you’ll be aware of the list I’m flying:
Ship total: 94 Half Points: 47 Threshold: 6
Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 2
Ship total: 53 Half Points: 27 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZsZ200Z244XWW245W173W174WWW193Y240X172WW102W186Y387X172WW102W186&sn=Rey-Wings&obs=coreasteroid5,core2asteroid1,core2asteroid2
If you don’t know what this list does by now, well, probably you’ve not been reading my previous posts! I’ve certainly not has a good a run with it in the cup as I did in the league but it’s a strong list which can do nasty things to people if I don’t mess up too badly.
And so, what am I facing this week? Well, I was drawn against Piotr Zablocki (someone new to play! Woop!) and, unable to resist the temptation to leave it as a mystery, I checked out his list:
Ship total: 82 Half Points: 41 Threshold: 6
Cartel Marauder (37)
False Transponder Codes (2)
Ship total: 39 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 3
Cartel Marauder (37)
False Transponder Codes (2)
Ship total: 39 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 3
Cartel Marauder (37)
False Transponder Codes (2)
Ship total: 39 Half Points: 20 Threshold: 3
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZsZ200Z126X121W336W369WW165W160Y124XW369WWWY124XW369WWWY124XW369WWW&sn=Ketsu%2B3khiraz&obs=coreasteroid0,coreasteroid5,core2asteroid5
Ummm….. Ok. The Kihraxz’s (if that’s how you spell the plural of that!!) are pretty bog standard aside from the False Transponder Codes, that’s something to watch out for. No, the issue here will be Ketsu and in particular the tractor tokens.
A few months ago I played a game against Firestorm Firecast’s Phillip Pond who was running a very similar Ketsu build and managed to achieve the perfect tractor move by giving Rey a token with her pilot ability then then double tapping (from Zam) and assigning another token after each attack. Rey was promptly moved onto a rock and bad things happened.
With this floating around in the back of my mind I started to prepare for the game, firing up Fly Casual I load up the list and go against it.
Now, this is tricky because, for all it’s awesomeness, the Fly Casual AI is not great with actions other than Focus (and maybe the odd evade). I flew against the list and, focusing on Ketsu (as the more dangerous target and bigger points target) and won out. A few times.
Ok, how about the other way around? Because actually, Fly Casual can fly this Rey build reasonably well since it likes to joust and it knows (and does) the Finn/Rose thing for good shots.
It actually took me a few games to fully figure out how Zam works. I’m still not sure I’m using it right but anyway, while playing with the Scum list after a few goes I was able to beat my Resistance list (and without really knowing what I was doing with Zam crew). Hmmm….
A few more games from both sides over the next few days tended to play out the same way with me now struggling to get bullseye on Ketsu after the first engagement and failing to push much damage on any of the Scum ships which seemed to roll green paint after green paint and live.
If I got to a point where I’d traded Rey for Ketsu plus half a Kihraxz (or even a whole one) I wasn’t finding it possible to push enough damage with the 2 dice A-Wing guns while simultaneously being susceptible to their 3 dice attacks and eventually falling.
After a while it became apparent. Forget Ketsu, get guns off the board. Yes, she might be able to do nasty tractor nonsense to me but if I can avoid being range 1 of her front arc or just evade her arc altogether then maybe it will work. Thankfully I have the bid so, depending on how Piotr depolys, I can place my ships so that the Kihraxz are between my ships and Ketsu.
I debated this plan A LOT in the build up to the game and even when opening up TTS was undecided. It really just felt like not quite the right move.
But with the app now open, the room loaded and Piotr joined it was time to make my choice…
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
Since we’re ready to start I’d better run those Pre-Flight checks:
Target Priority – like I just said, my heart says Ketsu but consistent 3 dice attacks onto Rey will waste her pretty fast. I’ll try and get Kihraxz off the table first.
Obstacles – I do NOT want to be tractored onto a rock and so my goal is to spread the asteroids as far as possible so that wherever we engage it reduces the chance of not being able to fire.
Deployment – Wherever Ketsu deploys, go the opposite to hopefully put the Kihraxz in between us.
I have the bid and give Piotr first player, we start placing obstacles and ships and are ready to begin.
Ok so looking at the board, I have my first dilemma. I’m happy that the Kihraxz are closer than Ketsu but in order to take advantage of that, I need to approach them between two asteroids and the big ones at that.
Still, If I decide to fly along my own board edge and go for Ketsu, the Kihraxz will just go straight down the middle and hit me at the same time.
No, I’ll go up the right side and try to take one out before Ketsu gets there. The A-Wings will 4 straight and roll right while Rey will hard turn in behind them.
Piotr starts by hard turning his Kihraxz away from me. Ah. Ketsu just strolls forwards.
No firing this turn and so we’re back to dials.
Right, I’ve started on this track and, given the obstacle positions, I need to see it through. I need to try and guide Rey into the gap between the asteroids. I set her a 4 straight while the A-Wings will go 5 straight.
Piotr hard turns the Kihraxz back in (yay!) while Ketsu continues straight to pass the rock.
No shots again and it’s time for planning again.
Now it’s time for some interesting decisions. It mostly looks like a 2 bank for Rey will fit. I’m like, 90% sure which is enough for me to dial it in.
I’m banking on Piotr turning in on Rey with the Kihraxz even though Ketsu is still quite far out. Tallie and Zizi both get 3 banks which should take them around the rock.
Piotr 1 hard turns all 3 Kihraxz again and they all focus. Ketsu 2 turns in and takes a focus too.
Rey’s 2 bank fits perfectly and she locks the yellow Kihraxz, burning it’s FTC charge. Tallie 3 banks, focuses and bank boosts. Zizi also 3 banks and focuses but there isn’t quite room and she can’t complete the boost.
This time we will shoot. Tallie has bullseye on red but it’s range 3 so no Prockets (JARGON ALERT!!)this turn. Instead she shoots at yellow but no damage gets through. Zizi doesn’t have arc so Rey shoots next, also at yellow.
She rolls 3 dice, adds a blank, spends it for a lock but still only gets 2 hits. Piotr rolls eyeball and evade and spends his focus for no damage.
The Kihraxz fire at Rey but she manages to dodge it all and only spends 1 Force. Nice.
First engagement done, no damage dealt.
Back to dials then!
Looking at positions I debate whether Rey has room to sloop (JARGON ALERT!!) to the right without hitting the rock. I decide she doesn’t and so dial in a 4 straight instead to try and avoid being blocked. I’ll come back to this decision in a minute.
Tallie will 5 straight (even though I’m tempted to dive in for a Prockets shot at something) while Zizi will 2 bank around the rock.
Piotr takes a 3 talon roll (JARGON ALERT!!) to the right with yellow while red and green just go 2 straight.
Ketsu 3 banks in and takes a focus.
Right, back to that sloop decision. Would it have hit the rock? Maybe. Probably. Possibly? I don’t know for sure but if it had cleared it, even if she’d hit it, she may have taken a damage but been able to shoot out of her front arc and done the Finn/Rose nonsense backed up by Force. Would it have been blocked? Possibly but looking at the angle in the screenshot I think maybe not.
Anyway, Rey’s 4 straight was blocked and worse, blocked onto the rock. Balls. I roll for damage but it’s a blank. Small mercies!
Tallie’s 5 straight takes her clear of the Kihraxz, she focuses and rotates arc. Zizi’s 2 bank lands her in front of the red Kihraxz and while the Prockets shot is tempting, I know that I need to play a little cagey so she rolls right and boosts into dodge the arcs of green and red while getting range 1 of red.
Looking at it now, maybe the situation isn’t as bad for Rey as it could have been. She can’t shoot but at least red’s block and yellow’s talon roll means the can’t shoot her.
Tallie and Zizi both fire on the red Kihrax, halving it.
Ketsu puts a tractor token onto Rey but since it needs 3 to reduce agility, it’s ok. Her shot as well as green’s only manage to take 2 shields from Rey. Bullet officially dodged. Yellow fired on Tallie but fails to make it count.
Back to dials then.
So the second engagement was also a bit of a dud with a total of 5 damage dealt between us after a long range AND a short range engage. Still, with Rey coming out relatively unscathed I’m pretty happy.
There’s no way that her sloop can be blocked this time. Slooping right looks like it might put her off the board so it’s an easy choice to go left.
To let her do that, Tallie needs to get out of the way. I’m not overly keen on putting her out of the fight but if my win condition is for both A’s to survive while Rey swings big punches, it’s the sensible thing to do. She gets a 3 bank left.
Slightly (massively) contradicting that, I decide that Zizi wants to throw Prockets at someone’s face. She gets a 2 straight.
Piotr starts moving ships. Yellow 2 banks right, clearing stress and takes a focus. Red banks left and takes a lock on Zizi, jamming her with FTC. Green talon rolls before Ketsu banks in slowly and bumps into Rey.
Ah, Ketsu. Right.
Tallie banks, takes a focus and rotates (although I did debate a boost as I wasn’t sure if she had dodged the arc). Rey’s sloop clears and gives her 3 ships in arc. Nice.
This is where my memory gets a little hazy.
From the image Zizi has no focus, a stress and looks to have rolled to her left. Now I remember discussing actions because if I tried for a focus as my action Piotr informed me that I could then take one later with her ability. BUT, if I focused (which got jammed), I can’t link it to a roll, only a boost or rotate. If I focused into a boost I could have been rolled left by Ketsu at the start of engagement but I can’t decide whether the distances are right. Also, I know that Ketsu shot Zizi and if that happened then Zizi would have then had a focus (from her ability) and could have fired Prockets (which didn’t happen).
I’m not going to stress about it though, the screenshots don’t lie and no matter how we got there, it’s where we are.
Right shooting time again. Ketsu fires first, targeting the tractored Zizi. She lands 2 hits, halving her. Ouch.
Time for revenge now though. Or is it? Tallie fires at Ketsu from range and manages to take a shield but also allows Piotr to recover a Zam charge. Hmmm.
This causes me to pick green as Zizi’s target and she manages to take his shield.
Despite the red Kihraxz still having FTC active I decide to fire at it with Rey. She rolls 3 hits out of hand. Nice. I add the Finn blank and spend a Force to turn it to a hit. Piotr rolls but his single evade isn’t enough and the red Kihraxz dies.
Now Piotr fires with his Kihraxz. Yellow fires and hits Rey hard with 3 unblocked hits. Ouch. Green fires at Rey too but with no mods doesn’t land any hits. It’s in her front arc though and so I add the Finn blank and spend it for a lock, losing it immediately but burning down green’s FTC. I like this trick.
Back to dials then. It’s not looking quite so good now as it was, Zizi is halved and REy is one hit away from it too. In return I’ve taken out one Kihraxz, tickled another and flicked Ketsu on the forehead.
So what now? Well, sticking with my plan to ignore Ketsu for now and based on the probability that she will either 5k to turn or 1 straight to bump, Rey gets a 2 hard turn tot he right. It won’t clear stress but I don’t care all that much, her shots are still effective. Zizi will 2 hard turn to her left while Tallie will head out wide to start turning around. She’s still got Prockets to fire, after all!
Piotr 2 banks left with green, clearing the stress and focuses. Yellow hard turns left and focuses, looking to chase Tallie. Ketsu opted for the 1 straight and so bumps into Zizi and stays put.
Tallie 3 banks left, focuses and boosts to get some distance from the yellow Kihraxz. Zizi’s 2 turn perfectly clears Ketsu and she the takes a focus and rotates.
Rey’s hard turn bumps into Ketsu, denying Ketsu any shots this turn. Lovely.
Sadly, it appears I forgot to screenshot this turn properly. Here’s all I’ve got…
It’s time to shoot then.
Zizi fires at the green Kihraxz, rolling 2 hits (thanks to Optics…) which forces Piotr to spend it’s focus to take just 1 hit, leaving it on 4 health. Rey goes next, rolling 4 dice at range 1, adding a blank and then spending it for a lock. She then spends a force to make it 3 hits and a crit. Piotr rolls a single evade to take 2 hits and a crit but the crit is a Direct Hit and that’s another Kihraxz down. Wow.
Tallie takes a range 3 pot shot at the yellow Kihraxz but can’t hit it.
Yellow fires back at Tallie but also misses.
A terrible turn for Piotr there, now down 2 ships and his big hitter unable to shoot and now facing the wrong way.
Time to capitalise as we go back to dials.
Tallie gets a 2 straight, looking to keep yellow in reach but not too close and definitely not in her side arc. Zizi also gets a 1 straight to clear stress and start rounding the asteroid.
Rey gets a 2 bank. I’d have rather taken a 1 bank but as it isn’t white it would mean no action and I want to lock yellow…
Yellow 3 banks, gaining ground on Tallie before Ketsu takes a 2 bank right to start making her way around the asteroid.
Tallie moves 2 straight and takes a focus. Zizi also goes 2 straight, focuses and bank boosts right but it covers more ground than I expected and now she won’t be able to 2 hard turn in next turn. Oops.
Rey’s 2 bank clears her stress and she takes a focus on yellow.
With Zizi stuck out on the far flank Tallie takes her 2 dice pea-shooter shot out of the rear arc and forces yellow to spend his focus and lose his shield. Rey follows up with 3 dice, adds a blank and then spends the already acquired lock to reroll for 4 hits. Piotr blanks out and yellow takes all of it hull but with no crits to force anything nasty it survives on 1 hull.
Yellow takes the only shot it has at Tallie but with no mods nothing gets through.
Time is running down but thigns are looking pretty decent. Back to planning then.
I’m not sure where yellow will go, follow Tallie or turn on Rey. I want to turn Tallie with little to no risk so it’s a 3 bank for her. Rey will 1 straight while Zizi will 2 straight to go all the way around the horn for turning.
Piotr turns yellow in at Rey and focuses while Ketsu also turns but is still well out of the fight.
Tallie’s 3 bank is followed by a boost and rotate as is Zizi’s 2 straight. Rey’s 1 straight bumps into yellow which, for the moment, is fine.
Nobody’s shooting this turn and so we’re back to dials again.
It’s time to move in for the kill. Rey will sloop to the right since she can’t be blocked that way. Both A-Wings will blue hard turn in.
Piotr’s Kihraxz hard turns to the right while Ketsu banks in but is still way out of the way.
Rey sloops over the top of the yellow Kihraxz, landing on the debris but not suffering the crit.
Tallie and Zizi both hard turn in and, with yellow sitting in Tallie’s bullseye, both just focus to stay stressless.
Rey shoots first (since, while I want to shoot my Prockets, it seems a little overkill) and wipes out yellow despite the shot being obstructed.
Nobody else can shoot and so we’re back to planning again.
I don’t want to get too close to Ketsu’s front arc so Rey will 1 straight, Tallie will 2 bank and Zizi will 1 hard to try for bullseye.
Ketsu takes a 1 bank in and takes a focus.
Zizi hard turns in and takes a focus. Tallie follows her with a bank but it looks like she won’t get bullseye with or without a boost. Rey’s 1 straight goes over the debris. She dodges damage from the roll again and with Kor Sella nonsense loses all stress and takes a lock.
You might notice something missing from the pic. Yep, Ketsu got 2 more hits onto her to finish her off.
Simultaneous fire is a thing though and Zizi made a contribution to my ships putting 5 damage past Piotr’s green dice including a crit of some description.
With the clock at just about 2 minutes it looks like we’re going into the last turn.
I’m expecting a 1 straight from Ketsu so Tallie will 3 bank left (and rotate arc) while Rey will 1 straight for an honourable joust.
Piotr reveals Ketsu’s dial. It isn’t 1 straight, it’s a 1 bank which lands her on the asteroid. Oh dear. Worse, she rolls for damage and takes a hit, losing half points. It’s harsh.
Rey’s 1 straight lands just short of the Lancer, giving a juicy range 1 free shot. Super harsh. Tallie’s 3 bank bumps into Rey. No action but she has a shot.
Ketsu’s asteroid situation means she can’t shoot. Now, with the clock having beeped I considered just calling it here but even though I can’t make cut I’d actually like to see how high I could rank and that means MoV.
I don’t feel great about it but Piotr is ready to roll dice.
Rey goes first and, honestly, it’s brutal.
If you can’t see, it’s 4 hits and a crit from Rey and Ketsu blanked out on greens.
She’s dead without Tallie having to pull the trigger.
Result: 200 – 53 win
Ok then, so that went pretty well!
AS much as I doubted myself (or rather, my choice of target priority) in the lead up, it turned out that hitting the Kihraxz first paid off and although I did end up engaging close to asteroids (which I didn’t want to) and landing Rey on one (which I REALLY didn’t want to) I still managed to get the hits I needed to thin the herd and leave myself Ketsu to deal with.
I made a few mistakes but on this occasion I wasn’t punished for them. That’s just the way it goes sometimes I suppose!
The dice rolled pretty well for me overall, scoring maximum hits with Rey on a couple of occasions. I have to embrace the variance and while sometimes the dice abandon me, today they were generally my allies. The question is, would the game have gone as well had the dice betrayed me? Well, ok, obviously it wouldn’t have gone exactly as well but I think in general it would have been ok.
Piotr and I chatted a while after the game, partly about the game itself but mostly about languages and how weird they are. Bizarrely a friend of his (Polish, same as him) had decided to learn Welsh during lockdown. Now, there’s plenty of people in Wales who can’t speak it (me included, although I do understand a fair bit) and it was so unusual to me that someone who lives thousands of miles away would be learning it!
It was great to play Piotr (and not just because I won!) and be able to chat. I love having the opportunity to speak to people from all over the world. It still freaks me out sometimes!
And so, the cup is over. I didn’t make cut (or get anywhere near it actually) but that’s not the most important thing. I had some great games against some lovely people, some from places I will almost certainly never go. I did manage to hit my general target of breaking even at 3-3 though and my MoV was pretty good, meaning my final placement was 67th overall which, for a field of 193 players, isn’t too bad! For me, anyway!
If you’re interested in final placements, here’s the TTT event – https://tabletop.to/sith-taker-cup-the-sequel/ladder
The event is still going in the cut and there’s a couple of guys I know (like, have physically met in person sort of know) and a few that I’ve played online in the last year that have made it. Good luck to everyone still involved!
There’s a few weeks now until the next season of the Sith Taker League begins (first draw on the 18th of April I think). I can’t remember if I mentioned it before but with my placement last season in Crimson Dawn I have managed to move up to the next league – Cloud City.
I say that, I’m actually not sure exactly how many people moved up a league due to drops in the leagues above and an increase from 20 to 24 players but still, that’s what I’m telling myself!
Looking at some of the other players involved there are actually around half of the league that I either know (again, having met in person) or have played against online. I’m looking forward to it. There’s even actual physical prizes this season for the top 3 players in each league which is really cool.
I don’t particularly rate my chances of getting one but who knows? I’ll certainly try!
So what will I do in the mean time? I’m sure I’ll think of something! Maybe something with the new ships…