With masks and strict rules and nobody anywhere near me. But I played. In person.
And it was glorious.
Not only that, I FINALLY got to use my now fully blinged out YT-2400. For real. On a table.
And it was epic.
Ok, with that out of the way, where to begin?
The build up…
If you’ve been reading any of my recent blogs then you’ll know this was supposed to be the rescheduled date (and venue move) of the Firestorm Newport store champs. The official tournament has been postponed again but with table space reserved and players keen to play the store ran a casual day’s play.
So freshly back from a camping trip and back to work full time with a vengeance I had two things to contend with in my preparation: points changes and time to test.
Now if you’ve read some of my previous blogs then you probably know that Rebels are my favoured faction. And you probably know that Dash Rendar in the YT-2400 is my favoured ship. The recent points change was generally kind to both of these but, after my initial celebration, I realised that this now gave me a little conundrum. I have to re-evaluate my lists!
We had been advised to bring 2 lists for the tournament, one extended and one hyperspace. With the original event being hyperspace I had intended to borrow ships from the very generous Mark Beor who had offered use of his TIE/SF fleet for me to run one of the lists I’d done well (ish) with in the Vagabond Opens. But the points change also brought new options to Hyperspace and so I decided that, with it being casual, I’d give some new things a go.
So I need 2 lists. Both will be Rebel. Extended will be Dash + X, Hyperspace will probably look at newly included ships.
Just 2 days before playing I was still looking at 15 lists.
Fif – teen.
Only 3 of those were Hyperspace so let’s start there.
I really like the VCX-100 but I’ve never been great at flying it. I have, however, had it flown against very effectively. Very. Maybe it’s time for me to learn what to do with it since it’s now HS legal and next month’s Cardiff store champs will be in that format.
Firstly the pilot. Of those who are Hyperspace legal Kallus is interesting and Kanan has the Force but Hera is the one for me. Initiative 5 is good and the ability to change your dial, also good. First decision made.
Hyperspace restrictions do cut out some of the best toys for the Ghost (cough Saw cough) but the Zeb/Intimidation combo is still viable. They go on.
From here it’s tricky. The choice of remaining ships and what to put on them is quite wide, even in Hyperspace.
On one hand I can fit Hera with Zeb, intimidation, Nien Numb crew (because it gives me more options to change my mind!) and dorsal turret with Ten Numb (with s-foils), Jake and a Phoenix Squad A-Wing.
On the other I can fit a loaded Hera (Zeb, intimidation, Chewbacca, ion turret, agile gunner and a cheeky hull upgrade) with a similarly loaded Lando (Nien Numb, K2SO, title, agile gunner, engine upgrade).
Or I can strip both of those ships back and add in Jake.
And I’ve no real time to test. Hmmm…
By Friday evening I’d had a little bit of time for list testing on Fly Casual, but only a little. 3 games, in fact. And I needed to pack my bag and spend some time with my family (y’know, before abandoning them for the whole of Saturday).
I tried the Hera and Lando list. I liked it. Whether it works in person? Well, I’ll just have to see! Without trying either of the other two lists I decide to go with it.
Lando Calrissian (78)
Agile Gunner (5)
Nien Nunb (5)
Engine Upgrade (7)
Millennium Falcon (3)
Ship total: 106 Half Points: 53 Threshold: 7
Hera Syndulla (VCX-100) (72)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
“Zeb” Orrelios (1)
Hull Upgrade (2)
Agile Gunner (5)
Ship total: 92 Half Points: 46 Threshold: 8
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZhZ200Z43XWW76W314W52W107WW154Y61X122WWW138W65W21W164W76W&sn=Lando%20%26%20Hera%20-%20Hyhperspace%208%2F8%2F20&obs=
Now for the tricky one. Das…I mean… extended.
Ok, ok, Dash is a shoe-in, obviously, but what build? And what to go with him?
After the months of agonising over options to go with Dash last year I at least have a little experience to draw on. I find there are 2 ways to build Dash – light (relatively speaking) or all in. Going all in on Dash has, for me, resulted in games going one of two ways. Spectacularly well or spectacularly badly with very few being in between.
You see, while the Ghost is (sort of) happy to tank shots, with its 0 agility you (sort of) expect it to die. Dash, however, having 2 agility, you (sort of) expect to last a bit longer. Sometimes he does and sometimes he doesn’t.
Whilst I have lists pairing Dash with various combinations of A-Wings, B-wings, X-Wings and even a Sheathipede (which I still want to try out at some point), I keep being drawn to the Ghost. The lure of two 4 dice guns on the board is strong, variance be damned.
With time and testing opportunities both in short supply I go for the pragmatic approach. Picking the Ghost means that I only need to pack 3 sets of ships/cards.
The next decision is how to build them out. After several discussions with people over the last week, Chris Stevens in particular swayed my decision with the argument that Bistan coming down by 4 points (combined with Dash dropping by 6) was too tempting to overlook. Bistan gunner needs Perceptive Co-pilot and so there I have my Dash build.
As for Hera, Zeb and intimidation both stay. I add Saw (because, of course) and then throw on Advanced sensors to get locks before (hopefully) smashing into things.
After a single test game (added to Chris’ feedback that it was ‘horrible to play against’) I decide to go for it.
Dash Rendar (85)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Ship total: 103 Half Points: 52 Threshold: 5
Hera Syndulla (VCX-100) (72)
Advanced Sensors (10)
Saw Gerrera (9)
“Zeb” Orrelios (1)
Ship total: 95 Half Points: 48 Threshold: 7
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39XWW77W54WWWY61X122W111WWW58W65WWW&sn=Dash%20%26%20Hera%20-%20Extended%208%2F8%2F20&obs=
ok, that’s far too much preamble, let’s get down to games.
The (not exactly) batrep(s)…
Cai and I headed to Firestorm Cardiff excited to see our buddies and for a full day of pew pew. We arrive and register and as we start to get our ships out there’s a buzz around the place. Yes, there are social distancing rules and masks. Yes it’s also one of the hottest days of the year so far so EVERYONE is boiling but we are all more than happy to deal with these things so we can get some real games in.
Paul Westwood is TO’ing and informs us that we’ll play 4 games in total, the first two being Hyperspace followed by two extended. Awesome.
With 4 games to cover these will be short summaries rather than batreps, orgwise you’ll still be reading when the next blog comes out!
Game 1 – Matt Lees
In a field of 21 players with just above half being local Newport players I was bound to match with a fellow Exile. Matt and I have played many times and today he is running his tried and tested 5X list.
I set up the Ghost for a joust which, despite his greater numbers, Matt decides against taking on. I manage to get a good amount of damage on to several X-Wings quite quickly but my inability to focus fire (or rather, Matt’s ability to dodge me with his damaged ships) means that by the time the Ghost finally succumbs to Matt’s ships (thanks to a Direct Hit sending through the last damage) there are still 4 X-Wings on the board. Lando is at half points thanks to a second Direct Hit (anyone got the odds on that?) But all remaining X-Wings are limping with one on two health and the rest on one.
Lando manages to finish another one off before time is called but it isn’t enough. One more turn and I could have finished another one off (while unlikely to lose Lando) but it ends there and I’m just 5 points short.
Loss 140 – 145
Game 2 – Daniel Barringer
My next pairing was against a Cardiff Womp Rat who I’ve never played before but we have connected through Facebook so it was lovely to actually meet in person.
My mood turned a little when I saw what Dan was flying – 2 Silencers. My history against Silencers is borderline traumatic with memories of throwing fistfuls of red dice at them to no avail.
We are both at 198 points and in what could be the most important dice roll of the game we roll for initiative. I win and take 2nd player. I set up to turn away with Lando and in with Hera and see what opportunities come up.
In the first engagement I lose 3 shields from Hera in return for…nothing at all. This does little to change my view on Silencers.
Things improve as I chip some shields from both Kylo and Blackout in exchange for limited damage to Hera.
Muse creeps into arc having been separated from the other 2 ships and as time continues to tick down ends up in the wrong place (at range 1 in front of Hera) and is deleted.
The very last turn culminates in Lando bumping Kylo to be denied a chance to shoot while Hera just falls short of the bump on Blackout and also falls short of dealing enough damage, leaving it on 1 health. Blackout’s shot onto Hera is also ineffective (thunkfully!) and both ships survive.
A quick tally of points gives me the win with Lando still relatively healthy. It turns out that initiative roll was rather important.
Win 73 – 46
Game 3 – Gemma Lees
Now we’re talking – time for Extended. Time for Dash.
Sporting his shiny new paint job Dash is ready. Or is he?
I’m paired with Gemma, my second Exile of the day and Matt’s wife. She’s flying Rey and 4 i1 Resistance A-Wings.
I set up Hera for the joust against Rey with Dash heading up the middle.
The first few engagments go well with Hera 1-shoting an A-Wing before then getting the bump on Rey and pumping some damage on with Dash contributing too.
Things went south after that with Hera taking a full 4 hits from Rey (twice) while the remaining A-Wings simply refused to die.
Hera lasted a turn (or two?) longer than she should have by that point but the damage was done. The Ghost eventually went down and Dash was at half thanks to rather annoyingly accurate fire from the 2 dice A-Wings and equally annoying poor green rolls.
When time ran out Rey was at half as was one A-Wing with the other still on full points. As in the first game I feel like another couple of turns and I could have pumped enough damage in to get a result but it was not to be.
Loss 117 – 147
Game 4 – Neil Powell
The last game of the day and my 3rd against another Exile! Neil was flying Han, Guri and an initiative 1 YT-1300.
Neil sent Han up the middel fo the board with Guri and the Freighter Captain approaching from my right. I took the chance to pounce on Han with both my ships and got an engagement with both my ships shooting at Han and Neil’s other 2 ships out of range. I had come up short on the bump on Han but still managed a reasonable amount of damage with some return onto the Ghost.
It went somewhat downhill from there as Han leapfrogged the attempted bump, leaving the Ghost taking 3 shots while facing the wrong way. Bad times.
The next turn Hera was burned down by Guri but in return I got Guri down to 1 hull and Neil’s 2 YT-1300’s were both out of position.
From here Dash started to clean up, firstly with Han going down before taking advantage of Neil bringing Guri back into play.
As time ran out I had taken half points on the Freighter Captain while Dash had lost just 3 sheilds.
Win 171 – 95
First and foremost, we had a great day. The heat certainly had an effect (especially when you add the mask factor) but it was amazing to play in person with real ships and real dice.
Special thanks go out to Firestorm Cardiff for giving us table space and for Paul Westwood for TO’ing. There was also a stack of participation cards/tokens/markers which was really cool.
Also a special mention for Dan ‘Eggs’ (not his real name!) and Matt Lees who, both being at 3-0 fought out a U-Wing-off for first place.
In terms of my lists, well…. I’m not sure.
I like the Hyperspace list. The Ghost burns down quickly (obviously) but with Lando there to buff it (either with the K-2S0 calculate or the free additional action) was very effective. I didn’t use Chewbacca (I misread the card to be honest, I thought it could fix face down damage cards too) and maybe took an evade with Lando just once (meaning the title was a bit of a waste). The thing is, I’m not sure what to spend the extra points on! I like the combination of ships and, with the Cardiff store champs coming on the 12th of September, I will be tweaking this and getting some reps in with a view to use it there.
As for Extended? Well, it’s interesting. Even with the addition of Saw and Advanced Sensors I felt like Hera wasn’t as effective as the Hyperspace build. With both Hera and Dash being expensive to start with I felt like both ships were limited and it would maybe be better to make one or the other more effective. And let’s face it, I’m picking Dash. Every time.
But with Dash doing some seriously heavy lifting in the second Extended game I feel like Dash/Perceptive/Bistan is a great combo. I just need to do some investigation/testing on what to change going forward.
So what next? Well, I’ve got my first pairing in the Sith Taker League so I’ve got a game to prepare for! All being well, I’ll report on that next week!