How not to X-Wing

The intro…

Welcome back to my humble blog. Please sit back, relax and (hopefully!) enjoy what will be my last post of 2020!

It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned the C-word (in any other year that could mean something rude. Just to be clear, I mean covid) but this last week things have really kicked off again.

Christmas plans are in disarray and people in some parts of the UK (including the whole of Wales, where I live) are back in the strictest lockdown.

If you’re directly affected then I hope you’re doing ok.

Again I reflect on life in general and in the grand scheme of things a blog about plastic spaceships (real or virtual) doesn’t exactly demand top priority in times like these. But at the same time it does hold value (to me, at least!) as, among other things, a temporary distraction and a link to a part of my life that I hope one day soon I can return to.

But until then, I have the virtual version to tide me over.

I mentioned last week that in the Sith Taker league I had a bye and so no game was arranged. I said I would have something to write about (and I do!) And among many grand thoughts and ideas and plans for something fancy, an offer from a friend for a casual game trumped the lot.

Chris Burnett, who I class as a friend but have actually only met in person at the 2020 System Open, commented on last week’s post offering a game and it was an offer too good to turn down.

I got in touch and we arranged to play on Sunday night. A bit tight for my blog deadline but still good!

So, what will I fly? My usual Dash, Ten & Jake list? It hasn’t fared all that well recently (of course that’s down to me too, not just the list!) and perhaps a casual game is the best time to try something else!

I mentioned in one of my other blogs that I really like Jason Chong’s top 8 list from the Lima open and wanted to give it a go. Maybe now’s the time!

Jason’s list has a Phoenix Squad A-Wing with Squad Leader to be able to coordinate Dash. Personally I’m happy with Jake and while it means he does have to wiggle around to stay range 1 of Dash, I’m pretty practiced at that and if he’s going to end up stressed, he might as well have a focus for himself too! It does limit me to just the focus action but between the AP-5 coordinate and Dash’s own action that souldn’t be an issue.

Jake is more points but I can drop Dash’s shield upgrade to a hull and end up on 200 points.

Dash Rendar (85)
Trick Shot (4)
Bistan (10)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Hull Upgrade (5)
Outrider (14)
Rigged Cargo Chute (4)

Ship total: 130 Half Points: 65 Threshold: 6

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

AP-5 (32)
Jyn Erso (2)
R4 Astromech (2)

Ship total: 36 Half Points: 18 Threshold: 3

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW77W54W164W157W96Y50XWWY72XW40WW5W&sn=Dash%20Ten%20Jake&obs=

Now, I’ve had a quick look at a stream of Jason playing this list at Lima and he had a very interesting opening. It involved Dash doing a 4K (JARGON ALERT!!) for his first move over the debris (removing the stress with the title) and then dropping the Rigged Cargo. He could also have done it without going over the debris in turn 2 by using AP-5 to coordinate (which he can do to stressed ships) the Rigged Cargo drop into the middle of the board before doing a blue manoeuvre to clear the stress.

Bearing in mind that this Dash has the title and Trick Shot, extra obstacles certainly help so I figure it’s worth a try to see what happens!

I have tried this list in Fly Casual a little but with False Transponder Codes on Dash instead of Rigged Cargo. I could then have then used the spare points to change the Hull upgrade for a shield. Incidentally, I quite like False Transponder Codes. It’s a shame it’s only 1 charge but jamming a focus off the ship he locks can really help Dash to land that first haymaker shot.

The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)

I set up the room and Chris joined me soon after. As we got voice chat going and started getting tokens ready and that sort of thing I took a look at Chris’ list.

Rey (68)
Korr Sella (6)
Rose Tico (9)
Finn (9)
False Transponder Codes (2)
Shield Upgrade (4)
Rey’s Millennium Falcon (2)

Ship total: 100 Half Points: 50 Threshold: 6

Vennie (54)
Trajectory Simulator (6)
Pattern Analyzer (5)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Paige Tico (6)
Veteran Turret Gunner (7)
Seismic Charges (3)
Proton Bombs (4)
Stealth Device (4)

Ship total: 97 Half Points: 49 Threshold: 6

Total: 197

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZsZ200Z244XWW245W173W174W369W165W193Y294X114W206W54W189W90W71W69W166&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Well, well, well. Rey. We meet again. This time out she’s with Vennie who, I realised as we set up, I don’t think I’ve faced before. Ever. Interesting.

This particular Vennie is very tooled up and, with Stealth Device and being able to add a focus result when defending, could be tricky to wear down. Still, I’ll give it a go!

Unsurprisingly Chris makes use of his 3 point bid to give me first player.

Chris has brought rocks, the 3 biggest ones, and while big obstacles are helpful to me to activate Trick Shot, they’re awkward because if I land Dash on one, he can’t shoot. I’m assuming that Chris has brought the big ones in order to make them easier targets for Vennie to throw Seismic charges at.

We place obstacles and forces and are set like this ready to begin.


Now, I’ve toyed with this list once or twice in Fly Casual but I’ve never done the 4K, drop Rigged Cargo thing before. Now’s as good a time as any though, right?

So I set Dash a 4K, AP-5 gets a 1 straight while Jake will hard turn left and then roll.

Chris throws a Seismic with Vennie (which he uses to remove the central debris cloud) before going 1 forwards. Rey also goes 1 forwards but then boosts too…

Rey is in range of Dash. Well, crap.

Chris rolls 3 dice, adds a blank, spends it to get a lock and rerolls to get a hit and 2 eyeballs. He spends 2 force to get 3 hits.

Dash rolls greens. He blanks. 3 shields off Dash and no return shot.

Not a great start.

Chris offers to reset the game since I’ve not tried the opening before and really had been unlikely to take that sort of damage in turn 1 had I not tried it. I was tempted for a second but, feeling like I got what I deserved for trying something flashy, I decline and we continue.

Back to planning then. And now I need to try and recover.

At this point I start to realise just how badly I’ve screwed this up. I wanted to reverse with AP-5 but that means I can’t coordinate Dash and the whole point of the 4K was to do just that. So it’s a 1 bank for him. He coordinates the Rigged Cargo to Dash.

Jake hard turns, rolls, gives himself a focus and then boosts to…oh. Wait. Dash is stressed. No free focus. Balls.

Dash needs to clear his stress so it’s a 1 bank and focus where I really wanted to get the focus from Jake and then rotate to shoot Rey. Using Jyn’s ability Dash takes 2 evades instead of focus tokens. No shot for Dash. Again.

This is not going great.

Vennie banks in to the middle before Rey comes 3 forwards, keeping her stress for no action.

Dash can’t shoot so Rey goes first, picking Jake over Dash as her target and rolling 3 hits after the Rose/Finn shenanigans. Jake rolls 1 eyeball. I spend the focus to not be almost dead. Jake’s return shot blanks. AP-5 is out of range.

Back to dials we go!

Not wanting to get AP-5 way out of position he gets a 1 reverse. It means he can’t coordinate but providing Jake can give Dash a focus (which he should) it isn’t the end of the world.

Jake hard turns left to clear the stress, rolls and boosts to give himself and Dash a focus action.

Dash banks right and gets ready to rotate his….oh crap. Dash has bumped AP-5.

The answer, apparently, is yes. Very much so.

Vennie takes a red stop after throwing out another Seismic charge (destroying the central rock at the end of activation) while Rey just takes a slow 1 bank in and a focus.

STILL no shot for Dash (some sort of record I think?!) and Chris ops for the shot on Jake. This time his greens come up trumps and no damage gets through. The only return shot is a speculative one from AP-5. He rolls 1 hit. Rey defends, rolling an evade, adds a blank with Finn and promptly spends it to get a lock on AP-5.

Feels.Bad.

Ok, planning again. This time Dash HAS to shoot.

AP-5 takes a 2 bank right, clearing stress and coordinates a lock to Dash (which he takes on Rey). Hopefully he can block Rey too.

Vennie banks right and takes a double focus.

Jake hard turns in and…bumps Dash.


Dash takes a 3 hard right turn and takes a double focus.

Rey banks again but it’s faster this time and she bumps into AP-5. At least something went to plan!

Dash shoots at Rey with double mods and knocks 3 shields off. It’s a start!

Dash has Vennie in arc so takes his second shot. I opt to keep the focus for defence and Vennie neatly evades.

Rey’s return shot is on Dash (I guess she felt sorry for poor old tokenless Jake!) and a hit and crit go through. Of all the crits it could have been, it’s a Stunned Pilot, just when Dash is pointing right at a big ‘ol rock. Super.

Adding insult to injury, Vennie plinks another Damage onto Dash too.

Back to planning we go and now I have some choices to make. I had wanted to blast Dash over the rock, clearing it to be able to shoot and probably rotate arc. That’s off the cards now. I decide that maybe trying to bump Vennie means less incoming fire and set a hard right turn.

AP-5 hard turns to his left, coordinating a focus to Dash who takes one as an evade.

Vennie hard turns to his right (which I didn’t see coming) and focuses.

Jake hard turns and rolls left to give himself a focus.

Dash takes the hard turn and does bump.

Rey decides to YOLO onto the debris. Except it’s not as YOLO as I thought because Korr Sella is basically cheating and the stress is removed immediately, allowing Rey to take a lock on Dash. She does take the crit from the debris though, stripper her last shield.

Oh boy.

Dash fires at Rey with 3 dice and spends his focus for 3 hits. Rey evades one but takes 2 hits.

Rey then returns fire with 4 dice which are all hits. Chris decides to keep the lock for the next turn and keep Rey’s force for defence since 4 hits out of hand is pretty decent but rather disappointingly (for Chris, not for me) only manages to push 2 damage through. They are both crits though. A console fire and a structural damage. Ouch.

Jake and AP-5 have no targets in arc but Vennie pings a cheeky 2 dice shot at Jake at range 3 and puts a damage on, leaving Jake on 1 hull.

Back to dials we go and even though there’s over half an hour left on the clock I can’t see the game lasting all that long.

I send AP-5 backwards because sending him forwards towards Rey just seems suicidal.

Vennie drops a seismic in the systems phase (which I had fully expected to be a proton bomb) before banking 1 right.

Jake hard turns, rolls and boosts to get a focus and give one to Dash.

Dash banks right (having considered going left towards the middle of the board) and rotates his arc.

Rey takes a hard right, expecting Dash to do what he almost did and so rotates arc to the side to get him in arc.

The seismic explodes but no obstacles are in range.

Dash fires at Rey and gets 2 more hits on. I can’t quite remember whether Vennie was in range or not but if he was, no damage was done anyway.

Rey returns fire at Dash and the plucky Corellian goes down in flames, taking the 3 hits needed to finish him off.

Jake attempts a revenge shot on Rey but misses. Vennie takes a 2 dice range 3 obstructed shot at Jake (who has a focus!) and wouldn’t ya know, gets the 1 damage needed to finish him off too.

Balls.

So it’s AP-5 versus the world then!

AP-5 shoots at Rey and rolls blanks. Rey rolls defence dice, adds a blank and then spends it to get a completely free and legal lock on AP-5. It’s just been that kind of game…

Dials then…

Assuming Rey will hard turn at AP-5 I go for an all-or-nothing 3 bank to try for a block, keeping the stress.

Vennie hard turns right and rotates before Rey (rather obviously with hindsight) sloops (JARGON ALERT!!).

Rey pours fire into AP-5, getting 3 hits past my green dice. Vennie is out of range (thankfully!) so AP-5 fires back at Rey. And blanks.

Ooookay then!

Back to planning we go. I set AP-5 a 3 forwards because, well, why not?! He takes a calculate.

Vennie banks right and takes a focus. Rey goes 1 forwards and then boosts to get AP-5 in her rear arc.

It’s all over fairly quickly as Rey calmly dispatches AP-5 with a range 1 modded shot from her rear arc.

Result: 50 – 200 loss

The conclusion…

Oh.my.gosh

Ryan Gosling is disappointed in me.

That was a trainwreck from start to finish. And all my fault!

First of all, I salute Jason Chong for doing so well with this list. Getting it right at all takes some work but doing as well as he did with it at the Lima Open deserves major props.

Something to note, certain aspects of the matchup aren’t great. Vennie wants to get rid of obstacles and Dash wants to add/keep them. Vennie is better at her job than Dash is at his.

Something else to note. This is now the 3rd or 4th time in the last month or so that I’ve come up against Rey. There’s a reason for this. She’s freaking excellent. Like basically guaranteed 3/4 hits per turn excellent. Chris’ choice of Vennie to go with her is a ‘flavour to taste’ thing but I’m starting to feel that this Rey build is just about as close as you can get to cheating without just picking ships up and going ‘pewpew, they’re dead, I win’. That said, I never played against the 6 Petranaki list so maybe my data is flawed.

I’m getting very close to the ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ way of thinking on that. Particularly when you consider that this fully leaded Rey is 30 points cheaper than the Dash I flew here. 30 points. 30. Points. Wow.

It really didn’t help that to compound this that I presented Dash in front of her with no return shot and THEN proceeded to bump into AP-5 and deny him a rotate action, giving Rey a SECOND unanswered shot.

It was a comedy of errors.

In fact I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is the worst that I’ve done (in terms of silly mistakes/poor choices) in a game of X-Wing since, well, 2.0 was released at least. Probably longer.

So, what can I take from this?

First would be – don’t forget to test stuff in Fly Casual before actually playing against a person. It’s important to judge distances, plan and remember your opening and have a strategy of sorts.

The second thing is that AP-5 is actually pretty good. He doesn’t need to be overly close to Dash and even though he doesn’t go fast like Jake, he doesn’t especially need to in order to do his job.

The third would be – don’t play for the gimmick. Pulling the 4K to drop the rigged cargo is what lost me the game (or at least, significantly accelerated the loss). In discussing the game afterwards Chris said that if I had done my usual opening with Jake and Dash (hard turns in from the corner) then Rey would have been forced to chase (with the option of a Rigged Cargo to drop in her face) and things would have been very different.

What’s most annoying is that I almost didn’t even have Rigged Cargo. Ah well…

I actually sort of like the list. Sort of. Everything rests on Dash. I mean, at 130 points, it really has to. The others support really well but compared to the list with Ten Numb there’s no alternative threat here at all. And when Dash died there was really no hope for the other two, even if I’d managed to get rid of Rey first.

I also am so used to flying a slimmed down Dash that I made no use at all of Trick Shot or the title and while I used the Rigged Cargo it was sort of wasted. That’s 22 points basically unused. Not good enough!

Chris and I looked at alternatives such as stripping Dash back to my usual build and adding Wedge or Thane or even dropping both support ships and adding Wulfwarro with a Y-Wing with concussion bombs (in the same vein as the Lima Open winning list, using a concussion bomb to trigger Wolwarro’s ability right away) to get 3 4-dice shots going.

There are a LOT of ways to build out a Dash list right now. To build, test and then playtest them all would probably take me right up to the next points change!

All in all, I played terribly but still had a good time because Chris is a great guy and I got to play a game. I do slightly regret not taking up Chris’ offer of a reset as I would have probably learned more about the list by starting ‘properly’ but it was already a bit late in the evening and, if I’m honest, a part of me wanted to see if I could recover from the first mistake. Following it up with the bump with Dash wasn’t the best way to do that mind you… When we looked at dice stats I again saw that I was rolling significantly less red dice with my list and when you consider Vennie was a bit far out to shoot on some turns and only rolling dice when he wasn’t it certainly speaks volumes about my play.

Still, fun was had and now it’s Christmas!

I won’t be posting out over the next couple of weeks but I will definitely be back! I hope your have a great Christmas and a blessed New Year and I’m pretty sure we’re all praying for 2021 to be better than 2020!

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

How not to x-wing

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