It’s a significant week in many ways with lots of places in the UK opening back up including social venues. I’ve seen posts and Discord messages by people excited to return to tables and deciding what lists to pack and whether they’ll play new ships or more familiar ones.
Sadly for me, we’re not looking at getting back soon. As you may (or may not!) remember me mentioning before, Firestorm Games in Cardiff is moving to a new location and isn’t planning to open their play space until that’s all complete.
Firestorm Games in Newport (which is my local store) doesn’t own the space where we play. The store is inside a Tesco (shopception!) and we put tables outside the store (which is still inside the Tesco) when we play. As you can imagine, this makes things more complicated. We are hoping to sort something soon and I CAN’T FLIPPIN WAIT!
Something else I want to mention before I get into the X-Wing side of things this week is about just how awesome people can be, even complete strangers.
First off, I finally got off my (proverbial) butt (I mean, I was still sat down so maybe that’s not the right way to say it…) and started looking at getting Dash alt arts done. I want an awesome card to match my beautifully painted YT-2400 (shout out to Dan Lines! GET A PAGE SET UP FOR YOUR PAINTING MATE!!!) and have planned to do so for well over a year now.
I got the model out, took a picture and took to Reddit for help.
Following some advice on backdrop and light angles (and some failed attempts at aperature changes on my phone), I have now got 3 AMAZING images of my YT-2400 which I am going to get printed up. All of these were done for free by complete strangers. In fact, such is the nature of Reddit, I don’t even know their actual names. But I will honour them here:
1 – by Reddit user u/diechernc
2 – by Reddit user u/Thebraino
3 – by Reddit user u/Tsunnyjim
I absolutely cannot pick a favourite so it’s likely that I will get them all made. I plan to get a LOT printed up and hand them out to people I play against when I manage to attend some real-life games!
Secondly, I want to talk about the beauty of the internet. When covid hit I forced myself to learn to play online. I started out by entering the Vagabond tournaments organised by the ever incredible Steve Boulton. Over the last 13 months I have played LOADS of people, some close to home, some a LOT further afield. Having been thrown together by the ‘chance encounter’ of TTT’s pairings, some of these one-off games have led to more regular contact and conversations, even beyond the scope of the game that originally brought us together.
Enter the awesome Tyler Samplonius.
We’ve chatted off and on for probably almost a year now. Sometimes about X-Wing, sometimes just about life. The other week we were talking about lists and I mentioned the possibility of looking to buy Heralds of Hope because I’ve been playing the Rey-Wings this year and I need Zizi if I’m ever to play it in person.
He immediately says ‘hey, I’ve got a spare base tile and card for Zizi, I’ll send it to you!’. Amazing.
The next day he messages me again, saying that not only is it already sent but that his son insisted he draw me a spaceship, asking which ones I like. He replied ‘Dash’ (of course!) and so just yesterday my package arrived:
There may be 4624 miles between us (thank you Google Maps!) but make no mistake, this is what community looks like.
Anyway, getting on with the X-Wing, I had game 4 of the Sith Taker league this week. Let’s get to it!
The batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
This week I had the pleasure of being paired with someone I’ve already played against before – Mr Torbjørn Østbø.
We played each other in my first season of the Sith Taker league at the end of August last year. I was prepping for actual real-life X-Wing at this point so flew Hera and Lando against his IG Aggressors and was handily beaten. You can check it out here if you’re interested.
So it was rematch time. Would I be able to get a ‘revenge win’* here?
*y’know in a friendly way of course!
What list am I flying you ask? Well, I’m afraid to say it’s my current favourite and somewhat of an increasingly meta (JARGON ALERT!!) list, Heratanni:
Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3
Hera Syndulla (A-Wing) (42)
XX-23 S-Thread Tracers (2)
Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2
Ship total: 61 Half Points: 31 Threshold: 4
Garven Dreis (X-Wing) (46)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)
Ship total: 46 Half Points: 23 Threshold: 3
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z48XWW40WWW156Y451XWW332WY36XWW54W46WW140Y6XWWWW142&sn=Rebel%20Focus&obs=
As I said last week, I’m not usually one to fly what many consider to be top meta lists but having tried this out a few weeks ago it really suits me down to the ground. I’ve heard on several podcasts now that it is beatable (and it is!) and that it doesn’t ‘fly itself’ (i.e. you need to actually engage your brain fully to do it well) but despite that I feel like I’ve taken to it and find it really fun.
Anyway, judge me if you like, I’m sure I’ll be back to flying rubbish lists soon enough once the points get hiked!
We arranged our game and (after a couple of failed attempts to bring it forwards!) arrived at Friday night ready to roll dice.
I loaded up TTS and Torbjørn joined and loaded up his list.
Ship total: 73 Half Points: 37 Threshold: 2
Ship total: 66 Half Points: 33 Threshold: 2
Ship total: 52 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 3
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Republic&d=v8ZsZ200Z441X199W125W232W364W166Y278X75W252W200WY333X117WW2W&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
Oooooooo. My first thought is that I do NOT like the look of that Anakin. Not one bit. I’m also not great (historically speaking) at facing aces. Still, I’ve played against a couple recently, maybe that will help me.
Torbjørn has the bid and with both of us having an i6 pilot, makes me first player.
I’d best look at the Pre-Flight checks:
Target Priority – I really REALLY want to hit that 73 point, 3 health Anakin. Will Torbjørn let me though? I may end up just having to shoot whatever I can get arc on since all 3 ships are very ‘acey’.
Obstacles – This is tricky as I feel I’m still figuring out obstacles for this list. If I want to hang around in a corner then I want to place something at maybe range 3 of the board edge (preventing anything being put behind it) to give myself more space to move around. The question is – do I want to do that against this list? I don’t know that I do.
Deployment – I’ve got a reasonably established opening for this list so I’ll stick with it. All 3 lower initiative ships in a corner with Kyle closest to the edge and his arc facing in. Hera goes somewhere in the middle and will turn in to follow.
We place obstacles and ships and are set ready to begin.
I immediately think to myself ‘I can’t stay here’. Having watched how Andrew Oehler opens this list on stream I’m able to stay pretty tight in this corner for maybe 3 turns. It’s likely (almost 100%) that Torbjørn will flank with Anakin but then Ric and Obi-Wan can take their time coming through the rocks which will force me slowly forwards while Anakin moves freely. I can’t allow that.
There’s a lovely big space up in the opposite corner, I’ll go there. Hopefully I’ll have time to turn before Anakin gets all the way around. Hopefully.
Benthic and Kyle both get 4 straights while Garven will go slightly slower with 3 straight. Hera will just hard turn in, she can catch up no problem. With the focus passing mechanic in this list I’ve already got Kyle holding (and keeping, due to the Moldy Crow title) 2 focus tokens.
Torbjørn moves slowly forwards with Ric and Obi-Wan while Anakin streaks forwards along the board edge.
No shots, obviously. I’m happy enough that I’ll reach the corner and turn before Anakin does nasty things to me. I’ll stick with this plan.
This time it’s a 3 straight for Benthic (to account for the extra distance covered by his medium base) while Kyle and Garven both go 4 straight. Hera takes a 3 bank in and follows it up with a straight boost to gain a little ground and with one eye looking for Anakin in the rear-view mirror.
Obi-Wan swings out towards the board edge while Ric shoots forwards and boosts in. Anakin goes another 5 straight and boosts in.
No shooting again so back to dials we go. I’m now very confident I can get into the corner and get a decent position before trouble comes my way. Right?
One more turn of straight manoeuvres before I start turning. I want to tuck right into the corner if I can so it’s 3 straight for Benthic, Kyle and Garven while Hera will bank in behind, still needing to stay back a bit and not bump into anyone.
Torbjørn comes in gradually with Ric and Obi-Wan, taking slow turns to give Anakin time to complete his circuit. Anakin’s 3 bank and boost covers a lot of ground (sky? space?!) but he’s still a fair way out. Hopefully I can engage this i5’s before he gets to me.
Still no shooting and so we go back to planning again.
Time to execute the turns. While it’s tempting to hard stop Benthic and turn him, I don’t want to spend my Leia charge yet so he will 2 hard turn left. Kyle will do the same while Garven goes 1 straight and will roll right to give him more space to hard turn next time. Hera will just cruise 2 forwards.
It all goes fairly smoothly until Hera’s 2 straight bumps intot he back of Garven, making me a little nervoud of the approaching Anakin but he’s still some way off as he rounds the asteroid. Ric and Obi-Wan both continue their slow turns in with very menacing attack vectors.
No shots again but this is definitely the last time.
The disadvantage I have here is the difference in initiatives combined with all of Torbjørn’s ships having good reposition options. I think briefly about smashing out a 3 bank with Benthic to try for blocks but realise that will rob me of his range 2 token passing which, after all, is the entire point of the list. I go a little more conservative with a 2 bank, hoping to make good use of his 3 dice gun. He focuses aaaaand Hera is out of range 2 so I pass his ‘spare’ focus to garven instead.
Kyle, well, this is tricky. He’s got a target on his back and I want to keep him alive. It’s slightly counter-intuitive but I’ll send him 1 bank right. Once I move him I realise that his arc is only facing Benthic to pass a token to so I rotate his arc to rear for a stress after taking a focus.
Garven takes his 2 hard turn and just barely bumps into Kyle. This is not going exactly as I’d hoped.
Torbjørn sends Obi-Wan 2 straight, takes an evade and he rolls left, dodging Benthic’s arc. Balls.
Ric 3 banks left, picks up his free evade and Daredevil boosts right for a stress.
Hera goes 2 straight and takes a focus but is now VERY nervous about Anakin and so she takes a stress to boost left.
Anakin continues his approach with a 3 bank and boosts forwards to get range.
At this point I realise that Kyle’s arc rotation has missed Hera because she boosted away from Anakin. Balls. He passed it to Garven since he’s the only ship in arc.
Now we shoot.
Well, some do. Hera’s got no shot so it’s Anakin to start, doing so with a range 3 bullseye primary on Garven. The roll isn’t great for Torbjørn and Garven escapes unharmed.
Ric and Obi-Wan both fire on Benthic at close range but with Ric only having an evade token and Obi rolling poorly (and Hera feeding him the odd evade) he loses just 2 shields. Not bad.
And now it’s my turn. Garven will shoot first but I’m torn over targets. If I want to focus fire then I should put shots into Ric since both he and Benthic have arc. Then again, Kyle might have Obi-Wan and he is worth more points than Ric so even though it’s a range 3 shot, I’ll go for him.
Garven rolls crit, hit, hit out of hand. Woah. Torbjørn rolls his greens and blanks out with 4 dice. Ouch.
Torbjørn spends the evade and Obi-Wan loses his shield and takes a Disabled Power Regulator crit. Double ouch.
Kyle checks arc and doesn’t have Obi-Wan. Oops.
Benthic only has Ric and rolls 4 red dice at him, rolling 2 hits and 2 blanks. Torbjørn rolls for Ric and gets just 1 eyeball. He spends his evade to lose 1 shield.
Back to dials then after a decent round of engagement for me. But what now?
First and foremost, I’m going to hard stop and turn Benthic. Yes it may be obvious but that doesn’t mean it isn’t the right move. At worst something bumps him and he can’t shoot it. At best, something bumps him and doesn’t get an action OR I guess the right direction for a pivot and blow something up.
Kyle. Hmmm…. He’s stressed from the arc rotation but still has a focus. A 2 hard turn looks like it will fit and while it will keep the stress, I’m ok with that.
Garven. Garven, Garven, Garven. I’m worried about Anakin so while a 4K (JARGON ALERT!!) or Talon-roll (JARGON ALERT!!) is tempting, especially with Leia being active, I decide on another 2 hard turn. After all, Obi-Wan is reasonably boxed in and Ric has to go somewhere. Hopefully I’ll catch someone.
Hera’s options are very limited, a 2 hard turn will fit AND clear the stress. Again, it’s obvious but it’s for the best.
I activate Leia, hard stop with Benthic, rotate him 90 degrees towards Anakin’s likely destination, take a focus and pass one to Hera.
Kyle’s hard turn stops just short of bumping Benthic. Not that it would have mattered, he’s stressed and can’t take an action.
Garven’s hard turn takes him further from Anakin than I’d like but still, it’s a threat. He takes a lock on Anakin.
Obi-Wan catches me a little off-guard with a bank to his left and takes a focus before Ric 3 banks away from the melee, gets his free evade and then rolls away from Benthic.
Hera’s 2 hard turn lands neatly behind Kyle and takes a focus before Anakin comes in at Garven, banking in having rolled right in the systems phase. Torbjørn debates for a minute before trying the boost. It fits. Oh dear.
Right. In good news, Hera can finally shoot. Sadly, she misses arc on Anakin by a whisker. More on why that’s significant in a minute.
She has Ric at range 2 and Obi at range 1. At this point I wish I had a better understanding of mental X-Wing maths as I try and figure out which I’ve got more chance of hitting, eventually deciding to shoot Ric since he doesn’t have Force and rolls 2 hits. Torbjørn’s dice abandon him again with Ric spending his evade to lose just his last shield. Harsh.
Remember when I said that Hera not having Anakin in arc was important? Here’s where that comes in. Anakin has Hera in bullseye, firing Autoblasters at range 1. The roll isn’t great but between Marksmanship and R7-A7 astromech Anakin deals Hera 2 unblockable crits. Ouch.
Obi-Wan follows up, also firing at Hera but not only does he fail to push any damage through he now picks up the ion from the Disabled Power Regulator.
It goes from bad to worse for Torbjørn as Garven just about has Ric in arc and rolls 3 paint and spends a focus (which he then passes to Hera). Ric blanks out AGAIN and is dead.
Kyle fires at Obi-Wan with 4 dice and a focus and pushes one more damage through, leaving Obi-Wan on 1 hull. And ionised.
Lasat to fire is Benthic who fires range 1 at Anakin. The roll isn’t great but neither is Torbjørn’s (again!) and 1 damage gets past, switching off Stealth Device.
Wow. That was quite the turn. Ric dead, Obi almost dead and Anakin hurt and now 1 green die down.
Back to dials then. Leia has been spent and while I want to keep throwing tokens around, I want to keep gun on target more.
Benthic will stop again and rotate anti-clockwise again. Kyle is still stressed but this time I need to clear it since Benthic is tokenless so he takes a 3 straight over the top of Benthic and keeps his arc to the rear.
Garven Talon-rolls to his right before Obi-Wan takes his ion 1 straight and takes a focus. I send Hera 3 bank to the right and take a focus.
Anakin hard turns and takes a focus too.
Sadly, I forgot to screenshot positions here. Oops!
Right, shooting time.
Hera has no shot again so it’s Anakin first. Unfortunately (for me) he has Hera in bullseye again and AGAIN he puts 2 unblockable crits though and Hera is dead with 2 focuses in hand. Oh.
Garven fires at Anakin, spends his lock and gets 3 hits. Nice. Torbjørn’s green dice blank out AGAIN and Anakin is dead.
Kyle takes a 2 die turret shot at Obi-Wan but fails to do any damage.
As we go back to dials with Obi-Wan set to take a 1 straight towards the board edge and me still having 3 pretty healthy ships, Torbjørn concedes.
Result: 200 – 44 win
Crikey. I did it again.
Look, I don’t want to keep banging on about his good this list is, I really don’t. Particularly if it means making people more aware of it (and potentially how to beat it) and give even more cause for AMG to look at the points here.
But it is. Good, that is. It’s got decent and consistent damage output and when all pieces are functioning as they should it’s also really defensive, allowing you to soak up attack after attack with minimal impact. As a result it’s also very forgiving. For example, I bump Hera, it’s ok, she can still get tokens from the other 3 ships to pass around. Same goes for Garven.
Conversely, Torbjørn’s list is more high risk/high reward. I wouldn’t say he made any mistakes in this game but unfortunately for him his dice abandoned him and it left him high and dry.
I think more than anything though, this list suits me. It fits like your favourite pair of trainers. I feel comfortable playing it and confident that I know what each part does, where it should be and how it moves. And I’m dreading the day it no longer fits.
Overall I think I made the correct choice not stalling in my corner, I’d have ended up having to move after a few turns and would have had rocks to contend with and would probably have ended up doing something a bit silly. Obviously I’m happy with the result but more than that, I’m pleased that I managed to engineer a semi-decent first engagement and (with the help of the dice) pressed on for further advantage after that.
It was great to play against Torbjørn again. I felt pretty bad about how the dice had gone for him though and I hope that next time we play that things are a little more balanced out.
And so at the half way point of the league, this result now puts me at my average ‘middle of the road’ 2-2 record. I would like to see if I can press on with a couple more wins but to be honest, as long as I’m playing and having fun, I don’t really mind!