Prepping

The intro…

Welcome!

It’s been another whirlwind week as restrictions continue to lift and the summer holidays continue to fly by. It’s still a bit weird seeing people without masks in public places, especially with it varying so much. It does make me feel cautiously optimistic about the future though!

I am loving the summer holidays though, even now I’m back in work after some time off. This is the first summer that the boys are old enough to be at home on their own and it’s really weird but strangely freeing and massively reduces the stress of childcare. With my ever changing workload it’s also meant that days where I get home early can mean extra family time and the occasional spontaneous trip or meal which has been great too.

It’s just a shame the weather hasn’t got the memo!

In other news, AMG have continued to drip feed information on the upcoming First Order and Resistance packs which are now just under 6 weeks away from release. I’ve heard plenty of analysis and speculation from various blogs and podcasts about the new stuff and, while I won’t be getting the FO pack (since we don’t own any FO), both look to have some very interesting and (depending on points, of course) pretty good cards. It will be very interesting to see how they are pointed and what sort of impact they have on the wider game.

The end of September release simultaneously feels really close and far away and I’m still undecided whether I like AMG’s ‘dropping breadcrumbs’ approach better than FFG’s ‘everything in one article bomb’ style of information release. Both have their pros and cons I guess and from a marketing point of view I think AMG’s approach does give a longer, sustained period of hype.

Anyway, my Resistance Y-Wing pack is on pre-order from Firestorm Games (like I need more Y-Wing models!!) and I look forward to breaking them out!

Anyway, enough of the future, let’s get back to now. Well, sort of now. Almost now? Soon.

With a tournament coming up at Excelsior Games in Bristol on the 21st of August, it’s time to work out what list I want to take!

In my mind I have 3 main options.

Option 1 – Resistance Efficiency

I know that ‘Jousty McJoustface’ (which is possibly the most fantastic name I’ve ever heard for an X-Wing list!) is both popular and effective but it’s not something I’m familiar with. What I am familiar with is the Resistance list which I won the Duke’s Gaming store tournament a couple of months ago.

Jessika Pava (51)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 51 Half Points: 26 Threshold: 4

L’ulo L’ampar (42)
Predator (2)

Ship total: 44 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 2

Temmin Wexley (52)
R6-D8 (4)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 4

Lieutenant Bastian (47)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 47 Half Points: 24 Threshold: 4

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZsZ200Z296XWWW175WWY239X127WWWY297XW359WWW175WWY254XWWW175WW&sn=Resistance%20beef%3F&obs=

It’s got passive mods galore and, when it goes well, can be devastating. I’ve only played it once since that day though, plus it’s Hyperspace, meaning it may not be up to the task of dealing with Extended nonsense. Plus I’d have to borrow R6-D8 again…

Option 2 – Herattani

It seems to have fallen off a cliff in terms of popularity of late but the way that this list works just suits my play style nicely.

Kyle Katarn (31)
Jyn Erso (2)
Moldy Crow (16)

Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 3

Hera Syndulla (A-Wing) (42)
Ship total: 42 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 2

Benthic Two Tubes (46)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Leia Organa (7)
Pivot Wing (0)

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

Total: 198

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z48XWW40WWW156Y451XWWWY36XWW54W46WW140Y6XWWWW142&sn=Herattani&obs=

Sure there are some other variants of this list now which swap out some pieces but this list, when flown well (which is not a given!), can survive longer than it should while pumping out decent damage. I’ve got a reasonable record with the list (6 wins out of 8) but have never played it in person, only on TTS.

Option 3 – Dash, Wedge & Ahsoka

Would it even be one of my blogs if I wasn’t considering Dash? The list that I’ve shamelessly pinched from Ben Saunders is a well balanced one (well, balanced for a Dash list at least).

Dash Rendar (85)
Trick Shot (4)
Bistan (10)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
False Transponder Codes (2)

Ship total: 109 Half Points: 55 Threshold: 5

Wedge Antilles (A-Wing) (35)
Outmaneuver (6)

Ship total: 41 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 2

Ahsoka Tano (A-Wing) (49)
Ship total: 49 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 2

Total: 199

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW77W54WWW369Y452X126WWWY463XWWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

Wedge offers a viable alternative threat to distract opposing ships while Dash’s beefy double tapping gun is buffed by Ahsoka’s coordinating ability. I’ve simmed the list a good few times on Fly Casual but only have 2 actual in-person games under my belt. One win and one loss but the loss was against a variation on the current bogeyman list pretender – Bossk. And it was close in the end.

I’ve flown Dash the last 2 weeks and while I enjoy the list, the results have been mixed and I don’t quite know that I’m ready to take it to a tournament yet.

In the end I decided that if Herattani is going to be an option, I need to fly it in person to make sure that I remember all the triggers (foils/pivot wing included) and practice explaining what the heck is actually happening when I juggle all those tokens around.

The batreps…(JARGON ALERT!!)

As I’ve got 2 games to cover this week, these won’t be full on blow by blow accounts of each one. We’ll be here all day if I do that!

Batrep 1 – Peter

My first game was against long time local player Peter who was, rather uncharacteristically for him (being an Imperial fanboi for as long as I can remember!), flying Resistance:

Red Squadron Expert (43)
R4 Astromech (2)
Pattern Analyzer (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 4

Red Squadron Expert (43)
R4 Astromech (2)
Pattern Analyzer (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 4

Red Squadron Expert (43)
R4 Astromech (2)
Pattern Analyzer (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 4

Red Squadron Expert (43)
R4 Astromech (2)
Pattern Analyzer (5)
Integrated S-Foils (0)

Ship total: 50 Half Points: 25 Threshold: 4

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Resistance&d=v8ZsZ200Z257XW5W206WW175WWY257XW5W206WW175WWY257XW5W206WW175WWY257XW5W206WW175WW&sn=Resistance%20Efficiency&obs=

Ooff. Beefy. Pattern Analyzer means they’ll always get actions (well, unless I block them…) and all ships are i3 so Benthic will move first. Since I have the bid I can decide whether they move/shoot before Kyle. Despite the temptation to go first and possibly use Kyle to block, I decide that if Kyle is ANYWHERE near being shot then I’m doing it all wrong and opt to give Peter initiative.

As we set up rocks and obstacles Peter mentions that this is his first time T-70’s since 1.0 and he may end up just zooming around, getting his head around S-foils and boosting.

It turns out, he wasn’t kidding.

Anyway, we set up ready to go. Now, I missed a pic of the setup but I think that the image after turn 1 still gives you an idea of where we are:

Yep, I had triggered Leia, hard stopped with Benthic and Kyle, 4-K’d (JARGON ALERT!!) with Garven while Hera just hard turned and rolled. Peter meanwhile had set up diagonally across from me (with 2 set up at 45 degree angles) and just done a few 1 straights.

Trying to gauge how Peter wanted to approach, I did the same next turn while he managed to stay mostly in his corner but now with 2 clearly heading down my right flank and 2 across his own board edge.

Next turn I opt to go neutral, 1 straights to clear the stresses and just check where Peter is going. He’s definitely splitting up.

At this point I can decide to hard turn right or go straight. Given the distances, hard turning will cost me an extra turn to adjust my angles so I decide to press on and go straight. Fast. I’ll want to get clear of both debris along the left hand side to be able to turn in if I need to. I also want to see how Peter reacts. If I can get 2 of his ships in range with the other 2 out of the fight then that would be pretty good.

Peter’s read the situation. His top T-70’s both 4-K and pattern analyzer boost while the flanking ones go the long way around the rock.

Interesting. I’m getting closer but every move I make just gives Peter more time to get his ships where he wants them. He’s very patient and methodical.

I’m strongly resisting the temptation to break rank with faster ships and cut him off, it massively reduces the efficiency of my squad. If he wants to flank me, that’s fine. This list can take punishment. I just need to make sure something is in front of it when the time comes.

I push for almost the corner, just about level with range 2 from the board edge before turning. It’s risky turning Benthic with a hard stop because of the reduced agility from closing the wings and it turns out to cost me as a flanking T-70 just gets range 3.

He loses a single shield but not before we find that Garven just about has range 3 on the closes T-70 in front of him and, with a double modded shot rolls 3 hits. Peter blanks out and the T-70’s shields are gone.

It’s a decent trade for me. Now things are going to get a bit more messy.

As we launch into the melee Peter’s damaged T-70 streaks forwards and get a block on Garven. I’m tokened up to the eyeballs though with Kyle and Benthic both passing Hera a focus while she locks Peter’s blocker.

Hera puts 3 hits into it (not spending the lock) before Garven puts 3 into one behind it. Peter responds by knocking 2 shields from Garven, 1 shield from Benthic and 2 shields from Hera.

Ouch.

Kyle and Benthic hit back, finishing off the Damaged T-70 and putting one more hit onto the one behind, getting it to half points.

All our jostling for position burned a lot of time and as we start planning, the timer goes off. We will get 1 more turn.

Wow.

I decide to head in for the kill on the black T-70, banking with Kyle and Benthic while Garven 4-K’s and Hera slides in behind.

Peter’s manoeuvre manages to dodge Benthic and Hera (but not the other two) while the other two T-70’s approach from behind.

Garven hits the black T-70 but can’t quite finish him off. Peter then gets to shoot, taking another shield from Benthic and putting a crit on Hera but can’t get anyone off the board.

Kyle takes the final shot of the game, wiping out the last hull point on the T-70.

Result: 100 – 21 win

Quick conclusion

My first thought is that the score line feels harsh. For Peter to only get 21 points for the shots taken doesn’t feel like a fair reflection of how close the game felt while we were playing. That’s the strength of this list I suppose.

I should add as well that my red dice were pretty decent in this game (cough Garven cough) while Peter’s greens were, ummm, moderate at best. Had there been a few more turns I would definitely have lost Hera and maybe Garven but probably taken another T-70 out in the process, keeping me ahead.

I’m happy with my positional play, moving my block together to a place where I could do some damage. There was a point at which Hera needed an evade but because she already had focus tokens, couldn’t convert one with Jyn. Maybe once things get in close I should consider taking one evade in the mix of tokens.

Batrep 2 – Richard

My second game was against Richard. Now, while he does sometimes play at Newport (as well as at Cardiff), we don’t think we’ve actually played each other before. Time to change that!

Richard had brought what he described as a ‘fun list’:

Cutlass Squadron Pilot (35)
Trajectory Simulator (6)
Barrage Rockets (8)
Proximity Mines (6)
Seismic Charges (3)

Ship total: 58 Half Points: 29 Threshold: 5

Cutlass Squadron Pilot (35)
Trajectory Simulator (6)
Barrage Rockets (8)
Proton Bombs (4)
Seismic Charges (3)

Ship total: 56 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 5

Carida Academy Cadet (34)
Synced Laser Cannons (6)
Target-Assist MGK-300 (3)

Ship total: 43 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 4

Carida Academy Cadet (34)
Synced Laser Cannons (6)
Target-Assist MGK-300 (3)

Ship total: 43 Half Points: 22 Threshold: 4

Total: 200

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ400Z193X114WW97WWW70W71WY193X114WW97WWW69W71WY416X354WWWW356Y416X354WWWW356&sn=heavy&obs=

Ok then! I have to say that it doesn’t look all that fun from my side of the board! That’s a lot of health to get through and the bomb situation is rather concerning, particularly with Trajectory Simulator in the mix. Hmmm….

We have a crossover of initiative at i2 so as I have the bid I quickly deliberate over who should be first player. I’m in a bit of a rush so I decide to give it to Richard so all his ships move before mine. Given that choice again, I think I might change it just for the bump potential.

We set up obstacles and ships and are ready to start.

Small disclaimer, this game moved a fairly swift pace and I forgot to take as many photos as usual. Please forgive any mistakes!

I start with the slow opening, waiting to see what Richard will do.

That was a mistake.

In very stark contrast to the first game, Richard’s ships come screaming forwards at me and by the time I’m ready to 1 straight to clear stress, he’s this close:

I don’t have a picture of it but I made a HUGE positional error here with Hera. She hard turned in towards the rest of my ships to provide support but bumped, leaving her with just 1 token (from Kyle) in front of Richard’s list.

Blows were traded and I ploughed shots into the closest Punisher, reducing it to 3 health. Return fire came in, focused on Hera.

She survived (somehow!) but while attempting to get away along the right flank in the turns that followed, I forgot to factor something in…

Yep, taken out by Proximity Mine. Ouch.

Also, that Proton Bomb would catch both Garven AND Benthic while missing any Imperials. Skillful dropping by Richard!

Having reduced the damaged Punisher to 1 health, it promptly ran away following it’s bombing.

This is not going well.

The tide started to swing back a little though as I managed to initiative kill one of the TE Heavy’s with some focused fire.

Richard, seemingly determined to use up every last bomb charge, dropped another Proximity Mine which Benthic happily obliged to trigger (taking the hit and rolling two more!) as we all started to turn around.

Kyle was Richard’s next target and he appeared happy to oblige as my greens rolled poorly to start with.

Like his Cutlass opponent, he survived on 1 health just a little longer than he probably should have while Garven tried to rebalance the odds.

Kyle then went down, leaving Garven and Benthic against 3.

Having YOLO’d over the debris the previous turn, Garven strarted out on his Hail Mary/Kamizake mission to take out the Imperials. He managed to initiative kill the last TIE Heavy, arc dodge the furthest Punisher and evade the single hit rolled by the closest Punisher.

Wow.

Sadly, I’d taken Benthic too far away to be any decent help.

Now Richard started with the bombs again, launching a Seismic at the debris in front of him, correctly anticipating a Talon Roll (JARGON ALERT!!) from Garven.

Benthic and the limping Punisher sidled up to each other and I was worried that I’d missed my chance to take him out.

But then up steps Garven.

Fresh from taking the hit from the Seismic Charge he goes full beast mode and rolls red dice at the 1 health Punisher, range 3 and obstructed and gets natural maximum hits.

The Punisher picks up some paint but it isn’t enough and the Cutlass Squadron Pilot dies before being able to see if it could trade shots with the U-Wing.

Benthic now just has one available target and fires on the last Punisher, taking it’s last 2 shields down, leaving it on 6 hull, still 2 away from half points.

As we pick up dials, the timer goes. Last turn.

We take a moment to work out the points. Hera and Kyle are down, both Garven and Benthic are halved.

Richard is ahead. Barely.

Now, having taken the time to check this, I’m not quite sure why I did what I did.

In my head, I expected him to turn in and fire. Why? Why would he do that if he’s ahead?! The sensible thing to do it to run. Which is exactly what he did.

I had dialed in moves to anticipate the turn in. Garven took a 4-K while Benthic took a 2 straight over the debris. Risky, sure and no actions for anyone but I didn’t want Benthic to get blocked if the Punisher did turn in since not shooting each other benefits him more than it does me.

It does make sense but nowhere near as much sense as running away.

Richard 3 banks and boosts. Totally logical.

Garven’s 4-K (which I now wished was a 3 talon) just about gives him range. Benthic’s 2 straight (which I now wished was a 4 straight or 3 bank) did not.

Garven now has to do 2 damage with an unmodded shot at range 3.

Of course, he rolls 1 hit which isn’t enough whatever Richard rolls and the game is over.

Result: 145 – 142 loss

Quick Conclusion

Well, considering that at one point I thought that this game wouldn’t even go to time, I’m not unhappy that it was this close in the end. Possibly the very definition of a game of two halves. Looking at the game critically, I’m annoyed myself for a couple of things.

First – Hera. I’ve been thinking for a little while that my Hera play can put her into some dangerous positions. From being VERY cautious with her when starting out with this list she is getting caught more and more. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s opponents getting smarter about approaching the list. Either way, I need to find a better way to get Hera in behind everyone sooner. It’s a turn 0 problem I need to look at.

Second – bombs. They’ve been sort of out of the meta for so long that I’d really just not thought about how best to deal with them any more. I know that Trajectory Sim Punishers aren’t exactly mega popular at the moment but it underlined to me that I have to have a plan to deal with them if they turn up. This was not it.

When chatting over Discord the following day, Richard had noted that his bombs did 8 damage in total. Well worth the points spent and, in my view, a point of failure for me.

The conclusion…

Well, two very different games!

What can I take from them? A few things I think.

Firstly, as I just mentioned, I need to work out where Hera should be to start off. I don’t want to purposely bump her to keep her nearby so I have to figure out initial positions to get her slotting in behind the others by a certain turn number. This is going to take some TTS practice to get right.

Time to get TTS back out!

The second thing is about my overall position with the list. I have heard recently on GSP that the way to beat this list is to zoom in and trap it in the corner (which is exactly what Richard did). With this information being ‘out there’ in people’s general consciousness I have to figure out whether it’s worth taking the list at all or whether to tweak it as some have already (i.e. changing Benthic out for X-Wing Wedge or other options).

Havng been catching up on Podcasts I’ve been looking at the version flown by Nick Tobin at the Jedha GSP event last week. He kept Kyle and Hera the same but swapped Benthic for the i4 Rogue Squadron Escort E-Wing loaded with R3 astromech and FCS (JARGON ALERT!!) which left points to give Garven Selfless (to keep crits from Kyle and Hera) and R2 Astromech (to regen those shields back).

Changing the list has it’s own pitfalls though, as it would play quite differently and I’m now running out of time to practice.

So what does this do for my decision on a list? Well, not a lot actually. I like this and feel a bit better about it having now put it on an actual real life table (rather than just on TTS). But I also like the other two lists.

I’ve got 1 more casual session at Newport to figure it out. I’d best get thinking!

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

 

Prepping

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