Another week has passed. Is it just me or is time going faster now that life is a bit more normal? Maybe it’s just me…
Anyway, it’s week 7 (out of 8 I think?) of the Sith Taker league. It’s going…well…pretty poorly to be honest. I’m 1-5 and, excluding those who have dropped out, I’m bottom but one in the table. I KNOW I’m not a top level player and I DO play for fun above anything else but losing so many games can be a little disheartening at times. It’s certainly not going to stop me from playing though.
Last week I mentioned that I’d sacrificed my practice time in order to play Football Manager and, while I’m sure it’s my decision making (and to an extent the dice!) rather than lack of practice that made a difference, the more I play, the more decision points I hit and over time the more I (hopefully) get right. In theory.
Now, typically I play my games on a Thursday or Friday. It gives me time before the game to prep (i.e. try stuff out on Fly Casual) after posting out a blog on a Tuesday and also time after the game to write it up (which is pretty time consuming in itself), ready for the next Tuesday. Last week though Friday wasn’t free and so when discussing a time with my opponent we decided to go for the Wednesday.
Knowing that I wanted to prepare as best I could this meant that I had less time to do so and, while I did still play a bit of Football Manager (it’s going pretty well, by the way), it focused me and I got a decent number of Fly Casual reps in against different lists and found some openings that I quite liked and was happy to try out.
On top of that, Tim King (aka Producer Tim) of the Sith Takers was looking for volunteers to have their game streamed which just happened to be on the Wednesday. So, we volunteered and our game was picked. Pretty cool!
I’ll put the link up at the end of the article (so that there’s no spoilers!) if you feel like watching.
I can hear some of you thinking “hang on, if you’re not doing very well and think you might lose the game” (which I sort of expected to) “why would you volunteer to make that public?!”.
It’s a fair point, but hear me out. I’m not a particularly proud person (the fact that I’ve almost certainly written about more games on this blog that I’ve lost than ones that I’ve won is testament to that!). I can accept that some things are strengths and some are not. I don’t mind being beaten (except for when it’s by cheating!). The question is, can I learn from it? That’s the main reason I do this blog. I’m trying to improve my game by keeping record of what happens, what I do, the decisions I make. Playing on stream though, that takes it up a notch. I can accurately watch back at what happened AND I can hear other people’s thoughts on what I’m doing, as I’m doing it. It’s an opportunity to have my game analysed by people who are more knowledgeable and better at the game than I am. And that’s a great way to improve.
So, here I am, being vulnerable, accepting that it may not look great but as ready as I can be to give it my best shot.
Oh yeah, the list!
I’m keeping the same list as the last couple of weeks. I do love to fly Dash and while his damage output last week was inconsistent (according to the dice luck stats!) he’s always dangerous.
Ship total: 107 Half Points: 54 Threshold: 5
Wedge Antilles (55)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)
Ship total: 55 Half Points: 28 Threshold: 3
Jake Farrell (36)
Ship total: 36 Half Points: 18 Threshold: 2
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X120WW77W54WWWY5XWWWW142Y50XWW&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=
Ok right, now on to the game!
The Batrep… (JARGON ALERT!!)
My opponent for this week is Kornel Kurantowicz. We didn’t get a huge amount of time to chat before hand with the game coming on the Wednesday. When we both ‘turned up’ at Discord to get the game set up we just had a couple of minutes to get things ready before the stream was due to begin.
As we set up I took a look at Kornel’s list.
Ship total: 70 Half Points: 35 Threshold: 6
Ship total: 86 Half Points: 43 Threshold: 5
Ship total: 42 Half Points: 21 Threshold: 3
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v8ZsZ200Z144XW137WW80W69W70W165WY104XWWW16W71WWW146W69Y140X115W206WW70WW&sn=Bomb%20Squad&obs=
Errr…right. What jank is this?! With time very short before the stream began I didn’t have time to properly look over Kornel’s list as we rolled for initiative (with us both being at 198) and Kornel won, giving me first player.
We began to place obstacles and then ships and were then ready to begin!
I totally forgot to take screenshots for MOST of the turns (annoyingly!) and so most of the images come courtesy of the Sith Takers Twitch channel.
The first thing I’ll say here is – oh.
With Boba Fett crew Kornel placed initiative 4 Emon last, on top of a debris (that’s Dash’s thing!). Right. And before we even started the time, I was thrown.
I set my dials for turn 1 without the thought of why Emon was there even entering my head until it was too late and I heard the words ‘systems phase…’
Damn. A seismic charge. Obviously. Smack bang in the middle of all 4 obstacles, likely catching any of them he wanted.
Kornel moved Zuvio (banking backwards, I actually hadn’t noticed that he’d deployed facing his own board edge) and then Emon (just a 1 forwards off the debris).
I hard turned Jake to his right and rolled to the board edge before Dash also hard turned.
Nym shuffled along his own board edge before Wedge banked out right and rolled to his right.
So, yeah, Dash gets tagged by the seismic charge blowing up the asteroid closest to him and in turn 1 I’ve lost a shield from Dash. Definitely not ideal.
Emon has snuck just far enough to escape being shot by Dash and so we’re back to planning.
‘Stick to the plan’ I think to myself. Suddenly unclear on what that plan actually was.
I set Wedge a 1 forward to think about what to do next. Jake will 5 straight past Dash and do his usual shenanigans while Dash will bank in.
‘Systems Phase’ strikes again as Emon uses the 3 hard template to drop another seismic charge. Well. Damn.
Jake takes his 5 straight and rolls to pass off focuses to Dash.
Zuvio continues his 3 point turn nonsense while Emon goes 1 forwards and reloads a seismic charge. Yuck.
Dash makes the bank over the top of Jake but has no actions worth taking with nobody in range and focuses already in hand.
Nym banks in before Wedge takes his 1 forwards.
Clearly there’s no shooting this turn and it’s back to dials again.
This time I have a conundrum though. That seismic charge. It’s still there because Nym can keep it there and some of my ships are somewhat pointed towards where it could blow up. Hmmm….
Now, I know I seem quite calm in my ‘internal commentary’ here but actually I sort of panicked this turn. I had visions of being bombed to kingdom come by this list and never getting close enough to actually shoot stuff. And so, I made bad choices.
I decided to hard turn left with Dash and go up the board edge with Wedge. I’d make Kornel decide which one he wanted to spend that seismic on. It sounded reasonable in my head at the time.
I moved Jake out towards Wedge and, with Wedge having his foils closed, passed on a focus and linked it to a boost. Maybe I’ll clear range 1 of that obstacle with the extra boost….
Kornel hard turned with Zuvio and rolled him left before Emon hard turned into the spot where Zuvio rolled from.
Dash hard turned left and rolled (this is at around 18 mins in the stream. I was trying to see which position to roll to but the combination of undo/rolling back was just comedy!) away from the seismic’s reach.
Nym continued in to the middle before Wedge, well. Wedge messed up.
The straight move sat him exactly next to the debris. Not only that but it was a white move so the stress stayed. Oops.
The seismic blows up the debris and Wedge takes a hit. That’s 2 ‘free’ damage I’ve given up.
But now I can shoot. With foils still closed Wedge rolls 2 dice at Emon and knocks a shield off. Zuvio’s return shot does nothing and so it’s back to planning again.
Now, remember how I mentioned earlier that I was rather thrown off? This is where my lack of focus/planning/knowledge REALLY comes in.
Wedge smells blood and, while I know he’s likely to take some damage, I want to leverage his ability while he’s still on the board. But I also don’t want him to die.
Jake hard turns and boosts forwards. Wedge is stressed so even if Jake could have reached him, he still can’t pass a focus.
Kornel moves Zuvio 2 bank right into Wedge’s face and dishes out a tractor token (but doesn’t move him). I literally while writing this have realised that once he got tractored I could have taken a stress to rotate him 90 degrees. Or can I if he’s already stressed? I’m not sure? Anyway, I didn’t.
Emon hard turns in behind Zuvio, ready to pounce on Wedge.
Dash shuffles 1 forwards and focuses before Nym also shuffles forwards and locks Dash.
Wedge reveals his cheeky escape attempt of a 4 forwards. The worst of all worlds as he keeps his stress before bumping into Zuvio’s face, range 1 of Emon’s front arc.
So it’s now the worst of all worlds here. Nym has landed out of Dash’s arc so will have an unanswered shot while Wedge is tractored at range 1 of Emon. Also, being the idiot that I am, I forgot to open Wedge’s s-foils.
It’s just not going very well.
To compound this feeling, Wedge rolls eyeball, blank, blank into Emon. Pfffffffft.
Nym rolls into Dash but Dash evades it all before Jake takes a range 3 potshot at Zuvio and sneaks a damage on. Emon fires at Wedge but even with a lock rolls just 2 crits from his 4 dice. Wedge rolls a single evade to lose just a single shield. I could have been a lot worse.
Back to dials we go
What to do now? I’m expecting Wedge to die so I need to get Jake over towards Dash to buff him up. Dash will bank forwards to keep his gun in the middle while Wedge will, well, does it matter? Maybe. He gets a 1 bank.
Jake moves 5 forwards and takes a focus before Emon 2 banks right into Jake’s flank and also focuses. Zuvio takes the 1 reverse to keep himself in Wedge’s face before Dash 1 banks at Nym. Nym then bumps into Dash to leave him action-less. Wedge opens his foils (yay!) before 1 banking into Zuvio’s face. If he’s going down, he’s going to try and take Zuvio with him.
It becomes important here to point out that, while you might be screaming it at your screen, I had forgotten what Zuvio’s pilot ability was.
‘Systems phase’, the words that I had begun to dread. Zuvio dropped a Proximity mine into Wedge’s face. One hit and then roll 2 dice. I rolled and….eyeball, blank. He’s ok. For now. Emon then drops a Proton Bomb, just for good measure. Cool.
With Zuvio right there Nym holds the Proton Bomb in place.
Wedge fires at Zuvio but again the roll is poor and Zuvio takes just a single damage.
Dash’s only shot is at Emon and, unlike Wedge, rolls a full compliment of paint, spending a focus for 2 hits and 2 hits. Emon rolls 3 blanks and an eyeball and spends teh focus to avoid taking a crit to his hull.
With Nym’s dorsal turrent not reaching out to range 3, Jake rolls a single crit from 3 dice into Emon who gets the single evade he needs. Zuvio rolls 3 dice into Wedge but has no focus to convert his 2 eyeball results. Emon rolls 4 dice at Wedge and rolls all paint. But 3 of the are eyeballs and with his focus already spent gets 1 crit through as Wedge’s greens blank out. Wedge is halved but there’s more trouble to come.
Back to planning we go. Now, Zuvio will obviously slam another prox mine into Wedge’s face. Maybe he’ll survive, so I set a 3 bank to try and get away from the proton bomb that could detonate at any moment.
Jake will get in close to Dash and hand off a focus while Dash will then turn in to get some shots onto, well something, anything!
Systems phase again and Zuvio drops the prox mine. Wedge takes a damage but this time the roll isn’t so good and the mine scores the last damage needed to kill him. Ouch.
Jake speeds forwards, rolls towards Dash, gives HIMSELF a focus and then bank boosts only to find that Dash is a whisker outside range 1. Damn.
Emon hard turns in and Zuvio banks to clear his stress. At this point I’m thankful that Nym didn’t drop a bomb as Dash 3 banks over his head and takes a focus. Nym then 1 banks in and locks Dash again.
It’s Dash’s time to shine. He rolls range 2 at Emon and gets…. 1 crit and 3 blanks. Emon evades it. Disappointing. Dash then rolls again, this time at Nym and rolls…1 hit, 1 eyeball and 2 blanks. I spend the focus and Nym’s single evade die fails him, losing 2 shields.
However. At this point Kornel uses Dengar gunner. Well, what the heck is this? Thankfully Dash still has a focus and so I lose it to avoid taking a damage. Damn. Probably should have shot at Zuvio instead.
With Jake facing the wrong way Kornel takes his 2 shots at Dash from Nym and Emon but neither get any damage through. Phew!
Back to dials we go and it really feels like it’ll be a huge uphill battle to do anything now.
Being very aware of the proton bomb in the corner (plus with Jake behind) I decide to take the 1 hard turn with Dash. Jake will 2 hard and try to hand off tokens.
‘Systems phase…’ Nym drops a proton bomb but it’s going to be irrelevant.
Jake hard turns and rolls to Dash to give the focus tokens. I was tempted to keep a focus and red boost for the ones to give away but that didn’t work out too well last time…
Emon anticipates the straight from Dash and hard turns to his right, landing on the debris, collecting a stress but avoiding a crit. Zuvio hard turns and takes a red evade (anticipating a shot from Dash). Dash hard turns and, with enemies behind him, rotates his turret before Nym banks left.
Dash shoots, first at Emon, scoring 2 hits to get half points and then at Zuvio (rolling 3 blanks and 1 hit!) but gets no damage through.
Dash, though, has managed to avoid every arc and so Kornel gets no return shots.
It’s planning time again. Looking at the board I think that a hard turn left with Jake will put him too far away and so he’ll get a 2 forwards. Dash will hard turn left and try to score some damage on Emon before Nym can turn back in.
Jake does his thing and passes focuses to Dash but is rather exposed and facing the board edge. I may regret that…
Emon hard turns off the debris and Zuvio banks in towards Dash.
Dash hard turns and…..and….. Right, look, this clearly isn’t my day here, ok. I know what you’re thinking. ‘he turns his arc back to the side to kill things’. Yes, of course that’s the right thing to do. He’s already got focus tokens to activate Bistan and, with the right rolls, could do some damage.
There’s no excuse for what happened. I just was stupid.
Dash takes a lock on Emon.
I forgot. My bad.
Nym hard turns in but is still quite far out of the action.
Dash doesn’t have a shot. In a turn where I had the perfect opportunity to do some serious damage to Emon AND Zuvio. Oh well.
As if to punish me, Zuvio fires at Jake from range 3 and rolls 2 hits. Jake’s 4 greens yield just a single evade and so he loses a shield. Emon also fires at Jake but his single hit is evaded. Just.
It’s back to planning again and it’s time to make up for screw up number… umm.. I’ve lost count. It feels like a lot though.
Jake will (obviously) hard turn to his left. Dash will go straight as that proton bomb is making me a bit wary of turning in.
Jake turns and, with no space to roll, boosts to give Dash a focus.
Zuvio goes straight and Emon banks in to close on my ships. Dash goes 1 straight and immediately I regret no taking a 1 bank. Dash can *either* shoot at Emon *or* at Zuvio if I rotate arc. Had I banked I could have got both.
Since Emon is worth (significantly) more points and I already have him locked, I choose to do no action. Frustrating.
Nym hard turns again and takes a focus.
Well, better make it count this time Dash. Tokenless Jake is counting on you!
Dash rolls at Emon. Who needs a lock, eh? He rolls 3 hits and an eyeball and spends the focus. Emon rolls his 2 dice….and gets the single evade he needs to live. Well….
With no second shot available it’s Kornel’s turn to fire. Nym rolls 3 natural hits/crits at Dash who, with teh help of a focus, evades them all. Zuvio rolls eyeballs but has no focus. Emon shoots at Jake and rolls 3 natural hits. Again. Jake rolls 1 single evade to leave him on one hull left.
Planning again. I know Jake is dead this turn and so I set him a 5 straight to clear Dash. Dash will get a 3 bank to keep his arc pointed at things and stay clear of the proton bomb.
Jake does his thing again, rolling in front of Dash and selflessly passes Dash a focus action. Emon goes stright and focuses while Zuvio banks and takes a red evade again.
Dash’s 3 bank clears Jake and again (annoyingly) there’s no good action to take since he already has a lock on Emon, already has a pair of focus tokens and really doesn’t want to roll towards the bomb. Nym sails 1 forwards and focuses.
Dash rolls 2 hits and a crit into Emon. I have the lock and so spend it, rolling it into a focus. Tempting as it is to rely on Kornel’s greens being trash, I decide to spend a focus, just in case. The decision is instantly justified as Kornel rolls 2 evades and an eyeball. Close one! Emon is down and maybe Jake might not die after all?
Nym rolls 3 hits at Jake. Jake rolls…1 evade and 2 eyeballs. He’s dead. Oh man.
Zuvio takes a pot shot at Jake and (of course) chips 1 more shield off. Typical!
Planning again and now things are looking tricky. I want to focus but I’d also rather have my arc facing inwards to give me better options for moving.
I set Dash a 3 bank and wait…
Zuvio banks in and focuses. Dash also banks but takes a rotate action. Nym hard turns and barrel rolls to avoid smashing into the asteroid next turn.
Now comes the next questionable decision (let’s just call it a mistake…). Dash decides to shoot at Nym, clearly not having learned the Dengar lesson (and with Zuvio 1 hull from half points and no evade token). With no mods (and jsut 3 dice) it’s 2 hits, one of which Nym evades. The Dengar roll then takes another shield from Dash.
Then Nym fires. It’s 2 hits and 2 crits out of hand. Dash rolls blank and eyeball. It all goes through. The cirts are Structural Damage and Hull Breach. Zuvio doesn’t chip in with more hits this time but the damage is done. Dash is down to 3 hull, half pointed and the game is all but over.
There’s still time on the clock though and you never know what might happen. Back to dials we go.
Zuvio hard turns in and takes teh red evade. I hard turn Dash around the rock and focus. Nym 3 banks and bumps into Dash.
Dash’s poor rolls continue as he rolls hit and eyeball at Zuvio, converting to 2 hits. Zuvio rolls evade, eyeball, blank and spends his evade to take no damage.
In return Zuvio rolls 2 crits out of hand, one of which goes through.
Nym is bumped and can’t shoot Dash and so back to dials we go again!
This time I decide to try and avoid damage rather than dish it out so Dash gets a 1 hard right.
Zuvio banks in to the middle, expecting Dash to run. Dash hard turns and then rolls right, looking to block Nym. Nym banks forwards and does get blocked.
Nobody has a shot here and so it’s back to planning again with just 3 minutes left.
I give Dash another 1 hard, this time left (although, on reflection, going right might have been a decent choice).
Zuvio isn’t falling for it this time and hard turns on Dash. Dash turns and takes a focus before Nym bumps into him once again.
Dash fires on Zuvio and gets 3 hits, just for Zuvio to roll an evade and spend his evade token to take just one damage.
Zuvio returns fire and rolls a single crit (which, with the Fuel Leak Dash picked up earlier, would finish him off). Dash rolls and gets an eyeball, spending it to live.
With just 1 and a half minutes left on the clock, we go for another turn. Clearly the last.
With the game already lost I set Dash a 3 hard and see what happens.
Zuvio banks and then Barrel rolls right into Dash’s way. Dash bumps into Zuvio. Sad times. Nym 1 banks, just about not bumping and takes a focus (to go with the lock he didn’t use earlier).
Kornel clearly doesn’t need locks though and rolls 3 hits and an eyeball out of hand to seal the game.
Result – 107 – 200 loss
Ok, another loss.
This one didn’t feel so bad by the end. To quote a football (or soccer for the Americans) cliché, it felt very much like a game of two halves. I will admit that I sort of panicked a bit to start with and, if I’m being honest with myself, was thrown off through the rest of the game from that.
Emon Azzameen, Boba crew and Dengar gunner are all things that I have NEVER faced. Zuvio I’ve faced once and for the life of me I can’t think why I failed to remember what his pilot ability was until it was smashing me in the face (hopefully I’ll remember it now?!?).
I lost Wedge for almost nothing in return and was thinking very hard about where not to move because of the possibility of bombs.
But then I scored some damage onto Emon and, barring the embarrassing turn where I could have turned my arc to get two shots in but didn’t (and took none), I’m actually quite pleased with how things went. Jake did his job reasonably well although I think that I could have done better with giving him tokens for defence (i.e. positioning him better in relation to Dash since he has to barrel roll first, give himself a focus and then boost and give one to Dash ideally) and if he’d lasted longer then Dash would be more efficient for longer.
In the end the 2 hits, 2 crits into blank evades on Dash from Nym towards the end were what swung it with a Structural Damage and Hull Breach coming in to play. Had I got away with that then actually getting half points on Nym and destroying Zuvio, although rather unlikely (but not impossible), would have given me a win. Not bad considering the position I found myself in around turn 3 or 4.
Having watched the stream back I have to admit that I didn’t realise how close the game was (in terms of points) before Nym smashed Dash with those 4 unanswered hits towards the end. Had I not made the error with the arc rotation and managed to get an additional pair of Bistan shots onto Emon and Zuvio then I think it’s entirely possible I could have won it. I made some very poor decisions (the 4 forwards with Wedge springs to mind, as does the choice of shooting Nym instead of Zuvio towards the end, triggering Dengar, and of course not rotating Dash’s arc) but was still in with a chance right up until the last 10 minutes or so. Against a player who was 4-2 in the league, I’ll take that.
What I DO know is that another of my known weaknesses was exposed here – knowing stuff. I mentioned some earlier but Emon, Boba crew, Dengar gunner, Zuvio, Nym and Andrasta are ALL things that I’ve either never played against or have done just once. When I saw the list I had a similar feeling as when I faced off against the IG88’s in this game a few weeks back. My lack of knowledge let me down and, had I known at the start of the game what I know now I would have deployed obstacles differently, deployed my ships differently and avoided taking damage in turn 1 on Dash. I’d probably have been less on tilt and done something different with Wedge too.
Anyway, what’s done is done.
A thought I had immediately after the game has sort of stuck with me. I thought to myself ‘If I could play that game again I think I’d be in with a chance to win it’. And here’s the thing. I struggle to adapt quickly to what is happening in a game. I have a plan (even if it is just a rough one) to start with but if my opponent either has something I’m not familiar with (see this blog from a few weeks ago) then I’m actually likely to do worse than I would against something that’s ‘better’ (whatever that is in the current meta) but that I’ve played against before.
There are several things that I believe make you a good player. Some you can be taught, others come with experience. There are some, though, that I think you either just ‘have’ or you don’t. Some people, for example, are very tactical thinkers. It’s just the way their brains work and no matter how much you try, you can’t learn to think that way.
I think that the ability to improvise and do well, taking everything your opponent has/can do into account is one of them and, in my opinion, this is something that you can either do, or you can’t. Yes, of course this can be minimised with gaining lots of experience, playing lots of games and having in depth knowledge of the game but when it comes down to it, if your opponent does something totally off the wall you’re either reacting (as it caught you off guard) or you’re already planning for it.
I know which of those I am. And that’s ok.
The thing is, that’s almost exactly what tournament play is all about. Turning up with no prior knowledge of what you’re facing and trying to find a plan for each game as it comes against different people.
So I guess I’m saying that I’m not suited to competitive play?
As for the list, well, I do still like it. Wedge gives enough threat to take at least some focus from Dash which is what my original Dash lists from last year were missing. He didn’t really do it much in this game but Dash CAN hit like a truck, as can Wedge (when he’s not, y’know, dead). Jake continues to be the ‘ace in the hole’ to supercharge some shots or let someone get out of trouble. While it’s theoretically possible for Jake to enable both Dash AND Wedge to have double modded shots I’m yet to put myself in a position to do that since:
1. it needs far more planning than I’ve put into it
2. by definition it puts Dash and Wedge close together and ideally I’m trying to make my opponent make a choice between them.
As I said waaaay back towards the top, I now have the opportunity to look back over this game and see what I could do differently (i.e. better). I don’t think that being on stream affected my play at all. I just think that the initial ‘panic’ of taking damage from set up threw me off and seriously affected my decisions in the first few rounds which then left me playing catch up. That said, perhaps the time constraints (the stream starting at a certain time) meant that I didn’t take the time to properly look over Kornel’s list which, on reflection, would have helped.
I do want to say thank you to Kornel who was a great opponent and also to Tim and Ben from the Sith Takers for having us on stream and being so kind about my choices when I was screwing things up so badly.
If you really want to watch how bad I was then this is the link to the Twitch video: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/756633181
So there we have it. This puts me at 1-6 for the tournament with one game to go. Not exactly what I was hoping for but it is what it is! Next week will be the last game for this season. What will I do with myself after that?! Perhaps I’ll have to organise some casual matches!