Tuesday 7 February 2017

London Regionals / Warboar / 4-2-17 & 5-2-17

Here we are again, two regionals in as many weeks. I attended Warboar’s regional last year and it was one of my favourite X-Wing events of the whole year. The staff, the organisation, my opponents, everything was great. You can read about it here.

Before I go into my full report, I should mention my big news. At the end of my last report, I mentioned there would be big changes ahead for me, and the blog. That is due to myself and Joel being invited to join the 186th Squadron. Needless to say that we both accepted wholeheartedly!

With that in mind, I’ll talk about my first X-Wing event wearing a 186th hoodie (albeit, not one I owned. Thanks to Nick Yun for lending me one of his.)

When your squad is on point!

I took Paratanni again, having got so far with it last weekend, I knew I would just kick myself if I took something else and did worse. Anyway, for those of you that don’t know the list, it’s this:

Manaroo – Atanni Mindlink
Asajj – Atanni Mindlink / Latts Razi
Fenn Rau – Atanni Mindlink / title / Autothrusters

It’s a monster! One small and two large ships in a list is nothing to be sniffed at in general but the amount of green and red dice, coupled with the total health of the ships is awesome. That’s not even taking into account the crazy action efficiency of Mindlink AND the fact that all three pilots have great pilot abilities in general. It’s no wonder the list is being seen everywhere!

Well then, onto the matchups:

Game 1 vs James Finlayson

Chopper – FCS / Autoblaster turret / Hera

Dash –PTL / Smuggling Compartment / Feedback Array / HLC / Kanan / Outrider / APL

Post Dash death photo!

I hate Dash. I really hate Dash. If there are two ships in the game that I hate, it’s Dash and Miranda. It often just seems like to get into the doughnut hole that the title creates, you have to go through at least one round of being fired at by the HLC, which is terrifying…

This is probably the reason I decided to go for Dash first, I was quite cagey with Fenn to start with and took a few potshots with Roo and Asajj, which did a bit of damage, then I got a magic turn, whereby I had Fenn at range one with a focus and target lock and Asajj and Roo at range 2. It turns out that I didn’t need Asajj and Roo because Fenn rolled well and Dash rolled poorly. He died before firing that turn.

During that turn Fenn also took a fair bit of damage from a well placed Chopper shot. He was left one one hull and a red target lock token from Chopper’s FCS.

Then I made a boo boo which, by all rights, I should have been punished for: - I put Fenn at range one of the ghost. I had 1 hull left, he had autoblaster turret and a target lock. James rolled no hits, and target locked into two crits, which Fenn evaded.

Then I made another boo boo which I definitely should have been punished for: - yep, I put Fenn at range one again. And again, Fenn sailed away on his single hull. 8 dice and not a single hit...

This is a testament to James’ temperament, there’s a lot of players out there that would get seriously satly about those dice but James was resolute and still friendly.

For what it’s worth, I don’t think it mattered much to the game as a whole, Fenn just ran away for the rest of the game while the others whittled Chopper down.

Win 100-20

Game 2 vs Henry Westcott

Rey – VI / Kanan / Finn / sloop title / Engine

Norah – title / Experimental Interface / Lando / VI / R2-D2

That's not the best place to put a Norah

Henry is another great opponent. I’d played him the last time I was at Warboar and he was a gent then. You can read about it here.

So, Lando on Norah, eh? That is cool. The idea is to TL then EI to trigger Lando, most of the time you will get something useful, then next turn, do a green to clear the stress and trigger R2-D2 and regen a shield. It’s a great idea.

This time, however, Norah didn’t get to pull any shenanigans. On the first round of combat, I got Norah at range 2 of Asajj and range 1 of Fenn and Manaroo. The result was a double stressed Norah with not much hull left. I took her out the next round and then it was my list vs Rey.

Rey then got down to the task of plinking down my ships, she got both Asajj and Roo down to half before getting a console fire crit… which killed Rey and won me the game… a slightly unceremonious end, but a win, nonetheless.

Win 100-54

Game 3 vs Jesper Hills

Contracted Scout – Atanni Mindlink / Chips / Proton Torps / Extra Munitions / Boba Fett
Manaroo – Atanni Mindlink / Unhinged / Plasma Torps / Chips / K4
Fenn – Atanni Mindlink / title / Autothrusters

The initial engagement

Jesper and myself had played at the last Warboar regionals, he had royally trounced my Chewie / Chopper list with his Hillbots. Here we are again almost a year later, playing against each other again. Last year, Jesper offered me a sweet when I sat down - for tradition’s sake, he did it again this year. Good times.

Also, here we go, my first ever 186th off! Also, my first mindlink vs mindlink game of the day.

My game plan was to go for the scout. That’s the easiest target and if I can take it off the board before it gets both it’s torps off then the list has some “dead” points.

In the first round, Jesper’s Fenn ended up just outside of range 3 of my Asajj, he decided to barrel roll into range 3 and take a pot shot. This was the beginning of Jesper’s bad dice luck. In that engagement, Asajj came away untouched and Fenn ended up with a Weapons Failure crit!

In the second turn, Jesper’s scout was in range of all three of my ships, all three of which rolled very well and the scout rolled 6 blanks. This resulted in a dead scout… before it had even fired. Jesper looked over and said “That’s basically game there” I said “No, we’re playing X-Wing. Nothing is game!”

I’ve been in way too many games where I’ve definitely got it… and then I don’t got it. There’s no place for complacency in this game. So we carried on playing, Jesper’s Fenn (still with the weapons failure crit) manages to take out my Fenn, then I take out his.

In a last ditch attempt, Jesper’s Roo sloops to get a Torp shot at my Asajj. It ends up at range 2 so I stress Manaroo and, as I can see what is about to happen, I take an evade.

Roo shoots, get’s four hits. Asajj rolls an evade and focus. I use the focus token, evade token and Latts Roo’s stress away to take absolutely no damage. At that point, Jesper conceded.

Win 100-32

Game 4 vs Alex Birt

Manaroo – Atanni Mindlink / Plasma Torps / Extra Munitions / K4 / Unhinged / Chips
Old Teroch – Atanni Mindlink / Autothrusters / title
Fenn Rau - Atanni Mindlink / Autothrusters / title

So many Fangs!

Another 186th off!

Fangaroo. Or, as it’s more affectionately known when in the hands of Alex; Bortlink!

I had three big worries here;
Firstly, Bortlink comes out to 99 points, meaning he will give me initiative so that a) his Fenn moves after my Fenn and b) he makes me do my start of combat stuff first so he has full knowledge of where my tokens are before he moves his around and finally steals some of mine with Teroch.

Secondly, Alex is a very good player, I know this because he beat me in a previous tournament (read about that one here).

Thirdly, the reason the list is called Bortlink, is because he has been playing this (almost) exclusively since wave 9 dropped… that’s a lot of experience!

All is not lost, there are a few saving graces, 1) Joel has also been playing this list since wave 9 dropped so I’ve played against it a fair few times (albeit not with Paratanni) and 2) if Alex gives me initiative, (which he will) my Roo will be moving before anything else so I should be able to get some good blocks in.

OK, the strategy going into this was to take Teroch off the board ASAP. Teroch is probably the most squishy of all the ships and at least if I managed that, I wouldn’t be worried about token theft any more. As it happened though, Alex presented his Roo to me in a lovely killbox, I took advantage of that. Unfortunately, my Fenn died that turn too. Fenn for Manaroo… points wise I’m up but I’m not sure if it was a great trade.

From this point on, we flew around for a while whilst I plinked away at his ships, unfortunately, nothing stuck (tokens, autothrusters, etc.) and in the end Alex’s aces whittled me down enough to win.

Loss 37-100

Game 5 vs Justin Choy

Rey – Expertise / Finn / Kanan / sloop title / Engine

Miranda – TLT / 3PO

Line those ships up.

This was a really tough match. I got a few really nice shots on Rey towards the beginning of the match but ended up trading Fenn for the engagement. Justin then managed to switch his ships around so that I had to focus on Miranda instead of Rey. He then managed to steer Miranda out of the fight so she could regen. This left me with a half health Asajj and a full health Manaroo against |Rey.

There then followed two crucial turns. Justin boosted Rey out of Asajj’s arc and it was so close we had to call Jason (Warboar owner and TO) over to check arc. Jason ruled that Rey was out of arc. The very next turn a similar thing happened but this time it turned out that Rey was just in arc. That left me with two shots on an un-tokened Rey, this killed her and won me the game… but only just.

Win 62-52

Game 6 vs Calum Brown


Asajj spent a lot of time off her base today.

The mirror match. And for both of us, the result of this game is the difference between making the cut or not!

The pressure is on!

Calum won the roll and took initiative, I was disappointed about this as the only Paratanni mirror match I’ve won (at the Exeter regional, read about it here) I had initiative and used it to force bumps to get the win.

I set up in my bottom right corner and Calum set up opposite to go for the joust. So we got down to it, mega bumps in the first few turns. The problem Calum faced was that his Roo was not in the correct alignment to clear stress by turning, my Roo could go left to clear her stress. This didn’t matter a huge amount in the end as both Roos went down fairly quickly.

Then there was lots of awkward (and not very effective) shooting from both sides. In the last turn both Fenns were healthy, my Asajj was just above half health and Calum’s Asajj had one hull left. The Asajj’s were both at range 1 pointing at each other. Calum’s Asajj had a great roll against my Asajj and brought her down to below. He also got an extremely frustrating blinded pilot crit. No killing 1 hull Asajj for me!

So the result was that we both had Fenn and half health Asajj left…

Final salvo then. There’s no point dragging that bit out. I won. It wasn’t particularly pretty but it was effective.

Win 48-48 (Final salvo to me)

So, I went 5-1 and ended up 9th in Swiss. I MADE THE CUT!!! I MADE MY FIRST CUT!!!!! YEEE HAWWWW!!!!! In a great turn of events, Calum also got in at 13th!

In a not too great turn of events, I realised that my first opponent in the cut would be none other than Alex Birt… yep, the only person I had lost against in the whole day. Sad face.

Still, as the regional was set over two days, I at least had the evening to think about a different strategy for taking on Bortlink. The last approach didn’t work so I’d have to consider other options.

The top 16 (I'm the only one NOT looking at the camera)

Game 7 vs Alex Birt

Just about to get Borted... A. Borted!

So, taking Manaroo off the board early in our last game had not done me many favours, however, I still think that my original strategy of going for Teroch first was the way to deal with this list. So that’s what I’m going to try for again this time.

Honestly, it was a pretty poor showing from me, in the first round of combat, I needed to barrel roll with Roo to avoid an asteroid, then bumped with Asajj and so, when I ended up at range 1 of Teroch with my Fenn I had to make an awful choice, do I focus for everyone, but in doing so, leave Fenn open to token stealing and death (because Alex’s Fenn was bound to have a range 2 shot) or boost past, leaving everyone else focus-less and my Fenn (probably) at range 1 of his Fenn.

I decided to focus, Teroch stole Fenn’s focus and proceeded to roll 3 hit/crits against an un-tokened Fenn. In response to this, I managed to roll three natural evades! Woo, I might just survive this round after all!

It turns out my optimism had been unfounded as a combination of a range 2 shot from Alex’s Fenn and a range 1 shot from his Manaroo, took out my Fenn.

It was now a massively uphill battle. I continued on my quest to take out Teroch but my shots were never target locked and I had trouble focus firing. In the end, Alex killed my Asajj and I still hadn’t done a single point of damage to any of his ships. I conceded. Alex outflew me by a mile and, to be honest, I was happy enough to get top 16. You’ll hear no complaining from me!

I’ve never conceded in a tournament before, however, not having to think about MoV is slightly liberating. I was never going to take out 3 ships with just Manaroo, for sure!

So that was that then, sooooo close to sparkly dice but not close enough. I still have the Daventry regional in a month’s time… I’ll get them there!

One last shout-out. Full-on managed to fly his bombing K-wing list to victory in ALL six of his games on the first day, coming first in swiss. He then proceeded to keep winning right up until the final where he was beaten in an absolute nail-biter of a game by Rob Kane. Well done Rob and well done Full-on.

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Exeter Regionals / Crediton / 28-01-17

Here we go, first regional of the season for me and it’s all the way in Exter. That’s a three and a half hour drive away (dedication)

So, the prep. As you could probably tell from my last post, I. Love. Strikers! They are great, really nippy and crazy manoeuvrable… I did not run a list with them in, and I’ll tell you why.

I have been running a list that I came up with called “The Four Horsemen” (crap name, I know, I was going to change it but then it got mentioned on the 186th Squadron Podcast and so it kind of stuck) It is as follows:

Omnicron shuttle – Vader / Collision Detector (24)
Duchess – Ailerons / Frame / VI (26)
Sabacc – Ailerons / Frame / Adaptibility (24)
Omega Leader – Juke / Comm Relay (26)

The main idea behind it is target priority, none of them are safe to leave until the end game (except maybe the doom shuttle but then, hopefully it would have done it’s job by then) Unfortunately, the problem is that it’s all just soooo fragile. Against any kind of turret list, you need to be relatively lucky with your green dice to stand a chance and as we all know, those green dice are pretty fickle.

I had been playing the list for a while with about a 50/50 win loss ratio. A few weeks before the Exeter regional, I suffered four horrendous losses against pretty standard meta lists and decided to shelve the list for the time being.

So what now? A week to go until a premiere level event and I don’t have a list to run!!! Maybe I’ll go back to Palob, Manaroo, Fenn. I do love that list and it’s probably the thing I’ve had most success with. I then came across the stream of the final from the Dublin regional...


I’ve heard about it and heard that it’s pretty good, maybe I should run that? I already have a lot of experience flying Manaroo and Fenn. Asajj couldn’t be that much harder to pick up, right? So I tried it on Vassal… and it is good. Man, it is good.

It’s not only an efficiency list, (many hull and shields to chew through and a respectable amount of red and green dice) it’s also a great toolbox list. With Mindlink, Manaroo’s token passing shenanigans and Asajj’s stress and Latts-tank combo there’s a fair amount of utility going on. Add Fenn into the mix and the list can do some real nasty things to a lot of the lists out there!

So it was decided then, Paratanni was coming with me to Exeter. I managed to get four practice games in (on Vassal) before Exeter and that was it. My Shadow Caster had never even been on it’s base before getting to the regional on Saturday morning. Was this a good idea? Read on to find out.

*** Disclaimer ***
A lot of my games went to time here and there was very little time between round (which is when I usually write up my notes of the previous game) so some of these match reports may be less detailed than usual. Sorry about that!

Game 1 vs Ben Moore

Omega Leader – Juke / Comm Relay / Stealth Device
Pure Sabacc – Swarm Leader / Adaptive Ailerons / Lightweight Frame
Academy Pilot
Academy Pilot
Imperial Trainee – Adaptive Ailerons / Lightweight Frame

A cagey opening

Glancing over Ben’s list for the first time, I didn’t notice Swarm Leader and couldn’t really work out what the deal was with the list. When I saw it, I understood at once. The PS1 “disposable” ships would run in and take an evade and then when Sabacc shot, he would eat their evades to go for a 6-7 dice shot! Nasty.

Ben was a great first game opponent, we were both very chatty and easy going before, during and after the match.

The start of this match was a perfect example of cagey play, we were both vying for position and it was a good 30 minutes before either of us fired a shot. I knew I had to take Sabacc out fast because those swarm leader shots were going to seriously hurt! From what I remember, I had managed to cause Sabacc 2 damage before he attacked, thus depriving him of one dice. He did however, use swarm leader to full effect to throw 5 dice at Fenn, however, by that point, he had spent his focus so the attack was modified and Fenn only took one crit… of course it was damaged cockpit (which I’m sure is stapled to most people’s Fenn card by now.)

In the end it didn’t matter much, Sabacc went down before he could fire another shot and then I concentrated on the low PS ships that were easy to take out. I lost Fenn and then decided to leave Omega Leader to pootle about as there was only a few more minute and I’m pretty sure my Roo and Asajj were sitting fairly comfortably.

Win - some amount of points - a fewer points (can’t remember the actual amount but I think I had Asajj and Roo left, Ben had Omega and an Academy left... I think... I won it anyway, OK?)

Game 2 vs Cadan Jones

Warden – Extra Munitions / Intel Agent / Cluster Mines / Seismic Charges / Advanced SLAM
Warden - Extra Munitions / Chopper / Cluster Mines / Seismic Charges / Advanced SLAM
Warden - Extra Munitions / Sabine / Cluster Mines / Advanced SLAM

Just about to have some clusters dropped on Fenn there, there's a cheeky K-Wing underneath the Shadowcaster

I saw my name next to Cadan’s and grinned. Cadan was my second opponent at my first ever X-Wing tournament back in December 2015. I remember we were both flying Whisper and he, quite honestly, showed me how it was done (in a good way)

Also, bombing K-Wings; I’ve been practicing against these things. Both Lloyd and Full-On run Biggs and two bombing K-Wings so I’ve had a fair bit of experience with them, and it really helped in this matchup.

Lots of cheeky Advanced SLAMs, Sabineing, Asajj-stressing, etc. ensued. It was a really good game, anybodies for the taking from beginning to end! To cut a long story short, I had a half health Roo and half health Asajj against one last K-Wing. It came down to the last round. If he killed my Roo, he wins, if I kill his K, I win.
I killed his K, I won.

Win 100-66

Game 3 vs David Peet

Whisper – VI / ACD / FCS
Omega Leader – Juke / Comm Relay
Vessary – x7 / TIE mk II / Juke

Nice place to put a Fenn!

(I think that list was right… Bad me, I didn’t take enough notes here!)

Another great opponent, 3 for 3 so far! David did say that he didn’t like the look of my list when I put it down, then he got his list out and I realised why… Whisper does not like stress!

I won the initiative roll and took initiative. I figured I could probably get a few shots on an uncloaked Whisper with Fenn.

This started off as another really cagey engagement. David moved all his ships from the top left of the board, to the top right whilst I barrelled through the rocks in the middle to meet his forces head on. Whisper did die pretty soon after the first engagement and then it was a war of attrition. David’s dice were fairly cold, Fenn took a hit or two but other than that, Paratanni was unscathed.

Win 65-0

Game 4 vs Andy Cameron


Everybody bundle!!!

Mirror match!

This is what I get for winning my first 3 games. Table 3 and facing off against Paratanni flown by, what seemed to be a very experienced pilot.

I gave Andy initiative and we set up. My strategy for this was to go for, what I think, is the main cog in the list, Asajj. It soon transpired that Andy was going hard for my Manaroo. Andy’s startergy was much better than mine. By the time I got half points on Andy’s Asajj, he had killed my Manaroo and then my Fenn. Bad times.

Here’s my thoughts on this; in hindsight, I made the wrong decision. Going after Asajj is really difficult, she has lots of health to chew through, access to an evade token AND the whole stress-Latts shenanigans. If you can bring her down early, the game should be yours… but it’s hard, very hard. As I slowly lost this game, I thought, if I ever face another mirror match again, I’m going for Roo first…

Loss 20-60

***Incidentally, Andy ended up winning the regional so, I’m pretty happy with that result!***

Game 5 vs Andrew Banks

Er… Paratanni!

***No photo for this one, we were having a pretty fun match so I just forgot***

As I walked up to the table I saw a Fang Fighter, Jumpmaster and Shadow Caster, myself and Andrew looked at each other, looked at our lists and laughed!

OK, so it seems Paratanni is some kind of meta list or something? Who knew? Well then, let’s see if I can put some of those things I learnt in the last matchup into practice then. Andrew had also just come from a mirror match which he had also lost… let’s see how this goes then.

I won the initiative roll and decided this time to keep the initiative for the bumps. I went in full steam for these bumps and in the second turn of combat I got a fantastic few bumps which left Andrews ships token-less and my Fenn up in range one of his Asajj.

Now if I was going to follow the lead from my last game to lthe letter, I should have ignored Asajj and gone straight for Manaroo. However, Asajj was just too much of a juicy target and I ended up sinking a lot of damage into her that turn and following it up next round to take her out. After a few annoying bumps on Andrew’s Manaroo, he wanted to make sure his Roo would not get bumped the next turn so shot forward and, as a result, overshot and ended up leaving Manaroo facing the board edge with no room to turn.

At this point, it was just a case of chasing down a single action Fenn and sailing home to victory.

Win 100-14

Game 6 vs Anthony Yeates

RAC – VI / Vader / Gunner / HotShot / Engine
Marrek (Defender) – x7 / Juke / Twin Ion mk II

Die RAC, die!!!

So I’m 4-1 in a regional! If I win this, I make the cut, even if I don’t win it I can still get in on MOV… possibly.

I’d like to give Anthony a big shout out for his attitude during this match; he was upbeat, cheerful and friendly for the whole game. A stand up gentleman!

My plan going into this is to trade Fenn for RAC. If I can get a good round of shooting in, plus make him have to Vader me 4 times to kill Fenn I will have done a lot of good work. I’m fairly sure I can mop up one Defender with Asajj and Roo.

The first half of this game went really in my favour. By the time RAC died, he took Fenn with him and Asajj had only lost a few shields. It was going well.

I’m not entirely sure what happened next but Marrek managed to solo the rest of my list. Looking back on this, I think it was down to pilot skill. There were more than a few times when Marrek barell rolled to save himself from being stressed and/or shot by Asajj. Honestly, it was tough watching this match slip away from me. I really did think I had it in the bag. We ended up with a full health Manaroo and a half health Marrek floating through space neither willing to engage. I couldn’t hope to get three damage on an x7 defender so my best bet was to preserve MOV.

I wonder whether I should have engaged Marrek first and when he was dead, then concentrated on RAC, at least you don’t need to focus fire on RAC to get damage through. Must practice more!

Loss 63-72

So, 4-2, I might just make the cut… I did get that 100-14 result in game 5 which should have done good things for my MOV.

Long story short, I came 20th, I missed the top 16 by 4 places. Slightly disappointed but actually, I’m over the moon about going 4-2 in a premiere event. There’s s special mention here for Full-On who came 17th … He missed the cut by 1! Well played and better luck next time.

So that is that, Exter done. Warboar is up next weekend.

Also, I may have some exciting news that might have implications for the blog in the near future… watch this space. Exciting times ahead :)

Thursday 5 January 2017

Strike Action! A discussion on the movement and usage of the TIE Striker

I love the TIE Striker.

There, I said it.

I don’t care that it’s only got two green dice and four hull. I don’t even care that it’s got no target lock action.

I. Just. Love. It.

It’s just so manoeuvrable - being able to do that ‘pre-boost’ move gives so much arc-dodging and repositional potential to the high PS ships that it’s possible to go whole games without getting shot! Who needs three green dice if you never have to roll them!!!

There are other little tricks that make this ship great as well, things like being able to Aileron (yep, that’s a verb now) onto a debris, get a stress and then do a green move straight after to clear the stress… then do an action!!! As long as you don’t roll a crit, you have just gone over debris with no negative consequence! Same thing with an asteroid, it’s slightly more risky as you have a 50% chance of taking damage but still… pretty cool! The reason I don’t want to dwell on things like that too much is that, potentially, they will be FAQ’d to say that you lose your action if you go over an obstacle at any point during your activation. I can’t really see why they would do that, but it’s still possible.

Anyway, the purpose of this article is to show you what you can achieve and expect from, what is (in my opinion) one of the most exciting ships in the game.

Useful moves that are only possible with the Striker

I’ve often thought about how cool it would be to be able to move forward and to the side but not change direction. Essentially like doing a straight move and then barrel rolling but without having to spend an action! With Adaptive Ailerons, it’s possible to Aileron right, then bank left. Surprisingly, (to me anyway) if the bank is a three, this is the furthest a small ship can travel in the game! (without using a boost or barrel roll) It ends up being slightly further than a 5 straight.

Anyway, here's a picture.

Assuming you do a banking Aileron -
  • The 1 bank move takes you just shy of a 4 forward and just under two base lengths to the side
  • The 2 bank move takes you a 4.5 forward and just over two base lengths to the side
  • The 3 bank move takes you about a 5.3 forward and about two and a half base lengths to the side

Getting back into the fight

These things can turn round quickly! Where every other ship (using non-red moves) can only turn 90 degrees (not taking into account the Defender) the Striker can make it 135 degrees by Aileroning (verbage) in one direction then hard turning the same direction.

Here’s the picture.

Both turn locations end 2.5 base lengths forward. The 1 turn lands you three base lengths to the side and the 2 turn lands you four base lengths to the side.

The pincer maneuver

This is so cool! If you Aileron one way, then turn the other way, you end up changing your angle by 45 degrees but essentially just moving forward - the furthest sideways you travel is about a base length.

Very good for barrel rolling and arc dodging!

Hunting down your target!

So, how can we use the Ailerons to help us with our offence?

Say you have managed to get behind a U-wing, there is a rock is front of it so you know it has to change direction, but which way will it go? And by how much?

In the following pictures, the Striker has a one forward dialled in, I’ve used the most likely moves that the U-wing would do, potentially it would try and escape with a longer bank, but that would just result in the Striker getting a, non-range-one shot.

Starting position

The U-wing does a 1 bank
 The Striker Ailerons forward, et voila, a range one a shot
The U-wing does a 1 bank
The Striker Ailerons right then rolls, a range one shot but with,
potentially, a better position for next turn
The U-wing does a 2 turn
The Striker Ailerons left for another a range one shot
The U-wing does a stop (or a 0 K-turn)
Most Strikers will bump BUT Duchess can choose
to not Aileron and still get a range one shot.

So, in conclusion, this U-wing, in this situation, is unlikely to escape unscathed!

Dodging arcs!

In this example, our dutiful TIE Striker is being jousted by an Arc. They start off facing each other at range three. If we dial in a 1 straight on our dial, let’s see what our Ailerons and Barrel rolls can do to get us out of the Arc’s arc! (Yea, I went there)

Starting position
The Arc does a 1 forward
The Striker Ailerons forward and then rolls forward. Arc dodged.
The Arc does a 1 bank
The Striker Ailerons forward. Arc dodged and a range one shot.
The Arc does a 2 bank
The Striker Ailerons right. Arc dodged.
The Arc does a 2 bank
***Duchess special***
The Striker choses not to Aileron. Arc dodged and a range one shot.
The Arc does a 2 turn
The Striker Ailerons left. Arc dodged and a range one shot
The Arc does a 2 forward
The Striker Ailerons left. Arc dodged.
The Arc does a 3 bank
The Striker Ailerons right and then rolls. Arc dodged.
The Arc does a 3 forward
The Striker Ailerons right. Arc dodged.

This Striker is not getting hit!

So, I know it’s not indestructible and actually, in test games, it’s damage output can be quite frustrating (my kingdom for a target lock) BUT I’m still very excited about this ship. I may have said this before but… I. Love. This. Ship!

I will just leave you with one final picture. This is all the final positions a Striker can end up (not including barrel rolls)... almost a rival to the K-wing and the mighty Echo, eh?

Monday 5 December 2016

No! I Am Your Father… Christmas! / Woking / 04-12-16

Here follows an account of one of my favourite X-Wing experiences of all time.

Spoilers! I didn’t win the tournament, I didn’t go undefeated, I didn’t even get more wins than loses… I just had a fantastic time!

So, this tournament was held and organised by woking locals Zombie Squadron and, apart from one instance of repairing, which didn’t affect me, it went off without a hitch. Well done to Ian Courtney and his Zombies!

My list

Spurred on by my experience in Harlow two weeks back and some very successful practice games, I went with a variation on the Hot Shot RAC list.

RAC – VI / Engine / Rebel Captive / Hot Shot Copilot / Gunner (63)

Vader – Adaptability / Engine / title / ATC / Prockets (37)

It’s worth noting that I had a massive panic about whether to include the Prockets or not.
I had been playing the list (sans Prockets) at 97 points for a while because I really wanted initiative against VI Rey (striping the focus with Hot Shot before she shoots is excellent) but someone mentioned that I should probably put Prockets in because it would help against 90% of the meta and being PS10, I don’t need the bid against any other matchups… so I went with it. I faced no ships above PS9 so it turned out to be the correct choice! Winning already.

The matches

Match 1 

vs Joel North

Fenn – Mindlink / Autos / title
Teroch – Mindlink / Autos / title
Manaroo – Mindlink / K4 / Unhinged / Feedback Array

Kiting with RAC, flanking Vader!

***Sparkle Motion Showdown***

Welllll, it was going to happen, wasn’t it? To be honest, at least when I knew I was playing Joel, I knew we would have a fun game.

So we set up and engaged, Vader had a few good range 2 target locked shots on Teroch but had to barrel roll to arc dodge so no focus token for him. I’d stripped focus tokens with RAC and then just needed a semi decent roll with Vader to get a crit through (with ATC)… double blanks. Oh well, it’s alright, I haven’t taken much damage, I’ll come back round and try again next turn. Which I did and, with exactly the same conditions, the exact same result happened - double blanks… still no damage on Teroch. Thankfully (for me) my luck turned after this round and I started putting damage into Fenn, who died in fairly short order. I then managed a clutch attack on a full health Roo, a nice roll with RAC and Prockets with Vader took her down to below half health. I think I killed her before the end and got the win.

Win 66-32

Match 2 

vs Alex Birt

Ketsu – VI / Dengar / Black Market Slicer Tools / Engine / Title

2 x Gold Squadron Y-Wings – Unhinged Astromech / TLT / BTL-A4

Coming up to the initial engagement

Alex Birt, eh? Of 186th Squadron Podcast fame, eh?

Avid readers of my blog (if there are such things) may remember my post regarding Warboar regionals (here) where I mentioned that I’d played both Mike Dennis and James Dowdall from the podcast and I was now hunting down Alex Birt to complete my collection! Here we go then.

It’s a pretty nasty list to look at really. If you give it the chance, Ketsu gets in to burn down your agility, then attacks, hits and brings your agility down even further with the title then each Y-wing gets 3 shots on you! Beast mode!

Anyway, target priority was always going to be Ketsu, I had to kill her before she got to put some serious hurt onto Vader! One mistake and he was pretty much dead!

So I managed to burn down Ketsu in fairly short order. I’m actually really pleased with how I flew Vader, with caution but still managing to put in a nice bit of damage. Successfully arc dodging one of the most satisfying things in X-wing.

By this point though, RAC was on 3 health and had a Y-wing hot on his tail. By the time he bought it, Vader was on 3 hull and each Y-wing had lost shields and had a few damage put into it.

Vader vs 2 Y-wings… it’s definitely possible but this time I didn’t manage it. It came down to a turn where I had both Ys looking at me and had to turn left to avoid an asteroid. I knew Alex would move one of the Ys into block me so I decided to gamble on flying over the asteroid and attempting to be out of range of the other Y. Unfortunately, it was not to be, I was in arc and untokened, I took three damage and the game was up.

Alex was a great opponent and I’m fairly happy with how I flew, we had a chat afterwards and he gave me some tips. Good stuff!

Loss 50-100

Match 3

vs Vid Cleall

Miranda – Conner Net / Ion Bomb / Homing Missile / Advanced SLAM / Extra Munitions / TLT / Sabine
Corran – PTL / Engine / R2-D2 / FCS

Run Miranda! Run!

OK, I just faced Alex Birt who I think of as quite a big part of the community and now I’m sitting across the table from Vid!

Vid (although he probably doesn’t know this) was at my first ever X-Wing tournament (in December of 2015 at the Games Shop in Aldershot) and has probably been at about half the tournaments I’ve attended since then.

I’m pleased to say that we had a great game and Vid was amiable and friendly all the way through!

I should caveat this by saying I’ve been having a nightmare of a time against Corran lately, ever since this list made the final at Worlds, various iterations of it have been all over Vassal. I have yet to beat a list with Corran in it!

To cut a long story short, I went hell for leather after Corran. If you are going to kill him, you have to commit. And commit, I did! I ended up boxing him in a bit. However, I made a mistake here against the fiend that is the bombing K-wing: I ended up getting Vader Conner Netted in such a position that he had one hull left and would be going onto a rock on the next turn! Balls!

At this point, myself and Vid discussed the fact that, if Miranda dropped an ion bomb on the next turn, due to Sabine, Vader was dead! It was also obvious that Vader was going onto a rock and, I assumed, the turn after that, if he survived, he would have to flying over the rock to get off it… it was very unlikely that Vader would survive, even if no ion bomb was dropped.

Vid opted to save Miranda’s ion bomb, leaving Vader to the fate of the rock. I rolled a blank that time… still alive! Next turn, I managed to get the template in without touching the rock. Vader was still on the board!!!

Shortly after that, I managed to kill Corran, losing Vader in the same turn to a TLT shot from Miranda.

I had taken a shields off Miranda with a few lucky shots earlier and in the next few turns, managed to pull out the win!

I didn’t write my score down for this game, I think I still had over half health on RAC, but I could be wrong.

Win 100-37 OR 100-69

Match 4

vs Tom Duncan

Ryad – TIE MKII / PTL / x/7
Howlrunner – crackshot
3 x Black Squadron TIEs – crackshot

OK, this looks bad, but I'm pretty sure I managed to arc dodge everything here!

What is going on? I feel like I’m in the presence of X-Wing royalty! My opponents, down to a man, have been fantastic today.

I’ve never played Tom before but I don’t think it’s possible to play X-Wing in London and not have heard of the guy. I have an enduring memory of being at the Warboar regionals in May and with about 2 minutes to go until registration shut, Tom ran breathless through the door. The place erupted in cheers and applause - that is how much this community loves Tom Duncan.

When Tom realised I wrote a blog called “Confessions of a mid-table X-Winger” he had his angle. He constantly ribbed me about being a mid table played and called me out for not having Navigator on my Deci. (wtf?) So I offered him a chocolate coin that I had acquired from Alex Birt earlier in the day and that seemed to do the trick in quelling the emotional assault he was obviously trying to win the match with.

In all seriousness, I get it. I understand why he’s the darling of the London X-Wing community. I get it, but I can’t explain it. If you haven’t played him before, you should try and get a game in with him, it’s... an experience.

Anyhoo, about 57 minutes into the most recent 186th Squadron Podcast, (which you can find here) Alex mentions Tom and how he always seems to manage to point his TIE at the one thing you don’t want them pointing at, Oli Pocknell then states that he’s psychic. I think he’s probably right.

There’s not a huge amount to say about this game, I took out Howlrunner in the second turn of combat. My Deci had take a fair amount of damage though. A few turns later, I had an important decision to make. I had a Vader target lock on TIE A but had two TIEs (let’s call the A and B) in my arc. B had already had his focus stolen by RAC so I decided to Procket B, I killed him, no problem but then had TIE A, who still had a focus, put two damage through on Vader.

Later, Tom said I probably should have gone for the TIE I had the target lock on, I was likely to kill it anyway with a focus and Target lock and then I would have had a TIE with no focus shooing at me as opposed to a TIE with a focus token shooting at me. Fair point, we live and learn… well, Vader died soon after but, you know, the point was still good.

The match ended with RAC on PS0 against Ryad and a TIE. No arc dodging for me! RAC died and the final result was:

Loss 100-49

Match 5

vs Martyn Chivers

Fenn – Fearlessness / Autos / title
Serissu – title / Mangler / Stealth Device / Mindlink
Manaroo – Mindlink / Rec Spec / R5-P8 / Plasmas / Guidance Chips

Erm, I think Vader is doing some kind of evasive action there...

This game. This game! A rollercoaster of emotions. Seriously!

I got a pretty good first engagement, RAC and Vader had shots on Serissu and only Serissu had a shot back. I stripped tokens AND got a hit in with RAC! Stealth device down! I was at range one with Vader with a focus but no target lock… I know I shouldn’t but I couldn’t stop myself: Prockets!

This should have been very good, it wasn’t - 1 hit, 1 eyeball and 3 blanks. I spent the eyeball and Serissu got two evades… Prockets wasted. Sad face!

After that, some stuff happened, including Martyn doing some excellent blocking of my RAC whereby I had to sit on a rock for two turns with a console fire!

In the endgame, I had Vader vs Manaroo and Fenn. I was chasing Fenn down, I had one thing in my mind, Vader was 37 points, so was Manaroo. If I managed to kill Fenn, it would be final salvo. 2 dice each, it was my best shot!!!

Final turn of the match – 2 hull Fenn is focused and facing away from Vader, I have him target locked and I have a focus. I shoot, I get a hit, and an eye, I spend my focus and add the crit for ATC.

Fenn rolls an evade and an eye. A crit goes though… is it a Direct Hit??? No!!!!!! It’s Major Explosion, if Martyn rolls a hit, Fenn is dead and it’s down to final salvo. Martyn rolls a hit.

****** FINAL SALVO *******

I roll a hit, the crowd goes wild!
Martyn rolls a hit, the crowd goes wild!
I roll another hit, the crowd goes wild!
Martyn rolls an eye, the crowd goes wild!

I’ve done it, I’ve won, this is the best moment of my life! (It’s probably not, but, you know? I was in the moment, right?)

Phew, OK, let’s clam down and fill in our score sheets.
OK” I say “you’ve killed 63 points of my list and I’ve killed 63 points of your list”
Hang on!” exclaims Martyn “I had a one point initiative bid, you only killed 62 points!”


Loss 62-63

Yep, the final salvo was all for nothing, Martyn had already won.
I should probably be salty about this, but you know what? After an experience like that, there’s no way I could be annoyed. It was one of the best games of X-Wing I’ve ever played! Bloody awesome!

So, in the end, I came 19 of 32 players, just about still mid table. I did, however, win a prize for the best sport, voted on by my opponents from the day. Thanks everyone!!!

I think it’s also worth mentioning that ALL of my opponents, came higher than me in the rankings, even Joel and Vid, who I beat so I’m still fairly pleased with my showing. My Strength of Schedule would be off the chain!

Before signing off, I'd like to say thanks to all my opponents and that I really hope I have the pleasure of sitting across the table from all of you again!

Right! No tournaments in the diary now until Exeter regionals so it’s time for the fun lists to rear their peculiar looking heads. Also, the TIE Striker article just dropped, time for some list building I feel!!!

Until next time, Redd XIII, standing by!