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?