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.


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