Monday, 23 May 2016

Battle Report - Regionals! Warboar, Bromley 21-05-16


I’ve been playing X-Wing seriously since around the beginning of this year. I bought the core set over a year ago but it sat on the shelf for months, then found a bit of (very) casual play over last summer. Between summer and New Years, I started buying up expansions but at that point I didn’t really have anyone to play with. Then, during a fairly quiet new year’s eve I gave Joel a game, he loved it and we were off! With a few months of Tuesday night X-Wing (at Dark Sphere in Waterloo) and six or seven tournaments under our belt, we booked our tickets to play at regionals. This was big! it would be our equivalent to Worlds. The biggest event in our X-Wing calendar and we were excited!

Warboar! With some Imperial intruders

I’ve been getting quite a bit of practice in on Vassal and I was pretty set on my list. It’s the same as the last tourney I wrote a report on. Here it is again:

Chewie – Lone Wolf / C-3PO / Luke Skywalker / title – 55 points
Chopper – Autoblaster turret / Fire Control System / Zeb / Han Solo

For a more detailed explanation of why I chose this list, read my last post, here.

So the day rolled round and I arrived at Warboar in Bromley just before 8am (bleary eyed because, of course, I had been up late on Vassal… practicing!) Joel had got there a while before and had been the first to register!

The turnout, I believe, was 96 players and after a bit of pre-battle banter with the lovely Mark Radford (from Marquee Models in Harlow), the first round pairings were put up and we all headed off to our tables:

Round 1 vs Sam Page

Carnor – PTL / title / Stealth Device / Autothrusters

Omega Leader – Juke / Comm Relay / Twin Ion Engine Mk. 2

Kagi – Palp / Sensor Jammer

Die Omega Leader! Die!

This was a great start to the day, Sam was a very friendly opponent and the pre-game chat was forthcoming. It turns out, Sam runs a gaming club called Mid Sussex War Gamers in Grinstead, unfortunately, due to being Hertford based, I can’t really get to Grinstead but if it’s near, why don’t you pop down and give it a look? If they are all as friendly as Sam, you’ll have a good laugh!

Anyway, the match; I set up with both my ships buddying up in the left bottom corner. It was either this, or Chopper in the left corner and Chewie towards the middle of the board (so as to proc Lone Wolf from the start). I really didn’t know whether this was a good choice (this would be a recurring theme) but I did it, so I had to live with it.

The start of the match wasn’t so good really. Chopper went down pretty early and the only damage to Sam’s list was 2 shields autoblasted off his Omega Leader… bad times. However, the tide was soon to turn. Chewie took down Omega Leader next turn, I was back in it. I’m really proud of this next bit... I proceeded to block Carnor every turn whilst taking pot shots at Kagi (who was currently in the long process of turning to face me)... Kagi died. Then followed the standard Chewie vs <insert ship name> endgame; many evade actions and 3PO guesses. This was a bit more difficult as I had to stay out of range 1 of Carnor to make use of my evade, I managed this most turns. In the end it was just a case of hoping Sam whiffed his green rolls before Carnor got too many shots into Chewie. Sam did whiff a green roll in the end and with Carnor on 2 health and 3 greens, it was only a matter of time.

Win 100-72

Game 2 vs James Dowdall

2 x Scout – Deadeye / Plasma torps / Extra Munitions / Overclocked R4 / Guidance Chips

N’dru Suhlak – Cluster Missiles / Crackshot / Glitterstim / Guidance Chips

Binary Pirate

A good place to put a Chewie? Not so much!

Round 2 and here I am playing James Dowdall from the 186th Squadron podcast! Maybe this is it? Maybe I’ve reached the big X-Wing leagues? Maybe if I impress James, I would get invited into the coveted 186th squadron? Maybe I could even get a 186th Squadron t-shirt??? (not star struck, honest)

Well Red, keep dreaming because what followed was not a smooth sophisticated demonstration of my prowess on the mat but an absolute schooling on how not to position my ships.

I decided that my setup for the last match was one of the reasons it was so close so I decided to go with my other option, Chopper on one side of the mat (this time, on the right) and Chewie in the middle.

No combat in round 1. Round 2 rolls around and after movement, I had realised that my Chewie was not long for this world. He was within range 2 of N’Dru and range 3 of both scouts. This is what went down…

N’dru, Cluster Missles at Chewie. N’dru was far from his allies so that was 2 four dice attacks against Chewie. Oh, yea and also, James had Glitterstimmed N’dru. Long story short, 8 damage on Chewie… because crackshot and bad greens.

Chewie and Chopper vs Binarye; dead binarye (well, I thought I’d take out something… yes, I know it was bait!)

Scout one; plasmas on Chewie, another 3 hits (yay green!). Scout two; plasmas on Chewie… dead Chewie… * sad face *

Man! Chewie dead in one round. That is not impressive flying!

Well, not to be too downhearted, I ploughed on with Chopper. And what a trooper he was, before going down, he killed a jumpmaster and took all the shields off the other one. In the end, it wasn’t quite the trouncing I thought it was going to be. Still pretty shoddy though.

Loss 44-100

*** bonus ***
I now get to tick off James’ name from my People-I’ve-Played-From-The-186th-Squadron-Podcast scorecard. So far, I’ve got Mike Dennis and James Dowdall… I’ll get you Alex Birt, one day!

Game 3 vs Nathan Phillips

Manaroo – Punishing One / Unhinged Astromech / Engine Upgrade / Push The Limit / K4 Security Droid

Latts Razzi – Feedback Array / Engine Upgrade / K4 Security Droid / 4-LOM / Dengar / Mangler Cannon

The Ghost is off it's base again... silly Chopper!

I’d met Nathan earlier in the day. Whilst waiting for my game with Sam Page to begin, Nathan and I had been talking about my list, he said he’d read about the Lone Wolf / 3PO synergy on a blog somewhere… turned out it was this blog (I have a reader!!!) We also chatted about his list that he was running today.

When we faced each other we knew what we were up against. My list relies on Chewie using his evade token and rolling his one dice (because you need to roll a green to use 3PO or Lone Wolf) so Nathan’s Latts build seems like the perfect counter to my Chewie, effectively negating 6 points of my list straight away!

We both knew what had to happen. From my perspective, Latts had to die. From Nathan’s perspective, Chewie had to die. We set up opposite each other and got to business!

I was so desperate to take out Latts that I was actually taking target locks with Chewie! (I never do that). Our ships met in the middle of the map in a place called Bump City! I managed to get Chewie behind Latts and take her out… Relief! No more decreasing agility or stopping me spending tokens and in addition to that, I’d negated Manaroo’s ability as well. She can’t hand tokens off to anyone if there’s no one else left alive!

Then it came down to, the old 3PO evade malarky again until Manaroo was dead. During this point, I got into a position where I had shot Manaroo and Nathan would have either taken one hit OR could have used his focus token to evade it (triggering Luke). I warned him about this (because of what happened at my last tournament) and he said he had remembered about Luke but was trying to avoid as much damage as possible. He also said he’d remembered reading about that on the blog as well.

Win 100-44

Game 4 vs Stephen Donn

IG88B – Crack Shot / Advanced Sensors / Tractor Beam / Mangler Cannon / Glitterstim / title / Autothrusters

IG88C - Crack Shot / Advanced Sensors / Tractor Beam / Mangler Cannon / Glitterstim / title / Autothrusters

This is Chewie about to get hurt!

Well, I’ve never played against Bro Bots in a competitive setting until today so I didn’t really know what to expect, I knew they were maneuverable and that in theory, I should go for IG88B first to shut down the gunner ability.

Well, as is the usual occurrence in these games, Chopper faired pretty badly early on. I had only taken out 2 of IGCs shields and was poised to do some more damage when… Blinded Pilot!!! So annoying. Then Chopper died. * more sad face *

Proud moment of the day number two: I managed to block IGB with Chewie every turn until I finally killed IGC. This meant I was only taking shots from one and most turns I was taking a damage but when your opponent has a gunner ability, that’s the best you can hope for.

So a pretty much full health IGB against a half health Chewie. Cue, autothrusters, 3PO, evade, Lone Wolf shinanigans. It could have gone either way but a few turns later, IGB got a Loose Stabilizer crit and when, on the last turn of combat IGB misjudged a sloop and Chewie (on one hull) was just out of arc, I rolled well and killed IGB.

Damn, that was one hell of a nail-biter!!!

Win 100-72

*** Interlude 1 ***

Tom: You know what? I’m 3-1. If I win my next two games, I’m in the cut. If I win one of my next two games I could be in the cut.

Joel: Wow!

Both: burst out laughing

*** End of interlude 1 ***

Game 5 vs Dan Rodwell

4 x Black Squadron Pilot – Crack Shot

Zeta Leader – Crack Shot

Howlrunner – Crack Shot

A pretty daunting sight.

A TIE swarm! I’ve never played against one of these either! (Although I did use one in a Vassal game against Joel a few days before this… the exact same list actually)

Fun fact: This is the same list Dallas Parker is flying at the moment according to Mynock Squadron Podcast.

I got initiative and gummed up the middle of the board with asteroids. Mission one completed!

I then set Chopper up in the bottom right hand corner. After a bit of deliberation, Sam set up his swarm opposite Chopper (jousting time!) Here follows my first mistake. I set Chewie up next to Chopper.

I really should have known better than that. Chewie doesn’t joust! Especially not with multiple ships!!!

Anyhoo, we went forward. Ramming speed, unfortunately, my ramming speed was not quite enough and everyone landed within range one of each other but no one bumped into Chopper. Dan Knew he had to kill Chewie and I knew I had to kill Howlrunner.

I killed Howl in that first round. Yessssssss!!!! Then Dan killed Chewie. Noooooooo!!!!

You know how sometimes, something happens in a game and it completely changes the atmosphere? This was that point in this game. Previous to this point, Dan had been very much, head down, concentrating, no small talk. (not at all unpleasant though) As soon as Chewie went down, he seemed to relax massively. To sum up the rest of this game, I took out a Black Squadron and then he took out Chopper.

Loss 34 -100

*** Interlude 2 ***

It was getting late, I was getting all hazy and, to quote myself on the day, getting all “leg-hurty”. For my next opponent, I would love something I knew how to beat. Another win would be fantastic.

The final swiss pairings are up. I trace down looking for my name, I find it “Tom Tattersall”. I trace right to see who my opponent is, would I recognise his name? Then I saw it:

All hail our national champion and UK X-Wing darling: Jesper Hills!


*** End of Interlude 2 ***

Game 6 vs Jesper Hills

IG-88B – PTL / Advanced Sensors / Mangler Cannon / Autothrusters / title

IG-88C – PTL / Advanced Sensors / Heavy Laser Cannon / Tractor Beam / Autothrusters / title

Pre carnage

The other thing I really hoped about my last round was that my opponent would be nice, friendly, chatty, etc. As I sat down, Jesper offered me a sweet… we were going to be OK.

So, Advanced Sensor, Push The Limit Brobots… man, they are good!

Honestly, there isn’t much narrative to this one, it was a slugfest really, Chopper barreled in, took a few shields off and then promptly died.

Then another 3PO evade blah blah session. It did take him a while but Jesper took my Chewie down before I did any more than half points on one of his IGs.

The problem was, both IGs had shots on Chewie almost every round. I was taking real evasive maneuvers to get out of arc of at least one of them but with the IGs moving after Cheiwe and the added effectiveness of boosting knowing where Chewie was ending up, plus Jesper’s experience and instincts, it proved impossible this time.

The score at the end of the game was 26-100

I nearly got half points on his other IG which would have meant the score would have been 50-100.

Jesper squeeked into the top 16 cut by 3 MoV (I think it was 3, a very small amount, anyway) and then went on to win the entire regional. I could have prevented Jesper from winning the regional if I had flow even just slightly better in that last game, potentially, the difference between me taking a focus instead of an evade in one of those last few rounds of shooting could have made all the difference.

You know what? I’m really glad the game played out the way it did! Well done on the win Jesper!

Loss 26-100

So, with a 3-3 result, I didn’t make the cut, (I didn’t come here thinking I would, but it would have been nice) I came 58th of 96 players. Still not changing the blog name! I do think I’ve improved quite a bit over the time I’ve been flying this list. OK, I lost against three players but man, what players!

James Dowdall finished 8th in swiss with a 5-1 record.
Dan Rodwell finished 6th in swiss with another 5-1 record.
Jesper Hills, despite finishing 16th in swiss with a 4-2 record, went on to win the day.

(It's also worth mentioning that Stephen Donn ended 13th in swiss too so I actually won against someone who made the cut!!!)

I would be super proud of myself if I managed to beat any of those guys and if we are going purely on Strength of Schedule, I had 115 and there were only 7 people in the whole tournament (including myself) who had 115 or above. So yes, today is a good day :)

On a different note, it's worth mentioning that this regionals event was also raising money for the Chartwell Cancer Trust - Tiger Children's Ward and managed to reach a staggering £2,000 in donations, raffle many, etc. What an amazing community to be a part of!

What did I learn? Engagement, engagement, engagements!

I talked to James after he trounced me about what I should have done differently in my game, he said setting Chewie up in the middle of the board without his buddy, Chopper, was a bad plan. It allowed James’ list the ranges it needed, not only to engage me with his jumps, but also to keep N’dru far enough away from his buddies to proc his ability and throw a total of 8 red dice at my Falcon. If I’d set up together, Chop might have been a more inviting target AND I would have been able to fight back with both of my ships instead of, effectively, just Chewie.

After being kicked to the curb by Dan, he said again that my setup was my biggest mistake. I set up my Chopper first and then Dan chose to joust me. What I should have done was to set up Chewie in the middle, joust with Chopper, take pot shots with Chewie, then fly away and drag his swarm through the rocks in the middle.

I’m learning all the time with this list so I’m not going to change it, the only thing I think I may do is try out dropping Chopper out for this.

Lothal Rebel – Autoblaster turret / FCS / Ezra / Hera (43 points)

This gives me either 2 points to play with OR a 2 point initiative bid… which I don’t really need. Maybe I’ll put Anti-pursuit lasers on to add to the blocking potential of a PS3 large base ship capable of doing hard one turns until the end of days OR Flechette torps so I can shoot out of that rear arc at all ranges (Autoblaster takes care of range 1) that everyone forgets about!

Unfortunately, that’s about it for my competitive X-Wing flying for a while (the cons of working Saturdays over the Summer unfortunately) I’ll still be on Vassal as much as I can be so message me on there if you want a game (Red XIII) and you can usually find me and Joel pew pewing at Dark Sphere on Tuesday evenings (we’re often down a player so always ask, if you want a game)

Thanks to everyone who has read any of my blog posts and thanks to all of my opponents, I think this feels like the end of chapter one of my X-Wing career… bring on chapter two!

Red XIII standing by.

Monday, 9 May 2016

Battle report - ibuywargames, Woking - 08-05-16

Battle report – ibuywargames, Woking – 08-05-16

Here we go again! Me and wingman Joel, off on another road trip to push bits of plastic round tables for six hours… we love it!

The list this time was pretty similar to last time, still Chewie but this time Chopper piloting the Ghost. Here’s the full build:

Chewie – Lone Wolf / C3PO / Luke Skywalker / title (55)

Chopper – Autoblaster turret / Han Solo / Zeb / Fire Control System (44)

From my previous build I had decided gunner was great but often a little under powered, with the addition of Luke, I gave my offence a bit of a buff which played out quite nicely once or twice during the day.

The Ghost has changed quite a few times over the last few weeks. I have been wary of adding in autoblaster turret because, I figure that any ace with a higher PS than the Ghost (which is all of them) would just boost or barrel roll out of range 1 but I convinced myself that actually, even if that was the case, I was still making them use their action in a defensive way. Han crew works well on the Ghost, these things are always stressed so the fact that Han works even then (with FCS) is great. Zeb? I used Zeb’s ability once or twice throughout the day with mixed results.

The tournament was five rounds of swiss with a break for lunch, we started at 9.30 and finished at 6.00, I think the format is great, I payed my money and I think 5 games is definitely worth it.

Round 1 vs Christopher Douglass

Sunrise in Woking... sort of!

Warden squadron – TLT / Saboteur / Experimental Interface
Miranda – Saboteur / TLT
Roark – Chewie / TLT

As I sat down and we engaged in our pre game chat, Christopher told me that his list was built to chew through large, low agility ships. He then proceeded to show me how it was done. As usual, the Ghost went down first. By that time I had taken out the Warden so it was Roark and Miranda vs Chewie. I managed to kill Roark and in the end it came down the Chewie on one hull and Miranda on 3 hull. One more TLT shot and it was a dead Chewie.
This was a good game but all the Falcon’s tankiness goes out of the window when faced with things that can attack twice. A list containing 3 TLTs  tore through my evades,  3PO guesses and Lone Wolf rerolls pretty quick!

Not awful for MOV though.

Loss – 63 – 100

Round 2 vs Jamie Stone

Line up the Aces!

Soontir – Royal Guard TIE / Autothruster / Stealth Device / Push The Limit
Omega Leader – Juke / Comm Relay / Engine Upgrade
The Inquisitor – TIE/v1 / Autothrusters / Proton Rockets / Push The Limit

So this went pretty well for me, my standard setup is Chopper to one side of the board and Chewie in the middle (so as to proc Lone Wolf). Jamie set up his forces in such a way as to attack Chopper with The Inquisitor and Chewie with the other two. Well, Chopper started off blocking The Inquisitor and (because of Zeb) throwing 5 modified red dice at his 3 unmodified greens, suffice to say that within two turns, The Inquisitor was dead! Meanwhile in Chewie-land, my plan was to whether shots from Omega and Soontir until the Ghost was done with the Inquisitor. I managed pretty well by keeping Soontir at range 3 and Omega just out of range, all the while throwing rocks at Soontir in the vein hope of a green dice fluff. No luck there yet! A few turns later and Omega had given up and gone after The Ghost, it took a few turns of scrapping but finally, Chopper managed to land a few well placed Autoblaster shots and Omega went down. Around this time, on the other side of the board Soontir’s greens finally whiffed and down went the stealth device… then it was just a matter of time and a few rounds later, Soontir went dead.

Jamie got half points on Chopper but nothing on Chewie.

A win 22-100

Match 3 vs Graham Gibbon

Dancing with the Scum!

Contracted Scout – Deadeye / Proton torps / Extra Munitions / Guidance Chips / R4 Agromech / Feedback Array / 4-LOM
Contracted Scout – Deadeye / Proton torps / Extra Munitions / Guidance Chips / R4 Agromech / Feedback Array / Zuckuss
Palob – Blaster turret / Moldy Crow

Its a testament to X-Wing that a loss (spoiler!) can be you favorite match of the day!
I knew Palob was public enemy number 1 so went after him first. One mistake here possibly caused me to throw away a win. I had Palob at range 1 with Chopper and took a focus with Chopper (as soon as I had done it I realised my mistake... WHY DIDN'T I TARGET LOCK?) anyway so that played out as you would expect and I got a bit of damage through, a few turns later and I had exchanged Chopper for Palob (a rough trade for me really) BUT, the Scouts had only one torp left between them and were both nearly down to hull... it could go either way. I did my best to keep one at range 2 or 3 and one out of range whilst throwing pot shots at whomever I could and to cut a long story short, managed to kill one and on the last turn, I had one hull left and the last scout had two... then I made the fatal mistake of being in range 1... FEEDBACK ARRAY!!! Graham was pretty happy with that win and to be fair to him, he flew really well and, quite honestly, I was pretty happy with the loss!

Loss 84-100

Match 4 vs Tim Farmer

The only photo I got from this game... d'oh!

Rear Admiral Chiraneau – VI / Tactician / Mara Jade / Rebel Captive / Engine Upgrade
Echo – Recon Specialist / FCS / VI / Advanced Cloaking Device

I'd never before flown against a stressy RAC so I had a long think about engagements and what I could do to negate the stress mechanics. Ideally, I would leave the task of killing Chirpy up to Chopper (he doesn't need actions) and only use Chewie to attack him if I knew I wasn't going to get double stressed and I knew I could clear the Rebel Captive stress easily the next turn. The Falcon is such a sitting duck without it's evade! How it ended up playing out was that Echo was out of the fight for a lot of the first engagement and Chewie and Chopper were hammering RAC. Mara Jade and Tactician never triggered and I was able to clear Captive stress with little effort. RAC was on 1 hull, Chopper was on 7 but in arc of Echo and at range 3 of RAC... the possibility of a dead Chopper before he could get his target locked attack off was worrying. RAC fired, getting 2 hits. YES!!! That means, barring a direct hit, Chopper could whether Echo's attack and kill Chirpy. Echo fires, 2 hits, 2 crits... yep, one was a Direct Hit!
So RAC runs away to fight another way. Meanwhile, Echo is chasing Chewie and makes a mistake whilst de-cloaking and ends up flying over debris into range 1 of Chewie. After a bit of a tussle, Echo goes down, we then spend a few turns getting back into range of each other where I promptly get a hit through on RAC and finish the game.

Win 100 – 44

Match 5 vs Sam Ledwich


IG88B – HLC / Autothrusters / Advanced Sensors / Push The Limit
Dengar – Punishing One / Adaptability / K4 Security Droid / Unhinged Astromech

Well then, here we go! My first ever X-Wing controversy.
I won't bore you with the details up to this point in the game but we could probably say the game was still anyone's.
This is the cold facts of what happened, I'll go into what I was thinking after:
I rolled to attack Dengar (out of arc so now return fire) with Chewie and got 1 hit, Dengar was at range 3 so rolled 3 greens and got one eyeball. Sam said something along the lines of 'Damnit!' (sorry I can't be more accurate) I said 'You DO have a focus' he used that focus to evade and so I rolled my Luke shot, 2 hits and a crit. Sam said something like 'Oh, I forgot about Luke!' and then rolled his three greens and blanked out taking the full 2 hits and 1 crit (which I believe was the one where you can't do straight maneuvers)
So, here's what was going on in my head.
I rolled the 1 hit.
I thought, fine, he'll evade that and I'll use Luke.
He rolled one eye and I thought "Balls, only one hit"
I said (in what I thought was a flippant, joking way) "You DO have a focus"
He used the focus to cancel the damage.
I thought, "Wow! That's ballsy, he's going to try his luck against Luke!" To be fair, it was 3, pretty much, unmodified reds (other than Luke's small mod) against 3 unmodified greens.

After the event, I didn’t know what to say or do. I felt bad!

I know what happened was well within the rules of the game but was what I did honourable? Did I Fly Casual? The question is, should I have let Sam take back the focus after I realised he had forgotten about Luke and wasn't taking the focus to be "ballsy"?

I just don't know.

How will I prevent this from happening again in the future? Stop running Luke? (or Gunner) No, I like the card too much for that! I think faced with a situation where someone is cancelling hits to completely evade an attack that would be followed by a gunner-type effect, I will try to always warn them, just in case they have forgotten (although when I raised this idea with Joel, he stated that it might come across as patronising... arghhhh! This is a minefield!)

When did pushing plastic around a table turn into a quagmire of guilt, morals and honour?

Anyway, in the end, that was a win 100-77

So, after the tallying of scores I managed 7th place out of 21 players. I’m slowly climbing up the ranks. I got an alt art Gunner and Poe for my troubles!

Anyway, what did I learn? Well there was the whole Luke, focus issue (but the less said about that, the better)
But list wise, I wonder whether to drop Chopper to a Lothal Rebel and use the points saved to put an Ion Projector on the Ghost… supper blocker much? The thing is, even though I managed to block with Chopper a few times, I forgot to use his stress giving ability every time!

I think I’m genuinely getting better at flying this list and what with Regionals coming up in two weeks I’m not changing much, if anything!

Red XIII, signing off once again!