I made the Top 4 cut at Athena Games’ Winter Tournament a couple of weekends ago, and I thought as it’s the first time I’ve made the cut in an X-Wing event it would be worth writing it up for posterity. 🙂 We had 24 players overall, with a nicely varied selection of lists. Although I didn’t face any of them, there seemed to be a lot of Firesprays around.
I’d put together a Scum almost swarm list (I’m not sure if 5 ships quite count as a swarm…) to try out the Kihraxz en mass. I’m a big fan of this new addition to the Scum fleet, and have been flying it a lot in the form of Talonbane Cobra.
My list consisted of:
- 3 Cartel Marauder Kihraxzs – no upgrades
- 2 Cartel Spacer Scyks – Heavy Scyk title, Mangler Cannon
100 points on the nose, 20 points per ship – which should make for easy end of game points scoring at least… Full list is here in Yet Another X-Wing Squad Builder.
I’d deliberately gone for this list to improve my piloting skills – all PS 2, with little or no post-maneuver maneuverability. I’ve had a tendency to use high PS, boost and barrel roll as a bit of a crutch to make up for slightly sloppy flying, so taking that out of the equation should force me to fly better or die! That said, there are some distinct advantages to the list as well – moving at PS 2 minimises the risk of being blocked, and 15 red dice should be able to put out a sizable amount of damage if I could get all of my ships pointing at the same target.
Game 1 – Hedge (100-40)
- Prince Xizor – Veteran Instincts, Autothrusters, Virago title, Advanced Sensors
- Trandoshan Slaver – Hound’s Tooth title, plus 2-3 points of other upgrades I’m forgetting. (Note to self – take notes on the day, not a week later…)
- 2 Binayre Pirates
That’s a mountain of shields and hull for Xizor to pass hits across to, and Xizor himself has the potential to be very difficult to keep in arc. Advanced Sensors are always a good upgrade on him, if only for the entertaining ability to boost or barrel roll before doing an S-Loop for some very hard to predict and hard to block placement.
I’ve been flying against Hedge for a while now (he’s basically responsible for getting me into X-Wing in the first place), and was a little apprehensive going in as he’s won notably more games against me than he’s lost – and had won the last tournament at Athena. That said, the Trandoshan Slaver and Binayre Pirates both looked like good targets to focus down quickly, and if I could get some early shots in on Xizor all the better.
The initial approach went OK for me, as I kept my ships in position and got a nice overlapping set of arcs. One of the Z-95s went down quite quickly. Then Hedge had a turn of terrible luck, with Xizor turning into the arcs of almost all of my ships and his green dice going ice cold. Even with the ability to pass off damage to the Trandoshan Slaver, Xizor couldn’t resist firepower of that magnitude and blew up.
The Trandoshan Slaver proved a tougher nut to crack, taking down two of my ships fairly swiftly with heavy Range 1 firepower. And even when it died, it spawned a new Z-95 (a bit of a surprise to me as I’d forgotten about the Hound’s Tooth title by that point…), and only some very bad luck for Hedge stopped him from taking out the badly damage Scyk that was foolishly hanging around the back of the YV-666.
1 Win – 0 Loss
Game 2 – Guy (16-60)
- Captain Yorr — Emperor Palpatine
- Darth Vader — Veteran Instincts, TIE/x1 title, Advanced Targeting Computer, Engine Upgrade
- Carnor Jax — Push the Limit, Royal Guard TIE title, Autothrusters, Twin Ion Engine Mk. II
99 points. Full list here.
This was a game I knew was going to be hard from the outset. Guy is an excellent player, and his list was one I’d identified as a probable weak point for my list going in. That said, there were some interesting variations on the standard Palpmobile list – Yorr rather than the generic Omicron Group Pilot, and Carnor Jax rather than Soontir with TIE Mk II. I was dubious about this last upgrade given the Interceptor’s already good dial, but it proved to be more than worth its points over the course of the game.
Guy very sensibly parked the shuttle in the far corner away from my deployment. Vader zoomed off down the flank, while Carnor turned in and headed along Guy’s edge of the board. I took the bait, and headed after Carnor – not least due to my past experiences of having struggling to deal with him late game. This proved to be a mistake, as Guy kept him at Range 3 or out of range of my further back ships, and thanks to the Autothrusters and Palpatine I couldn’t land a hit on him. Two turns of firing at Carnor produced no damage, and Yorr and Vader had both now closed in.
I turned my attention to trying to burn down the shuttle to get rid of Palpatine, but even that wasn’t to be. Carnor and Vader picked off some stragglers, and Palpatine proved invaluable for keeping the shuttle alive. We ran to time, with me having just scraped a few points by getting Yorr to just below half health, but I’m confident that Guy would have been able to mop up my remaining ships with ease if we’d had another few turns.
In retrospect, I should have gunned straight for Yorr and taken him out as quickly as possible. Guy made great use of the Interceptor’s Agility, Autothrusters and Palpatine to soak a huge amount of firepower to no effect, and succeeded in drawing me out of position. Very well flown!
1 Win – 1 Loss
A much needed break for lunch at this point!
Game 3 – James(?) (100-20)
- Delta Squadron Pilot – Ion Cannon (I think)
- Omicron Group Pilot – Vader
- Whisper – Veteran Instincts, Advanced Cloaking Device, Tactician, Fire Control System
98(?) points. Full list here.
This list gave me pause for thought. I was relatively confident about being able to deal with the Defender as it was shooting after my ships, but both Whisper and the DoomShuttle worried me. I needed to keep as many ships on the board for as long as possible to maximise my main advantage of firepower, and Vader seemed like he could be extremely bad news for my Scyks. Whisper can be so hard to pin down, and shooting through four Agility with a focus and possible evade token available.
James set up the Delta Squadron and OGP in one corner, with my ships opposite. Whisper was slightly off to one side to come in around the flank. Turn 2 brought us into range, with Whisper doing some damage. My ships all opened up on the Defender, which went down to a hail of fire (and some bad luck on the green dice) with one of my ships able to take some shields off the shuttle. Vader stuck a crit onto one of the Kirhaxz fighters.
Turn 3, and I guessed right on the shuttle’s maneuver, putting most of my list in Range 1 of it, although Whisper comfortably dodged out of all of my arcs. Five ships opened up, and the shuttle was destroyed. However, even with his ship exploding around him Vade was still able to finish off one of my damaged ships.
Turn 4, and Whisper had a terrible bit of luck, clipping an asteroid by the very slimmest of margins and ending up with none of my ships quite in arc. At that point 2 Agility, 4 hit points and no tokens just couldn’t soak up the fire from my ships, and Whisper went down.
This game went way more quickly than I thought. James had very bad luck with some of his dice rolls, and hitting the asteroid was a matter of a millimeter. Shooting before the Defender definitely worked to my favour as I was able to take the Defender out before it fired a shot. If Whisper had better luck on Turn 4 it could all have been very different, as even the solid firepower of my four remaining ships I could struggle to punch through Whisper’s defensive capabilities.
2 Wins – 1 Loss
Game 4 – Jack(?) (100-20)
- Omega Leader – Juke, Comms Relay, Stealth Device
- Carnor Jax – PtL, AT, Royal Guard, SD
- Soontir Fel – PtL, AT, Royal Guard, SD
98 points. Full list here.
A game against a new player, who told me he’d only played 6 or 7 games prior to this including the previous two rounds of the tournament. Not bad going at all to get to this point! 🙂
Another list with a lot of agility, Autothrusters and Stealth Devices. Omega Leader looked like a good target to try and take down early, as I really wasn’t keen on letting them survive until late game when their ability would be all the stronger.
I set up in one corner, and Jack very sensibly set up as far away from my ships as possible. I banked in through the asteroid field, managing to avoid any collisions. It took a few turns for us to close in to exchange fire, with the first turn of shooting knocking a shield and the Stealth Device off Omega Leader to the loss on one shield on a Kihraxz – definitely an exchange I was happy with! The following turn Carnor collided with Omega Leader by a hair, leaving him exposed in front of most of my ships, several of whom had set up target locks the previous turn. Carnor didn’t survive, and Omega Leader followed shortly afterwards.
Soontir, however, just wouldn’t die. He took out one of the Scyks, and managed to dodge neatly away from me for several turns afterwards. However, he got a little too close to the edge of the board one turn and left himself with a limited range of options so I was able to get several guns to bear and finally chip through to those last remaining hull points.
I really wouldn’t have known this was a comparatively novice player if he hadn’t told me. He was flying with a great deal of confidence, and Carnor bumping was a mistake anyone could have made. Soontir proved as hard to take down as I expected, particularly as he could quickly dodge out to Range 3 to benefit from the Autothrusters again.
3 Wins – 1 Loss
A few final round games ran to time and took a while to wrap up, so there was a bit of a gap. I’d done some quick calculations and was expecting to come 5th or 6th as I’d given up points every game, so I was quite surprised to come 3rd. My first time making the cut – needless to say I was quite excited!
Top 4 Match – Chris (62-100)
- Poe Dameron – Veteran Instincts, Autothrusters, R5-P9
- Red Ace – Comms Relay, R2-D2, Autothrusters
- Gold Squadron Pilot – Ion Cannon Turret, BTL-A4 title, R3-A2
100 points. Full list here.
Double Rebel regen and a Stresshog – this looked like it was going to be a hard match! Chris is also an excellent X-Wing player, and regularly make the cut at our local events. Fatigue had started to set in somewhat for both of us, so setup took a little while as we tried to remember basic strategy…
I did my usual corner setup – a loose formation to gun forwards or bank in as needed. Chris set up mid-way across his table edge, very rightly not wanting to directly joust into my list.
I made a mistake on turn 2, banking one of my Scyks across a debris field for better positioning and inevitably rolling a crit. This stripped a shield that proved to be a deeply annoying loss for the rest of the game…
Chris lead his approach with Red Ace, and did a bit of damage to one of my lead Kihraxz. I returned fire on Red Ace, but Autothrusters and Red Ace’s spontaneous evasion did their job and he avoided taking any serious damage ending up 2 shields down overall.
Turn 3 is where things started to go wrong for me. Red Ace got a crit on the shieldless Scyk, dropping its attack by a dice. The Gold Squadron Pilot closed into range, and Chris made the very smart call of spreading stress around, ioning and stressing a Kihraxz and stressing another. With two ships unable to K-turn, I was going to struggle for position.
This continued to be the case, with Chris making excellent use of the Y-Wing’s stress output (and some very good flying) to lock down two of my ships each turn. However, I got a break when I correctly guessed Poe’s positioning and he found himself in a corridor of three of my ships arcs and was unable to dodge out of it. Three shots later, and Poe was down and I was starting to pull things back. However, my undamaged Scyk had been taken out at that point, leaving me with two lightly-damaged Kihraxz and a barely holding together Scyk to deal with the rest of Chris’ list.
I finally took shots on the Y-Wing and put it down over a couple of turns, leaving a Kihraxz and Scyk to deal with Red Ace. This however proved impossible, with Red Ace regenning faster than I could take damage off. The Scyk eventually blanked its green dice and blew up, and Chris hunted down the remaining Kihraxz.
This was an excellent game to end the day, with the upper hand changing a few times over the course of the match. In retrospect, I underestimated how much of a threat the Stresshog was, as I was somewhat dismissive about the effects stress would have on my all generic ship list. Lesson learned on that front, and credit to Chris for spreading the stress around as much as possible rather than going for the double stress on a single ship approach.
Overall, the list did what I’d hoped, putting a lot of damage down range and having enough arcs of fire to make dodging them all a pretty tall order. I certainly feel I’m notably better at formation flying as a result, although I don’t think I’m up to a full TIE swarm quite yet!
As always, an excellent and well run event by the team at Athena Games, and thanks to all of my opponents who gave me five really good games over the course of the day. I’m looking forwards to the Store Championship at the end of the month, and all of the new toys Wave 8 will bring into play!