Another break in blogging, partly because of work and life, partly because there was a brief lull in X-Wing news from FFG when I had some free time, and partly because I’ve been playing X-Wing more than writing about it. And, at least locally, winning when I do!
So, what have I been up to in the meantime?
The Yavin Open
I went to the Yavin Open, and didn’t do desperately well, going 3-4 on Day 1. I took the flavour of the month list, Parattanni, and hit two mirror matches, both of which game down to final salvos against members of the 186th. I learned that while Parattanni is an excellent list, it doesn’t really fit well with my “joust them at full speed” playstyle, as Fenn Rau needs a little bit more caution to get the most out of him.
I did notably better during the Hanger Bay events on Day 2, winning three of my four games with a list that notably better fit my playstyle – but more on that later… Getting a handful of the dual Lothal Rebel/Baron of the Empire cards was a nice bonus, and is making me consider picking up a second Ghost seriously…
Something I was once again pleased to see was the excellent community atmosphere and sportsmanship in evidence at Yavin. For all that it was a top level competitive event, all of my opponents were great fun to play against and it made for an excellent way of spending two days. That said, seven rounds of X-Wing in one day is a bit more than I can handle, and my last game was a collection of bad decisions that my exhausted brain though were a good idea at the time… 🙂
Battlefield Hobbies Regional
Next up was the Battlefield Hobbies Regional, which was a 100 player event with an extremely high level of quality play as it seemed to be essentially a who’s who of UK X-wing. I did marginally better than Yavin, going 3-3 and placing in the top half of the event, with even the games I lost being quite close to the wire. I’d taken my First Order alpha strike list to this event, which was going to serve me well in the future. TOME crashed a couple of time during the event, resulting in some last minute re-pairs that let me dodge at least one list I really didn’t like the idea of flying against… 😉
Day 2 of the event had a bunch of smaller mini tournaments for those of us who hadn’t made the cut, and there was a nice variety of lists and factions on display. As this was taking place a week before the big FAQ hit, I’d brought out a Commonwealth Defenders build to make the most of both Palpatine and the X7 title working at their full potential. They proved as potent as I remembered, and solidified my thoughts that the upcoming errata was justified.
Battlefield Hobbies put together a heck of an event for their first ever X-Wing event, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye open for any big events they run in future. The staff were generally fantastic, and went out of their way to help.
Athena Games – Escalation
Then I hit the start of what would prove to be a bit of a hot streak with Athena Games’ Escalation tournament. I brought along ragtag band of Rebels, with the cornerstone of the list being a Swarm Leader Jess Pava backed by Captain Rex and Sabine in TIE Fighters. 90 points got me Biggs, 120 got me Thane, and finally 150 points added a loaded Cassian Andor.
I had a ridiculously good day, only giving up 90 points of MoV across my four games, and not losing a ship in my first two rounds. Jess Pava really is a bit of a star for Rebels in general, and the Rebel TIE gives them some interesting new options. I’m looking forwards to experimenting with it more in future.
This was also the first X-Wing event I’ve won (although I’ve placed in the top 4 a few times before that), which was a very pleasing outcome to the day.
Athena Games – The “Voitek Invitational” I
Voitek’s one of the Athena locals, and an extremely good X-Wing player, having placed top 8 at Yavin and top 4 at the Battlefield Hobbies regional. He put together a small 8 player tournament at one of Athena’s regular Wednesday evening Flight Night to let those of us keen on a more competitive style of play to test out some lists without being “those guys who bring meta lists to casual games”. 😉 We had a good diversity of lists, with all three factions relatively equally represented. I’d brought the First Order again, and it proceeded to wreck enemy ships in an alarmingly efficient fashion.
My memories of this event are a bit hazy at this point, as it was a few months ago, but I know a couple of the lists I went against.
Round 2 was Owen Appleton’s Snap Juke A-Wings plus Swarm Leader Jess Pava. I didn’t quite manage to kill a ship in the opening exchange, and Owen put a lot of hurt on my SFs in return, but I clawed this one back. The consistent damage output of the SFs and Omega Leader was just more than Owen’s list could manage to weather. Pretty down to the wire though. Owen’s list is an amazingly fun one to fly and fly against, and something I’d recommend any X-Wing player takes out for a spin at least once.
Round 3 was Jon Easter’s Defenders. This was a brutal list, pairing TIE/D Ryad and Vessery with a Homing Missile packing Scimitar Squadron Bomber. We went in for a direct joust, and my Homing Missiles and Omega Leader did a lot of damage to Vessery, but left him on one hull point. Jon’s return fire killed Backdraft via some good use of Tractor Beam, leaving me feeling quite worried. However, Quickdraw’s revenge shot from the TIE Bomber’s missile let me kill Vessery, and then I was able to take out Ryad and the Bomber fairly efficiently after that, helped by Quickdraw managing to get some close range shots in. This game was streamed, and can be found on the Athena Games Youtube channel.
Overall, it was a strong proof of concept, and demonstrated that the alpha strike provided by the SFs could comfortably win games.
Athena Games – May Day Tournament
Athena slotted in a standard 100 point tournament at the start of May to give people prepping for the European Championships a chance to try out some lists in advance. On a bank holiday Monday, it also let a few people who couldn’t normally make the regular Saturday afternoon tournament slot a chance to participate.
Once again, I was flying the First Order, as I was really gelling with the list at this point. The TIE/sf is probably my favourite ship from Wave 9, and that’s saying something given the wealth of good options that came with that wave. Sadly my notes about the event have gone astray, but I went undefeated to win the event. Finally, my first full 100 point tournament victory!
Athena Games – Voitek Invitational II
After the success of the first, Voitek and Elliot organised another one of these mini Wednesday tournaments. We’d got a slightly different rosta of players, and I’d brought (shock horror) a slightly different list. Still two SFs featuring, still Quickdraw and Backdraft, but this time with Pure Sabacc as their wingman. And everyone was packing Expertise and Lightweight Frame for less of an alpha strike, but notably better defence and very consistent damage output. I was a bit dubious going into the event, as 12 points of EPTs across three ships felt a bit excessive, but I was optimistic the SFs might at least live a little longer than usual.
Again, my memory is a bit vague of these games, but I’ve jotted down what I can remember below.
Round 1 – Will – Han and Jan. Very punchy list, with Jan throwing in extra dice for Han’s attacks. The high PS was an issue, but my ships could cut through Han’s defences quickly enough to win the damage race. Unsurprisingly, Lightweight Frame helps quite a lot against TLT shots…
Round 2 – Voitek – The Worlds Dengar and Tel list. Voitek flew this list well – as you’d expect – but just got unlucky on his dice. Pure Sabacc proved remarkably evasive, getting through the first round of fire from both Dengar and Tel with only a single damage card and his pilot ability intact as a result – 8 natural evades on 9 green dice isn’t bad at all… That added firepower allowed me to focus the JumpMasters down quite fast, although even so the amount of firepower they can put out proved extremely punishing.
Round 3 – Darren – Airen, Jan, and Miranda, all kitted out to alpha strike. The less said about this game the better in some ways. Darren is a lovely chap, but we were both a bit frayed going into this game from some tense matches earlier in the event, and made so many mistake throughout. This is probably the least tidy game of X-Wing I’ve played, and I’m not convinced that if we’d been playing better that it wouldn’t have been Darren’s game instead. My SFs do not deal well with a PS 10 alpha strike, as it removes their all important PS advantage.
Athena Games – Voitek Invitational III
The third of these Wednesday night tournaments saw me bringing along another list again, although still Imperial, and still featuring a TIE/SF. I’d put together a Whisper (VI, ACD, FCS, plus Agent Kallus), Quickdraw (A Score to Settle, FSC, LWF, title), and Deathfire (Cluster Mines, EM). For those of you thinking “who’s Deathfire”, you’re not alone. One of the two new TIE Bomber pilots from Imperial Veterans, Deathfire allows you to do a Bomb upgrade action as a free action after revealing your dial or performing an action. This gives him a lot more options about where those mines will go, and at only 23 points he’s quite a meaningful threat for not a lot of investment.
All of my games were real nail biters. Deathfire died early in pretty much every one, effectively acting as a budget Biggs as people very reasonably decided they just didn’t want to have to deal with post-barrel roll Cluster Mines being dropped on their ships. This did give both Quickdraw and Whisper relatively untroubled early turns however, which let them start to put pressure on my opponent’s ships. In my first and third games (against IG-88B plus Bossk, and Scum Kath/Boba respectively) Whisper ended the game as my only ship, and on one hull remaining after several tense turns of desperate arc dodging to stay alive. It’s a hell of a fun list to play, but not what I’d describe as a relaxing experience…
Unsurprisingly, I was beaten on MoV on that event, with Stephen Sage’s “Angry Birds” Chewie and Rey double YT-1300 list taking the event for a well deserved victory. He’s been honing that list for a good while now, and his experience with it shows.
So, 4 win out of my last 5 competitive events, although three of those were only 8-12 player events. Remarkably, I’d also gone undefeated across those 5! It’s a hot streak I wasn’t sure would last into Store Championship season, with both the Inner Sanctum (Cambridge) and Athena Games (Norwich) Store Championships on the horizon. But more about the first of those in the near future…