The snow fell early Sunday morning evoking memories of the Starkiller base dogfights on the way in to Aldershot.
The list I took to the Aldrshot Winter Kit event was not quite the one I wrote about in the previous article. After putting pen to paper and thinking about how I would be dealing with various threats along the PS 7 and PS 8 range as well as PS 9 I decided to dump Echo for Whisper.
Darth Vader: Veteran instincts, title, Advanced Targeting Computer, Engine Upgrade
Whisper: Veteran Instincts, Fire Control System, Agent Kallus, Advanced Cloaking Device
Zeta Leader: Wired, Comms Relay.
So I lost my 1 points initiative bid but I felt that at least Whisper would be more durable due to gaining the focus token if he hits a target and being cloaked against most enemy ships. My plan with Agent Kallus was to mark in general the highest pilot skill ship that could hurt an uncloaked whisper, like a PS10 Poe Dameron. Most the time I would de-cloak and evade, ideally at range three of the marked ace, whilst concentrating on soft targets. Vader was supposed to deal with the bigger nasties.
One of my issues was that although playing in a similar style, with Vadar and Zeta Leader flying together with Whisper free styling, I had probably only played four to six games with whisper back in the summer and getting used to the regular de-cloak compared to Echo’s was actually tricky and less forgiving. I made some positional mistake in my early games in regard to the next turns de-cloaking. On reflection I also played poorly with Darth Vader throughout the day, a ship which I have flown a lot in recent times. I got him in silly positions due to over extending and possible over confidence in his ability. Thankfully I had the other two ships to bail me out when needed.
John Wainscott: echo and mini swarm
Echo: Veteran Instincts (I think),tactican, advanced cloaking device.
Howlrunner: swarm tactics, Hull upgrade
3 obsidian tie fighters
Kallus Targeted Echo
John has been looking to get down to the Zombie Squadron club having only just started playing the game a bit more despite having the core set since late 2013. John set up the mini swarm on my right hand corner and echo in the middle. I put Vader and Zeta on my left with Whisper in the middle.
Echo is a tricky ship to start with and he unfortunately parked Echo on a rock on turn two. I had already made a bee line for echo with all three of my ships and took the opportunity to remove Echo when stuck on the boulder.
Although I went on to destroy the mini swarm for no loses, Vader was down to one Hull and for someone just getting to grips with formation flying John did quite well with the mini swarm. I realised during this game that the regular Phantom De-cloak was going to get a bit of getting used to and I was a bit reckless and gun hoe with Vader.
Ryan McCurry: han Solo & Poe
Han Solo: VI, Chewbacca, Luke Skywalker, Hull upgrade
Poe Dameron: Wired, R2 D2, Auto thrusters.
Kallus Targeted Han Solo
Ryan had had a Bye in the first round, and not flown this combination before. I set up as the first round whilst Ryan set on my right hand side. Ryan hugged his board edge whilst I travel forwards on my left with Vader and Zeta while Whisper tracked down the middle and a bit off to my right to try and snag Poe. Poe and whisper had a bit of an exchange before everyone congregated in the middle. It was tempting to unload every ship into Han solo but I had the opportunity to fire all three at Poe who was down by a shield.
I took out Poe but lost Vader in the return. This left me with Whisper and Zeta leader to take on Han with effectively 6 shields and 10 hull. I managed to whittle it down to 5 hull before Whisper bought it. At this point I was marginally losing but I still had Zeta leader on full health with an evade in the bank. This game Wired really paid off as a bit earlier I had rolled three eye balls on Zeta Leader when defending and managed to reroll it to avoid two or three damage. I also managed to sloop back into position in the end game and put another two damage on the falcon with help from wired to put it down to 3 hull.
We still had a bit of jostling for position as Han was trying to get out of the asteroids in the centre but I managed to get the kill shot in three or four rounds later. Being able to fire an extra shot and the dial of the Tie/Fo really helped in this game.
Lee Donovan: Poe, elio Asty and 2 bandits
Poe Dameron: VI, R5 P9, Auto thrusters
Ello Asty: VI, R2 D2, Auto thrusters
2 Tala Squadron Z95s
Kallus Targeted Poe Dameron
We both had 100 points and I got the initiative, which meant that Whisper could cloak before Asty fired. Lee set the two Z95s up on my right with the two T70s two thirds of the way across the board from them. I placed Whisper in the centre with Vader and Zeta on my left. I made it appear that I was going to engage the T70s with Vader and Zeta Leader whilst Lee slow crawled his ships forward. I then bailed out and ran across my board edge to the right while Whisper started to engage the Z95s. If the T70s were T65s I would have had another turns grace before they shot into the middle and I was turning back in with Vader and Zeta to finish off the Z95s. I took out the Z95s by the time it got close and personal with the T70 aces, but it was almost a fair fight for a round as the two T70 aces could only fire at range three of my ships prior to that.
Disaster then struck for Lee as he managed to park Poe on a Rock and I then blocked him on it still for another turn. This helped me reposition with my ships and finally take out Asty after he had blown away Zeta leader. Poe had flown out of the fur ball and was repositioning back in with Whisper and Vader trying to pincer him. There was a bit of dancing about but Whipser kept rolling hot and putting four hits on Poe, the fire Control and Agent Kallus were almost redundant. For Poe it was all over.
Before seeing the list and playing against it, I was a bit unsure if Ello Asty was worth it but I have to say I was impressed when his pilot ability kicked in and two regen T70s were going to be problematic if I could not focus one down at a time. It helped that I was rolling hot on attack when it mattered mid game and Poe getting stuck on a rock for two turns certainly made life and target selection easier.
So that was three wins and no losses, apart form a slightly flavorless piece of ham in my cheese and ham toastie at lunch time from a local cafe. Part Two will have the last two games and my conclusions