Out of the Hive: X-Wing Tournament Write-Up

‘I Find Your Lack of Faith Disturbing’ – ibuywargames Winter Pack Tournament

20th March 2016

Time for a new contributor to rear their ugly head. I won’t tell you which one, but I’m one of that lot hanging out in the Mos Eisley Cantina.

In this series I’ll be writing about my experiences playing the beautiful game, musing on my perspectives on the meta and writing some bits on painting my ships. I hope you enjoy.

Labria

I wish I were as cool as this guy…

I managed to get myself over to my local Plastic Crack supplier yesterday for a day of moving ships around tables, making the appropriate accompanying noises, and throwing dice at other grown men. Ian (store owner) ran a fantastic tournament and was a great host throughout the day, even coping admirably well when the software (inevitably…) malfunctioned.

I’d picked up my new Scum toys on Thursday and, after a throwdown in the store where I fielded Dengar (I just couldn’t wait to use our first* bona fide ace) I decided I would run him at the weekend. I chucked a couple of standard “good” upgrades on him first time round (Predator, Unhinged Astromech, K4 Security Droid & Title) and these combined well. After a bit of indecision and one or two more games at our club on Friday (name drop alert: Tolworth First Founding), I decided not to pair him with Boba, as planned, but to take everyone’s favourite Robot Brother, IG-88B (note: ‘Robot Brother’ is not some kind of cult Blaxploitation film, as much as I want it to be).

* second, perhaps third, if you count Boba and The Glass Cannon himself, Talonbane

I chose Iggy B primarily because I was worried that Dengar and Boba, despite being two of the most badass bounty hunting brothers in the galaxy, would struggle to deal damage to those crafty Interceptors that feature heavily in the current meta. With his in-built Gunner ability, Fire Control and a cannon that rolls 4 dice while ignoring range bonuses, this kind of build has proven particularly effective at dealing with the Soontirs of this world. Sure, he’s got a pretty large blind spot, but that’s what Dengar’s turret, hyper-maneuverability and exquisite pilot skill is for.

So here’s the list:

Dengar (50)

  • Veteran Instincts
  • K4 Security Droid
  • Unhinged Astromech
  • Punishing One

IG88-B (50)

  • Crackshot
  • Heavy Laser Cannon
  • Fire Control System
  • Glitterstim
  • Autothrusters

 

20160321_193315

Cheeky repaint to lighten Dengar’s tones…

Game 1: The One-Ship Ghost Build (with various upgrades…)

So there’s no simpler way to put this: I got off to an appalling start.

Seeing the Ghost across the table from me had me feeling confident. No evade? Autoblaster? Cool, I already had some pancakes at McDonald’s, but I’ll have you for breakfast at Range 3. I’m maneuverable, I can dance around you, I can deal with this lumbering behemoth. I roll lots of modified, accurate attack dice and, with some crafty moves, I can avoid that scary Autoblaster Turret.

Great plan. If only you could have stuck to it, @&*^head.

I made every mistake in the book. I second-guessed myself constantly, failed to put my strategy into practice, played pinball with the asteroids and forgot to use Glitterstim on not one, but two, separate occasions. I didn’t even look at the Ghost’s dial. (FYI: That thing has a bloody 5 K-Turn!!?)

Idiot.

I clearly hadn’t woken up properly and was absolutely livid with myself for my lack of concentration, poor assessment of my opponent’s list and, stupidly, being angry with myself. Anyone else have that? Anger at your own anger?

I find that this is often what hamstrings me in X-Wing tournaments: I have incredibly high expectations of myself as a player and, when I invariably don’t live up to these, I proceed to beat myself over the head with my own incompetence. I know, rationally, that this just makes me play worse. Of course it does! Staying calm is how you make good decisions, plan ahead and rectify your mistakes. Fine. I get it. Thanks. But I’m not calm! Damnit, why can’t I be calm!? I’m so bad at this! Oh bollocks, I was too busy flagellating myself to remember to declare Glitterstim. Cue incoherent rage. Assign stress token.

Deep breath.

Forget about it.

You’re your own worst enemy and you’re here to enjoy yourself. Pull your shizzle together and learn from your mistakes.

What I learnt: Wake up, have more coffee and bother to read what your opponent’s list does if you’re not familiar with any of the cards.

Also, asteroids. Don’t hit those.

caffine

Game 2: Boba Fett & IG88-B

Happily, I got to play my second game against Zombie Squadron co-founder and all round Top Bloke, manofmonkey. This was a really enjoyable game, not least because I was offered a cup of his glorious cold brew coffee.

manofmonkey was flying one of my favourite bounty hunter pairs – a combination I had been using for a week or two previously. It was a nice list and the Autoblaster on Boba gave me some traumatic flashbacks to Game 1. With 4 big ships on the table the maneuvering was tight and an interesting dance developed around the asteroid clusters on the right hand side.

My IG was first to go down under fire (I again didn’t fly him very effectively) but not before heavily damaging both his ships. Dengar proceeded to clean up, keeping away from Boba and making him have to fly through or around asteroids, thereby denying him shots and forcing a bump that lost Fett his last shield, while he killed the other IG. I finally engaged on my terms, with a target lock and a focus. With Dengar’s ability, I was able to take Boba from 6 Hull point to 0 in one round of shooting. Danger Dengar won the dual of the Bounty Hunters.

This was a really enjoyable game against a great opponent. Whatever he put in that cold brew coffee clearly worked wonders for me: I didn’t lose another game all day.

What I learnt: manofmonkey’s cold brew coffee is the business. Also, I need to fly the Robot more confidently and with a clear strategy.

Game 3: Imperial Aces – Whisper, Soontir, Omega Leader

I had built my list with this in mind and, as expected, IG88-B did some serious work here.

I deployed the IG on the left and Dengar on the right. My opponent threw his ships across the middle of the table with Whisper opposite IG. I slow rolled Turn 1 with both, keeping my cards close to my chest and letting my opponent signal his intent.

He chose to engage IG with all ships. Into Range 2 they all came and finally I picked an opportune moment to pop my Glitterstim. The Robot hit Soontir hard after a Gunner trigger, leaving him on 1 Hull. Dengar artfully navigated some asteroids to come in behind his squad and proceeded to one shot Omega Leader. Soontir went down soon after to Dengar and the boys spent a few turns chasing Whisper down. I eventually managed to hurl enough dice in his direction to see him gone, with IG, aided by a TL and Focus, getting the kill.

What I learnt: If your opponent ignores Dengar, capitalise! Also probably the best use of Stims so far on IG – a great ship to use as bait.

20160321_193243_001

Robot Brother

Game 4: Imperial Aces – Soontir, Vader, Omega Leader

Lo and behold, I was destined to play another Aces list! This was a bit of luck for me, considering there were only 4 present on the day… This was to be a tricky game, however, as my opponent was practised with these guys.

I reversed  my set up from last game, placing IG on the far right and Dengar between the middle and left edge. Soontir and Vader stormed down the centre of the table, gunning for Dengar. Seeing this, I decided to turn in with the IG so I could amass fire against my primary target (here, Vader). This meant, unfortunately, that I could do nothing about Omega Leader hitting IG in the flank from the top right corner of the board. It was a risk I was just going to have to take.

Here I made perhaps the most hideous error I have ever made in competitive play.

Vader had eluded the IG’s grasp, but my bank in had allowed me a shot at Soontir. Focused, I landed 4 hits. My opponent blanked out. Okay, it was Range 3 and he had an evade token. Not bad. I’ll take that to the bank. 2 damage from my first volley on Soontir? Jackpot.

Can you spot my mistake yet? I didn’t until about 3 turns later, when I was lamenting how IG had bitten the dust without getting to use either Glitterstim or Crackshot…

Woah, hold up.

Crackshot?

CRACKSHOT!?

Soontir should have been six feet under. My mind grabbed a hold of my incompetence, ready once again to beat myself over the head with it. Then, a few turns later, and as if to rub salt in the wound (and because my opponent clearly had balls of steel/no other option) Soontir crashed straight through an asteroid without taking any damage. I’d learnt from Game 1, however, and just laughed about it with my opponent. I relaxed and, in fairness, took some solace from the fact that Dengar had obliterated Vader in the meantime without taking any damage in return.

Dengar was the star of this match. By this point he had dodged arcs from Soontir and Vader on about 4 separate occasions, killed the Helmeted One and headed back in the direction of Soontir “Living-on-Borrowed-Time” Fel to finish the job. Thinking back to it, I’m not sure Vader even managed a single shot in this game…

Now, pay close attention readers: do not allow Omega Leader to live till the end game when you have only one ship left on the table.

I spent about 7 turns dancing with that 27-point terror as he occasionally chipped away some damage (avec Juke) whilst I wasn’t able to hit the bugger for love nor money. The inability to modify any dice rolls, alongside my below-average results, meant that he remained unscathed for a butt-clenchingly long time. Eventually, however, he chanced an S-Loop to get a good arc on me whilst I rushed up right in front with a big 3 bank. Dengar took two damage off him with the initial shot and, like he had with Vader, killed him with the Payback Shot (henceforth called: The Money Shot).

What I learnt: I am an idiot. Always remember what upgrades you have taken and don’t get lost in thinking about what moves you are going to make next turn. Know your list!

20160321_193333

Game 5: Xizor with PtL/Sensor Jammer, 2 Kihraxz Fighters with Concussion/Chimps

Everyone knew there would be plenty of munitions flying across the tables today and I had anticipated having to deal with this at some stage. I knew I had to avoid getting hit by those super-accurate attacks, but felt confident that I knew my opponent’s game plan. I had clearly learnt from my mistakes…

My opponent deployed in the top right corner of the table, facing to the left. He was going to have to bypass an asteroid cluster before he could turn into the centre of the board. Seeing this, I put IG off centre to the left and Dengar on the far right, with the intention of using the Robot as bait while Dengar would hoof it up the board and swing in behind his arcs.

I didn’t telegraph much with opening move, moving slowly and avoiding range. Next turn I launched both ships forward, closing the distance to within Range 1 of the fighters as they split to get arcs on the incoming threats. A simple 3 bank across the middle got Iggy nose-to-nose with a Kihraxz, bypassing the effective range of his missiles. Having stormed up the flank, I now banked in hard with Dengar just shy of the cluster. I got my Target Lock from Unhinged/K4 and rolled neatly into the middle of the asteroids. A big hit from Dengar left the ship in front of him on 2 hull, whilst IG popped Glitterstim and dished out some pain. Xizor and Left-Fighter couldn’t dent his metal hide, whilst Right-Fighter chickened out of shooting at Dengar. He was mopped up by The Turbaned One next turn. IG took a little green and turned around with his 1-turns whilst out of range of the remaining Kihraxz who had K-turned. He managed to get his missiles launched but, by this point, I could afford to lose some shields. I killed off the fighter next turn. All that was left was to hunt Xizor down. Even managed to keep both ships half health this game – something I wasn’t expecting to do all day.

This match was a case of predicting my opponent’s strategy and countering it effectively. I have played with both the Starviper and the Kihraxz fighters in the past and felt I had a good handle on their respective weaknesses. Xizor, particularly, was very predictable when stressed because of the ship’s limited green maneuvers. Push the Limit is perhaps ill-advised on this ship.

All in all, a 100-0 victory was a convincing and encouraging way to finish the day.

What I learnt: You can avoid missiles if you’re careful, Kihraxz fighters are a bit unconvincing, and Dengar is one intimidating piece of work!  

8WPru6U

Ride into it, I dare you.

So that’s it. A successful day all in all. Third place is my highest finish to date in an X-Wing tournament but, more importantly, I feel that I managed to learn something useful from every single game that I played. There was a great atmosphere in the store and it was exciting to see so many of the new ships make competitive appearances. The meta seems to be very up-in-the-air right now but there was a significantly strong showing for the Scum faction at this particular event. Still, I shall leave it to one of the other brains on this damn fine website to say a few words about all that…

Anyway, see you ‘round the cantina. So long.

 

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