Not so bright and early on a Saturday morning we trundled off to Firestorm cards in Basingstoke for a tournament. Five rounds of Swiss to be followed by a top eight cut.
Jimmy who ran the event was very accommodating and when I realised that I had cleverly left my Inquisitor card at home delved into a massive spares cupboard to lend me one for the day. I was not alone in idiocy as Man Of Monkey had left his card base for Kaato Leechos at his house. On the journey there we both recounted tales of how our respective small children had decided sleep for Daddy was not an option last night. Off to a great start then.
I took two lists to the event as I was still wavering between the two. I almost went for the variant I had been running of Late of Whisper, Soontir Fel and Zeta Leader but I did want to use this event as a test run for the inquisitor with Push the Limit rather than the silly idea at the last event. Thanks to Jimmy I managed to use the below:
Whisper Tie Phantom: Veteran Instincts, Fire control systems, Rebel Captive and Advanced cloaking device.
Inquisitor Tie Advanced Prototype: Push the limit, auto thrusters and title.
Zeta Leader Tie FO: Wired, comms Relay, stealth device.
Nera Dantals: Adaptability, proton torpedoes, fire control system, extra munitions, guidance chips
Etahn A baht: R2 D2
2 x Bandit squadron z 95: concussion missiles, guidance chips.
My memory on this one is a little hazy but one defining moment early on was when I was repositioning at the start with Zeta leader and after barrel rolling and not having banked my evade token I was on the wrong end of a range three shot from a Z 95. One hit followed by zero evades got rid of my shield and stealth device.
Whisper did most of the heavy lifting whilst the inquisitor sniped from the edges. It did prove tricky at times to keep the Inquisitor at arm’s length and both of these aspects were typical of the day. After initially targeting Nera, Etan got in a bad position and Whisper and Zeta leader finished him off, before finishing Nera and then the two Z 95s.
Won 100 – 0
Soontir Fel: Push the limit, auto thrusters, title, stealth device
Carnor Jax: Push the limit, auto thrusters, title, stealth device
Inquisitor: Push the limit, auto thrusters, title,
I sat down opposite fellow Zombie Squadron recruit Phil who had switched back to Imperials for this event after a recent dalliance with scum. Phil won initiative and gave it to me with the plan of knowing where Whisper was going with his Soontir. It’s always a tricky one this as you are dammed either way. Do you want to shoot at the Phantom with it only having two defence yet it could end up in a bad spot for you or see where it ends up and then manoeuvre hopefully out of its arc.
The rebel captive was always going to cause him issues in this game although an early bit of over exuberance with Carnor Jax and bad dice left him on the back foot early. Phil set up centrally whilst I had my Inquisitor and zeta leader on my right corner with Whisper in the middle. I edged forwards slowly whilst Phil came up quicker. He then barrel rolled and boosted Carnor into range one of Zeta Leader and my inquisitor, although out of arc, whilst getting a range three shot, (as such), from his inquisitor lined up on mine. Sadly for Phil I had moved and barrel rolled Whipser back over to get a range two shot on Carnor whilst Soontir was off over on the left flank sunning himself.
I was mainly hoping to get a target lock set up for the next turn and maybe knock off the stealth device but I ended up one shotting Carnor with four hits vs one evade. This then allowed me to pick off the Inquisitor before Fel entered the fray. With a bit of manoeuvring I swiftly dispatched him as three on one left him nowhere to hide.
Won 100 – 0
Howl runner: hull upgrade, crack shot
5 black squadron Tie fighters: crack shot
At the start of this round Mike Dennis (186th Podcast)was on the table next to us and was unusually whiney, due to a stressful couple of days and little sleep in the real world. Apparently a world outside of plastic space ships exists. I did offer if he wanted some of my dried banana in his mouth to cheer him up but he declined. Tom on the other hand could not help himself, stuffing his face at any opportunity, even in a following game. Mike was not alone in refusing my dried banana, his opponent Janus also refused. In fact all 186th podcast crew refused at some point and Phil from Zombie Squadron refused my chilli seeds. Wise man as they were rank.
In the game itself I managed to draw his swarm through into the rocks whilst I dangled Whisper to chase and was attempting to swing in from the side of the swarm with the Inquisitor and Zeta. Having destroyed Howlrunner I then made a mistake with Whisper by overthinking about where to go. I could have bugged out as the amount of crack shot coming my way was hurting as I had dropped the two shields at this point. I thought I could be blocked so tried a more straight forward manoeuvre which was more predictable and resulted in getting blocked and then finished off.
We ended up playing a bit more cat and mouse as I tried to snipe a tie fighter down which was on one health and pop another whilst not losing another ship. This I failed iat as time ran out and my ships were out of position.
On the plus side Tom had acquired seven alt art C3P0 cards from a glut of store champs whilst I failed to get to single one and very kindly gave me one of them. At this point he was looking more dried banana than man though.
Lost 22 -42
Darth vader: Predator, title, advanced targeting computer, engine upgrade
Soontir Fel: Push the limit, auto thrusters, title, stealth device
Omega leader Tie FO: juke, comms relay
Nick won initiative and decided to take it so that he could shoot Whisper uncloaked with both Vader and Soontir. This he told me as well as that Whisper would be his primary target. Was this bluff or counter bluff, or was I just reading too much into it?
Talking about mind games, Mike Dennis was still on the table next to me but matched up against his 186th podcast colleague James Dowdall. Mike seemed a lot more chipper in this match as whilst James popped off to the toilet he hid all of James’ templates and dice for about half the match. He was still refusing the banana though.
In my game I managed to draw Nick through the rocks and circle back in with Whisper. Being able to move last with the barrel roll did offer me some reasonable repositioning with Whisper. Soontir shot at Whisper but failed to do any damage and as a result got double stressed. Although I went in for the kill with all three ships I only managed a solitary point of damage on Soontir. Thankfully I managed to block him and Vader up in the next round and dispatch Soontri then before dealing with Vader.
Omega leader had previously gone off in the wrong direction and I managed to take out Vader before ganging up on Omega Leader.
Won 100 – 0
Man of Monkey
Dengar: veteran instincts, K4 security Droid, unhinged astro mech, punishing one Title
Zuckuss: crack shot, 4 Lomm
Kaato Leeachos: deadeye, concusion missiles, guidance chips.
At this point I was sitting 5th overall and with a huge MOV, but not insurmountable to be overhauled if I lost badly by those below me currently on 2 wins 2 loses. Man of Monkey had three wins too although one was a modified win so it was win or bust for him. He was also driving so it could be a long walk back from Basingstoke.
Historically I have a 100% win record in tournaments between the two of us, although that is one game of 40K and two X wing matches, so not a massive sample in the grand scheme of things. The previous week I went down two games to nil with the previous incarnation of his list and mine. That being said the second match was really close and I had fouled up Whisper in that game, as well as the previous one in fact. I’m also not one to roll over and die so…
I have not lost a game of X wing so badly for a long time. It all started off so well with manoeuvring the inquisitor and zeta up to his board edge to drop back down into the middle while Dengar was playing chase Whisper. My plan had been to nip past Dengar and engage Zukass and Kaato who were trolling up and down my left flank while the other two ships attack Dengar from the rear.
It started well enough, chipping a shield off Dengar, then it went rapidly downhill by parking Zeta Leader on a rock by 1mm, which I had to move through again the next turn taking two damage in the process. I also made a move with Whisper which proved less than ideal which resulted in getting one shotted by Dengar.
On the back foot I decided to look at the bigger picture and try and bag some points to boost the MOV before going down in flames and went after Kaato who had previously used his missile to drop the shields off the Inquisitor. Sadly a tokened up Soontir fel at range three, with Auto thrusters and Stealth device would have probably been easier to hit. Dengar finally clipped Zeta Leader whilst Zuckass polished off the Inquisitor at range three, through a rock.
Lost 0 – 100
Contracted scout: deadeye, overclocked astro Mech, plasma torpedoes, guidance chips
Contracted scout: deadeye, overclocked astro Mech, plasma torpedoes, extra munitions guidance chips
Contracted scout: deadeye, R4 Agro Mech, proton torpedoes, extra munitions guidance chips, boba fett crew.
Despite the previous loss I made it into the top eight cut by three MOV points. A dead Kaato Leeachos would have made it more comfortable but as it was it didn’t matter. This was the first time I played against the dreaded U-boat list or triple toilet seat, (which ever floats your boat). I have to say it was not that bad to play against. It did seem rather forgiving to use at times but if you play correctly against it a win is more than possible.
As it was I made a massive error with Whisper which turned the game. People tend to like to play chase the phantom which James duly obliged in doing. When cornered back in my right corner, having got the other two of my ships where I wanted them I decided not to do the more obvious decloak and hard one but a blocking decloak and forward move. Had I done the ‘obvious’ move, I would be out of any missile shots as the U-boats would have to move away from me back towards his edge.
As it was I ended up sandwiched in the middle of all three and action less at range one. Although shooting and recloaking a dead phantom soon followed. I nibbled away with the other two but I found myself in a less than ideal position and although I had dropped one contracted scout the Inquisitor bought it from a torpedo and then Zeta leader proceeded to miss when shooting and blank out when defending. It was too late at that point but none the less the dice gods like to rub it in.
Lost 32- 100
And the winner is…
Mike Dennis took his Whisper, Soontir and electronic baffle shuttle to victory in the final. The Imperials were out in force as well as the contracted scouts. Rebels where popping up with a four ship rebel build making the cut. I was tempted to run Soontir instead of the Inquisitor as I figured that PS8 imperial aces seemed in vogue, which they were.
I also did not have to walk home and got a shiny new mist hunter.
It was a good run out with the Inquisitor after the previous clever idea debacle proved that its PTL or bust with the ship. Staying in its range three safe zone is the hard part. There were times when I was actually at range one and rued not having the extra die. The dial is neither better nor worse than the interceptor as what it gives with one hand takes away with another. He is not as action efficient as Soontir but not far off.
Dengar is an issue for Whisper although one wonders whether I should get too fixated about that. If I flew better and concentrated on the job in hand for each ship then I should be able to mitigate Dengar. Rebel captive worked well, especially against Imperials and even against contracted scouts it offered an element of control.
With just one more event till the Yavin Open its time to cull Zeta Leader. I’ve toyed with a number of ideas, especially when dealing with contracted scouts and black crack swarm and feel that blockers are a good answer. Either two tie academy fighters or the Doom shuttle could be an answer.
I feel it might be time to try a four ship build.