After enjoying reading fellow Zombie Squadron wing man Big Phil write his own blog on being an X-Wing hipster with A wings and Firesprays, it later sent a shiver down my spine. Am I an Imperial X-Wing Hipster?
What is a Hipster and what is a Big Phil?
Your clothes, your boots and you’re A-wings. Give them to me.
Phil’s article seamed to hit a chord, “I’m going to play double Firesprays from now all the way to and including the Euros and try to make it work. It might not work, but I’ll have fun doing so.”
Arrrrgh…. FUN, wait a moment, I’m just going off to vomit.
All done, where were we, oh yes…
Phil got a lot of love for his endeavours on social media in a short while. Having worked in the entertainment industry it’s worth bearing in mind that the old saying ‘never meet your heroes,’ often holds true. Initially for a true dedicated Hipster, meeting Phil for the first time they will feel a tad disappointed.
“I thought you would be shorter with shoulder length blonde hair and a long corduroy coat.” Nay, for Phil looks like someone who will happily relive you of your wallet in a dark alley way, but dangle an A wing or now Firespray in front of him and we have an excitable puppy dog. House trained too.
“A person who follows the latest trends and fashions, especially those regarded as being outside the cultural mainstream.”
So an X-wing Hipster according to my understanding and popular culture, (which I’m fast losing track of as I am starting to consider Radio 2 as the station to listen to), is an X-wing player who will play fringe lists in the meta or something not considered ‘meta’ but they have possibly honed it to fight the meta.
So A-wings and double Firespray fit that bill. Both have also won a regional or two in parts of the world over the past year or so, although the rise of Dengaroo put paid to the A-wing swarms.
Human causalities 0. Hipster casualties….
What’s my Beef with Hipsters?
In general terms for my political thinking when younger I would describe myself as right of centre. As I’ve got older and to a degree wiser I realised that like most people my viewpoints on a variety of issues bounce all over the political spectrum and actually I have no real political leaning one way or the other on close inspection. What really grates with me though is Political Left wing hipsters, and I’m related to a few. People that in general don’t realise the irony of the five minutes they have just spouted about the evils of the current Conservative government (capitalist right wing) whilst then bemoaning the amount of tax they have just had to pay (which would be more under a more centrist or left wing party). People in general paint left wing view points as morally more acceptable and hip.
In a nut shell any kind of hipster in my eyes is a person who doesn’t understand all the issues at stake and only wants to look trendy and have some kind of moral high ground.
Ergo an X-wing Hipster wants to have some kind of moral high ground by not playing the ‘meta’ lists. Arguably, (playing devil’s advocate please refrain from internet rage until finished reading), they hide behind their own attempt at list building to beat the meta or fly something they just like flying for fun, but really they want to win. When the near enough predictable loss or two occurs it was because of the list match up and/or trying to be original rather than following the crowd like a sheep.
Or is it they would still not succeed even if flying the meta lists?
But hang on, this reminds me of someone, can’t quite place it yet…
Sheila from Dungeons and Dragons. I always thought she was my first animated crush until I remembered another series that predated it more recently…
A Division of North and South
I used to contribute articles to the Death or Glory 40K Podcast website. I wasn’t on the podcast but did write stuff for them. Around 2012 they did an episode which explored the differences of the Warhammer 40k meta in the UK. Effectively it was a North South divide in terms of philosophy in England. I lived in Scotland for a year or so around 2010 and the meta there was more like Southern England. Curiously, despite the geography, the Scots refer to people from Northern England as Northerners, despite it being South of the Borders.
The generalisation which held true was that the Northern meta was effectively whatever the new hotness was. The Southern meta on the other hand, had players using an army they like and making it tournament competitive, even if the army, (faction if you will), was not regarded as top tier. This was before GW lost the plot with 6th and 7th edition. Neither approach overall was better or worse than the other and they both had pros and cons.
Comparatively to X-wing it was easier to create an off the wall competitive list that could do a number on the top tier builds and variations of, although it could still go horribly wrong. I played in that Southern 40K Hipster Meta and fielded armies accordingly to those philosophies.
Commander Makara from Star Fleet X Bomber, biologically female, technologically male. Hot, in a weird cyborgy way, but Evil. “As with all high-ranking Imperials, Makara has a symbiote which speaks with/for her when the Imperial Master appears.” That is the creepy face eye on the right, she was and is again the fictional girl for me.
Nuts! I’m an Imperial Hipster
I’ve always had a penchant for the bad guys and girls from Magneto to Megatron or Makara above. In 40K my favourite and most successful times were with Chaos Space Marines, particularly the Slannesh followers The Emperor’s Children legion. With X-Wing its the Imperials.
I like how they fly, the aesthetic and the simple fact that they are the bad guys. I also have some kind of subconscious block that prevents me from running Palpatine or multiple Tie defenders at the moment. I have used Palpatine in a tournament and finished runner-up in the cut when I did. It’s worth noting that not using Palpatine is not for any moral high ground, rather it is trying to be more aggressive with more than two ships, (this part was written pre-nerf).
I get out to play once a week which could be two to three games in the evening. I probably manage a tournament every six weeks or so on average. The net result if I want to run the meta I potentially might not have had enough practice to be adequate in the mirror match. That means moving a bit outside of the box which still requires more practice with whatever list than I realistically have time for. It means not being a Tinker man and trying whatever whim comes your way one week from the next, which with X-wing is so easy to do.
I like the arc dodging re-positional game which really at the moment has fallen out of favour to a degree to a more joust efficiency meta. Tempering the internal battle of wanting to crush face versus the Imperial Hipster fly what you want, (but make it work though), is tough at times.
Am I just trying stuff out just to avoid taking a power build and doing badly at it? I know I can mix and match it with the best but to continue doing so should I just follow the crowd? Is enjoying flying something you like and trying to make it work better for personal satisfaction at playing the game versus the competitive satisfaction of stomping all opponents into the ground?
Managing the Hipster Expectations
“I’m going to play double Firesprays from now all the way to and including the Euros and try to make it work. It might not work, but I’ll have fun doing so.”
I suggested about staging an intervention for Phil down at Ibuywargames one night. A little while later I mused if I needed one. I have a new rebel build in my carry case which should be quite good, just not that interesting to fly. I could bust it out as the ‘fun’ alternative list if I play a new player rather than introducing them to Lt Colzet and Kylo Ren crew or latest attempt at Swarm leader. It just doesn’t grab me with how it flys. Not quite straight one to victory but near enough.
” What you can control is whether you have a good time. If you play the game in front of you and let the score take care of itself you can – in my experience – have an excellent weekend at every event you enter.” Bob Dee, Taking the Sith blog.
The point Phil and Bob Dee make and I suppose in a long winded and roundabout way I’m making is that having a realistic expectation of what one wants out of a tournament or game is key to enjoying it. Whether that is flying the new hotness or something you like, having an appreciable sense of reality of how that may turn out and what goals one realistically can achieve with it are the key to maximising one’s enjoyment.
I am an Imperial X-wing hipster, except it and move on.
I like to live by rules of thumb which have generally served me well. One being “If you don’t understand it, get rid of it.”
Or the other, “sometimes you just have to embrace the madness.”
So I’m just going to embrace the madness and fly predominantly Imperial lists as I hate whiney farm hands. My flying time has been cut short a lot the past few months so sticking with what I know and like has some merits. I’m going to try and make Imperials work in the upcoming store championships and most likely fail due to their drop off in the meta. Although, you never know, there is always a small chance it might work.
Now all I need to do is grow my hair long and buy some corduroy.
Maybe a neck scarf too.
Taking the Sith: https://takingthesith.wordpress.com/