Why errr… insert choice, won’t win Worlds 2017

I got a request from fellow Zombie Mr Gibbon not to soothesayer about the next Worlds but I feel it would go against the spirit of the article, ‘Why Dengaroo won’t win worlds 2016,’ by not doing so. Saying all that, I’ve found it hard to pick a list this time.

Firstly I thought that Worlds was on the weekend of the 13th May so it came as a bit of a surprise to realise that it was a week earlier than I remembered. Of course I was still struggling to think of a top meta squad due to the current flux in the meta. I boiled it down to a number of options which were sadly a lot more generalised than last year. These were a number of options I thought to write about:

bossk

Why Scum Won’t Win Worlds 2017

The alternative title would have been “Why rebels will win worlds 2017,” but that does not have the ‘won’t’ in it. I’ll start this one off with the simple fact that Imperials will not win worlds. The drop off in Imperial players and the combination of the recent FAQ and current meta of stress control, bombs and high spike damage has pushed the traditional builds to the edges.

It’s not that the Imperials are not competitive but they need an over haul in play styles and list building which currently no one has seemed to get quite right. We are seeing high spike damage lists coming into fruition but I feel the new Imperial meta will appear over store championships rather than Worlds as the proximity of Worlds to the FAQ will see most players revert to more tried and tested options.

Imperials do have options as Tie swarms are viable, RAC and friend, triple defenders can still work and Palp is not completely dead but the player numbers using them will be smaller.

The Imperial Surprise package

Possibly you could say any Imperial list making the top 16 but if there are high placing Imperial lists I feel it will be from RAC plus ace and builds utilising either swarm leader or Tie D like #Nickdraw.

20161204_172402

Why Mind Link Won’t win worlds 2017

I liked this as an option but there is a reasonable number of lists to run through still. The popular chassis for Mind link range from Fenn Rau, Old Terroch, any type or number of Jumpmaster to heavy Sycks and HWKs. While all good and efficient there are obvious weaknesses too from the now returning rebels. The stress hog and stress bombs can cripple the efficiency of the list allowing for a ship to get removed early. When a mind link list loses a ship, even just the focus generator it can go downhill rapidly as the efficiency drops off.

Other scum options outside of mind link have Bossk loaded with cluster missiles, guidance chips, scavenger crane and EPT and crew to taste partnered up with either Ketsu or Dengar. These builds can suffer against high PS aces and Imperial high PS spike damage, which fortunately for the Bossk plus one player neither of which is about a lot at the moment. While a good build, it is prone to a bad match up.

The Scum Surprise Package

f1 crash 2

Bumpmaster

New Old Fangeroo/186th Special

Mind Linked Fenn and Old Terroch with either a contracted scout or Maneroo as a bumpmaster.

With the Maneroo Nerf in the recent FAQ it looked like the writing was on the wall for this list but by converting Manaeroo to a bumpmaster and getting her in the thick of it, the build does still work quite well. Pre-nerf,  Luke Townsend took the Old Fangeroo bumpmaster to the semi finals at Yavin 2017 whilst a Howard brother has been using it to good effect in a couple of the System opens in the USA. There are similarities to this build to Palp aces which has often seen Imperial players gravitate to it.

 “When picking an Imperial squad I used to pick individually good ships and put them together. Now I start to look for some synergies to combine.” Abridged from Mike Dennis’ massive tangent, (much like a hidden bonus track on a CD in the early noughties), 186th Squadron Podcast episode 24.

The mixed tool box of Rebels

To a certain point the change in the meta has reversed the above quote from Mike about Imperials to the opposite about rebels. Rebel builds can often cram a lot of synergy in them but now it’s like you can just pick individually good rebel ships and slap them in a squad like Paul Heaver did for his System Open winning squad comprising Biggs, Stress Hog plus a TLT bomb load out Miranda.

pick n mix

Rebel Pick and Mix Selection

Stress Hog

TLT Y wings

Biggs

Miranda

Bombing K-wings

VCX of any type

Rebel Tie

Arc 170 of any type

Corran Horn

Dash Rendar

Some falcons even

You can even add Rebel swarm to the list if you can fly it.

 

Rebel Surprise Package

Any build not featuring Biggs, a Stress Hog or Miranda. These three staples are so good and useful that when building a rebel list it is hard or foolish not to include at least one of them. Jess Pava Swarm leader might be a good outside bet for a top 16 finish but that can still utilise Biggs.

 

tarkin and vader

Why an American won’t win worlds 2017

An article in its own right with a myriad of parallels from other game systems and sports which suggest that it will be more difficult for an American player to become World champion of X-Wing moving forward with the upturn in top players from around the World taking part. All participants at 2016 said it felt like a more global competition with the larger influx of players from around the World. Other than just pure numbers of good players making the field harder, another basis of this is down to population density and the ability of top players to regularly play against top players in a tournament setting in these other countries.

The USA compared to the UK has four times the population but the UK has four times the population density. Although the top players from any country are of a similar amount of skill you no doubt get a bit of a leg up by turning up to a store quarterly event filled with the level of competition seen at a regional on a regular basis.

This can be offset due to home meta advantage despite what looks like a convergence of the global meta. There are still small differences that can make navigating the early rounds harder for the outsider. Regardless of your Nationality, with more top players attending the event from around the World, the harder it will be to win it as the amount of easy games disappears. The majority of players travelling from far away are capable tournament winners.

This year though should be a statistically better opportunity for an American player to win as there is no doubt a downshift in the number of players from around the World travelling due to the global season changing and the close proximity of Worlds 2016 and the cost of travel.  It’s worth pointing out though that the bulk of Australian players targeted 2017 over 2016 so this could off-set the drop off in players from Europe and elsewhere.

I discarded this as an option as it is a massive thing to write out and at the end of the day it’s just theoretical candy. Anyone making the top 16 cut has as much chance as the next person in the cut to win whether they are from Tatooine or Dagenham.

shorts

World Champion Winning Lucky Shorts.

Why a good taste in clothing won’t win Worlds 2017

I can’t overtly preach about fashion. As a man I have the good fortune of a very simple flow chart when getting dressed for most days.

  1. Is it warm enough for shorts?
  2. If yes, wear shorts, progress to step 4.
  3. If no, wear jeans, progress to step 4.
  4. Put on a T-shirt

There are a few more steps in regards to head wear in extreme cold or heat and the use of fleeces, jumpers or jackets dependant on the weather. One of the things I have noticed over time is that it is harder to co-ordinate shorts with T-shirts due to a more diverse set of colouring and materials. I have to actually think about it rather than just blindly pull out anything when wearing shorts. A lot of this was evident on the live feeds last year and I wrote about it in full in Dengaroo Wins Worlds 2016.

I suspect that this year’s winner maybe wearing a clash of upper and lower garments but this isn’t Fashion Police so as an option I ruled this one out too.

stupid_head

What will win Worlds 2017?

From a positive point of view the lack of finding something to write about in terms of a top meta list and the reasons it might not win, (or an effective how to beat it article), means we are in an interesting point again for list design. In 2016 the top beasts were clearly defined as Triple defenders, Palp aces and Dengaroo. We saw the emergence of Attanni Mindlink, Shadowcasters, bombing K-wings and older style rebel builds could be effective in good hands as well as the nerfed Triple Jumpmasters.

With store Championships fast approaching the resultant Worlds meta should have an influence over the lists used. A good bet would be rebels but pinpointing the make-up of the squad will be hard other than it will likely contain at least one from Biggs, Miranda and a stress hog. I would also be surprised if Paul Heaver did not make the cut to top 16 with the tool box usefulness of rebels coming to the fore again.

So my personal outside bet, if I were a betting man looking at maximum return on a small wager is that this year’s World Champion will be a well-dressed Australian playing Imperials.

Further Reading

Why Dengaroo Won’t Win Worlds 2016

Dengaroo Wins Worlds 2016, D’oh!

Fishy Wargaming at Yavin 2017: Manaroo Bumpmaster

186th Squadron Podcast: Episode 24

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