For the first time I’m able to make UK Nationals so I’m debating what type of squad to take.
The summer is always awkward. The Wife and children expect me to spend time with them and other projects have dried up my time of late. That being said with the introduction of Warhammer 40K 8th Edition I’ve finally committed a lot of my 40K stuff to ebay and thanks to my Sister’s of Battle army I got the funds to go to Nationals, (which for a change fell in a spot in the dairy I could make this year).
It was still slightly unpopular mind. Despite both being of the ideology that one’s Birthday weekend is the weekend that the birthday either falls upon or follows after said date, there seemed to be a mild re-writing of this rule once the realisation of which weekend Nationals is hit home. The weekend before the Wife’s birthday, not the birthday weekend, but for this year apparently it is. Nonetheless my tournament war chest has had to fund additional birthday gifts much like the Tories funding the DUP to stay in government.
Project Swarm Leader: Cancelled
“Swarm Leader could be the new over powered card needing to be nerfed.”
I clung to this for a while, perhaps too long but Swarm leader offered so much at times but ultimately in clutch games failed to deliver. The squad I was going to run and also take to UK team Championships was as follows:
Colonel Vessery, Tie Defender: X7, Swarm leader
2 x Academty Tie Fighters
Echo, Tie Phantom: Veteran instincts, Agent kallus, Fire Control Systems, Advanced cloaking device.
I’ve always had a soft spot for Echo. It was the first top meta ship that I cut my teeth on as well as the first phantom that I flew. The decloak mechanic is both fun and powerful, as well as frustrating for the opponent to guess where it will end up. Echo didn’t really suffer with the nerf to decloak in my opinion as you have to think quite carefully about where you will end up. You couldn’t like Whisper dial in a Hard one turn then wait and see where to decloak happily.
With the recent spike in the PS war, ps 10 and 11 are widespread. This puts the dampers on Whisper and can effectively neuter the poor blighter from the get go. All is not completely lost though as Agent Kallus crew gives both Phantom pilots a crucial leg up in these situations. The general tactic is to ‘Kallus’ the higher PS ship and then try to sit at range three of it with an evade token. You get the pseudo focus both offensively and defensively as well as fire control systems to add in further rounds. This means you should get three green dice, a focus and an evade if they are shooting first.
Veteran instincts is not necessarily the auto include on Echo, Lone Wolf and some other EPTs and crew combos are just as useful what with a polarising of the Pilot Skill between low and high, but enough mid level threats still exist in Dash Rendar and Miranda Donni to warrant veteran instincts.
Having used this at Woking War Team Tournament I found the weak spot in the list was not the presumed Echo but everything else. The Tie fighters were particularly squishy and for the most part were an expensive punishing one title. So keep Echo and drop the rest? A team tournament is tricky environment to draw solid conclusions from but with Nyms, Mirandas and Dashs a plenty it was enough to convince me Echo still has a place.
On the same day Dale Cromwell took the following to the semifinals, (or top four if that floats your boat better):
Darth Vader tie Advanced: Veteran instincts, Title, Advanced targeting computer, Cruise Missiles, Guidance chips
Quickdraw Tie FO/SF: Veteran Instincts, Fire Control systems, Targeting Synchronizer, cruise Missiles, Guidance chips
Lt Kestal Tie Aggressor: Veteran instincts, Auto blaster turret, Cruise Missiles, guidance chips
No engine upgrade on Vader and light weight Frame on the other two ships, of which all three are almost mandatory upgrades for most people. A nasty high PS alpha strike although still needs to be flown well but will no doubt be showing up at a star matt near you soon.
“I wonder how well you would do if you actually flew something decent?”
Alex Birt of 186th Podcast to Phil GC of Firespray addiction
Although perhaps in jest it struck a nerve in me of my wilderness roving of late. Am I having fun? Yes and I enjoying messing with things but I also like winning. So if I’m still going to fly Imperials I have to fly more meta Imperials like an high PS Alpha strike, RacLo or quad TLT. I can still tweak it a bit to suit my own taste.
Darth Vader tie Advanced: Veteran instincts, Title, Advanced targeting computer, Cruise Missiles, engine uograde
Lt Kestal Tie Aggressor: Veteran instincts or Deadeye, Twin Laser turret, Cruise Missiles, guidance chips
Double edge Tie Aggressor: Deadeye, Twin Laser turret, Cruise Missiles, guidance chips
It seemed good in theory and on paper but in testing it was less so. It seemed a tool box but folded ever so easily and at times the damage output was underwhelming. Game time having run out Vader was by far and away the strongest element in the list. The next option is to chop and change back with the original build to some familiar ships I’m used to flying. So I’m committing to the below squad for Nationals barring any crazy talk on the four hour car journey up to Liverpool on the Friday evening. The 26 point Deathfire Tie bomber idea is probably crazy talk and will no doubt surface.
Darth Vader tie Advanced: Veteran instincts, Title, Advanced targeting computer, Cruise Missiles, engine upgrade
Quickdraw Tie FO/SF: Veteran Instincts, Fire Control systems, Cruise Missiles, Guidance chips, Title
Pure Sabaac Tie Striker: Lone Wolf, Title, Light weight frame.
Sabaac tickles my Echo fancy whilst I have Vader and Quickdraw net listed over but swapping the targeting synchronizer for an engine upgrade on Vader. There is an argument for just going cheap on Sabaac with Trick shot only then spend the other stuff on Quickdraw like Pattern analyzer, light weight frame, Homing missile or targeting Synchronizer. Something to try in Hanger Bay I suspect.
This is the worst time of year for me to go into a major tournament as flying time is low so whilst there is a small part of me writing the victory speech in my head, I mostly expect to not make the cut for Sunday. It’s looking like seven rounds followed by top 32 which means a 5-2 record might not quite get you in. The plus side is getting home earlier on the Sunday and getting a brownie point, just the one at best.
The venue seems nice although I have little to go on in terms of caffeine refreshment vendors on site.
My preferences chart out of ten for standard latte for example:
Wild Bean café 4
Costa Express 4
Greggs the bakers 5
Note: The Waitrose Coffee is scored without considering it is free. This perhaps should score more as I can get one free each day.
This table changes drastically when adding syrups or having a Mocha for example. I did genuinely contact one of the organisers about what coffee vendors are on site and they sadly failed to reply. I at least now have an excuse for not doing well. Furthermore at no point in their details of the event did they mention about keeping the players abreast of what is occurring in both the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing due to playing into the evening. This I feel could be the only negative for some on what should be a great Weekend of X-wing.
So if you are at Nationals on Saturday it will be nice to you and I hope you all have a good game.