This is a look at the rabbit hole I went down to run Unnecessary Cameos, (is everyone building it wrong?) and the tale of how I got there and a brief review of flying it at the UK System Open. It also highlighted why flying something similar to a list you have had a lot of practice and enjoyment with can be beneficial.
Is everyone building Unnecessary Cameos wrong?
This is what I pondered whilst looking through all the Poe Rey squads, (Unnecessary cameos), on meta wing. How I got there and made what I feel was the better selection starts back at the London regional
London Regional: Horton in the Cut
Between round five and six I was having a chat with Craig Bradford who at the time was sitting undefeated at 5-0 with a Rey Lowhhrick build, called Craig’s List. I liked the simplicity and thought I may give it a whirl. Matters got complicated a bit by making the cut with my rebel trip tens variant where I had switched Wedge for Horton. Using Horton was not a whim, but a call against imperial alpha lists as well as delivering a more reliable alpha strike.
The issue was that a 4-2 in Swiss would not cut it in the system open although the build would work as a fall back if I did not gel with Rey Lowhhrick. Fortunately I had a bit of time and a small Q4 event to practice at. I was very fortunate that most players in the 14 man field were experienced and running decent lists. I went 2-2 playing against a ghost Fenn, Howard aces, final form and the firestorm special.
I learnt a lot from these four games in a multitude of ways. Playing smarter in terms of target priority and win conditions was something I feel I neglected consciously for a long time. Practiced openings too were something I had only really re-engaged with in the run up to UKTC. The result of each game was almost unimportant. Getting to watch a bit of PS 9 intensity Poe with BB-8, primed thrusters, black one and auto thrusters in action was also hugely beneficial. Could I swap out Lowhhrick for that Poe? At 41 points it would mean trimming Rey which didn’t seem prudent, but what about dropping Poe down to PS 8?
Having decided a while back that pure list innovating is foolish for the most part I punched up the unnecessary cameos on meta wing. Fortunately, in one aspect, my three year old daughter was a bit under the weather one night and I spent an hour and a half at 4.30am trawling through all the squads. Meta wing isn’t perfect but it provides the only data we have to work on. I checked out meta wing for all the data on Poe Rey, (unnecessary cameos), and discovered that no one was running intensity bb8 Poe with Rey. The data indicated the bad match ups could be covered by running the below list.
Ps8 Poe: Intensity, BB-8, Auto thrusters, Primed Thrusters
Rey: Expertise, Finn, C3P0, Evade Title, Engine Upgrade
There are two decent heavy hitting Rey builds which both have Expertise, Finn and Engine upgrade then followed by the personal choice of either Kannan sloop title or c3p0 evade title. Both come in at 62 points and both have been top performers with Lowhhrick. Where they all seemed to go wrong or weaken the build with Unnecessary Cameos was that in every case the Rey build was compromised.
I thought the intensity BB-8 Poe Build as championed by Rasta Maice was gimmicky until I saw Traitor Phil do a 4K then boost focus to win a game at the Q event. Once I tried it, it was somewhat of a no brainer to go that route. With only 38 points to play with I had to choose between black one and Primed thrusters. I started with black one but after three games I switched to primed thrusters. It’s a different and better ship with primed. My reflection on how I flew the two ships is that you would not get the leverage out of black one as the build worked best as hammer and anvil. Bait them into chasing one ship, mainly the ‘easier’ to kill Poe then slide the other ship in behind. Trying to put damage on Poe at range three or even two when he is tokened up with focus evade plus auto thrusters is hard to achieve.
Isn’t PS9 better?
PS 8 works just fine as you compromise too much on Rey to deck out Poe to PS 9. If going PS9 you potentially need a bid so it’s pointless to even try. I also believe too many people use high PS as a crutch in X-wing. For example Quickdraw with Expertise if you have the points is vastly superior over a VI Quickdraw, even if facing a Quickdraw with VI. Dropping to PS 8 was simple as you gain flexibility in the movement and shooting order. Rey shooting first allows you to spend Poe’s focus to put in the coup de grais if needed.
Reylo is better right?
On pure meta wing standings this is correct. Reylo sits around the 10th position and Unnecessary Cameos started early twenties then had plummeted to 49th a couple of days before the open. My straw of hope was that none of the Unnecessary Cameo builds were my build and that I preferred the hammer and anvil style that this list had over Reylo.
Hammer and Anvil tactics is to use a smaller flanking force to get in behind or the side of the enemy whilst forcing it to engage with the rest of your army/squad head on, or thereabouts. Even in Warhammer 40k my preferred style of any list was hammer and anvil. Early days of running Echo and RAC or triple imperial aces was hammer and anvil in style. Poe and Rey in this configuration ran as close to RAC Echo as I’ve played.
The simple gut feeling was that I preferred playing with Poo Rey over Reylo. I also felt it would be better against Reylo and Poe Dash as well Wookies and other slow rolling lists than a Reylo.
Moment of truth, UK System Open 2018:
My hopes were to make stage two and I would have been happy to go 4-2.
R1: Jake playing Daisey Cutter, (Rex Fenn R3-A2, Rey Sloop) Won 38-31
Jake had travelled across from Dublin for his first big event, so you get no bigger than this. Not only were our lists similar but our choice of snack, an apple, was too. I planned to destroy the two support ships first and keep Poe alive.
That is how the game rolled out although it was a bit nervy as my Rey was flagging on four hull at the end of the match.
R2 Edward playing Ghost Fenn, (r3A2 Hotshot) Won 100-0
Ed travelled from down the road in Basingstoke from yocal rivals Firestorm Squadron. I planned to hit the ghost from two directions and just pummel it unless Fenn presented himself in an easy opportunity. It didn’t help Ed when he drew two weapons failure crits back to back but the ghost was on fire at that point.
R3 Adam playing Final Form (PS10 proton bomb nym Miranda) Lost 0-100
A misjudgment to block Miranda with Poe, which I could have still blocked by boosting cost me. I had planned to chip away at Nym and only go for Miranda if the opportunity arouse. It did but I wonder if I had just continued to focus on Nym it might have panned out better. Miranda was on one hull and Nym on four.
Adam, although getting knocked out of the main event in Stage Two, topped the Hyper space the next day.
R4 Adam playing Triple Imperial (Vader, Quickdraw TLT siennar) Won 75-31
I had a simple plan to kill Quickdraw, then Vader leaving the siennar to last. It ended up going this way but I had to change target priorities every now and then which made it hard going to finish off one of the aces. It was a bit nip and tuck at the end with trying to catch Vader and stop him offing Poe.
R5 Kevin playing 4 mangler cannon gunboats with linked battery and LRS Won 100-0
Black One would have been useful was the first thing I thought after Kevin locked all four onto Poe in round one. I wasn’t sure I would be able to keep both ships alive and felt that I would need to drop three gunboats to win. I approached from two directions and Kevin decided to try and drop Poe which allowed Rey to get in behind. I dropped one gunboat before Poe got dropped to one Hull but once behind them it was brutal.
R6 Dave, (zombie squadron, never heard of them), playing Quad Wookies Won 100-31
Dave’s only two losses in stage two were against his fellow Zombies. I feel he would have got into stage three if he hadn’t played familiar opposition. I played it like the game before against Kevin, fanned out and got one ship behind and focused fire.
Finished 5-1, 43rd out of 500 with 820 MOV, (top 8.6%)
Jesper playing Control bots Lost 49-69
This was my favorite game of the event, not just for finding out a new mixer for Dissarano, a favorite tipple for both of us. It went right down to the wire. I held the advantage in terms of points destroyed for the majority of the game until it mattered. Great game though, great puzzle, great banter. It could have been a game played on the dining room table rather than a knockout game in the biggest X-wing event ever.
Maybe Jesper’s game was a game that got away but I feel that’s always easy to say post-match. Oddly I probably should have parked Poe on a rock to not get shot at some point mid game although Poe’s resulting range one attack on an IG with no tokens put it down to one health, swings and roundabouts.
I still walked away happy from that one.
R1 Bye as playing in the cut
R2 Luke playing Daisey cutter (rex stress ezra, Rey evade C3P0) 14-100
R3 Simon Trash Talking with Dengar Assaji 52-69
R4 Marty playing 3 Z95s and a Lok Revenant 100-0
Drop to cheer on Tom
I lost twice in the resulting hyperspace due to being bantered out and letting small silly judgment errors creep in against Luke and not following the plan to which Luke punished me for. I then got paired with fellow Zombie “ManofMonkey’ which became a lower grade banter fest than mine and Jesper’s..
I started it though with, “Hey Simon, I’ve got a bye for the next round. Do you know who you are playing?”
I misjudged the birthday boy’s hang up on getting knocked out of a store championship cut by myself back in 2015 and regret asking “What level of trash talking?” to which Simon raised an eyebrow and replied “Maximum?”. Gloves off I even attempted to see if the new shiney Zombie Champion templates could be used as a distraction device…..
When Matt strolled up with 20mins to go and the tables had been mildly turned he asked how it was going in the latest Zombie off which a grinning Simon SmugMcsmugface replied, “The game? The game good. The friendship… Less so.”
Playing with small space ships: a reminder
I was going to drop after the tight knit affair against my fellow Zombie with eyeballs still burning from attempts to blind each other with the top Zombie templates before they were transferred to their new rightful owner. Who would have thought mirror gold Perspex would be more effective at temporary blindness than pointing a laser at the table the wrong way up.
The problem was I just missed the cut off for dropping so I was left with the option of not turning up for the game or playing it. I thought it would be rude to not turn up as whoever it would be there would clearly be looking for a game. As I placed my ships on the table against Marty it was nice to be reminded that the weekend was primarily about moving small space ships about and rolling dice in your pants. It was an enjoyable game against Marty and I was half tempted to keep on playing afterwards but I happily crossed the box to go and support our new overlord in the semis and the final.
Theorist wrote recently Poe will always be part of the meta due to his pilot ability and FFG making new Star Wars movie characters staples of the game. I would also surmise that this would apply to Rey Falcon pilot too as her ability is a soft ability only requiring the target to be in arc to work. Could there be room for improvements though?
I re-read an old article about success disease and how to prevent it hampering you moving forward. Ironically the author of said article failed to heed their own writings for about a year and a half.
Staving off Success Disease, the fallout from achievement, (not just winning but hitting a personal goal, whether that be 5-1 in the cut or going 3-3 in hyperspace etc).
- Formally celebrate and observe the momentous achievement-the victory.
- Allow pats on the back for a limited time. Then formally return to business as usual and let everyone know the party is over.
Tick (from behavior down at this week’s gaming night I disagree-editor)
- Victory can produce enormous energy. You must channel that force and enthusiasm into the work ahead. Make sure the power of your victory propels you forward in a controlled manner.
Store Championship booked, sticking with same list.
- Develop a plan that gets you back into the mode of operation that produced success in the first place. Don’t assume it will happen. Review why you prevailed.
Writing this as self analysis and another bad article in the pipeline.
- Address specific situations that need shoring up; focus on the mistakes that were made and things that were not up to snuff in the success.
Will be trying Kannan with Sloop title and three debris for comparison.
- Don’t fall prey to overconfidence so that you feel you can or should make a change for the sake of change. Change is inevitable, but change is not a casual consideration. When you’re flush with victory you can take on a mind-set that says “Hey let’s try this!” Only in the most desperate situation is change made simply for the sake of change.
Fell victim to this despite best intentions. Ps9 Poe with old young Han Solo (the good one), with Lone Wolf, Finn, Rey, engine upgrade and sloop title tuned out to be bad comparatively. Strike one gaming night but lesson learned.
More repetitions with the squad prior to the event would have been useful. Three with Black One then three with Primed thrusters is not great but the banked worth of Echo and Rac from two or so years ago really helped. There is a good article on Space Owls Blog about finding a netlist style squad that is similar to something you enjoy and to play it. This was key in my decision making process to fly Poo Rey over Reylo.
I read a good thread on reddit about Kannan Sloop vs Evade title C3P0 on Rey with Lowhhrick. It was purporting that although overall the evade title with C3P0 gains better overall positioning in tournaments, the Kannan Sloop combination is the one that has taken tournament wins. The more I have played the C3P0 version the more I’m tempted to try the Kannan Sloop version.
The C3P0 maybe be better in the mirror match vs Kannan sloop and decent against Quickdraw but the ability to maintain arc and fly a bit like Dash whilst coupled with bad Poe is worth investigating in terms of keeping the damaging output up.
Firstly thank you to all my opponents at the System Open for such great games, even those in the bright red shirts.
The bulk of this article has been lifted and improved from messages to and from Joel North and James Dowdall of the 186th squadron after the event about Poe and Rey as they both reside in its fan club. Thanks for the interest.