Defending the home front.

A few months ago when Zombie squadron had started to prep for the UKTC I had to regretfully decline as it was taking place on the weekend of my 10th wedding anniversary. To be honest I was fine with it as I have an amazing wife who has been incredibly supportive of my infatuation with X-wing over this last year, as well as being remarkably understanding of my Star Wars obsession for the last 15 years. To put that into perspective she had never watched a Star Wars movie until The Force Awakens was due for release on Blu-ray, at which point we made her watch the first six movies over the course of a week to catch up. Like I said, I was fine with giving up one tournament for our anniversary.

LOVE YOU SWEETHEART xxx

Fast forward to the Sunday of the UKTC and I was feeling pretty low. Family issues had me feeling pretty bummed out, but was glad to hear that my Zombie brethren had enjoyed their UKTC campaign. I was further buoyed after watching the amazing Coruscant invitational success (and eventually winner) of our resident top zombie and all round good dude; Mr Tom Forstner. Congratulations mate. My son was also hugely impressed that I knew someone on Youtube as we sat watching him on live stream.

With these two big events going on, and my generally low mood, it seriously had me wanting to play some Pew Pew. As fate would have it around this time I had a Facebook reminder of a local tournament at IBUYWARGAMES the following Sunday. A quick spousal permission check later, and I was all booked in……RESULT.

Unfortunately, due to the aforementioned tournaments, the majority of Zombie Squadron were going to be unable to attend. This left just myself and the Valiant Mr James Ledda to fight for Zombie honour and home turf glory.

Sunday arrived and I rocked up to IBUYWARGAMES to be immediately greeted by the bustle and good-natured camaraderie I have come to love at tournaments. It was good to see some usual faces as well a lot of new ones, presumably on a pilgrimage to walk on the hallowed turf frequented by Coruscant Invitational Champion Tom Forstner of Zombie Squadron (yes, I am shamelessly name dropping…but Tom deserves it)

It is always good to see to a number of different squadrons flying their colours and adds an extra layer of fun to proceedings with the friendly rivalries it brings. In attendance were 186thSquadron, Firestorm Squadron, TNX Squadron, one chap who was flying in his capacity of an honorary weekend warlords. I would like to throw a special mention to the new guys on the block Blue Squadron who are based out of Fist Full of Dice in Portsmouth. Nice bunch of chaps sporting their colours for the first time I believe. Last, but by no means least there were a number of independent players in attendance, and all added to a fun and laid back atmosphere.

Right this is the part where I should provide an in depth, blow by blow battle report of each of the days encounters. Unfortunately, my memory and note taking are not what you would call great. That being said, I will do my best to give a brief overview of each match, I also forgot to write down my opponents’ full lists, just their ships *facepalm*.

My list for the day was:

trench-runners.jpg

Tournament Goals: Having never won a match at an IBUYWARGAMES tournament I set myself the target to win one match on home turf.

Round 1:

My first opponent was James Lunn of Blue Squadron, Flying a Scum list of Nym, Palob Godalhi & Han Solo.

While setting up I found out this was his first time flying the list, that being the case he flew really well, and was an enjoyable opponent to fly against.

My moment of the match came as I took out the HWK with one volley of proton torpedoes. I will say that my dice were unusually hot during our match, which resulted in me achieving my personal goal of a single win in my first match.

James to his credit was good sport, and a big thanks to him for a fun match-up.

Final result: 200-76

Round 2:

Another member of Blue Squadron, Chris Cooper. He was flying Imperials with Rexlar Brath and 2x Sigma Squadron aces.

I found Chris and I to be kindred spirits in our love of having a good chin-wag, which probably explains why our first 3-4 rounds took us around 30 minutes as we skirted opposite sides of the mat, because we were so busy chatting. At this point we finally decided we should probably engage before we came down to final salvo.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this match as, although we both wanted to win, we were able to have a good laugh as we played. Look forward to facing Chris in the future.

Final result: 150-104

Round 3:

My adversary for this round was the wonderful Steve Fase of 186th Squadron flying Boba Fett and Guri.

I can honestly say both Steve and myself pulled off some truly cinematic flying during the end game of this match-up, boosting and barrel rolling, jockeying for position, narrowly avoiding arcs, just managing a pot shot here and there. During this epic dance of death I somehow managed to get my last lot of Proton torpedoes off, narrowly taking the win.

Steve seemed to take great pleasure, during the match, in being the first person ever (unverified) to use the virago title to boost his StarViper during the end phase, to great effect I might add.

This was definitely my favourite match of the day and massive thanks to Steve for being a great opponent.

Final result: 200-129

Round 4:

Dominic Flannigan of Firestorm Squadron was my fourth round opponent with his scum list consisting of Boba Fett, Fenn Rau and L3-37 escape craft.

Dominic was a real gent to fly against, but in our play styles we would be considered polar opposite. Whereas I fly by the seat of my pants, reacting to events as they unfold, Dominic is a knowledgeable and calm opponent, who understands what the list he is flying against can do almost as well as he knows his own. A talent I am most envious of.

I could wax lyrical about my cold dice, or nerves setting in, but at the end of the day Dominic was definitely the tactically superior pilot in our match-up, and got a most deserved win. I enjoyed our match and I enjoyed chatting with him after. Thanks Dominic.

Final Result: 48-200

Round 5:

The final round saw me paired against another Firestorm Squadron pilot, Peter Lake. Flying Scum, his list was: Jakku Gunrunner, 4-LOM, Palob Godalhi & Talonbane Cobra.

This game ended in a showdown between Talonbane and Skywalker. My downfall came when I thought Peter would try and run out the clock as he was ahead on points, I attempted a red turn to try and get a shot, but he turned his Kihraxz towards me unexpectedly. This left his ship in a perfect position for a shot and me with no arc. ‘Boom’- game over.

Another tight game, which game down to some good old fashioned dog fighting. cheers Peter.

Final result: 150-200

At the end of the tournament I placed 8th with a personal best of 3 wins and 2 losses.

Overall a fun and informative day, with some exciting matches. I am proud of my positive results, but also have taken away a few positives from my losses. I must start learning the ships of other factions, their strengths and weaknesses, their abilities and interactions. I feel that, although my losses came against very strong opponents, I suffered greatly by not selecting the correct targets initially, and by not knowing the dangers of the ships I turned my back on.

I’m going to sound like a broken record, but my main recollection of the day was just how great this community can be. I had five match-ups against opponents I had never played before, and each one felt like flying against a friend.

Thanks to you all for another great experience to add to my ever growing collection of great experiences since taking up this awesome hobby. I look forward to facing you all across the neoprene battlefield in the future.

A final shout out to the my fellow Zombie, James Ledda. He was a stalwart tournament companion, enthusiastically comparing results and supporting me throughout the day. Hopefully I was half as good company for him.

Righty ho, Lads and Lasses.

Take care of yourselves, be safe, and Fly casual. PEW PEW.

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