X-Wing Road Trip:  The Zombie Invasion of Brighton

Three Zombies head off to the South coast to play a tournament at Dice Saloon. I take  Whisper transporting Admiral Sloane and a Mini Swarm for a spin.

The Zombie Invasion of Brighton could be the title of a really bad B-movie. As we didn’t have a camera on us it won’t make it to the big screen, or the straight to discount DVD bargain bin.

The month of January contains my Birthday which gives me maximum leverage to get out of the house during the month. Extended events currently are my preference to prepare for the System Open. Our local store was running a hyperspace event on the Saturday but combined with a variety other abstractions (Reptile parties, Saturday morning football and Dental appointments) a Sunday trip to Dice Saloon on the South coast was the more viable option

dice saloon

First, there were four; then it dropped to three as Simon had to bail out after getting the flu from having to travel out to Germany and back during the week for a family matter. This left Nick, Stephen and I to make the trip. Splitting petrol and parking three ways was still pretty reasonable and came in at ₤9.00 per head plus ₤6.00 for the ticket for a 24 player and 5 round event of extended.

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Nick had been to Dice Saloon a few times before and had been banging on about making a trip down there. I’m not saying he sold it short, but it certainly exceeded my expectations. The Venue is quite sizable and stocked with all sorts of gaming paraphernalia and game systems. Decent sized gaming tables with space for all your stuff, a variety of rooms and seating arrangements for those who like card games, proper coffee making machine, vast variety of drinks and snacks, on-site pizza kitchen, ( ₤9.00 for a whole pizza) and reasonable all day parking within 5 mins walk, (₤7.15 for all day parking at Brighton railway station car park).

The store’s X-wing events TO, Kris Mitchell, who wished to remain anonymous, did a fantastic job of keeping everything to time, taking pictures, having a general chit chat with players during the game and helped to create a friendly environment to play in. He also organised some extra prize support on top of the usual kit stuff. He also gave me some bits to give to Simon for not making the event.

Little additional touches like that are what gets people back for more and builds a community. It’s worth checking out Dice Saloon for events.

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The List

My past two tournament run outs either side of Christmas were Rebels (3-2) and First Order (2-2) respectively so it was time for the old favourite to return, the good guys, the Imperials. With my rebel list banked as a backup for the System Open and the First Order binned I wanted to put an Admiral Sloane Whisper mini swarm on the table.

Whisper’s Howling Crack

Whisper: Trick Shot, Admiral Sloane

Howlrunner: Crack Shot

Iden Versio: Crack Shot

Black Squadron Pilot: Crack Shot

Black Squadron Pilot: Crack Shot

Points: 199

I got two practice games in the week before with a variation of the list and decided to not up the number of tie fighters as the Whisper, and the mini-swarm archetype was something I had experience with in 1.0. Admittedly a slightly different Whisper but overall not much different in 2.0 except a bit cheaper and with an extra Hull.

admiral mark sloan

Admiral Mark Sloan: Diagnosing Stress for every murder

Game 1: Alex

2 x Ion Gold Squadron

3 x blue Squadron X-wings

After getting a good opening engagement and nuking a Y-wing off the board to no reply, I cheaply lost two tie fighters and then binned it at time, when ahead on points by losing a full health Howlrunner. This is something that has become a trend in both tournament and practice games during 2.0 and will need to re-focus in those scenarios in the future.

Lost 100-102

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Game 2: Phil, (not Traitor Phil, although he was lurking about with his T-70s)

Boba Fett: fearless, 0-0-0, Han gunner

Fenn Rau: fearless

Quad Jumper

I knew I was being baited by the Quadjumper but decided to go for it with the Ties and take pot shots at Boba. I managed to get Whisper behind Fenn Rau who was trying to flank the Ties, and after scragging the Quad Jumper I managed to block Fenn and put the kill shot in with Whisper. Boba took exception to this and melted Whisper over two rounds, but the game ended with the Tie swarm plinking away at a half health Boba.

Won 149-104

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Game 3: Nick

Boba Fett: Perceptive Co-pilot, Han gunner

Old Terroch: fearless

Zealous recruit

I played against my fellow Zombie the previous week with the prototype version of my squad which didn’t go well for him. Nick went in super aggressive this time, which did catch me out but resulted in losing a fang fighter in consecutive rounds to the weight of fire. What really hurt was that Nick could not move Boba straight towards the Tie swarm after the initial engagement as it would have put him marginally on a rock by a couple of millimetres. The bank away dropped the tempo and allowed Old T to get nuked and left the Ties to engage in the Firespray’s blind spot thanks to the board edge in the following round.

I bought him a bottle of Ribena as a gesture.

He couldn’t be too salty as I was driving and it would be a long, long walk back.

Won 200 – 0

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Game 4: Julian

Fenn Rau: Fearless

Customised YT1300 Han Solo: Trick Shot, Tobias Beckett, Lando’s Falcon Title, Rigged Cargo Chute

Customised YT1300 Freighter captain

Escape craft

There were some other Upgrades, but I forget. There was a bid, and I quite liked the list, other than possibly having to buy two scum falcons to fly it, unless borrowing. Certainly the most interesting list I saw over the weekend and in Hyperspace format may have some legs.

A cagey opening series of manoeuvres saw me travel from the left-hand corner of my board to the right and consider the K-turn back across to turn down the centre. In the end, we engaged in the right corner and Whisper almost bought it, dropping down to one Hull after Han and Fenn had a go, adding a Console fire too which luckily didn’t get me. I made a few mistakes with Whisper during this game positionally, I even parked it on a rock after I had dropped the Freighter captain and had Han on the rack. The Tie’s certainly pulled their weight in this match, like most in fact.

Won 129-86

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Game 5: James

Kylo Ren: Proton Torpedoes

Quick Draw: Fanatical, Fire Control System, Special forces gunner, Shield upgrade

Backdraft: Fanatical

The 1 point bid was useful to move after Kylo, but not game breaking useful as I thought it would be. My initial target was going to be Quickdraw, but I engaged in some early chase Kylo till Quickdraw and Backdraft presented themselves. Unfortunately for James he marginally parked Quickdraw on a rock as I turned the Tie swarm back in at range one of Quickdraw. He was trying to get the two Tie Fos behind the Tie fighters chasing Kylo, and I decided I didn’t like that idea. With Quickdraw gone and Kylo having to about-face and one shotting Howlrunner for another two stress tokens, Backdraft followed soon after.

Catching Kylo though, even without Supernatural proved tricky, and I made some bad moves with Whisper at this point which left the best option with Whisper to bail out. I manage to plink the shields off, but the game ended with Kylo in the middle of a scattered field of Tie fighters and Whisper cowering in the corner due to having a target lock on her and a Proton Torpedo with her name on it.

Won 109-55

Overall standing: 3rd with 1340 MOV with a 4-1 record

Prizes

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Top five all got templates from Buy the Same Token whilst everyone got a Proton torpedo and shield upgrade card. A variety of other cards and metal tokens were dished out down the line, (i got some metal evade tokens), and last place picked up a Dice Saloon T-shirt.

Mistakes were made

The list managed to cover the mistakes I made here and there from a bit of rustiness with Imperials. It was fun to fly Whisper again, and the Tie mini-swarm was pretty good, especially at area denial. Crack shot was useful too in mass. A lot of the appreciable damage was chucked out by the humble Tie fighters.

Going forward with the points adjustment on the 28th Jan 2019 I expect to see some possible changes to the list components:

Whisper: to go up in price, maybe by 4 points but who knows?

Trickshot: to possibly go to 2 points

Juke: maybe going up to 5 or 6 points. It’s good on any ship that can get an evade plus second mod like a Phantom, Tie defender or Sabine attack shuttle but otherwise not a great investment. Whilst  I didn’t use it on this version it remains as an option floating out there.

Admiral Sloane: might stay the same. The popularity of Sloane swarms is gathering a bit of pace, but you still do not see many of them. Could go up to 12 points but I don’t feel FFG have it on their radar compared to the slew of other items like Darth Vader crew.

I tried the following list last night which has some wiggle room:

Sigma Squadron Phantom: admiral Sloan, Stealth Device

4 x Black squadron Pilot: Crack Shot

Wampa

Points: 200

I played against a six tie swarm and a First Order Blackout, Quickdraw and Midnight list, winning both. I didn’t overly miss Whisper, but it did show the strength of Whisper’s pilot ability combined with the new cloaking mechanic. Wampa was a little underwhelming, Iden was missed more than Howlrunner, and Stealth device whilst okay would be the first thing to drop off if needing some slack.

sloan effect

It’s interesting trying to measure the “Sloane effect,’ as I found some players were happy to take stressed linked actions still and it wasn’t always obvious if they were trying to play ‘catch Whisper,’ (or catch ‘not Whisper’). This mainly allowed the mini-swarm to fly about as it likes and chuck out damage unmolested. Crack shot helps a bit with this, and whilst it did not go off on every tie in every game, those little extra points of damage here and there add up.

The four tie mini swarm plus ace is certainly an archetype I’m going to stick with moving forward. Now it’s just time to settle in and wait for the points rebalance to see where it all stands.

Till next time, Fly Fabulous!

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