Last week (16th March, I am slow at writing) a few of the Zombie’s made it to the Hyperspace Trial at Aldershot Games store. It was a good group of us (must be a collective noun…horde?) numbering 7 in total, flying quite a wide variety of lists….
- QD, Blackout, Muse (James)
- Resistance 5s (Tom)
- Wedge, Thane, Y-Ion, Y-Ion (Richard)
- Empire Salad (Vader, Vermeil, Countdown, Gideon) (Alex)
- Y-Ion x 5 (Graham)
- Double Firespray (Nick)
- Duchess, Mini Swarm
A really nice variety of lists but a total of 7 Y-Wings demonstrates the value, if one of our other Zombie’s hadn’t had to pull out it would have been 11 Y-wings out of 32 ships across 8 people. Its also interesting that this is spread across all of the factions available at the time.
I was flying the Duchess (Douchness) mini swarm, which Mr Courtney has previously spoken about and led the theory crafting and play-testing. The hyperspace version I think is the best is:
- Duchess, Hull Upgrade
- Howlrunner, Swarm Tactics, Hull Upgrade
- Iden Version, Crack shot
- Gideon Hask, Crack shot
This list is exceptional strong at jousting with the double-mods from Howlrunner plus focus. With the inclusion of swarm tactics Wampa almost always gets three dice and this makes sure Gideon is shooting last for another set of three dice (unless you have a bad case of “Muh dice”, there is a helpline for this).
Duchess has two roles, to harass the flank or offer herself up as bait (note to self, crucially she must not be caught) and a distraction while the swarm get to work. The second role being as an end game closer, with her super-ailerons ability.
So to the big day, I played taxi for a couple of our zombies with short 40 minute drive to Aldershot. The best way to prepare for a big day of x-wing is a large breakfast and a larger coffee, nailed it. It is a lovely store and the game space up the stairs is pretty big, we had a friendly crowd with 52 participants gassing (your choice of definition, I won’t judge) and ready to go.
With 7 out of 52 being Zombies there was a fair chance of being paired against each other. Round 1, my car buddy Richard squared up against me with Wedge, Thane and two Veteran Turret Gunner Y-wings. I announced at the beginning of the game that I had been practicing my dice rolling technique and as my Mum always said practice makes perfect.
I set up in the bottom left-hand corner facing towards the inside of the board with the mini swarm and Duchess about range 2 away. Richard had setup in two columns about range 1 from each other pairing an X-wing and a Y-wing. As often happens the first few moves define the game, Richard chose two 2-hard each group away from each other hoping to being them back around and pincer attack. I had done a 2-hard with the swarm too and left me in a good position to pounce on half of his list before the rest was ready to engage.
This combined with Howlrunner choosing not to die made for a convincing win. 200-0, sorry Rich.
My second-round opponent was Avario Babushka, who had a really interesting list – Vermeil, Feroph, Sabaac and Duchess. I think both Sabaac and Duchess had shield upgrades and predator with Duchess also having a proton bomb.
Avario setup with Duchess farthest corner away, Feroph on the same flank as my swarm and Sabaac and Vermeil in the centre. I had the same setup as previous but on the right-hand side of the board. I thought with Feroph being isolated I could again attack in isolation. I had forgotten how fast Reapers and strikers are, Feroph came in fast and dodged the majority of my arcs with the help of ailerons.
The next engagement was tricky with Duchess being slightly isolated and could potentially be caught by Sabbac and Vermeil or my opponents Duchess. I decided to hard turn the swarm towards the back of Feroph and where Sabaac and Vermeil would most likely be, this meant that Gideon went over a rock but the position was worth it. This surprised Avario and Sabaac ended up in front of the swarm but my Duchess was going to take damage from Vermeil and Duchess. I think we more or less traded his Sabaac for my Duchess and Iden’s charge, not ideal for the end game.
Avario then really showed how flexible Reapers and Strikers can be with some excellent flying and closed out the match at 101-174 in his favour. A really fun match which went to time.
Unfortunately, I now had 15 minutes for lunch which I only realised while I was waiting for my food in the queue at Costa’s, flapping slightly I returned to see I was facing the Vennie monster list which I had heard wonderous things about. I was flying against Dominic Flannigan from Firestorm squadron who was an absolutely gent and he patiently waited while I sorted myself out.
I wasn’t really sure how to approach the list, but I now know how not to and probably should have realised earlier. As I placed Wampa first Dominic had a fair idea where the swarm would be, so place Vennie and Bastian opposite. I did my usual setup and decided that I would turn in jousting position but leaving myself the option to disengage.
Second turn and Vennie launches a seismic which lands at the edge of range 1 (not lucky, pre-planned knowledge being re-executed). I had decided that I couldn’t actually disengage I would still get bombed but not be able to shoot back. So instead I moved towards the bomb chucking monster.
You can see where this is going. Dominic flew this really really well and I cuddled two of his bombs in a row. Lulo came around to make sure Duchess couldn’t flank and my list was slowly and precisely dismantled. Well done to Dom who made top 4 and thoroughly deserved it, I now had time for my cheese toastie. 0 – 200 loss.
After my lunch and a toilet break, I had the pleasure of playing (further) upstairs with much more room and an open window! I flew against David Montgomery who was flying First Order, Quickdraw, Muse, TN-3465 and Tavson.
This first engagement went to me, with the majority of my swarm being able to clip TN-3465 and melt. Duchess was playing bait and distracted most of the First Order, she suffered as a result but this did mean that Muse and then Quickdraw could be focus fired by the mini swarm. The final couple of rounds were Tavson trying to turn around with the mini swarm behind him. 200-93 win
Another First Order list from Chris Cowley, flying Quickdraw, Backdraft and Petty Officer Thannison with Captain Phasma. I set up in the left corner and Chris had the Upsilon and Backdraft in the middle, Quickdraw flanking the long way through the rocks.
I decided to turn into the rocks because I thought I could kill the upsilon, but I was nervous about getting impacted by the Thannison and Phasma combo. Fortunately over two rounds of engagement the mini swarm destroyed the Upsilon and before the combo triggered but the cost was my position in the rocks was not ideal. Quickdraw had taken the long way around the way around the rocks and murdered Duchess, who again forgot the switch part of bait and switch. Backdraft did a fair amount of damage too as I was re-arranging the mini swarm. It was a really fun game with me initially having the upper hand but Chris did well to take advantage of my positional issues in subsequent turns. Loss 137 – 169.
The final round of swiss and I was flying against Ed Gold, the second member of Firestorm squadron of the day. He has Norra and Dutch in Y-wings with Veteran Turret gunner, Ion Turrent and Proton Torpedoes and Saw with Leia. We both setup for the joust on the left hand side, in the initial engagement I managed to block Dutch and prevent a set of torpedoes and nearly kill him. Duchess managed an excellent flank and got some uncontested damage.
The combination of Saw’s medium base and Norra blocked a lot of my k-turning options and I thought the Leia moment was coming so I tried to be clever. Never a good idea, it kind of worked but at least Dutch was killed. Norra got her second torp off and Howlrunner was down. The rest of my ships managed to mop Saw quickly and Norra slowly (she IS annoying). 200 – 66 win.
I really enjoyed the day and had a lot of fun, getting through 6 rounds after starting at 10:00 left us finishing at about 8:30. The top 8 still had another 3 games after that, so it’s a long but splitting over two days adds other problems.
In Zombie squadron, we have started a routine of posting what we learnt on our internal facebook page which can be really insightful or amusing (it’s not all serious). Here is what I learnt from this tournament:
- The Initiative kill is huge, swarm tactics is massively vauable and all my ships are therefore shooting at I5 or I4
- My 1 point bid really does not matter, I had the choice in one game. So maybe crackshot on Duchess or upgrade the Hull to Shield
- Duchess needs to be flown more cagily by me but is very good bait. She is becoming one of my favourite ships.
- The hull upgrade on Howlrunner mattered in almost every single game, giving me another turn of re-rolls
- Who is the beatdown (an article written by Travis Johnson, link) is really important and I need to pay more attention to it, a couple of games here swung heavily both ways and its an area I can improve on
- Vennie felt like the only unwinnable match up but I contributed heavily to that and is worth another go
As a few people have said already the variety in Hyperspace is brilliant considering the reduced pool of ships and I like the challenge of having to fly things you wouldn’t normally. If not for this I would not have tried the Tie Swarm or the Ace plus mini swarm.
Many thanks to all my opponents and squad mates it was an awesome day! And congratulations to Oli Pocknell for winning the day.
If I have misremembered something, please let me know and I will correct. I made some notes but the rest is reliant on memory.