I run through my thinking on what squad I may potentially take for the 2020 UK System Open and what the potential format and points changes could be.
Yay System open on the way. Boo, format change and late notice, especially if wanting to get a reasonably priced hotel and having the spare cash either side of Christmas. The venue at the Milton Keynes stadium is excellent. You are not getting your wallet rinsed for food and drink like at the NEC in Birmingham. Onsite parking is also free and accommodation, in general, cheaper, so a considerable saving compared to the NEC.
Still, despite the lack of notice and constraints placed upon the less fevered tournament player , 337 tickets had been sold within the first twelve to twenty-four hours. Whether they will hit the 600 mark, I’m not sure. I do know a few people who are waiting for the Christmas storm to pass and wallets to reboot before picking up a ticket and hotel.
Points changes are a thing now, every six months or so we have to be flexible and adapt lists or list styles. A change is afoot in January, but the unknown is the format, a new Hyperspace format of the game.
What we do know:
Different from Extended, a more limited ship and card format, (I wont be apply to become a detective on that deduction).
Points costs in Extended will be the same in Hyperspace.
What we can reasonably guess:
An equal choice of ships for all factions?
Ships will most likely be what is available to buy for 2nd edition from the shelf
Possibly a near equal distribution of amounts of pilots.
The ships will most likely be movie canon/ Disney canon with the possible exception of scum.
We are going to get fed titbits about the new format and points from December 27th through to the points reveal on January 9th. So not long to wait but it does throw a bigger than expected spanner into the works for those practising lists for the event. We knew the System Open would probably fall between mid-February to mid-April and Extended had been the flavour of the System Opens. A points update in January was expected, format change not so.
The word from FFG is that the new format has been tested by Organised Play and that they are excited by it. Equal fill of excitement and dread like a free Mcdonalds’ toffee latte? This implies that it might be a bit different from the existing Hyperspace format. New Hyperspace could limit pilot numbers over ship numbers so we could have a slightly different format which ticks the boxes of available 2.0 product, Disney Cannon and movie era ships, (X-wings, tie fighters, Fenn Rau), and an equal amount of choice as such for all seven factions. For example, the First Order has twenty-nine available pilots, although the Upsilon Shuttle is still not available as 2.0 product, (excluding wave 6).
Dropping the Upsilon from Hyperspace and limit the choice to twenty-two or fewer pilots for each faction could be the way forward. It could be limitations of just one I6 pilot available to each faction, say Imperials only having Darth Vader in the Tie Advanced X1 for example, with that maybe being the only Tie X1 Pilot available. Possibly none of the Saw’s Renegades T-65 pilots available, no Anakin in a Y-wing, no named tie strikers, who knows? Maybe Hyperspace as it already is, but I felt there was a hint in the Facebook post that it would be different.
I don’t have any sources, other than Ketchup, BBQ, Mayo and Mustard so its all conjecture, and we will know soon enough. In the meantime, if like me you have a small local tournament just before Christmas with an eye on the System Open, your best bet is to practice archetypes rather than worry about exact list composition.
I also have some Sriracha Hot Chili sauce, which is a handy piece to have in your cooking arsenal.
I have five out of the seven factions at my disposal; I’m missing the CIS and Galactic Republic. I am tempted to buy into the Galactic Republic, but the points change and timing of it has kicked that into touch for now. With the five factions that I own, it does allow a decent amount of choice of an archetype that I like to play.
Below are the lists I’ve got in my box at the moment for consideration at the system open, subject to a bit of list juggling once we all know the lay of the land.
1st list in the box: Rac Whisper
Rear Admiral Chirenau: Vader Crew, Moff Jerrjerod, Seventh Sister, Hull Upgrade, Skilled Bombardier, Proximity Mines
Lone Wolf on either the above or below
Whisper: Collision detector, Stealth Device, Fifth Brother.
Obstacles: Gas clouds
Pros: Has game against all list archetypes, going first or last doesn’t matter, not too susceptible to a points increase on parts of the list. I have plenty of reps with the list, including a solid 6 months back in 1.0
Cons: Extended list
There is a lot of play still with the list components although the must-haves are: Vader Crew, Moff Jerrjerod and Proximity Mines on RAC and Collision detector and Fifth Brother on Whisper. Plus Lone Wolf on one of them. Why Collison detector on Whisper over passive sensors? Simply providing a considerable more time on target and a get out of jail ability too. With a two-ship list this is really important.
While Whisper is the end game ship and Lone Wolf fits nicely here, I have found Lone Wolf really opens up RAC’s damage output, survivability and flexibility on actions. Targeting computer is something I’m looking to try next on Whisper.
This is sadly relegated to a Sunday List now. (note: Insert Sad Face if you can remember how).
2nd List in the box: Chubby Han and Fat Luke
Han Solo: Lone Wolf, Kanan Jarrus, R2-D2
Luke Skywalker: Sense, Proton torpedoes, R2 Astro mech, After Burners, S-foils
Obstacles: Large Debris
Pros: a bit like Rac Whisper, regen, big movie characters, has a decent game against most archetypes.
Cons: Not as tool boxy as RAC Whisper. More vulnerable to points rises. Sense is not an auto-include but is always nice.
My only concern is that it is not quite as proficient against swarms and lacks the bag of tricks that RAC Whisper brings. Talking of bags of tricks I also need to buy some Henderson’s Relish from Amazon.
3rd list in the box: Janes’ Aces
Wedge: Crack Shot, R2 Astro Mech, Proton torpedoes, S-Foils
Luke Skywalker: Sense, Proton torpedoes, R2-D2 Astro mech, After Burners, S-foils
Obstacles: Debris Clouds
Pros: a decent amount of reps, can deal with swarms, (but it is a tough one), regen.
Cons: Need to be on your game in every match. The first engagement is now in the bag but this wins or loses on the 2nd engagement even if the first one goes well as its effectively a 2 ship list. Vulnerable to any points increase although Sense could go.
Samuel Janes has been doing rather well with this list in extended and hyperspace. I like it and it is doing well on meta wing. Definitely a fall back depending on the Hyperspace format and points.
4th List in the box: 2 X 2A
Wedge: Crack Shot, R2 Astro Mech, S-Foils
Luke Skywalker: R2 Astro mech, , S-foils
Arvel Crynd: Crack shot, intimidation
Obstacles: Debris Clouds
Pros: More ships, more guns. Have the Jake and Wedge double act sorted.
Cons: Low reps, high likelihood of going to time, more thinking, not yet figured out how Arvel really fits in, more vulnerable to points and format change.
After going 3-2 with Janes’ Aces at a recent tournament, I tried this list. I wondered if an additional ship may cover the shortfall if I made an error. So far 2-0 but its too small a sample but has promise, especially against a higher ship count.
5th list in the box: Rebel Beef Variant
Wedge: Crack Shot, R2-D2 Astro Mech, S-Foils
Braylen Stramm B-Wing: crack Shot
Cassian Andor U-wing
Obstacles: Debris Clouds
Pros: More health, less thinking, Jake and Wege double act, stress removal and co-ordinate shenanigans,more red dice, high reps on squad concept, (hammer and Anvil).
Cons: low reps for the actual squad, highly susceptible to points increases and a format change, (looking at the U-wing).
I played a lot of Braylen and U-wing in the early days of 2.0. Wedge,Braylen, ten numb and a blue squadron U-wing won the recent Warlords Hyperspace event and Jan Orrs, Cassian, Braylen and Jake were runners up at the Cross Roads Classic across the Pond. Cassian opens up a lot of options with his pilot ability and the red co-ordinate. I’m going to run this at a small local event just before Christmas just to scratch the tournament itch for it.
6th List in the box: Kylo and 4 Tie Fos
Kylo Ren: Advanced Optics
4 X Tie Fo Epsilon Squadron Cadet: Advanced Optics
Obstacles: Gas or Debris
Pros: Played a lot of ace plus mini swarm in Duchess or Whisper with 4 tie fighters at the start of the year. Very unlikely to be negatively affected by points or format changes.
Cons: Zero reps with the actual squad. It’s like the new Kitchen tap my wife bought. I’ve replaced showers,changed the washer in a tap and have the tools, theory and youtube, but never actually replaced a tap.
In one respect, maybe running this in possibly my only practice tournament prior to the system open could be the smartest idea. In a recent article from Stay on the Leader Blog, the Epsilon Squadron Cadet really stands out in terms of efficiency. Some recent results in mainland Europe have seen Tie Fos and Tie SF squads do well. Adding optics might lower the points efficiency but would give a decent offensive output. The main benefit of the Tie Fos over the Howl runner, Iden plus two tie block, is that you are not tethered together as a block.
Kylo with Optics is solid, and Kylo is a decent chunky ace. The only question mark in terms of the points and format change is if Advanced Optics gets a price rise. In terms of both chassis and pilots, they will almost definitely be in the format.
Note on squad Bidding
Pink Brain Matter is beneficial to check out. How much of a bid really depends on your squad archetype and the initiatives you are running. Depending on the popularity of your squad type a 1 or 2 point bid might be worth considering but my personal take from the data, in general, is like when ordering a Kebab, big or nothing.
Rebel beef style lists should make it through, Han and Luke probably, triple ace and Ace and Mini Swarm. Anyone looking at UK system Open should if practising between now and the big reveal consider a list archetype and try it with ships that they are happy with. If really concerned with the potential Hyperspace change and lucky enough to get time over the festive period, maybe consider selecting from the pool of available 2.0 product only. Whether that will include wave 6 or not due to ‘boat’ restrictions is anyone’s guess.
I feel comfortable that I have a number of options with some decent game time in Rac Whisper, Janes’ Aces and Han Luke. Those three lists are all in the bank as it were, even if Rac Whisper is Sunday only. All we can do is batten down the hatches and see what happens.
I doubt ill post anything else before New Year, so have a good festive break. I’m off now to make my Christmas pudding.