GameKnight Store Champs 2016 Recap

Well hello! So Saturday was my fourth X-wing tournament EVER, and I had a great day. Today I’m going to write about the games themselves, and hopefully tomorrow do some reflection on the lists that were seen and some of the theory that was involved. This post is quite a bit longer than I usually like to write (I usually try to limit to around 1200 words; this is well over 2000), but it’s a tournament recap, how do you cut that shorter? Anyway, you’ve been warned.

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Game Knight Spring Tournament

So I am done my exams! There’s hopefully going to be a lot more x-wing in my life over the summer, and that means more writing on this blog!

Tonight was the spring league wrap-up at my FLGS, Game Knight Games. It turned out to also be the Spring Tournament, since they had the kit and they wanted to hand it out. Almost everyone was surprised by that, so most people seemed to be flying stuff they were just experimenting with, but it was still really fun. I flew Fel’s Defenders, and let me tell you, boy did it perform. It’s midnight here and I’m kinda high on victory (spoiler alert), so I’m writing this now while it’s still fresh and because the chemicals have tricked my body into thinking that I have the energy to do this. I’m sorry I didn’t take any pictures because it was a great evening. Then again me taking pictures with my cellphone usually sucks anyway.

First game: Josh. Win: 100-0

It was my first time meeting Josh tonight. He brought Carnor Jax and Soontir Fel, both with PTL and Autothrusters, and an OGP Lambda shuttle with HLC, Engine Upgrade, and… something else. I can’t remember what. The squadron builder is telling me that’s only 95 points and I know he had 99 but I can’t for the life of me remember what his other upgrades were on the shuttle. Oh well.

We set up with my Defenders making a joust at his shuttle on the left side of the board and Soontir coming up behind, and his two Squints coming from the center towards us. I was able to sink quite a few hits in to the shuttle that first round of shooting. I made sure I was using Target Locks with my Defenders so that Carnor wouldn’t be such a problem, but it did make defending more difficult. I tabled him without losing a thing though.

Second game: Cam. Win: 100-32

I’ve played a couple times with Cam, and he’s always fun. This time he was rocking two Imperial Firesprays: Kath Scarlet and Krassis Trelix. Both had Manglers; Kath had a Rebel Captive and Marksmanship, Krassis had a Recon Specialist. Edit: I’ve been informed that there was an Engine Upgrade on both ships, bringing this list to 99. This game actually went pretty fast, it only took about half an hour. The first round of shooting Soontir ended up with I think 3 stress tokens. The guys at the next table were joking that Tycho must be in that interceptor. He had one from PTL, one from Rebel captive, and then got another for cancelling a crit that Kath sent his way. Next turn I did a green to knock one stress off and then immediately got another for shooting at Kath, which thankfully gave me a focus to use, but then got another when she attacked back. So four rounds of doing green maneuvers later…

The Defenders really held their own this game. He got one off the table before I finished him off, but man, they just caught everyone off-guard. The Defender is a weird ship. I had this conversation with one of the other guys, and I think I’m going to write a post tomorrow about my theory on how to use the Defender effectively, because apparently I did that tonight really well #humblebrag.

Third game: Dan. Win: 100-0

Dan was also someone I met for the first time tonight. He’d recently come over from Star Trek Attack Wing and is really loving X-wing. At this point I think something went a little wonky with the Swiss rounds, because two people left before this round, and I was undefeated, and I knew that Dan had lost the previous game. At any rate, I won this match handily at 100-0, so I wasn’t too concerned about it. Dan was flying Scum, with Boba Fett, N’dru (which I’ve officially decided to just pronounce as Andrew), and Palob. N’dru lets you roll an extra attack die if there are no friends at range 1-2, and he’d given him Lone Wolf and Cluster Missiles, which I gotta say is a fantastic combination. Palob had the Moldy Crow title, a Blaster Turret, and the K-4 Security Droid crew that lets you get a TL after doing a green maneuver. I was questioning his sanity for not taking a recon specialist until I realized he could steal my focus and stockpile them. He did take a focus off Soontir, but I ran straight at him with my defenders and ripped through him in one round of shooting with all 3 (Soontir from the side). Soontir opened with coming in at an angle at N’dru, where we both fired from just barely in Range 3 and I dinked a single shield off him. Two dice with a reroll and a focus is surprisingly hard to hit! Next round He banked towards me, but I took a hard 3 back toward the center and boosted and barrel rolled right out of his arc, making his target lock useless. My defenders had to make a big 3 turn because Boba was blocking the 4-k, but they were both able to shoot at N’dru. I think it was another round or two before he came off though. Holy smokes though, Soontir Fel. That guy came running at Boba and was out of his arc the whole game. Seriously, Boba never got a shot on him. Well, I think he took two potshots early, right after Palob died, but after that it was all me at range 1 straight into his flank, or I’d bumped him so he couldn’t shoot anyway.

Fourth Game: Steve. Win: 100-32

That score does NOT tell the story. This game had so much back and forth, you’d have thought we were playing tennis. Steve was flying a naked Black Squadron TIE (PS4), Echo, and Whisper. Both Phantoms had Veteran Instincts, Fire Control Systems, Advanced Cloaking Devices, and Gunners. Those were super nasty. Disclaimer: Steve had a camcorder there and did a recap after every round, which I’m sure he’ll be posting to the FLGS facebook group. When he does that, I’ll edit this post to include that link. It is entirely possible that I’ve misremembered some things about this match, but I didn’t want to leave this out, so you can have my version now and the real version later! Edit: Steve posted his video, and it’s official I did misremember some things. I’m not going to go editing the whole post to straighten it out though, they aren’t big things. His video is a recap of the whole tournament from his perspective, so our battle starts at 10:11 and runs to the end of the video.

We set up in opposite corners, both pointed straight ahead. My defenders did one 5 straight, and then did 2/3 banks to turn into the middle, so they spent much of the game on an angle. Soontir dashed up the side and ended up right in the flank of Echo, who was pointed directly right (like, parallel to Steve’s edge), and about half an inch from the edge, and unclocked. Soontir unloaded into his side and took him down to 1 hull on that first encounter. I was feeling pretty good at that point. The next round both my Defenders k-turned and Whisper was right in both their sights. But, Whisper shot at Soontir first, and landed a Direct Hit. My Defenders both hammered into the now-cloaked Whisper, and came up with nothing for their efforts. Dramatic swing. Soontir was able to put 2 damage on the TIE that round, but I’d trade that for 2 damage on Soontir Fel any day of the week. More maneuvering, lots of dice rolling. Whisper fired at range 3 and my 1 hull Soontir. I realized he had Gunner, and because I only had the 1 hull the normal strategy of just letting him get 1 damage through wasn’t going to do me any good. He pulled through. Holy smokes, Soontir Fel came through when he was being shot at. He had 4 hits on both rolls and I had a focus and an evade. First roll, I came up 3 evades and a focus. I spent the Evade token. Second shot, I rolled 2 evades and 2 focus. There was cheering, I may have been crying, it was a wild time. Alright I didn’t cry, but I did sit down (because really who stays sitting down while playing the championship game) and put my face on the table. I couldn’t believe it. The next round Echo knocked off one of my Defenders who had been down to 1 hull, which left me in a very rough spot having Soontir with 1 hull and a Defender with no shields, against a full health Whisper, 1 hull TIE, and 1 hull Echo that I couldn’t seem to hit. But, that same round Whisper flew right into the side of the TIE and my other Defender plopped into range 1, rolled himself 4 hits with the use of a focus and target lock, and Whisper rolled 2 blanks to become space-dust. I happily traded that Defender for his Phantom. The round after that Soontir fired through an asteroid at an uncloaked Echo to finish him off (Echo was at range 1 of my Defender’s rear, so I really appreciated that), and then shrugged off the clumsy attack of the TIE pilot. I took a round to reorient my ships, and the next one Soontir came in with 4 hits on the TIE, which there was no way he could live through and we shook on it. That was a crazy match, I haven’t played one that intense in a long time, if ever! Easily my favourite match of the night.

I couldn’t believe how much schwag they gave me tonight. I got my first acrylic stuff, a range ruler and a pair of Cloak Tokens, a funky TIE fighter dice bag, a slew of alt-art cards, a card box… oh, and apparently the spring champion gets a medal? A MEDAL?? I wore that home proudly, like the giant nerd I am.

I’ve got a buddy coming over tomorrow for the express purpose of introducing him to x-wing, so I’ll be playing more, but I don’t know if that’ll be worthy of writing about here. I do plan to give a writeup tomorrow about TIE Defenders and my thoughts on them, because they really carried their weight tonight and I don’t see a lot of people using them. Also, the FLGS RPG campaign that I’m running is starting up in 2 weeks (May 6), so I’ll be posting the final rules for that this weekend and then there’ll be recaps for that too!

Alright, the adrenaline/Glitterstim has worn off, and I’m now super tired. I’m not even going to read this over again to check for spelling errors. I guess I’ll do that in the morning, so if you read this between now (12:45am) and then, my apologies for the chaotic mess that I’m sure this post is. Hey look, a Save Draft button!…. nah.

League Night at Game Knight

Tonight was League Night at my FLGS. I decided to bring a list that I’d almost brought to the store championship and thought would be a lot of fun. After all, league nights aren’t about winning, right? They’re for trying out cool new things! At least, they are for me. I don’t get to go super often, so since I’m not in the running for any sort of prizes I’m happy to just screw around. So without further adieu, my list:

Soontir Fel (PS9), TIE Interceptor, Push The Limit (EPT), Royal Guard TIE (title), Autothrusters (modification), Stealth Device (modification)

Onyx Squadron Pilot (PS3), TIE Defender

Onyx Squadron Pilot (PS3), TIE Defender

Total is 99 points so I can grab initiative (or rather, make the opponent take it for Soontir’s dodginess). I only got to play two games tonight, and though they went very differently, I must say I was quite pleased with this list.

First off, Defenders are beasts. I love them. Sure, they don’t do great on the turning game. But stack them up against jousters… they hold their own. Granted, I had some pretty hot dice in the first game, but still it went very well. The white k-turn is awesome, and although you can’t do a whole lot of turning (both 1 and 2 turns are red), you can bank into the engagement and then take the white k to stay in it. I also really enjoyed having the 5 straight, which was a blast just jumping into range 1 like that.

I was a little surprised by the amount of Scum I saw on the tables tonight. There were 7 of us there (one guy was there checking it out, he used another guy’s ships and played against him), and there was 1 Imperial player (myself), and 1 Rebel player. The rest of the field was Scum. I think more people than just me think of league nights as learning nights, because this was definitely NOT the case at the store championship a couple weeks ago, and doesn’t seem to have been the case at any since.

My first game was against Mike, who was the lonely Rebel. I felt like our lists were actually quite similar, though on different ends. He was flying a pair of Blue B-wings (PS2), both with ion cannons, and one with the E2 upgrade and a Tactician. A stress and an ion token in one attack? No thank you sir. He also had Corran Horn in his E-wing, sporting Advanced Proton Torpedoes, Marksmanship, and a Fire Control System. That FCS is a sweet upgrade. So like I said, it felt fairly similar with 2 jousters and 1 fairly dodgy ship. Corran is no Soontir, but they’re similar enough that I enjoyed it.

This game was one giant exercise in him not guessing correctly about where I was going. I lit up his B-wing on the first round of shooting without taking any damage in return (or maybe 1 shield or something dumb), leaving it with something like 2 hull. It was actually crazy, I rolled 3 dodges on the first attack, 2 on the second (which was enough), and I think 2 or 3 on the third. It was obscene. The next turn he did his 2-k, thinking I would fly past him with the defender, or fly around with Soontir who was coming in from the flank. I did 2 straights with Soontir and a Defender, and a 2 bank with the other and just wiped it off the table, not that it had a shot that round anyway.

He really misjudged where I was going and the B-wing paid the price

He really misjudged where I was going and the B-wing paid the price

The next round saw both Defenders do white k-turns, and then Corran ran into one. Lucky for him it wasn’t the one he had a target lock on, and he still had arc. I was able to put some long distance shots into the B-wing, and some close ones into Corran that left him at 1 hull. He was able to get one of my Defenders off the table on the next round, but the round after that I put Soontir right in the pack and unloaded into poor Corran. My Defender then beat into the side of that B-wing, and they both went down on the same turn. It was a grand display for Fel’s Defenders first showing.

The second game didn’t go so well. In my defense, I got totally abandoned by my dice. Cam was flying for the Scum, with a pair of Cartel Spacer Scyks (PS2) with the title and Mangler cannons, and two Hired Gun Y-wings (PS4) with the Warthog loadout, as he called it: Unhinged astromech, Ion turret, BTL-A4 title, and Engine Upgrade. The game started out well with my Defenders meeting his two Warthogs in the asteroids and his two Cartel Spacers trying to come in behind but getting flanked by Soontir. The first round of shooting, Soontir knocked one Spacer down to 1 hull. Next round all of Cam’s ships did k-turns, which was ok because my Defenders shot forward and were ready to pound into the sides of the Spacers. Or at least, they would have if we hadn’t remembered at the last moment that one of my Defenders had been ionized. So, one did, and the other got caught with two Y-wings behind him, pointed into his exhaust. Soontir knocked out the first Spacer, and the two Defenders managed to knock out the other one that same turn, so neither ship actually ever got to fire a shot.

When things were going well for me

When things were going well for me

However, the next round I tried to bring Soontir in, dodged arc on one y-wing but left himself in the other arc. He had a focus from his ability, but that was it, I’d used the actions on being positional. I was pretty sure I knew what the y-wings were going to do, since they were stressed, so after doing my obligatory ion move with the Defender, I tried to barrel roll out of arc. I was right in my guess, I did manage to dodge one of the arcs, but he boosted to get me back in. I think if I’d stayed in that spot and taken a focus instead, it could have gone a lot better for me. Anyway, back to Soontir for shooting. He did actually move after the y-wings and Defender, but that didn’t feel as good for telling the story. One of the y-wings was down to something like 4 hull, and I rolled 4 hits after spending my focus, but he managed to roll 1 dodge and so live to shoot down my poor Defender. Soontir got shot at range 2 by Cam’s other Warthog (a very neat loadout for the Y-wing, I must say), and blanked all four dice on the primary weapon attack and so took 2 hits, and then blanked all three dice (lost stealth) on the ion attack that followed! Un. Real. Suddenly I was down to a Defender (full health) against two Warthog Y-wings, one of which was at full health (or something close to it), and the other on the verge of death. I was able to take down the limping one, but that ion just got to me. He put me right on an asteroid, and I managed to not be ioned the next turn, but I had to fly across it anyway. I only took damage one time, but still. My dice didn’t cooperate when he fired before me, and my Defender was gone before it gone to shoot back. It was a good game and I’m not feeling like I need to rework the list, I think I just got unlucky with the dice and misjudged on the barrel roll. I am usually a Rebel player, so barrel rolls aren’t something I generally get to use very much and they do take some getting used to. I’m definitely interested in flying this again.

My biggest surprise was that Warthog loadout. I’ve been seeing people talking about it on the subreddit, and I hear people say the damage output is “amazing”. I don’t know if I would say that; it caps at 4 damage a round, which is no better than any 3-base attack ship. What’s really cool about it is the ability to do a reasonable amount of damage as well as land an ion token. That’s a big deal. Dealing 3 damage in a shot, it happens. But dealing 3 damage and an ion? Whoa, now we’re talking. He never had the opportunity to use the turret attack against a different target, but just knowing that was an option was also pretty cool.

It sounds like there’s a fair bit of interest in doing an RPG style campaign there. The idea of only controlling 1 ship and not thinking about point cost and squad composition is kind of baffling to some people, since it changes the whole dynamic of the game, but it seems that they’re still interested. I’ll keep the updates coming!

GameKnight Games Store Championship – The Games

GameKnight Games, Winnipeg, MB is my friendly local gaming store. I went to bed the night before hoping that maybe, just maybe, James would want to come play in the tourney, but he’s got a cold so he wisely chose to stay home. After a bit of a process (though not enough; more on that tomorrow), I decided to fly this: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205594/yt-3700

First match comes around, and I snagged the bye. It was actually kind of funny, because the tournament organizer didn’t realize he hadn’t received my squad form, and so I was the last one to hand it to him. Then he was all, well I can’t give him the bye because he just handed his form in last, so he shuffled them up, and mine came out at the bye anyway. I’m not sure if that was a good thing or not; my showing was rather poor, so the bye gave me a free win, but it did mean I had to spend an hour standing around and watching other games. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t terrible, but I wasn’t there to watch. So anyway, the second match comes up and I’m facing Jeff and his double decimators:

Jeff's decimators list. Also known as Vader and The Chicks.

So this turned out to be quite an interesting game, despite it being 2 large turret ships per side. Maneuvering actually came out to be pretty important, though it wasn’t about maneuvering for shots. Jeff was definitely into blocking. Here’s a picture of our first engagement:

BIG HUG!!

BIG HUG!!

Chewie JUST came up short of hitting, so we both got to take our actions. I laid some hurt into that middle Decimator, knocked off the shields and some hull too. The next round he just did a 1 bank, which turned him slightly. This frustrated me because I’d gone for my green 2 straight or something, so I didn’t clear him because he was turned. Anyway, that turn I got a crit on him with Leebo’s mangler that caused him to take damage if he collided. So, that was the end of his blocking shenanigans, for which I was grateful. A couple more rounds and he got Chewie off the board, and the next turn Leebo took out the Deci with Vader. The DeciVader, if you would. That was terrible. So then the last round his patrol leader, who was about 45 degrees facing away from the edge of the board but rather close to it, but pointed at me, tried to do a bank, hit Leebo (triggering damage from the Stunned Pilot card, triggering Anti-pursuit lasers, which also scored a hit, leaving him at just 2 hull), and then I did a 4 straight to clear him, focused, and fired my Mangler into his rear for his last couple hull. That was an intense match, and actually really fun. I did kind of feel like I won it on dumb luck though. Win, 100-52.

Third match was against Chris and his 4 b-wings. Dang, I took a picture for this section but it came out SUPER blurry. That’s what I get for taking pictures with a phone. And having shaky hands because this was my first tournament in 9 months… and maybe my 4th game of x-wing for the year. That’s not a lot of playtime, and probably part of why I didn’t do super well. Anyway, Chris started with his troops on the far right, and I started somewhat on the left. Chewie sort of went right up the middle, trying to get behind, but ended up getting caught by all 4 b-wings. I was stressed, half dead, and definitely going to stay in arc if I went for the green maneuver, so I went for the white 3 bank… and didn’t manage to clear. I didn’t hit anything, but I didn’t clear his arcs. Chewie went down in a big ball of fire, and with 4 b-wings it didn’t take long for Leebo to follow. I really realized in this game just how underpowered this build left Leebo. He was kind of nothing without Chewie. More on that tomorrow, for now, suffice to say that this round went 100-0, and not for me.

The fourth match I was against Mike, one of the judges, and all around a cool guy. He was flying a decked Han Solo, and 3 Tala Squadron Z-95s:

Chubby Han? Dash Rendar, Luke Skywalker, Engine Upgrade, Lone Wolf

Chubby Han? Dash Rendar, Luke Skywalker, Engine Upgrade, Lone Wolf

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His Han came off the stand because he was touching Chewie

His Han came off the stand because he was touching Chewie

So I got to this match and realized I should take more pictures. Then all of a sudden, I decided I shouldn’t take more pictures. Cuz this didn’t go well for me. Leebo took a hail of fire from those Headhunters and Han while Han was touching Chewie, who was all tanked up with no one shooting at him. Then, a couple rounds later, I tried to arc-dodge with Leebo and ended up RIGHT on an asteroid, AND in the arc of ALL THREE headhunters. It was a colossally boneheaded move, and I hold that in that one wrong move I really lost the game. It was getting dark before that, but suddenly all the stars went out. After that it was Chewie against 3 headhunters and Han, who had taken like 1 hull damage, a crit that had taken away his pilot ability and EPT card, but still. I was actually a little hopeful about getting Han off the table, butthen time was called. I had just one round left, so I took it on one of the headhunters that had his shields gone, so that I wouldn’t leave in complete disgrace. He got the full win, but at least I wasn’t totally wiped like against Chris. What was interesting about this fight was that in both the others, Chewie had gone down first, and in this one he focused on Leebo. Interesting. Anyway, Loss, 48-13.

I had a lot of fun, and I’ve been doing lots of thinking about why this list didn’t work well. I did manage to place in the top 8 (out of like, 13), so I did manage to get my hands on a sexy x-wing dice bag (not gonna lie, I was super lusty for that thing. It was like, half the reason I was there). Tomorrow I’m also going to talk about some of the other lists I was considering, and what I would do differently with this list given the option.

Battle with James Sept 10/14

So I finally got to play a game of x-wing a couple days ago. It’s honestly been like four weeks, which is terrible. My buddy James came over; we’ve been playing together since I first got into the game a little over a year ago. And let me tell you, James has never beaten me. Until the other night. It was like watching a butterfly come out of the cocoon. It was beautiful.

What really thrilled me about this game was it was the first time I’ve felt like James has played a list I was genuinely scared of. He often does stuff like double phantoms+, but never anything like a swarm with a flanker. I haven’t been able to get a ton of experience with the new wave 4 ships, so getting the E-wing and the Phantom on the table at the same time was a lot of fun.

He played Echo with ACD, Howlrunner, and four Academy pilots, for 100 even. He’d played this list once before against a friend of mine, which I reffed. Actually now that I think it about it, it’s been longer than four weeks since I’ve played. Four weeks ago was that game where I supervised. Yikes. ANYWAY. After that game, which James won, I’d told him he should seriously consider being a swarm player. He’s loved the phantoms since they came out, but hasn’t had great luck with them. As I said, he hadn’t won yet, but that night his Echo + swarm paid off.

I wanted to try something weird, so I played Wedge, Biggs, and Corran Horn with R2D2, Engine Upgrade, and PTL, for 100 even. I made a couple rookie mistakes, which did not help me one bit.

I won the initiative roll, and I took it since the only PS conflict was Howlrunner/Corran. I ran Wedge right into an AP, and Biggs landed just barely inside range 1 of two Academies. I took out Howlrunner, but just barely. Wedge rolled three blanks and a crit, which Howl was able to dodge, but Biggs pushed through with a hit and a crit, which was, naturally, a Direct Hit. Biggs still went down that turn. Next turn I knocked out an AP when I used Corran’s double tap, but the next turn I ran Corran into a TIE, and actually got pushed back through Wedge, and ended up in the arcs of the Phantom and all three TIEs, with no actions. He almost made it, but that last TIE knocked him out. Wedge was down to something like 2 health at that point and I’d only managed to do 1 damage to Echo, so I conceded.

Lesson 1: Don’t joust a swarm.

Lesson 2: Don’t joust a swarm.

Lesson 3: Pay attention to where they’re going to move. Had I done the 1 straight I was thinking about instead of the 3, Biggs would have been in range 2 and Wedge wouldn’t have collided during the initial meeting. That could have made for a very different game. I guess it also applies to losing Corran; that was really a single mistake that cost me that ship, and he moved in a way that I really wasn’t expecting (who knew TIE fighters had a green 2 bank? Everyone knows that? Oh. Well then).

I’m seriously considering running something like 2 Gold squadron with Ion Turrets and 2 Dagger squadron with Advanced Sensors next time. I think that would be quite fun, but no idea how it will work. I’m also thinking about Paul Heaver’s alternate Nationals list, which if I remember correctly was Biggs, Grey squadron with Ion turret, and two Blue’s with AS. I really like the concept of that list.

My FLGS is also starting up a new league on October 1, but I’m wondering real hard over whether I’ll be able to attend now that university is in full swing. If I do go, there will be more battle reports going up!