Last Minute Prep

Today is the X-wing store championship at Game Knight, my FLGS.

I must say, on Thursday night I started seriously considering changing my list. Thinking about the meta and what I was most concerned about fighting, I realized a TIE swarm was pretty frightening. I really did almost take this: TIE Swarm 6. I’ll be honest one of the only reasons I’m not is because I learned my lesson a year ago when I swapped out squadrons the morning of the tournament and got roasted. I really do think that would be fun though.

Anyway, wanted to share something fun/funny that happened. CaptainFanastic and I had a couple games this week to get some more practice in. In the first game on my second movement I managed to fly Ello directly into Soontir, and Poe directly into my own Y-wing. Not my best moment. However, this was the result:

20160218_131130.jpg

Obviously he spent the Focus token to dodge one of the hits, but blammo, first shot of the game, Soontir goes down. It was so crushing to watch. Anyway he didn’t manage to get any of my ships in either game (though he did have Poe at 1 hull at one point, and the Y-wing finished the first game with only 1 hull), but we still had a blast.

Last minute addition, my buddy James is coming to the champs! I texted him yesterday and he says he’s in, so that’s always fun. Anyway here’s what all three of us are planning to run:

Tract (me)

CaptainFantastic

James

I talked about my list before, and nothing has changed. CaptainFanastic took his last 3 points and spent them on an Ion Cannon for one of the Defenders. He likes the options, and he definitely used it to good effect against my stresshog in our games this week. James doesn’t get to play as often as he’d like, but he loves the Phantom and he really likes the Decimator so I built him a list using those. Normally he’d build his own but we were in a hurry and he won’t get to the store until registration time. I’m excited to see how everyone does! Hopefully I’ll have recaps from all three perspectives for you, though I don’t expect to write them up until at least Sunday night.

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X-wing Store Champs 2016 Pre

Hey there Home Two, it’s been a while. I’m still playing and enjoying, but school gets in the way of playing and when there isn’t playing there isn’t blogging. My birthday is next week though, and one of the things that’s meant is a commitment to having some fun in the days leading up and surrounding that. My pal CaptainFanastic came over today and we played four (4) games of X-wing. It was dandy. We also have a store championship coming up on Feb. 20th that we are both signed up for, so we wanted to try out some lists for that and get some practice in. I’m looking forward to giving the recap!

Just to give some perspective on how long the gap has been, my last article was a preview of the Kihraxz fighter (you better believe I’m still checking online to make sure I spell that right). So that’s before Wave 7 came out. Since then, we’ve had Wave 7 hit, the new TFA (blue) Core Set release, the separate T-70 and TIE f/o expansions, the Imperial Assault Carrier, and Wave 8 will soon be upon us. We’ve also had the Imperial Veterans announced, so it’s been a big gap.

First up, let’s talk about the list that I’m currently planning to take to the store champs. Meet Pester Squadron. Poe, Ello, and Stresshog. P-E-STR… Pester! Ignore me, I think I’m clever. The basic idea is that Poe and Ello act as high PS aces, flanking and dealing the hurt on stuff, and able to regenerate shields if need be. I’m pretty nervous because I haven’t been playing a ton of X-wing lately, and I’m not sure how it’ll do in the current meta.

I have to say, the meta looks fantastic right now. There was another store championship this past weekend in town and looking at the List Juggler report of the event, there’s just so much diversity in the lists. It was won by Brobots, second place was 3 K-wings with TLT, looking through the list I’m seeing some variants on Sith Lords (Vader, Soontir, Palpmobile), a couple Dash+Corran, Poe+Han, 2 Phantoms, a 5 TIE named swarm (!!), and a Decimator. I love that it feels like anything could be viable right now. It just feels so healthy.

But, therein lies the rub. How does one build against a meta that’s so diverse? Paul Heaver, of course, pulled it off once again at the Worlds with Poe, Stresshog, TLT-Y, and a Bandit. Is that the answer? Build a list that does a little bit of everything? I guess it could work, and it sure did for him. The great X-wing fanatic in my world is most concerned about TLTs and so built to combat them, but he placed tenth at the recent championship. I’m not sure that TLTs are quite as scary, or maybe just not as prevalent, as they were before.

I personally expect to see a lot of Poe and a lot of Stresshog, both of which are in my list. I have no idea how to deal with a Stresshog myself, other than just to arc dodge it and take it out. Poe, for the most part, isn’t any different than any other ace. The only real concern becomes if he’s at PS10 (as mine is, and Paul Heaver’s), and then trying to catch him in arc. He’s no Soontir Fel for dodginess, but it could still be a problem. Beyond that I expect to see Brobots make another appearance, probably a Fat Turret (Han or Dash, usually), and honestly, Sith Lords. I finally got to give that list a try for the first time last week, and oh my word it’s so fun. My opponent took out Vader early, which was rough, but at the end of the game I had Soontir chasing Leebo and he literally could not hit me. Between Autothrusters, Palpatine, and an Evade token I would have to roll 4 eyeballs for him to get a single hit through. Needless to say, that never happened. But yeah what a blast. I expect to see it on the scene because it’s just so fun, and so powerful!

Speaking of Sith Lords, we used it today in two of our four games. In case anyone missed it, I finally gave a link there. I realize I’ve talked about the list a couple times so far in the post without actually saying what it was. There are some variations on it, but the core is Vader, Soontir, and Palp in a shuttle. I’ve seen Carnor instead of Soontir, but that seems less common. Anyway, the first time we put this list on the table today it was against the list that CaptainFantastic had originally brought, a 2-Y-ion+B+A list. The second time was against Pester Squadron, so I got to fly it once and against it once. The good CaptainFantastic ended up going with Fel’s Defenders 2.0, a variation on a list I ran to great success last year and will need to be revisited again once Imperial Veterans comes out. I must say, that Stresshog is serious trouble to aces. I think both Vader and Soontir went down the round after they got double stressed because their movement was suddenly so limited and they didn’t have any actions. Plus I had Poe and Ello nearby, ready to pounce. Soontir actually had both of them at range 1, he didn’t stand a chance.

I’m disappointed in myself for not taking any pictures today we had some interesting moments. At one point the Stresshog got the crit that causes while maneuvers to give you stress, which really didn’t matter because he was already loaded but it meant he was accumulating tokens even faster! We actually ran out of tokens (that we had with us), but we figured he had 10 or 12 by the end of the game. New personal best.

GameKnight Games Store Championship – Thinking about Lists

Well color me annoyed. I wrote this post and yesterday’s AAR immediately following the actual tournament on Saturday, but it appears that WordPress either lost this post, or it only lets you schedule one, or I screwed up the scheduling, or something. At any rate, I’m having to redo this post the morning that I wanted it to go up, so bear with me if it’s less polished.

I said yesterday that I went to bed hoping that James would join me at the tournament. Well, I also went to bed planning to fly one list, and then talked myself out of it by 9am. Actually, when I left the house at 10:15, I took my entire collection with me (other than my Decimator and Huge ships, because I knew I wouldn’t use them). I was hoping to get a feel for what was being played and be able to choose a list accordingly. I wasn’t really able to do that anyway, but the biggest thing was choosing a list that I wasn’t really prepared to play with.

The list I had originally in mind was this: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205541/blue-and-green

It’s a list that I had originally cooked up back in January when I went to a league night when I walked in and saw 4 tables going, and each table had at least one Falcon/Outrider/Decimator. I was all, heck no I ain’t playing that game! So I thought I’d go with the A-wings for their proton rockets and then dodginess, and the B-wings for… well, they’re b-wings, you don’t have to justify taking them. The thinking was I could peg off the big guys with the rockets and then be in a really good spot to take on the rest of the list. It actually worked really well in both games that night. I lost one A-wing before he could get his rockets off in the first game, but managed to slip the other one into range 1 on the LAST ROUND, touched off my rockets, and took down his Outrider for the win. The second game was against a Chewie/WSF combo, with the donut thing going on. I managed to do this:

Dash is about to have a bad day

Dash is about to have a bad day

All four of my ships got into range 1 of the WSF, so he had no shots at all. To make it worse, Chewie just landed on an asteroid. Between 2 proton rockets and 2 range 1 b-wings, that poor Outrider came off the board in one round. This list also did reasonably well against James’ Decimator/Phantom list, but I started to worry about how it would fare against someone who used a Phantom more often (no offense to James, he just doesn’t get to play that much), or against something like 4 b-wings. The truth is I probably would have been just fine, but I kind of concluded that this was a gimmick list. The low PS would probably have been a problem, but who knows? Anyway, I decided at the last minute that I wasn’t too sure about running this.

My next thought was to do something like this: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205544/fels-defenders

Really, who doesn’t want to play Soontir Fel? Especially with those new Autothrusters, mmmmm. The stealth device should compound the problem for those few shots he is taking, and the Defender is sort of the Imperial answer to the B-wing. I think this actually would have been a really fun list, and I’d really like to give it a try sometime soon, but for whatever reason I decided not to go with it.

I also thought about revisiting Skill Squadron, that did so well for me at Imdaar Alpha last year. This is the original: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/77214/skill-squadron And this is what I tinkered it into in about 15 minutes: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205548/skill-squadron-20

I dropped the Hull Upgrade off Wedge, because it’s just never come in handy, which is weird, but the truth. At first I was going to use the points to bump the rookies up to Blues, but then I realized that for Wedge’s Swarm Tactics he needs to stay within range 1 of a buddy, so leaving it an x-wing would probably facilitate that. I did turn one Rookie into a Blue, and then plopped basic R2 units on Wedge and the Rookie to try to give them some more options with the green maneuvers. It could probably get tinkered into something even more interesting, but I didn’t have the time, and I was concerned about how it would do against positional players like Phantoms, or the newly rejuvenated Soontir Fel.

Ultimately I ended up going with this list, which you may remember from yesterday’s post: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205594/yt-3700

The truth is I’ve been wanting to fly a list like this (Falcon/Outrider) basically since I got my hands on an Outrider at Christmastime. I kept thinking about those scenes in Shadows of the Empire where you have the Falcon and the Outrider flying together, and how cool that would be to do in the game. So, I was probably biased to choose this list from the start. It was cool, don’t get me wrong, but I cooked this list up an hour and a half before playtime having NEVER used the Outrider, and only rarely used the Falcon. I’m more of a starfighter kind of guy, so given the option between a 4-ship Rebel list and anything with the Falcon, I usually pick the 4. I really did want to give this sort of thing a go though. This list bears some resemblance to the one I was flying against on Dash’s Bad Day, which probably should have been a clue, but I guess I figured I was doing it differently enough that I’d be ok.

Obviously, that wasn’t the case. Of my three games I only won one of them, and in my two losses I only managed to destroy a Headhunter. Now granted, my real killer in the third game against Mike’s Han and Headhunters was that I made a brutal pilot error onto a rock and dropped me in all his arcs, and I didn’t fly very well against Chris’ B-wings either, but I did notice some serious shortcomings of this list. The first thing I really noticed was that Chewie had a fantastic economy of actions. He’d get a focus for his attack, two evades, and have 3P0 giving him another guaranteed evade, which made him super tanky. Leebo, on the other hand, would get a focus and that’s it. I had his ability + Determination to help mitigate crits when they came in, but that wasn’t actually as good as I was hoping. I found that once I lost one of my ships, I would really notice the drop in offense and that Leebo had very few defensive options. Losing Chewie usually left Jan as dead weight.

So, after the tournament, I did some thinking about the list and came up with this: http://xwing-builder.co.uk/view/205554/yt-3700-12

Dropping the APL was an easy decision, since that was really just something to plug up those last 2 points. The biggest change was dropping the Recon Specialist and Jan Ors, which freed up 5 more points. I wasn’t sure about spending Leebo’s precious EPT slot on Determination, so I thought about dropping it for PTL, but pulled it off just to see. This gave me 8 points to play with. I ended up going with Experimental Interface in Leebo’s mod slot, and dropping Lando into the crew. Lando is a cool card that I’ve never actually used, but the idea of rolling dice to see what pieces you get is really cool. Frankly, I would be using Leebo’s first action as a Focus or TL anyway, and Lando would be there as a defensive option, so even if he blanks it wouldn’t be the end of the world, but the possibility of getting an evade or a defensive focus (or two!) just seems like a really great idea. So that left me with 2 points. My first thought was to put something like Lone Wolf on Leebo, which would have been a lot of fun, given the list some flexibility, and maybe even made up for it when Lando comes up blanks, but I just couldn’t leave that Leebo/Determination combo alone. For the last point I put Intelligence Agent on Chewie, which I’ve never considered to be a great card, but is probably a useful sink for that last point, considering the slot options I had available. I’m pretty excited to give this list a try.

Biggest drawbacks with the YT-3700 1.2 list is that it still has very limited green maneuvers for getting rid of stress. My ships will still be sitting ducks with easily predicted movement, meaning big trouble against something like 4 B-wings. I also really wish I could have found the points for Engine Upgrade on the Falcon, or Expert Handling, to give it some more arc-dodging ability. I guess I could drop off 3P0 and the Intelligence agent to have enough room for the Boost, but I don’t know if that’s worth it. Maybe. Certainly worth looking at. But, I definitely feel better about the ships’ viability once separated.

So, my biggest lesson was about flying a list that you’re not prepared to fly. I think there’s going to be a new rule about choosing the list a week in advance and getting in at least 3 games leading up to see how it does. James says I’m harsh.

University starts up again this week (thanks for the time off, Reading Week), but I’m hoping to be able to do some more writing about the new Scum stuff, so stay tuned!