Musings Of A Casual Scrub Who Likes To Fly Casual Part 4

I managed to get to one gaming night each of the last two weeks, both at Trinity Gaming Cafe in Lewes. I’ve played two games on both nights and am going to cover them all in one blog! It’s going to be more of an overview of the games than a full in-depth battle report for each. 

I had already decided to drop the Yoda plus three Jedi Knights list due to time constraints and last week flew the Imperial list. For the two games on the 2nd of September, I was going to fly Dash/Ahsoka/Wedge(A-Wing). 

The List was: 

Dash Rendar (85)     

    Trick Shot (4)     

    Bistan (10)     

    Perceptive Copilot (8)     

    False Transponder Codes (2) 

Ship Total: 109  Half Points: 55  Threshold: 5 

Ahsoka Tano (A-Wing) (49)     

Ship Total: 49  Half Points: 25  Threshold: 2 

Wedge Antilles (A-Wing) (35)     

    Outmaneuver (6) 

Ship Total: 41  Half Points: 21  Threshold: 2 

Total: 199 

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v8ZsZ200Z39X133WW77W54WWW369Y463XWWWY452X126WWW&sn=Dash%2FAhsoka%2FWedge&obs= 

My opponent for both games for the evening was Jason Simmons and he was practicing his squad for the tournament: 4xDelta 7-b Jedi Knights. I seem to be facing off against this fairly often at the moment. I think with the Bossk based Scum lists likely to come to an end with the points changes, this might be a popular list at the tournament. (Since starting this blog, we have had AMG’s “Ministravaganza”. In amongst the 1 hour of X-Wing bombshells, they mentioned that the points update we were all expecting is delayed until the end of next month. I will still have to find a way to deal with the large based scum Bossk/FTC/Jabba lists out there! Sad times!) 

Game 1

Jason has the initiative and sets up the obstacles to keep the debris on my side of the table. I manage to get one in the centre but I am going to have to work hard to get my engagement in amongst the debris.

 

Jason also sets up with his ships facing each other to his right side of table centre, allowing him to either come down the centre or down his left edge. I set up wedge and Ahsoka as bait in my right corner and Dash in my left. I’m pretty certain Jason is going to come centre or towards Ahsoka/Wedge. 

He doesn’t! Jason has correctly decided to pretty much ignore Ahsoka and Wedge and concentrate on Dash. Dash is on the table for seven turns before being destroyed and puts out plenty of damage before he is burned down. 

Even using Ahsoka to boost his actions with pre-move barrel rolls and target locks, I only managed to destroy one Aethersprite. Two of Jason’s Jedi managed to end the game on one hull each and he flew those damaged ships really well to keep them from taking extra damage in the end game. 

I lost the game 98-109 which was super close. 

Mini – conclusion: 

  • My mantra when flying Dash is always: Do more damage with Dash than he is worth before he dies. I didn’t quite manage to do this. Another one hull and Dash would have done 125 pts and taken another Jedi off the table. That would have been a very different end game as Jason would have been chasing a running Dash leaving himself more vulnerable to Ahsoka and Wedge. 
  • I didn’t find wedge as effective as I would have hoped him to be and I was somewhat underwhelmed by Ahsoka’s damage output. She’s a great co-ordinator, especially at i5, before Dash moves but doesn’t hold her own in the final stages of the game. 
  • Jason set up a great game, kept me away from my debris, and faked a good opening whilst concentrating on Dash. He also flew his crippled Jedi brilliantly to avoid giving me more points and a ship advantage. He kept just far enough ahead in the damage race to take the game. 

Game 2

I had not enjoyed playing catch-up all of the first game, so made a spur-of-the-moment decision to drop the Dash List from my tournament choices and focus on the Imperials. I just got a feeling that I need more time to experiment, refine and practice than I had available to make it a viable tournament list for me to fly. I’ll will definitely come back to it after the tournament and play around with it some more. 

So I switched back to the Imperial Phantoms list: 

“Whisper” (60)     

    Juke (7)     

    Collision Detector (6)     

    Targeting Computer (3) 

Ship total: 76  Half Points: 38  Threshold: 3 

“Echo” (51)     

    Outmaneuver (6)     

    Passive Sensors (2)     

    Fifth Brother (12) 

Ship total: 71  Half Points: 36  Threshold: 3 

Grand Inquisitor (52)     

Ship total: 52  Half Points: 26  Threshold: 2 

Total: 199 

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z199X123W112WW249Y200X126W240W82WY169XWW&sn=Inky%2FWhisper%2FEcho%2F&obs= 

Jason stuck with his Jedi! 

Again, Jason had the bid and took first player. I wasn’t so worried as we each had three big rocks. I made sure to get a couple of rocks in around two from the side and three to four from Jason’s edge on each side to hamper the turn-in from what I was expecting to be a jousting block from one of Jason’s corners. (If you haven’t watched Oli Pocknell’s “Top Gun” series of videos, especially the one covering Setup and Turn Zero, you should! They are a great resource for helping make better decisions when playing X-Wing). The rest could go wherever they ended up. 

Jason didn’t set up in a jousty block to come for me. He set up in opposite corners, facing inwards along his board edge. He said he wanted to keep his options open to see where I placed my ships. Knowing he could only come down the table at me with a hard turn, or his fastest move was a three bank into the centre gave me time and options to plan my setup and approach. 

I put Whisper in my left corner, Echo right of centre, and Inky in my left corner. Having Jason be not able to five forward and deny me a table edge meant I had time to position the Phantoms in a place where their decloaks could allow me to react to his approach. 

Jason slow banks in and I slow forward to get my cloaks at the end of the turn. Then it’s game on as Jason commits to Echo and Inky. 

This allows me to slip Whisper behind a couple of Jedi and I also get Echo and Inky past the other pair with a couple of fast moves. I know I can turn all my ships faster than Jason probably can and plan to take advantage of that. In turn three I take a shield for no return, but its turn four that swings things my way. I take another shield from the same Jedi and then manage to put three hits onto one and three hits and a crit onto another Aethersprite. Juke and Outmanoeuvre both working hard for me and getting half points on two Jedi with Jason yet to turn around and shoot back. 

The next turn took the crippled Jedi off the board and I managed either this round or the next to halve the Jedi that already had two shields down. Jason took a shield from both Whisper and Echo during the rest of the game but it was an uphill struggle and time was running out and there was no more significant damage. 

It was a win for me. 123-0! I wasn’t expecting that at all. 

Mini – conclusion: 

  • I am getting much more comfortable flying the Phantoms. The multiple decloak possibilities are not messing with my head as much. 
  • I have flown against quad Jedi a lot and have worked out strategies for flying against them. 
  • Jason made a mistake setting up sideways along his table edge and didn’t threaten the joust and deny me board space. This gave me time to asses and react to his opening with my decloak and manoeuvre options. 
  • I managed to get first one, then another phantom behind Jason’s ships and punish him with one round of good rolls. He was having to go more aggressive to catch up and play far riskier. 
  • Delta 7-b Jedi only have two green dice and one force that tends to get used for repositioning. This means Outmanoeuvre and Juke are both far deadlier in attack. 
  • I am thinking of dropping the targeting computer from whisper to bring the bid down to 196pts. seems about right in the current meta and I have rarely used it. The other option I am toying with is to drop Whisper to a Sigma Ace and put Afterburners on both Phantoms for a 194pt list. There are pros and cons to this and I will try another week with Whisper and see what happens first. 

Game 3

Another week and sticking with the imperial list. My first opponent is Jas Robinson again. This time he has an Imperial list with Echo with Afterburners and 4 Tie V1 Barons, three with Prockets, and one with Thread Tracers. All five ships have Fire Control System, (FTC) and Disciplined. 

I was going to try dropping the targeting computer from Whisper, but as Jason was at 200 pts, there was no need to. I took second player so my Echo would move after Jas’ Echo. We set up like this: 

When Jason set up the block of barons facing to my left, I knew I could keep Whisper as bait out on my left and bring Inky fast down the right and swing Echo right as well. I know the v1 can turn hard and fast, but that would leave Jason exposed on Whisper’s flanking side. As long as I kept up a three-pronged attack, I could keep Jason guessing. Inky snuck in a sneaky range three shot on Jason’s Echo and took two shields off. Not expected, but I’m always happy to do damage for no return if I can. 

Turn four saw Jason turn into the rocks allowing Inky and my Echo to come around my right side of the table. I kept Whisper non-committal as bait down around my table edge with plenty of options to decloak left and right. 

This was the turn Jason had to decide whether to commit to Whisper or turn and threaten the other two ships. I was guessing that he would come for Whisper as Echo was probably round the back of his list which would leave him facing off against Inky with an open flank to both Echo and Whisper! I’m happy If Jason chases Inky as he is my least expensive ship and with force+focus or force+evade, he is hard to take damage from. 

If Jason is coming for Whisper, as expected, he has to choose if Whisper is de-cloaking left, right, or straight ahead. I decloak right in behind the rock. He opted to hedge his bets and sends two Barons banking out to cover the left decloak. He brings the other two straight forwards and repositions to widen the arcs. 

This allowed Whisper to go straight forward over the rock with her collision detector and barrel roll left out of all the baron arcs. 

Unfortunately, I forgot to take a picture of what happened next round which is a shame as it was the round that really counted! 

Jason de-cloaked Echo back into the rocks to come at Whisper and had to spend the turn getting all his v1s facing back the right way. I managed to get all three ships with arcs on Echo and took him off the table. 

As I was playing a tournament list and getting into a tournament mindset ready for next week, I decided to play safe and cagey and protect the points lead I had. The rest of the game was a lot of cat and mouse and me staying at range three and cloaking up when necessary for extra green dice. 

I ended up taking full points from Echo and various plinks during the game had got me half points on two Barons. A 93-0 win! 

Mini Conclusion: 

  • I’m getting better at reading how my opponent sets up and how they might fly their list. This is allowing me to set up better and formulate a good plan to counter it. 
  • Games with my list seem to hinge on one good round of shooting. get it right and it is devastating. I can assume that if I get it wrong, it’s going to be equally as devastating for me. 
  • Moving last matters a lot to me. I am definitely going to lose the targeting computer from Whisper to bring the list down to 196pts. I didn’t use it at all in this game and minimally in previous games. 
  • There is an argument for losing the Passive Sensors from Echo too, if I want to bring the bid down to 194pts. (This will all become academic if AMG choose to ditch the bid system in favour of random first player. If they do, then we stick passive sensors on both for 200pts!) 

Game 4

My opponent for game 4 was none other than Oli Pocknell! Oli has always been generous with his time and expertise in helping me get the best out of my list building and tactics. I love a good post-game de-brief as he always spots things in my game that help me to improve. Thanks, Oli. 

I haven’t included a pic of Oli as I’m sure you all know what he looks like! (and I forgot to take one). If you don’t know what he looks like, you can find him on Twitch or YouTube: Oli_186 He has some great recorded matches and videos on tactics to take a look at. 

I think the constructive criticism I receive from other players pre and post-game is one of the most important factors that improve me as an X-wing player. 

Anyway…back to the game. 

Oli came with 4 rebel A-Wings and Jan Ors. Wedge, Sabine and Jake, all naked and Arvel with Intimidation. Jan Ors had the Moldy Crow title and Engine Upgrade. 

The list is designed to boost Wedge up to double modded three to four red dice with his ability to take away a green die. That’s gonna hurt a Phantom. Stay away from Wedge! I was aware that Oli needs to keep Jan alive as it’s his most expensive and effective ship. There’s my target priority if I can make it work. The A-Wings I will take shots of opportunity at if I get them. 

I have the bid and want as much moving after Oli as possible so I give him the first player. He sticks my two biggest rocks two and two in the corners to minimise Whisper’s collision detector possibilities. We set up like this: 

Oli comes cagey slow down the edge of the table and I keep Inky in the corner as bait while Echo and Whisper zoom around my left table side to start to flank. 

Oli banks in around the rock and will have to decide to go after Inky or protect the flank next turn. 

Turn 3. Oli splits his list sending Wedge to threaten Whisper and the others spread out to cover arcs in the centre of the table. Inky slips back to the left of the rock and Echo carries on round the table to flank. I turned in hard with Whisper to keep three prongs to my approach but misjudged both the decloak and the hard three turn ending up on the rock. I have to trigger Collision Detector and cloak up to tank the incoming shot from Wedge which was boosted by Jan. 

At this point, I forgot to take photos as the game got really intense and all the decloak options were messing with my head. The next round was pivotal. 

Three things happened that set up for a great and fairly decisive turn. Oli correctly predicted the de-cloak right and four forwards from Whisper and also the bank-boost left decloak and four forwards from Echo! 

Wedge hard turned left around the rock and boosted to block Whisper. Echo came screaming in on a big left arc. Jan went one forward instead of the left bank Oli had contemplated leaving her at range one to Echo. The four forward from Whisper cleared by a millimetre! I was able to barrel roll left onto the cloud and trigger collision detector to set up a range one exchange with Jan. 

Inky went fast forward and boosted round the cloud to set up a shot on Jan. 

Jan shot first at Whisper. Only one focus on four dice! Whisper shrugs it off, importantly keeping her evade for the return shot. 

Whisper rolls four dice, four hits out of hand! Talk about variance! Jan is down to two hull and Echo and Inky finish her off. 

That’s a big round for me. 59 points ahead. Time to get out of dodge and re-group for another engagement. 

On the way out, variance comes into play again as Inky lands three hits on Jake who rolls an evade and two blanks. Half points on Jake. 76-0 my way. Time is running out but we have a quick discussion about points. My most expensive ship is Whisper at 76 points, which would tie the game up with Oli having a better chance in the final salvo. That’s Oli’s win condition. Mine is to not take more than half on Whisper. We’ve only got a few rounds left and I decide that discretion is the better part and all that and set up for long exit routes. There are a couple of rounds of running and cloaking and I end up taking one shield on Whisper and doing no more damage. 

We end up with a 76-0 win for me. But I had one of those games where dice were hot for me and not for Oli. If Jan had halved or Killed Whisper in that trade or survived the turn, we would have had a completely different game. If Jake had not gone to half points, Oli would have had better options for his end-game win conditions. 

Mini Conclusion: 

  • Variance is a thing! It’s hard to judge a game when the dice are very one-sided. 
  • More reps with the list are improving my game. I’m picking better options for the phantoms. both in terms of de-cloak options and manoeuvre options each turn. 
  • Again, the game came down to one turn and one engagement that decided the game. It could have gone way worse for me. At some point, across four games in a tournament it will. I need to find a way to get ahead in the damage curve without having to commit to a one turn decides all strategy. 
  • During the post-game de-brief, Oli pointed out that I can be more aggressive with the phantoms, especially Whisper. I took too long to get Echo round the back and into the fight. Maybe this conservative style of play is what is leading to relying on a one turn/one engagement strategy. 
  • My brain hurt after two games on the trot with the Phantoms. This is getting easier, but I’m gonna need a good lunch break after two games to refresh and recharge. 
  • There were times when I locked with Whisper, but I’m still going to drop the targeting computer. I think the bid outweighs the minimal bonus it gives. 

Main Conclusion

I am very happy with the list as it now stands: 

“Echo” (51)     

    Outmaneuver (6)     

    Passive Sensors (2)     

    Fifth Brother (12) 

Ship total: 71  Half Points: 36  Threshold: 3 

“Whisper” (60)     

    Juke (7)     

    Collision Detector (6) 

Ship total: 73  Half Points: 37  Threshold: 3 

Grand Inquisitor (52)     

Ship total: 52  Half Points: 26  Threshold: 2 

Total: 196 

View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0: https://raithos.github.io/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v8ZsZ200Z200X126W240W82WY199X123W112WWY169XWW&sn=Echo%2FWhisper%2FInky&obs= 

Juke and Outmanoeuvre have proved themselves in every game so far, as has Collision Detector on Whisper. I can bait and switch with any of the ships. Echo and Whisper are the hard hitters, Inky can dish out enough damage to hold his own. 

I’m getting much better at de-cloak and maneuver selection and getting brain fatigue much later than previously. 

I naturally play acey, conservatively, and fairly defensively. But, am getting a better grasp of when to be aggressive and when to hold back. 

I have one more club night, (two more games), to practice with the list before the tournament on the 18th. The next blog will be a rundown of the tournament……… Wish me luck! 

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