Attack Wing 200 point league event

Captain’s Log: Star Date 12 (I’m not good at counting); We find ourselves in peril. What had been billed as the largest War Games exercises to be held in quite some time has turned to live combat. Fortunately, the Vulcans appear to be on our side. 

This past weekend, we had a change of pace event for Star Trek: Attack Wing. A group of players that normally sticks to the scenarios provided by Wizkids threw it all out the window, and held a three round event with larger than normal fleets, semi-random sector conditions, and a small custom twist on the event.

The twist: Each player, in order of arrival, would choose a faction to represent, and must include a ship of that faction with a captain of that faction to serve as their event flagship. That flagship would have a short list of extra abilities that could be used to the benefit of the fleet. The flagship was given a list of abilities that it could spend 6 tokens on, ranging from 1 token to repair a friendly hull or shield point, to 3 tokens to force a reroll of any number of the opponent’s dice. Each token was worth 5 bonus points if unspent, but also was worth points to the opposition if unspent and the ship was lost.

Including that ship, players would have 200 points to build their force, up to 20 of which could be resources, and no more than 60 of which could be dedicated to a single ship. The game was to be played on a 6’x3′ surface, so there was going to be lots of room to move around, but we also had an extra 5-10 minutes (I forget which) added to each round to have time to close that gap.

Arriving a little late wasn’t a big deal to me, as I’m the only player I know that understands the power of Vulcan ships, and I was sure that I could have them as my choice for a faction to represent. Sure enough, they were still available when I arrived, and I was largely able to field my force as planned. I wanted to field a second Kazon ship but neglected to bring it, so some last minute substitutions were in order, and I brought more Federation ships than originally intended.

Vulcan Militia

Resources:
Fleet Captain Independent (Dominion) – 5
Counter Attack Die – 5
Flagship Independent (Klingon) – 10

Tal’Kir – 26 (RiF blind boosters)
Cloaked Mines – 3 (I.R.W. Praetus)

D’Kyr – 26
(Scenario Flagship)
Vanik – 3 (Collective OP1 Prize)
Tractor Beam – 0 (Collective OP1 Prize)
Auxiliary Control Room – 0 (D’Kyr)

Ni’Var – 20
(Flagship)
Kira Nerys – 4 (Dominion War OP6 Prize)
Combat Vessel Variant – 5 (Collective OP1 Prize)
Elizabeth Shelby – 3 (Collective blind boosters)

USS Reliant – 20
Mr. Spock – 5 (USS Enterprise Refit)

USS Enterprise – 22
Clark Terrell – 1 (USS Reliant)

Relora-Sankur – 26 (RiF blind boosters)
Donatra – 5 (I.R.W. Valdore)
(Fleet Captain)
Blockade – 1 (Dominion War OP6 Prize)
Subspace Beacon – 5

There may be something slightly out of place in the build, but it’s pretty close. I’ve been really happy with my Vulcans, in previous events and wanted to expand upon the theme: Decently sturdy (read: requires just over a single Borg attack to destroy), 180 firing arc, and can take both Battlestation and Target Lock actions to modify attacks. Add in a dash of fleet boosting effects (like Donatra and Terrell), and it had to be a recipe for success.

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Green base: Scenario flagship. Black base: Resource flagship.

Round 1

Opponent:

Queen Vessel Prime
Tactical Drone  (Borg Sphere)
Feedback Pulse (Borg Sphere)

Tactical Cube 138
Flagship (Resource)
Borg Queen (Tactical Cube)
Ablative Hull Armor

Giant Borg Cube
Picard(9)?

List Commentary: I’m not entirely sure what else was on my opponent’s ships, or how that comes up to 200 points, yet stays within the constraints of the scenario. But thanks to my last second changes due to the missing second Kazon ship, I was scrambling just to get my forces onto the table and not delay our start.

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Did I mention that that cube is BIG?

Battle:

I lucked out, winning a roll-off to pick sector conditions randomly (odd), and then randomly pulling the 1-in-5 chance to choose the sector condition (makes more sense now I suppose), between the 3 standard conditions, a custom one, or forgoing them all together. Knowing how badly it can hurt the Borg, and knowing that my ships wouldn’t be as vulnerable to it, I chose “Energy Flux” (1/4 chance to cut the attacker’s base attack dice in half before rolling dice).

In my aforementioned hurry, I messed up my formation in this first game, and had the two flagships reversed. It took a lot of shuffling around to get that fixed, but I wanted the prize ship in the back. I had plenty of time to do so, as the battlefield was far too big for the event, a 6’x3′ play surface, with two planets in the middle of the map, 16″ (or “Range 4”, if you prefer) apart. With the ponderous movements of the Borg around the planet, I wasn’t worried about being rushed. So a few intentional bumps and reverses and such later, I was happy with my formation and moving forward.

With the Giant Cube and the Octahedron moving over in front of my fleet, my opponent brought his Tactical Cube down the flank. The last thing I wanted was to let him in behind me, so I danced around a little bit more, alternating between reverse and forward moves. Just before it appeared that we would engage, I dropped my cloaked mines in the direction of the Tactical Cube, and backed up, hoping for either free damage on multiple ships, or to catch only one ship in range (you would think I would have a reputation for such moves by now in this group).

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Big bad Borg are scared of itty-bitty mines.

With all the shuffling going on, we probably shouldn’t have been surprised (but we were) to hear that there was about 15 minutes left in the match, and we had yet to roll any dice! I bluffed that I was okay with a draw, and set my dials. The following turn, the Giant Cube was still out of range, but everything else finally got to shoot. The Borg didn’t handle the Energy Flux well, though, and both attacks were cut in half, leaving the Tal’Kir damaged but alive. Meanwhile, I poured shot after shot into the Tactical Cube, stripping away its’ shields, armor, and starting in on its’ hull.

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Last round? CHAAAAARGE!!!!

The next turn turned out to be our last, and I made it count. Kira Nerys put in some heavy duty lifting, handing out Target Locks all around the fleet, while everyone loaded up on Battlestations with their standard actions. I lost the Tal’Kir this round, with the Giant Cube finally bringing its’ guns to bear, but it’s cost was less than half of the Cube that was taken down in the process. A few more shots cleared most of the shields off of Queen Vessel Prime, but we stopped since time had been called and I had less dice remaining than he had health.

Round 2

Opponent:

Klingon Flagship resource

Regent’s Flagship
Riker – (OP Prize)

I.K.S. Neghvar

B’Rel Class (OP Prize)

B’Rel Class (OP Prize)

Vor’Cha class (Starter)

I.K.S. Maht-H’A (Starter)

List Commentary: I’m not entirely sure who is who around the Klingon fleet, I don’t play against them often. Worf, Gowron, and Martok, were definitely all in there somewhere. This seemed like it was going to be a tough fight, very similar to my “throw lots of ships out there with buffs on them” concept.

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Captain’s log: Riker here. It’s day 37, and they still think I’m just a funny looking Klingon.

Battle:

Sector condition: Energy Flux, pulled randomly this time.

Having learned my lesson last round, and knowing it would take a while to move six ships on both sides of the table, I didn’t delay as much this game, and I targeted the center point of the map as the engagement zone, right between the planets. This seemed logical (there’s that inner Vulcan going to work) because all deployment zones got moved up towards the center as a result of the low amount of combat in the first round. It would be hard to disguise a flank attack in this case. We both banked in towards the center at the same time, right out of the gate. I followed that up by backing up for one turn, pulling the Klingons forward but not engaging yet.

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Draw ’em in, boys! The trap is almost ready!

Then it was too late for the enemy to go around either planet and still get in several rounds of combat, and I dropped out my Cloaked Mines right in his way as I moved into firing position. We traded a couple of long range shots with our lead ships, to little effect.

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Got ’em!!!

The enemy panicked at the thought of entering the mine field, which meant several ships were out of position, and wouldn’t ever fire in the game. This also gave me a beautiful turn of fire into the enemy’s flank.

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Riker, meet Enterprise. Enterprise, meet crazy bearded Riker.

The Regent’s Vessel took the Enterprise down with it, but I was able to atomize several ships, and came out way ahead in the exchange. I couldn’t get them all before time was called, but I got close.

Round 3

Opponent:

Scimitar
Donatra (I.R.W. Valdore)

Assimilated Vessel 80279 (RiF OP2 Prize)
Martok(8) (I.K.S Negh’Var)
Alexander (I.K.S Koraga)
Advanced Weapon System (I.K.S Koraga / Starter Set)

Gor Portas
Flagship (?) (OP Participation Prize)
Weyoun (?)
Breen Aide (Gor Portas)
Science Officer (OP Participation Prize)
Energy Dissipator (Gor Portas)
Energy Dissipator (Gor Portas)

1st Wave Attack Fighters
Galor Class Phaser Banks (1st Wave Attack Fighters)
Aft Disruptor Wave Cannons (1st Wave Attack Fighters)

List Commentary: I hate that I’m missing a few cards from this build, because it was genuinely interesting. On first glance, you wouldn’t think that these ships would work well together, but they certainly do. There was no way I could let that Gor Portas get near my fleet. Between the scan, the Breen Aide conversion, and 3 actions per turn (standard, Martok, and Flagship free action), plus Donatra to help out, it would likely kill a ship per turn on its’ own by bringing down the shields and then laying into the hull with a follow-up attack. The remainder of the fleet had enough firepower to seriously dent a second ship each turn.

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An interesting assortment of ships that I didn’t want anything to do with.

Battle:

Sector Condition: Meteor Storm. I actually pulled the “take your pick” card again, but I jokingly said that I might need to take the Meteor Storm to make things more fair, and he held me to it.

I had my deployment and approach figured out this time around, so things looked really familiar. The standardized terrain placement along with large starting distance between the fleets meant that I didn’t really have to react to much. I’d like to re-do this so that I end up with my AoE buffs in range of everyone still even after turning the formation, but by and large I like how things worked out. Just like before, mines were dropped between the planets after it was too late to go around, and my less valuable Federation ships took the brunt of the first attacks.

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Well, it worked the last time, let’s do it again!

This is where the ridiculous amount of firepower in the list comes in handy. When the two fleets clashed, positioning saved me from a shot or two, leaving one of my Fed ships with a sliver of health remaining. But going back the other way, I cleared the Scimitar on the last shot of the turn. His dice weren’t bad, and there’s a lot of cloaked hull to chew through there, but six separate shots will eventually get something through.

Having taken lots of damage from the meteors, spread around my fleet, I knew something would be going down, and sure enough, the fighters and Klingons took out the Enterprise. But concentrated fire from the rest of the fleet took out the Gor Portas just as time was called, and this was another solid, if incomplete, win.

Final thoughts:

6’x3′ is waaaay too big for 200 points. And Vulcans do really well in a swarm. My pick of blind booster ships for winning the (low entry fee) event? Another D’Kyr, for my improved Vulcan build to be used the next time we run such an event. It was only logical.

— The Tabletop General

Attack Wing – A Matter of Honor OP Prizes

Today in Star Trek: Attack Wing news: a sneak peak at the prizes for the upcoming “A Matter of Honor” Organized Play. This has been shamelessly copied down from a video posted by the one person outside of Wizkids / CBS that seems to get any advance notice regarding what is coming up in Attack Wing, Teri Litorco.

Participation prize – “Officer Exchange Program” (Resource) – 0 points: Select two factions. Admirals, Captains, and Crew of those factions do not pay a faction penalty on the other faction’s ships. Captains and Admirals equipped in this way (but not Crew) have their cost reduced by 1 point.

Prize ship: IKS Pagh – 26 points, 4/1/5/3, Tech, Weapon, Weapon, Crew – When attacking, you may convert one [Crit] result to one [Hit] result. If you do, you may convert one [Blank] result to one [Hit] result.

It’s an interesting new mechanic, and it keeps your [Crit] results from being wasted when hitting shields. I like it.

Kargan – Klingon Captain – 4 points, skill 6 – If you perform an action provided by one of your upgrade cards as your action for the turn, you may take a free target lock action and receive Auxiliary Power token.

Not a great card for general use, as Klingons don’t have a lot of upgrade cards that this would work with, but I can see it coming in handy in a specialized build for the action economy. Will have a lot of synergy with Surrender as Ordered, below.

Riker – Federation Crew – 4 points, Elite Talent slot – Does not pay a faction penalty on Klingon ships. Action: Disable this card to increase your captain skill to 10 until the end phase.

Meh. Fluffy, but Meh.

Surrender as Ordered – Klingon Talent – 4 points – Action: Discard this card to target a ship at Range 1 in your forward firing arc. That ship may choose not to attack this round and disable all Weapon Upgrades. If it does this, you may not attack the targeted ship this round. If it does not do so, or if it has no un-disabled weapon upgrades, you gain +2 attack dice against that ship this turn.

Doesn’t do much for me on its’ own, but could be useful for an alpha strike, provided that you find a way to modify your dice, such as getting a Target Lock from Kargan, above.

Phaser Array Retrofit – Klingon Weapon – 5 points – When attacking at Range 3 with your primary weapon, you gain +1 attack die and the defender rolls one less defense die. Can only be purchased for a Klingon ship, no ship may equip more than one Phaser Array Retrofit.

Cool ability, turning range modifiers on their head. Worth 5 points though? Questionable.

Tunneling Neutrino Beam – Federation Tech – 3 points – Disable this card to target a friendly ship at Range 1. Target ship repairs 1 damage to its’ hull. Your ship cannot attack this round. Pay no faction penalty when equipping to a Klingon ship.

A great ability for cloaking fleets that might end up taking a nasty critical hit on their hull. It’s not something I would run, but I can see a LOT of players liking this card.

All in all, it’s not a bad prize ship. Now we just have to sit around and wait for info on how to win it!

— The Tabletop General

X-Wing RPG Session 5

Agent 7 had to admit, the Rebels were good. Not in the good versus evil sense, as word of their heinous war crimes against the innocents on Alderaan went to show, but good at striking quickly and pressing an advantage, not to mention quite skilled in combat. Were it not for the locator beacons on their stolen TIE Fighters, the Imperial Navy would have never seen the assault on Station Rho 2 coming at all, and it probably would have been captured intact, without damage, and without any losses whatsoever.

Fortunately, both for Agent 7 and for the Empire as a whole, Special Operations Group Spectre was able to hold off the assault long enough for Agent 7 to complete his work and escape. Falsifying the shipping records of the prototype ship components was easy enough. Setting charges at a few key locations around the station was childs’ play, albeit a touch more difficult to make the damage appear to have come from the exterior of the station during the attack. The most difficult part would have been escaping Rho 2 while a battle raged outside, but Stygium crystals had a hand in making that far more simple than one might expect under more normal conditions. They almost worked too well, in fact, as during his launch, Agent 7 was barely able to avoid a collision with what appeared to be a suicidal Z-95 Headhunter skimming along the station’s surface alone. That was a tempting kill, hard to pass up on, but his directive was clear: Influence the war, not a battle.

With his preparations in place, Agent 7 joined Agent 8, triggered the remote detonation of his thermal charges aboard Rho 2, and set a course for Garlan III, confident that the Rebels would soon find his carefully manufactured trail and place themselves directly within his trap. He could practically hear the arguments in their planning rooms now, that this had to be a trap, but that the chance to keep a new and superior starfighter out of the Empire’s hands was a risk that must be taken! He chuckled to himself as his TIE Phantom jumped to lightspeed. If only they knew…

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The Rebel forces arrive at their target on Garlan III, having flown in through a tight window in the local air defense coverage. The city almost appears abandoned, save for the anti-air batteries that are most definitely active.

 

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With no opposing ships in sight, the feeling that the Rebels are flying into an ambush grows (the TIE Fighters pictured are flown by Rebels). Several sensor blips appear on radar near the target facility, but the Rebels are unable to identify them with all the buildings in the way.

 

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The Rebels overwhelm the first of several defense turrets with a torrent of firepower en route to the first shield generator (top left building).
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Some of those sensor readings turn out to be TIE Fighters, and a heavy assault wing flies into the area, determined to stop the Rebel assault. But Spectre Group has yet to appear…

 

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Suddenly, a Lambda shuttle flown by the infamous pilot known as Grandma comes rising up out of the forest on the Rebels’ flank.
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The second set of sensor blips from before materializes into a small fighter squad as well.
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The first group of TIE Fighters is quickly dispatched, but seemed to disappear rather than explode. Heralded by explosions that disintegrate the false walls on several buildings, Spectre Group arrives, some in new TIE Interceptors. “It’s a TRAP!!!”
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Ghost Rider pulls some tight maneuvering, trying to get away from the ambush…
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… but it wasn’t quite enough!
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With a generator down and the bulk of the Imperials chasing down a decoy ship, the Rebels breathed a sigh of relief, but it was to be short lived, What they thought had been nothing but holographic distractions before turned out to be a cloaked ship that was now behind them!
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Beaten and bruised by the ambush, many Rebel ships were shot down or forced to flee. One pilot, however, would not be dissuaded from the target, as Trident broke off on a solo attack run.
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The Imperial forces, realizing that one had slipped through, scrambled to catch up with Trident.

 

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Trident put forth a valiant effort, and damaged, but could not destroy the factory. Wrong Way could have been the Rebels’ last hope, but he chose discretion over valor and fled the battlefield, living to fight another day.

The assault didn’t manage to destroy the facility, but it was a much closer than Agent 7 or his commanders would have liked. Even though this wasn’t the facility the Rebels were led to believe, it was still a valuable factory, and much damage was caused by the battle. Agent 7, however, would not have to face his superiors, having been shot down and killed in the battle. It would now be up to Agent 8, who successfully defended the southern half of the city, to figure out how to stop the Rebels once and for all.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Our campaign will be taking a short break, due to personal reasons along with a bit of X-Wing overload here in the midst of the Store Championship season and as we ramp up for Scum & Villainy’s release. But stay tuned, I hope to start up again in about a month.

— The Tabletop General

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Resistance is Futile OP3; Battle Report 1

A three-for-one post today, as I’ll be sharing my experiences with two tournaments on back to back days, as well as the design methodology that went into one of the lists.

Following the second Organized Play scenario of Resistance is Futile, I took a break from Star Trek: Attack Wing. This was partially due to time constraints around the holidays, partially due to frustration with the new rulings coming out from the support forums, and more than anything else due to a month long delay in shipping of the OP kits to venues. With the kits arriving shortly after the start of the new year, though, it was time to dive back in and see what I had missed.

My first event I approached as a casual warm-up. Having built up a sizable lead in the series standings, I was pretty much guaranteed the grand prize just for showing up. And rather than using the official scenario, the TO for this series elected to give the player winning initiative the option of several sets of terrain to place on the field, but it was otherwise a 120 point Ship-Pure brawl. Thus, I couldn’t actually practice the RiF 3 scenario here, and there wasn’t much tactical analysis to be done on the event. I made the mistake of trusting cloaking and (thus the luck of dice, which failed me). My record on the day was 1-2, cruising to the finish and collecting my copy of Tactical Cube 001 anyway.

The most significant event of the day was being blasted off the table by the new Deep Space Nine. In retrospect, I had plenty of maneuverability to isolate the station, and all the firepower I could need to take it out before my opponent’s other ships could fully engage. But for some reason I chose naively to ignore the station, thinking that I could avoid its’ range and firing arcs.

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With maneuverability to spare, I really should have rushed straight at the station while the Federation ships slowed to turn around.

After the event was completed, I went back to the participation prizes that were handed out for the event, including the aperture token to be used in the provided scenario. Having some free time and an idea tickling around in the back of my head, I looked back over my review of the scenario and went to work on finalizing the plans I had first dreamed up four months prior when the scenario was first announced – getting off the map as quickly as possible.

The way the scenario is designed, it’s almost impossible to get ships back to the Alpha Quadrant for bonus points, because they’ll take so much damage along the trip. It’s more manageable to destroy the conduit behind yourself, as you should be damaging the conduit faster than it damages you with most ships, but that doesn’t help if you’re limping in with only one or two hit points remaining, and nothing you bring along can help you other than the basic statistics of your ship. But escaping not only saves that ship, but grants you bonus points, as does destroying the conduit.

The store I was to play at the next day uses fleet points as the primary determination for standings, building the win/loss record in as bonus fleet points (25 for each loss [participation], 50 for each win). As a result,  losing the match but escaping to the Alpha Quadrant was worth a few more points than the bonus for winning, even if you didn’t manage to destroy the conduit, and way more if you did! But since you lose the game if your last ship on the game board is destroyed (regardless of whether or not anything escaped), and the exit was going to be so brutal to reach, most players had already hinted that they would be ignoring that part of the scenario and attempting to out-joust the enemy in the safe area of the map.

This particular store chooses to ignore the Wizkids’ recommended fleet format, instead allowing up to 90 points out of 120 to be spent on a single ship and not requiring the 3 ship minimum. In the past that has caused a lot of juggernaut builds to appear with minimal support, but I had heard that Borg Cubes and such had fallen out of favor there lately, being quite vulnerable to the new Dominion First Wave Attack Fighters and Federation “Fighter Squadron 6″ expansions.  I figured I might go against the grain and see if I could make it work to bring a Cube or something similar using every point I could spare from the escaping ship.

So I had two primary design elements in mind for the list: Build an escape ship, and build a juggernaut. In more detail, the escape ship needed to be as cheap as possible beyond 30 points, needed to be able to at least have a chance of destroying the conduit, and needed get into the conduit as quickly, taking minimal damage along the way. The Juggernaut needed to be able to duel with the entire enemy fleet on a 36″ by 18” playing field, and if not win, at least score 50-60 points worth of its’ own kills before it went down. As an additional consideration, I asked another player for his thoughts on the strategy at hand, and he really liked it. As a result, I needed to build in a few contingencies to my plan so that my Juggernaut build could defeat his, without weakening myself too much to other archetypes.

For the escape ship, I chose a generic Intrepid class. At 28 points, the Intrepid was above my mental budget for an escape ship, but with eight total hit points, four attack and two evade dice, it stood a good chance against the conduit if I could get it there quickly enough, and the availability of a white 6-forward on its’ dial meant that it would be better suited than any other ships to reach the conduit in a hurry. In fact, I had suspected for months that it could be done in a turn, but I had never sat down to test it before.

I had already two abilities that would be useful in boosting the Intrepid towards home: The Dominion Independent Flagship resource (gives a friendly ship at range 1 a free maneuver), and Picard Maneuver (Action: If you performed a 3, 4, or 5 forward this turn, discard this card to perform an additional 5 forward maneuver, take an Auxiliary Power Token, and all attacks against you this turn are with -4 dice). I didn’t love Picard Maneuver though, because it was expensive, it would actually force me to slow down to use it, and the scenario already had a ruling in the FAQ that stated the Borg attacks wouldn’t be affected by this text. Still, it was a starting point.

Next, I needed to figure out who would carry the talent. I needed a cheap captain with an Elite Talent slot, but I also needed a high Captain Skill, because I didn’t want to have to chase the Intrepid with my other ship to give the extra maneuver, the Intrepid had to move second. My first thought was Christopher Pike, he provides a good balance of skill (6) and cost (4), has a talent slot, and he would make crew on the ship cheaper, potentially giving me cheap cannon fodder to throw at the conduit. Rather than writing anything down, since the build was changing from moment to moment, I was just pulling cards that I planned on using out for reference, and Pike wasn’t where he was supposed to be in my card folder. Instead, I saw Benjamin Maxwell, who would be a skill 7 for the same cost, but before I could retrieve him, I also spotted the Stargazer version of Picard – same skill and cost as Pike, but his ability (Action: Disable all of your active shields and perform an additional green or white maneuver) was better than the Picard Maneuver, and eliminated the need for that 5 point card. I set up the map and tested the maneuvers – 6 forward (from the flagship), 6 forward (from the maneuver dial), 6 forward (from Picard) –  for a total of a 20 forward (when including the size of the base between maneuvers). The Intrepid was across the token and off the board with room to spare, weighing in at 32 points.

So that left 88 points for our combat beast, 10 of which were dedicated to the flagship card to make it all tick. At first, Tactical Cube 138 was an obvious choice, with two sets of ablative armor for a total of 70 points and 27 health (when including the flagship). But the players in my homebrew X-Wing RPG have taught me that without any sort of defense, 25 hit points can disappear really quickly. Thinking to the prevalence of the new fighters, I realized that I needed some deterrence and easy hits on them.  Cloaked Mines were immediately loaded in to my tech slot.

I started leafing through my crew cards, still feeling like I didn’t have enough defense to stall the game out if the matchup was bad for me, and I ran across One (Action: Discard this card to perform this action. For each damage your ship would take this turn, disable one Active Shields instead of destroying it. If you have no active shields, any excess damage is applied to your Hull as normal.) Against a full onslaught, that would be up to 9 extra hit points in and of itself. And if I could find a way to use it multiple times, that would just be silly. Accordingly, Weyoun was immediately added as the captain, who can be disabled to stop a card from being disabled or discarded. A cheap 3 point Admiral was added to the Intrepid to make sure that Picard could still move after Weyoun, and two points left over, with only weapons slots remaining on the Cube. The thought came up of trading in one of the Borg Ablative Hull Armor upgrades for a Transwarp Conduit card in case a bad situation came up, but the planning session pretty much stopped there, we would each tailor the build from that point to our liking and show up the next day ready to rumble.

David & Goliath

Intrepid Class – 28 (USS Voyager)
Jean-Luc Picard – 4 (Stargazer OP Prize)
Adm. Maxwell Forrest – 3 (Enterprise NX-01)

Borg Tactical Cube – 44 (Tactical Cube 138)
Flagship Independent (Dominion) – 10
Weyoun – 5 (5th Wing Patrol Ship)
One – 4 (RiF blind booster pack)
Energy Dissipator – 11 (Gor Portas)
Cloaked Mines – 4 (I.R.W. Praetus)
Transwarp Conduit – 6 (Soong)

Total: 119 points

We have the slingshot ship, and the hulking beast ready to take on an entire army alone, so the name seemed mostly appropriate. Nothing changed about the Intrepid, but I did switch upgrades and tactics with the Cube a bit. I was concerned more about dealing damage than I was surviving it, so one Borg Ablative Hull Armor was sacrificed in favor of the Transwarp Conduit. That way, I could move up, drop mines, and move back to my board edge, waiting for the enemy to come to me. Then once they had cleared the mine field, I could hop over to the opposite side and make them chase me back again. The other BAHA was dropped. I elected to use the generic Cube, and I spent three of my remaining four points as well in order to afford an Energy Dissipator – in case I found myself facing Borg (perhaps in a likely mirror match with my friend who helped with the design), the Energy Dissipator would be a guaranteed method of bypassing shields, and perhaps preventing any return fire at all. The last point was left on the table as an initiative bid, for once I wanted to be shooting first whenever possible.

 

Round 1

Opponent:

Constitution Class – 20 ()

Constitution Class – 20 ()

Constitution Class – 20 ()

Dominion Attack Fighters – 20 (First Wave Attack Fighters)

Dominion Attack Fighters – 20 (First Wave Attack Fighters)

Dominion Attack Fighters – 20 (First Wave Attack Fighters)

wpid-img_20150112_191930931.jpg

List Commentary: Well, here’s that fighter-heavy meta everyone’s been discussing. If I let myself get swarmed, that’s around 30 attack dice per turn coming in on my Cube. I have one attack per turn with my Cube, which would have to roll above the statistical average to kill a Constitution class ship in a single attack, and destroying the fighter squadrons would take 4 attacks each. Not looking good, but… I have mines, so we’re even.

Battle: So at this point, we’re reading through how to set up for the battle, and I realize I’ve made a potentially grave mistake. All of my planning for getting the Intrepid across Borg space in a single turn, and I assumed our deployment zone ran up to the edge of Borg space, but I was very wrong in this assumption. Accordingly, I took a 6-Forward with the Intrepid on turn one, but didn’t trigger any extra abilities, and found myself right outside of Borg space, no harm done. My opponent surprised me by turning his whole fleet towards the conduit, but didn’t move far.

The next turn, I used the flagship’s extra movement and a 6-forward on the Intrepid’s actual movement, and found myself in the conduit without needing Picard’s ability. That meant that I could have still made it the first turn. My opponent’s Constitution class ships backed up, beginning a shuffle in place that would continue for much of the game – they were only there for cleanup, he didn’t want to risk losing them. The fighters closed in, but I knew they couldn’t move extremely fast and had limited range, so I was able to take a few long range shots for free hits, and I dropped my mines in their way, but my opponent had no choice but to continue. Hit after hit; the mines battered the fighters, whose first wave of attacks were canceled by One.

I lost a couple of shields, but finished the fighters off before the Constitution Class reserves could arrive to help, and I was able to knock out two of those as well, the second just as time was called in the match.

Round 2

Opponent:

Borg Sphere – 38 (Borg Sphere)
Tactical Drone – 3 (Borg Sphere)

Borg Sphere – 38 (Borg Sphere)

First Wave Attack Fighters – 22 (First Wave Attack Fighters)

Dominion Attack Fighters – 20 (First Wave Attack Fighters)

wpid-img_20150112_190944016.jpg

List Commentary: My opponent had downplayed this list from the moment he walked in the door, saying that he didn’t expect much out of it, but I didn’t buy it. I had beaten him several times in the past by throwing more dice with basic Borg ships than his upgraded ones could manage. Now he was essentially running a newer version of what I used against him to such success, trading in a captain and a Borg ship for two squadrons of fighters. This was a lean and mean build that would be hard to beat with 120 points, and I was throwing 84 at it.

Battle: Having learned last time that it was possible, I sent the Intrepid off into the conduit on turn one. My opponent rolled well for the Borg, and I was forced to flee to the Alpha Quadrant almost immediately, having sustained heavy damage.

Back on the board, the Borg Cube shuffle caused some frustration for my opponent, who had engaged first with his fighters who did their best to dance around my mine field. I took no damage on the first wave thanks to One, but I misplayed the next turn. Expecting to be out of range or firing arc of all the enemy ships, I re-enabled Weyoun rather than triggering One again, and I lost all my shields that turn as a result, making the re-use of One pointless. Completely trapped the next turn, I hopped away with Transwarp Conduit, rolling back into the action with a better position the next turn. Thus, I managed to catch his damaged sphere in range, and killed it before it could return fire. I was still blasted by the rest of the fleet, but barely alive, and feeling good about my chances.

wpid-img_20150112_205801559.jpg
One sphere down, and one to go, but there’s trouble brewing with those fighters!

At this point, I switched gears and moved in for an all out assault. With his remaining sphere firing well after my cube, I was able to hit it with the Energy Dissipator, bring down the shields, and put major damage on his hull with a follow-up shot, and risked no return fire. Unfortunately, as you might be able to see in the photo above, one of the fighter squadrons barely had me in arc, and was able to finish off the Cube. It was a loss, but I still scored points for his sphere, my Intrepid, and the bonus for escaping. Hopefully that would be enough to keep things close.

Round 2

Opponent:

Voyager (USS Voyager)
Picard [8] (USS Enterprise E)
Once More Unto the Breach (I.K.S. Kronos One)
Transphasic Torpedoes (USS Voyager)
…?

Bioship Alpha  (Bioship Alpha)
Kirk [9] (USS Enterprise Refit)
The Weak Will Perish (Bioship Alpha)
Quantum Singularity (Bioship Alpha)
…?

Sideboard
Transphasic Torpedoes (USS Voyager)
…?

wpid-img_20150112_212742830.jpg

List Commentary: I got used to no upgrades on ships, so I forgot to take notes on exactly what else these two were carrying, but these are the items that were used in the game.

Battle: My Intrepid was off the board and doing its’ thing from the word “go”, so now it’s a 2v1 matchup for my Tactical Cube. With less ships than any other fleet I had faced thus far, my mines didn’t do much good. But One did his job, and did it properly this time, canceling heaps of damage for two consecutive turns. I normally laugh off anyone that uses a set, let alone two of them, but Transphasic Torpedoes and good die rolls had me hurting badly. Fortunately, I was able to turn the tide in my favor by a stroke of luck of my own, landing a hit with my Energy Disruptor to drop Voyager’s Shields, and following up with a Target Lock assisted blast that shredded through its’ hull in a single turn. From there, it was relatively simple cleanup against the Bioship, and a full win for my fleet.

Final thoughts:

My friend with a similar build went 3-0 on the day, playing smarter and doing better in round 3 against my round 2 foe than I had. But he got greedy, and left his escape ship in the conduit for one turn too many in one round, losing the ship and all associated bonus points. Accordingly, with the unusual scoring system in place at this venue, I managed a victory on the day, beating him out by a matter of around 13 fleet points, despite my 2-1 record.  Despite not facing his fleet, for which the Energy Disruptor was intended, the expense of 11 points was well worth the use I got out of it. Having the Energy Disruptor on the cube is practically priceless in venues that allow it; the Cube’s relative immunity to losing actions from collisions along with its’ large base makes it very difficult to avoid.

wpid-img_20150112_221100846.jpg
Start to Red base: Flagship bonus movement. Red to Green base: Normal movement. Green base to end: Picard’s action movemovement.

It’s not every day that you get to say you performed a 20-forward with one of your ships. But it’s perfectly possible, and then some. (Add in Romulan Pilot [Aj’rmr OP Prize] for another 4 [3 + base], Picard Maneuver [Stargazer OP Prize] plus Riker [Enterprise E] to trigger it, and you’ve got another 6 [5 + base] to add in, for a total of a 30-forward. My (very rough) calculations say that a maneuver of that length would take a ship from one corner to the other of a 36″ map, and slightly off. You know, just in case we get a weird enough scenario in the future where that might be required.

— The Tabletop General

FCB 2015 X-Wing Championship

As I mentioned in the prior article discussing my current tournament list for X-Wing Miniatures, I played in the first Store Championship event of the year in my area this past Saturday. This was a huge event, almost on par with last year’s Regional Championship. Players came from all over the southeast to kick off the tournament season. The top tables tended to have local flavor, but the visitors made a strong showing too. We had 36 players in all, which meant 6 rounds of Swiss pairings, followed by a 3-round playoff for the top 8. We also had a small online following, as the venue streamed a featured table throughout the day. (Three recordings: Opening match, bulk of the tournament [Most of one of my matches is recorded at around the 8:06 mark, but ], and final two rounds.) [Edit: These recordings have since been lost in an account transfer.]

Here’s a quick rundown on my list as a reminder:

Cloaks and Dagger

Sigma Squadron Pilot – 25 (TIE Phantom)
Sensor Jammer – 4 (Lambda Shuttle)
Stygium Particle Accelerator – 2 (TIE Phantom)
Intelligence Agent – 1 (Lambda Shuttle / HWK-290)

Sigma Squadron Pilot – 25 (TIE Phantom)
Sensor Jammer – 4 (Lambda Shuttle)
Stygium Particle Accelerator – 2 (TIE Phantom)
Mara Jade – 3 (VT-49 Decimator)

Carnor Jax – 26 (Imperial Aces)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing / Imperial Aces)
Royal Guard TIE – 0 (Imperial Aces)
Stealth Device – 3 (Slave 1)
Targeting Computer – 2 (Imperial Aces)

wpid-img_20150110_130625961.jpg
I forgot to take a photo of just my ships, so pretend the B-Wing isn’t here (it wasn’t for long).

Round 1

Opponent:

Keeyan Farlander – 29 (Rebel Aces)
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7 (Slave 1 / Lambda Shuttle)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing / Imperial Aces)

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22 (B-Wing)

Gold Squadron Pilot – 18 (Y-Wing)
Blaster Turret – 4 (HWK-290)

Bandit Squadron Pilot – 12 (Z-95 Headhunter)
Cluster Missiles – 4 (TIE Advanced / A-Wing)

List commentary: This is an interesting list for the current meta that includes so many two ship builds with a Decimator / YT-2400. Keeyan is ready to pump out lots of damage with that HLC, and the Cluster Missiles on the Bandit are good for chewing into a Decimator early, since none of the hits can be evaded. At the same time, Keeyan is the only ship in this list that is really threatening, nothing else has late-game power.

wpid-img_20150110_124425049.jpg
We were hurried, so this photo turned out blurry, but it’s what I’ve got.

Battle: I almost lucked into a bye here, as my opponent had pre-registered but was running late. He got there about 2 minutes after the round start, so we rushed setup and started a separate timer, not that I thought it would be needed. 75% of his force hit the table before any of mine did, so I deployed away from him with my Phantoms, making sure I had time and room to maneuver around before we got into range.

Looking at the setup, my number one concern was downing Keeyan, he’s one of the biggest threats to my build. But I didn’t need to worry too much. Hoping to see Carnor stroll into firing range, my opponent got aggressive with Keeyan,  and gambled with an early Push the Limit. Instead, all he got out of it was being stranded in front of an asteroid and stressed, as I was having none of it. The next turn, he guessed wrong as to where the Phantoms would go, and ended up still stressed and pointed away from the combat. The time it took him to recover meant that I had  several turns of free reign against the remainder of his list. The Bandit got his missile off against Carnor, but 2 x 3 attack dice unmodified vs against 2 x 4 defense dice with focus & evade was a futile effort.

Starting roughly around the time that the photo above was taken, things went really far downhill for my opponent, as I was able to isolate one ship per turn, first the Blue Squadron B-Wing, then the Y-Wing, then the Z, and then lastly Keeyan. Each of the three generics died very quickly, being the subject of focused fire from my entire squad. As I mentioned in my design considerations from the previous post, the Phantoms fired before any of those three ships, and not a single one of them survived to return fire. Keeyan was a little tougher to nail down, but it was only a matter of time.

Record: 1-0
Margin of Victory: 200
Post-match standings: #6 out of 36.

Round 2

Opponent:

Carnor Jax – 26 (Imperial Aces)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing / Imperial Aces)
Royal Guard TIE – 0 (Imperial Aces)
Stealth Device – 3 (Slave 1)
Targeting Computer – 2 (Imperial Aces)

Soontir Fel – 27 (TIE Interceptor)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing / Imperial Aces)
Royal Guard TIE – 0 (Imperial Aces)
Stealth Device – 3 (Slave 1)
Targeting Computer – 2 (Imperial Aces)

Captain Kagi – 27 (Lambda Shuttle)
Sensor Jammer – 4 (Lambda Shuttle)

List commentary: Being an out-of-town player, I hadn’t seen this individual in several months, and I’d never seen this build. But I could tell immediately that this was one of the worst matchups I could have encountered on the day. It was a really well assembled squad that was using the same concepts as my own, but had an additional component that I hadn’t considered in Kagi. His Carnor Jax was identical to my own. Soontir always has mean damage output with this build, and Kagi served as an anchor to the list and made my targeting computer on my Interceptor next to useless.

(Photos from this match didn’t come out)

Battle: I lost the initiative roll, and might as well have packed up then and there. Killing his Carnor Jax was going to be lynchpin for a full victory, but without the ability to pin him down with my own, that would prove near impossible. He maneuvered his interceptors superbly, and was frustratingly unpredictable with his Lambda as well. At the end of the game I had landed two hits on Soontir, and one on Carnor Jax, and that stubborn Lambda had done at least that much damage to himself by running over asteroids.

The pace of this match was extremely slow. Each of my opponent’s Interceptor activations took 2-3 minutes as he considered what to do, where to boost/roll, etc. I considered changing targets and chasing down the shuttle, but I realized that I wouldn’t have time to kill it. In an attempt to kill ANYTHING, I got aggressive on the last turn with my one remaining ship, and ended up losing it too.

Record: 1-1
Margin of Victory: 200
Post-match standings: #25 out of 36.

Round 3

Opponent:

——

Whisper – 32 (TIE Phantom)
Fire-Control System – 2 (TIE Phantom / B-Wing)
Veteran Instincts -1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)
Advanced Cloaking Device – 4 (TIE Phantom)
Tactician – 3 (TIE Phantom)

Rear Admiral Chiraneau – 46 (VT-49 Decimator)
Veteran Instincts – 1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)
Rebel Captive – 3 (Lambda Shuttle)
Mara Jade – 3 (VT-49 Decimator)
Engine Upgrade – 4 (Millennium Falcon)

List commentary: This fellow was from the same area as my previous opponent, which meant that once again things were showing up that weren’t present in our local meta. Veteran Instincts on the Rear Admiral is not something I would have expected to see. I understand where people are going with it, but I’m not a huge fan of Mara Jade & Rebel Captive on the same ship – if one is working, the other isn’t; I’d prefer to do something that makes one work all the time.

wpid-img_20150110_121921661.jpg
Not displayed: the inadvertent crotch-shot that was uncomfortably featured in the uncropped version of the photo.

Battle: In my hurry to get back into the fight, I didn’t think things through all the way in deployment, and Chiraneau boosted up for a turn one shot that didn’t do much good. Whisper, on the other hand, hung back far out of range. I’ve always felt that elite Phantoms would do well held back as a reserve force, only committed once the opponent had been weakened a bit or pulled out of position, but hadn’t seen it done much. I wasn’t about to take that chance though, and I committed Carnor to an attack run while my Phantoms did their thing with the Decimator. It turned out to hurt me in the short term, and help me in the end.

He flew Whisper masterfully and skirted right by Carnor, who had used PTL for a focus/evade combo, expecting to be slugging it out with the Phantom that turn. Now Whisper was headed for my Phantoms who were still dancing with the Decimator, and Carnor Jax was across the map, stressed, and pointed the wrong way! Meanwhile, my Phantoms were running into trouble, getting stressed repeatedly by Mara Jade. Since I don’t use the Advanced Cloaking Device, my maneuvers are really limited when I need to clear stress, so I had to do some really funky stuff to get shots and keep myself alive until.

At one point I evaded Whisper’s arc with a Phantom by doing the unexpected, a green maneuver to right up against the table edge, facing off, and a cloak action. Whisper pointed the wrong way as I’d hoped. The next turn, Intelligence Agent told me where Whisper could cover with his shots, I decloaked to the opposite side, pulling the template back as far as possible, which left me exactly enough room for a hard 1 turn to remain on the table and pointed back into the fight with Whisper likely in arc. My other Phantom turned back in with a surprise K-Turn and covered the same area from another direction, and by this point Carnor was re-entering the fight. No matter where Whisper decloaked and moved, he took at least two attacks. He elected for offense, failed to hit, and took all three shots in return, giving a small scale preview of the fireball that the Decimator would look like soon after.

Record: 2-1
Margin of Victory: 400
Post-match standings: #10 out of 36.

Round 4

Opponent:

——

Bandit Squadron Pilot – 12 (Z-95 Headhunter)

Biggs Darklighter – 25 (Starter set)

Wedge Antilles – 29 (X-Wing)
Predator – 3 (TIE Defender)

Luke Skywalker – 28 (Starter Set)
R3-A2 – 2 (GR-75)
Veteran Instincts – 1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)

List commentary: This list, or a variant thereof (usually swapping Luke for Wes Jansen) is a tried and true standard for this player, a local who could fly this to the top table of most local tournaments in his sleep. Luke is a better choice for an end-game dogfighter thanks to his defensive ability, whereas Wes (with VI) is normally used to strip off defensive tokens ahead of Wedge coming in for a kill shot.

wpid-img_20150110_171035297.jpg
Use the Force, Luke!

 

Battle: Against the first opponent of the day whom I see on a regular basis, this turned out to be the best match of X-Wing I’ve played in months; although some hot & cold dice rolls didn’t make it seem that way. He knows his list well enough to fly it in his sleep, which means his focus in game is strictly on the movements and actions of the ships he’s flying against. Never leaving home without a PS9 and PS10 X-Wing, my opponent normally licks his chops when he sees TIE Phantoms, but these weren’t the Phantoms he was looking for.

One of this player’s strength is his patience. He never bolts forward early for a close shot, and never splits his forces, choosing instead to approach slowly and make sure that he can’t be outflanked. To force the issue, I deployed in a corner, and moved along my board edge with Carnor Jax, sending the Phantoms up the neutral board edge and cloaking them. Two turns later, Carnor banked in, with the option to boost left or right to commit to the fight a denied flank based on my opponent’s moves. His Bandit, at PS2, turned towards Carnor. Seeing this, at PS3 I engaged my Phantoms, who decloaked towards his forces and had hard-turns dialed up. I had taken the bait, as the rest of his squad turned to face the Phantoms; but range bonuses and focus/evade combos were too much for the X-Wings to overcome, and Biggs took heavy damage on the turn, falling to the first shot of the next.

From that point on, Intelligence Agent was in range, soon to be followed by Mara Jade, and things spiraled out of control for the Rebels. The limited dial of the X-Wing / Z-95, combined with a persistent stress mechanic and psychic barrel-rolling blockers meant that I could essentially escort his last couple of ships around as long as needed, never taking shots from them, and never allowing actions.

That anecdote is a prime example of how the whole day went on the whole; I was constantly surprised, but generally able to recover, relying on the maneuverability and defensive options of my list to keep everything alive (if just barely), and bursting for high amounts of damage when a target presented itself.

Record: 3-1
Margin of Victory: 600
Post-match standings: #5 out of 36.

Round 5

Opponent:

Academy Pilot -12 (Starter set / TIE Fighter)

Academy Pilot – 12 (Starter set / TIE Fighter)

Dark Curse – 16 (Starter set)

Commander Kenkirk – 44 (VT-49 Decimator)
Proton Bombs – 5 (TIE Bomber)
Ysanne Isard – 4 (VT-49 Decimator)
Hull Upgrade – 3 (Imperial Aces)
Ruthlessness – 4 ( VT-49 Decimator)

List commentary: Danger! Danger! With Proton Bombs and Ruthlessness, Kenkirk was equipped to potentially wipe out my entire squad in one turn. I had the firepower to take the Decimator down in two turns (one with some fortuitous critical hits), but at table 3 on round 5 out of the 6 Swiss rounds, I couldn’t afford to take a big gamble and come up empty. To be guaranteed a shot at making the cut, I had to win at least one game, and score decently in the other.

wpid-img_20150110_192627804.jpg
This is a little game I like to call “avoid where the Decimator is going and where it just was”.

 

Battle: Fearing the effects of both the Proton Bomb and Ruthlessness, I spread my ships out a lot more in this game. Even keeping that in mind, the Decimator was able to strip Carnor’s Stealth Device with a good shot and damage a Phantom in the process, meaning that the failure to roll one more evade result cost my list almost 20% of its’ hit points.

Where I managed to come out ahead is that TIE Fighters work fundamentally different from the Decimator, they needed to stay close to me and pointed at my ships to do anything, while the Decimator didn’t care about facing for shooting, and wanted to move close for bomb usage. As a result, I took advantage of this aggressive play and caused my opponent to split his forces for several rounds. In the turns following the picture above, I was able to isolate both of the Academy TIEs while Dark Curse and Kenkirk struggled to get back into the fight. (Carnor is alive in the photo, just off his flight stand to allow a bump with back of the Decimator). Both Academy Pilots were dropped quickly.

Time got away from both of us in this match, so once I heard a warning of approximately 5 minutes remaining, I realized the Decimator wouldn’t drop in time, and my target priority shifted to killing Dark Curse while keeping my ships alive. I succeeded at both by a hair’s breadth, scoring 40 points for the 3 TIE Fighters, and getting full credit for each of my 3 ships limping away with 1 hull remaining apiece.

Record: 4-1
Margin of Victory: 740
Post-match standings: #4 out of 36.

Round 6

Opponent:

Corran Horn – 35 (E-Wing)
R2-D2 – 4 (Starter set)
Fire-Control System – 2 (B-Wing / TIE Phantom)

Dash Rendar – 36 (YT-2400 Outrider)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing / Imperial Aces)
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7 (Slave 1 / Lambda Shuttle)
Kyle Katarn – 3 (Rebel Aces)
Outrider – 5 (YT-2400 Outrider)
Engine Upgrade – 4 (Millennium Falcon)

List commentary: The Outrider is a tricky ship to fly against. If you don’t trap it early and put a lot of damage on it, it’s really tough to bring down late in the game, because the entire table is open for his maneuvers, and he’s essentially getting three actions per turn. Corran Horn, with his ability to attack twice in a turn, is a great choice to escort Dash, because he can punish anyone that comes in close enough to hit Dash safely inside the Range 1 dead zone that the Heavy Laser Cannon gives the Outrider. Against other players I feel okay about the matchup. But this was in the hands of someone who had been sitting at the top table all day, and I’d learned to respect heavily over the past year.

wpid-img_20150110_204031864.jpg
Look, Ma! No shot!

 

Battle: This one probably took more time to look up the points on his list and talk about than it did to play. I was afraid of losing the Phantoms early, and held them back, but committed Carnor to try and grab some quick damage on Dash. Unfortunately, I couldn’t squeeze into range 1, and had to settle for turtling up with focus/evade, but to no avail, rolling poorly on defense cost me the ship immediately. I think the Phantoms might have taken a shield or two off of Dash, but it wasn’t anything to speak of. I was trounced solidly within half an hour, and on account of my own aggression to boot.

Record: 4-2
Margin of Victory: 740
Post-match standings: #8 out of 36.

Into the playoffs, by 5 MoV points over 9th.

Quarterfinal Round

Opponent:

Corran Horn – 35 (E-Wing)
R2-D2 – 4 (Starter set)
Fire-Control System – 2 (B-Wing / TIE Phantom)

Dash Rendar – 36 (YT-2400 Outrider)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing / Imperial Aces)
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7 (Slave 1 / Lambda Shuttle)
Kyle Katarn – 3 (Rebel Aces)
Outrider – 5 (YT-2400 Outrider)
Engine Upgrade – 4 (Millennium Falcon)

List commentary: Look familiar? Having beaten me solidly in the previous round, my opponent became the #1 seed for the playoff, which meant we had to play an immediate rematch.

Battle: This time, I changed things up on him a little bit, and I went hunting Corran Horn. You can see how that worked out for me on the video recorded here [edit: video is no longer available]. This had been a long day, so I was tired, but I was hyped up and excited to have a chance to knock out a ship early. Those factors combined to cause me to forget my bonus attack die for both of my Phantoms on the first round of shooting, which meant I lost a Phantom and Corran lived 3-4 more turns, getting off another shot in the process. Let’s just say I’m still kicking myself over that now, 4 days later.

Final Record: 4-3, 8th place.

Final thoughts

I was very happy with the performance of my list, and how I flew it. Looking back on my wins, I pulled off some slick moves that I wish more than just my opponent and I could have seen. Looking back at my losses, I realized that I need to take my time and not try to force opportunities in bad matchups to cause a bad game to become a horrible one.

The Phantoms aren’t done yet, there’s plenty more tournaments in this season.

For those of you who took the time to read this far through, I didn’t get a lot of in-game shots, having been playing at the time, but here’s a gallery of some of the other photos I managed to snag on the day.

— The Tabletop General

Cloaks and Dagger

I play high risk / high reward lists often in X-Wing Miniatures, but I do so utilizing high pilot skill ships that like to dodge firing arcs, like Dash Rendar, Soontir Fel, or Whisper. Still, I sat down recently with the idea that I wanted to make use of the generic TIE Phantom pilots.

For a short moment, the high PS versions of the Phantom, Echo and Whisper, were the kings of the battlefield, especially when upgraded with Veteran Instincts. Moving late in the phase allowed players to dodge arcs fairly well, and recloak with Advanced Cloaking Devices immediately after the shot when they couldn’t escape. But the prevalence of turrets and the general meta shift to higher pilot skills made Phantoms an expensive gamble. The Phantom’s primary weakness is how squishy they can be – one bad roll of those 4+ evade dice can mean your ship is toast.

TIE Phantoms tend to be very fragile compared to the points that are invested in them, glass cannons at their finest. Being cloaked means you’re not shooting (assuming you’re not using Advanced Cloaking Devices as is usually the default on the higher PS versions), and on the turn you cloak, you’re not going to have a focus token to back those dice up with.

Still, there’s an alternative approach to flying Phantoms that I haven’t seen often – giving up on the Pilot Skill battle. The Phantoms hit hard without any need for offensive upgrades, they’re the only ship in the standard game to have a base Primary Attack Value of 4, which is enough to deal damage consistently even without lots of modifiers, and their maneuverability gives them lots of opportunities to get quality shots. Phantoms have the rare Sensor Upgrade slot that has so many nifty utility options. And they have ways to improve their action economy and maneuverability. So I set out to find a way to make low PS Phantoms more survivable, and include multiple of them in a list along with some legitimate support, and just see what the results would be.

After a few practice runs, I’m very pleased with my latest build, even though it makes me EXTREMELY nervous to commit to using it in a tournament environment. With a total of 11 hit points across 3 ships, it’s not exactly durable. But the synergy is great, all of the ships are extremely maneuverable, the list can play defensively if needed, and each one of the ships can pump out a frightening amount of damage.

Cloaks and Dagger
(Or as one opponent called it, “The Spanish Inquisition”)

Sigma Squadron Pilot – 25 (TIE Phantom)
Sensor Jammer – 4 (Lambda Shuttle)
Stygium Particle Accelerator – 2 (TIE Phantom)
Intelligence Agent – 1 (Lambda Shuttle / HWK-290)

Sigma Squadron Pilot – 25 (TIE Phantom)
Sensor Jammer – 4 (Lambda Shuttle)
Stygium Particle Accelerator – 2 (TIE Phantom)
Mara Jade – 3 (VT-49 Decimator)

Carnor Jax – 26 (Imperial Aces)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing / Imperial Aces)
Royal Guard TIE – 0 (Imperial Aces)
Stealth Device – 3 (Slave 1)
Targeting Computer – 2 (Imperial Aces)*

* Targeting Computer will be replaced with Autothrusters upgrade from the Starviper once released.

Without any difference beyond Pilot Skill between the two generics, I chose Sigma Squadron (PS3) over the Shadow Squadron (PS5). I find it extremely rare to run in to opponents running ships in the 3-5 pilot skill range, generic pilots are generally a 1 or 2, and named pilots are almost always pilot skill 6 or higher. Spending the extra points on Shadow squadron just didn’t make sense, and it frees up extra points to be spent elsewhere in the list.

The PS3 for the Sigma squadron is an interesting spot: It’s high enough to be easily blocked in by fighters, but I don’t actually find myself cloaked all that often in the list, so that’s not a huge problem. But at PS3 it does maneuver after and fire before the cheapest generic variant of every other small based ship in the game, as well as finding itself just above the danger zone for Predator (TIE Defender).

For those of you reading along at home that don’t necessarily know how this list is put together, I’ll break down some of the key interactions:

Carnor Jax’s Pilot ability essentially cancels any Focus results the opponent rolls for anything so long as he’s alive and close, excluding those who take Marksmanship (X-Wing / Starter set). So his role is to get up close to the enemy, and stay there, taking shots of opportunity but mostly just staying alive. If he can avoid being shot and stay close, I have him barrel roll/boost closer. If his positioning is great already, focus & possibly target lock. If he’ll be shot at, PTL for Focus and Evade, standard Interceptor survival tactics.

Carnor_Jax

The Sigma Squadron Pilots want to hang back out of range, and pounce once Carnor is engaging. They hit REALLY hard, but can’t take a lot of punishment compared to other ships.

Sigma-squadron-pilot

I keep the Phantoms alive with a couple of key pieces, Stygium Particle Accelerators (free evade when cloaking or decloaking), and Sensor Jammers (remember, Carnor Jax is blocking focus actions).

Stygium-particle-accelerator                           Sensor-jammer

Once the Phantoms are in the combat, then really fun things start happening. Even with a low pilot skill, Intelligence Agent tells me all I need to know about where the enemy will be moving, and I can adjust my plans accordingly by cloaking if I won’t have a shot, or decloaking appropriately if I’m cloaked at the time.

Intelligence-agent

But Mara Jade is the real killer. The VT-49 Decimator, the Lambda Shuttle, and the Slave 1 can all make use of Mara Jade’s stress ability to shut down the enemy temporarily, but of the three, only the bounty hunter can really get behind the enemy. Phantoms, on the other hand, are really good at that. And once you’re pointed away from a Phantom and stressed too, it’s going to be nearly impossible to shake them off your six! That spells death for anything, doubly so for ships without a turret.

mara-jade

Speaking of turrets, more play testing will be required (I’m sure I’ll get plenty over the upcoming Store Championship season), but so far this list has already eaten one YT-2400 Outrider alive, and I like my chances to continue that streak. The big thing that worries me right now is the rather popular Decimator, which has the hull to soak the damage these ships will dish out, the speed and maneuvering options to escape kill zones, and the high quantity of firepower in a turret to be able to blast these ships down. In particular, Rear Admiral Chiraneau, quite possibly the most popular of the VT-49’s pilots, isn’t hurt nearly as badly as other ships by the Sensor Jammers (he will usually be able to convert a focus via his ability).

It’s a dangerous list to fly, especially in the face of a meta that seems primed to negate the effect of its’ maneuverability. I’ve run up against a couple of hard counters like Marksmanship, Han Solo (Crew), and Keeyan Farlander, but it’s rare to see multiple ships that can easily prey upon my list, which means proper target priority to go along with 11-14 attack dice per turn generally takes care of business, and I trust my ability to deal with the stragglers with any one of the ships in my list even when I’m taking losses early in the match. I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the effectiveness of the list thus far, and since I can’t stand playing a boring list; the edge-of-your-seat flying that Cloaks and Dagger requires is just what I need right now.

In a week and a half of mostly competitive testing, this list has a record of 6-1-1* (restarted a practice match due to a vast miscalculation, had nothing to do with the list, just with how I opened). It has torn apart a defensive Leebo build, out-dueled Decimators, alpha-striked Corran Horn off the map, had Keeyan Farlander with a side of Wes Jansen for a light lunch, and run circles around a few other random pairings. Its’ one true loss involved a mis-play with Carnor Jax, causing him to get wiped off the map by an HLC shot that I didn’t think the opponent would be able to get; the Phantoms soldiered on alone and took revenge on Dash Rendar , falling two hits shy of taking Chewbacca out as well.

The real test starts in little less than 12 hours, when this build makes an appearance at the first of many X-Wing Store Championships in my area. I can’t wait to see how it goes; but with 6 to 9 rounds to play, don’t expect a battle report too terribly quick. Just saying.

– The Tabletop General

 

X-Wing RPG Session 5 Preview

Following the Rebels’ capture of a nearby space station, engineers and crew from Vandar’s Wisdom quickly began repairing the station and inspecting the cargo contained within. One particular set of cargo containers raised a huge red flag with the Rebels: a set of solar panels obviously intended for a starfighter, but in a previously unseen configuration. These parts were identified as being destined for a manufacturing facility on Garlan III.

It seems that after the multiple recent defeats at the hands of the Rebellion, and having lost several of its’ top pilots in the sector to the firepower of X-Wings, Imperial Command has committed to the local manufacturing and distribution of a newly designed ship type which would be more capable of going toe-to-toe with the enemy.

It would be a miracle if that shipment was the only one of its’ kind, but to be safe, that factory needed to be destroyed immediately, before the Imperials could finish whatever they were working on, or move it elsewhere. Orbital platforms meant that Vandar’s Wisdom had no chance of getting in close. Reconnaissance analysis of this area of Garlan III revealed heavy anti-air defenses, but there was one safe approach/exit away from coverage of known defense installations, and several dangerous ones. Once in the vicinity of the target, the Rebels would need to fly low and among the buildings in order to stay sheltered from the majority of the defense batteries, but some of the smaller local turrets would be unavoidable. Two large shield generators were spotted in the area by a covert recon team, unpowered but obviously staffed and operational; possibly secondary targets, probably defending the factory.

Joust City
Map  covers a 8×4 play surface, and terrain placement is approximate. Click for full size.

This might be a suicide run, but it might keep a deadly new weapon out of the hands of the local Imperial forces. There’s really no choice to be made.

Rules notes: Collisions with buildings are expected. When a ship’s maneuver template or final position overlaps a building, that ship receives 1 stress, one attack die of damage, and is then backed up to a safe position before reaching the building, regardless of whether or not the maneuver would normally allow the ship to reach the other side of the building. During the shooting phase, if space allows, the pilot of any ship may elect not to fire, and instead rotate their ship in place by the shortest distance possible to face directly towards a table edge in order to be able to avoid collisions with nearby buildings the next turn (Game Master’s discretion). Any other type of scenic terrain placed on the table will be treated as a debris field.

– The Tabletop General

 

 

 

 

 

Your generic TIE grunt is just plain suicidal. And the TIE Defender jockey is bloodthirsty. But the TIE Interceptor pilot, he’s suicidal and bloodthirsty. When you see a squad of those maniacs flying your way, you’d better hope your hyperdrive is operational.” – Kyle Katarn (hat tip to Wookiepedia)

X-Wing RPG Session 4

Tired of bunking in the tight confines of Vandar’s Wisdom and feeling as though the cockpits of their fighters were a place to relax and stretch out in comparison, our Rebel pilots were delighted to hear that more spacious accommodations were in the works. The only problem is that the space station command had in mind was already occupied.

Well, that’s not entirely true… another problem was that somehow the Imperials anticipated the Rebel attack, and Spectre Special Operations Group (as the Rebels’ former squadron was now known) was waiting to defend the station. So despite the fact that the station’s defenses were reduced by sabotage, this would be no easy mission.

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The Rebel assault force prepares for their attack run, consisting of 2 TIE Fighters, a Y-Wing, 2 Z-95’s, and 3 X-Wings. 2 Y-Wings (NPCs) were in reserve and awaiting orders.
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Spectre Special Operations Group arrives to defend the station, with 5 TIE Fighters, 1 TIE Bomber, and one Lambda Shuttle.

The Rebels’ primary objective was to capture the station (deal the last point of damage to it with an ion weapon). If that proved to be unfeasible, then the station was to be destroyed.

Rules notes: I used the DS-9 station token from Star Trek: Attack Wing, with the same shield/hull values, to represent the station. It was capable of two attacks per turn with an Ion Cannon (primary weapons were disabled by the sabotage). The station was granted a constant Reinforce action (1 free evade result per attack), and was treated as a (LARGE) debris field when overlapped. It wasn’t nearly tough enough, anyone borrowing this idea should definitely give it more firepower than I did.

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Almost in firing range…

 

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The Battle is joined. Crossbones dodged shot after shot in his TIE Fighter in an impressive defensive show that would prove to be his last, taking the last quad-burst dead on and becoming the first casualty of the day.
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The Rebel reserves arrive as the melee continues. Sabercat, another high ranking Imperial, observes the rest of the battle while performing involuntary spacewalk. Meanwhile, a rookie Z-95 pilot earns the callsign “Ghostrider” as he skims along the surface of the station.

 

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With the station disabled, the Rebels turned to mop-up mode, and the remaining Imperials scattered for a table edge.

 

Soon after this last photo, the remaining Imperials fled the battlefield, living to fight another day. The Rebels swiftly got to work repairing the station, and inspecting its’ contents, and were shocked at what they found… (To be continued in the next post!)

– The Tabletop General

 

 

 

 

X-Wing RPG Session 3

The Rebels faired a little better in session #3 of our campaign, taking minimal losses, achieving their primary mission objective, and finding a bonus at the end of the day…

On the ropes after a solid beating in their last attack, the Rebellion resorted to hit and run tactics against less defended objectives while spies and tacticians schemed for a way to rescue the pilots captured in their previous sortie.

An intelligence leak provided the Rebels with the location of a asteroid belt storage facility for imperial weaponry materials deemed too hazardous to store on a settled planet but too valuable to store on a remote one. While useless to their cause without the facilities to complete the manufacturing, destruction of these supplies would certainly hurt the Imperial war effort, and perhaps cause them to stretch their defenses thinner to protect other such facilities.

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This rag-tag collection of Z-95 Headhunters and stolen TIE Fighters prepares to attack the Imperial storage facility.

 

In vast contrast to the previous mission, the Rebels outnumbered their foes and were very well coordinated in their assault, documented below.

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Instead of a lazy day of transporting raw materials, two Lambda Class shuttles move to defend the cargo containers along the middle of the map that they expected to be retrieving cargo from.
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The Rebels begin their attack run, squeezing between asteroids and proximity mines to swarm the first container.
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Meanwhile, two fresh graduates from the Garlan III pilot training academy break off from their patrol route and come to assist the defense.
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As the combatants close in, a team of (NPC) smugglers and bandits enter the area, looking for an easy score. Unopposed, they capture several containers from the other side of the facility.
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Having slowed the attack but unable to stop it, “Grandma” (bottom left) wisely breaks off after sustaining heavy hull damage and flees the battlefield soon after this photo.
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“Clyde” continues to harass the attackers, and takes down one of the Z-95’s as “Cipher” and “CT-1036” arrive to assist.
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Things took a turn for the worse for “Clyde” as his shuttle ran through the Proximity Mine field intended to defend the facility, and the Rebels soon pounced, destroying the damaged shuttle!

 

As valiant as the Imperial defensive effort was, nothing could be done for the facility. The pirates managed to steal half of the containers, and the Rebels destroyed the other half, while the surviving defenders were forced to flee. Holding the field and not engaging the pirates, the rebels found one more bit of cargo floating in space; battered and beaten, but miraculously alive…

Clyde
He survived, but he’s not happy about being captured!!!!

What happens next? Do the Rebels find a way to free their comrades? Is there potential for a prisoner exchange? Who knows??? But we’re having fun figuring it out!

– The Tabletop General