Tag Archives: Howlrunner

Frenzy before the storm

The event doesn’t start for another 36 hours, but I’ve been wired all day; all week, really. As far as I’m concerned, the Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Regional Championship at Atomic Empire is already underway. It’s tournament time.

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Crack Shot. It’s a hell of a swarm.

For weeks now, I’ve basically eschewed other games in favor of X-Wing. When I’m taking a rare break from work at the office, I’m loading up the squadron benchmarking tool over at https://xws-bench.github.io/bench/ (It’s far from perfect, but I can run a game in 5-10 minutes). I feel like I’ve barely touched the beta test material I’ve got in hand. My plans to run more event streaming or “Let’s Play” sessions have evaporated. My mind is locked in on Saturday.

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One of many practice games. I’ve definitely learned how to lose with the Crack Swarm. Still working on doing so graciously.

I’ve redone my entire carry kit tonight; fitting everything except templates into a smaller version of one of these containers, down from the two to three of those that my supplies are normally spread across. That kit includes exactly two more copies of every token than I need, all the way down to the “nobody uses these” critical hit markers. For the first time since the release of the new damage deck in the updated Starter Set for The Force Awakens, I’ve dug out an old damage deck because it better suits my squad. Dice, tokens, sequential identification chits, ship cards, upgrades, and even that precious plastic card signifying that I’ve earned a first round bye at this event, it’s all packed away in that case.

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Traveling light. I had to dig deep to find the TIE Fighter dice bag for templates.

At this point, you might even say that I’m going overboard. I’ve pulled out extra acrylics to loan to friends that may not have them. Headphones? Packed. Tablet? Packed. Laptop? Likely to be packed as soon as I finish this article. I’m scheming away on how soon I can leave work tomorrow so that our group can hit the road for our six hour drive to up to Durham.

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Jake Ferrell is no Soontir Fel, but he makes a decent proxy for training purposes.

I actively avoided casual games with folks that don’t dive deep into the tournament scene this week. I don’t feel like I handled that well, I struggled to find the right way to say that I couldn’t be anything but competitive right now. They couldn’t understand where my mental state is right now. Hell, I barely can understand it.

I feel like I’m wasting energy, but I can’t slow my pace. I’m going through all the preparation I can, mentally and physically. Staying hydrated. Getting (relative) extra sleep. Go out somewhere for dinner? Naah, pound back a protein shake and keep going. It almost looks like I’m trying to be healthy suddenly. I went from “I go to the gym every other week or so” to “I’m going to get on a machine and run in place for at least five miles on multiple consecutive days” in a failing attempt to settle myself down.

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New high score! But the scale still says TILT…

And just like clockwork, I had my pre-big-event existential crisis last night. “This list isn’t good enough… I’m chasing the meta… I can’t seem to win a single ****ing practice game… I’d be better off flying something that I know better, something that comes more natural…”, I had all of that and more hit me. But I know that I’m playing folks that know me, that know my tendencies, and know the list I’m flying (it’s been a holy terror on the local scene this year). So I’m sticking to my guns and by extension to the list I’ve planned for months to play in this event, the Crack Swarm.

Howlrunner – 18 (TIE Fighter)
Crack Shot – 1 (Kihraxz Fighter / Hound’s Tooth)

Black Squadron Pilot – 14 (TIE Fighter)
Crack Shot – 1 (Kihraxz Fighter / Hound’s Tooth)

Black Squadron Pilot – 14 (TIE Fighter)
Crack Shot – 1 (Kihraxz Fighter / Hound’s Tooth)

Black Squadron Pilot – 14 (TIE Fighter)
Crack Shot – 1 (Kihraxz Fighter / Hound’s Tooth)

Omega Squadron Pilot – 17 (Force Awakens Core Set TIE/FO)
Crack Shot – 1 (Kihraxz Fighter / Hound’s Tooth)

Omega Squadron Pilot – 17 (Force Awakens Core Set TIE/FO)
Crack Shot – 1 (Kihraxz Fighter / Hound’s Tooth)

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Have to prepare for that inevitable mirror match.

This may all sound like a ridiculous amount of build-up and preparation for one (long) day of gaming. In truth, it probably is. But my girlfriend pointed out to me earlier this evening she hasn’t seen me this worked up for a particular cause for quite a while, and it suddenly hit me how much good it has done for me.

All my issues at work, all my stresses, all my cares, they get shut out during all of this preparation. My problems aren’t problems right now. I don’t care what my micromanaging boss in California is nitpicking today. I’m not worried that my hunt for a new job is going slowly. Sticking to my pseudo-diet isn’t a willpower battle right now. Family issues aren’t getting in the way of the rest of my daily life. I’m simply not worrying too much about these things; I’m not ignoring any of them, they’re just not getting any more attention than they deserve. I’ll find another way to deal with all those things next week, but for now I just can’t let them bother me.

I don’t need the prizes – the alternate art Hera Syndulla card, the acrylic Cluster Mine tokens, the challenge coin, or even the exclusive fancy dice (I really would like those, but I don’t NEED them). I’ve already got a set of all of them for running our local Regional. Heck, I don’t even know where I would put the trophy if I ended up winning the whole thing, although I can say that I would probably carry it around with me everywhere for a week or two. And I don’t know that I would (or could) use the bye that would grant me at the next level.

But really, it’s not about the prizes. It’s not about winning. It’s about the experience. It’s about the competition. It’s about finding (or trying to find) a way to win, and doing so against the highest level of competition available. It’s all about the love of the game. And it’s about looking my friends in the eye and knowing that we all gave it our best shots to come out on top, and being proud of one another for that.

So bring on the competition. I’m ready. Are you?

– The Tabletop General

2016 FFG Store Championship Prep

If there’s one thing running a blog will tell you, it’s how busy you are. Point in case, I’ve managed not to post a new article for a month. So if you miss me and you’re looking for more frequent updates, I might suggest liking The Tabletop General on Facebook, where I’m apt to post smaller updates  on a more frequent basis.

Over that past month, I came away with far more gaming presents for Christmas than anyone should ever get, ordered a sweet new laptop that’s due any day now, and generally didn’t manage to get in ANY casual X-Wing Miniatures or Armada games. So now I find myself freaking out a little bit since the 2016 Store Championship season is technically already underway for Fantasy Flight Games. I’ve got a couple more stores still to call for event listings, but here’s what my upcoming tour looks like thus far:

1/9/16: X-Wing – Wasteland Games – Duluth, GA
1/16/16: Armada – Meeple Madness – Flowery Branch, GA
?1/24/16: Imperial Assault – Giga-Bites Cafe – Marrietta, GA?
1/30/16: X-Wing – Meeple Madness – Flowery Branch, GA
2/6/16: X-Wing (TO) – Giga-Bites Cafe – Marrietta, GA
2/13/16: X-Wing – The Deep Comics & Games – Huntsville, AL
2/20/16: Armada (TO) – Giga-Bites Cafe – Marrietta, GA
2/27/16: X-Wing – Titan – Duluth, GA
3/5/16: X-Wing – Hobbytown USA  – Kennesaw, GA
3/12/16: Armada – Hobbytown USA  – Kennesaw, GA
OR X-Wing – Galactic Comics – Statesboro, GA
3/19/16: Armada – Wasteland Games – Duluth, GA
OR X-Wing – Sci-Fi City – Knoxville, TN
?3/26/16: Imperial Assault – Hobbytown USA  – Kennesaw, GA?

It’s a hard call right now for the March dates. With so many events going on over the region, overlap was unavoidable. While I’d like to support my local community and participate in at least one Armada event that I’m not the TO for, I’d also like to defend my title at Galactic. I would also really like to win an X-Wing event, over any of the others. So that makes the choices between local Armada events or distant X-Wing events tough.

And yes, that is a couple of potential Imperial Assault events you see sprinkled in to the schedule. No, I don’t really play the game, but I’ve heard good things about it, and I’m trying to solidify the local player base. So if nothing else comes up that day, I can at least be a warm body for the event. I’m hoping to at least get to a semi-competitive level in the game over the next month or so.

How would I have time for that? Well, Armada is on notice if things don’t improve for me soon. Perhaps I need to spend more time grinding out the details of the game, or even take a “net-deck” approach as a jump start. As it is, I’m not overly worried about the Armada events, as usual I’m concentrating primarily on X-Wing.

So what’s there to prepare for with X-Wing? After all, my TIE Interceptors did really well last season (snagging a championship title, in fact), and they didn’t get any worse, right? Well… no, they didn’t, but the competition got better. There’s a grand total of five (post-publish edit: six) things that seriously worry me about running them again:

  1. RAC/Fel – While less popular than last year, this combo was the instrument of my demise at last year’s Atlanta Regional, and is generally a tough matchup for me. My default build for the interceptors loses the initiative bid to Soontir Fel (TIE Interceptor), and Rear Admiral Chiraneau(Decimator) pumps out too much damage and just doesn’t die fast enough for me to be comfortable. It’s only 16 damage to knock him out, sure, but with a primary weapon turret, he doesn’t have to stay in firing arc. And with Veteran Instincts (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon) and Engine Upgrade (Millennium Falcon), Chiraneau can easily decide to slip out of firing arcs with a boost rather than stick around and get shot at.
    Rear-admiral-chiraneau        Soontir_Fel_Alt_Art
  2. Crack Shot Swarm – This one is MUCH more likely to be seen. Usually consisting of Howlrunner (TIE Fighter), 2 Omega Squadron Pilots (Force Awakens Core Set TIE/FO ), and 3 Black Squadron Pilots (TIE Fighter), all equipped with Crack Shot (Kihraxz Fighter / Hound’s Tooth), the Crack Shot Swarm forces you to over-commit with defensive tokens, and will eventually get damage through. On top of that, with 6 TIEs on the board, blocking an Interceptor is near trivial. So to walk into this matchup with a grand total of 3 ships with 3 hit points each, which depend on rationing Focus/Evade tokens to stay alive, I don’t particularly like my odds here. I’ve won my only matchup of these two lists, but it was far closer than I would have liked.
    Howlrunner                 crack_shot
  3. Sith Lords – With last year’s release of the Imperial Raider, TIE Advanced pilots got a major boost. We usually still don’t see anyone other than Darth Vader, but he’s at his best in this list. On top of that, the only thing that makes Soontir Fel any harder to kill is an additional layer of insurance on dice, which Emperor Palpatine (Imperial Raider) is designed to provide. With the potential to load up critical hits with Palpatine and Advanced Targeting Computer (Imperial Raider), Vader usually carrying a trump card of Pilot Skill 11, and an initiative bid for Soontir, this one has generally been a dice-off for me, weighted in the favor of the enemy.
    emperor-palpatine                     Advanced_Targeting_Computer
  4. Omega Leader – Generally, my battle plan over the past year or so (as I’ve mentioned here before) is to go punch the biggest threat on the board in the mouth, and pick up the pieces with whatever I had left, because I was confident in my ability to outduel the remainder of the enemy list with just one or two damaged interceptors. Omega Leader (TIE/FO) challenges that theory – he can serve as a supporting piece in the early game, but he gets stronger and stronger as the game goes on, and is a brutal end-game opponent. I haven’t had an opportunity to face him yet, but I’ve witnessed Omega Leader with Juke (TIE/FO) and Comms Array (TIE/FO) go one-on-one with Soontir Fel and absolutely destroy him. Yet you can fairly easily fit two much more threatening ships into the same list, such as your own copy of Soontir Fel fully loaded along with a crew-less Whisper (TIE Phantom). I don’t want to be facing any one of those three as the last ship on the table.
    Omega-leader              Juke
  5. Stress – Perhaps I’ve been spoiled by my local meta and a bit of luck. As I mentioned above, Interceptors really need their tokens to stay alive, and I use Push The Limit (A-Wing /  Imperial Aces) like a bad spice habit. Over the past couple years, I’ve not run into a lot of lists with effective stress mechanics, and I usually have found ways to outmaneuver the enemy when there are Tacticians (TIE Phantom) or a Rebel Captive (Lambda Shuttle) on the board. But the relative importance placed on stress at the 2015 world championships will likely garner some copy-cat lists with a suicidal BTL-A4 (Most Wanted) variant of a Gold Squadron Y-Wing carrying R3-A2 (GR-75), as well as triple K-Wing builds with Twin Laser Turrets (K-Wing) and Tacticians – Avoiding the stress areas isn’t THAT hard, but a PTL Interceptor is screwed if it fails to escape, and my defenses are greatly diminished against other attacks in the process. The K-Wings in particular are scary, because they can still fire those TLT’s outside of their primary arc, meaning there is no true blind spot to approach them from.r3-a2                     Tactician
  6. (Post-Publish edit) Unblockable damage – Without having explored the TIEs in the new Gozanti Assault Carrier much yet, I forgot about this one. Especially combined with something like Emperor Palpatine to guarantee the effect, Wampa (Gozanti) can cut through all of your defenses and hand you a gift-wrapped damage card. Ten Numb (B-Wing) presents a similar danger, especially when given Calculation (Starviper), Marksmanship (Starter set / X-Wing), or a Mangler Cannon (IG-2000 / M3-A). Agile & fragile ships have a lot to worry about from these guys.Wampa       Ten-numb

With all that said and done, I’m pretty much back to the drawing board, which isn’t somewhere I’ve been for a while – 3x Interceptors with Targeting Computers gave way to Carnor Jax (Imperial Aces) & Sigma Squadron Pilots (TIE Phantom), which gave way to the Interceptors again after Autothrusters (Starviper) hit the scene.

So I’ve got a mental checklist here:

___ High durability. 3 hit points per ship just don’t feel safe to me right now, there’s more and more ways to push damage through.

___ Scum or Imperial – I lean away from playing rebels, there’s not a lot of good matchups for the Crackshot Swarm except for Han Solo (Millennium Falcon) or Dash Rendar (Outrider), neither of which I enjoy playing competitively.

___ High maneuverability – Again, part of this is the enjoyment factor; I’m at my best when I have some sort of tricky way to move around the field unexpectedly. I’m not that great at anticipating exactly where the enemy will go in order to draw out a detailed battle plan 3 turns in advance. I could do it, but it just isn’t a style I’m accustomed to. I much prefer planning on the fly, watching the board resolve itself and fitting my post-move adjustments together like a puzzle.

___ Resiliency to stress – See point 5, above. I want ships that are capable of modifying die results without tokens, that don’t need to stress themselves out constantly to carry out my battle plan, and that aren’t going to wilt the first time “Stressbot”, R3-A2, hits the table.

___ Ability to crack Soontir – Like it or not, Soontir Fel isn’t going away this season. He should slow down and be less of a key component for some of the reasons listed above, but he’s not going away. Regardless of whether or not lists using him reach the cut (not saying they won’t, but thinking worst case), we WILL see him in the Swiss rounds, and he will serve as a spoiler there. If you can’t handle him, it’s going to severely hamper your score for the day.

I don’t have my list finalized for this weekend’s event yet, but it’s going to have to check off at least three of those items for me to consider it, and I’d prefer it if all of the conditions were satisfied. So I’m running….

(Censored) – 99 points
(Censored upgrades) – 57 points
(“Cheat” card) – negative 80 points

Major initiative bid, and I think it’s nigh on unstoppable.

More seriously, I’ve had it pointed out to me in the past that calling my shot before a major event isn’t the best of ideas, so I’m going to keep the exact plan quiet until after the weekend.

And for those of you wondering, I’m hearing that Wave VIII (GhostInquisitor’s TIEMist Hunter, and Punishing One) is due within the next two weeks, so we’ll have a whole new set of builds to prepare for coming up any day now. Wooohooo!!

– The Tabletop General

Armada wave 1 review – Imperials

Last time we talked about Star Wars: Armada, I was telling you all about the new toys that the evil forces of the Rebellion added to their fleet in the wave 1 release. Today we’re going to spend some time looking at the forces of order – The keepers of the peace, the long arm of the law… the Galactic Empire.

Doing more with less in true good guy fashion, the Imperial forces only included a single capital ship and a handful of fighters in the core set. New options for the existing ship are available in the Victory Class Star Destroyer expansion, and much needed reinforcements are available in the Imperial Fighter Squadrons pack. Additionally, a new class of capital ship has joined the Imperial fleet, the swift and deadly Gladiator Class Star Destroyer.

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It has two pointy bits on the front, which makes it twice as nasty… right?

While not as fast as the Rebel’s CR90, the Gladiator can cover a lot of ground quickly, it can be extremely maneuverable, and it packs a punch when it gets to its’ target, as it carries more short range black dice than any other ship in the game. Yet with only one less hull and one less shield per zone than the new Assault Frigate Mk II, it’s no walk in the park to take a Gladiator down.

Gladiator-I            Gladiator-II

As Imperial players can already attest to with the VSD I, getting off a shot at short range using black dice can be devastating, but is easier said than done. That’s where the Gladiator’s title cards, Insidious and Demolisher, both come in handy. Contrary to other title cards, which seem to all change the role of the ship depending on which you take, both Gladiator titles seem to reinforce its’ role as a flanking ship. Insidious allows you to fire your black dice from further away than normal if attacking the rear hull zone, while Demolisher gives you the unique capability to make one of your attacks after you have executed a maneuver. I tend to take Demolisher on mine thus far, and to great effect (more on that further down). Insidious is a good deal cheaper, but I feel it will be much less effective; because it’s really hard to stay within medium range and behind a target that is moving away from you, you’ll usually be out at long range before you have an opportunity to fire.

Insidious      Demolisher

Admiral Screed will probably be the Commander of choice for fleets that lean heavily on close range attacks. He allows you to remove a die that you have rolled to change a die to a crit, including the hit+crit face on black dice. That means you can potentially turn a hit and hit into a hit and a crit, a hit and a miss into a hit and a crit, or even two misses into a hit and a crit. Should you be so inclined to use Assault Concussion Missiles, that can in turn add an additional two damage on to your results.

Admiral-Screed     Assault-Concussion-Missiles

But my money says you won’t be using those Assault Concussion Missiles. Instead, you’ll be more likely to take the new and Gladiator pack exclusive Expanded Launchers card if you’re going to fill that Ordnance upgrade slot. Same damage expected on an average roll (from the forward arc), a much higher ceiling, and that many more opportunities to trigger Admiral Screed off of a blank die.

Expanded-Launchers

The last upgrade card which is available only in the Gladiator is Admiral Chiraneau. Yes, X-Wing players, THAT Chiraneau. His ability is a little different in this incarnation though. What this card allows you to do is move your fighter squadrons activated during a Squadron command at low speed, regardless of the fact that they are already engaged. For ten points, this is an incredibly expensive ability, so don’t just take it for the heck of it. I don’t personally think it fits as well on the Gladiator. You’re going to want Chiraneau on a ship that is going to be doing all squadron commands, all the time, such as a Victory Class Star Destroyer with the Corrupter Title (more info on that below). There’s a devastating tag team partner for Chiraneau waiting in the Imperial Fighter Squadrons expansion too.

Admiral_Chiraneau

Going back to my original description of the Gladiator, I mentioned that it was pretty fast and maneuverable, even though its’ top speed is only 3 and it has no more than two total points of yaw at any speed. What gives, you ask? Engine Techs. Available in the Gladiator and Nebulon B Frigate expansions, Engine Techs allow you to make an additional speed 1 maneuver on any turn that you resolve a Navigate command or spend a Navigate token. And the Gladiator’s speed 1 maneuver includes two clicks of yaw. Chain everything together, and you can go from speed 1 to a temporary speed of 4 inside of a single turn, with a maneuver of – / I / I / II, an extra click at any one joint along the template, and combine it with the Demolisher title to take one of your shots after either the original move or the followup from the Engine Techs! Bonus combo: Don’t have a Navigate dialed up or token available? Keep an eye out for the Veteran Captain upgrade later in this article.

Engine-Techs

One last upgrade of note in the Gladiator: Sensor Team. Also found in the Assault Frigate Mk II, the Sensor Team upgrade lets you spend a die to change another die to a facing with an Accuracy result.  This is potentially very useful on a ship like the Gladiator that doesn’t have a lot of potential for Accuracy results. Example: Your Gladiator II fires from the side arc, and rolls (Miss), (Hit+Crit), (Hit+Crit) on its’ black dice, and (Miss) on the red. Sacrifice the black Miss to turn the red Miss into an Accuracy, and block the Defense Token of your choice to make your damage count.

Sensor-Team

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Demolisher putting in work. There used to be an Assault Frigate where that pile of dice is now.

Moving on. The Victory Class Star Destroyer expansion, like both the Nebulon B Frigate  and CR90 Corellian Corvette, have a large amount of overlap with the version from the core set, but there is a huge assortment of cards in this pack, including several upgrades that are unique to this pack that serious players are going to want. So don’t pass up on this pack just because you bought two core sets, because you’ll be missing out on several power cards.

Corrupter and Warlord, the two Victory Star Destroyer title cards in this expansion, allow you to tailor the combat role you look to fill with your ship. Corrupter beats you over the head with its’ core function, making TIE Bombers faster. It’s not all that impressive on its’ own, but if you include Admiral Chiraneau, from the Gladiator, suddenly that extra range makes for a vicious little combo to move your TIE Bombers away from enemy squadrons and make a bombing run on an enemy capital ship all at once! Warlord is best suited for the VSD II and its’ collection of blue and red attack dice – every die in that pool has a potential to roll an accuracy result that can be turned into a hit; and don’t forget that the double hit is a valid choice on a red die.

Corrupter      Warlord

Admiral Motti is an all purpose passive upgrade for your capital ships, giving them all extra hit points. He’s also the cheapest Commander available to the Empire; there’s something to be said for that when you’re looking at a mandatory component.

Admiral-Motti

Ion Cannon Batteries are an interesting upgrade. Triggering from a blue critical hit, they either strip a command token from the target, or deal an extra damage if no tokens are available. I can’t see myself using these often, as I don’t personally value what they bring to the game, but I’m glad to see more critical effects that can be used without needing the target’s shields to be down.

Ion-Cannon-Batteries

Director Isard can really give you an edge in a battle of big ships with high command values. The enemy has Concentrate Fire commands stacked up 3-deep on one ship, and nothing but Engineering commands on the other? I think we just picked our priority target!

Director_Isard

The last upgrade only available in this pack is Flight Controllers. It’s not quite as useful, only working when you’re issuing a squadron command, but the Flight Controllers are essentially an extra copy of Howlrunner, handing out bonus anti-squadron dice. And yes, the effects stack for that activation if you have Howrunner around too.

Flight_Controllers

Believe it or not, we’re still not done with upgrades worth having out of the Victory Class Star Destroyer, although the rest of these all exist in at least one other expansion too (other than the core set).

Overlapping with the Assault Frigate MK II, XX-9 Turbolasers and Veteran Captain are both new cards we haven’t discussed yet. The XX-9 upgrade can be brutal for finishing off a ship – they let you deal two face-up damage cards instead of just one, but they don’t actually deal any more damage, so it’s an investment in luck. Veteran Captain is almost an auto-include for me on any Assault Frigate or Victory Star Destroyer I have room for it on. For three points, you get a single command token of your choice at one point in the game. This doesn’t seem like much, but when you’re working with a big command stack, you never know when you’re going to REALLY need a navigate token to speed up or slow down. Imperial players that are used to having Moff Tarkin hand those tokens out but want to experiment with other Commanders will be especially thankful that they have a Veteran Captain around.

XX9-Turbolasers      Veteran_Captain

The last new card in the VSD expansion, overlapping with the Nebulon B Frigate, is Intelligence Officer. It allows you to pick a defense token that you really don’t want the opponent to spend, and make them face a hard choice as to whether or not to sacrifice it. At 7 points, for such a powerful ability, I think it’s costed right; yet I think it’s too expensive for me to use in my personal fleets.

Intel-Officer

Now for the Imperial Fighter Squadrons expansion. Similar to my recommendations regarding the Rebel Fighter Squadrons, you’re probably going to want two packs of these, even though there’s duplication of ships, as you’re getting even more TIE Fighters. Unlike with X-Wings though, considering how cheap the TIE Fighters are, that’s actually a good thing. If you didn’t get a second core set, you NEED more TIE Fighters.

My personal favorite addition among the generic ships is the TIE Interceptor (insert fake shock here). Compared to TIE Fighters, they are a touch pricier (3 points per squadron) and just as fragile, but they are a little faster and they absolutely spray out damage. With four Anti-Squadron dice and Swarm for rerolls and eligibility for Howlrunner’s bonus, you’ve got a lot of potential on offense. Perhaps even meaner, both Swarm and Howlrunner’s effects happen on Counter attacks too!

TIE-Interceptor-Squadron

TIE Bombers are the definition of a specialization for a specific combat role. They’re cheap, durable, and relatively fast, but they’re absolutely useless against anything other than a capital ship. Can’t hurt enemy squadrons (average of 0.5 damage), can’t escape them, and can’t keep them tied up either.

TIE-Bomber-Squadron

TIE Advanced squadrons are in an awkward position. The most expensive of the Imperial generics, the TIE Advanced will do less damage to other squadrons than regular TIE Fighters (thanks to the lack of Swarm), and even with a black Anti-Ship die, will do only marginally better than TIE Fighters and TIE Interceptors against capital ships (thanks to the lack of Bomber). What they do have going for them, though, is they have relatively high health, and Escort, allowing them to use that health to shield other squadrons from enemy fighters.

TIE-Advanced-Squadron

There’s also a neat little trick you can do if you combine those TIE Advanced with Soontir Fel. Just like the other TIE Interceptor squadrons, Soontir has Counter 2, which makes the enemy want to attack something else if they can. But Fel is a master of taking shots of opportunity, and if an enemy makes an attack that isn’t against Fel, he deals one point of damage to them automatically. So let’s review: TIE Advanced have escort, you have to shoot them, and relatively high hit points. Soontir Fel hits you if you shoot anyone other than him. Seems like a recipe for success, no?

Soontir-Fel

Next up is Major Rhymer. He’s a little less defenseless in dogfights, but it’s still nothing to be happy about. What Rhymer brings to the table, however, is that he is a leader of men. Specifically, he’s a leader of men who want to take down capital ships. He allows nearby squadrons to fire at capital ships at Close-Medium range, which is just a touch longer than distance 3, as opposed to the normal distance 1 limitation. That makes it much easier to deal significant damage without having to spend so much effort to chase the enemy ships down.

Major_Rhymer

Next, let’s take a look at Darth Vader. He’s the most expensive squadron in the game so far, beating out his son by a point (Spoiler alert, I suppose?). For that cost, he dishes out a lot of damage, but I don’t know if it’s really worthwhile. Average of 3.25 against fighters, 1 point average vs capital ships (with a crit-less version of Bomber). On a scale of silence to sheer joy, I give Lord Vader a “meh”.

Darth-Vader

Last up on our list, instead of Howlrunner as the TIE Fighter ace, we’ve got Mauler Mithel, a pilot who apparently apprenticed under Captain Oicunn (that’s an X-Wing joke, for those of you paying attention). Any time he moves into an engagement, every enemy squadron engaged with him takes a damage. It’s a neat ability as it is, but it didn’t really jump out at me until I looked through the rest of Wave 1 and saw Admiral Chiraneau. Mithel’s ability would trigger each and every time you activated Mauler via Chiraneau, dealing a damage to every enemy fighter in range turn after turn. It’s pricey to get them both (25 points in all), but if you’re already building around Chiraneau, Mithel is well worth adding on.

Mauler-Mithel

IMG_20150602_202022153
Despite two squads of A-Wings coming in as reinforcements, I think I lost just the one squad of TIE Advanced in this furball. All working together, these Imperial Fighters are MEAN!

So what do you think? Do you agree with my evaluation that the good guys got more toys to be excited about? Did I leave out your favorite Wave I element or combo? Let me hear about it in the comments! And if you missed it, don’t forget to check out the Rebel version of this Wave I Armada review!

– The Tabletop General

“Bounty Bros”

Guest Author time! This week’s battle report comes from a local Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures player who is known in the world of costuming and online gaming as The Real McCoy.  

The Real McCoy
Ladies… he’s after the bounty on your heart. Gentlemen, he permits no interference.

 

McCoy participated in a tournament I ran yesterday in celebration of “¡El Sith-o de Mayo!”. McCoy has asked me to write an article about Boba Fett and how he works in X-Wing for the Boba Fett Fan Club, for which he has been a contributing editor since 2007. In return (and perhaps to put a little pressure on me to finish said article), he agreed to provide a battle report of his experiences on the day as a bit of cross-promotion. Nerds helping nerds! Mr. McCoy, the floor is yours.

– The Tabletop General

Bear with me since this is my first battle report and my first tournament win, so I didn’t really keep track of the events as closely as some of the other guys who do this a lot tend to do. I’ve been playing X-Wing for about a year and a half now. For most of that time I flew Echo escorted by a swarm of TIE Fighters and I enjoyed the game a great deal. When the Scum & Villainy faction was announced I was ecstatic because I am a huge Boba Fett and bounty hunter fan, so I knew I would be finally flying him no matter if he was competitive or not in tournament play. The list I came up with after a little play testing was a Boba Fett and IG-88 B build that I call “Bounty Bros.” I’ve changed around maybe six points worth of upgrades within this list, and my first few games I did fly with IG-88 C, but other than that it has been mostly the same list since I first started playing it a few months ago.

Bounty Bros
((Insert guitar riff here))

Bounty Bros:

Boba Fett – 39
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing /  Imperial Aces)
Engine Upgrade – 4 (Millennium Falcon)
Recon Specialist – 3 (HWK-290 / TIE Phantom)
Inertial Dampeners – 1 (Starviper / IG-2000)
Slave I – 0 (Firespray-33)

IG-88 B – 36
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7 (Lambda Shuttle / Slave 1 / YT-2400)
Fire-Control Systems – 2 (B-Wing / TIE Phantom)
Autothrusters – 2 (Starviper)
Veteran Instincts -1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)
IG-2000 – 0 (IG-2000)
Inertial Dampeners – 1 (Starviper / IG-2000)

Bounty Bros in flight

Before you ask, yes, I have titles for each ship that do nothing, but they don’t cost anything and I am a true Star Wars fan. Plus, from what I have heard it’s good karma for the dice gods.

I take Veteran Instincts on IG-88 because it gives me more firing and movement options and prevents me from bumping into my own ships. Using the Heavy Laser Cannon can be tricky because it can’t fire at range one, taking IG-88 B’s pilot ability away, so I usually try and keep him farther away.

Fett is the complete opposite – I slam him right into the thick of my opponent’s force, even if I bump them. I know what you are thinking, the Firespray dial only has four greens on it so it is a bad idea to have the Push the Limit upgrade on Fett, but I would retort that you only ever want him going the green one maneuvers anyway to stay within range one of enemy ships. Scum Fett’s rerolls are vital to this list and just as good as an action most of the time, especially when there are multiple ships near him to trigger the ability.

Inertial Dampeners I always save for kill shots, since it makes you defensively vulnerable to take the stress and not have any actions available. But when I do pull the space e-brake, I’m usually able to destroy my target before they can return fire that round. So far this list is 22-12 and it is an absolute blast to fly.

 

Round One – Fight!

Opponent:

Darth Vader – 29

Howlrunner– 18
Swarm Tactics – 2 (TIE Fighter / TIE Advanced)

Whisper – 32
Advanced Cloaking Device – 4 (TIE Phantom)
Fire-Control Systems – 2 (B-Wing / TIE Phantom)

Obsidian Squadron Pilot – 13

Bounty Bros R1
Imperial reinforcements were on the way, but Whisper’s bounty was too high to pass up!

From what I understand this was the first competitive game that David, my first opponent, had ever played of X-Wing but he’s played quite a bit of Star Trek: Attack Wing so he was familiar with a lot of the concepts already. Thankfully, I had initiative so Vader was firing before the Bros; and since the Imperial Raider isn’t out yet, Vader isn’t quite as scary currently as he will be later this summer.

He set up most of his TIEs in one corner, but his Phantom all alone in the other, so I lined up to charge straight at the Phantom, betting on my ability to destroy it before the other ships got within range. His first move was a hard two toward his allies, like I expected, which kept it barely out of range three for me to fire on him.  But with an Engine Upgrade on the Firespray it can haul ass, and on turn two I was able to line up shots with both of my ships on Whisper. Fett target locked and double focused and took a range two shot at the Phantom and luckily for me the dice gods smiled and I one-shot it off the table in round two, even with the bonus dice from being cloaked.

After that I felt pretty good and turned my attention to Howlrunner and Vader. Howly went down pretty fast after that and Vader took one shield loss from my IG-88 only to escape in the other direction dragging my target lock with it. Swarm Tactics wasn’t useful due to my pilot skill eight ships having initiative, so I finished off the Obsidian and turned back to eventually chase down Vader and was able to kill him with minimal shield loss to both of my ships.

1-0, 200 MoV

 

Round Two – Fight!

Opponent:

Chewbacca – 42 (Millennium Falcon)
Predator – 3 (TIE Defender)
Millennium Falcon – 1 (Millennium Falcon)
Gunner – 5 (Slave 1)

Leebo – 34 (YT-2400)
Predator – 3 (TIE Defender)
Outrider – 5 (YT-2400)
Mangler Cannon – 4 (IG-2000 / M3-A)
Recon Specialist – 3 (HWK-290 / TIE Phantom)

Bounty Bros R2
Boba: “Let’s get the Wookie and complete my collection!”

Despite not having ever faced him before, my second opponent had clearly been playing a while. I have a similar Chewie/Leebo list that I really enjoy flying, but mine is a lot more defensive. This one I could tell was all firepower, but I was confident that if I got down the Falcon quickly that I could chase the Outrider around and hopefully wear it down.

I squared off across from the Falcon and did a short one maneuver on round one to get an idea of where he was headed, then went farther in round two to get Boba in his face. It worked out exactly as I had hoped, I was able to strip the Falcon’s shields in turn two while only taking a bit of damage myself. We traded fire the next two turns but on turn four I had two shots lined up at Chewie and he was gone, leaving an injured IG and Fett at full health to pursue Leebo.

Thankfully I had positioned IG-88 behind the Outrider so as he ran and fired back my Autothrusters kicked in for each combat round, and the dice gods smiled on me once again and the Outrider didn’t roll a single evade during our game. IG took more damage but Leebo was destroyed around the 30-minute mark in the round. Since that turned into such a quick win, we had a chance to step outside of the game for a few minutes and chatted about Clone Wars, Rebels and The Force Awakens until the next round.

2-0, 400 MoV

 

Round Three – Fight!

Opponent:

IG88-B – 36 (IG-2000)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing /  Imperial Aces)
Autothrusters – 2 (Starviper)
IG-2000 – 0 (IG-2000)
Inertial Dampeners – 1 (Starviper / IG-2000)
Mangler Cannon – 4 (IG-2000 / M3-A)
Autoblaster – 5 (B-Wing)

IG88-C – 36 (IG-2000)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing /  Imperial Aces)
Autothrusters – 2 (Starviper)
IG-2000 – 0 (IG-2000)
Inertial Dampeners – 1 (Starviper / IG-2000)
Mangler Cannon – 4 (IG-2000 / M3-A)
Ion Cannon – 3 (B-Wing / Slave 1 / TIE Defender)

Didn't get a picture of this round, so here's one of Sabine hanging with the Bros
Didn’t get a picture of this round, so here’s one of Sabine hanging with the Bros instead.

This list I was honestly pretty nervous about. In the last store championship that I finished fourth place in, this was the one list that beat me, 100-0 no less. Given that my opponent was also 2-0, my goal was to try and just take one off the table, which of course was IG-88 B since he is by far the more deadly of the two ships. Both my opponent and I both joked about how tired we were and I decided that it would not be a bad idea to line up to joust one another in the opening rounds.

I started with moving each of my ships one forward since he was flying with IG-88 C and I knew that he would be boosting. I also knew that once I was parked in front of his ships, he would have to manuever around me, and given how close to the edge of the board we were on one side and the proximity of asteroids on the other side, I knew mostly where he would be.

Both of his ships were were stressed from using push the limit on our opening volley, meaning wasn’t able to k-turn around behind me. As a result, both of his ships did a soft two in toward the center of the map and bumped into my ships. My stressed Fett went four forward and jumped over the cluster that was forming with a clear firing arc on the now-shieldless IG-88B. My Iggy performed a hard one maneuver to get out of arc on one droid in pursuit of the other. The next turn Fett cleared his stress and slowly banked around back into the fight.

His B went down soon after and I was left to spend the rest of the game s-looping my single hull point B and his damaged C after one another while my Boba played catch up to the other two infinitely more maneuverable ships. Sometimes in a pinch I will opt for a white hard two maneuver even when I’m stressed if I’m near the board edge or an obstacle, but for the most part a soft one with the boost is enough to get him slowly turned around. There was very little firing in the second half of the game. Finally with around ten minutes left in the round I lined up two clean shots on the Aggressor and destroyed it. This match with JT was definitely the closest game I played but also the most fun.

3-0, 600 MoV

 

Final Thoughts

I know I’ve come a long way since I started this game but I can’t stress enough that I would play this list even if it didn’t win as often as it does. I can’t wait until Bossk comes out so I can play 150 point game with all three, or I may potentially sub out one of the three bounty hunters depending on what I’m flying against that day. We have players locally that specialize in A-Wings, some in Phantoms, others with X-Wings, so I’m perfectly fine with being that bounty hunter player. At the end of the day the game is about having fun.

The prize for winning the tournament was actually a 4-day MomoCon badge, which I have been going to for the past six years. Regionals is all day that Saturday and there is no way I am missing that Scum Boba alternate art pilot card, but I will hopefully be able to go to the con the rest of the days. I’ll probably be wearing my custom Mandalorian armor some of the weekend and my new Kyle Katarn costume the rest, so I hope to see everyone there!

 

The Real McCoy is a cosplayer, blogger, and gamer from Atlanta, GA. He is a contributing editor for the Boba Fett Fan Club and an administrator of the Mandalorian Brotherhood online gaming community.

Moxie Games X-Wing Championship

Following last week’s first place finish at Galactic,  I joined a group of local players and traveled to one more X-Wing Miniatures store championship this weekend to finish out the season, this time the event was held at Moxie Games. A much shorter drive than my previous event, I still had some fun in traffic getting there and felt a little rushed after arriving. I had considered trying out a new list, but I had also been joking with my friends about wanting a plaque for home and for my office too, so I brought out the A team again, my triple TIE Interceptor list.

A quick refresher on the contents of my force:

Soontir Fel -27 (TIE Interceptor)
Royal Guard TIE – 0 (Imperial Aces)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing /  Imperial Aces)
Autothrusters – 2 (Starviper)
Stealth Device – 3 (M3-A / Slave 1)

Carnor Jax – 26 (Imperial Aces)
Royal Guard TIE – 0 (Imperial Aces)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing /  Imperial Aces)
Autothrusters – 2 (Starviper)
Stealth Device – 3 (M3-A / Slave 1)

Royal Guard Pilot – 22 (Imperial Aces)
Royal Guard TIE – 0 (Imperial Aces)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing /  Imperial Aces)
Autothrusters – 2 (Starviper)
Stealth Device – 3 (M3-A / Slave 1)

No time to peek around or take photos before the event today, had to jump on the table right away.

Moxie X-Wing.jpg
X-Wing took over Moxie for the day.

Round One

Opponent:

Han Solo – 46 (Millennium Falcon)
Draw Their Fire – 1 (Millennium Falcon)
Luke Skywalker – 7 (Millennium Falcon)
Cluster Missiles – 4 (TIE Advanced / A-Wing)
Millennium Falcon – 1 (Millennium Falcon)
Tactical Jammer – 1 (VT-49 Decimator)
R2-D2 – 4 (CR-90 Blockade Runner)

Biggs Darklighter – 25 (Starter set)
R2-F2 – 3 (Starter set)
Experimental Interface – 3 (YT-2400 Outrider)

Well now, if this list doesn’t scream “I don’t want to make decisions”, I don’t know what does. X-Wing on the table edge, Falcon right beside it. 2 forward for Biggs, Focus, R2-F2. 1 forward for Han, Focus. K-Turn before reaching the edge of the table. Which is exactly what happened.

Before our game had begun, a discussion broke out at the next table over about one player’s list. He was brand new to the game, and his opponent, a fellow TO in my usual group known as “Lambot”, was explaining several errors in his list. Academy Pilots couldn’t have the Missile upgrade currently placed on it, or multiple Elite Pilot Talents, and Darth Vader could only have one of his two Missiles too. The event TO was called over for guidance, and at his direction, the extra upgrades were taken off and not replaced. This left a brand new player down about 15 points to a very experienced player, which wouldn’t be pretty.

Back to my game, I tried my best to tempt my opponent into giving up his moving castle approach by circling around the entire map before finally giving in and engaging on his terms. The last thing I wanted to do was run out of time. My attack dice ran hot, and refused to roll critical hits while Biggs was alive (which wasn’t long, even with the crazy 4-5 defense dice available to him), and good ol’ R2-D2 came through as the Empire’s best saboteur, crippling the Falcon’s guns with a Weapons Malfunction. A couple turns passed in which a combination of collisions and K-Turns kept Han from fixing that critical hit, and the Falcon simple wasn’t going to hit Autothruster Interceptors. The actual fight went quickly, although we didn’t have much time to spare following the early failed maneuvering lure.

1-0, 200 MoV

Round Two

Opponent:

Torkil Mux – 19 (Most Wanted)
Ion Cannon Turret – 5 (Y-Wing HWK-290)
Greedo – 1 (Most Wanted)
Feedback Array – 2 (IG-2000)

Palob Godalhi – 20 (Most Wanted)
Opportunist – 4 (Imperial Aces)
Blaster Turret – 4 (HWK-290)
K4 Security Droid – 1 (Most Wanted)
Moldy Crow – 3 (HWK-290)
Hull Upgrade – 3 (Imperial Aces / Starviper)
Feedback Array – 2 (IG-2000)

Kavil – 24 (Most Wanted)
Opportunist – 4 (Imperial Aces)
Blaster Turret – 4 (HWK-290)
R4 Agromech – 2 (Most Wanted)

Somehow, out of 27 players, “Lambot” and I were the only two to score 100-0 wins in our first match, so that put us head to head at the top table. As we were setting up, he commented that he brought Feedback Array specifically for Carnor Jax, since he expected to see more and more of him now with Autothrusters. Accordingly, I made a mental note that stuck with me throughout the game not to get too close.

His list is one of those things that doesn’t look like it should work, but it does. Torkhil drops a target to PS 0. Palob steals any token that target might have. Kavil uses Opportunist on the token-less victim, and rolls a 5 die blaster turret shot with target lock, likely stripping the target’s shields. Palob follows up with a 4 die blaster turret shot with focus & target lock. Then Torkhil either throws a crit at them via Greedo, or ionizes a new target for the next turn.

We both played carefully at first, he took 1-forward moves, I took a couple turns and barrel rolls to stay roughly in place, graduating to 2-forwards, and then when it was time to get down to business, I rolled in to range 3 with some moderate movements and lit the HWK’s up from long range. Both dropped quickly thanks to another dose of hot attack dice, and at that point I just dove into close range on Kavil. With Carnor Jax denying focus actions, Kavil was pretty much helpless, and we wrapped the game up in a little under 20 minutes. Clean, simple, and brutal.

2-0, 400 MoV

Round Three

Opponent:

Chewbacca – 42 (Millennium Falcon)
Predator – 3 (TIE Defender)
Recon Specialist – 3 (HWK-290 / TIE Phantom)
Jan Ors – 2 (Rebel Aces)

Han Solo – 46 (Millennium Falcon)
Determination – 1 (TIE Fighter / Starter set)
Recon Specialist – 3 (HWK-290 / TIE Phantom)

Three months ago, this list would have scared the living daylights out of me playing Interceptors. But now, not so much. Big turrets are still dangerous, but Autothrusters have gone a long way towards evening things up by protecting you from that inevitable poor evade roll.

Early on in the game, my opponent verbally resolved to keep me in forward arc as much as possible, and telling me how much Carnor Jax worried him when he was built around Recon Specialist. He approached slowly, giving me Chewbacca as the first available target. I, on the other hand, tried to get cute, and didn’t actually commit Carnor, having him take a defensive move, hiding behind an asteroid. It didn’t do me any good, as he still took a Direct Hit, leaving him near death’s door and without even being able to shoot that turn.

At this point, I realized that I needed to start doing some serious damage if I was going to take these two down. Having stripped several of Chewie’s shields the previous turn, I thought (correctly) that he would try to move quickly and escape some of my firing arcs. So instead, I let Chewie fly out of the fight, and I swapped targets, pouncing on Han, too far away for Chewie to really be effective. That’s a 3 on 1 fight that Han is bound to lose, and did, but Carnor Jax went down in the process, my first casualty of the day.

Seeing the remaining time was getting low, I was a wary about engaging Chewbacca. He still had lots of health, I couldn’t deny his actions, and with one Interceptor already down, losing a second one and not finishing Chewie would cost me the match. I wasn’t willing to risk that, so while I took a few long range shots, I refused to come in close or take risks. As a result, I didn’t finish him off before time expired, but a win is a win (usually).

3-0, 516 MoV

Round Four

Opponent:

Howlrunner – 18 (TIE Fighter)
Wingman – 2 (Z-95)
Shield Upgrade – 4 (Imperial Aces / Millennium Falcon)

Carnor Jax – 26 (Imperial Aces)
Royal Guard TIE – 0 (Imperial Aces)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing /  Imperial Aces)
Autothrusters – 2 (Starviper)
Shield Upgrade – 4 (Imperial Aces / Millennium Falcon)

Echo – 30 (TIE Phantom)
Tactician – 2 (TIE Phantom)
Fire-Control System – 2 (TIE PhantomB-Wing)
Veteran Instincts -1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)
Advanced Cloaking Device – 4 (TIE Phantom)

Ugh. I was NOT looking forward to this one. I took a couple minutes to watch this list fly towards the end of round two, and had seen it at the next table over during round three. I asked (unsuccessfully) for his opponent to do me a favor and not let him win that game, because I didn’t want to play it.

Without Whisper involved, I knew it wouldn’t be quite as tough as it could be, but with only 9 total HP a lot of my resilience is based on having a Focus & Evade token available every turn, and Carnor would take that away. I’ve also played around with a similar list recently – Soontir (fully loaded), Howlrunner (PTL), Black Squadron (Draw Their Fire), and Black Squadron (Wingman), and I know the value that a nearby TIE with Wingman can bring to the Interceptors.

It did, however, become a little easier when my opponent took the initiative option. Looking back on it, it made sense that he wanted to be able to cloak Echo before my Carnor Jax could fire, but it also made the difference between only Soontir Fel being able to see the enemy’s final positions for arc-dodging purposes, or Carnor Jax too.  Still, I resolved to make that choice hurt.

We approached from opposite corners, meeting close to the center of the map. I was more than happy with this, as I wanted to limit Echo’s options for decloaking. Speaking of which, Echo led the group, charging ahead of the others. Seeing this, I resolved to take down Echo first, figuring that I could pick the Phantom off by arranging a 3-on-1 skirmish. Perhaps it was intended as a trap, or perhaps he sensed that I had it out for the Phantom, either way, he moved as far as he could to my right, with Howlrunner and Carnor still approaching from the left of the asteroid field. But I wanted to not only take out the Phantom, I wanted to deny the other ships attacks for the round. Accordingly, I had committed to moving to my right, planning to Boost/Barrel roll to correct back to the left if I had guessed wrong and it was needed. So from there, it took a couple of turns, but that Phantom was toast just about the time that the other ships engaged.

wpid-img_20150328_163551864.jpg
Phantom down, time to go TIE Fighter hunting.

My Royal Guard Pilot took a hit in the process of killing Echo, and ended up evacuating the area rather than risking getting caught in the crosshairs of the other two ships. This sent him into the densest part of the asteroid field, the RGP spent several turns to bring himself back into the fight, leaving me with a 2-on-2 duel near the corner of the field.

Carnor was by far the bigger threat of the two, but also a tough nut to crack. With Howlrunner’s assistance, the Interceptor had a completely open dial every turn, and was (almost) always able to take a double action. So to help myself out, I took down Howlrunner first, putting us on equal footing for action economy. My opponent, seeming to know that the end was near, began flying very defensively with Carnor in an attempt just to save some points, but with my own Jax and Fel in pursuit, and the Royal Guard Pilot re-entering the battle from the other flank, he could only dodge so many shots, and I notched another win.

4-0, 716 MoV

Round Five

Opponent:

Black Sun Soldier – 13 (Most Wanted)
Feedback Array – 2 (IG-2000)

Black Sun Soldier – 13 (Most Wanted)
Feedback Array – 2 (IG-2000)

Black Sun Soldier – 13 (Most Wanted)
Feedback Array – 2 (IG-2000)

Boba Fett – 39 (Most Wanted)
Veteran Instincts -1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)
Inertial Dampeners – 1 (Starviper / IG-2000)
Mangler Cannon – 4 (IG-2000 / M3-A)
Seismic Charges – 2 (TIE Bomber / IG-2000 / Slave 1)
Engine Upgrade – 4 (Millennium Falcon)
K4 Security Droid – 1 (Most Wanted)

This would prove to be a challenging matchup. For the first (and only) time all day, Soontir Fel wouldn’t have free reign over the battlefield during his movement, and Fett could adjust his facing via Engine Upgrade if needed. Additionally, the three feedback arrays would be enough to vaporize an Interceptor in a single turn if I let him catch me in range. So while I was a lock to reach the playoffs whether I won this game or not (a total loss would have put me in 4th), I hoped to completely demolish it somehow, and knock it out of the playoffs, because I didn’t want to face it with my tournament life on the line!

My goal was to play keep-away, using my speed and maneuverability to stay away from the Z’s long enough to pick them apart at range, but I wasn’t sure how Boba would fit in to that equation, I had no idea what he would be doing. Initially, the Z’s approached in a cluster in the center of the field, with Boba following behind. I traded a few shots with the headhunters, destroying one, and then bugged out on the next turn rather than getting caught. My opponent, on the other hand, had spread the Z’s out, and there was nothing I could do to prevent Soontir from getting zapped once by a feedback.

 

wpid-img_20150328_175730311.jpg
Scramble drill!

 

The battle split from here, which was an interesting temporary war on two fronts. Soontir and Boba began dueling, but without doing much damage to the other, although Boba did catch Soontir with his Seismic charge, bringing the baron down to one hit point, yet with his Stealth Device still active. The other Interceptors both bolted away to get some safety distance before making another attack run on the Black Sun Soldiers. While Fel could hold his own for a few minutes against the master bounty hunter, it’s not something I wanted to encourage as a long term engagement, so rather than turning up field for a shot, I had Soontir reverse course back towards the other Interceptors, causing Boba to collide. At extreme range, token-covered Interceptors win out over an action-less Firespray, and shields were stripped from range.

The next turn, my Interceptors took the opportunity to swarm together, and all ended up at Range 1 of the remaining Z’s. Two shots to the healthy one removed it from the table, and the Royal Guard Pilot blasted the final of the three fighters on his own, thanks to the missing shield from the earlier Feedback Array usage.

From there, the whole squad gave chase to Boba Fett, who was nearing a corner. While I did say my favorite place to engage a Firespray is a board edge, I neglected to mention that it’s even better to engage it near two of them. A flurry of shots exchanged left Boba limping and without his biggest asset, his pilot skill (thanks to a Damaged Cockpit critical). Desperate to find a way to escape the corner and put shots on target, Boba took too big of a turn, and flew straight off the board. He escaped, but it was a win.

I didn’t manage to knock him out of the cut, his prior record was too strong, but I wouldn’t be facing him in an immediate rematch either, and I had proven to myself that the list wasn’t THAT bad of a matchup.

5-0, 916 MoV, 1st place after Swiss.

Moxie Top 8
Some names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Semi-Finals

Opponent:

Torkil Mux – 19 (Most Wanted)
Ion Cannon Turret – 5 (Y-Wing HWK-290)
Greedo – 1 (Most Wanted)
Feedback Array – 2 (IG-2000)

Palob Godalhi – 20 (Most Wanted)
Opportunist – 4 (Imperial Aces)
Blaster Turret – 4 (HWK-290)
K4 Security Droid – 1 (Most Wanted)
Moldy Crow – 3 (HWK-290)
Hull Upgrade – 3 (Imperial Aces / Starviper)
Feedback Array – 2 (IG-2000)

Kavil – 24 (Most Wanted)
Opportunist – 4 (Imperial Aces)
Blaster Turret – 4 (HWK-290)
R4 Agromech – 2 (Most Wanted)

“Lambot” again, as luck would have it. Given the ease with which the Interceptors tore through his forces earlier, this should have been an easy win. But after a long day of the best the tournament could throw at me,  my wits and luck were running a little low.

Again, we approached slowly. He hugged the board edge, with Kavil closest to the edge, and I slowly moved up field for a turn or two before turning in and engaging him at a right angle near my right corner of the map. I got almost exactly the shot that I wanted on the first turn of engagement: two range 3 shots on an HWK with no return fire. Unfortunately, I whiffed on the first attack, and the second was completely evaded.

What I should have done was turn up field, then come back for another attack run and another set of 100% safe range 3 shots. But I was too stubborn, I abandoned my discipline, and I didn’t respect what his ships were capable of. I attacked.

The Royal Guard Pilot and Soontir Fel turned in and prepared to unload into the HWK’s again. Carnor, on the other hand, swooped in close for extra dice and to prevent spending of Focus Tokens on defense or to fire Blaster Turrets, placing himself directly in front of the enemy and Focusing for an optimum attack, exactly the WRONG thing to do. Palob stole the Focus token (oops, forgot he could do that). Torkhil dropped Carnor to PS0 (oops, forgot he could do that). Soontir damaged but didn’t kill one of the HWK’s. Because I had gotten so close, Kavil had a forward arc Range 1 shot with Opportunist on the token-less Carnor Jax for a total of four attack dice (oops, forgot he could do that), who took a single damage. The Royal Guard Pilot fired next, leaving the damaged HWK with only two hull remaining. Just outside of the arc of the second HWK, surely Carnor Jax could survive a two die attack from the injured HWK, right? Zap, ZAP, Feedback array x2 (oops, forgot he could do that).

Had I stopped to think about it for a moment, I probably could have still pulled it off by breaking off the attack, getting distance, and going back to long range drive-by attacks. But in my frustration, I pressed the assault, and now without Jax around, Kavil’s leash was off, I ate a 5 die Blaster Turret shot to the face, and Fel fell dead, the Royal Guard following on the next turn.

Lambot did everything right; I can’t and wouldn’t want to take that away from him. He carved through his next two opponents to take first place in the event, and our whole group stuck around to watch and support him. But I know good and well that I played that last game horribly wrong. Sticking to my tenets of patient, disciplined play, I would have walked away with another win. Instead, I assumed that rematch would be a walk in the park, and sat out the rest of the event to pay for it.

For those who are interested in such things, full Cryodex output for the event is available here.

I’ve played in six store championships this season. One of those was a really bad day where nothing could go right. One of those, I could do no wrong and brought my very best to each game. The other four, I can point to the exact point in time where I had a lapse in judgement and didn’t have a killer instinct approach to the match, or I forgot something that made a big difference because I wasn’t paying close enough attention, or both. Casual play is a wholly different thing, I don’t mind messing around, getting myself into a bad situation and trying to find a way out, or losing a random game to a friend. But come tournament time, Beast Mode needs to be in full effect, no matter who I’m playing or what I’m playing against.

Lesson learned. Bring on Regionals.

– The Tabletop General

 

 

X-Wing Miniatures Epic battle report

I put out a general (no pun intended) challenge to my local X-Wing community last week for a game using the Epic rule set. I’ve had an opportunity to play one Epic game previously, and I got absolutely flattened by a well flown Rebel fleet because I underestimated the effectiveness of actions like Jamming (give out stress tokens to nearby ships) and upgrades like Slicer tools (deal damage to nearby ships with stress tokens), and because I let a large portion of my fleet get more literally flattened by a battering ram Medium Transport. A little older, a little wiser, and a little more rebellious, it was time for me to bring my huge ships out to play. Our X-Wing group actually had two simultaneous Epic matches going on, as several other players pooled their ships to have a 3v3 300 point game as well. It’s not every day you see multiple CR-90 Blockade Runners in use for casual play, at least not until Star Wars: Armada releases next year!

Rebel Alliance Patrol

CR-90 Blockade Runner Fore – 50
WED-15 Repair Droid – 2
Jaina’s Light – 2
Sensor Team – 4
Engineering Team – 4
Quad Laser Cannons – 6
Single Turbolasers – 8

CR-90 Blockade Runner Aft – 40
Slicer Tools – 7 – My biggest mistake in this build was not putting this on the fore!
Quad Laser Cannons – 6

Medium Transport – 30
Combat Retrofit – 10
Navigator – 3
Dutyfree – 2
EM Emitter – 3
Frequency Jammer – 4

Lt. Blount – 17
Veteran Instincts – 1
Assault Missiles – 5

Gold Squadron Pilot – 18
Ion Cannon Turret – 5

Gold Squadron Pilot – 18
Ion Cannon Turret – 5

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22
Ion Cannon – 3

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22
Ion Cannon – 3

Imperial Assault Force

Bounty Hunter – 33
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7

Bounty Hunter – 33
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7

Bounty Hunter – 33
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7

Omicron Group Pilot – 21
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7

Soontir Fel – 27
Royal Guard TIE – 0
Hull Upgrade – 3
Shield Upgrade – 4
Push The Limit – 3

Howlrunner – 18

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Pre-game photo
The Rebels are outnumbered, but not necessarily outgunned! [Click for full size]
Since my opponent won the initiative, eight TIE Fighters and the Lambda had to deploy blindly in what I will refer to as the northeastern corner. I paired a Y-Wing and B-Wing to the southeast to serve as harassment, and had a matching pair in the southwest (partially hidden by the Transport in the photo provided). The Bounty Hunters set up in the northwest, anticipating correctly that my capital ships would follow in the southwest. I made sure to set the Medium Transport aligned with both the Lambda and the Firespray beside it.

With so many TIE Fighters on the field, I had to find a way to delay them and reduce their numbers, and Howlrunner had to go! Seeing that both mini-swarms of Fighters deployed on one side of the map, I put as much distance as possible between them and my CR-90 Corvette (I never know whether to call it a Corvette or a Blockade Runner) both to thin their numbers before engaging and have time to store some energy. Howlrunner and Soontir Fel joined in with the swarms, while Lt. Blount got lined up for a suicide shot with his assault missile.

The first hour or two of the game could have been handled as completely separate matches on the east and west halves of the map, each won in a relative landslide by the player with the most firepower available there.

If one (or both) of the TIE Fighter squadrons decided to take a hard right turn and come screaming over on a coordinated attack run, I wanted to have a little surprise available. So in the west, the Transport reinforced its’ front and charged straight ahead at it’s intended ramming targets, and allocated all available power to charging up its’ ionization reactor. This beastly upgrade requires 5 energy to trigger, but deals an ion token and one damage to all ships at range 1 when used! With the reinforce token in place (reducing incoming damage by 1 per attack), and a total of 15 hit points, the Transport held its’ own against incoming fire, and the Corvette began whittling away at the closest bounty hunter at extreme distance (range 5).

Capital ship engagement
Imperial heavy assault craft making an attack run. [Click for full size]
The Transport took fairly heavy damage, but kept barreling forward over several turns. Leaning on my experiences from my previous Epic battle, and knowing that a potential collsion was eminent, I had the fighter escorts make a sudden surge forward at full speed, and at Pilot Skill 2, they were able to move ahead of the PS3 Bounty Hunters, and clog up their intended movement lanes. It didn’t work as well as I had hoped, so I leaned on the Navigator’s ability for a little extra speed out of the Transport, but the ramming attempt still only took down one of the Firesprays, missing the second by about a quarter inch. Combined fire from the fighters and the Corvette took down a second Bounty Hunter, and the lone survivor followed the Shuttle, both fleeing regroup and hopefully return with reinforcements. The Y-Wing pilotgot a little too excited and managed to put himself directly in the path of the Medium Transport, but the B-Wing gave pursuit to the east.

Imperial-dominated dogfight
Operation Distract in progress, working surprisingly well! [Click for full size]
Speaking of the eastern front… Q: How many TIE Fighter pilots does it take to change a light bulb? A: I don’t know, they’re too busy chasing a Y-Wing to bother! “Operation Distract” started out with mixed results, Lt. Blount lost his shields to Soontir Fel, but countered with an Assault Missile shot that stripped Soontir’s shield modification in return, and scratched up a trio of Academy Pilots, all while missing his original target entirely. The TIE Fighters returned fire on Blount, and quickly removed him from the fight. Meanwhile, the Y-Wing and B-Wing pilot on that flank may have earned themselves an honorary spot in Wraith squadron with their flying antics. Soontir got ion-ed once. Howlrunner got ion-ed once, Academy Pilots scattered everywhere, and a couple were given landing instructions onto asteroids by more ion tokens. Only one TIE Fighters went down over here on this side of the battle, but by the time these two heroes were almost out of the fight, the reserve B-Wing had arrived to cause more chaos, and Operation Distract was considered a major success.

Scattered Imperial ships turning to face the capital ship out of frame
The Imperials are finally ready to swarm the Corvette [Click for full size]
Not wanting to be picked off from long range, most of the Imperials all turned East save for a couple of the Academy Pilots who stayed to finish the B-Wing off. These ships aren’t as coordinated as they had been, though, and would be approaching in both firing arcs of the Corvette without quite as much concentrated fire as I had been worried about earlier. Academy pilots did manage to swarm the transport, and even with its’ shields replenished, it didn’t survive the turn (and couldn’t muster the energy to fire off its’ reactor). But Soontir got a little too eager, and took a direct hit by being the only one in range of the CR-90 for the first turn. Howlrunner had survived the melee, but wasn’t nimble enough to avoid the big guns either. One by one the Imperials began to fall, but they closed in quickly and started piling on the damage on the Corvette, which could only fire its’ guns so quickly. Without escorts to provide assistance, the Imperials began to find blind spots behind (and even beneath) their target, and the damage was piling on fast. In an attempt to cause collisions or at least line up a shot, I began to occasionally jink the Corvette from side to side.

Firespray under the engines of a CR-90 [Click for full size]
Now that’s some tight maneuvering! That Firespray is literally UNDER the CR-90!
Academy Pilot strafing heavily damaged CR-90
With a crippled aft section and a damaged fore, killing this CR-90 might make the remaining Academy Pilot into a legend! [Click for full size]
Feeling a little close for comfort, one of the TIE Fighters K-Turned away, only to be destroyed with a gambled use of Slicer Tools (using he Slicer Tools, being on my Aft section, prevented me from using a Recover action to refresh my shields that turn). One of the turn maneuvers finally got me enough of an angle to fire rear quad-lasers, and down went the last of the Bounty Hunters, but the lone TIE Fighter crippled the Aft section of the ship, and there was already five damage on the Fore. The damage was piling up (another three hull damage would finish the CR-90), the Imperials were down to their last ship, the store was closing soon… and then I ran him over with another banking turn.

Apparently, in the Imperial Academy, they don’t teach you to give capital ships a wide berth.

Clocking in at just under 5 hours to completion (we weren’t in a hurry), this was officially my longest game of X-Wing yet, and one of my favorites to be certain. With that being said, I think I’ll stick to 100 point dogfights for a little while…

Thanks for reading!

— The Tabletop General