The core of this article about my usage of IG-88 in Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures has been kicking around in the back of my mind for about five months now, but I’ve been hesitant to post about it. Over this year’s store championship season, I’ve encountered several players who were more than eager to tell me about how one of my lists inspired their own, and this build wasn’t something I wanted to see more of. I also didn’t want to share some of the tricks I was using, because I felt they might only work once against a particular player. So I’ve held back until now, as the locals seem to have caught on to my tactics, I’ve seen a few lists “inspired” by this one (there’s not a lot to change) and I’m pretty much ready to retire the list in favor of something new. So time to spill some of the secrets, I suppose.
In a marathon practice session before his trip to the 2015 World Championships, a friend requested that I fly against him utilizing a “Brobots” list. He gave me some basic parameters for how he’d like them equipped, I filled in the blanks, and I suddenly had a very effective setup that I found very effective and would use frequently thereafter. I’ve tried several slight tweaks of the list, but this seems to be the best load-out that I’ve seen:
It doesn’t have the alpha strike capabilities of the Crackshot (Kihraxz / Hound’s Tooth) / Glitterstim (Kihraxz / Hound’s Tooth) combo seen often on IGs, or the overwhelming firepower of dual Heavy Laser Cannons, but I still prefer this variant. It’s extremely rare that these ships take hard turns, so everything on the dial that I’m actually using is either red or green (see dial below). The red moves get actions anyway thanks to Advanced Sensors. Then on the green maneuvers Advanced Sensors and Push The Limit are a great combination, because you can declare two actions, get the stress, and then do your green move to remove that stress and have an open dial for the next turn, all without caring about bumping in to other ships.
The biggest question I have on how to tweak the list is which ship should have the Heavy Laser Cannon, the other gets the Mangler Cannon and Inertial Dampeners. IG-88B’s gunner effect for cannons gives this list a lot of its’ punch, which makes that ship the obvious target. I like having the HLC on IG-88C during the end game for 4 attack dice at any range, but I also fly the ships so that the Mangler cannon is up front, which makes B even easier to kill in that case. It’s a conundrum, but you can’t really go wrong either way.
Meanwhile, IG-88C works great for an end-game ship. I found myself in a no-win situation early on in a tournament last month, and that free evade made all the difference in the world. I had experimented with an Ion Cannon on IG-88C (I do NOT recommend this), and found myself staring at a full health Miranda Doni, who could regenerate health as fast or faster than I could deal damage, while I had two shields keeping a close win from becoming a loss. Seeing no better tactical option, I turned tail and ran. And ran. And ran. For 24+ minutes I flew everywhere but toward that K-Wing, boosting for extra range, and stacking up tokens with the PTL / Advanced Sensors combination for the turns Miranda managed to find a shot. I lost one shield over that entire period, and squeaked away with a win.
One of the hallmarks of this list is that unlike most builds with only one or two ships, having a lower pilot skill enemy ship move into your way is not an issue – you’ve already gotten your actions in. This turns normal swarm piloting tactics against the opponent, any collisions just mean that they’re just getting one less opportunity to fire and break through your stack of tokens!
One of the trickier things I learned early on while flying this list was that I didn’t care if I ran into myself either, and that I would often want to. Keeping the Mangler Cannon carrier out in front helps maintain effective range for the other ship carrying a Heavy Laser Cannon, but an extra turn of fire for the HLC from an unexpected angle is often possible by causing an intentional collision before the ship with Mangler makes its’ move for the turn, essentially giving the HLC ship a green “0” move.
Eventually, this morphed into a setup strategy for me, wherein I create a “castle” from the start, neither of my ships has to move anywhere, but both have the option to do so via using Advanced Sensors for a boost. Meanwhile, both can have Focus & Evade tokens for defense, while I wait to see where the opponent will go. Both ships set up facing roughly parallel to the other’s front edge but tilted in slightly, and with the corner of one ship touching the other. Forgive the drawings, the tool I use for these diagrams only has the Firespray (with a rear arc) as a template, and I was absent minded enough to miss-hyphenate the ship names. You’ll figure it out though…
Both ships dial up a green 1 Forward maneuver, or for the very first turn a 1 Bank toward the other ship if it doesn’t look like you managed to set them up just right.
This can be repeated indefinitely if your opponent is silly enough to fly down the channel covered by both firing arcs, but eventually you’ll want to move. In an ideal world, your opponent will have a ship of lower Pilot Skill that will give you information about where they are moving for the turn before you have to make this choice, because you don’t even have to change the dials!
If you know you’re planning to begin moving on a given turn, you can substitute in most any maneuver to give yourself options. The only thing that you can’t really cover well is if the enemy is approaching from your left along the table edge. IG-88C can let B move first and then take a bank in that direction, but C doesn’t have any great options. The best choices to try for a shot is an Segnor’s Loop or a Koiogran Turn.
You can, of course, just turn, but that leaves you with a large blind spot to your left.
This last diagram shows a relatively safe approach by a TIE Fighter from the left flank, along with the original positions of the IG’s, and the options we’ve discussed for B’s movements. He’ll still have to contend with IG-88C, who can either move to counter or stay still one more time by attempting to move first. But IG-88B can’t touch him. The Boost + K-Turn option, at the top of the diagram, is way out of range. So long as the approaching ship stays just over Range 1 away from B’s back corner, he’s out of arc after the Segnor’s loop. And the hard turn with a Boost before/after leaves our ship out of arc too, plus those potential positions are both easily blocked with an asteroid at range 2.5 from each side of the map.
Your whole squadron isn’t going to get in there, but you can certainly slip a ship or two into this blind spot of the castle, and that’s one of the things I didn’t want to reveal while playing the list. I had far too many folks fly blindly into the teeth of these guys to want to offer up suggestions to the world at first.
Making an appearance in the first local Store Championship of the year forStar Wars: X-Wing Miniatures, I faced a difficult choice in list construction. As I discussed in my previous article, I have a feeling, looking at the new threats coming in the Wave VIII releases, that my beloved Interceptors are no longer going to be viable to stand on their own. More and more counters for their abilities are appearing in new ships. And while I wanted to try something new and make use of the recent releases, I haven’t had enough time lately to test the builds that I might bring. So I split the difference and compromised, bringing Soontir Fel and Carnor Jax equipped as normal, but substituting in Omega Leader as a splash of the new tricks.
The change from a Royal Guard Pilot (Imperial Aces) to Omega Leader did several things for me:
1) My lowest Pilot Skill is 8, up from 6 with the RGP. I’m almost guaranteed to see at least a portion of my opponent’s setup before deciding on mine, thus allowing me to control the area of initial engagement.
2) I shave a couple points, allowing me to win initiative bidding against other PS 8 and PS 9 pilots.
3) Omega Leader has proven recently to be a great counter to token-based ships like Soontir Fel, who shows up often in our local meta.
With 43 players in attendance, we would be having 5 rounds of Swiss play followed by a single elimination bracket of the top 8 after Swiss. I settled in for a long day of X-Wing.
No pressure here, I’m just facing last year’s champion for this event to start the day. I hadn’t seen a competently flown T-70 in a tournament setting yet, and this was going to be a heck of an introduction. The TLT equipped Y-Wing I don’t consider much of a threat compared to the others, as any one of my ships should be able to out-duel it in the end game. I also was able to breathe a sigh of relief, as I expected the Y-Wing to be a “Stresshog” variant carrying R3-A2 (GR-75), as was the case in the mostly identical list on the next table over. The T-70s were the threat; both had regeneration abilities, and while neither was taking multiple actions each turn, each could get the equivalent benefit of multiple actions per turn.
My opponent, like any good Rebel player, slow-rolled his approach. And I have been working on my obstacle placement and controlling the engagement. As we entered firing range, my opponent faced a choice: splitting his squad to fly around an asteroid, or committing to moving to my left, while I was approaching from the right. So right out of the gate, I had created a unique opportunity for myself. Only Poe could safely turn to my right. With Poe bumped up to a higher pilot skill and being dependent on Focus tokens for his regeneration abilities, I gambled that I might be able to block him in and score a quick kill. Carnor and Omega Leader tokened up and prepared for combat, while Soontir, who had been closer than the others, pushed ahead and used his actions to boost and barrel roll to where Poe would be if he took the bait. This gave me either 3 shots at Poe while he had a focus, or 2 while he didn’t. I got the block, but the dice didn’t treat me well, and I didn’t deal significant damage.
The next turn, I scrambled for position, as all my ships were stressed and pointed the wrong way. I attempted another block on Poe with Omega Leader, but came up empty this time, and would be relying on his Target Lock on Poe to keep him safe. No such luck, as Poe rolls 4 natural hits; which Omega Leader thankfully avoided with a hot roll of his own and an evade token. On the next turn, Poe got yet another Range 1 shot off, for 3 hits and a crit, naturally. Omega Leader wasn’t so lucky this time, and took most of the damage.
Meanwhile, with Poe isolated and hunting down the TIE Fighter, my Interceptors had switched to a target of opportunity in Red Leader. The dice gods smiled on my opponent, and I never managed to really get a solid hit. With R2-D2 and the persistent Evade token, what little damage I managed to put through just wouldn’t stick.
Omega Leader finally shook Poe off of his tail, only to be downed by the pesky Y-Wing that was circling the field, and this slow moving game was now an uphill battle. Taking stock, killing the Y-Wing would be the easiest target, but wouldn’t get me a win on its’ own. Red Leader just wouldn’t go down. So Poe had to go. After a few turns of positioning, I finally got a good attack run going, and blasted Poe off the table with a couple rounds of consecutive fire, putting me into “Modified Win” territory. Unfortunately, to make sure I got Poe off the table, Carnor had to spend his Focus token, and he would have needed it to stay alive through Red Ace’s return fire. With Dameron off the board and given enough time, Soontir Fel could have (eventually) won that battle. Unfortunately, time ran out during the very next turn, before I could recover from Carnor’s loss.
I don’t feel like I did anything especially wrong in this match. I changed targets several times between the X-Wings, but I hadn’t actually hurt either of them so it wasn’t like I was spreading damage out. But Omega Leader never really had an impact other than as a decoy, and his ability didn’t help.
Standard Fel, we know the drill there. But the rest was interesting. A Decimator, without Gunner (Slave 1), and without Vader (Lambda Shuttle)? That doesn’t seem like nearly as much of a threat as most other builds. With a higher PS across the board, I couldn’t be caught off guard by those Seismic Charges. With Isard and Kenkirk, it would be slower chewing than normal, but the Decimator would eventually die.
My opponent deployed his Decimator in the corner, and I set up my squad as far away as possible, hoping to tempt him in to splitting his force. He obliged, and placed Soontir directly opposite my trio. With the Emperor involved, Soontir would be hard to take down, but it seemed a great opportunity to at least put a point or two on him. And I didn’t want to be trying to eat through all of Kenkirk’s hull while his escort felt 100% safe to engage from the rear.
I didn’t manage to hit him though, on the first pass, the second pass, or any subsequent ones. And I chased him for far too long. Again, just like in the previous game, Omega Leader took some damage early on and flew around as a liability for the rest of the match, simply trying to save points.
There was a very tense period, about 7 turns in, where my opponent managed to block my Soontir with Kenkirk, creating a traffic jam in the middle of the field, and dropping a seismic charge all at the same time. Omega Leader narrowly avoided death via bomb, and my Interceptors were corralled nicely for his Soontir, who thankfully didn’t manage to do any harm. We played “chicken” there for several more turns, as I couldn’t read what he planned to do; turning in to him would continue to bump if he bumped me to stay still, flying straight would either bump or place me on an asteroid, and turning away from him would bump into him again if he chose to move past me.
About the time we finally broke the standoff, a warning was called for the end of the round I swapped targets – with no time to chase Soontir further, I needed to score points, and fast! But I wasn’t fast enough – time was called while the Decimator was still two hit points above half health, leading to my first ever 0-0 tie, and making my chances of making the cut look extremely slim.
This looked familiar, yet very strange. In fact, swap the Mangler for an Ion Cannon (Firespray/B-Wing/TIE Defender/M3-A) and add in Glitterstim (Hound’s Tooth / Kihraxz Fighter), and it would be identical to the way that I’ve run IG-88 to relative success over the past few months. The strange part about it is that my opponent has run IG-88 x 2 almost exclusively since their release a year ago, and I’ve never seen him use this configuration. The combo of a seasoned player and a more effective (in my opinion) version of the list could spell trouble for any slim hopes I had for the day.
The downside of my opponent’s familiarity with other loadouts for IG-88 was a lack of a full toolbox for this one. I expected several hijinks with the Advanced Sensors / Push the Limit combo because there’s so many ways that I use them to my advantage, and it surprised me to not see them here. And on top of that, the dice were my friend in this match. Several times I chose to spend a token to evade a mediocre attack, only to risk a more damaging shot that would end up failing to connect at all – you could read it in my opponent’s body language (and inventive verbal language) how badly he missed the Fire-Control Systems (B-Wing / TIE Phantom) that he would normally have equipped.
Carnor Jax bit the dust fairly early on, as he represented a large threat to my opponent’s token-based offense and defense, but not before one of the Aggressors was nearly destroyed. The other scum ship was dispatched quickly thereafter, as Soontir was his normal beastly self and Omega Leader showed up on offense for the first time all day, but my opponent did manage to sneak a pair of damage through onto Soontir in the process.
That’s where things got a little screwy. With plenty of time remaining in the match, and having mostly lost hope in the game and in salvaging his own run at a finish near the top, my opponent began flying very erratically, not even pretending to look for a shot. I thought for all the world that he would intentionally fly off the board in his frustration. But not wanting to give up points by doing something stupid, I remained patient and looked for good shots, which came up empty time and again. Then the turns began moving faster. And faster. Until I eventually made a mistake, in which I used Soontir’s second action to Barrel Roll into what I thought from across the table would be a better chase position, but found myself staring at an asteroid I couldn’t clear the next turn with any green maneuvers.
My opponent saw this predicament and pounced, turning back into the fight. Omega Leader bumped the Aggressor, and was unable to fire at it. And Soontir had to keep his stress, taking a speed 1 hard turn right into the sights of IG-88. One HLC shot later, and suddenly I’m losing this game. Omega Leader had to put the team on his back, and was barely able to finish the enemy off in time. It was quite frustrating to my opponent, the only action he could do that would matter was Boosting, as Omega Leader’s Target Lock prevented all other effects. But without spending that lock, all I could do was hope to eventually beat 3 evade dice with 2 focused attack dice. It eventually happened, but it took far too long for my comfort.
It’s like clockwork. Every time I come to a major tournament, I’m destined to play this guy. Our one stalwart defender of the T-65 X-Wing, I’ve played this game or ones like it out more times than I’d like to count, and it still amazes me that I might come out ahead if we go back over the results of the whole series. Wes always leads the charge, generally backed by Luke and Wedge, but there’s occasionally a different pilot mixed in. At most, an initiative bid lets me see Wedge’s move before Soontir’s, all of my other ships are moving completely blind. And in lists past, such as Cloak and Dagger led by Carnor Jax, even that wasn’t an option. Wes strips a token and/or double stresses an Interceptor via R3-A2, and then the remainder of the squad clobbers the defenseless ship over the next turn or two. Things get even rougher now with Integrated Astromech potentially adding 3 extra hit points into the list for free. It’s always an interesting cat & mouse game flying arc dodgers, and in this matchup I don’t feel like I’m the cat.
Some games, though, you’ve just got it. You’re in the zone, or as game designer David Sirlin (http://www.sirlin.net/) puts it, you’ve got “Yomi” (the ability of players to know the mind of the opponent). This was one of those games. My opponent wanted Soontir dead, and wanted him dead badly. So I denied that combat. Soontir flew straight by my opponent on the left flank, and never once let himself get caught in Wes’s arc, or much of anyone’s for that matter. Carnor Jax and Omega Leader, on the other hand, settled in with a couple of side-slipping barrel rolls to the right, and got beautiful strafing runs on the Rebels as they turned in vain to track the Baron. With Wes falling to a rapid sequence of unusually accurate attacks, Soontir then turned to engage. At that point, all trickery went out the window, and I could rely on sheer firepower to overwhelm the remaining enemy ships. It was quick, it was brutal, and I couldn’t have done it much better had I been setting my opponent’s dials for him.
Do I have to play this game? Really? Every one of these ships has something about it that makes it brutal for my list. The Y-Wing can apply multiple stress tokens to anything it can shoot. Ten Numb moves after I do, and can deal unblockable critical damage. And Poe moves after I do, has that ever-present regeneration mechanic that he never leaves home without, and that pesky ability to modify multiple results off of a single token. Short of a swarm of Feedback Array (IG-2000) equipped Z-95’s, or a Decimator carrying Vader (Lambda Shuttle) and a Gunner (Slave 1), there’s not a lot of things that my Interceptors like less than what was about to come across the table at me.
What I had in my favor, however, was experience. I had seen this player before, but she was relatively new to the game. She made comments about being surprised at how well she had done for the day, and I didn’t know it at the time, but a strong win would have put her into the cut to top eight for single elimination. I wasn’t about to let her have that strong win though, because I was close enough to the top table to do mental math and know I had a shot depending on what happened in front of me. I didn’t control my own destiny, but a loss would doom my day.
Going back to our first game of the day, and the importance of setup, I placed a few obstacles up field and near her deployment zone. I wouldn’t know where Ten Numb and Poe were going until after I had finished setup, but I had a pretty good idea based on the Y-Wing’s deployment, and formed my exact plan on the fly after seeing her final placement. And then, knowing that the general plan for Rebels against arc dodgers is to approach slowly and maintain a wide field of fire, I picked a likely point of transit for Ten Numb past an asteroid, did my mental guesswork, and sent Soontir off to the races up that flank.
My opponent obliged me with slow and deliberate movements, leaving her with no option to safely turn in Soontir’s direction as she approached the asteroid, and being caught off guard by my aggressive approach. This resulted in an unopposed shot that stripped a shield or two off of the B-Wing before the entirety of our forces could engage. This is always a clutch moment for me – with 3 ships I have to get really lucky to clear a B-Wing in a single turn, but sneak in a point or two extra on another turn and it’s a much more manageable task. And when you’re playing Interceptors, limiting Ten Numb to a single shot is pretty much the best hope you can have.
Well, that’s not entirely true. You can also hope for a shield that will soak up that crit, which Omega Leader conveniently had. Ten Numb came off the board right on schedule, and then we went to work on the rest of the list. Next up, Y-Wing, can’t risk taking any more stress than it had already applied. From there, I played more cautiously, knowing I had a win in the bag without a major screwup, and knowing my actual margin of victory no longer mattered. But Poe didn’t put up too much of a fight, only taking Carnor Jax down with him.
Result: 100-34 win
Standings: 3-1-1, 673 MoV
As I stated coming in to round 5, I didn’t control my own destiny. I was pulling hard for a friend to win his match (still going at the end), and only realized afterward that I shouldn’t have been so excited for him – he was playing an undefeated player so his opponent was in the top 8 players regardless of outcome, but his win blocked me out of the playoffs. Instead, I ended my day in 9th place out of 43.
Full tournament results, including the winning lists, can be viewed on List Juggler.
I can certainly point to a couple of mistakes I made over the course of the day, the biggest one being that I didn’t swap targets to go after Kenkirk earlier in round 2. And perhaps I was just a little too aggressive with Carnor at the end of round 1. But all in all, I’m fairly happy with this as the first run of the season, and having gotten this out of my system, I can move on to some new and exciting builds for the rest of the season. And what a busy season it will be…
Today we have a special guest battle report from Sam Talley. Sam is a local X-Wing player who has really stepped his game up in 2015, winning a Store Championship, going undefeated in swiss rounds on his way to an 8th place finish at the Atlanta Regional Championship, and generally being a holy terror in the local tournament scene. I’ve yet to see him playing in his Mandalorian armor, seen to the right, but the man’s got street cred among us gaming nerds.
I had the pleasure of throwing some “net list” tests at Sam during his preparations for Worlds, so he was kind enough to document his experiences to share here on the Tabletop General. Read on for his take on the biggest X-Wing tournament of the year!
Previously I had flown Corran Horn (E-Wing) / Chewie (Millennium Falcon), but I was too scared to bring Corran to the table. He was simply dying to quickly to concentrated Twin Laser Turret(TLT) fire for me, and after hearing all the hype from other National level tournaments about the TLT, I knew I’d want to try it out. The 4 TLT lists seemed too boring a play style for me, so I tried to pair it with something else. I landed on Dash. I liked his mobility and carrying a Heavy Laser Cannon(HLC) with 4 red dice gave me at least a chance to hit any target. The biggest weakness of this list was the donut holes on all three ships. I developed a strategy of jousting with autothruster (Starviper) equipped arc dodgers, using the main arcs of all three ships. I would keep the Y-Wings in front of Dash to block incoming high PS ships and keep them out of range the Outrider’s blind spot.
Against swarms or other turrets, my plan was to get my opponents to chase me through a dense obstacle field that I would build in the center of the map. I love this strategy and had used it to great effect with Chewie. I practiced as much as I could and watched all the youtube videos I could find of other major tournaments. However, I wasn’t in love with this list. I liked it, but I just didn’t truly love it. Still, I was prepared as I could be and I just hoped it would be enough.
I saw this line up across the table from me and felt very good about the matchup. Tarn would be a annoying, but my turrets should still push damage through, and Horton dies as easily as any other Y-Wing. Miranda would be tough end game if I had to duel her with only Dash because of the shield regeneration, so I just had to keep one of my Y’s alive with Dash. My goal was to kill Horton first, then see where the game took me. We engaged in the middle of the map and the first shots went my way. I got all my shots on Horton and got him down to one hull. Dash lost a few shields, but I was ok with the trade since I could PS kill Horton at the start of the following turn. My opponent played it smart and got Tarn and Horton within range 1 of Dash, and away from my Y-Wings which had moved to engage Miranda on the table edge. Dash barrel rolled to get a shot and avoid Tarn’s arc. I rolled one hit, 3 blanks. I would’ve Rec Spec’d for a double focus if not for the barrel roll action, but it wouldn’t have mattered. Ok, so I need for my opponent to roll a blank green die, easily done right? Wrong. He rolled the evade, Horton lived. The exact same rolls would continue for the next turn. Horton wasn’t even using his focus tokens for R5-P9, using them to push more damage into Dash. My dice totally abandoned me this game. My HLC shot refused to kill a one hull Y-Wing for two straight turns, all the while his TLT continued to land every shot. Tarn finally got into the mix and started landing every red die. What did Dash do? He blanked every evade die as well. In an exchange where Horton should have died easily so that Dash could then run around Tarn, everything went wrong for me. Horton continued to live and do damage and Tarn rolled hot on attack dice, while my evades went super cold. My Y-Wings had to actually circle back to finally kill Horton, but by then it was too late. Salm had lived two turns too many, putting too much damage on Dash, and Tarn easily finished him off before he could do Dash things and run away. I got one hull damage on Miranda but then he started to regen her shields and Tarn turned around onto my Y’s. The R7 made Tarn unhittable for this game and I went on to lose quickly in 25 minutes, with a final score of 34-100.
My opponent was rather sporting, understanding how lucky he had been to keep Horton alive for so long and offered to buy me a beer later in the day. This was the hardest loss of the day. I love playing X-Wing so much that even loosing a close match can be very enjoyable, but this game was over too quickly. The dice didn’t let the match get into the tense, dogfight endgame that makes competitive play so much fun. Ah, the joys of a dice game. However, in an eight round tournament, you’re always going to have that one game where the dice go cold, and hopefully another game where they can’t miss. So I did my best to re-focus and prepare myself for the next game.
This list is a bit of mess, so many upgrades on 3 ships. However, seeing random Scum lists would become a theme for me. My opponent acknowledged it wasn’t quite a top tier list, but he was there to fly and just have fun. My biggest fear was having Talonbane get too close and really tear my ships to pieces. However, his set up made it easy for me to avoid that. I put my ships in a corner as he set up in the middle, with Talonbane furthest from me. He got caught behind the HWK’s and I was happy to joust him, with my Y-Wings in the front, guarding Dash’s donut again. The HWK’s did their shenanigans, but with Recon Specialist, I’m okay with Palob taking a focus. I traded Dash for Palob and Talonbane and then the Y-Wings easily handled Torkhil. It was a fairly easy, short match. I was back on track.
This was a very entertaining game. I did my best to built a tight asteroid field and we set up in opposite corners. My opponent and I both played it carefully and deliberately, circling each other for half the board. When we finally engaged I managed to get my arcs of all three ships onto A. IG-88 A popped glitterstim, but I still stripped 3 shields. Dash lost 3 shields as well due to A’s crackshot, but overall I was happy with the positioning and the exchange. The next turn was the game changer. He intentionnaly ran his aggressors into one another and stalled them in place. Dash, not expecting this, bumped one and had the other inside his donut. It was a great move by my opponent. I didn’t see it coming and my 4 straight move wasn’t enough to clear. While Dash didn’t take too much more damage, losing his offense for that turn hurt. The Y-Wings stayed close in and put 2 more damage on A with their main guns, but A took off running the next turn. Realizing chasing an Aggressor with Y’s was a terrible idea, especially with Dash not in a good pursuit vector either, I switched to B. A continued to hide into the mid-game, as B duked it out solo. I managed to drop B’s shields with the HLC, only for him to regain it with A’s ability as he killed the first Y-Wing. It was a great move to have A in this game, it really saved my opponents MOV. Time was running out, and with Dash’s shields gone, my only hope was to kill A and hope for a tie. B still had his glitter/crack combo in store and used it to finish off Dash, but only just after Dash managed to kill A. B then quickly finished my lone Y-Wing and took the game. It was a very close affair and my opponent knew how to handle his ships. I just couldn’t keep the pressure up on A, but I was happy with how I flew overall. [Editor’s note: Practice games against 2x IG-2000 did some good!]
Now at this point I was still mathematically alive, I just needed to go on a run. I’ve been on hot streaks before and having lost games in this tournament early put me in an easier position moving forward to win. I was still cautiously optimistic setting up for game 4, the last match before our meal break.
This was the closest I came to a mirror match all day. He had the action economy on his Dash, while mine had the pilot skill advantage. We built a tight debris field and lined up to joust each other. Of course I had no intention of actually jousting and turned my formation at the very start with the hope of dragging the Talas through the debris fields. It worked and my opponent gave chase while his Dash flew around their flank. The Talas broke their formation and were picked off one by one by my turrets. His Dash chased my Y’s, but did not concentrate fire on a single target. I destroyed his Dash, having 1 shield left on my own, a shieldless Ywing, and 1 hull Ywing. It was a huge error for MOV purposes, letting me save all of my points on the table. Although, judging by the 16oz beer he chugged mid game, I honestly think he was kinda drunk. But… Hey! A win’s a win. Now it was time for that meal break and to regroup for my epic 4 game win streak!
This was one the few enjoyable, high level games I played that day. My opponent was an Aussie, the twin brother of the Super Dash player who would end up making the top 8. The targeting computer on Soontir was an uncommon sight and gave me the slight hope of being able to actually hit Soontir for once. However, my strategy for this type of list is to joust with the main arcs, hope to bump with the Y-Wings to protect Dash’s donut, and target Vader first. My opening was strong, changing the plan on the fly, I actually pushed Dash forward and managed to get the block on Vader, stalling him onto a debris field. The Y-Wings stripped his shields and did 1 hull damage, leaving Vader with 2 hull remaining. I knew had to destroy Vader in the next turn because then he’d simply turn and run and I’d never get a second chance. Also, Soontir’s targeting computer was really paying off in this match up, as he jumped in close and started to waylay my Y-Wings with accurate 4 dice attacks. So Vader 3 banks, keeps his stress and was hoping to get enough distance from my ships and hide behind another debris field. Here’s my chance, a hurt, actionless Vader in range of my turrets. The debris field pays off for the extra defense dice, along with Palpatine, and Vader doesn’t get touched that turn. Soontir continues to wreck my Y-Wings unchecked and now the shuttle has closed in and has joined the melee. I had a window of opportunity and I missed it. I won’t call that bad luck or dice though, my list building was more at fault here. As the top tables’ use of R3-A2 or Tactician will show, stress is the real way to counter an arc dodger. Stress kills Soontir, not a bunch of turrets. Dash did manage to kill half of the shuttle before he succumbed to the slaughter, and those 14 points would later proved to be rather important in the overall standings.
My slim hopes of going 6-2 were smashed, but my pride was not. I still had that to fly for.
Recounting this game is actually painful for me. The list is such an oddball assortment of scum. I flew perfectly, keeping all of his ships at range. I avoided the blaster turret and Palob’s ability and allowed only Guri to fire for four straight turns. My reward: my opponent’s evade dice went hot and he evaded ALL of my shots. I ignored Guri and attacked Palob, but his combo of endless focus, stealth device and serissu worked to perfection for him. To give you an idea of how the match went, his HWK hit my Y-Wing at range 3 twice with his single dice main weapon attack. We actually kept track and I totalled 3 whole evade results rolled on my green dice. It was incredibly frustrating to fly perfectly to your plan and still lose. I eventually managed to take down Serissu, but Guri had finally moved in to close range on my Y’s and started tearing them apart. It was such a unique, some might say random, list. It’s not something you expect to see at this level of event. Honestly, who puts stealth device on an HWK?
I still had hope to end the day at a respectable 4-4. Some players might roll over with my record, but I didn’t travel a thousand miles to roll over. Bring on the next match!
Yet another Scum list, my fifth of the day. Y-Wings don’t really care about Crackshot and those Kihraxz don’t stand up well to concentrated fire. I did my standard opening of pretending to joust and running my opponent through the obstacles. The Kihraxz did not begin in a tight formation, and became even more drawn out as they attempted to chase my turrets down. I picked them off easily enough, only losing Dash’s shields.
At first glance this list made me a bit nervous. Those proton rockets could do some real damage if they got too close to Dash, but the Fringer is rather toothless without a cannon. My opponent explained his list as being designed to specifically hunt other arc dodging aces. Since we were meeting at 3-4 records, his list building strategy was going as equally poor as mine. As the game progressed, the Fringer did his best to crash in and block my formation. It was mostly ineffective, but the A-Wings did manage to launch both Proton Rockets into Dash. However, using both actions for Target Locks and Focus on offense left the A-Wings defenseless against the Y-Wings. Jake went down early, followed by the Fringer. Dash managed to limp away on one hull while the Ywings covered his escape. One Y-Wing managed a block on Tycho and the nimble A-Wing crumpled under the other Ywings TLT fire. I had won.
Result: Win 100-26, Record 4-4.
Final ranking after swiss: 110th out of 298; 822 MOV
I had fought back from 2-4 to an even record and could return home with my head held high. With slightly better luck I could have gone 5-3, but I still no right to consider being anywhere near the top tables. I did my damnedest to practice and prepare for this tournament, but the lack of a real warmup tournament really hurt me. I just didn’t get to see enough of wave 7 played on a high level. The biggest lesson I learned was about stress. R3-A2 or Tactician was the way to combat aces like Corran Horn, Poe Dameron, Darth Vader, or Soontir Fel. The Twin Laser Turret gets so much stronger when their targets don’t have any defensive actions to keep them alive, even if they do have Autothrusters or Emperor Palpatine. Of course, I didn’t learn this lesson from my own games as I somehow mainly faced haphazard scum lists. But watching the top 16 was not only entertaining, but educational. While the lists were quite diverse, but the one new strategy from wave 7 was mixing the TLT with a stress giving mechanic. In my opinion, that’s how Paul Heaver took his third straight World Championship. Going forward, along with the rest of the old Meta mainstays, a wise player would be smart to prepare for these strategies and tactics. I myself, plan on trying out TIE Fighter swarms loaded up with Crackshot.
At least until wave 8 drops and everything changes again.
A big thanks to Sam for sharing his experiences! As is our yearly ritual now, Sam and the other locals who made the trip up to the frozen tundra are leading the charge for more competitive play in our area, and more often. With only a month and a half until Store Championships begin for 2016, we’re already starting to ramp up, with competitive mini-tournaments for the veterans, and a rookie league for the less experienced pilots. Wave 8, as Sam alluded to, is on the horizon, and I can’t wait to see what it does to the meta going in to the new year. The only thing I’m sure of for next year is that there will be one more General on the ground at Worlds!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
Last week I posted a few sample lists for the new Scum & Villainy faction for X-Wing Miniatures, and it has proven to be one of the most popular things I’ve posted in quite a while. So I thought it might be a good idea to provide a follow-up article detailing how those lists have performed, as well as adding in a few more concepts that I’ve seen and liked.
Let’s start with the results for last week’s lists:
I love this build. But I can’t run it as-is. The ships handled beautifully, and between Expert Handling, Advanced Sensors, and the built-in boost, these ships moved like big TIE Phantoms. Thanks to relatively extensive experience flying said Phantoms, I was able to put these ships exactly where I wanted them on a consistent basis, only hitting one asteroid through the course of the game, and that was halfway intentional (I accepted that a collision was likely, but it was still the best move available).
My problem was the damage output, or lack thereof. With so many upgrades and actions dedicated to movement, there wasn’t any way to improve the quality of my attack rolls. And with only a forward firing arc available, a wrong guess on the opponent’s maneuvers means 50% or 100% of the list’s firepower for the turn floats into the aether. My test match for the list was Rexler Brath and a TIE Swarm, which seems like a good matchup for the Aggressors – Two TIEs should get ionized on the initial round, and finished with Autoblasters on the next; rinse, repeat, and then work on Rexler from turn 5 on. However, that didn’t pan out, as despite putting the ships exactly where I wanted them, I couldn’t roll anything except a few (cancel-able) critical hits with the autoblasters, and only killed a single TIE the whole game! That disastrous result made me move to plan B for the Aggressors, which I’ll detail further below.
This one has been a little tricky. Drea has put in good work, but it’s not what I expected yet. So far, I’ve used that Y-Wing to clear a single TIE fighter from the board (much less than expected) and as a severe aggro magnet. Players respect the double-shot Y-Wing way more than I would have expected. But that’s just left the door wide open for N’Dru to do his thing. Rolling 4 dice on each Cluster Missile shot, with partial rerolls from Lone Wolf, he can stack on a LOT of damage.
What I haven’t fully figured out yet is how to work Kath into the equation. N’Dru needs her to stay away, and she needs to be pointed away from the battle to use her pilot ability as much as possible, but that often takes her out of the fight entirely. I’m thinking that Daredevil may be a better option for her Elite Talent slot, giving more options for a tight turn to get back into the fight if she doesn’t have a shot, because planning a K-Turn is committing to losing out on her pilot ability if the enemy does end up following her, whereas Daredevil can be used to line up an unexpected shot too. Before it’s all said and done, I may end up dropping her out of circulation for Guri in a fully loaded Starviper that will stay closer to the fight, and keep the enemy from easily being able to isolate any particular part of my force.
I tried out a few other things over the past week, and I’m semi-shamelessly stealing a couple of things I’ve seen others bring to the table too. Here’s some new lists and ideas:
So this is the other flavor of Aggressors All Over, closer to my original design, and without quite so many crazy maneuver options. Instead, it just brings the pain. Accuracy Corrector with an Autoblaster is just nasty – Roll your attack. Did you get at least two hit results? Continue. Otherwise, you get two hit results. Oh, those results can’t be canceled. You’re guaranteed to deal two or more damage for every shot at range 1.
The choice between Predator and Push The Limit is a up to you, and depends on what you’re looking to do – PtL gives you more defense, as you can essentially “turtle” up with Focus + Evade every turn, you’ll rarely need that focus on offense; Predator gives higher damage output, acting as a free target lock, and gives you slight flexibility in maneuvering, as you’re less likely to be stressed at any given time, as well as being just as effective as normal on offense even when you do take stress from a maneuver.
Where this list will suffer is against HP tank builds, multiple Y-Wings or B-Wings, where you’re not bypassing much by cutting out a single defense die. In a “I just want to see if I can do it” game, this list gleefully escorted a Decimator all the way across the map and off the board, but something like the semi-infamous BBBBZ rebel swarm that is currently making the rounds should make short work of the 2x Aggressor build in just about any configuration, especially this one.
I can’t believe I was willing to fly this. Don’t get me wrong, it’s kind of interesting and fun, but it’s not competitive. All three pilots work really well together, but HWK-290s still maneuver like drunken banthas, even more so when you look at building your list around abilities that cause stress on two of the three ships. If you happen to have 3 HWKs available, pull out something like this for a casual game and see if you can make it work, but don’t buy more just to fly this. Any one of these 3 ships can do a great job as support for a different list, but HWK’s aren’t meant to carry the load alone. A small part of me does wonder how this would fare against the 4x HWK Rebel list that was flown at a recent local tournament though… I might have to make that challenge.
I’m borrowing this list, and in more ways than one. This list was one of the first victims of Dice Are Optional, above, which wasn’t really a fair fight, because the Autoblasters are such a hard counter to the delicate little Scyk Interceptors. As a result, I didn’t get to see how this group would perform in a fair fight, but it has a lot of promise, and made me go back and buy two more of the M3-A‘s. It’s dangerously fickle, with low hit points, little to no ability to adjust and adapt to the opponent’s positioning, and an obvious target to take down first. But it’s also throwing 16 attack dice at range 2-3, and has lots of defense dice. So if you feel lucky, push this out there and see what happens.
Borrowing concepts from two of the previous lists, we have Serissu and Torkhil Mux operating in tandem as support ships for a very generic swarm. Serissu should be the hardest to kill out of all of these ships, as he’ll be positioned at the rear of the squadron, and using Push the Limit for full defensive actions, and is really only here to give the rest of the squad a defensive boost. Torkhil, on his own, doesn’t do much except a little bit of control, using the Ion Cannon and Tactician to stress and ionize a single ship, but he also drops the pilot skill of a single enemy ship to zero each turn, the hope being that you can kill that ship before it fires. The list becomes a little less effective as any one piece is destroyed, but there’s no one key “I have to keep that alive to win” piece here, keep it together and fly it right at the enemy. I’m interested to see if Serissu or Torkhil gets shot at first.
That’s all I’ve got for the day, I’ve got a couple other ideas brewing but nothing worth sharing yet. If you’ve got some great and wonderful S&V lists that you’re really enjoying, doing well with, or having a tough time against, by all means, leave a comment below, I’d love to see what’s being done elsewhere!
Next time I should have a couple ideas for including S&V ships in the unofficial Furball (33pt free for all) format, and updates on the performance of the lists from above. I’ll also have some photos from a HUGE upcoming store championship; I’m going to have my hands full as TO, I’m expecting somewhere between 40 & 50 players! Wish me luck!
I think my favorite build right out of the box is a double Aggressor list. I’ve heard horrible things about how they’ve been doing in Vassal tournaments that could care less about shipping delays, but I haven’t seen any lists reported that are “doing it right”, so to say. Allow me to make the following suggestion of a build.
For those of you who haven’t read up on the IG-2000 / Aggressor, there’s four different versions of IG-88 that, assuming you take the free IG-2000 title on the ship, share the pilot abilities of all the others in your list. In a 100 point game, you can only fit two of the four, but that leaves you with plenty of room for upgrades.
The Aggressor’s dial is wide open and generous, boasting the new S-turn, a K-turn, and lots of green maneuvers. Pair that up with the native Boost (+ free evade from IG88-C), Expert Handling’s Barrel Roll (+ ditching a target lock), Advanced Sensors, and the new Inertial Dampeners upgrade that lets you choose to cancel your maneuver once per game, and these Aggressor go wherever you want them to go. Period.
But where do they go? Well, first, they slide into long range, and disable an enemy ship via their Ion Cannons, then they lunge in for the kill with uncancle-able Autoblaster shots once they know where that target will be. Both of those shots get the added benefit of second chance attacks from IG88-B’s pilot ability, which means you’ll very seldom miss your mark.
The list will have some weaknesses. Specifically, high(er) PS ships with a lot of maneuvering actions (like Dash Rendar) will be hard to pin in for Autoblaster shots even once ionized. And a well-flown swarm will make you second guess your maneuver options, but there should be plenty of chances to adjust with all the extra little abilities that are inserted for maneuvers.
Next up is less teamwork, more “every pilot for themselves”.
Drea Renthal is the ultimate angry Y-Wing. Shooting twice per turn with the BTL-A4 title, and taking and spending four target locks (and four stress) per turn thanks to the combo of Drea’s pilot ability and R4-B11, something in particular stays put and gets pinged away at until it dies, or Drea does. If you get lucky, you might get to switch your target lock when you finish your victim. Otherwise, don’t expect any form of action again.
N’Dru Suhlak is a cheap X-Wing so long as you keep him away from his “squadmates”, but he also gets to pick on something with low evasion using his Cluster Missiles. Assuming no extra damage from critical hits, he can strip half the health of a Decimator with a single attack, as his pilot ability adds an extra die to both attack rolls!
Last, but not least, is Kath Scarlet. Kath’s special ability is getting extra dice when firing from her rear arc, which makes for 4 die primary attacks. To make her a little on the dodgy side, Veteran Instincts bumps her up to pilot skill 9, letting her see the field when picking a Boost to aim that shot, and she can pick up free target locks as needed with the K4 Security Droid.
In this set-up, everyone’s doing something completely different – picking on a small ship, picking on a big ship, and running away while blasting something. There’s certainly a risk of one piece getting isolated from the others, but that’s a known risk when flying “loner” style ships.
I’m working on a swarm list, but I can’t figure out the right combo of Z-95’s and M3-A’s yet. I want to use the Starviper, because it’s a beautiful model, but it just doesn’t fit right with anything else.
What else do I have cooking up? I can’t give away all the secrets, but I suppose I could show off some the ingredients…
Here’s to hoping you all get your hands on your copies of the Scum and Villainy ships soon, and I look forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with!