Sunday, June 1, 2014

X-Wing Tournament Report(s): Part 1 - Dublin Regional Championship 3rd May, 2014

I've been meaning to do a write up of my recent X-Wing tournaments in the last couple of weeks but due to some crazy deadlines at work it was neglected. Since then I've attended two tournaments so I thought it fitting to cover both of them in a two parter blog post instead.

Part 1 will cover the Regional 2014 Championship that happened way back on 3rd May while Part 2 will cover the Assault at Imdaar Alpha Pre Release tournament that occurred just this weekend on 31st May. Read on to find out how yours truly fared.

X-Wing 2014 Regional Championship

The tournament was held in Dublin on Saturday 3rd May hosted by the local gaming club, Gamers World. For my international readers, Dublin is the capital city of the Republic of Ireland located on the east coast. It is the biggest city on the island of Ireland and more importantly it is the current home of this writer.

This was an official FFG tournament using the FFG tournament rules. Consequently prize support was pretty awesome as you can see below:

I love the participation cards. Something nifty for those that attend but nothing that will ever disadvantage other players that are unable to attend.

Given the central location of the event I was hoping attendance would be significant. However it turned out only 12 people showed up the majority of whom traveled from outside of Dublin. Very disappointing! Anyway everyone that turned up was awesome and they were playing a whole variety of lists which was neat.

My list

Given my horrible performance with a mini swarm build in the last tournament (see here for the report), I came to the conclusion that I was not yet ready to fly a swarm. I've just about figured out which end of a laser cannon to point at the enemy never mind flying 7 ships in formation!

As such I took *ahem* inspiration from my opponent in the last tournament and decided to go for a dual Falcon list.

My list was as follows:

I love this list. Very simple but dead killy. Han is there to (1) shoot first like a boss; (2) shoot again with Gunner if things didn't work out; (3) shoot more with his special ability which allows him to re-roll all of his attack dice and lastly (4) to pass on his Pilot Skill (PS) 9 to Chewbacca via Swarm Tactics so his furry friend too can shoot first like a boss.

As I explained in my last tournament report, Gunner is an upgrade card that lets you perform a second attack if none of your shots hit in your initial attack. This is crucial in a dual Falcon list since you only have 2 ships to work with which means your max number of attack dice is 4 per ship at range 1. This is pretty bad as you can imagine. However with Gunner in combination with Han's special re-roll ability, he effectively gets to roll up to 4 times per combat phase ensuring you get as many hits with those 4 attack dice as possible (i.e. up to 2 attacks per round each with re-rolls since Han's ability work per opportunity).

Chewie on the other hand is the wing man. He doesn't have Gunner but instead has a Weapons Engineer which is an upgrade card that lets him target lock up to 2 ships whenever he performs a target lock action. This is really good and makes up for his lack of Gunner (which is 2 points more expensive). However his primary role is to act as a damage sponge via Chewie's special ability and the upgrade card Draw Their Fire. This card allows you to transfer 1 critical hit each turn from a friendly ship within range 1 to Chewie. Chewie's special ability then kicks in which downgrades this crit to a normal hit. All of this is designed to allow Han to live for as long as possible.

The combo in this list is very simple but awesome when it works. However the biggest advantage of running this list is the 360 firing arc since this effectively takes out the hardest part of the game, manouevring. With this even a noob like me can win some games! Anyway enough with all this X-Wing theory jibber jabber. Lets get to the games themselves!

The Tourney

Game 1

With my autopilot list in hand and general tactics in my head, I went into my first game feeling very cocky.

My first opponent, Sean, was running a 4 Tie Interceptor list. These guys were pretty dangerous with their 3 attack dice basic but I was confident I could take one out per turn if I focus fire. However I made my biggest mistake even before the game started at the asteroid placement phase.

I spread the asteroids out thinking I needed a big corridor for my two Falcons to fly side by side. However this turned out to be a bigger advantage for the Interceptors since they now don't need to worry about flying around asteroids at all.

I set up as above and I flew straight towards his 2 Interceptors on my right.

We made contact and I pumped a boat load of hot laser death into one of the Interceptor and it promptly vapourised. My dice was pretty hot.

I then did a K-turn to avoid flying straight at his board edge but unfortunately Han bumped into Sean's Interceptors and was unable to finish his manouevre. This left Han out of position with Chewie. From here things went downhill fast. His 3 Interceptors came around for another pass and in two turns took out Han! His dice was hot but with only 1 evade token (thanks to the Millennium Falcon title upgrade) and 1 agility dice I wasn't able to survive all those hits to my hull.

With Han gone it was mission impossible.

The 3 Interceptors then gave chase.

I tried to put as much space between us as possible to avoid range 1 shots. I was able to take one of my pursuers down but the other 2 eventually caught up and blew Chewie to smithereens!

The game was actually pretty close at the end but through the combination of good flying by Sean (I only noticed 2 unforced errors) and very good dice rolls he took the win.

Game 2

The first game really took the wind out of my sails and when I saw that my second opponent was running another Interceptor list I squeaked in terror like a little girl!

My second opponent was Braden, the same lad that I played in the last tournament who was running the Y-Wing Gold Squadron spam. He was part of the sizable contingent of Nordies that traveled down for the tourney.

He was running a 5 Interceptor list using the more generic pilots. We set up opposite each other around the asteroids in the middle. Making use of the hard earned lesson from the last game, I created an asteroid field in the middle to obstruct movement leaving a wide corridor for my Falcons to fly in a circle.

We both moved straight up along opposite side of the board.

Correctly predicting that he'll be doing a K-turn to come back around I banked my Falcons to the left to catch him on the way back.

I intercepted him (ironic or what?) at the table corner where he started the game and began pouring my quad laser cannons into his fleet. With focus fire I took out 2 of his Interceptors and scattered the rest.

He did a K-turn to come back for another pass but I had the advantage with my 360 arc which meant I was able to keep firing even when I'm flying away.

I did a K-turn to bring the Falcons back pointing towards his board edge following his flight path. From here I methodically took down his Interceptors one by one.

I took my learnings from the previous game and played much much better. I was rewarded with a win. Go me!

Game 3

Game 3 was against Stephen and his double Firespray list. Mirror match anyone? Stephen was playing 2 Firesprays both equipped with Heavy Laser Cannons (HLC) and had all manners of upgrades including marksmanship.

Here I made another mistake right off the bat. That is I didn't adjust my tactics for the opponent I was playing against.

I set up the asteroids exactly like my last game. We set up opposite each other and as you may have already predicted, it was very boring in terms of manouevring (i.e. there was none!).

We shot straight towards each other.

I knew his HLC only worked at ranges 2-3 so I wanted to get right up against his grill to minimise this.

As expected we crashed against each other. We traded blows in an X pattern here. This really sucks since I couldn't focus fire.

My second mistake was then to do a K-turn for another pass. This was the worse thing I could have done since the situation will result in another crash and another missed opportunity to focus fire. I should have just flew off and forced him to do some flying while I took advantage of my 360 firing arc.

He eventually whittled me down and took out Han. Chewie followed soon after. A total defeat! One step forward and two steps back :(

Game 4

I was really disappointed with myself in the last game. I played so poorly that I felt like I haven't improved one bit. Very disheartening.

However I am not a guy to let things keep me down so I entered my last game like a man with a mission. I was determined to redeem myself.

My last opponent was Jenny. She was part of the Nordie contingent and whom I previously met back in the last tourney in Bangor. This time around she was running a new list which comprised of 3 X-Wings and an A-Wing. Two of the X-Wings were part of the tag team extraordinaire: Biggs and Wedge.

Here I made sure my asteroid placements were in positions that will disrupt movement for my opponent. I set up on the far right while Jenny set up in a tight formation in the middle. I made sure Chewie was the one closer to the enemy to help protect Han. I've finally learned the important lesson that once I loose Han, I loose the game.

I flew forward cautiously while the Rebels put pedal to the metal and gunned forward.

I continued to move up with both Falcons side by side. The Rebels banked left through the asteroids to engage.

I noticed a mistake on Jenny's part here where the A-Wing was moving towards me too fast and getting out of position of the main formation. It was too far away to take advantage of the protection bubble provided by Biggs. Biggs has a special ability whereby any friendly ship within range 1 of him cannot be targeted by the opponent and the opponent is forced instead to shoot at Biggs. Perfect for disrupting focus fire.

Knowing I had to take any opportunities that presented itself I focus fire on the A-Wing and managed to whittle down its shields.

On the next turn I engaged the main formation proper and focus fire on Biggs. Here Han and Gunner finally did their thing and one shot Biggs from existence.

I was also able to take out the Red Squadron pilot during this pass. The Rebels' return fire chipped paint from Han's Falcon. A Falcon can be a challenge to take down due to its 5 shields and 8 hull points.

Knowing I had the advantage I K-turned for another pass. With Han and his re-rolls and Chewie and his target locks I eventually won the day and blew them into space dust.

In Closing

I didn't perform as well as I had hoped but I could have done much worse. 2 wins and 2 losses is definitely an improvement from my last tourney.

I came 7th overall which qualified me for 2 additional prizes. I got FFG acrylic evade tokens for being part of the top 16 by default and FFG acrylic dice for making top 8. Together with the alternate Luke Skywalker card, I felt like I got loads of stuff. Sweet as bro! This definitely cheered me up from my poor performance.

Overall I really enjoyed this tourney. Getting in 4 games allowed me to obtain that badly needed experience to enable me to improve my game. I still made a ton of mistakes but I do feel like I am improving and finally beginning to shed my noob status.

The tournament itself went smoothly enough. Although I would infinitely preferred proper playing mats to play on instead of the bare tables. All the guys who participated in the tourney were great. Very friendly and helpful.

I believe the tourney was won by a gentlemen by the name of Erik running a Tie Swarm list (correct me if I'm wrong please!). So congrats to him! I would also like to thank Stephen for helping out at the tourney!

Well that was a much longer report than I intended to write but hopefully it was as enjoyable to read as it was for me to write. If anyone reading this is X-Wing curious and haven't made the jump yet, hopefully my article has given you a glimpse of what an X-Wing tournament is like. Join us, you wouldn't regret it! (well your wallet definitely will :P)

Next up will be Part 2: Assault at Imdaar Alpha Pre Release Tournament Report. And to wet your appetite, here's a preview pic:

Hmmmmm Wave 4. Tasty.
Stayed tuned.

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