Monday, June 23, 2014

X-Wing Tournament Report(s): Part 2A - Bangor Assault at Imdaar Alpha Pre Release Event 31st May, 2014

This is the second part of my two parter tournament report. (See here for Part 1).

X-Wing 2014 Assault at Imdaar Alpha Pre Release Tournament

Assault at Imdaar Alpha (AaIA) is an official FFG X-Wing tournament held to promote the release of Wave 4. The main draw of the tournament is that if you make top four you get to go home with one of the new Wave 4 ships before its official release. How cool is that.

The AaIA was held in Bangor, Northern Ireland, on 31st May hosted by Replay Games. My first ever X-Wing tournament I attended was a Store Championship that was held in the very same town back in April. (See here for the report). As such I knew many of the players that turned up for this tournament.

The format of the event was that every player plays three rounds. The results of these games will then determine the top two players who will play a final round using two of the four ships from Wave 4. The winner will then get the first pick of which ship he/she would like to take home as the tournament prize. Pretty Neat.

My List

With over 15 games under my belt and a top 8 finish in my last tournament I felt I was getting to a stage where I would not consider myself a noob any longer. Maybe barely competent would be a better description. Either way I wanted to continue to improve my game fast.

Playing a double Falcon list in my last tournament taught me some very valuable lessons. Unfortunately flying was not one of them. When you have a 360 degree firing arc, flying is really not a skill required to run the list.

As such I thought there was no time like the present to give the beloved/feared TIE swarm a go.

After some play testing I decided to go for a Wave 1 TIE Swarm. No better list to teach me how to fly like a 7 TIE Fighter swarm list. Well I was also a bit constrained with my collection as there appears to be a nationwide shortage of TIE Interceptors! Couldn't get my hands on em anywhere!

Howlrunner and the four Academy Pilot forms the core of the swarm. The Black Squadron Pilot (BSP) is there purely so I can daisy chain Howlrunner's Pilot Skill (PS) 8 to three ships with Swarm Tactics. Swarm Tactics is an upgrade card that allows you to transfer Pilot Skill from one ship to another ship at the start of the Combat phase. This combo gives me three ships with PS 8. My tactic with this is that I always pass on the PS 8 to one of the Academy Pilot closest to my opponent so that it gets to shoot before being killed. Pretty nifty.

Dark Curse is there to run interference and provide a distraction to my opponents. When defending, opponents shooting at Dark Curse cannot use any Focus action or reroll any attack dice. As such I run him very aggressively into enemy formations as a bait. Any ship shooting at him is not shooting at Howlrunner which is a win win scenario for a TIE swarm list. This tactic effectively turns him into a Biggs-equivalent for the Empire.

I'll do an in depth article of my take on the TIE Swarm in a few weeks as it definitely deserves one. There is a lot of nuances in tactics of swarm lists that I don't think a lot of beginners appreciate. They think a TIE swarm is one list which it is not.

Anyway I'm getting off topic. Let's get to how your's truly faired!

The Tourney

Game 1

My first game was against Gordon. I've met Gordon previously during my last outing in Bangor. A very nice chap. Unfortunately he was also running a swarm list. Eeek!

I set up asteroids such that I had a nice wide corridor for my swarm to fly into.

I had the lowest PS ships so I deployed first. I set up my swarm centrally using the standard Piqsid Opening set up. He deployed his swarm directly opposite mine while his Interceptor was in a corner to my left.

I moved up forming a three rows long formation while he moved with his four TIE fighters in a square formation. My Dark Curse moved up along the formation to my right while his Turr Phennir moved up my left flank.

We traded blows resulting in no casualties. On the next turn we crashed forming a huge blob of TIE fighters.

 His Interceptor flew in on my left flank and let loose. Similarly on my right, I plowed Dark Curse into his formation.

We let fly with all of our weapons. He took Howlrunner and the BSP to near death, however I came out on top and decimated his formation with my superior numbers.

We eventually broke apart but at this stage he was out of the game. He only had his Interceptor and one TIE fighter left after the exchange of fire.

Win for me with no losses. Hooray!

Game 2

My second game was against Adam. Adam was new to X-Wing but a Warmachine ETC vet. So definitely not new to the competitive tournament scene.

He was running a neat Interceptor list:

My asteroid placement and opening moves was exactly the same as last game. He had his Interceptor on one corner facing the centre of the board while he set up Vader to my right.

I moved up as a column while his Interceptors came right at me on my left flank. On the other side Vader shot right past my formation in his TIE Advance.

His nimble Interceptors were taking pot shots at Dark Curse who was protecting my flank while they navigated around the asteroids. I did like wise but neither of us had inflicted any lasting damage.

I was getting a bit worried at this stage as I can see Carnor Jax was getting very close to my formation. Carnor's pilot ability meant that any enemy ship within range one of him cannot use any focus or evade tokens. A TIE swarm works exponentially better when every ship can focus so this was really really bad news.

On the next turn I did a Kiogran turn with my formation including Dark Curse while Adam tried to turn his Interceptors and Vader to get firing arcs on the swarm. I think this is where Adam's inexperience showed as he set up his ships beautifully to come up behind me however by performing a syncronised K-turn all of his ships were sitting ducks right in front of my entire swarm.

I unloaded all I had at Carnor and he promptly exploded. Adam's return fire took a few hulls from my ships.

On the next turn I moved up with a 2 green to get rid of my stress and performed a focus on all my ships. Adam completed his turn and had his remaining ships pointing right at my formation.

I unloaded all I had at Vader and to my surprise survived. The force was strong with that one!

We continued to trade fire and I eventually took down Vader and one of his Interceptors. However his ships didn't go down without a fight and took out two of my TIE fighters.

With only a single Interceptor left he was effectively out of the fight. Another win for yours truly. So far so good!

Adam flew really well but ultimately loss as he didn't force me to fly. A very good game.

Game 3

My third game was against Jenny. I've played against Jenny before back at the Dublin Regional Championship which I managed to get a win. However this time around she was running a much more dangerous list:

This was a crucial game as the winner would secure their place into the top two.

Ok I'll have to leave it at that for today as I need to get to bed! Plus there is still quite a bit of content to go through.

I will post the rest of the tourney report in Part 2B which will follow tomorrow (hopefully). Everyone likes a cliff hanger anyway right? :D

Stay tuned.

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