Monday, June 29, 2015

X-Wing: Conclave 2015 X-Wing Tournament Report - Part 1

Resurrection Protocol Activated

I’m back!

After a long hiatus from hobby blogging due to real life getting in the way; I’m now back with a vengeance.

I will resurrect this long forgotten realm that is the Hobby Foundry Blog and get back to releasing regular posts covering my hobby and gaming, in equal measure.

Conclave 2015

For my first article back I will report on a recent local X-Wing tournament I attended: Conclave 2015. Conclave 2015 is an annual gaming convention that was held in Limerick City, Ireland, on the 20th -21st June 2015. This year was the second year that featured an X-Wing tournament.

I attended the same convention this time last year and had a great time so my return was inevitable. See here for the report of last year’s tournament:

Part 1:
Part 2:

I think that’s enough of a preamble, onwards to the tournament report. Enjoy!

My List

I ran a slightly modified Scum & Villainy list that I used in the Irish FFG 2015 Regional Tournament earlier this year (battle report coming soon!). It was a good list but it had serious trouble with high pilot skill lists so I decided to change it up. The current iteration looks like this:

From my experience a 2 ship list is very unforgiving. If you fly badly and lose one early it is almost game over. However it performs very well with Margin of Victory (MoV) i.e. you either lose both ships or not at all. And if you are winning chances are you did not lose a single ship. This was a big deal for the Regionals where I had to ensure I maximised my MoV to help make the top 8 cut to go into the final rounds.

There are a few concepts running through this list. I’ll explain some of my thinking below:

Playing 2 identical ships simplifies flying. Having 2 dials with the exact same moves means I can fly in formation easier (if formation flying is required).

Veteran Instinct pushing Boba to PS10 is there to allow me to get a jump on the likes of Whisper or Soontir Fel. In these cases, shooting first is a must.

Tactician is there to help me shut down builds that rely heavily on Push the Limit. It is also very useful for restricting my opponents’ movements. The ability to force your opponent to delay a K-turn can be a big deal.

The Heavy Laser Cannon (HLC) and Mangler Cannon is a 1-2 punch. HLC strips shields while the Mangler Cannon pile on crits.

Predator on Kath together with Boba’s innate pilot ability give both ships rerolls even without performing actions. If I can combine these rerolls with a Focus token then the damage output for both ships can be consistently high. Enough to one-shot small ships in a single combat round.

Engine Upgrade on Boba is the icing on the cake. Together with PS10 it turns him into a pseudo arc dodger. Boosting with big ships covers a lot of ground. This ability to reposition combos perfectly with Tactician for maximum douchebaggery.

This list started life mainly because Firesprays are one of my favourite ships in X-Wing and I had repainted both ships as Boba and Kath. So when Scum came out I wanted to have both of them on the table.

However despite its fluffy origins the list you see above has been play tested excessively and is highly fine-tuned. There are a number of list archetypes that it cannot deal with (i.e. B-wings) but otherwise it has the tools to deal with almost anything the current meta can throw at it.

The Tourny

Game 1

My first game was against Ben and his Blue Squadron/Z-95 mini swarm. I did an epic face palm here. My first game of the tourney and it was to be against one of my worst match ups!

Asteroids were placed in a clump close to my table edge with clear flight corridors around it. He deployed on one table edge and I promptly deployed as far away as physically possible. Jousting with that many B-Wings was suicide.

He moved up slowly while I burst forward to try to clear the asteroid belt.

As expected by turn 3 we started to bank towards each other. I decided to gamble and boosted with Boba to take a pot shot at the nearest Z-95. Unfortunately I only managed to strip a single shield.

The next turn we collided in a big pile up. Ben has deployed very well here. By staggering his formation only one ship was in contact with mine meaning that 4 out of 5 ships were able to focus on Boba. My tactic was to move up and try to bump as many of his ships as possible as this meant that he would not have been able to shoot the ship that bumped. Forcing split fire is crucial to surviving with only 2 ships.

We traded blows and I decided to target the Z-95 at the very end of his formation and took him out in one round. HLC and Mangler Cannon did its job perfectly. In return he decimated the shields from both Firesprays. B-Wings are scary at range 1!

In the next round I flew Kath straight forward so as to maximise her fire from her rear arc. She always looks better from behind anyway ;D. As for Boba I moved him 1 forward. Boba is a knife fighter. He is most vicious when within range 1 of the enemy as this maximises his reroll ability.

Ben was very restricted on where he could go and tried to block me. Unfortunately he ended up with 2 of his B-Wings out of position. Not being able to perform a 2 K-turn really screwed him here.

With both of my ships in their optimum position I was able to vaporise a B-Wing and the damaged Z-95 over the next 3 turns while Ben tried to get back into position. He further whittled down my ships and managed to land damage on Kath’s hull.

With 1 Firespray in front and 1 behind his remaining B-Wings, Ben decided to chase Kath who was down to 4 hull points by this stage.

I decided to run away with Kath as surviving at this point was more important. Boba on the other hand used his Engine Upgrade to catch up and was able to kill another B-Wing.

Ben was determined to take Kath down. I looped around the asteroid clump and stupidly clipped an asteroid and suffered a single damage to my hull. Ben pointed his last remaining B-Wing towards Kath and let loose. If he got 3 hits and I fail to dodge he would have blown Kath away in the last round. Fortunately he only managed to put a single point of damage through.

Time was called and that was that!

Phew that could have been disastrous! I think the turning point was when we collided and Ben turned 2 of his B-Wings out of position. I had the upper hand from there and was unlikely to lose as I was able to pick his ships off one by one. Having 2 firing arcs gave me a huge advantage.

Apart from the above, Ben flew really well. He didn’t crash into any asteroids and kept his focus. He was also one of the nicest young lad you will ever meet. He even gave me a chocolate muffin after our game! Thanks bro! He was much nicer than his evil big brother (and my nemesis), Seoirse, whom I played against in last years’ tournament.

I was off to a good start.

Game 2

My second game was against Aaron. An Aussie recently moved to Ireland. He told me this was only his 4th game of X-Wing!

Aaron was playing an eclectic collection of Scum ships. Scum vs Scum. This should be fun!

Once again I tried to clump asteroids in the centre to give me room to fly around the edges.

He moved up slowly on this side of the board while I scooted up with 4 forwards to allow me to loop around quickly and get into position.

Unfortunately Kath was in range 3 of both Suhlak and Guri and lost a few shields in the initial exchange. I took a shield from Suhlak in return.

The next engagement was going to be crucial. Aaron was already ahead in terms of damage dealt so I had to make the next combat phase count.

Again I flew Kath so that she presents her rear to the enemy for maximum damage while Boba went straight into the middle of Aaron’s formation like a boss.

Boba took a pot shot at the IG-88 and took return fire from Suhlak. Kath was in range 1 of Suhlak and let ripped with 5 attack dice thanks to her pilot ability. Suhlak had a stress token so did not perform any actions and was subsequently blown into smithereens. However before he died he activated his Dead Man’s Switch and blew out Kath’s last remaining shield. Boba and Guri were also caught in the blast.

With Kath vulnerable, Aaron decided to focus fire on her with his remaining ships. Together with some nice rolling and a Direct Hit critical he was able to destroyed Kath! Uh oh. This is bad. Really really bad! Losing 50% of my fleet at such an early stage is a disaster.

With odds stacked against me the only way I can win is to fly smart and focus on one ship. With that in mind I tried to stay within range 1 of his ships to give me free rerolls while focusing fire on the damaged IG-88. However with 3 defense dice I was only putting through 1 damage a turn. Luckily his shooting was equally dismal and had a similar effect on me.

We continued to fly around each other. To minimise his shooting I tried to bump every turn so that he could only shoot at me with 1 of his ships. This also gives Boba rerolls to his attack and defense.

Even though I was only doing the minimum damage to his IG-88 each turn because of his 3 defense dice I was continually piling on stress tokens thanks to Tactician. This significantly reduced his return fire and his ability to perform Segnor Loops.

I eventually came out on top thanks to my superior firepower and destroyed the IG-88.

This left me duelling with Guri. The Star Viper is relatively fragile but with 3 attacks as default and the ability to perform Segnor Loops he was very dangerous. However thanks to my PS10 I always got a jump on him.

Last round was called and I was down to 3 hull points while Aaron was down to 2.  I let loose with my HLC and came up with 3 hits. I used my target lock and rolled another hit to make it 4 out of 4. Aaron rolled his defense dice and only managed 1 evade. Victory!

That was a very very close game! For a beginner Aaron played like a pro! I thought I was goosed when I lost Kath so early. However I stuck at it and flew with a purpose and managed to claw myself back. Boba definitely earned his bounty in this game. He went to a 2 vs 1 fight and came out on top. Scum Boba is a beast!

That’s it for part 1 of my Conclave 2015 battle report. Hoped you enjoyed it. Tuned in again next week for part 2!

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