All posts by blair

Yet Another Article on Formation Flying

What up peeps.  I know there’s a lot of articles that have been written on formation flying but a lot of them are pretty dated since lists with 5+ ships have been pretty rare for the last 1-2 years.  I’ve also never really done anything comprehensive in terms of my traditional lists and I’ve been meaning to put something out there for awhile so I’m gonna do one about the list I flew at the Boise Regional and Endor Open.  The list is

B-Wing : Blue Squadron Pilot – Fire Control System

B-Wing: Blue Squadron Pilot – Fire Control System

Z95: Bandit Squadron Pilot – XX-23 S-Thread Tracers – Guidance Chips

Z95: Bandit Squadron Pilot – XX-23 S-Thread Tracers – Guidance Chips

Y Wing: Gold Squadron Pilot – Twin Laser Turret – BTL-A4 Title – R3-A2

For those that care, I’ll go into a little history about how I created this.  If you don’t care and only wanna learn a few tips on formation flying feel free to skip this I won’t get offended.  The first list I’d ever had any kind of sustained success with was Dash and Corran.  For any of you that remember the old ELO rankings for vassal most of my games were with this.  The more I played with it though, the more I felt like the skill ceiling for it was kinda lower tier and I was more just getting by on the efficiency of the elements in it.  I’d always been a fan of b-wings, thanks Paul, and I wanted to create a list that allowed me to get five ships into a list.  The original conception was https://geordanr.github.io/xwing/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v4!s!44:36,-1,-1,-1:-1:-1:;44:36,-1,-1,-1:-1:-1:;44:36,-1,-1,-1:-1:-1:;32:72:-1:-1:;65:-1:-1:-1:&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=

So first remember, or understand if this was before you got into the game, that this was back in wave 5 when swarms were still pretty popular.  It was also before crackshot so typical swarms were usually a mix of a couple academies, obsidians and maybe a black squad or Backstabber or Dark Curse.  BBBBZ was also fairly popular as well.  Thus, the idea was having a prototype that could not only jam a list up but also serve as a good blocker for the fat turrets that were very popular at that time.  The fcs’ likewise were great against any ship that was gonna hang around a long time and I couldn’t really think of any way to fit 6 better points into it.  But I found that as aces began to get more and more popular, the list was really susceptible to arc-dodging.  The stresshog at this point was relatively new and kind of a niche ship but I liked the idea behind it and saw that I could reasonably slip it into the list by only dropping one blue and the tala to a bandit.  This list I absolutely loved.  I went on a great run with it in the Reddit Raider Cup, losing a brutal game in the semis that I felt like I should’ve won.  But as is with X-Wing the meta shifts and Wave 7 brought a card that had as great an effect as almost any card ever, the Twin Laser Turret.  This card spelled what, for most players anyway, was the beginning of the end for my beloved B-Wing.  With their kiting ability it was very hard for a Blue to get in close or dodge any of their shots.  Overnight it went from being one of the most popular ships to one of the least.  I really struggled at the onset of that wave but through my play testing I found that through a few tweaks my old Rebel Swarm was still pretty viable.

I, very begrudgingly, decided to drop the fcs’.  It really killed me to do it but with TLT’s and crack swarms becoming a thing it meant that there were a lot more lists out there that could kill a b-wing in one turn.  The problem of b-wings being able to close distance I found could be mitigated somewhat by simply putting autothrusters on my proto.  With this, I was very effectively able to essentially have him screen for the rest of my list by putting him out in front of it.  This forced my opponents into making difficult decisions as to whether they would go slow to try to get shots into the Blue or speed up to try to keep it off them.  This worked very well as if they went fast it meant usually my list would be out of range  of their shots but also it sped them to the board edge even faster which meant usually in 2-3 turns they’d be out of room to run and I could then close to effective firing range.  I also discovered that by upgrading my ion turret to a TLT my Y-Wing became not only more effective overall due to the increase in range but also in itself was a strong counter to TLT’s as it got an additional shot.  So, as you may have read in my previous post the list I ultimately settled on to take to the 2015 Worlds was https://geordanr.github.io/xwing/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v4!s!44:-1,-1,-1,-1:-1:-1:;44:-1,-1,-1,-1:-1:-1:;32:72:-1:15:;65:-1:-1:-1:;9:135,-1,-1,69:-1:-1:&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron&obs=.

I likewise really liked this list.  I went 6-2 against some incredibly difficult competition, only losses were to 1st and 2nd place respectively, and continued to have a lot of success with it locally and online.  Even when Jump masters were released it still continued to be pretty effective as I could typically block one or two with my proto denying them shots, I actually made top 4 at the 2016 Tacoma Regional as the only guy in the top 16 running a B-Wing.

Dengaroo on the other hand proved to be a bit too much.  It just goes to show how powerful that list was in that just 1 wave prior I almost always had jousting superiority in my match ups but now literally had no hope to beat this thing, just didn’t have the firepower.  So back to the drawing board I went again.  How could I cram even more firepower into a list that already featured 5 jousters?  I again, very begrudgingly, made a difficult choice and decided I needed to say goodbye to my beloved proto.  Blocking simply wasn’t as good with x7 and Dengaroo being everywhere.  I simply needed more guns.  Again, for most of you who were playing around this time you’d know the xx-23 S-Thread Tracers hadn’t really seen a whole lot of play competitively.  But the more I thought about their potential the more they started to make sense for my z-95’s.  Those guys typically struggled to hit a Defender or Dengar with LW and focus but with 3 dice and guidance chips suddenly they could.  Now granted that did no damage, but with 5 ships including one that fires thrice having Target Locks for them all sent their jousting numbers up enough to make those match ups winnable.

So that brings us to where we are now.  As I write this we’re about 4 weeks into Wave 11 and there’s rumors of a supposed Jump Master nerf on the horizon.  People ask me every time the meta takes a big shift is your list still viable?  If the rumors of the nerf are true I’d say this specific list, as well as all generic jousters are definitely in a better spot than they’ve been over the last few waves.  I think Nym will chase out a lot of the arc-dodging aces that have typically given them problems and not having to worry about being torpedoed off the board before firing is also one more monster gone.  The nerf of mindlink also plays to their favor as their efficiency will now once again be near the top and blocking will also be more effective.

So enough talking about history and what’s good on paper lets put this bitch on the board and see what it can do.

This is almost always my standard opening.  Usually in whichever corner I think gives me a better window to turn into the middle of the board.  I like splitting the Blues off here because if I get into a situation where I want a wide firing arc I have it but if I wanna bring it back in together to maximize firepower they can just br right and we’re right back in a modified pinwheel.

This was the roughly the board state of the Boise Regional top 8.  Against this list, which as you can see was Dash Miranda with the pretty standard load-outs, I actually decided to set up in the middle.  Reason being against kiting lists I typically wanna try to cut the board in half to keep myself out of a situation where I’m chasing one ship all the way across the map.  My opponent opened up slowly but I like my position right here.  One reason I always corner my 3 rocks, apart from the fact that I want to open up the board as much as I can for my swarm, is that it helps me determine range.  If that debris on the bottom left is right on the corner then I know that 2 ship lengths from its outside edge is about range 3 to the board edge.  I.E. that bandit’s arc stretches right about to the edge of the map, therefore I know that I can 1 fwd my hog and he’ll have a tremendously large firing arc that Miranda has no chance to get out even with slamming. Thusly, here my moves are gonna be 1 forward for the Bandits and Gold and 3 forward for the Blues.  If she goes forward she’s gonna be in a bad spot with my entire list firing on her as well as limited options for escape being that she’s on the board edge.  If she turns in then I’ll still have some shots and likewise limited options for escape.  But the big thing is basically don’t put all your eggs in one basket. 

As you can see from this screenshot there’s really no where good for her, even if she slams I’m still gonna get a few shots on her.  But the big thing is not letting her escape from our kill box.  If we make it wide and don’t get all our shots that’s fine, we just need to herd her into a spot where we know she’s very likely not gonna be able to get out of and we can finish her off quickly before Dash can pick off too many of our guys.

 

So that’s all I got for this time.  This is the first in what I hope will be a series of articles where I discuss how you can cut the monster lists down to size with stuff most competitive players consider obsolete.  Season 5 of Vassal league will be starting up soon and I’ve got a number of lists up my sleeve that I’m ready to break out so should create some good opportunities for discussion.  If anyone has any requests feel free to let me know I’ll do what I can do get them in next time.

How to Deal With Paratanni

This list is absolutely blowing up and is being seen all over the world during the 2017 regional season.  For this who are not indoctrinated here it is https://geordanr.github.io/xwing/?f=Scum%20and%20Villainy&d=v4!s!173:176,-1,-1,-1,-1,-1:-1:-1:;219:176,190,-1,-1:-1:-1:;212:176,-1:43:15:&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron

Doesn’t look like much at first glance but this list knocked both Sozin and I out of the Seattle regional and the guy who did it, Chris Norris, went on to win the whole thing http://lists.starwarsclubhouse.com/get_tourney_details?tourney_id=2459.  It’s won at least 2 other regionals to the best of my knowledge and has made the cut at almost every single one since mid December so if you still have one or a system open coming up be prepared to see this.

So how do you deal with it?  Great question, and one that has no real easy answer.  This is what Dom likes to call a toolbox list as it has the ability to deal with lots of things and doesn’t have any big, glaring weaknesses.  Because of that there really is no real playbook on how to beat it.  Manaroo in my opinion is the lowest value target because while she is the lynch pin of the list she’s mostly just there for support and blocking and is easily the weakest end game ship of the three.  Overall though, I’d say just go for whoever presents the easiest target to begin with and try to stay on them.  Splitting fire against this list is death because they can continue to bring support even when out of combat and the effectiveness of the list shrinks exponentially as the ships die.  Your strategy for sure all depends on your list, though.  Certain lists might take a different approach depending on the match up so that’s just an overall idea on how to face it at the start.

Here’s a rough depiction of the game where I was knocked out.  This is the board at the end of turn 2.

Here’s my list https://geordanr.github.io/xwing/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v4!s!64:-1:-1:-1:;64:-1:-1:-1:;64:143:-1:25:;64:143:-1:25:;9:120,136,126,-1:-1:25:;9:120,136,126,-1:-1:25:&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron

I’ve basically got two choices here I can blast ahead or turn into Fenn.  A lot of Soontir players here would use Soontir as bait and go 4/5 fwd with him but it’s important to remember Fenn is not Soontir, especially in this list, he’s not nearly as scared as getting blocked because he can still get 2 focuses and he’s just as hard to hit at range 1 as range 3.  There’s not much Manaroo can do here really.  A three left bank or a hard 1 are really her only options.  So I decided to go with the sure thing and go for her.  In hindsight turning into Fenn probably would’ve been the optimal move as I probably would’ve been able to kill him.  So sure enough Fenn turned in but Manaroo also did the 1 hard.  Fenn boosted to r1 of my far left Gold and got a focus and tl from Manaroo.  I got a little unlucky and lost the Gold before it fired but was still able to kill Manaroo with my remaining ships.  It ended up being a great game I got Asajj and Fenn down to 1hp each but just couldn’t put either away.  Overall though, I felt like my squad has a pretty good match up against this list, the three ships don’t have much re-positional abilities so I can gun them down fairly easily and Fenn is a little more wary of getting into r1 than against most lists because of my ABT’s.

If you’re not into Rebel swarms, though and you’re unsure of what to bring to handle this then there a few things to note when squad building.  First, anything with PTL that moves before Asajj is a bad idea.  Lyle had Ryad with PTL and that’s very hard to know when to push or not because you’re moving first.  Juke is also less effective against this list because the Paratanni player can see the entire board state at the start of combat before passing off that additional focus with Manaroo.  Control is also less effective because they still all can get focuses and if you’re using stress bot Asajj can use that against you with Latts.  Rebel Captive is great but there’s already few viable options for that card with Empire right now, really Decis and Phantoms are the only options in my opinion and since Asajj eats Echo/Whisper for breakfast that kinda limits your choices.  Bombs are good choices because they can push past all the defensive mods Asajj and Fenn get but a list like Mark’s Galaxy Note 7 is kind of a push in this match up due to the kiting abilities of Asajj and Manaroo.  TLT’s can do work on Manaroo and Asajj but struggle against Fenn obviously.  I’ve seen some Bossk/Dengar Bossk/Ketsu lists have some success lately and I think those could certainly do well against this if you’re into that sort of thing.

So what have we learned through all this?  Basically everything we already knew at the start this is a great list with no big holes in it and is especially strong against the current meta.  I might honestly call this the strongest list we have out there right now.  I think if you were to take 100 random X-Wing players, give 1/3 of them this, and the rest variations of 2-3 Defender lists and Dengaroo, the Paratanni players would make up roughly half of the final cut on average.  I think the list will continue to get even more popular until more ways of removing/shutting down focus are introduced to the game or the whispers I’ve heard of Manaroo being nerfed come to fruition.

But there still are a few weaknesses and holes that can help you in a match against it.  If you’re running a 2-3 ship list yourself you definitely want to split up.  Forcing Asajj into difficult decisions about where to put her mobile arc or even just making her spend actions to do it can be very helpful.  Like I mentioned before the list doesn’t have many re-positional abilities so through all their shenanigans the 3 ships are relatively easy to keep in arc and you should be able to get consistent shots on them.  Being able to range control against this list is pretty imperative as well.  Fenn loves to knife fight, I’ve seen him dodge RAC with Gunner and pred at range 1 multiple times, Asajj obviously only activates her ability at range 1-2 so if you can stay at long range of her she’s much less effective.  A lot of people would think blocking isn’t super effective against this list but I’d still argue it is, not for the conventional reasons but to help range control in that manner.  If you look back up at the image I posted had I blocked Fenn turning in with that far out Bandit the rest of my list would’ve had him at range 2 mostly where he’s the most vulnerable.  So while he still would’ve got two focuses he’s still so glass-cannony I probably would’ve been able to drop him right there.

I hope all this helped.  I don’t know how people feel about this list whether they think it’s too good or not but I’m honestly kinda glad it’s having the success that it is.  It’s killing off the Defender/Dengaroo meta that dominated Worlds and while it’s very strong I still feel like it requires a good amount of skill to be successful with it and that’s always a good thing in my opinion.

3 Puzzles

I’ve had the pleasure of playing a number of great players a number of times in my time with X-Wing.  Here are three difficult situations I found myself in during a few of those games.

This was an ELO match I played against Phildo the week leading up to 2015 Worlds.  I still wasn’t completely sold on this Rebels list but thought I’d give it a go.  https://geordanr.github.io/xwing/?f=Rebel%20Alliance&d=v4!s!44:-1,-1,-1,-1:-1:-1:;44:-1,-1,-1,-1:-1:-1:;32:72:-1:15:;9:135,-1,-1,69:21:-1:;65:-1:-1:-1:&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron

Here was Phil’s list https://geordanr.github.io/xwing/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v4!s!22:27,-1:23:3:U.124;28:18:5:1:M.15;76:36,40:-1:8:&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron

Basically a variant of Palp Aces.  Here’s the board after I believe turn 2 http://i.imgur.com/S24FFbX.png.

 

I went on to win the game which helped convince me to bring the list to World’s.  In round 4 I ran into a guy named Phillip Booth, he ended up doing alright, running crackglitter bots.  Here’s the board after turn 4 or 5 http://i.imgur.com/j4Oexg1.png.  Due to some ridiculous greens by Phillip, his 88’s are near untouched while I’m down a b-wing plus.  I do have 88B double stressed but am in a relatively meh position board wise as he can run to the Northeast and my slowpokes will have a tough time staying with him.

 

This was my top 4 match at the Tacoma Regionals against the eventual winner, Zach Bunn.  Zach was flying https://geordanr.github.io/xwing/?f=Galactic%20Empire&d=v4!s!22:27,73:23:3:U.124;164:18,73:27:15:;56:-1,-1,132,-1:-1:19:&sn=Unnamed%20Squadron.

This board placement isn’t exact but is pretty close if memory serves me http://i.imgur.com/H4PhEDv.png.  His Vader was probably a little farther back, it looks like here if my b’s and Vader 2 bank they’ll bump but I don’t recall that being the case during the game.

I’ve successfully double stressed an ace on the first turn of shooting as planned but he’s got a lot of outs.  If I 2 bank right the b-wings and Valen goes 5 fwd over the rock I miss all those shots and the double stress was for naught.  If he hard left one’s I’ll have some shots but they’ll mostly be at range three through a rock.

 

Please post your answers I’d like to see the responses.  I’ll publish the conclusions in a few days.  If you guess all three moves I ended up doing correctly then we’ll see about sending you a piece of candy.

Biggest Winners and Losers From Wave 7/Raider

I already kinda did a post on this about Wave 7 but I’m going to take a look at the overall Meta here with some actual hard data via Sozin’s List Juggler http://lists.starwarsclubhouse.com/time_series.

It’s funny how players winning big tournaments can change so many people’s perception of a ship.  My regional was two weeks after the one in Houston last year where Sable Gryphon won it with his Boba/IG88B list and there were about 4 of those at mine when I hadn’t seen them at any prior tournaments locally.  Taking a look at the T70 they were only in 3.7% of submitted tournament lists in October and November, to now in January and February where they’re at 9%+.  Sozin bets that about 85% of those T70’s are Poe and I’d have to agree, which I find very interesting cause most of the guys in the Aces league really didn’t think Poe was that great going into Worlds.  I personally actually did really like him but shy away from flying him now just cause he’s so damn popular people have tons of experience flying against him.

In my earlier review of Wave 7 I stated how the biggest winner from Wave 7 were turret carriers because of the Twin Laser Turret.  Last year the most popular pilot during store championship season was the Blue Squadron at about 15%.  It had stayed pretty to close to that sitting at about an average of 13% from January of ’15 up to the release of the Raider in June.  Now, though, with the advent of the TLT’s the Y-Wings have more or less taken their spot as the workhorse of the Rebellion.  They’ve been steadily dropping ever since its release but seem to be holding at about 5% right now.  Which still isn’t terrible but there’s certainly been a change in people’s minds about them.  The Y-Wings, on the other hand have seen a complete resurgence.  They were at about 3.3% on average for Rebel and S&V respectively during Wave 6.  Immediately following wave 7 the S&V Y’s shot up to about 8%.  Rebels, oddly didn’t skyrocket in the same manner but have been gaining steam since Worlds and are themselves at approx. 8% as of February.  I would most likely equate this to Paul winning with the Stresshog and telling everyone it’s a ship they have to have in their Rebel lists, damn you Paul!

 

Incomprehensive List of Best Rebel Options at Certain Point Values

This is a bit of a guide for beginner’s in list building but I thought I’d make an incomprehensive list of what I feel are the best options at certain point totals for single ships.  Going to do Rebels first then maybe Imperial if I feel like it, again please remember these are all my opinion I claim these to be factual in no way whatsoever.  As a disclaimer I should probably also mention I typically like to reach for efficiency as opposed to ships with tricks so I may be a bit biased in that sense.

12 points – Bandit

13 points – Tala |  Not a whole lot of options here but these are two solid ships, in my opinion.  It’s no coincidence the last two World champion lists have had these ships in them, they do solid work and can be an annoyance if ignored.  The Tala especially I feel is a great value only 13 points, you get over the most common ps ships, two, and don’t have to worry about getting crushed before firing by some Crackblacks.

14 points – Your only real option here is a Tala with a tracer round which I think is kinda meh so usually if I find myself with 14 points left I’ll go back and try to change what I have or just go with a Tala and keep the point for initiative bid if I feel it’s valuable.

15 points – Prototype with Chardaan or Bandit with one of three, three point missiles.  Prototype A-wings didn’t get a great deal of love even after the Chardaan was dropped but Nathan Eide taking it to the final match of World’s showed a lot of people it’s a good little ship when used correctly.  I myself have always loved my little A-wings but the Bandit here isn’t a bad choice now considering guidance chips are now out there.

16 points – Again, this number is a bit of a wash, could just upgrade your missile Bandit to a Tala or upgrade the missile to concussion or cluster but if you’re not a fan of ordinance still then I’d try to avoid this number.

17 points – Prototype with Autothrusters all the way.  I could shed a tear for this guy he was the MVP for me at Worlds no doubt and is just a pesky little ship when used right.

18 points – I don’t feel like there’s really much here that’s worth it.  Zeb, a Rebel Operative with Autoblaster or a naked Gold are really all there is that we haven’t discussed already.  Blount with Tracers is decent but that’s something you have to build your entire list around, not something you can just throw in with 18 points leftover so this is a number I usually try to avoid as well.

19 points – Still not much here, naked Cracken is probably the best I would say.   A Green Squad with juke or autothrusters or a Rebel Operative with Dorsal Turret probably fills out the rest.

20 points – Here is where our options start to open up a bit.  Blount with Ion Pulse or Advanced Homing Missiles is decent.  A green squad with either ptl or autothrusters and crackshot’s ok.  You could also run just a naked y-wing with r3-a2 if you want a little control or an autoblaster turret.  Naked Ezra’s also here albeit kinda meh.

21 points – The original Rebel mainstay Rookie Pilot comes in here at 21 points, as well as Sabine.  We have a Rebel Operative with an ion turret.  Our Green Squadron pilot slowly continues to get better as we can now give him ptl and crackshot or autothrusters and juke or lone wolf.    Me personally I reach for Blount with an ion pulse and deadeye.  Ezra with Nera or Crackshot is also a solid option here.

22 points – This is the first tier where we really get a lot of good options I feel like.  Obviously the first one that comes to mind, especially for me is your Blue Squadron Pilot.  I’d go to war with these dudes any day, didn’t regret for a second taking them to Worlds and usually build any new Rebel squad around one or more of them.  The Rookie with a 1 point droid and integrated astromech is another comparable option though I still feel like the BSP is better bang for your buck.  Hera also becomes available to us here though I still don’t feel like any of the attack shuttle pilots are worth it at this point.  A Rebel Operative with a Twin Laser Turret is a good choice if you want a turret instead of a jouster.  Our Green Squadron finally starts to get to what I feel is their near, if not optimal load out, with PTL and autothrusters.  Incredibly enough there are even more decent options at this spot but I feel like these are the best.

23 points – We really suffer from a drop off here.  More is available to us but I don’t think anything here is really worth more than what we could get at 22.  If you have b-wings you could toss a tractor beam on, I’ve yet to try that but for one point it’s not a throwaway.  Our options for Ezra and Sabine load outs are starting to increase.  Warden becomes available but naked I think it’s pretty meh.  For me, the best here is probably our Green Squad with PTL, AT’s and crackshot.

24 points – 24 is a pretty good number as well, lots of options here.  B-wings with fire control system, two Bandits, Gold with TLT are probably the most common.  Our T-70 is now available but, again I think the naked novice is pretty blah.

25 points – Our options are really expanding at this point.  I like Tarn with R7 and IA here the most.  Gemmer with PTL and AT’s is decent, as is Roark with a TLT.  Advanced Sensor Blues have fallen off a bit since Wave 3 but are still a decent option.  I’m not going to go into the attack shuttles really any more from here on out because I feel like they’re a bit of a special case in that you kinda have to build around them, as well as the fact that they are so customizable, but there are a lot of potentially good builds for them here in this range.

26 points – This is a very common/strong number as well for Rebels.  First option is always gonna be that 26 point stress hog.  I honestly was surprised so few people ran it at Worlds but now with Heaver saying every list needs to have it the usage of it has just exploded.  But there are still other options you have here, if your meta is more centered around generic ships and you feel like you don’t want or like control then I would recommend trying two Talas or Biggs with R4-D6 and Integrated Astromech.  I ran each of those in my first vassal league games and felt like they did real well.

27 points – This number’s actually a little weak, I don’t think there’s a whole lot here.  I’d probably just roll with a Proto and a Bandit but there’s also Hobbie with R3-A2 and IA.

28 points – Best option here hands down is Jake Farrell with PTL, AT’s and VI.  People say he doesn’t hit very hard but I ran him with 2 blues with fcs and 2 bandits a few times and found that if they ignored him I very easily could get into close range with him and land some focused/tl’d shots.  Like I said nothing else here really comes close but if you wanna go in a different direction you could roll with a Warden with Extra Munitions and Proximity Mines or if you don’t want bombs maybe a Red Squad Vet with Crackshot, R2 and IA.

29 points – Not a whole lot at this spot, a lot of ships become available but I’m not stoked on them just naked.  A Blue with HLC’s not bad, you could upgrade your Warden’s Prox Mine to a Conner Net if you want a little more control or just drop his bombs to give him a TLT.

30 points – A few guys would reach for double Protos here, I’m personally not a fan of two I think you’re not bringing enough firepower but it’s not a terrible option.  You could throw an intel agent on your Warden to help him set up his bombs.

31 points – There’s a couple of ok options here for one ships builds.  Wes with VI or Wedge with Crackshot and R2/IA are both decent.  Jan with a TLT becomes available.  Luke with Lone Wolf, R2 and IA isn’t bad either.

32 points – Hmm for 1 ship I don’t think there’s really anything here that’s super good outside of maybe some Attack Shuttle load outs.  I’d probably just reach for something at 12 and 20 or 13 and 19.

33 points – Best single ship here has gotta be our 28 point Jake but with Chardaan swapped for Prockets.  A fringer with intel agent and Anti-Pursuit Lasers is pretty fun but not ultra competitive.  The named T-70’s are all available but I still think they’re best with regeneration droids and we can’t really get those in yet.

34 points – For single ships my favorite here has gotta be Wedge with BB-8, PTL and IA.  Jan with TLT and any number of 3 point crew options is also pretty good.

35 points – Miranda with a TLT has gotta be the best single ship option here.  There are some other choices but I don’t really think anything compares in terms of pure efficiency.

Blair and Paul

So I said I wasn’t going to do a whole write up but I felt like I should at least do something for my game against Paul.  Going into round 5 Paul and I were each 4-0.  This game was pretty pivotal cause the winner only has to win 2 out of the next 3 to have a guaranteed spot while the loser is fighting for their tournament life.  I had played Paul before on vassal once in season two of the Team Covenant Aces League but beating Paul in any game outside of Worlds really isn’t worth much because all he’s doing the rest of the year is play testing in preparation for Worlds.  If you’re reading this that means you’re a fan of X-wing so you know what he flew,  here’s my list.

Two pretty evenly matched squads.  He won the initiative roll and took it, set up all his 2’s even across in the top left corner.  My proto had already been set in the middle on my side and due to his awesome re-positional abilities I knew I could either set up opposite corner or go for the joust.  When I face an ace with some filler and I feel like I have jousting superiority typically I’ll just go for their filler instead of going for their ace outright.  This is because Aces are typically good defensive ships and most experienced players won’t do something risky with them early on.  My slow ass ships really don’t have any hope to chase down Poe and kill him so I figure I’ll joust, make Poe fly into our jumble of ships slugging it out since he kinda has to in hopes of getting shots, and wait for a spot to present itself to go for him.

So first big turn of shooting my Tala dies and his Bandit is left at two which freaking sucks but I’m still not in a terrible way.  Next turn our stress hogs each die and I get 1 more hull into the Bandit.  Here’s what the board looked like at the end of combat at that point.

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Now, go ahead and take a moment if you wish to try and decide for yourself what you think you’d do in this situation, remember Poe has R2D2 instead of R5-P9.

Done? Good, now let me tell you how it went down.  My Proto’s not in a good spot here obviously.  He can’t 3k, and any kind of hard left turn bumps.  All of you who have faced regenerating ships know how incredibly difficult they are to kill end game so I figure now is as good a time as any to go for Poe since he’s hurt. I 1 hard right my Proto and 1 forward by blues.  Even if Poe does a green move forward to regenerate 1 shield he’s either going to bump or miss a shot.  If he bumps he’ll be at 5 health.  My b-wing on the right here can take a TL.  I’ll fire with the left 1 first, get 1 or 2 shields.  Then my other B-Wing can take his tl’d shot and do another 1 or 2 damage, hopefully a crit since he’s getting re-rolls.  The odds of getting Poe down to 1 and/or dealing a good crit here are pretty high since I’m landing 5 hits against his 1.5 evades on average.  Almost any crit is good, the only one that would essentially do nothing would be a thrust control fire since I know he’s going green next turn anyway.  Pretty much anything else hurts him bad though and will give me a good chance to finish him over the next 1/2 turns.  I also have about a 20% chance to kill him outright, which would basically give me the win at that point, due to the direct hits/major explosions in the deck so I figure screw it worth the risk.

Well sure enough he goes 3 forward and bumps my Proto.  I get my shots but only get 1 shield through.  He runs Poe then k-turns him the next turn and 1 shots my 3 health Proto on 4 naked reds against 3 naked greens.  From that all he had to do was mop up my Blues.

So now the question I was left to ponder that night, as well as for the rest of eternity, was was it worth taking that chance?  Like I said the Proto’s in a bad spot here he’s not getting an action if he chases the Gold.  And if I send my Blues to finish the Bandit and/or chase the Gold that Gold can dictate which range to shoot them at for as long as it’s alive and Poe will be behind them the entire time as well.  I think best case scenario there I kill the Gold with my 3 health Proto and a full health Blue left which they have no chance of killing Poe on their own.  Like I said I think about 75% of the time I’m either getting Poe down to 1 health or landing a good crit.  Don’t know the exact odds but of course the first two times I rerun the simulation in vassal I kill Poe :D.

Anyway, thanks for reading.  Playing Paul in person at Worlds was an experience unlike anything else.  He was a total class act and brought a lot of positive energy to the table and wasn’t doing it to put on a show as we were way in the back corner with no one around, except for Morgan who showed up with about 20 minutes left.  Would’ve been a great story to tell to my grand kids about how I took down the master but there’s always next year.

Wave 7 in review.

 

So I know it might seem, I know to me it does, like Wave 7 hasn’t even been out that long but with wave 8 on the
boat it looks like we’re already coming to a close with this wave. Worlds has come and gone and Wave 8 should be
legal by store championship season so now seems like a good time to go ahead and take a look back at it and how
it shaped the meta.

I’m not going to include the Raider or the new core set in this discussion. I know they were released so very
close but this will strictly look at the wave 7 ships and upgrade cards.

Khkyrax Fighter-There were a lot of mixed opinions when this ship was released. There had been some clamoring for
S&V to finally get a natural ace and this ship gave it to them. Unfortunately both the named and generic ships
suffered from the same flaws that the X-Wing did, too many points invested into attack on a ship that can be arc-
dodged too easily and suffers from some predictable maneuverability due to its lack of a native boost or
barrel roll.

Tie Punisher-There was a lot of excitement for this ship, a lot of people thought it would help curve the balance
towards underused munitions. The named pilots seemed to have seen the most play. A pretty common loadout for
Redline was extra munitions, fire control system and cluster missiles giving you 2 attacks of 3 dice with TL’s for
both at range 1-2. Not bad, but you’re paying the same price for that as you are your standard Soontir loadout and
most people found it too easily outmaneuevered by aces, or that the value wasn’t good enough against cheap, generic
ships. As for Deathrain, it saw a lot of play early. Conner net, proton bombs, extra munitions and either
enhanced scopes or advanced sensors seemed to be the most common build. Again not bad, can help you lock down arc
dodgers while giving you something to deal with swarms but again most people found it too difficult to connect on
enough bombs to make it worthwhile.

YV-666-A very intriguing ship from the outset. A lot of people were interested to see how the dual front arc
would play and which of the pilots would standout. I personally feel like the Bossk crew card is an insanely
good value. Tactician and/or gunner were also two very common cards to be loaded out with any pilot. Ultimately
I feel this ship suffered from the same fate as the Tie Punisher in that they were released 1 wave too late. In
Wave 6 each would’ve been great as an ace hunter but with TLT’s and swarms so common now neither ship has any hope
to dodge those shots and simply melts too quickly to that concentrated fire.

K-Wing-The ship most often given tournament play out of the wave. Maybe that will change as the meta shifts again
down the road but this ship was the only one to have any kind of decent showing at Worlds. Miranda was instantly
pegged as a solid ship and has more or less proven to be that. The generics were typically used much in the way
Deathrain was, as bombers, but the triple K list ran by Aaron Bonar at Worlds definitely was a nice late-meta
discovery that had people rethink the ship’s ability overall.

This wave seems to have played out a lot like the one before it. Much like wave 6 (Aggressor) only 1 ship saw some
considerable tournament play. Also like wave 6 (autothrusters) the biggest shift in the meta was caused not by a
ship but by an upgrade card, twin laser turret. I personally found it a little humorous that everyone thought
the fat 360 ships would be killed off by autothrusters, which only cause them to become more popular. Then to
have them eventually killed off by smaller, 360 turret carrying ships, who were in actuality the real winners of
this wave. The 2nd and 3rd most popular upgrade cards were probably Glitterstim and Crackshot. Ultimately the
designer’s efforts to make bombs and munitions competitive fell a bit short but it’s nice to see them giving it a
shot.

All in all, though, you have to say this wave was an overall success for the designers. The diversity in lists at
Worlds greatly exceeded any of the prior years. This was the first year when someone could just bring a list that
was all their own instead of just drinking the meta cool-aid and actually be competitive with it. A lot of cards
remain underused but safe to say the game is still in a very healthy place heading into the next chapter.

Worlds Prep Finale

Whelp leaving in two days, won’t have my computer tomorrow since I’m leaving it with my brother for him to upgrade while I’m gone so figure maybe I can get in 1 or 2 games against Frans the day before then that’ll be all.  Didn’t end up going to that tournament but I played Phildo and Majorjuggler today, Phil was running Fel/Vader/OGPalp and Bob had his Regionals Bots list.  Both are two very good players running two very popular archtypes and I was able to win both games so that was a nice confidence boost.  I’ve committed myself to running that list I mentioned in the last post.  Part of me wants to drop the Tala to a bandit, tlt to an ion and give fcs to one blue but think I’ll just leave it.

What am I scared of?  Obsidian swarm is one obvious list.  Though I don’t expect swarms to be incredibly popular and while an obsidian heavy swarm can shoot before me, I can block it up and make it navigate some asteroids while trying to stay close to Howl while I’m not handicapped in such a way.  Sounds like Frans is probably gonna run Fel with 5 Obsidians, that’s a real strong list and one I don’t wanna see so should be good practice the night before.  Other than that there’s really no one list out there that I’m terrified of, my list is sort of designed to be ok against everything and usually if I lose it’ll be cause I got outplayed and/or got bad dice.  Dash could potentially be a tough match up but I’ve got some tricks I can pull against him too.  4 Daggers with HLC and FCS or 3 Daggers and 2 Talas.  Either of those would be rough but again those aren’t insanely popular lists.  I know TLT’s are on people’s minds but I just don’t figure that many people to go that direction to counter them for those lists will struggle against brobots and fel/vader/ogpalp which I think will be more popular.

How confident am I in making the cut?  If I was a betting man I’d say I have about a 30% chance.  I feel like I have a good shot of going 6-2 but with my list I’m not gonna win very many games big, I’ll be lucky to have at least 1 100-0 victory which means it’ll be tough to make it in the 6-2 club, basically gonna have to win at least 7 games I’m thinking.

Most people there will have an advantage over me in that they’ll have a lot more live play experience under their belt.  Living where I live there’s not a whole lot of opportunities to play live, I basically have to drive an hour which I really only have time to do every 3 weeks or so.

TBH one thing that’s giving me some confidence is I’m pretty sure most of the higher caliber players I know aren’t super confident going in either.  Like I know Paul knew he had found something special with his Han build last year, I don’t feel like anyone has something ingenious like that ready to drop on everyone this time around.

Well can’t really think of much else to say.  I’m gonna try to enjoy myself regardless but I am an insanely competitive person and my goal’s to make the cut so I’m probably gonna be pretty grumpy if I don’t haha but it’ll be an experience regardless.  Definitely looking forward to meeting all the people I’ve met online.  Thanks for reading if I don’t post an update after Wednesday it’s cause I missed the cut and passed out drunk!

Worlds Prep Part 3

Alright so I’ve gotten a little of my swagger back, won a few games in a row and I’m feeling decent.  Right now I’m leaning towards 2 blues, a tala, a gold with r3-a2, btl and tlt and a proto with AT’s.  It’s a small variant of a list I had a lot of success with in wave 6.  I won’t go into all the details of why I like it cause there’s many but I’ll just say I feel like I’ve got a chance against most everything with it.  Rebel Swarms have always kind of been my bread and butter ever since I started playing the game really so I’ve certainly got experience with it.

I’ve also found out that the initial Swiss rounds for Worlds will be 8 freaking rounds!  I’ve never played more than 7 games in a day and even that was pretty rough, usually after 4 I’m ready to call it a day.  It will be a marathon.  So with 256 players that means only one will go undefeated, 7 will go 7-1 and 28 will go 6-2.  Of those 28 only 7 will get in, 1/4.  Not sure how I feel about that overall, with 7 rounds it was going to be 2 7-0’s get in and all of the 14 6-1’s were in as well.  Going 6-2 obviously is a lot easier than going 6-1, I feel pretty confident in my ability to go 6-2 but as far as making the top 25% for MOV that’s something else.  I think with the new rules for large ships and MOV I should be able to finish pretty high up, I’ve never been close to tabled with this list, almost every game I’ve lost has been very close.  Gonna play in a tournament tomorrow and run this, will provide update afterwards, winning it would be another good confidence boost but we’ll see.

X-Wing Blog Part 2: Worlds Prep

Hi everyone thank you again for reading.  As I write this there’s about 2.5 weeks to go to Worlds.  I was extremely confident at the time I made my last post in which I discussed potential builds I would run in Season 2 of the TC Aces league.  I honestly haven’t even bothered proof reading that post, I know it wasn’t even finished so I almost deleted it but then I thought it would be a good lesson in humility to just post it.  Humility? You might ask, motherfucker you cocky as shit in that post.  Yes, true I was, but looking back now I am able to realize how over the top arrogant I was and decided that in leaving it up it would always be there as another reminder to try to keep myself grounded and humble.

That said, I had some good reason to have arrogance at that time.  I went 4-1 last season in the Aces league, and to be perfectly honest my overall record throughout the second half of wave 5 and all of wave 6 was probably something like 115-25.  A lot of those lists I mentioned I honestly made up only after playing like one game with them and felt good playing them against most anything, I had a pretty good handle on the meta.  That has now changed.  It’s crazy how suddenly it’s shifted in that b-wings, once the work horse of the Rebellion, have taken a huge step backward.  They’re still solid against most but I just feel like they have a very tough time keeping up with tlt Y-Wings.  The Y-Wings can just run and run and the b-wings have no shot to try and dodge or close the distance.  I’m not going to get into the whole discussion of TLT and are they broken/take no skill to fly/etc. but I’ll just say I have been struggling against them.  A lot of games I’ve played against them in which I’ve felt like I’ve out flown my opponent, games that I feel like would’ve been wins in wave 5/6 have ended up going south for me.  Going 0-2 in the Galactic Cup were probably the worst two losses out of them all.  Apart from one mistake I made in the first game I really felt like I played well and just wasn’t able to overcome what seemed like an uphill battle the entire game.  Now, both games were pretty close, I feel like there were situations in which had I had a theoretical 1-time palpatine ability each game most likely would’ve gone in my favor, but that’s completely hypothetical and there’s just no sense in dwelling on all that.

So that brings me to the present day.  Admittedly, I am completely all over the place in what to bring.  How could it come to this that with 2 and a half weeks to go to Worlds my confidence is lower than it’s been in over a year.  I have a lot of builds that I feel like I could bring and go something like 4-3 with but 4-3 is not the goal.  I’m committed to not bringing any sort of 360 anything myself.  I feel like Autothrusters or Sensor Jammer is an absolute must, and am leaning towards Autothrusters since they’re naturally great against the plethora of 360 ships I’ll see.  Sensor Jammer is fun because it’s something players don’t see often and I tend to lean more towards things that are a little less popular.  Call me insane but Whisper is probably in the lead for me right now, I won’t say exactly what with her since I’m still experimenting with that but she is calling to me.

I consider myself so very fortunate to be able to collaborate with so many other brilliant minds who allow me to take a peak into theirs.  Making the cut will be quite the longshot but if I do, as is the goal, I will have many people to thank.

Thank you for reading, I’m hoping to have some more content in before or potentially even during Worlds but we shall see.