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!