Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Carnor Jax, maybe you are in, maybe you are out :)

Following some brain storming about phantom based list on the FFG forum  there was the suggestion to use Carnor Jax instead of Soontir Fel in the list I have been running those last weeks.
This time I gave it a try against basically the same Han Solo - Wedge Antilles duo I played last time.
My list:

  • Sigma Squadron Pilot (34) x 2 - TIE Phantom (25), Recon Specialist (3), Sensor Jammer (4), Stygium Particle Accelerator (2)
  • Carnor Jax (31) - TIE Interceptor (26), Royal Guard TIE (0), Push the Limit (3), Autothrusters (2)
My opponent:
  • Wedge Antilles (40) - X-Wing (29), R2-D2 (4),Predator (3), Engine Upgrade (4)
  • Han Solo (59) - YT-1300 (46), Stay on Target (2), C-3PO (3), Luke Skywalker (7), Millennium Falcon (1)
Both list are 99 points, so we roll for initiative again, but it only affected to see who was placing the first obstacle as all my ships will move before all the ships of my opponent.
I got it so I placed one of the big asteroids right in front of the centre of the deployment zone of my opponent to try to block his Falcon. After distributing all the obstacles I placed all my ships on my centre; he placed his on my right.
Set Up
I was afraid of the combination of Han Solo and Luke as it will allow my opponent to potentially roll his attack dices four times in his quest of destroying my ships, so I decided to go to the left to pass between the asteroids and maybe come back to the centre also between the asteroids. However I was not really seeing my flying paths today as I crossed my ships in funny ways all the game.
In the first round, one phantom did a 2 left bank and cloaked, no surprise here, however for no apparent reason with the other one I did a 3 left turn, almost colliding with the previous one, and of course cloak.
Carnor Jax did a 3 left bank and a boost forwards, no push the limits to keep the options open for the next round.
Han moved 3 forward and focused whereas Wedge went 4 forwards and boosted right. He got Carnor in firing range but his attack failed.
1st round, end of movement
 For the second round I decided to face Wedge and to try to take him out of the equation as last time.
One phantom decloaked right, did a 2 right turn and focused facing Wedge. The other phantom I was afraid was going to block Carnor so I decided to take him for a walk and decloaked right, turned 3 to the right and cloaked somewhere on my left side of the board.
Carnor did a 1 right turn, forward boost and evade, also facing Wedge.
Han approached by performing a 3 right bank and focused, whereas Wedge moved carefully 1 forward to avoid any potential collision and target lock the phantom.
My opponent had also considered to K-turn with Wedge but this was very dangerous as if a collision would have taken place, then there will be no K-turn, no actions and one stress as outcome of the bargain. However being in front of two of my ships was also not good either.
2nd round, end of movement
Han fired on the phantom and removed 1 shield. I have to say that this game I was forgetting all the time that my phantoms have Sensor Jammer and that was very annoying as several times we needed to back track the dice rolls. Also, its use against Han-Luke combo is questionable because if you avoid the damage of the first shoot totally, Luke will allow for a new attack with a soft focus. Along the game we realized that this second attack is very good if your Falcon is stressed (therefore no actions) or has taken other action than focus. In this case, your second attack is actually better than the first one because of the soft focus of Luke.
Wedge removed the second shield of the phantom but then Carnor was able to disable both shields of Wedge and the phantom was able to destroy it. Just like the previous game. For me it was so far, so good.
However, one of my ships was far away of the action and my positioning for hunting down the Falcon was not optimal. As I already say, my flying was erratic today.

On the 3rd round, the wounded phantom did a 3 left bank and landed on an asteroid !
My idea was to disengage the Falcon and regroup for a second pass, but I fail miserably.
The other phantom turned 3 to the right and focused, still cloaked.
Carnor turned 2 left between the asteroids and boosted right.
Han advanced 2 forwards and focused.
3rd round, end of movement
Han was having a golden shoot on the phantom on the asteroid which he could not fail. The phantom was vaporized out of existence.

So far I had not been able to fire on the Falcon so I tried to bring my remaining two ships into attack positions.
The phantom turned 1 right and focused, whereas Carnor did a 3 K-turn.
Han performed a 2 right turn to confront the phantom and managed to remove one shield.
4th round, end of movement
On the fifth round, the phantom decloaked right and turned 1 left to block the Falcon. It also focused.
Carnor Jax moved 4 forwards, did a barrel roll to his right and boosted right but was not able to get the Falcon in his firing arc.
Han moved 4 forwards and collided with the phantom.
No shooting this round :(
5th round, end of movement
On the next round, the phantom turned 1 left and focused, whereas Carnor turned 2 right, boosted right and barrel roll left trying to point in the general direction of the Falcon. However, Han "stayed on target" and turned 1 right avoiding the collision with the phantom and moving outside of the firing arc of Carnor.
6th round
Han removed the last shield of the phantom and caused him one damage.

I do not have a picture of the last round, but basically the phantom turned 1 left trying to go after Han, Carnor did the same by turning 2 right and barrel roll right, and Han just moved 1 forward and fired on the phantom destroying it.

End of the game.

Aftermath
I was not able to fly well with Carnor. Maybe it was just today or maybe it is that I have been flying exclusively Soontir when I fly interceptors, but I was not able to get results out of Carnor. Yes, I destroyed Wedge, but I did that also with Soontir and also in the second round. Yes, Carnor helped with the negation of evades and focus but the thing is that I am not used to have to fly into range one of the enemy and also I was missing the extra focus from Soontir after a push the limits.
As we were playing and discussing the game at the same time, we realized that I was not able to surprise my opponent with the movement of Carnor, or the other way around, he was able to (more or less) predict his movement and this is the pitfall of any player on this game, when your opponent is able to rightly predict where are you going to move.
Was I disappointed with Carnor ? not really, maybe more with myself. I was really unable to deal with the Han - Luke combo and for some reason I was constantly forgetting the Sensor Jammers on the phantom. I think it was not one of my best days even if Wedge died again very soon in the game.
My opponent was thinking of using Wedge with something else, not a Han Solo build, but maybe two other small ships, maybe even another two X-wings. We will see... :) :)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Lack of green

Another game with my phantom list:
  • Sigma Squadron Pilot (34) x 2 - TIE Phantom (25), Recon Specialist (3), Sensor Jammer (4), Stygium Particle Accelerator (2)
  • Soontir Fel (32) - TIE Interceptor (27), Royal Guard TIE (0), Push the Limit (3), Autothrusters (2)

This time against another friend who was flying:
  • Wedge Antilles (44) - X-Wing (29), R2-D2 (4), Advanced Proton Torpedoes (6), Veteran Instincts (1), Engine Upgrade (4)
  • Han Solo (56) - YT-1300 (46), Stay on Target (2), C-3PO (3), Chewbacca (4), Millennium Falcon (1)
He has been flying imperial recently, specially Col. Vessery after another game between us where I was flying him together with a Lambda and two bombers. There are previous posts here with the list and the games of the tournament I used it.
The point is, he decided to fly Rebels because he knows that I favoured Imperials and he tried to emulate Col. Vessery based lists by using Wedge with engine upgrade as high mobile ship with a nice attack special ability.
The idea was/is great, however, it was not his day with the green dices. He never rolled evades, any evade, in the whole game. Seriously. It was the more karma deficient game I was in or watched.
I won the game, obviously, but the merit of my victory was his rolling of nothing on the green dices not any extraordinary flying from my side.

Set up
We rolled for initiative as both list were 100 points and I won the roll. Here I decided to get initiative to be able to shoot first with Soontir versus Han, and that was, I think, an error. Thanks to the Simultaneous Fire rule, even if Han manage to "destroy" Soontir, he (Soontir) can return fire before dying, alas with any critical effect from the attack from Han applied to him. Therefore, It should not make so much of a difference in the attack phase who of the two has initiative over the other.
However, in the activation phase, it can be important who moves first. My choice makes that Soontir moves before Han, therefore he can collide with him and lose his actions. This happened in this game :(
On the other hand, I could use Soontir, a PS 9 ship, as blocker! Which I did once in this game :)
Obstacles: we both took the biggest rocks :) and put them more or less symmetrical on the battlefield.
Deployment: having Initiative, I deployed all my ships before him on my right corner, phantoms on the front, Soontir in the centre back.
He angled Wedge towards Han, and both were facing to open lane between the asteroid on the right side.
Set Up
This time I was writing down our movement and actions and we also timed the game to one hour after Set Up.

First round:
All my ship did a 2 bank left, and the phantoms cloaked, Soontir focused just in case. Han moved 4 straight and Wedge 3 straight. This was a minor surprise for me as my opponent used to move always slow on the first round, which is why I moved also slow.
1st round after movement
Second round:
The phantoms did a decloak forwards and a 3 bank right going for a blocking position against Han. One of the phantoms recloaked, the one I was expecting to collide with Han; my idea here was that as he was not going to be able to fire on Han, it was maybe better to have him not firing at all but well protected against a possible attack from Wedge. The other one got double focus and readied himself to take fire.
Soontir did also a 3 bank right, followed by a boost and a barrel roll to get in a nice firing position close to the rock (set up picture: the one on the right back from my point of view; the picture for the 2nd round is turned 90°, the rocks you see on the right are actually the ones making the back line).
Han did a 2 bank right to avoid being blocked using Stay on Target and Wedge moved 4 forwards to get into a nice range 1 firing range with focus.
2nd round after movement
Combat:
Wedge first, he managed to get 1 shield off the uncloaked phantom. Soontir attacked Wedge and removed 2 shields (beginning of the green dices disaster). Han did no damage and the phantom managed to land 1 hit and 1 critical hit on Wedge; the critical hit turned out to be the double damage and Wedge was dead.
Both of us were without words. His whole list concept was Wedge as Rebel counterpart to Col. Vessery. He has put the Fat Han there just to fill up the list and Wedge was gone in the first round of combat!
It was a freaking moment, seriously. We paused for a bit to talk about what just has happen and decided to finish the game anyway. After all, Han should be able to take care of himself, even if he was only "filler" on the list.
Note: Yes, I know that this sounds crazy, a Fat Han as filler, but if you stop a second to think about this, it makes sense. You are going to fly a two ship list, fine. One of those two ships is one that you have already used  in the past and which have a more or less fixed configuration, the Fat Han. Then, you can focus all you experiments in the other ship of your list. Therefore, Han is the filler, the guy with the permanent job; Wedge is the new guy on the team, the one you will like to play with and see what he can do. Well, that new guy was gone in the present case; so, maybe stop the game and reset it was not a bad idea, actually with the intention to try Wedge. However, we moved on :)

Third round:
Again the picture is turned 90°.
The cloaked phantom decloaked forward and performed a 3 left turn and cloaked again. The other one did a 3 left bank and no idea why it does not have any tokens on the picture, I am sure it took an action...
Soontir did a 2 left turn and barrel rolled right to get close to the initial position of the Falcon.
Han did a 1 right bank, moving around the rock and clearing the stress from the previous round.
3rd round after movement
 Combat:
Very brief this time, Han did nothing and Soontir removed 2 shields from him. Really, the green dices were cursed.

Fourth round:
Both phantom decloaked forward, one did a 1 left turn and the other did a 3 left turn to close on the Falcon, both did also double focus.
Soontir did a forward 2 and barrel rolled right, again trying to close as much on the Falcon as possible before it moves away.
Han went 2 forwards and evade.
4th round after movement
Combat:
Soontir took away another 2 shields from Han, whereas the return fire from Han did nothing. The first Falcon removed the last shiled and did one damage to Han; the second one did four damage to him.
It was terrible to see so many blanks on the green dices, really. We were both of us first stunned than laughing about it as we both were not able to believe. It was ridiculous.

Fifth round:
One phantom did a 3 right turn and took double focus, the other one did a 2 right turn and a barrel roll to the left trying to get back to the fight.
Soontir did a 2 left bank and collided with Han, losing his actions.
Han was not sure what to do and Stayed in Target to do a left 1 turn. This was the first intention of my opponent, he changed his mind to a right turn and in view of the position of my phantoms decided to go back to the idea of turning left but the stress he got from that change of plans was terribly difficult to get rid off as there was an asteroid just in front of him which he was not going to be able to by pass with any green movement.
5th round after movement
Combat:
Soontir did nothing to Han (finally!) and Han placed one critical damage on Soontir, the one reducing his Agility in one.

Sixth round:
The phantom closest to the back of the Falcon did a 3 left turn and collided with him. The other Falcon did a 2 left turn and a left barrel roll still trying to go back to the fight.
Soontir did a 1 left turn to avoid collision with Han followed by a boost forward and a barrel roll to the left to get into a nice firing position.
Han did a white 3 right bank as the green 2 will have him on the asteroid or at less flying over it, so he is still stressed from the previous Stay on Target.
6th round after movement
 Combat:
This round was crazy. Nothing happen ! :)

Seventh and last round:
The phantom on the back of Han did a 3 left bank and double focus, the other one a 3 left turn and barrel roll to cover a possible 1 left turn from Han.
Soontir. Well, this was a moment of craziness for me. I was looking to Han and Soontir on the battlefield and wondering how to manage to get Soontir close to the Falcon without colliding again with it when suddenly I realized that I could use Soontir as a blocker !
This was for me an eye opener moment as I would have never considered a PS 9 guy a blocker, but when the other guys fly after you, does not matter which PS you have, if you fly first, you can block; new golden rule for me: first to move, first to block :) :)
So, the baron moved 2 left turn and barrel rolled right, short, and right in front of the Falcon.
Han tried to clear the stress with a 1 left bank and collided with Soontir. Stress was gone but also any possible action.
7th and final round after movement
Combat:
Han fired on the phantom on his seven without success and the return fire destroyed him.

Game over

In retrospective:

My red dices were on fire, as I got several times a lot of impacts and the green dices of my opponent were, well, greener than never. This was a pity as diluted the experience, but after a while it was so incredible that stopped being annoying and started being crazy-funny. I do not take any merit on this victory.

Stay on Target reads "When you reveal a manoeuvre, you may rotate your dial to another manoeuvre with the same speed. Treat that manoeuvre as a red manoeuvre". This card is a very good one but has a few pitfalls. First, the manoeuvre is red, which means that you cannot use it if you have already a stress token as a ship with a stress token cannot perform red manoeuvres (cf. core rules) and of course once performed, gives you a stress token which can be not so easy to remove. I liked the card a lot, it gives you a lot of flexibility (you pay for it, of course, but the flexibility is there). In the past I played a Fettigator (Boba Fett and Navigator) just because the flexibility it offers. There was a theory about this combination being a good way to counter pre-FAQ phantoms (using also Veteran Instincts to push Boba into PS 10). Maybe it could be combined also with him or even in a named phantom for extra options...

Blocking with phantoms is still a thing I will like to consider more as I'm still not so sure about my idea of cloaking when I expect the blocking phantom to be collided with. In this game I lost a shoot on Wedge for this reason. Yes, in this particular game I did not needed it, but that is not the point. From a strategical point of view maybe is better not to recloak and be able to attack.

Cloaking-Decloaking: this is something I still need to work on. I still have times when my phantoms are cloaked and I need them to decloak to be able to fire but doing so will put them in not so optimal positions to attack. This can be annoying and a serious problem.

Soontir: as good as usual, but recently it was suggested to me to replace him with Carnor Jax (Enemy ships at Range 1 cannot perform focus or evade actions and cannot spend focus or evade tokens) with the same upgrades which will make the four/five attack dice of the phantoms even more dangerous. I think this is a great suggestion and I am looking forward to try it, although I have only used him once and I am not so sure how to fly with him. I think I will miss the stress-focus from Soontir...

What if:
I am very curious about a parallel universe where on the second round of this game, Wedge and Han managed to destroy one of my phantoms on that single round, before he was able to fire, letting me with a cloaked phantom and Soontir at the end of round two.
We need to play again with those same lists :) :)

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Phantom always calls twice

Second game with my phantom based list:
  • Sigma Squadron Pilot (34) x 2 - TIE Phantom (25), Recon Specialist (3), Sensor Jammer (4), Stygium Particle Accelerator (2)
  • Soontir Fel (32) - TIE Interceptor (27), Royal Guard TIE (0), Push the Limit (3), Autothrusters (2)
This time against a Corran Horn - Horton Salm - Ten Numb combine:
  • Ten Numb (33) - B-Wing (31), Fire-Control System (2)
  • Corran Horn (37) - E-Wing (35), Fire-Control System (2)
  • Horton Salm (30) - Y-Wing (25), Ion Cannon Turret (5)
Set Up
I got initiative so I started with the placement of obstacles. As my three obstacles, again I took the bigger asteroids as I think that my list needs as much hard obstacles as possible. My opponent also was of the same opinion about his list, so we ended up with pretty a lot of big rocks :)
My phantoms deployed first looking towards the open lane in the middle of the battlefield.
All my opponent ships were PS 8, he deployed Ten Numb and Horton Salm on the centre and Corran Horn on my left side, so I deployed Soontir I-am-awasome Fel on my right with the idea to made him run towards the back and approach the centre from an angle.
Set Up
In the first round I went very slow with the phantoms, they did a 1 turn to the right, keeping the distance and letting my opponent come towards the centre.
Horton and Ten moved 2 forwards, whereas Corran approached the centre with a bank.
Soontir speed up toward the enemy and boosted towards the centre also.
End of movement on round 1
Round two saw a what-if moment. From my point of view, Ten Numb and Horton were having two options: either moving forwards towards the centre and the flank of my phantoms or turning to face Soontir. My doubt was what to do with my phantoms.
If the enemy moved forwards I was wondering about making a K-turn and wait for the next round to decloak and attack. In this scenario Soontir will bank to his right and boost behind the asteroid at the end of the battlefield to get cover against the two enemy vessels and try to approach them from behind.
If they turned to face Soontir, then he will need to go towards then to get maximum attack power and the phantoms should try to face the centre of the battlefield and be ready to fire, that mean, decloak.
During the game I usually found myself confronted with this problem, the need to decloak to be able to attack and the apparent bad positioning which this decloak was forcing me to.
However, in this case, I was lucky. I choose to decloak to the side and to turn, so that both phantoms were facing the centre. During the time that I took to think what to do, my opponent changed his mind about what he was going to do from moving towards the centre to chasing Soontir. So, his change of mind suited my final movement.
Corran Horn moved further towards the centre and Soontir closed on the enemy.
The attack round was furious as I concentrated all my fire on Ten Numb who lost several shields. Only Horton Salm was able to fire back against Soontir to no effect.
End of movement on round 2
For round three I was able again to predict the movement of my opponent, this time the obvious move of Corran Horn (except for the barrel roll) who moved towards the centre. So Soontir turned I thin 2 and placed himself right behind Corran.
My phantoms moved to try to block the wounded B-Wing, which collided with one of them. However in the picture the Y-wing seems to be were it was at the end of the previous round of movement, this is due to the fact that when it tried to moved, both the B-wing of Ten Numb and the Interceptor of Soontir were in the way, so it barely moved this round. No actions for them also.
The uncloaked phantom killed Ten Numb and Soontir started chipping down Corran :)
Corran, however, double tapped the phantom on the back, which lost its shields.
End of movement on round 3
On round four, there was no Ten Numb any more, so my phantoms tried to block the Y-wing. The clocked one (with the number 1) decloaked right and turned 1 to try to get arc on the Y-wing whereas the other did a 2 bank and finished cloaked more or less where Ten Numb was the previous round to try to block Horton. The Y-wing turned 2 and avoided the collision with the cloaked phantom but not to be in arc of the uncloaked one and in range 1.
Corran did a 2 turn to his right and Soontir just did a 2 bank to his left and barrel roll to get Corran in arc at range 1.
I don't remember the outcome of the attacks but I think that Corran was lucky and was either undamaged or lost one shield, not more. Horton was able to ionize the phantom with the number 1, the one on the right.
End of movement on round 4
Sorry about the blurry picture for round 5.
The cloaked phantom decloaked left and did a K-turn whereas the ionized one collided with the Y-wing and barely moved forwards.
Horton ran for cover behind the asteroid and Corran did a K-turn which I was not really expecting, however Soontir is so manoeuvrable that it didn't really matter and none of then was in arc of each other that suited me well enough.
Horton managed to ionize again the phantom which finished the round lossing its last shield. Now, both of then were shieldless.
End of movement on round 5
Round six saw the forced movement of the ionized phantom which cloaked to increase survivability as no target was in range, the other one did a bank to approach the cneter and wait for Soontir to turn around and join and also cloaked.
Horton decided to try to get after Soontir with the idea of placing an ion token on it whereas Corran went after the phantoms.
Soontir turned away from the incoming Y-wing and boosted to turn around towards the phantoms.
The cloak and the asteroid helped the phantom on the right to survive undamaged to attack of Corran who double tapped him.
End of movement on round 6
Round seven. The phantom on the left, without number, did a turn towards Corran without decloaking and landed on the asteroid, the other did a K-turn also to try to look for Corran, who being stressed opted to go straight forwards to clear off the stress.
Horton turned towards Soontir who said "ciao bella" to him by speeding and turning to his right.
This was the moment I was referring before. From a tactical point of view I needed the phantoms uncloaked to be able to attack Corran but decloaking will have placed then somewhere else without proper way to chase Corran. So I was having a nice position to fire but no possibility to do so...
End of movement on round 7
On round 8, the phanotm on the right, the one without number, decloaked to its left and did a 1 turn and cloaked to block Corran. The other one decloaked forwards and did a 1 turn to try to cover a left turn for Corran.
Horton was turning to follow Soontir and Corran surprised me again by K-turning. I seem no to be able to predict those K-turns which now appears so obvious when reviewing the game...
Soontir speeded to help the phantoms.
Corran double tapped the phantom to no effect and Soontir attacked him but don't remember the outcome.
End of movement on round 8
On the final round, the phanotm and Soontir closed into Corran who moved just forward, the second phantom tried to turn around the rock and Horton was still trying to get to Soontir.
The initial attack of Soontir destroyed Corran and we finished the round and the game.
End of movement on round 9
It was a very nice game. I was very lucky being able to take out Ten Numb so quickly at the beginning of the game. I think that this really pushed the balance in my favour. Also, this time I did not forget to use the sensor jammer and the autothrusters. Those two upgrades are great imho, Soontir was free to fly and to attack the Y-wing at range 3 without risk of being ionized and with nice chances of not being damaged by the responding fire.
I also liked the list of my opponent and he really lamented his change of plans on round two; this was for sure a key moment of the game for both of us.
I am looking forward to fly my list a few more times :) :)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

First flight of the Phantom - a X-Wing battle report

When I started with X-wing upon it release I was a bit frustrated with the game and I did not liked it too much, however some months later with more ships than the few ones coming with the core game on the table, I loved it.
However, for some unfathomable reason, I decided to buy only the ships that were part of the movies, so no HWK. Then wave 4 arrived and they were only ships not from the movies, so I passed. Shortly after I changed again my mind and got them but after reading on the web and watching videos of the way phantoms were played and taking into consideration that I was still learning to fly TIE interceptors I decided to let them rest in their storage box.
Actually, a friend of mine used one of my phantoms before I even considered trying it :)
Now, there is the new FAQ with new rules for the decloak and here I am trying my phantoms for the first time, maybe a little bit to late for the great decloak party but anyway...

For my first flight with phantoms I took two generic, low PS ones, which should be great blockers now and this little fellow called Awesome Fel.
My list:
  • Sigma Squadron Pilot (34) x 2 - TIE Phantom (25), Recon Specialist (3), Sensor Jammer (4), Stygium Particle Accelerator (2)
  • Soontir Fel (32) - TIE Interceptor (27), Royal Guard TIE (0), Push the Limit (3), Autothrusters (2)
My opponent knows that I like to fly Empire, so he went with the following Rebel list:

  • Dutch Vander (39) - Y-Wing (23), R2-D6 (1), Proton Torpedoes (4), Ion Cannon turret (5), Shield Upgrade (4), Wingman (2)
  • Dash Rendar (60) - YT-2400 (36), Squad Leader (2), Heavy Laser Cannon (7), Proton Rockets (3), C3P0 (3), Outrider (5), Engine Upgrade (4)
A very heavy two ship list, with a Dash on steroids.
When I saw that, something in my brain started yelling to me "stay outside of arc, stay outside of arc", which is one of the mantras of the TIE Interceptor although at that time I was having the impression that I was missing something and of course, try to get into range 1 of Dash because of the famous "donut hole".
For the Set Up, my phantoms were first, then his two ships and then Mr. Baron.

Set Up
I you can see we were using the new tournament obstacle placement rules, so each one of us took three from the two core sets and the YT-2400 and Decimator expansions and made the obstacle pool and place them following initiative order.
Having highly manoeuvrable ships I went for the biggest rocks, also Dash laughs about the debris clouds as he ignores then during the activation phase, therefore no roll of dice and no stress and as you can land on them and still shooting, he will have a lot of fun doing so and flying carelessly all around if you only put debris clouds or too many of them.
I placed my phantoms on the central lane to keep my options open and let Soontir la-mano-de-dios on the right with an open acceleration lane to the far end of the battle field.
Dash Rendar with engine upgrade is able to cover 9 units of forward movement on the first round (36 cm) and he will be able to fire at range 3 if you try to move towards him which is disturbing if you happen to have lower PS as my phantoms do. Therefore they turn 3 to the right, to keep the distance with the enemy and cloaked (free evasion due to the Stygium Acc.).
My opponent went soft with his ships and moved forward on a straight line.
The Baron went also forwards and boosted left to go into the back of the enemy.
There was no exchange of fire this round.
End of the First round
 Here I had a "what if" moment. My phantoms could turn to their left again keeping the cloak to seek cover behind the debris cloud and try to decloak next round to attack the approaching Dash or to follow Soontir to the back of the battlefield or could do a K-turn, still cloaked, to be prepared to confront the approaching Dash face to face also on the next round.
I was afraid of the jousting face to face which with Dash maybe was an error to be afraid of, so I decided to turn left.
He bank with the two ships and I think that Dash boosted forwards.
Soontir went forwards, boosted left and barrel roll to stay away from Dash, outside of arc of the Y-wing but keeping it within his own arc. This was the part when my brain was happy about the being outside of enemy firing arcs, however:

  • Dash has turret weapon and was in range, so Soontir was attacked by a Heavy Laser Cannon which rolled three impacts; Lady Fortuna gave Soontir three pure evades on the defence roll. So far so good.
  • Dutch Vander also has a turret weapon (surprise!!!) which I have forgotten about and he also attacked Soontir.
  • Soontir was equipped with autothrusters but maybe concerned as I was with the movement and options for the phantoms I totally forgot about it.
  • Relevance of it: I cannot tell because I cannot remember if Dutch rolled  two or three impacts. Soontir rolled one evade and two blanks; therefore if Dutch rolled two impacts with the forgotten autothrusters there will be no damage to him; if Dutch rolled three impacts there was no difference.
Any way, Soontir finished the round stressed (Push the Limits) and ionized due to the attack from Dutch. Just the dream of every Tie interceptor's opponent.

End of the second round.
I decided to decloak the phantoms to the left and made them turn 1 to the left. One managed to avoid the debris cloud and was able to focus (2 tokens because Recon Spec. and evade because Stygium Acc.), the other one only got the evade from Stygium Acc.
Dash was blocked by this second phantom, so no actions for him :)
And universal Karma made Dutch to collide with the asteroid, so no actions and no shooting for him which overcompensate the forgotten autothrusters :)
Soontir was forced to go 1 straight and to keep the stress.
Dash fired on the other phantom and here, again, I forgot something, the phantoms have Sensor Jammer, I designed then to be as tanky as possible and then I forget about it...
Anyway, that was end of round three.
End of round three.
On round four I made another miscalculation. I moved one phantom forwards over Dash and into cloak but for no reason I let the other one, which was flying behind, to fly onto Dash instead of over him. So no actions, therefore no cloak, ouch!
Dutch cleared the asteroid and approached the phantoms; Dash moved a bit away.
Soontir turned left just right on the border of the battlefield to approach Dutch from behind :)
There was some heavy shooting here, an one of the phantoms was ionized, the one closer to Dash. I forgot again to use the sensor jammer :(
End of round four.
The phantom closest to Dash moved the forced 1 straight of the ionization, the other one I cannot remember.
The Y-wing moved towards the phantoms and Dash started to turn around.
Soontir approached Dutch.
And it seems to me that I do not have a picture of the fifth round...

On the round six, one of the phantoms made a K-turn and the other one somehow managed to move close to the asteroid to block Dash who was turning. Soontir also managed to get there. Both phantoms have a evade, so both decloaked somehow and got no further actions, one because of the stress of the K-turn and the other one I have no idea, sorry.
The mixing picture of round 5 makes it difficult for me to recall the details.
Obviously there was some heavy shooting here, Dash fired against Soontir and both, Soontir and the left most phantom fired against the Y-wing, which was destroyed.
Anyway, end of round six.
Next round, obviously the phantom closed on the centre of the battlefield. The other one tried to use a rock for cover and Soontir just flyed pass Dash. This round finished with the death of the phantom closest to Dash.
Round seven at the end of movement
And we called it. We did not count victory points, but my phantom was 34 points and his Dutch was 39 points, so it would have been a modified victory for me. Not so bad taking into account all the thing we forgot concerning not only my ships but also his, for example, both of his ships were having ordnance which was not used (yes, we are aware about all the discussion concerning the uselessness of ordnance, and it can also be that he did not find a moment to use it, but I think, honestly, that he forgot about it).
A special comment about his list. Dutch Vander allows another friendly ship at range 1-2 to acquire a target lock after himself acquires one. So, he was moving Dutch (PS 6), making him to do another action apart from target lock (for example, focus) and then moving Dash (PS 7) and using his action to activate squad leader and ordering Dutch to acquire a target lock. This allowed him to give target lock-focus to either Dutch or to Dash according to the circumstances. I found it very nice.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Game's Club tournament - Round 3

Final round of the tournament, this time against Antonio who was flying a "Panic attack list" which he developed without knowing that he was working on an already known design, which for me probes that basic, solid design are sometime that people find again and again independently from each other.
His list:

  • Blue Squadron with Tactician x3
  • Gold Squadron with Ion Cannon Turret and R3-A2 (the so called stress-bot)
Both of us we were already tired after the other two rounds and the working day as the tournament took place Friday after work, so we made probably not the smartest decisions during the battle.
Anyway, I calculated more or less the amount of "pure" hits that his list was worth as 24 (each Blue is 3 hull, 5 shield and the Y-wing is 5 hull, 3 shield) whereas my one was about 28 (Vessery is 3 hull, 3 shield; the shuttle is 5 hull and 5 shields and each bomber has 6 hull) and I decided to go in a pure jousting run.

Set Up, ready to smash into each other
 Both of us moved forward, so that at the end of the second  round we were in range of shooting but I moved too far away one bomber and the other not enough so that I was not able to concentrate my fire on only one B-wing, so all his ships were alive after my initial salvo.
The end of round three is depicted in the awful picture here, it seems to me that my mobile phone was drunk, anyway we block nicely each other on the left side and on the right side my bomber was able to K-turn onto an asteroid (!) and Vessery was totally out of position.
Drunk mobile phone photo
 All his available ships fired on the shuttle which went kaboom. I was still trying to reposition my forces :(
Shuttle gone and Vessery looking for Vespene gas :(
 At the end, time was called and even after been able to destroy one of the B-wings it was a lost for me :(

Final round.
It was a nice confrontation but a bad game, we were tired and not really focused.

It was a nice, friendly tournament and everyone got something (cloak tokens, yepa!! )


Game's Club tournament - Round 2

After winning against Ciro I got to play against the other winner, our best player, Jose Luis as the other game between Andreas and Antonio finished in a draw.
He was supposed to fly a Ten Numb / Dash Rendar list for which everyone else was trying to find a counter. I have early on decided I wanted to try Vessery, so not worries on this front, or so far so good for me :)
However he shoed up with the following Dash/Corran list:

  • Dash Rendar with Veteran Instincts, Heavy Laser Cannon, Outrider and Engine upgrade
  • Corran Horn with R2-D2, Fire Control System, Lone Wolf and Shield Upgrade
A very tanky Horn and a Dash Donut of Death, copy-paste more or less from the more current meta.
Just to recap, my list was:
  • Vessery with Veteran Instincts (36 points)
  • Omicron with Adv. Sensors, Fleet Officer and Engine upgrade (31 points)
  • Scimitar x2 (32 points)
My list was 99 points, his was 100 points, so initiative was for me, with Vessery moving and shooting before Corran.
Set Up
 For the Set Up I decided to try to get all the asteroids on one section of the map and to avoid that section by deploying on the other side. Jose Luis, so far, has always deployed his two ships on opposite corners. This time he deployed Corran on one corner opposite my one and Dash in the centre.
I am aware of the incredible speed of a Dash with engine upgrade, so I decided to roll it slow in the first round (part of the battle field is occluded in the picture, actually I moved 1 forward with the shuttle and the rest of the ships moved accordingly).
End of the first round
 As you can see, he also moved slowly forwards, so that at the end of the first round we were not even close to engage in combat.

 For the second round I tried to start turning towards Horn using the Fleet officer with Advanced sensors to get the two focus tokens before revealing a green maneuver to clear off the stress immediately. My opponent kept moving slowly towards me. Again we were outside of engagement distance.

End of the second round.
 In the third round I "banked" again with the shuttle which was able to target lock Corran, I used barrel rolls for the bombers to cover the exit of the pocket where Dash and Corran were and stopped Vessery against the shuttle (I cannot remember now if on purpose or just by accident).

Third round after my movement.
 My opponent made Dash to slice out the pocket whereas Corran just came through it firing like crazy. I tried to block him on the fourth round.

Fourth round after my movement.
Fourth round after his movement.
 As you can see Dash was just flying around shooting with his turreted heavy laser cannon and, I must say, the Lady Luck was on his side; he did not stopped rolling impact after impact (we all known that a "hit" is not an outcome of the red dice ;D )
End of the fifth round
I was forced to try to regroup my forces after the dispersion on the fifth round, but lost the two bombers on the final round, without being able to seriously damage any of the enemy ships...
End of the game
To add salt to injury, I must say that my opponent was playing simultaneously on another table against Andreas and also beat him.
As I said, our best player :)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Game's Club Tournament - Round 1

Last posts I was talking about Colonel Vessery and how I was faring trying to do a list based on him and all my considerations about it. The reason behind was partially an official Store Championship and the totally un-official tournament at my local game's club.
At the end I was not able to participate in the Store Championship but only in the club one.

The tournament at my local game's club was very good. It was not limited to original copies of the cards, so it was possible to play "virtual" lists. We shared ships with people who were not having enough and we allowed to play with list generated by xwing-builder.co.uk including Scum and Villainy, so that you would be able to use anything you were able to come with as long as we were having the actual ships for you to play. There were some nice builds, I must say.
There were to be three rounds of 75 minutes with short breaks in between.
Nice thing was that precisely the day of the tournament we got our new gadget for the club, a laser liner which was the hit of the evening, we used it all the time :)

Before the actual tournament and as usually happens to me, I spent a lot of time and energy thinking about the list, the initial deployment, the approach to the enemy, etc. etc. just to kind of black out in the moment of the real thing and just play as it goes. This leads to interesting games, not so intelligent decision by my side, a bit of frustration and the feeling of wasted energy/time but always a huge amount of fun :)

I was expecting to fly against a Dash based build with a Ten Numb as side-kick. This was the list that our local best player was testing to go also to the Store Championship. However, at the end, he changed his mind and went there with a more or less established Coran / Dash list. You can read a nice report on this Store Championship tournament here.
Anyway, I was expecting this two ship list and made my plans for it, including my initial opening which I intended to use only against a two ship list; at the end I used it in all the games, with mixed results :)

My list (99 points):
  • Vessery with Veteran Instincts (36 points)
  • Omicron with Adv. Sensors, Fleet Officer and Engine upgrade (31 points)
  • Scimitar x2 (32 points)
My idea was to deploy the shuttle facing the approaching enemy, with one bomber perfectly parallel to one side; on the other side there will be Vessery and the other bomber slightly turned so that they will be able to block the shuttle by just going forward in the third round. The point of this deployment was to allow for Dash to move maximum speed as it has been the case in the test we played before so that at the end of round one none of my ships were below range 3, approach for a combine shooting in the second round and them instead of don't moving the shuttle with the red zero and getting one stress for nothing, use Vessery (placed in front of the shuttle the round before) to stop the shuttle, which will use Adv. sensors to get its action before not moving one green forward. This blocked one green forward will allow me to use Fleet officer as action to give two focus tokens to the bombers and clear the stress.
So, on round three, the plan was, bombers get focus from the shuttle which clears stress and does not move, they red K-turn with focus and Vessery white K-turn and focus.
For Vessery to be effective, on the second round I should have get some target locks on my intended target.
All this was based on the assumption that Dash was going to deploy on one corner and Ten Numb on the other, with Dash deploying in front of my shuttle as was the case on the test games, where he also moved forward full speed, boost or barrel roll forwards.
Spoiler alert: the real game the day of the tournament (my second game) didn't play this way...

Anyway, the first game was against Ciro. He was flying (100 points)
  • Luke Skywalker with R2-D2, Veteran Instincts and shield upgrade (37 points)
  • Tycho Celchu with Concussion Missiles, Veteran Instincts and Hull upgrade (34 points)
  • Airen Cracken with Homing Missiles, Adrenaline Rush and Engine Upgrade (29 points)
I got, obviously, initiative so that Vessery was moving and shooting before Airen.
We placed the asteroid in a kind of arc and after I deployed in my formation, Ciro decided to deploy his ships slightly apart from each other.
Here you have a visual story of the game. We finish after the fifth round as time was called and I got a win (5 points) as none of my ships was destroyed and I managed to destroy the A-wing of my opponent (spoiler ;D )
First round after set up, my movement and first movement of Ciro 
Close up of my formation. Notice the inclination of Vessery and the bomber.
Second round, just after my movement.
Second round, Ciro moves and closes on my force.
Third round, bombers do their red K-turn, Vessery and shuttle bump against each other.
Third round, Ciro forces fly away.
Fourth round, Vessery K-turn, bombers clear stress and follow the enemy, the shuttle starts turning around.
Fourth round, Ciro split his forces left and right.
Fifth round, the shuttle completes the turning (thanks engine upgrade) and bombers and Vessery close on the A-wing.
Fifth round, Luke is blocked by one bomber and the combined fire destroys the A-wing.

Aftermath
In retrospective, we fired upon each other only twice, maybe three times. Once on round two when we first met and I target lock everything I could, we were at range one of each other. I was not able to fire with one of my bombers as it was touching the A-wing and I think to remember than the other one was not having arc on it neither; so it was only Vessery and the shuttle firing on the A-wing.
On round four, there were some range three inconclusive shoots and finally on the fifth round I got the A-wing again on range one, this time of Vessery and one bomber.
As you can see I was not able to really concentrate fire on any particular ship; in round two only two of my four ships were able to fire on the A-wing, on round five, again only two were able to do so.
My formation looks more or less fine but maybe I need to fly it a bit different, maybe less linear, so that I can point all ships on the same direction with overlapping arcs.
Also, on round three Ciro made a tactical mistake, instead of taking target locks on my ships, he went for focus when it was clear that none of my ships was able to fire on him and that he was also not able to fire on me. However, I am not sure how much this could have influenced the final outcome, as flying the A-wing directly into my forces on the 4th and 5th rounds was more critical.
I was lucky with my dice and choices and Ciro was still warming up for the evening. It was a nice victory, but one not based neither on my formation, my flight plans nor superior tactics; just the combination of happy and less happy events.
Round two was going to probe this :(