Saturday, August 27, 2016

X-Wing Weekender Tournament Report (Saturday) - Sanctuary Gaming

As I mentioned yesterday, I've been to the Saturday of Sanctuary's X-Wing Weekender events. This event required two 100pt squadrons. You had to use them at least once in each game and got to choose at the start of each round which list to use having seen your opponents' lists. This I struggled with right from the start because I don't know the game well enough to really understand what a list is capable of. Anyway, here are my two:

Corran Horn, Push The Limit, Fire Control System, R2-D2, Engine Upgrade
Miranda Doni, Extra Munitions, Flechette Torpedoes, Twin Laser Turret, Thermal Detonators, Conner Net, Ion Bombs, Advanced SLAM, Sabine Wren

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice this is slightly different to what I posted yesterday. I dropped C-3PO in favour of Sabine which gives me better bomb damage and an extra slot where the Ion Bombs go. I had to swap the Torps but I think it's a good trade. I wanted to use Miranda as a bomb and flee the scene kind of pilot so Torps are just a points filler anyway.

Poe Dameron, Push The Limit, BB-8, Weapons Guidance
Han Solo, Push The Limit, Engine Upgrade, C-3PO, Gunner, Millenium Falcon

Game 1
Well, I failed completely here. We're playing in a doubles event at Sanctuary next Saturday which starts at 10 am. I'd got this time in my head so got to Sanctuary at 9.20 which I thought was nice and early. Sadly, the event started at 9 but since there were 11 players I'd just given myself the first round bye by default! Onto Game 2.

Game 2
This was my first competitive X-wing game in about 18 months and I've barely played casually in between so I was somewhat rusty. I chose to use Corran/Miranda against my opponent's Corran, Wes Janson & Sabine in a shuttle. Two PS8 pilots so I failed straight away when I decided to take the Initiative (having won the roll). That gave my opponent the chance to see what I'd done and boost away etc. Something I really should've been doing myself. Ah well. Lesson learned.

Miranda was the first to go down. Corran had done quite a nice double-tap on the Shuttle and taken it to a single hullpoint but leaving it alive meant it could do a nice block on Miranda and prevent her from SLAMing past Poe and dropping a Conner Net on him. With the benefit of hindsight I'm not sure the shuttle was actually at range two when he looked at my dial but I could be wrong and didn't know that at the time anyway. Sadly I wasn't taking photos at this point so we'll never know. Anyway, this left Miranda unable to do an action and hence stranded in front of his two X-wings having already taken some damage. I wished I still had 3PO at this point but nevermind.

With Miranda gone Corran had too much to do. He took down the shuttle but despite playing keep away for quite a while I could never get into a position where I felt safe to turn and shoot without losing him. I probably should've taken a gamble at some point but it was good practice at arc-dodging. Basically I ended up barrel rolling into trouble and paid for it. 100-29 loss.

Game 3
I didn't have to move tables at least. This time I deliberately chose Han and Poe to give me a go at using them. My opponent used three T-70s with Ello Asty, Blue Ace and Blue Novice all of which had Autothrusters which was frustrating (I'll come to that in the conclusion).

I played aggressively hoping to get behind him and take advantage of Han's turret and evasion. During the first salvo I managed to get Ello Asty down to a single hull but Han took some serious damage as I'd inadvertently put him at range 1 of two T-70s. In the next pass Poe did some decent damage on the Novice leaving him with two hull with help from Han. I just couldn't get into a position to finish off Asty though. Han ended up being in way too close and having been already damaged my opponent focused on him and with the help of a Direct Hit took him out over the next few rounds.

Poe now had A LOT to do on his own. However, in my favour was the fact that two of his ships could be fairly easily one-shotted if I could line them up. After taking some damage I was able to get a final blow on Ello Asty to improve his odds. Just as I was about to roll some dice my opponent rolled for his critical damage that he'd forgotten to repair and destroyed himself!

With time running down though I went for broke. I turned straight for him and tried to kill the Blue Ace. I'd have needed a Direct Hit but it was just about my only chance. I managed to get him into hull but I'd left myself exposed at the return Range 1 was enough to finish Poe off giving me a similar score to the last game, something like 100-37 I think.

Game 4
I'd come into the day hoping for at least one win. Technically I'd got one from the bye but I wanted to win properly. At least I'd killed ships in the first two games I played (OK so one took himself out but it counts as far as I'm concerned). I decided to go with Corran and Miranda because I really wanted to see what Miranda could do and have another go at arc dodging with Corran. I also felt that Miranda gave me the best chance against Whisper & Echo which were in one of the lists. He chose the other in the end anyway which was Maarek, Rexler and a TIE/fo with a Zeta pilot. He'd got tractors on both the defenders which I soon learned to fear!

I again played too aggressively with Miranda and accidentally dropped her in range three of one of the defenders with a SLAM. I got tractor beamed onto an asteroid causing damage and then was shot again. I then was in range of the other two ships and was hit hard. I think I was into hull straight in round 1! He'd positioned me well so that I would still go over the asteroid and therefore miss an action. This left me right in front of all three of his ships who were shooting first thanks to Initiative and the Adaptability boost. Once again, I never got to drop a single bomb and wished for 3PO!

Meanwhile, Corran had managed to barrel roll his way into range one of Maarek Stele and a swift double tap scored 5 damage leaving him on a single hull. Corran was totally undamaged at this point which helped a ton. I then spent a LONG time managing to dodge most arcs or just taking single shield and repairing with R2. My opponent started to get pretty unlucky though. He killed off Maarek going over an asteroid and the Zeta pilot took two criticals over some debris. The double stress limited his ability to add damage to his rolls too. I managed to get Corran into a position where I could K-turn and finish off the TIE/fo meaning I'd swung it from a loss to a win.

At this point I could've easily turned tail and ran to keep Corran alive and secure the win but with literally nothing to play for (or so I thought - there was a KitKat Chunky for last place!) I decided to see if I could finish off Rexler who'd lost two shields by this point. I barrel rolled into range one to see if I could double tap him down but he was behind an asteroid. That saved me nicely though as I rolled 3 evades on 4 dice to avoid the tractor beam and then three evades and a focus versus his shooting and spent a focus token to cancel all incoming damage. In response I couldn't quite finish him. I then had to try to get away going straight over the asteroid. I took some damage but he couldn't hurt me enough to destroy me and time was called giving me a 69-62 win (or something like that).

I finished 9th out of 11 which is hardly a stellar return to the X-wing tournament scene but I'm still pleased with the result. I learned a HUGE amount and was really proud of how I played Corran in the last round. I don't think I made many mistakes at all and was able to punish the ones my opponent made. He was certainly unlucky with the obstacles but I wasn't making him fly over them! I think he probably got too confidence when he killed Miranda so easily.

I really enjoyed using both Poe and Corran. In fact I'm going to try and come up with a list featuring both of them. There's something awesome about arc dodging that I find really addictive. I really need to get myself some Autothrusters though as they'd have definitely kept Poe alive much longer in my second game. I just don't want to start buying Scum ships (although I'm sure Matt would love it if I did).

Miranda is really frustrating. I know I used her totally incorrectly by getting her into the thick of it too soon but I think having the bombs on there makes you too tempted to do that. I should probably have been more patient and dropped some Conner Nets to hopefully lure my opponents into. I do think C-3PO would be better in this situation too. I've had some great fun with Miranda in casual games but I think she'll spend a good while on the shelf when I attend tournaments.

Ultimately, if I'm going to get better at this game I need to play A LOT more but if I can persuade Matt and/or Scott to play from time to time and attend more events I could see myself getting totally hooked. It's still refreshing compared to 40K. It's interesting how many people there had given up on 40K tournaments completely and were just playing X-wing. I can totally see why too. Outside of the events I run, I find it difficult to motivate myself to attend any more 40K events. It was nice to see some faces who I've met through 40K. Darren and Andy have been totally hooked on X-wing recently and their enthusiasm was infectious.

Friday, August 26, 2016

X-Wing Weekender Tomorrow

I'm heading down to the X-wing Weekender at the Sanctuary in Sutton-in-Ashfield. Well, that isn't strictly true. Obviously, as the name suggests it's a weekender so they're probably wrapping up the Friday night portion of the event as I write this. It was my sister's birthday tonight though so I couldn't make that. I had considered going to both the Saturday and Sunday but I've got too much on my (non-hobby) to do list for that. I settled on just attending the Saturday event.

This will only be my second ever X-wing tournament. There first being a Store Championship where I finished 12th of 24 players with a BBBYY list which I thought was pretty respectable given my lack of experience. Not sure how many players there'll be tomorrow but I'm aiming for top half again. I'm not optimistic though, this may be my second event but it's been nearly 18 months in between. I had no clue about Scum back then and there's a crapload more stuff out now for all three factions.

We've been doing some testing for the upcoming X-wing doubles event at the Sanctuary next weekend. That's the first X-wing we've played in month's though so we were a little rusty. Nevertheless the doubles requires two 100pt lists from the same faction so I wrote some Rebel list and Matt wrote some Empire ones. I won't go into what Matt came up with because that's what we're using in the end but my favourite Rebel lists consisted of these two:

Poe Dameron, Push The Limit, BB-8, Weapons Guidance
Han Solo, Push The Limit, Engine Upgrade, C-3PO, Gunner, Millenium Falcon

Now bear in mind a couple of things. Firstly I'm limited in the cards available to me. Luke Fogg generously offered to lend me any I didn't have but I wanted to see what I could do from my collection. Things like Autothrusters would've been good on Poe for example but I don't have the card and I'm not prepared to buy a Scum ship just for a card. Weapons Guidance is useful enough for the same points.

I like the triple action without stress from Poe though. Takes a bit of getting used to the positions you end up in but having that hard to predict move is good I reckon. He could do with a bit more firepower though. Han Solo is pretty damn durable though, it does make Poe a target earlier on though as he's comparatively easier to take down.

Corran Horn, Push The Limit, Fire Control System, R2-D2, Engine Upgrade
Miranda Doni, Extra Munitions, Plasma Torpedoes, Twin Laser Turret, Thermal Detonators, Conner Net, Advanced SLAM, C-3PO

This list is a lot more of my own invention. Now that I've done some googling it seems like a pretty standard loadout for Corran but that's reassuring if anything. I hadn't tried Corran out before the testing for the doubles and as soon as I tried him I was in love. That manoeuvre dial coupled with Engine Upgrade and the double-tap is awesome fun. The Fire Control System seems like a must.

Miranda isn't devastatingly powerful but unpredictable movement coupled with an array of munitions is a lot of fun to use. I love dropping a Conner Net on someone so that they know they're getting hit by it straight away. I used it to great effect in games against Matt. I'm not naive enough to think people won't be more used to coming up against it than Matt is but still, I don't get the impression it's that common so it might catch people off guard. I do worry again that Corran will be the obvious target.

Well, the tournament requires you to write two 100pts lists and pick one each round having seen your opponents' lists. I'm not going to pretend that I think these lists are brutally powerful or anything. They're good for what I want from this event though. Here's the key things for me:

  • Not too many ships - I know this will probably be a disadvantage at times but I'm not hugely confident with the game yet so less is more
  • High pilot skill - I should be moving last and shooting first against a lot of things and that again helps out with my inexperience. Less likely to make stupid positioning mistakes etc
  • Reasonably forgiving - the second list has regen capability and both lists have arc-dodging so I should be able to minimise damage
  • Fun - final and most important thing. I want to have fun at the event. I know these lists aren't the best I can come up with. They're also not the easiest to use. They're fun though and that's the difference in my philosophy compared to others in the 40K scene. It's why I don't win many events in 40K frankly.
Anyway, I hope this is the first of many X-wing events in the near future. I will, of course, let you know how I get on. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 07, 2016

Obligatory Burning Wreckage Tokens

Rest assured I'm still alive even though it's been a fortnight since my last post. I've actually managed to get a couple of games in recently as some warm up for Fluffageddon. Unfortunately, for various reasons I'm not going to be able to make Hero for a Day in a couple of weeks but you should read about in on Nick's blog and go along if you can. I think there's some tickets left.

Anyway, onto the subject of the post. I've been meaning to make a set of these for a long time so when my Mum bought some LED tealights but decided they were too orange I seized my opportunity. I also discovered that my Dad had a hot glue gun in the back of a cupboard in his garage to I was quids in. I won't go into great detail of the process since it's hardly an original technique but here's a brief outline:

1. Take some LED tealights like these. Some videos I've seen remove the "flame" so I tried both and ultimately decided it's better (and less faff) to leave it on.
2. Unravel some cotton wool balls and tease out to give more volume. I think I used about 3 per marker
3. Apply plenty of glue with a hot glue gun.
4. Stick cotton wool on in a random fashion to completely conceal the tealight
5. Give a generous coating of hairspray (again free if you're pinching from the missus) and allow to dry. This helps the cotton wool hold its shape during spraying.
6. Spray liberally with your favourite black spray paint (I used Army Painter)
7. Apply a second coat of black spray to the tips if you think it's necessary (I didn't bother).

The final result is really satisfying especially considering it took my all of half an hour to make them. There's really no excuse not to. If you're worried that they get a bit pricey if you're buying a glue gun etc then rest assured that you'll find plenty of other uses for it in your hobby activities. I find stuff falls off bases with just PVA so I'm going to be using the glue gun instead.

I'll hopefully be back later in the week with a progress update on something else I'm working on. I'm currently trawling eBay for some Ork and Space Wolf stuff to bolster my forces. I've also got a new attitude to painting that I'll cover soon.


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