Fistful of Dice in Portsmouth held their second casual tournament of the year this past weekend, with eleven intrepid pilots taking up the challenge for the spoils of a late Q…sorry…Seasonal kit.
Recently the Thursday night regulars at Fistful (including yours truly) have been looking at forming our own squadron. We’ve become a good little group of mates, share some good banter, and dance to Depeche Mode together, so thought why not!
So this was the first outing for Blue Squadron, and a pretty damn successful one it was too. There’ll be more details about Blue Squadron on the Portsmouth X-Wing Group page soon.
First off, without a venue and people to help run it there would be no tournament, so big thanks to Fistful, and for John for being the TO. Everyone agreed that it was a very smooth day. Secondly, it may not be the biggest tournament, but this was a thoroughly great group of guys to spend a Saturday in a basement with (make of that what you will).
This is my second tournament of the year. Back in February I went 3-1 on a day I was pretty proud of.
Could today be any better? Let’s look at my list.
Quickdraw – Spec Ops, FCS, Advanced Optics, Expertise, Lightweight Frame
Colonel Vessery – X7, TIE Mk II, Expertise
Seinar Specialist – TLT
A pretty straightforward list using my two favourite Imperial pilots. I’ve played 12 or so games with this list in various guises, but I changed Vessery to X7 the day before, whipping off an Ion Cannon to make him more survivable whilst dropping VI on QD to make way for a second Expertise card. Risky! I can be rather impulsive.
Round 1 – Chris Johnson
Norra – Vectored Thrusters, Expertise, Alliance Overhaul, R5-D2. C-3PO
Shara – Vectored Thrusters, Adaptability, Alliance Overhaul, R5-K6
Fenn – VI, HotShot Co-Pilot, R2 Astromech
I told Chris before we started that some fellow Chris’s at work had agreed that the term for a group of Chris’s is a ‘fantastic’. We weren’t quite enough to be a Fantastic of Chris’s but we both hoped the game would be. Two Arcs was not something I was expecting but I hoped that if I could get stuck into one of them early I could turn things my way.
We setup pretty much facing each other but I quickly turned away and moved along my board edge, as I hoped to drag his ships through the rocks. If one could end up slightly in front or away from the others perhaps I could take it.
Norra was that ship (I really wanted the regen off the board!), with Shara taking a bit longer to turn in and Fenn splitting off the other way. Chris hasn’t played as much as he’d like and I think we both figured that moving his coordinate away made things harder. Vess got R1 of Norra, then did the classic 4K behind as QD came in. Norra fell to focused fire (the TLT doing a nice job too), and I felt more confident. Vess by this point was on 1 hull so I flew him out of the way.
A blocked Shara still managed to trade hits with QD, taking them both off the board. The Aggressor began chipping away at Fenn whilst Vessery blocked, and I had my first win of the day. Fair play to Chris, it was a fun game. Shame we can’t see more of him.
Round 2 – David Hawkins
Lothal Rebel – Autoblaster Turret, Rey, Reinforced Deflectors, Courier Droid
Lothal Rebel – Autoblaster Turret, Zeb, Reinforced Deflectors, Courier Droid
AP-5 – R3-A2, Courier Droid
37 hit points.
That’s a terrifying amount of health to chew through. So after my initial joy at my win, I felt pure terror in my gut as I saw David’s list. How the hell was I going to get through that!?
The answer then came to me. Patience.
Rocks were set in an L, and I immediately knew that in open space I’d be dead. So I went to nestle in behind the rocks and let him come to me. I think David knew my plan and was wary of getting caught up. So there was no shooting for 35 minutes! Everything in me was shouting “shoot him!” My gut reaction in X-Wing is ‘screw it, shoot them’. But I held off, and sure enough the Rebels came my way.
Once it became clear we’d have to engage, I tried to get stuck in. I managed to get a Blinded Pilot onto the first Rebel just as I was R1 of it! Fortunate. I was fortunate again when two Autoblasters did zero damage to Vessery.
One of the VCX’s went down, and I lost QD. That seemed fair. The Aggressor was pulling a masterclass in range control, with a few tasty barrel rolls (if I do say so myself), keeping him out or in trouble as much as I wanted. Over time I chipped the other VCX down, whilst AP-5 was off and away from the battle.
The final round of the game is actually quite hard to write. So far I’d displayed patience and skill with how I’d played, whittling down this scary list. I’d had luck but it felt sort of justified with how well I’d flown. In fact I’d say it’s the best I’ve flown ever in four years of playing.
But then I made a mistake. The VCX was in the corner, with Vessery behind after a nice 4K (what else?).
We’d started the round. The buzzer went. I forgot about the Autoblaster and rolled into R1 for a kill shot.
WHY DID I DO THAT.
I didn’t manage to finish it, and got Autoblastered off the board. David won on points.
This was a hard one to take. I’d faced down a list I didn’t fancy at all and got within seconds of beating it. I went into lunch extremely deflated. David could see how I felt and was very gentlemanly about it. Fantastic opponent.
That picture of us shows you the smile of a man who just threw it away and can’t yet see the positives.
Round 3 – Daniel Smith
Asajj Ventress – Double Glitterstim, Push the Limit, Latts Razzi, Gyroscopic Targeting
Ketsu Onyo – Double Glitterstim, Fearlessness, Dengar, Shadow Caster, Gyroscopic Targeting
A bit of lunch and a good chat with the rest of Blue Squadron later, I was ready for another game.
The previous game taught me a lot, so at the sight of two Lancers I went for a similar approach and stuck to my plan of hugging the rocks and staying safe until an opportunity presented itself. Dan didn’t have a great approach, hitting a few rocks on the way, and that luck continued with his dice rolls. His greens in particular deserted him as I managed to get to Ventress with Ketsu out of range.
Ventress went down to focused fire from all three (TLT again chipping away! Great little ship that Aggressor). I’d taken some damage and got thrown onto a few rocks but hadn’t lost anyone yet. Fair play to Dan, Ketsu had me worried, even when she was down to 1 hull. I feared a turnaround, but managed to finish the job.
I could see Dan wasn’t too happy so gave him a hug, got a picture (cheers dude), and moved on.
Round 4 – Pete Mugridge
Rey – Millennium Falcon (HotR) Title, Finn, Countermeasures, Expertise, Kanan, Smuggling Compartment
Jan Ors – Vectored Thursters, TLT, Wired, Chewie
Top table. I was not expecting it but still very pleased. High above the Death Star, Pete and I would once again face each other in tournament battle. Last time I pipped him in a closely fought and well flown contest. This time? I’ll admit some trepidation as I’d already flown against his ‘janky’ list a new nights previously and been fairly soundly beaten.
But now I had a newfound patience and confidence with which to tackle him!
Once again I ran for the cover of the rocks. But Pete didn’t muck around. He came up and cut across the board, catching me out. The Aggressor could still kite, and QD was far enough away to get into a better position. But Vessery was going to get caught, so I turned him in to face the enemy. We then sort of criss-crossed each other, with Jan flying right through TLTing, whilst Rey and Vess switched positions with Sloops and 4Ks. QD cleared off to come back round.
Vess did some good damage to Rey, but took a beating too before being blown away, leaving the Aggressor and QD to come back round. QD didn’t last much longer, so with the clock ticking down it was between his list and my Aggressor.
I think I flew that little turret pretty damn well, and then the buzzer went. Jan was gone, and Rey was on two health, whilst ‘Little Aggie’ was on the same. Rey had been knocked down to PS0, so I turned in to make sure I could get a TLT shot. Yeah my MOV would be better if I lost on a points count, but there was a chance to win and I went for it. I only managed to take out one of the two hull, leaving Rey clear to win the game.
Pete and I have a habit of having cracking games each other and this was no exception. I need to be more careful with calling his lists janky in the future. My second post-buzzer tight loss of the day.
So that leaves the final table looking like this.
|Peter Mugridge||4||651||Rey and Jan||Rebel|
|David Hawkins||3||499||Two Lothal Rebels and AP-5||
|4||Phil Rawles||3||477||Three T70’s||
|Chris Cooper||2||515||Quickdraw, Vessery, TLT Aggressor||Imperial|
|Don Shields||2||391||Three Silencers||
|7||Chris Johnson||2||331||Norra, Shara, and Fenn||
|Jack Prowting||2||330||Three Crimson Bombers||Rebel|
|9||Dan Smith||1||277||Asajj and Ketsu||
|Ewan Whitmore||1||266||Quickdraw, Inquisitor, Yorr||
|11||Nick Bird||1||201||Poe, Jess, Gunship||
Lots of Rebels! A nice mix of ships though isn’t it?
2-2 is average, but I think the MoV tells the real story. Personally I feel that this is the best I’ve ever flown, and is proof to myself that I CAN fly decently when I give myself a chance. Sure, I could have gone 4-0 if I’d been more cautious, but that’s not me. I call X-Wing ‘Pew Pew’ for a reason; ultimately I want to shoot ships. It’s my personality and my preference. So even though it cost me I’m glad I was true to myself. I showed patience and some decent decision making for once and it helped me massively. Lessons definitely learnt for the final months of 1.0, and for 2.0!
For 2018 I’m 5-3, which I’m pretty bloody pleased with. I might get one more tournament in before 2.0 comes around. No idea if that list will include a Reaper or not, but after this showing I’m looking forward to further proving to myself that I can play the game I love to a decent level.
Thanks for reading, and Fly Casual!