Store championships at Mission wrapped up last weekend, and it was a good time. There were 14 of us who showed up to play, not the biggest turnout we’ve seen, but still plenty of good folks and strong players.
I brought another new list I hadn’t tried before, something that has been a real trend for me of late. When it comes to competitive play, it really does help to run with a list for a while and really get it figured out. What to do versus different matchups, what kind of deployment and opening moves work best, etc.
i had been fooling around with lists featuring Red Squad members for a few days and I really liked the thought of combining Garven’s focus hand-off ability with Biggs. Originally I wanted to try and stack focus and R2-F2 on Biggs, but since I didn’t just want to run 4 X-wings it just wasn’t doable within the points I had available. Chewie was pretty much mandatory as I got a sweet t-shirt from my sister featuring a surfer Chewie. The final list I settled on was as follows:
Chewbacca (YT-1300), Expert Handling, Gunner
Nothing too fancy, but against most builds it has decent defense through Biggs and the free focus he often ends up with to soak more shots. Once Biggs goes down, Garven passes his focus tokens off to Chewie, boosting his offense significantly. Chewie can also barrel roll when necessary to shed target locks, get into close range, escape arcs, etc. That extra flexibility on a large base ship is just unreal; you don’t always use it but sometimes it really makes a world of difference.
The PS 6/5/5 also doesn’t hurt against most builds. A bit of a waste versus some matchups, but anything PS1-4 will not like it (especially if they left points unspent for initiative bids versus other low PS builds). Now for the results!
My first match was against Jean-Luc. Despite his age, this 9-year old has a strong record and a great teacher in his dad. Jean-Luc brought Chewie with Gunner, Weapons Engineer and Millennium Falcon Title; a Rebel Operative with Ion Turret, Recon Spec and Moldy Crow Title; and a GSP with Push the Limit.
This game looked like it was going to be a runaway, as I really should have killed that GSP on the first exchange (he escaped with 1 hull) and on the next round of shooting I took out the Rebel Operative before he could fire his turret for the first time. Sad to see a ship take a half dozen or more focus tokens to the grave, but it happens.
The crippled A-wing came around and quickly got picked off by the YT-1300’s turret, meanwhile Jean-Luc’s Chewbacca rolled pretty hot and took down both X-wings. Garven went down in a single volley, 4/4 on damage, no evades and criticals including a direct hit. In the end though, my Chewbacca had I think 11 or 12 hit points left when he finished off the doppelganger. Jean-Luc just didn’t get any offense at all out of his support ships, and Chewie can’t kill everything on his own.
100-51 win for me.
In the second game, I matched up against Travis and his pretty standard Han Shoots First list. Han with Determination, Chewie, Engine and some upgrades I don’t recall, along with 2 Rookies.
In this game I fully intended to take out the Rookies first and then whittle down Han using my superior numbers. The PS advantage of all my ships over his Rookies, along with the focus shenanigans and forcing him to take long range/asteroid shots at Biggs, would have allowed that. The way it actually played out though, Han came screaming at me on one side of the rocks, and the Rookies were slow rolling on the flank. On the crucial first meaningful exchange, they could have made hard turns back into the middle of the board, which would have screwed me over royally if I tried to turn into them. Going straight wasn’t an option because it would have left me with few options in the future. So I really had no choice but to turn into Han at virtually point blank, and trust that the Rookies firing at long range through the rocks at Biggs would be pretty ineffective.
This approach worked out pretty nicely, as I laid into Han pretty good and managed a sexy little barrel roll with Chewie to get in behind his Rookie wingmen. Probably wasn’t totally necessary as Chewie would have been within Biggs’ aura, but it did leave Chewie with a ton of options for future turns so I went ahead and did it. Han really had his foot on the gas in this game, and one of his boosts brought him way too close to the board edge. There was nothing he could do to stop from flying off, leaving his Rookies really outmatched. In the end, I took them down before losing any of my ships.
~100-0 win depending on what Han had for those last upgrades.
At this point, I drew Paul and his rather interesting new list. He had Soontir Fel with PTL; Mauler with VI; a Gamma with Seismics, Concussions and Proton Torpedoes; and an Omicron Group Pilot with Darth Vader in the copilot’s chair. Paul is a seriously badass pilot, finishing first in the last two leagues and winning more than his share of previous tournaments. He managed to lose one of his first two games, and I knew that this game was going to be critical. Winning is always good, but losing to someone with a worse record than yours is really bad for the Strength of Schedule tie breaker system.
In the opening turns, Biggs went down like a sweet muffin, followed by Mauler and Garven, and I totally forgot to remove an enemy target lock from Chewie when he barrel rolled via Expert Handling. Paul was wondering what the hell I was doing, but he didn’t say anything at the time. Later in the turn I saw the token hiding under Chewie’s hull and totally felt like an idiot. Oh well, he made up for it by reducing the Bomber to dust before he could use that token! So in the end it came down to Fel and the Vader Shuttle versus Chewie. Man that was quite a little duel we had going for a while there. Fel could not be hit, and the Shuttle takes forever to kill.
One of the better moments came when the shuttle gambled on a bold move and ended his turn on a rock. He took the hit and lost his shot. Best of all, I had the Falcon in position to block him next turn, so that he would end his move on the rock again. Finally an opening I could capitalize on 🙂
After many, many turns of maneuvering it all came down to Chewie with 2 hull going head-on with Fel with 2 hull. If I rolled either a focus or evade on my one green die, I had him. If I didn’t, I was dead. The fateful die came up blank, and when we rolled it out for fun Chewie would have blown Fel out of the sky if given the chance. So close!! I hate Fel 😛
Going into the final game, I knew I was in trouble. 2-1 with a low SOS meant that even a win didn’t guarantee top 4 in the standings. For an opponent, I drew Travis’ brother Dean and his ridiculously high PS Rebel list. Wedge with VI and Engine; Luke with VI and Engine; and Ten Numb with VI. Three dodgy elites with PS 11, 10 and 10. This was the first match where my 6/6/5 setup really didn’t pay off at all!
Things looked like they were going well, as he deployed right where I wanted him. Sadly he made a fairly hard turn to my left, which is the one angle I didn’t want him to approach from. In the opening couple exchanges, the only ship I could focus on was Ten and the bugger was evading damn near everything I could throw at him. Hard to believe that the agility 1 ship could dodge like that, but he did. And he made Chewie pay by hitting him for 4 damage when he should have been dead. Ugh!
When Chewie went down after only taking like 4-5 volleys total, it was my fully intact Garven against fully intact Luke and Wedge with just 1 shield missing. Time to put your hard hat on and go to work, Garven.
I wish I had some pics of his efforts, because they were a thing of beauty. He snagged a TL on Wedge earlier, since I knew he had to die first. I also read the situation like a chess master, and predicted Dean’s moves perfectly for once. I figured Luke would probably turn into Garven, while Wedge did a K-turn. If I turned in with a hard 3, I figured I might be able to stay out of Wedge’s arcs and force Luke to bump me. Plan worked like a charm, and I was able to hammer wedge without spending my TL, while taking no shots in return! In the subsequent round, Garven and Luke did K-turns, while Wedge just had to do a straight 2 and a boost to try and put distance between himself and Garven. There would be no escaping his wrath, as Garven took down Wedge and a showdown was brewing with Luke.
Luke and Garven whiffed on their initial pass, just knocking off a single shield from each other, and they did a bit of fancy flying trying to get the upper hand on each other.
A few turns later Garven scored the first real damage in the duel, dropping Luke down to just 1 hull! Sadly he never got a chance to finish off the young Jedi-to-be. A K-turn would have landed me on a rock, and the way the rocks were clustered, damn near every turn I could make had a rock in the way of the subsequent K-turn. Maybe it was the fatigue, but I couldn’t figure it out. Board edge was just past the side of the picture frame above, rocks were everywhere I didn’t want them to be, and I never rolled another red die again. I quickly took a crit that meant red maneuvers could end up killing me, and I felt the noose tightening. Just kept getting whittled down until Luke finally finished me off. So close to the epic comeback victory, but it was not meant to be!
In the end, we had just a single player go 4-0. Congrats to Rob on the 8x Academy Pilot list running the table! My final opponent, Dean, also vaulted to second place in the standings after beating me so good on him as well.
My 2-2 record was enough for 7th place. Not quite the result I had expected, but probably the one I deserved by playing with a list I had never practised with before. A little more preparation could have made a difference when my two losses were so incredibly close. Slightly better decision making or luck could have easily reversed one of those decisions and given me a shot at the title, but in the end I had a ton of fun and there will be plenty of other chances for glory in future events.
Regardless of the final standings, this was a great Saturday of gaming and I am glad to have taken part. See you all again soon, boys!