So the 2014 Regionals for X-wing have come and gone, and while I failed to add any hardware to my display cabinet at home, I had a real blast.
Regionals were held at Sentry Box in Calgary, which is a well-known gaming store in these parts. The sizeable shopping area below is surrounded by a large gaming area on the upper level, a setup that allows tournament players to do their thing without touching butts with their neighbours or too much distraction from regular customers. The 26 players had more than enough room.
As the proceedings began, players unpacked their X-wings for a group photo. The final tally of 98 is pretty impressive, and could have been much higher if folks like me remembered to bring our X’s… whoops. At any rate, it was a display that would have made any Rebel general drool. I’m not sure what the current leader is for this little social media contest, but earlier it was around 50 so maybe we managed to get up there in the standings.
As for my tournament list, I decided to take the familiar Chewie B Stressin list that I’ve been playing with for the last little while. I’m starting to get sick of it, but it was 9-1 for me going into the event so I was very comfortable with it (except maybe against a swarm, that’s usually a tough matchup).
Chewbacca (42) w/ Push the Limit (3) Nien Numb (1) Engine Upgrade (4) Millennium Falcon Title (1)
Blue (22) w/ Fire Control System (2)
Blue (22) w/ Fire Control System (2)
Total = 99 pts
After sitting out round 1 due to a store champion bye, I drew a 7-TIE swarm featuring Howlrunner (with stealth) and her 6 Obsidian friends. My list didn’t like the matchup, but I put on a brave face and decided to just do my best. I set my B’s up slightly off-center, and when the Obsidians dropped in the middle of the opposing deployment zone I knew I had a chance. I deployed Chewie on the left flank where there were the most asteroids to mess up the TIEs’ movement, and planned to barrel roll my B’s to the left and once again use the rocks to maximum effect.
My opponent Nick made an early error, turning hard into Chewie but running multiple ships aground on an asteroid in the process. This spared Chewie the worst of the incoming fire and allowed him to escape intact, holding down the trigger all the while as the B-wings followed in behind doing the same. The swarm was never able to recover from this maneuver, and while I didn’t exactly play a flawless game myself (switching the dials on my B-wings at one point could have cost me big-time, but instead it just lost me 1 round of shooting from a single ship so it wasn’t a huge issue), the game was well in hand. 86-0 was the score when time was called.
For the second game (round 3 due to a bye, remember) my opponent’s list featured another 5 TIEs (Stealth Howlrunner and 4x Academy Pilots) plus Soontir Fel and the obligatory Push the Limit. Yikes, another list I wasn’t too keen to face. Only about 25% of the lists on the day were swarmy in nature, and yet I drew two of them in a row… there would be no escape for me this time.
Mike avoided any missteps, deploying on the side of the board I wanted to use myself and giving me few options for an approach. Going head-on with a swarm is suicide, and the middle wasn’t much better, so I had to try and use the opposite corner as best I could. I just didn’t have enough time to put any significant asteroids in play, so we met in the middle and my two B-wings were dust before they landed a single hit on the enemy. Chewie didn’t fare much better, all of his shots being dodged while a few stray shots on the edge of some TIE fighters’ range and firing arcs successfully knocked out all his shields before they even turned to face him.
So yeah, Chewie with no shields versus 6 TIEs with no damage on any of them… without Han in my list I can’t even get away with the “Never tell me the odds!” approach. I did manage to vaporize a TIE before I died, the only damage caused in the whole game. 12-99 loss. Dice did me no favors this game, as I negated a whopping 2 damage all game via green dice, even with a lot of incoming fire being at range 3. Sad face.
As always in a 4-round event, the final round was going to be crucial. There were prizes for the top 16 of 26 players, and 2-2 might not even guarantee you 16th spot. Many of us were aiming for Top 8 clear dice, so a win here was absolutely a necessity.
I drew Davyd, who I know pretty well through the local gaming groups in Edmonton. He was rocking a 4X list, with Garven, Tarn with R2-D6 and Opportunist, plus a pair of Red Squad pilots. Not a flashy list, but a decent PS value across the board, some action economy, and Tarn batting cleanup with Opportunist puts out pretty decent firepower. Good chance of a focus, TL and 4-5 dice each time for Tarn. Not my first choice for a list (no barrel roll or boost at all for repositioning shenanigans), but the list definitely has some thought behind it.
We deployed in opposite corners and Davyd raced along the board edge, with his Reds in the lead trying to circle around me, and his named Xs bringing up the rear. My B-wings intercepted his Reds before they could fully turn into the battle, and one of them clipped a rock so that his return fire was pretty minimal. Meanwhile Chewie was pretty much in the center of the board drawing all the fire, then hoping to boost away to safety in subsequent turns. My B-wings took down the Reds fairly easily, while Chewie took down Garven and then immediately died to Tarn in a particularly eventful combat phase. I could have played it safe and boosted out of range 1, but then Garven would have survived as well so it was a fair trade in my opinion.
The endgame was Tarn vs. a pair of virtually unharmed B’wings with Fire Control Systems, not a good matchup for the plucky X-wing pilot. As the positioning was a bit awkward and one wrong guess while trying to keep Tarn in the sights of both B’s could allow him to escape entirely, I decided to employ a system where each B-wing would take turns blocking Tarn, then K-turning and laying into him with (hopefully range 1) shots the next turn. This would keep Tarn sans focus, thus negating his agility advantage in the fight, and staggering my attacks also made it tougher for him to wind up with a Target Lock on a B-wing he could shoot. Finally, barrel rolling for position instead of focusing would often allow Tarn to use Opportunist, giving him stress and meaning his future moves would be more predictable for the next round of blocking. In the end, this complex series of maneuvers worked like a charm and Tarn was barely able to weaken the shields of his B-wing opponents before succumbing to the barrage of fire. Was this whole endgame plan unnecessarily complex? Yes, of course. But it seemed like a really good scenario to practice some fancy flying moves and it worked out just fine. 100-51 victory locked up a 3-1 overall record.
The 3-1 finish was almost guaranteed to land me in the top 8, with a slim chance at snagging 4th place and even slimmer chance of falling out of the running for those shiny clear dice.
As the remaining Round 4 results were entered, I slipped out of the Top 4 and settled in 6th place. Two players went 4-0, with 7 more tied at 3-1. Jean-Luc made the Top 4 with his 3-1 record and strong SOS, and everyone else from Edmonton that came down ranked in the Top 16 with 2-2 records all around. Not a single sub-.500 record, which is pretty cool!
We packed up the car and started the drive back home, while Paul kept us posted on the Top 4 elimination rounds. Paul’s 9 year old son, Jean-Luc, won the first game and ended up against Greg Jackson in the finals. Way to go, young man! Greg was able to pull off the win with his Golden Daggers build (which I quite like), but Jean-Luc proved his mettle once again by finishing first or second in yet another tournament. Jean-Luc’s usual build (Howlrunner w/ Stealth, Dark Curse, 3x Obsidians, Lambda Shuttle w/ Vader) is nasty, and while I have beaten it before, he kicked my butt hard at Imdaar with it. It’s simply a good all-around list, and while I could maybe see some elite Imperial builds giving it a hard time (repositioning out of firing arcs and hitting hard with firepower 3-4 attacks) I think it will still be pretty good for the coming months.
Well that’s it for now, folks! The next event coming up is Out of the Basement, and they are running X-wing on the Friday night (July 4th). So head over to the Facebook group and sign up ASAP, spots for other systems are going fast and there isn’t much time left to register!