I had a conversation with a good friend a while back and realized that I had been a bit bummed out for a while. I'm an avid gamer. I love solving problems and creating them for others. But after coming back home last year and feeling kinda separated from a lot of stuff and that included gaming, I was in a strange place, cause I'm an upbeat kinda guy. I'd gotten in little fits of gaming but haven't been doing anything regular. Like gaming islands in the ocean they were little awesome surprises but all too fleeting. But the support of good friends always gets you through things and this is no different.
So this weekend there was a small X-wing tournament at JimCon 4, and a few friends asked me if I'd come out for it. Waking up for 5am to make the two and a half hour drive wasn't something I was looking forward to but I'm really glad I did.
After talking with my friends in the week prior and them inviting me out, I got kinda excited. Even my wife noticed a difference. With the World Championships going on at FF in the states I was glued to twitch and reading everything that came out of Team Covenant. I wasn't looking for hints or insights but I was really kind of living vicariously and building a bit of excitement one game at a time.
I hadn't played much since the Regional Tournament, maybe a handful of games if that, and all with Y-wings. After running Tie Bombers at Regionals on a dare I had been flying the much maligned Y-wing to enjoy all of it's glory. I love the things. They're the Warthog (A-10) of the X-wing world. So ugly only a mother could love.
The Gold Squadron of Y wings I run
But I wanted to try something different. I was looking at all the wingeing (constructive conversations) about Fat Han and Phantoms and the crisis of the Meta, a bunch of crap in my opinion, I wanted to bring something a bit throw back, with a lot of punch and that wasn't using the new toys to do it.
So pouring over the cards I thought to myself, what do I put together that can deal with all of this new stuff. I needed it to stand up to a 4 die attack or the rerolling madness of a turreted falcon. There it was, right in front of me. My old friend, the B-wing. I grabbed two Blue Squadron B's and went on my way. I pumped them up with Fire Control Systems. The life of a B can be stressed and or needing augmentation and getting an action for shooting is something I could live with. I then went out on a limb, and grabbed a Heavy Laser Cannon for each. Sighed deeply and hoped I had made the correct choice.
Was it too many points? Could this just be alpha'd by a high PS squad flying in hard and fast before I could even use it? A B-wing has 5 shields, 5 hits can be taken before crits could basically end the HLCs and the whole point of the B. I wanted to beef them both up and I decided to do that with Biggs. I'm not a huge Biggs fan, I may have flown him once before so being new to him brought some risks. But he did add essentially 5 Shields to my squad. I added nothing to him as the plan was for him to die, and not wanting him to take much with him I left him bare.
I had thirteen points left which I filled up with a Bandit pilot in a headhunter. He was going to fly with the group at first and then fly hard and fast to give the enemy a second target that wasn't Biggs trying to draw some fire and to be a blocker, and he was great at both.
I'm loving the versatility that the Headhunter has brought to the Rebels, it's still tanky by comparison to Imperial stuff but really cheap and great filler for a Rebel list.
I was hoping this stay alive long enough to deal out the damage I'd have to do.
So I showed up a few minutes early and was greeted by Michael Haire, who had invited me to come as he was running the tournament at JimCon and Mark Burke of internet fame and stardom (Silentubiqity for you vassal fans). He's one of the cool kids who's making vassal better for X-wing players, and he's a beast in the Team Covenant Open. Mark had been bugging me to come and I'm really glad he did, it got me out and seeing him there I knew there was going to be a really cool list, with some amazing flying ahead.
In Regionals he ran a really mean list with a bounty hunter, Soontir Fel and a Doomshuttle. But more on that later.
So small turnout but those that were there got matched up quickly with a new app, they have apps for everything, and I was facing off against Andy. He's a dude. With a beard. Beard dude.
He's new to the game and was running a pretty cool list. He wanted a mix of firepower and numbers with speed and violence, something I'm all about!
He took Soontir and Kir up front in interceptors, and ran Howlrunner, Backstabber and an Obsidian pilot. Stupid Obsidian pilot. It took everything to kill him.
The game was basically a joust up the middle. I got lucky going up the middle and dropped Soontir with the first volley from the Heavy Laser Cannon. The following turn we traded more fire and Biggs bought the farm while Kir and Howlrunner went up in flames. A turn or two of repositioning and he took out my bandit and the last of his ships blew up, with the Obsidian just irking me the whole time. I tried and tried and tried but just couldn't make him go down until the final shots.
100 - 37 for me.
The second game was against Jer, he's a jerk and we're not friends. He's an awesome dude in reality, great guy fun to hang with.
He ran a SERIOUS shuttle with a tie escort.
So Capt Jendon hired everyone for this one. His shuttle had a HLC, Anti pursuit lasers, Title, sensor jammer and both a rebel captive and a weapons engineer. 48 pts of mean machine. If you shot at him you could be stressed and have your shots turn to focus, all the while he could hand out target locks to a bunch of ties which is really mean.
Mauler was there with Predator as was Backstabber and Dark curse.
Three named ties and a big space cow. This would be interesting.
We started in opposite corners, with me racing up the side to get into a good position to roll in over the asteroids on my side while he slow played in, with Mauler taking off with a target lock and speeding away. He was trying to set up a horseshoe ambush but Maulers K turn kept him in my arcs by a fraction of an inch. Again the first shot of the HLC ended Mauler, and the next turn Backstabber. We did a dance with the fight rolling around the board and eventually back into my deployment zone where I finally caught the space cow and Dark Curse.
And Biggs lived.
100 - 0 for me.
Jer is pretty excited to see Scum and Villainy come out and it's awesome to know a great guy who'll be playing them with gusto in the new year. JER WE'RE STILL NOT FRIENDS! lol.
So the final game was going to be Mark and myself we knew it, and asked if there was a break for lunch, we were politely told no, that the next games would start ten minutes after time was to be called for this round, or 1230. So on that note Mark and I drove off to get lunch.
We had a great time chatting it up on all things X-wing and life and then drove back to finish it all off.
I met Mark at the Regionals and since then we've kept in contact online, chatting it up on lists and games, and I've avidly followed his Vassal play learning a ton from him and I couldn't wait to play him again.
|Mark setting up in one of his other matches.|
During the weeks prior we had talked of lists we were thinking of and he had stated he hoped it wasn't all Fat Hans, and that he was going to run Corran Horn. I should have known. He ran both lol. It was a super cool list. Han done up in style with Falcon title, determination, Gunner, C3-PO.
Corran Horn was tough as well with R2-D2, Push the limit and a Fire Control System.
I set up in a pinwheel thinking he was going to set diagonally from me and make me fly through the asteroids to get him. I changed up my formation putting a headhunter upfront instead of both B-wings. The thought was that I'd roll in with a Barrel roll, to put three ships facing the right of the table, like Paul Heaver taught in his article. In reality he setup with Corran where I thought he'd be but Han pretty much straight ahead.
We moved in but Han ended up a millimeter out of range of the headhunter. So back to dials it went.
I figured Han was going to try and make a run diagonally across the table, making me chase him through the asteroids while Corran crossed through and double tapped me killing me off one by two.
So how to stop this, at least for a moment? Bandit time. I swung him in with a 3 hard right. Trying to block the most available positional area as the B's slow rolled in with 1 banks with Biggs in tow.
Big surprise was he went the other way and swung in to my left towards the board edge.
Shots were fire and well, amazingly the bandit dodged all of Corrans shots while Biggs lost his shields. In return I dropped the majority of falcons shields, 4 I believe.
Dials was the Scary point. The last thing in the world I wanted was for Han to sing away hard with a 3 hard getting in behind me and tunning me up. So I bumped my First B into him with a one bank the other B pilled up behind. I wasn't super worried about losing my actions as the FCS gave me target locks. Now Biggs was the big deal, I gave him a hard left putting him precariously close to going off the table with his next move, but losing him was inevitable. It's Biggs afterall.
He was stuck in place. Han couldn't move and that meant I could pound away on him. He killed Biggs, but I ended up taking down Han and then it was a bandit and two pretty clean looking Bs vs Corran.
Two passes later and it was done. Corran is super slippery but the two HLC could catch him at long range and really hurt him. I was just happy the bandit lived.
100-25 for me.
To speak to the sportsmanship and just general awesomeness of my opponent Mark, I made a stupid error, I went left instead of right. I laughed about it, oh well, but he was like no worries dude just do what you were gonna do. He's that good a dude. Oh you totally botched the only part of the game you're responsible for? No worries. Again, I can't say it enough if you ever have the pleasure to play him do it. You'll be a better person for it.
My dice were liking me, his were a bit cold. In the end I think we're just gonna have to keep playing a bunch of games against each other, and I don't think anyone is upset about that.
It was only due to blocking that this game ended in my favor and the two of us are perhaps now more excited than ever to play.
He's gonna teach me how to play vassal and I'm pumped to get in more flying hours.
All in all it was great fun and really snapped me out of my funk which I'm really grateful for. I'm renewed with vigor to play X-wing and I can't wait until my next game with fun new builds.
Who knows I might even fly A-wings.
Until next time.