Well... how was it for you?
Thursday was the day that X-Wing Second Edition was released and hopefully most of us have had the chance to indulge ourselves with the new game. Personally I've had two days to froth wildly about X-Wing, having taken Thursday itself to spend the day playing X-Wing as much as humanly possible at Element Games in Stockport, UK before returning to the store 36 hours later for their Launch Celebration tournament.
We were going to be playing 5 rounds of swiss and, although I'd spent the last couple of weeks posting Ten Squads in Ten Days there was was really only one ship I wanted to fly...
- Han Solo - Trick Shot, 0-0-0, Rigged Cargo Chute, Lando's Millenium Falcon
- Captain Nym - Dorsal Turret, Trajectory Simulator, Proton Bombs, Seismic Charges, Genius, Hull Upgrade, Havoc
- Palob Godalhi - Elusive, L3-37, Moldy Crow
The Junkyard Falcon was probably the one of the Ten Squads in Ten Days that I got most excited about when writing my blog about it, but if you paying real close attention you'd have noticed that I did say that I hadn't actually shared my latest version. This is my latest version, trading the Trandoshan Slaver for Captain Nym. In truth the Slaver's never done anything wrong and hadn't dropped a game but I just love playing with Rebel Nym and his bombs, and they certainly have proven a huge help in games against both Aces and Swarms. The amount of board that Nym can control with a single Seismic Charge is enormous, especially as he now has the old Rebel Nym ability to delay when they detonate.
I spent Thursday playing a sample of different squads but everything I played that wasn't the Junkyard Falcon just felt flat to me. This is what I was pining to play the whole time and so as Saturday morning rolled around there was no real decisions to make ahead of the Launch Celebration event. All I had to do was pack up my stuff and head over to join the party!
I don't really believe in doing tournament reports but as we're all trying to gobble up every bit of Second Edition information I'm afraid you'll have to indulge me this time...
ROUND ONE - Simon Fullalove
(Rear Admiral Chiraneau & two Sienar Specialists)
The TIE Aggressor is pretty low on my list of things I like in 2nd Edition but as we were setting up Simon told me that he'd run four of them in 1st Edition so it's obviously pretty comfortable territory for him to be in. His full list looked like this...
Chiraneau had Focus mods for days, with Vader, Kallus, Fifth Brother all sitting on top of RAC's own pilot ability. It felt like a lot of overkill to me but there was no doubt that I didn't much want to be getting caught in Chiraneau's way too often because the crits would be flying. I didn't really have much gameplan for this one, and mainly I was just curious to see if Simon had found something in the TIE Aggressors that I hadn't even though to look for.
Unfortunately for Simon I think the answer probably turned out to be 'no' and the focused firepower of my list was too much for the Aggressors to take. Simon got a couple of Cluster Missile shots off, but without any real dice mods behind them they only served to scratch a bit of paint before the pair exploded on back-to-back turns. Each time I was 1 damage short of killing them, but then had a bomb handy the next turn to finish the job.
That left Rear Admiral Chiraneau in his command ship and my fleet swarmed in on him. Two things happened of note: first of all I completely forgot about Vader and decided to leave Palob on 1 health without a Focus token... duh! The second thing was that an early Hull Breach and Fuel Leak on the Decimator led to it's sudden and unexpected demise as Han dealt him EIGHT damage with one shot!
This is an all-new thing for 2nd Edition in how Hull Breach interacts with cards like Direct Hit and Fuel Leak to stack more and more crits, which are now capable of being another Direct Hit or another Fuel Leak! In poor RAC's case a Fuel Leak sparked a catastrophic chain reaction...
WIN: 200-93 (Palob dead, half Nym)
ROUND TWO - Lee Duncan
(Whisper, Rexlar, Duchess)
All the fives, Lee was bringing a trio of Imperial Aces at Initiative 5...
Unfortunately for Lee I think my squad is really well matched against aces and as his ships hared down the flank at top speed a single Trajectory Simulated Seismic Charge created all sorts of problems that I don't think he ever recovered from. Both Whisper and Duchess cut their attack runs short to avoid getting into range of the asteroids if my Seismic Charge went off and that meant Rexlar got separated, with the TIE Defender eating fire from all my ships and losing his shields.
|One Seismic Charge turned this...|
From this point Nym was just able to control the flow of the game with his bombs as he pinned the Seismic Charge in place for several turns, forcing Whisper and Duchess to split up and leave the fight, while Rexlar ate a Proton Bomb on his way out of the back of the battle. It all meant that Lee's forces were now spread all over the map and I was able to pick them off one by one. Whisper went first after Palob drained her tokens away then Duchess made a brief escape bid before Han reeled her in.
By the time Rexlar found his way back into the fight he was 1v3 and no match for all my anti-ace trickery. Between Nym's area control, Palob's token stripping and Han's ability to overwhelm green dice with big hits I think my squad is just really good against aces. I've also got 180 degree arcs on my ships so there's a lot to try and arc-dodge, which also meant his Outmaneuver talents weren't ever doing anything against me.
WIN: 200-36 (Half Nym)
ROUND THREE - Will Pintar
(Boba, Palob, Quadjumper, Autopilot Drone)
I'm going to spoil the outcome of this game right off the bat by saying that Will went on to finish the day as winner with an unbeaten 5-0 record. I'm telling you that because I want to talk about his squad a bit and I want you to have the information that it's proven to work really well.
- Boba Fett - Fearless, Marauder, Han Solo, Perceptive Co-Pilot, Seismic Charges
- Palob Godalhi - Elusive, L3-37, Moldy Crow
- Jakku Gunrunner
- Autopilot Drone
Even setting up against it I could tell this was by a distance the best squad I've had to play against in Second Edition, with very few glaring weak points for me to expose. His Boba Fett has rerolls, double Focus tokens, can boost AND have double Focus tokens (thanks to Han Gunner), and even finds room for bombs - he's a really tough cookie. Will had poached my own very successful Palob build after I wrote about it last week and I knew firsthand just how tough that was to kill, and his investment in a Jakku Gunrunner and Autopilot Drone were both things that I had to think carefully about how I approached and jousted.
So, the lonely Autopilot Drone without a Falcon... what's the point in that? You just run across the back edge until it blows up and take the free 12 points advantage, right? Well, maybe... but with 3 Banks & Barrel Rolls that thing IS fast so you'll need to run into one corner of the map or the other to be sure to avoid it. Do you want to start the game on turn 3 boxed into a corner with your opponent able to maneuver at will into position around you? I know I don't.
I spent most of my deployment time worrying about how best to deal with the Autopilot Drone (at which point, of course, it's already disrupted me enough to justify the spot in Will's team) and decided to just go right ahead and blow it out of the sky before it got to me. This was partly based on bad information I got from the other gentleman in the room who told me that if I shoot the Drone it won't blow up and deal splash damage (Will informed me of my error a couple of turns in, as I destroyed it).
To be honest, even though I didn't really have a concrete plan for this matchup when I deployed one rapidly formed in the way Will played his Gunrunner and Palob by slow-rolling them across his own back line of the table. With Boba flanking fast and hard it gave me the opportunity to speed into the middle of the table, despatch the Autopilot Drone, then head right out the other side and chase Palob and the Quadjumper while Boba was stranded on an empty side of the table.
To be honest it all worked pretty well at first and by turn 3 the Drone was toast and I was nicely positioned in the middle of the table and ready to put Boba in my rear view mirror. Then it unravelled rapidly. I misjudged Will's intentions and instead of turning his Palob to engage my Nym & Palob he banked & boosted in on Han to double-team the Falcon with Boba's rear arc. I compounded that mistake by firing off a pointless Proton Bomb with Nym to where I thought Palob was going to be, and then made a bad call to blow my Seismic Charge up that had been cover for Han against Boba, dealing a damage to Han in the process.
That sheer avalanche of self-inflicted bad times meant Han went from hero to zero in no time and the Falcon was off the board!
I had a bad feeling about this.
I wrapped up he Quadjumper no problem but now it was a wounded Nym and wounded Palob vs Will's wounded Palob and full health Boba. I was well behind. Nym went down then Will's Palob followed and now it was Palob v Boba, man to man, one ship each (except his ship cost double my ship and had 9 health while mine only had 2 hull left).
I had a really bad feeling about this.
And yet... and yet... Palob began to claw his way back in. A red stop first put Palob in Boba's blind spot and then got him into place behind Slave I. The plucky HWK was able to strip Boba's shields and start shipping damage cards in return for just 1 damage back. Better yet, Boba was heading towards a corner of the board and would have to spend a turn swinging around, once again exposing his side-arc blind spot. I just needed to survive a turn and I could pounce so I dialled another red stop (to recharge Elusive)... but was still millimetres inside R3 of Boba as Will dialled a 1 Forward into the corner.
Boba sniped Palob's last hull point away and the dream died.
I tell you want, though, start that duel again with Boba and Palob both on full health and I think Palob has the tools to take Boba down despite the fact he only costs half as much!
ROUND FOUR - Justin Read
(Wedge, Luke, Ten Numb)
Justin was one of my first opponents on Thursday morning when Second Edition was still being madly unboxed by the players around us. I won those two games pretty comfortably but Justin took the defeats on the chin, learned his lessons, and returned today with an improved version of the list.
- Luke Skywalker - Instinctive Aim, R2-D2, Proton Torpedoes, Servomotor S-Foils
- Wedge Antilles - Swarm Tactics, Proton Torpedoes, Servomotor S-Foils
- Ten Numb - Heavy Laser Cannon
What has changed since we first met is that Justin took an R5 repair mech off Wedge to fund upgrading his Advanced Proton Torpedoes to Proton Torpedoes. That makes his list punch that much harder and was definitely an improvement on what he played on Thursday, but I was still confident that I was going to be able to sweep him up.
The opening engagement went almost perfectly for me, with Han putting a ton of hurt onto Wedge while Nym and Palob pounced on Luke. Both X-Wings were immediately hurting and in a ton of trouble and nearly dead, although closing their S-Foils they were both able to slip away to fight another day, with Luke using R2-D2 to regenerate his shields.
That left Ten Numb isolated and vulnerable but I made a couple of bad decisions with Han that really hurt me - first K-Turning without thinking that my arc wouldn't be facing forwards, then giving Ten Numb a second stress token with 0-0-0 that he just used as fuel for his dice mods. It was a couple of facepalm moments that meant the game was still live by the time Wedge and Luke rejoined the fray and my early advantage had disappeared in a run of slightly iffy dice rolls.
(I don't like to complain about dice rolls, and my lesson for this game isn't "I rolled bad dice" but that I flew Han very badly. Even so, a bit of average dice variance would have meant I was still far enough ahead to close it out).
Wedge and Ten Numb traded for Nym and Palob and we were down to a Han vs Luke showdown. Han had the superior Initiative and more remaining Hull so I felt I had the boss of the engagement... but it didn't work out that way. As we re-engaged I was able to read Luke's arc well enough to boost into a Range 3 shot that was out of his arc, but to no effect, then on the next turn luke closed in and barrel-rolled to stop me boosting by him.
It was all coming down to a bunch of dice and with Luke's force mods I was now behind in the game - Han did no damage then Luke rolled Hit/Hit/Crit/Crit to take Han down and complete Justin's revenge!
ROUND FIVE - Jacob Kalnins
Jacob had the sort of squad that I was really hot on when I first started squadbuilding for 2nd Edition but today I have no faith in whatsoever - the metagame seems to be far too brutal and bruising for this sort of delicate synergy to make an impact. After meeting Justin for a return leg I had also previously played Jacob on Thursday and utterly annihilated his squad, so I had to be careful I wasn't in for a revenge double bill.
- Soontir Fel - Juke, Stealth Device, Afterburners
- Deathrain - Barrage Rockets, Proton Bombs, Seismic Charges, Trajectory Simulator, Ablative Plating
- Lieutenant Sai - Director Krennic, ST-321
Unfortunately for Jacob it was another slaughter as Nym and Palob proved once again just how destructive they are to aces.
As Soontir Fel flanked in from the far side of the table Nym hurled a Seismic Charge into the middle of the table then held it there while Palob ducked around the other side of an asteroid to cut off Fel's escape route, with a lucky long range shot sniping away the Stealth Device.
Blocked in by Palob on one side and Sai's shuttle on the other Soontir had no choice but to just fly onwards into the waiting Seismic Charge with grim acceptance of his fate... only small pieces of his Interceptor came spiralling out on the far side.
While this had been going on in the centre of the table Han Solo had swung the Millenium Falcon around on a long arc and was now hurling red dice into Deathrain with wild abandon from the far side of a debris field. The Punisher was badly injured and fell on the next turn, although not before he and Sai had left Captain Nym clinging to life on just his Hull Upgrade- that switch from Ablative Plating proved it's worth right here!
The game was over as a competition but Jacob wanted to see if he could at least bag the MOV from Nym before his Lambda exploded. But with a Tallon Roll, then on the next turn a slow bank and Barrel Roll, Captain Nym showed he had just enough piloting chops to stay out of trouble and join in the killing frenzy instead.
WIN: 200-36 (Half Nym)
WHAT I LEARNED
So I finish on 3-2, although with the best MOV of the 3-2 players as both my defeats were close while my victories were very comfortable. I'm happy. More importantly there's a clear trend in the win-loss record that I think I can address: in two of the games I tried something new with Han and I lost both games while in the other three games I played Han the way he's supposed to be played and won them all with room to spare.
Mental note: stick to the plan!
I still love this squad, there's still nothing else I've seen that I want to play instead and it's a ton of fun. After 20-odd games my record is now X-2 with the two defeats today being my only losses with any iteration of Junkyard Falcon so I believe in it... I've got my forever squad (for now).
The only change I think I want to make is to drop the Rigged Cargo Chute from Han. In those 20+ games I've only dropped it a handful of times and it's always turned out to be a bad idea... it's just never what I want to spend my action on. What I spend those 4 points on I don't know, and the Greedo point is up for grabs too. So that's 5 points... a Talent for Nym? Proton Bombs for Palob? Cluster Missiles for Han? 4-LOM crew on the Falcon? Find another point somewhere and bring Dengar gunner? All options to explore but I feel like I'm going to be playing enough games with this squad to at least give them all a try.
One of the Ten Squads in Ten Days that I blogged about was the Quad K-Wings with an array of bombs and Barrage Rockets. That list made it to 4-1, only losing to eventual winner Will Pintar. When I wrote about the squad I said I wasn't sure if it was good or not. Seeing it on the table... it's good. It's damn good.