Monday, 1 August 2016

"Is Biggs the only viable X-Wing now?" and other musings #1

So, after a recent run of amazing luck with the X-Wing game (note the sarcasm) I've decided to go back to basics and take a look at wave 1*, with the hope that looking to the past will aid me in deciphering the future.

This is also inspired by a video from SlingPaint on YouTube about list building.

So, having been a fan of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope (because who isn't, honestly?) I figured I'd take a look at the classic T-65 X-Wing, see what builds I could make, what options I have with them, etc. etc.

I put this to a friend of mine who gave me a fairly straightforward answer, "Not worth it, Biggs is the only decent choice left."

And it made me think; "IS Biggs the only viable X-Wing now?" I would like to note, I am not including the T-70 in this, as the two are completely different beasts.

So, armed with the Core Set cards, the X-Wing cards and the Rebel Transport cards, I dove into the world of the T-65...

The one thing I noticed about the old girl; She hasn't aged well in this game. With only the higher end pilot boasting EPTs and only having the basic Focus & Target Lock actions, she's been in need of some love for a long time. The Rebel Transport expansion was (apparently) supposed to fix these issues by giving us more droid choices and better pilots.

And in some ways it did.

Wes Janson has become a solid choice for a lot of control lists, especially when paired with R3-A2; Deny the enemy a Focus/Evade/Target Lock token and apply stress at the same time. It then opens the door to using the Opportunist EPT on other pilots, and even more so on those pilots who love to have stress tokens!

It can also be viewed as a failing though.

There's nothing to make the ships cheaper like we saw with the Chardaan Refit missile upgrade, no Titles, and some of the droids are lacking in terms of usability*.
*N.B. the other droids in the set are R2-D6, R4-D6 and R5-P9. None of which I actually find lacking as individual entities, but when applied to the T-65 they don't add much.

This is the thing about Fantasy Flight Games and X Wing though; The game is, was, and was designed to be, very dynamic. You can see that from looking at the variety of ships people bring to the table**;
**Excluding the recent Triple Jumpmasters, Brobots and Green Squadron Crack Swarms and other single choice lists.
For the Worlds 2015 final we saw two Y-Wings and an A-Wing being played, both of which have been around since waves 1/2. Ordinarily in most games, to play something that old (in terms of released expansions) would be seen as madness. Both ships, however, benefitted from cards released further down the line, such as the BTL-A4 Y Wing title and the Chardaan Refit missile upgrade.

Fantasy Flight's upcoming wave, Wave 9, has fixes for ships that are still seeing a lot of play and will continue to grow in popularity (I mean, which Imperial player hasn't dreamed of having a TIE Phantom invulnerable to debris fields?)

I'm interested to try out cards such as the R3 Astromech and the Vectored Thrusters in my Rogue Squadron builds, personally.

For a man who got stagnated playing Warhammer 40,000 for 20 years of his life, this is a great time to be a game player!

So no, I don't think Biggs is the only viable X-Wing pilot (Yes, I actually got back to the original question!) But I think, that like all ships, people need to fly the T-65s to understand it.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Vault 14 Spring Kit #2 - May 15th

So, to kick off this blog, let's review the Vault 14 Spring Kit.

This was the second one the guys at Vault 14 laid on. It was full, both in terms of space and places, with a fairly good variety of lists.

My own list was Paul Heaver's worlds 2015 winner; Poe, a Stresshog, Gold Squadron Y-Wing with TLT and a Bandit Z-95.

Yes, I'm aware it's awful in current meta and that I'm unimaginative and other insults regarding mental capacity and potential homosexuality.

Game 1 - Lee. 2 Jumpmasters and a Z-95 Binyare Pirate.

How do you even pronounce that? 
So yes, in a meta currently dominated by the Jumpmaster 5000, my first match of the day was against a pair of them.
My opponent was craftier than I gave him credit for; He had a Contracted Scout and Dengar, and wasted no time in using Boba Fett to fly out and cripple Poe's regeneration abilities by stripping R2-D2 from him in the first volley. 
After several exchanges of fire that saw the Y-Wings go down before the limping Poe, the Bandit Squadron and Black Leader found themselves against a pair of Jumpmasters that were stripped of shields and bearing Damage cards, which meant I had at least bloodied the nose of the bounty hunter's before handing them my 100 squad points. 

0/0/1 So far.

Game 2 - Scott. 2 VCX-100s.

I've known Scott for a while now and he's become a good friend. We see each other a lot at tournaments, and while he's a guest writer for a more successful blog (Fishy's Wargaming, go check it out) we never seem to play each other at either casual nights or tournaments. Today was the exception to that rule.
It was good to see two of the VCX-100s in action, even if they're big bastards to fly!
This game, like the last one, didn't start well. The first volley of Plasma Torpedoes from Kanan Jarrus tore the shields from the 'Hog, who's existence I owe to my opponent for the trade of R3-A2, and the second volley of fire from the Lothal Rebel landed 3 critical hits..
Okay, so it's three crits. It's hardly that scary on a 5-hull ship like the Y.
Crit 1 - Direct Hit! Okay so that was bad.
Crit 2 - Direct Hit! Okay so that was VERY bad... And...
Crit 3. Doesn't matter. It's dead. 

After being crippled by 26 points against two of these surprisingly agile hulks, I had to focus fire. Kanan's pilot ability of reducing my attack dice at ranges 1-2 made him the primary target.
Incidentally, we came across a rather interesting dilemma at this point in the game. Poe's pilot ability to flip a Focus to a Hit, set against the VCX-100s Sensor Jammer upgrade. It was determined that dice modification happens as; Opponents modify, then Player modifies. As the Sensor Jammer can flip a Hit to a Focus, Poe could use his ability to flip it back.
Kazan went down, not to the Hero of the resistance, but to the lowly Z-95, a result that caught both myself and my opponent off-guard. After knocking out Poe, it came down the the PS3 Lothal Rebel vs the PS2 Bandit Squadron. This would determine whether I walked away with 52 or 76 points. And at range 2, landing one final hit on the VCX made sure I got the 76 points. Then the Bandit was smashed across deep space.


Game 3 - Keiran. Prince Xizor's Virago StarViper, N'Dru Suhlak and 2 Binyare Pirates.
I didn't see this going well when I saw N'dru heading towards Poe. Cluster missiles saw to Poe in a matter of one round, and the Hog fell to combined fire in the next round. The Goldie and the Bandit had a hard time catching up, especially with Xizor passing off hits to his subordinates.
100/0 whitewash.


Game 4 - Rafal. Rear Admiral Chiraneau and the Inquisitor. 
By all accounts, Rafal won a Store championship in Hull recently, and was as surprised as I was to find himself at the bottom of the pack facing me. Chiraneau managed to get within range 1 of the Y-wings, rendering the TLTs useless. It was simply a matter of staying at range 1 and pound me with 4 dice. 


The one thing I will take away from all this; I need to fly more. A lot more.


Good evening you wonderful people!

This blog will run alongside my Imperial 181st blog, this one dedicated to my own personal experiences of tournament games, for people like myself, who find it hard to leave the bottom of the standings in a tournament they're in!

Since January 16 my standing have been as follows;

Winter Kit - 8/8

Store Championship #1 - 15/18

Store Championship #2 - 32/32

Spring Kit #1 - 7/8

Spring Kit #2 - 16/16