On 02/05/15 I attended my second X-Wing Spring Tournament of the year, this time held at Lvl Up Gaming in Bournemouth. I’d like to thank the folks at Lvl Up for their great prize support for the day which included the standard FFG Spring Tournament prize support kit and store vouchers for 1st, 2nd, 3rd and last place.
I signed up to this one on relatively short notice, just 2 days before it was held and so I didn’t get a huge amount of time to practice. This meant that I wanted to use a list I knew would work without too much preparation and so, despite wanting to try 4 Warthog Y-Wings I quickly narrowed my choices down to 3 lists-
- Duel A-Wings (Tycho and Farrell) along with a Wild Space Fringer in the Outrider rigged with a Mangler
- Firespray/Aggressor flown by Kath Scarlet and IG88B
Each list has it’s advantages and disadvantages and none has a particularly high damage output, which I was concerned might be a hinderance. To that end I elected to go for the list with the highest damage output of the 3, the Firespray/Aggressor combination-
- Kath Scarlet- 38
- Veteran Instincts- 1
- Gunner- 5
- Engine Upgrade- 4
- IG88B- 36
- Predator- 3
- Mangler Cannon- 4
- Sensor Jammer- 4
- Autothrusters- 2
- Inertial Dampeners- 1
The list was deliberately targeted to be 98 points so that I would most likely get the initiative bid against Phantoms with VI and Fel, which, combined with Veteran Instincts, would allow Kath to move after them and shoot before them, before a Phantom would get chance to cloak. Gunner would mean that I could use the first attack to to strip off any focus/evade tokens and the Engine Upgrade means I would have more chance to bring Kath’s rear arc to bear and so getting the additional attack dice.
The Aggressor is set up to be as durable as possible. The idea is that I would generally take an evade action which, combined with Autothrusters, would allow the ship to soak up a lot of fire power. The Sensor Jammer makes opponents take and use focus actions on their attack or otherwise lose another hit, making the Aggressor all but invulnerable. On the attack the Mangler puts out a consistent critical hit, which can be massively detrimental to fat Falcons and Decimators which rely on upgrades and Predator helps up the average damage that the ship puts out. I prefer the Mangler/Predator set up to a straight HLC as I find it provides for more consistent damage.
Despite the Aggressor looking as though it is best used in pairs, with the IG2000 title, I find that it fairs well with the faster and more manoeuvrable Firespray and so both serve to support each other well.
On the day there was a small player pool, just 9 players but this was enough for the tournament and I reasonably fancied my chances at the top spot. Rather oddly the rounds were set an an hour and a half (which is the maximum FFG allows) each, as opposed to the more standard 60 minutes and we were told that we were going to be playing 4 rounds. In retrospect I think that this went against me as the durability of my list plays well in 60 mins as it’s hard to put both ships down and so I have a solid chance of winning on points. Even without taking this into account, I have to say that 90 minute rounds seemed a little too long and i’d much rather have played 5 rounds at 60 mins that 4 at 90.
On the day there were 2 Scum Lists, 1 Rebel and 6 Imperial, including the one matchup I feared facing, a TIE Swarm.
Game 1 was against 2 B-Wings and 2 X-Wings, including Biggs. At 98 Points I had initiative and went first. Biggs was my initial target, simply because it made sense to focus him down rather than let him leach shots against other targets and I fortunately managed to take Biggs out by round 4. It then took me a few rounds to turn Kath around and bring her back into the fight, by which time the Aggressor had taken a few close range shots and was down to hull points.
The game ran to over an hour and by the end I’d lost the Aggressor, much to my surprise, but Kath managed to finish the last B-Wing off to give me the win. This game was a learning experience for me, I wasn’t used to using this set up on the IG and repeatedly forgot to use Predator, which could have meant the difference between losing the Aggressor or not. My opponent flew well, keeping the ships tightly together and making sure that I couldn’t arc dodge them all and keep arcs on them.
Round 2 was against a bold list, 4 TIE Interceptors, including Fel and Tur Phennir and 2 Alpha Squadron Pilots. It’s hard list to use but, used well, it can be devastating as it is nigh on impossible to get a shot at. My gamble of the 98 point list paid off and I got initiative against Fel, which was all important to to my chances of defeating him. Soontir Fel is horrific in the end game, if left unchallenged, perhaps only beaten by Corran Horn with VI, and so that made him my number 1 priority in this game.
The match started off well, I managed to take out Fel in turn 3, before he managed to fire a shot, which boded very well for me. Soon after I managed to take down an Alpha Squadron after taking minimal fire in return. The game ended soon after, with all 4 Interceptors taken out with me losing a total of 3 shields between both ships. This is not slight on my opponent, 4 TIE Interceptors is hard to fly and my list is one of the worst possible match-ups for it.
Game 3 was against another Scum list, made up of Boba Fett with seismic charges, Torkil Mux’s HWK with an Ion Cannon and a Warthog Y-Wing. This looked like a tough game from the outset and Mux was a threat as he could counter my high PS so I resolved to take him out first.
Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out the way I wanted, tactical play meant I was struggling to get shots on him. The up side of this was that I managed to focus some fire on Boba Fett and after weathering he initial storm of Fett at range 1, plus the first of the seismic charges (which was very well timed to hit both of my ships), I managed to reduce him to just a couple of hull points. Boba dropped his second seismic charge soon after and was destroyed the round after that while I was left with both ships with a shield left.
The Aggressor was the main target in the following couple of rounds and despite me causing a fair amount of damage to the Y-Wing in return, poor rolling caused me to be reduced to a single hull point on that ship while Kath was turning around. I managed to drop the Y-Wing just before the HWK destroyed the Aggressor. Still, at this point I figured i’d do ok, Kath still had a shield left and HWKs are pretty flimsy in my experience.
I rounded on the HWK, just out of arc for a shot before getting hit by an Ion blast, the second on the Firespray, causing me to be ionized the next round and my opponent to flee across the board, well out of range and arc. A sinking feeling came over me as I realised that there was a very good chance that this one would take me off he board. I moved the mandatory 1 forward as my opponent moved further away and plotted my next move, the tightest move I could, a hard 2. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough, I ended up about 7mm off the board on my rear left side to give me my first loss of the day.
Full credit to my opponent here, it was a great move on his part, even if it did hurt a little to lose because a corner of my base went off the board. This was a tough game, and a tactical one and it turns out that my instincts were right, the HWK was the biggest threat on the table, I just failed to destroy it. My opponent went on to win the day and this was his closest game so I can take some solace in that.
Game 4, the last of the day, was against another Scum list, this time Xixor with an Experimental Interface and Squad Leader and 4 Z95’s, 2 with Assault Missiles and Munitions Failsafes. This was a surprisingly tough game for me, something I genuinely didn’t expect since I though that the Aggressor would be able to tank the 2 dice attacks from the Z95s without too much trouble.
My opponent flew the list as a block, for the whole game and did a magnificent job of reforming them after being broken up by obstacles. His goal was to use Xixor to pass off target locks to focussed Z95’s so that they could use their Assault Missiles as soon as possible, a valid tactic that was only muted by the fact that my defence rolls were strong enough against them to only cause me to take single points of damage. Unfortunately the same couldn’t be said of most other attacks and I found myself down to hull on both ships by the time i’d taken out a single Z95, around an hour in.
Due to my opponent flying to tightly as a block I struggled to get shots without being in arc of all of his ships and so I found myself spending much of the game arc dodging rather than causing damage and this defensive play hurt me. I took a risk which destroyed a second Z95 but lost me Kath in the process and that meant that the endgame of IG88B against 2 slightly damaged Z95 and an pristine Xixor.
My Aggressor took out another Z95 and hurt the other a little more as the final minutes of the round played out. In the end I was skilfully blocked onto an asteroid by the Z95 on the final turn of the game, taking a critical hit which turned out to be a direct hit and enough to destroy me.
This was a close game, one I thought I had in the bag, but tactical play from my opponent and overly defensive play from me cost me the match and put me on a 2-2 score for the day.
After points were counted I finished up in 6th, which was a bit disheartening after my strong start but it was a fun day and I played some very skilful opponents who fielded lists and ships I don’t generally see on the table. The overall winner of the day, my 3rd round opponent, gifted me the Tycho alt art card he won, as he doesn’t field Rebels, something that I am exceptionally grateful for as it was my main reason for entering that day.
Additionally I picked up an extra Alt Art Push the Limit card, which is awesome as you can never have too many copies of Push the Limit an thats aside from the fact that the Alt Art looks awesome.
It was a good day all around and I’ll certainly be going to more tournaments held at Lvl Up.