2015 Winnipeg X-Wing Regional Report

I recently had a chat with Steve Smith, the new Winnipeg Regional Champion in X-Wing. He answered some questions about what the scene is like out in Winnipeg and then was nice enough to write up a battle report. Let’s get to it!

Q: What’s the X-Wing scene like in Winnipeg? How many players usually come out to events?

Steve: X-Wing in Winnipeg is doing very, very well. There are currently 83 members on the Winnipeg X-Wing Facebook group and there are at least a half dozen stores running X-Wing events. I have gone to X-Wing OP events at GameKnight Games, Imagine Hobbies, A Muse N Games, and Mighty Comics, but I believe that Maxx Collectibles, Face Off, and Galaxy Comics also hold events as well. On a regularly scheduled gaming night, you might have anywhere between a half dozen to a dozen players come out and more for an OP tournament with prizes from a Spring or Summer kit.

Q: I noticed on your channel you play Armada. How do you like the game? What do you play more, X-Wing or Armada?

Steve: I like Armada, but it is still in its infancy as a game and I’m finding it limiting so far in regards to tactics and strategy choices. I play a lot more X-Wing because it is currently in its prime with many diverse ships and playstyle variety. However, Imperial Assault is my hands-down favourite because of the incredible scenario-based play, even in its skirmish mode. X-Wing is always just a dogfight with no story to it. Armada throws in missions, but there is no real story to any of them and they merely give advantages and disadvantages to one side or the other in what is, essentially, still just a shooting match. Imperial Assault, however, brings the Star Wars universe alive with in-depth story-based scenarios in both its campaign and skirmish modes. I like a game to immerse me in the story of the universe I playing in and Imperial Assault does that best.

Q: Has Armada or Imperial Assault gained any local support? Is there an Armada or Imperial Assault crew that plays regularly?

Steve: Yes, both are taking hold slowly but firmly. There are regular bi-weekly Armada nights at GameKnight Games and Armada players are always on the Winnipeg Facebook site arranging other games in-between. Imperial Assault is smaller with only about a half dozen regular players but there are monthly skirmish OP events and a monthly campaign get-together which I am hosting at A Muse N Games.

Q: When you say you host Imperial Assault, does that mean that you are the “GM” and play the Empire?

Steve: Yes! In X-Wing, Armada, and Imperial Assault I exclusively play the Empire! I’m a huge Imperial fan and, even in casual miniatures games, role play the game as a story in my head with my Imperial Star Destroyer captains, TIE pilots, or Stormtroopers doing their best to enforce peace, order, and law on an unruly galaxy.

Q: When you play the Empire, do you try to be thematic? For example, take only Imperials and no mercenaries in certain missions. Or do you “power game” and try to win by the best means open to you? The reason I’m asking is that the campaign game is very different from a roleplaying game but seems to be set up like one at first glance. How do you approach running IA games? What advice would you give the any Imperial Overlords out there?

Steve: I always try to play as thematic as possible, but I heavily favour Stormtroopers as much as possible because I’m a HUGE Stormtrooper fan. I don’t “power game” as an Imperial Overlord’s first priority is to make his Rebel opponents feel like the elite strike team that they are supposed to be. For our new IA campaign starting tomorrow, I’ve already told the Rebel players to feel free to pre-read the missions and even bring their own rulebooks and campaign guides. An elite strike team would have very detailed info on their targets and be very aware of possible enemy reserves and points of entry. My advice to fellow Imperial Overlords is ensure that the Rebel players feel like they had a good chance to win the scenario. My favourite Imperial class are the Elite Stormtroopers! Reasonable health, re-roll an attack die, focus when taking losses, can be brought back cheaply, and they’re Stormtroopers!

Imperial Assault Stormtroopers

Q: How often do you get to play games? Is there a local store that does weekly events?

Steve: I have a wife and kids so I can only commit to one or two games a month and have to pick and choose what events are my top priority each month. As a teacher, I have summers off but even then can only commit to one game a week at best. GameKnight Games hosts either X-Wing or Armada every Wednesday, but other game stores are constantly hosting OP events and tournaments as well. You could easily play X-Wing two or three times a week regularly in Winnpeg if you had the time to do so.

Q: How many people came out to Regionals? Did anyone travel from far away?

Steve: There were 28 players in our Regionals and at least one, Ryan Voigt, came up from the United States.

Q: Why did you choose your list? What’s the thing you find most fun about it?

Steve: I chose my “Whisper”/”Echo”/Academy Pilot list because I love TIE Phantoms! I played an eight TIE swarm for most of my first two years of X-Wing and won a recent Store Championship with an eight TIE swarm. I considered taking the swarm to the Regionals, but I find flying Phantoms so much more fun! The best thing about Phantoms is de-cloaking in surprising ways and attacking from unexpected angles, blasting your opponent’s ships apart and, at times, receiving no return fire. However, a Fat Han or Wedge, especially with Veteran Instincts, can easily ruin a Phantom’s day – shooting the Imperial glass cannon before it can get its cloak back up, so some matches can be extremely tough for a TIE Phantom. Still, the reward is often equal to or greater than the risk as a pair of TIE Phantoms can often wipe out an enemy fighter squadron with no losses, allowing for a fantastic Margin of Victory, which, in a tournament setting, can mean the difference between advancing to the final round or not.

TIE Phantom - WhisperThanks for the interview Steve! Below is Steve’s Regional Battle Report.

2015 Winnipeg X-Wing Regional Battle Report

The 2015 X-Wing Regional event that I attended in Winnipeg was held on May 23rd and was hosted by GameKnight Games and Cool Stuff. It was extremely well run (with break times and lots of drinks, snacks, and pizza available) and there were 28 participants. The full X-Wing List Juggler report with all the builds and post-tournament standings can be found here: http://lists.starwarsclubhouse.com/get_tourney_details?tourney_id=445

Going into the tournament I had considered using an eight TIE swarm as I had won a Store Championship at Imagine Hobbies with that list, as seen here in this video batrep: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c7-tdj1QJdQ
However, I was just having so much fun with TIE Phantoms recently, even with the de-cloak nerf, that I decided to go into the Regionals with this 98-point list:

• “Whisper” with Advanced Cloaking Device, Veteran Instincts, Fire-Control System, and Gunner
• “Echo” with Advanced Cloaking Device, Veteran Instincts, Fire-Control System, and Gunner
• Academy Pilot

Now, I could have used a Black Squadron Pilot to make the list a full 100 points, but I wanted the initiative as much as possible as shooting first is exceedingly important to TIE Phantoms with Advanced Cloaking Devices. I took the three biggest asteroids as my obstacles because with de-cloak maneuvers and barrel rolls I could avoid them but my opponents would hopefully land on them and lose an attack or two.

My plan was simple: move last and arc dodge as much as possible, shoot first and then cloak for free, get free target locks with FCS, and shoot again with Gunner if I miss. The Academy Pilot would draw fire, block, and get the occasional shot in. My biggest worries were higher skilled pilots who could shoot my Phantoms before their cloak engaged (especially Wedge!) and turrets which couldn’t care less about my arc-dodging shenanigans.

I posted an incomplete video batrep of the Regionals on my youtube channel here:

It’s incomplete because I needed to concentrate on the games rather than the filming and because it was taking too much time in games that were actually taking the full 75 minutes to play. Here’s a run-down of the seven games I played:

Game 1:

I had a bye from the Store Championship win. This gives a best possible win with 200 points.

Game 2:

My first opponent of the day was Andrew Yuzek, who was flying this 100-point list:
• Airen Cracken + Swarm Tactics
• Etahn A’Baht + R5-P9
• Blue Squadron Pilot
• Blue Squadron Pilot

I set up my Academy Pilot in the extreme right hand corner and Andrew set up his full force opposite of my TIE Fighter. I set up my TIE Phantoms, however, in the extreme left hand corner. Why? TIE Phantoms should NOT joust. They need to flank, arc dodge, and attack from unexpected angles. The Academy Pilot has no intention of jousting either and turns hard left towards my Phantoms on the first turn. The Rebels now find their attack pattern completely useless and are hit hard in the flank by the Phantoms. As you can see in the video, the Phantoms make short work of the confused enemy and soon all Rebel ships are destroyed for no loss to my Imperials. With the Margin of Victory (MoV) system, this gives me another 200 points for now a total of two wins and 400 points.

Game 3:

My next opponent would not be so easy and would hand me my first defeat of the day. Ryan Voigt was flying this stress-inducing 100-pint squadron:
• Gold Squadron Pilot + BTL-A4 Y-Wing + R3-A2 + Ion Cannon Turret
• Blue Squadron Pilot + Tactician
• Blue Squadron Pilot + Ion Cannon
• Blue Squadron Pilot + Ion Cannon

For those who have never flown against a turreted BTL-A4 Y-Wing with R3, let me warn you that it can put two Stress tokens on your ship every turn without ever needing to actually hit you as long as your ship is in its forward arc. The B-Wings with Ion Cannons will ensure that it is.

Overconfident from my previous victory, I set up all three of my TIEs in the right corner and didn’t bother with the flanking trick. Instead, I maneuvered to draw him into the asteroids, which were mainly clumped in the middle of the board, and basically jousted. Success can often breed defeat. Ryan, an excellent formation flyer, taught me why Phantoms shouldn’t joust with a force that includes three B-Wings! The Y-Wing was throwing so much Stress at me that at one point, as you can see in the video, “Whisper” was trailing four Stress tokens behind her and being ionized, there was no escape. Eventually, a B-Wing would finish her off. I was able to destroy one of the B-Wings, but Ryan had 44 points to my 22. Ryan had so effortlessly shut down my cloaking that I left this battle a little rattled.

Game 4:

Alan Goddard’s 100-point bro-bot list was next to maul my Imperials:
• IG-88A + Veteran Instincts + Heavy Laser Cannon + Seismic Charges + IG-2000 + Fire-Control System + Autothrusters
• IG-88B + Veteran Instincts + Heavy Laser Cannon + Seismic Charges + IG-2000 + Fire-Control System + Autothrusters

Going into a game shaken and unsure of my strategy and list would lead to a further chain of mistakes. First off, I set up “Whisper” in the far right corner all by herself and “Echo” with the Academy Pilot in the far left corner. My plan was to go back to the flanking attack pattern, but this time I was using one of my Phantoms as bait – a HUGE mistake! Alan quickly took advantage of my foolishness and drove both of his bro-bots hard into my lone Phantom. The IGs ignored “Echo” and the Academy Pilot and hunted “Whisper” to death. My comedy of errors continued with my revealing a maneuver that was in the exact opposite direction that I meant to go. After killing “Whisper”, the IGs destroyed my TIE Fighter, leaving “Echo” alone to take on both bro-bots. I was able to knock some shields off but time was called before anyone else died, leaving me with a devastating defeat. Alan is an extremely skillful opponent and flew his bro-bots flawlessly.

Game 5:

Chris Wilkie’s 99-point Rebel fighter squadron was next:
• Keyan Farlander
• Tarn Mison + R7 Astromech
• Gemmer Sojan + Chardaan Refit + Push the Limit
• Blue Squadron Pilot
My record at this point was two wins versus two loses and this was the final round before the final cut was decided to see who advanced into the sudden death finals. I introduced this game in my video batrep but didn’t film anything further because I needed to focus hard to pull off a strong win. I set up all three of my ships in the far right corner, diagonally opposite to where Chris set up all of his ships. This diagonal axis of advance to contact seemed to work in my favour with lots of maneuvering room to each side. I had my TIE Fighter take the middle and the Phantoms flanked, desperately trying to envelope Chris’ tight fighter formation. It worked. Over the course of 75 minutes, I was able to arc dodge and tear his Rebel ships apart with very little return fire. In the very last round, I destroyed his last Rebel fighter and has suffered no losses. This was the big win I needed.

After five rounds, many people had finished with a 3-2 record so it was now down to points to see who would advance to the final eight. Because my wins, when I won, were so lop-sided, and because of the bye’s “perfect” score, I placed sixth overall and advanced.

Finals – Game 1:

Ryan Voigt had placed third and was my first opponent for the final, sudden death games. His list has just beaten me earlier today:
• Gold Squadron Pilot + BTL-A4 Y-Wing + R3-A2 + Ion Cannon Turret
• Blue Squadron Pilot + Tactician
• Blue Squadron Pilot + Ion Cannon
• Blue Squadron Pilot + Ion Cannon

I was more careful to not just joust his powerful stress/ionization factory and maneuvered desperately to avoid his arcs. It was not easy as Ryan is a cunning opponent who expertly handles his ships. Neither of us caused too much damage to the other as both of us worked hard to line up good shots while avoiding each other’s deadly attacks. I lost my Academy Pilot but took out one of his B-Wings and in the final round when time was called, he just needed to land a single hit on one of my stressed out Phantoms that was running away. He missed. I advanced and he did not because of a single dice roll. It was good to move on but humbling to think that it was just because of a single roll of the dice.

Finals – Game 2:

Mike Haire’s 100-point four B-Wing squadron was next:
• Keyan Farlander + Stay on Target + Tactician
• Blue Squadron Pilot
• Blue Squadron Pilot
• Blue Squadron Pilot

Wow. Sheer firepower and survivability. That’s twenty shields and twelve hull to chew through! It was no surprise that Mike had advanced this far. Before the game, Mike did express concern over the fact that he had never beaten me before. I told him, from my own experience today, that psyching yourself out before the match even started was not a good idea. He had beaten Jeff Paul for the first time today, someone whom I had never beaten, and he could end up beating me for the first time too. However, it was not meant to be. I had been flying against B-Wings all day long and was starting to get their measure. Don’t joust. Spread out, envelope them, and hit them from the sides. It was a good fight but when time was called, Mike had lost two B-Wings and I had lost only my Academy Pilot.

Final Regional Championship Game:

Ironically, the two people playing in the final Championship round had placed 6th and 7th in the opening Swiss rounds. I had placed sixth and my opponent, Kyle Delooze, had placed seventh. This should be a lesson in never losing heart during a tournament, even when you seem like you are on a losing streak. Fight on and fight hard.
Kyle’s 100-point bro-bot list included:
– IG-88B + Predator + Mangler Cannon + IG-2000 + Advanced Sensors + Inertial Dampeners + Autothrusters
– IG-88C + Predator + Mangler Cannon + Ion Cannon + IG-2000 + Advanced Sensors + Autothrusters

I did record this battle in the video mentioned earlier as there was no time limit and because it was the Regionals Championship game. Not wanting a straight joust and impressed with the maneuvering room allowed by a diagonal advance to contact, I again deployed my Phantoms in the opposite corner as the bro-bots. Kyle had an ingenious plan to get behind my TIEs – he planned to take a boost action before moving using Advanced Sensors to get close to my ships and then do his Segnor’s Loop to tuck right in behind my TIEs. However, the first time he planned to use it, my Academy Pilot ended up blocking his way and, not knowing where my Phantoms were going, he just did the Loop. This put his back to all three of my fighters at close range, as you can clearly see in the video. His IG survived the thirteen dice onslaught, but barely and would be destroyed by a long shot from “Whisper” in the very next turn. The other bro-bot was raked over by “Echo” and then blown up in the very next turn by concentrated Phantom fire. I took no losses and won the Regional Championship.

It was a grueling twelve hour marathon of X-Wing Miniatures but a lot of fun. It was also humbling. I lost twice and one of my wins was just because of my opponent’s single bad dice roll. Also, had Kyle been able to pull off his planned boost-then-Loop maneuver, it would have been my ships being helplessly mauled rather than his in the final match. As the Duke of Wellington famously said of what many thought was a decisive victory at Waterloo, “It was a near run thing. The nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.” Fly casual, my friends.

Congrats on the win and thanks for sharing. May the Force be with you!

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