Player Profile is a series of articles in which R2-EQ looks at players in the X-Wing community. Many people would like to get to know the person behind the player. In X-Wing the players are renowned for being “nice guys” and often can be quite characterful when you scratch the surface.
Today’s interview is with Island Rogue, known as Steven in real life. I met Steven when he was living in Toronto and managed to have a game with him at a tournament once. Not only is he a likable fellow and a treat to play against, but he’s pretty good at X-Wing too! Currently Steven resides in Vancouver. I did this interview just before Scum was released and waited for him to finish re-painting some of his ships as I thought it was important to include all facets of his X-Wing love in this article. Now that his ships are painted, the article is published for your enjoyment.
Real Name: Steven
Home Base: Vancouver, British Columbia
Faction of Choice: Scum Now (but all factions really)
Playing Since: Wave 2
So how did you fall in love with Star Wars?
I fell in love with Star Wars at a very early age, probably around 5, when my friend and neighbour at the time showed me all 3 of the films on VHS. I was instantly captured by the epic story on the screen and all the amazing robots, aliens and space ships flying around in every frame. Star Wars taught me a lot about believing in myself and the power within us all. Honestly, it effected me a lot as a kid and is a huge part in making who I am today.
Who did you identify the most with in Star Wars?
This answer is going to be a bit different than most Star Wars fans, but for me it’s Kyle Katarn! Dark Forces 2 was a game I played so much of when I was a kid, and I sucked at it btw, but it was so cool to be playing a game where I was in Star Wars! Not only that, but it had live action cut scenes that seemed very realistic at the time. Kyle was the perfect match for Han without the cockiness and for Luke without the intolerable whining, with a little dash of James Bond sprinkled in. Also, the Valley of the Jedi was really cool. If you haven’t played that game I highly recommend it.
Do you play lots of other games besides X-Wing?
X-Wing is my first and only miniatures game that I have ever played. I used to get my strategic play fix from real time strategy video games and the occasional game of Catan, but they both seemed so limited in their planning and command execution. I never got that true feeling of being in control of my plans until finding X-Wing’s game system.
How did you get into X-Wing?
Funny enough, it was a summer time romance that first introduced me to X-Wing. We were in my bedroom and feeling pretty lazy, when she asked me if I wanted to watch a youtube channel she liked, I said “sure”. It was Will Wheaton’s “tabletop” and the episode we watched was the one where Will and a few others played X-Wing and explained the rules as they played. I was instantly drawn in by the concept and knew I had to have it. We left my bed after the episode and went up the road to our local gaming shop and bought the starter kit. We ended up playing most of the day away. I’ve been hooked since.
Ha, what a great story! When you were watching Will Wheaton, did you get pissed at Seth Green’s wife for tossing a TIE Fighter around?
Oh Really?! I don’t even remember that. Never throw a TIE! Those wings pop off like no one’s business!
Do you get to play X-Wing regularly?
I now play X-Wing at least once a week in person with a friend or at my local gaming shop, and a few games on Vassal every week. I usually pick a list that is very experimental or that I don’t know how to fly on Vassal, while I bring my more refined lists to the shop nights to get a true test of their merit.
What is your favorite list to fly? Do you have a favorite ship?
Favourite list to fly right now is my “Convoy” list. It’s comprised of:
Jan Ors + Kyle Katarn (crew), Swarm Tactics, Blaster Turret, Moldy Crow Title
Roark + Recon Specialist, Blaster Turret
Wild Space Fringer + Heavy Laser Cannon
It has a nasty 3 turrets on it that can really hurt with the added dice from Jan, with the Heavy Laser putting out 5 attack dice at range 3 from the front arc. I have yet to be beaten with this list, and I have gone against a multitude of different lists with it. I was worried about swarms but I beat a rebel swarm recently with it. The best part about it though is the fact that it doesn’t look impressive, so my opponents always underestimate it’s ability until they lose their first ship.
It also contains my favourite ship, the HWK-290! It’s my favourite because it was Kyle Katarn’s ship in the Dark Forces series, and as I started playing I found out all the fun synergy the HWK had. I can’t wait for scum HWKs to make the ship even more dynamic.
Do you stick to one faction, or do you jump around?
I jump around, though I’m betting good money that I’m going to be playing the Scum faction pretty heavily once it comes out. I enjoy lists that surprise and have a good trick or two, right now both factions have that potential, but Scum seems to have a lot of chances for it.
Do you have a most memorable game of X-Wing that sticks out in your mind?
The games that have been most memorable for me have been the ones that were extremely close. I love a game that comes down to a few good manoeuvres, patience and of course, the luck of the dice. I had a starter game in an escalation tournament that saw a simple B-Wing and Biggs going up against a Falcon and Luke. The game had some great opening moves and some fair dice, but it brought us down to 3 hull on the Falcon and 1 hull left on my B-Wing. Pilot skill won out in this case, and my B-Wing managed to sneak out 3 hits unopposed. My heart was racing while I was rolling those dice.
When you play, what’s the attitude you have with you, what are the things you think about?
I always bring a plan of attack and a constant evolving strategy to every game I play, but I never forget that I’m playing a game. Win or lose, I love playing X-Wing and I’ve never left a match angry. I’ve left utterly defeated, but never angry.
What’s the X-Wing Community like in Vancouver? How is it different from the one in Toronto?
Vancouver X-Wing is a lot smaller of a crowd than Toronto’s scene, but it’s no less skilled. I find the difference in meta from the two communities to be pretty interesting though, there’s still a few swarms being flown out west. There’s also a lot of large ships and Tactical Jammers that I’ve seen in recent games that have added something I really enjoy in X-Wing, defensive formations. There’s still a lot of Phantoms and Interceptors out here but I don’t think I’ve faced off against 1 Falcon since moving back out west.
Whoa, that’s pretty interesting. Over here in Southern Ontario it’s all Yt-2400s, Decimators and some YT-1300s. How has playing in two different scenes, with two different metas, made you a better player?
I think every game, no matter where you play, makes you a better player. The matches that have kept me on my toes the most are those against special players who do something weird with their lists. In Toronto I had to face James Binne and his Y-Wings of Death. Out in Vancouver there’s Jonas and his Bomber Brigade. Lists like that remind you the meta can vary and your list might do well against the big boys, but crumble against something different.
If there is one thing you love most of all about the game, what would it be?
I love surprising my enemies. When I started to play competitively and with a wider base of opponents, I quickly took in the idea of a Meta to the game. I started to learn what people thought was good, thought was bad, and thought was plain unusable. I took to making things that can break the best or make the best out of the worst, and I’ve been pretty successful. I flew a list with:
Major Rhymer + Proton Rocket (2x), Veteran Instincts, Stealth Device
Captain Jonus + Swarm Tactics
Delta Squadron Pilot
This list has made so many opponents laugh or shrug when they see me put it on the board. Then, usually by turn two, I shoot a proton rocket at range 2 with 5 dice and two re-rolls when they realize they might need to worry. I had a game on Vassal that saw my first Proton rocket kill Wedge in one hit due to crits, and my opponent tried to catch me on a bunch of rules that I surpassed with the synergy of the build. I’ll admit, it made me pretty happy.
Where do you see the meta going right now?
I see stress, so much stress. Stress builds are amazingly effective counters to the Dash and Decimator builds that are coming out now and really work well on old favourites like Falcon and Phantom builds. Their own perfect counter is a manoeuvrable ship like the A-Wing or the Interceptor that is hiding from the meta as of late but I can see getting more use as people stress out about stress. I also have noticed a lot of Tactical Jammers on Falcons flying with Biggs, and it can be annoyingly effective.
Besides X-Wing, is there another Star Wars game you like to play?
I also get my Star Wars fix by playing FFG’s Edge of Empire Roleplaying Game. I was recently running a game in Edge of Empire using my models from X-Wing to play out space combat as I think X-Wing’s rules are more engaging. I had to give player’s who weren’t pilots something to do though, so I added new rules. For example, a slicer character could “hack the enemy systems” and cause their manoeuvre to be red, or the Co-pilot could help out his pilot and give a free action or make the chosen manoeuvre white. It added a lot of dynamic combat and it gave me an idea to do an X-Wing Campaign.
I’d like to design a way of playing X-Wing where you would start with a Pilot Skill 1 Z-95 doing a hit and run mission to free a prisoner, and be able to work your way up to playing your own squadron doing an attack on a Imperial space station! It would involve an XP based leveling system as well as a point earning/payment system that I’m currently developing. I hope to give a test run of it next month.
That’s pretty cool!
Steven is also a modeller and painter. Below is a picture of a Gozanti-Class Cruiser he’s working on and some pictures of Scum ships he’s recently finished repainting.
Nice ships! Thanks for sharing them and for the Interview Island Rogue, may the force be with you!