The fifth season of the Prototype Toronto League (PTL) concluded recently, so it’s time for another recap (check out last season’s here)! This time, I wanted to try a roundtable discussion with the players who finished at the top of the rankings. We’ve got Tim Ralphs, Aaron P, Devon Monkhouse, and Peter Scholch who were nice enough to do my job for me and answer some questions. Big congrats to all you guys for finishing in the Top 4 and special congrats to Tim who is our new PTL Champion!!
How long have you been playing X-wing for? What do you normally fly outside the PTL?
Aaron: About 2 years. I fly Rebels or Imps, favouring the small bases – I’m one of those purists who hold that small ships are where the high skill game is at. Although they live in a difficult spot in the meta these days, I lurve flying some X-wings. Oh, and K-wings! They are so versatile and surprising still 2 waves after their release. I love them too.
Tim: I bought my first ships in Feb 2016 after some friends of mine had introduced me to it. I own and play mostly Rebel and Imperial. For Scum, I only own an Aggressor (which I won with store credit while playing in Oshawa) and a Most Wanted pack (which I got for the Auto-blaster turrets), and the extra Z-95 models.
Devon: I’ve been playing X-wing since late 2013. I’m known in the Toronto community for my TIE Swarm, but I love flying 3-4 ship Rebel synergy and Scum jank lists.
Peter: I’ve been playing X-wing for about a year and a half, however I disappeared from the scene for about six months right around the time when TLTs became a thing. If you do the math, I guess that’s about 1 year actively flying tiny spaceships! My faction of choice is definitely Scum because I find their ship and pilots to be super fun to use!
How did you first hear about the Prototype Toronto League, and what attracted you to it?
Tim: I met some of the PTL members at a local tournament and they immediately made me feel welcome. When you find an activity like X-wing – that you enjoy as much as we all do – one of the challenges is finding people to play with who help you learn and improve… instead of crushing you every time you play.
Devon: I knew Aaron and Michael (PTL founders) from weekly game nights across Toronto… I’d also played in many Games Workshop leagues in the past and I love the way they build and sustain gaming communities. Leagues are a great way to create/add meaning to the games we play week by week beyond just putting in reps for the next tournament. Ours is particularly inclusive and the format is easier on new players and forces you to flex those list-building muscles.
Peter: That would have to be a month or two after I originally got into the game. At the time, I was regularly attending X-wing night at Face to Face Games and one evening there was mention of a potential league starting up. PTL intrigued me because its casual-competitive format encourages players to think critically about their lists while maintaining a laid-back and friendly tournament setting.
Tell us about an experimental list of yours that you had the most fun with this season.
Aaron: I have to admit that the lists I flew on purpose this season were not as much fun as the randos (see last season’s article). In one randomized match I got Esege with some mostly useless loadout, Garven with a useless droid but with Integrated Astro, and finally Leebo – with no upgrades but Rage! So pit-fightin’ Leebo could Rage and still get fed tokens by the other 2! It was so much fun, especially the synergy between Esege and Garven. If Garven shoots first and uses Esege’s token he can give it back to him afterwards. Since then, I’ve been trying to cook up a list that I like that uses both of them, it won’t be big tournament list material, but whatevs. I may try Nora, Garven and Esege (and give the poor guy a TLT this time), or maybe the new generic Falcon (if it’s cheap), some BMST action and the “brocusers”.
Tim: I had a lot of fun with my first random squad challenge this season. I pulled a 42-point Tomax Bomber with no disposable EPT and – my personal fav – Valen Rudor with Juke and no way to take an Evade token….lol. However, being a lover of the VCX-100 and the Star Wars Rebels show, I can say that the list I had the most fun flying was also the only one I lost this season. I finally flew the Hera Syndulla pilot card I had won at Regionals equipped with Navigator and Intel Agent as crew. Hera and Navigator’s abilities stack when you reveal her dial, making her extremely hard to pin down and giving her the discretion to bump who she’d like and go where she’d like. I coupled that with FCS and Leebo as a wing man but lost to Lucas C (see below). I’ll be giving Hera another go at a later summer kit tournament with Corran Horn as a wing man.
Devon: I flew a bomber list against Phillip G this season that I had a ton of fun with. It was a squeaker of a game against his 2 TLT Y’s and IG88-B. I got to ion a ship off the board and double-bombed IG. Even though I lost, this game was some of the most fun I’ve had in X-wing. Phil’s bat rep itself is a work of art. I’ve changed the list somewhat since then but here is the list I flew with changes noted:
- Warden Squadron Pilot
- Dorsal Turret (don’t judge me, I never fly K-wings – now Autoblaster Turret), Sabine, Advanced SLAM, Extra Munitions, Conner Net, Proximity Mine, Siesmic Charges
- Gold Squadron Pilot
- BB-8, Ion Cannon Turret, Bomb Loadout, Prox Mines (now Clusters), Extra Munitions
- Gold Squadron Pilot
- R2 astromech (now R3-A2), Prox Mines (now Thermal Dets), Extra Munitions
Peter: I’m not sure if this list falls into the ‘experimental’ category, but one of the rando lists that the internet spat out at me was pretty hilarious to use in combat! The centerpiece of the list was a 55-point Mandalorian Merc (Rambo Merc) with all the ordnance trimmings. We’re talking about HLC, bombs, AND missiles. I had an incredible amount of fun flying his thing around considering there is no way such a build would ever sanely make it into one of my normal lists!
What about the most ridiculously cool list that you faced this season?
Aaron: I brought Corran (PTL loadout), the stresshog and a Gold with TLT into one match and my opponent brought Vess and the Countess, both with Tie/D titles and Ion Cannons, and I think a 3rd defender with just the X7 title. I thought, “This is great! my TLTs will perform inevitable slow murder on her Defenders.” Nope, those Tie/D defenders just ripped through my Y’s like they were paper mache. And the power move 4K’s let them just out position the poor Y’s. Good thing I had Corran 😉 I’m a big fan of the Tie/D defender now.
Tim: The list Lucas C used to face me was the first time I was introduced to the concept of a 6-dice homing missile. My jaw nearly hit the floor. His list was:
- Hera (Attack Shuttle)
- Autoblaster turret, Chewbacca, Vet Instincts
- Miranda Doni
- Autoblaster turret, Homing Missiles, Extra Munitions, Intel Agent, Long range scanners
- Jan Ors
- TLT, Wired, Chopper
Devon: Mike flew a solid Rebel squad I admired against my party bus Bossk, Kavil, N’dru list. I really liked it and it is a great example of the kind of lists that we get in the PTL. It was a great game, his Prototype Pilot bumped Bossk onto a rock twice and his HWK has Expert Handling!
- Blue Squadron Pilot
- Advanced Sensors
- Blue Squadron Pilot
- Advanced Sensors
- Kyle Katarn
- Expert Handling, TLT, Recon Spec, Moldy Crow
- Prototype Pilot
- Chardaan Refit
Peter: I really have to give credit to Aaron P for his three-ship Imperial list consisting of Omega Leader, Colonel Vessery, and Tomax Bren. Every pilot in this list can be very dangerous if left unchecked, which makes target priority almost impossible. It’s a classic example of the complexity of X-wing and the skill involved in list building.
How excited are you for Wave 9 and Heroes of the Resistance? Which ships and combos are you looking forward to trying out in PTL?
Aaron: I’m just jived for the Lancer, despite my aversion for big ships. On paper, it looks like an extremely well-balanced finesse ship made for fun, with excellent anti-ace options and decent jousting numbers. Ventress is the obvious go-to, but I’m going to spend some effort in trying to come up with a punchy Ketsu Onyo list too. But mainly the ARC. Initially, I was underwhelmed looking at the stats and abilities, but after playing around on squad builders late at night, I’ve got some builds that look like they may actually work out. Here’s one of the weirdest: I plan to try out build on one of them with an R5 astromech and R2D2 crew. I’m not sure that would be better than R2D2 (droid), but I’m excited to see!
Tim: SO EXCITED!!!! Again, being a lover of the VCX-100….I’m looking forward to my very first Adv Sensors Seismic Torpedo followed by a 5K turn where that rock used to be – lol. I think Vectored Thrusters, PS 9 Poe, new Han/Chewie, Rey, Finn, and Jyn will all help to create interesting dynamics in the game. However, one of the things I’m looking forward to the most is something that 3 lads and I realized during our 15-hour drive home from the Maritime Regionals to Toronto… You’ve heard of the “Stresshog” Y wing? Meet the “Stress Sprinkler” ARC-170; Braylen Stram with Alliance Overhaul + Tactician + R3-A2.
Devon: I’m really looking forward to flying the Shadowcaster, it seems intriguing and the new arc mechanics seem interesting. The TIE/sf and Fang seem like very niche fighters without a lot of design space but could be solid ships. The one I am most excited for is the ARC. I’m actually super surprised that it ended up being the ship I was looking forward to the most, but I can’t wait to put Sabine and BB8 on one as an addition to my bomb list in place of the K-wing. As for Heros, I’m more interested in the upgrades that it comes with as we aren’t really seeing new ships. Illicit slots on Rebels and the new pilots and crew seem like they will alter the meta in interesting ways.
Peter: Very very very excited! I’m extremely eager to get the Fang fighter and Lancer onto the table with the absolutely overwhelming amount of new upgrade cards that are going to be available. Asajj Ventress is most definitely going to be hitting the table first to dish out some scummy stress token pain! HotR will finally get me to dust off my Falcon for those times when my Scum lists just aren’t performing as planned.
I’d like to thank Aaron, Tim, Devon, and Peter again for taking the time to give us some insight into their PTL experience. I couldn’t help but laugh when I noticed that the favourite lists for almost all our top players this season were randomly generated. How fitting!
Season 6 starts next week; and now that Nationals is over, we can all get back to flying Deathfire. Good luck and have fun, everyone!
If you live in the GTA or are just visiting, join us for some good times on Tuesdays at Face to Face Games, Wednesdays at 401 Games, and Fridays at Dueling Grounds. If you’re looking to join or get in touch, just hit us up on Facebook!