I’ve been playing X-Wing Miniatures for about one year now and marvel at the nuances in this game. When players lose, most blame the dice and not the fact that their build did not match up well or that they just piloted poorly. On the other hand, many win by playing so much, and practice, practice, practice. When I lose, I usually acknowledge that I was outplayed, but secretly blame the dice. It’s been baffling to me how people like Paul Heaver can consistently win with this current changing meta.
The list I flew at Worlds:
The Unholy Trinity 98 pts
•Soontir Fel, royal guard, targeting computer, autothrusters, push the limit (34 pts)
•Darth Vader, engine upgrade, tie advanced title, veteran instincts, advanced targeting computer (35 pts)
•Omicron Gamma Shuttle, Emperor Palpatine (29 pts)
Initiative bid at 98 points. That way I can use the dark side to force choke my opponent into taking initiative (if needed).
Since February, I have played almost 120* straight official tournament games with Soontir Fel in my list (*certain people scared me from bringing him to Nationals because of how TLTs and Conner Nets would nerf him. However, 3 out of the 4 top lists had the Baron and not a single person brought Conner Nets!). I firmly believe he is the best-valued pilot for the Empire. I trick my Soontir out with Targeting Computer instead of the more often seen Stealth Device. My philosophy is that if you’re too scared to fly Soontir without Stealth Device, you probably shouldn’t fly him. He’s slippery enough, and taking away his ability to make solid attacks, ie. Without Targeting Computer, hurts more. Trust me! To my credit, I had been flying Soontir and the Shuttle for a long time, and the “Unholy Trinity” for at least a month, well before the “internets” got hold of its counters.
Anyway, I read battle reports and find them a bit boring sometimes. Many list the minutia of their battles when in reality most games are over before engagement even begins or are decided by bad dice or piloting. I’ve broken it down into four categories, match-up, opening, piloting, and dice. Here are my simplified battle reports:
Round 1 – Dave from Nebraska
Prototype A-wings x3 + chardaan refit
Great match-up, smart piloting, solid dice. Win 85-0
Round 2 – Julian from San Diego
Chewy YT1300 with C3P-0, predator, Luke, falcon title
Vrill YT-2400 with HLC (no outrider), recon specialist, and anti-pursuit lasers
Bad match-up, terrible opening, poor piloting, awful dice. Loss 64-0
Round 3 – Kevin from Mankato, Minnesota –> the guy Paul Heaver squeaked out a modified win against!
Dash YT2400 with HLC (no outrider), lone wolf, C3P-0, engine upgrade
Corran Horn E-Wing, R2-D2, engine upgrade, push the limit, fire control system
Poor piloting. Loss 64-0
Round 4 – Goefle from Kalamazoo
Ten numb, mangler cannon, veteran instincts, and fire control system
Wedge (yes, Wedge) X-Wing, with BB-8 and veteran instincts
Wes Janson (yes, Wes) X-Wing, with veteran instincts
Bad match-up, poor piloting. Loss 64-0
Round 5 – Alistair from Sydney, Australia
Gold Squadron Y-wings with TLT x2
Gold Squadron Y-wing with TLT, R3-A2
Smart piloting, solid dice. Win 73-64
Round 6 – Thomas from New York
Exactly the same build as mine except he chose Stealth Device on Soontir. Big mistake as he is forced to take initiative which renders Soontir a toothless pussycat.
Great match-up, smart piloting. Win 100-0
Round 7 – Michael from Pittsburgh
Soontir Interceptor with, royal guard title, push the limit, autothrusters, stealth device (argh)
Omicron Gamma Shuttle with Emperor Palpatine
Sigma Squadron Phantom with Advanced Cloaking Device, Recon Specialist
Awful dice. Loss 35-0
Round 8 – Justin from Colorado
Jake, Gemmer, Tycho all with test pilot, proton rockets, autothrusters.
Great match-up, smart flying, solid dice. Win 100-0
All in all, I really felt like I ended up with my dignity intact. I played against the World’s best and won four games and came close to winning two others. At the end of the night, I heard that Paul Heaver had gone undefeated with an 8-0 record (including the modified win against Kevin’s Dash/Corran). I decided to try to find out the secret to this gaming wizard’s magic.
Below is my exclusive Interview with the Three-Time X-Wing Miniatures World Champion.
The next morning after X-Wing Worlds, I stopped Paul Heaver as he walked past our table from the breakfast buffet. Up to this point I had only seen him as this mega gaming genius constantly surrounded by a nerd posse. Well this time, his NOVA entourage was already seated eating their shitty sausages and cold bacon. It turns out that he is a very approachable guy and not as cocky as you would expect him to be. I asked him a few questions and here were his replies.
Me: How many games did you get in with this list before yesterday?
Paul: I played 4 games, although, I’ve used various pieces for a while. I also have been playing Poe since he came out.
Me: Are you excited to be going for a three-peat?
Paul: Not really. I’m more excited for Imperial Assault. The prizes aren’t that great for X-Wing. Once you get top sixteen, there’s nothing that great after that. I really just wanted those dice!
Me: Maybe you can get the artists to autograph the print (final prize) or something?
Paul: Well I do have some pull, so maybe I can make that happen?
Me: Do you have any pre-game rituals?
Paul: Yes, I eat pistachios.
His eggs were getting cold so I let him go eat in peace.