I am Alan from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
I recently completed my third regional tournament to date and am happy to say that for once, I did ok. Well better than ok: I came in first. Not too proud per se because as much skill that I like to think that I have, my first place finish owed much to a great deal of luck and good timing. But let’s start at the beginning.
Here was my build going in:
Boba Fett (39) w: Slave I title (0), 4Lom (1), Extra Munitions (2), Proton Bombs (5), Glitterstim (2), Veteran Instincts (1). 50 points
Dengar (33) w: Punishing One title (12), Bossk (2), R5-P8 (3), Adaptability (0). 50 points
The theme? ESB Bounty Hunters. I am really big on role playing and the lore of Star Wars. My build was based on a challenge from my friend to see how many of the Empire Strikes Back Bounty Hunters I could fit into a build and still be competitive (4! Woo!!). The theory? Basically 2 “Aces” killers (High PS -10, who don’t really care about arcs) yet are beefy enough to withstand drawn out fights with TLTs, pancakes, etc.
Swiss Rounds (my apologies if I do not remember all the details or make mistakes)
First Match: Vs. Andy
As I sat down for my first match I had to laugh as it appeared to be a mirror match. Andy however opted to go with Kath and Tel (just loaded with more toys). My high PS of 10 meant that even though we were trading shots, I was still coming out ahead. Best end to any match of the day. My Dengar with 1 hull remaining (and I believe a crit that made me take a damage if I overlapped a ship/obstacle) vs. his Tel with 1 hull remaining. We had completed all attacks/counter attacks save for R5-P8. If I passed (or missed w the droid) there was a high likelihood that I would die next turn on an astroid or by bumping his Tel. If I rolled a crit, we would both die. I had a 3/8 chance of winning it. A crowd gathered as we were one of the final matches of that first round. I debated rolling for R5 as no one could quickly explain what would happen if we both died. In the end, the crowd’s chanting convinced me to go for it. A lucky hit on the red die and I went 1-0.
Result: Won 125-75
Second Match: Vs. Gini
I remember Gini flying two heavily outfitted but generic jump masters with a seriously dangerous Mist Hunter. Having practised against the jump masters, I knew my only chance was to rush them so they couldn’t get off their torpedoes. Some ridiculously lucky attack rolls and similarly unlucky defence rolls saw the jump masters fall quickly while doing little damage to me. That left me to take care of Mist Hunter with 2 healthy ships. Easy? nope. The Mist Hunter was vicious and killed one and maimed my other ship before finally dying. I went on 2-0
Result: Won 150-50
Third Match: Vs. Clay
Clay looks like a big imposing guy but he’s not. He’s actually incredibly nice and friendly. His build looked like a big imposing squad and it was. Standard Dash build with a Ghost was my worst nightmare. Two large ships, bigger and meaner than mine. I managed to do quite a bit of damage to the Ghost but Dengar fell quickly in the attempt (especially when he took 2 direct hits in a row) and Boba lasted only a few turns longer. I slumped away 2-1.
Result: Lost 21-179? (It was awful…)
At this mid-way point, I accepted that the likelihood of me winning 3 more matches and advancing to the finals was slim so I opted for 100% fun. That attitude worked, on many levels.
Fourth Match: Vs. Mark
Mark was flying an imperial aces type build with Inquisitor, Whisper, Omega Leader. High PS, amazing maneuverability, awesome firepower. Unfortunately, my build was the perfect counter. Whisper decloacking in front of Boba and Dengar at PS10 meant he didn’t survive past the first engagement. Omega fell soon after. However, the Inquisitor lasted forever (Mark flew him superbly) and it took me the rest of the match (to almost time) to finally finish him off. I went on 3-1.
Result: Won 175-25? (One ship was hurt but not sure if it was worth half points yet)
Fifth Match: Vs. Dan
Dan was flying what I consider to be a fantastic theme: Poe with Millennium Falcon (very Force Awakens). Dan is a great player but as I said earlier, I was now playing 100% fun and I think my carefree recklessness with my ships may have taken Dan by surprise. Focused fired on the Millennium until it died then played cat and mouse with Poe before 2 very lucky high damage attacks with almost no defence finished him off. I was now 4-1 and about to play against one of the top seated players.
Result: Won 175-25? (Again, still had both ships I believe but one was hurting)
Sixth Match: Vs. Mike
I think it was almost 6 o’clock (we had been there since 9am) when I met with Mike to discuss our match. We were both at 20 tournament points and our nearest competition was at 15. We discussed our desire to not play each other (Intentional draw?) and enjoy an extended break. With the ID, we both advanced to Top 8 and left for supper (a lucky break for me? less so when I found out that I ended up in 7th place overall meaning an extremely tough first opponent coming back to the finals).
Result: Intentional Draw (I had never even heard of this before so it was an interesting development)
Quarterfinal Match: Vs. Josh
This is what you call irony. I ID’d to get an extended break and not have to face Mike’s Palp Aces build. Come back from break, sit across from Josh (who placed 2nd in swiss) and scan his squad. Not only is it Palp Aces but it is literally the exact same build as Mike’s from round 6 (Palp, Omega, Inquisitor, Wampa). It was now time to see if I deserved to be in the Top 8 or if my ID was the only reason I was there.
Turns 1 and 2: While Josh positioned himself strategically and expertly, I flew at him recklessly and at full speed, closing to range 1 of his force in 2 turns. I popped glitterstim and phenom attacks from Boba and Dengar still only managed to slightly damage two of Josh’s aces. Not looking good. He retuned fire and I lost a few shields.
Turn 3: Here was the rub. I had flown so aggressively that Josh had limited movement options save to jump over me with is Aces. He did but regrettably landed in the one spot where my proton bomb could hit 2 out of 3 Aces. An expert block on his part using Wampa against Dengar left him without actions and eating 3 attacks (almost killing him). That same turn my only credible target for attack was Palp himself and he lost all 5 shields.
Turn 4: Was… horrific and I felt badly for Josh. His expert blocking with Wampa on the previous turn resulted in all his maneuver options taking him off the table now. Poof. Gone. Similarly, the great maneuvering with his Aces to hit Dengar in turn 3 meant their only follow-up options left them in range 1 of Boba’s final Proton Bomb. It went off and a direct hit reveal finished Omega while another finished the Inquisitor. I then moved my two ships flanking his palp and with 2 range 1 shots of 4 dice each about to hit him and no option to return fire, Josh conceded before the start of the 4th round of combat.
Result: Won 200-0
Semi-final Match: Vs. Gordon
Gordon was flying the Jumpmaster special (3 of the generics with the usual upgrades). I had just seen him decimate Mike (Palp Aces) and knew I was in for a long, drawn out fight. I have beaten the 3 jumpmaster build before but never against someone of Gordon’s skill and experience.
But then something interesting happened. Gordon approached me and asked if I was committed to going to Worlds if I won, and I replied honestly: yes! He then admitted his exhaustion (past 9pm at this point), his inability to attend Worlds this year (regardless of outcome), and his desire to salvage the remaining night and spend time with his partner. He conceded prior to set up but not before checking in with the last remaining players (Steve and Ryan) to ensure they were ok with it. They were, and he gracefully bowed out. Once again, my luck advanced my standing. Result: Won through concession
Prelude to finals. Getting the equivalent of a bye to the finals is not the break you want to get. Instead of relaxing, I got to watch with increasing anxiety 2 extremely talented players face off against each other. The winner poised to take me out. It was stressful to say the least. More so when the one player (Steve) was flying a build that had won him first place in the previous year’s regionals (Tie Phantom x 2 w Tie Fighter Friend). And while it looked like Steve had the early lead in the match, it eventually turned on him. Leaving me to face Ryan in the final. Ironically, this was even a worse development for me. I felt more confident against Steve’s build given that my PS10s could attack his Phantoms while they were decloacked each and every turn. Unfortunately, it didn’t go that way.
Final Match: Vs. Ryan
Ryan is as close to a professional player as I have seen in Manitoba. His grasp of the rules. His ability to play with and against the current meta. His ability to devise whole new squads using innovation. His positioning, flying, and tactics. All exceptional. His team for regionals was something I had never seen before. 3 scum ships: Manaroo, Kavil (with TLT), and Gand Findsman all mind linked and extremely efficient.
I wanted to win but didn’t believe I could so had little regard for strategy save to “murder each other and be done with it.” (something I mentioned offhand that became the catchphrase for the final match).
Turns 1 and 2: I rushed his ships and closed the gap to range 1 within the second turn. Relatively ineffective shots on both our parts saw a few shields stripped each.
Turns 3-5: A great deal of expert flying on Ryan’s part kept me from getting too many range 1 shots. Still, Boba and Dengar were able to focus fire Manaroo to death. Unfortunately, Boba fell the same turn.
Turns 6-8: What started with a relatively healthy Dengar against relatively healthy Kavil and Gand Findsman ended with all of us hurting with stripped shields and minor hull damage (for Kavil). The fact that I managed to completely dodge two TLT attacks helped (rolling two natural evades twice in a row – good thing I was using Ryan’s dice otherwise even I would have raised an eyebrow at that).
Turn 9: I opted to ignore the Gand Findsman who was poised for a range 1 shot at me (with both a focus and target lock) in order to finish off Kavil. With only 5 hull left, the Gand Findsman hit me with 2 hits and 2 crits. I rolled a single evade and saw my hull evaporate to 1 left (maybe 2). I used Dengar to retaliate, bringing my enemy down to a single hull. R5-P8 rolled for his revenge and with a single hit showing, I had won the Manitoba Regionals.
Result: Won 125-75
What I learned:
- Two large ships are still a very good option. Even with the new scoring system.
- The Jumpmasters are gross. Dengar is worse. The Punishing One title is worth every point. People always went after Boba but in the late game, Dengar’s ability to effectively attack twice won me several matches.
- Proton bombs are expensive (maybe even overpriced) but when they work, it is game changing.
- Bossk as a crew can be extremely dangerous, and may not be worth it. I can think of only a handful of times his ability actually worked as intended. In most cases, he just left me with a stress I would need to deal with the following turn.
- High PS still matters. In this era of Ghosts (and double Ghosts), sometimes going first doesn’t seem to matter. But against most builds, it is still worth it. Is PS10 excessive? A little.
- Don’t be afraid to try out a theme. I am often criticized by my friends for trying to “role play” with X-wing. Choosing expensive main characters over their cheaper generic counterparts. Most times, they are right and it isn’t an efficient build. But no matter what, I enjoy playing the mains so even when I lose, its fun. Plus, who remembers that Boba Fett was Best Man at Dengar’s wedding? Exactly.
Hope you enjoyed my write-up. See you at Worlds, Eh.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
photos courtesy of A Muse & Games