I got into X-Wing about a year ago and have really enjoyed the tournament scene. I have had some good luck playing competitively, managing to win a store championship and making top 4 at Regionals. I was definitely stoked to participate in Canadian Nationals, especially since they were just a 20 minute bike ride away.
I set to work crafting a list for nationals about 3 weeks in advance. Wave 7 had just been released 1 week earlier which made things tricky. I had taken a Chirpy-Fel list to Regionals, but the thought of multiple TLT lists scared me away from bringing a Decimator to nationals. I knew I needed something that countered TLT’s without leaving me vulnerable to some of the other archetypes in the game. After some messing around I decided that a combo of high agility and Autothrusters worked well enough to at least slow down the onslaught of TLT attacks. I decided to bring:
• Soontir Fel w/ Push the Limit + Autothrusters + Title + Targeting Computer
• Tempest Squadron Pilot w/ Title + Accuracy Corrector (x3)
The idea here is to ALWAYS evade with the Tie Advances. Having an evade token plus 3 agility dice sure makes them hard to kill. Even though they do go down eventually, they often take longer to kill than an opponent would think. Also, if you haven’t tried Accuracy Corrector on a ship yet, you really have to. It is an amazing card, and for more than just the obvious reason of always delivering 2 hits. Accuracy Corrector opens up the entire dial to a ship. It means I can K-turn and stay just as efficient offensively. It means I can barrel roll to block or to dodge an arc and not sacrifice any offence. Generally speaking I use Fel as bait and let the Advances hit the opponent hard in the side while they’re chasing the ever elusive Fel. I don’t win 100-0 with this list, but the Advances normally take long enough to die that they bring a large portion of the enemy list down with them; allowing Fel to mop of the rest.
Why 97 pts?
Good question. I love getting to choose who gets initiative, and I will almost always give my opponent initiative for 3 major reasons:
- It allows me to see where they set up. This is a big deal. I almost never want to joust, and allowing opposing PS 1 & 2 ships to set up first helps me dictate where the fight will happen.
- If I’m facing an opposing Fel, I NEED to move last. It is so hard to win if you have to move first in a mirror match; I don’t like leaving these things to chance.
- It allows me to block other PS1 and PS2 ships from K-turning. Since they have to move first there often isn’t room for them to K-turn, but after they’ve moved it allows me to K-turn behind them. And thanks to Accuracy Corrector, my offence doesn’t suffer at all after K-turning.
Why Targeting Computer?
Another good question. Most of the time we see Fel equipped with a Stealth Device and Autothrusters. Personally, when I sit down across the table from the Stealth Device Fel, I’m just not that afraid of him. Go ahead and roll your 3 dice or 4 dice with a focus token. It still leaves so much up to chance. 3 dice with a focus token is just not that scary. But 3 dice with a Target Lock and a focus token? I’m expecting 3 hits at that point, and at range 1, I can count on doing 4 damage almost all the time. You have to be judicious in deciding when to use your tokens on offence, but if you get behind a shuttle, Aggressor, or a Hounds Tooth, you need to make those shots count. As much as I use Soontir as bait, I need him to be able to dish out the offence when the time comes.
One last point before I get to the individual rounds. I will use this battle report more to attempt to explain my overall strategy going into each match. I won’t necessarily go into huge detail with round by round shooting and dice rolling results. One of the most important parts of a game is before the first dial is placed. Determining the main threat of the opposing list and the best way to attack it with yours is just as important (if not more!) than list building itself. The whole thing got a little long on me, so read what you like and ignore the rest!
Round 1 vs Dude
I chose to give Dude (sorry man, only guy whose name escapes me) initiative for two reasons. First, it meant that he’d have to set up his entire list first, letting me plan exactly where to put my forces. Second, I knew that once we got in close it’d be pretty easy for me to block his B’s 2K-turns. He’d move first, bumping me, and then I’d have lots of room to 4K turn behind him with my Ties. My overall strategy here was to trade my Advances for as many B-wings as possible I was thinking that Fel could easily handle 2-3 ships on his own, so all I had to do was exchange 3 Tie’s for 3B’s and I’d be set
He set up his 4 B’s in a box in the upper left corner, and his lone Z in the upper right. I set up my Ties in the bottom left, directly across from his B’s, and I put Fel in the bottom right directly across from his lone Z.
I slow rolled my Tie’s, and he brought his B’s right at them. Fel blasted forward, as did the Z, and we exchanged R3 shots in the first round, neither of us doing any damage. Second round I continued to slow roll my Ties and I turned Fel left to cut across the board and flank the B’s. This left his untouched Z all alone on that side of the board and he was out of the fight for a while. My Ties exchanged R3 fire with the B’s, which went much better for me (R3, all of them with evade tokens) than for him (only 1 evade dice vs my Accuracy Corrected shots). The next turn the 4B’s and 3 Ties all crashed together in a big mess with Fel joining the fight on their flank. Since neither of us really had actions, my 3 evade dice and guaranteed 2 hits on offence gave me the upper hand. As planned, during the next turn he wasn’t able to K-turn, as his 2K wouldn’t clear me. So he bumped again, and I was able to 4K behind him. Over the next couple of turns I got more shots than him and basically traded 2 Advances for all for of his B’s. I hunted down the last Z and won my first match.
W 100 – 42. (1-0)
Round 2 vs Kyle
• Chewie w/ Predator, C-3PO, Gunner, MF title
• Corran Horn w/ VI, R2D2, Shield
Looking at this list I saw Corran as the main target; you’ve got to take him out, and you’ve got to do it early. If you try to take him 1v1 or even 2v1 in the endgame it’ll be next to impossible, especially with that added shield. So in a timed game I knew that I needed to take him out immediately. But I couldn’t make it look like I was gunning for him. I was even willing to exchange Fel for Corran, because I knew a non Engine Upgrade Chewie could not escape my Ties, and they’d deal him consistent damage.
I set up my Advances in the bottom right, he then put Chewie right in the centre. I threw Fel in the bottom right with the Advances, and he put Corran in the top left. He sped Corran and Chewie straight ahead while I flew Fel up the right side and turned my Advances immediately to the left, flying them across the bottom of the board. He kept Chewie going straight while I turned my Advances back towards the centre of the board, facing right at Chewie, while Fel turned to the centre as well to catch Chewie on his flank. Corran turned in, trying to catch the Advances on their flank. A few initial R3 shots didn’t result in much for him, whereas my accuracy correctors peeled a few shields off Chewie, and an all blank evade roll from Corran actually dropped 2 of his shields off. Next turn I sprung the trap.
I banked all 3 ties to the left, barrel rolling the front one so he’d be right in Chewie’s way. Chewie bumped my blocker and Fel bumped into Chewie. I wanted all my guns on Corran, and I wanted to draw Corran’s guns away from my Ties. Corran flew right into the trap, bumping the blocked Chewie, and leaving him at R1 of all my Advances, and R2 of Fel. He had a target lock on Fel from the previous round, and actually managed to destroy him that round of firing. However, I had all 3 accuracy corrector Tie’s firing at a tokenless Corran. His dice did him no favours and Corran died that round. This left 3 Ties with a guaranteed 2 hits each roll chasing down a non-boosting Chewie. It was just clean up after that, with me losing one more Advance in the process.
Win 100 – 55 (2-0)
Round 3 vs Mark
• Sigma Squadron Pilot w/ ACD
• Captain Oicunn w/ rebel captive
• OGP w/ Vader Crew
This list really did scare me – tons of HP to chew through, a turret, an automatic damage-dealer, and a heavy hitting arc dodger. I’ve played enough low PS Phantoms to know that they are still a huge threat, and so I decided right off the bat that the Sigma was my primary target. I also knew that I had to keep Fel out of the OGP’s firing arc the entire game, I did not want to get Vadered.
It ended up being an extremely close game, and I won’t bore you with all the details. I used Fel as bait, and he went full bore after him. I managed to avoid any damage during the initial fly by, but just didn’t push enough damage through with my Advances while he was chasing Fel. He did a great job of hiding his Phantom, and eventually I ended up finally destroying his Decimator, but I had to double stress Soontir in order to do it. This allowed his Phantom to take out an action-less Fel the next turn, while I traded 1 Advance for his Shuttle.
It ended up being 2 advances vs his Phantom. I split them up and as he chased one, I was able to chase his Phantom with the other. He killed the Advance and then started running. My accuracy corrector did some work on him, bringing him down to 1 hull left. Last turn he ran 4 forward landing an eyelash away from the edge of the board; and cloaked. I rolled my 2 hits and he rolled his dice one at a time: evade-blank-blank-evade. So close.
My first loss 76-69 (2-1)
Round 4 vs Francois
• Syndicate Thug w/ Twin Laser Turret + R4 Agromech (x2)
• IG88-B w/ VI+HLC+ Fire Ctrl System+ Autothrusters
Finally some TLT’s! Right off the bat I decided that Fel could probably take IG88 1v1 if I could get to that point. I knew that the TLT’s would eventually win in a battle of attrition so I decided to make them my priority target.
I set up a dense asteroid field because Aggressors hate dense asteroid fields, and while I was planning on ignoring him as much as possible I didn’t want him to be able to fly around unobstructed firing away at me. I gave him initiative, so he placed his 2 Y’s first, one directly behind the other in the centre. I placed my 3 Advances in the bottom right. He put his Aggressor top left, and I put Fel bottom right with the Advances. I kept my forces together this time, because I wanted to stay away from the Aggressor and take out the Y’s as quickly as possible. My plan worked.He flew his Y’s straight forward and I flew ahead and banked in with all 4 of my ships.
During the first round of combat he fired both TLT’s at a tokened up Fel, and, thanks to Autothrusters, didn’t get any hits through. I then laid into the first Y leaving it on 2 Hull. Next round he turned his Aggressor into the asteroid field and I pursued the Y’s, who turned left to try and maintain their distance. I popped the first Y and his IG88 pushed 1 damage through on my Fel. From that point on his IG never took another shot. I blocked his attempted Sloop with 1 Advance leaving him stressed, and pointing the wrong way. My other 3 ships pursued the lone Y-wing, which melted pretty fast. I managed to block his IG88 again with the same Advance, putting the other 2, plus Fel, behind him. This is one of the reasons I love having targeting computer instead of stealth, when I have a good shot on an IG88, I do not want to leave anything to chance. I pushed through 4 damage with a TL + Focus R1 attack, stripping his shields. One turn and one more block later and a token-less IG88 was done.
Win 100-0 (3-1)
Round 5 v Carlo
• Darth Vader w/ VI + Advanced Targeting Computer
• OGP w/ Emperor Palpatine
• Patrol Leader
Sitting down across from this list, I was not afraid. I wasn’t afraid of an engine upgrade-less Vader, and with no Vader crew or Rebel captive I wasn’t too afraid of the other two ships. I hadn’t faced a Palpatine yet, but shared the popular opinion that he was a bit too overpriced, and not all that powerful. I was about to learn that I was wrong. I decided my priority would be to take out the Decimator, and clean up the other two ships with whatever I had left.
I gave Carlo initiative, and he placed his Palp-mobile far left. I put my Advances in the bottom right, then he put his Decimator in the centre. I put Fel in the bottom right with my Advances, and he put Vader right next to his Decimator.
He held his shuttle back and brought the other 2 ships up, and I turned my Ties left, while running Fel up the right hand side of the board. I then turned my Ties up the centre of the board in order to come at the Decimator from 2 different directions. He chased Fel leaving my Advances with great shots on his Decimator. In the initial engagement I was at R3, and he rolled several evades with his 1 die on the Decimator. Carlo flew really well and continued managing to keep hid Decimator at R3 of my Advances. He kept rolling evades with his one green die or using the Emperor to make them an evade. The bottom line is that while Fel danced away, I wasn’t able to do enough damage to kill the Decimator. My third Advance died with the Decimator having 2 hull left, Vader being at full health, and the shuttle had about 5 hull left.
This was a tall order for Fel, and while I did manage to take out the Decimator, one poor decision that ended up flying Fel through a roid left him tokenless and Vader pounced securing the victory.
Loss 100-40 (3-2)
At 3-2 I figured my tournament was over and packed up my stuff. I remember mentioning to Arfive that I wasn’t too disappointed since, being a nurse, I had a 12 hour shift the following day, and should really go home to get some rest. After tabulating the results, Victor announced the top 8 in order from 1st downwards. I was chatting with someone else when I heard that the 8th place player had finished 4 MOV pts ahead of the 9th place player, and that spot was held by me! I was shocked, and it turns out Arfive finished 9th. To be honest I was just happy that I had won templates, and was seriously considering dropping to let Arfive take my place so I could get home. After hemming and hawing for a minute I decided to stay. Why not?
Quarter Finals vs Clayton
• Chewie w/ Predator + Recon Specialist + MF title + C3PO
• Leebo w/ Predator + Jan Ors + Mangler + Outrider
Yikes. Double pancake, no donut holes, and both with Predator to boot! My game plan was fairly straightforward on this one: kill Leebo as fast as possible. He’s the easier one to kill, and I could not survive 2 turreted Predators for too long with my PS2 Advances. The one thing in my favour here was that neither had engine upgrade, so it would be a lot easier to get my 3 accuracy corrected guns on his ships.
I set up my 3 Advances in the bottom right, he put Chewie and Leebo side by side facing towards me right in the centre of the map. I then put Fel with the rest of my squad in the bottom right. I did my usual thing, splitting up the group, sending the Advances along the bottom of the board, turning up to run through the asteroid field while Fel streaked up the right side of the board. Clayton turned both of his ships towards Fel, allowing me to come up the middle behind him with my Advances.
Nothing too crazy happened here, we both had some good dice on defense, Fel was able to avoid all the shots coming his way and my 3 Advances whittled down Leebo quickly. Clayton hadn’t really played against Accuracy Correctors before, and said he was taken by surprise by just how much damage they dealt out. His red dice were pretty cold, even with predator he was only rolling a couple hits with each ship.
After the first 7 or so turns Leebo was gone and I was left with a full health Fel and 2 badly injured Advances; Clayton’s Chewie had only lost 1 or 2 shields. He was able to finish off one of the advances fairly quickly, leaving me with a 1 hull Advance + Fel, and about 25 minutes left. We did some math and realized that I was ahead on points, so I started to run. For about 10 minutes I ran, plinking an occasional shield off Chewie with Fel, but not really doing anything significant. At one point I came streaking down the left side of the map with my 1 hull Advance and he turned his Chewie right down the centre of the board, directly through the asteroid field in order to cut him off. It was a great move but it still took Clayton about 3 turns to finally get the last damage through my Advance.
Five minutes left, and it was his turn to run with Chewie at 6 hull. He had gotten himself into a bad position in the asteroid field and landed on a rock trying to get away. This is where my targeting computer saved the day. I boosted to R1 and pushed through 3 damage on a TL + Focus attack (I hate you C-3PO).
3 Hull left. As we were setting our dials time was called. I again managed to get Fel into R1 and lined up another 4 dice TL + Focus attack. I rolled blank-blank-blank-eye. Thank god for my targeting computer. I re-rolled and came up with hit-hit-eye-eye. Focus for 4 hits. Clayton actually forgot that he could’ve guessed 1 with 3PO and survived, but he rolled a blank anyways; a last second win for me. It was a very fun game against an amazing opponent.
Semifinals vs Carlo
• Darth Vader w/ VI + Advanced Targeting Computer
• OGP w/ Emperor Palpatine
• Patrol Leader
I was feeling pretty good at this point. I thought that if I could survive 2 turreted Predators, I could survive anything. My plan in this re-match with Carlo was the exact same: take out the Decimator first and mop up the rest with Fel. Even though this was my losing strategy the first time around, I was fairly confident that it would work.
We set up in literally the exact same way as our first match, and the first 3 turns were identical as well. I stuck with the same strategy, using Fel as bait as the Advances came up the middle to target the Decimator. In this game, however, Carlo did not roll a single evade die with his Decimator, and it went down really fast. This meant that he had to bring his shuttle into the fight to try and push some damage through.
He decided to try and target Fel with Vader, but I guessed right a couple of times leaving Fel with no shot, but also leaving Vader pointing the wrong way. His shuttle landed on a roid and my Advances finished him off. That left my whole squad against his engine-less Vader and I was able to clean up for the victory. It is always stressful playing Carlo, he’s a fierce opponent and we always seem to meet on the top tables. I was very happy to have come away with the victory this time.
Finals vs John
• Kenkirk w/ Lone Wolf + Ysanne Isaard + Palpatine + Engine Upgrade
• Fel w/ PTL + Autothrusters + Stealth device
I Made it to the finals! This is the first Soontir Fel that I’ve faced all day, and I’m excited because I brought a 97pt initiative bid specifically so I could outmaneuver an opposing Fel. How many points is John’s list? 97. So the biggest moment of the game may well have been the initiative roll, which I won. I gave Initiative to John and breathed a big sigh of relief. My strategy heading into this map was to loosely target Kenkirk to begin, and hopefully I’d have an opportunity to block an unsuspecting Fel.
I set up my Advances in the bottom right, and John put his Kenkirk in the middle and then put his Fel in the top left. I put my Fel in the bottom right. He ran his Fel down the left side of the board and brought Kenkirk slowly straight up the middle. I ran all 4 of my ships straight ahead and got a bit of damage through on Kenkirk. He turned his Kenkirk away from my squad and started running, but not before I managed to land a Damaged Engine (hard turns are red) crit on him. His return fire for the first several rounds didn’t do anything. Even with his Lone Wolf re-rolls his dice were ice cold and my green dice were on fire! I was rolling 2 and 3 natural evades, and always had my evade tokens to boot. At this point I had a choice, keep running after the now crazy defensive Kenkirk (with his evade die, Palpatine, Lone Wolf and Ysanne Isaard all engaged) or go after Fel who was attempting to get on my flank.
I decided to hard turn towards the bottom of the board to go after Fel. With his damaged engines I knew it would take Kenkirk a while to loop around the asteroid field and get back into the fight, so it was a good opportunity to take a shot at Fel. Two turns later I was able to block Fel and hit him with a 4 dice TL + focus attack from my Fel. I got 4 hits, and he rolled 1 evade. I celebrated in my head, but then he used Palpatine to turn one of the blanks into an evade. Soo close. At least his stealth device was gone, and he was sitting on his last hull.
After that there was a little more dancing around, with small amounts of damage going both ways. He managed to take one of my Advances off the table in exchange for a bit more damage on Kenkirk. At this point I had all 3 of my remaining ships chasing Kenkirk along the bottom of the map wit his Fel regrouping and trying to come up behind me. I chose to let Kenkirk fly away and K-turned all my ships to face his Fel. I think this may have caught him a bit off guard and 2 turns later I’d blocked him and set up another R1 TL + F attack with my Fel. This time not even the Emperor could save him.
This left my 2 fairly healthy Advances + Fel against a 6 hull Kenkirk. It was only a matter of time and I managed to finish him off and claim the championship!
It was a long day with lots of great opponents and a really smoothly run tournament. I loved all the patriotic support I received in the final round against my American opponent, and was very lucky and very happy to finish on top!
To read Spencer’s interview about his time time at Nationals, playing X-Wing and other musings click here.