This weekend was an exciting one for me in my world of X-Wing, it was my first chance at an Escalation Style Tournament. I had only heard about them from more seasoned players and never thought I’d get the chance to play in one. Luckily for me, the “FoodHammer” organizers thought it was the perfect format for their charity event.
It being a charity event, I knew I was doing it for fun, but I never expected it to be as fun as it ended up being. This is the story of the most enjoyable tournament I’ve played yet, and one I like to call
“The Adventures of Rusty Venture!”
Having never played in a tournament of this style, I honestly had no idea if coming into the first match with only two ships was a completely idiotic move. However, my opponent had two ships as well,
Luke Skywalker w/R2-D2
Outer-Rim Smuggler w/Rec Spec
This was an interesting twosome to go against and honestly one I didn’t know I was completely equipped to beat. I set up in a standard line and moved cautiously forward. I knew I had to get Luke and his firepower off the board quickly. Rusty made it into range by turn 3, with Biggs luckily behind him at Range 3 of all enemy shots. Biggs managed to eat up the attacks only loosing two shields while Rusty gave a good shield rendering attack on Luke.
However, Rusty was in a tough spot and had to barrel roll and K-turn over an asteroid, losing a shield. The next turn I was able to destroy Luke with Biggs and Rusty, but Biggs followed Luke soon after. It was down to Rusty vs the Outer-Rim Smuggler, and Rusty decided to go over the same Asteroid twice, managing to damage himself both times. However, as the chase began on the Outer-Rim Smuggler, Rusty would get 1 damage while inflicting 2-3 in return. The match became so close that at the last turn it was 3 Hull left on the Outer-Rim Smuggler to 1 Hull on Rusty! Luckily, with pilot skill two and a range 1 shot, Rusty brought in 4 solid hits! The Smuggler’s 1 defense couldn’t cut it and it was dead on the board.
And then came round two.
Coming off the excitement of just scraping by a win, I was ready for the next round! I had just added this to my list, making it 91 points. (At the FoodHammer event you could pay $1 to charity for every point over).
This was a lead up to my ultimate goal, and admittedly was my weakest link in the tournament. It still had meat on it and a usable synergy for attack/defense that I strive for in my builds. However, I was facing something very frightening: Echo and a Swarm (a suitable name for an 80s band!).
Echo w/Rec Spec, Veteran instincts, Advanced Cloaking device
3x Academy Pilots
After a little maneuvering, we met at range 1 with Bigg’s bumping into an Academy. I managed to have 3 clear shots on the Phantom, but it had just cloaked after performing an attack and not hitting, still had two focus tokens. I concentrated fire, trying to kill it and completely ignored the swarm. I threw 11 attack dice at it in total, and it dodged every single one. This is when I began to sweat; this was when I knew I was in trouble. My fate was sealed when a bit of bad movement landed Rusty on his beloved Asteroid, and Biggs was then vaporized. I managed to take out 1 academy pilot before my list was completely killed in a single turn of masterful movement in which my opponent placed himself perfectly to shoot my two remaining ships. Rusty was looking a bit too rusty at this point.
Luckily, Round three took a turn for the best.
I was so close to the wonder of my final list that I could almost taste it, the 120 points was a lot to work with but it didn’t give me the entire marvel I yearned for. However, adding this little beauty to my list gave me a lot of joy.
You see, with the cheat system put into place by the tournament, I only had to pay $2 and I could have two Moldy Crows. This allowed my focus factories to be on full production while moving into fight my next opponent’s amazingly varied list, the Rebel Rainbow.
Bandit Squadron Pilot
Blackmoon Squadron Pilot
Dagger Squadron Pilot
While they were all naked, it was a lot of ships that were making their way towards me in the list and I really didn’t know who I was wanting out of the game first. I set my eyes on the Dagger, knowing B-wing’s to be efficient killers in any regard. Some 2 turns later with excellent movement on Bigg’s part allowed me to be in range 3 of half his squad and through an Asteroid, while my entire squad had clear shots on the Dagger Squadron. I passed off PS 12 to Rusty and with some amazing rolls by both Rusty, Kyle and Biggs I was able to blow up the B-Wing without it returning fire. Biggs managed to escape with only 1 shield off. I managed to destroy a ship a turn for most of the match and Biggs could never be destroyed by utilizing R2-D2 to an amazing degree in tandem with some lucky dice rolls on my part. I had only the Outer-Rim Smuggler to kill when my opponent flew him off the board and called it a match. This whole game I was wondering if Biggs was worth it, and this round was when he finally earned his pay in my mind.
Biggs was doomed to relive the movie with the fourth and final round.
So, I was now able to throw PS 12 to 3 people, give an extra attack dice where it mattered and hopefully have a focus/target lock on the ship that was rolling those dice. It was pure beauty, and so was the list I was up against.
Boba Fett w/Heavy Laser Cannon, Gunner, Engine Upgrade, Push the Limit
Kath Scarlet w/Heavy Laser Cannon, Gunner, Engine Upgrade, Push the Limit
Captain Yor w/Darth Vader, Ion Cannon and Engine Upgrade
This was a tank build unlike anything I had seen before. It was so beefy that, as a vegetarian, I couldn’t handle it. I was terrified to get into range of two of these ships, so I took it very, very slow at the beginning. I made sure to have 6 focus tokens on my two Hawks before engaging. With some pilot skill tricks I was able to strip Boba of his shields. However, when we got into range, Biggs was vaporized before even getting a shot off. This left me with a dark lump in my chest and a real thought of defeat. The Hawks would have none of it though, I was able to block and move enough with them to keep the Vader Shuttle firmly planted on an Asteroid for 2 turns. They proceeded to take Boba off the board by continuous Blaster Turret fire!
The shuttle finally managed to leave the Asteroid but only by turning away from the battle, allowing me to pick off Kath with my enitre squad. It took 3 full turns of fire, but Kath buckled from a 5 attack dice, focus + target locked shot by the Rusty, along with some help from Jan and Kyle. All that was left was to clear the Shuttle from the far end of board. This wasn’t something I was rushing to do. Vader had a lot of criticals left to give and Hawks don’t like crits. I didn’t end up losing another ship after Biggs, I would have lost Kyle if my opponent had not forgotten to Vader him in a critical moment.
This ended the Tournament for me at 3 wins and 1 loss. I ranked 4th overall, one of my best placements in a tournament to date, but easily my favourite one to play in.
Why was it so fun?
When all the players deployed their 150 point lists for the final round, every single one of them was a “fun list” and not a “meta game” list. This isn’t to say that the lists were bad, but each list I saw in the last round were lists that had ships the players loved to fly, wanted to play or just their favourite ships in the game.
It was truly all for the love of the game and it made the last round so enjoyable. Sadly, I can’t say I will ever have a chance to field 3 Hawks again anytime soon. Still, it was one of my favourite combos I’ve come up with and played so far.
An interesting side note, the list that took it all in the end was 5 naked Defenders at PS 1. If that’s not anti-meta, I don’t know what is!