Game number 7 out of 8 for the 7th season of the vassal league, again with the 199pts double-regen Vaapad version.
Anakin Skywalker (60), R2 Astromech (4), Delta-7B (18)
Mace Windu (46), R2 Astromech (4), Delta-7B (16)
104th Battalion Pilot (42), Seventh Fleet Gunner (9)
A game versus a RebelBEEF list. There are different ways to classify what rebel beef really means, but in my opinion it is a 4ship rebel list with a U-wing carrying Leia and a mix of X-, Y- or B-Wings that predominantly wants to joust and does so very well due to the white turn maneuvers, thanks to Leia. Super tight game, fun opponent and interesting to the end. I can’t say I deserved that win, but at least I made it difficult. Then the dice fell my way, and sometimes that’s needed.
Opponent’s determining action and my target priority: He wants to joust. Leia improves the time on target, Wedge ensures two i6 shots while dealing quite some damage himself. These two are the main targets and should be removed first, especially Wedge. Double modified 3v1 or 4v1 shots against Jedis are not fun if I am on the receiving end! Biggs and Horton are mainly there to keep the other two safe and going for as long as possible. Biggs can use his ability on every shot, and I will probably have to follow the old 1.0 advice: shoot Biggs first, remove him as soon as possible. Horton with Selfless is interesting. He gives an extra lock to another 3-4 dice attack, and ionizing a ship can be brutal! But I don’t like selfless on him. One trick is to remove the 2 shields and then focus again on Biggs – drawing a crit onto an unshielded ship is not cool.
Deployment: He got first player. I don’t remember my first obstacle, but my second was the mustache in the western field. He placed the gas cloud in the NE field, and I replied with the cloud in the SW field. That gave us a “V” shape, with the diagonal across the field SW-NE, and the other arm along the eastern field N-S. He started his setup in the NW corner, and I set up the ARC on the other side, facing east. This was the first time I tried this opening I had seen somewhere else. Essentially it gives large flexibility and allows me to overlap arcs on turn 2 or fly close to each other on the following turns. He set up all his other ships in the same corner as expected, and we could start.
The gameplan for the first turns: Thread the ARC through the two leftmost obstacles with Mace going behind or on the west outside. Anakin will flank from the north, he should be fast enough.
How it went:
Turn 1: I forgot a crucial part: the ARC has to roll after his bank to create enough space for Mace’s 1hard. He bumped his Horton, so we were both off to a great start…
Turn 2: The ARC was nicely positioned in the middle as the pivot for my two fast flankers. Anakin on the side with more options as the more valuable, lighter one. Mace on the closed-in side, as he is the brawler of the two. The rebels came down with 2 straights, still slow. I think he should have gone slower to get more space and deny more angles. The position here was a bit tricky for me. If he was going to turn into Anakin, then Anakin would be gone. If he would go straight to Mace, Mace would be gone. To me, the clear choice was that he would remove Anakin – ionize at i6, deal heavy damage, pop Leia, turn around and finish the i6 threat. After that the game would be over for me.
Turn 3: But he turned in, beautifully in formation. 1bank Partisan, 2bank Biggs, 3bank Wedge and Horton. On the plus side that meant both my Jedi would survive the initial engagement, and he had a harder time on the next turn because of the obstacles now in front of him – that’s the reason he should have gone slower in turn 2 I think. But I was too scared to lose Anakin and 3banked north. An opening joust with 2/3 of my list is not exactly ideal… my opponent made the right choice after all! I on the other hand made another mistake with Mace when I locked the Partisan instead of Biggs. The partisan shot at i6 and my ARC lost three shields total, while he lost a shield each on Biggs and Horton (selfless). That was pretty ok after all. My plan for the next turn was to turn the ARC away and use the gunner again, while getting in with Mace and Anakin to – ideally – take out Biggs with two 4v2 shots. Dealing 5 damage was reasonable, but Horton would likely be able to draw another crit. Let’s see.
Turn 4: Initially I wanted to 3bank with Mace and 3hard with the ARC, but while the 3bank fit now, it would probably not fit after 3 more ships had moved. So 2bank and 2hard it was. Anakin did a 1hard to keep distance and give him space to react in case Horton or someone else would turn in. He popped Leia and set up a block with the Partisan. He wanted to talon roll with Biggs, but I blocked that with my ARC. He was not able to 4k because of his choice with the Partisan – and he probably thought I would bump with the ARC. Unfortunately, the bump of Biggs now blocked Mace (also blocked the 3bank, I tried). Even worse, Biggs also blocked Wedge. Biggs and not Mace, and this gave Wedge a 4v1 shot on Mace. He also brought Horton to i6 and Wedge took 3s1h damage. Anakin did another mistake by locking the Partisan even though I wanted to shoot Biggs initially. I figured in the moment that two shots on the Partisan are better, but by now I disagree. I had recovered the gunner (losing another 3dice attack!) and now didn’t even use him because the Partisan was in r1 of my other ships. Overall, Horton, Biggs and the Partisan lost all their 7 shields, and I had lost 8 HP in total. But my damage was not spread over 3 ships. What I should have done: 1) don’t recover the gunner. The chance to get a shot was too high. 2) Shoot Horton with Mace, deny selfless more actively. 3) Lock Biggs with Anakin, and shoot him 4v2. Dealing Horton and Biggs enough damage also shuts down their abilities/selfless. This scrum is one of the moments I’m really, really glad to play on vassal.
Turn 5: The ARC had to go straight because of a loose stabilizer, and Mace was ionized. I still don’t know what I should have done with Anakin. I didn’t want to go 5k and in front of Horton and Biggs, and possibly a stopping Partisan. Turning south or north would take him out of the fight, and banking in would bump. The mistake had happened in turn 4 and now I was going to pay. The partisan blocked my ARC, Biggs and Wedge didn’t move, Horton crept closer for two shots on Mace, and Wedge talon-rolled just in front of the mustache, getting a perfect shot on Anakin. Here I think he blundered, as he should have stopped with the partisan (turn 90° even?). He couldn’t lock with Horton to give Wedge a mod, because Horton bumped Wedge. He also couldn’t coordinate because of the gas cloud. So maybe there was not much else that he could do, after all. I got insanely lucky and survived with Mace, losing just 1 hull after he had only 1 hit on the ion shot. The shot on Ani was average, dealing 1 shield. Could have been 2, but 1 is also very likely. Biggs took 2 damage from Ani, and pulled of another damage from my 4v2 shot by Mace on Wedge – now I was glad about recharging that gunner! The ARC took another crit and did not manage to put Biggs out of his misery, despite the 59% chance. Overall, I had taken 11 total and dealt 12. This should be a valuable lesson about focus fire for both of us! The percentages and the luck played a role, sure. But it is not as important as our (wrong!) decisions who we shot.
Turn 6: I wanted to 1straight again with the ARC. Anakin and Mace would get red maneuvers, a 2sloop right and a 5k, respectively. I expected his Wedge to bank in and bump, maybe do a 2bank as that might just pass Anakin. Biggs could talon, and Horton can always turn his turret. I didn’t see the stop from the Partisan coming, so my ARC bumped yet again. Horton did a 2hard, barely not bumping the blocked ARC. Biggs did the talon I expected, and Wedge did his 2 bank. What I did not expect is that Wedge closed the s-foils and boosted – right into the path of my sloop. That was a very nice move that I didn’t see, but my sloop was probably too obvious. The better choice in hindsight would have been a 2 straight or 1 bank right, but no chance to predict that, I think. Wedge boosted Biggs up to give him a last shot, taking a shield from Anakin, before he died to the return shot. The ARC was brought down to 1hull by Horton (3 damage after I rolled blanks!). But the hurting shot came from the stressed Partisan into a blanking Anakin. New totals: I dealt 15 damage, had taken 17! A bad turn for me in some way, but removing a ship is of course important. Leia was now charged up again. What could I do next? Anakin was in deep trouble and could not possibly do a blue maneuver.
Turn 7: Here we went back to our bad moments. I saw I was going to bump with Anakin after his Partisan bumped me, but I forgot to regen. In turn, he forgot to open his sfoils again and we didn’t notice until he shot. Anakin survived the 2v1 shot, and Mace took a gunner-powered shot into Wedge: 2 hits 2 crits, and he blanked out! What a turn of events, and definitely not earned at that moment. Horton removed the ARC (I got the gunner because of simultaneous fire!). The board was rather empty after this, and the game tipped to my side. The correct choice would have been to turn away and regen, then come back and dodge what I can. But I went in anyway, feeling a bit guilty after getting so lucky with Wedge.
Turn 8: I managed to dodge his Partisan and only took a range 3 shot from a stressed Horton. He took just one damage when 3 would be expected and even 4 have a 38% chance. But hey, at this point I can’t complain at all!
Turn 9: I had to bump the Partisan with Anakin, and that meant exchanging shots at range 1 with Horton. He took 1h1c, with weapons failure! Again my luck, as he did not get to mod his two attacks! Anakin took just one damage. Both of my Aethersprites were now down to 1, as was Horton.
Turn 10-11: I ran Mace away to regen, just in case Anakin would die somehow instead of the comfortable safety-bump. Turn 11 was when I shot down Horton and at that point he conceded.
And that was it, for a 200-125 win that I did not really earn but stumbled into. I used the gunner three times, and did 2 red maneuvers.
- Think more carefully about which target I want to shoot – and lock this one, not others;
- Focus fire!;
- Taking out Leia is not actually that important. I should have gone Biggs-Wedge-Horton from the start. The shots into the Partisan on turn 4 were wasted;
- Careful about gunner recovery! I chose the wrong turn once;
- Remember your regeneration!;
- Think a turn a head: can I reposition to get more/better options for the next turn?
My mistakes were the usual ones: remember your triggers, understand your target priority, don’t deny yourself options.