A long day of swiss games at the main event of the Paris System Open with 5 A-wings finished 4-2 for me and I was tired. Early registration was announced for the hyperspace qualifier. I had my list printed. In fact, I had 7 different lists printed and ready. But there was one I just had to try: the Big XXX Deal!
Temmin Wexley (54), Composure (1), Integrated S-Foils (0)
Jessika Pava (51), BB Astromech (3), Integrated S-Foils (0)
Lieutenant Bastian (48), Integrated S-Foils (0)
Finn (29), Heroic (1), Advanced Optics (4), Perceptive Copilot (8)
View in Yet Another Squad Builder 2.0
You can find a list spotlight here, where I briefly go into a bit of previous editions with that list. Finn seemed to be great on paper and I wanted to give it a shot at a large tournament with some excellent players. I brought the three smallest rocks.
Note: I do not go into any debrief focus points. That is because these games were extremely straight forward. At the same time, figuring out how to play the list much better, i.e. more creatively and less susceptible to high initiative aces, is more difficult because it almost entirely relies on setup and maneuver choices. That means I will set the course during setup and can’t deviate much from it, only adjust it.
That is a – to me – new and exciting way to play the game, as most ships I put on the mat have boosts with an extra action.
Opponent’s determining action and my target priority (including “Plan Red”): He brought two aces in Guri and Teroch, and two nasty control pieces in Teroch and Seevor. He wants stay out of arc with the aces, with Teroch denying my tokens. I was not sure what he wanted to do with those TIEs. I will take whatever target I can get, probably the TIEs first and every now and then a shot at an ace.
Deployment: After making a very open field, I set up my list in the SW corner in a simple square. Finn in the front-inside, Bastian rear-inside. Jess and Snap on the outside. He had a relatively fancy setup that was clearly practiced and ended with Teroch behind the two TIEs, in the north end. Guri started in the NE corner, clearly intending to flank me.
The game plan for the first turns (“Plan Blue”): 1 Straight to victory! I wanted to go slow and at the right moment bank in with a 2 bank to give Snap his free boost for the lock. This should be at a moment when Bastian gets a range 2 shot on his list.
How it went:
Turn 1-3 (or so): 1 straight. I did not believe how little I had to think. Keep an eye on the distance and that’s it. Know their dials (5 straight) and whether they can already close the gap. Fortunately, he moved a bit imprecise.
Turn 4: His imprecise movement caused him to bump a TIE while on the rock (anyway a bad place to be…). Time for the 2bank! Focus for everyone. I thought I’d do a 3 bank with Jess to get just a bit closer, which was a good choice. He brought Teroch into my range at r3. Guri and Fenn started on Bastian and took 3 shields total, which was a bit more than expected. My return shot was on Ahhav because I felt a bit dirty shooting the tokenless TIE. Brought him down to 1 hull. Finn could have closed the deal, but there was a token-less Teroch at range 3. Put two damage into the ace. Which is entirely expected at 52% by the way. He used Seevor on Jess for no apparent reason.
Turn 5: I went slow-ish with a 2 straight to clear the strain, forcing him to bump anyway. He expected something else, K-turned all three ships in front of me and that bumped two stressed TIEs into my Finn. Teroch did a 4k and had no shot. Hey, it was round 1. I obliterated both TIEs in this turn.
Turn 6-13 or so: He kept dodging my arcs. At some point I removed Teroch, and he got Bastian and Finn. He tried to take out one more ship in the end when I finally caught Guri with double mods and finished the game 200-90, right after time was called. We played quite fast, and that is why I didn’t have the time to take pictures. Usually, I am faster and have time between turns.
- Clearly, advanced sensors Guri is one of the hardest opponents for my block;
- I can remove everything else as fast as possible and then deal with the arcdodgers;
- Taking potshots at range 3 with Finn is a great idea – he basically puts 3 hits on the table;
- Banking in is a nice start and leaves enough options for later.
Opponent’s determining action and my target priority (including “Plan Red”): The first thing to note is the complete lack of upgrades. I think he wants to flank with the Jedi and keep the Torrents in the side arc of Sinker to get the offensive modification plus the evade.
Deployment: I built a lane in the middle (see the picture later). Deployed again in the SW corner. He setup his brawlers in the north end, and the aces in the NE corner.
The game plan for the first turns (“Plan Blue”): Try to hit that lane and then obliterate whatever he puts in front of me.
How it went: I had first player.
Turn 1-3: Maneuvering around. 1 straight, 1bank + roll (to get the lane), 1 straight. He kept self-bumping and delaying the engagement. Mace and Obi entered the tunnel west of that big central rock. I did not understand why, but it was exactly what I had wanted.
Turn 4: All my ships were ready to go 2 straight. Focus for everyone, and a free lock by Snap on Mace (in yellow). He moved Mace around the southern big rock and kept Obi and the other 3 ships in the lane. Sinker didn’t bump, but also only had one torrent in the side arc. Not exactly an ideal engagement. I completely removed Obi-Wan. If you check the numbers, you’ll see a 55% chance for him to take 4 damage. So, not exactly unexpected, but he could also have survived.
Turn 5: The 2 bank for Finn, Jess, Snap and the 1 bank for Bastian fit exactly in there. It allowed me to block a torrent with Finn and cause bumps on everyone, plus I got range 1 shots on Sinker. Sinker melted away like butter in the sun, and he had an over 99% chance to do so. My opponent did not realize the firepower in front of him as he got visibly frustrated. I could even take a shot at a Torrent after Sinker went down, and put in 2 or 3 damage.
Turn 6: The damaged Torrent ran, the other 3k-turned. Finn had to move around that NW rock. Jess and Bastian did their red turn arounds, one with a tallon.
Turn 7 to the end: After this, we played 2 Torrents + a naked Mace against my entire list, with half of Snap gone I think. I made some mistakes by not going after the Torrents. Instead, I aimed for the 200 points and tried to take Mace out, but he’s very durable. Eventually, I lost Snap and had to make sure Finn doesn’t give up half. Overall, I did a lot of red maneuvers, sometimes too aggressive. The game finished 155-55 with finally catching Mace. One more turn and I should have put 1-2 damage in, but not enough to destroy him.
- The list can evaporate an ARC-170;
- Don’t try to catch aces too early. Maybe rather get ahead by removing the rest, and then let them come to you – or go to salvo;
- Build jousting lanes in a way that makes entering easy;
- Moving first is very important! Finn wants to block and avoid some shots;
Opponent’s determining action and my target priority (including “Plan Red”): It’s proper RebelBeef, with Cassian and the two stress-relying B-Wings. Braylen is the strongest piece, and Cassian is not only great for him or Ten, but also for red stops from U-Wings. Leia is another key part. That makes target priority usually tricky. Ten for last. Leia or Cassian, depending on the opportunity.
Deployment: We set the obstacles along the edges of the two deployment zones, slightly oblique. He took first player and set up in the NW corner. I put my square in the SE corner, with Finn front-inside and Bastian rear-inside.
The game plan for the first turns (“Plan Blue”): I was excited going into this game. Could I just joust it straight up?
How it went:
Turns 1-3: I went 1 straight. He did something complicated that I didn’t understand.
Turn 4: First turn of combat. I made the correct decision of 2 turn. Then I changed my mind and went to the wrong decision of 2 banks. Braylen was a bit too far out to my taste. But it turned out ok. I had one greedy move with Jess, boosting her forward. I was afraid that Braylen would end up out of arc for her. Maybe because of my boost, maybe anyway, he rolled northward. Mistake: Bastian was not at range 2. We traded shots and he lost Braylen, which was a chance of 38%. Could have gone differently, but it’s also not unlikely.
Turn 5: First time that I saw in action how important “first player” is for Finn. The BlueScout got a great block in. My mindset was more “obviously, but what is the worst that can happen…?” and I was not really wrong. Jess used a BB charge to roll sideways after stopping Finn from touching the Scout. I don’t remember the exact damage, only that I put quite a bit into the Scout and that Finn survived. He got a bit greedy by spreading his damage but got almost half points on Jess. My lesson: Finn mustn’t bump – but Jess and Bastian are ok, Snap dislikes it more.
Turn 6: I think that stop was really obvious. Jess made sure that she gets out of there. Bastian and Snap were perfectly fine with their position. Another range 1 shot into the Scout with closed foils would be great. Finn started taking out Ten, and Bastian had free choice. The scout got taken out, Ten gave up some shields.
Turns 7-8: We played a bit more and Ten went down first, followed by Cassian down to 1 hull when time was called. I gave up half Finn and half Bastian.
- First player is important. Finn wants to get his focus tokens!;
- The opening engagement has to work. Bastian at range 2. Everyone at range 2 actually, maybe range 1 even;
- Bumps for Bastian and Jess are ok offense wise. Snap prefers not to.
Opponent’s determining action and my target priority (including “Plan Red”): The perfect counter! I am currently convinced that there is no worse matchup possible. Vader and Soontir can dodge whatever they want. And Sense + i1 Academies means he will also get all the blocks that he wants. The combination is horrible. On top, Vader dishes out a lot of damage and Soontir shrugs off a few unmodified attacks quite easily. I expected him to send the TIEs in fast to block and bite in hard from the flank.
Deployment: Again an open field for the most of where the action was going to happen. He set up his three academies in the NW corner, and I followed with my block in the SW corner. This time I messed up – I placed Bastian in the front-outside. That was a mistake because I expected the block and should have set up accordingly. Vader setup in the north end, and Soontir in the NE corner.
The game plan for the first turns (“Plan Blue”): I don’t know, fly
How it went: Take note of his templates and dice. He finished top4 in Madrid and again top16 in Paris. Clearly a great player, way out of my league, and with the perfect counter. But that’s it for excuses, I also made several mistakes on my own that made it easier for him.
Turn 1: He went 2 straight and rolled out as I had set up slightly laterally moved compared to the TIEs. Soontir came down hot, and Vader was barely inconvenienced by the clouds that I placed in front of him. I went 1 straight, for a total of 5. Here’s my thinking: he moves fast or slow.
If he started with 5 straight (6 bases) to my 1 straight (2 bases) we are at 8. An additional 6 from him and 2 from me puts us at 16, exactly borderline range 1. We’d need 18.5 to bump. That means I could even go 2 faster, with a 3 straight (4 bases) and catch him if he went slow on the second turn (3 bases), as we’d have moved 6+2+4+3 = 15, to range 2.
If, however, he started with a 2 straight (3 bases) to my slow move (2 bases), we’d have an interesting turn 2. Another 2 straight (3 bases) and another slow (2 bases) would give us just 10 total, not enough to trade shots, and perfect for him to force the block in the next turn: he could completely stagger his ships to block most straight maneuvers on my part! So, I’d then go 3 straight on turn 2! That puts us at 3+2+3+4 = 12, just enough to trade shots. That was a mistake on my part, and one I’ve made before: my ships in the back have an extra 1.5 distance, putting them at 10.5 and just out of reach. Now, the rule of 11 is rather the rule of 10.5, so what happened? Remember the barrel roll I mentioned above? He rolled backwards, and that’s the tiny bit that put him just out of range. A cardboard instead of the slightly shorter 17er range ruler might have had him in range still, it was that close. But the mistake is mine entirely.
Turn 2 (no picture): He did the 2 straight again, I went fast with 3 straight, and the second outlined case above happened. Still removed an entire TIE, but might have gotten two with a low chance. Vader and Soontir were ready to pounce from the center north and center south, respectively. Soontir already had a shot and plinked one or two shields off Snap.
Turn 3: This turn was a huge gamble on my part. I had to decide whether I would turn into the aces and risk being arcdodged, or whether I would just bump the TIEs and lose a ship while also removing another one. I decided on the former, but think now the latter was the better option. But I’ll start with his TIEs. They did not try the block by 5 straight+roll, which still gets Bastian and Finn. No, they took the 3 bank, completely missing the block – and placing the pesky TIEs behind all my four ships. I did 2 hards with all but Bastian, who did a 3 hard. I should know that this maneuver bumps, but I was going to anyway and I thought it wouldn’t matter. His Soontir came in hot with a 3 bank, landing in front of all my 4 ships. He just so fit a barrel roll to the left to dodge 3 arcs. I don’t remember Vader’s maneuver, but he too rolled NW and dodged all arcs. This was the worst possible turn for me. But it got even worse. Both Soontir and Vader put some crits into Snap. One was the ion, the other a weapons failure! The one time I had a range 1 shot with a lock into Soontir and I drew a weapons failure. I put one damage into him anyway but had almost the same chance of dishing out two instead. That might have changed the game. And to make it yet again worse, I forgot the free lock with Bastian.
Turn 4: I was ionized, k-turned, 2 turned and tallon rolled with my ships. Bastian got a range 3 shot on Soontir, but without any bite. I ate more damage, got no real shots. Snap died.
Turn 5: Not much I could do here. Finn was just a tiny bit too far, Jess had to try going on one potential maneuver from a TIE, and Bastian needed to turn around. He ate a range 1 shot from a fully modified Vader.
Turns 6-10 or so: I got a second TIE, but that was it. Vader and Soontir took some damage but not enough for half, and my ships were taking a ton of damage. He managed a final nice block, going past Finn with a 5 straight to block both 1 and 2 straights and with that all bit chance I might have had. I think I conceded because there was no point, but time might have been called, too. 46-200 loss and there went my worlds invite.
- Against blockers with 5 straights: start with a 2 straight;
- Against blockers set up ahead of you: use barrel rolls to force weird maneuvers or reactive rolls from them;
- Against blockers set up ahead of you: think about a diamond setup, so that three ships can shoot the blocker;
- Securing points can be a good idea against two aces;
- Don’t leave Jess alone.
It was a brutal game. I think I can play it better, but I have no illusions that I should win this game.
Opponent’s determining action and my target priority (including “Plan Red”): This looked like a clever heavy jouster list to me. 3×3 red dice and Rivas with his free lock, QD with a potential 5th shot for the list can put out a lot of damage. I don’t want to give him the free shot too early, so Backdraft is the first target. Scorch or QD second, the other one third. And Rivas… we’ll see. Important to note that they have higher initiative and so my Snap can’t easily get a lock.
Deployment: It was a mix of the rebel beef and the SenseVader game regarding rocks: I placed the gas clouds along his edge, he placed the asteroids roughly along my edge, with the middle one more towards the center. He placed Rivas at i1 in the NE corner. I answered that by placing mine in the SE right in front. I would be happy to get a straight joust, after all. But he did not want that from the getgo, so he put his other three in the NW corner instead.
The gameplan for the first turns (“Plan Blue”): Move straight, turn left, joust.
How it went: He told me about his bad luck all day and the day before, that he never rolls evades. Yeah yeah, people like complaining about their dice. But this guy… he rolled about 4 evades for the first 8 attacks – on around 26 green dice. That’s less than half of what he should have rolled before mods. Really unlucky!
Turns 1-3: Move slowly forward. One faster with Bastian to allow the 3 turn.
Turn 4 (no picture): I turned in. He came close, range 2 for Bastian. We traded shots, and Backdraft died. It was that simple. What could he have changed? For one, when two joust, one is wrong. Clearly not me. Second, he should have split his ships more, attack from more angles. Rivas was a good start. QD could have rolled north here. Backdraft and Scorch could have moved further south to get around that middle mustache rock and flank. Simply jousting is what I wanted and he let me have my wish.
Turn 5: After the joust, no fancy maneuvers. A simple bank (I don’t remember 1 or 2, but I think 1) to keep something in arc. Whatever that would be. His Scorch bailed out, QD took a left sloop, and Rivas was in arc of everyone. I took a shot on QD after he spent an offensive focus and only had his FCS on Bastian (and because I felt sorry for his green dice…) and removed two shield. But I also took a shot on Rivas with Finn and Jess. Nothing died yet.
Turn 6: Rivas left with a right turn towards the west. 1 bank for Snap, Jess and Finn. 4K-turn for Bastian. This was the turn when I took out Quickdraw. She was in arc of both Jess and Bastian, and his dice helped me quite a bit. His Scorch is just out of the image, towards the south and was turning back in now.
Turn 7: I had not lost a single ship yet. Finn bugged out with a 3 straight, Bastian filled that spot. Snap did his 4K now. And I don’t remember Jess, but I think a tallon roll towards the left. It was after this turn that he resigned. We rolled dice for likely shots on turn 8 and he would have lost all his ships anyway – only if I was going to get those shots, of course. 200-45 for half Finn and half Bastian.
- Careful when going against i1! Finn in the back would have been better here;
- I can joust almost any 4 ships;
- A bit more creativity for the second to third engagement round would be good;
- +1 speed for the front-outside ship allows it a 3turn when the others 2 turn.
Overall Lessons and Conclusion:
- Beware of (double) repositioning aces;
- Beware of i1 or i2 blockers with first player;
- More of the game is already decided after setup;
- Thus, list requires way more work in turn 0, building lanes and the correct setup and position is more important;
- Consider a diamond in the beginning;
- Rule of 11 is important;
- Initial engagement specific:
- Go fast if you want to turn (or: turn if you went fast);
- Go slow if you want to bank (or: bank if you went slow);
- Ship specifics:
- Finn is happy in the rear;
- Don’t leave Jess alone;
- Bastian doesn’t mind stress as much;
- Don’t over-commit on the free lock with Snap;
- Target specifics:
- I can erase a 9HP 1 agility ship in a turn, or a 6HP 2 agility ship;
- Finn is great at range 3 potshots.
And that’s it! After those 5 games, I was convinced that I found something strong, finishing 12th out of 162 players.
I will keep playing the list for a bit, next to the 5As. Pattern Analyzer would have been great in all 5 games.
Next up is the battle report for the 5A from the main event. Until next time!
PS: I said in several other places that those were my first 5 games. That is not entirely true though, I played a game against 5 Khiraxz a week earlier, but that was over in about 30min. On top, I played 2 games with the old version, including Lulo. But that’s still games 4-8 with a list I haven’t played before, so I did well better than expected.