Battle Report: 5A vs FO aces, vassal tournament, hyperspace, 21.1.20

I got another game in with my new favorite list. Even though I had two more in the meantime with the old 5A version, I will only write up the new one. The tournament here is not the vassal league, but instead the fifth XVT: Xwing Vassal Tournament! The rules are simple, one game a week. Your faction is locked, but the list can change from week to week. It was my bittersweet luck that I drew MegaSilver to start. Bitter because I had to play against a way better player. Sweet because it is always good to play against better players – and because he’s a really pleasant opponent. I have a stat to demonstrate that he’s better, by the way: he got 14 out of 18 possible shots for the 10 turns of combat. Compare that to my 20/41 for a ship with rear arcs, and I rest my case. On to the actual battle report. Maybe one more thing: it looks like wordpress changed something and I can’t insert pictures from imgur in a way that allows me to determine the size AND provide a link to the larger image.

5A
vs
VonregHoloKylo

Basic list characteristics:

A-wings (199, first player)VonregHoloKylo (195, second player)
Attack dice5×2 red3×3 red
ModificationsFocus + AO + Heroicoption for double mods on the /ba; Kylo has better than double mod with AO and force, at free target choice! (check it, 2.828 vs 2.79 with focus lock! Almost perfectly equal at 4 dice, 3.668 vs 3.678)
Defense dice5×3 green3×3 green
ModificationsFocus+Heroic; possibly evade for Zizioption for evade on all; but also potential strain!
Potential strain with clouds
Health20 (10 hull + 10 shield)14 (8 hull + 6 shield)

Opponent’s determining action and my target priority (including “Plan Red”): No clue. In his position, I would take out Zizi or Greer first, depending on the opportunities. Then Tallie, and then the rest. As long as he can focus down a pilot, he will do fine. And even better if he does not let me focus his ships, because A-wings have a really hard time to punch through 3 agility. Kylo is nearly untouchable for me. Based on that thought about defenses, I expect my opponent to mainly take deplete tokens for the /ba TIEs, which makes them my first targets. Vonreg more than Holo, of course, but I will have to take what I can get.

I set up using Bartosz’ 2-1-2

Deployment: My obstacles were the hat-like debris, the NW cloud, and I don’t remember the third, one of the eastern obstacles. The ship setup is shamelessly taken from 2019 UK Grand Champion, Bartosz, who is likely the best 5 A-wings player. My opponent knew how to counter it though, and also spread out. Now it would be anyone’s guess where he would put his own main effort.

The gameplan for the first turns (“Plan Blue”): I wanted him to go towards Kylo’s side, and ideally clash in the middle, taking enough HP off a /ba to affect the future movement choices.

How it went: We went over a total of 11 turns, of which 10 saw combat. Late addition: Unlike my opponent, I was not aware at the time of writing that Vonreg’s ability is in system phase. Hence it would not have mattered, ever. I still forgot though, which is a very basic mistake to do.

Here’s a gif with the entire game. Shoutout to the X-wing Debrief for the idea!

One by one:

https://i.imgur.com/ypGhgqc.png

Turn 1: Just some maneuvering. Holo came through the middle, needlessly taking a deplete. After all, the rule of 11 tells us that Greer (2+1) and Holo (5+1) would only be able to shoot each other it Holo boosted straight. Kylo was in an interesting position where he could turn in or move straight. My i5s on the left flank were too slow. It felt like I messed up already: he was in a great position to turn Holo east, move fast with Vonreg, and to zoom in with Kylo.

Turn 2: open fire!

Turn 2: Based on my looming defeat, I decided to try a block with Greer. 5 straight and boost should get me past Holo and allow a rear shot, or block him instead. Tallie and Zizi would turn in, possibly blocking a fast move to the right or getting two nice shots. BSR and Ronith would have to follow suit and take the shots they could. They were not able to boost because Greer was moving after them and I didn’t want to risk blocking her. To my surprise, Kylo moved past the cloud. Holo got blocked. And Vonreg didn’t turn in as much. As a result, all of my 5 ships got a shot, and 4 of them on Holo. Vonreg shot Greer – and it is only now that I notice the bullseye. I think he never used Vonreg’s ability, and neither did I think of it. We both saw the ship the first time on the table, and a large part of my concentration is on not accidentally wanting to use Optics on Tallie, remembering her ability, and remembering Zizi, and remembering Ronith’s extra focus use. An extra damage on Greer didn’t change the game too much, but it’s something to keep in mind. Ronith took a beating, and Holo lost half.

Turn 3: Greer is a cat now, and /BAs can make boxes wherever they want.
https://i.imgur.com/MVC4fRM.png
Alternative maneuvers for Tallie: 2bank+roll+boost;
2bank+boost; 3straight + boost.
The boosts are of course optional.

Turn 3: This was a tricky turn. We took probably around 10 minutes here… I walk through my own decisions here. BSR can go 2 straight or 2 bank right. I decided on the latter, and now deem that a mistake. The idea was that Holo would likely have to go between the hat and that eastern cloud. I didn’t recognize how little forward I would go with the 2 bank – and, of course, I can’t take a focus, rotate, and boost. Ronith would do a 1hard and block Kylo or likely get a shot. Zizi had to 2bank right and boost left. That allows her to thread through the center debris and cover that northern field area. Greer did a 2hard 1bank boost. I wasn’t unhappy with the end position and was prepared to take Vonreg’s shot. Tallie was just plain stupid: the 2bank left would fit, but not the following boost. Still had a range 1 shot on Vonreg though. Maybe a 2bank left, followed by a roll left and a boost right would have been the best maneuver. The 2bank right would block Zizi’s boost, and Tallie’s boost was in turn blocked by Holo. A 3 straight would fit nicely, but had a bad followup. That makes it still better than my choice, but with the potential risk of hitting the debris. I didn’t see the 2bank left with a roll, and I was afraid that Holo would turn right, and that both Holo and Vonreg would eradicate Tallie. So, pretty much what had happened, but on a less important ship… Ahem. His Kylo got blocked. Holo did a thing of beauty, 1hard left, roll, and then a boost with daredevil. Vonreg did not even have to reposition. He took a lock for a strain, and a focus. Two shots incoming, but Vonreg himself was already enough, and my reroll after triple blank had just a single evade. The chance of that exact case is something like 0.08%. But the chance to die was way higher at 22%. The overall chance to die was at 40%, so that is pretty much what should have happened anyway, even if I didn’t realize that at the time. Maybe more importantly for my opponent, the chance to survive was at around 60%, and in that case Holo was even more likely to die than Greer! It was a calculated risk for my opponent that paid off, and I’m not entirely sure whether I was wrong to put Greer into that situation. It all loops back to the mistake with Tallie. Shooting Vonreg would be a fine trade. Losing Greer with only a single shot on my side was not. At least I took a hull off Holo. So far I had lost 6 HP against 3.

Turn 4

Turn 4: Ronith had to get out. The BSR needed to get into position for turn 5, and threaten Kylo in the process. Tallie was going around, because I didn’t want to go against Holo without a token and a strain. A 2hard didn’t fit. Anything else would take her out of the fight for too long. Zizi could just follow Holo, at the risk of eating a shot from Vonreg. I ended differently, Vonreg bumped and took the strain from Holo. Overall ok? We somehow mixed shooting order in this turn, Kylo shot first but it didn’t matter as he tried to get BSR. Zizi removed Holo, while Tallie didn’t take any damage. That was the first time I counted up points and he was in a 56-61 lead. But neither of us felt ahead.

Turn 5: how did he… what?

Turn 5: This turn I really messed up. Ronith was going to get away, BSR took the obvious 1hard left.
Zizi should have been Greer to get all 3 actions. My mistake was that I moved Tallie first! As result, I boosted right with her and messed up my arc coverage.
Both my i5s ended up parallel to each other, covering nearly the same area instead of making a box. I knew my opponent was a very good player, and indeed, he found his way out of 2 of the 3 arcs! Ronith ate a crit at range 3, which is perfectly fine. I got lucky myself with BSR and took a shield off Vonreg, at almost the same probability – and both very close to 50%. I didn’t even shoot Kylo. In hindsight, that was clearly ridiculous, as it still does damage in 1 out of 7 shots. Vonreg would not enter any box like a cat. But on the plus side, I was now in a great position for the next turn!

Turn 6: time to change the game!

Turn 6: Ronith had to run again, because 1 hull would plop too easily. But the other three could make another box! Maybe Vonreg is a cat after all. Ronith with 3s+boost, Zari with 2 bank + boost, Tallie showing her behind with a 2 straight. No way he was going to get out of this one! Vonreg rerolled focus and blanks into hit hit crit, but this time I got my own natties on defence for Zizi! This was by the way the second time Vonreg forgot his ability. I did not realize or I would have told him. Tallie took off another shield, and Zizi finished him off! In turn, Kylo got BSR to half, and it was 115-80. Still four ships on the table for me, and Kylo undamaged. That is a perfect moment to think through win conditions. Here is the problem: Kylo is 80 points, my two i5 A-wings are 82 together. That means Kylo has a lot of work to do.

Turn 7: it is on!

Turn 7: We were going to play to 15 turns. I had to decide how I was going to win this. I decided on active defense: blocks, running, potshots. It was now my game to lose, as he only had to kill BSR and Ronith. I forgot something in the calculation above, the bid! It’s not my 82 vs his 80, but actually 83 vs 85 remaining! Tallie got a block on Kylo, and that was the turn.

Turn 8 and 9: In turn 8, I didn’t spend my focus with Zizi to not risk any points. The result was that I couldn’t capitalize on his bad luck roll of 3 blanks and a single evade. Nothing else happened. Turn 9 was my primary puzzle to save Ronith. What is the safest place for a ship at 1 hull? First, touching Kylo. Second, right behind him. So that’s where I wanted to go with Ronith, with a roll and a boost. BSR got a bit greedy with the 2 turn. I didn’t realize that Kylo’s 2 straight wouldn’t move over the debris and that he could then boost in to get a shot at BSR. It worked out better than expected because I got saved by the dice: triple focus result! Otherwise I should have lost points, and subsequently not taken any.

Turn 10: Ronith kept running, BSR tried to force the bump or get even a shot with a 2 bank. Zizi also ran, and Tallie was closing in for a shot. Now I got lucky! Kylo’s 2hard didn’t fit, though I thought it would be clearer. That gave me a 3v3 shot, and BSR was the MVP of the game! 3 hits against 3 blanks. The question is: what are the odds? The question is: who cares! (It’s 3%, but I needed that!). Maybe it’s fair to mention that he didn’t get a strain. It was relatively likely to get a strain and take 2 damage.
So similar to the situation with Greer where the outcome is relatively fine, but the way it happened…

Turn 11: the end.

Turn 11: I thought I had him figured out, and he did, too. My BSR went for the 4k block, and then Tallie boosted. She would dodge a 3hard, or get a nice range 1 shot onto a blocked 4k of Kylo. What were his options? A 3 hard left to dodge BSR and Tallie, and get Ronith? Maybe a yolo 4k to take out BSR with force alone? That’s what I reacted to. You can see the result on the right. I would have dodged the 3hard, and had a nice shot to a blocked 4k. But he did neither of those, he did a 1hard. That was actually a great move because it gave him the choice at perfect knowdledge to go left or right around the debris. Who could have expected what happens next… He rolled into range 1 for an almost guaranteed 3 and often 4 hits against Tallie. He should have taken points here. But instead, I pushed a crit through. Side note: I rolled hit blank crit. Lucky me that I didn’t have the temptation of optics on Tallie! Kylo drew a blinded pilot – and rolled 3 hits and a focus anyway, to get 4 total. But I kept my focus, and focus focus evade saved me. These two shots were such a rollercoaster!
It was in this position that he resigned, and I somehow wrestled a win from a much better opponent. Just look at his maneuvers. He shot 14 times out of a possible maximum of 18. He found ways out of situations where I had no clue how he was going to do that. And all of that with a new list that he played for the first time. Really cool to see it. Vonreg Holo Kylo is a list I might play myself at some point – or I would, if 5A was not my absolute favorite!

Conclusion:

Using the same standard criteria again:

  • I did stick to my objective. First I focused Holo down, then Vonreg. And finally Kylo, but only because I had to. I can’t runt for 9 turns out of 15…
  • The focus fire was rather bad! Only turns 2 and 6 were focused on the respective ships. Turn 3 had the really bad maneuver choices, and turn 5 was very nicely done by my opponent.
  • A simple plan for a simple man. Much better than last time: contract onto the middle and shoot at a /ba. Maybe too simple without enough thought for the next step, and that might have caused the mess-up with Tallie in turn 3.
  • Security was so-so, or even bad. Kylo had to alternate shots between BSR and Ronith. Putting Greer into the box was stupid, but I thought she would survive at least one… And I didn’t see the 1hard + roll + daredevil 1hard, to be honest. And this point includes how often I was surprised. If the answer is “quite often” then it was not good.
  • Maneuverability was good I think, again with the exception of turn 3.
  • In turn, I surprised my opponent at least towards the end. I deliberately changed my approach after turn 6, and that took him off guard – that’s a success.

Lessons:

  • Aces? Spread arcs! Parallel ships are a bad idea.
  • Wrong move choices: Turn 3 (BSR, Tallie), turn 6 (Tallie).
  • S-I-M-P-L-E. Stay simple.
  • AO+force is as good as lock+force.
  • Vonreg can easily forget his ability; Holo is awesome!

Until next time!

Statistics:

MeasurementResult
Turns of combat10/11
Shots fired20/41 (49%)
Shots received14/18 (78%)
Damage dealt/total hp12/14
Damage received/total hp9/20
Abilities used1x Greer (in 3 turns)
0x Tallie (in 11 turns, never possible)
0x Ronith (in 11 turns, 1x possible)
Heroic triggered1 in 34 rolls
Red maneuvers0
Friendly opponent (out of 10); Fun had10; yes!

(That last stat might be a bad idea in the long run, so I’ll scratch it from the next report, no matter who it is…)

Edit 10pm CET: Added the image for Tallie’s alternative moves in turn 3. I think that’s a valuable addition to show how much better at least two but more likely three alternatives were.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s