Sorry all, this is going to be fairly brief. Travelling 7 hours each way to play in a regionals takes a lot out of you.
I ran the following list:
Echo - Veteran Instincts, Advanced Cloaking Device, Rebel Captive
5x Academy Pilot
Round 1 - Store Championship bye. Not much to say here - a free win with all the fixings is just that...
Round 2 - bgFish
3x Bandit Squadron Pilot
2x Rookie Pilot
Blue Squadron Pilot
bgFish is from my local meta, and we'd played this match out a large number of times prior to heading down to the event. He was *not* happy to see me for his second game of the day. The game played out the way it usually does - he got only a couple of shots at Echo, who managed to sneak behind him and cause havoc. I wouldn't say that either of our dice were particularly hot or cold. Needless to say, I managed to secure the win. We were joking that it was virtually an impossible match-up - something which would come back to haunt me later.
Losses - 2 Academy Pilots
Round 3 - Josh from Montana
2x Bounty Hunter w/ Ion Cannon & Tactician
When I saw his list, I'll admit I was a little worried. If he was able to get into range two of Echo, my game was going to go down hill in a real hurry. Added to that, the Bounty Hunters have HUGE firing arcs, and with two of them, I really worried he'd be able to sneak that shot in.
As a result, I worked on making him navigate through the asteroids and then used my TIEs to block as much as possible. It worked like a charm. I was able to strand one of his Bounty Hunters on an Asteroid for two turns, and put concentrated fire into the other one killing it before it was able to do real damage. He had only one shot at Echo all game - a range 3 shot. He elected to fire at a TIE at range 1 instead.
Losses - 1 Academy Pilot
Round 4 - Tim from Spokane
Han Solo, Millennium Falcon, Gunner, Chewbacca
2x Blue Squadron Pilot
I've played similar matchups a number of times. I was thankful he didn't have 3P0. His set up was a little different than what I'm used to seeing (I'm used to seeing Han on the outside, furthest away from my ships, while the Blues on the inside, with the hope of being able to pass and circle behind with minimal interference) - instead, his Han was set up closer to my TIEs than his Blues. I decided to rush the Falcon, while Echo slipped around the side. Sure enough, Han spent about 4 turns in a row without actions. This was somewhat costly to me, as he was picking off my TIEs, but by denying him actions (both for his Falcon and his Blues) I was able to get the upper hand. I took advantage of Tim's frustration, and finally cleared the path by K-turning past the Falcon with the TIEs, right in time for him to try to power past me - needless to say, he went to far, and Han parked on a rock. Han went down shortly thereafter, and I picked off the two blues with ease.
Losses - 3 Academy Pilots
Round 5 - Executor
Echo with Veteran Instincts, Advanced Cloaking Device, Rebel Captive
5x Academy Pilots
The mirror match. Executor is very competent with the list, and I'll be honest, I'm happy I ran into him in Round 5 and not any earlier. Mirror matches are always a crap-shoot.
I won the toss of the die, and elected to go first. We jammed the middle with asteroids in the hopes of interfering with each other's Echos. I deployed on the outside, and he deployed close to the opposite corner, hoping to minimize the amount of collisions that were sure to occur. As you may have gathered, I'm pretty aggressive with my TIEs when it comes to action denial - Executor is as well. Needless to say, it was going to be pandemonium.
Unfortunately for him, that meant that on the crucial second turn of engagement, I had the upper hand. I had virtually managed to deny almost all of his actions. As a result, I quickly got two TIEs ahead of him, and severely damaged two others. Both of us were tired, and we were bumping our own ships to top it off. He decided that things weren't going well and that they were only going to go worse unless he could do something about my Echo, so he rolled in to engage. His hope was to end up at range 2, but he ended up at range 1. As I had another TIE at range 1 as well, I decided to take the gamble and attacked. My dice came up with 5 modified hits - he got 1 evade and 1 focus. He spent focus to survive, and attempted to kill the TIE who was at range 1. He failed to kill the TIE (he rolled 3 hits, I got 1 evade and two focus - I took the two hits), and the TIE promptly snuck 1 hit through, killing his Echo. At that point, he decided that the game was over, and conceded.
Losses - 0 TIEs
First round of Top 8
As I was the top seed, I was matched up against the #8 seed. Jonathan has played at worlds, and did very very well. He was playing an interesting experimental list that I knew was going to make for a challenging match.
Captain Yorr - Fire Control Systems
Omicron Group Pilot
Omicron Group Pilot
Black Squadron Pilot w/ Wingman
Black Squadron Pilot w/ Wingman
We spent a lot of time discussing his list, and not as much time playing as we should. I know that the list caused havoc for other players over the course of the day, and I'd seen his set-up so I knew something of what I was in for. His evade dice were fantastic, and mine left something to be desired - but the list is surprisingly difficult to face. I had played against a 3 shuttle list during my BYE round, and had decimated it without losing a TIE - this was the exact opposite. When time was called, I had Echo and 1 TIE left - 50 points. He had Yorr and one other Shuttle left. Needless to say, I snuck past on this one, but it was a hell of a game.
Top 4 - bgFish
Rematch. I knew that he really *really* didn't want to face me again. He changed his deployment, and tried to come at me from an angle. After the first round of engagement, I was really happy with how things had went - a X-Wing was on life support, with no where to go, and he'd managed to pick off a single TIE, and he was going to be chain bumping again thanks to where everything was. Echo had started the walk around the side of his list, and I figured he'd be right in behind in no time.
Then disaster struck. bgFish had done a good job of spreading his arcs, and had a range 3 with a B-Wing with no action and a range 3 with a Z-95 with no action. I had a focus, and although I didn't like giving him shots, I figured that at worst I'd lose a shield. The B-Wing fired, threw up 3 hits. Fortunately my evade dice were decent, and I managed to avoid the three. Then the Z-95 fired, and landed two hits. I rolled 5 blanks.
The following turn, I continued my walk around - taking a pot shot at an X-Wing. Again, he had two shots at the phantom - range 2, but both shots were with Z-95s without actions. I felt, again, reasonably comfortable. I was cloaked with a focus when he fired. First shot he landed two hits, and I got two evades. Second shot? 4 blanks again.
Needless to say, even though he'd lost a Z95 and two X-Wings, he was able to seal the deal on the TIEs from there.
End result - 6-1 (with 1 BYE)
I had a great time, and I couldn't have lost to a better guy. I was playing a list that I knew going into the event could suffer if the dice turned, and they turned on me in that round with a vengeance (it wasn't just those two rolls). He went on to play Executor in the finals, and lost that game.
At the end of the day, I had played (and beaten!) the three other players in the top 4, so I'm really happy with how I did even though I ultimately lost my second game against bgFish. I'm really glad that the list that I developed for the event placed 1st and top 4. I know a similar list placed top 8 at Singapore - it is a viciously strong build that has the power to drop Falcons.
It was interesting that there were a number of Falcon builds that showed up to the event, and a lot of Phantom builds - but that only 1 Falcon and 3 Phantom builds were able to claw their way into the Top 8. I saw a number of builds designed to prey on the Falcon over the course of the day, which is why I think so few managed to make it through the Swiss.
Big thanks to Uncle's Games for hosting the event.