Our store just hosted its first X-Wing 2.0 Tournament. I'm an Empire player, and I used to fly a lot of TIE Phantoms. I was leery about the way they'd been changed, but I figured a tournament would be a great chance to put them through their paces. A friend of mine pointed out that a Sigma Squadron Ace with Juke comes out to 50 points even, and four of them together might make a dangerous squad. I only own three phantoms, so...
Sigma Squadron Ace (46)
- Juke (4)
Ship Total: 50 Sigma Squadron Ace (46)
- Juke (4)
Ship Total: 50 Sigma Squadron Ace (46)
- Juke (4)
Ship Total: 50 Redline (44)
- Homing Missiles (3)
- Seismic Charges (3)
Ship Total: 50
I felt like having all the phantoms on initiative 4 would be solid, but I needed something threatening to shoot before to try and strip tokens. I wanted to see how 2nd Edition did at re-habilitating the TIE Punisher, so I picked an Initiative 5 Redline. With his ability, he'd be shooting with TL and Focus every round, and he would have enough hull that I could fly him into the mix and drop some seismic charges.
Here's how it went. Round One: Jonathan
Jonathan brought the Trench Run; Luke Skywalker, Wedge Antilles, and Biggs Darklighter. Biggs had R5, the others had R2 astromechs, and all had munitions of some sort. I setup in the opposite corner from Biggs, and wisely, he set down Luke and Wedge with their wingman. I approached through the middle with the Phantoms, though I was dancing them back towards my board edge to keep the range. Redline went up the side then cut through the middle to join the fight.
The initial engagement saw my phantoms firing into Luke Skywalker, who emerged unharmed. My opponent was in a tight spot from the rocks; Biggs would have no choice but to go over one next round, and the other two X-Wings were funneled by the placement. Seeing this, I used Redline to drop a seismic charge; Luke and Biggs did K-Turns, which planted them next to the rock I was detonating. What's worse, Luke bumped Biggs and didn't turn around. On top of that, Wedge peeled out to try and avoid my phantoms, which left only Biggs to combat the trio.
It didn't go well for him.
In the end, the phantoms emerged unscathed, though Redline did get destroyed in the end. Only Luke Skywalker, who regenerated two shields and returned too late survived on the Rebel side.
Round Two: Calen
I usually lose to Calen. He builds excellent lists, and this one was no exception. Sabine Wren flew his attack shuttle with Composure, which allowed him to 'fail' the pre-move barrel roll to take a focus every turn, then take an evade with his action. He had Lieutenant Blount, Biggs, and two Blue Squadron X-Wings in tow.
Like the last game, we setup in opposite corners. I flew my phantoms up the side, and this time I kept Redline behind them. Calen's ships flew up his side. We both cut into the middle. I botched one of my decloaks, so for the first round of fire, I had only two phantoms at long range versus a few of his ships. I knocked Blount down to one, but I lost the evade token on my ship, which meant I couldn't cloak at end of round. So I had one ship with very limited movement options, and I was facing a lot of dice.
My two cloaked ships both zipped forward and tried for a red 4k, while my other ship wound up bumped. Blount blew up going over a rock. Redline was coming in at the back, and he target locked Sabine with an intent to threaten with a homing missile. She opted to take the one damage rather than roll. Then I had two phantoms with range one shots into Sabine. The one without any mods came up hit, hit, crit, crit, and Sabine ate two crits. She lived, but the remaining phantom finished her off. I lost one phantom to the X-Wings return fire.
At this point, I was feeling pretty good. Despite a couple of mistakes on my part, I only have Biggs and two X-Wings to deal with. The dice were definitely helping me out, but juke did serious work helping to dish out damage. In the end, there was only one X-Wing left against two phantoms and a punisher.
Round Three: Jonas
It was time for Biggs again! Jonas was flying Biggs, Thane Kyrell (in an X-Wing), Wedge Antilles, and Dutch Vander to set up target locks for all his buddies. I was particularly worried about Thane and Wedge, since their abilities are especially nasty against fragile ships.
Once again, we setup in opposite corners. I liked having initiative 4 to let me choose it, I think setting up for a joust would negate a lot of the phantoms' strengths. Jonas kept his forces together, while I approached through the rocks, casting my net wide. I brought in the three phantoms, and had the punisher coming up late from below to try and seismic charge some rocks as he turned around.
In the initial round of fire, the phantoms laid into Dutch pretty heavily, and resisted most of the damage thrown their way. They managed to loop around behind the X-Wings with some k-turns, and the next round saw a lot of damage into several targets. Dutch was limping, and Biggs had absorbed a score of damage. It wasn't all sunshine, though; Dutch had ioned one of my phantoms. But ion doesn't stop them from cloaking and decloaking, so I was able to hang on a little longer.
The phantoms were able to dance around the outside of the fight, with Redline coming in to threaten as they turned around. Dutch died the next turn (although we later realized Jonas had taken him off the board with one hull point left), and Biggs and Thane were quick to follow. Wedge killed the phantom who had been ioned, but Wedge couldn't hold his own against so many ships. He nearly killed the punisher, but with so many arcs, it was only a matter of time before Wedge went down.
Round Four: Patrick
I was feeling pretty good about making top table. The phantoms had been very consistent through all my matches; they didn't tend to die easily, despite only having two evade dice. And they put through pretty solid damage with juke. Redline's seismic charges had been very effective, catching a lot of people off guard with their new way of detonating obstacles.
Patrick had brought Asajj Ventress and Boba Fett. Asajj had Heightened Perception, rigged cargo chute, Latts Razzi, and the title. Boba Fett had Slave 1 title, Fearless, proton bombs, and 0-0-0. While the list was an old one, the 2nd Edition version flies very differently.
We started in opposite corners, and Patrick brought both ships up the middle. I went up to the middle, cloaked, and started to cut in to meet him. I tried to juke him by decloaking left, then three-banking in to turn and keep my distance, but he brought both ships up fast as well. Boba Fett used his title to turn in, which set him at range one of one phantom and range two of the other two. Then he used his boost to dodge, so he was only in one arc at range one, and he had arc right back.
The exchange went about as well as I could have hoped; four hits into the phantom, met by two evades; only lost my shields. Then I put four hits into Boba Fett, taking three shields after evade dice. I was also lucky enough to land some hits on Asajj. My phantoms were in a good spot, but I knew Boba Fett could drop a proton bomb and one of my ships had to spend tokens so it couldn't cloak, so it would either have to veer down to avoid, or just eat a proton bomb.
I managed to block Asajj with my decloak, and get one phantom with a good range one shot on Boba Fett, but I botched my wounded phantom's move; he bumped, and sat without tokens at range one of both scum ships. It did not end well for the phantom. I did land some more damage on Asajj and Boba, getting both below half.
My phantoms weren't in position to pursue. One had full health, the other had lost its shields. Moreover, they were pointed the wrong way. Redline was keeping pressure on Asajj, who was suffering from a console fire and had to K-turn. But Boba Fett was coming in too, which meant Redline was in tough. He managed to survive long enough to drop a seismic charge and deal some damage, but he wasn't long for this world. He did buy enough time for the phantoms to re-engage and take out Asajj with extreme prejudice, however.
It came down to Boba Fett with four hit points left versus two phantoms, one at full, one with two hit points remaining. The wounded phantom engaged at range three; Boba put hit, crit, crit into him, and I blanked on the roll. Down to one phantom. With minutes left on the clock, and my phantom facing the wrong way, I tried to arc dodge. In the final round of fire, Boba closed to range one and put four dice into my cloaked, focused phantom. He took one shield, I kept half points, and won the match with 50 points left to his 48 points.
The tournament was a ton of fun. It was great to see the community back and excited to play X-Wing. We had a stretch where the tournaments were a lot quieter; a lot of people seemed to take a couple months off to recharge, leading up to the launch. Everyone seemed to have a good time playing X-Wing again.
Biggs seemed to be prevalent, at least in my matches. His ability felt powerful, but it felt fair. In fact, a lot of abilities felt that way. Asajj's stress mechanic was still potent, but there's a cost to use it now. Latts Razzi was helpful, but not overpowered. The ships all felt pretty smoothed out, too; the shadowcaster in particular didn't feel as dominant as it used to, while still being a challenging ship to fly against. My phantoms were dangerous, but they still popped if they got caught in a bad spot (especially in my last game).
The TIE Phantom has changed a lot. Their two evade dice are very consistent; they will almost always have a focus and evade token, and the extra hull point helps them take some punishment. The cloak timing is very interesting too; there are tough choices to be made when it comes down to spending the evade token. If you hold it, you can cloak at end of round, but if you evade damage, you're giving up your unpredictability. The fact that cloaking works even while stressed is another huge thing, but phantoms don't get to take their free evade action while stressed, so it still costs them.
On the whole, they feel more versatile. I don't know how well Whisper flies these days, I haven't really tried it yet. I suspect the aces won't be the deadly combatants they once were. But they might be very valuable all the same.
It's good to be back pushing plastic spaceships around on the table.