Not really have time to test lists, and being unsure of what to play, I went to worlds with 2 possible lists, and flipped a coin. So, I went with:
Draw Their Fire
I wasn’t sure about a 3 ship list, but it looked fun, and certainly fit into my play style. Sorry about some of the lack of detail in some of these reports, and if I got names wrong, but it was a long day.
Played against Jonathan J. - Kath, 1 Obsidian Pilot, 3 Academy Pilots
Picked off a 2 TIEs early, after a bit of dancing, got the third. Kath took out Biggs before going down. Luke and Wedge moped up the last Academy Pilot.
Played against Brain S. – Howlrunner with Stealth Device, Captain Jonas with squad Leader and Stealth Device, 2 Scimitar Squad Pilots (1 with Cluster Missiles and Proton Torpedoes, the other with Adv. Proton and Assault Missile).
Now, I am not going to lie, with this set up, all of those secondary weapons were a bit intimidating, especially the Adv Protons and the Assault Missile. So, I focused my attention there first. After some decent rolling on both our parts, the Scimitar survived with 1 hull left. Then, the dice swung in my favor. Even with Jonas rerolls, the Assault Missile only rolls one hit, which was evaded. This was followed by the Proton which rolled better with the rerolls, 2 hit and a crit. And Biggs rolls 2 evades , Luke taking the crit.
The following turn was really the breaking point of the game. All 7 ships on the board do K-turns. One of the 2 Scimitars complete their turns. Biggs completes his. Jonas and Howlrunner fail to complete their turns, while Luke and Wedge complete theirs. So, sitting nicely in their back arcs, my squad runs down the ships that failed their turns, ignoring the Bomber that made the K-turn. With 1 Scimitar left, and the only damage on my team being lost shields on Biggs (R2 repaired Luke’s damaged shield), my opponent conceded.
Vs Matt O – Wedge with Swarm Tactics, Chewie with Draw Their Fire, and a Rookie Pilot (might be missing some upgrades here)
A game of hot dice here for me, without a doubt. First round of combat, I take out his Wedge, losing only a shield on Biggs and a shield on Luke, who took one of Biggs crits. After some asteroid dancing, took down the rookie, and after losing Biggs, Luke and Wedge finish the Wookie.
Round the Fourth:
Vs Doug K. (Hothie) – Kath with Proton Bomb, Recon Specialist, Adrenaline Rush, BH with Proton Bomb and Rebel Captive, Academy Pilot
Now, everyone told me that Doug was a great person to play against, and I will tell you, they are not wrong. That said, having the defending World Champion across the table was intimidating.
I will have to admit, a lot of that game I spent rolling amazing. First few rounds of shooting, I was consistently rolling 2/3 or 3/3 unmodified hits, and Doug was missing evades left and right. On top on that, Doug rolled below average on his attacks, and I rolled well on my evades. Despite some maneuver errors and poor dice, Doug did play his bombs well. The first hitting Wedge and Luke, dealing 2 damage to Wedge and taking out Luke’s action bar, but also ended up hitting Kath too. After some maneuver errors on my part and getting stressed every shot, Wedge took down the BH. As I tried to regroup my squad, Doug placed the second bomb beautifully, killing Wedge, taking out Luke’s Pilot ability and elite upgrade, and taking out Bigg’s non-existent secondary weapon.
Kath came around with a white K-turn and finished off Biggs. Kath flew by Luke. And Luke, 1 hull left and full shields, K-Turns and takes out the Academy Pilot. At this point, both Kath and Luke have just one hull left, and with shields and higher pilot skill, I had the advantage. Still trying to repair Luke’s action bar, we trade shots for 2 rounds, Kath evading Luke’s fire with the double focus from Recon specialist, then firing back, and having lost Luke’s evade ability, taking shield damage. And this is where the all-star of the list came through: R2-D2. Sticking to green maneuvers and trading fire at range 3, the shield repairs from R2 kept me in the game. Finally repairing the action bar, Luke next round gets to take a target lock. Firing, I roll and blank and 2 focus, reroll them all and get 3 hits which Kath doesn’t evade.
That was, by far, one of the most intense and closest games I have ever played, and thank you Doug for being a fantastic player and opponent. That was, no matter how that game would have ended, the highlight of my weekend.
Vs. Dominic C - Howlrunner with Stealth Device, 3 Obsidian Pilots, 3 Academy Pilots
Being a co-owner of a game store in Minneapolis (Universe Games), I don’t as much time to practice against top lists like TIE swarm nearly as much I would like, and, to be completely honest, I had never even played my list until today… So, I go into this match up, knowing it will be extremely difficult, but otherwise completely clueless.
Dominic sets up his ships. Then, being tired and still trying to shake the adrenaline rush from playing Doug, I, like a complete rookie, set up directly across from him, guaranteeing a fantastic charge into a blaze of fiery death. Needless to say, going into the (likely) hardest possible match-up, and ignoring all possible tactical thinking, I did not fare well…
At this point, I am still feeling great. Sure, I did play poorly in my last round, but seriously, at 4-1, how am I not making top 16? Final standings went up, and that’s when my day went from amazing to abysmal. Even at 4-1 (all 4 wins being full victories), I found myself in 19th place. I, along with 3 other players, went 4-1, and did not make the cut…
I will admit, some of this is just my own frustration, but really, that should just not happen. The simple answer is: 5 rounds were not enough before the cut. Had there been no byes (except of course the natural bye result in an odd number of players) 5 rounds could have been acceptable. But, with all the regional winner byes, after 5 rounds, we had 7 5-0s and 13 4-1s.
Now, as of the time I am writing this, I am not nearly as angry as I was, but understandably, I feel cheated. Coming in, playing my way through, representing the local players, being the underdog who had never done this well at a major event, and then being told, “Well, 2 of your other opponents did not do well, so tough luck” was extremely soul crushing.
I understand the difficulty in running 6 major events in a 4 day span (plus side events and second chance tournaments), and I know the team at FFG were doing their best, but, as someone who has done their fair share of judging and being on the staff of major events, things should have been planned better. From what I heard, Star Wars LCG started an hour late on Day 1. I don’t know all the details of how the other events were run, so I am not going to comment on those, but based on the popularity of their games, and with preregistration numbers, they should have at least had an idea of how many people to expect, as well as how many Swiss rounds would be appropriate before making a final cut. For example, a Magic event with 65 to 128 players cutting to a top 8 would play 7 rounds. For an event cutting to top 16, 6 rounds should have played.
Really, no one should have to go through what 3 other players and I went through: playing fantastic games, have the joy and excitement of being X-1, and then being told, “That’s not good enough.” I know that I was angry, but I can’t imagine how angry someone who traveled from out of the state, or even from out of the country, would be getting this result. Despite playing some of the best and most enjoyable games I have played with X-Wing, especially the nail-biter against Doug, this turn of events really spoiled my entire experience this weekend.
To add to that frustration, I did, calmly and politely, give the feedback, that these results should not happen, and that it clearly shows there should be more Swiss rounds in the future. One of the responses I got was, “Well, there are time constraints.” I let it go at the time, being extremely angry and crushed by this experience. But seriously, time constraints? It’s not like FFG is renting out an extra room they need to have cleared by a certain time… If they would have stuck to their posted schedule and left all the elimination rounds on Sunday instead of have top 16 play Saturday, there could have been 6 Swiss rounds. I feel that the X-Wing event in particular was scaled back for time at the expense of the players’ experience, which is very disappointing.
I sincerely hope that FFG takes the frustration and feedback from this event (not just X-Wing, but Worlds in general) and makes the appropriate changes to improve the player experience in the future.
And, after all that frustration I just described, I do want to thank all of my opponents again for some great games, and for being the positive part of my Worlds experience.