Having had a fairly long break in gaming I had some difficulties to select a list for Regionals. Luckily I had some time to do meta-gaming to prepare for the tournament, and the X-Wing scene in Finland being quite manageable I had a possibility to make an assessment of the most likely and the most dangerous lists what I expected to be played.
I though that the best players will be playing some kind of TIE Defender or Rebel synergy lists, with some other Imperial Aces thrown in. For some reason the ”super-Scum” lists like Dengaroo or Parattani are usually not that popular in Finland so I was not worried about them. I realised that my main goal in the list design was to be able to win X7 Defenders, if I was to win the Regionals I had to beat at least one or two Defender lists.
My faction of choise for the tournament play has been the Scum for some time, so that was easy to settle. Then I wanted to trump the usual Defender PS of 5-6 so PS 7+ seemed legit. And I have been on the Mindlink bandwagon since its ascendancy, so that made a good and cost-effective candidate for the EPTs.
Kavil was my first member, 4 dice TLT shots do not feel overkill anymore. And the Vectored Thrusters made TLT carriers much better than before, making the range control and manouverability easier. R4 Aggromech to boost up the damage, and Kavil was ready, clocking at 35 points.
Old Teroch made a natural pair with Kavil, preparing target for the TLT shots, and he’s also the bane of the X7s: ”You can kiss my clone ass, countess!” Old Teroch is also a bargain at 30 points, which left me 35 points for the last ship.
I wanted to have same PS as it makes Mindlink flying easier, so that limited my options a bit. Andrew is too flimsy, and too cheap, Xizor a bit too expensive to be effective but maybe Zuckuss? I’ve never flown Misthunter in a tournament but why not? It has the Evade Action which could improve its resilience a bit, and goes very well with the Mindlink. Zuckuss ability is not bad at all, and combined with token-stripping Old Teroch it could be lethal. Plus I like the model. Title is obligatory as a discount VT, and the TB might be useful. I’ve seen Outlaw Tech used in combination with Mindlink, so a jawa took the backseat, and the FCS finished the build. The whole list came up as 99 points, Zuckuss’ Illicit was left empty. The 1-point bid was actually handy, as it later turned out.
So a neat list, couple of (succesful) test games, biggest asteroids, and I was ready to go. Swarms would melt my trio of pirates, bountyhunters and renegade clones, but I was sure that there were not that many – if any – around, and against the rest I would stand a chance with solid flying. 24 players meant 4 rounds of swiss with top 8, so 3+ victories will guarantee a play-off place, and MoV playing little or no part in the tournament.
1. Game – Henri (Maarek Stele, Ryad, Vessery, all with PS7)
The unintentional bid paid off in the very first game. The opposing Defenders were at full 100, so I had a choise and gave the initiative to the opponent. And it was nice to start the tournament against a list which I assessed to be the most likely serious opponents. Henri was confident in his ability to blast my low AGI ships from the sky (space?), and flew straigth in to the fight, but he could not finish Kavil off before I downed Stele, and while he was pursuing Kavil I could wither down the Defenders with my other ships. I was bit lucky as the X7’s dice reliant offence was not effective enough, and when Kavil went down it was quite easy to wipe Colonel and Countess out.
2. Game – Jari (OldManFenn, 96 points)
Jari has been playing with this list for some time and it showed. I could not read his initial flight plan, and when we engaged I was badly positioned to keep up the attack. I had a fleeting moment when I tried to TB Fenn to a rock and the range of Kavil’s TLT, but Zuckuss missed, and then it was pretty much lost game as I could only halve Manaroo. Losing made things easier though, now I just had to win all the games.
Loss 17 – 100
3. Game – Teemu (Mindlink Fenn, 2 TPV, Quadjumper)
This was a strange list. The Mindlink Mangler Scyks are good, and the space tug could be very dangerous with its Tractor Beam shenanigans. Luckily I had couple of practice games against the tug so I knew something about it, and I’ve flown the Scyks myself with some success so I know how they handle.
The tug was flying bit separated, and Teroch put the Weapons Failure crit on it on the first round. Then Teroch and Kavil took out the other Scyk (token stripping is kinda hard counter against those) and I lost Zuckuss to two Direct Hits! But the luck evened out when Teroch one-shotted Fenn with a range two shot, and then it was just the finishing touch left to do to clear the space of the rival scum.
Win 100 – 34
4. Game – Mikko (Parattani)
So time to face this beast of a list first time, and flown by an opponent who I did not know beforehand. And a must-win match, so no pressure! Both players approached cautiously, and I tried to be extra careful no to get in the Asajj’s aux arc as my ships were not that good handling stress. Opponent’s Fenn was a bit too cautious, and was left isolated as the girls went to another direction. Kavil’s TLT and Zuckuss killed him as Teroch was chasing Manaroo and Asajj. An unlucky Stunned Pilot crit got Teroch, but Kavil and Zuckuss finished first Manaroo then Asajj with ease. A win, and a place in top 8!
Win 100 – 30
Quarter-Final – Sami (Vader, HM, Crackshot, GC; Valen, Title, HM, Crackshot, GC; Vessery, X7, Juke)
The first play-off was against a very nice list, which did not appear to be that powerful being so fragile, but then I realised that it was really all about offence – as any good list is – and not so fragile after all. You can avoid losing by being defensive, but the games are won by being offensive. Sami clearly had a good grasp of it with these Imperials. Crackshot-Homing Missile-Guidance Chip ships packed a punch, and Juke Vessery provided some extra firepower. Valen was especially clever; he will TL+Evade as an action and uses his defensive extra actions to Boost/BR and to Focus to set up his shots. Works very well against higher PS pilots.
The Imperials appoached in a neat formation, but I managed to get a fairly good flanking position to engage them. Unfortunately Zuckuss missed his TB again when I tried to drag Valen on a rock, and Valen got to fire his HM on Teroch. All the ships ended up in a tight furball, and when that cleared both Teroch and Vader (without firing his HM) were down. Valen had used his Crackshot and HM, so the Imperial firepower was down to the main guns which was not enough. Then I TLT’d Valen and lone Vessery was quickly dispatched by Kavil and Zuckuss.
Win 100 – 30
Semi-Final – Jari-Matti (Premium OL, PtL Ryad, Backdraft)
The next play-off was by far the easiest game during the whole tournament. I was against a fairly low firepower list with initiative and PS advantage, so I was not worried. I had tricks to deal with Ryad and OL, and I consider the TIE/sf as an overcosted bomber without ordnance which will go down in a turn or two.
My opponent sent Ryad to face my whole squad while the rest of his ships were coming in in a second wave. Bad thing for Ryad was that my opponent forgot the Teroch’s ability, and flew the poor countess face to face against Teroch. Hilarity naturally ensued when Ryad’s tokens were stripped, Kavil shred some of her shield off and Old Teroch finished her before she had a single shot during the game. Then it took two turns to kill the SF, and OL threw in the towel when he was alone against my three ships – which were almost untouched, Kavil having lost a shield. It took about 30 minutes to secure the final table.
Win 100 – 0
Final – Jussi (Juke Ryad, Chiraneau with Kylo, Expertise, Ion Bombs, Gunner, Hotshot Copilot, EU)
Ha! The final table, and facing a very nasty Deci. In my assessment I though that none of the players I knew would bring a Deci, but how wrong I was. Now I had to face one, luckily escorted by the ship which was not so threatening. The Decimator on the other hand was daunting, Kylo’s ability could easily counter my low AGI heavy hitters. Luckily I had more than 45 minutes of rest and reconnaissance during the semi-final as the other pair took full 75 minutes to finish the game. So at least I had that advantage.
Jussi set Ryad close to the middle, I setup mys ships facing her. RAC went to the other corner. I started quite fast to catch Ryad alone is she choose to close, but Countess wisely disengaged, and Admiral attacked alone. Then I got a bit lucky as I lost a shield or two in the initial exchange, but Teroch and Zuckuss manages to punch a crit through. A Damaged Sensor Array! That calmed Kylo for a moment and reduced RAC’s mobility. I could not keep RAC under pressure as I had to be careful not to get ioned by the bombs, but we exchanged some shots with Ryad, both sides taking some damage. RAC joined the battle having his sensors fixed, and Kylo started to do his Sith things. The target was Old Teroch, but that Blinded Pilot never got through Teroch evading all the crits taking just one or two normal damage. I managed to keep everyone flying by disengaging damaged Kavil, and when Zuckuss was able to get RAC back in his sights, the Decimator started to take a lot of damage. Jussi kept trying to shoot Teroch, but to no avail, and my ships grinded the Imperials little by little. I got them both down to one hull, and finished them off in one turn. A neat closing for a succesful tournament!
Win 100 – 0
My meta analysis paid off, as I though the Defenders to be the most dangerous opponents. All the play-off lists included one, so having a counter made life much easier. Now I just have to find Nationals close by...