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  1. While your point is valid in the abstract, how many character designs these days include handfuls of ammo pouches? Sure, we can talk about their relative merits as storage solutions, but we both know that's not why they proliferated in art throughout the 90s only to disappear shortly thereafter.
  2. First edition Nien Nunb. I got perverse satisfaction from a PS7 arc dodger/ brawler/ jerkface. Haven't gotten around to him in 2.0, but I will. Tarn with M9-G8. A pocket closer masquerading as a bad support ship. Tee hee. Push Ryad (yes, I know it was degenerate, at least I never ran her with Palp). In 2.0, Deathrain. It's astounding how nimble that clunker becomes. Maarek. When you say "show me three crits", you can feel and drink the opponent's dread, and it is delicious. Duchess. Nothing flies like she does. Arvel. Everything 1.0 Arvel never was, 2.0 Arvel is. Makes me smile.
  3. What was it in the 90s with everyone wearing ammo pouches? There were characters who didn't even carry guns that would wander around wearing ammo pouches. What the hey.
  4. ROUND OF 16 or, HOW TO WASH OUT OF THE CUT IN JUST THREE TURNS Opponent's list: Taco Salad (Braylen, Garven Dreis (ARC-170), AP-5 w/ Leia, Arvel w/ Intimidation, Lt. Blount) In a cut dominated by Phantoms, Dread-Loks, and Rebel Beef, the two most idiosyncratic lists were mine and a five-ship Taco Salad (because it has beef and greens). So, of course, we were matched up against each other, and on the stream to boot. Did I mention that it's a 100-minute commute for me to and from the site, and that I slept like garbage the night before? And that I’d been on stream twice before and gotten slaughtered twice? Omens on omens… You can watch the video to see what happened for yourself. If you do, or have, skip ahead. Narrative: you can probably guess my first move. My opponent moved swiftly too, clearing the rock blocking his access to the middle with 3-aheads, while Arvel hit the jets with a 5-ahead plus boost. I knew I needed a quick engagement. Delay would allow Arvel to get into my formation and mess me up. I went for the 3-bank-- though, inexplicably, I Aileronsed ahead with Duchess before the bank. Mistake #1. This took Duchess out of Howl range-which I knew from previous games it would. I honestly don't know why I did it. I have no recall of that decision. In a minute I would pay for it. My opponent also aggressively banked with Braylen, Garven, and Blount, while AP-5 continued straight and Arvyl 3-turned. Here it is, the range 3 engagement. Who do I shoot? Seeing a chance to focus all of my fire on a single foe, and knowing that it was possible to outright remove him in one round, I concentrated on Braylen. I have many words about this in the analysis section; for now, it almost worked. Duchess rolling an un-re-rollable blank was galling; even so, I stripped Braylen's shields for Maarek, and Maarek did… three damage on his two crits. (A Fuel Leak or Direct Hit on that first crit and this is a very different conversation!) In return, Maarek exploded and Howlrunner took two damage. Garven, Braylen, and Arvel threw eight dice and dealt seven damage. This was... deflating. Even more deflating was what happened next. Arvel, Blount, and Garven moved in to create a cluster I couldn't fly around, while Braylen 2-turned to disengage. I was fine with that; he wasn't shooting me, and my only defense is to kill stuff before it kills me. I let him go, opting instead to try and remove Arvel and potentially Blount with heavy range 1 shots. Arvel took three damage, Blount took one, and in return I lost Howl and Scourge. There's little point in recounting the rest. With so many enemy arcs on the table and ships in the way (and with my own thoughts hopelessly muddled) I wasn't able to do anything productive with Duchess and Mauler, and both eventually fell. I finished off Braylen, I suppose. Does that count for something? Not in the elimination rounds it doesn’t. Analysis: let's get this out of the way: losing Maarek to two range three shots was unlucky, yes. So what? Frankly, my odds of killing Braylen weren't much better than my odds of losing Maarek as I did. I had done similar things before, sure, but the actual math of it isn't great. It felt like I was "so close!" because I dealt seven, but even that was on the high end of possible. X-Wing Calculator gives me a sub-10% chance of sinking Braylen with that volley. I'd bump my odds up some from that because X-Wing Calculator doesn't know quite what to do with Maarek's ability. Even so, removing Braylen, while possible (and certainly in-play with a reroll on Duchess' shot), wasn't likely. This is vital to remember because, as I've been pointing out throughout this discussion, TIEs drop dead at a moment's notice. My defense is to kill the bad things first, or use the threat of doing so to bully them into disengaging. "Trust your firepower" is the lesson I had made for myself. So, in this scenario, if I can't quite trust my firepower, what's left? Let's explore the alternative. What about Garven? My chances of killing Garven were near zero, as my unnecessary Ailerons move denied a Garven shot from Duchess. (If she'd been in her proper position in the formation, maybe matters are different; I definitely should have moved Duchess before Maarek so I could eyeball it.) That said, there are some ridiculous possibilities that open up given Garven's higher vulnerability to Maarek. Moreover, in the abstract, Garven's focus token was important for his and Braylen's shot. Shooting off Braylen's focus availed me nothing because Garven could give him a new one; shooting off Garven's would have greatly improved Maarek's chance of survival. Duchess wouldn’t have been able to shoot Garven, but she could have fired at Blount instead, which at least would have spooked him and maybe forced a token spend. Is ruining Garven, menacing Blount, and setting up for a kill on Garven round 2 preferable to a relatively low chance of killing Braylen outright? Probably. I wanted to kill Braylen. It would have been glorious if I had killed Braylen-- who doesn't want to one-round the enemy's best ship before it shoots? Doing so would have done wonders for Maarek's odds of survival. The upside is so high. Is that upside worth taking the chance of failing? Maybe. The only other alternative I'd countenance would be this: instead of 3-bank to engage the bulk, 2-turn to try and pick off Arvel. Arvel was part of what compelled me to seek a quick engagement; I needed to strike before he crashed my formation. I'm not sure how viable that would have been, what with Arvel at range 3 and double-tokened. Barring a good lineup for Crack Shot, my odds of killing Arvel were quite low, and committing to that course would have left me pinned in a strange position, with a rock ahead and the main Rebel force 45 degrees to my right. Regardless, I didn’t do enough to improve my odds in the joust, and left myself open for variance to bury me. And that’s how you can publicly crash out of your first cut in short order! It was still tremendous fun and I was very proud of my results and my list. Thanks to all my opponents, and good flying all!
  5. There are plenty of people running Vader without FCS now. His in-built action economy reduces his need for FCS. Not a big loss, IMO.
  6. I'm hesitant to put Soontir and Trajectory Simulator bombs in the same list, since they tend to work at cross-purposes, but perhaps you can make it work better than I. A thought: if you strip the HLC, Skilled Bombardier, and Shield Upgrade, you can upgrade the Delta to Rexler and carry a 2 point bid. That feels better to me... I'm not sure the Delta in your original list is doing enough for you. HLCs are hard to use under the best of circumstances, let alone on a PS1 ship, so you'd be paying a ton of points for a survivable but not hugely scary Defender. Rexler changes the dynamic a lot.
  7. You know, if they're 3 points or fewer, you can mod a current list: 2 Cutlasses with ProTorps, Soontir, and Duchess all fit...
  8. ROUND FOUR Opponent: Kylo-2-Ups (Tavson and Starkiller Base Pilot) Narrative: the Upsilons started facing each other somewhat to the west-of-center. (I remarked that those two needed “to keep it G-rated"; my opponent laughed, maybe just as a courtesy.) Kylo was to their west. My opponent, crucially, was at 199 points, same as me; I won the rolloff and gave him first player. This was not what he was hoping for. Predictably, on the first turn the Upsilons collided while Kylo turned slowly in. The last thing I wanted was to joust those Ups. Reinforce slows my list waaaay down, while an Upsilon can easily one-shot a TIE. Although I started with the customary 5-ahead, my opponent's slow approach caused me to moderate my own speed. Round 2 I hit the brakes, 2-turning into the 'C' of obstacles, while detaching Duchess to threaten a flank. Tavson banked out to the southwest, while SBP banked towards the middle, and Kylo started heading east, while remaining north of the rocks. Now I thought I saw my opponent's design: entice me to chase Kylo as he threatened to flank me, thus exposing my rear to the shuttles. Instead, I made a play for Kylo. Three banks from Mauler, Maarek, and Howl; three-bank and barrel roll from Scourge not only gave me the bullseye but plugged a gap between two obstacles. Even Duchess flew forward, using Ailerons to get the range. It was a bad day for Kylo. Even though the shots were at range three and some obstructed, there were enough of him (along with a Crack Shot or two) to wear out his tokens and shields-- and then Maarek dropped a Structural Damage on his head. Kylo wanted no part of that. As the Upsilons moved more aggressively to belatedly protect their master (with Tavson ending up face-first in a gas cloud), most of my ships went for SBP while Maarek hunted Kylo. Because Kylo had been pointing Scourge, his fastest move to escape was a two-turn-plus-boost. It wasn't enough to escape Maarek's arc, and a quick Direct Hit ended things. SBP had focused instead of Reinforcing, and I pounded the heck out of him in reply. Duchess got beaten up, but survived-and that, I knew, would be that. I'd been prepared to lose Duchess and even another ship, and when I didn't, both I and my opponent knew it was over. We played one more turn, but as the SBP got splashed and Duchess slipped behind Tavson, my opponent conceded. Analysis: my biggest win of the day, thanks to player order, a clutch barrel roll, and Maarek being rude. This list was as different from mine as two lists could be, in terms of structure. As I said before, 5-by-5 gives the enemy target priority fits, and can win with different combinations of survivors. My opponent lost the game when Kylo was crippled. This was the only game in which I hunted bullseye with Scourge. Normally I just treat him like a TIE and keep him in formation with Howl, as the focus and Howl's ability give better performance than chasing bullseye for the extra die and Crack. I did get lucky with Scourge's dice when he rolled unmodified, but that wasn't nearly as important as his position, which cut off Kylo's best options for disengaging. ROUND FIVE Opponent's list: Hatchetman (Major Vynder w/ ProTorps, Advanced ProTorps, FCS, Advanced SLAM; Vader w/ Afterburners; Colonel Jendon w/ Emperor Palpatine) Narrative: by this time the lights in the event area were fading, as were our minds. With us both at 3-1, though, we both bore down to give it our best. We had the standard 'C' for obstacles and I did my standard setup, deploying in the east to turn into the 'C'. On turn one all his ships turned towards the west, rotating around to buy time. He burned a Jendon charge to have his ships lock Howlrunner. Round two I dialed in a 2-turn to chase. Note: by doing an Ailerons 1-bank into a 3-bank, Duchess can get back into the front rank of my formation when I 2-turn. This was about to become a critical detail. My opponent continued his rotation, with Vader in the lead turning to the south while the shuttle and Vynder faced southwest. There were two major openings in the rocks that my opponent could use to engage. Vader was headed for one of them, and could turn in facing east; Vynder, I could see, could turn into the other facing southeast. With my speed and central position, if he didn't engage round 3 he'd just be surrendering free shots. Would he engage with one or both of his ships? I hedged. Mauler and Maarek (now in front) performed a 3-bank. All other ships did a 3-straight. I could see that only Howl would lose a shot on Vynder that way, assuming Vynder came in; only Mauler would lose a shot on Vader if he turned in aggressively. My opponent did mostly what I expected, but not in the *way* I expected. Vynder 2-turned to engage, but then SLAMed 2-ahead to crash my formation. Meanwhile, he coordinated a barrel roll for Vader, such that when he did turn in he was still at extreme range. If all of my ships had 3-banked into Vynder it would have caused a huge pile-up. Instead, Maarek was able to complete his maneuver and lock Vynder; Mauler bonked on Vynder, but by doing so first he was able to force Duchess to bump him and not Vynder, maintaining Duchess' shot (and in bullseye to boot). Howl and Scourge, with their straight maneuvers, were unperturbed. It worked out for me. And then Vynder vanished in a hail of laser fire and crits (courtesy of Maarek "the Executioner" Steele). Maarek lost his shields in return, but that trade is more than fair. It did spook me, and so I was conservative with Maarek: he did a two-ahead and focused for defense, with Mauler going with him to keep company. Duchess, Howl, and Scourge kept going west to meet Vader. Turns out Vader is pretty good! With the extra coordinating from Jendon, Vader vaporized Howlrunner. Maarek would have been better served grabbing a lock on Jendon, who he and Mauler now started hunting in earnest. The next few rounds saw me lose Scourge as well before finishing Jendon. Vader now started using his Afterburners to stay in the hunt, looping back around to take on Maarek, who had tried a TRoll right into Mauler's back. On the next turn, Vader and Mauler both K-turned, with Vader crucially ending up in Mauler's bullseye. While Vader crushed Maarek, Mauler's shot compelled Vader to spend his last Force to avoid a possibly-lethal crit from landing courtesy of Crack Shot. Dry on Force, stressed, and with Mauler sliding in to block or threaten all his blues, Vader two-turned… right in front of Duchess' Sloop. Analysis: Crack Shot remains as much a mind game as ever. Compelling your opponent to overspend tokens to avoid it can be almost as good as dealing damage, especially if you have follow-on shots… plus you keep the Crack Shot to do it again. In no game did I use all of my Crack Shots, but I never regretted taking them. That said, I don't think I would swap it in over Marksmanship for Maarek. Maarek sometimes has to shoot something he hasn't locked, and being able to still score crits is clutch in those scenarios. And when you do have your target locked, mo' crits is mo' better (you can detonate your own Fuel Leaks, etc.). I saw an awful lot of people playing Hatchetman (doubtless emulating the Denver System Open winner and hunting the extremely popular Quad Phantoms matchup), but none made the cut. Hatchetman is particularly vulnerable to what happened in my game, given that I can crush Vynder before he shoots and I eat shuttles. Vader nearly brought it back alone, though. He is nasty and one-shots happen. (Yay TIE Fighters!) ROUND SIX Opponent's list: Quad Phantoms By this time the lighting was so poor we were basically playing X-Wing by candlelight. Did I mention my range rulers are dark blue? Checking arcs became a tricky exercise in this game, especially once things started getting messy. Narrative: As with my previous Phantoms matchup, he set up northeast, I set up center. He turned so that he could decloak forward and turn south, or decloak to his left and bank into the middle. This is the dilemma that Phantoms put you in. The difference in those positions is so enormous that to cover both requires you to go slow. Going slow means the engagement happens at range 3, which is the Phantom's preference. Committing to one and getting it right gives you an advantage, but perhaps not a decisive one; committing to one and getting it wrong loses you the game. I hedged. I went slow, with a two-ahead, except for Duchess. She got a 3-ahead, with Ailerons in her back pocket. My opponent ended up dispatching one Phantom into the center while the remainder decloaked to the south and banked towards the center. In response, Duchess did a 1-bank-right with Ailerons into her 3-ahead, skewering the lead Phantom in her bullseye. I even barrel rolled Mauler to hunt range one (he missed; I blame the bad light). When the dust cleared, I'd killed the Phantom before it could shoot-- and Duchess had paid the price. Still, I was ahead. What could go wrong? Because Mauler was in an offset position, I needed to break him out before he got in my way, so I sent him to chase the solo Phantom while my other ships banked in. That's when everything turned to soup. I can't faithfully reconstruct the next four or five turns. Partially this is due to the hour and the light, partially because there were so many moving parts moving so chaotically that even if I remembered it clearly I couldn't describe it. Here is the best picture I can draw. Eventually Howlrunner's rerolls were the difference. Even though Mauler died, Maarek was able to TRoll away, get a clear Marksmanship shot, and punch a lethal crit through thanks to Howl. That created enough of a gap that Scourge, Howl, and Maarek could regroup and down a third Phantom. The fourth ran for a time but was never in a position to salvage the game. When it was over I'd made it to 5-1 and earned a spot in the cut. Analysis: as it turns out, passive dice mods are good. Who knew? More seriously, there's a reason this was only the second game Howlrunner survived (after the one in which I lost no ships at all). Her ability is always good, but it's especially good in carrying me through brawl situations when I can't get any other mods. That said, no one ship in my list is more valuable than one of the quad Phantoms, and even though I knew I was offering up Duchess, I did not regret it in the least. Even my opponent, immediately after vaporizing Duchess, wondered if it was a fair trade. This reveals one of the weirdnesses of the list: it closes the game with all sorts of different configurations. Round 1: lost Howl Round 2 (loss): lost Howl, Mauler, Scourge, Maarek Round 3: lost Howl, Scourge, Mauler Round 4: no losses Round 5: lost Howl, Scourge, Maarek Round 6: lost Duchess, Mauler Rounds 5 and 6 were perfect inverses, but with similar results. I like to think it says something good about the list-either that it scrambles your opponent's priorities, or that it has enough built-in redundancy and versatility to make up for losing different pieces. The list is vulnerable to blocking, as my opponent skillfully demonstrated in this game (to my aggravation). Even so, I had enough high-Ini dakka to make it through. Next time: How to Wash Out of a Cut in Three Turns or Fewer
  9. I flew at the Atlanta System Open. It's taken a little time to recuperate and gather my thoughts. Now I'm ready to discuss my run. I call the list I used "Five-by-Five": Duchess w/ Crack Shot, Mauler w/ Crack Shot, Scourge w/ Crack Shot, Howlrunner w/ Crack Shot, Maarek Steele w/ Marksmanship and Fire Control System. I can't claim credit for the list, though I wish I could, because it has a lot of characteristics I love. It's a heterogenous list that likes flying in formation, with pocket aces hiding in plain sight. Love it so hard. I wasn't completely sure how it'd do against the Big Four, as my local meta isn't particularly competitive; I'd only gotten practice against Handbrake Han, so how I'd approach these other matchups was mostly theorycraft. I always deployed in the same block initially: a front line of Mauler, Scourge, Duchess (from inside to outside), with Maarek behind Mauler and Howl behind Scourge. In these reports, my board edge is "south" and my opponent's is "north". ROUND ONE Opponent's list: Vader, Fel, 2x Barrage Rocket Scimitar Squadron Pilots Narrative: Obstacles were in a 'C' shape, opening on the east side. This was the arrangement I preferred and would seek to generate throughout the day, as it allowed me to set up in the corner, execute a five ahead, then do basically any turn or bank in and be in good position. Once in the middle of the board I could move to cover any approach on my squad. That was what my opponent helped facilitate here. His Scimitars were lined up in the middle, with Vader behind them, and Fel in the far west. Round one I did a 5-ahead along the east edge while the Scimitars moved towards the middle, Vader slow-rolled behind them, and Fel zoomed straight south along the west edge. Immediately, I saw the opportunity to force an engagement before Fel could join the fight. My next dial was a three-ahead for the whole formation, bringing one Scimitar into range and destroying it before it could twitch. Fel turned east, but even with a boost was much too far away, and Vader hadn't gone fast enough to draw range. So far, so good. In round 3 I blew up my formation. Maarek and Mauler 3-turned left to intercept Fel, Duchess used Ailerons and a one-bank to slip north (pointing west) to put arcs on Vader. With a rock to Duchess' north, the Dark Lord would have no chance to barrel roll out of Duchess' arc. Howl and Scourge 2-banked left to punish the living Scimitar and spread Howl's aura. Bingo: no action combo could get Fel out of Maarek's and Mauler's arcs, while Vader ended up right in front of Duchess. He vaporized Howlrunner in one shot for her trouble (this would become a theme) and Soontir bloodied Mauler, but in return I killed Fel and took nibbles out of Vader and the bomber. It was mop-up from there. Vader scored half-points on Maarek before he exploded. Analysis: speed was my weapon, as it would be in all my successful games. Fel and Vader were out of position to support the round 2 engagement I forced on the bombers. This was more important to me than the fact that the Bomber was clearly happier with the range 3 engagement than my TIEs. At the same time, the enemy aces’ position with respect to the rocks limited them to specific attack vectors that I could close. My firepower did the rest. The result was my fastest game of the tournament. ROUND TWO Opponent: Quad Phantoms Narrative: my opponent set up in the northeast corner behind a two-rock cluster. I set up in the middle, hoping to keep my options open. I had the crazy thought in mind that I could split the cluster if I had to. It didn't come to that. My opponent slid towards the middle along the north edge while I did my customary five-ahead. Understanding that the closer the range the bigger my advantage, I hit the brakes round two with a two-ahead. Not good enough: as my opponent slid center two of his Phantoms had range on my front line. Luckily I didn't suffer for this. Now it was time to guess. Where would the Phantoms be? Left? Right? Both? Figuring my best bet was to hedge, I dialed in a 3-straight, trusting that I'd be able to draw arc on *someone*. It worked better than I could have hoped. Two of his Phantoms went straight, trying to get in my face to crash my formation, while his remaining two Phantoms split east and west. I went right past the crashers-Duchess was even able to close to range 1 on the west Phantom thanks to Ailerons. It was such a good position that I was able to make a luxury pick: Maarek locked the east Phantom even though my plan was to engage the western one. It was a greedy move, but I didn't regret it, even though Maarek ended up having to shoot the west Phantom to polish it off. It meant I was an action ahead and that Maarek could have an overpowering shot on the west Phantom in the next round. It had all gone as well as it could--even with Howlrunner getting one-shot (yay for TIE Fighters!) by the east Phantom, I could afford to trade one-for-one. I couldn't afford to do what I did next. One of the virtues of my list is I can easily split off my specialists. I didn't in this case: when I did a 2-bank with my Fighters, I initially dialed in a 1-bank with Maarek, only to swap back to the 2 to hold formation. Stupid, stupid. The east Phantom slipped just south enough that the 2-bank left Maarek with no shot. Duchess put the hurt on that Phantom; if Maarek had shot, it would have splashed the Phantom almost certainly. Instead, the Phantom one-shot Mauler (yay for TIE Fighters!), and suddenly my advantage was gone. The other Phantoms had been merrily K-turning while I missed my quarry. On the next turn, they moved up to rejoin their fellow. Maarek's K-turn thwarted Duchess' Sloop, while the east Phantom slipped away from a 1-turning Scourge. It was time for my next mistake. Maarek, due to his stress, was bought into fighting the reengaging Phantoms. I could have turned Scourge in to join the fight with Maarek, but I knew that if I did he would die. I did a 4-K to regain position with him, passing up what turned out to be a probable killshot. The next turn he ended up 2-banking towards the Phantoms anyway and got exploded that turn. Eventually it was half-points Duchess and half-points Maarek against a half and whole Phantom. I had a final chance to press my advantage with Duchess by Slooping, but my uncertainty about where the Phantoms would go caused me to chicken out. Maarek disengaged, but I got a little greedy and grabbed a lock on a Phantom with Maarek. Turns out the other one had range after all, and Maarek took two hits to explode and give up the winning margin. Analysis: this was my only game to go to time, and also easily the one in which I made the most mistakes. It's particularly galling that I was able to get a very good opening and then surrender it by a succession of blunders. I had so many opportunities to win the game, and never managed it. It is fair to wonder if my approach would have worked without my opponent surrendering two of his shots in the first round. Failing to turn in with Scourge was a really gruesome mistake when I consider target priority. I'd rather my opponent shoot Scourge than Maarek; that's a good deal for me! Protecting Scourge at Maarek's expense is a mistake even without considering the firepower loss. I should have been delighted at the chance to trade Scourge for a Phantom. I blew it. ROUND THREE Opponent: Beef Wedgington (Wedge, Cassian w/ Leia and TacO, Ten Nunb, Braylen Stramm) Narrative: smarting from my loss, I went into a game with another one of the Big Four meta lists. As before, we had a C-shape to the east. My opponent set up Cassian center-east, with the B-Wings spaced out to the West. I set up in the southeast corner and planned to pounce Cassian at the earliest opportunity. Even if the B-Wings moved quickly, they'd be hard pressed to get decent shots in the first round. That left Wedge, who deployed to the east of Cassian. After my customary five-ahead, my opponent made clear what his plan was: Wedge would use coordinating barrel rolls to sweep around the rock to the east and catch me from the side. Unfortunately, he misjudged it, and Wedge lost his shot in the opening engagement, even as I three-banked to engage Cassian. By popping Leia he was able to bring the B-Wings in quickly, but they still had bad shots. Howlrunner managed not to explode, but took Structural Damage. At least I was able to bring Cassian low. (Maarek could have finished the job, but whiffed even with double rerolls.) I feared the block from Cassian on the following turn, so I played around it: I selected 3-banks for my front line to zoom over the U-Wing, and slower maneuvers for Maarek and Howl to come underneath (and shoot B-Wings). I had no expectation a wounded Howl would survive Wedge's shot, honestly. I was counting on Duchess to finish Cassian: I selected a Sloop for her, trusting her four dice and Crack Shot to finish the job. The B-Wings intercepted me, with Mauler smacking into Ten (with Scourge just behind) and Maarek hitting Braylen. Cassian, as it turned out, didn't go for the block, playing more conservatively. It didn't matter: Duchess got behind him anyway and made him go away. Howlrunner was obliterated, but Maarek and Scourge collaborated to bring Ten to two... before Ten went right back and one-shot Scourge! (Yay for TIE Fighters.) But now the three surviving Rebel ships were all pointed at the same location: Braylen and wounded Ten pointing east, at Wedge, who was pointing west. The space was so constricted that, as Mauler and Maarek K-turned, Duchess was able to run into Braylen in such a way that she chained a block on Wedge. This kept her safe while denying Wedge "Murder Machine" Antilles his shot. Without support, Ten died, leaving me ahead. Braylen turned to engage Mauler; Wedge K-turned to draw a bead on Duchess. Happily, although Duchess had done a Sloop, she survived Wedge's shot. Maarek was now behind Wedge and took a lock. Braylen roasted Mauler (yay for TIE Fighters!) but was now stressed and behind the action. Duchess used her Ailerons and a 2-bank to blow past Wedge and get behind Braylen heading west. Wedge, who'd slow-rolled towards the east hoping to catch Duchess, was flat-footed by this, and now Maarek was behind him and lighting him up. (Public service announcement: Duchess can Ailerons while stressed! She's pretty darn good for 42 points!) Ultimately Wedge couldn't get away from Maarek, and Duchess slid in behind Braylen. That was pretty much that: although I spent a good amount of time blundering in to Braylen's backside with Duchess and playing coy with Maarek, ultimately both ships got arc on Braylen and sent him to join his squad. Analysis: Duchess was my heroine in this game. She killed Cassian, scored a multi-block, went toe-to-toe with Wedge and lived to tell about it, and hunted down Braylen. As disappointing as it was in the moment to watch TIEs just evaporate, the fact that those ships died while Maarek and Duchess lived was hugely significant in the end. It speaks, I think, to the target priority issues this list can cause. Once again, forcing an early engagement before my opponent's guns were all in-line and pointed at good targets paid big dividends. Removing Cassian had the side-effect of hamstringing Braylen: without the stress removal, and with his desire to stay stressed himself, he wound up quite limited in his positioning options. And sure, he ate Mauler, but on the whole I was fine with that if it meant I killed Wedge. Wedge can close games. Braylen can't. Next time: Rounds 4-6!
  10. Also: the Y-wing pilots were Bothans. The author was attempting to explain the "many Bothans died" thing.
  11. Also, the lighting was super wonky there. If you think the lighting is weird in the early vids, just wait: by the final rounds of swiss we were basically playing xwing by candlelight.
  12. For what it's worth: just took this list (the crack Duchess version) into the cut at Atlanta System Open. Fun times.
  13. Dexter, Dengar can't use Fearless. Even when you're attacking in the front arc, it's not a front arc attack for Fearless purposes, it's a mobile arc attack that just happens to be pointing forward. (Compare and contrast with the title's wording to see what I mean.)
  14. What amazes me is how steep the cost bump is as you ascend in Initiative. It's 13 points to go from a Goldie to Oddball, whose ability is shockingly bad. For comparison, it's 11 points to go from a basic Ini 2 X-wing to Wedge, who brings one of the game's best pilot abilities. It's 13 points to go from a Fringer to Han Solo, or from a Scimitar to Jonus. What the hey. It's 13 points from a Bandit to Cracken, but that's to get a pseudo-coordinate ability, not Oddball's nonsense. All of which is to say: naked Goldies or bust.
  15. Here's a Defender list I saw and thought was vicious: Countess Ryad w/ Juke... 89 Echo w/ Fifth Brother, Juke... 64 Lt. Sai... 47 200/200 No bid, no worries- it's not like there's much in the game that can keep up with you regardless. Ryad gets back the unpredictability Defenders normally surrender, with coordinate actions to make the problem that much harder for your foe. Echo is vicious and horribly tricky to lock down. Fifth Brother gives you emergency actions should the unthinkable happen, and lets you barrel roll with little drop off in performance. The list, in short, is one that rewards precision flying and offers more positional variety than all but a few in the game. Initiative 4 arc dodgers sounds like a contradiction, but believe me, it totally isn't.
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