Hi everyone! I am on a long flight back home to Paris so I am taking the opportunity to write up a match-by-match debrief on my experience at Worlds. Worlds this year was incredible; I was at Worlds 2015 for Netrunner, but this was my first time playing at Worlds for my favorite game, Star Wars Imperial Assault. It was a real treat to finally meet and play against all the incredible players in the US; I read your blogs, listen to your podcasts, and will start getting on Vassal more so I can keep playing with all of you. I'm also super happy with the European turnout. I'm ecstatic that of the two players that came from France, we both made top 16!
I had a really hard time deciding what to bring to the tournament. I had heard so much about Unshakable Vader that was dominating in the states, and thought that it was probably the strongest list in the current meta. I fully expected 50% of the field to be Unshakable Vader lists. Lately I've been playing Chewie Rangers, which is a super fun list. The rangers do work, but if your opponent goes after them, Chewie wrecks them. After a couple practice games on Tuesday (where I finally got to try out the new map), I decided that Chewie wasn't quite consistent enough, and switched to Han Rangers, with which I won one of the France regionals.
Here's the full list:
Han w/ Rogue Smuggler
Elite Alliance Rangers
2x Alliance Smuggler
Rebel High Command
On the Lam
Tools for the Job
Call the Vanguard
Element of Surprise
1st round: Bye, since I won French Nationals.
2nd round: Bailey Streeter, Raining Freight. Bailey was running a really interesting Vader, AT-DP, BT list. The map was definitely in my favor, and I was able to take the bottom side. Early on I focused down the AT-DP with ranger fire. Between force chokes and some movement cards to get an attack in, he was able to get his Vader up next to my Han and put 11 damage onto him. Even though he wasn't running Unshakable, I was worried he might have Parting Blow, so I wanted to focus Han up and take a shot at Vader before trying to run. I moved Hera up to body block, crucially forgetting that BT has Blast 1... BT one-shot Hera and had an extra surge to blast and kill Han. Oops. I managed to kill Vader, but the very last round, BT was able to move up and murder two Rangers with his salvo and hunter cards. He wins the tie breaker 34-34. 1-1
3rd round: Kevin Connors, on Uscru stashes. This is a mirror match, except he is running Chopper as well as R2. He won initiative and took the blue side. I have the last activation of round 1, so he doesn't move any of his figures too far forward. I put Han in the booth area where he can shoot into his terminal area, and split my rangers to the two sides. I kill Chopper, which I'm happy about because he's so annoying, and now I have activation advantage. I negate Fleet Footed, denying Kevin's Han from getting to a good position where he can try to murder a ranger. Ultimately I'm able to bring down his Han with my Han and Element of Surprise, which seals the game for me. 2-1
4th round: Dave Seefeldt on Shielded. I had played against Dave the night before and it was very close so I knew I had to be careful and not let his hunters blow up my rangers. Dave was running an 8 activation scum list with spy flavor, and snatched the bottom side. I don't remember a lot of specifics for this match, but I remember I moved Han and my rangers to the far left (from my point of view) and used my smugglers to contest objectives and to block LOS. From the far left side, I was able to snipe some Weequays that were hiding behind the wall in front of his deployment zone. It ended up being super close, like 34-33, and Dave could have easily won it on a dice roll. 3-1
5th round: Ira Meyers on Uscru Courier Droid. Ira was playing with Vader, 2x Elite Riot, Elite Jets, X-training. I started with a godly hand with Assassinate, Tools, etc., and Ira's spy cards were on the bottom of his deck. He moved Vader into the middle area and on round 2 the Rangers and Han disintegrated him. At one point focused Han one-shot an elite Riot. Ira conceded shortly after. I felt bad about how lucky I was with card draw, but happy to have a bigger shot at top 16. 4-1
6th round: Matt Richards (from Zion's Finest) on Mos Eisley crates. Another Han-Rangers mirror match. I was lucky enough to not get initiative. We were both fairly careful, setting up our rangers far back where they would be safe. My smugglers started working on the middle crates. Matt left his Gideon exposed in his deployment zone so with the last activation I moved Han up to where he could kill him after the doors opened. Sure enough, I killed Gideon, which was the turning point of the match. He Called the Vanguard, but I moved my Han to safety with On the Lam. After that, with activation advantage and his Call the Vanguard gone I played the slow game until I could double move my focused rangers with a last activation of the round and murder his rangers at the start of the next round. Matt played very well but it was too hard to recover from the loss of Gideon's activation. 5-1
7th round: James Hedgepeth on Mos Eisley Stashes. Yet another Han-Rangers mirror, except he is running Mak and I think BotF for New Orders. We both played super carefully, but at the start of either round 2 or round 3 James tried a Call the Vanguard on Han, which I ran away from with On the Lam. Unfortunately for him this left his ranger exposed, and I was able to snipe him. There weren't many other big plays after that; we were both super careful, but I was up a ranger and managed to hold onto the lead until time was called. The game ended 26-21. 6-1.
1st round of cut: Andy Brazier from the UK on Uscru Courier Droids. What was funny is that in this round, I got paired with Andy, and my friend Gil from France played Luke Sykes, the other UK player in the top 16. France vs. England! Andy was running Luke Rangers. I was pretty terrified of getting butchered by Son of Skywalker since my list can't take many losses, so I wanted to focus Luke early. He was on the red side, and placed his Luke right next to the door near his terminal. I had On the Lam in hand and moved Han right into the booths where he could attack Luke and not get pinged back. EOR I take a big risk and play Tools, so 5 dice into Luke, but he might dodge. With that one attack I pushed 11 damage onto Luke! I Take Initiative, and put in another 3 and run Han back. On the Lam comes out, and I end up trading Han for Luke and a ranger, good trade for me! Call the Vanguard takes out another of his rangers. This more or less seals the game for me.
2nd round of cut: Rematch against Ira, on Shielded. This map is more favorable for him than the previous match since he can run away with objective points if I'm not careful. Ira wins initiative and takes the top side. I make an early decision to ignore Vader and focus on everything else, preventing them from racking up too many points from sitting on shield generators. I think Ira remembers how fast Vader fell in our last game and decides to run him down the left side instead of the center. I oblige and move to the opposite side. I take some shots on a Jet sitting on a generator, but am only able to bring it down to 1 health with 3 ranger attacks. Han uses Urgency to move up that side of the map, Tools to one-shot the other Jet sitting on another generator, and kills the wounded Jet with his EOR attack. Now I have control of half the generators and the rest of Ira's troops are melee, so I slowly kite them while holding on to the lead. Well played by Ira, but the cards won it for me again.
3rd round of cut: Brett Kelly on Mos Eisley crates. I'd heard a lot about Brett and how amazing of a player he is and was terrified of his list. 8-act scum with IG is basically designed to murder rebel lists like mine. Fortunately, it was a good map for me, as my smugglers had a lot to do. Brett certainly lived up to his reputation. We both played super carefully, but Brett couldn't just sit back since the smugglers put a lot of pressure on him. He moved IG up into a protected nook in the middle of the map, and I was pretty sure he had Blaze. I managed to get a ranger up to attack, I think with Urgency and/or Call the Vanguard, and with some hunter cards, brought him down to 2-3 health, so if he Blazed, he would die. At the end of the round I moved Han down to where an EOR attack would kill IG in case he didn't have Blaze. Well he did, I burned On the Lam, and I'm pretty sure IG took out the ranger before going down. I managed to bring out his On the Lam and killed one of his Weequays with Han. Then his remaining Weequay comes up with Wild Attack, Tools, and Assassinate and kills my full-health Han in one shot! I'm a little behind but with some luck snipe a wounded Greedo with a ranger. I score one more crate and bring the score to 32-30. Brett has to kill one of my figures to win, and he has a focused Jawa and focused Hera to do it with. I do something ridiculously stupid and move my Smuggler to block LOS to my (full health) ranger.... I have no idea why I did it, I think just fatigue and stupidity, but Brett would win a tie breaker, and I just handed him an 80% chance to tie the score :(. In an incredible burst of luck for me, Brett rolls 4 accuracy on Hera's range 5 shot. This was a super good game, super well played by Brett. Honestly he deserved to win after my blunder, but, dice.
Final: DT on Uscru stashes. This was one of the best, most tense games I've ever played. I figured I had maybe a 10-20% chance to win, due to the list and map disadvantage, and you know, it's DT . DT takes the side with cover and I know that if he gets Blaze, Negation, a couple hunter cards, and I don't gain an activation advantage, I lose. The middle zone is a death trap so we're getting 2-4 objective points a turn, which is nowhere near enough pressure to bring Iggy out prematurely before he draws his Blaze train combo. I slowly shuffle towards the booth area, and he is moving into the opposite corner. I'm still not used to this map's sight lines and make a huge positioning error; he snipes both C3PO and a focused ranger with his Weequays. I bring out On the Lam on his Greedo and manage to snipe a Weequay of my own. I took out his R2 and picked up some extra objective points. Even though I am ahead like 20-10 at one point, I know it is only a matter of time before he gets Blaze Negation, and I can't reach him in the meantime. I move out Han a little too early, and he moves up and attacks with Hera. I'm pretty sure the Blaze play is coming at the end of the round but at the same time I need Hera dead to try and hold on to an activation advantage and keep her from cleaning up after IG. Basically I need to kill both Hera and IG, or I lose. I don't On the Lam, and since Han isn't focused I play Tools and one-shot Hera with Han. Sure enough, IG comes, plays Blaze of Glory, and attacks Han. I lose Negation to stress (another mistake, should have taken the damage), and I On the Lam away. He then kills one of my two remaining rangers. I have one last hope. At the start of the next round, I Take Initiative. DT has just 3 cards left in his deck, and he doesn't have Negation! I Call the Vanguard. I can't get a range 5 shot, so I roll double blue, get 2 damage symbols, add a surge with Hera, play Positioning Advantage, Assassinate, and Heightened Reflexes. IG is down to 4 health and I have initiative! I crucially forget about Officer's Training in my hand. Noooo! I realize right after I play Assassinate and the window is gone. It would have been a 50% chance for one more symbol. I take the shot with Han. And DT rolls... triple block. IG takes 3 and survives with 1 health. Iggy's survival is the final nail in the coffin. IG kills Han and the last ranger. IG later goes down to Gideon, but Greedo comes in to clean up and DT gets to 40 with objectives at the end of the round. Super well played by DT, what a fantastic game! I was super lucky DT didn't get his Negation until the end, otherwise it would have been over a lot sooner. Even if I had taken out IG, it would have been a close game. Since I took initiative, I was down an activation and DT would have had initiative the next round. He could have moved his Weequay to the middle stashes and then murdered Han at the start of the next round. I think it would have been in my favor, but it still would have been close. I'm not completely sure, but I think it was a mistake for DT to attack Han with Iggy on the Blaze turn; my one path to victory was unloading all my hunter cards into IG to bring him down; I think he probably should have just taken out both rangers at the end of the round instead.
Anyways, Worlds was amazing! All the games were amazing, thank you to all my opponents for the great games and company! Huge congratulations to DT for the triple Worlds win! I hope to be back and see you all next year