The journey to Hoth was no easy feat to accomplish... after missing the preregistration deadline, I wanted to still make the event. 100 tickets were available for day 1A, but my friends were playing on day 1B, so we decided that we should leave Wednesday night, from Detroit, to arrive at the event for onsite registration at 8am, and hope to get a ticket for day 1B. If they were sold out, I still wanted to play 1A, in hopes of getting to play with my friends on day 2 of Swiss.
After working Wednesday night, we decided to leave at 1 am, with an arrival time well before the onsite registration. Our drive of 5 hours quickly became longer, when our tire exploded on I-94 at 4:30 A.M., and through misfortune after misfortune we found ourselves back on the road again at 9:45 Michigan time, 122.00$ poorer with less than a half hour to make it in time to register for the event. We get there close to 2 hours later and the Swiss rounds have already started, but there was still a chance to be there first thing the next day to be put on the waitlist.
After everyone registers, they call my name and say I'm in, and I couldn't be happier. Swiss rounds begun 3 minutes after. I payed my 25$ entry fee, and we were off:
My List: (98)
Fenn Rau (32) - Protectorate Starfighter
Attanni Mindlink (1), Concord Dawn Protector (1), Autothrusters (2)
Palob Godalhi (30) - HWK-290
Attanni Mindlink (1), Twin Laser Turret (6), Dengar (3)
Manaroo (36) - JumpMaster 5000
Attanni Mindlink (1), Plasma Torpedoes (3), R5-P8 (3), Feedback Array (2), Guidance Chips (0)
I've been flying these three guys together since the week wave 9 dropped, almost exclusively, and have tested out all combinations of crew, illicits, torpedos, and astromechs, and I've arrived at the most optimized list in my eyes.
Fenn: Not much to say here, mindlink fenn is the business, and once you get down how to fly him, he becomes very good. Much better in the beginning of the game than closing out a game. His double action, sometimes triple turns to nothing once his two boys go down.
Manaroo: The best ship in the list. Jumpmaster is just really amazing at most everything it tries to do. I was a little hesitant to fly her post nerf, but the tech she can have is so good. R5-p8 is a nightmare for a lot of ships, and it really messes up the target priority. Not having a feedback array on the jumpmaster cost me some games, so now it's stapled to her. Torpedos are amazing with mindlink too, so the plasmas as well as the ace-tech make manaroo an all purpose brawler/support and overall good ship.
Palob: the reason I fly the list.
Just with dengar crew and mindlink,
It makes the tlt so automatic against almost anything. His ability is a game changer a lot of the times, and I've been flying the hwk (competitively,
At least I think so) for a whole season. Such a huge threat and a juicy target for people to attempt to go after. Does so much for the list in terms of strategy.
Rd 1: Will H: From Tennessee.
Rey: VI, Kannan, Finn, Sloop title, dampeners,
Miranda: tlt, homing missiles, extras, LRS, Dash Rendar crew
My list is definitely worse against rebels than imperials, and a ps10 rey is not something fenn Rau particularly likes to see. I got fenn into a tough spot when manaroo passed him Mirandas target lock, and ended up taking a homing missile at r2. I thought I would have protection from the rock, but dash crew stopes that.. fenn took 3 damage but he did manage to damage rey pretty bad before he died.. Rey then left the engagement because she was close to dead, but I decided to put my torpedo into Miranda and chased her with palob and manaroo until I eventually got wore down. I realized it was a huge mistake to go after Miranda and I don't know what I was thinking at the time. Could've gone either way given a better engagement with fenn. Loss 28-100
Rd 2: Scum Aces:
Talonbane Cobra: Fearlessness, Ion Pulse Missiles, Glitterstim, ?Failsafe?
Fenn Rau: Fearlessness, plasmas, title, autothrusters
Old Teroch: VI, title, autothrusters
Rd 2 saw me 0-1 against a nice older guy, though I don't remember his name. I knew these 3 ships were not to be underestimated as they could all throw a lot of attack dice, so I played it safe, taking my time to engage just right. Talonbane jousted manaroo while I went in for the block on a flanking teroch. Talonbane target locks manaroo hoping to get off his ion missiles, but I pass the red targetlock to palob at r1 of manaroo, who was out of arc of Talonbane. Cobra then dies to tlt the next turn without doing much.. feedback array and tlt help me finish off teroch at the same time.. while his fenn's unmodified plasma torps hit palob with two hits which he easily blocks being shot through an asteroid. His fenn then has no chance for victory.
Kanan Jarrus: Tlt, title, Rey, Rec Spec, engine.
Biggs: r4-d6 integrated
The dreaded Kanan Biggs monster. A tough matchup for me. Got the engagement pretty well and Biggs went down fairly soon. I hit kanan with fenn r1 with targetlock and I'm into shields.. manaroo then goes down and I feel like I'm in an okay spot with palob full health and fenn full Heath against a limping kanan.. I'm thinking about my next move, needing only to get another shot on kanan with fenn r1 because I already have a target lock. One key move I was thinking about, the ghost needed to clear stress and he was jousting an unstressed fenn. He sets his dial, and I'm trying to think of some of the green moves on the ghost, and asked if he could maybe rotate around his dial to hide his maneuver and show me the ghosts dial and the green moves.. he declines, and I say whatever and go into the next turn thinking the ghost has one green banks.. he reveals the 2 bank and my two straight bumps kanan while he melts four health off of palob with his tlt.. next turn palob is down and I still have fenn with autothrusters.. I pull an ill advised boost after disengaging turns before and it lands me in tlt range. I blank all my dice and fenn is dead in one turn to kanans tlt.
1-2 and it's not looking good.. I know I could've won either of my losses and I know I gotta win my next four to make day 2.
Rd 4: Imperial 3 ship:
Vader: juke, title, accuracy corrector, cluster missiles, guidance chip
My list does some nasty things to imperials if I engage correctly, Most imperials now a days, are hard countered by tlt dengar palob, especially darth Vader, and any number of defender pilots, so I was feeling good going in. Tie sfs are no joke, and I knew that so backdraft was target 1. He went down after a tlt and then fenn cleaned up with an arc dodged r1 shot on backdraft and finished him off with 5 damage dealt. Vader attempted to shoot his clusters into manaroo while I then passed his red target lock to fenn, and he had to shoot fenn instead who was just barely in arc with two focus tokens. Fenn takes only one damage and Vader is finished after, defender is easy to clean up after with 3 ships still intact.
Rd 5: Starvipers!
Xizor: Predator, sensor jammer, title, autothrusters.
Guri: Outmaneuver, autothrusters
Serissu: Heavy scyk, Tractor beam, no ept
I was very surprised to see starvipers, let alone 2! I used to fly starvipers to good success back about a year ago, both guri, and the xizor bug zapper swarm, so I knew not to under estimate them, and take it like any other matchup. First target was whoever he was gonna give to me.. I engaged with palob and manaroo on guri and serissu while xizor was coming from the side, probably a turn away from engaging, while i was being patient to wait to get fenn behind xizor. Palob gets hit with the tractor beam and shoots him forward to overlap the debris next turn.. I hit serissu with the tlt and then the plasma torpedo and that cleared him, but first I took some damage from guri on the 1 agility hwk. Next turn I steal xizors focus while fenn comes up behind him and one shots a full health, tokenless xizor with target locked focused shot. The next turn he killed palob by reducing my agility again with guri after outmaneuver triggers, but it was the win after that pretty easily. Shoutout to this guy for using the sweet underused cards.
Rd:6 Scum two-ship
Ketsu: Ptl, title, dengar?, glitterstim? Dampeners, engine?
Boba: fearlessness, k4, cluster missiles, guidance chips, scavenger crane
Some of the list details I can't remember too well, but his basic idea was to pull off the godshot fearlessness cluster missiles into a tractor beamed target, so I was determined to make that not happen. I engaged at r3, through a rock with palob on ketsu. I didn't take a damage while he took two from my tlt. From there I booked it along my board edge and he followed palob with ketsu while boba was just out of the fight... I was chipping away at ketsu while fenn got a r1 shot on him out of arc.. one turn happens and he forgets to blow the dampeners, and I follow him with fenn and that was pretty much it for ketsu. He was able to tractor fenn once, but ketsu couldn't shoot him, and boba fett's r3 shot on fenn bounced off. Fenn did get some damage on him at one time, and a crit which was a console fire. The next turn I forgot to flip it down and fenn dies, at this point boba is limping, and fenn could've survived if I remembered to flip down the crit. Win is mine reguardless. Very good game, and a nice opponent who was from Michigan as well.
Rd6: Tanky Rebel Turrets:
Chewey: Lone wolf, Rey, c3p0, evade title
Rebel Operative x2: tlt, rec spec
So many hawks, especially for a game to decide who makes the cut. Those tlts could tear apart manaroo and palob, and they would be especially hard to take down if I give them the opportunity to roll extra green dice on defense. I kept manaroo and palob together, far away as possible from the tlts.. chewbacca was much faster than the tlts and he got into a bad spot with fenn taking a r3 shot on him, with a target lock (that i didn't need to spend!), a tlt shot, and a plasma torpedo(which only did 3 shields). The next turn he goes 3 bank around fenn with the hwks coming behind chewey. I went all in on him going that way and pulled a 1 hard in front of an asteroid next to fenn the previous turn, a boost put me into r1 with target lock and focus and I let chewbacca have it. Manaroo takes some damage with tlt. The next turn chewbacca is in a rough spot and goes down not long after.. manaroo then goes down to tlt. And I have palob and fenn vs two hwks.. I book palob out of there and decide to take them on with fenn.. the hwks two hard as fenn was swinging around and I bet that they would do that and I pull a 3 hard which brings me r1 of both hwks out of arc. I take a target lock as my action, and fire away. Boom! 5 hits and the hwk blanks out and is one shotted, now I'm ahead and a few turns later I finish the game.
5-2! Day two!!
I'm really excited I made day two, especially since I finished day 1, 4-0. On a combined 10 hours of sleep the past 3 days in a row, I begin day two, ready to just play xwing.
Rd7: Rebel Toolbox
Miranda: tlt, Rey, plasma torps, extras, guidance chips
Braylen: r3-a2, gunner, title
Biggs: r4-d6 integrated
I've played against this list before at the last regionals I was at, and won pretty easy in a 100-0 victory (shoutout, THE Zack Mathews), but that was before the manaroo nerf, and I was a little nervous going in. My opponent was a nice guy, and we both agreed we didn't get too much sleep the night before. He started the game with two one straights with all of his ships, as I got into a favorable position to take out Biggs first. Because of R4-d6 I knew I didn't wanna torpedo Biggs so I saved it, and sent fenn right at Biggs. He turns in and takes a target lock on manaroo with Miranda. Fenn then boosts to hopefully clear arc or Miranda and Braylen, but I just miss and I'm at r1 of the arc, but out of mirandas arc; this is when I pass the red targetlock from Miranda on to fenn so she can't shoot her torpedos. Palob is just out of range of mirandas tlt. Braylen then shoots fenn and gets three hits. I roll block two and take one damage and we're on to the next turn. No r3-a2 which was a big mistake. I really wanted to remind him, but I just stayed silent, but I feel bad about it cause it really swung the game. The next turn fenn barrel rolls as the formation moves on. Gets a shot on Biggs r1 and is r1 of Miranda. Fenn dodges mirandas shot as the rest of my squad gets double stressed from Braylen, and then triple, and so on. Tlt and primary on manaroo killed Biggs that turn and I had Miranda in a terrible spot. I disengaged with palob trying to get good position on Miranda and through the process, palob was doing green moves to trigger mindlink, out of the fight while Braylen kept on stressing. Fenn was clearing whenever he had a chance and palob was blocking everything they were throwing at him.. He even shot a plasma torpedo and regened a shield at the same time, which resulted in three hits and palob took no damage because it was through the rock. He then conceded after it was my 3 almost full health ships against just Braylen.
6-2 and onto the final round of Swiss, and I thought with the good mov I was sporting I had a good chance to make the cut if I win my next game!!!
Rd8: Kevin: Fangaroo
Fenn Rau: Mindlink, title, autothruster
Old teroch: mindlink, Title, autothruster
Manaroo: mindlink, k4, unhinged, tac jammer, feedback array
I'm glad to see fangaroo as I have played this matchup many times before. I've practiced it with and without initiative and I had a strategy for both matches. I place my stuff down and his voice sounds kind of familiar, and then he informs me that he was the Corran Miranda player who represented the U.S. in the finals at this years world championship. He's at 97 points and he gives me initiative, which is just a slight annoyance in the matchup. I get my head in the game and I begin the joust.. he had his manaroo and old t jousting while fenn was on the flank, I knew what I had to do. I 2 hard my manaroo onto the asteroid that was next to me to get a better shot at fenn next turn. Fenn gets a r3 shot on manaroo, he shoots and I take 1 shield. R5-p8, miss. The next turn I turn my fenn toward manaroo and old t and get blocked by his manaroo. My manaroo blocks his fenn, and I avoid a range 1 shot. I pass fenn, manaroos tokens, but old teroch, who bumped into manaroo as well on the backside clears my focus from fenn. Palob also stole manaroos focus so she had no tokens to pass to old teroch. Fenn shoots old t. Miss, old t spends token on defense. his fenn has no shot. Old t shoots fenn for 0 net damage and then do feedback array his fenn as he feedback arrays my fenn. The next turn I k turn with fenn and lay into manaroo, and tlt and a manaroo primary cleared his previously damaged manaroo as his fangs went for palob. The next turn as palob went down I turned my manaroo hard 1 toward an asteroid and target locked his fenn. That's when his old teroch collapsed on my fenn, and I then did a 3 hard to land in a space right past old teroch dodging the entire engagement, and then took a focus to fuel the mindlink. His fenn Rau then goes 3 straight to pass my fenn and he was stuck between old teroch and an asteroid. This set up manaroo for a r2 plasma torpedo on a fenn Rau with his back turned, through a rock. I get 3 hits and a crit with focus chips, and he rolls blocks two, hit crit, flips, double damage and fenn is dead, single handedly from manaroo's feedback array and plasma torpedo. From that point old teroch had one health against an r5 p8 manaroo with shields still, and a single damaged fenn Rau, an un-winable endgame.
7-2 is my record and I check the standings, and I finish in the 12 spot, 24 points away from passing Duncan Howard as the 8th seed in the top 8 cut. I think back to my rd6 game when I let my fenn Rau die with console fire when I had the game in the bag. I'm such a spokesperson for crit markers, yet because I didn't look at my own crit marker, it cost me a spot in the top 8 cut... but I was very happy to finish so well, especially the stretch I went 6-0 to finish the tourney.
Closing thoughts: Manaroo and mindlink is still really really good, and to reward manaroo for being the best ship in the scum faction, why not trick her out with upgrades, r5-p8 and plasma torps, because that utility is so useful in every single one of my games.