So here we are, two days after the great event which crowned me with the nationals title! With this thread, i am not just going to give you a mere report on the lists played in Bologna, but to recover every matchup and highlight in the most accurate way possible from my fresh memories!
So starting off: How did the tournament go? The main event has been fantastic, it all took place in 1 day with a total amount of game time of 12 hours, from 9AM to 9PM.
A first relevant information to give is that nobody has called for a judge once in the entire event, meaning that people either have taken their minds into it, or the skill level is slowly adjusting to a more balanced, clear and competitive way!
The lists played can be categorized into 4 classes:
Vader lists: about 1/3 of the nationals' lists were imperials with DBH Vader. Most of them had eRiots, some had eJets and a few had Terro (Thrawn and 1 eDT were present in all the lists). Unfortunately, despite of the winning list (mine), none of the imperial lists scored top 8;
Spectre Cell: Actually, there was ONE (yes ONE) rebel list WITHOUT spectre cell (8 acts Han + Ezra + Hera) and it came top 4! But apart from that, ALL rebel lists were Spectre Cell for another third of the global number. The version of spectre cell getting into the 2nd place of the tournament (played by Greg) ran Doubt, while the others were a mix between doubt and extra armor;
IG + Hondo Mercenaries: This list was played by Luca (the former last year's vice national champ) and actually scored top 4 and consists into 9 acts IG + Hondo + 3 Jawas and lost only against Greg's Spectre Cell;
Hondo + Sabine Mercenaries: A.K.A. VPs Farm, it's formed by 8 acts and was played by Marco Facchini. The list scored 8th.
Moving into the real action, here's my schedule of the tournament:
1st swiss: i played a mirror game against another Vader Thrawn list and the map was Uscru B (control). I started with Initiative and the game started in the worst way at the end of round 1, when the 2 vaders who were adjacent took their EoR attack: his Vader dealt 5 damage to mine, while mine did none. Starting round 2, his Vader focused on mine and dealt a total of 8 more damage, putting mine to 13 damage. This is where the game started to turn on my side. By having his Vader adjacent, i used mine to attack, choke, dark energy and parting blow into 12 direct damage with just my activation. This caused my opponent to actually want to hide his vader while striking mine down, so he moved his eDTs in the middle and he did kill my Lord of the Sith. Using my death troopers, i killed his Vader straight away and moved my riots and thrawn into position to kill his thrawn next. At the end on round 2, i had an advantage of 10 VPs. Round 3 was the last of the game, in which i killed both his eDTs and scored 12 objective VPs into the 1st win of the tournament;
2nd swiss: Another mirror match against a Vader / Thrawn / eRiots list on Uscru A. Once again, i started with the initiative and dropped Take Initiative from my starting hand. Therefore, i played very passive on round 1 and moved my figures away from his thrawn and Vader, forcing him to come and chase me out of position. No attacks were made on round 1. During round 2, his riots tossed a granade into a group of 4 figures (vader too) dealing 3 damage, but that costed the life of both an eDT from my DT and thrawn and that riot from my Vader. Nothing more happened because his Vader and Thrawn were away from my figures. Round 3 made the game: His Vader wanted to go all in with Price of Glory, moved 6 and attacked my Vader for 5 damage. My vengeance was terrible like the previous game, attack+choke+DE+PB into 14 damage, leaving him out with 2 health and no CC to draw. At the end of the round, his Vader was gone and mine had 8 damage. Round 4 was a massacre for his figures and 2 droids went into his DZ to reach 40 VP;
3rd and 4th swiss: Two games in a row played against Spectre Cell, both with Extra Armor, relatively on Tarkin B and A. I place the games together because the mechanics were pretty much the same: I've always had initiative on round one, but for some reasons my opponents played passively, which allowed me to get into key positions and move Vader all in at the end of round 1. During the games, Vader's EoR attack killed Chopper. Moving into round 2, their Kanan and Ezra rushed into my vader's position, but that costed them the figure, cause with parting blow my Vader immediatly countered Ezra by killing Kanan, while Thrawn and the DTs dealt damage to Zeb. Without Kanan and with Zeb almost dead, my opponents tried to go after my DTs and Thrawn while moving out of reach from Vader, but my figures already were in key positions so nobody actually died while my vader rushed with Price of Glory and Looking for a Fight into Ezra and Zeb to score points and easilly win the games;
Top 8: Played against Hondo + Sabine list. Again, i've had initiative on round 1 (at this point lemme tell you this: i've always had initiative in the entire tournament and i NEVER played Take Initiative once), and the map was Mos Eisley control. I started passive of course with my officers and riots opening just the farest door while he did start aggressive with Vinto and Sabine moving onto control points, but Vinto was actually moved out of position. By taking a big risk, i moved my Vader 8 spaces into his Vinto, but for some unknown reason my opponent never attacked him. With my eor attack, i dealt 7 damage to Vinto, leaving him out with just 1 health point. He immediatly played second chance on vinto, but the card was useless. He used Vinto to attack Vader Twice (he couldn't hide Vinto for he was out of position) but scored no damage at all, while my Vader triked his Second chance with Dark Energy and then choked him to death, then i moved him in the middle of the action, close to Onar, Hondo and Greedo. Another big risk but i had Parting Blow ready with Dying Lunge. Still, he attacked my small figures and killed one DT and an Officer instead (don't ask me why), so my Riots could easilly score control points while Thrawn and the other DT killed Sabine and Greedo with the aid of Vader's eor. When he finally got that he could go after Vader, it was too late because my figures and the sith lord already killed everybody except Onar, Hondo and the eJawa, and Vader himself took the game by moving into wounded Hondo to finish him off;
Top 4: Played against Han + Ezra rebel list on Mos Eisley crates (List was Han/Ezra/Zeb/Hera/3PO/Gideon/Artoo/Chopper). This was a tough game. Thanks to his SoR movement, Ezra was at the middle crates before even starting the very 1st activation. I started passive once again with my officers moving my riots closer to crates, while Ezra with the aid of Gideon immediatly scored 4 points. Artoo sat on the terminal and Hera rushed the left crate grabbing it already, which forced me to open the bottom door in order to chase him out. My riots could only move to grab two crates, while 3PO moved into position and focused his Han. I attempted a strike with Thrawn to Hera but it was a miss for 2 range, so i had to double move Vader into a hidden angle from Han in order to force him to go out of position in case he wanted to attack him. By not opening the top door, Han didn't strike anybody during round 1, while to prevent damage income to my officers, i only drew 1 card. Sabine started round 2 by throwing a grenade to Vader for 2 damage, but the subsequent attack only did 1 damage. Sabine then hid herself from Vader, but stood behind the red wall in the left part of the middle corridor. I activated Vader and used Price of Glory to reach Sabine with just 1 mvp of Vader's real pool and with a saberstrike with EoS, looking for a fight into PB she died immediatly. Vader then moved back to where he was, close to the bottom left angle, and immediatly got attacked by Han for 6 damage. Since i didn't want to go out of position, i used the riots to score points with the crates, so my opponent rushed again on Vader with Ezra who dealt 5 more damage. I started attacking Ezra then, who took 5 immediate damage from my eDT, thus this made my opponent activate Zeb to move and double attack Vader with Hera's ability. Zeb's roll were very huge and Vader died, but first i played Dying Lunge to attack and kill Hera. I used my officers to grab 2 more crates while Thrawn and the other DT injured Zeb for 5 and Ezra went up to 8 injures, forcing my opponent to move him back from the line. This made me gain objectives advantage, although at round 3 Chopper and Artoo started grabbing crates themselves to gain more points. Thanks to Thrawn and an eDT, Zeb died before activating, and after delivering 1 more crate my score was 34. This forced my opponent to barricade himself into his DZ while rushing crates, but once Ezra moved again in the bottom left corner to pick the last one up, Thrawn was there waiting and killed him for the semifinals win;
Finals: I'll let the actual stream of the game speak for me!
I hope you enjoyed this review and i take the chance to give my sincearest congratulations to all partecipants.
I really hope that everyone can learn from my experience because it is a fairy tail come true indeed. I don't have the experience Greg has, nor the experience most of the players at the nationals have, what i do best is playing with passion and with what i like to play (for the ones who doesn't know me yet, i'm an ugly Vader fanboy so yeah, i always play with him). SO go and partecipate at tournaments because THIS is possible, this can happen to everyone!