Execute Order 66 – NZ Nats 2019 report

Woooo! Blog post #1. About a meta that died 2 days later… Actually written a couple of these over the last few years, might try writing a bit more and have it all in one place.

New Zealand Nationals was 26/27th January 2019, same weekend as the Arizona System open, and mere days before the January points balance (so none of this matters at all….)

For my squad selection, I don’t get to practice anywhere near as much as I would like to, so had to find something a little off-meta, as I’m not going to beat other good players at their own game (a well practiced meta squad). The other consideration was (initially) not knowing when a points balance was coming, so wanted to find something less likely to get exterminated following a points balance. Drea swarms had caught my eye, but there was no chance of Quadjumpers staying so cheap, and I wanted something with a bit more punch. Eyeing up generics for the G1-A Starfighter, M12-L Kimogila Fighter and Scurrg H-6 Bomber, and identifying how stupidly cheap the Escape Crafts were (turns out coordinate is kinda good), I counted up to 200…

The squad I took was Execute Order 66 (definitely not a Rebel squad)

Cartel Executioner M12-L Kimogila Fighter

Cartel Executioner M12-L Kimogila Fighter

Cartel Executioner M12-L Kimogila Fighter

Outer Rim Pioneer Escape Craft

Drea Renthal BTL-A4 Y-wing
Dorsal Turret

Yep, only one upgrade card. Less is more.

39 hit points is apparently quite a few, more than the dreaded triple Upsilons. And constant double modded 3-die attacks are also pretty good. The Cartel Executioners fitted the best pointswise out of all the options, and then taking an Escape Craft at the same Initiative, it all fell perfectly into place. The Executioner’s Dead to Rights ability was more of a bonus than a game plan, but it would either put the fear of God into token-stacking ships, or they would get executed swiftly. Same with the Outer Rim Pioneer ability, nice bonus but not key. Simple strategy, I have way more attack dice, I have way more health, you can’t dodge me forever (if at all).

With maybe half a dozen practice matches under my belt, onto the main event.

Round 1: Against Quentin from Queensland’s Renegade Squadron flying the so-called “Squad of Legend”

Soontir Fel TIE Interceptor
Predator
“Redline” TIE/ca Punisher
Advanced Sensors + Proton Torpedoes
“Whisper” TIE/ph Phantom
Juke + Collision Detector + Darth Vader

I recognised Quentin as he was a member of Queensland’s ANZTC team last year, so knew he was probably a pretty good player. Not too afraid of the matchup as it was one to be expected. He’d have to get lucky to initiative kill one of my ships, then I force split fire and keep pressure on til his defense dice run out.

That being said, it was my first 2nd edition game against the infamous Punisher.

We both started off pretty cagey, I take my regular couple of turns to start moving, he slow rolls towards me. I manage to avoid taking initial focus fire on any of my ships, and slowly pressure Whisper and wear away at the defense. Soontir gets in behind and takes out the Pioneer. I get a bit lucky with one of the Executioners living a couple of turns longer than it should have on 1 hull, but ultimately felt comfortable enough throughout the game. Finished off the last imperial ace with 2 very healthy ships remaining.

Win 200-112 (1-0)

Pretty picture to break up the wall of text. Don’t they look beautiful.

Round 2: Against Shane from Wellington’s Cerberus Squadron

Wedge Antilles T-65 X-wing
Trick Shot + Proton Torpedoes + Servomotor S-foils
Thane Kyrell T-65 X-wing
Trick Shot + Servomotor S-foils
Norra Wexley BTL-A4 Y-wing
Trick Shot + Ion Cannon Turret + R4 Astromech
AP-5 Sheathipede-class Shuttle
Trick Shot + Jyn Erso

Also recognised Shane having seen him at a few events around New Zealand before. First time playing against him, lovely guy. Looking at his squad, only 1 Harpoon Missile Proton Torpedo, so the alpha strike isn’t too scary. Turned out to be pretty scary, with Drea barely surviving the first round of shooting on 1 hull. I responded with some pain into Wedge and maybe 1-2 into AP-5. Game went on fairly well, making favorable exchanges and winning the war of attrition. Even used Outer Rim Pioneer’s ability! Got it down to 3v1 against Norra, and even with the game effectively over, she still took way too much killing.

Win 200-90 (2-0)

Round 3: Against Chris from Wellington’s Cerberus Squadron

Sigma Squadron Ace TIE/ph Phantom
Juke
Sigma Squadron Ace TIE/ph Phantom
Juke
Sigma Squadron Ace TIE/ph Phantom
Juke
Sigma Squadron Ace TIE/ph Phantom
Juke

Table 1. Lets go.

Midgame shot of Kimos doing Kimo things, not dying quickly and taking up an imposing amount of space.

Have played Chris a couple of times at different events, solid player and flying a solid squad. But, aha, I have more final salvo dice! You have to come to Fort Nathan. (I wasn’t dubbed ‘King of the Castle’ for nothing)

Chris figured this out pretty quickly and moved out of his corner to come and engage me.

We chatted about it after the game, and we’re not really sure he could have done much different. I killed the first ship and it escalate from there. We did have a fun JUDGE! call, needing to mark all the ships to see where a move would bump, and then the ship in question ended up not moving at all. Squad working as intended, taking up a lot of space.

JUDGE!!

Win 200-100 (3-0)

The Kimos are rolling, everything is good. Need to win one of the next two matches to make the top cut.

Round 4: Against Blair, again from Wellington’s Cerberus Squadron (this match was streamed by WiredUnplugged, replay available here.)

“Whisper” TIE/ph Phantom
Juke + Darth Vader
“Duchess” TIE/sk Striker

Captain Kagi Lambda-class T-4a Shuttle
Admiral Sloane
“Wampa” TIE/ln Fighter

Blair is another solid player with a number of regional wins under his belt. Known each other a while, but only played once or twice before.

And this is the round where shit hit the fan. Even before rewatching this game, I knew I had made a mess of it. About 5 minutes into the match, I found myself staring at the board wondering why I had moved Drea there.

What the f*** was I doing…

Maybe someone hit me with a Confundus charm. Or more likely a combination of stream nerves, getting ahead of myself and probably a bit of fatigue. And then I looked at the obstacle placement, and wonder what I was thinking there. Clearly not a lot.

I tried to get my head into the game and recover from a bad position, rather than just kick myself for a couple dumb moves and throw the game. Don’t want to take anything away from Blair, he flew well and pounced on the opportunity presented, taking out a badly positioned Executioner quickly. Wampa was an ever-present menace, getting in the way with blocks and being seeming the main damage output. (Note: Wampa did this in most if not all of Blair’s games over the weekend, real MVP)

The match was not without further mistakes, we messed up who had First Player several times with Drea and Kagi’s movements, Blair forgot his Sloane rerolls on several occasions, and I forgot the Lambda has a rear firing arc! I would have played the turn I killed Kagi differently, I wasn’t anticipating Kagi having a final shot.

Otherwise you can watch how the match panned out. I’m pretty happy with how I made a good game of it after a boneheaded opening few minutes.

Loss 178-114 (3-1)

Round 5: Against Brad from Christchurch’s Death Star Design Committee

Boba Fett  Firespray-class Patrol Craft
Debris Gambit + 0-0-0 + Marauder + Han Solo (Scum)
Palob Godalhi HWK-290 Light Freighter
Debris Gambit + Lando Calrissian (Scum) + Moldy Crow
Cartel Executioner M12-L Kimogila Fighter
Trick Shot + R3 Astromech

ANOTHER KIMO APPEARS!!! At the start of the day I would have put money on me being the only player with a Kimogila there. Fortunately I didn’t, as Brad had also seen the light of how cheap and efficient they were. This alone would be enough to know this was a tough match, but I’d also met and played Brad before, so I knew I was in for a hard fight.

The roll-off for First Player in this match was huge. Brad won the roll, and his Kimogila got to move first and get my way. Feels bad getting a taste of my own medicine. Kimos are pretty good at getting in the way. I had an okay opening exchange, trading an Executioner for Palob, but ideally I don’t want to trade, rather force the damage spread around my ships. I don’t remember too many more details, the game progressed with shots being traded and his Executioner getting in my way. Was pretty tight, but I lost this war of attrition. The dream was over. Silver lining, at least Brad’s Kimo made the top cut.

Loss 200-130 (3-2)

Ah well. Shit happens. Missed the Top 8 at Nats for the first time in a few years. And now no more Nationals due to FFG’s convoluted tournament rebranding scheme.

Prizes were pretty dope. Organizer extraordinaire Abby and her team did an excellent job, both with the unofficial swag, and then securing an official kit to ensure the top place-getters have the chance to represent New Zealand at Worlds. I walked away with some NZ themed alt arts from Helmet Series and NZ themed Lock tokens for participating, and some Top 16 NZ range rulers, as well as an array of cards from the extensive prize wall.

With no pressure having already bowed out, Day 2 was just about having some fun. Started with playing some X-Wing: The Card Game Destiny with the Wellington crew. Playing a Ghost deck, I was just in it for the memes.

It actually worked! Achievement Unlocked

I took part in the Hyperspace Side Event with some First Order jank (kept adding ships that seemed good until I hit 200 points). Lieutenant Rivas (the Inconvenient Witness himself) is a bit silly, getting a free Lock basically whenever he wants. Went 3-0 and drop, with 2 wins and a “let’s final salvo and go watch the top cut” win.

For the main event, the final and featured matches from every round can be found on WiredUnplugged’s Youtube page. Congrats to Ahkter for winning the event with Dengaroo 2.0 Dash Roark. Yes, it’s degenerate, but everyone who made the top cut was flying something at least a bit degenerate, with all those squads being exterminated on the 28th with the points balance. In fact, only 16% of the squads flown are still legal after the points balance. And the 2 other Dash Roark players at the event crashed and burned, so the squad doesn’t quite fly itself. Full results from the event are on TTT.

Unfortunately I lost the high ground (…intended) of thinking I might have a squad that would escape the points balance. Coordinate was too cheap, and my squad too became illegal. Yes it was different, but different does not equal wholesome.

Where to next with this squad? The squad as played is now 204 points, technically illegal. After reviewing the points balance, it took about 30 seconds to rebuild it. The Outer Rim Pioneer drops down to L3-37, the Cartel Executioner’s get swapped to Lok Revenants, because for some reason, the Scurrgs got way cheaper. Squad loses 1 point of Initiative, loses the nasty threat of Dead to Rights, but gains THREE HIT POINTS!!! Dials are reasonably equal, so I’m calling that a win. Squad improved after points balance.

But there’s been a bit of excitement on the internets about Drea and 3 Scurrgs, because they got cheaper, but also Dorsal Turret and Veteran Turret Gunner got cheaper, so you can swap out the Escape Craft to have all the Scurrgs double tap with Drea rerolls. Neat. But now maybe a little too mainstream for me. And I’m a bit fond of the coordinating caddy. And who knows when I’m next going to play Extended.

Couple of thank yous with regards to writing this blog. Thanks to TTT for making lists and scores super easy when writing this. Thanks to Abby and team for the photos from the event.

If you got this far, I welcome any feedback; on format, formatting, style, fact-checks, anything. Will try write different things irregularly, have ideas for a T-70 and a JM5K article, possible in the near future.

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