Australian Grand Droidfest

In a surprising twist, I’m very quickly back overseas for more international X-Wing (sorry Singapore, this one worked out better for me to go to).

(Let’s try keep this one a bit shorter than previous tournament reports, last couple got quite long…)

Shout out to my buddy Rick, for making it super easy for me to come over at short notice (work reasons, was only going to be short notice), especially with the location being the middle of f***ing nowhere nowhere near a big airport. (Did also have a couple other people offer a lift or reach out to me about it without me needing to ask around, which was nice and very much appreciated.)

List selection

After only confirming I could go a few weeks out (just before worlds), and having barely played in last month or so since I was in Aus for System Open/OTC, I brainstormed some ideas:

  • Scum architecture (so many good tools and pieces, the good stuff is out there, buried in the salt)
  • Sinker swarm or TIE swarm I’d already practiced and knew how to fly well
  • Quad U-Wings
  • Vulture swarm
  • Something with Snap Shot/Foresight
  • And wait to see what happens with Worlds (turned out to be nothing of note to affect my list building)

Faction prizes? Not enough to influence a list building decision. No particular faction’s prizes I especially want more than the others, and on a good day it wouldn’t matter which faction I pick, I’d get the prizes. And it’s not really about the prizes, (they aren’t that exciting), some good competitive X-Wing and a fun weekend.

A week or so out, I had narrowed the choices to ‘two’; either a Vulture swarm (of some variety), or fall back to the safety of Sinker and co. But I wanted to play the droids because droids are cool and faction hopping is neat. Also a whopping 17 final salvo dice (not the full possible 18)

List
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 20
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 20
Captain Sear Belbullab-22 Starfighter (39)
TA-175 (5), Soulless One (6) – Total: 50
Separatist Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (21)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 22
Separatist Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (21)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 22
Separatist Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (21)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 22
Separatist Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (21)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 22
Separatist Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (21)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 22
Total: 200

I opted for the I3s as tech against the I2 ‘beef’ out there, particularly Cartel Marauders being one of the better choices in the ever popular Scum faction, as well as Resistance, Republic and Rebel I2s. Even with TA-175, an alive ship is generally better than a dead ship.

I wanted a new challenge, didn’t want to get complacent on a squad. And a new squad is something to blame when I inevitably scrub out (going to have a bad tournament overseas sooner or later).

TTT link

Round 1 against Dave

List
Nien Numb T-70 X-Wing (55)
Heroic (1), Integrated S-Foils (0), Pattern Analyser (5), Black One (2) – Total: 63
Lieutenant Bastian T-70 X-Wing (48)
Integrated S-Foils (0) – Total: 48
Cova Nell Resistance Transport (38)
Heroic (1), Leia Organa (19) – Total: 58
Finn Resistance Transport Pod (29)
Heroic (1) – Total: 30
Total: 199

I wasn’t too scared of this list, figured my droids could just bully it. I have more ships/firepower and I3 Separatist Drones can potentially initiative kill Finn or Bastian. We started with a delayed joust, I flew up one edge, he flew up the other and we turned in at the middle to engage.

Wow, I actually remembered to take a photo of this game! Only one of the day lol

Realizing this was only going to end badly, Dave tried to turn away for a better engage, but that did not save him. I had a couple of good rocks to play around on and took out Finn before turning on Bastian and Nien without taking meaningful damage in return. Nien got trapped then disintegrated and Bastian was slowly worn down. A couple of very effective shots into Sear from Cova (and me flying him onto a rock) killed Sear right at the end to make the score look a bit closer than the game was.

Win: 141-83 (1-0)

Shout out to Dave, a Bathurst local, for going out of his way to make the weekend great for everyone. Promoting the event, helping with the race-car themed Jake Farrell participation card, booking a place for everyone to go out for dinner and drinks together on Saturday night and hosting a smaller get-together at his place on Friday night. All around good dude.

Round 2 against Andrew

List
Cartel Marauder Kihraxz Fighter (38)
Total: 38
Cartel Marauder Kihraxz Fighter (38)
Total: 38
Cartel Marauder Kihraxz Fighter (38)
Total: 38
Serissu M3-A Interceptor (40)
Tractor Beam (2) – Total: 42
Constable Zuvio Quadrijet Transfer Spacetug (35)
Proximity Mines (6), Contraband Cybernetics (3) – Total: 44
Total: 200

Ah, Scum cartel with a tractor variation. Exactly the type of squad I brought I3s to combat. Despite the tractor beams, he brought gas clouds and after the first couple turns of jockeying it became pretty clear he didn’t want to engage me in the rocks. Rather than force it, knowing the tractor beams could make an engagement in the rocks backfire on me, I accepted the engagement on his terms outside the obstacles. We jousted and traded damage, with me coming out ahead. I took out Zuvio on the first range 3 turn, then got it down to Sear + 3 droids against 2 Kihraxzes and my I3s got to arc dodge and initiative kill. Good, hard fought game.

And Serissu was surprisingly annoying/good (huh, scum has hidden good pieces, who knew)

Win: 200-114 (2-0)

Round 3 against James

This round was streamed courtesy of Wired Unplugged (twitch archive now expired). Thanks Brad!

List
Rear Admiral Chiraneau VT-49 Decimator (76)
Darth Vader (14), Minister Tua (7), Proximity Mines (6), Lone Wolf (5) – Total: 108
Rexler Brath TIE/D Defender (81)
Juke (7), Heavy Laser Cannon (4) – Total: 92
Total: 200

Not the most exciting match to catch on stream. (Thanks Tim in the twitch chat)

After a few rounds of positioning I had to choose which of his ships to turn in on. I opted for Rexler, as he was going to be the tougher ship to take down and this was the my best chance to do it. I got a block off and stripped a few shields, then finished getting half points the following turn. While I was engaging Rexler, Chiraneau picked off a couple of vultures with attacks, Vader crew and Proximity Mines. Then James opted to disengage entirely with both ships. Speaking after the game, he was unaware of the points, but I was ahead by 2 points, so I was expecting him to turn back in right before time expired to snipe a few more points (vultures are squishy), but it didn’t eventuate. I kept ships together well, ready for the counter attack and almost certainly would have scored more points myself had he reengaged (especially as the loose range 3 shots already did 6 damage to Chiraneau). Good game, a bit anticlimactic, but a win’s a win.

Win: 46-44 (3-0)

Round 4 against Akhter

List
Captain Sear Belbullab-22 Starfighter (39)
TA-175 (5), Soulless One (6) – Total: 50
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 20
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 20
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 20
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 20
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 20
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Discord Missiles (4), Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 24
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Discord Missiles (4), Grappling Struts (1) – Total: 24
Total: 198

Oh bother. I wasn’t happy to see this, even though before playing I didn’t know how the matchup would go. I have the higher initiative vultures, so can initiative kill, but that lets his TA-175 go to town with the calculate tokens for his attacks, whereas my TA-175 does nothing. Also with the mostly lower initiative and 2 point bid, he gets to move all his vultures before mine and deny me options and actions.

I got what we both thought was a pretty good engage for me, with Akhter making a mistake a flying several of his drones through a debris cloud* (Grappling Struts and overlapping only refers to the final position of the base, does not mention moving through) with my 4 wide, 2 deep formation facing his 2 wide, 4 deep formation. I initiative killed the front 2 drones with my I3s and Sear, but then he got his explosion of calculate tokens and killed 3 of my drones in return. And downhill from there, I was behind in the damage race, and he was able to move first and keep getting in my way.

*Struts are a tool to use obstacles, not to ignore them

I’m not really sure what else I could have done. I thought I played well and set up a good engage. It’s a bad match up or I brought the wrong list. I did block myself a couple times which was bad, but not game changing, and I don’t think the dice were catastrophically one-sided. Maybe I could have tried to target Sear+TA-175 first, but he’s at the back and would take a couple turns to kill, by which time the vultures would have wrecked me.

Loss: 72-200 (3-1)

Round 5 against Lachlan

List
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Total: 19
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Total: 19
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Total: 19
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Total: 19
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Total: 19
Captain Sear Belbullab-22 Starfighter (39)
Total: 39
General Grievous Belbullab-22 Starfighter (44)
Impervium Plating (4), Soulless One (6), Kraken (10), Crack Shot (1) – Total: 65
Total: 199

Joy, more droids. (All 7 Separatist players were 3-1 or 4-0, so wasn’t too unlikely to see several mirror matches, this round there were 3 of them.) Not the same cookie cuter build of Sear, TA-175 and a bunch of droids, but still scary with 5 I1s getting to move before me and block me, and Grievous being a pretty solid ace when he gets to move last.

I opted into the joust, deploying directly across from him (despite knowing full well I would probably get blocked and denied actions), as the fastest way to clear some bodies with no threat of TA-175 retaliation. As expected, I got blocked, but still initiative killed 2 drones, and then a 3rd at I1, but unfortunately lost my Sear in return. I think I was a little unlucky to lose Sear there, but don’t remember the details to calculate the maths. An even-ish trade, but with TA-175 down, his Grievous could go to town. The following round I hard turned everyone towards Grievous but missed getting the block and he managed to squeeze a boost further into my drones, escaping a couple of arcs and then killing a further drone to basically escape unscathed. I was behind and unable to catch up, felt like a headless chicken chasing shadows trying to get my vultures in position for good shots.

Outplayed, Lachlan had good target priority for the engage and continued to press the advantage. Hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have straight jousted, should have jockeyed for position a little and given myself a little more agency in getting a good engage (without being blocked).

Loss: 95-200 (3-2)

Fun Fact: First time in 4 big overseas tournament I’d lost more than one game. It was going to happen sooner or later. REKT

Round 6 against Craig

List
Captain Sear Belbullab-22 Starfighter (39)
TA-175 (5), Soulless One (6) – Total: 50
Techno Union Bomber Hyena-class Droid Bomber (26)
Total: 26
Techno Union Bomber Hyena-class Droid Bomber (26)
Total: 26
Techno Union Bomber Hyena-class Droid Bomber (26)
Total: 26
Techno Union Bomber Hyena-class Droid Bomber (26)
Total: 26
Techno Union Bomber Hyena-class Droid Bomber (26)
Total: 26
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Total: 19
Total: 199

Well what do you know, here we go again. Seems like TTT was picking on me. I don’t remember too much of how this game went, we’d both been eliminated from making the cut, and the way Separatists were going, unlikely to get extra faction prizes, and I was a bit over playing against enemy droids.

We engaged, I started getting blocked and fell behind in the damage race, but the same as Akhter’s game, the one-sided TA-175 is brutal. I dragged it out a little longer, getting a few more points on the board, but it wasn’t going to be.

Loss: 112-200 (3-3)
– Finished somewhere irrelevant too far down the standings.

Reflection

I chose the wrong tech options. Picked the i3s to bully i2 beefy things (Cartel Marauders, Resistance, Rebel, Republic beef), without really considering the mirror match into other i1 swarms. Kicking myself for sure, as I had the 198 point variant, all at I1 with 2 discord missiles in my box ready to go a few days prior before swerving.

I only lost the mirror to other I1 droids

But it seems like a somewhat fixable problem. Work out how to win the mirror match. None of them were an ‘auto-loss’ but I was a disadvantage in terms of lists. Fly better and choose lists better.

Separatists are silly statistic: 82% win rate against other factions (7 players with a combined 27-6 record plus 8 mirror matches)
You might think with only 7 players, getting the faction specific prizes would be easier. Nope, had to go 5-1 to get the top 4 damage deck, not 3-3 (or even 2-4) like most of the factions.

Shout out the general Australian X-Wing community, with almost everyone being super welcoming and friendly. The store, Game On Cards and Games was great, again only issue was I don’t think it was an appropriate geographical location for the type of event. And Brett as head judge did an excellent job, everything was smooth and well run. Will probably be back to play X-Wing and drink beers in Australia again sometime.

-Nathan

You read all the way to the end! Here’s a dog photo and a plus side of travelling for x-wing, get to meet your friend’s pets! #petsofxwing

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