Auckland HST: Roger Rogering again

When it rain’s, it pours. Nothing for a couple months, then tournaments on back to back weekends, with a semi-local Hyperspace Trial to follow the Australian Grand Champs.

List, Prep, Stuff

I decided to stick with the same ships and give them another go, but absolutely wanted to tweak the squad to improve the mirror match (still reeling from the weekend before). I don’t like bid wars so wanted to find something else to improve the matchup. the best tech for the mirror I thought up was swapping out 2 vultures for a Trajectory Simulator Hyena. But looking at the smallish field of players attending (and knowing most of them), I was more concerned with other matchups than expecting to see the exact mirror, so I simply opted for a bigger bid (6 points), not wanting to compromise the other matchups with an untested tech choice.

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
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
Captain Sear Belbullab-22 Starfighter (39)
TA-175 (5), Impervium Plating (4), Soulless One (6) – Total: 50
Total: 194

Impervium Plating on Sear is nice (I’ve seen him die far too quickly a couple times so wanted that extra little bit of survivability) but unnecessary. However I figured the 6 point bid should be more than sufficient for this event, so I spent a few more points. I would have comfortable at 197, but there isn’t a good way to build it to that number since I wasn’t dropping any Grappling Struts.

Fun Fact: 6 points is the biggest recorded bid for a squad with no ships above I2 (and easily the biggest bid I’d ever taken to a competitive event). There’s been a 5 point, a 4 point, eight 3 points and so on. (Research was post-event because I’m lazy. Thanks Marmoset stats nerds ❤ ) Who wants to move last, all about moving first.

My face every time we figure out first player and I have the bigger bid. Very smug.

Handy dandy TTT link for the event. It wasn’t the biggest turnout at 18 players, but I’ve seen several smaller ones on List Fortress.

The Event

Round 1 against Jon

List
Darth Vader TIE Advanced/x1 (67)
Fire-Control System (2) – Total: 69
Maarek Stele TIE Advanced/x1 (46)
Marksmanship (1), Fire-Control System (2) – Total: 49
“Duchess” TIE/sk Striker (42)
Predator (2) – Total: 44
Alpha Squadron Pilot TIE Interceptor (34)
Total: 34
Total: 196

I had the larger bid and got to move first #smug (Though letting the Alpha Sq move almost last did feel a little bad, but I’m confident in catching aces and didn’t want it to be able to block me)

This game went pretty smoothly. I got a good range 3 opening round shooting, pinging a couple damage into the Alpha and maybe 1 into Duchess for nothing in return. The following round, Duchess got their wires crossed, Ailerons and maneuvering onto an asteroid and Sear used his ‘high initiative’ to go bully the Alpha.

I still have 7 or 8 ships against the 2 Advanceds and just its clean up. I end up only losing a droid and a half. Good start to the day for me (less so for Jon, but he seemed to walk it off quite well).

Win: 200-30 (1-0)

Round 2 against Aaron

List
Gold Squadron Veteran BTL-A4 Y-Wing (33)
Selfless (3), R2 Astromech (3) – Total: 39
“Dutch” Vander BTL-A4 Y-Wing (40)
Crack Shot (1), Dorsal Turret (3), Veteran Turret Gunner (8) – Total: 52
Norra Wexley BTL-A4 Y-Wing (41)
Crack Shot (1), Dorsal Turret (3), Veteran Turret Gunner (8) – Total: 53
Wedge Antilles T-65 X-Wing (55)
Crack Shot (1), Servomotor S-Foils (0) – Total: 56
Total: 200

I had the larger bid and got to move first #smug

I was a little worried about the sheer firepower of the squad, 4 ships and 2 veteran turret gunners, it wouldn’t be impossible for a little dice variance and 2-3 droids to be spiked in one turn, which would be bad. The first range 2-3 round of shooting goes well for me, I don’t lose any ships and pump a bunch of damage into Norra.

Moving first (and Grappling Struts) is pretty nice. I get my actions and completely block up the works for the incoming rebels. This turn was a bit of a blood bath, I lost at a couple of droids which just fuels the calculate machine, and I killed 2 ships in return. Trading 2 for 2 is a pretty good trade for me. Weight of numbers is too strong, I lose 2 more ships (or 1 and 2 halves) and finish off pretty comfortably.

Win: 200-80 (2-0)

Round 3 against Diogo

List
“Broadside” BTL-B Y-Wing (36)
R4 Astromech (2), Ion Cannon Turret (5) – Total: 43
Gold Squadron Trooper V-19 Torrent (25)
Total: 25
Obi-Wan Kenobi Delta-7 Aethersprite (47)
R2 Astromech (6), Calibrated Laser Targeting (4) – Total: 57
Luminara Unduli Delta-7 Aethersprite (43)
R4 Astromech (2), Calibrated Laser Targeting (3) – Total: 48
Gold Squadron Trooper V-19 Torrent (25)
Total: 25
Total: 198

I had the larger bid and got to move first #smug

This one was a rough one for Diogo, as once we engaged, he managed to kill one droid a turn which is never a favorable trade with the rest of my ships returning fire. I think I got Obi and a V19 with the first return volley. Next turn I lost a 2nd droid, and murdered something else. 3rd round of shooting, I lost a 3rd droid and destroyed another ship. TA-175 was having a field day (For the greater good. The greater good.)

Win: 200-70 (3-0)

Round 4 against Cole

List
Chertek Nantex-class Starfighter (39)
Ensnare (10) – Total: 49
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
Total: 199

Final round of swiss and we were both undefeated, so the only thing on the line was seeding in the top cut, which is fairly meaningless. (Preface here, we’re friends) So we tried to final salvo immediately, my 17 dice against his 16. After 2 draws at 8 hits/crits a piece, he rolled 13 hits to my many less hits and won. But Jeremy the TO (also a friend of both of us) told us to play the game.

I had the larger bid and got to move first #verysmug We deployed, moved once then headed upstairs to get a beer from the bar.

I didn’t do my regular opening of splitting the 8 ships into 2 groups of 4 (no need to show it, might play each other again the next day). I killed a droid on the first round of shooting and he didn’t. Then I killed another droid on the second round of shooting (Pictured below) and he didn’t again.

Painted ships and different tokens make the mirror match so much easier!

Too much of a lead, and my droids moving first, getting their calculates and denying opposing actions was too much. Chertek and Sear were also afraid of killing a droid and feeding my calculate engine, and tried going after my Sear but were unsuccessful. Snowball effect to victory. Again, nothing on line, so can’t look too hard at the result.

Win: 200-87 (4-0)

Onto the cut the next day

Waking up to this right my face, had to be a good day #petsofxwing
(Sadly, in the couple weeks its taken me to write this, RIP Parsley 😥 )

Top 8 against Geoff

And this is why top cut seeding is meaningless. As the ‘1’ seed, I ‘should’ get the ‘easiest’ round playing the ‘8’ seed. But instead I get to play my very skilled friend Geoff, who probably would have been the last person I wanted to play out of the top 8.

List
Kylo Ren TIE/vn Silencer (76)
Total: 76
“Blackout” TIE/vn Silencer (63)
Total: 63
Starkiller Base Pilot Upsilon-class Command Shuttle (58)
Total: 58
Total: 197

I had the larger bid and got to move first #smug In addition to moving ahead of enemy I1s, taking first player lets me place 2 of my big friendly asteroids/debris next to each other and create a zone where I have a very favorable engagement (Grappling Struts are a really really good tool.)

Yay, elimination game, so extra cagey and slow. To be fair, that is what he needed to try do for a good engage, coming at me head on wouldn’t end well. I used the time well, not exposing myself and setting myself up to engage with well placed obstacles to utilize.

For the engage, the target of opportunity turned out to be Kylo. I got him down to half points for the loss of 2 vultures, putting me behind 38-40. The following turn I got the block on Kylo to finish him off and take the lead at 76-50.

At this point, there was only sufficient time for one more turn and Geoff needed to kill another 1.5 vultures to take the lead. With only 2 enemy ships on the board, and one being a lumbering shuttle I spread my ships such that he would be unable to get good shots with needing both unmodified attacks to be effective for a chance. But Geoff math-ed better than me and saw killing half of Sear would also get him the lead, and had both Starkiller and Blackout pointing at him. The chances of doing the 4 damage through shields and Impervium with unmodifed attacks against Soulless and focus was slim, but made sweat a little more. No real damage on Sear, and then to throw salt in the wound, my one vulture who had a shot at Blackout rolled 3 paint into 0 evades to take him from 1 shield down to half points. Clutch vulture!

Win: 105-50 (5-0)

Top 4 against Jesse

List
Captain Sear Belbullab-22 Starfighter (39)
Kraken (10), Impervium Plating (4), Soulless One (6) – Total: 59
Precise Hunter Vulture-class Droid Fighter (23)
Energy-Shell Charges (5), Grappling Struts (1), Munitions Failsafe (1) – Total: 30
Precise Hunter Vulture-class Droid Fighter (23)
Energy-Shell Charges (5), Grappling Struts (1), Munitions Failsafe (1) – Total: 30
Precise Hunter Vulture-class Droid Fighter (23)
Energy-Shell Charges (5), Munitions Failsafe (1) – Total: 29
Haor Chall Prototype Vulture-class Droid Fighter (21)
Discord Missiles (4) – Total: 25
Trade Federation Drone Vulture-class Droid Fighter (19)
Energy-Shell Charges (5), Munitions Failsafe (1) – Total: 25
Total: 198

I had the larger bid and got to move first #smug

No pics 😦

This was another nail-biter. He got a good opening volley off with all the Energy Shells before I could close the range and block up all the space. I fell a little behind in the damage race (he killed a vulture, I only killed half a vulture, or something like that), and it stayed that way through most of the match, with me trailing by a few points. The Precise Hunters definitely lived up to their name, turns out getting bullseye isn’t that hard (which I’ve been telling anyone who will listen to me for a while).

Once it was clear the last turn was the last turn and his I3s had shot, the calculators came out to work out exactly what I needed to kill. I was down 67-100 so needed to kill a vulture and a half. I had spread a bit of damage around to make it a little easier, but not a sure thing with only 3 of my ships in position to shoot. Sear took an unmodded range 3 into a Precise Hunter, rolled 2 or 3 hits, he rolled no evades (with no calcs). Dead vulture, 30 points scored. Next up, I had a range 1 vulture shot into the other Precise Hunter, rolled 3 paint, spent calc for all hits and he rolled 2 blanks (with calcs :/ ). Dead vulture, another 30 points. Then my other vulture had nothing left to shoot at. /shrug

Turns out I roll pretty well after time is called.

The game progressed slower than I would have liked, but not so slow that I could really gripe about it or call a judge for slow play. There were a lot of ships on the board, I would have like one more turn at the end, I think we got 2 turns into the last 15 minutes, but thankfully I ended up not needing it.

Win: 127-100 (6-0)

Even though it was only about midday, and I still had a final to play, those were a couple of stressful games, so I headed upstairs to the bar for a beer.

Final against Jon, again.

List
Darth Vader TIE Advanced/x1 (67)
Fire-Control System (2) – Total: 69
Maarek Stele TIE Advanced/x1 (46)
Marksmanship (1), Fire-Control System (2) – Total: 49
“Duchess” TIE/sk Striker (42)
Predator (2) – Total: 44
Alpha Squadron Pilot TIE Interceptor (34)
Total: 34
Total: 196

I had the larger bid and got to move first #smug

Another game with a worlds invite on the line (after having lost 2 at the Australian System Open couple months ago)

Yeah, so Jon had recovered pretty well from the fairly one-sided loss to me in Round 1 to win every game after that. This was a much better game and I didn’t get any freebies from obstacles this time.

The ol’ 2 hour final so let’s take longer trick. Jon spent a while trying to bait me into making a mistake with my swarm, but I equally took my time so I’d be well positioning on my rocks for the engagement turns.

Excuses prepared and positioned in frame for the photo.

The first couple rounds of shooting went well for him, getting a couple of vultures for only the Alpha in return. I needed a good turn, as average turns from here and I would probably lose. Knowing Vader is the biggest piece and I need several ships to catch him, Vader became the priority target. I started shooting at Vader, stripped all his force without doing damage, then caught him in a box the following turn (like a cat, an ace see’s a box and jumps in it).

The box where Vader died. He landed nose to nose with the droid next to Maarek and could only barrel roll away to dodge a bullseye and turn a couple range 1s into range 2s.

That turn was the big swing, trading a single vulture for Vader. Nothing much too interesting happened after that, I cleaned up the remaining ships, losing a couple more vultures in the process. 30 minutes of the 2 hours still left on the clock.

Win: 200-100 (7-0)

I won a thing finally (takes my record in X-Wing regional/hyperspace/prime finals to 1-3). It felt good to win some elimination games, had been a while, had been a lot of losing the win-and-in last rounds of swiss or losing in the first round of the cut. Trophy is pretty cool, worlds invite is nice, but with worlds being on the other side of the world it isn’t the deciding factor in me going or not. We’ll see, definite maybe.

Thoughts

Sear didn’t die all event, and Impervium Plating didn’t trigger all tournament (Sear only took 2 faceups, both Pilot crits), so could have had a bigger bid. If Sear swarms continue to be popular, 10-11+ point bids might be the way to go. Moving second probably isn’t unwinnable, just needs more practice and preparation, but moving first is a significant advantage. Also, I don’t think TA-175 is necessarily the best choice for the swarm, the other Tactical Relays (Kraken, K2-B4) are pretty good, or even no relay. More experimentation required. I’m still probably not even 20 games deep with the squad, and that’s including the 6 in Bathurst and 7 here. But with no big events on the horizon, and a very very slim chance of surviving the next points adjustment, I’m not likely to immediately persevere with the squad.

Separatists are silly statistic: 93% win rate against other factions (4 players with a combined 13-1 record excluding the 4 mirror matches)
That’s up from 82% at the previous weekend at Bathurst.

Fun Fact: The average Sear swarm got about 30 points cheaper from the June points update. Trade Federation Drones went down 1 from 20 to 19, Grappling Struts went down 2 from 3 to 1, Sear stayed the same, Impervium Plating went down 2 from 6 to 4, Soulless One went down 4 from 10 to 6, Discord Missiles went down 2 from 6 to 4 and TA-175 wasn’t released in June. So my 194 point variant was 221 with original points.

The trip to Bathurst the previous weekend turned out to be very expensive preparation for this event. Practice games help, huh. I definitely noticed my obstacle placement, opening moves towards engagement and Grappling Struts play improve dramatically by the end of this event.

EDIT! After I hit publish and shared this everywhere, I realised I forgot to mention how awesome the event was overall. Very well organised by Jeremy, ran smoothly, extra prizes. Venue was awesome and supportive, generously giving us the space at an incredibly good rate. All my opponents and players were great, we played some secret hitler alongside dinner and drinks on Saturday night, and there was a lot of fun had doing Epic and aces high alongside the top cut on Sunday.

-Nathan

!grapes

One thought on “Auckland HST: Roger Rogering again

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