X-Wing Miniatures: Practice Better, by Phil Ray

Jubilee Squadron X-Wing Team Birmingham Manaleak

X-Wing Miniatures: Practice Better

How to be incredibly lazy in your blogging and only blog once every 6 months or so! OK so I started out with honestly great intentions of writing this blog on a monthly basis which has not happened. Also there are loads of great X-Wing blogs in the world which are actually worth reading rather than my inane ramblings!

I’m not going to promise to try and write more often, I will but life gets in the way and promises like that can often lead to disappointment. The first blog I wrote was to help and support my fledgling local X-Wing group in Birmingham which at that stage had no name and did not have that many people attending, things have changed.

We now have a name, Jubilee Squadron and a regular Monday night player base of 12+ people. We have completed our first league, I came 3rd which leads to the easy solution to fly better. Most importantly of all we have a logo, I wanted to make it into a flag but did not get that much support for the idea. I hid my disappointment but I can assure you it was there.

Jubilee Squadron X-Wing Logo
Jubilee Squadron X-Wing logo

The question is what should I blog about?

  • Jumpmasters spoiling the meta (been done in fact continues to be done)
  • Guns for hire sample lists (better players than me will be able to give you better solutions)
  • FSR 2.0 and variants are overpowered (I agree, maybe)

Honestly I just bored myself writing that list.

OK I have an idea; professionally I work in Learning and Development, how about if I could share some of my many years insight.

I thought it might be nice to write about how what I do professionally and what I do for a hobby collide and how putting those things together might just help to make you a better player.


Episode one – Exploding myths

You learn from your mistakes!

We’ve all heard this one before, but does it work for X-Wing?

The first challenge with this one is how do you even recognise you’ve made a mistake?

A lot of people will tell you that the mistake is when the game started going wrong for them. I’m going to propose that this is not always true? Well firstly the turn that things started going wrong probably wasn’t the turn ships started to get blown apart.

X-Wing Board

Was this the turn the tie made a mistake to tractor beamed on the rocks, no a mistake was made earlier. When the Imperial player decided to engage in the rocks.

The first mistake is made when you make a manoeuvre which provides your opponent with an advantage. It is then their responsibility to exploit it as much as humanly possible. There is only one person who can tell you that you’ve made a mistake in this instance it is your opponent.

Hang on that means we now have a problem – we need our opponent to tell us that we cocked up and more importantly how they plan to exploit it. It’s just not in the nature of the competitive X-Wing player to do this even in practice matches. Most practice matches involve me throwing my meta list on the table against your meta list and we’ll discuss it after the event.


Time to change the way we practice

Some of you will already be doing this but we all keep it a secret.

If you want to get better start talking your way through your practice games, when your opponent does something that gives you an advantage tell them what they’ve done. Tell them exactly what you are going to do to exploit it, hell if it makes sense take back all the moves that turn and talk through the options that were available and which you would find most difficult to counter.

The best part, not only does it help you both identify critical turns it also encourages both players to actively think about what the worst outcome is for their opponent. Just think this through a little further; this form of practice encourages you to think about the game differently . It stops you just thinking about the best move for you, it starts you weighing up options and looking at the best return you can get from a particular move. How many times have you ended up in a turn where you are out of good choices, I wonder how many of those turns happen because your opponent spotted your earlier mistake and pounced on it.

When you watch top level games and you see the early positional game we all know those players are looking for an edge. The thing that really defines those players is the fact that they know a mistake at that stage of the game could cost them the win.


What to do next

The point of this blog is to ask you to change the way you practice, get your group together and ask them to talk through the games. Explain to them how changing the way you practice changes the way you win. Ask them to tell you where and when you make a mistake, don’t ask them to wait until the end of the game. You need to know there and then what mistake was made, how it has changed their choices and what choices would have been worse for them. Don’t be a dick about it this is about sharing, about helping people spot those mistakes that they would not have noticed otherwise.

Practice better!

Are you interested in learning more? Please join our X-Wing players group: Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Players Community UK [Manaleak.com Birmingham]

Phil Ray

X-Wing Miniatures: Practice Better, by Phil Ray
I thought it might be nice to write about how what I do professionally and what I do for a hobby collide and how putting those things together might just help to make you a better player.

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