A Tale of Two Tournaments [Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Blog Post], by Phil Ray

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A Tale of Two Tournaments [Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Blog Post], by Phil Ray
A Tale of Two Tournaments [Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Blog Post], by Phil Ray

Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures – A Tale of Two Tournaments

The occasional blog is back and this time I want to talk about tournaments specifically one on the 3rd December at the Grange live gaming centre. Firstly a thank you to the organiser, Steve Cowley who hosted a good tournament in a casual and friendly environment. I’d like to extend my thanks to the other participants who all played in the spirit of the game.

My congratulations go to Ben Cutler who won the tournament flying triple Wookies. It was a well deserved win and makes me a little nervous for the next Manaleak Birmingham X-Wing league we host after all he was hard enough to beat last time.

For myself I went 2 and 2 which given I was flying two quad-jumpers is probably par for the course. I might not have won but I think I gain points for being a bloody annoying list to fly against.

All that to one side I want to look at a comparison looking at the performance of two lists mine and Ben’s and look at what made one a winner and the other mid table. I consider myself and Ben to be evenly skilled as players and thought it might be useful to look at some of the list building choices and how they support a solid and consistent tournament outcome.

Let’s start with the two lists:

Kihraxz Fighter: •Captain Jostero (30)

·         Vectored Thrusters (1)

·         Stygium Particle Accelerator (1)

·         Vaksai (0)

·         Expertise (3)

·         •Cloaking Device (1)

Jumpmaster 5000: Contracted Scout (29)

·         Anti-Pursuit Lasers (2)

·         Fearlessness (1)

·         Intelligence Agent (1)

Quadjumper: Jakku Gunrunner (21)

·         Spacetug Tractor Array (2)

·         Pattern Analyser (2)

·         •EMP Device (2)

Quadjumper: Jakku Gunrunner (20)

·         Spacetug Tractor Array (2)

·         Pattern Analyser (2)

·         Inertial Dampeners (1)

 

Auzituck Gunship: •Lowhhrick (36)

·         Predator (3)

·         •C-3PO (3)

·         Tactician (2)

Auzituck Gunship: Wookie Liberator (32)

·         Expertise (4)

·         Tactician (2)

Auzituck Gunship: Wookie Liberator (32)

·         Expertise (4)

·         Tactician (2)

 

Total: 100/100 Total:  100/100

 

The principle with my scum list is simple get things to either bump or go over rocks in front of Jostero and shoot them in the activation phase before they have any tokens.

Ultimately the list performed pretty well however when I run it again there are a couple of changes I would make in ditching the cloaking device it’s too challenging to be useful. Reconsider fearlessness even though it was fun when it triggered.

Ben’s list is a little more straight forward using Lowhhrick’s ability to protect the others against damage. Rotate damage across all of them and take a reinforce token as your action using the built in dice mods for consistency. Trigger the tacticians as much as possible to control the choices your opponent has available. The 180 arc on these things is massive and if you plan your moves well while you have three on the board you should always get shots on your priority target.

Let’s talk about the difference between the two lists and look at how this over the course of a tournament gives you a chance of better outcomes.

Variance – this might sound like a moan about dice (and it is) but managing it makes a game winner

Neither lists want to take focus as their action, the wookies want reinforce and my list wants tractor beams and barrel rolls. However the triple wookies manage this with lots of built in dice modification, my list looks to get by just rolling well, unfortunately I’m not Don Le so I don’t manage this as often as I’d like.

Looking at attack dice both has 9 red dice at range two

So purely with built in dice mods the difference in hits is as follows

Ben 9 red dice 2.25 + 2.25 + 1.9 = 6.4 hits

My list 9 red dice 1+1+1+2.25 = 5.25 hits

That is over 1 hit per round of increased damage output, while it might not sound like a lot if we consider that most games have in the region of 8 rounds of combat that adds up to one of those wookie gunships in damage.

You can start to see how that difference might add up over the course of a game and this is not taking into account the increasing difference at range one.

An additional area of variance for my list is Jostero, for those that don’t know Jostero can make a second attack each round. If a ship in his arc takes damage when they are not defending an attack he can take a shot. There are obviously many ways of triggering this attack and my list chooses rocks and the bumpmaster as the trigger. In my first game against Gary there were a lot of opportunities for this to trigger be it over rocks or bumping the bumpmaster. This is a guestimate however it was one we both agreed on at the end of the game, we rolled for rock or bumpmaster collisions in excess of 16 times with Gary’s ships only taking damage 2 to 3 times from those rolls. This is where variance is a curse. At least for some of those Jostero was in a position to take advantage but I only managed to trigger his ability once in that game. It is actually surprisingly easy to get Jostero in position to take advantage of your opponent going over rocks in fact multiple rocks or rocks and bumpmaster. However when no one rolls a hit you are losing your second modded 3 dice attack.

So the wookies take the variance game on attack dice

How about hit points and defence dice

Bens list

18 hull and 9 shields back by 3 green dice, C3PO and reinforce

My list

19 hull and 5 shields back by 8 green dice

Wow it looks like my list should have got this one licked no competition however we have already established that neither lists want to take a focus. Let’s do the maths on green dice based on having no focus tokens.

Ok this maths is not going to be good maths but it should demonstrate the point. I’m going to consider each list one large ship and look at the average damage mitigation of each massive ship.

Health Damage Evade results
27 3 1.125
24 8 3

 

As you can see my list should mitigate 3 damage per round, against Ben’s 1.125 per turn..

Based on the numbers above it would take a hyper accurate Dash delivering 4 hits per turn; nine turns to kill the wookies and 24 turns to kill my list. Looks like I’ve got the defence race in the bag however I’ve not finished yet.

Firstly we need to compensate for 3PO and reinforce. The table is shown below

Health Damage Evade results Plus 3po and reinforce
27 2 0.75 2.75
24 8 3 3

 

This brings things much closer together in fact now Ben’s list will survive 21 turns against hyper accurate Dash. In fact my list will only last a couple of turns longer and I’ve still not taken into account the effect of Lowhhricks ability.

This has the potential to add 1 point of damage mitigation per turn and now makes Ben’s list survive 108 turns against hyper accurate Dash. WTF 108 turns against 4 hits per turn that starts to sound ridiculous of course this is hypothetical however for those who played against the list they may well feel like my maths is underestimating things.

This does make target priority incredibly easy you go after Lowhhrick you don’t actually have an alternative choice. If you go after either of the other two ships you’re making a mistake.

It looks like my initial optimism that I might win the defence phase was wrong, Ben’s list takes this round hands down in fact it makes his victory on damage output look trivial.

Both lists also have interesting control mechanics built into them, one delivers lots of stress at range two which is really hard to avoid. The other list adds tractor beams and blocking as a key for victory trying to understand which of these two mechanics is best is difficult to sort out. In fact I think it’s too close to call which means I’m going to make this one a tie.

Ben’s list will handle large base ships better than mine whilst mine has the potential to really spoil the day of small based ships.

What lessons can we take from this?

  • Fly as well as you can goes without saying
  • Think about what your list needs to achieve and how you go about getting there
  • Think about how your list mitigates the variance
    • Built in mods are great when you don’t want to take focus
    • This counts in both attack and defence
    • Think about control elements in your list how easy are they going to be to trigger
  • Practice with your list – you’ll have heard this before but Ben had put some reps in with the wookies on line

I’ve got a few changes I’ll make to my list and it will be back better than before.

If you play or are interested in playing X-Wing Minis then please do consider joining our Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Players Community UK [Manaleak.com Birmingham]. We meet every Monday evening from 5pm to 11pm, as well as other days during the week and weekend.

Thanks for reading,

Phil Ray

A Tale of Two Tournaments [Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Blog Post], by Phil Ray
This article looks at the difference list building can make in tournaments, using a comparison of two lists at one tournament and how better choices made a difference.

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