X-Wing: Canadian Nationals


My thoughts, experience and opinions on the event, my performance (Flawless obviously…) and the Meta.

It’s Friday 24 Oct and I am sat in Edmonton Airport waiting for the first leg of my flight to begin on my journey to the 2014 Canadian Nationals for X-Wing.  Now when I booked my ticket I was living not far from Calgary and was involved in a bustling X-Wing scene.
Due to real life I have had to move up to Cold Lake, Alberta which (much to my surprise) did not have quite as active a community.  It also meant that my simple short haul flight turned in to a three and a half hour drive in the wrong direction, a flight to Calgary and then a Flight to Hamilton.
Luckily I am a good sport and being ex-air force I am used to lots of traveling and long delays.
Due to my new surroundings I did not get as much practice in as I would have liked, as most of my games have revolved around introducing new people to the hobby and putting on Demo games at my FLGS (Arcane Angle in Cold Lake, Chris is an awesome guy and they have just had their grand re-opening after expanding the store so if you are ever about Cold Lake check them out!)
I did get a nice trip back to Calgary over (Canadian) Thanksgiving where I got to play a couple of good games against better quality opposition. (Thanks Greg!)  The reason that the trip was helpful was that if I don’t get to exercise my “fun list” daemons I do stupid things like taking an all Goblin army to the Warhammer Throne of Skulls, admittedly I did get best Orc & Goblin General and was the only player to beat the overall winner of the event but its still not a good grounding for a competitive event (true story)
Yes I really do have an Obi-Wan Goblin in my Army…

I had a couple of lists ideas that I wanted to try out varying from the old reliable 3 Bounty Hunter list through my Biggs Blounts the Daggers that I was messing around with before I left Calgary but I decided on a YT/A-Wing list.

This is something that I played in a few friendly games before Rebel Aces hit the streets as I really find flying the Falcon boring but the addition of the A-Wings gave me a nice challenging little ship to play around with while Han tried to do all of the work.

====================
A Prototype Han List
====================

Han Solo (60)
YT-1300 (46), Veteran Instincts (1), Gunner (5), R2-D2 (4), Engine Upgrade (4) 

Prototype Pilot (20)
A-Wing (17), Proton Rockets (3) 

Prototype Pilot (20)
A-Wing (17), Proton Rockets (3) 

100 points

Now that I have Rebel Aces to play with I thought I would give the list a second chance.

The Prototype Pilots changed from having a Hull Upgrade which made them 20 point 5 Hit Blockers in all effect to having Proton Rockets which actually makes them a threat to any of the low evade ships.

I did mess around with the Han Build a little as well, taking off a lot of tank, I was running him with Chewbacca and R2, Falcon Title and Push the Limits.  That gave me an Evade and lots of shield regen which made him really frustrating to take down.
This build is running on the theory that the Higher Pilot Skill and Gunner make him more threatening while Engine Upgrade should make him more fun to fly and just R2 to help with Tanking Damage.

The hope is that this build should have enough raw damage for 1 turn to give me a head start against other YT lists whilst maintaining the innate strength of Han/Gunner against the lower ship count lists.

Of course the list has a few holes as well but thats the fun of X-Wing.  Getting the alpha strike off from the PS1 A-Wings in going to be hard and the PS11 Falcon is not the best option in my opinion as what it gains against Whisper and the like it loses against generic rebel lists.

It is also worth noting that I don’t have the best history running a YT-1300 in a competitive event as I have a tendency to not put as much effort in to flying it as I should but as long as I didn’t run in to too many hard hitting multi ship Rebel lists I should do fine.

As I can see my first plain pulling in to its slot I should probably look at wrapping up this train of thought looking at my list and why I took it.

The other thoughts I wanted to cover before I went in to the event were what I was expecting to see Meta wise so that I can think about my expectations compared to the reality.

Not having done that much research in tot he Meta out west I am expecting to see a good amount of Falcons, especially supported by 3 Z-95’s.  I have heard that the Rebel Swarm is becoming popular over there and would expect to see some 6 Ship rebel lists with combinations of 5 Z’s and Biggs or Ethan.  I would still be surprised to see any 8 Z-95 list but a full on 6 Z-95 list with Missiles is something I am expecting to see and to do well.

On the Imperial side I expect more Whispers than Echos on the Phantom side.  Hopefully the Defender will put in a good showing as I do think it is a better ship than its results are showing (in the same way the the Lambda too time to master)

I really hope that there is at least 1 8 TIE Swarm just as I still think it is a really strong list.

Saturday 25 Oct and registration is done, obviously in stead of meeting new people I am hunched up in the corner working on the article.

The venue is a Royal Canadian Legion hall which I always like to see this kind of venue being taken advantage of as it gives a good amount of profit to the Legions which is always a good thing.

I shared a taxi with Greg Jackson who I featured in one of my Swarm Theory battle reports and after a bit of a chat about what he had decided to run and what we were worried about facing, B-Wings and Biggs for me and PS 11 Falcons for him as he had gone for Whisper, Vader Shuttle and a Bounty Hunter list which was something new to him but he didn’t feel that his usual Golden Daggers (2 Y’s with Ions and 2 Daggers with Advanced Sensors) would do as well in the expected meta.

At this point round 1 was called and it was time to get my game face on…

Round 1 saw me matched against James Neil running Echo, Krassis and Night Beast.  Echo had VI and Advanced Cloaking Device while Krassis had HLC, Rebel Captive and Engine Upgrade.

I was happy with the match up as Han should do fine against Echo and although Krassis could be a worry I was confidant I could deal with him.  For Asteroids I wanted a nice scattered field to cut down on the Echo shenanigans which I managed to create fairly well and I then deployed an A-Wing on each flank and waited.
Krassis was deployed just off centre while Night Beast and Echo were off to my left flank.  I decided to deploy Han just off to the right of centre so that I could get in to the centre of the table with him and dominate any of Echo’s approaches while going for a bit of a joust with Krassis (Yes I know he has a HLC but I was confidant that as it would only be hime shooing me for at least he first two rounds that R2 would do his job)
The early exchanges went slightly in James favour but just as he had Han’s shields down he had Target Locked and Focused A-Wings to worry about and had to switch targets.  He did manage to kill one A-Wing before it unloaded its cargo but the other one fired off and with Echo dead and Krassis down to 1 Hull while Han still had 5 and a Shield with 30 mins left to play it was a fairly safe 100-40 win to me with Han cleaning up the Krassis and Night Beast.

James was a really good opponent and recognized that I had managed to isolate Night Beast early on due to his deployment and that lack of firepower meant that it was almost always Han vs 1 ship at a time which just played in to my hands.  R2 did restore 5 shields over the course of the game and only flipped 1 Crit reducing my Primary Weapon Value during the end when it was just Han vs Night Beast but even that was not going to change the result.

Game 2 I was paired with Gary Bento who was running one of the lists I found quite surprising.  He had Bobba Fett with Slave 1, Flachette Torps, Engine Upgrade, HLC, Gunner and VI with Echo, VI, Advanced Cloaking Device, Fire Control System and Rebel Captive.  There were at least 3 variations of this 2 ship Imperial list at the event and I can see how it should work but again I was confidant I had all the answers with the Protons on the A’s giving me a massive head start on any damage triage of with Fett and Echo being irrelevant against my PS11 Han.
Again I wanted a good spread of asteroids around the centre of the table to help keep Echo under control which I got even better in this match up as I don’t think Gary got what I was trying to do and with my getting to place the last rock by the time it was obvious it was too late.
I used the same 1 A-Wing on each flank deployment again with Gary setting up on the table edge on the left flank facing across the table.
I just ignored this and stuck Han just of centre with the thought of just holding inside of the asteroid ring and seeing what he could do about it.

Gary did make a horrible mistake early decloaking Echo on to a rock where I then had the choice of Taking him out with Han but being double stressed due to Rebel Captive or letting him off the hook.
Looking at the positioning of Fett and how I would have to fly to De-Stress I figured I would need 3 action less turns but that it would be worth it to take out half of Gary’s squad early.  With Han reduced to “just” his ability and Gunner for 3 rounds of shooting Gary took the chance to get rid of the A-Wings that were about to Proton him and cleaned one out before it launched due to my usual 3 Blanks on the green dice and flipping the Direct Hit Critical. (Happened 3 times in the event my A-Wings are not supposed to live…)

Again it was a comfortable 100-40 win to me in the end.

Round 3 paired me against Greg Jackson, much to both of our disappointment.  In fairness, although we have played each other a lot when I was still in Calgary we had never actually faced off in a competitive event.
Greg’s list was Whisper with VI, Intelligence Agent, Fire Control System and Advanced Cloaking Device, Lambda Shuttle with Vader and a Bounty Hunter with Recon Specialist.
I went in to the game already knowing that Greg was not going to be confidant about the match up but I was a little worried about him just bum rushing Han with everything and seeing who’s dice were better.  To be fair that is not Greg’s style though and I went for a more clumped asteroid placement to give me a lot of open space in the my right hand side to play with.  Again the 1 A-Wing on Each flank let me see where Greg was going and he had the bounty Hunter central with Shuttle and Whisper off to one Flank.
With the Falcon deployed of on the far left Flank I had a plan to sucker Greg in to splitting his fire power.  If I could convince him that the Bounty Hunter was target number 1 I was confidant I could leave it isolated while I felt wight he Space Cow and Whisper.  Greg was fully aware of the damage my A-Wings had been doing to Firesprays in my first two games but also that the people who put too much fire in to trying to stop them left Han too healthy to stop.  With a mad dash forwards with both the Falcon and the Left most A-Wing and the Right Flanker moving to position to break for the left flank too. Greg moved the Bounty Hunter in behind the Asteroids heading left to meet the threat while the Shuttle started forwards while Whisper went 4 ahead and Cloaked to be a harassment in my back field.  Still happy that my plan could work I moved the A-Wing on the left with a Hard Turn to give him a shot on the approaching Bounty Hunter and Target Locked him while Han cut in just inside the line of asteroids and took a boost to get him as good as parallel to the Firespray and therefore out of arch..  The Shuttle had started to bank in to the centre while Whisper was a little more cagy but next turn was the make or break for the Deception. Han and the A-Wing went full speed across the table while the right most A-Wing cut back toward the Right Flank while the Bounty Hunter was left with no other option but to wither continue on his course towards the now empty left flank so that he could use his rear arc, K-Turn leaving him with only a Range 3 unfocused shot at the A-Wing or Hard turn in-between the asteroids but with no shot as a bank would have landed him on a rock.  Meanwhile Han went for Whisper and the A-Wings went for the Shuttle.  At this point I was more than happy as I had an A-Wing that had lost 1 shield but had fired its Protons and an Undamaged one with a full load and Han was still healthy while Greg now had a Shuttle that if he used Vader would suicide and a Damaged Whisper with a Firespray that was out of position for at least another round.

I cleaned up Whisper and the shuttle for the loss of the damaged A-Wing whilst R2 managed to reduce Han to Pilot Skill 0 (much to Gregs amusement that it had not happened a turn earlier when Whisper was still alive…) I then was happy to trade with the Firespray but Greg had moved in to a position where he had to do either a Hard 2 or a Hard 3 to not fly off the table and as Han was now PS 0 I saw my chance to end the game right there.  Powering in the full 4 ahead and then Boosting right I managed to cover the angle of the 3 Hard and had the A Wing positioned so that if it was a Hard 2 I would be getting 2 Range 1 shots at him while the 3 would leave him off the table.  Greg flipped the dial and sure enough it was the Hard 3 and we shook hands with me taking the game 100-20.

Round 4 was against Ron Brannon and as I had been keeping an eye on the Nova Squadron guys I new I was in for a hard game.  Ron was running 4 Blue Squadron B-Wings and a Bandit Squadron Z-95.  So a hard hitting Rebel list, just what I didn’t want to see.  To make things worse Ron out played me for Asteroid placement leaving me with a slightly tighter field than I had hoped for but I had decided to take a chance and if I could get behind him and for him to K-Turn I could get the A-Wings in from one side and the Falcon on the other and hopefully do enough damage before he took Han down.  I set myself up for a small exchange of fire but with a line over the asteroid field with the Falcon that as long as Ron continued his bank would put Han where I needed him taking a shot only from the back most ship and the A-Wings coming in from the other side.  Ron unfortunately read me like a book and Hard turned the B-Wings splitting them apart slightly around one of the asteroids but giving him all 4 to shoot at Han.  Shoot they did with Ron getting no less than 11 Hits from his 12 shots and even with the help of the asteroid I only evaded 2 leaving Han on his last legs for the loss of only the Bandit.  Unable to escape all of the Arcs in the next round, even with the Engine Upgrade Han went down and that left 2 A-wings to take on 4 relatively healthy B’s… I did manage to cause some nice pile ups and get some shots of un answered but my Green dice were never going to be up for that challenge and Ron took me for a 100-12 point loss.
I was happy with the game and although it was a silly risk I think I would have tried it again but I do with I had been able to give Ron more of a game but ultimately I don’t think my list was up for beating his.

Due to my quick thrashing in Round 4 I had a bit of time to explore what was going on at the mid tables as that was where I was expecting my opponent to come from for Round 5.  There was a good mix of lists there with some Falcons and even a couple more of the 2 Ship Phantom/Firespray lists but equally there was a fair number of Rebel B-Wing heavy lists that I did not feel my A-Wings would be up for the job of taking on.

Sure enough I wing in to Round 5 against Dany Laberge and his 4 Blue Squadron with Fire Control System and Jan riding in one of them.  At this point, in reflection I think I went in with the wrong attitude and a little on tilt.  I kept my 1 A-Wing on each flank set up with the plan of trying to out fly Dany and chip away some shields before I committed.  Not only did I not out fly him I practically handed him the 2 A-Wings early with no pressure from Han, needles to say it didn’t end well with my first 100-0 loss of the day.  In reflection I think I should have put both A-Wings on the same flank and either accepted the joust if he had set up facing me or placed the Falcon opposite him if he had gone to the opposite flank and rushed the A-Wings to support and just tried to pile on the fire.  Ultimately though it was another hard match up against good quality opposition.

So how did the 5 Rounds of Swiss play out?

Name
Score
MoV
SoS
Record
Byes
Ron Brannan
25
878
75
5 / 0 / 0
0
Glen Nielsen
25
776
53
5 / 0 / 0
0
Remi Dumais
20
874
66
4 / 1 / 0
0
Grish K.
20
739
53
4 / 1 / 0
0
Dany Laberge
20
713
75
4 / 1 / 0
0
Jeff Dunford
20
694
45
4 / 1 / 0
0
Nelson Cravo
20
661
80
4 / 1 / 0
0
Matt Berge
20
631
75
4 / 1 / 0
0
Johnathan Neale
20
612
80
4 / 1 / 0
0
Gerry Russell
18
489
61
4 / 1 / 0
0
Lucas Crosby
16
627
44
4 / 1 / 0
0
Shiu Yik Au
16
607
50
3 / 1 / 1
0
Victor Naqvi
15
680
55
3 / 2 / 0
0
Cody Martell
15
645
50
3 / 2 / 0
0
Eric Lalande
15
596
68
3 / 2 / 0
0
Chris Engler
15
589
70
3 / 2 / 0
0
Mark Tang
15
582
60
3 / 2 / 0
0
David Ross
15
581
60
3 / 2 / 0
0
Trevor Ryan
15
572
73
3 / 2 / 0
0
Chris Viola
15
566
65
3 / 2 / 0
0
Richard Hsu
15
540
46
3 / 2 / 0
0
Chris Orr
15
524
70
3 / 2 / 0
0
Greg Jackson
15
520
60
3 / 2 / 0
0
Marco Mancini
15
513
68
3 / 2 / 0
0
Kris Sherriff
15
512
80
3 / 2 / 0
0
John Ozoga
15
470
38
3 / 2 / 0
0
Preston Bitzer
13
672
69
3 / 2 / 0
0
Jacob Lowery
13
468
49
3 / 2 / 0
0
Drew Edgar
13
446
70
3 / 2 / 0
0
James Binnie
11
483
55
2 / 2 / 1
0
Benoit Philippe Girouard
10
665
58
2 / 3 / 0
0
Dien Tran
10
560
48
2 / 3 / 0
0
Tim Godberson
10
515
55
2 / 3 / 0
0
Ciaran Russell
10
487
75
2 / 3 / 0
0
Frederick Weaver
10
474
80
2 / 3 / 0
0
John Wasch
10
470
65
2 / 3 / 0
0
Norm Weir
10
469
56
2 / 3 / 0
0
James Neill
10
455
59
2 / 3 / 0
0
David Rodriguez
10
418
50
2 / 3 / 0
0
Shereff Ishak
10
416
59
2 / 3 / 0
0
Joe Silva
10
356
46
2 / 3 / 0
1
Cameron Carmichael
10
334
65
2 / 3 / 0
0
Garrett Lowe
10
330
65
2 / 3 / 0
0
Gary Bento
10
327
76
2 / 3 / 0
0
Eric Grier
8
426
65
2 / 3 / 0
0
Brandon Mallett
8
405
45
2 / 3 / 0
0
MIke Croft
5
535
50
1 / 4 / 0
0
Jeff Bizzak
5
431
65
1 / 4 / 0
0
Andrew Kim
5
425
34
1 / 4 / 0
0
Hossam Mohyeldin
5
316
55
1 / 4 / 0
0
Darren Collins
5
265
58
1 / 4 / 0
0
Noah Chapman
5
249
68
1 / 4 / 0
0
Steven Buie
5
172
46
1 / 4 / 0
1

You have no idea how much grief I got for Greg coming 2 places higher by I just remind him that I beat him in the event and that his first win was a Bye (to which he reminds me that he earned the bye placing above me at regionals too…)

That is where my participation in the even finished 25 out of 58.  As it is now Sunday I am happy with that, yesterday I was a little more disappointed but when I look at my Strength of Schedule it is not that bad, I lost to First Place and 5th Place and had the highest SoS score on the day so I didn’t get an easy run opponent wise.  I would have liked to play more varied lists as the day felt a bit repetitive with Friesprays and Phantoms and then B-Wings but that is the luck of the draw I suppose.

The knock out stages were unfortunately also on the 60 Minute time limit but again that comes back to the event being run in a Legion building so you take the rough with the smooth I suppose, my only criticism of the organization of the even falls on this point as it was advertised with the usual 75 minute rounds for the top 8 split so some people may have taken a different approach in list design as some list defiantly have an advantage in the 60 minute format.

Here is the Rundown anyway.

Top 8
1: Ron Brannan VS Matt Berge – Match Results: Ron Brannan is the winner 100 to 44

2: Grish K. VS Dany Laberge – Match Results: Grish K. is the winner 100 to 36
3: Remi Dumais VS Jeff Dunford – Match Results: Jeff Dunford is the winner 52 to 100
4: Glen Nielsen VS Nelson Cravo – Match Results: Glen Nielsen is the winner 48 to 38

Top 4
1: Ron Brannan VS Grish K. – Match Results: Ron Brannan is the winner 100 to 22
2: Jeff Dunford VS Glen Nielsen – Match Results: Jeff Dunford is the winner 100 to 0

Top 2
1: Ron Brannan VS Jeff Dunford – Match Results: Jeff Dunford is the winner 52 to 58

Unfortunately I don’t have all of the details for the top 8 lists but the final was between;
Jeff’s Double Falcon
100 points
Lando Calrissian (52)
YT-1300 (44), Push the Limit (3), Nien Nunb (1), C-3PO (3), Millennium Falcon (1)
Chewbacca (48)
YT-1300 (42), Veteran Instincts (1), Jan Ors (2), Recon Specialist (3)
And
Ron’s Z’s and B’s
100 points
Blue Squadron Pilot (22)
Blue Squadron Pilot (22)
Blue Squadron Pilot (22)
Blue Squadron Pilot (22)
Bandit Squadron Pilot (12)
So with the addition of wave 5 and Rebel Aces Falcons are still good and B-Wings can more than hold their own!
Ok so its now Sunday 26th and I am starting the long trip back to Cold Lake, Ab.
I have had some time for introspection and to look back on the event and what was on show.  For my performance I got to mix it with the best on the day as my SoS showed but then I was found wanting at the end of the day so I have some things to work on.
I may not be happy with my over all placement of 25 but think it was a fair reflection of my play on the day when I take in to account the last game where I defiantly was on tilt and could have played much better.  I still think I would have taken the risk against Ron but now that I have played him once I have a better approach but was defiantly out played there!
My predictions on the Meta were fairly scattered as although I didn’t get to play a Falcon there were a few on display including a good percentage of the top 8.  There were no 8 TIE warms but there was an 8 Z-95 Swarm and it did very well.
I saw more Echo’s than Whispers which did surprise me and I still don’t see the value in the Fett and Echo list at this level of play.
There were lots of B-Wings so the people who thought they had died with the emersion of the Phantom were dead wrong and I still believe a well flow B-Wing  based list has nothing to fear from a Phantom.
I do have one thing that has been nagging at me that I found shocking.  People actually left the even after rounds 2 and 3.  I personally would still have been playing if I were 0-4 and not just because I had come such a long way.  I just think its disrespectful to your fellow players and the event organizers to leave just because you lost.  I have seen it happen a couple of times since I moved over her so maybe it as a cultural thing that I don’t get but even in an event lilt this my primary goal is to play some toy soldiers and that just does not mesh with the  walking out after 2 losses mentality.
I would like to thank all of the people involved in running the event and the Royal Canadian Legion for hosting us.  A massive thanks you to all of my opponents who all played well and took there dice rolls (good or bad) well and made the trip worth while!

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