Chasing the Cut: X-Wing European Championships 2017
Welcome back to the second part of my write up of the X-Wing European Championships. Where I last left off, I had just finished the first day on a very respectable score of 4–0. Not getting any easy breaks, and with my MOV lying in tatters, I knew a hard day was ahead. Any more than one loss could see me out of the cut…
Game 5: Andrzej Rodziewicz (Poland)
List: Rey and Poe (BB8 nonsense)
Uh oh… My first opponent of the day was a man that I knew by reputation. I had met him at the European Team Championships where he played for the Polish team, although I had not played against him. At the ETC Andrzej was flying Dash. Unfortunately for me, he had hung up the Correlian smuggler and swapped him for a newer model in Rey.
Andrzej’s list gave him two PS 9 pilots that were supported by a healthy initiative bid. This was not good news for Fenn but with all three of my ships moving first I knew that I would have to play a strong blocking game.
Having been given the initiative I started by placing the largest rock in the middle of the board to make life as difficult for Rey as possible, aiming to prevent her S-loop. Wise to these tricks Andrzej started to place my other asteroids as widely as possible. Leaving her as much space to play with her tricks. What we ended up with was an unhappy compromise, the middle littered asteroids and debris but the outer edges of the board worryingly clear.
The Game was a tense affair of cat and mouse between Asajj and Rey. The Falcon needed to stay out of Asajj’s dangerous stress zone and at the same time catch a fang in arc. Asajj did her job well, stressing out Rey, at which point Andrzej threw caution to the wind, popping Glitterstims and catching Teroch at range 2.
Unfortunately for Andrzej, his dice did not play ball and Rey bounced off the Fang leaving the Falcon out of position and in danger. After a couple of turns, my ships managed to halve the Falcon but Teroch took a serious pounding in the process, leaving him on a single point of hull. At this point he decided that enough was enough and fled for the hills with Rey in hot pursuit. This was how the game ended, with Teroch and Fenn hanging on for the victory.
One of these days I will have a game that doesn’t go to time…
Game 6: Paul R. Smith (Weekend Warlords)
List: Leebo Miranda
I had been hearing about the Weekend Warlords ‘Meta breaking list’ in the build up to the Euros. I spoke to a couple of them on the Friday I found out that eight of the fifteen or so that had entered the tournament were flying it! After seeing the full list I can understand why, although it is tough to understand at first. Changing Dash to Leebo does not give away much in pilot skill as most IG-88 are running Veteran Instincts in the present meta.
The 3 points spared changing pilots allows you to put Countermeasures on Leebo, which ironically is a direct ‘counter’ to most Jumpmaster builds. Making it’s arrival with the Dengaroo monster, Countermeasures allows you to gain an extra agility for a round. It’s use here however is it’s secondary ability, removing a target lock. Any ship that was hoping to fire it’s torpedoes that turn is left sitting like a lemon, while Leebo continues to hammer his opponent with his Heavy Laser Cannon. It is also an extremely satisfying surprise to Omega Leader as he is suddenly left stranded without target lock protection.
A clever adjustment of a present list but updated for the present environment. Just what I would expect from Simeon Dellapina, the so called ‘Evil Genius’ that came up with it.
Paul flew a good game but Miranda had a hard time when she constantly had three sets of cross-hairs trained on her wherever she went. Keeping the pressure on her I got lucky and stripped her shields, forcing her away. Swapping my target to Leebo I managed to tag him with stress, slowing him down enough for me to get guns on.
Paul punished Asajj for that, hammering her with Heavy Laser Cannon fire and popping Countermeasures to keep Leebo above half health. Not wanting to let Leebo get away she took the hits on the chin, leaving the droid double stressed. Paul legged it, relying on the focus tokens from Rey but eventually the focused fire brought her down to half points.
The chase boiled down to the final turn, Leebo with one hull left and Asajj with two. The person with the kill got the victory. Paul threw a ‘Hail Mary’ with Miranda and SLAMmed over the top of Asajj to drop a bomb. Unfortunately, this just took him off the edge of the board. The fangs proceeded to finish off Leebo for the win.
The scoreline here definitely did not describe just how close this game was. Full credit to Paul here for some fantastic flying. Also for being the first person to take points off me all weekend!
Game 7: David Diez Garcia (Spain)
List: 4 ship Rebels (Biggs, Rex, Thane, Roark)
Onward and upwards then, who do we have this time?
I had a quick chat to Simon Green who ran the First Earth Twitch stream for the event before this one. When he wished me good luck he looked like he meant it… Oh good. Turns out David reached the top 4 of the Tatooine system open with a very similar list. When I got to the table I also realised that he was a member of the Spanish ETC team and I’d also met him over the summer. Small world, eh?
When you first look at David’s list you realise it has everything in it that makes Rebels annoying. Then you look again and see how much synergy it has. Simeon might be an evil genius for lists but it seems like David is similarly talented.
To give you an idea of the nonsense that he can pull take a look at this.
- Thane blasts forwards towards you and activates Jyn Erso
- He places two or more focus tokens on Biggs.
- Biggs then moves forwards and takes a token for himself.
- Roark moves up and makes Rex Pilot Skill 12 for the combat round.
- Rex shoots something, reducing it’s attack output and probably missing.
- Ops Spec triggers, Giving one of David’s ships ANOTHER focus for an attack.
- At the end of the round Biggs spends one of his multiple focus tokens to regenerate a shield.
Knowing how nasty the list was when it worked meant I had to do one thing and fast: get David’s ships away from Mr Pornstache (Biggs) as quickly as possible. Thankfully I had both asteroids and a large, stressful battering ram to help me with this task.
I managed to bait David around the bottom asteroid by dangling Fenn and then proceeded to shove Asajj right in his face. Unfortunately I chose the wrong direction with Fenn and David was rewarded for his efforts by a PS 12 Range 1 shot from Rex.
We went back and forth, David splitting around Asajj and taking her to half health. She in return pulled out some serious heroics and rolled 3 natural hits and a crit with no modifiers, forcing David to ditch the astromech on Biggs. David managed to keep Fenn out of the fight with some superb blocking from Rex, leaving Asajj and Teroch to finish the job.
In the final throes of the game, David lined all of ships up onto Asajj as Biggs scrambled to escape her clutches. At this point, Teroch did something that was both brave and stupid. Seeing David had put all of his target locks on Asajj, I took a calculated risk, leaving Teroch in arc of three of David’s ships and turning him into a big fat, fully healthy distraction. Importantly, Teroch was also in arc of Biggs, allowing him to get rid of his defensive focus token before Asajj fired on him.
David took the bait and shot everything he had at Teroch, knowing he was one more point than Biggs. If he killed him, he won. As the dust cleared, Biggs was space junk thanks to Assaj’s once again accurate shots. Terry survived on a single hull point to clinch the victory by 8 points.
One hell of a game!
Game 8: Juan del Rio
List: RAC/Carnor (Kylo Palp)
So this is it! Two games to go and I need one more win to see me into the top 16. With only three of us left on a 7–0 record this was going to be one hell of a game, no matter who I played against.
As Juan arrived at the table and unpacked a Decimator, I started to get a little worried… all that was going through my head was ‘please not Vader’. It turned out not to be Vader, but his grandson! Kylo with The Emperor riding shotgun was going to be a pain, but at least there were no automatic crits onto my Fangs.
I could describe this game but in all honesty you should watch it. There is so much backward and forward during the game and all credit to Juan for taking it to the wire. We both made some mistakes during this game but it led to a nail-biting ending. Sorry for the odd swear (Greenaways!), I got a little excited.
The video starts just after turn two as I move up the right hand side of the board and can be watched here on the First Earth YouTube Channel.
Caution, Spoilers Below…
So that’s it! I’ve gone 8 and 0 over two days of the European Championships!
After a quick check with the judges, they confirm that I am definitely through to the top 16 cut. The pressure is off.
Game 9: Tim Gronneberg (Scotland)
List: Miranda, Jess, Biggs
With two pilots left standing on 8–0 I knew exactly who my opponent would be, he’d been sitting on the highest MOV all day and had barely lost a ship. The list was solid and a nice variation of three ship rebels that has managed to make Miranda much more aggressive with Rey crew.
I’d like to take a second to apologise to Tim for robbing him of a proper final game. I decided at the start of this game that as I was already in the cut I wanted two things from this game. To see just how effective his list was in a joust, and for it to finish quickly.
Turns out the answer was very. I got my wish as Tim removed Teroch and most of Asajj in the opening engagement. In the next two turns a console fire put paid to Biggs as Miranda and Jess hunted down Fenn for the win.
The day was over, Tim had gone 9–0 and I was happy. I had hit the top cut of Yavin a few months earlier. Now I had made the cut of the Euros. Some shout outs go to all the other 15 players in the cut. Some of whom you may recognise from my previous Games! It was good to have some British company in there.
Let’s see if I can break the curse of being knocked out in the first round!
Join me next time for the Third and final instalment of the Series. The top 16 Cut.
Fly Casual all,