Do you still write your blog?

The truth is, I’ve been looking for the narrative in my evolution as a player. What does that mean? Well, I’ve been trying to figure out how long I can reasonably call myself Green Rookie and have gone back to basics. You know, unlearn what you have learned and all that…

Since my failings at the Daventry Regional, I had dropped the fangs and tried to search for a Rebel list that might well make me a better player. I don’t mean ‘better’ in a competitive sense, I mean with a greater understanding of spatial awareness and the game (which should then have a knock on effect).

It seems like so long ago that I declared myself a Green Rookie and started blogging. I don’t want to go down the Greatest Hits route, but I was re-reading some of my older posts on itsgettinghothinhere and I still feel proud of them. I can look back and claim a number of predictions, like Dengaroo (published last June, before Jeff Berling made a massive splash with it), or the benefit of Mindlink (published last July on the eve of the first Coruscant). I still love the silliness of this ode to A-Wings, there are more posts dedicated to A-Wing love back there too.

I’m not saying that I invented certain bogey man lists (I didn’t), I’m a better analyst then I am a player — but I’m proud of the work I put into my posts and I wouldn’t want to churn out something suboptimal that I would then put my name to.

I feel like there’s a lost series of Rookie Playbooks where I go over my journey over the last two months. After Yavin, I was really proud of my 5 and 4 showing at the Euros. I narrowly missed the swanky markers by two places, coming 109 after the final standings (that’s out of 320 odd). Missing out by two spots was tough, but I did it flying this:

Although a solid list, it was a massive departure from Scum, returning back to my Rebel roots.

In my last post I explained that I thought this list was solid but needed some tinkering. It’s major weakness then was double TLT Ghost lists. My highlight of the Euro weekend was beating the Heragator himself, Cal Jones. After he castled for what felt like nearly 30 minutes, I managed to use my list (I affectionately call it Mamma Said Knock You Out!) to get Cal down to nearly half health on the Ghost — I have to admit that he had done two of those damage points himself, flying the Ghost onto a rock twice. The match ended on my first final salvo ever and with Cal’s 9 dice vs. my 8, I wasn’t really hopeful. Still — I rolled 5 hits and a crit, Cal rolled 5 hits. Thanks for the game Cal, It alleviated some demons.

Massive props to Janus F Avivson and Oli Pocknell who both made it into the top 16 cut. That’s the top 16 in Europe. You know, the continent?

Rasta Maice (nice bloke, great player) of course took the title with Leebo and Miranda — it’s been quite awesome listening to Rasta, Sim and Kevin Bellamyu on the Mynock Podcast.

Rasta’s winning list was:

Leebo comes in at 53 points

Miranda is 47 points

You can also watch the final here

But that was a month ago.

So what have I learned on my Rebel jaunt and how has this made me a better player?

Well, I attended the Store Champs at ibuywargames on Saturday 15th July, where I decided to fly the following

Why did I revert back to type and return to Scum?

It’s not the same list I took to Yavin, but it’s incredibly similar. Rather than loading up with plasma torps, I went for a bumpmaster and dropped Roo down to a Contracted Scout. This brought me to 96 points.

Ian Courtney of Zombie Squadron (you can find his blog here), had placed a bounty on each of the members of the 186th. As a squadron, we acounted for a quarter of the 40 paid for attendees.

This was something special — thank you, Ian. I’ve been in and out of a funk and list building lately and the comaraderie of this reminded me a little of what it’s all about.

So how did I fair? I did not gain a bounty token throughout the day. I helped to give away three of them, but on reflection, my flying was what I needed it to be.

I’d like to focus for a moment on the things I actually learnt from the games as opposed to a blow by blow account of the day.

Lesson One: it’s never the dice.

My choice of modifiers let me down, and this, in turn made an impact on my dice rolls (it’s never the dice). Well, there there was this one time in game four against Luke Berry where I needed Fenn to survive at range one twice in a row in order to hopefully kill Dengar (which he did, but only through simultaneous fire). Fenn needed to generate five evades against Advanced Proton Torps at range one and without a focus token. He rolled four natural evades and a focus. Then in the next round, he was defending against Luke’s Dengar out of arc and needed four bits of paint on those green dice. Hoping to have learnt from my lucky escape in the previous round, I had taken a focus token. Fenn gave me four blanks. Four. It is and it isn’t the dice. The first roll could have been so much more unlucky, the second roll was perhaps some sort of cosmic karma justice.

Lesson Two: Don’t turn it into The Princess Bride

My second game was against Oliver Aster, who went on to make the top cut (and also claimed the largest bounty of the day, beating three members of the 186th).

Oli’s list was a modified Fat Han and a Warden kitted out with bombs and such. My target priority was Han, he was worth something like a whopping 63 points, but I was cautious to get too close because of the bombing Warden.

The reason I originally hung up my Fangs was becauase of the abundance of bombing K-Wings that emerged towards the end of the Regionals season (you can read about it here).

The ensuing battle of wits meant that I flew both Fangs with caution, avoiding the bombs for a full 75 minutes , whilst still keeping my lasers pointing the correct way. I’m actually really proud of the way I flew against this particular ace killer. Despite that, Ollie flew better and I managed a pitiful half points on Han whilst he killed my Scout and then Teroch in the final round of combat.

Ollie looked upon my fangs with trepidation butI felt exactly the same way about his bombing Warden.

Had I just been more confident, it might have been a tad different.

Lesson Three: Same ships + different list = fly differently

Bar the A-Wing, I think I can safely say that there isn’t a dial I know better than the fang or Jumpmaster. I have the reps with the torp variant of this list, but the bump master? I had only flown that 4–5 times before the tournament.

Indecision? life? Fatigue? Reasons? Whatever it was that stopped me flying this list until four days before the tournament, not getting the propper reps in is a big factor in my results for the day. Youtube was really invaluable as a source of information in how people who have flown a similar list open and approach different match ups.

My most enjoyable game of the day was game one against Phil GC with his double firesprays (You can read his blog here).

The game was so tight. Very early on, I traded Fenn for Kath. I was up on points but down on firepower. Boba equiped with Fearlessness is not to be underestimated. Hindsight tells me I should have disengaged and got a better approach against a full health Boba.

I carried on as normal. reduction in bite from my fangs? Nope. nothing to see here, let’s plough in. Teroch soon died and the Scout melted.

I hit my stride with the list by game three, securing a win agianst Chris Ward’s TIE/SF and Bomber mini swarm and then later Dan Boheme’s Dash and Lothal Rebel build.

I had played against Dan in my first round at Yavin and made some poor judgements with approach and ship placement. With this match, the Contracted Scout’s Revenge Bot and APL had Dash down to half health before the fangs had even engaged.

After 40 minutes, I had traded the Scout for Dash, but Teroch was bleeding badly and the Lothal Rebel was still on two shields and 10 hull. I then managed to get the Rebel down to 10 hull, but at the expemse of Teroch. with just under 30 minutes left and a full health Fenn, I did something really important: I stopped and pressed the re-set button. The odds were down for me, but I needed to disengage in order to come up with a better plan and approach.

Ultimately, I needed to stop myself from making suboptimal decisions.

Belive it or not, I managed to get the Ghost down to half points, then disengaged again, then with another cautious approach got back into range one, but out of arc and killed the Rebel.

What did I learn from all this? When it looks bad, stop. Reset. Make the right decision. Fly better.

Next week: I explore Nym builds in anticipation of my final Store Champs whilst wrangling over sticking Bump-a-Rau or trying something new.