#Nickdraw goes to Yavin
This post contains the adventures of Nicholas Yun up to and during the X-Wing Miniatures Game Yavin System Open 2017, in Birmingham, UK.
Part 1: Origins
Hey Guys! I’m Nicholas from Singapore, currently studying in London. I started playing X-Wing in September 2015, shortly before I first came to the UK. Since then, I have had the privilege of being amongst the ranks of the esteemed 186th Squadron, primarily flying Imperial archetype lists (Aces, dabbling in Swarms, trying to make pre-X7 Defenders work). I love the aesthetic of Imperial ships, and ever since TFA, I have been steadily painting my entire collection of Imperial ships to fit with the First Order Regalia.
The List: #NICKDRAW (Click link for the list)
#Nickdraw has its origins in the 2017 Mustafar Open finalist, Marc Sebo’s, list, as well as Irish Player Ian O’Connell’s Quickdraw/Vess/Striker archetype. Whilst I did not know Ian personally when I took up the list, I had heard about it by proxy, through one of my 186th Squad members, Oliver Pocknell.
What struck me as I was looking at the list was that potentially having Vessery fire at Pilot Skill 9 would be an awesome capability. Prior to this, I had been building multiple Quickdraw lists to no avail. The Rage/Baffle combo had always tempted me, but I figured that the best way to get mileage out of Quickdraw would be to build him as a generic fighter, with the added chance of triggering his ability as a form of pseudo-Corran. I also thought about Omega Leader as the third wheel because of the added synergy with Vessery, but I figured that I required a flanker, not an additional ace.
After my failed stint at Worlds with Attani (Fenn/HLC Scyk/Manaroo), I had been dabbling exclusively with TIE Strikers. I love the way they move on the board, and aesthetically they are just gorgeous. However, their performance in-game, particularly against turrets, has been quite underwhelming, and I began running “naked” Strikers for the most efficiency. Ironically, Lightweight Frames would prove to be a far better upgrade on the TIE/SF chassis than the Striker, for reasons I will go into later on.
Initially, I took Expertise off Vessery, instead opting for Crack Shot, and getting the points for Predator on Sabacc, to help normalise his high-variance attack rolls. Primed Thrusters on Quickdraw worked very well, with the sloop and barrel rolls being a redeeming feature on the TIE/SF and helping to mitigate its general lack of maneuverability.
As for the crux of the list - getting Vessery to fire at PS9 - I first tried Swarm Tactics, but I figured that it would be almost impossible for Vessery to keep pace with Quickdraw at range one. That is why I eventually settled on Decoy with its more accomodating range 1–2 restriction.
In our playtesting for the Warboar (London) Regionals, fellow 186th Member, Mike Dennis, and I were astonished at how this janky Imperial list seemed to regularly beat Parattani and most other competitive lists. With the Parattani matchup, the ability to decoy Sabacc to PS9, to get a shot simultaeneously against Fenn Rau, was a huge boon. It was not uncommon for Sabacc to trade Fenn by way of glorious mutual destruction, which was a nine point trade in my favour. Sabacc was also excellent at chasing down the elusive Manaroo, and putting enough pressure on her to alter the course of our games.
With little time left to prepare, Mike decided to pick up this weird and wonderful Imperial list, making some of his own tweaks (Expertise on Vessery, Trick Shot on Sabacc). He ended up in the cut to top 16, whilst I placed 19th out of 90 Players, missing the cut by 37 points(Vessery was 38, so that stung). Another 186th member, Will Hasslewood, also brought Quickdraw, but with x7 Ryad and Omega Leader, which was an interesting comparison.
Our combined experience from Warboar was that whilst Decoy worked great, it was crucial that Vessery’s tractor beam hit against its intended target, which was not very consistent against AGI3+ ships. Moreover, spending focus on Vessary’s attacks means that his defence is compromised, and the list crumbles when he dies prematurely. This was demonstrated well in my game against Will, whose x7 Ryad simply would not fall to my repeated tractor beam shots. I also had a hair-raising game against Harrison Sharp, which involved 20 mins of Vessery against his /X7 PTL Ryad, with my Vessery squeaking out a win on one hull because of some fortituous dice rolls.
With regards to #Nickdraw, the placement of asteroids is also a key factor, as the fragile ships in the list need to make the most of asteroids for defense, and for tractor-beaming unsuspecting enemy ships onto them to deny their shots. This naturally lends itself to Trick Shot on Sabacc being a decent choice, as the lack of natural re-rolls can be semi-resolved by just throwing more dice. Right?
As such, without much time before Yavin, I decided to adopt Mike’s version of “my” list (yes it gets complicated), but with Pattern Analyser instead of Primed Thrusters, to get more mileage and accuracy out of Quickdraw, and open up his dial somewhat. In doing so, I sacrificed the one point bid, which I had also concluded was not really necessary anyway.
The Final List #NICKDRAW (Mike Dennis ver.)
Part 2: The Yavin Open
Daniel Almeida vs Nicholas Yun at table 122 (Fenn Kavil Roo)
Daniel is a friendly chap from Portugal, who had an intimidating list. Andrew Pattiswarm, the reigning Yavin champ, had been running an Attani Fenn/Kavil/Manaroo combination to great success, so I knew that this list was not to be trifled with. Interestingly, he had Plasma Torps and Dorsal Turret on Kavil, and only Manaroo + Kavil Mindlinked, with Fenn having PTL.
Starting off, my gameplan was to burn down his Fenn quick and hopefully switch to Kavil before he did any significant damage. A fleeting engagement with Fenn left him with a crit (I think it was a Stunned Pilot), and thereafter I immediately switched to Kavil, who had been sneaking up along our engagement. A tractor beam onto a rock later, Kavil was down, but Vessery had lost his shields from a nasty Plasma torp attack, and Fenn was back in the fight. The game eventually went to time with a 1 HP Quickdraw vs Manaroo with no shields, winning me the game by a whopping five points.
Ian Kafka vs Nicholas Yun at table 15 (Parattani)
I had played Ian before at a small tournament at Enfield, and we chatted for a bit before we started our game. Previously, he was running Imperials (Defenders) and I was running Attani (Roo and 2 Scyks), with me squeaking out a win. Now the tables were turned…
Ian started by deploying Manaroo and Asajj in the corner, with Fenn zooming down the middle to guard his flank. I feinted for Fenn, and when he committed Manaroo down the side of the board towards my deployment zone, I switched to her and managed to take her out in two turns of firing. During this, Sabacc had some exceptionally lucky rolls, and Ian’s Fenn suffered from some cold attack dice, which meant that Sabacc survived for three turns when he really shouldn’t have. He endured a console fire and two turns of going over an asteroid without taking a single damage.
The game finally went to time with Fenn finishing off Sabacc, and Vessery + Quickdraw finishing off his Asajj, who didnt have much defensive capability without Manaroo around.
Lukasz Jagalski vs Nicholas Yun at table 26 (K Wing Bombers + R3-A2 Y-Wing)
Lukasz was a chatty fellow, with a mean list. Luckily for me, I had practised extensively with the likes of Full-On Paul, Lloyd, and Jason, who have been championing the likes of K-Wing bombers in our local London meta. Our findings? That tractor beam Vessery absolutely bullies K-Wings.
And oh boy it did.
In our initial engagement, I expected him to do a three bank and SLAM three straight into my forces, attempting to get a bump. I responded by slow rolling with Vessery (when I revealed a 2 forwards, he gasped in horror), and the first round of shooting saw his K-Wing on a rock with one hull. The next round, I switched to the stress Y-Wing, clustering all of my ships right behind a rock to avoid a bomb, and also to get prime range one shots on the Y-Wing after Vessery tractor Beamed it onto a rock.
Frustratingly, the K-Wing would go on to survive crossing that rock twice, which made me peel Sabacc off to finish it. Miranda would eventually enter the fray and finish off Sabacc, as well as getting a good hit on Quickdraw with Homing Missiles, leaving Vessery to finish Miranda off for the win.
Jonathan Kok vs Nicholas Yun at table 12 (Miranda/Jan /Biggs)
Jonathan was a cheery Dutch player, who had an innocent-looking list. However, I have a healthy respect for the standard of Team Amsterdam, having played his teammate, Faan, last year. Upon closer inspection, I started to see that this list in fact had a nasty trick up its sleeve…
I figured he would aim to get a big hit with a Miranda and Jan-boosted Homing Missile shot, and I knew I would have to avoid that for as long as possible, because I needed to deal with Biggs first.
We spent the first 40mins of the game both slow rolling, with his forces creeping up on my left flank, and mine dancing in the asteroid field to my right. Sabacc slowly ended up in a flanking position, and I pounced with Vessery and Quickdraw.
Miranda ended up getting her massive 6-dice shot, but good rolls from Vessery meant that he only lost his shields. Because Miranda was on the outside of his formation, the next 3–4 turns would basically see Vessery tractor-beaming Biggs away from his formation onto a rock, and the rest of my ships piling into Miranda.
Miranda went down after several good hits from Vessery and Quickdraw, and I shortly switched to Jan. All this while, Biggs was desperately attempting to maintain formation, ramming into his own teammate to remain at range one.
Vessery would have none of this, of course, and repeatedly tractor beamed Biggs onto rock after rock, leaving him helpless to defend Jan.
After Jan was down, I turned to Biggs, battered and bruised after going over asteroids 6 times and shortly put him out of his misery.
Nicholas Yun vs Timo Raabe at table 155 (Commonwealth Defenders)
I was rather intimidated by Timo, as the other German player I have met, Steffan, is a very proficient pilot who went undefeated in swiss with Commonwealth Defenders at Worlds. I had not really played against this list with #Nickdraw, and figured from my experience at regionals that /X7 Defenders were generally a bad matchup for me, as their tokens allow them to withstand the huge beating that my list is capable of dealing.
When I started by dancing in my own asteroid field, Timo smirked and told me “I know what you’re doing”, proceeding to stay on his side of the board, in a wide open area. Neither of us wanted to engage on the others’ terms, and a failed flanking attempt by Sabacc on his shuttle meant that I was down one ship, in exchange for 1 shield off the shuttle. Not good.
With his confidence bolstered, Timo then turned all of his ships onto my Vessery, who was hiding in his rocky home. One good round of green dice later, and I had stripped Ryad’s shields, with my Vessery taking 1 damage total. Quickdraw then proceeded to get behind his shuttle and take it down to three hull, whilst my Vessery chased Ryad through the asteroid field, with Timo’s Vessery in hot pursuit. Many suspense filled attacks later, my Vessery managed to sneak a kill on his Ryad, just as time was called.
Game is available for viewing at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vJIN7EvQ4-0&index=6&list=PLuM1BpKQtnVXJMpjVW6f76R-8Oj059HTb
Nicholas Yun vs Faan Langelaan at table 1 (Dengaroo)
I had played Faan last year at Yavin, coincidentally at round 6 as well. I had managed to eke out a victory over his Triple U-Boats with my Palp Aces, and he was eager for revenge.
This time round, however, he was using his variation of the notorious Dengaroo, and was the very same player that knocked the reigning world champion out of the cut at Worlds. I did not have much experience against Dengaroo, and he is probably the best Dengaroo player in the World right now (trying to pad my defeat here as much as possible, is it working???)
Faan counter deployed his Dengar to protect Manaroo, and I was forced to respond in kind by feinting Sabacc away in an attempt to mitigate the rate of closure between our forces. At the same time, I started heading for Manaroo with Quickdraw and Vessery. After he swooped towards my ships with Dengar, I knew I had no choice but to force an engagement with Dengar, and turned all my ships in. However, a misestimation on my part meant that Quickdraw was just out of range of Dengar, which saved him from a Plasma Torp shot, but also denied Vessery the essential target lock.
The first round of fire saw Vessery shieldless, and Sabacc with 2 damage. This was especially hurtful as both of them were essentially one shot away from death. In exchange, Vessery’s tractor beam failed to connect, and one shield was plinked off in the end.
The next turn, I chose to move Sabacc into a firing position instead of a block, figuring that I could at least shoot with all three ships if he went for the sloop. Instead, he sent Dengar crashing into my formation, denying my crucial tractor beam shot from Vessery. Decoying Sabacc meant he managed to take an ineffective last shot before he died, and Dengar also mauled Quickdraw by taking out all three shields in one blow, denying future Quickdraw revenge shots. Quickdraw replied in kind by dealing 4 damage over both shots, despite Dengar popping countermeasures.
Despite both of us getting good hits, we both knew the next turn would be the one to decide this game. After a few minutes of umming and ahhing, we finally decided on our maneuvers.
I K-turned/slooped Vessery and Quickdraw around respectively for my final counterstrike, and Faan slooped Dengar perfectly behind a debris, giving him a crucial defensive advantage. If I could hit with my tractor beam, I had my last chance to push the last four damage into Dengar, whilst having to weather his counter-attack.
The tip of the debris obstructing his Dengar made all the difference, allowing him to roll three natural evades to deny my tractor beam shot, and thereafter repelling all my attacks from Vessery and Quickdraw. He responded by shooting back at Vessery, and making me reroll my five natural evades into four blanks and a focus. ouch. Vessery was down.
The next turn, I banked with Quickdraw, forgetting that he had Inertial Dampeners. Seizing the opportunity, Faan pulled on the handbrakes, and blasted Quickdraw out of the sky.
After the game, Faan and I sat down and discussed what went right and wrong in that game. We both felt that we essentially did what we had to, and it essentially came down to a matter of dice rolls. However, upon watching the replay, I cannot help but wonder if having Quickdraw in that first engagement would have changed the outcome of this game. Great game; looking forward to my next encounter with Faan.
Loss 29-100 (Half Dengar)
Robert Dewar vs Nicholas Yun at table 17 (Parattani)
Rob was a friendly fellow, but by now it was gone 10pm and we were all tired, so I don’t remember much of this game… nonetheless, it was time to take on the dreaded Parattani again. We engaged with all three of my ships firing on Fenn at range 2–3, with his Asajj and Manaroo at least two turns away. However, I soon found myself stuck in the same situation I have always found myself when I go for Fenn first: He. Just. Wont. Die.
After dealing three damage on him in the initial engagement (Crit wasn’t a Direct Hit), I then proceeded to sink another round of Vessery range one tractor beam and primary, Quickdraw range one Primary out of arc shots into him, to be replied with all focus and evade results. If one blank was rolled in any of those rolls, Fenn would be dead. Vessery went down in that round of fire, because of course he did. Fenn then continued to run away, giving Quickdraw the chance to kill Manaroo and get Asajj down to half before succumbing to Fenn and Asajj.
End of Day 1: 5–2 with a horrible MoV
Having come much further than I had expected with this list, I was both exhilarated and exhausted. Going into day 2, I was not entertaining any unrealistic expectations, as only the top 8–2s would get through the cut, and my MoV was horrible. I set a goal for myself to bag at least one set of shield tokens.
Adam Stainton vs Nicholas Yun at table 38 (Commonwealth Defenders)
Adam was yet another player that I had previously crossed paths with, with yet another matchup that I was not looking forward to. Unlike Timo, however, he started to engage me in the asteroid field, so I shot Sabacc across the board, to flank his shuttle, whilst Vessery and Quickdraw turned to face Ryad and his Vessery in the middle of the asteroid field.
In the initial engagement, some unfortunate self-bumping on Adam’s part meant that his Vessery was at a weird angle, and not able to enter the fight parallel to Ryad, to give him better K-turn options. My Vessery and Quickdraw quickly capitalised on this, and deleted Ryad’s shields with my Vessery losing a shield in response (I believe it was only 1 shield). The shuttle was also gearing up to enter the fray, but Sabacc had simultaneously begun to nip away at it, scoring three hits.
The following turn, The shuttle inched closer to the fray, and the Defenders with Quickdraw all smashed into each other. Ryad zoomed out of the furball, repositioning for a K-turn, so my Vessery and Quickdraw started attacking his Vessery, causing him to lose his shields as well. In response, Adam managed to deal 5 damage to Quickdraw, which left him precariously at one hull.
“Wow, the game is now super tense!” Adam exclaimed, in the most non-tense way possible. Great guy!
The following turn, Quickdraw slooped past the shuttle, and Vessery moved to get a shot on Ryad. Sabacc positioned next to Quickdraw, ready to shoot at both Adam’s Vessery and the shuttle. It was a good ol’ Mexican standoff!
I managed to decoy Vessery to get a good shot on Ryad, stripping her tokens. I now had an interesting scenario, choosing to use Sabacc to shoot at Ryad, dealing needed damage to her. Quickdraw then finished off the shuttle before getting killed by Vessery in return.
After the round had ended, Adam then advised me that I should have killed the Palpshuttle BEFORE I shot at Ryad, as I would have denied him the use of Palpatine; kudos to Adam for that sound advice. I won’t forget that next time.
The next round, Vessery and Sabacc were able to lock down Ryad, with Sabacc aileron and K-turning over a rock to avoid Vessery. When time was called, it was my almost-dead Sabacc and healthy Vessery vs. his unshielded Vessery.
Yay shield tokens!
Joshua Nicholls vs Nicholas Yun at table 10 (Mirandash)
I was terrified of a Miranda/Dash combination at Game 9, because it meant that Joshua knew what he was doing. We spent the entire first 20mins making fleeting passes at each other through the asteroid field, with Dash scoring one hit on Sabacc, but Quickdraw responding with one shield off Dash.
Joshua then split off his Miranda to approach my left, and Dash swooped in from my right. Caught between a rock and a hard place, I opted to slow-roll in the middle of the asteroid field, to buy myself time.
It worked. Miranda peeled off, and Dash attempted to zoom past my lines, taking more potshots at Sabacc. Sabacc disengaged and circled around, positioning for a second pass, whilst Vessery and Quickdraw started to hammer Dash.
I feinted at Miranda with Sabacc, but turned in with a large aileron and a three bank move, to get in front of Dash and block him. Without his precious focus tokens, Dash was left with only Lone Wolf to mitigate his defensive rolls, and he quickly went down after two rounds of Sabacc blocking his moves and Quickdraw and Vessery hammering him from behind.
As Dash went down, Miranda had finally caught up, and made her entrance known by wiping out Sabacc. However, Vessery soon made short work of Miranda with his usual tractor beam shenanigans, and the win was eventually secured.
Krzysztof Piszcz vs Nicholas Yun at table 14 (Miranda Esege)
After Round 9, I was dallying around outside the hall with the Hangar Bay boys, and did not realise that round 10 had started, arriving late and flustered. Krzyzstof was really chill about it, though, and offered to let bygones be bygones with a little sip from my water bottle.
Krzysztof’s list is really weird, even for a K-Wing bomber list. He had Proton Bombs, Conners, Clusters and Homing Missiles on Miranda, with a TLT and Clusters/Conners on Esege. My confusion was further compounded when he spent the first two turns of the game laying connor nets at the entrances to the asteroid field on his end. Dayum, this fellow knew what he was doing.
I ended up taking his bait of a SLAMed Esege, moving my Sabacc in for a juicy potshot. His Miranda zoomed in and took a lock, and my Quickdraw was just out of range two for the decoy, meaning that Sabacc was not able to fire just before his Miranda erased him, bless his heart.
On the next turn, his Miranda barely missed a Conner Net attempt onto Vessery, and seizing my chance, I immediately tractor beamed the nearby Esege onto the Conner Net, feeling very proud of myself. However, Vessery and Quickdraw did not do sufficient damage that turn, leaving Esege with one hull, ionised, but in position to drop a Conner Net right in front of Vessery the next turn.
To avoid the net, Vessery pulled a hard 1, stressing him and putting him in front of a rock. Predicting this, Krzysztof immediately dumped another Conner Net on him with Miranda, and planted some clusters in Quickdraw’s way with Esege. Wow! Did I just get outplayed?
Esege soon went down, but now I had Vessery ionised, Stressed, and on a rock the next turn. Looking over at Krzystof’s cards, my heart sank when I noticed the Proton bombs….
Please, please, please, please… oh no.. Direct Hit the next turn, with Sabine as a finishing touch, to take out Vessery. Now I had a shieldless Quickdraw vs Miranda. We spent the next 20min positioning in the rocks, with Miranda finally catching my brave First Order pilot, and blasting him into eternal bliss with a Homing Missile shot. Great Game Krzystof! He even got me to sign his Direct Hit crit card at the end.
Krzystof ended up making the Top 8, but had to drop because he needed to catch his return flight home. He gave his place to Mishary Al-Faris, who ended up taking the title of Yavin Champion — Stellar chaps all around!
In hindsight, I should have tractor beamed Esege right in FRONT of the Conner Net, to deny him actions the following turn; instead, my greed made me put him right on it, and enabled him to pressure me into stressing my own Vessery - Argh! Well played Krzystof, I have never felt so outplayed by a bomber list!
Loss 50-100 (Miranda Alive)
All in all, a great 10 games, and I did far better than I had expected to, going 7–3 with this list. Unfortunately, I was unable to retain my 26th/450 placing at Yavin last year, dropping to 42nd/370. Still a good showing, I’d reckon.
Well done to my fellow 186th Squad members as well, especially Oliver Pocknell and Pete Wood, who placed in the Top 8.
The best part of Yavin, as was the previous year, was the opportunity to meet both new faces and old, from all over Europe, as a reminder of how great the X-Wing community really is. It was also very enlightening to see the various “metas” from across Europe, heck, even from other parts of the UK, come together. Despite the top 8 eventually being dominated by Scum lists, the top few tables were actually really, really varied. I also got to meet Ian O’Connell, the originator of the Quickdraw/Vess/Striker archetype, and we were both genuinely surprised to see each other’s lists as we sat next to each other near the top tables on game 10. We did it, brother! #Quickdrawmeta!
The organisation at Yavin was also top-notch, and it would not have been possible without the awesome team of tournament organisers; a big thank you to Vince, Alec, Alex, Liam and company for successfully coordinating such a huge event. Ian of Cloud City Radio, thanks for choosing to interview me, I had a good time discussing my list with you. Also, props to Simon from First Earth for his excellent twitch coverage (and for rooting for me! ;))
As for the performance of my list, I would say that it was a very high risk/high reward type of Imperial squad, with my victories all being very contingent on getting that crucial tractor beam shot/killbox to work. There are not that many tricks in the bag, it’s mostly just pure flying and positioning, and making the most of that horrendous concentrated firepower.
The list was also very very prone to bleeding MOV like a gutted pig, with most of my games ending with 1–2 ships remaining. The lack of autothrusters/action economy also really hurt me against turrets and high PS Aces like Fenn at times.
Despite its aforementioned problems, I think the most important thing is that I enjoyed playing this list, and oh boy is it fun to fly. #Nickdraw reinvokes all the vigour and wonder that I first experienced when I picked up Soontir Fel for the first time, or successfully flew a swarm without bumping unnecessarily. It is an IMPERIAL list for any die-hard IMPERIAL player. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start tractor beaming, pilots!
Interesting stats I compiled from my 10 games at Yavin
- Sabacc died eight times (doing damage in only 2–3 games)
- Vessery died four times
- Quickdraw died five times
- Number of times I proved that TIE/D > x7: 2
How much I hate Fenn: DONT YOU EVER MENTION HIS NAME AROUND ME.
Thanks for reading.