Sunday, March 1, 2015

Colonel Vessery - Aftermath

Last post I was talking about Colonel Vessery and some random thoughts about him and squad builds based thereof.
Today I finally managed to play and try the list I have devised:
- Vessery with Veteran Instincts and Engine Upgrade (40 points)
- Omicron with ST-321 title and Weapons Engineer (27 points)
- Scimitar Tie bomber x2 (32 points)

for a four ships list with a total of 99 points which will allow to try to get the initiative to be able to fire first at PS 8 with Vessery.

My opponent was flying something like this:
- Academy Pilot Tie Fighter x3 as filler (36)
- Sigma Squadron Tie Phantom (25) with Fire Control Systems (2), Advanced Cloaking Device (4) and Gunner (5) = 36
- Saber Squadron (21) with Stealth Device (3) and Push the Limits (3) = 27
for a five ships list with also 99 points in total

Set up
The asteroids were placed more or less doing a open loop, with five of them and the sixth one placed by me on my left corner (West), with an open lane of about range 3 broad on my right side (East). The opening of the asteroid's loop was facing my right corner. From my point of view resembled an inverted U tilted 45 degrees counter clockways.
My opponent deployed the three Tie fighters looking forwards on the edge on his deployment zone on the open lane on the East side.
I decided to place my shuttle on the opposite corner, shielded by the astoriods and looking forwards. The two bombers were to the right of the shuttle, facing away from each other 45 degrees.
My opponent deployed the phantom and the interceptor in the center-left from my point of view.
I have taken the decision to go first for the phantom, therefore I placed Vessery on the further West side of the field, on the left side of the shuttle.

We wanted to play as close to possible to an official tournament as training for an unofficial tournament of our club, so after set up and deployment we fix a time limit of 40 minutes and here we went :)

The Game

On the first round the Tie fighters just moved 5 straight forwards and barrel roll to their right (my left) closing distance on both axis with my deployment corner.
I wanted to play it slowly to see the intentions of my opponent (quite clear now, full gas forward) so the shuttle moved 1 forward and target lock the phantom and the interceptor.
The bomber closer to the shuttle did a bank to its right and collided with the shuttle, no problems here, just bad judgement of distances and movement templates. This will probe to be a constant in this game.
The other bomber did another bank this time to its left and went facing forward between two asteroids, right were I intended; so far so good.
The phantom and the interceptor moved forward, also at maximum speed and the phantom cloaked.
I moved Vessery 4 forward so that he overtook the shuttle and barrel roll in front of it. I completely forgot about the engine upgrade :(
Anyway, the Tie fighters were packed on my right, the other two enemy vessels were heading for the center and I was more or less packed on the left corner and moving forwards. My idea was to turn the shuttle towards the center, K-turn with the defender and try to approach with the bombers. It was a good plan, at least in my head :)

On the second round two of the Tie fighters just moved forward and the third one banked towards the center.
I miscalculated the distance for the Tie bomber on my right and instead of a nice 5 K-turn I decided to go for a 4 straight due to the proximity of one asteroid which turned out to be much further away that I thought :( However a barrel roll put it with another asteroid behind it and facing one possible phantom approach.
The shuttle banked towards the center followed by the other bomber, which due to the initial collision was lagging behind.
The enemy phantom decloacked, moved somewhere in the center and avoided some of my firing arcs but collided with the bomber at the asteroid. The interceptor pushed the limits after approaching the phantom.
Vessery did a white K-turn and barrel roll into position. At this point I have already remembered about the engine upgrade but the positioning of Vessery was such that it was of no help to get better shooting spot.
This was the situation at the end of round 2.
Different view of the end of round two.
The phantom fired on the shuttle and ciao bella two or three shields !
The interceptor scored one damage card on the bomber and neither the bomber returning fire nor the shuttle did anything to the enemy.
The closest most Tie fighter, at range three with a blocking asteroid managed to score against the shuttle !

The third (and final round due to time constrictions) was chaotic and catastrophic.
The two Tie fighters on the further right turn 3 to their right and landed on the same asteroid. The third Tie Fighter banked towards the center and landed on another asteroid.
One of my bomber K-turned onto an asteroid also. The one lagging behind the shuttle was so angled that luckily it was having at least the interceptor inside of its firing arc.
The shuttle, however I managed to move it just in front of the interceptor which collided with it.
The phantom decloacked towards its right and moved close to the asteroid, where the Tie fighter was sitting, not hitting it by nanometers.
Vessery moved towards the asteroid, also barely touching it and barrel rolled into firing position.
View of the battlefield at the end of round three
Close-up of the main conflict zone, the asteroid around which the phantom and defender were engaged
Vessery managed to remove the two shields of the phantom.
The interceptor landed two critics on the bomber behind the shuttle, one reduced the agility in one, the other canceled the next attack.
The phantom return fire landed two critics on Vessery. Here I am a bit confused as the defender has three shields which I don't remember to have lost, so either there was another round of shooting or I forgot about my shields, uhm...
I think I just forgot the shields as the bomber has none and had just received two from the interceptor.
Anyway, one of the critics reduced the agility in 1 and the other was the terrible one which negates the pilot special ability. Just great!

But, anyway, time was up, and I consider the game lost.

In retrospective
It looks like it is not a good idea to try to catch a phantom with a defender and a shuttle. They are not maneuverable enough for the task. Neither are the bombers.
My opening idea was maybe good, but for sure, badly executed.
Maybe it could have been a better idea to have deployed the defender in front of the Tie fighters and try to joust them out of the game; a white K-turn and three attack dice should give it an edge against the Tie fighters. But on the other hand, one ship against three...
Funny thing is, I do not consider myself a good tactician or player of x-wing, actually I will very probably lose against anyone of you out there; however, in our group, I am one of the two guys with more flying experience and my opponent has been only recently hooked into the game. So, he was the whole time concerned that I was having some kind of master plan and that he was, probably, doing everything wrong :)
Thing is, I think he did very well. Yes, sure, he bumped the interceptor into the phantom in round one. But, how cares? it was round one, we were to far from each other for it to have any consequence. Yes, sure, he hit the asteroids with all his Tie fighters, but they were in better position that my ships and managed to scape some of my firing arcs.
And, on top of that, he did his list from scratch, without too much web search, just looking what sounded reasonable.
Not too bad, I will say :)

I am really looking forwards to our little club tournament to see how he, and everyone else, fares there. This is specially true, as in our very non-official tournament not every have even a single ship of xwing as the rest of us have more than enough for every one, so we are going to allow "virtual" list, that means, you do not have to have all the official cards you need for your list; just print a list with some squad builder, borrow the ships you need from someone and go play !
Therefore I expect to see a lot of just released cards, such as Autothrusters :)
even Scum and Villainy as they have just been delivered to one of our members. This can be scary :)

I was thinking a bit more about my set up and the list and maybe I should have played it more jousting style, at the end, I think this is the main idea behind the defender. After watching the video of the Gen Con USA Nationals, wherein a two Falcons list, very defensive, was crippled down by a Whisper on steroids, the incredible Soontir Fel and just a shuttle with Captain Yorr; I started reconsidering the upgrades on my list.
  1. maybe engine upgrade is wasted in Vessery, however after having been deal a critic which incapacitated him, maybe determination is not a bad idea,
  2. the shuttle does not need the title and the weapons engineer if it flies more or less like in the above cited final escorted by the two bombers, more than enough target locks there for Vessery, specially if the shuttle gets the Fire Control Systems upgrade,
  3. Predator is a real pain if used against you, so maybe it could be a good idea to take bombers with higher PS.
Prospective list:
-Vessery (35) + Determination or Veteran Instincts (1) for 36 points
- Gamma Squadron (18) x 2 for 36 points
-Omicron shuttle (21) with Fire Control system (2) for 23 points
for a subtotal of 95 points
which still leaves me 5 points for further upgrades or to change the Omicron for Captain Yorr and something worth 1 or 2 points more..

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