Saturday, April 18, 2015

First flight of the Phantom - a X-Wing battle report

When I started with X-wing upon it release I was a bit frustrated with the game and I did not liked it too much, however some months later with more ships than the few ones coming with the core game on the table, I loved it.
However, for some unfathomable reason, I decided to buy only the ships that were part of the movies, so no HWK. Then wave 4 arrived and they were only ships not from the movies, so I passed. Shortly after I changed again my mind and got them but after reading on the web and watching videos of the way phantoms were played and taking into consideration that I was still learning to fly TIE interceptors I decided to let them rest in their storage box.
Actually, a friend of mine used one of my phantoms before I even considered trying it :)
Now, there is the new FAQ with new rules for the decloak and here I am trying my phantoms for the first time, maybe a little bit to late for the great decloak party but anyway...

For my first flight with phantoms I took two generic, low PS ones, which should be great blockers now and this little fellow called Awesome Fel.
My list:
  • Sigma Squadron Pilot (34) x 2 - TIE Phantom (25), Recon Specialist (3), Sensor Jammer (4), Stygium Particle Accelerator (2)
  • Soontir Fel (32) - TIE Interceptor (27), Royal Guard TIE (0), Push the Limit (3), Autothrusters (2)
My opponent knows that I like to fly Empire, so he went with the following Rebel list:

  • Dutch Vander (39) - Y-Wing (23), R2-D6 (1), Proton Torpedoes (4), Ion Cannon turret (5), Shield Upgrade (4), Wingman (2)
  • Dash Rendar (60) - YT-2400 (36), Squad Leader (2), Heavy Laser Cannon (7), Proton Rockets (3), C3P0 (3), Outrider (5), Engine Upgrade (4)
A very heavy two ship list, with a Dash on steroids.
When I saw that, something in my brain started yelling to me "stay outside of arc, stay outside of arc", which is one of the mantras of the TIE Interceptor although at that time I was having the impression that I was missing something and of course, try to get into range 1 of Dash because of the famous "donut hole".
For the Set Up, my phantoms were first, then his two ships and then Mr. Baron.

Set Up
I you can see we were using the new tournament obstacle placement rules, so each one of us took three from the two core sets and the YT-2400 and Decimator expansions and made the obstacle pool and place them following initiative order.
Having highly manoeuvrable ships I went for the biggest rocks, also Dash laughs about the debris clouds as he ignores then during the activation phase, therefore no roll of dice and no stress and as you can land on them and still shooting, he will have a lot of fun doing so and flying carelessly all around if you only put debris clouds or too many of them.
I placed my phantoms on the central lane to keep my options open and let Soontir la-mano-de-dios on the right with an open acceleration lane to the far end of the battle field.
Dash Rendar with engine upgrade is able to cover 9 units of forward movement on the first round (36 cm) and he will be able to fire at range 3 if you try to move towards him which is disturbing if you happen to have lower PS as my phantoms do. Therefore they turn 3 to the right, to keep the distance with the enemy and cloaked (free evasion due to the Stygium Acc.).
My opponent went soft with his ships and moved forward on a straight line.
The Baron went also forwards and boosted left to go into the back of the enemy.
There was no exchange of fire this round.
End of the First round
 Here I had a "what if" moment. My phantoms could turn to their left again keeping the cloak to seek cover behind the debris cloud and try to decloak next round to attack the approaching Dash or to follow Soontir to the back of the battlefield or could do a K-turn, still cloaked, to be prepared to confront the approaching Dash face to face also on the next round.
I was afraid of the jousting face to face which with Dash maybe was an error to be afraid of, so I decided to turn left.
He bank with the two ships and I think that Dash boosted forwards.
Soontir went forwards, boosted left and barrel roll to stay away from Dash, outside of arc of the Y-wing but keeping it within his own arc. This was the part when my brain was happy about the being outside of enemy firing arcs, however:

  • Dash has turret weapon and was in range, so Soontir was attacked by a Heavy Laser Cannon which rolled three impacts; Lady Fortuna gave Soontir three pure evades on the defence roll. So far so good.
  • Dutch Vander also has a turret weapon (surprise!!!) which I have forgotten about and he also attacked Soontir.
  • Soontir was equipped with autothrusters but maybe concerned as I was with the movement and options for the phantoms I totally forgot about it.
  • Relevance of it: I cannot tell because I cannot remember if Dutch rolled  two or three impacts. Soontir rolled one evade and two blanks; therefore if Dutch rolled two impacts with the forgotten autothrusters there will be no damage to him; if Dutch rolled three impacts there was no difference.
Any way, Soontir finished the round stressed (Push the Limits) and ionized due to the attack from Dutch. Just the dream of every Tie interceptor's opponent.

End of the second round.
I decided to decloak the phantoms to the left and made them turn 1 to the left. One managed to avoid the debris cloud and was able to focus (2 tokens because Recon Spec. and evade because Stygium Acc.), the other one only got the evade from Stygium Acc.
Dash was blocked by this second phantom, so no actions for him :)
And universal Karma made Dutch to collide with the asteroid, so no actions and no shooting for him which overcompensate the forgotten autothrusters :)
Soontir was forced to go 1 straight and to keep the stress.
Dash fired on the other phantom and here, again, I forgot something, the phantoms have Sensor Jammer, I designed then to be as tanky as possible and then I forget about it...
Anyway, that was end of round three.
End of round three.
On round four I made another miscalculation. I moved one phantom forwards over Dash and into cloak but for no reason I let the other one, which was flying behind, to fly onto Dash instead of over him. So no actions, therefore no cloak, ouch!
Dutch cleared the asteroid and approached the phantoms; Dash moved a bit away.
Soontir turned left just right on the border of the battlefield to approach Dutch from behind :)
There was some heavy shooting here, an one of the phantoms was ionized, the one closer to Dash. I forgot again to use the sensor jammer :(
End of round four.
The phantom closest to Dash moved the forced 1 straight of the ionization, the other one I cannot remember.
The Y-wing moved towards the phantoms and Dash started to turn around.
Soontir approached Dutch.
And it seems to me that I do not have a picture of the fifth round...

On the round six, one of the phantoms made a K-turn and the other one somehow managed to move close to the asteroid to block Dash who was turning. Soontir also managed to get there. Both phantoms have a evade, so both decloaked somehow and got no further actions, one because of the stress of the K-turn and the other one I have no idea, sorry.
The mixing picture of round 5 makes it difficult for me to recall the details.
Obviously there was some heavy shooting here, Dash fired against Soontir and both, Soontir and the left most phantom fired against the Y-wing, which was destroyed.
Anyway, end of round six.
Next round, obviously the phantom closed on the centre of the battlefield. The other one tried to use a rock for cover and Soontir just flyed pass Dash. This round finished with the death of the phantom closest to Dash.
Round seven at the end of movement
And we called it. We did not count victory points, but my phantom was 34 points and his Dutch was 39 points, so it would have been a modified victory for me. Not so bad taking into account all the thing we forgot concerning not only my ships but also his, for example, both of his ships were having ordnance which was not used (yes, we are aware about all the discussion concerning the uselessness of ordnance, and it can also be that he did not find a moment to use it, but I think, honestly, that he forgot about it).
A special comment about his list. Dutch Vander allows another friendly ship at range 1-2 to acquire a target lock after himself acquires one. So, he was moving Dutch (PS 6), making him to do another action apart from target lock (for example, focus) and then moving Dash (PS 7) and using his action to activate squad leader and ordering Dutch to acquire a target lock. This allowed him to give target lock-focus to either Dutch or to Dash according to the circumstances. I found it very nice.

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