A Long Time Ago, In a Bedroom Far, Far Away…
On the 23rd of February 2017 I sat down and started writing a blog documenting a journey I was going on with the (at the time) derided Firespray. Two years later we have a new edition of the game and the Firespray is now legit good. This post is the review of my “Blog: Year Two” and is a follow up to the first anniversary post I did last year.
It’s been a crazy couple of years for me. Had you said “you’re going to spend your late 30s travelling around the UK and Europe playing with small space ships and writing about it” when I was a younger man I would have dismissed the notion out of hand. But the X-Wing world has made the last couple of years two of the best I can remember. I’ve met some absolutely amazing people, that is always the first take home about this game, and had some incredible life defining moments and trips. The list of people I am now blessed to call friends is too long to go into and inevitably someone who should be on the list would be left out so I’m not even going to try and mention names.
One of the perks of having written the blog is I have a record of every game I’ve played since I started it. Every list I’ve flown and every opponent and every venue. The process of creating this and getting to look back over it is incredibly rewarding. Here’s a few facts and figures about the blog if you’re interested:
- Over 350,000 views (this never fails to blow my mind, thank you)
- The nonsense I write has been read in 137 countries (there are a 193 in the world, so that’s 71% reached!)
- 232,213 words written (not including this post) , the Hobbit is 95,022 words long
- 5.5Mb worth of bad meme’s created
- This is the 117th post I’ve written, (yes Warlords, that means the next one is 118…. I’ll see a bunch of you in Preston next weekend.)
I have an over abundance of stats at my disposal from the last couple of years, but here are the ones I find most interesting. (As the 24th of February is technically year 3 I’ve had to start a new page in my Excel sheet.)
|Events Attended||Games Played||Win Ratio|
|Year 2 (1.0)||43||203||57%|
|Year 2 (2.0)||29||129||70%|
Apparently the 58 Tournaments I did in year one weren’t enough… year 2 I did a total of 72. A friend joked that I haven’t done 100 so haven’t tried hard enough, I doubt that is even possible, but I’ve given it my best shot. I’ve also managed to get to more venues. Year 1 I made it to 14 different places in year two I went to 27. It’s been great getting to see so much of the UK and bits of Europe this past 12 months, X-Wing people are awesome where ever you go it seems.
Over the last twelve months my faction allegiance looks like this:
And my list break down obviously reflects that, only archetypes that have been flown more than 5 times at tournaments get their own category otherwise it all gets very silly:
The sum of all this data leads me to conclude I have got better at X-Wing, especially since 2.0 came out, which begs the question: Why?
The things I have enjoyed flying have largely got better, which helps, but also I think 2.0 suits my way of playing. My spatial awareness is pretty good and I’ve worked hard over the last few months to get better at it. Positional play is way more significant since the demise of the 360 turret. I always wrote lists in 1.0 that wouldn’t feel a million miles away from their now 2.0 equivalents so I haven’t had to adapt how I play too much. It’s lots of little things going to make a bigger picture. And, as you can see a bucket load of table time eventually makes a difference!
Anyway enough of that, to celebrate two years I’m playing at two tournaments, and I’m running double Firesprays for the occasion. Sadly not Boba Kath, as I think her days are done with her current ability and points cost, but the next best thing is Boba Emon.
|Protons bombs||Proton Bombs|
|Perceptive Co-Pilot||Prox Mines|
This 200 point list is Hyperspace Legal and whilst it is digging into valuable practice time with the Trip-70s (with the first UK HS event next weekend) it looks so much fun and has potentially answers to a lot of the questions that HS list ask at the moment. It also goes back to my roots in flying fluffy lists, the correct toys are in the correct places. No Marauder (that is after all Kath’s ship) At only two points Slave One on Boba is now worth taking, at the five it was it’s not. Andrasta on Emon is very strong, and again has had a cost reduction to make it a viable choice.
Here’s why I think it has game:
- Swarm control: Reinforce is great against multiple little shots and the the sheer quantity of bombs at hand means there is a lot of ways to hurt low health ships. Slave 1 is very forgiving for if you anticipate the swarms move wrong.
- Aces: The board control offered by the bombs is not to be sniffed at, as are the two firing arcs each ship has, inertial dampeners is the ace in the hole giving that one off unpredictable turn to keep people on their toes.
- Tanky things: low Initiative tanky ship tend to be cumbersome and will be moving first, so either take a block or boosting away are both valid options for avoiding too much incoming fire.
Basically multiple ways of applying damage a turn is a really good thing, between the large firing arc the spray offers and being able to put down bombs quite a lot of bombs the list has tools.
Here’s my concerns:
- Only two ships: Limiting my shots to two a turn isn’t necessarily wise.
- Poor action economy: With only one action a turn each decision making is crucial in the action step. Get it wrong and you’re praying to the dice gods. I’ve flown enough Firespray based lists to know that the dice gods are not kind to them!
All of which brings us to the last tournament of Year Two, an HS practice event at the Game Shop in Aldershot.
Game one was against Simon Bedford playing in his first 2.0 event. Imagine my glee when my two Firesprays were put down against his three! Five Firesprays on the table at the same time!!! I couldn’t have planned it better or been more excited! Simon got a strong opening, Reinforce helped Boba weather an opening storm but only doing one shield in return for losing all of mine was painful. However after the initial engagement the more tricksy Firesprays began to take apart the generic pilots. I genuinely think that triple Sprays could have legs as a list, three come in at 198, Beckett is only two points… A starting win 200-101.
Game Two was against Dan Boukley of TNX flying Han and Luke. Most of you know that my preference is moving second, so having to move first against two big hitting ships was an interesting challenge. Remembering how to block! This game swung every which way, Dan was massively up after the opening, I got it to the point where I was able to trade Boba for both of Lukes Proton Torps and all of Han Solo. A brutal trickshot at range three from Emon put Luke on two health with Emon on 4 and we ended up in a range one joust. Luke with Mods, Emon with naked dice. Emon took the hits from Luke but with health death was unlikely. Then he did one of those “outlier” rolls, 3 crits and a blank leaving luke needing perfect paint to not die. It didn’t happen. Great game, I always enjoy playing Dan, our games are consistently tough. 200-153 win.
Game three and another match up against Phill Pond who was running 4 “Dirty” Ys (Shield, Proton Bombs, Ion Cannon, Veteran Turret Gunner) This list is SCARY. Get it wrong and you are eating all the double taps in the world and then floating onto 4 Proton Bombs. I engineered the opening to have Phill follow me so that I could control range, drop bombs and use my rear arc. These things take some killing but eventually I was able to chip them down enough to turn Boba into the fight. Emon was the star of the show here though, his stream of Proton Bombs constantly making Phill’s positional choices tough. 200-52 win.
I forgot to take a photo of Game 4 against the only other 3-0, Malc Fel. Malc had 5 Y-Wings! All with Ion Cannon Turrets, Four of which had Veteran Tail Gunners. I forgot to take a photo of this game, five Y-Wing with multiple arcs takes a lot of thinking to deal with so my mind was on other things. Malc opted not to follow me like Phill had, but the result of that was that I was able to split his formation and pick on one ship at a time. With two ships left against the sprays Malc conceded giving me the 200-48 win. It was pretty nice going 4-0 and winning the event with twin Sprays on the anniversary of the blog, and rounding off year two with a win. I couldn’t really have asked for more.
The second event of the weekend, and the first event of year three was on the Sunday at Firestorm Cards in Basingstoke. There is no way on earth I was taking the sprays out of the case after Saturday!
The first game was an absolute nail-biter against reigning Coruscant Champ Tom Forstner of Zombie Squadron. Tom was flying the Resistance 5s (Ello, Nien, Talli, L’Ulo) With 4 minutes on the clock my one health Boba was up on points, but could only focus as an action. Tom had two ships both on one hull, so I was relying on him having bad dice to squeeze out a three point win, obviously from the picture above that didn’t happen. It was super close and so much fun, and in all honesty I think this is as tough a match up as I can expect to run into flown by a top opponent. To lose by such a narrow margin at the death was just brilliantly cinematic! 152-200 loss.
Games two and three are a bit of a blurr. The first was against James Boram flying Boba, Fenn and Ahaav and the second was against Matt Collins of Zombie Squadron with Han, Fenn, the Explodey Escape Pod and a zealous recruit. In both of these games Fenn took two Proton bombs the turn after the opening engage, L3 proved her worth and the two rounds combined lasted for 50 minutes. I got a 200-48 win against James and a 200-0 against Matt. After 7 rounds with this list I am pretty sure that Emon is the star of the show and Boba is the wingman.
The final game of the weekend was against Chris Morrell, who had some first order toys on the table. Again Emon was the star of the show, his bombs backed up by guns ripped Scorch apart before he dodged out of the way of the generic TIE SFs. A cagey end game saw Emon take on a risky joust with the Upsilon, only for L3 to step in and save the day again, before Tavson dropped as time was called giving me another 200-48 win.
A few other things from this week, I was on the 186th Podcast, we recorded Valentines day evening and chat about Hyperspace and what we’ve been playing, the geography of Wales and what happens to James Dowdall when he runs out of Prosecco. I also had a really interesting game on Oli Pocknell’s Vassal stream, 6 A2s vs Fenn and 3 Fangs, then we have quite an in depth chat about some stuff afterwards.
I am absolutely devastated that Ibuywargames has announced it is closing in a just over a week’s time. I learned to play X-Wing at Ibuy and even though I have moved further have always considered it home. Over the last couple of years I have become mates with owner Ian Simpkins and a load of others I have met there are counted as friends. It is the home store of Zombie Squadron. It has provided the most consistently challenging events in the South East for us X-Wing players. It will be fondly remembered and sorely missed. Please, please, please take this message to heart: Support your Local Games Store or you will lose it. Just because you can get something for a few £ or $ less on Amazon doesn’t mean you should. In the long run you will just end up losing that store. Thank you Ian for all your commitment and support for the X-Wing community over the last couple of years. You will be sorely missed.
The Asmodee UK Organised Play Team are looking for X-Wing and Armada judges for the Nationals at UK Games Expo. The event is at the NEC in Birmingham from the 31st of May until the 2nd of June. The hero that is Vince Kingston will be marshalling the X-Wing side of the event. If you fancy helping out with a game you’re passionate about over the weekend and working with an amazing team then please contact Organisedplay@asmodee.co.uk for more information.
So that’s 2 years worth of blog posts done, thank you all for reading and your support over the last 24 months. I’m gonna keep going, keep flying and keep writing about this game that has become such a huge part of my life. Hopefully you’ll continue on this journey with me. My first dilema of blog year three is what to take next weekend? The Trip-70s or the Firesprays…
Next Time: ENTERING HYPERSPACE
If you’re looking for X-Wing events to get involved in head to the 186th Tournament Calendar and see what you can get to.