Monday, July 28, 2014

X-Wing French National Championship Top 16 : How to train your Phantom

Final Cut Top 16:

Given the recent release of Wave 4, I was expecting 2 list archetypes in the Top 16 :
 - the new hotness: Phantom + mini-swarm
 - the botoxed old timer : YT-1300 + support
plus a smattering of Tie-swarms and double YTs.

I didn't want to play a Falcon (too vulnerable to swarms) or a Phantom (too hard to play perfectly and struggles against Falcons). But I knew that I would need firepower to kill falcons and a way too shut down phantom agility.

Right till the morning of the National, I was still hesitating between 2 swarm lists, either the 8 Tie swarm or a 7 Z-Swarm with 4 missiles. Both have the resilient firepower to kill falcons and the number of bodies necessary to hamper phantom movements. I wanted to play the Z-Swarm as it's really powerful on paper but a few practice games (one on the eve of the tournament) left me wondering whether the Zs list would be as forgiving as the Tie swarm.

Z-Swarm or Tie-Swarm? My dilemma cosplayed at the tournament
It all came down to a dice roll during breakfast, hit the Ties, miss the Zs. I was happy when I rolled a hit, plus my Ties were all repainted, so the Tie swarm it was.

I finished second of the qualifications, so I faced the 15th Mulot with :
Whisper, VI, rebel captive, ACD
Carnor Jax
Black squadron

The organisers decided to keep the final cut on 1 hour game time for the top 16 and top 8, moving to 75 minutes for top 4 and 90 minutes for the final.

My plan was basically to destroy his support ships which die like 3 tie fighters, then  either deny or destroy Whisper.

He deployed his asteroids in a well spaced line on my side while I placed mine in a triangle closer to the center to hamper Holwrunner formation and to reduce Whisper options.

I deployed my academies in front of the left corridor and the Obsidians to the right. He deployed Holw + Carnor+ Black in front of my academies and Whisper to their right:
On the first turn, I moved 3 forward with the academies and 4 forward with the Obsidians, to globally turn my formation toward Whisper while recentering the Howl group. He advanced 4 and took a shot with Carnor on the lead Obsidian.

Turn 2, I split my formation to decrease Carnor impact but made a small miscalculation. I moved the front academies 4 forward (should have moved 5 to block the black), while the back only moved 2. The lead obsidians moved 3 bank to block and one moved 2 forward. He advanced 2 with hol group, bumping with carnor, Howl and focusing with the Black. Whisper decloacked 2 right and turned toward the fight:

Open FIRE! Due to no actions for Howl and Carnor, he only dealt 1 or 2 damages to Jet 6 and a damage and a crit to Jet 5 the 2 front Academies.
In return the combined fire power of the 8 ties destroyed Carnor.

At that point I started my deny or destroy strategy: 3 academies moved to either block Whisper decloack or his subsequent move, while the rest positioned to finish Howl. Leaving the black for later :
 As planned Whisper decloaked in front of Jet 7 and bumped. The black K-turned behind and Howl bumped into Jet 3. With no actions, I think he only did a damage or 2 but on undamaged Ties (Jet 6 K-turned behind Howl and Whisper wiffed his no action attack roll against Jet 5, this also meant no free token which would prove important for the return fire). In return Jet 4 and 3 stripped 2 shields from Whisper, stressing Jet 3, but the other 4 Ties failed to finish Howlrunner.

Turn 4: At that point my material advantage was so important that I spread my ties everywhere facing likely positions for his ships but more importantly preparing for next turn decloak while denying actions to howl and the black:

After his moves I had 6 Ties facing Holrunner and 3 facing Whisper. He took down 2 ties but I finished Howl and destroyed the black with a lucky shot from Jet 1 and Jet 6. Jet 3 with a range 1 focused shot also did a damage to Whisper.

A that point we had about five minute left to play so I kept denying his decloak moves with my horde of Ties. Some of those moves where K-turns, plus rebel captive, here is what you get:
Probably the record number of stress tokens for a side in a top 16 national game : 7 stress tokens with 6 ships!

Victory is mine with 2 ships to spare! As planned I destroyed his support ships, and denied his phantom decloaks or moves which really reduced his firepower. I was helped in that by the 1 hour time limit, but with 6 ships to his one, I'm pretty confident that I would have won in a last man standing match. I think Mulot made 2 mistakes: 
1) joust with the swarm, as I have a firepower advantage at close range even with Carnor. A less aggressive approach might have reduced my numbers more  before I could finish his support ships, helping for the end game.
2) get Whisper close to the swarm. A blocked phantom is a dead phantom and I have enough bodies to block him. A more ranged game might also have played in his favor.

Top 8 here I come!

Time to reload,

Friday, July 25, 2014

X-Wing French National Championship Part 6 : Now, I am the Master!

Part 6 and last game before the final cut:

In the last round there were 4 of us with no losses and I got to face the man who introduced me to X-Wing, my Master Sepyx.

I've been waiting for you, Sepyx. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now I am the master.

He played  a classic HSF list in a counter-phantom bid:
Han, gunner, Veteran Instincts
2 Blue, FCS

In this matchup I have basicly 2 choices:
1) go for the support ships first
2) go for Han first

He had initiative and place his asteroids near the center of the board, while I placed mine on the corners.

I deployed my academies in the middle of the board and he answered with the blues on the right side. I then placed my obsidians on my right flank. He placed Han on my left flank, ready to get behind me.

He started by moving his Bs toward Han, while I went full 5 forward then turned toward Han.

This is the board after the first shooting turn (lost a Tie in exchange for 5 shields on the lead B):
Due to his positioning, I decided to go for the Bs first, reducing his firepower before turning on Han.

I lost 2 ties while destroying the Bs, then attacked Han, retiring damaged Ties to spread the damage. I took him down to hull then did a crit while loosing a third Tie.

We were almost at the time limit, so instead of trying to finish him I unexpectedly broke off the engagement to preserve my lead and the game finished with a modified win for me.

Last turn picture:

In a timed environment this matchup is actually a danger for me as if he can manage to get a point lead he can try to break off the engagement with the falcon and just try to win on time. I actually lost to a similar list in the final of my first tournament because my opponent one-shot 2 ties early on and the game ended with 3 full Ties on my side going after Chewie on 3 hull.

In a non timed environment though, the 1 agility of both the Falcon and the Bs is no match for the swarm firepower.

Time to reload,

Monday, July 21, 2014

X-Wing French National Championship Part 5 : the shortest offensive of all times!

Part 5:
My opponent Rokkotnik played a beefed up Han with 2 rookies.

I deployed in 2 groupes in the center of the board, with the academies on my left flank. Rokkotnik deploeyd on the edge of the board, with Han hugging the edge.

The table after 2 turns of movement: I split my 2 groups to pass the asteroid and have my academies in a good blocking position.

He destroyed one of my academies while I removed 7 hit points from Han. The obsidians turned 90° to follow the fight while the academies moved to block a short move from Han or the X.

And that's how the shortest offensive of all times finished:

Han tried the hard 1 left, hit Jet 8 and the back of the ship left the table.
With 7 ties against 2 rookies, the game was over fast.

Time to reload,

X-Wing French National Championship Part 4 : the last stand of Garven Dreiss

Part 4 :
This time I faced my good friend and old 40K opponent (and sometime ally) BloodyTyty. Bloody played a very interesting list if I remember correctly:

Blue, advance sensors
Blue, advance sensors
Roark, ion turret
Garven Dreiss

It's really close to the first lists I tried in X-Wing, using Roark from extreme VP and Garven for action shenanigans, with the 2 blues as the meat of the list.

This time all the action occured in his half of the table, with me still in 2 groups after crossing the asteroid field. Most of my ties focused his blues and he destroyed one of my academies while I was closing the distance taking the shields off of one. Table shot after round 3 moves:

At close range he destroyed another academy (Jet 7) while I destroyed my first blue and damaged the other.

Sadly I stopped taking photos here to concentrate on the game, so you will have to follow my wall of text!

I took down the last Blue in turn 4, but after that I misplayed Jet 5 landing him on the asteroid that you can see at the top right corner. I took 3 turns to destroy Roark while loosing 1 more tie. I then started on Garven, and stripped his shields while loosing my 5th Tie for the game, the most any opponent destroyed in the 10 games.

At that point I was leading by 11 points, with one tie down to 2 hull and garven on 2 hull also. The clock rang but we got to play a last round (we'd started late due to pairing issues) with him trying to destroy a tie to get the win and me trying to kill Garven for the full win. Garven fluffed his shot, while I destroyed him for the full victory.

Time to reload,

Thursday, July 17, 2014

X-Wing French National Championship Part 3 : Ibbitsam must die

Part 3 :
After 2 wins I faced Riftwar and his 3 ships rebel build:
Ibbitsam, advance proton torpedo, proton torpedo
Wedge, concussion missile
+ a couple other amelioration cards.

You can see here the ship positions just before shooting started in turn 2:
Ibbitsam on the right, then wedge and Tarn on the left.

If I remember correctly, Jet 6 died from the combined shooting of wedge and ibbitsam, but I managed to kill Wedge in return.

My opponent tried to joust with the swarm and paid the price.
After that it was mostly mopping up, taking down first Ibbitsam:

Then Tarn:

Time to reload,

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Rule 37 devient bilingue - Rule 37 goes bilingual - 9000 pages viewed!

Hello everyone,

I just reached the 9000 pages viewed on the blog according to google analytics! WOOT! Big thanks to all of my readers, this really motivates me to continue the blog and share with you my passion for the hobby.

Google analytics also tells me that around 40% of my viewers speak French. A few of my fellow players at the French National also told me that they would like to read my blog if it was in French, so I've decided to use blogger label system to publish the blog in French and English both.

The main url should now redirect to the list of all posts with the "EN" label :

as does the new ENGLISH button on the right side of the blog.

Please tell me if you see any bugs.

Salut à tous,

Je viens de dépasser les 9000 pages vues sur le blog selon google analytics! WOOT! Merci à tous mes lecteurs ça me fait chaud au coeur et ça me donne envie de continuer ce blog pour vous faire partager ma passion pour les figurines.

Google analytic me dit que 40% de mes lecteurs viennent de France, et même si beaucoup d'entre vous parlent aussi anglais, plusieurs des joueurs lors du Championnat National de X-Wing, m'ont dit qu'ils apprécieraient un blog traduit en Français.

J'ai donc décidé de commencer à publier mes articles en Français et en Anglais. Pour ne voir que les articles en Français vous pouvez cliquer sur le bouton FRANCAIS sur la droite de l'écran.

N'hésitez pas à me contacter en cas de bugs.

Time to reload!

X-Wing French National Championship Part 2 : The end of Chewbacca

Round 2!

After my first round modified win, I encountered my good friend Cornelius40K with a classic wave 3 list:
Chewie + c3po + gunner + faucon
Bwing fcsBwing adv. sensor 

He took the initiative and we deployed the asteroids in a pretty loose formation. I deployed my Ties in my usual 2 squares formation while he split his B-Wings on one side ready to enter the asteroid field and Chewbacca on the other:

I think he kind of panicked a bit a the sight of the full swarm and tried to delay the engagement, turning his B toward his right flank. Chewie advanced to flank me. I went full throttle toward his Bs. This is the board after 2 turns (I think I stripped a few shields from the front B):

Jet 7 and Jet 8 did a hard 3 then a barrel roll to box the B-wings, while Jet 5 and 6 went for a 3 bank. He then did a focus+ koiogran 2 with the Bs to face the swarm and use the protection of the asteroid. Jet 2 and 4 closed the distance while jet 1 and 3 stayed back to keep my options open. Chewie maneuvered to stay on my flank.

I took down the two Bs while loosing one Obsidian. The game was pretty much over at this point, as Chewie cannot take on 7 ties.

This is the final shot of the game: Chewie looses his last hull point, I still had 6 ties left.

The list matchup was really bad for Cornelius, as Ties eat agility 1 ships for breakfast while he didn't have the necessary firepower to whittle down the swarm. This was compounded by his decision to flank large with Chewie, giving me range 3 agility bonuses and the fact that he underestimated the speed of the swarm, giving me some free shots on the lead B-Wing in turn 2.

Time to reload,

X-Wing French National Championship Part 1 : SWARM HELL!

In the few next days I will try to do a battle report for each of my games in the French National.
This is the Part 1 : SWARM HELL! with my first game.

First game was against Red51 and his 8 academies Tie-Swarm.
First shooting turn shot
Swarm Hell exists, and I've seen it! 16 Ties on the table, 32 attack dices against 64 defense dices:
1 damage!

After that first shooting turn, it became a tense game of maneuvering, with him trying to block me and me trying to get actions. In the end the PS advantage won me the game, as my obsidians could reduce his firepower while any of my academies destroyed still got to shoot.

The game was a bit slower than my usual games with only 5 turns as my opponent was not used to facing a swarm.

Modified win : 4 Academies destroyed to 2 Academies and an Obsidian.

Time to reload!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

X-Wing French National Championship : Wave 1 FTW!

Just came back from the French national X-Wing championship : Minneapolis here I come!

No time for a full debrief now, but you can expect one soon.

Wave 4 was legal, 71 players entered the tournament with 6 Swiss rounds on Sunday then a top 16 on Monday.

In the top 16, there were 6 falcon lists (2 double falcons), and I think 6 phantoms + mini swarm.
I came second in the swiss part (with no loss but 2 modified wins) then won my 4 games on Sunday facing : phantom, single falcon, double falcon and another phantom list in the final game.

Time to reload!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Comic Strip Battle Report part 1: Dying in the Nostromo 2!

A Space Hulk battle report in comic form.

I'm a great fan of webcomics, reading daily Schlock MercenaryPVP and a few others, so I've always wanted to try my hand at drawing and writing one.

However I fast realized that drawing a comic would be out of my current abilities, so I would need to use photos. I had the opportunity to play a Space Hulk game in the fantastic board of my friend Philippe Morino so I took a lot of pictures for a photo battle report.

This is part 1 of the tale. You can click on the pictures for a bigger view.

If you arrived here : the battles in the Hulk are played using modified Second edition 40K rules and profiles, which means that the stealers are really deadly in close combat... if they can reach it! Usually Philippe plays the stealers in a dungeon master like role, while a group of players, each with a squad of terminators tries to survive and complete the mission objectives.

I'll try to publish the next part soon, probably next week as I compete in the French National X-Wing Championship this week-end.

Don't hesitate to comment, this is a new art form for me. I'm really open to suggestions for improvement.

Time to reload!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Showcase : Tie/Ln Jet Squadron repaint

Several fighters have broken off from the main group. Come with me! 

You may remember my first Tie repaint :

With the French National X-Wing Championship coming I decided to finish repainting my 2 flights of Tie Fighters to give them more presence on the board. The fighters are all painted in standard Tie/Ln black, with 4 white stripes : the markings of Jet squadron.

Jet squadron first and second flights

Close-up of second flight

Close-up of first flight

All fighters are on a ball magnet for banking

Close up of second flight banking

Close up of Jet squadron markings
Now I'm wondering if some battle damage would look good...

Time to reload!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Building the Death Star Trench : Part 1

Who's the more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows him? 

A quick post to show you what I've been working on lately : a table to replay the legendary Death Star Trench run in X-Wing. The idea is to have 2 boards separated by a deep trench to be able to replay the trench approaches, pursuit in the trench and the arrival of He who shot first.

The table will be for my gaming club, the Ludothèque de Boulogne Billancourt, and has to be movable and easy to store, which means a modular design. Each modular piece (4 trench sections and 8 board sections), will have a foam core for lightness and a wood exoskeleton for resilience.

First mock-up of the trench for sizing:

Wood cutting in the living room (Yea for sales season!) :

The first modular sections :

To spice up the table I also ordered a turbolaser turret from Shapeways:

The shape and details are amazing, but I'm slightly worried by the fine lines created by the printing process even in detail plastic which was the best available for this item (edited after Regnirok comment). I will need to fill them or sand them before painting as they will definitely show after an airbrush paintjob.

On a related note, I also got some Eta-2 light fighters from Shapeways:

Sorry for the bad pictures, but it's really hard to photograph translucent models. They are in frosted ultra detail. They have some of the lines issues of the turret in places but less pronounced, we'll see what I can do with them.

Time to reload!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Battle Report : The Tie Swarm versus Echo

Today a quick battle report for my first encounter with the terrible Echo.

I played my usual Tie swarm, an 8 Ties variant, with 4 Academies and 4 Obsidians.
Across the table was :

Echo, veteran instincts, recon officer, advanced cloacking device, fire control system 40
Holwrunner, predator 21
3 Academies 36
97 pts for the PS bid.

Bothanspy decided to take the initiative.

I deployed the asteroids mostly close together in my opponent half of the table to disrupt the holwrunner formation and reduce the decloacking options of Echo.

He deployed his mini swarm in the middle of the board, probably to switch from one side of the table to the other depending on my deployment. I had clear movement lanes so did the same, to see where Echo would go. He deployed Echo on my left, close to the board edge.

First turn:
He went to my right to pass the thicket of asteroids and echo advanced to cloak.
All my ships went as fast as possible toward echo.

Turn 2:
I wanted to maximise my firepower in case Bothanspy made a mistake and advance echo in front of the swarm so I kept going toward Echo (plus is miniswarm was also headed to my right flank).
He decided to change course with echo with a 2 bank to the left then a 4 forward to  switch sides, while the mini-swarm reoriented toward mine.

There I stopped taking picture as the fight was joined. Suffice to say echo flanked me (you can see his moves in green in the turn 5 picture), while I blocked and concentrated fire on holwrunner, then the other ties.
He took down 2 ties, while I destroyed Howl and an academy. 4 dices is nothing to sneeze at, but even with focus against 3 agility you will usually need at least 2 shots. Due to his unique moves he was unable to concentrate fire as much as I did.

At the end of turn 4, I had 6 ties left, with 2 down to one hull and 1 down to 2. He was down to echo, 1 academy on 1 hull and 1 academy on 2.

Turn 5 (before shooting):

I moved my ties to cover echo  most obvious approaches and still keep a couple of guns on his 1 hull academy. He decided to close the range with a 4 forward, but had to go through an asteroid.

Firing first Echo destroyed a damaged fighter while I destroyed the 1 hull fighter and took one shield off echo (asteroid means no focus!!).

Turn 6 (before shooting):
Echo is good at range but not so good in a furball, as he has to move quite a lot to decloak. I jammed as much fighters around him as I could while keeping 3 fighters on his remaining 2 hull tie.

He did manage to decloak but lost his action to a bump and could only target an undamaged tie. With no action, even with 5 dices, he only dealt One damage.
Returning fire, I stripped another shield of him and took another hull off the academy.

Sadly we had to end the game there due to time, with a modified win for me: 45 to 38.

I would probably have stayed in the lead for 1 or 2 more turns as I would probably have killed his academy and he has to destroy 2 of my ties to go retake the lead, but after that, I don't see how I could have killed him (bare poor flying on my opponent part or luck of the dice). With 4 damaged ties it would have been pretty difficult. 4 agi is just hard to take down with 2 attack ships, and that's if you even manage to have him in your sights.

Time to reload!