This week-end saw the Jakku Open in Cusset. 110 players battled in the icy rain for the privilege to compete in a very elite 8 players tournament organised by FFG next summer. This is the tale of my top 4 finish with the Crackshot Academy.
With wave 8 fresh out of the printers and with some very interesting results starting to arrive from big tournaments in the US and elsewhere I knew that 2 lists where currently dominating the meta:
- Palp Aces
- Triple Scouts
Other more rounded lists have had some good results (5 A-wings, Dash and Ghost, etc), but those 2 were the big elephants in the room that any serious player would need to have answers for. With triple scouts came the demise of the 4 TLT y-wings and more importantly of rebel regen lists. R2D2 will not help you if you take 8 damages in a single turn.
I knew I did not want to play triple scouts (although I did try a very promising double bumpmaster + Aggressor list) and did not have any experience playing with aces so I went back to my trusty swarm.
My Worlds list was 5 Blacks with crackshot, Obsidian, Academy. 7 Ties for blocking, 5 crackshots for consistant damage and no Howlrunner so no linchpin and easy target.
It worked pretty well, I went 6-2 with it, with 2 losses mostly due to pilot error. First loss was against Miranda, stresshog and 3 Z95. Took down the hog in a single turn of shooting then switched target to Miranda instead of finishing it's support first. It lead me in a merry chase while the Zs whittled down my numbers. I could have won with a couple of better rolls, but it was a bad choice. You can see a video of the match : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3l4mpk_PmA (taken from the twitch stream which was a bit buggy)
Second loss was against Vador, Soontir and a third interceptor. I took down Vador pretty fast, then crited Soontir to PS0 : that was my downfall as I could no longer block him. I was winning right until the last turn where I dialed a bad maneuver and Soontir one shotted a full health black.
Given the disparition of the ubiquitous PS2 ships in rebel regen and TLT lists I decided to downgrade the Obsidian to an Academy, giving me a 1 pt initiative bid and an additional blocker against Scouts.
5 Black squadron pilots, crackshot
2 Academy pilots
The conditions at the venue where atrocious, with 5 to 10 degrees C inside the tent (except a short while during the early afternoon) and toilets 50 meters away in another building with rain for most of the day. Timing was also short, and you'll see that most of my games went to time. Organizers had a fixed schedule and launched games when most players where still placing rocks.
Zuckuss with title
Slaver with boba and Mangler
Scout with double torpedoes and trimings
I wanted a pretty dense asteroid field to hinder the slaver and the scout. We both deployed on my left side of the board, her slaver facing inwards.
Classic advance, except that she got scared of the swarm impact on Zuckuss and barrel rolled him behind the asteroid on the top right after the picture. This left him with no option but a hard left, keeping him out of the fight for several turns.
My swarm removed the shields from the scouts, loosing a black in the range 3 exchange.
Closing to range 1, I finished the scout taking a crit in return from the slaver and another from a bad maneuver onto a rock (I self blocked myself on the rock!).
After that it was a festival of bad maneuvering on my part and it took me 4 or 5 turns to finish the slaver, allowing Zuckuss time to get back into the fight.
Time was called with Zuckuss left against 4 Ties.
I had not flown the list in anger since December and it really showed here, my positioning was bad, I blocked myself on a rock and only won the game because Zuckuss took his time getting to the fight.
I would have to do better to secure a spot on day 2!
Vader, VI,X1,ATC, Engine
Soontir, PTL, AT, TC
Inquisitor, PTL, V1, AT
With 7 blockers and 5 crackshots my list should do pretty well against triple aces, especially if I can get some key blocks and concentrate fire.
Asteroid field was of medium density and we deployed on opposite corners. I deployed on the bottom left as I had better lanes turning right than on the other side turning left.
I split the swarm to get more blocking options, dangling a juicy black on the top left. I knew that he would not want to joust with the swarm and would veer left or right trying to nibble at my swarm from the edges. He advanced very cautiously which meant that the top left was not in range for a 5 forward + barrel roll block so I decided to pull the bait knowing it was the most probable target.
Soontir dealt a weapon failure to the bait Tie, and Vader was trough a rock at a focused tie so I took minimal damage dealing 1 shield to Vader in return.
Yoanne correctly anticipated that I would go for the block and went fast with his aces, but that only meant that I had very good shots and he only had the inquisitor firing. Inquisitor dealt no damage while I took 2 shields off the inquisitor (crackshot FTW!).
In the following turns I flew pretty badly blocking Vader every turn but denying myself shots in the process. I still managed to take down Vader while loosing 2 more Ties. Last 2 turns saw Soontir pulling off an unexpected K-turn to take down another Academy, and a very tense last turn trying to keep my 12 point lead.
I had a good lead that I almost threw away in the last turns thsough some bad flying.
Laurent with a classic triple scouts with overclocked R4.
I placed my asteroids in a tight cluster on my top left to prevent the scouts from starting in that position and shed stress turning left.
I deployed my Academies on the left and he deployed opposite, taking advantage of the huge open field there. We both advanced cautiously (3 forward for me to prevent a range 3 turn 1 engagement and 1 fwd for him).
Turn 2 saw a range 2 engagement where I lost 2 Ties to torpedoes while crippling the left most scout.
Turn 3 I finished his crippled scout, taking a crit on a black in return.
Turn 4 I continued to push some damage on his ships and he managed a tricky sloop between 2 asteroids to fire a 4th torpedo which took down the damaged Tie.
However In the next turns I took down the second scout and he was unable to take down another Tie.
Torpedo less (or action less) scouts have a lot of trouble putting damage on Ties, so as long as you don't loose 3 in the opening and cripple one, you should be okay.
Dengar, title, engine, lone wolf, R5P8,4-lom
Tel, proton torp, extra munition, dead eye, hull upgrade, R4 agromech
We setup on opposite corners and I had a very nice open lane to the board center.
I banked toward the center, while he went fast with dengar.
I slowed down, barrel rolling the lead tie backward to stay out of Tel range. He boosted with Dengar and with a lucky 3 dices attack at range 3 took down the lead Academy. Not a very good start for me, however I'm well positioned for a next turn block.
My top Tie went 5 forward then barrel roll left to block Tel, while the others just flew in a big blob in front of Dengar who ended up blocked just in range 2 of Tel. With no actions, his fire was ineffective, and with a bit of luck my 4 blacks focused at range 1 of Dengar took him out as pay back for the previous turn one shot (8.4 expected damage including 1.3 crits)!
After that Tel stood no chance.
Pretty much what I expected from this matchup, loose one Tie early to a torpedo + dengar attack, then crippling one and finishing them while denying actions.
Whatever happens now I'm in for day 2!
Triple scouts, with boba, 4-Lom proton torps and 1scout only has 1 plasma?
This time I setup my blacks in front of his scouts, going for the range 1 kill.
We advanced cautiously on turn 1, with my academies gunning forward to join the fight.
He made a ballsy move with the plasma scout, gunning 4 forward then barrel rolling to block my blacks, but with self blocking I ended up with 5 blacks at range 1 (one without actions) and I took him down, loosing only one black and 2 damages in return to the torpedoes. The Acas stripped a shield.
He took down the damaged Tie the next turn, but I also took a few shields from both scouts. With careful damage mitigation, and blocking he was unable to launch another torpedo.
In retrospect I made a big mistake during deployment which allowed him to try to go for the block, but he misjudged it a bit and it turned in my favor.
Inquisitor, PTL, V1, AT
Whisper, VI, ACD, intel agent, FCS
Last game was cut short, we only had 60 minutes including deployment due to a software (Tome) crash.
I'd never played against the phantom post nerf so it was quite and experience. Drawing on my prenerf experience I setup a dense asteroid field to block decloak lanes.
We setup on opposite sides.
Sadly no more pictures after this point, but I discovered that it is impossible to prevent whisper post nerf to decloak. I had to split my swarm due to the dense asteroid field, and with only 2 or 3 ties at best able to fire at a focused+palp whisper, your not doing much even if you managed to block his action. I lost badly and fought in the end game just to take the shuttle to half points!
In retrospect I needed a much thinner rock field to be able to gun for the shuttle if possible and force some hard choices on my opponent part.
All in all a pretty bad day of flying and I consider myself lucky to have made it to the second day with only 1 loss. I was especially weak in the furball, and I repeatedly blocked my opponents with a big blob of Ties only to have most of my guns facing every which way but the opponent!
Time to reload,