Rear Admiral Chiraneau and Escort (100 Points)
Rear Admiral Chiraneau (VT-49 Decimator) (46)
After about a 45 minute delay because of problems with the new FFG tournament software, the TO switched to Cryodex and the games began! I began on the top table (because of random pairings, the only time I would be there the entire day!) and I faced against a variant of the Decimator/Phantom archetype: Commander Kenkirk with Predator, Engine Upgrade, Mara Jade, Rebel Captive, and Ysanne Isard, and Echo with Veteran Instincts, Advanced Cloaking Device, and Fire-Control System. This player was very new to the game, and there to have a good time!
We deployed with Chiraneau and Kenkirk facing each other, my TIEs facing up the right side of the board, and Echo off to the left. Chiraneau slow-rolled while the TIEs raced forward at Speed 4, followed by a 3-bank, catching Kenkirk at range 1 and putting some serious damage on him. Mara Jade prevented them from K-Turning behind so they ended up turning left toward Echo to clear their stress. At this point, each and every person at the tournament received their Boba Fett card, as well as a custom-cut Total Escape Games acrylic range ruler!
Kenkirk had boosted to clear one of my TIE’s arcs, but came too close to the edge and unfortunately went off the next turn. A dark promise of rounds to come…
After this point, Echo didn’t last too long. Facing 3 TIEs and a Decimator with Gunner that shot first, combined with a couple bad green dice, destroyed her after she had destroyed one of my Academies. Win, 100-88
This was the most interesting list that I saw all day: Torkil Mux Ion Cannon Turret Palob Godalhi Blaster Turret, Opportunist, Moldy Crow, Recon Specialist Dace Bonearm Ion Cannon turret, Tactician Binayre Pirate
This list really messed with my mind. Who do you target first? Every single HWK-290 can neuter the expensive Chiraneau. I planned to engage at long range with the Decimator and pick the formation apart with my superior maneuverability and singular firepower while the TIEs drew their fire away.
He inched forward on the edge of the board, foiling my plan to try to engage in the middle of the map. Chiraneau plinged ineffectively at Dace, who threw MAD evade dice, taking only one damage.
This is where I made my fatal mistake. The HWK formation turned in slowly, at range 3 of my TIEs. Chiraneau made a 3-hard turn around the asteroid, target locked Dace, and I decided to push the limit to boost. Dace took no damage from the attack (greens on FIRE) but no TIEs were killed in this turn either. Next round, a stressed Chirpy attempted a 2-bank to clear it… and flew off the board. Undamaged. The TIEs went down in quick succession to the brutal combination of stolen Focus tokens, opportunist and pilot skill zero. Loss 0-100
This unusual and dastardly list went on to miss the top-8 cut in an extremely close 6th round.
Now solidly in the middle of the pack, I faced my first Soontir Fel of the day, flanked by 2 more interceptors and a Doomshuttle: Soontir Fel Push the Limit, Autothrusters, Royal Guard TIE, Targeting Computer Omicron Group Pilot Darth Vader Alpha Squadron Pilot Autothrusters x2
Interestingly, I saw a fair amount of Targeting Computers on Fel as opposed to Stealth Device, which I can understand – I have quite often been burned by my Soontir rolling entirely red blanks. We were in the “back room” of Total Escape, and it was way too quiet, so my opponent got out his phone, cued up the Imperial March, and we got to the game.
My squadron screamed ahead at flank speed while the shuttle stalled, surrounded by Interceptor escorts. Fel raced up the right side at speed 5 with a boost, and the second round ended with everyone just out of range. The TIEs didn’t slow down and ended up at range 1 of the Doomshuttle, while the shuttle and the Alphas set up a killbox for Chirpy, who expertly boosted out of all their arcs. The sith lord finished off a TIE fighter, but thanks to expert return fire, the shuttle was finished off and an Alpha followed soon after.
Honestly, my TIE fighters’ dice were on fire , evading multiple range-1 shots from Soontir. I managed a couple blocks on the Alpha but never on Soontir. Chiraneau fired at Soontir, and rolled hit-hit-focus, which became hit-hit crit. Soontir, with focus+evade and active Autothrusters, rolled two evades and a focus. My opponent decided to spend his Evade token on this shot and save the Focus for the Gunner shot. The Decimator’s gunners laid in another accurate hit-hit-crit and soontir rolled… Three blanks. Lamenting his choice of spending tokens, Soontir took the crit, which happened to be… injured pilot (ignore all Elite talent upgrades and pilot abilities). Possibly the worst crit Soontir Fel could possibly take.
Two rounds later, the same thing happened – Soontir dodged a Gunner shot only to take a second crit: Damaged Engine (All hard turns are red). Utterly crippled, Fel and the remaining alpha (who had also taken a nasty crit) didn’t last much longer and I ended up taking my second Win, 100-88.
By this point, I had achieved my goal of winning 2 games and was having a blast. My buddy who I came with, flying 2 pancakes, had gone 1 and 2 so far and we took the time between rounds discussing our day so far. In his last game, he faced Han and Leebo (with his own Chewie and Leebo) and my friend’s Leebo was destroyed so completely its peg broke! Anyway, I moved my stuff over to the next table and sat down to play round 4.
Han Solo Swarm Tactics Leebo Heavy Laser Cannon, Marksmanship, Experimental Interface, Outrider
Ironically, this is the exact same dual pancakes that my friend had faced just before! I like the concept behind this – Han making Leebo shoot at PS9, and with Marksmanship that HLC gets crits in against high-hull ships and ships with no shields… exactly what I was flying! I planned to try to burn down Han as soon as possible with my combined firepower (as it didn’t have C-3P0) and then deal with Leebo, boosting into the donut as needed.
I deployed as I normally do, with the TIEs on one side and Chiraneau in the middle. Han and Leebo set up right next to each other on the left side, touching each other at 90 degrees. Han moved slowly forward and in while Leebo took a 4-straight across the back edge and my TIEs and Chirpy went quickly in to try to engage Han before Leebo came in to the fight.
The TIEs banked in and Leebo hard-turned and barrel rolled to bring him in to range. Chiraneau took a soft bank to the left, getting into the donut hole and a range 1 shot on Han. Han and Leebo tried to knock down a TIE fighter but it evaded like crazy, and responded with the formation rolling exceptionally well, putting a lot of damage on Han in the tight furball. I decided that Chiraneau couldn’t donut Leebo consistently in this position, and so turned away from the fight, disengaging and getting out of range. The TIEs followed the pancakes into the center of the board, blocking Leebo and Han and getting multiple range 1 shots. One TIE died, but the other two were able to kill Han before Chiraneau even re-engaged. From here, I was able to correctly predict Leebo’s maneuvers for three or so rounds, blocking him while Chiraneau came back around.
After Chiraneau re-engaged, he was able to donut Leebo consistently again, and put the final damage on an ailing Outrider. Win, 100-88
Of course we were all getting tired by ihs point, but having won all but 1 of my games so far I realized that I actually had a shot at making the cut, barely, if I played like a true madman the next two rounds. And so, I set up facing my first Aggressor of the day
IG-88B Veteran Instincts, Inertial Dampeners, Autothrusters, Advanced Sensors, Heavy Laser Cannon Boba Fett Recon Specialist, Push the Limit, Inertial Dampeners, Engine Upgrade
My opponent gave me initiative, electing to move after me – a good move, disallowing some arc-dodging on my part and powering up the boosting of IG and Boba. I knew that this would be a tough game as Boba would put lots of dice into Chiraneau at close range, while IG would put lots of dice in from long range. A truly tough targeting decision too.
I set up like normal (TIEs on the side, Chirpy in the middle) and faced IG and Boba directly opposite the TIEs.
The first round of shooting did NOT go well. Boba got a good range-1 shot on a TIE fighter, evaporating it, while IG-88 laid into a second and destroyed it as well. Losing two TIEs on the first round did not bode well for the rest of the game, but Chiraneau managed to put a damage or two on Boba in return.
Chiraneau curled back around and I boosted, hoping to block Boba and save myself from two four-dice shots as IG-88 Segnor-looped around the asteroid. My sole remaining TIE rolled great evades against Boba’s fire but IG-88 quickly put him out of his misery. Then the cat-and-mouse game began. I managed to get Boba’s shields down at the same time as IG-88 put some hull damage on Chiraneau…
…which triggered my ace in the hole against this list (and indeed all lists with higher pilot skill than Chiraneau): Ysanne Isard. Not only did the Ice Queen’s ability allow me to stay on the board a little bit longer, but since the evade is an action, I can trigger Push the Limit off of it to boost out of my opponent’s firing arcs, and that’s exactly what I began to do. By boosting in the Combat phase, and doing my best to stay at Range 1 of IG88 (disabling the Gunner -esque ability and getting my own 4 dice shots) I was able to keep damage off of Chiraneau enough to finally take Boba down.
Gunner in this game really helped out. With Gunner, I am of the opinion that Chiraneau can focus on flying crazily to stay out of arcs as opposed to focusing on getting his arc on the Autothrustered target. Chiraneau’s ability certainly helps a ton with damage output too, making sure that an attack will eventually land.
I did my best to keep Chirpy moving at high speed to stay out of arc and at close range. Once or twice though, IG-88 got his range-3 shots and put 9 damage on my Decimator before, little by little, one-hit-turn by one-hit-turn, Chiraneau managed to destroy the killer robot after an intense game of phenomenal maneuvering on all sides. Win 100-36
I was really tuckered out by this point – it was something like 7:45PM and we had all been playing for almost 10 hours. With a starting lineup of 87 players, we all knew that the cut would be brutal. I was 4 and 1 at this point, and though the 0-100 loss hurt me, I knew I had enough MOV to make the bottom of the Top 8 if I flew well. I figured that as long as I had the chance, I would take it and with that in mind, I sat down to face my first real meta-list of the night:
Rear Admiral Chiraneau Determination, Engine Upgrade, Gunner, Darth Vader, Ysanne Isard Soontir Fel Push the Limit, Autothrusters, Royal Guard TIE, Targeting Computer
Once again, Targeting Computer on Fel instead of Stealth Device, but it worked out well for my opponent! The strength of a list like this is often that it makes the opponent make difficult decisions about which of the two ships to target first. I made the choice to go after Chiraneau because I knew that in the end-game with damage on my Decimator, I would be able to arc-dodge Fel and put damage on him with Gunner. And so the game begins.
Usually, when my opponent tries to take down my TIE fighters before going for Chiraneau, it is a game-breaking mistake. In this case, though, with a Decimator of his own, my opponent rightly chose to annihilate the TIEs before their swarmy pecking destroyed it little by little. Once again, he chose to move second. Soontir expertly avoided the blocks I tried to set up as his Chiraneau, with the assistance of the Sith Lord Vader, took out my TIEs one by one. Fortunately, in return and with the assistance of Gunner I was able to take down Fel, forcing him to turn away many times to avoid the block, but giving up his shot at the same time.
At this point, with Chiraneau vs. Chiraneau, both with Ysanne, it basically became a dice game. I started taking TL+Focus each round to try to make my dice more favorable than my opponent’s, and it almost worked too. The last round, I fired and put his Chiraneau down to one health with mine at 3. He responded and landed hit-hit-crit. I canceled one with Ysanne….. but the crit was Direct Hit and my Decimator went down in a heroic ball of fire. After such a tense final roll my opponent and I hugged it out and he went on to make the cut to Top 8!
I ended up sneaking in at 16th place, picking up some nifty shield tokens and ending a 11-and-a-half-hour day of some of the best X-Wing I have ever played. The group at Total Escape ran a great tournament, giving everyone a range ruler and renting out a second venue to accommodate all the extra players that made this one of the biggest events in the country! All of my opponents were fantastic and great sports, and going 4 and 2 at such a great event is one of the highlights of my X-Wing career thus far! Tyson, my co-host, made it much further than I did… but you’ll have to listen to the podcast for that report!