With the advent of the Imperial Raider comes a card that has far-reaching effects across the board and across the meta of X-Wing: Emperor Palpatine. A local game store was having a pre-release tournament with Wave 7 ships – someone who plays there had brought a bunch back from GenCon and offered a few of them up as prizes! Since the Raider had officially released two days before, I decided to take the Sith Lords out to play.
My first round was against my best friend Adam. He and I play a lot of X-Wing together – It was when we both should have been studying that we played our first X-Wing games together! Anyway, the night before the tournament I had picked him up at the airport and we discussed the lists we would take. He decided that he wanted to take a Scum list so we made a variation of one of my favorite Scum lists. It’s quite dastardly and can roll fists and fists of dice.
We deployed with Kenkirk and Vader on the left side and Adam’s squadron in the middle of his edge. N’Dru looked isolated, so I decided to scream up the edge and take him out first, but he saw the trap coming and turned in toward the rest of his squadron. With the initial plan foiled, I knew I had to take out Palob first as his token thievery would both limit my ships’ effectiveness as well as let Opportunist trigger, and if there’s one thing a Decimator hates, it’s large numbers of dice! Kenkirk rounded the cornered asteroid while Vader went around the other side. Once Vader acquired his Target Lock at Range 3, he took Focus+Evade each turn. Palob, of course, took some of them, the rat bastard, but it wasn’t too long before he faced his comeuppance.
At one point I forgot Kirk moved before Vader and lost my action running into him with a 2-turn to the right, giving Kath a range-1-rear-arc-Opportunist shot (with her own 2-turn to the right) that put five damage on Kenkirk, knocking his shields down and activating his ability.
N’Dru came back into the fight with a vengeance, loosing six more damage with Cluster Missiles, even with the two guaranteed evades on Kenkirk with Palpatine and Ysanne. Vader would have none of it, though, and while Kath circled back around, the Sith Lord hunted down and destroyed N’Dru in two rounds. The extra critical from ATC, coupled with the reroll from Predator, and adding a Focus when I’m out of arc, makes him an unbelievably destructive monster. It’s ludicrous.
BUT, it doesn’t protect against dumb mistakes…
…though fortunately Palpatine saved his apprentice from Kath’s fury, as well as the dice that he had to roll once he tried to get off the rock. Kenkirk and Vader (Mostly Vader) then decimated Kath, and the game was over. Kenkirk ended with three hull left, an impressive amount of damage from Kath and N’Dru, and Vader was untouched. Win, 100-0
- Push the Limit
- Engine Upgrade
Dual Pancakes is a list that I have always dreaded facing. So many hitpoints and so few arcs to dodge. With the classic Soontir Fel as a flanker, turrets give me less of a start because of Autothrusters. Vader, however, can’t take them and has to rely on wily ol’ green dice instead. Palpatine helps, it is true, but he can only help once. I knew that with two turrets coming in on Vader, I needed to destroy one of them extremely quickly to even the playing field.
Leebo and Chewie crept forward in a train, pushing the limit and racking up the tokens, but being extremely predictable. Kenkirk and Vader raced up the left side, flanking the Breakfast Club (dual pancakes? haha? anyone? ….). I wanted to take Chewie out first (He’s a bit of a local legend and deserves to die!) but circumstances demanded I focus on Leebo first – the Mangler is always awful on a Decimator, and besides, he was the closest at the time!
Leebo put up a valiant effort, I really must commend him. However, there’s only so much that you can do against Vader in pursuit. Vader and Kenkirk swept up the right side of the board and curled in behind the two YTs. Vader acquired his lock and began to lay in range-1 shot after shot with Kenkirk to back him up. Leebo went down in a ball of fire before he had the chance to traverse the length of the board.
Now it was time to chase down an almost full-health Chewbacca. The Wookie finally stopped PtL’ing to make a white maneuver and get out of the jaws of the Decimator. Taking a couple Range-2 and -3 shots, Chewbacca’s evade dice were on fire and Martin was calling 3P0 correctly – guessing 1 and rolling 1 each time for more than a couple rounds in a row! Vader turned through the asteroid field to catch Chewbacca on the inside of his turn while Kenkirk pursued directly in the rear. For a few rounds, there were no shots, and then Chewbacca slowed down and Kenkirk and Vader caught up. Things were about to heat up.
Chewie took one good range-1 shot from both Kenkirk and Vader, and then managed to block Vader for four consecutive turns. Kirk and Chewie traded shots for a couple turns, with Palpatine and Ysanne ensuring 2 evades/turn, and 3P0 and the Falcon title also ensuring 2 evades/turn on the YT-1300. Both turrets fought evenly as Vader struggled to release himself from Martin’s excellent movement prediction. The Rebels were slightly favored in a 1-on-1 here, as most of Martin’s fire had been directed at Kenkirk before Leebo went down, and he had a slight edge on hitpoints at this juncture.
Then Vader got free.
Two Range-1 shots against an ailing Chewbacca ended the game in a swift, fiery ball. Win, 100-0
To remove a super-evasive arc-dodger like Soontir Fel from the battlefield, you are greatly benefitted by having at least one of the following two things: lots of shots in-arc on him at once, or the combination of Gunner and Darth Vader crew. With a two-ship list, one of which was a turret, it was hard to see the first happening easily, and it just so happened that my opponent’s Chiraneau had the second combination – perfect for countering my own Darth Vader. I was wary of my chances in a straight-up brawl, so I knew I had to try to engineer the first engagement to my great advantage – isolating and taking down one of my opponent’s ships before the other had a real chance to engage.
I began by moving cautiously, moving Kenkirk and Vader both slowly up the right side of the board. My opponent turned and rolled backward with Soontir, pulling the closest thing to a slow roll that Soontir is capable of, and at the same time did not appear to commit Chiraneau. He wasn’t giving me anything yet.
The very next turn, I repeated my slow movement but banked Vader slightly in to the left, attempting to split around the asteroid in the middle of my lane to the center. Chiraneau, this time, had taken a large, hard turn that brought him into Vader’s Target Lock range, and the Sith lord promptly dropped three of the Admiral’s shields and took no retribution.
Honestly, this is almost exactly what I wanted. To deal damage to Chiraneau without giving him the opportunity to trigger Ysanne next round was perfect, and the exact sort of engagement I had hoped for. My opponent had just offered me his Decimator, and I knew I had the chance to deal a decisive blow.
Kenkirk then turned hard around to avoid the asteroid and focused (with Predator on three dice with Palpatine, a Target Lock is not necessary). Chiraneau came barrelling in to close the range, I believe perhaps attempting to block Vader. Soontir came in for a shot on Kenkirk, and Vader managed to avoid the bump, moving forward as slow as he could (2 forward) and ending the Activation Phase with both ships at Range 1 of Chiraneau.
What followed was possibly the most brutal round of fire into a Decimator that I have ever seen. Combined fire from Vader and Kenkirk, beginning from one shield left on Chiraneau, put nine hull damage into the Admiral, off of 7 dice and one guaranteed crit, and the generous assistance of two Direct Hits. With the shield, that came out to ten damage total. The decisive blow had been struck and at this point, I felt it was my game to lose.
Chiraneau survived the round, and the next fired into Vader, getting no damage through on the first shot but then Gunner-ing and Vader-ing twice to put a Structural Damage on my Vader, but killing himself in the process. Vader moved his lock to Soontir Fel, who had stripped Kenkirk’s shields, and managed to strip his tokens, allowing Kenkirk to put two damage on the Baron when his green dice went cold.
Kenkirk then turned around the large asteroid as Soontir and Vader engaged in a tense game of blocking. When pursuing, the TIE Advanced, without access to a 1-straight, is quite predictable, and Soontir Fel blocked Vader or at least denied him his shot at almost every turn as Kenkirk circled wide, no damage going through the Interceptor’s token pile and Autothrusters.
Even when Vader was free and, though he had no shot, was able to take actions, I chose not to attempt to repair my Structural Damage unless I was receiving fire, using actions instead for positional advantage. Eventually, it paid off. You can’t block Vader forever, and at the same time that Vader broke free, Kenkirk rounded the asteroid and came screaming into the center, catching Fel in arc at Range 1. Vader stripped the tokens, and Kenkirk finished him off. Win, 100-0
- Emperor Palpatine
- Engine Upgrade
- Advanced Targeting Computer
- Push the Limit
- Royal Guard TIE
- Targeting Computer
At this point, I was undefeated with perfect MOV. As it happened, there was one other person in the tournament who was undefeated with perfect MOV, and he too was flying the Emperor and Vader, but this time with a second slippery arc-dodger to add power. The OGP + Palpatine combo (hereafter known as the Palpmobile) and Targeting Computer (a favorite among that store I noticed) served to make this list quite potent, and I knew I would have to rely on Kenkirk’s tankiness and Vader’s insane damage output to win this one. It would be tough matchup.
My opponent elected to move second and I cautiously moved up the edge with Kenkirk and Vader. His Darth looked a little isolated, so I decided that I would gun for it first.
The game was almost decided in the first engagement. My Vader, moving first, did not manage to acquire his target lock, whereas his Vader did, and between his Vader and Soontir, and some abysmal dice on my end, my Vader lost all his shields and took one hull damage, and I was able to return only a single shield off of his Vader, with Kenkirk at Range 1 no less. I knew I was in a bad position and decided to run with Vader and hope to come back in a better position, while Kenkirk started pounding the Palpmobile in the hope that I could take at least one ship off the board, for MOV.
Pursued by Soontir, my Vader did a good job of evading his fire for a few turns as I skirted the edge of the board. At one point, as Kenkirk and my opponent’s Vader were facing each other ’round the large asteroid on the left side of the table, I saw that I had perhaps a once-in-a-game opportunity to even the score. I assumed my opponent’s Vader would hard-2 around the asteroid anticipating a straight maneuver with Kenkirk, but I hard-2’d into the rocks instead, barely missing both of them, and blocked my opponent’s Vader without a shot, while mine slid in behind him with a Target Lock and Focus. If I could at least strip Vader’s shields, I felt I had a shot, but alas the dice were not with me, and his Vader, with no tokens, expertly evaded my shots without needing the Emperor’s assistance. My opponent remarked afterward that he had not expected that turn and was concerned for his Vader’s fate at that point, but my failure allowed Soontir to come in and finish off my Vader the following turn.
From here I just tried to kill the Palpmobile as Kenkirk slowly but surely died. At one point, he took a Weapons Malfunction critical and used Palpatine to help flip it facedown, only to take the same critical hit on the very next turn. Pursued by Vader and Soontir, and ailing from a thousand needle wounds, Kenkirk put up a fight but ended up going down, leaving the Shuttle at one health. I consoled myself with the fact that I had been able to maneuver such that the Shuttle had not had a shot the entire game. Loss, 0-100
Though I had a disappointing final round, I ended up winning second overall, although only barely: Three of us had 3-1 records, and two of us in fact had perfect MOVs apart from the losses! The tiebreaker actually came down to Strength of Schedule, and since my only loss was to the eventual victor, I moved into second and picked up a shiny new TIE Punisher as a prize.
Now, this event was run much like the Imdaar Alpha and Kessel Run tournaments of Wave 2/Wave 4 – The first-place winner had chosen a K-Wing, and since I had gotten the Punisher, we were now tasked with building a list containing our new ships and fighting each other again!
My Final Squadron:
- Accuracy Corrector
My Opponent’s List:
- Push the Limit
I may be forgetting some things on my opponent’s list.
I wasn’t really sure how to build the Punisher, and I really really wanted to run Rexlar, because Rexlar’s so very much fun with TIE Mk.II and PtL. So, I just stacked it with a couple pieces of ordnance that I thought might be useful, used FCS to provide the TLs, and tossed in my favorite 20-ish points of Imperials since the Raider came out – a Tempest with Accuracy Corrector. My opponent ran Jake with VI, a stressing Keyan, and Miranda Doni for his obligatory K-Wing. We set up on the same table we had just played on, and went to dials.
The first round of combat was textbook of X-Wing dice results: The TIE Advanced rolled his dice against Jake, and Accuracy Corrected it to 2 hits. Jake, at Range 3 through a rock, rolled five greens and… five blanks. Shields came down!
The second round of combat, Karma came back to bite me and the TIE Advanced bit the dust to Keyan Farlander’s excellent TL+F attack and Miranda’s incessant plinking. Jake went 5 ahead and boosted, dodging Rexlar’s attempt to take him down, and the Cutlass attacked Keyan at Range 3 and put a TL on him with FCS. At this point, with Jake running, I elected to chase down Keyan as best I could.
I saw an opportunity to turn hard-3 and drop a proximity mine on Keyan, so I took it. Unfortunately, since you can’t modify Proximity Mines, they only got a hit through, the rest being Focuses. And soon after, the Cutlass went down – even nine hull dies very quickly when a B-Wing is on your tail.
The end of the game was pretty tense – Rexlar’s HLC had taken Miranda down almost single-handedly, and put enough damage on Jake and Tycho to get them both to a single hull, but did so at the expense of getting himself down to a single hull as well, and a single lucky shot from Jake put the final damage on the Defender.
And thus ended an amazing day of X-Wing. I walked away with the Punisher and a set of FFG Evade tokens, not a bad haul for a small pre-release tournament. My opponent in the last two rounds is a very well-known local player who is really good at the game, and he deserved his win.