Ladles and jellyspoons, may I present to you my first (and hopefully not the last) battle report.

As a quick introduction, my name is Tom Duncan and I have a serious problem with painting ships orange. I’m also a fanatic Imperial player with a fetish for TIE Fighters. I’ve been playing competitive X-Wing for almost two years now.


The List

I shamelessly stole this list from Andrew Pattison. This was because my Store Championship list didn’t cut it against Jumpmasters and this seemed like the best way to evolve it. The plan is to have the Academy Pilots (APs) deny the actions of Jumpmasters and let the Black Squadron Pilots (BSPs) do their job. I may have sacrificed two Crack Shots, but I’ve gained an extra ship and the ability to be the blocker: not the blockee. This would prove vital later in the day.

"Howlrunner" (18)
Crack Shot (1)

Black Squadron Pilot (14)
Crack Shot (1)

Black Squadron Pilot (14)
Crack Shot (1)

Black Squadron Pilot (14)
Crack Shot (1)

Academy Pilot (12)

Academy Pilot (12)

Academy Pilot (12)

Total: 100

Disclaimer: Any of you who’ve played me at a tournament will be familiar with Dropsy, who receives a lot of mention in this report. Dropsy is one TIE Fighter that’s been with me since I started playing X-Wing, who persistently falls off his base, and no matter what I did (apart from not running Fighters) he would always end up being in a game. Yet, somehow, he always manages to be the one that most of my great stories are about (although this event was not one of his proudest moments).


Round 1: Joel North


Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Crack Shot (1)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Adaptability (0)
Autothrusters (2)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)

Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Crack Shot (1)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Adaptability (0)
Autothrusters (2)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)

Green Squadron Pilot (19)
Crack Shot (1)
Chardaan Refit (-2)
Adaptability (0)
A-Wing Test Pilot (0)

Lothal Rebel (35)
Fire-Control System (2)
Autoblaster Turret (2)
Han Solo (2)
Hera Syndulla (1)

Total: 100

My first opponent of the day was Joel. Joel and I have played previously (and he’s written plenty of undeservedly nice things about me on his own battle report site).
Initially, I was quite worried about this matchup; the Autoblaster is the last thing I want to see with my fragile TIE Fighters, but Joel made the mistake of placing his Ghost and A-Wings too far apart.

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As a result, I could rush his A-Wings and take them out before the Ghost could come in a wreak havoc.
I used one AP as a flanker, with the intent of keeping the Ghost out of the combat by blocking it for as long as possible.

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Consequently, the A-Wings and the TIE Fighters joined in combat and it wasn’t long before the A-Wings died, but Howlrunner fell. From there, with so many ships remaining, the Ghost didn’t stand a chance: only firing twice. Sadly, that was enough for Dropsy to be slain.
This was the beginning of a trend that would continue for the rest of the day.

Result: 100-34


Round 2: Jesper Hills

IG-88B (36)
Push the Limit (3)
Advanced Sensors (3)
"Mangler" Cannon (4)
Autothrusters (2)
IG-2000 (0)

IG-88C (36)
Push the Limit (3)
Advanced Sensors (3)
Heavy Laser Cannon (7)
Tractor Beam (1)
Autothrusters (2)
IG-2000 (0)

Total: 100

To draw a fellow 186th member in the second round wasn’t top of my “Things I want to do today” list, but here I was staring across the table at my old nemesis: Double IGs. Jesper, as we all know, is quite good at this list, but I am armed with the latest technology available to the Empire; Crack Shot, and I am now prepared to test my mettle against this once (almost) impossible matchup.
These things are slippery; the trick is to both block the boost locations and the final dialled in location. This is not an easy feat. This time, I use Dropsy as a Flanker; his Crack Shot makes it easier for him to score a lucky hit than an AP. My goal here is to survive the inevitable Range 3 engagement then close in for the kill, as my 2 attack value is highly unlikely to penetrate 3 dice with Autothrusters.

The critical moment of the game was when I noticed IG-88B’s position. Up against a rock, facing my swarm, with only a primary fire arc there are few options available.

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I decide to commit hard, and swing the swarm around to cover all the potential areas he wants to go. As a result, I end up with all my TIE Fighters at R1. Jesper then makes a mistake, not utilising his tractor beam to move Howlrunner, and IG-88B perishes under their thundering salvo.
From here, things look grim for Jesper, but he manages to claim Howlrunner, Dropsy and another BSP before finally succumbing to the swarm.



Result: 100–49


Round 3: James Finlayson

Contracted Scout (25)
Deadeye (1)
Proton Torpedoes (4)
Extra Munitions (2)
Guidance Chips (0)

Contracted Scout (25)
Deadeye (1)
Plasma Torpedoes (3)
Extra Munitions (2)
R4 Agromech (2)
Guidance Chips (0)

Contracted Scout (25)
Deadeye (1)
Ion Torpedoes (5)
Extra Munitions (2)
R4 Agromech (2)
Guidance Chips (0)

Total: 100

And so we finally come to the matchup I’ve been waiting for. Scouts. An atypical list, but Scouts nonetheless. My biggest fear in this list is the Ion Torpedoes. They can cause Swarms some huge issues and are probably the reason James included them.

We set up in opposite corners; however James only has the option to come through a set of rocks as long as I go fast enough and get there in time. I rush this position and, luckily for me, James bumps the Ion Torpedo boat. I proceed to take down the lead boat.

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From here, it’s the fast road to block city and the other boat fails to get a torpedo off before exploding. The final boat destroys a BSP and is then eventually destroyed.


Result: 100-15


Round 4: Vid Cleall

Contracted Scout (25)
Deadeye (1)
Plasma Torpedoes (3)
Extra Munitions (2)
R4 Agromech (2)
Guidance Chips (0)

Contracted Scout (25)
Deadeye (1)
Plasma Torpedoes (3)
Extra Munitions (2)
R4 Agromech (2)
Guidance Chips (0)

Zuckuss (28)
Veteran Instincts (1)
K4 Security Droid (3)
Tractor Beam (1)
Mist Hunter (0)

Total: 99

Disaster! Another squadmate. On the bright side, it’s more scouts and I did so desperately want the practice. Zuckuss is a more unfamiliar sight, so I wasn’t sure how he would play. 
Vid’s Jumpmasters approach the swarm, but one is placed facing a rock. I know this ship won’t be able to engage me this turn, or fire Torpedoes until the following turn. I also see that Zuckuss is too far away too engage. I decide to commit hard this turn, as it means I can get an early lead.

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As a result, we end up trading one torp for three shots from the swarm. Palms sweaty, I brace for the pain that I know the torp will bring. It’s worse than I thought: Vid ends up with a grand total of four crits. Crits are not my TIE Fighter’s friends. With a heavy heart, I pick up my dice and roll.

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SUCCESS! Who even needs focus tokens!
The following turn, the Jumpmaster bumps and is trapped at range one. The TIEs take some damage but I take down the jumpmaster. Now I’m stuck with a tough choice: do I engage Zuckuss or the remaining jump?

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I decide to split. I can get three Fighters behind Zuckuss while the remaining four take on the Jump. That way, Zuckuss is forced to pursue the larger group to support the Jump and my TIEs aren’t getting shot at.
I chase the Jump into a corner and manage to trade Dropsy for it and eventually finish off Zuckuss.



Result: 100-34


Round 5: Ben Lee

Darth Vader (29)
Veteran Instincts (1)
Advanced Targeting Computer (1)
Engine Upgrade (4)
TIE/x1 (0)

The Inquisitor (25)
Push the Limit (3)
Proton Rockets (3)
Autothrusters (2)
TIE/v1 (1)

Omicron Group Pilot (21)
Emperor Palpatine (8)

Total: 98

Now it’s just getting silly: three of you in one day? To top it all off, it’s Imp Aces flown by someone with considerably more patience than I.

This game was one of cat and mouse. I set up with two separate swarms, a block of 4 and a block of three, and began delaying to see if Ben would commit.

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He has to come get me if he wants to win, but I want the engagement on my terms, preferably after I put a ship in front of an Ace. Eventually, Ben over-commits with the Inquisitor and has to take a whole round of fire with no tokens.

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I manage to strip two shields from the Inquisitor. Time is running out, and I need one of these slippery ships off the board. Fighters are practically thrown forward.

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Oops.
I seem to have rocked myself.
The Inquisitor zooms off into the sunset, I manage to strip him of one hull before he goes, but now I’m left with no points and a terrible position. I strip the shields from the shuttle, desperate for points, but Ben’s Vader sweeps in and kills two Fighters, just as time is called.
Boo.


Result: 14-34


Round 6: John Kane

Biggs Darklighter (25)
R4-D6 (1)
Integrated Astromech (0)

Blue Squadron Pilot (22)
Fire-Control System (2)

Blue Squadron Novice (24)

Gold Squadron Pilot (18)
Twin Laser Turret (6)
R3-A2 (2)
BTL-A4 Y-Wing (0)

Total: 100

John is an opponent I’ve played quite a bit recently. His list makes me nervous, because it throws a lot of dice and has a glorious moustache I could never match.

The same can be said for John, he hates this Swarm.
For this game, there’s a nice open channel for my Fighters to go through. If I can get in here first, I can set up for a range one first combat turn.

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We joust; Biggs falls; his moustache on fire, and none of the Fighters are dropped.

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The following turns lead to a ship being destroyed on both sides until, finally, a B-Wing remains against four fighters. The B-Wing dies.

Result: 100-49


I’ve done it, I’ve made the cut; finishing fifth place with a Margin of Victory of 889 and a Strength of Schedule of 124. Excellent, now all I need to do is not draw Andrew in the cut. We’re both running the same list, so that would be the worst possible matchup.


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Oh.


Round 7: Andrew Pattison

"Howlrunner" (18)
Crack Shot (1)

Black Squadron Pilot (14)
Crack Shot (1)

Black Squadron Pilot (14)
Crack Shot (1)

Black Squadron Pilot (14)
Crack Shot (1)

Academy Pilot (12)

Academy Pilot (12)

Academy Pilot (12)

Total: 100

We rolled a die to determine initiative. I called a miss. It was a hit.
We called ‘gg’, laughed, and set up our ships.

With Andrew setting up first, I’m able to glean a glimpse of my single chance at salvation. He sets up with the rocks in the way and with his TIE Fighters three abreast. That’s my chance. If I can optimise my first turn, with as few blocked TIEs as possible and the closest distance possible, then I have a chance. I’ll use the rocks to force him to turn in and then at that moment I’ll strike.
I set up using an old formation. This one allows me to engage with three ships on my front row, not two. This is it, my time is now.
Except I put the wrong dial down. An AP is now not on the front row where I want him.

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Still, I got the engagement I wanted. It was much more optimal than Andrew’s, so I was feeling confident.

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And then that happened. I was three TIEs down and I only managed to get one. It all spiralled out of control from here.
On the bright side, Dropsy spent ages just not dying, but he also wasn’t doing anything either.



Result: 12-100


Summary

So after making it to the cut I was feeling a bit like this. After drawing and losing to Andrew I felt a bit like this.

Sometimes that just happens in X-Wing. I’ll just have to get revenge on him next time by forcing him to run X-Wings or something.
All in all, I’d had a great day and I’m pretty happy with my performance. I’ve played all sorts of lists and now I feel 100% prepared for the Birmingham Regional. Pretty glad I kept my Bye for that, we’ve all been discussing how disgusting it’s going to be to play 3 days of X-Wing but as Reggie Fils-Aime would say: my body is ready.

More photos of my games are available here.