Here we are, then. The first ever London Regionals. You would think that a city the size of London has hosted an X-Wing Regional before, right? Hosting this event was one of the best local stores around; Warboar Games which also includes the Paradice Boardgame Cafe. They have table-service for drinks and snacks, which is great. They also have table-service for craft beer, which is awesome.

Previously, at the Milton Keynes Regional a few weeks earlier, I had decided to take my Spring Kit-winning Jumpmaster list (containing two Contracted Scouts and Palob). But finding that it struggled a little with the unreliable dice variance inherent in the (admittedly, amazing) HWK-290, I was searching around for viable alternatives.

When in doubt, that alternative is always my favourite ship; the Aggressor.

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

Fellow squadmates affectionately refer to this build as "the Hillbots". I used this exact build during Nationals and Worlds last year but this time, with Wave 8 available, I decided to add a Tractor Beam to IG-88C. It might not be useful, but it would allow that ship to double-tap with the Cannon should the Range 1 primary attack miss. I've tested this squad against several Jumpmaster lists and found they could handle the heat, so decided to roll with it.

01

Round 1: Mike Tamiolo

Guri (30)
Adaptability (0)
Advanced Sensors (3)
Autothrusters (2)
Virago (1)

Palob Godalhi (20)
Adaptability (0)
Blaster Turret (4)
Recon Specialist (3)
Moldy Crow (3)

Kavil (24)
Deadeye (1)
Dorsal Turret (3)
Plasma Torpedoes (3)
Extra Munitions (2)
Overclocked R4 (1)
Guidance Chips (0)

Total: 100

First round was Mike Tamiolo, one of the Warboar Games guys, who had brought an interesting 3-ship Scum list full of nonsense. Mike spread his ships out a little and approached into the centre of the board. Unfortunately, Kavil had the dubious pleasure of facing an asteroid when he got into range of the IG-88s. He decided to take the torpedo shot, at Range 3, through an asteroid... and took off 3 shields! Unfortunately, not able to go forward and clear the stress, Kavil was forced to attempt a slow gradual turn without actions - putting him out of commission for three turns.

Mike forgot to trigger Guri's and Palob's abilities the first couple of rounds, but it didn't end up making too much difference. Guri certainly took some time to take down but, at the end of the day, two 3-dice turrets just weren't enough to punch through the Aggressor's defences.

Result: 100 - 24


Round 2: Tom Duncan

"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

Nope, not a Jumpmaster here either. Where were they hiding? Instead, I had the pleasure of deploying my ships opposite fellow 186th Squadron member mascot Tom Duncan's hideously orange swarm. Tom and I have played quite a few times before, and we were both well aware that this matchup comes down to dice and first engagement. Only thing I needed to do was get into the right approach, kill a TIE Fighter with the first couple of shots, and then weather the storm.

0201

I thought this was quite good. Right where I wanted to be. IG-88C at the top, IG-88B at the bottom. Tom had put a Black Squadron in the centre to flank and get in the way. I was quite confident that with focus tokens, a Heavy Laser Cannon, a Mangler Cannon, and IG-88B's ability, that this poor TIE Fighter would pop like a balloon.

It wasn't to be. So next turn, the entire swarm turned down towards IG-88B who politely accepted the speed bump and tokened up. IG-88C went 3 forward and took a Target Lock on Howlrunner. At least I could get rid of Howlrunner with all those shots, right?

Nope. What I should have done, in retrospect, was use the Tractor Beam to push Howlrunner out of range of the swarm when the Mangler Cannon failed to kill her. But instead, I attempted to deliver the kill-shot with the Heavy Laser and Howlrunner cheerfully took only a single point of damage.

Tom proceeded to nuke IG-88B off the table with an astonishing firepower salvo. IG-88C flopped around a little, desperately trying to push the bugs off his windshield, before succumbing. In the end, he managed to kill Howlrunner, "Dropsy", and a Black Squadron Pilot on his own.

Result: 49 - 100


Round 3: Simrandeep Pone

Soontir Fel (27)
Push the Limit (3)
Autothrusters (2)
Stealth Device (3)
Royal Guard TIE (0)

Carnor Jax (26)
Push the Limit (3)
Autothrusters (2)
Stealth Device (3)
Royal Guard TIE (0)

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

Total: 100

Simrandeep was another Warboar regular, who was using three hard-to-kill Imperial Aces. He admitted to me before the game that he wasn't terribly familiar with Advanced Sensor-equipped Aggressors. This proved to be his unfortunate undoing.

Both of the IG-88's screamed forward down the side of the table and banked inwards, one in front of the other. Simrandeep's aces swoop around the central asteroids and perform a harsh Range 1 salvo, knocking off a bunch of shields from IG-88B.

Unfortunately, this didn't leave him with anywhere to go afterwards. IG-88B simply performed a bump, remaining stationary, while IG-88C took a Target Lock on Carnor and performed a 4K-Turn. Each of the three aces bumped into IG-88B. Carnor was promptly removed.

For the rest of the game, one IG-88 executed military precision blocking duties while the other pounded whatever poor ace was left action-less that turn.

Result: 100-24


Round 4: Harrison Sharp

"Omega Leader" (21)
Juke (2)
Comm Relay (3)

"Howlrunner" (18)
Adaptability (0)

Black Squadron Pilot (14)
Crack Shot (1)

Black Squadron Pilot (14)
Crack Shot (1)

"Wampa" (14)

Academy Pilot (12)

Total: 100

I don't believe this! That's the second TIE Swarm of the day and still no Jumpmasters. I know Harrison Sharp to be a good player, having faced him before. Wasn't familiar with his squad but figured that I would approach it much like a regular swarm. Dice are fickle things, though.

I'm not going to say that I lost this match because of the dice. I'm a firm believer in that part of the reason why people blame dice for losses is that they don't like admitting that they put themselves into the position where they had to rely on the dice in the first place. But the dice results were bad. Harrison, to his credit, kept apologising... even as his Academy Pilots rolled triple crits and single-handedly melted Aggressors.

I managed to kill Howlrunner.

Result: 18 - 100


Round 5: Ed Bradley

"Whisper" (32)
Veteran Instincts (1)
Fire-Control System (2)
Advanced Cloaking Device (4)

Soontir Fel (27)
Push the Limit (3)
Autothrusters (2)

Omicron Group Pilot (21)
Emperor Palpatine (8)

Total: 100

Came into this game feeling slightly dejected, knowing that poor MOV from the last game would probably put me outside of the Top 16 cut even if I went 4-2. Still, I resolved to have a good time and enjoy my game. Luckily, I was playing the very affable Ed Bradley, from north of the wall M25.

I was hoping that by sharing some Haribo I had just bought, Ed could be bribed into not realising that he possessed the perfect counter to IG-88s. I'm not sure if it worked, but we did have a fun match. Ed deployed his Shuttle in one corner, Soontir in the middle and Whisper in the other corner. I deployed both Aggressors facing the Shuttle.

I figured that Ed would use the Shuttle as bait, drawing me into the centre and allowing his aces to flank me. I took the bait, going fast forwards. Soontir shuffled into the centre and Whisper slowly banked around. Next turn, I moved even faster forwards and took Range 3 shots on the Shuttle. Soontir swooped into the middle proper and Whisper turned to angle inwards for an approach next turn.

That's where pretending to take the bait paid off. Both IG-88's then abandoned the chase completely, performing Bank-boost Hard 1 turns to get perfect angle into the centre of the table. Soontir and Whisper both launched themselves through the asteroids into the kill-box.

Four turns later, after a flurry of S-Loops and blocking moves, both aces were gone and only a few shields had been lost by each Aggressor. With only the damaged Shuttle left on the table, Ed graciously conceded the match.

Result: 100 - 0


Round 6: Tom Tattersall

Chewbacca (42)
Lone Wolf (2)
C-3PO (3)
Luke Skywalker (7)
Millennium Falcon (1)

"Chopper" (37)
Fire-Control System (2)
Autoblaster Turret (2)
Han Solo (2)
"Zeb" Orrelios (1)

Total: 99

Continuing my charm offensive, Tom consumed even more Haribo than Ed did. Tom (author of Confessions of a Mid-Table X-Winger) was hands down my favourite opponent of the day, instantly friendly and joking around. We were both sitting on a 3-2 result, and we both knew this game would decide whether we made the Top 16 or not, but it didn't really seem to matter at this point. He himself has written about the day on his blog - check it out.

Tom was flying the ludicrously tanky Chewbacca build, with a nasty close-range Chopper as support ship. He must have been practicing, because he deployed expertly, with Chewbacca in the right-hand corner and Chopper beside him, on the inside track. Obviously, Chewbacca was the sensible priority target for me. Tom seemed determined to make focusing him down difficult. It was going to be a proper slugfest either way.

I decide to split the two Aggressors up, one hugging my deployment edge and the other scooting forwards to come through the middle, because I wasn't sure which path Tom would take to the engagement. He eventually moves Chewbacca down the side and Chopper into the middle. Guess we're shooting Chopper first then. Smart move, Tom.

Jesper%2BHills
Source: Confessions of a Mid-Table X-Winger

Over the next several turns, I repeatedly baited-and-switched with the IG-88s. Fire Control System (on Chopper) and Luke Skywalker (on Chewbacca) would make short work of a target if they could both concentrate fire, so it was important to force awkward target priority on Tom. Eventually, Chopper went down before his horrible Stress ability ruined my positioning game too much.

IG-88C was now down to 3 Hull, and IG-88B was sitting on almost full Shields. Chewbacca was going to take forever to take down. I think Tom's mistake at this point was running away with the YT-1300. It meant I was able to use Autothrusters on each shot and, using Advanced Sensors, regulate my speed to always be at Range 3. What he probably should have done is K-Turn the Falcon and sink some Range 1 punches.

Chewbacca was only suffering 1 or 2 damage each turn, but it was consistent, and eventually I wore him down. We came down to a crucial turn where all ships were at Range 1 and Tom had to decide whether to Focus or Evade. He chose Evade, and failed to deal enough damage, and died. I had 1 Shield on IG-88B. Had Tom chosen the Focus action, he would have done another point of damage and gained half-points for IG-88B. This proved pivotal once the scores were tallied up. But thanks for an awesome game, Tom!

Result: 100 - 26


That was the end of the Swiss. When the results were announced it was revealed that I made it into 16th place with just 2 points MOV higher than 17th. What a close finish! Might have cheered a little bit. Had Tom Tattersall decided to Focus instead of Evade in the last turn of my last game, I would have lost 24 MOV and been knocked out! Pairings for the Top 16 are given out. Here's a breakdown of the Top 16 squads.

top_16

Round 7: Robert Kane

Tel Trevura (30)
Lone Wolf (2)
Recon Specialist (3)
R5-P8 (3)
Hull Upgrade (3)
Punishing One (12)

Trandoshan Slaver (29)
4-LOM (1)
Zuckuss (1)
Dengar (3)
Inertial Dampeners (1)

Binayre Pirate (12)

Total: 100

Robert had an interesting squad, built to deliver reliable damage over time without dying. He had beaten Alex Birt in the Swiss, and Alex had told me that his biggest mistake was ignoring the Trandoshan Slaver for too long. Since switching targets between the Tel Trevura and the Slaver would both take too much time (and deal me too much damage from R5-P8), I decided going in that the Slaver would be my first target - and I would go hard at it. Hopefully, after that, tokens and Autothrusters would keep me alive against Tel.

Robert deployed his Slaver and Binayre in the middle, facing a sparse asteroid field. I placed both my IG-88's in my right corner and Tel was deployed in Robert's right corner, diagonally opposite. This was perfect.

IG-88B stalled for a couple of turns to delay the approach and IG-88C went full-speed straight down the side of the board. I was fairly confident that the Slaver wouldn't turn towards IG-88C, as doing so would make it incredibly hard to turn around afterwards. Indeed, the Slaver went slowly into the central asteroid field and Tel shot down the opposite side of the board.

IG-88C banked inwards at Robert's corner, delivering 4 Hits to the Slaver from behind the corner asteroid at Range 3 without taking any damage in return. Robert sent his Binayre forward to block IG-88B's approach. Next turn, both Aggressors took the Focus/Evade stack and moved 1 Forwards to retain shots on the Slaver, which went straight forward towards IG-88B.

Fortunately, the Aggressors sank everything they could into it, and this paid off with a lucky Blinded Pilot and a couple of Hull points remaining. That poor Trandoshan Slaver unceremoniously blew up next turn.

Both of the IG-88's then moved right into the centre of the table, one performing a Hard 1 Turn to bump Tel Trevura and the other bumping into the other for shots at Tel. We stayed in this position for a few turns, where Robert would try to get out of the traffic jam only to find an Aggressor preventing him moving and taking actions.

After a few more turns, Tel and the Z-95 was destroyed, for a 100-0 win.


Round 8: James Dowdall

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

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

N'Dru Suhlak (17)
Crack Shot (1)
Cluster Missiles (4)
Glitterstim (2)
Guidance Chips (0)

Binayre Pirate (12)

Total: 100

I was pleased to see James, fellow 186th Member and podcast host, this far into the cut. We had both been testing the Contracted Scout for some time, trying different builds and configurations, running them past each other in practice games. We had played this exact matchup several times the week before, so we knew it was going to be a tight and interesting game.

Unfortunately, what this game turned out to be, was a total farce. Both very tired and both making some very funny/very sloppy decisions. I received a Damaged Cockpit on one IG-88 early on and then attempted to perform self-bump moves at least three times afterwards with the wrong ship, forgetting the other moved at PS0, and having to do some awkward boosts with Advanced Sensors to avoid hitting asteroids or flying off the table. James repeatedly attempted to get Torpedo shots only to find he was well out of range, not having predicted my moves.

I think this game ended with a 100-50 win, but it's a little fuzzy.


Round 9: 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

Third TIE Swarm of the day, with Andrew Pattison behind it too. Known within 186th Squadron as one of our most formidable swarm players, he was flying the same setup as Tom Duncan, who beat me earlier that day.

After some initial moves, we turn in towards each other and straight up joust. I manage to get my Aggressors into great position to take advantage of the movement order and slow-bump while retaining shots, and blocking some of his K-Turns. I had some good dice results and Andrew had some rather poor attack rolls. Howlrunner goes down in the first engagement and I take no damage in return.

Four turns after that, Andrew has four damaged TIE Fighters remaining with no Crack Shot available. I've taken 3 shields off in total. There is clearly very little chance he can win, and so Andrew decides to call the game there, just after midnight.


Round 10: Harrison Sharp

"Omega Leader" (21)
Juke (2)
Comm Relay (3)

"Howlrunner" (18)
Adaptability (0)

Black Squadron Pilot (14)
Crack Shot (1)

Black Squadron Pilot (14)
Crack Shot (1)

"Wampa" (14)

Academy Pilot (12)

Total: 100

Harrison Sharp, who won our game in the Swiss, has smashed his way straight into the final. I'm aware that this game will come down completely to initial positioning and getting the correct approach is going to make or break it. Asteroids are clustered mostly on his side, with a large open space in the middle. We set up in diagonally opposite corners.

Whilst Harrison blasts forward down his edge, IG-88B turns in sharply and IG-88C does a long, arced turn past the corner asteroid. He begins to bank the swarm inwards; IG-88B performs a pivot on the board edge to point towards them and IG-88C moves slowly forward. I'm hoping to split my approach and force him to turn his Swarm towards IG-88C rather than IG-88B (which would leave them facing the board edge).

1001

Next turn, IG-88B boost-banks into the corner, arc-dodging the entire Swarm, while IG-88C takes full advantage and deals some Range 3 damage.

1002

Harrison banks his swarm towards IG-88C, as I had hoped, putting IG-88B into the perfect flanking position. I know that IG-88C is going to take quite a bit of damage here, but he's able to withstand a fair bit with Focus/Evade stack and the payoff is normally worth it. With both Aggressors lined up, Howlrunner promptly leaves the table.

1003

Knowing that the entire swarm will attempt to turn around, IG-88C takes his defensive tokens and quite happily bumps into place. IG-88B moves forward and destroys a TIE Fighter. I'm very happy with my positioning here; if Harrison wants to keep engaging with his (stressed) TIE Fighters, he's going to have to bump into the back of IG-88C. Meanwhile, IG-88B can move forwards into a perfect fortressing move.

At the end of this turn, IG-88C has 0 shields, IG-88B has 2 shields.

1004

We have assembled our fortress. Both Aggressors take the Focus/Evade token stack with Push the Limit and immediately clear their stress, bumping, and not moving. But the TIE Fighters have no such advantage and madly scramble around trying to keep arcs and actions. Another TIE Fighter is removed.

1005

IG-88C takes Focus/TL on a TIE Fighter, remaining stationary with a bump, and IG-88B takes a Focus before performing a 4K-Turn. Harrison performed several K-Turns himself, with Omega Leader at the back of the pack (with a shield lost, but no damage taken). IG-88C takes down the TIE Fighter with the Target Lock.

Omega Leader is going to become a problem if left for too long, so I resolve to make it the next priority target. Even if IG-88C can't modify rolls, 4 attack dice can still punch through.

1007

Both Aggressors shuffle forwards and unload on Omega Leader. IG-88B double-taps with the Mangler Cannon and forces Omega Leader to spend Focus and Evade tokens to live. IG-88C then takes him down with a spectacular natural Hit Hit Crit Crit roll.

IG-88C is on 1 Hull remaining. IG-88B has 2 Shields remaining. It's now 2am and with only Wampa and an Academy Pilot left on the table, Harrison concedes the match. I want to thank Harrison for being a great opponent throughout; it was a fantastic game.


Conclusion

I want to give a quick thank you to Jason Grimwood at Warboar Games for hosting such a successful Regional Championship, the first in London. He went above and beyond with the prize support, throwing in donated contributions from both Cog O' Two and Feldherr, along with huge Lego kits for the Top 4 winners. That's a fantastic gesture towards the community and I'm very thankful for the support.

prizes
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