Balance of the Force, round 1: Brian Collis (Rebel Alliance) vs Nébal (Scum and Villainy) (Battle report in English)
Balance of the Force, round 1! And a new battle report in English. Of course, I’m French, so I’m genetically designed to speak and write an awful English… Please be kind!
Balance of the Force is a tournament organised by the Tin Squadron, based in England. There will be six rounds of swiss, one per week, with the possibility to change lists for one day only, between rounds 2 and 3. After the swiss, there will be a top 16, and so on.
What makes this tournament peculiar and so interesting is that it is extended format, but with specific rules regarding the creation of lists. The main idea is that all pilots are split between three groups, based on their initiative values: the first group encompasses all pilots with initiative 2 or less, the second group is for pilots at initiative 3 or 4, and the third and final group is dedicated to all pilots with initiative 5 or more. Then the rule is that, for each pilot of the first group you play, your list must have a corresponding third group pilot, and vice versa. Group 2 pilots don’t need to have specific counterparts, so you can have as many as you like, and if the list has an odd number of pilots, then obviously the remaining odd pilot must be from the second group. Finally, there must be no more than three pilots of the same chassis.
For this first round, I have been paired with Brian Collis, a very nice player from the USA, who brought the following Rebel Alliance list:
HWK-290 Light Freighter – •Jan Ors – 57 (group 3)
•Jan Ors – Espionage Expert (41)
•Moldy Crow (16)
Auzituck Gunship – •Wullffwarro – 56 (group 2)
•Wullffwarro – Wookiee Chief (53)
Hull Upgrade (3)
BTL-A4 Y-Wing – •“Dutch” Vander – 55 (group 2)
•“Dutch” Vander – Gold Leader (40)
R4 Astromech (2)
Concussion Bombs (4)
Ion Torpedoes (4)
Ion Cannon Turret (5)
Sheathipede-class Shuttle – •AP-5 – 32 (group 1)
•AP-5 – Escaped Analyst Droid (32)
As for myself, and it may come as a surprise for you two guys who follow those battle reports, but I brought neither an Imperial nor a First Order list… I went for a Scum and Villainy list! A faction I have almost never played, and the last time I tried was about two years ago… Large ships, which I usually don't run, with those pesky False Transponder Codes which will likely become costlier sooner than later:
Lancer-class Pursuit Craft – •Asajj Ventress – 75 (group 2)
•Asajj Ventress – Force of Her Own (68)
•Shadow Caster (1)
•Zam Wesell (4)
False Transponder Codes (2)
YV-666 Light Freighter – •Bossk – 68 (group 2)
•Bossk – Fearsome Hunter (60)
•Jabba the Hutt (6)
False Transponder Codes (2)
M12-L Kimogila Fighter – •Torani Kulda – 57 (group 2)
•Torani Kulda – Rodian Freelancer (48)
False Transponder Codes (2)
Proton Rockets (5)
Now, before we launch the game, there is one thing that must be discussed. False Transponder Codes is a great illicit upgrade card, but the problem is that many interactions with this card are a little bit weird, and without FFG (or AMG?) giving straight answers regarding those issues, all we can do is speculate and agree on common terms. It seems that the rule is now that by locking an obstacle you don’t spend your charge, for example.
But the main issue regarding this specific game with Brian was the interaction between False Transponder Codes and “Dutch” Vander. At first I guessed the answer was that “Dutch” locking a ship with False Transponder Codes would be jammed immediately, but would nevertheless be considered to “have locked”, therefore allowing an allied ship to lock the same target, now deprived of its precious False Transponder Codes’ charge. But I asked the French community just in case, and it seems it was indeed more complicated than that. I’ve been suggested to apply the following ruling by Maui, judge for the Kyber Cup, who also posted it on the Gold Squadron Podcast Discord (I paraphrase his example, which involved Hera Syndulla and Jango Fett, so that it fits Brian’s list and mine); what is of the utmost importance is who is the first player.
If I, as the Scum player, have the first player status, this is what happens:
• “Dutch” locks, let’s say Bossk; [False Transponder Codes] enters the ability queue, followed by ["Dutch"], because the Scum player is the first player.
• [False Transponder Codes] resolves, and “Dutch” is jammed.
• A Rebel ship, let’s say Wullffwarro, acquires a lock on Bossk.
To put it simply, if I were the first player, “Dutch” wouldn’t keep is own lock, but he could allow Wullffwarro to lock anyway. And that big Wookiee is much more frightening…
But it is different if the Rebel player is the first player:
• “Dutch” locks Bossk; ["Dutch"] enters the queue, followed by [False Transponder Codes], because the Rebel player is the first player
• ["Dutch"] resolves to give Wullffwarro a lock on Bossk; this adds a second copy of [False Transponder Codes] to the front of the ability queue; the ability queue now reads: [False Transponder Codes 2] → [False Transponder Codes 1].
• [False Transponder Codes 2] resolves first, jamming Wullffwarro.
• There is not any more a charge on False Transponder Codes, so the other copy of the ability does not resolve.
This time, as you see, it is “Dutch” who keeps his own lock on Bossk, whereas Wullffwarro doesn’t lock the bounty hunter. And that is a big difference…
Is this ruling the good one? I guess for now it is… but there’s nothing official to it. Anyway, Brian and I discussed the issue before the game, and agreed to follow this ruling.
Now to the game.
BEWARE: RIGHT AFTER THIS OMINOUS DARTH VADER PICTURE, I WILL REVEAL HOW THE GAME TURNED OUT. IF YOU DON’T WANT SPOILERS, WATCH THE VIDEO BEFORE READING FURTHER!
Victory for the Scum and Villainy: 173-172! Now that was a close one… but also a very brutal, very fun game! Well played, Brian!
Now Brian’s list was all about the Very Big And Very Hairy Wookiee Wullffwarro. This guy hits like a brick as soon as he is damaged, which means already from the beginning, since, as in a previous battle report on this blog, one of “Dutch” Vander’s functions in this list would be to drop a Concussion Bomb first turn so that the Auzituck’s ability would be activated immediately (Wullffwarro having a Hull Upgrade, that automatic damage was somewhat nullified, and then all “Dutch” had to do was take the reload action; if he didn’t, he would be compelled to drop Concussion Bombs during the following turns, which would truly be a waste). Then Wullffwarro could reinforce himself and focus each turn, if coordinated by AP-5, and “Dutch” could give him free target locks; Finally Jan Ors would stress herself in order to allow the Wookiee to roll again one more attack dice. Which means, at range 1, six dices, double modified! Yep, it’s all about this Big, Hairy Guy… Of course all Star Wars nerds know that the sensible thing to do would be to let the Wookiee win, but we’re not here to be sensible, right? That said, “Dutch” wasn’t to be taken lightly neither, for his Concussion Bombs would be very dangerous for my large base ships, and if his ion shenanigans wouldn’t in most cases ionize my large bases, they could very well be an eloquent demonstration of what people mean by “death from a thousand cuts”: I simply wouldn’t roll enough dices to evade the damage…
My list had its own merits, though. False Transponder Codes, reloaded by Jabba the Hutt, would mean that at least some target locks by Brian would fail, and, the other way, I could target rebel ships in order to jam them, and especially Wullffwarro, the main menace. Plus I had other options for control with Asajj Ventress: stress with her own ability, and a tractor token here and there through the Shadow Caster title. And she works really well with Torani Kulda: nobody wants to be in the Kimogila’s bullseye, especially without any green token, for she can hurt almost as badly as Wullffwarro, although not so regularly. And then, once in a while, Zam Wesell would allow Asajj to make a bonus attack… plus all my ships had a three attack dices value, while in the meantime Bossk’s full frontal arc and Asajj’s turret allowed me to cover arcs on a pretty extensive scale.
Both our lists were 200 points. We rolled for the first player, I won, and chose to be the first player. A debatable choice, mainly because of the ruling regarding “Dutch” Vander and False Transponder Codes… Had I given Brian first player status, it would have been a little bit more difficult for Wullffwarro to get target locks and therefore to be double modified… But, at the same time, I preferred to have the ability to block and choose who I would jam with False Transponder Codes. What do you think? I’m interested.
The first big commitment of the game was, in compliance with what I just wrote, when I chose to go very fast with Bossk and Asajj in order to block as many of Brian’s ships as possible. My point was especially to forbid both “Dutch” and Wullffwarro to have actions of their own, although AP-5 could coordinate. “Dutch” didn’t bump, sadly, but it worked pretty well otherwise, I guess, the Wookiee being jammed and therefore not able to gain a lock anyway. I took half of the Wookiee but didn’t do as many damage as I hoped though (especially because I rolled only three dices for Asajj when I was range one on Jan, stupid me!), and took some, because Jan Ors managed not to bump and… I had forgotten that the Wookiee had a full frontal arc, just as Bossk did. Silly Nébal... Then Torani Kulda was a bit too far, having bumped the two previous turns, something I should fix in future games, and Wullffwarro evaded her pretty well.
“Dutch” was in a good position to drop a Concussion Bomb, which would affect all of my ships, but also Wullffwarro (we had to check ranges manually, that was maybe not that accurate, I wondered about Jan, but I think we got it through). I realised, watching the game again, I had forgotten to give Torani Kulda a stress token for having overlapped a debris cloud during this turn… I’m really sorry, Brian! But I placed her there for two reasons: hoping that Wullffwarro would bump on her (which happened) or otherwise that she could have the Wookiee in her bullseye. Yet Asajj and especially Bossk’s attacks were very disappointing (my lizard being crippled by Weapons Failure at the worst moment, because of course he was). Torani was a bit better, inflicting damage to AP-5. But then the Big Hairy Wookiee was Really Angry: although he was not double modified, he rolled six dices against Bossk, and obtained three hits, three crits! My Space Lizard rolled one evade, but that was not enough: first casualty of this game, and a big one! Which also meant that Jabba was gone (even if Asajj and Torani both had their False Transponder Codes’ charge at this time). And then AP-5 with a lucky shot got half of Asajj… Nevertheless, it was now time for Zam Wesell to attack back at the former imperial droid, and she got a Direct Hit! AP-5 exploded, second casualty of this brutal turn. But Brian had clearly taken the lead by removing Bossk and taking half of Asajj, the tiny Sheathipede was no match for this loss…
The next Concussion Bomb would affect both Asajj and Wullffwarro, the latter clinging on one hull left after that. I had to turn my turret to have a shot at him. Before that, Jan already heavily damaged my Lancer, and it was almost certain that Wullffwarro would kill her; but she attacked the Wookiee, and got him; then he got her… Once again, two ships destroyed in a single turn, one for each side! But Brian increased his lead… although Torani managed to get half of Jan Ors, and inflicted her Damaged Engines, which would be important very soon.
Because Brian forgot he had suffered this crit! The planned maneuver became red whereas Jan was already stressed because of Asajj; the HWK therefore had to do a stress maneuver, which was ideal for Torani, who finished Jan; and now I had taken back the lead… for two points only. Close game!
So it was Torani vs “Dutch”… My Kimogila could hit harder, but the Y-Wing was more maneuverable as he was equipped with an R4 Astromech; it also had the other advantage of its ion weapons: rolling three or four dices, when I had one green dice, two at best, he would almost necessarily score the first damage on Torani, and could hope to ionize her once in a while… “Death by a thousand cuts” seemed inevitable, and Brian soon gained half of Torani, with good hopes of killing her before the bell rang! He was back in the lead, 172-145…
(I realized something watching the game afterwards though: Torani actually had one shield left, which I had totally forgotten because of the damage card attributed through the Concussion Bomb… but it doesn’t really matter: at the moment, it meant that he actually didn’t get half points for my Kimogila, but he would later, without destroying the ship, so it changed nothing for the final result.)
Yet Brian made a mistake with the Y-Wing’s dial, that may have cost him the game: he planned a right turn when he meant a left turn… So he wasn’t able to shoot at Torani, who would be in a better position to shoot him during the next turns, although her attack at the moment missed even if “Dutch” was strained, and she didn’t have the Y-Wing in arc the following turn. The next turn however, when “Dutch” made a 4K, Torani had him on her bullseye! She couldn’t use her Proton Rockets because of range 3, but inflicted nonetheless one hit, one crit, plus one additional hit for her special ability, therefore winning half of “Dutch” Vander’s points. I was once again back in the lead… for one point only!
But the game was not over yet. Although clinging very soon at only one hull left, “Dutch” could still hope to kill Torani before the bell rang, whereas the contrary was not likely, because the Kimogila's dial is... well... The Rebel ship inflicted one damage at a time, but during the last turn, finally hearing Brave Sir Robin’s advice (which I hate to do but was the only option at this point), I was able to barrel roll to the left, going too far away for “Dutch” to finish my last ship.
(And remember, as I did not, that Torani actually had one shield left, so this last attack wouldn’t have killed her anyway.)
And so, victory! For one point only… That was hell of a close game, very brutal, very funny. Good game, Brian, and I wish you the best of luck for the remainder of the tournament!
As for me, round 2 next week, we’ll see what happens… See you soon!