Balance of the Force, round 3: Matija Mandurov (Resistance) vs Nébal (Scum and Villainy) (battle report in English)
Balance of the Force, round 3! 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. Lists were unlocked for a single day between round 2 and 3, so just before this very game. 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 third round, I have been paired with Matija, a very nice player from Croatia, who brought the following Resistance list:
T-70 X-Wing – •Poe Dameron – 77 (group 3)
•Poe Dameron – Trigger-Happy Flyboy (62)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
•Overdrive Thruster (8)
R4 Astromech (2)
Ion Torpedoes (4)
T-70 X-Wing – •Jessika Pava – 51 (group 2)
•Jessika Pava – The Great Destroyer (51)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
T-70 X-Wing – Blue Squadron Rookie – 41 (group 1)
Blue Squadron Rookie (41)
Integrated S-Foils (0)
Resistance Transport Pod – •Rose Tico – 30 (group 2)
•Rose Tico – Earnest Engineer (25)
As for myself, I brought mostly the Scum and Villainy list that you may already have seen in round 1 and 2, large ships with those pesky False Transponder Codes. Two small changes only: Predator on Torani Kulda went away, so that I could board Greedo on Bossk (which makes my list 199 points now instead of 200):
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 – 69 (group 2)
•Bossk – Fearsome Hunter (60)
•Jabba the Hutt (6)
False Transponder Codes (2)
M12-L Kimogila Fighter – •Torani Kulda – 55 (group 2)
•Torani Kulda – Rodian Freelancer (48)
False Transponder Codes (2)
Proton Rockets (5)
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, 200-107! It started very well for me, but later turns were quite frightening, actually… Well played, Matija, thanks for the great game, and even to that unkillable Jessika Pava!
What did I think of the matchup? I would say it was… balanced? Both lists had their strong points. On Matija’s side, well, one should never underestimate the versatility, endurance (seven health points including three shields with agility 2!), and aggression of T-70 X-Wings, even a single Blue Squadron Rookie with no upgrade but the free Integrated S-Foils. Poe Dameron (Trigger-Happy Flyboy, the “old” Poe) is obviously a very good pilot, with his “Poe the Limit” ability, and he was especially mobile in that configuration, with R4 Astromech and Overdrive Thruster, a card I had never faced before, I think, which allowed him to do some crazy moves. And of course Heroic is that little bonus that can turn many things in favor of the terrorists’ faction… The Resistance jouster/ace could be very destructive for my ships, and especially Bossk, because, shooting first, he had the best chances of turning Greedo against me. But I think I dreaded Jessika Pava as much and maybe even more, for as long as she has friends around her, she has all the rerolls she needs. In a way, Rose Tico on the Resistance Transport Pod played the same game, having potentially even more rerolls with her special ability not relying on a charge, and carrying C-3PO for some coordinate shenanigans that would make her gain a calculate token anyway. Not bad for such a tiny ship! On the other hand, my big guys had a lot of health points to chew through, False Transponder Codes for days with Jabba the Hutt, some other control with Asajj Ventress (especially the ability to give a tractor token with the Shadow Caster title), Torani who always likes to get targets in her bullseye, and the full frontal arc of Bossk, that I hoped would be even more threatening now that Greedo had joined the party.
I was very cautious, very slow, at the beginning. I knew Poe, although he was deployed with Matija’s other ships, could go and flank me rapidly, especially with Overdrive Thrusters, but my main target, ideally, would be the Blue Squadron Rookie, probably the easiest enemy ship to kill, and a good way to affect both Rose and Jessika’s rerolls.
When the first engagement came close, the idea was to send Bossk in the front, with Asajj in the back, and Torani waiting her turn, maybe reacting to the flanking Poe, who indeed went after Torani, without doing anything, but the retaliation shot was as ineffective. Asajj’s red dices were terrible, but she managed to hit the Rookie anyway, and tractor him on a gas cloud: he was strained and therefore had no green dices when Bossk attacked him, and everybody's favorite Space Lizard got half of his points, inflicting Weapons Failure as well. The YV-666 lost all his shields in the action, but I think the trade was worth it.
Now my maneuvers for the next turn were limited, and there would necessarily be some bump. It took me forever to make a decision, and I’m very sorry for that… The Rookie first made a Koiogran turn to get behind most of my ships. Bossk did his battering ram thing, but bumped on Jessika Pava, then Asajj bumped on him, and Torani bumped on the Rookie. Not good, right? But with a twist… for I was in position to do against Rose exactly what I did to the Rookie the previous turn: Asajj hit the Resistance Transport Pod, tractored it on the gas cloud with Shadow Caster, Rose got a strain token, and Bossk killed her: first casualty of the game! In the meantime, Poe got Torani’s shields, but the Kimogila was able to attack Jessika Pava; it did nothing to her, but, having performed an attack, Torani now inflicted one automatic damage, with her special ability, on the Rookie who was in her bullseye.
(On a sidenote, at this moment of the game, you might have heard me saying I thought I accidentally deleted an unknown token, because I heard the sound of the void dumpster after a selection, but I didn’t, actually, or, more precisely, the deleted token was not on the game mat.)
I was in a pretty good position after this turn, certainly better than I expected when all my ships bumped: I lead 51-0 at that stage. Bossk would need to turn, probably having no shot this turn even with his full frontal arc, but Asajj was well place to do her 5K thing. Plus Torani could do a 4K and hope to have the Blue Squadron Rookie in her bullseye and therefore automatically kill him as long as she had an attack on anybody. Actually, Matija was aware of that, as he said, but tried his luck and chose not to boost with the T-70 X-Wing, repairing Weapons Failure instead: that was a relief! When Poe moved, he was in bullseye as well, but now Matija knew that, and the Trigger-Happy Flyboy boosted; yet he was still in Torani’s arc, she could attack him, and therefore the Rookie would automatically die during this turn. Before that, though, Poe took half of Bossk with a Direct Hit!. Yet Asajj spending her two Force charges managed to hit Poe and tractored him, so Torani could take half of him and destroy the Blue Squadron Rookie in a single shot; second Resistance ship blown up, and the terrorists’ leader was not in the best shape! The score was now 110-35 in my favor…
Bossk then turned again, hoping to have a shot this time, but I did once again the same mistake with Asajj as in a previous round: she was stressed after her 5K, yet I did a speed 1 maneuver with her, and they are all white on her dial… Not the end of the world, her placement was good, but no action this turn. My second usual mistake with her was to use her ability on Poe, who obviously took a stress instead of losing his focus token; I had no Force left after that, and that was stupid on my part… She killed Poe even without Force, but then Jessika Pava got half of her points on another Direct Hit!.
Now it was JESSIKA PAVA AGAINST THE WORLD… and the weird stuff began. I won’t go into detail for what happened after that, it wouldn’t make much sense, but let’s say I did everything wrong from now on, from exposing Bossk too much (and yes, he died) to sending Asajj way too far for way too long, while Torani was heavily limited in her maneuvers against THE GREAT DESTROYER. I probably had won the game at this stage, but Jess could still make a lot of points: she wouldn’t get points on my two remaining ships, I guess, but there was a very real chance that she at least killed Asajj before the end. And Jessika herself seemed unkillable, even without any reroll. I saw my margin of victory shrinking and shrinking… but in the end I finally got her, not giving up half points on Asajj, and Matija’s list was no more.
And so, victory! Good game, Matija, I suggest you give a medal to JESSIKA PAVA – THE GREAT DESTROYER, she has well earned it, and I wish you the best of luck for the remainder of the tournament!
I’m 3-0 right now. That’s weird…
It will be round 4 next week, we’ll see what happens… See you soon!