Balance of the Force, round 5: Enzeru (Rebel Alliance) vs Nébal (Scum and Villainy) (battle report in English)
Balance of the Force, round 5! 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. 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 fifth round, I have been paired with Enzeru, a very nice player from Poland, who brought the following Rebel Alliance list:
Auzituck Gunship – •Wullffwarro – 56 (group 2)
•Wullffwarro – Wookiee Chief (53)
Hull Upgrade (3)
BTL-A4 Y-Wing – •“Dutch” Vander – 53 (group 2)
•“Dutch” Vander – Gold Leader (40)
Concussion Bombs (4)
Plasma Torpedoes (7)
Dorsal Turret (2)
T-65 X-Wing – •Garven Dreis – 51 (group 2)
•Garven Dreis – Red Leader (46)
Servomotor S-Foils (0)
Advanced Proton Torpedoes (5)
RZ-1 A-Wing – •Jake Farrell – 39 (group 2)
•Jake Farrell – Sage Instructor (34)
Proton Rockets (5)
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, 180-128! Well played, Enzeru!
I have played several times before against lists very close to Enzeru’s, including during this very tournament (two examples here and there, recorded games, but there were others). Usually, that list includes Jan Ors, thus turning Wullffwarro into a Very Big, Very Hairy Wookiee, but the restrictions of list building for Balance of the Force imply that some adaptations must be done. Brian Collis, who I have played with in round 1, chose to drop Jake Farrell and get AP-5 instead, while Enzeru, in this game, kept Jake Farrell and dropped Jan Ors, replacing her by Garven Dreis. That meant that Wullffwarro would not be able to do six dices attacks, but five is quite enough as far as I’m concerned; and that left points for ordnance: Plasma Torpedoes on “Dutch”, Advanced Proton Torpedoes for Garven, and Proton Rockets for Jake. Actually, I find this version of the list more frightening, because every single ship can be a massive threat, whereas usually the focus is on the sole Auzituck Gunship. And although Garven’s token sharing ability can be a bit random, it is an interesting bonus on the great action economy of that Rebel list.
So I had played that list, or close ones, several times before (many thanks to Kaplan, by the way, for training!). What were my chances? Well, it had been something around 50/50 thus far… I must say I was afraid by all that ordnance: Bossk and Torani basically evade nothing, so they would take a lot of damage if Enzeru was able to use those special attacks. False Transponder Codes would give me some protection, but only to a certain point; as I was first player, even if “Dutch” was jammed when taking a lock through my illicit upgrades, he would still be able to give a lock to another ship, and maybe not necessary Wullffwarro this time, but Garven as well, with his Advanced Proton Torpedoes, and Garven himself could grand a focus token at the last minute, for example to Jake, who then could maybe attack with his Proton Rockets… There would be a lot of token sharing on the Rebel part, and I would never be able to jam all that. The only thing was that the Rebels would probably not be able to use all of their ordnance during the same turn, and their alpha strike potential was in some way decreased by False Transponder Codes; but that would clearly not last forever.
Both of our lists being 199 points, we rolled for initiative – and all our ships being initiative 4, that would have a massive impact. Enzeru won the roll, and chose to give me first player status; which was fine, I would have chosen to go first if I had won the roll. A debatable choice to be sure, and we talked about that after the game, but I preferred to have the ability to block and perform actions, therefore choosing who I jammed with False Transponder Codes instead of leaving that choice to my opponent (although he could get tricky by locking obstacles early); plus there was Greedo. What do you think?
I deployed on my left corner, Asajj on the outside, Torani on the inside. Enzeru deployed his ships as far away as possible, very packed, and then did his thing with “Dutch” dropping a Concussion Bomb and reloading, Wullffwarro alone taking the hull damage, thus activating his special ability turn 1. After what Enzeru’s ships went a little faster than mine.
It seemed the engagement would happen about the middle of the game mat, with kind of a tunnel on my side, but then a debris cloud right at the center. All of my ships turned right, Torani being the closest of Enzeru’s ships and Asajj the more remote. Then Enzeru turned right as well, but as it happened our squadrons were still too far away to shoot. Next round that would happen, to be sure… But in the meantime mot of Enzeru’s ships made target locks on obstacles, which could be a problem for my False Transponder Codes…
Torani was not ideally placed; I should have barrel rolled with her the previous turn… I chose to send her right in Enzeru’s formation; I could hope a bump (there would be none), or maybe an interesting bullseye (none neither…), but my Kimogila wouldn’t last very long. Yet preserving Bossk and Asajj seemed more important, and if Enzeru could spend some ordnance on Torani, that would be ordnance that would not impact my more precious large ships. And Bossk was better placed than I thought he was at first, banking to the left would allow him to evade all obstacles, therefore allowing him to lock and jam through False Transponder Codes, as well as attacking with his full frontal arc, while Asajj stayed in the back, not close enough though to lock at the moment, but she would be able to attack after Enzeru’s ships had moved, hoping to trigger Shadow Caster. She did inflict one damage on Garven, who spent a focus token so as to give it to “Dutch”, but the main point was that the X-Wing was tractored; I didn’t move him, no real interest there, but then my two other ships would shoot at him while he had one less defense dice: Bossk took half of Garven, but Torani didn’t do anything, sadly, and the X-Wing survived with one hull left… Then it would be payback: all Rebel ships shot at Torani (Garven using his Advanced Proton Torpedoes), and she died, obviously…
The idea for me, then, was to throw Bossk right in the middle of the Rebel ships and compel them to bump, therefore having no tokens; Asajj would follow, setting herself in an honest position to do her 5K the following turn. Bossk’s move did more than I expected: all Rebel ships bumped, but for Garven who evaded and wouldn’t get a shot, and the Space Lizard didn’t get a strain token while moving through a gas cloud; Asajj though overlapped another gas cloud, just a tiny part, therefore she couldn’t lock and jam through False Transponder Codes, and she was strained… She only scored one damage on Wullffwarro, tractoring him though; but moving him so that Bossk could shoot at him meant that the Wookiee would get a range one shot on him as well; although Bossk had a lock, I therefore preferred to go after Garven and try to kill him, which happened thanks to Greedo, and the X-Wing was not able to spend his focus token and therefore give it to another Rebel ship. None of them were able to shoot at Bossk, and only two could go after Asajj; Wullffwarro took only one shield, but that allowed Zam Wesell to trigger, and Asajj locked the Wookiee; after that, “Dutch” did nothing, but I restored the second charge of Zam anyway. Quite a good turn for me, even though I didn’t do as much damage on Wullffwarro as I hoped.
Bossk then turned hard, sadly overlapping a debris cloud, and Asajj did her very expected 5K. Jake fled and did nothing. Wullffwarro turned left… and then chose to do a barrel roll to the left, which happened to be a mistake, as we’ll see soon enough. “Dutch” went straight, but, due to the interaction between his special ability and False Transponder Codes, Wullffwarro gained a lock on Bossk. But that barrel roll was useful to me: Asajj could then shoot at the Wookiee unobstructed by the gas cloud there would have been otherwise, she inflicted two hits and a crit, then could tractor him through Shadow Caster ability, and made the Wookiee boost, which meant that Bossk could now shoot at him… and Wullffwarro couldn’t shoot at Bossk! Although he could have, if he had taken a stress token to rotate (but he would have been double stressed; anyway we both forgot he could do that…); sadly Bossk only got a crit thanks to Greedo, but converted it into two damage on the Wookiee rolling no defense dice; I had half points, but Wullffwarro was still alive… although he was ionized because of the crit. None of the Rebel ships could shoot this turn.
“Dutch” then dropped a Concussion Bomb, obviously. Bossk did a one bank maneuver to clear his stress, but moved through the debris cloud again, regaining his stress token immediately. The idea was to compel Wullffwarro to bump on him while executing his ion maneuver. Asajj cleared her stress as well but went through a gas cloud and took a strain; she would be hit by the explosion of the bomb. Jake went straight in front of Bossk, in a dangerous position, although a good one to fire his Proton Rockets, especially since “Dutch” gave him a target lock on my Space Lizard, while his was jammed through False Transponder Codes (Jabba did a lot of work this game). Asajj shot at “Dutch”, hoping for some more Shadow Caster magic; only one crit went through (my dices were not that good during this game, actually…), but that was enough to tractor him on a debris cloud, where he got a stress token and lost a shield (that was lucky), then Bossk could shoot at him range one, and take half points (barely: once again I rolled only one hit, turned into a crit thanks to Greedo, and then spent for two hits with Bossk’s special ability). “Dutch” then took one shield on the Space Lizard as payback… but Jake scored four hits on the same target firing his Proton Rockets; that was not half points yet, though.
Next turn I knew “Dutch” would have to drop a Concussion Bomb, which could be a problem. The thing was that if Bossk stayed were he was (bumping and clearing the stress with a blue maneuver), he would stay in range of the explosion, therefore suffering one damage; but if he tried to escape the bomb, then he may find himself in Wullffwarro’s full frontal arc, which could be way worse; therefore I chose to suffer the explosion. And then I did something weird and stupid with Asajj: an inappropriate 5K, which didn’t go as far as I hoped (that could have allowed her to shoot at “Dutch” if he bumped); This was a bad move, although it had one good side: I would be outside of the Concussion Bomb’s range; and maybe I could be in an ok place to go after Jake or “Dutch” the following turn? Nevertheless, it was quite a bad move, and could have costed me dearly… Wullffwarro bumped, as was to be expected, then Jake escaped, going through Bossk (he would not shoot but would not get shot neither), and finally “Dutch” managed (barely) to go behind Bossk as well, therefore escaping the explosion and Asajj’s arc, while being able to shoot at the YV-666 with his Dorsal Turret. The bomb exploded, and Wullffwarro suffered one damage, having only one hull left at this point. None of my ships could shoot, but the Wookiee could have Asajj range one thanks to his full frontal arc; luckily, his roll was not very good, and my witch only suffered one hit. After that, “Dutch”… did absolutely nothing on Bossk. I was indeed very lucky this turn, as Enzeru’s dices were quite poor…
The same situation repeated the following turn regarding Bossk, Wullffwarro and the last Concussion Bomb: if my YV-666 stayed where it was, it would suffer from the explosion, but this time that meant that it would automatically grant Enzeru half points; however, if it chose to move away, it could suffer from the Very Big, Very Hairy, Very Angry Wookiee, and that could be worse… So I chose once again to stay where I was. Asajj however had stress and strain to clear, and did a 3 hard turn on the right: she went through a debris field and would be in explosion range as well, but I had to shoot at something… Wullffwarro turned right as well, hoping to have Asajj in arc, but he actually didn’t, and Bossk would be able to shoot at him. Neither would “Dutch” and Jake shoot at any of my ships. However on my side Asajj scored a Fuel Leak on “Dutch”, killing him on the double crit, and then Bossk killed Wullffwarro! Two Rebel ships destroyed in a single turn: the double gamble had paid!
It was then Jake Farrell against my two large ships. Jake was full, but Enzeru had already scored half points on Bossk, and one single damage could grant him half points on Asajj. I won’t go in full detail: Bossk managed to escape, staying alive (ah, ah, ah, staying alive, staying alive) until the end; Jake easily took half points on Asajj, but so did she on him; actually, Jake had only one hull left at this point… and here the idiot I am forgot to use Zam Wesell: range one bonus attack on Jake, with Force on my side, I could have destroyed him…
Nevermind. It was victory anyway, 180-128! Good game, Enzeru, and I wish you the best of luck for the remainder of the tournament!
So, that’s 4-1 for me right now…
We’ll see next week what happens in round 6, the final round before the cut… See you soon!