Friday, 6 January 2017

The Scumpire Strikes Back: Alpha Strike vs Hunter/Killer

More X-Wing!

Image result for x wing

With a free evening in hand, Kas and I (Kraken) decided on some more Skype-linked X-wingery. Two matches to report, the first here, the next tomorrow.

The second match was a bonus, but was going to be the last time we'd get to Xwing for a few weeks and so glad for the second bout.

Skype just doesn't quite cut the mustard for images, so I've enhanced some of them using the latest computer technology in the hope that it helps clarify what on earth was happening. Off earth, strictly, I suppose.

Ooh... I like the sound of latest technology.


Kas's first list struck abject horror into my heart when I saw it.

Alpha Strike

I've heard much about the power of a wave of Headhunters without ever managing to replicate it myself. But I could see at a glance that this list was going to be trouble for mine. Blount there could shoot first before I could do much about it, and once he'd fired his tracers, everyone else in the squadron would have a guaranteed target lock for all their ordnance. Someone was going to be in trouble.

I only had three headhunters and was not about to proxy, plus I like a T70, and with this pilot's ability to reroll based on mates: it made sense in a 'swarm' list.

Specifically, one of these two.

As mentioned in our last fight, I wanted to capitalise on my excellent ability to fly into things. IG88-A is tooled up to be a big flying ram - an Autoblaster for close range, plus lasers that fire automatically at anyone who flies into him. Adding mines and the death explosion makes him ideal for flying directly into a pack of opponents, hopefully blocking them by adding in the early movement of the Enhanced Scopes.

Intimidation should make it easier for the other Aggressor, IG88-D, to shoot from a distance and pick stuff off A's windshield. A tractor beam in case I want to throw people into the first guy, a flechette cannon to stress out their movement, and autothrusters to make him harder to hit at range. The two should work well together.

Interesting! I've seen B&C played a lot together. Let's see how this goes.

Turns 1-2

Set up had the Headhunter pack facing off against my Aggressors. 

One problem, apart from Blount, all my ships were lower PS; and they left a Blount shaped hole in their deployment and so it was not hard to guess.

The first turn was predictably cautious. I didn't want to get too close to that alpha strike, so I cruised in as slowly as I could, and Kas was similarly tentative, waiting to see where I might be I think. 

Hitting the gas, IG88-A sped for the pack and boosted, hoping to crash into their midst. It nearly paid off - after movement, I was a whisker in front of them and no more, but I'd failed to actually impact. 
IG-88D was similarly gungho. I had gracefully arced into the incoming pack, Kas having directed the swarm sensibly towards me. I dithered - should I hang back and evade? Or get in close? 

I forgot how fast a big ship with boost can move. Hmm that's not going to be many range 2 shots.

In the end, I boosted - at close range, his ships got extra shots but nothing like the fireworks from their missiles, most of which wouldn't work that close. If I could just weather one turn of fire, I'd be okay. 

Blount opened up with his tracers, of course, and the D pilot got lit up across the board.

It was at this point he realised his 1pt Munitions Failsafe was pointless. Not only had he hit meaning the insurance was wasted.... but he ALWAYS hits. Oh well.

Although he managed to actually dodge the shot on the dice, Blount's ability effectively makes it impossible. Although I put some scratches on the A-wing with autoblasters, hoping to total it before it could fire, IG-D whiffed his shot. After all three lead Headhunters had dented me, the A-Wing managed a very respectable volley of concussion missiles and my first ship was toast. 

Nice! Whilst I was disappointed at the D's speedy move in and negating me unleashing, it did mean two of the ships still had their missiles too. 

Turns 3-6

It all turned into a mad scramble after that.

A curved past the pack, dropping his proximity mines on the way and nearly killing a Bandit Squadron pilot. Kas's team mostly K-turned, with the wounded A-Wing safely keeping distance.

I kept a smooth turn in, hoping to ram the incoming squadron again, but Kas had cannily judged it so I merely presented a nice close flank instead. All the same, the Aggressor is a tricky ship to hit, decent agility, and the Z-95s don't have a lot of punch without their missiles. I was low on shields but by no means out.

The Z with missiles had been blown out of the sky last round, and the T70 was too close to shot his or always out of arc.

And as my slow turn continued, the pack swooping round behind me to keep pace, I shot down the wounded Bandit, regenerating a shield in the process! If I could just keep this up indefinitely...

It would take some doing, though. I was outnumbered and outgunned, mostly thanks to all those missile shots I'd denied early. Sooner or later, they'd be back. I ducked and weaved, using the excellent S-loop options on my dial to try to stay out of as many arcs as I could, and hope for some miracles.

Only 1 left... Just need to get the lock and then the range.... AND BE FACING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION!

Turns 7-12

There was some proper wiggly flying for a few turns, as we swished round past each other across the centre of the board. Mostly missing all the asteroids, amazingly, something I felt rather proud of on my part.

It was all a bit inconclusive, though. Either we were all out of each other's arcs, or we managed whiffy fire exhanges. After a couple of turns, not much progress was being made, although I'd lost a bit more hull and Blount was looking a little scarred.

In the end, the A-wing cut and ran as the two other ships regrouped. I chased the straggler, hoping to take it out before the other two could catch me.

There was some pretty ace flying in that chase, we both outguessed each other in sequential turns. My round of close range fire proved whiffy in the end, although I nearly picked the pluck A-wing off.

Sadly, it had just led me a merry dance for no real gain, and I ended up sandwiched by all three ships as they came back together. One round of Flechette torpedoes from Jess Pava later, and I was so much popcorn twinkling in the distant starlight.


Mind your fingers, Kas, I'm exploding here. 


Dammit, I saw that coming and still flew right into it!

The alpha strike done, I still managed to draw the game out for a while.

Good game. I had the benefit of being able to go against two ships only; but I think I'd try it again against another list... I would struggle against 8 academies, for sure.

The Aggressor is basically a better ship than the others, for all that an X-wing is a very decent flyer. Good movement options plus good agility makes it very durable, but without my wingbot, I was unlikely to even the 5:1 odds.

I really liked my list, though, and we had enough time for a second round.

Yes, it played really well, and nice combos... might need to relook at the A&D.

Read on tomorrow!

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