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Subject: Milwaukee and Chicago 2014 Regional Report rss

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Howard Thomas
United States
Illinois
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The Chicago Regional on July 26th was my second Regional and also my second trip into a top 8. In the early hours of July 27th I finished my ninth match with the Regional victory. I confess that I have been very fortunate and fully expect to get pasted 1-5 in the National Tournament Prelims at GenCon (the one win coming from the BYE). In the meantime, I’ll share my 2014 Regional experiences…

My first Regional was in Greenfield, WI on May 17th, where (with the help of a Store Championship Bye) I went 5-1 in the Swiss rounds against a cast of great opponents (including 3 other top 8 finalists Adam Schuh, Chris Neuman, and David Pontier). My list was a 4-ship, 100-point, Rebel build of four Blue Squadron Pilots (each with Advanced Sensors). I beat a BBBAA list that was very challenging, and an ion-friendly Rebel list that came down to the last shot to determine the winner. I lost to Adam Schuh’s double Falcon list and learned a valuable lesson (to avoid trapping my B-wings into his Falcon line). I also lost in the first round of the Top 8 bracket. That loss came against reigning North American Champion, Jacob Pichelmeyer, despite a strong early advantage for my squad. Jacob patiently plotted his recovery and managed to split up and out-fly my dizzy B-wing pilots for the long win. The match was untimed and went on well longer than any other in the first round. I learned that I really needed to practice endgame tactics to pin down agile TIE fighters with slow dialed B-wings. I left the match both extremely disappointed in the loss and extremely relieved that it was over…I really don’t think I could have lasted another match.

My second Regional, in Chicago went very well, 5-1 in the Swiss rounds with my only loss redeemed in the brackets - but again, I had plenty of learning experiences to humble me. I am no expert, but I am watching and absorbing as much as I can. I've been fortunate, having played some really great players, legends in the area as it turns out. I welcome any critical analysis (on build, tactics, demeanor, what-have-you)…here or in private message/FB.

My love of the B-wing is well established in the shops I play at locally (Unique Gifts and Games in Grayslake, Rockhead’s Comics and Games in Kenosha, and Games Plus in Mount Prospect). My “pat” list has been the four Blue Squadron Pilots each with Advanced Sensors for a full 100-point list. I toyed with several new list ideas, but felt most of the changes were too drastic for my liking. I settled on my Chicago Regional list of three Blue Squadron Pilots each with Advanced Sensors and two naked Bandit Squadron Pilots for a 99-point list the night before the Regional.

My Chicago Regional day went like this:

Got out of work at 2am, took a nap and headed from Gurnee to Dice Dojo with lifelong friend Jim Warren. Meeting us from our local store (Unique Gifts and Games, Graylake, IL) was Joe Castiglione, Luke Fritz, Don Hanes, and Mike McFarlin. I saw many familiar faces and met some new ones. I was disappointed that I did not see Chris Neuman or Jeremy Topczewski though.

Our TO was Daniel Calderon; he and his staff were very thorough...inspecting 3rd party templates and so on. After registering and milling about (taking many compliments on my painted squad) the round 1 announcements were made and it was time to shuffle up and deal (damage).

Swiss Rounds Summary:

Round 1 (WIN) Opponent: Louis Vasilion with a 4-ship, 97-point Imperial build: Whisper (w/ACD & VI), Echo (w/ACD & VI), Obsidian Pilot, and an Academy Pilot - both Phantoms made direct contact with the opposing battle line and were taken out by concentrated fire in subsequent rounds. In this fight I destroyed the full squad and lost 0 points.

Round 2 (LOSS) Opponent: James Skeffington with a 4-ship, 100-point Rebel build: Han Solo (w/Predator, C3P0, Luke, Engine & Falcon title), and three Bandits - A hard loss where I saw a major flaw in my tactics only too late lot adjust to it. I got in some early damage against Han during the first pass, but backed off to take some juicy Z-95 shots that developed. I ran out of time with the 64 point Han-monster still alive. My only chance to beat James’ list would have been to continue my pursuit of the Falcon - but his ability to outdistance me encouraged me to turn towards the Z's when they came into view…I felt very much like Chewie on the Endor Moon in a net w/all my friends. Nice work, sir! Nice work! As time expired, I had killed all three Z-95s and my opponent both of my Z-95s and one B-wing for a points destroyed points of 49 to 36. Before we added up the difference I announced my intention of registering a forfeit if the points differential was too narrow for a deserved full win. James was full of personality and was a delight to compete against. We exchanged some custom X-wing swag after our match.

Round 3 (WIN) Opponent: Chad Hoefle with a 4-ship, 99-point Imperial build: Whisper (w/ACD, VI, Tactician), Bounty Hunter (w/Vader), and two Academy Pilots - I don't recall much of the tactics of this fight, I was pretty humbled by my opponent…for those of you who may not already know Chris is the guy who ran the Indiana Crusade Against Cancer X-Wing Tournament www.x-wing.org and/or https://www.facebook.com/groups/xwingtournemant/ - the awesome tournament that raised money the American Cancer Society. This match was completed before time expired with the full victory and my opponent knocking out both Z-95s and 1 B-wing for 49 points destroyed.

Round 4 (WIN) Opponent: Jarek "Jerry" Skrzypek with a 5-ship, 99-point Imperial build: Kath Scarlet (w/VI, Rebel Captive), Howlrunner (w/Stealth), and three Academy Pilots - The rebel captive was tricky, but given all my equal pilot skills I was able to allow one of my lowly Z-95 to take the stress each round freeing up my bigger guns to work freely on the Scarlet. This match went to time and Jarek announced a forfeit victory in my favor. This match was one of the most beautiful of the day…both Jarek and I have custom painted ships – his amazingly sharp red/whi/black Firespray and my throwback, Black Sheep Squadron inspired blue squad. It made for some great pics.

Round 5 (WIN) Opponent: Mike Jones with a 4-ship, 100-point Rebel build: Han Solo (w/Predator, C3P0, Luke, Engine, & Falcon), and three Bandits – Unlike the earlier match vs James with this same list, this time I did take out the Falcon and secured the win before time expired. My opponent destroyed one B-wing and one Z-95 for 37 points destroyed. My dice were pretty exceptional in the match.

Round 6 (WIN) Opponent: Eric Larson with a 2-ship, 100-point Rebel build: Han Solo (w/VI, C3P0, Gunner, & Falcon), and Corran Horn (w/FCS, R2D2, Hull Upgrade) – this was one of the more laid back opponents I’ve faced. We had 3 sides of a table open and for the most part Eric was seated immediately to my right instead of opposite me. Though I would have preferred to take down the bigger point keeper (as I learned is crucial in my earlier match loss vs James due to the tightly timed matches), it worked out that Corran had 5 shots against him before the Falcon came into range. The fighting was tough and I lost more points in this match than any other the entire day. My opponent took down two B-wings and a Z-95 for a total of 62 points destroyed.

Top 8 Bracket Rounds Summary:

Bracket Round 1 (WIN) Opponent: James Skeffington with a 4-ship, 100-point Rebel build: Hans Solo (w/Predator, C3P0, Luke, Engine, & Falcon), and three Bandits. A slugfest that I managed to prevail. I cannot recall if this match went to time or not. I was pleased to redeem my earlier loss in the Swiss rounds but mourned the loss for my opponent at the same time. I have a feeling either of us would have felt the conflict with the victory. Am I not cut out for competitive play?

Bracket Round 2 (WIN) Opponent: David Pontier with a 2-ship, 100-point Rebel build: Han Solo (w/Luke, Expert Handling, & Falcon), Corran Horn (w/FCS, PTL, & R2D2). This match went to time. You can read David’s detailed analysis on the fight in his Regional post (http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1208981/my-report-chicago-re...). He is a widely respected X-wing competitor/expert and I would take his analysis over my own.

Bracket Round 3 (WIN) Opponent: Dom Cairo with a 4-ship, 100-point Imperial build: Soontir Fel (w/PTL), Captian Yorr, and two Omicron (w/FCS). This match went to time with a narrow points win for me. Yet another X-wing ace flyer with a fearfully strong reputation in the game. In the end he had a full Soontir surviving and a 1 hull Captain Yorr Lambda Shuttle…whereas I had a full Z-95, a full B-wing, and an injured B-wing (with 3 shield/3 hull left). I had destroyed 48 of his points (both Omicrons with FCS) and he had destroyed 37 points (1 B-wing w/AdvS and 1 Z-95) of mine. Pointing further to my novice nature in the game – both Dom and David felt this was an even matchup (given Dom’s experience and the maneuverability of Soontir w/PTL) whereas, I felt it was a fairly decisive advantage. Again, I’d defer to their judgment over my own…

The 2014 Chicago Regional was my most satisfying experience in X-Wing Miniatures to date and will likely be the highpoint of my “career”. Now, I’m ready to participate in the even stiffer competitive event at the Nationals…well that is to say that my ships are painted, my good luck charm Ten Numb figure is packed, and my deck is counted and shuffled. I’m not resolved to keeping the same list, but rest assured (spoilers!) there will be B-wings in whatever I choose. I just hope I won’t fall flat on my face in Indy, but am prepared for that potential outcome.
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Howard Thomas
United States
Illinois
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Wow, that document needs some trimming…sheesh! Sorry about that.
 
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Isaac Whitehair
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West Virginia
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Great report! Look forward sharing the bye round with someone who appreciates being humble
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Howard Thomas
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I'll bring an extra granola bar!
 
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Chris Neuman
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Thanx Howard! Shooting down my howl runner through a rock was the highlight of my regionals devil soblue ninja


Congratz on the win!

-Chris
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Allen T
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Grand Rapids
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Thats a lot of Hans.
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The R5Donth Star II
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Great report. I wouldn't cut a word.
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Isaac Whitehair
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fleurdelis wrote:
I'll bring an extra granola bar!
I may just have to trade you a pepperoni roll for that
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David Pontier
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fleurdelis wrote:

Pointing further to my novice nature in the game – both Dom and David felt this was an even matchup (given Dom’s experience and the maneuverability of Soontir w/PTL) whereas, I felt it was a fairly decisive advantage. Again, I’d defer to their judgment over my own…


I'm not sure what you mean by this. You say it was a fairly decisive advantage. In which direction? I think the result of the game (an 11 point victory) shows that it was pretty even. Dom does very well with his shuttles (just won the galactic cup with them), and the lists that I have seen give him the most trouble were 5-ship rebel lists that have at least three 3-attack ships. I thought your list was a good matchup against him.
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Howard Thomas
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The Captian Yorr shuttle was down to 1 hull. However, Soontir w/PTL was untouched. Still, my squad of 2 Bs (one with full shields, the other w/3 shields) and a Z (2 shields) were very healthy (18 remaining to kill). I know the game is far from a simple health ratio of 4:18, but I felt the gap was pretty big. But that's really the bigger point I was making - I am likely over simplifying the elements. Two players who have loads more experience and knowledge see it differently. I meant (and mean) no slight, in fact I thought I worked it in as a compliment. Clearly, I haven't faced enough Soontir's to have the same gauge on his danger/threat factor! In the end, I think I was saying that I was more lucky than I realized.
 
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Howard Thomas
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Illinois
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Piqsid wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean by this. You say it was a fairly decisive advantage. In which direction?



I think I wasn't clear in my original post - I felt I was under a huge disadvantage at the onset - my comment about a fairly decisive advantage was at the 60 minute end of game mark.
 
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Chris Brown
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It still bothers me a little that they didn't let you guys play it out. Being the last game of the night and all. Feels anticlimactic.
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Howard Thomas
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Illinois
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killerardvark wrote:
It still bothers me a little that they didn't let you guys play it out. Being the last game of the night and all. Feels anticlimactic.


That was a weird moment, I'm positive the TO would have let us play it out. Thought it was late, and we were pretty much alone, I think Dom would have played it out. It was kind of left up to me, and I was not/am not sure what to do in that situation. With that being only my second major tournament I'm not sure what is customary. In my last Regional, in round 1 of the final 8, the bracket matches were untimed and our match went on for a VERY LONG TIME. I started to have a headache and was outfoxed by a savvy opponent. I did not want to repeat that! Ultimately, I felt that changing the rules of a competitive event at the end was the wrong call and was something we should have determined before the match started. So in response, I think we only have me to blame for the anticlimactic nature of our final round!
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