Neil, the Tusken Tactician
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As you may know, I’m a big fan of Phantoms. The Sum of All Fears (4 Sigma) list had done me very well in 2014 and I had recently heard of “The List” – the 86-point twin-Phantom list that had dominated some tournaments. I had practiced with it a few times but was 4-2 with it. I lost the two practice games because I put Whisper on a rock. I have a disturbing tendency to land on asteroids with Phantoms, which is why Sigmas, which I rarely cloak, are good for me. Having placed highly in most of the tournaments since arriving in New Mexico, I thought I would try a very challenging list for me in this tournament. The tournament had a slight tweak to normal – no big ships were allowed. I had already promised people that I wouldn’t bring The Sum of All Fears but would go for something more creative instead. The swag on offer was all something I already had so I went to this tournament to challenge myself rather than go all-out to win. And because there were no VI Han Solos I thought now was the time to take...

THE LIST (86)
“Whisper” + Veteran Instincts + Gunner + Fire-Control System + Advanced Cloaking Device
“Echo” + Veteran Instincts + Recon Specialist + Sensor Jammer + Advanced Cloaking Device


That’s it. Having spoken to some of the people who have flown this list, I have come to agree that adding a third ship (e.g. an Academy TIE) actually penalises this list in terms of match points, etc. This is by far the most bonkers list I have ever flown. Because of the snow and the need to relocate, there were 8 people at the tournament, although more had originally expressed interest. Still, 8 people meant 3 rounds and then I could get home on time to put the kids to bed.

GAME 1 – JOHN GRASSER
Sometimes I forget that John has only been playing for a few months. He’s one of the strongest new players I’ve ever seen. He’s the only person to have beaten me at my Sum of All Fears and his squad absolutely tabled The List when I first flew it. I had used The List a few times since so it would be interesting to see how we did this time. John, by the way, hates The List. He finds it incredibly frustrating to play against. So this was going to be interesting...

FRIENDS WITH BENEFITS (100)
Airen Cracken (19)
Dutch + Ion Cannon Turret (28)
Garven Dreis (26)
Hobbie Klivian + R3-A2 (27)

Hobbie must die. But so must Dutch. Stress is bad for Echo and Whisper, Ion is bad. I have to stay out of arc and in range 3. I can only come into range 2 to kill Dutch, otherwise that’s game over. I place my asteroids in the corners to try to keep me away from them and we set up.



The first turn he turtles forward and I leave Whisper back a little. The second turn he makes a surprise banking 3 to the right. It’s surprising because I’m expecting him to turtle for a while. He doesn’t have a shot but I do and I’ve kept it at range 3.
2400790

Whisper fires on Hobbie through an asteroid and he evades it. Gunner and FCS kick in and I roll hit hit crit but he evades it. That’s rude. (I apparently have started describing people evading my shots as rude. A lot). Echo takes a shot at Hobbie and I roll a natural four hits. He evades two and that’s his shields gone. That’s a good start.

He banks his ships to the left and with startling accuracy places Garven less than a millimetre from an asteroid. This is why I have to really be on my game here.



Again, no shots for the Rebels and Whisper lets rip on Hobbie at range 2 through an asteroid. Using the Target Lock from last turn, I modify to three hits and a crit and he evades two again. The crit is a minor explosion and he rolls the hit, meaning Hobbie is destroyed before even firing a shot. John’s frustration is starting to show. As is his sportsmanship, by the way, since he was the one who reminded me that I had a target lock, which he obviously didn’t have to do. Echo fires on Cracken and although I get four hits he gets three evades, so I only take a shield.



One of the things that makes John a good player is that he often surprises his opponents. Sometimes his surprises are not good ideas but sometimes they are. In this case, he K-turned Garven, which I absolutely wasn’t expecting. Forgetting turn order, though, Cracken then K-turned into Dutch. Whisper shoots at Cracken range 3 through an asteroid and I take a shield and get a crit through, which is Stunned Pilot. I really want to go for Dutch, which he knows, but can’t, so Echo blows Cracken up instead.



But I’ve pulled in a little close and now he has an ion shot. It’s through an asteroid and Whisper is cloaked with an evade and a focus. He rolls hit hit crit but I modify to four evades. Phew! Garven takes a range 3 shot through an asteroid at Whisper and I evade that as well.

He turns towards me and I’m swinging the Phantoms round to avoid shot or to at least use the rocks for cover.



Whisper fires on Dutch at range 3 and takes three shields. Echo fires on Dutch at range 2 and takes 3 hull. He’s got a chance to ion me now. Garven takes a shield from Echo at range 3 and then Dutch tries to ion Echo but fails. John is not amused. I realise that, as I always do, I forgot Sensor Jammer. Sometimes I don’t know why I even put it on Echo because I almost always forget it.

I figure that from where I am I’m not going to get a Whisper shot in and so I steam over an asteroid to get good position for next turn. I take no damage. Echo closes in for the Dutch kill. Range 1 I modify to four hits and a crit and Dutch is blown to smithereens. It’s just Garven left.

Garven K-turns again and I put Echo on an asteroid, losing a shield.



I seem to be missing some photos from this point, probably because I seemingly put Whisper on a rock and lost a shield. Both Phantoms on rocks on the same turn. That’s really shocking. But they’ve done enough damage that he’s only got Garven left so my mistake is not critical. Garven fires at Whisper range 3 and completely whiffs his dice. John comments that the rocks have done more damage to my ships than he has.

Whisper performs a surprise K-turn and takes a Garven shield at range 3. Garven fires back but I evade.

Garven then Ks for a third time in the game and Echo Ks as well for position. Whisper is range 1 on Garven and takes a shielf, one hull and gets a Damaged Sensor Array crit in. Echo fires at Garven range 3 but whiffs. Garven takes a range 3 shot at Echo and gets Hit Hit Crit. I roll two evades. So long as it’s not... Direct Hit! Crap. I rather deserved that considering the way I’d been flying – had I not hit the asteroid, that would have just been a shield.

He hard turns Garven to the right...



... and I decide to play it safe. Just for interest, we measure and I could have decloaked right. I’m just nervous about the rocks now. I have a higher PS than Garven, I could fly away for the rest of the game and win, so there’s no need to go head-to-head just in case I make a mistake. So we dance around the rock...



...until I can get a shot. At range 3 I get four hits in and that’s the game. 100-42.

That was a complete turnaround from the last time we played. It’s clear my head isn’t completely on but the list has such punch against lower-PS ships that I was able to cover most of my mistakes. That, by the way, was possibly a record in terms of hitting three asteroids in one game. I leave the room for a while to go and calm my head.

GAME 2 – ANDREAS HARRISON
I met Andreas in the final of the last tournament, where we flew almost identical builds. I came off the winner that time but his list this time made me nervous.

(100)
Captain Jonus + Determination + Hull Upgrade
Delta Squadron + Heavy Laser Cannon
Delta Squadron + Heavy Laser Cannon

They each get to reroll two dice? Yikes. I decloak and move after all of them but have to remember that the Deltas have a white K-turn so they’re far more manoeuvrable than most other ships. I decide to see what he can do through the rocks so I set up in the middle in the hope of drawing him to me.



Echo goes ahead in the hope of flanking. I take my two focus tokens because I’ve got a range 3 shot. I measure to check and I’m out by a mile (apparently another phrase I say a lot). Seriously, back in England we would say I’m out by a country mile. I don’t know what I was thinking. Now I’m staring down the barrel of two HLCs and I can’t decloak into some clever position. I start sighing loudly and saying that I’ve just thrown the game away. I try to make myself zen by reminding myself that I’m just here for fun. It’s not working – my competitive streak is getting in the way.



I decide there’s only one thing to do – crash Echo into them so they can’t shoot me and then I can work something out next turn when they obviously K-turn. I think they’re going to try to get past the asteroid so it doesn’t bother them the following turn. They don’t. They just do a small bank, which on reflection was absolutely the right move to do. Echo charges straight ahead. And I’ve got it terribly, terribly wrong. Now I’m sitting in front of two Deltas and Jonus less than a centimetre away. “That’s the game,” I repeat many times. Now I have three choices. Cloak, focus or barrel roll. If I barrel roll I’m definitely out of one four-dice shot. Maybe two. Mayyyyybe two. That’s close. That’s really close. My whining at my mistake has attracted the attention of the table next to us. “Cloak!” suggests one person. “Clearly cloak!” I’m not sure. IF I can get out of Jonus’ arc then it’s just 4 dice against my 2 and there’s no Jonus reroll. I try it...



That’s really close and I think he’s out. Whisper shoots at D2 at range 2 and he evades it. I thank him for evading it so that I can Gunner and FCS. Four hits against one evade means he loses his three shields. Echo needs to kill him. It’s range 1 and I roll two hits and two blanks. He evades one. Damn it. That’s trouble. We measure for Jonus... and he’s out! By a degree, maybe two. This is crunch time – D2 fires at Echo range 1. And I can’t believe my luck. He rolls one hit and I evade it. Back in the game!

D2 takes a ballsy move and K-turns over an asteroid. I wasn’t expecting that. He loses another hull in the process. I really have to kill D2 but decide Echo can do it so Whisper decloaks a hair’s breadth from D2 and points at Jonus instead.



It’s range 1 but my dice fail me and I can only take one hull from him. Echo fires at D2 and again I roll two hits and two blanks. Not good enough. But he only rolls one evade, so it is! D2 is destroyed. Jonus fires at my cloaked Echo at range three and I’m not worried about that shot, which I evade. It’s the HLC with Jonus rerolls and a focus that worries me. Four hits on the nose. I respond with blank blank blank evade. Thank God for that. Andreas is seriously outflying me.

D1 K-turns again and that’s a mistake because he drops a shot. I have to capitalise on it now. Jonus assumes I’m heading one way but I’ve read him well. He’s dropped both shots so he can K-turn Jonus next turn. Back in the game.



Whisper’s first shot on him is evaded so I Gunner and FCS and he evades that again. Rude. Echo tries at range 2 and my three hits are met by blanks so now his Delta has three hull left. I can leave Jonus to the end because he’s got a poor dial and little firepower. Jonus K-turns and I can barrel roll Echo to get a shot and not return fire. Whisper fires at D1 from Range 3 and he evades two of my three hits, so I take one hull. Echo fires at Jonus at range 1 and he evades one of my three hits, so that’s two more hull gone. Andreas has no shots again. This is absolutely Phantom territory here. D1 takes a banking turn to the left and Jonus moves forward to clear his stress. I prevaricate. I think I can thread Echo in between the Delta and Jonus. There’s not much space but I think I can do it. I throw caution to the wind...and it’s the best decloak I’ve ever done.



I’m back on my game. Whisper fires on Jonus at range 2 and he evades it. Gunner and FCS kicks in but I still only get two hits and he evades one. What am I doing? Why am I shooting at Jonus? Then I remember why – because Echo is at range 1 and has only 1 hull left. Echo fires at the Delta at point blank range. This could be Echo’s last shot so it has to count. Hit hit crit is met by three evades. Blast! Jonus fires at cloaked Echo at range 1 but his dice fink on him and he gets one hit and I roll just one evade. Phew! We move and I’m determined to finish this now so Whisper goes face-to-face with Jonus and Echo tucks in right next to the Delta.



Whisper takes a focus (I usually evade to activate Gunner) with his Target Lock and gets hit hit hit crit crit. Jonus rolls all blanks and Determination can’t save him from the crits. Jonus is toast. Echo just throws a whole bucket of mean at the Delta – hit hit crit crit and his two evades means it’s all over. 100-0, 2-0.

I’m starting to believe that this squad isn’t the jokey squad I thought it was and is a seriously killer squad, especially against small ships with low PS. I had thought it was unforgiving but the truth is that if you can get the right positioning then even terrible mistakes can be overcome with this squad... sometimes. Now I’m looking at the final and it’s against John Garcia. John calls my list “That List” with resignation. I beat him with it in practice but only because I rolled 10 evades on 12 green dice. His squad was three PS10 ships and under any normal circumstances would have wiped the floor with me. But that list suffered against other lists and so John had been perfecting another list.

GAME 3 - JOHN GARCIA


Keyan Farlander + Stay on Target + Advanced Sensors + B-Wing/E2 + Navigator
Roark garnet + Ion Cannon Turret + Dash Rendar
Tala Squadron + Homing Missiles
Tala Squadron + Homing Missiles

I had told John beforehand that RecSpec is, in my opinion, far better on a HWK than Dash. He said that in the first two games he hadn’t used Dash once. The Keyan combination is brilliant – Stay on Target and Navigator mean he can choose wherever he wants on his dial, and Advanced Sensors means he doesn’t care that it’s a red move in terms of taking a Focus or Target Lock. I pick my target. Roark must die first. If I can get him to die, I can outmaneuver the rest. I can’t believe I just spelled that the American way. Sigh. More than that, I can fire and cloak before any of his other ships fire and that’s essential. None of this Rebel PS12 nonsense, thank you.



I put my Phantoms on the opposite corner to him – I want to see how he moves with this squad. He turtles ahead, as do I. But I’ve got a lot of space because of how the asteroids have fallen. I’m desperately trying not to hit asteroids again. The next turn, I start to spread out the Phantoms in terms of direction and John pulls a real surprise by turning his Talas away from me.



Is he trying to lure me in? Make me rush in? He’s messing with my head. I get one of my Phantoms almost behind him with another on the flank – this is where I want to be. When is he going to turn towards me?



Then he pulls the surprise. He K-turns the Talas and turns Roark and Keyan towards me. I park Echo at range 3 from Roark behind an asteroid for good measure, but Whisper is accidentally just in range 2.



Keyan is bumped by Roark and fires first on Whisper but I evade the single crit. Whisper fires at Roark but once again I get two this and two blanks. He evades one of the hits and I take a shield. Echo fires through the asteroid at Roark. Four modified hits and he evades two so now he’s down to two hull. Roark tries to ion Whisper but I evade it. Now I have to get out of arc of the Talas and also as far from Roark as possible. If he PS12s a Homing Missile on me, I’m in trouble.



I rapidly change direction and I’m really pleased with the decloak. I make the choice that it’s better to drop an Echo shot than be fired at by a PS12 Keyan. Whisper fires on Roark at range 2 and he evades two hits but not the two crits, and the quarterback is toast. And that’s all the shots for the round.



The Bandits are going to have to turn on me for John to have any chance. I keep as far away from Keyan as possible so his swanky Stay on Target tricks have little effect. I decloak Echo and try to squeeze next to Whisper. I’m quite simply on fire with Echo.



This is why I love Echo so much. Get Echo right and it’s the best feeling in X-Wing as far as I’m concerned.



Whisper fires on B2 at range 1. Two hits and two crits but he evades twice so it’s just shields. But that’s academic because Echo follows up with 4 hits, only one of which he evades, and so that’s a Bandit and Homer gone.



B1 has a shot, but not with Missiles because he couldn’t get a Target Lock. Two hits and two evades and I’m heading towards a win.

Keyan, who has been stuck getting round an asteroid, is going to have to K-turn this turn, or pull a hard turn to the right. I have to sink the Tala in one round. It moves to face me and puts a Target Lock on Whisper. It must die now. Echo decloaks forwards and it’s just behind his Tala’s base. Echo does a K and lines up for a follow-up shot if Whisper were to miss. Whisper faces the Tala nose-to-nose.



I decide to focus and it’s the right call – 5 hits and met by blanks and the second Tala bites the dust. Perfect. My two Phantoms now against his B-Wing. I can lose a Phantom and still win this.



I don’t know why I misjudge Keyan’s next move but I do. In fact, I misjudge it so badly that I put Whisper at range 1 of Keyan and don’t even have a shot.



Echo takes a range 2 shot and takes one shield. Keyan lets rip on Whisper at point blank range. He rolls four hits and I roll one single evade. That’s Whisper down to 1 hull. That was really sloppy. I’m reminded that this is an unforgiving list after all!

I decide to flee with Whisper because I’m not in a good position, with a rock facing me. I charge Whisper forwards and cloak. Echo is just out of Keyan’s arc, though, so I can’t get him to spread his fire.



Echo fires at Keyan range 2 through an asteroid. I shouldn’t be putting green dice in his hand. I once again roll two hits and two blanks and he rolls an evade. Keyan just isn’t going down. Keyan fires on Whisper at range 2 and rolls three hits. I’ve got four unmodified dice. I roll one single evade. Whisper dies magnificently.

Time is getting short. I realise I can just fly around for a few minutes and win. There are perhaps three rounds before I get into position for a shot at range 3. Once again the dice evade me and I roll only one hit, which he easily evades. I decide to go for glory right at the end. Why the hell not?



It’s a range 1 shot. Three hits and no evades from him means his last two shields and one hull. He’s got two hull left but the time is up so I can’t get the kill. 62-44, 3-0.

This was fascinating for me. I never imagined The List would be that deadly in my hands considering the silly mistakes I keep making (particularly hitting rocks and forgetting Sensor Jammer) and I certainly never thought I’d win the tourney with it. Dare I take it to the forthcoming Store Championship? Dash HLCs will not be as forgiving of my mistakes, that’s for sure. But it is really powerful. I have decisions to make...

Final List Standings

1st: Neil (Tusken) Amswych (558) "The List"
“Whisper” + Veteran Instincts + Gunner + Fire-Control System + Advanced Cloaking Device
“Echo” + Veteran Instincts + Recon Specialist + Sensor Jammer + Advanced Cloaking Device

2nd: John Grasser (423)
Airen Cracken
Dutch + Ion Cannon Turret
Garven Dreis
Hobbie Klivian + R3-A2

3rd: John Garcia (308) "Friends With Benefits"
Keyan Farlander + Stay on Target + Advanced Sensors + B-Wing/E2 + Navigator
Roark garnet + Ion Cannon Turret + Dash Rendar
Tala Squadron + Homing Missiles
Tala Squadron + Homing Missiles

4th: Andreas Harrison "Def(ender) Jonus Jam"
Captain Jonus + Determination + Hull Upgrade
Delta Squadron + Heavy Laser Cannon
Delta Squadron + Heavy Laser Cannon

5th: Robert Suminsby III (219)
Wes Janson + VI
Tarn Mison + R7 Astromech
Roark Garnet + Ion Cannon Turret
Rookie

6th TIED Steve Mandrgoc (212)
Darth Vader + Lone Wolf + Proton Rockets + Engine Upgrade
Scimitar Squadron + Proximity Mines
Scimitar Squadron + Proximity Mines
Academy Pilot
Academy Pilot

6th TIED: Nathan Williams (212) "Moving Shadows"
Rexler Brath + Predator
Shadow Squadron + Intelligence Agent + Stygium Particle Accelerator
Shadow Squadron + Intelligence Agent + Stygium Particle Accelerator

8th: Luke Shipers (75)
Dutch Vander + R2 Astromech + Ion Cannon Turret + Engine Upgrade
Kyle Katarn + Determinations + Ion Cannon Turret + Recon Specialist + Moldy Crow + Engine Upgrade
Arvel Crynyd* + Proton Rockets + Stealth Device

*Luke was trying to succeed at the Arvel Challenge - if anyone won the tournament with Arvel Crynyd in their squad, I promised to give them $10!
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Ralph T
United States
Signal Hill
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What a crazy list. I've hypothesized that the Phantom is undercosted by 4-5 points based on the X-wing, and the ACD is undercosted on top of that. I guess the power of the list seems to support it.
 
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Neil, the Tusken Tactician
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ralpher wrote:
What a crazy list. I've hypothesized that the Phantom is undercosted by 4-5 points based on the X-wing, and the ACD is undercosted on top of that. I guess the power of the list seems to support it.


I don't think so. If Echo and Whisper were five points more expensive each, it would have made no difference to the list.
 
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P C
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Here was me thinking I was original... admittedly I put FCS on both ships rather than Sensor Jammer on Echo but I think that's the better choice given the lack of Gunner.

If my Swarm does badly on Saturday I may well take my Femmes Fatales list to my FLGS' store championship.
 
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Gordon Berg
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Louisville
Kentucky
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I ran this at a casual, three game tourney and was able to go 3-0 with it as well. What you don't expect is the stress that goes along with it.

Typically when flying a phantom, it's usually just the one and you're trying to flank with it, often keeping it at Range 3, and generally making it an unappealing target given all its dice and tokens. For the most part, players often focus on the rest of your list, given how they have some easier alternative targets to shoot.

However, when you're only flying two phantoms, they have no choice but to shoot at them. Sure, you'll arc dodge a lot, but not all.

You really get a lump in your throat with each defensive roll because it feels like so much is riding on it...every...single...time.
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