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Subject: Tusken’s Last Stand? rss

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Neil, the Tusken Tactician
England
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Prologue

The World Championships was an extremely difficult time for me. While I was there, my uncle died back in England and I had to plan to reroute to the UK from Minneapolis, via Albuquerque to pick up my passport (!), while trying to concentrate on my game, as opposed to how far away from my family I suddenly felt. I also had two incidents of anti-semitism that totally sidelined me, and one example of unbelievably poor sportsmanship in one of my games (so bad that I chose not to even write up the tournament because I didn’t want to expose the player for being such a bad sport). My mind was a mess, the room was hot, I got careless and ended up not doing nearly as well as I know I could have. I finally got to meet some friends whom I’ve wanted to play against for some years now but I couldn’t even bring myself to play X-Wing against them after the tournament. Instead, I ended up introducing two people to Dead of Winter and planning my trip to the UK while calling American Airlines, unaware of the disastrous trip they were about to lay upon me. I was done with X-Wing.

I started playing X-Wing in November 2012 and my first tournament was the UK Nationals in May 2013, where I took the once renowned Breakneck Boys squadron. In the almost three years I’ve been playing, I’ve had some great games, some great tournaments, won a Store Championship and other tournaments and had a lot of fun. But I also have stopped working on my book and now have two children who need to take priority. So after the difficult experience at Worlds, I decided it was time to give up on the tournament side of X-Wing and return to playing it casually. It was time to have fun with X-Wing again. I retired from tournament play.

John Grasser, aka Ahriman Attackus, my former Padawan who has now surpassed me in X-Wing ability, decided to run a large local tournament and he needed me for the numbers. I really, really didn’t want to do it. I was done. But the tournament was split into divisions based on location, and he needed one extra person for the second Santa Fe division. After weeks of deliberation, very reluctantly, on the last day of entry, I submitted two “I don’t care” squads – Thug Life and BBBBZ. I literally put no thought into them but I was doing it to help out a friend. Each division had three other players. I played Thug Life for each of my six qualifying games. I had only played the squad a couple of times before but was amazed through the qualifiers by how powerful it is. I won five of the six games, won the division and therefore had to go to Albuquerque for the 505th Squadron Championship Finals, along with 11 other players, each of whom had won their division.

Another side-story that’s relevant. Dan Topczewski (aka “Grumpy Dan”) is a solid player from Phoenix. Long story short, one of my FFG articles was about underused cards, including Decoy. I suggested a list with Decoy on Echo and VI on Chiraneau. Not long after, someone did very well at a tournament in Russia with that exact squad, which I had not seen used elsewhere. On the Phoenix FB page, I proudly suggested at the time that maybe the guy who used the squad had read my article. This apparently enraged Dan who swore a blood feud against me. Seriously. An actual blood feud. It had been an ongoing thing for months. A ridiculous amount of bluster about how he would defeat and humiliate me. One of the divisions in the 505th Championship was Phoenix and Dan made his way through (he didn’t win but the winner couldn’t make it). So, now I had a chance to end the blood feud nonsense once and for all. I didn’t care one iota about his silly feud but knew he did and he had made a very public thing about how he would beat me. So, an idea came to my mind. Why not take the squad that started the whole blood feud in the first place? It wasn’t a serious attempt at winning, it would just make a nice narrative for either of us depending on the result. I hadn’t played Echo since the dark day of the decloak nerf so this would be all the more enjoyable. If I was going to take part in a competition, I was at least going to have fun flying Echo. So, I decided that there was only one list to take...

TOUR DE FORCE (99)
Chiraneau + VI + Gunner + Vader + Intelligence Agent
Echo + Decoy + Recon Specialist + Sensor Jammer + Advanced Cloaking Device


This was silly. Echo with Decoy, indeed. The game has moved on. I didn’t want a poor showing, so RecSpec and SensJam seemed sensible in a TLT environment. But no Engine on Chiraneau? That’s bonkers. Unless I use him like a brick to either draw fire or run traffic so Echo can get the precision kills in. Vader was there just because in the last tournament a good local player called Jacob spanked me with his elite Interceptors. At least if I was paired against him, I had a chance of one win. Maybe. I also deliberately took 99 points instead of 100 because a lot of people locally take 100 points and if I can choose initiative against VI Poe I could have a chance. And lots of people like VI Poe.


The Tournament Itself

Game One: David Lane (100)
Poe + VI + R2-D2 + Autothrusters
Han + Predator + Gunner + C-3PO + Engine + MF title

Oh, look! VI Poe! I take initiative. Echo is moving first anyway but if I can shoot and then cloak then I’ve got a chance to keep her alive for much longer. I genuinely don’t know how to set up this squad because I’ve never played it before, so I try this...



As we draw close for the opening volley, Echo is just out of range. That’s a problem because I’m not cloaked. Chiraneau takes 2 shields from Poe at range 2 and then the return fire from his ships take 4 shields from the Decimator. As soon as the next turn starts, I realise I have a terrible problem. Echo is parked behind Chiraneau but can’t decloak out of the way. I’m going to bump. This is a serious PS issue in terms of set-up. I'll have to try something different for the next turn. So Echo bumps Chiraneau and Poe then does the same. Echo Decoys and takes Poe’s 2 remaining shields and gets a Weapons Malfunction crit on him, which is pretty good from an unmodified shot. Echo cloaks and evades Poe’s shot entirely, but Han is at range 1 of Echo and strips the shields. Statistically speaking, I’ve been very lucky there. Chiraneau then takes 1 Han shield as well.
I K-turn Echo. I do that more often than most people, actually, because few people expect it. Getting Echo behind someone can be extremely powerful, even if she’s stressed. Poe regenerates a shield and Echo whiffs the attack against him, which is fair because I’m stressed. Han gets one hit on Echo. This is getting close. But Chiraneau is at range 1 of Poe and he explodes into a billion pieces. Our first catch of the day.
Now David has to make a choice – he can try to hunt down Echo who has one hull left or he can try to cripple Chiraneau. Echo gets into range 1 of Han and only takes a shield. The return shots are evaded, thanks to the Recon Specialist and Sensor Jammer. I’m so pleased I picked that combination. Chiraneau is also at range 1 and I finish off the shields and get a Direct Hit crit. Wow, Chiraneau is really good. Why have I only ever really used Lone Wolf Kenkirk before?
Next turn Han evades Echo’s shot before finally blowing Echo into smithereens. Fair. But at range 2, Chiraneau is deadly against Han, especially when David mistakenly calls 1 on the 3PO roll hoping to get two evades, thereby adding a helpful Thrust Control Fire crit. The next turn I start bringing Vader into play and within two turns, Han is dead. 100-43, 1-0. That was a nice start.

I decide to completely change my set-up and try having Echo in a corner with 2 ahead then cloak and Chiraneau nearby to act as a big target. Echo then decloaks and turns so is 90 degrees to starting position and then slowly works her way across the board, drawing opposing ships in. But I have to beware of misjudging the range 3 distance and not being able to shoot, and thus recloak, because that leads to bumping.

Game 2: Nate Williams (100)
Poe + VI + R2-D2 + Autothrusters
Green Squadron Pilot + Juke + Chardaan Refit + Push the Limit + Autothrusters + A-Wing Test Pilot
Gold Squadron Pilot + R3-A2 + BTL-A4 + Twin Laser Turret
Bandit

Oh, look! Another 100-point VI Poe! I take initiative again. I try the different set-up because I was very lucky to have survived the first one. He sets up with Poe in the corner on my right and the other three ships next to each other on the left hand side of the mat. Who to go for first? Our ships draw close and only the Bandit is in range, since Poe moved very slowly towards the centre.



Chiraneau takes a shield from the Bandit and it whiffs in return. Now I have a choice. There’s kind of a channel of asteroids and it seems as though Poe is looking to head up it. If he does, Echo can do a super-duper decloak and get next to him, probably still in his firing arc. Chiraneau could turn on him and the two of them could hit him hard. But is that Nate’s plan? Is it a trap? Should Chiraneau instead charge into the three ships so the TLTs are useless? I decide to go for Poe. It’s an awful risk, Vader. It had better work. Poe reveals a 3-forward up the channel of asteroids and it’s perfect.



In one shot, Echo strips Poe’s three shields. Because Echo has recloaked with a focus token, Poe attacks Chiraneau at range 2 and takes 2 shields and then has the audacity to evade Chiraneau’s shot. Gunner kicks in and he evades it again! I should have done a Vader crit with the first shot but didn’t. I do this time, though, and it’s Damaged Engine. Now his other ships pound Chiraneau, taking all the shields and getting some hull, a Damaged Sensor crit and a Direct Hit. If I’m to win this game, it’s going to be all up to Echo. That’s how I like it.
With a Damaged Engine crit and a channel of asteroids, Poe has nowhere to go and bumps into Chiraneau. Echo shoots at him through debris and he evades it. Chiraneau can’t shoot Poe so instead he destroys the Bandit in one shot, only losing two more hull that turn.
Then Nate has a bad turn and I can capitalise. The Y bumps into Chiraneau and Poe bumps into the A-Wing. I decide not to use Decoy. Chiraneau fires at Poe range 1 and he evades it, but the Vader crit is another Damaged Engine! Gunner kicks in and the Vader crit kills Poe and suicides Chiraneau. Now this is my kind of game – Echo versus two low-PS ships. Yummy.



It takes four rounds of cat and mouse but the Sensor Jammer is extremely helpful and I destroy the A-Wing with a range-1 shot before taking out the Y two turns later. 100-56, 2-0. Is this squad actually really good? How have I not been flying this for the entirety of this wave? Why didn’t I take this to World’s?

Game 3: Nathan Bollander (100)
Corran Horn + Push the Limit + Advanced Sensors + R2-D2 + Engine Upgrade
Dash Rendar + Push the Limit + Recon Specialist + Outrider title + Mangler Cannon

I stopped flying Phantoms round the time the Outrider title allowed 360 HLCs. That punches holes through even cloaked Phantoms. I had too many cloaked Phantoms one-shot killed because of that thing. But the Mangler Cannon is not as terrifying for me. Dash without Engine can move but not loads, so if I can predict where he’s going, I’m in here. Suddenly, I’m starting to believe in myself and this squad. Nathan is a fairly new player but he has improved significantly over recent months. This could be a challenge. I definitely have to remember the mistake I made at Worlds – I was so focused on Corran regenerating through R2-D2 that I forgot that he could double-tap, and he killed my Vader in one turn. That cannot happen with Echo. Remember the double-tap. Remember the double-tap.

As we draw close, Dash takes two shields from Chiraneau without taking damage back and, once again, Echo was just out of range to fire and cloak.



Dash is a nimble bugger and the following turn I take a shield from him but he nips out of the way of Echo and through debris at range 3 takes a shield from Echo. This has not started well.
Once all ships are in firing position, I take a gamble and leave Echo uncloaked with two focus tokens. The hope is to Vader crit the hell out of Corran and then let Echo get the kill shot. At range 3, Chiraneau fires but Corran evades, and the Vader crit takes a shield. Gunner kicks in and I take another shield, and the Vader crit takes the last shield. Corran fires at Echo at range 1. Remember the double tap. The dice fall my way, partially due to Sensor Jammer, and Echo evades. Dash fires the Mangler at Echo and takes my last shield. My turn now. I fire at Corran at range 1 and hope for something spectacular. It’s not, and he evades it. Uh oh. I cloak and he double taps but with Rec Spec and Sensor Jammer I evade it too. That was a bit lucky. But now Corran can’t fire next turn and that’s big. Someone at the next table says something but I can’t hear it. “Don’t tell him!” says Nathan. I assure him I didn’t hear it. He pauses. “He said you shouldn’t forget to recloak.” I look down. I had forgotten. I can’t believe he’s done that. Actually, yes I can, because Nathan is a really ethical individual, probably the most ethical X-Wing player I know. A couple of times in our game when a call has been close, I’d say, “Echo is just in arc,” and he would say, “Okay, I trust you.” Top sport. That’s how this game should be. I recloak Echo and both he and I know that may well cost him the game.
Corran has to do a green maneuver to regain a shield but that makes his movement predictable. Echo decloaks in anticipation and swoops around him and he’s in range 1. At PS10, Decoyed Echo gets hit hit hit hit crit and Corran is out of the game. Dash starts pounding on Chiraneau and the return fire takes another shield.
Now I have the advantage. Dash is heading for the corner and Echo takes 3 shields. He fires at Chiraneau, hoping to wear him down. It’s a disaster for me – Damaged Engine, Major Explosion and that leads to Structural Damage! Well, Structural Damage isn’t so bad, but that Mangler against the 0-agility Decimator is nasty.



With Vader on board, though, Dash doesn’t have much of a chance and he very quickly dies under fire. 100-28, 3-0. I go over to the TO and tell him what happened, and Nathan is later awarded a Best Sportsmanship prize.

Game 4: Jacob Claussen (100)
Vader + Veteran Instincts + TIE/X1 + Advanced Targeting Computer + Engine Upgrade
Carnor Jax + Veteran Instincts + Royal Guard Pilot + Autothrusters + Stealth Device
Omicron Group Pilot + Emperor Palpatine + Sensor Jammer

And here we are. My chance to pop one of Jacob’s interceptors. Jacob is a good player. In tournaments against each other we’re 4-2 until now but that score doesn’t display how close our games sometimes are, and how often Jacob ranks very well - he came 2nd in the last Store Championship, for example, by thoroughly beating me in the top 4. I just want revenge for that thrashing. Vader VI is a real problem and he has to die first. If I can keep mobile, Jax may not be too much of an issue. If Jax gets close to Chiraneau and stops me from taking a focus token, Gunner will help. And if Jax gets close to the Decimator anyway, Chiraneau with Vader crew can really hurt him. So he's going to want to get Jax near to Echo, who will have to hang back. And if I can get behind the Shuttle, it’s toast, although Jacob knows that, too.
I'm much more confident with my set-up now and even though once again Echo is just out of range at the start of the combat phase, she's well placed.



As we approach, Jax is tearing ahead so as to get into range 1 and Echo is playing cautious on the edges waiting to pounce. Vader misses a range 3 shot on Chiraneau and Jax is at range 2 of Chiraneau. He takes two shields. Chiraneau returns fire. It’s 2 hits and a crit. Jacob rolls two evades. The question is whether or not to Palpatine to another evade, with the knowledge that I’ll Gunner. He decides that it’s not worth the risk of two Vader crits, so he takes the hit, knowing that he has a very high chance of surviving the Vader crit. I Vader crit. Direct Hit. O. M. G. I can’t believe it. I put Vader in this squad to do exactly what just happened – to pop one of Jacob’s Interceptors. I can’t believe it worked! Jacob realises instantly that he’s made a mistake and that if he had forced me to use Gunner then the double Vader crits would have cost Chiraneau 4 shields. I have to agree with him. I still would have done it, though. We keep talking as we play. How did we stop using Vader crew? In this meta of FVP and Soontir Fel running riot, how did we all forget Vader crew? I think it’s because ATC made Vader pilot so much better that we all forgot about Vader crew. But in this meta it’s insane. I absolutely should have taken this list to Worlds. Anyway, the game is still afoot and this is an opponent who won’t forgive mistakes...
His Omicron pounds Chiraneau and I pull a Thrust Control Fire crit. I can handle that. Next turn, Vader is onto Chiraneau and critting me. It’s Major Hull Breach. That’s not nice. Echo fires at Vader but through debris there’s not a dent. Chiraneau fires at Vader and he evades it. I Gunner and he loses a shield. Now the big question is whether or not I Vader crit to take the other shield? Jacob laughs out loud. The Major Hull Breach crit I’ve got means that for every Vader crit I dish out, I take two crits! That’s funny! I do it. I take Loose Stabiliser and Damaged Engine, he loses his last shield. I think that’s worth it. His Shuttle takes a shot at Echo at range 1 and I lose both shields.
The one thing that most worries me now is Vader shooting Echo before cloaking. He does, at range 1 but thankfully his attack dice fail him. Chiraneau fires at Vader range 1 and I take another hull. I must have forgotten Chiraneau’s ability there because that should have been a crit. I Vader crit him. I take Blinded Pilot and Direct Hit. I didn’t even note what he took, but it wasn’t enough to kill him. The Shuttle again fires at Echo but this time I evade it.
I’m stacking up crits here and we're both tremendously amused by it. Vader again tries for Echo but Sensor Jammer saves me. Chiraneau doesn’t have a shot against Vader so I try the Shuttle and he evades it, because of his Sensor Jammer. Rude.
Vader gets another crit on Chiraneau – Thrust Control Fire. I suicide Chiraneau in order to kill Vader. Now it’s Echo versus the Shuttle and both Jacob and I know where this is going. It takes three turns of Echo firing at the Shuttle without reply before it’s destroyed. 83-56, 4-0. This was one of the most fun games of X-Wing that I’ve ever played. Having Vader crew and double critting myself in order to put one crit on an opponent was just too funny. But now I’m 4-0 with a squad that I have never played before with a Phantom I’ve not played since the nerf. This is bonkers.

The cut to the top four is made. Dan Topczewski, the guy with the Blood Feud, has come a very definite 12th out of 12. We all agree that the Blood Feud is over. Within days, new phrases appear on the New Mexico and Phoenix Facebook groups: the phrase “Being Danned” means “Going to a tournament with publically expressed high hopes, only to be thoroughly beaten” and “Being New Mexicod” means “Going to a tournament in New Mexico because you thought it would be easy and then discovering that it wasn’t.” He takes it all in extremely good humour because despite all the bluster, he's actually a great guy. And had it not been for him, I would never have been flying this list, which is proving to be insanely good.

Game 5 – Top 4: Ryan Dillon (97)
Soontir Fel + Push the Limit + Royal Guard Pilot + Stealth Device
Kenkirk + Lone Wolf + Emperor Palpatine + Ysanne Isard + Engine Upgrade

Ryan is rapidly becoming one of the top players in New Mexico. Nobody locally knows how to fly Decimators better than him. His double Decimator list is a force to be reckoned with so I’m very pleased to see Fel here. He gives me the initiative and from the very beginning runs Fel away. He knows the threat of the Vader crew so Kenkirk has to also fly out of the gate and do sufficient damage to Chiraneau that I can’t get the Vader crits in. I keep Echo back and hope to turn it into a Decimator slugfest while Fel runs away. But he actually sends Kenkirk out quickly and keeps Fel back, which I'm not expecting.



Then he changes tack and uses Kenkirk to flank while Fel runs. Without Engine, I struggle to catch up to Fel but try to keep to the centre of the mat as much as possible, slowly closing the distance and hoping to catch him out. It takes perhaps five or six turns of movement before there’s any firing. This guy really knows what he’s doing and Fel is hurtling around the board away from me.

When shooting finally starts, we’re at range one with Chiraneau and Kenkirk taking three shields each. Finally, the next turn, after at least twenty minutes of chasing, I just get into range of Fel. That’s all I need. I fire and miss and Vader crit him. It’s Weapons Failure. Gunner kicks in and he takes Loose Stabiliser. Direct Hit would have been a bit too much to ask for considering the last game. Kenkirk pummels Chiraneau for three hits and a Damaged Engine crit.
Fel turns but can’t get out of range one of Chiraneau. My shot misses but the Vader crit ensures that Fel dies. It’s cost me 6 damage to kill him but it’s definitely worth it. And now Echo is in the game and I don’t need to Decoy because he gave me initiative. I get a Direct Hit on Kenkirk and he puts a Major Hull Breach on Chiraneau. Again?!?
Echo and Kenkirk trade blows and both evade. His Kenkirk is dancing round the table and the Engine Upgrade is making it very difficult for me to guess where he’s going. The next turn Echo doesn’t even have a shot. Chiraneau gets a Direct Hit on Kenkirk and I suicide Chiraneau to get a Damaged Cockpit on Kenkirk as well. Echo evades Kenkirk at range 3 through debris and this is starting to look good.
But Kenkirk is boosting all over the place and sometimes I just can’t get shots. The next turn it’s only Kenkirk who can shoot – at Echo at range 1, and he takes both shields. Occasionally I get Echo back into it, she takes two hull and then his dice fail him in attack. Sometimes he evades and sometimes I do. He reduces Echo to one hull left. This is crazy close. Finally, Echo gets a range 1 shot on him and it’s hit hit crit. I get the crit through, and it’s Blinded Pilot. That is huge. Now he can’t boost after knowing where I’m going and I'm still cloaking before he fires. We both know that’s the game right there. In two turns, Kenkirk is destroyed, with Echo having only one hull left, after a full five-dice modified hit roll. 100-56, 5-0. Ryan complains about how good my dice were but I look over my notes and show him how often his Decimator evaded my four-dice Phantom. I really only won the game because of the Blinded Pilot crit - anything else and Ryan would certainly have boosted out of arc enough times to deny me the cloak.

On the other table, John Garcia is beating John Grasser and there are minutes left. Garcia has Omega Leader, Whisper and Vader while Grasser is using Paul Heaver’s World’s list. I cannot beat that list with a Decimator but I can definitely beat Garcia’s list, and we all know it. Garcia is up on points with five minutes to go, four minutes to go, three, two, and then he makes a terrible error and I howl openly in disappointment as Whisper is destroyed. Now I have an almost impossible task.


Final: John Grasser (100)
Poe + Veteran Instincts + R2-D2 + Autothrusters
Gold Squadron Pilot + Twin Laser Turret
Gold Squadron Pilot + Twin Laser Turret + BTL-A4 + R3-A2
Bandit



Before we start, I take stock of what has happened today to put things into perspective. I have reluctantly come along to a tournament, I’ve flown a list that I’ve never flown before and I’ve made it to the final. Grasser has been telling me for months to fly Echo but I’ve never thought there was a build good enough. It turns out there was one right under my nose – one that I even publicised a year ago! I know that my chances of beating this list are extremely slim. All he has to do is stress out Echo and then pummel Chiraneau and there’s nothing I can do. But I’ll never quit a game and while he and I both know the likely victor, I’m determined to give it a try to get my hands on that trophy.
He’s played his list many times and he approaches very well. The only shot Chiraneau can get is on one of the Golds and I take a shield. A Twin Laser Turret kicks in and strips two shields. This is how it’s going to be. But I have a plan. If I can kill Poe early enough and perhaps one other PS2 ship, then Echo is left with two low-PS ships, probably one that is very stressed and can hardly turn as well. I know that John knows this, too, but I have to try it.
I turn hard towards Poe and Chiraneau fires. He evades. I forget Gunner. Seriously, in the final, that’s when I forget Gunner! I decide not to crit him because the TLTs are going to inflict serious pain. The Stresshog starts stressing Chiraneau and the Gold and Bandit start stripping shields and hull. Next turn Echo comes in. It should have been a turn earlier but I needed to be sure the Stresshog wouldn’t hit her so she was moving around for better position. I charge Chiraneau forward and Poe bumps into him. This is my big chance. I Decoy Echo and fire at Poe with no focus token at Range 2. And he evades every single die. That’s not okay. Poe has no shot so Chiraneau fires at the nearby Bandit and one-shot kills him. I feel like some sense of cosmic balance is slightly restored with that. But Poe had to die there, or at least be seriously injured, and instead he did that thing that he did in that film with the flying and the dodging and the things. Then the Ys start pounding Chiraneau again and I get a Major Explosion crit as well as losing four more hull. This is going to be a quick game if I can’t kill Poe.
We both know that Echo has to go for Poe, which is why I don’t. She would be in too obvious a position, so she tries to outflank the Stresshog. He sees it, though – we play against each other a lot so we kind of know when the other person is about to try something clever. Echo is at range 1 of the Stresshog and offloads everything she’s got. And he evades it. Just to reiterate – that’s my five dice with a focus against his one die and I did no damage at all. I laugh because there’s only one way this game can go now. Echo is the scalpel in the list but so far when she’s had great opportunities, she’s been as effective as a plastic spoon in a knife fight. Chiraneau fires at the Stresshog through a rock and he takes one shield. I resign myself to my fate. The Stresshog gets one shot on Echo, stresses her and I evade it. Sensor Jammer kicks in when the other TLT tries to hit her but nonetheless Chiraneau loses another two hull. He’s nearly done, and so is this game.
The obvious move now is to get Echo out of the action, do a green maneuver, destress and come back in fighting. So I don’t do that. I decide that for the rest of the game, she’s going to rely on two green dice, Sensor Jammer and bloody good maneuvers. She starts pummeling the non-Stresshog Y and I get a Major Hull Breach through. Chiraneau is now nearly dead. I’m moving my ships well because, as you may have noticed, Poe is hardly able to get a shot in. Finally, I surprise John and get Echo into Range 1 of Poe. Now I have a choice. If I Decoy Echo then she shoots before Poe, although she can’t cloak because she's stressed. If I don’t, Chiraneau can take the shot. I’m not sure which is better. I fire Echo and she takes three shields and one hull from Poe. I’m back in the game! Then Poe fires at Chiraneau range 3 and destroys him. If I can kill Poe now, I have a very slim chance.
Poe runs for it and because of his Engine Upgrade, he boosts right past me at very close range. I think I’m in arc for the shot, John says I’m out. It’s extremely close. And we both know the game hinges on this because he’s at range 1 and he’s boosted so he has no focus token. I show how Echo has the shot, he shows how Echo doesn’t. Assistant TOs come over and look and they all say it’s out. And that’s the game there and then. There’s no way that a stressed Echo can catch an unstressed Poe with PS advantage. Now, we’re going through the motions. I get a Damaged Engine crit on the non-Stresshog. That’s helpful, because it limits the hard-2 turns but it’s purely academic. I’m rather proud of my Echo flying and keeping out of everyone’s arc and eventually I kill the non-Stresshog Y. But Poe regenerates and boosts behind me and then he chases her down for the tournament win. Grasser gets the swish trophy and I get the lovely print of Boba Fett called “The Taking of Solo,” which my mind can’t help think looks a little like Prince Charming is about to kiss Sleeping Beauty, aka The “Taking” of Solo, as well as card box, tokens and rulers.




Epilogue
I had retired from tournament X-Wing. I had said that I wasn’t going to travel out of state for any more tournaments. I was happy for a few weeks, I felt like a burden had been lifted from my shoulders. I had started working on my book again. I helped a friend out just to make up numbers. I took a silly squad for the qualifiers and won my division. Then I took a squad as a joke to the actual championship of the twelve top players from each division, a squad I had never played before, and discovered it was a wonderful squad and came second. What a nice, pleasant way to end my X-Wing tournament days, with a fabulous story about Echo doing wonders just one last time. What a way to round off just shy of three years of tournament play. What a way to.... wait, what?!? There’s a Regional in Albuquerque in April?!? Then I guess retirement’s just going to have to wait....
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Gordy Crozier
United Kingdom
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Great session report, but even better story! Glad you got some of your passion back!

Can I just say that I really appreciate your writing and posts, as someone who flies very casually indeed, I've always appreciated your outlook of original squads and thinking outside the meta and your love of A-wings made me feel better about my love of A-wings. Thank you good sir! To me you're one of my inspirations in the game!
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Neil, the Tusken Tactician
England
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Wow. Thank you.
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Chris Brown
United States
Fort Wayne
Indiana
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There is no reason to have two A's at the beginning of aardvark. I simply won't do it.
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I'm still trying to wrap my head around your worlds experience. It's enough to deal with a loss in the family, but then encountering just a hate filled and unsportsmanlike opponent is just crazy. Your the second high profile x-wing player that I've heard having major encounters with unsportsmanlike play that makes them want to quit the competitive scene completely. Beyond that, a personal attack? I can't even comprehend such a thing in the X-Wing community. I hope we're not trending towards something here.

Anyways, great write-up! Glad you're continuing to enjoy yourself with this game be it competitive or casual. If your competitiveness brings you to GenCon let me know. Would love to grab a beer with you and maybe get an autograph on my Biggles card.
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commuter zombie
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Great write up, thanks for posting. I always enjoy your posts and articles and hope that you keep enjoying the game, even if tournaments take a back seat.
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Neil, the Tusken Tactician
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killerardvark wrote:
I'm still trying to wrap my head around your worlds experience. It's enough to deal with a loss in the family, but then encountering just a hate filled and unsportsmanlike opponent is just crazy. Your the second high profile x-wing player that I've heard having major encounters with unsportsmanlike play that makes them want to quit the competitive scene completely. Beyond that, a personal attack? I can't even comprehend such a thing in the X-Wing community. I hope we're not trending towards something here.


Just to clarify, the anti-semitic incidents were not hate-filled or a personal attack. On the contrary, someone thought that a particular anti-semitic comment was funny and said it twice, when it wasn't. We spoke about it and I explained to him how upset I was about it, he learned and we're still friends.

The unsportsmanlike behaviour, however, that was really bad. It was an opponent who had lost the game and who stalled very openly and deliberately to ensure I didn't get the full win, which was absolutely going to happen the next turn. Even players on the other table remonstrated him for stalling. The person I played the game after said he saw it and was appalled by it. So that was what really got under my skin, along with the other things that were going on at the time.

killerardvark wrote:

Anyways, great write-up! Glad you're continuing to enjoy yourself with this game be it competitive or casual. If your competitiveness brings you to GenCon let me know. Would love to grab a beer with you and maybe get an autograph on my Biggles card.

I'm afraid GenCon is definitely not on the cards. There's the ABQ Regional and then that may be the time I bow out of tournament play. Until next time, at least....

I have to say that I'm enjoying my X-Wing much more now. I took a Dash / Warden build to the Store Championship knowing that I wouldn't win it, but knowing I would also have fun with the list. For someone so competitive, that's been really liberating. And then to take this list, which I thought would be fun but not vaguely competitive, and to do so well with it, that was a riot.

 
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Grant Whitesell
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Oklahoma
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It's great to see someone really getting mileage out of Decoy.

I've tried and failed, but your story gives me hope. Fantastic report.
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Dan Topczewski
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April 9th. My vengeance will be swift and grumpy.

Other then that, nice write-up. New Mexico caught me off guard with bad juju once. Never again!
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Andrew Schlueter
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Ridgecrest
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Thanks for the write-up. I'm heartened to see that you're not abandoning the game entirely. Seeing your writing here was part of what helped me get into the game! Keep having fun and flying casual. People like you are the ones helping to keep the x-wing community a welcoming one.
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Vayda
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New Jersey
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Thanks for sharing Neil.

I've always liked reading your experiences. You're a trooper with an underrated avatar choice You and your kind will always be back...
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Neil, the Tusken Tactician
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virferrorum wrote:
Thanks for sharing Neil.

I've always liked reading your experiences. You're a trooper with an underrated avatar choice You and your kind will always be back...


.... and in greater numbers?
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Neil, the Tusken Tactician
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dantop83 wrote:
April 9th. My vengeance will be swift and grumpy.

Other then that, nice write-up. New Mexico caught me off guard with bad juju once. Never again!


No-one cares about your attempt at vengeance, Dan. I want to be nice, I really do, but you got New Mexicod once and you'll be New Mexicod again.
 
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