'Grats Cliffy- Evansville, IN Store Champion 2015!
So a month ago or so, my pal Sean messaged me the time and date for Armored Gopher's Store Championship in Urbana, IL. You may or may not recall, I played in their SC last year, met some cool folks, and had an all around good time, so after consulting with the work and the fam, I made plans to attend again this year (it's on 28 Feb, or this Saturday if you're scoring at home).
Now, as you've likely guessed from my infrequent updates the past, oh six months? I've not been playing a lot lately. Work has been work, the wife is taking classes online to get her Master's, it's kind of a long story as to why, but I've been spending free time shooting guns a lot lately, and we've been playing games besides X-Wing on the weekends via Hangouts. I didn't really want to walk into the Store Championship tournament completley cold, but I was having a hard time making it by the X-Wing League Night that Cliff has going these days on Thursday evenings at Comics Quest in Evansville.
Chas's Daughter did the sign. I didn't ask her name or take her pic because I thought it'd be creepy for a 40-year old dude in a Metal Bikini shirt to ask what appeared to be a 13-year old girl her name and if he could put a picture of it and her on his website
Then a couple weeks ago, Cliff sent out an email saying that he was going to be TO'ing a Store Championship at Comics Quest here in Evansville on 23 Feb, which surprisingly seemed do-able even with my goofy work, kid-watching, and gun shooting schedule.
I spent the last week or so talking about lists with Sean and I'd decided that I wanted to try and run the following-
Seems fun, right? Yeah, well, I thought so too. In fact, I thought it would be so fun that it didn't even occur to me until Friday afternoon at work that not only do I not own 4 A-Wings, I also don't have four Stealth Devices (I also probably don't own 4 Proton Rockets, but that seemed to be trivial comparatively at that point).
Anyhizzle, I was like, "Ah jeez, what the hell am I gonna do now?"
After stopping by the local FLGSes on my way home from work and coming up empty-handed on both another A-Wing and a Firespray, I punted and tried to go back to my safe zone of a Dreis-Dutch list which also included Gemmer. I tried it out on Sean (who was running a bog standard Fat Han) Friday night. It didn't do well. Gemmer did ok, but I was kinda wishing I'd have found the points for Jake Farrell, and well, maybe I should try to make a Jake-Dreis-Lando list work somehow, or maybe I should just roll a couple of Advanced with Proton Rockets and Vader, and blah, blah, blah. Now, it's like 2am and I've got a Store Championship I'd rather not completely embarrass myself at in 10 hours and nothing in my head is fitting together well at all.
So after some deliberation, I decided to get out of my safe zone and not only did I not play a ship that involved pilots I'd never actually played before Friday night, I also decided to go against my usual tendencies and run a 3-ship Rebel list that didn't include a Falcon.
With zero experience with the list and only a few hours of sleep between my late-night of coming up with said list and my youngest waking up at 2:50am from a nightmare, I arrived at Comics Quest ill-prepared and with a Diet Mountain Dew IV, and by IV I mean intravenous, not a Diet Dew Mark 4, about 10 minutes before the shindig was supposed to kick off. I was happy I'd get to play though, so it was all good.
My first opponent was the eventual tournament winner and all-around good guy, +Clifford Holm. You may remember Cliff- I've mentioned him on here a couple of times in the past and if memory serves, he may have even written an article or two for the Bikini. He's been running a Biggs, Ten Nunb, and two Prototype A-Wings list for awhile now and he's gotten pretty solid with it. Obviously, I'd been banking on my ships being hard to hit until they could get to Range 1 and dump those rockets on somebody's head, but when Cliff told me the was rolling Ten with Autoblaster I knew I was gonna have a hard time.
Sparing you the gory details, I managed to get Biggs off the map fairly quickly (no small feat as he was sporting R2-F2 and a Stealth Device), and things were fairly even as we got tangled up in a pretty good traffic jam for a few turns, but eventually, the Ten B-Wing got loose in the hairball as they're wont to do and starting auto-hitting my A-Wings, with no chance for them to evade damage because of the synergy between his card text and Autoblaster. After 1 match, I was 0-1.
I went outside to catch a vape and when I came back in, I was informed I'd be bye'ed into the next round as we had an odd number of people present. I'm not 100% sure how I was selected for the bye, but I'm pretty sure it's because I had the lowest point total after the first round (31). In any case, I spent the next 75 minutes vaping, making small talk, deciding that I was probably being kinda distracting making small talk, thought I should be courteous and STFU, went back outside for another vape, posted some pics on G+, thought it'd be cool to take some pics of the other participants actually, you know, playing, for the site, went back inside to do that, and grabbed another Diet Dew.
Cliff v Craig
Jeff v Cameron
Troy v Chas
For the third round, I drew Craig, who had driven up in the sleet, snow, and ice from Dawson Springs, Kentucky where he'd run a Store Championship tournament of his own, and I think won. Craig is a super cool guy if you've ever met him- he gets around the X-Wing scene; went to Gencon and checked out Nationals as a spectator and is a fixture on the FFG Boards as Bjorn Rockfist. He was running a Fat Han with 3 Z-95s in support.
Craig doin' his thang
If you thought my game against Cliff was underwhelming, I managed to get zero points off the table against Craig. The highlight of my match against him was touching off Gemmer's Proton Rockets after the Falcon had been stripped of it's Evades and/ or Focus tokens which allowed for Gemmer's Opportunist to kick in and give me a six Attack dice rocket shot, of which I actually managed to roll three hits and three Focuses, which I subsequently was able to turn into hits. Wasn't enough to down the Falcon as I'd only managed to take off a shield point or two in the turns leading up to that point, but it was pretty cool to see a little ol' A-Wing rip off six hit points.
To be honest, I'm not sure what place I came in. Cliff won, I believe that Craig placed second. I have to assume if I wasn't in sole possession of last place, I was at least tied for it. We were all trying to get out of Dodge before all the rain and slush turned completely back into ice, so once we'd all been given our swag and congratulated Cliff on his victory, we split. It was a good time though, and I'm glad I got to try my list out before I went to the tournament in Urbana as it would have been even more disappointing to realize this list had a couple of fundamental flaws after driving all the way up there.
Main thing I noticed was Marksmanship on Tycho the way I have him set up didn't result in the synergy I'd hoped for. It seems so obvious now, having played the list twice and, well, you know having some sleep and all, but I'd somehow got it into my head that having the Focus and the Marksmanship would be totally handy as I could use the Focus defensively then use Marksmanship to affect the rocket roll, but in reality they kinda conflict with each other. You have to have the Focus to touch off the Missiles, so paying for three points for Marksmanship when you have to have the Focus anyway, but not spend it, is a waste in a list this tight. I'm still not entirely sure about the way I had Gemmer set up with Opportunist either, but Jake Farrell was and is, simply awesome. That dude I absolutely love now. If you've not flown him before, give him a try. Especially if you're a mainly Imperial player who likes (or liked) to run those three ship lists with like Vader, Soontir Fel, and Turd Ferguson. You'll find Jake is right up your alley. Having an A-Wing that can Barrel Roll doesn't seem like that big of a deal on paper, but I found myself wishing I'd had it available on Tycho especially too. Hmmm...
The prize spread. Box of tissues not included. P.S.- If you squint, you can see my hand-written list in there. Printer wasn't working, so I had to go old school.
So the Urbana tournament is this weekend at the time of writing and I'm in something of a quandary- Sean has enough models and cards that I actually could run the 4-ship A-Wing list with Gemmer that I'd initially dreamed up, but I keep thinking with a bit of work on the upgrades, I could make that Tycho, Jake, Gemmer list work a lot better than it did yesterday, so I don't know. I'll have to think about it a bit before the weekend. I'm also going to try like hell to make it by CQ this Thursday to give the list Mark 2 a trial before I pack it up north. I'll let you know how it goes.
On the bright side, I did get an alternative art Soontir Fel card and a super swanky X-Wing dice bag for participating.
Yes- I am mixing my gaming metaphors, so to speak. I didn't want to pack my entire collection up there, so I put my stuff in my Imperial Bolter Ammo can (which got some compliments, by the way- it is pretty dope, after all).
It was cool getting to meet the guys from the X-Wing group that Cliff has put together and I was totally impressed with Craig driving all the way up in the ice and whatnot from Kentucky. Was fun to talk some shop in person for a change too- not that I don't love all y'all's emails and G+ posts and whatnot of course, just good to get back out into the community for a little bit before I sequester myself out beyond the Dune Sea again, y'know?
Oh, and in an effort to show some solidarity to the store for hosting the tournament and to console myself after such demoralizing losses, I picked this up too-
... which I'm like totally stoked to check out. I don't know if y'all are up on this Golem Arcana business, but it sounds friggin' awesome and seems as though it'd work over Hangouts without a lot of the work we normally have to do playing stuff over the internet. Give me a couple of weeks to play around with it and I'll post a review.
So once again, congrats to Cliff, shout-outs to all the other participants, and I hope to see some of y'all in Urbana this weekend at Armored Gopher!