For a discussion of the preparations and list choices, go here.
A half hour before I leave I am still collecting the command cards and finding the figures and fifteen minutes before I leave I am packing a backpack with diapers and cheese sticks and chapati but I arrive on time. Eighteen other people are there, and somehow I am the only one to bring a toddler. Fortunately, the timing works out that he’s just starting his nap when I arrive. Unfortunately, the pairings go up, and my first round is a
Not how I wanted to start the day. It’s a win, but I came to play and the first round would likely be the only one my son would sleep all the way through. Still, it’s a win, and with nineteen competitors and a cut to the top eight, I only need to win two of my next three to advance. I get fries and wander around the tables. I see a lot of Mercenaries and a lot of the new units and a lot of Assassinate. See a beautiful little back and forth where Ferocity allows a Rancor a final attack only for a focused Onar Koma to play Extra Protection off that and finish the Rancor off. My practice partner from Friday is playing the same list against a double Rancor, Bantha Rider, Jabba list. He sits back and gains power from On a Diplomatic Mission until the very last round where a super pumped new Luke and Obi-Wan run down a Rancor and finish it. Fifteen minutes before the next round starts, my son wakes up. I immediately start feeding him to keep him happy, and it works. The pairings go up, and I am finally playing my list for the first time.
Against N, Mercenary Hunters and Gamorreans on To Your Stations!
N’s list is fascinating, not something I had considered at all. Jabba the Hutt, Shyla Varad, Vinto Hreeda, Greedo, two elite Gamorrean Guards and Devious Scheme. He splits his forces immediately, sending Shyla and Vinto to the single far station while the rest move to the double station. I send all of mine to the double stations. It’s all maneuvering the first round. The bleeding begins the second round. I lose a Weequay Pirate. He loses three Gamorreans, but damage is piling on Luke and the Rancor. It starts falling apart in the third round. Shyla moves up and knocks out the Rancor, and Luke follows soon after. I only get Greedo in exchange. By round four N is on 33, and I’m on 28. I’m able to finish the last Gamorrean and Vinto and could win if I can hold the station for the round, but that’s a joke. Shyla is too much and murders the Weequay on it. Gideon falls soon after to give N the win. I’ll probably need to run the table to make the top eight and earn those shiny red and yellow dice. I can do that.
I was outplayed in the unit game but kept it close in the objectives. The name of the game was power attacks and stacks of command cards. Element of Surprise, Assassinate, Tools for the Job and Jabba-assisted focus allowed near one-hit kills and demonstrated that a trained Rancor and new Luke were a bit more fragile than I had hoped. Talking about it after the game, N convinced me that Shyla is worth a closer look. She is perfectly comparable to Obi-Wan in terms of durability, and her abilities are fun. The boy is mostly content to stay close and munch his lunch.
On to the next one.
Against Z, Mercenary Sampler on One Man’s Trash
Z is local, and I’ve played him a few times. That’s good because my son has realized he knows where we are and has no problem wandering out of eyesight. The gameplay is a bit staccato as a result of me having to run into the main game room every other activation to pull the boy back.
Anyway, this game was won early on a difference in strategy. Z’s setup suggested an early push into the corridor to attack me from the rear, and his play soon made that clear when only a single group of Weequay Pirates made a lonely push against the door. Again, I opted to push for objective points hard but sent my Rancor down the hallway to block it up and slow him down. Z had made the earlier play of Onar destroying the Rancor, and I was wary but had no choice. The cards never came together for him, and the Rancor was able to knock out a Weequay and Bossk on a Parting Blow before being taken down by Onar through an Order Hit from Jabba with points only gained through Pickpocket earlier that turn. That was fine though because I gained twelve points on crates that turn and he had yet to open his door with most of his figures still near the distant hallway. Vinto with a crate rolled my only dodge of the day to survive a blast from the Weequays, a few more kills and two more crates and that was the game.
There were some lucky rolls for me to just get enough to knock out Bossk with the Rancor and for Vinto to survive his attack, but as I wrote earlier, Z’s fatal mistake was to overcommit to the corridor, leaving me generally free to take crates unmolested. The Rancor prevented any flanking attack and delayed his turn toward the crates and that was that. Hard to keep up with twenty points on objectives.
Against D, Twins with Rangers and Smugglers on Surveillance
If I win this, I’m in the cut. I’m feeling good. Also, my wife arrived and was able to take the boy. I can concentrate.
The first round is mostly positioning. We both send the bulk of our forces to the end of the map far from the deployment zones. With an early Son of Skywalker, I see a chance to get my Luke up against his at the end of the round and turn the tide early. It will mean keeping my Luke facing his and Leia and the entire group of regular Alliance Rangers at the beginning of the round, but the initiative is passing to me. He could have Take Initiative, but I’ve finally drawn Negation and feel okay with the risk. I chip ten damage onto Luke and end the turn. He does play Take, and I cancel it, and that should have been the play of the game. I activate Luke first, and his Luke rolls dodge on both my attacks before I have to retreat. Cripes. His Luke moves in for the kill and does most of the damage but can’t finish it and tries to run away. Parting Blow finishes him. A Ranger has to burn Grenadier to finish Luke and even us out, but I’m feeling good.
Now Vinto gets to work. He pops in and out of cover with Opportunistic and Hit and Run, and Boltslinger is nuts. Over the next few turns, without ever targeting them and with Rancor cleave assist, he is able to knock out the elite and regular Alliance Smugglers, both before activating, and an Alliance Ranger. The game goes to time, and we stay mostly even on the cameras, but his only kill is Luke.
Three and one. I’m in the cut and even make second seed as N, my only loss, went undefeated to go top seed, and Z, my third round opponent, took four seed. Cool. Now I have a chance at that Bossk point tracker, but it’s all gravy from here.
Top 8 against J, double Bantha, double Weequay on Gaining Favor
I’m feeling good about this match up. Straight up the Rancor beats the Bantha Rider, just so long as it reaches the choke point in the center of the map first. I feel less great after a focused Vinto is knocked out by a Gamorrean through a combination of Element of Surprise, Wild Attack and Grisly Contest. Luke is able to take revenge and knocks out the entire group of Gamorreans and wounds a Weequay but takes way too much damage in the process and is forced to run until the second Weequay hunts him down. His Bantha moves in to control the choke point, and I’m really not feeling great. My only advantage is my lead in patron favor until J grabs three in the third round alone to tie us. The fourth round begins with J at 36 to my 31 after finally knocking out that choking Bantha. I have initiative, and J is my first opponent all day to not have Take Initiative. My Rancor activates first to race into the bar and gain favor with the last patron to give me ten points and the win. Woo.
Objectives all day, every day. The point tracker is mine.
Top 4 against J, Mercenary Sampler on Lair of the Dianoga
It’s a close match in points when I manage to kill the dianoga (13 to 12 in his favor), but in everything else, it’s his match to lose. Vinto goes down early after managing no damage on the dianoga and only a single point of damage on his Rancor, and my Rancor follows soon after, sniped by regular HK Assassin Droids and elite Weequays. I’m able to sneak my remaining forces through the hallway and kill Jabba for the first time after seeing him in almost every other match and even a few other units, but Luke goes down when he can’t manage a surge for pierce 3 to kill the last HK. Not that it matters. He was holding Crush with his Rancor in range.
His list was much better suited to the map. With the range on the HKs, J didn’t need to cross the sewer. He could wait for me and snipe at his leisure, forcing me to reroll all my good defense. It certainly didn’t help that I didn’t have a clear strategy once the dianoga went down. Perhaps pushing Luke and Vinto through the corridor early while the Rancor and Weequays went for the dianoga and across the sewer would have been the right play. Deflect and Boltslinger would have feasted on five health HKs. Whatever. I had a lot of fun and won all the swag and traded for a green and white die. That’s a pretty good day.
Play for objective points.
New Luke and Vinto, Deflect and Boltslinger, are the real deal and excellent pipping in the final points of damage.
Hunter command cards are brutal. When the upcoming droid wave comes out, be prepared to tech hard against HKs and IG-88 if you’re not running them yourself because they will be brutal with all the new command cards and existing hunter ones.
If your list is clearly at a disadvantage on a map, perhaps try a different strategy than running into their attacks.
Unless you have a good reason, never not train your Rancor. And probably not even then either.
Thanks to all my opponents, especially those who tolerated my son and my runs from the table to retrieve my son. Thanks to the TO and judge. Thanks to J for spending his bye showing my son cute kitten and owl videos. Thanks to M for the dice trade. Thanks to my wife for coming for my son.