In my last post, I summarized my “Theory-wing” commentary around preparing a list and deciding on strategies and tactics.  So we now ask the question – “How well did I follow my own advice?”  In this entry, I’ll summarize my Store Tourney experiences (rather than list them as separate entries) and see whether we can draw some conclusions from the results.

First up, let me provide my squad for the season – it’s the one that I have the most experience (and as a result) the best results with to date – a variation on the Standard Brobot list:

Brobots list

As you can see, it differs from the preferred ‘meta’ build which uses Crackshot as the EPT and Glitterstim as the illicit.  Why the variation?  I have found a couple of things about how I fly and specifically how I fly Aggressors.  Until fairly recently, I really struggled against good aces lists, with lower PS and a plethora of post move repositioning options, these ships dodge my arcs well and generally cause me a lot of pain.  So – in a way, the ‘bug zapper’ option (feedback array) was a way to combat aces getting out of my firing arc and into range 1 for max damage output (especially Carnor Jax!).  Although not blessed with huge amounts of health (4 hull, 4 shields), the Aggressors are well in excess of 3 hull Interceptors!  So – in essence, the feedback array option is to compensate for my perceived short-comings in flying the aggressors.

Veteran instincts are a different choice again – and mostly for when you come up against mirror-matches with other Brobots or squads with middling PS values – the shift from PS6 to PS8 won’t help you against aces, but will against some other lists.

So, on to the competitions.  There were quite a few stores that I wanted to get to, but life gets in the way, so I had to settle for competing in the following:

  • Kay Jay’s Games & Hobbies (Footscray, Melbourne)
  • Good Games Box Hill (Box Hill, Melbourne)
  • Pro Gamers (Caroline Springs, Melbourne)
  • Next Level Games Ringwood (Ringwood, Melbourne) – my ‘home’ store
  • Colac Gaming Community (Colac, Country Victoria)

I set myself some goals for each of these, based on my lead up to the tournaments and results to date.  What I wanted to achieve for each of these were:

Store Championship Goal
Kay Jay’s To win at least 3 games
Good Games Box Hill To get into the top 8
Pro Gamers To get into the top 8
Next Level Games Ringwood To get into the top 4
Colac Gaming Community To get into the top 4

1.     Kay Jay’s

I need to admit here that I made a last minute change to my preferred squad.  Call it a ‘brain fade’ or an experiment gone wrong, I thought with the meta moving towards more ships, I may get more utility out of IG88-A (recover a shield for each ship killed) rather than IG88-C (get a free evade when you boost).  Did it work out – not really, did it adversely affect my results – well, maybe – as you’ll see.  The other change was to drop Veteran instincts as the EPT for Crackshot.

Game 1 – vs Damien (Mixed Scum – IG88B, Bossk, Z95)

This was a disaster from the start as I realised that I had left my dials at home – arghhh!  Damien was really good about the delay and I sourced some new dials and we got the game underway.  I focused on getting down the Z95 and the YV666 as I was paranoid around removing that much health late in the game – this was probably a mistake as the end game saw our IG88-B’s duelling off – sadly (for me) Damien had VI on his – so was shooting first and managed to get my last Aggressor off the board in the last turn when time was called!  (note that Damien still would have won with a modified win on points anyway if he hadn’t killed my IG88-B).

Result: Loss (76-100)

Game 2 – vs Johnny (Rebel aces – Poe, Wedge, Biggs)

Johnny is one of the nicest players on the local scene and my last game against him in an OP kit tournament was a very close one – so expected the same.   I always struggle with Biggs – so this time I did the right thing and concentrated on burning him down first.  Wedge was on fire with his “roll-one-less-agility-dice” – so he was the next to be targeted.  There was a lot of manoeuvring in the mid stages of the game and to came down to both my aggressors (no shields) vs Poe with no shields.  If we’d had time, I’m pretty sure I could have taken him out for the whole win, but with time called – it was a super close thing – taking the full win by 1 point (12 point difference).

Result: Win (62-50)

Game 3 – vs Andrew (Brobots – B&C)

Ouch – VI Brobots – the nasty mirror-match for me.  Well – this was going to come down to 2 things (a) a Dice off and (b) whether I could fly better than Andrew.  The game started well with me being able to lay more hurt on his B than mine, then disaster!  Andrew misjudged his move and bumped his C into his B – sadly that move meant that he (serendipitously) got 2 shots at my B rather than 1 that I had planned.  His red dice did him proud, while my green failed me – bye-bye B (especially with a double-damage critical hit).  Nasty matchup then with My A vs both of his ships.  Green dice failed me again (all blank at range 2) to leave C on 1 hull.  So the option was to use Feedback array, kill myself and clear his B for 50 MoV or keep playing – I tried to do the sporting thing and keep playing – but C couldn’t possibly hold on for more than 2 turns and the inevitable happened L.  Andrew went on to buy me a beer and win the store championships.

Result: Loss (25-100)

Game 4 – vs Django (Brobots – B&C)

Not again!  Mirror-match – Django had won a store championship with this list last year – this was going to hurt.  He used PTL Brobots so at least initiative wasn’t going to determine the winner this time.  Django also went with Mangler cannons rather than HLCs – meaning that I should be able to put more damage out per round than him.  He used a very similar approach to Andrew in engaging, this time I was able to get my flying right (and Django didn’t bump) and in turn 3, get his B down to 1 hull (used both of my crackshots in turn 2 to burn him down), then used feedback array to finish the job out of arc.  In the end, his C couldn’t last against my B (sans shields) and A.

Result: Win (100-25)

Game 5 – vs Stefan (Mixed Rebels – Ello, HWK, 3 x A wings)

So 2-2 leading into this game and 1 last chance to salvage some pride.  Stefan ran an interesting list with Ello Asty, a HWK and 3 x A wings with refit.  My initial plan (after seeing most of his setup) was to take out the HWK with the TLT and then go after the A’s – when in a position to take the HWK, I was then presented with a chance to split fire and damage Ello instead – tough choice – but I stuck with the HWK and took that out – then concentrated on Ello.  Sadly this meant that with the other 3 A;s still undamaged – they could ping away and eventually did some damage – after Ello was taken out – my B died with all 3 A’s on the board (with 1 on 1 hull) – that meant some fancy flying my Aggressor A – who managed to do the job (though Stefan conceded before the last A was killed).

Result: Win (100-25)

Overall results

So I finished up on 3 wins and 2 losses – so managed to achieve the goal coming into the day – though I did feel disappointed around my flying and felt that there was a fair deal of room for improvement – so onwards and upwards.

Final standing – 12th (out of 30)

2.     Good Games – Box Hill

This is the closest store to my own house, but I don’t play here often.  I had chosen to go back to my Brobots B&C VI/Feedback list after some discussions with Ali at my normal store (Al, by the way, went onto win a Store Championship – way to go mate!).  I think the advice was on point and I played better (though not in the last game as you’ll see!).

Game 1 – vs Euan (Brobots – B&C)

OK – this was not the matchup I was looking for from game 1 – another mirror-match.  The difference is that I had VI and Feedback array while Euan had Crackshot and Glitterstim.  With VI, I had the edge – but needed to be careful, luckily for me, in one move, Euan’s ships bumped – leaving his IG88B actionless and in the sights of both of my aggressors – needless to say it  went down fast – especially with me rolling 4 x natural crits at range 1 and Euan rolling 3 blank evades! Nasty.  From there it was just mopping up.

Result: Win (100-0)

Game 2 – vs David (Palp Aces – Palp Shuttle, Whisper, Wampa, Chaser)

Played the eventual winner of the tournament again here!  David’s list was different to the standard shuttle list in that he used Wampa and Chaser as the ‘second’ ace.  I targeted these and burned them down – but in the meantime, Whisper was making hay and even the shuttle was getting into the act.  To win, I needed to take Whisper down – so instead of going for the points (and targeting the shuttle) I tried for Whisper – sadly this went all wrong and I lost both – problem was that after being too aggressive going after the Ties, I was badly out of position and David was able to take advantage of that well.

Result: Loss (24-100)

Game 3 – vs Russel (Imperial Aces – Shuttle, Carnor, Epsilon Ace, Interceptor)

Another aces list!!!  This one was different in that there was no emperor or shuttle – interesting list.  Russell was newer to the game and didn’t arc dodge maybe as well as he could have – meaning taking 2 x HLCs in focused fire meant that the aces would go down quickly.  He did strip shields from one of the aggressors as some compensation.

Result: Win (100-25)

Game 4 – vs Darby (Palp Aces – Palp Shuttle, Darth, Soontir)

Oh yeah – Aces # 3 – this time against Darby who also plays at NLG Ringwood – damn.  Darby is a pretty good player (Spoiler note: Darby has subsequently gone on to win the South Australian Regionals! Go Darby! More on that in a later blog post.) He had been on fire in his previous games and in an irony – I had played a list like this against him socially.  For whatever reason again – Darby didn’t dodge as well as he should have – meaning that I could target and take down Soontir really quickly.  I then shifted focus to Darth and completed that, leaving only the shuttle – which was then a foregone conclusion.  Again, lost the shields on one of the Aggressors.

Result: Win (100-25)

Game 5 – vs Ed (Rebel Stress – 2 x B wings, Stressbot Y win, 2nd Y wing TLT)

Well – 3-1 leading into this game, I was feeling good – then I saw Ed’s list – Ouch – something I was unfamiliar with.  Stressbot, TLT Y wing and 2 x B wings with FCS – that’s a LOT of hull to chew through (32 with shields to be exact – double mine!).  The stressbot is NOT an aggressor’s friend – without actions, the aggressors go down a lot quicker – at least the FCS kept operating in that case.

I wanted to get around the flanks of his formation and minimise the shots back – sadly that meant that I rushed forward too quickly and got caught by the formation – Ed blocked super well and that meant I couldn’t get one aggressor out – ouch – 1 ship down, 1 remaining with no losses on Ed’s side.  I had 1 B wing down to 1 hull but couldn’t seal the deal – with the stressbot still in action, red moves were out of the question – so I ran with it – breaking the block that Ed had setup – but it just delayed the inevitable. Did not take down 1 of Ed’s ships in the end

Result: Loss (0-100)

Overall results

So I finished up on 3 wins and 2 losses again – this time though I failed to achieve the goal of making the top 8 and felt very disappointed with my flying in the last, pivotal game.  This gave me a lot to think about (specifically around how I would deal with lists like Ed’s) and, to try to take a positive from it, I always learn more from the losses – so that could be good.

Final standing – 10th (out of 30)

3.     Pro Gamers

This was always going to be a smaller tournament with a cap on player numbers so that we could fit in the store.  With 4 games in the Swiss rounds (rather than 5), there was little room for error.

Game 1 – vs Ed (Rebel Stress – 2 x B wings, Stressbot Y win, 2nd Y wing TLT)

This was a repeat of the last game at BH GG store champs!  Oh no!  This would test whether I had truly learned anything from the loss.  I set up the asteroids in the cluster and Ed seemed to go with it (later he confessed that he thought that the asteroids would play little part in the game).  Needless to say, he was confused by my opening moves, 1 straight along the edge of the board away from his vector.  Eventually he started to turn into the asteroids and I moved the aggressors up the opposite flank and then closed to start attacking.

My plan seemed to work – but it was still a hard game – I managed to get the stress bot and the other TLT, but due to the time taken in the early rounds, the game went to time with Ed taking down both Aggressors to half while I missed out on getting the last B wing.  Need to contemplate how to better play this list still.

Result: Win (75-50)

Game 2 – vs Mark (Imperial aces – Whisper, Echo, Scourge)

Well – with 2 phantoms shooting and re-cloaking before me, this was always going to be difficult – especially as Mark had Intelligence agent on the phantoms – so could choose to de-cloak to prevent return attacks.  Decided to take out scourge first – might have to re-think that as one of the IGs took a beating from the 2 phantoms in one turn – Scourge did go down and Echo also suffered, but the phantoms kept on the aggressors.  One aggressor went down in simultaneous fire with Echo – also taking her out.  But by this stage, the remaining IG88 had 2 hull vs a full whisper – even if it went to time at this point, I would have lost.  Mark was able to close the deal and give me my only loss for the day.  Need to think much more on how to take on a phantoms aces list.

Result: Loss (48-100)

Game 3 – vs Stephen (Dash-Miranda)

Stephen was a newer player – but has played a few games against Ian Williams (last year’s Victorian Regional Winner and a great player) – who also advised him on the list.  This was the list that Brendan Morrissey took me apart with in the local league!  Stephen didn’t open holding Dash back (as I expected) but moved up quickly.  Normally that would have been good for me – but I had misread his move and was out of position to take Dash with focused fire as I had planned – so focused instead on Miranda – so was able to take her down in around 3 turns, once I had made that decision, learning from the last time, I made sure that she went down without being able to fly away and regenerate shields (which Stephen tried) – then it was the chase dash show.  Eventually got him with the loss of shields on both aggressors.

Result: Win (100-50)

Game 4 – vs Scott (S&V 3 x TLT Y wings and G-1A Starfighter)

Last game – I need a good showing here to make top 8 / top 4 but I’ve given myself every chance.  Unfortunately Scott was flying 3 TLT Y wings and a new Mist hunter (virtually a Scum B wing for comparisons).  The early game did not go my way – I tried dragging him through the asteroids – but he just separated out his Y wings, meaning he’d keep getting shots on me.  The first half was disastrous as with a few good hits, he managed to take out IG88B for the exchange of only one Y wing – I was in trouble.

The saving grace was that he had split his forces and they were all flying in different directions – so I went about limiting the number of his ships that could shoot me each turn – while focusing fire on the wounded ones.  One Y wing, then the B wing – leaving one injured Y win flying away from an injured aggressor when time was called.

Result: Win (75-50)

Overall results

I finished up on 4 wins and 1 loss, a reasonable return, though I would have preferred that this tournament was a little larger and went to a 5th game as I missed the cut on MoV and came in 6th.  Those close games with Ed and Scott meant that my MoV too low. However, I did achieve my goal of a top 8 finish and a Store Champs range ruler (woo hoo!).

Final standing – 6th (out of 24)

4.     Next Level Games – Ringwood

This is my ‘home’ store and with a number of players away as a result of the timing of the Australian Team Championships, I wanted to have a good showing from the local playing group.  As it turned out, it was one of the larger store championships that I attended and it seemed I started to hit my straps with the squad …

Game 1 – vs Anthony (Ghost-Biggs)

First game against the Ghost – I’d normally want to have some experience against a new ship prior to a tournament – but oh well.  Fun game – I tried to focus down the Ghost and ignore Biggs – with some success.  Anthony could have positioned better to force me to go after Biggs, but hey.  In the end, managed to get the Ghost but not before Anthony launched the Phantom in the last few turns – managed to position myself around behind Phantom and Biggs and could have pulled out a draw / modified win if I could take down the attack shuttle’s last 2 hull – but alas!  He was within range 1 of Biggs and I had to shoot an undamaged Biggs instead.  Learnt a lot about the Ghost and had a fun game – but a first up loss.  Though I take heart from the fact that Anthony went on to win the championships.

Result: Loss (53-75)

Game 2 – vs Brendan (Punisher, Whisper, 2 x Ties)

I think that this was Brendan’s first time playing Imperials – Whisper was going to cause me some problems, but I thought I’d take down the punisher first – this I did relatively easily and then burned down the ties – Whisper being the last of all.  Overall – could have played better, but secured the win.

Result: Win (100-50)

Game 3 – vs <Withheld> (Rebel aces – Jan, Wedge, Wes)

Hmmm … least favourite game of the day sadly.

My opponent had an interesting list and I made a tactical mistake in trying to burn down Jan first rather than Wedge.  Having said that it was a hard slog against a type of list that I don’t have a lot of experience against.  I managed to take out Wes and Jan for the loss of IG88C and the exchanged fire with Wedge before deciding to run due to time.

I have censored my opponent’s name from the list as I don’t want to be directly rude here but I don’t think the game was played in the best spirit.  At the start of the game, he spent the setup complaining about his dice (claiming he was robbed in his first 2 games due to them) and complained when they went against him in our match.  He also seemed to take exception to the fact that I ran with my aggressor in the end to secure a win. In the end, he almost accused me of slow playing – something which I took grave exception to (as I value sportsmanship above all else).  I challenged him as to why he didn’t call over a Tournament Organizer if he believed that to be the case (or in fact raise this during the game – before he lost).  In his defense, I do believe that he was a little annoyed that we started the setup for the game when the clock has started – a number of us finished our previous game to time and the cafe across the road was VERY slow in getting our lunch orders out (which we brought back to the store & alerted the TO to the issue) – this could have added to his frustrations, so maybe I’m being a bit harsh.

Result: Win (63-50)

Game 4 – vs Lexi (Tie Swarm)

Mismatch here as Lexi really wasn’t experienced in flying swarms and certainly didn’t seem too interested in flying in formation – so the bots took down one tie at a time.  After a few turns, it really was a matter of time to see whether Lexi could grab half points for one / both of the bots – but both had at least 1 shield left at the end.

Result: Win (100-0)

Game 5 – vs Jack (Ghost-Dash)

Ok – so 3-1 leading into the last of the Swiss rounds and I’ve been here before and crashed and burned!  Jack was a super fun opponent and we had a blast in our game.  My focus was to kill Dash early – which I managed then try to burn down the Ghost.  Despite my best efforts – I really couldn’t land more than 1 damage at a time on Ghost in the middle rounds!  Really doing it the hard way!  Anyway, managed to finally get some momentum and killed the ghost for the loss of shields on both aggressors I think.  With 20 points, I had made the cut!

Result: Win (100-50)

Top 4 game – vs Nick (Brobots – B&C)

This was for me a game of lost opportunities and ‘doing the right thing’ – Nick certainly out-flew me in the first half then (as in at least 2 other matches for the day) – the remaining IG88 kicked up a gear and fought hard.  Although technically “winning the game” with 1 hull remaining on IG88B, we realised that I had made a mistake in boosting and evading (C’s ability) 2 to 3 times after his death – this would have almost certainly resulted in B’s demise earlier – so I offered the win to Nick as it was rightfully his (I conceded) – Andy (store manager and TO) ratified it and Nick went on to lose the final against my round 1 opponent Anthony (who I would have liked another crack against!).

Result: Loss (75-100)

Overall results

Wow – made the cut this time, although again disappointed in my last game – we did the right thing (I think) and showed that the way the game is played locally is competitive but also fair and fun.  Sadly Nick couldn’t go on and beat Anthony (as he had finished 2nd in a number of tournaments to date), but I finished up with a sweet challenge coin!

Final standing – 4th (out of 35)

5.     Colac Gaming Community

Unlike NLG (Next Level Games) Ringwood, Colac was going to be one of the smaller tourneys this season – they have a new and enthusiastic group – and what’s better – they brought in pizzas for all the players for lunch!  Bonus!  I traveled down to this one with a friend and also saw a few Geelong players there (including at least one existing Store Champion!).

Game 1 – vs Ricky (Dual Decimators)

Ouch – double decimators with Darth – this could hurt me as I only have limited health compared to other lists – so the order of the day was to take out the Doom Deci as quickly as possible. With focused fire and swapping my aggressors around, I managed to take out the first Deci with only shields lost – with 2 x aggressors against 1 decimator – it was always then going to be a matter of time.

Result: Win (100-50)

Game 2 – vs Clint (Dengar & Bossk)

Clint was playing a good list well and doing damage to me on a regular basis through the rounds – the turning point came when I wedged Dengar into a corner and he flew off the board – then it was a matter of dancing out of the arcs (where possible) of Bossk and taking him down.  Clint was a bit unlucky in this game to be honest.

Result: Win (100-50)

Game 3 – vs Chris (2 x U boats and YV666)

A tough matchup again – this one came down to the wire – I had managed to take out 1 x U boat and the YV but Chris with R5-P9 managed to ping a hull or two off the aggressors in the penultimate turn, meaning I had 2 x aggressors with 1 hull point each vs one of his U boats with 2.  If I used my feedback arrays, I’d get him but blow myself up, otherwise he would do the same.  In the end I took the scorched earth option.  If I’d calculated correctly – I could have had a modified win by doing nothing and letting him kill one of the aggressors – I think on the basis of the numbers I would have ended up 9 points in front – though it wouldn’t have affected the remaining draw or standings in the end L

Result: Draw (100-100)

Game 4 – vs Nathan (3 x Ion turret Y wings & stressbot)

Ouch!  Nathan had already won a Store Championships this season and is very experienced against my sort of list (playing at his local store).  Playing Nathan with the 4 turrets and stress bot – the clincher in this game was that I couldn’t take out the stress bot before things started turning to <CENSORED>.  The less said about this game the better – I managed to ping off a couple of his Y wings but he sealed the deal easily and consigned my to 5th place – missing out on the top 4.  Absolutely rubbish draw – I had to play all the top 4 – with a 2 x win, 1 x draw and 1 x loss record and missed the finals L.  Nathan went on to win the tournament.

Result: Loss (48-100)

Overall results

Ouch – a disappointing end to the tournament where the draw saw me play the entire top 4 cut (winning 2, drawing 1 and losing only 1) – my strength of schedule was the highest by a long margin, but in the end it wasn’t enough to make the cut – missing by one spot.  I tried consoling myself in that if you want to win a tournament, you need to be able to beat the best players, though it did seem mighty unfair that others had much easier draws in the tournament.  So failed in my goal of making top 4 and receiving another challenge coin.

Final standing – 5th (out of 16)

Goal Assessment

Store Championship Goal Goal Met? Wins / Losses / Draws Position
Kay Jay’s To win at least 3 games Yes 3/2/0 12th
Good Games Box Hill To get into the top 8 No 3/2/0 10th
Pro Gamers To get into the top 8 Yes 3/1/0 6th
Next Level Games Ringwood To get into the top 4 Yes 4/1/0 Swiss (lost Top 4) 4th
Colac Gaming Community To get into the top 4 No 2/1/1 5th

So, across the 5 store championships, I played the eventual winner 4 out of 5 times, played 2 other eventual store championship winners and even the eventual winner of a regional championship!  Plenty of experience gained for my 9+ months of playing.  Towards the end, I felt I was hitting my straps and playing my list quite well – rating my chances against most lists.

My overall impression is one of gaining experience though – and learning from mistakes and losses.  I played well where I had seen a particular type of list before – so this comes down to playing my chosen list a lot more (and against varied opposition lists).  Though, if you’re not overly competitive, there is a lot of fun to be had playing new lists and enjoying yourself.