I started the day feeling like Paul Heaver. Well, just heaver. I was heaving. Into the toilet. Puked up all the mucous that had pooled in my stomach over night.
I had been sick for a couple days, and was running a 102F as I arrived in St. Paul around 11:30pm the night before X-Wing worlds. I managed to get about 3 hours of sleep, kept up mostly by Anakin-on-Mustafar level of pain in my tonsils. So that’s the state I was in for the World Championship of Spaceplanes. And in that context, I feel pretty darn good about my performance.
First, my list: Han w/Lone Wolf, Falcon Title, Engine Upgrade, C3PO, and Luke; Jake w/Push the Limit, VI, Autothrusters, and Proton Rockets. 96 points.
Round 1: VI Mangler Boba Fett w/2x TLT Y-Wings
Running two PS9 ships with a 4 point initiative bid, one of the last things I want to see across from me is a PS10 ship. Luckily, Fett has trouble getting in shots consistently every round, allowing Han and Jake to quickly tear up the Y-Wings. Han took some damage, but I had the game locked up away pretty quickly.
And then I landed on a rock and took a Range 1 shot to the face. Han was down to about 2-3 hit points after that, but luckily was able to survive the next round of shooting from Fett, and put him away that turn.
Round 2: Predator Vader w/ATC and Engine, Soontir w/PtL Auto, Carnor w/PtL Auto (Martin Hoffman, #16 Swiss)
I got overly aggressive with Han, hoping to boost past his squad in the opening joust. Blocked by about an eighth of an inch, and Han took 7 points of damage. This literally never works. (Actually, it has worked, but most of the time the gamble fails. Don’t do it, kids.)
After that, it took me too long to take down Vader. Don’t recall if I got to fire my rockets at him or not. Had I killed Vader a round earlier, I think I’d of had a chance.
Or, if I’d just not been stupid. This is probably the match I feel worst about because this is where my PS9s with the initiative bid should be able to out dance his ships easily. At least I lost to an excellent opponent. Would still like to have this one back though.
Round 3: Brobots Mangler B, HLC C
Got aggressive with Jake, perhaps too early in this one. I fired off my rockets at B, and only did 2 damage. Had to spend my Focus on the attack, leaving Jake defenseless, and lost him that round.
That left 8 HP Han against a half-health B and a full-health C. At one point Han got caught at Range 1 of both 88s and my choices were to either eat a lot of damage with just 1 Evade and C3PO to protect me, or to boost directly at the board edge with barely any space left. I boosted.
Next round I made a hard turn, and before executing it, went to my opponent’s side with the 2 straight template to measure distance from the edge just so there wouldn’t be any argument about bumping the template or something. The template just barely fit, which meant Han was safe (since you back up just a little on the 1 hard with a large ship).
After that turn, I had several easy shots on the wounded B without taking return fire. I was able to chance him down and get the kill. After that, Han against 88C is a pretty easy fight.
Round 4: SVP – Soontir, Vader, Palpatine
This wasn’t the list I was used to, and he had VI Vader with Engine instead of Lone Wolf Vader and Sensor Jammer on Palpatine. I’d played Jeremy Howard (lost to Paul in top 4) a lot, and knew to get my rockets into Vader first, then just arc dodge Soontir while shooting down the shuttle. With VI Vader though, that’s not an option.
He set up classic shuttle in the corner pointing along his edge. I put Han directly across in jousting position. Jake was on the opposite side. Opening round he does a hard 2 in with the shuttle and I have a 1 forward on Han and boost. He sends Vader after Jake.
I forgot if this happened second or third round, but I gave Han a 4-K and landed side-by-side with the shuttle. After that I was able to just pump shots into him, and have Jake bail out to avoid getting shot by Vader. He had to change the plan with Vader, sending him to help against Han, and then I turned Jake back in.
Eventually he pulled a 1 bank towards the board edge to force Han to bump. I saw it coming, did a 4-forward and got the kill. Vader dropped next, and in the final round Han and Soontir went toe-to-toe. He got the kill, and I put on damage with simultaneous fire. Jake finished the job.
Meal break, went to Wendy’s with Paul and Jeff F. (#31 Swiss). Chocolate Frosty on my raging tonsils and I went completely derpy. Holy shit, such relief I didn’t even think was possible. Too bad my stomach couldn’t take much of that, so I had to stop and let the pain slowly work its way back. At least spirits were high.
Round 5: 88B w/Lone Wolf, HLC, FCS, Glitterstim, 2x TLT Y-Wing (Jeff F. #31 Swiss)
I’ve played against Jeff with this list a couple times and knew the odds were slightly in my favor. He set up IG too far away in the corner, allowing me a couple quick strikes at his Y-Wings. I was able to pop them both, and it came down to the 88 with 4 HP, Han with 2-3, and Jake around 1-2.
Should have been able to win this one, but Jeff’s a worthy opponent and I was reaching the worst point of my sickness. Absolutely most miserable I had felt, and he got Han with the HLC, then managed to sneak in a hard 1 around some rocks with 88 to get the last shot on Jake just before time ran out. I probably could have run a little earlier, or just forced some bumps at the end to take a mod win, but I wanted to go for it all and ended up with a very narrow loss.
Round 6: Don’t remember the exact list, but it had a bomber K-Wing, a couple bandits, and I think a stresshog.
While he managed to hit Han with a Connor Net and put some stress on him, I dropped the hog quick, and sent the K-Wing on extended vacation with a damaged engine crit. After that, Han was going to make short work of the rest of the squad with no real chance for him to recover, so my opponent conceded and dropped the tournament.
Round 7: Jake w/VI, PtL, Thrusters and Rockets, Po w/BB8, PtL, Thrusters, Stresshog
He came in at 97 points so that Jake could fire his rockets into all those Imperial aces out there. I came in at 96 points so that Jake can fire his rockets into other Jakes. Really bad matchup for my opponent.
I plink away at the Stresshog early on and let my Jake be the bait, running him all over the battle field and keeping just out of range of the stress shots. Eventually he gets really aggressive with Po, try to trap me in a pincer move. I pulled Jake in with a hard 1 (wasn’t stressed) and gave him a face full of rockets. Don’t recall if Han needed the follow-up or not, but Po died that round.
Next round he gets his Jake into perfect position. He already had a lock on Han, and Han is about to move into Range 1 with nowhere to boost away to. I decide to move my Jake first, and am able to barrel roll towards Han, forcing Han to bump with now Jake and Han safe from the rockets.
With just Jake and a Y-Wing that was going to die that round, he conceded.
With those two perfect rounds, I’m starting to feel like I’m maybe still in it. Getting excited, and either way ready for the day to be over so I can get some sleep.
Round 8: 4 TLT Ys with Unhinged
Opening round I set up Han across from the Ys in jousting formation, Jake’s on the other edge. He goes 3 forward, I 4K Han. Only the first two Ys are in range, and I do 3 damage while taking 2. Not a bad exchange. 1 bank and boost the next round and have a good exchange again.
After that, I got stupid. I turned Han into the asteroids hoping to get some bonus dice. I also bring in Jake to help the balance of damage go my way.
He turns his attention to Jake, and is able to force me to split up my shots. Jake only manages 1 round of shooting before committing to running away. He’s able to avoid a ton of shots and I’m happy with how I flew him (never bumped despite my opponent’s best efforts), but eventually Jake drops. The next round I’m able to boost Han into 2 donut holes while killing one of the other Ys, but at this point Han just can’t dance well enough.
I manage to kill 3 of the 4 Y-Wings, but just lost the slug fest. Really needed to play Jake even more conservatively than I did. I wanted to be able to drop 2 Y-Wings before Han died, so I brought in Jake for a little extra damage, but even against 3 Ys, he has a change (especially with rockets left), and against 2 he can win. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep him around, and Han doesn’t work as a closer against TLTs.
Record: 5-3. 42nd in Swiss, 1058 MoV. The cut for 6-2s to make the top 16 was a 1108 MoV, so had I beaten Jeff (or the Ys), I would have move ahead to the next day. Had a very gruelling 3.05 Strength of Schedule, and was 3rd of the 5-and-3s.
Despite being physically miserable the whole time, it was definitely a great experience and I’m pretty happy with my performance. Obviously disappointed to be so close and not make it (just like the 3 Nova guys who went 6-2 and missed the cut), but I did well enough to know I don’t absolutely suck at this game. Not bad for having started in March.