This is a new type of post I’m going to be trying out, where I recreate a tactically interesting moment from a real X-Wing match. The idea is to go beyond just squad building, dice math, and learning not to fly onto a rock, and look at the real tactical decisions that often make or break a match.
This scenario comes from Round 5 at the Your Hobby Place Regional in my match against Ben K. (winner of the Roanoke Regional). Some details may be changed or omitted for simplicity, or because I just don’t remember, but the bones of the situation are there.
Let’s start with the lists.
Ben’s Squad: Kanan Ghost w/Accurate Autoblaster, Rec Spec, and a docked Ezra Shuttle; Biggs w/R2D2 and Integrated Astro
My list: Wes, Jake (VI, PtL, AT, Rockets), and Kyle Katarn with a TLT and Moldy Crow title.
In this scenario, Biggs has lost his shields and has 1 damage card (2 hull + IA remaining), Kyle has 3 damage cards (1 hull remaining). Kyle has also banked 1 Focus Token with the Moldy Crow. Jake still has Proton Rockets. Wes has a stress token. Now, here’s the set up. (Sorry it’s so blurry, but this is how things looked at the time with more PBR than food in my system. Also, I can’t hold a camera for shit.)
In this situation, Biggs (marked with a Tracking Token) is just within Range 2 of the HWK at the start of the round. He has Jake and Wes on his tail. Kanan has accidentally gotten himself out of the position.
The question is what maneuvers Biggs and Kyle should do.
The idea here is for you to take some time to think it through on your own before getting to my thoughts and learning what actually happened.
Kanan is basically out of the fight and can be ignored for this question. The important decisions here are really just Biggs and Kyle. You can continue once you’ve got your answer.
Is this what you came up with?
Biggs does a 2 forward to regenerate a shield with R2-D2. Kyle does a 3 straight to gain distance from Biggs and then bank a second Focus Token.
This is the wrong maneuver for both players. In this situation, Biggs is back up to 4 total hit points (including IA). But, he’ll be taking a Range 1 shot from Jake, a Range 1-2 from Wes after they move, and then 2 TLT shots from Kyle.
And by the way, Kyle would Target Lock instead of Focus, in order to help guarantee he gets the final damage through if Jake and Wes don’t get him on their own.
Here is the correct move for Biggs:
Biggs does a 4 forward, and this is the move Ben picked in our real match. He gives up recovering a shield, but is able to close Range 1 to Kyle. Biggs would much rather have a guaranteed 1 HP loss (from not using R2D2) than risk a 2 HP loss from Kyle’s TLT. This also puts more distance between him and Wes (Jake can close range just fine), and gives him an extra attack die to hopefully finish off Kyle if he survives Jake and Wes’s attacks.
Of course, he won’t survive. But, if Wes blanks his attack, it forces Jake to use his Proton Rockets to guarantee a kill this round. Ben really needs those rockets gone, while I much prefer to keep them to use against Ezra later.
All that said, this is also the wrong move for Kyle. Here’s what actually happened:
Kyle went 4 forward and took a stress. Jake went 2 forward and boosted into Range 1. Wes did a 3 bank, keeping his stress.
I had predicted that Ben would give up the R2D2 regen in an attempt to donut hole Kyle’s TLT, so I pulled the 4 forward and took a stress in order to keep Biggs at Range 2. Taking a stress and losing an action was worth it in order to guarantee I got to shoot at Biggs.
Biggs dropped that round to Kyle’s TLT, and Jake kept his Rockets. I was later able to 1-shot Ezra with the Rockets (4 dice, thanks to Kanan) when he deployed. He would have been extremely hard for Jake to handle with Kanan out there bringing Jake down to just 1-2 dice.
Had Biggs done the 2 forward and recovered a shield, while Kyle went 4 forward and stressed, he’d have ended up Range 1 of Wes instead of Range 2, and Kyle may have escaped to Range 3. Biggs would have recovered 1 shield, but taken 1 extra attack die from Wes, so the move is only worth recovering 0.5 HP.
A 2 turn for Biggs away from Kyle would not have escaped the TLT or Jake’s repositioning.
I believe in this situation, Ben picked the best move to give him a chance to both save Biggs and kill Kyle, but the HWK was able to counter by correctly predicting the 4 forward from Biggs.