Regionals 2016, part 1: preparation

Like last year, I knew that I would be able to attend only one X-Wing regional. Naturally, I wanted to get the most out of that experience. I did not play in a Store Championship, since our son was born in Store Championship season, the tournament kit was unattractive to me (I managed to get the range ruler in a trade), and I decided to attend an Armada Store Championship on the one day I could spare. These factors meant that proper preparation and list testing was more important. Luckily, we have an active group of players here in the Rotterdam area.

Ever since the Ghost was announced as part of Wave 8, I knew that I wanted to fly a thematic Ghost/Phantom/A-Wing list. My initial build was, as discussed on the Scum & Villainy podcast:

Hera Syndulla – Accuracy Corrector, Autoblaster Turret, Kanan Jarrus, Chopper, Engine Upgrade, Ghost
Sabine Wren – Juke, Twin Laser Turret, Chewbacca, Phantom
Prototype Pilot – Chaardan Refit

Kanan makes it easy to clear stress after red maneuvers, while Chopper lets Hera boost even after a red maneuver or being stressed for other reasons. One damage is worth getting out of arcs and more damage. The Accuracy Corrector/Autoblaster combination guarantees two damage. Sabine takes an evade every turn for Juke, and Chewbacca gives her two additional hit points. The A-Wing is mostly used as a blocker.

I tested this list against a list with two ships with higher PS than Hera. This made it almost impossible to make use of her ability, or to get her into range 1 for using the Autoblaster Turret. The Accuracy Corrector does nothing for the primary weapon. While Juke is nice, often pushing additional damage through or forcing the opponent to spend a focus token defensively, it also locks you into Evade actions where you might want to use Focus in turns you are not going to get shot at (which isn’t that difficult to achieve with Sabine’s ability).

Version 1.1 replaces Accuracy Corrector with Fire Control System and Juke with Predator, but most of the issues with Sabine remain here.

Bring in version 2:

Hera Syndulla – Fire Control System, Twin Laser Turret, Nien Nunb, Tactician, Ghost (or Autoblaster Turret + Engine Upgrade)
Sabine Wren – Predator, Twin Laser Turret, Chewbacca, Phantom
Prototype Pilot – Chaardan Refit

Tactician + Twin Laser Turret is great at range 2, since you deal 2 stress with it, also in the Ghost’s rear arc. The TLT also means that you are much more likely to get a shot than with the Autoblaster Turret. Nien Nunb adds a lot more green to the dial, which not only helps with getting rid of stress (and partly compensates for replacing Kanan), but also can be exploited by Hera’s ability.

In practice, I found that with the Ghost’s large base, there is often only one real maneuver option, nullifying both Nien Nunb and Hera’s ability. The Tactician + TLT combo is mostly an incentive for aces to get into range 1. I found it really hard to get primary shots off with the Ghost.

As a consequence, in version 3, I decided to downgrade the Ghost to a Lothal Rebel, invest the points thus freed in the A-Wing, and go the route often considered to be the most efficient way of building the Ghost:

Lothal Rebel – Fire Control System, Autoblaster Turret, Hera Syndulla, Han Solo, Ghost
Sabine Wren – Predator, Twin Laser Turret, Chewbacca, Phantom
Green Squadron Pilot – Chaardan Refit, Juke, Push the Limit, A-Wing Test Pilot, Autothrusters

The Ghost doesn’t care about stress, it can K-turn all day long, and use the target locks from FCS for re-rolls or as Focus, whatever yields more damage. The A-Wing is more survivable and can do more damage, but is also a more attractive target and less effective a blocker.

Three more lists, deviating from the Ghost/Phantom/A-Wing scheme, came to my mind: 58 point Super Dash (the Kanan variant seems to be considered superior to the Kyle variant, as opening op the dial is more valuable than the additional Focus) and above 42 point Lothal Rebel, and the Lothal Rebel accompanied either by Eaden Vrill/HLC/Recon Specialist + Prototype A-Wing, or Wild Space Fringer/HLC/Recon Specialist + Zeb in an Attack Shuttle. I then remembered Tyson Spark’s (of Back to Dials fame) Hoth Open list, which combined a 42 point Chopper (i.e. as above, but without Han Solo) and a 58 point Chewbacca. I felt much more confident that this list could take on Jumpmasters (another large-based ship that can quickly close to range 1 and has the health to take a torpedo) or Palp Aces, thanks to Gunner and Chewie’s resistance to crits. So I ended up with:

Lothal Rebel – Fire Control System, Autoblaster Turret, Hera Syndulla, Han Solo, Ghost
Chewbacca – Predator, Gunner, C-3PO, Engine Upgrade, Millenium Falcon title

I was torn between using the, in my opinion, more competitive Rebel/Chewbacca list, or the more thematic (and showcasing my Ghost conversion, which has an undockable shuttle) Rebel/Sabine/Green list. Finally, since there would be only one Regional for me, but other chances to fly the latter list, I decided to take the Ghost/Falcon list to Regionals.