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Le champion du monde 2013 explique ses strategies

Il y a dix jours, Paul Heaver remportait le trophée FFG de champion du monde de X-wing : le jeu de figurine.

Sur le site afewmaneuver.com, il revient sur cette expérience et sur son choix d'escadron. 

Le champion du monde 2013 Paul Heaver

La vidéo de la finale est disponible sur Twitch.tv à cette adresse :
http://www.twitch.tv/ffglive/b/478500918 (ça commence vers 3h05 et ça dure environ 1h30)

La finale est passionnante et riche en rebondissements. Les deux joueurs ont tout deux montré un grand talent dans leur stratégie et dans leurs déplacements.

Les escadrons qui se sont affrontés sont les suivants : http://goo.gl/dpi0dl

ESCADRILLE REBELLE  1001 • Biggs Darklighter - X-wing (25) 
    • Total : 252 • Pilote de l'escadron Dague - B-wing (24) 
- Senseurs avancés (3)
    • Total : 273 • Pilote de l'escadron Dague - B-wing (24) 
- Senseurs avancés (3)
    • Total : 274 • Pilote débutant - X-wing (21) 
    • Total : 21

ESCADRILLE IMPERIALE  941 • Howlrunner - Chasseur TIE (18) 
    • Total : 182 • Backstabber - Chasseur TIE (16) 
    • Total : 163 • Pilote de l'académie - Chasseur TIE (12) 
    • Total : 124 • Pilote de l'académie - Chasseur TIE (12) 
    • Total : 125 • Pilote de l'académie - Chasseur TIE (12) 
    • Total : 126 • Pilote de l'académie - Chasseur TIE (12) 
    • Total : 127 • Pilote de l'académie - Chasseur TIE (12) 
    • Total : 12

Avec peut être des systèmes d'occultations sur Howlrunner et Backstabber, mais je n'ai pas pu vérifier.

L'article est en anglais, et un peu long, mais il est très intéressant.

Le voici :
This is going to be a long article. I'll try to cover my decision-making process in choosing my list, and then what happened at Worlds with it.

I almost always play Rebels. When Wave 3 came out, I tried the B-Wing for a little bit. I wasn't too impressed at first, because the named pilots were overcosted for their abilities, and the generics got blocked easily. It was really hard to do a 2K in my testing, and it died to a barrage of 2-die attacks quickly. So I ignored the B-Wing for a little bit, and tried some other builds.

The VASSAL tournament was coming up, and I wanted to try playing in it. I needed a list for it, so I returned to doing some light testing with the new ships. The B-Wing was getting a lot of commentary on forums, so I brainstormed some more, trying to figure out how to fix the problems I was having. First of all, I threw in Biggs. He makes pretty much every Rebel build better, in my opinion. He makes your opponent make the longer- ranged shots, while you can make the short ones focused on your desired target. That'll help the B-Wing last longer. Then I looked at the upgrades, and decided to try Advanced Sensors. It helped with my problem getting blocked, and barrel rolling before doing the 2K made it so that I almost always succeeded. I thought I was onto something at that point.

My plan was to run Biggs, 3x Blue w/ AS for VASSAL. Then I read Doug's article on Team Covenant called "Use the 4's." I agreed with what he said, so I figured I could upgrade the Blues to Daggers. Upgrading two of them meant I had to downgrade the last ship, and a Rookie fit in nicely. It seemed like it was worth testing in VASSAL.

VASSAL's dice loved me, and the build was reasonably strong, so I did well there. My one loss was to Theorist's Interceptor squad, where he got to move after I did and stay out of my arcs. The finals were my list versus Ricky's Blues with HLCs and Rookies list, but we didn't have time to play it before Worlds. We decided to play it at the event, and TC would record it.

My other testing before Worlds was to play this list at a local 18 player tournament near Baltimore. It came in second there, losing to a list with Jendon and a bunch of 6 PS interceptors. Biggs got torn up by focused, target locking Interceptors before he could fire, and things fell apart quickly after that. I also tested on my own against a 7 TIE swarm, to try to figure out how to skew the percentages in my favor. I literally only tested against the swarm: Howl w/ Stealth, Backstabber, BSP w/ DTF, and Academies. I feel swarm is still the strongest list in the game, but I can't stand the mirror match, and Swarm Hell is a real thing.

Swarm Hell is when you get a modified win in a large tournament. The most likely matchups to go to time are Imperial vs Imperial, so swarms are more likely to get modified wins. When pairings happen, you get paired by points. Five points versus other fives, three versus other threes, and zeroes versus other zeroes. So the swarms, which are more likely to have three points, are then matched up against other three point winners. So, they get to fight more swarms, getting more modified wins, and so on. Once you fall into Swarm Hell, it's tough to get out. You'll never get to a multiple of 5 points again.

Anyway, I tried a bunch of different asteroid setups. If the swarm player placed his first two rocks on my corners, then I was set. I could put one in the middle, and the other two in between the middle and corners. However, if he placed them in his corners, I couldn't figure out a good place to put the rocks. Mirroring my other setup just caused the swarm to do a bunch of 3 banks and flank into me as I tried to reach the rocks. Keeping them on my side made it a little too easy for the swarm to dodge the Bermuda Triangle and get clear shots, with only three rocks on my half of the field.

So I settled on the Dagger build over the Blue build, for multiple reasons. One, I had practiced with the Dagger version for the last six weeks. The second is that I expected there to be a bunch of Blues, Rookies, and Bounty Hunters at Worlds. A PS4 bid seemed like it would work out.

As for getting to the event, I had two choices for flying out. One would get me to play the Escalation event, plus I'd be able to play in the finals if I made it, but would cost 100 dollars more. I liked the idea of Escalation, but not for 100 dollars! And really, what were the odds I'd make it to the finals anyway?

So I roll into Worlds, meet up with a bunch of people from online, and settle in. I wanted to thank Aaron, Sean, and Patrick for letting me stay in their room. They were great roommates. I spent most of Thursday afternoon creating a Netrunner deck for Friday's event, and watching people's X-Wing pick-up games. It seemed like I was right about Blues, Rookies, and Bounty Hunters.

On Friday, I played in Netrunner. No one reading this cares about that, but I went 6-6 and landed solidly in the middle of the pack. There were a lot of X-Wing players there. The game is tons of fun, and I suggest trying it out.

On Saturday, I got a first round bye from my regional win. I wandered around looking at the other games, and watched Aaron playing his Convoy. That list is definitely one of the most unique ones I've seen. It looks like a giant pile, but the ships synergize well. In other lists, I saw a lot of Blues, Rookies, and Firesprays. There were also a significant number of Falcons, which I didn't expect. In my (limited) testing, I found that swarms ate them alive.

For the second round, the 34 regional winners came in. I was matched up against HSF (Gunner, Marks, 2 Rookies), another regional winner. I suddenly realized that I hadn't played any X-Wing in a week or so, and completely blanked on how to play. I landed a B-Wing on an asteroid once, and had a terrible opening. But, the dice decided to reward me, and I think HSF is a matchup in my favor, so I pulled it out. I have 3 more attack dice, and 3 more health. My PS bid works out to kill Rookies before they go, and B-Wings don't care as much about facing Gunner or Marksmanship as an X-Wing would.

For my third round, I faced Doug. His list was Kath with Adrenaline Rush, Recon Op, and Proton Bombs, a Bounty Hunter with Rebel Captive and another Bomb, and an Academy Pilot. This was the only fight where I didn't feel in control of where we were fighting. Doug's great at doing hit-and-runs with Firesprays, and handed out a ton of stress. I murdered the Academy pilot first, but I couldn't concentrate my fire after that. At one point, I had five stress tokens on my side of the board, so my movements were limited while Doug bounced all over the place. He also dropped both bombs well, getting one crit on each of my ships (and one of his). None were Direct Hits, but they were mostly bad (Blinded Pilot, Red Turns, Stress Token, and a blank Munitions Fail). I still almost pulled it off, getting both of his Firesprays to one hull before he killed off my last B-Wing. It was a really fun game, but I'm now 0-2 against Doug!

I knew I had to win out to make it in at this point. My next round was against Bluebacca. Chewie had Expert Handling and the title, and the Blues had Advanced Sensors. The plan was, as always against Falcon builds, PS- kill the two small ships that they brought, then kill the Falcon. It worked fairly well, but Expert Handling on Chewie managed to put him in all kinds of interesting spots. Fortunately, using barrel rolls meant he was depending on dice to put damage on my guys, and the B-Wings eventually cornered him. He was good an manuevering to block me so that, even with Advanced Sensors, I had to K-turn onto a rock to make a successful K-turn. That was embarassing.

For the final round, I was matched up against Bluebacca again. This build used Markmanship, so Chewie was less dodgy. Again, B-Wings don't care about Marksmanship versus just getting a focus token, so we did the same plan. I burned down his B-Wings as fast as possible, got the remaining ships behind Chewie, and killed Chewie before he could eat through my health total.

So I made it in at... 10th, I think? It sucked that so many people didn't get in from the 4-1s, as a modified win was as good as a loss at that point, and some 20 pointers didn't make it. I watched Dustin remove himself from the top 16 in a display of great integrity, as described elsewhere, and then started top 16 that evening.

My top 16 match was against Anthony, playing 2 Bounty Hunters with Gunners, and 2 Academies. We set up asteroids so that most of the field was on my right side, so his Academies set up and I set up in the opposite corner. By this time, I figured out I should just do the Opening described in my TC strat article, so I do that to reorient the battlefield to my horizontal setup. I do a turn 2 with all three ships at one point, to squeeze my front line in between two asteroids. He is facing me with the two BHs, and the Academies are out of position trying to flank me. So the first shot is my 12 dice (at range 1 and 2) versus his 6 gunner-fueled dice (forced on Biggs at range 2). Biggs takes some damage because he can't roll dodge dice in elimination rounds, but I do 9 damage to a bounty hunter. The next round, I move the rookie up in front of everyone. The Bounty Hunters can't turn, because they'd land on the rocks that I sandwiched my ships in between, so they go forward. One is pushed back by the Rookie, the other is pushed back to the other BH. So no actions for the Hunters. My Daggers get focuses, then ram into the Rookie. Biggs follows behind. We finish off the first BH, and start damaging the second. Biggs dies here, as the Academies join the battle. After this round, I make a hard left turn to fight the Academies while the Bounty Hunter flies past. I'm well ahead on health at this point, and I just bump my B-Wings into things while still getting actions to finish off the remaining ships.

The next day, I started with the VASSAL finals. I perfectly executed the standard opening, and had my front line facing his conga line of fighters. So Ricky was forced to split attacks at long range, while I could focus fire on the closest ship. We traded ships because Rebel on Rebel fights tend to be brutal and short, and I end up ahead with the PS advantage.

My top-8 round is against Ivan, who is running HSF. I set up my Rookie first, and he sets up his two Rookies opposite mine. Figuring that this means we're jousting, I set up the Daggers shoulder-to-shoulder with my Rookie, and Biggs behind them. He sets up Han nearby, and we're off. I do a 3 forward with everyone in turn 1, so that there can't be any shooting. Then I move up and start focusing on killing Rookies before they can do anything. Terrible things happen to Biggs, as usual, but Daggers are so unfair when jousting with Rookies. I have eyeballs, he doesn't, and the Rookies explode quickly. Han dropped a Dagger to one health, so it runs away and gets replaced with a fully healthy Dagger and my wounded Rookie. I finish burning Han down, and get to watch the remaining games. Dallas beat his Rebel opponent when he blanked on Wedge's defense roll on the final turn of time, and Jonathon won his match against Jim's 5-ship rebel swarm (another interesting list!).

I face Jonathon's 4X build on the twitch table, so you can watch the match there. We made a nice asteroid field in the right side of the table, and I set up to use that side. Jonathon set up in the corner. He wisely chose not to engage me in the asteroid field, as X-Wings can't win a manuevering battle against Advanced Sensing B-Wings in a field of rocks. After I turn into the center, I accelerate as much as possible to get the two B-Wings to fire unopposed on his flank. The 6 dice of attack turned into 3 damage on an X-Wing. I target all fire on Luke after that, and take him out pretty quickly. Biggs has terrible things happen to him again, and then I abuse my PS and Advanced Sensors to pick off Rookies. Jonathon had some great moves where he saw where I was planning on going, and set up his Rookies to get good ranged 1 shots.

Moving into the finals, I faced Dallas and his TIE swarm. He has a great writeup on FFG's site, which I'll refer to for my thoughts. Going back in time to Thursday, I sat down with Lyle (sozin online) and talked about how to set up the rocks when my swarm opponent puts his first two in his own corners. We decided that staying in the "pocket" created by my three rocks was definitely the best place for my team. So, of course, Dallas puts his rocks in his corners to start with, and I set up the pocket on the side of the table. My plan is to enter the pocket, use Biggs' attraction to lasers to force range 3 rock shots, and fire out into his swarm. I want to kill his named guys, and then use PS to kill his Academies in an efficient manner.

He does the normal 5 forward with his crew, and Dark Curse starts doing donuts in his backfield. I race forward with my standard opening. I'm expecting him to bank in on turn 2, but he slowly inches forward. At this point, I can keep going forward (4 with X's, AS a barrel roll then 2 bank with the B's), or I can move into the pocket. I decide that moving forward into the corner and turning around the big rock wouldn't really help, because he'd just fly with his left flank along the asteroid line. The rocks are my biggest ally, and that would remove them from the game since he's willing to fly slow. So I turn into the pocket, and he does a 1 turn. Dark Curse loves his donuts.

I'm a little worried. My Rookie was set in a bad place: his forward moves would take him onto a rock I placed. I realize Dark Curse is a trap (it's a traaap!), but he's pretty high on my list to kill anyway. I try to figure out what DC will do on turn 4. The choices I can see are 5 forward or 4K to get behind the big rock and approach my left flank in future turns, continue doing donuts, or do a left turn (2 or 3) to get a decent shot and depend on DC's natural defense to not die. I totally outthink myself and decide he's going to do something different from the donuts, to throw me off.

So, I plan on moving my B's into a decent attack position for future turns, and fitting Biggs in between them. I'm pretty sure he'll fit, and it'll be awesome with a rock in between him and the TIEs shooting at him. However, I have to make a decision on the Rookie. He can't do a short hop forward, because that ruins the moves for Biggs and the B's. Long hops land on the rock. So he's stuck with either a 2 or 3 turn, or a 2 or 3 bank left. Since I'm sure DC will either do a turn or a forward/K, I decide on the big turn. I didn't want to take the risk that the 2 turn would cause the B to hit the Rookie, and Biggs to hit the B. I figure the Rookie can harass and block DC while my main fighting force tries to assassinate Howlrunner. DC does a donut again! It ruins my shot with the Rookie, and leaves him in a terrible spot. He can't K turn because he's past the asteroid warning line. I figure he'll keep up on DC and hope to not die next turn.

Then I get the ridiculous DC oneshot with Biggs. Ok, then. Now, I have nothing useful to do with Rookie for the next turn, but it's a pretty good problem to have. His TIEs are basically firing blanks, until we get to the ones shooting Biggs. Sixteen defense dice, no evades, dead Biggs. Dark Curse cursed Biggs, apparently. So the game has decided that whatever is least likely to happen, will happen. At this point, someone from the crowd yells "You got VASSALed!" and we laugh. If I saw this series of rolls online, I'd question the random number generator.

The next turn, I should have had the Rookie make the hard left and retreat to regroup, but I made the right thinking... well, I have no idea what I was thinking. The B's did their thing, using Advanced Sensors for good effect. I realized that I needed to kill Howlrunner to even stand a chance of winning this thing. Her phantom attack dice would quickly overwhelm my B-Wing's defenses. But the Hail Mary shot misses without even causing HR to spend her focus, so the other B-Wing shoots a random TIE. The X-Wing gets vaporized.

So I figure I'll keep shooting Howlrunner until she dies, and am really happy when she just K-turns. It means only a 15% chance of 4 blanks/eyes on defense, but I can at least get some damage or a lucky crit or something.

So Hail Mary #2... 3 hits and... dead Howlrunner. Wow! I also killed another TIE with a Direct Hit, so I'm back in the game.

I knock him down to three TIEs on the turn he kills my first B-Wing. And then I start abusing Advanced Sensors like crazy to always have eyeballs and start picking off TIE fighters in the joust. We bounce around and K-turn over and over again, trying to get the lucky shot to finish off our opponent. I'm super stressed out from the ratcheting tension, and just want the game to end one way or another before my heart gives out. Looking back at the moves, I made some minor mistakes, but it all worked out. You'll see me on T19 measuring with my finger to decide if I should barrel roll into a better angle before a K-turn, or focus. I decide to focus, but have no shot! And I rolled terrible on the dodge, eating a Direct Hit and going down to 1 hull to his 1 hull. That was probably my worst mistake, since I totally saw it coming.

But yeah, Advanced Sensors is ridiculous. Having actions while jousting definitely helped give me the game.

And then I missed my flight, but it was worth it. Also, FFG is filled with great people. They not only drove me to the airport, but came back and drove me back to the hotel, and put me up. It was really nice of them. Next time, I'll spend the extra hundred bucks on the other flight!

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