Greetings all, Ed here from NOVA Squadron Radio! This week I will be shifting gears just a bit and review an excellent tournament that I participated in this past weekend, The OutRyder Cup!
What is the OutRyder Cup?
The OutRyder Cup was the brain child of Ryan Fleming and Matt Court from the Pittsburgh X-Wing Group, and was designed to be a very different kind of X-Wing Tournament. A true Team Tournament. Unlike a standard tournament where players would be tossed into a pool and matched up in a swiss pairing system, this was a team based event. Each team battled the two other participating teams to score points through wins to determine the best overall team that day.
Three cities over two states participated in this event; Team Pittsburgh, PA lead by Ryan Fleming and Matt Court, Team Latrobe, PA lead by myself and my co-captain Chad Brown, and Team Morgantown, WV led by Robert Goldsmith and Eric Hilty. Each team was required to bring 6 players. This was a three round event, the first round being a 300 point Epic game, and the second and third round games being standard 100 points games. Each team was required to bring 6 lists per round, three Rebel lists and three Imperial lists. In the standard rounds we had restrictions on the cards and ships that you were permitted bring, a restriction of one unique upgrade or pilot per team was instated. This was to ensure that we would only ever see one Han Solo, or one C3P0, or one Whisper per team. In the Epic lists, we were required to take at least one CR-90 Corvette and one GR-75 Transport.
The round pairings were not done at random, but rather more akin to how matchups are chosen in the European Team Championships (ETC) for Warhammer 40K and Warhammer Fantasy. The captains of each team were responsible for putting lists forward and trying to match them up as best as possible, all the while the pilots of those lists remained a mystery. Whichever team placed a list forward first in that round was permitted to make a switch after all other lists had been paired up.
Scoring was fairly easy; win a game by more than 12 points and score one point (win) for your team. In the event of a tie, a ‘skin’ would carry over to the following game for the player who pulled off the tie. In the end, each team’s scores would be tallied up, Margin of Victory calculated, and the team with the most points would win. MoV served as the tie breaker.
|Look at this hansom bunch!|
Team Selection and Preparations:
For those of you who do not know where Latrobe, PA is, it is a quaint little town nestled in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. It is also not populated with an over abundance of X-Wing players, so this made our team selection process a little difficult. While we did have a good turnout for our most recent X-Wing league, the number of serious X-Wing players is sort of at a premium. When selecting a team we basically took those who knew the game well and those who could actually attend and not have to work that day. This included three minors on our team, including my 9-year old son. Now, this is not to say that the team we took was not skilled, quite the opposite in fact. I am very proud of all of them for doing as well as we did that day, but more so we were all in need of some seasoning in an event like this.
Our preparations started out as our standard game nights. Chad and I decided very early on that everyone was going to fly with as little flash as possible, and keeping the list construction and design as simple as possible. We took some very basic lists that we knew going in did well, TIE Swarm, Fat Han, Rebel Swarm, TIE Phantoms, and let our guys practice with them and get a lot of games under their belts with them. Our plan going in was to do our best to match up hard counters to hard counters and let the overall good matchups win out over the bad one. This plan would pay off quite well in the second and third round of the event, as you will see, however we had one big hang up, the Epic Round.
Going into this event none of us, save for Chad at the NOVA Open 2014, had even played a real Epic game before. In the early discussions about this event I stood up as opposed to playing Epic in an X-Wing Team Event. A decision I still stand by. I know why the guys wanted to do this in this event, and I see what they were tying to do, I really do. But with so little X-Wing experience on our team, let alone Epic, this was an area I was greatly concerned with going in. We did practice games, making sure that most players had at least two games of epic under their belt, but it was all practice against players who had never played it before and/or were minors. This would lead to our downfall in my honest opinion.
|Attack the big ones!|
Round 1 – The Epic Round:
We won the roll to go first in this round which allowed us to place a list first and switch one out later. Chad and I looked at the lists that were laid out and started matching them up. I blame myself for a lot of what happened next, as we basically walked into a lot of really bad matchups for us. We unknowingly put lists up against lists that were designed to kill ours. I blame my lack of experience with Epic play and poor matching of lists which lead to a very bad first round for us. For example, I paired up my Corvette list against a list that was designed to kill Corvettes. I did manage to take one for the team and take my TIE Swarm list up against a list loaded with Assault Missiles and still win that game, though every single one of my ships was damaged in the end.
|That kid’s got game!|
|Fear the Swarm in Epic play!|
My team performed admirably under these mistakes in leadership and still managed to pull out two out of four possible points, with my 9-year old coming very close to pulling out a win against Matt Court’s ‘Buzz saw/Firespray’ list. However we had two players tabled off the board and another beaten pretty badly. This really led to a bad taste in the team’s mouth for the Epic game entirely. I know that in the post event survey they voted to not play Epic again when the OutRyder Cup II is played in 6 months, and I cannot say that I blame them. However, assuming that this is still part of the event, I plan to learn more and study more about Epic game and I’ll be much more prepared for it next time around. Standings after Round 1 – Pitts: 4, Latrobe: 2, Morgantown: 2 w/2 skins games.
Round 2 – Standard Games:
After a rough start we knew we had some work to do in round two. Sprits were still high and the two point deficit did not seem to be insurmountable at this point. Morgantown was just barely ahead of us in MoV points so we really needed to pick it up this round. Plus, there were two skins games out there, both worth two points to the winner. If we could land one or both of those, that would go a long way to helping us catch up. Pittsburgh was good, but so were we! And we were going to prove it in round two.
Standard games were something Chad and I were much better at in matching up squads, and I think the proof was in the pudding at this point. We managed to get one of the skins games, my son getting the honors, but not both. Meaning Pittsburgh had a chance to extend their lead with that game. We decided not to tell my son how important the game he was playing was until after, which made his victory all the sweeter for him when he found out.
|Deciding which lists you want your team to face is hard work!|
|The big skins game won by the little guy!|
Having a pretty fluent knowledge of this game at the 100 point level, we were able to land most of the match ups weI needed, plus a skins game, and the team prospered. I took one on the chin for the team and played against Ryan’s three A-Wing list designed to kill Phantoms with my Echo list. I am not going to lie, I really thought three A-Wings would not last against my Echo/mini-swarm list and that while difficult against Pittsburgh top dog pilot, I could still manage to pull this one out. I am not a bad pilot myself you know. However Ryan was a demon of a pilot and capitalized on one mistake I made to melt Echo and secure the win. That being said, I K-Turned with 5 TIE Fighters and landed 10 hit/crits on two A-Wings with them. I couldn’t ask for better results from 5 stressed TIE fighters and the end results were no damage. I am not one to credit dice for wins or loses often, but I will say Ryan’s green dice were on fire! But despite my lose to Ryan the team did exceptionally well, with a skin and 4 victories, giving us 5 points on the round. Morgantown however had an abysmal round, losing all 6 games and taking them out of the running. Standings after Round 2 – Pitts: 10, Latrobe: 7, Morgantown: 2
Pittsburgh picking up the skins game, plus stacking wins against Morgantown, helped them to widen the gap between us and them and to be honest; I was really feeling my personal failure to match up the Epic games at this point. If we had just pulled out one or two more points there, we would not be as far in the hole were in, and I blamed myself for not knowing Epic well enough to prepare my team for it. We were not mathematically out of the running just yet, but we were losing steam to Pittsburgh’s run. We would need to be perfect in round three and Morgantown would need to help us by beating some of Pittsburgh’s guys.
With the level of experience my younger team members had, we did not do any list or pilot switching between rounds two and three, as everyone else did. We ran the same lists with the same pilots. In retrospect I do not regret this decision, because knowing who was flying which list turned out to not be that big of a deal in the final round. My young guys were comfortable with their list and we still performed quite will on the final round. Josh, one of the newest recruits to the team went 3-0 on the day and really earned himself some praise by the rest of the team. We ended up going 4-2 in the final round, quite respectable, but not nearly enough to topple the giants that were Pittsburgh that day. Pittsburgh continued their march to the finish line and only lost 2 games that round, not the three or four we would have needed them to do so in order to win, and took the trophy.
|Close, but not close enough|
Overall – Final Thoughts:
This was really an amazing event and despite not taking the cup this time around, as a team we all had a really great time and met some amazing people. We most certainly will be participating in the OutRyder Cup II and be gunning for those Pittsburgh boys for our chance to have our names engraved on that awesome trophy. The whole day was a bunch of laughs, great tactical X-Wing, and loads of fun!
If I had to pick on one thing to point out as ‘not so good’ at the event, it would have to be that Epic Round. Now, I fully accept reasonability for not getting the team as ready as we could have or not matching up things as optimally as we could have, that is on me. However despite all of that, the boys did not care for the long format game and some of the combos that a game of that size allowed. One of the guys had a basically un-killable Biggs combo which really sucked the fun out of that game quickly. It is not what we play each and every week at the store and it felt out of place in an otherwise great event. As a team, my players really want to see the Epic game go away in favor of either another standard round or two more standard rounds. As this will most likely be the same team to return in six months, I have to vote with the voices of my team and agree with them.
I really want to thank Ryan and Matt for starting this event and let them know what an amazing job they did on preparing for this event. I also want to thank the Morgantown boys for coming, as they were loads of fun to play. If you are looking for more information on this event, check out our upcoming Episode 15 over at Nova Squadron Radio, scheduled to air January 6th 2015.
|The day’s competitors|