TC OPEN: ANNOUNCEMENT (and FORMAT RULES)

Remi has defeated LeoArthur, becoming the new reigning champion. Congratulations! However….

Now begins a new TC Open, a 100pt tournament with some modified rules. The tournament is open to all players, whether you regularly read articles here at Team Covenant or not. All you need to play is listed below — feel free to join in on the competition. We will be operating at about 2 game rounds every 3 weeks through the tournament, so finding time to play your game each round should not be too difficult.

Please help me spread the word, so we can have a big turn-out!

WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
— a Team Covenant username to communicate privately with opponents
— VASSAL, and the most current X-wing module
— time to play 1 game every 10-11 days or so, over the next 2-3 months.
— a good attitude. Be sporting, and be friendly to opponents.
— a squad list! You will submit it to me, not in the comments section.

HOW TO SIGN UP:
First, read the rest of this article. Before you build a squad to enter, it’s important that you know what the format rules are so that you can build a legal squad. Once you understand the format, build a legal squad and send me a private message here at Team Covenant. I do not want any squad links — I will be making those myself. Just type out the cards in your list clearly. (My username here is Theorist.) You may change your mind on what squad you want to fly in the tournament and send me a new list up until the entry deadline on August 21st. Once I post everyone’s lists on August 22nd, it is too late to sign up.

WHAT CARDS ARE LEGAL?
All cards in the most current VASSAL module with fully known text are legal to use. You may use any spoiled but unreleased cards that you wish; the tournament will not be limited to released cards. If you are unsure what cards are currently spoiled, check at FFG’s website then check in the VASSAL module for what cards appear there. You may have access to new cards after qualifying rounds end; read in the format rules below for more details.

FORMAT RULES:
This tournament will be use Standard Play 100pt format rules, with the following changes:

OBSTACLE SELECTION
You may choose different obstacles for each game. Choose your obstacle selection for the game after determining who has initiative choice (by squads costs or by initiative roll), but before initiative is actually chosen. The player with initiative choice chooses their obstacle selection first, even if they pass initiative to the opponent after obstacles are selected for both players.

HUGE SHIP OBSTACLES
This obstacle choice is legal for the tournament, and rules for it are available in the Huge Ship Handbook (available to view at FFG’s website if you are not familiar with theses rules). These rules do not cover the interaction between initiative and placing a huge ship obstacle very clearly, but they do cover this issue — pay attention to the fact that huge ships are placed before other obstacles, so if only one player chooses a huge ship then the player with initiative must place that obstacle instead of an asteroid or debris.

DISCOUNTED SHIPS
All pilots for the following ships cost less to add to your squad. When these ships are destroyed, they are also worth less toward the final score. Be sure to remember this discount when reporting the score of your game. Consider this a change to printed costs when building your squad.

3 less — T-65 X-wing
3 less — E-wing
3 less — U-wing
3 less — Khiraxz Fighter (The Vaksai title is not enough help for this ship.)
1 less — TIE/FO Fighter

BUFFED CARDS
The following cards have  buffed effect:
——————————————————————–
Moldy Crow
— added text: “Increase the maximum
range of your secondary weapon cards by 1 (to a limit of 3).”

With this title equipped:
— Autoblaster Turret becomes Range 1-2.
— TLT is unaffected by the change.
— Other turrets become Range 1-3.
— Hotshot Blaster becomes Range 1-3. (Jabba synergy?)
— Snap Shot becomes Range 1-2.
——————————————————————–

COST INFLATED SHIPS
All pilots for the following ships cost more to add to your squad. When these ships are destroyed, they are also worth more toward the final score. Be sure to remember this cost inflation when reporting the score of your game. Consider this a change to printed costs when building your squad.

3 more — Jumpmaster 5000 (In addition, the Segnor’s Loops for this ship are both red maneuvers.)
3 more — Lancer
(NOTE: YV-666 has been removed from the inflated cost list since last tournament.)

NERFED CARDS
The following cards are legal, but will have a nerfed effect:
——————————————————————–
Latts Razzi — “When defending, you may remove 1 stress token
from the attacker to add 1 FOCUS result to your roll.”

This forces players to use things like Focus tokens, Glitterstim, or Wired to make use of Latts.
——————————————————————–
Attanni MindlinkThis card is limited to 2 copies per squad.

(This is leaked errata. The fix looks healthy, so I am using it prior to any new FAQ.)

Small ship only.” — I am also adding this additional nerf to the card.
——————————————————————–
Overclocked R4“During the Combat phase, when you spend a focus
token, if you are not stressed you may receive 1 stress token to
assign 1 focus token to your ship.”

One point for one extra Focus is a bargain price, and many builds shed the stress easily.
——————————————————————–
JUMPMASTER DIAL (all Jumpmaster pilots) The white Segnor’s Loop is a red maneuver.

(This is NOT the leaked errata to the Jumpmaster. I’m doing this nerf instead.)
——————————————————————–
Dengar (pilot card), Swarm Leader, and I’ll Show You the Dark Side are not being nerfed.
They were nerfed in the previous TC OPEN, but I’m allowing them full reign this time.
——————————————————————–

A WORD ON THE JUMPMASTER
The leaked nerf to Jumpmaster is one that I cannot (and will not) respect. It is convoluted to the point of confusion, and it is basically designing a new ship rather than making the current one more fair to bring against opponents. I am enormously angry with the FFG designer(s) who decided this type of nerf was even an option — that is not how you errata. Changes should be minimalist and easily explained to new players, not a mess of huge changes that even veteran players have to parse carefully.

For this tournament (and probably all future TC OPENS as well), we will use the original Jumpmaster upgrade bar and title text. I will not use any changes to this ship that appear in the next FAQ, instead imposing +3 cost and red Segnor’s Loops nerfs to the ship. This nerf will most likely carry into all future TC OPEN tournaments, unless we see a more sane fix in some future FAQ.

In the most sober tone, I encourage FFG design to not go ahead with the Jumpmaster errata that was leaked. If FFG is looking for Jumpmaster errata to reign in the ship, just make the white Segnor’s Loop red. This weakens torpedo-build Scouts and jousting tank Dengar, the two builds that are most problematic. Also nerf Overclocked R4 to not work while stressed, and make Mindlink “small ship only” (in addition to the 2 copies per squad nerf). You will not have large issues with Jumpmaster strength after these changes.

——————————————————————–

A WORD ON “ADVANCED SLAM”
The leaked nerf to this card will render it all but useless, since payload builds are better served by Long Range Scanners and the synergy with Burnout SLAM is weak. If SLAM is too strong, then nerf SLAM. Don’t nerf Advanced SLAM so that it has no practical function. (If you want to nerf SLAM, just make it forward template only.) Personally, I find SLAM enjoyable and fair to fight against. The bombing builds are strong, but I am defeating them with good play.

I will not be applying any nerf to this card, if the next FAQ has the expected nerf. If you want to run this card, it will continue to work as written for this entire tournament. I am unsure if I will bother in future tournaments, since Experimental Interface does substitute well enough for this card in bomb dropping builds (and in some cases is superior to it). The loss of Advanced SLAM as a functioning card would be more than annoying, but would not break any ship or build at all. The nerf is just a bad decision.

——————————————————————–
HOW TO QUALIFY FOR ELIMINATION
We will have only 3 qualifying rounds. Achieve one of the following to qualify:
— Win 2 or more of these 3 qualifying games.
— Win your third game against an undefeated opponent.

CHANGING SQUADS AFTER QUALIFYING
After qualifying rounds end, players will have a short window (3-4 days) in which to change squads by sending me a new squad list. Keep in mind that bracket opponents will be known by now, so it is encouraged that you change squads at this point in the tournament to avoid being countered by your opponent. However, you are not required to change squads. Players who do not send me a new squad will be entered into elimination with their qualifying squad.

END OF BATTLE
On any turn after at least 2 hours of active play has passed, a player may declare the game is ending. Play the game for 5 more turns after the game’s ending has been declared. Then end and score the game.

Declaring that the game is ending is optional. If neither player wishes to declare, the game continues normally. No matter when the game’s ending is declared, the game will continue for an additional 5 full turns afterward. I ask that players only declare the game is ending due to lack of time to finish the game, and not use this rule just to win games. I reserve the right as TO to enforce this liberally, and will boot players from the tournament that I feel are ignoring the spirit of this rule. If you feel your opponent misused this rule, please let me know.

Games end in 1 of 3 ways:
— One player has no ships left. (I hope that all games in the tournament end this way.)
— One player concedes the game. (Conceding destroys all ships you have left in play.)
— One player declares the game is ending, then 5 turns are played and the game is scored.

The final table match will not use the End of Battle rule.

CONCEDING/FORFEITING THE ROUND
If you will not be able to play your game in any round, please message me before the end of the round. Otherwise I will believe that you have dropped out of the tournament, and I will remove your name from the match roster. Also contact your opponent to let them know you have conceded the round to them.

DROPPING FROM THE TOURNAMENT
If you wish to drop from this tournament, please message me before the end of the round as a courtesy. Otherwise I will worry that something might have happened to you, as I am a people person and very kindhearted. Don’t abuse the TO!

COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS?
If I forgot a detail or you have a question, let me know!

    1. I am trying to run 3-4 of these every year, which means starting a new one right away.

      My eyes will be on the 4 players who who did best in the last two tournaments — Oli (Warmaster91), Rinehart, you, and LeoArthur. I expect that all 4 of you will be in this one too, and I’m curious who will claw their way through the elimination rounds a second time (maybe all 4 of you!). It should be a great tournament. Every list in this last TC Open was one I thought had a real chance to win.

    1. Biggs + Lowhhrik is a paper tiger, especially in this format where it is easy to find yourself facing 4+ enemy ships. The list guards Biggs well, but struggles to keep its guns pointed at targets and has almost no firepower. I understand that it has been doing well in the live-scene meta vs some lists, but I encourage everyone to look a lot more closely at the flaws in that pairing. The squad can be dismantled by a strong player consistently — I have seen it (and done it; I was even on 2 Knaves and a Rebel Operative when I did so) on VASSAL several times now.

      Biggs will start at 22pts, with a -3 to cost like the other T-65 pilots. I already looked at his performance in the last TC Open when at this cost, and while he did well he was not problematic. He definitely did not dominate. The reason for this is that he is not “stronger”, just cheaper. A 22pt Biggs is not harder to kill than a 25pt Biggs, and lists looking to guard him intensely have already included those cards to do so. The 3pts you save doesn’t end up going to anything especially valuable to that sort of squad; whatever gets bought with the discount is the least important 3pts in that list.

    1. I cannot justify giving TIE Punisher a discount.

      Just the other night I flew three Punishers (Redline + Deathrain + Cutlass) against Quickdraw + Vessery + Omega Leader — this match-up heavily favors the enemy squad, in all ways except raw durability and squad travel speed around the map. I had cold dice, and my bomblets did 3 damage in 7 rolls (14 dice). My opponent had only 2 defense rolls all game that did not roll 2+ Evade results. I have actually never had a more dice-skewed game that I recall. And on top of that, my opponent played well.

      I won that game 100-38, with 5 hull left on both Cutlass and Deathrain at the end.

      The TIE Punisher is actually a strong ship. Use its strengths, mobility and durability, and it can carry games that other ships would have lost. There are tons of good builds for it, more than for most ships. I encourage everyone to give the ship another look. It’s not an endgame ace or a swarm fighter, but that doesn’t make it bad.

      1. I don’t think Lightweight Frame on Punisher is busted enough, since you can’t take no damage and don’t one-shot enemy ships either — those seem to become the popular builds. But this is the list that I used, if somebody wants to give it a go:

        -100-
        38 Redline w/ FCS + G Chips + Extra M + Cluster Missiles + Plasma Torpedoes
        36 Deathrain w/ AdvS + Frame + Unguided Rockets + Bomblet Generator
        26 Cutlass w/ AccC + Frame

        In the test game, I flew Redline on the wing so that I could definitely k-turn and launch again. The position also makes him less likely to get into heavy fire, and makes it easier to come in with a 3f or 3 bank to try for TLs on a PS 7+ target. Cutlass ran in as a blocker to help keep my ships alive, and Deathrain used the bomblet threat to make kturning to meet my ships in a second pass potentially painful (which my opponent risked, taking 0 damage on 4 dice that turn). I’m not sure this particular list is good, but I am currently 5W 0L with triple Punisher lists (over several waves; this is the only recent game).

      2. A-wings seem to be OK, honestly. They are actually pretty fantastic as support ships, they just aren’t star player ships because of the small ATT 2 gun. I am never disappointed by A-wings, and they compare reasonably well to other ships.

      3. I lost once to a double U-wing + Dash build. Does this mean they are good and dont need a discount.? Or could it be that my opponent was more skilled (or luckier with the dices) than me?

        A much better way than personnal feeling to evaluate ships would be to use something like the meta analyser from List Juggler. The Tie Punisher is at the bottom of the ships ranking, along with the Uwing and the Ewing.

        As for the -3pts on Biggs, he might not make him directly stronger but adding 3 pts of upgrade to a build certainly will. When that build is currently top meta it makes no sense to boost it further.

      1. In addition:

        Mindlink (which wasn’t nerfed last time) was popular. Most builds did not do well, but Remi’s build won the tournament. Guri with Mindlink is a very strong ship — the combination of Focus, Barrel Roll or Boost, Target Lock (via FCS), and being on white moves every turn make her very hard to deal with. Her ability to power Mindlink without any ship taking the Focus action proved potent, and game winning at final table.

        Biggs was a popular pilot, and most builds using him did do at least reasonably well. Now that we have tools to guard ships that work similarly to Biggs (Selflessness and Lowhhrik), we might see some “all in” defense of Biggs but also some lists opt to drop Biggs for alternate defenses. In particular, Corran + Lowhhrik (and a third ship) looks to have potential.

        Two ship builds, other than Han + Jake, did not do very well.

    1. While HWK needs the help, TLT does not. Because it’s a Range 3 capable weapon, a large number of them coordinate easily with one another. The x5 TLT build ended up being a bit too hard to fight against, getting good match-up after good match-up until finally queuing into a 5 ship build that had both better PS and better firepower. I didn’t want to make x5 TLT one of the dominant lists that the TC OPEN meta shapes itself around, so I was forced to remove the HWK from the discount list.

      The healthier balance for the game seems to be closer to x4 small turret vs x5 arc-fighter (or x3 mobile turret vs x4 mobile arc-fighter), which pushes the turret player to outplay the opponent instead of just letting them trade shots and win on dice.

      I do want to help the HWK. I’ll incentivize them a different way.

      Check the article. MOLDY CROW buff.

  1. 30 Blue w/ FCS, E2, Tactician, Ion Cannon
    (tougher and more accurate than the HWK; not a turret)

    32 Palob w/ Snap Shot, Tactician, Ion Turret, Crow

    35 Dace w/ Snap Shot, Tactician, Ion Turret, Crow

    42 Fringer w/ Tactician, Ion Projector, Ion Cannon, Outrider
    (twice as tough as the HWK; far better at avoiding enemies)

    I think those HWK ideas will be fine. It’s definitely a lot of control tools, but it will likely shoot 1-2 times before being gunned down unless you are very crafty with how you protect it. Against some lists it may not get to shoot at all.

    1. I still fly Nera and Keyan (not in the same list); they still perform very well, but it’s wise to guard any slower moving ace (like a B-wing ace) with Biggs so that you don’t lose your best ship too quickly. I admit both that I have not flown Ibtisam since Keyan came out, and that I think Ten Numb is one of the worst Rebel pilots in the game due to his very high cost and nearly useless ability.

      Ibtisam has a card shortage problem. She can run E2 + Hera so that you can k-turn her gun around while always getting her ability, but there is no great ept for her. PTL has a shortage of useful actions, you can’t run Daredevil or Expert Handling here, and Stay on Target is only useful to aim her gun at PS 0-5 targets (while not being great to combo her ability with a Focus token). I would want to see an ept like this, for Ibtisam:
      ——————-
      Grit (0pts, ept)
      “When attacking a ship in your primary firing arc, you
      may receive 1 stress token to turn 1 result to a crit result.”
      ——————-
      This card isn’t very useful for most pilots who can take an ept, but it would be very useful to Ibtisam. Suddenly her build is complete:

      28 Ibtisam w/ Collision Detector, Grit, E2, Hera

      In addition, Grit would be better for Ten Numb than existing ept options. You could use his action to Target Lock, or Barrel Roll to maintain arc/safety. His builds are still very expensive, but they would now be reliable:

      36 Ten w/ FCS, Grit, Ion Cannon

      An Ion Cannon with a 100% chance to hit is a potent control tool, and this build leaves Ten in a good place in terms of cost. His PS 8 Barrel Roll can be used to help avoid heavy fire, and he can set up a nice Range 1 kill-shot on targets (FCS + Grit) with it as well.

      There are not a lot of other pilots in the game where Grit would be strong. Keyan doesn’t really need the card to work, although it would become a build option for him. A-wings might be able to run Juke + Grit effectively. Bossk might use this card to enable his ability, allowing for HLC + Grit builds instead of PlasmaTorp + G Chip + Crane builds — at the loss of the valuable ept slot, meaning no Fearlessness or VI for Bossk. Perhaps 4-Lom, another pilot that needs a bit of help with cost, could make good use of Grit. I’d have to go pilot by pilot to be sure there’s nothing broken. There’s a “Rebel Only” option here to reign the card in if there are pilots in the other factions who could abuse the card and don’t need the help.

    1. I’m not sure what you are asking.

      For this tournament we will NOT be applying any errata to the Advanced SLAM upgrade card, even if a new FAQ is released — this was announced as part of the format rules. The card will work until the end of this tournament, as originally written.

      As far as my opinion of Advanced SLAM, post-nerf, added to a K-wing? There are no builds where it will make sense to use:

      — TLT and Reveal:Bomb builds don’t need it, and if spending points on a modification would be better off with Engine or Vectored Thrusters. Other turret upgrades don’t make that much sense on the K-wing, since it has a primary weapon turret. You can’t drop a reveal bomb from a SLAM anyway.

      — Torpedo/Missile builds will want Long Range Scanners to help launch, or (if able to get TL a different way due to list synergies) will want Guidance Chips.

      — Action:Bomb builds will want Experimental Interface now, and will drop bombs post-SLAM that way instead. They will recover on a green maneuver or be stuck stressed. Possibly we will see Kanan or Chopper used here as crew in some builds, to avoid having to recover on slow green maneuver. Sabine will move off of these K-wing builds onto another carrier that avoids enemy guns (probably onto Nym; many Rebel Nym builds don’t bother with the Havoc title).

      I dislike the nerf to Advanced SLAM a great deal, currently. FFG I’m sure will offer a reason why it was essential to nerf this card, but with Experimental Interface in the game I’m not sure that any explanation could have much merit. I do think that Advanced SLAM will become a card nobody ever plays on any ship, except possibly the new Star Wing might still be able to use the card.

      1. I still do not quite know what you are asking. Are you asking if Star Wings might want to use the Advanced SLAM upgrade? If so, the answer is yes.

        Advanced SLAM combines with the Star Wing’s XG-1 Assault Configuration title and any 0-2pt cannon you equip. The title lets a Star Wing fire one of these cheap cannons after using SLAM, and Advanced SLAM lets the Star Wing Focus or Target Lock to improve the quality of the attack.

        The choices, as of Star Wing’s release, will be:
        — Flechette Cannon
        — Tractor Beam
        — Jammer/Jamming Beam (dunno what this does)

        In addition, Star Wing comes with a new cannon upgrade that seems to upgrade another cannon you have equipped. It’s “small ship only”, so this card won’t be useful to the Aggressor-2000 series. But it will make these three cannons, and possibly any cannon you equip on a Star Wing, better — as far as I can guess, it reads as such:

        Light Battery
        “When attacking with a
        primary weapon or a
        (cannon) secondary weapon,
        you may reroll 1 attack die.”

        It may allow the rerolling of multiple attack dice.

        I think this card will also go into the Advanced SLAM Star Wing build, combining with a Focus action to allow even a lower PS Star Wing to SLAM into a combat position and fire a small cannon with high accuracy.