Blackstone Owl Store Championship, Plus Insight into Mynock Squadron

Hi, I’m Cody C.  I hold the Mynock Squadron title of “Mynock Alpha” and am GeekADD’s resident X-Wing enthusiast.  Mynock Alpha is more of a ceremonial title than indicating actual combat prowess, though I did have to earn the title =)  There’s recently been some…let’s say “negative press”… about the team I am a part of and hold in exceptionally high regard.  While it has been resolved, I do feel compelled to take some of the burden off my team and shed some light as to who we are.  Plus, a battle report of my last Store Championship.

After a month long break (plus a bit more), I missed some key X-Wing Store Championships, including my home store, Game Empire (stupid Powerfest…but that’s another story).  It was a huge hit to my my momentum but as it does, life got in the way.

Not that I’m complaining, but I was able to weasel my way into the final Store Championship in the area, The Blackstone Owl!

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It was a really exciting event: last chance to score that plaque and regional bye, a ton of San Diego players were coming up (there is a friendly Mynock Squadron/SD rivalry), it was a store I’d never been to, and it was the first tournament after the release of Wave 8!

I had been getting some decent success with my original list:

Chewbacca + Predator + C3PO + Gunner + Title
Green Squadron Pilot(x2) + Outmaneuver + Crack Shot + Autothrusters + Refit + Title

I had a tough time with Palp Aces, but was able to burn through everything else.  Managed to get a 4 th place and 5th place at two great stores, Otto’s in Bakersfield and Battlegrounds in Lancaster.  While far from Pasadena, this Store Champs season was all about breaking out of the comfort zone.  Both stores have great communities and I fully intend on visiting again!

Anyway, fast forward to last weekend, Blackstone Owl.  I had never been so I wanted to check it out, plus I had to support my fellow Mynocks against these San Diego infiltrators (who are not only amazing players, but super friendly as well).

I ended up running:

Leebo + PTL + Engine + Kanan Jarrus + “Mangler” Cannon + Outrider Title
“Chopper” + Fire Control System + Hera Syndulla + Han Solo + Autoblaster Turret + Flechette Torpedoes + Munitions Failsafe

My justification: I was afraid of Triple Jumpmaster (some variation of Contracted Scout [x3]+ Deadeye + R4 Agromech + Guidance Chips + Plasma/Proton Torpedoes) so I abandoned the old list.  I wanted Leebo for crit mitigation, similar to Chewbacca.  Also, Kanan on a PTL Outrider is amazingly maneuverable.  I dropped HLC because I didn’t want to constantly spend both actions getting out of Range 1.  With Mangler, I could still arc dodge, but also modify dice (say, 3-turn, Barrel Roll, then Focus).  Plus, he could block high PS aces if the situation called for it.

I chose Chopper because I wanted a cheap gunship, but also wanted to give the Imperial Palp Aces I kept losing to pause.  In my set up, there’s essentially a keyhole-shaped “no-go zone” for aces.  Touching Chopper gives you a stress, Range 1 of him triggers the Autoblaster Turret, and Range 2-3 out the rear arc, even if it doesn’t hit, will get them a stress with the Flechette Torp.

So, I ended up getting 13th place with a 3-2 record and 563 MoV…

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13th? mawooooooo =(

Here are the full standings if you want to check ’em out.

So, where did I go wrong?  My first game was against a great player named Andrew who was running Paul Heaver’s World’s List.  He was a newer X-Wing’er but he’s got some solid talent.  Beat me 47-0.  Now, not to say I didn’t make mistakes, but I had some issues with my dice.  After the third round of combat, I had only managed to do a single point of damage onto a Y-Wing, and that’s even with some dice mods.  Additionally, I got a little greedy and kept switching up my targets, thinking “no big, I can kill that Z that’s right in front of me.  I’ve got Poe in a kill box, I can take him out.”  I ended the match facing a shieldless Z, a 1 hull Y, an untouched Y, and Poe had healed all the damage I stupidly thought I could push through.  I was a little salty I came away with not only a loss, but also 0 MoV.  But whatever…Fly Better!

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Regrettably, the only picture I snapped of the event.

Second game was against Ryan who made the cut in 8th place, running x2 Slavers with a slew of Bounty Hunter crew and Torkil Mux.  I also suffered some rotten luck in this match, but it was neck-and-neck to the last round of shooting and I managed to eek out a win.  At one point, I was all set to take out a wounded Mux, as I was in range to hit him both with Mangler Cannon and the Autoblaster Turret.  Chopper got his pilot skill dropped, so Leebo had to finish him off.  Of course, only one damage gets through, and Chopper gets his AB Turret shot off.  One of the slavers had Hot Shot Blaster with Boba Fett and got a crit through, leaving him with no target.  Pretty epic for Ryan, but pretty crappy for me.  Despite winning, I did give up lots of MoV and basically had a panic attack every turn trying to dance Leebo out of that massively wide slaver arc.

Game 3…Palp Aces!  They’d beaten me every time in the past, but this time, I was ready!  Yorr, Whisper, Lockdown (Omega Leader for you non-Mynocks!)  I had so many opportunities this game; Lockdown was caught on an asteroid (before his TL was out!) and I had a TL and a TL + Focus backed by seven dice of pain!  Twice I blocked Whisper and got in range to use the AB Turret!

Annnnnd everything missed.  I think I did 1 damage to Omega Leader and managed to kill the shuttle at the very end of the match.  Such bad luck this game…at one point, I rolled for AB turret vs Whisper for “blank-blank” rerolled into “blank-crit,” which was then met with a single evade result.  Whisper often rolled “blank-blank-blank-hit” but still managed to do damage to a focused Leebo.  Leebo got crit’ed and, using his ability, had to pick from Direct Hit or Major Explosion (which, of course, triggered into a similarly awful combination).  My opponent, Steven, was incredibly gracious throughout and we shared a ton of laughs at my horrible luck.  Again, I was a bit salty; Fly Better?  Well…I did pretty good, but when your dice don’t show up for battle, there’s just not a whole lot you can do.  Good job, Steven, while I got a few good opportunities on you, you made damn sure they didn’t happen again and earned your win.

Side note: If you haven’t read this article, you probably should.  Some of the points (like 3 Attack Dice w/ 1 modifier is below average firepower and role of guaranteed results) were illustrated in the games I played.

We took a lunch break, but after that second defeat (as well as MoV losses), I knew I couldn’t make it up.  With some of the pressure off, my games with Michael and Alejandro were a bit more relaxed, but still had some crazy dice luck.

Michael ran RAC and Vader, which was taxing to fly against.  I wanted to stay out of Range 1-2 to avoid his ability from triggering, but still wanted to be in R3 to get shots.  At the end of the game, after RAC went down, I got a little complacent and thought I had it in the bag.  Then, out of nowhere, here comes Vader doing 5 damage to Leebo (nope, ability didn’t help) and kills him.  Luckily, Chopper was able to finish him off, but damn!

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I’m the guy in the hat…no, the other guy. Photo from Blackstone Owl facebook page

Alejandro brought Wedge, Poe, and Asty and suffered some unfortunate luck.  While Poe was super slippery with his BB-8/PTL shenanigans, Wedge and Asty went down quickly to some bad rolls.  Speaking of wild luck, that game I rolled 3 natural crits with Leebo…twice in a row!  I couldn’t believe it and even got a little anxious I would be accused of loading my dice!  If only he had seen my other games…heh…bummer…=( Not only that, but Asty, after boosting to get shots on arc-dodging Leebo, kept rolling “Focus-Focus” on his evade dice, preventing Autothursters from triggering.  Tough luck, brother.

All-in-all, a good day and a decent showing from the Mynocks.  A couple of my buddies made it in the Top 8 as well as a few San Diego peeps.  Blackstone was a great store and in addition to the official prize kit, also raffled off a bunch of store credit and gave out a ton of Owl stickers.  I feel the need to congratulate the ultimate winner, Jeff Judziewicz.  During set-up for his first Top 8 match against fellow Mynock Steven G, I shook his hand and said “I hope you lose!” in the friendliest way possible.  Welp…lot of good that did… So, to Jeff, Congrats! You earned it!

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Congrats, Jeff J! From Blackstone Owl facebook

So…now the awkward stuff.  Despite being disappointed in my performance, my drive home had me in high spirits.  I played some fun games, hit emotional highs and lows, and got the opportunity to face some great opponents.  That’s what X-Wing is about; it’s what attracted me to not only playing competitively, but saying yes to the Mynock invitation!

To my surprise, after getting home and squeezing in a few quick rounds of Battlefront, I see my FB feed blowing up, and it’s all Mynock members.  Much to my dismay, we had been accused of cheating via a Reddit post.  I say “we” because we’re a team; an accusation directed towards one of us reflects on all of us.

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Screencap of the Podcast’s logo

I’m not part of the podcast, nor am I a founding Mynock or the player with the best record.  But Mynock cheating?  No.  I wanna get that idea out of people’s heads right now.  We’re not a Winner’s Club; while we do have a lot of successful members, Mynock is a team of X-Wing enthusiasts who strive to build each other up.  It’s equal parts think-tank, boxing ring, and social club with a manageable number of pilots.  We are not “win at all costs” players.

I’d be lying to say we haven’t discussed the very thing in question.  If we get into a Mynock-on-Mynock slugfest during a Store Championship or Regional, what’s the protocol?  As much as we’d like to see a Mynock only Top 8, we came to a consensus that “if you want what I got, you’re gonna have to earn it!”  Believe me, I’ve gone against several Mynocks during this Store Champ season where I could have easily been “bumped up.”  Instead, we duked it out because neither one of us was looking for cheap wins.

The match in question involved a Mynock player with a 3PO Miranda vs a non-Mynock 3PO Miranda.  All wingmen had been shot down.  The Mynock player offered to concede, but was turned down and they continued to fight it out.  However, after a few turns of “Regen, take a damage, Regen, take a damage” loop of drudgery, the non-Mynock player decided to concede.  Had the match played out with neither ship dying, it could have only resulted in a modified win.   I think that’s perfectly reasonable and within the scope of the rules, though I understand how a third party might misconstrue what was happening.

Which brings me to another point.  As awkward as a cheating accusation can be, speak up! It’s much better than bottling it up, only to rant about it on a public forum after the fact.  If you’re wrong, then you’ve just dragged the name of players, and the store, through the mud.  If you’re right, then you’ve cheapened everyone else’s win because it’s too late to fix it.

This is X-Wing.  Mynock Squadron is not the mafia.  You don’t need to hide your identity to call us out.  Of course, that doesn’t mean we take accusations lightly, but at least be sure before putting us on blast. The player in question managed to get in contact with the Reddit guy, explain what happened, and smoothed things out.  It’s disturbing to me, though. It’s not that Mynocks were accused of cheating, but someone felt they had to resort to such measures to do so.

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Mynock Squadron logo from the T-Shirts

While, again, I’m not part of the Mynock Podcast, I do lots of X-Wing related blogging and unboxing videos.  I see the X-Wing part of GeekADD (though we’re so much more!) as an investment in my community, and I see the podcast as the same.  I want informed, empowered, and passionate opponents who challenge me to do my best.  I also want them to feel safe and enjoy themselves, because at the end of the day, we’re playing a game, and games are fun.  It really bums me out that the Reddit poster walked away from a community I’m a part of with a bad impression.

Competitive board gamers get a bad rap, and I think it’s because a lot end up with toxic, exclusive communities.  That’s not healthy on either an emotional level (again, it’s ultimately for fun) or for the life of the game.  We want X-Wing to stay strong and last as long as possible.  If we start alienating players, then the events we love chasing will dry up and the games stores will become X-Wing ghost towns.  Yes, Mynocks want to win and we want it baaaad.  But if we lose, then we lose.  No whining.  Fly Better.  If your opponent beat you, he or she earned it.

Anyway, I feel like I’ve gone off on a tangent so I should probably wrap this up.  The Blackstone Owl is an awesome store that’s worthy of being on the X-Wing map for SoCal players.  I’m bummed my Store Championship run didn’t result in more better standings, but I’m walking away satisfied and my head high (plus I got a coin and 2 rulers, so there’s that =P).

Also, GeekADD is not Mynock Squadron, though we do rep’ each other from time to time.  But if Mynock wants any more free advertising, you’ll need to cough up some more Lockdown promos or some T-Shirts =P.

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