This is part 3 of 3 on an article on the Scum and Villainy conversion kit.
So yesterday, James and I had our initial play test of this kit at The Grid, and we were both very impressed.
James had sunk just over 100 points in to the Death Merchant, a GR-75 with a firing arc and two hard points. He then put most of his points into basic pilots. He ran Talonbane Cobra with Cluster Missiles and Munitions Failsafe, Graz the Hunter, Torkil Mux with Twin Laser Turret then the rest were basic pilots: 2x M3-A Scyk Interceptors and 4x Kihraxz Fighters. All his Kihraxz Fighters had Glitterstim.
I however, had put my faith in to named pilots with lots of firepower. Too much faith- this was my first mistake. I ran Moralo Eval with Heavy Laser Cannon, IG-88A and IG-88C with Ion Cannons, Kavil with Blaster Turret, Veteran Instincts and Unhinged Astromech and Emon Azzameen dripping with upgrades. I also had a basic Kihraxz Fighter, and N’dru Suhlak poised to assassinate from range 2 with Lone Wolf, Cluster Missiles and Glitterstim. For my GR-75, I used the support ship from my previous article. This brings Father and Son Azzameen’s ships totals to over 100 points. I may have got carried away. Did I mention I like the PC game X-Wing Alliance?
My GR-75 build, the Vasudra
James’ GR-75 build, the Death Merchant
Having re-read the epic tournament rules, in my game with Craig we had deployed both obstacles and ships incorrectly. This time, we got it right, which made it easier to make a clear space for the huge ships and larger amount of ships, but also by deploying ships in range 1-2 of the player edge gave us more options for deployment, and to jump in to the action quicker. James took initiative, and placed his GR-75 first. I placed mine opposite, but towards the middle of the mat a little more. I decided I didn’t want to risk getting pincered, so I decided to deploy all my ships in one block, and tackle him head on with my high firepower ships and wall of green dice on my Aggressors. This was my second mistake, and a much bigger one! I chose Aggressors in the first place (especially IG-88C) with Ion Cannons so they could boost across the board and take down the GR-75 together. However, I foolishly thought that without a native target lock or ability to use focus tokens, combined with it’s limited firing arc, the Death Merchant wouldn’t be much of a threat. I heavily underestimated the Death Merchant. This was my third mistake.
I kept Emon Azzameen to one side, hoping to swoop past and drop a Proximity Mine, and N’Dru Suhlak out of the way ready to swoop in beyond range 2 of my forces and assassinate a target with Cluster Missiles.
All ships deployed
All ships deployed
A close up of James’ fleet
A close up of my block of ships I was hoping would overwhelm James with fire power. Big mistake!
As per usual with X-Wing, there was no combat in round 1 (apart from a range 5 shot on Kavil from the Death Merchant) with my large ships edging just 1 forward, and the block of Kihraxz Fighters moving 2 or 3 forward. The attack didn’t hit Kavil, but Bossk did give the Death Merchant a target lock for next time. Round 2 however, the action began to unfold rather quickly.
The battle at the start of the combat phase during round 2
James’ ships moved first, and I expected the Kihraxz Fighters to move 2 forward and meet me head on for a range 1 joust, but instead they went 3 forward, and a wave of target locks appeared on Moralo Eval. When it was my turn to activate, IG-88A crashed in to the fighters, causing a 3 car pile up with Moralo Eval and Kavil crashing behind him. IG-88C was able to get an action, and I decided to focus on Graz the Hunter, as he has a habit of sticking round until the end of the game with his awesome pilot ability. To my left, Emon Azzameen managed to get in range, and to my right I had crashed my Kiraxz fighter in to an M3-A, again expecting James to move slower than he did. I used the Vasudra to co-ordinate and give Moralo Eval a target lock, as at this point I was desperate to do some damage!
This round hurt! All 6 Kihraxz Fighters fired on either Moralo Eval or IG-88C, and as the YV-666 only has one green dice it had no shields left on it at the end of the round. I rolled a focus and 2 blanks for the first evade roll on IG-88C, and that about sums up my luck with green dice for most of this game! The Death Merchant fired another shot across the board at Kavil, and this round ended with my Kihraxz Fighter and Kavil with a damage card each, and two of my large ships on reduced shields. James had only lost shields on a couple of his Kihraxz Fighters. James had strength in numbers in a straight up joust, and I paid for that.
The battle at the start of the combat phase during round 3
First blood went to me during the activation phase, as I accidentally ran over one of the Kihraxz Fighters with the Vasudra! But James’ used all but one of his Glitterstims, including one he’d put on the Death Merchant this round, and this helped him secure more kills.
My plan had been to keep Kavil close to the the Vasudra, so with a co-ordinate action he’d have a focus to use the Blaster Turret and a target lock to modify dice. But it was out of range, and an unmodified attack against a Kihraxz with Glitterstim was disappointing. I got a few average shots off with IG-88A and Moralo Eval, and as I was out of his arc, I managed to finish off Graz the Hunter with Emon Azzameen. N’Dru was in range, but to close to Kavil to get all his bonuses, and his attack bounced of the Glitterstim’d Kihraxz.
But despite the early kill, this round hurt me more, as Graz had already damaged Moral Eval, and Torkil Mux finished him off with his Twin Laser Turret. The Death Merchant finished Kavil off from across the board, and IG-88C with it’s second hardpoint weapon. His M-3A’s finished off my Kihraxz. I had lost 4 ships compared to 2 of his, and three of my tankiest ships to boot.
End of round 4, with dials down for round 5
In round 4 I managed to drop a Proximity Mine under Talonbane with Emon’s choice of templates and got a juicy crit, making him pilot skill 0, and IG-88A took a hammering and dropped to 2 hull remaining. Disheartened by James’ excellent green dice rolling and my earlier major mistakes, I decided to hit the ‘f*ck it’ button and used Tomaas Azzameen to give a Kihraxz Fighter an ion and stress token, with the aim to run it over next round. I believe this was one of two rounds where the Death Merchant was running low on energy, but as nothing was threatening it, it was an easy round to recharge.
End of round 5, and the board is thinning out
In round 5, James moved Torkil Mux close to the ionned Kihraxz Fighter, and I ran over and destroyed them both, luckily taking no damage to the Vasudra. I had done a hard 3 turn with N’Dru to get round the asteroid, and luckily missed him with the Vasudra. Emon and N’Dru were able to finish off Talonbane. The Vasudra was the only valid target at this point for James and it’s shields were wiped out.This left me with 2 ships with firing arcs compared to his 5. It was not looking good for me.
End of round 7 with dials down for round 8
In round 6, the bottom left Kihraxz Fighter did a K-turn but overshot, and was off the board. One less threat for me to deal with! I used my Tibanna Gas Supplies to get a full tank of energy. I ionned the nearest Kihraxz Fighter, and it crashed in to me and took damage. However, I did the same thing in round 7 and it had a nice range 1 shot at me, and combined with a shot from the Death Merchant, the Vasudra took it’s first damage cards of the game. In round 8 I managed to unload Cluster Missiles on the Death Merchant with Glitterstim (but without N’Dru’s bonus dice), and although I managed to get 3 damage on the hull, it was too little too late at this point, and the Death Merchant used Arns Grimraker to damage N’Dru. He was finished off by an M3-A.
The Azzameens are hutned down
The rest of the game was fairly cat and mouse. The M3-A’s were out of range of my rear firing arc on Emon Azzameen, and certainly out of range of my last Proximity Mine, so I decided to try and turn round to use my Cluster Missiles, and get the Vasudra nice and close for support. James was able to repair his ship with WED-15 repair droid as he moved, and the Death Merchant and the M3-A’s took pot shots where they could.
The Azzameen’s last stand
During Emon’s last turn, I managed to take down an M3-A that had previously run over an asteroid, but the Kihraxz Fighter I’d previously managed to ion and stress repeatedly finally came round the corner, and Emon was destroyed. Obviously, James had won, but we played on to see how long it would take to destroy the Vasudra. It took about 3 turns with the recover actions I was taking (minus 1 energy for a reactor leak.) Complete destruction!
James with 3 ships left on the board
All in all, we really enjoyed the game and we really enjoyed the Scum GR-75 conversion kit. It felt well balanced, fitted well in to the game, played well and I would have no objection to using it as a regular house rule.
I only have two gripes with the kit. The first is it doesn’t print to scale. In order to make the base for the ship, I had to place an Aggressor cardboard base over the front of the GR-75 base, photocopy it, then colour over the Aggressor stats with a black permanent marker.
I also don’t like that the GR-75 is the same stats and cost as the Rebel one, but with a free illicit slot. While I appreciate the creator did this to make it easier to proxy with the existing Rebel stuff without the need to print everything, it gives the Scum transport a bit of an unfair advantage. Generally, scum pilots are a lower pilot skill- especially if it’s a shared Rebel ship with an illicit slot. If the GR-75 was pilot skill 2, the same amount of points and had an illicit slot it would be perfect!
I was very impressed with the Death Merchant. As I said before, I didn’t think it would be much of a threat so I left it alone. However, it had at least one shot pretty much every turn, James didn’t run out of energy as often as I thought he would, and the Death Merchant pumped out a lot of damage over the game. Arns was a worthwhile 15 points despite only being used a few times. The whole build is not something to take lightly.
I’m kicking myself for the lack of ships in my build and a few stupid moves I made, but credit must also go to James for playing well. I look forward to a rematch.