Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Top Gun

Hello people,
Fair warning this is not just another musings post but also one in which I seemingly big myself up, so pay attention and acknowledge my awesomeness!! ;)
Returning from the X-Wing Scandinavian Nationals it has finally sunk in that I'm pretty good at this game and would consider myself an elite player. Without taking an acknowledged meta list and rolling average dice across the event I managed 10th, which is a very good result, predominantly through knowing my list and how to fly it pretty damn well.
I've rarely been a high end competitor with most of the games I've played over the years but this one's different. Even though it might not seem it from this post I'm generally far too modest to claim such status when it's appeared. This time it's different ;)
I do genuinely mean "appeared" because it was never an intention it just kind of happened though in retrospect I can see why.
As with any game I went through the three main steps;
1. Learn the mechanics
2. Learn the faction / army
3. Learn the opposing factions / armies
Sounds simple but with each step comes various levels of skill and expertise, deeper levels of understanding.
Learning the mechanics isn't just moving figures and rolling dice. At the top end it's also about scenery placement / interaction, deployment, opening moves as much as end game. Neglect the former and your less likely to be about for the latter.
Similarly learning statlines is merely the starting point for a greater appreciation of the synergies between troop choices and how they can combine to form an overarching plan and strategy. It's also as much about pre-empting your opponent as about planning your own manouvres.
As mentioned above this has been an almost accidental process for me and began by playing in a tourney at Dark Sphere. Realising just how close it was to work I started to turn up on a Thursday night. As much as anything that left Tuesdays at Enfield Gamers free for other stuff rather than near constant X-Wing.
 There are some very good players at Dark Sphere, predominantly 186 Squadron, and by playing and chatting with those guys on a weekly basis my own game came on in leaps and bounds. It was part osmosis but also that people took the time to discuss builds and tactics with me. From there I developed my own style which is all important as you'll fly best what suits you best.
Elite players and elite play groups can often attract bad press. Sometimes it's justified, most times it isn't. Being a very good player and being a WAAC (win at all costs) aren't the same thing. Sometimes they coincide but plenty of WAAC players aren't top players and even fewer are part of an elite play group for that very reason i.e. the inability to play nicely with others.
Getting to know the 186 guys they'll give you a hard game but not a hard time. The two are often confused and misinterpreted. I was invited to join after the UK Nationals and was very pleased to do so. It had as much to do with who I am and how I behave rather than how well I push plastic toys around a star mat.
Since that time I've experienced various negative comments and reactions to being a member of 186 but they've been outweighed by the positive. There are plenty of other similar groups about (Misfits / Vanguard) and they're all good guys. It's an undoubted truth that once you play at a high level you want those high end games, they're simply far more enjoyable.
Tournaments are one way to get that, another is to give newer players a leg up to the same level. The best way to do that is by giving them your best game....without being a dick about it and then chatting things through if they want to. 186 Squadron did that for me and now I'm more than happy to do the same, it's paying it on which us only right.
Others don't see or understand that. They see group like 186 in a tournament setting and don't see the rest. When they bitch they can sometimes get a, totally understandable, reaction.
For myself I'm proud to be a part of 186 Squadron and what it actually represents and will defend that to all comers.
Meanwhile I played Infinity Tuesday night as part of a club challenge between Enfield Gamers and Dark Sphere's Infinity guys. Jonny is obviously a very good player. Have gave me a good high end game but wasn't a dick about it.

Whilst gaving me a kicking across the table he explained what he was doing and helped me by talking through various tactical options. Whilst winning fairly easily he gave me some good ideas for what I'd do differently in terms of list, deployment and tactics. He didn't have to do that, he could easily have just crushed me, and my spirit, but made the choice not to. Elite player vs WAAC arsehole. Next time we play I hope I can return the favour and give him a more challenging game, we'll both enjoy it far more.
Awesomeness!! ;)

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