Not too long ago, in a country far far away, three brave Singaporeans flew to USA, Minnesota, to participate in the World Championship for Star Wars: The X-Wing Miniatures Game (X-Wing). One of them, Justin Phua, a lawyer, joined a pool of nearly 400 players from different countries and emerged victorious! In order to reach the finals, Justin played 12 matches over two days to enter the finals, where he defeated the defending champion of 2016, Nand Torfs, from Belgium. You can view the top 16 brackets here.
For the uninitiated, X-Wing is a miniature table top games where you command a squadron of Star Wars starfighters in a dogfight or in mission scenarios. This game features a vast variety of starships that have appeared in all the new and old Star Wars movies, Star Wars Rebels and even ships from the Expanded Universe. The game has also attracted plenty of collectors as each 1/270 scale miniature comes fully detailed and painted.
Justin’s victory represents the best of our Singapore traditions; serious, firm and above all fair. In the Live stream of the finals (6h 30mins mark) viewed by nearly 3,000 fans from all over the world, we could see Justin was calm under pressure when his ships took massive damage from the opponent.
Justin really went against all odds to win this tournament. He had little sleep due to jet lag, and had to compete against famous players with fan bases, and coming from a country where Star Wars Table Top games are not officially supported by Fantasy Flight Games. A true gentleman, he represented Singapore in displaying skill, finesse and sportsmanship by reminding his opponents to take actions, or ships which have yet to take their shots because X-Wing is a game with numerous rule sequences it’s easy to forget in a high stakes environment. This ensured that he won each game fair and square, and not by a careless mistake by his opponents.
Geek Culture brings you a battle report of the nail biting Finals match here –
Nand Torf is defending World Champion and is piloting a variant of the Miranda (K-Wing)-Biggs (X-Wing) lists that won 2 recent worldwide X-Wing tournaments. Justin Phua is widely recognized as one of the top players in Singapore for his Yoda-level composed playstyle. The atmosphere was tense yet friendly as both of them presented their squads to each other.
In the standard format of X-Wing, both players build a squad that adds up to 100pts. This includes choosing ships, pilots, and upgrade cards.
Nand is playing an original list that shares some similarities with Paul Heaver’s (a X-Wing community favourite) list. His flagship is a fully loaded 45 point K-Wing bomber piloted by Miranda. Plasma torpedoes, Ion bombs and Autoblaster turret means she can shoot down any kind of threat. Rely on shields? Plasma torpedoes strips your shield. Rely on agility? Autoblaster turret shots cannot be dodged. Biggs Darklighter pilots the classic X-Wing. True to lore, his pilot ability forces opposing ships to shoot him first, a perfect complement to Miranda. Jess Pava is a T70 X-wing with a M9G8 astromech that improves the accuracy of Miranda’s shooting
Justin is playing a pair of Jumpmaster 5000s piloted by Dengar and Tel Trevura. Their Pilot Skill of 9 is even higher than Miranda Doni’s Pilot Skill of 8. This allows Justin to reposition his ship after seeing the Rebel’s squad’s movement, and to shoot first, potentially removing ships from the board before they have a chance to fire back. Unlike Nand’s toolbox style, Justin’s squad is brutally simple – fire both plasma torpedoes and take out a fighter as early as possible. The aim of the list is simple, but piloting it is anything but.
Justin has a favorable matchup here. Not only does he have higher pilot skill, but his plasma torpedoes bypass Bigg’s ability, allowing Justin to shoot them at any ship he has a target lock on. If Nand is not careful, he can potentially have Miranda out of the fight by the second round of engagement. But Nand knows this, and he also knows that Justin’s ships are much more powerful on offense than defence. Though he is unable to react to Justin’s movements, he will be flying in a way that maximises Justin’s likelihood to make an error. If Justin is unable to focus his fire early and take out one of Nand’s ship, Nand will bring the multi-faceted firepower of his 3 Rebel ships down on the pair of Scums.
Opening & First Engagement
Justin deployed his Jumpmasters on the right side of the board while Nand deploys in the middle.
Right on the verge of engagement, Miranda’s turns away, using her Sub-Light-Acceleration-Motor (SLAM) action to stay behind the battle. Tel does a gradual turn to move into range of Jess Pava.
Dengar follows up and both ship fire plasma torpedoes onto Jess, destroying her shield and brings Jess down to a hull. Jess returns fire. Without a focus action for defence, Tel takes a heavy hit.
Being able to exchange fire at only one of Nand’s ships initially seems like a great trade for Justin. But the power of Jess Pava’s rerolls and sheer volume of shields and hull means Justin is still 1 or 2 shots away from killing Jess after firing 2 of his 4 torpedoes. If there is one ship Nand wants Justin to shoot at, it is Jess. So while Justin got the focus fire he wanted, Nand got him to shoot at his least desirable target. Both players have got something out of this engagement.
The Midgame Dogfight (1)
Nand positions his X-Wings in an attempt to block Tel onto a rock. Miranda turns in to aquire a target lock on Tel, which allows her to fire her own plasma torpedoes on the injured Tel.
Justin banks Tel in a beautiful maneuver, evading the block and the firing arc of the X-Wings. But he will still get shot by a torpedo from Miranda.
Instead of blocking Tel, Jess collides with Dengar. While she will not be shot at, she is unable to shoot any of Justin’s ships. Both the Jumpmaster are equipped with Unhinged Astromech and K4 Droid, allowing them to acquire a target lock on Miranda.
This is the beautiful thing about the X-Wing Miniatures game. The upgrade options on your ships allow you to pilot them in specific ways. The choice is yours. There are many ways to build a torpedo ship, but this move he made is only possible because of his choice of crew (K4) and astromech (Unhinged).
The last 2 plasma torpedoes land on Miranda – finally the target Justin needs to acquire. The clock is running down on Justin to take one ship off Nand’s table. A few more rounds of attrition is what Nand needs for her Miranda’s regenerating shields and the numerical advantage of his Rebel fighters to win the game.
The round ends with both Tel and Miranda badly injured while the other ships have took some damage.
The Midgame Dogfight (2)
Biggs and Jess K-turn to re-engage. Miranda tries block Dengar to prevent getting shot at. Justin knows that the 3 speed right-bank from Dengar is a move that Miranda cannot block.
Shots from Dengar and Tel finish off Miranda before she can regenerate her shields. With the bounty placed on Miranda, Dengar did the honours by collecting. With their escort destroyed, Nand’s X-Wings will face an uphill task.
The X-Wing may be Biggs, the Rebel’s iconic fighter, but his role in this squad is to support the Miranda’s K-Wing. Without her, both Biggs and Jess are no match for a pair of agile Jumpmasters piloted by one of the best Scum pilots and equipped with all sorts of black market upgrades unavailable to the Rebel Alliance.
This is an incredible game that could easily have gone either way. Nand’s ships has difficulties dealing with the firepower and pilot skill of Justin’s ships, but he played beautifully and made it extremely difficult for Justin. Turn after turn, he set traps for Justin to fall into, but Justin was equal to the task in avoiding them all. A fully deserved victory!
The clean victory has set the X-Wing community raving about Justin’s victory. Online, we saw many players praising Justin’s skills and sportsmanship. This is in contrast with another competitor who was caught cheating on a live stream. More importantly, we hope to see this victory build even greater momentum for a bigger crowd at the annual Singapore X-wing Open Championship 2017 where X-Wing players will get a chance to play against Justin or simply see him in action again!
* Battle Report contributed by Desmond Lau
* Cover photo by Nicholas Yun