Imperial Assault – The Road to Regionals

This is our first article about Imperial Assault. For those of you not familiar with the game, it’s a grid-based game that can be played in a competitive fashion where two players pitch squads against each other called Skirmish, or cooperatively in Campaigns where one player plays the imperial forces and up to 4 other players play as Rebel heroes. For more information about Imperial Assault, see the the FFG page here.

I started playing Imperial Assault about six months ago, after talking to some of the guys who I play X-Wing with, and finding out that they also play it. One particular member of our local gaming community went over to Worlds and participated in both X-Wing and Imperial Assault, and he was telling me how the game works and how much he loves it.

I decided to see how popular it was, and after connecting with the local Imperial Assault group in Melbourne, a couple of the members were just about to put on a session to teach new players how to play the game, particularly Skirmish. Thinking this would be a good way to see the game mechanics in action, I went along, and I got to play a couple of games using their models, and really enjoyed the tactical aspect of the individual models and their activations, and the strategic aspects of when to use what character/squad and how to react to what your opponent might do in their turns.

As luck would have it, about a week after this session I was at another of our friendly local gaming stores, and they were having a major stocktake sale. I managed to get a ridiculously good deal on the Core Set and one of the major expansions, Return to Hoth. This got me onto a very slippery slope, because it wasn’t long after that before I had bought the Alliance Rangers, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jabba the Hutt, and Jabba’s Realm expansions, so that I had all the maps and tiles I needed to play competitively with the current map rotation at the time (there is a shortlist of 3 maps that are in tournament rotation at a time, and each map has two different scenarios, and each round of a tournament will use a randomly generated scenario from this list).

I managed to get a bit of a jank squad together for the next monthly tournament, and had a blast playing! There is a pretty solid group of 8 or so players that always turn up every month for local tournaments, and they’re all great players, some of whom place very highly in the national tournaments, so the competition is excellent. And on top of that, they’re all legendary blokes so it’s a great time.

Fast forward a few months, and the next major expansion, Heart of the Empire is released, and it’s associated ally and villain packs, adding Maul, Ahsoka, and Palpatine to the game. On top of this, the expansion also included updates for Han Solo, Chewbacca, and Darth Vader. This really brought all three of those major Star Wars characters back into the game in a big way. Vader is a close range monster who is really hard to take down, just like the last scene in Rogue One!

A few weeks before regionals though, I’m still stuck on the Scum Hunters meta, using Jabba, Onar, IG-88, Vinto, a squad of elite Weequay pirates, and adding a Clawdite Shapeshifter, which came in the Heart of the Empire box. I haven’t had enough time to run any other squad enough to be comfortable taking it to a regional tournament, but I was starting to get very concerned with how my list would fare against Vader/Palpatine or Han/Chewie.

NLG Ringwood were kind enough to put on an additional Q4 store kit tournament a week before regionals, to give our local players one last chance to try out a list before regionals and see how it goes. The night before this tournament I was agonising about which list to take, but after discussing with the other DDD guys, I decided to stick with what I know and take the Scum Hunters. As one of the guys pointed out, IG-88 is a death dealing killing machine, literally! I took my list to the tournament, and managed to come first, gaining some great experience on some of the other list types out there, particularly against Vader/Palp/eJets/Officers on the Mos Eisley Back Alleys map in the last round, the exact matchup I was most scared of (that game was an absolute EPIC game, very close all the way to the end).

My hopes being buoyed a bit, I decided to stick with it and take the list to regionals today. The result?

A solid 7th place, with my fourth round game being an absolute bloodbath, another epic game to finish off a tournament with!

This was my first ever regional tournament of any FFG game, a great experience, and I just want to take a moment to shout out to the Melbourne Imperial Assault community for being so welcoming to new players, so chilled about the game and having a good time, while still being competitive and pushing each other to new heights. I had an absolute blast today, so much so that I’m going to go to another Imperial Assault tournament tomorrow!

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