The next Top Gun Pilot is nobody else than Mike (Dennis). Not Magic Mike, but he does look similar.
He is also a great X-Wing player and member of the best X-Wing Team in the UK.
The 186th Squadron is a team like the „Deadly Pink flying Unicorns of Death, Doom and Destruction“ except they have different shirt-colors and like us they have also great players and because of they are from UK they know how to drink pints.
Mike also has an own YouTube channel where he talks about and all sorts of games and gives short previews/reviews.
Check it out.
1. Since when have you been playing X-Wing?
I started playing X-Wing in July 2014. I believe wave 4 was just coming out, or had just come out. The first list I ran was 6 bandits and Jan Ors flying a HWK-290 (yay wave 4!). The first list I ran, which was remotely competitive, was 2 Academy Pilots, 3 Alpha Interceptors and Howlrunner with a Hull Upgrade. There weren’t any 1 point EPTs at the time (other than Adrenaline Rush), so I had a 1 point initiative bid. Just as I was beginning to get really good at it players realised the power of Whisper, became really good at flying her and ruined everything!
2. What is or was your favorite 100 Point Squadron?
I think that my favourite list remains aces and a support. It was Whisper/Soontir/Doom Shuttle, then it became Vader/Soontir/Palp Shuttle and then Fenn/Teroch/Manaroo. Currently I’m flying Whisper with VI, FCS, ACD and Agent Kallus with two Delta Defenders with the title x7. It’s almost like I have come full circle back to the Wave 4 meta, but with a few critical differences! I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the list I took to second place at the Nordic nationals Whisper with VI, FCS, ACD and Rebel Captive; Soontir with PTL, Royal Guard title, Targeting Computer and Autothrusters and the Lambda-Class Shuttle with Darth Vader crew.
3. Do you have a favorite Ship or Pilot that you try to include in your squads? (Due to the ability, Model, …)
I have a love/hate relationship with Whisper. I keep putting her in my squads. We have a saying that if you are being shot at with Whisper then you are flying her incorrectly, but turrets are an element of the game and eventually she always seems to blank out and die. Every time that happens I wish I could be a rebel player and just fly something really consistent. However, I keep coming back. It’s just the way she flies and moves that I love. My favourite model is the TIE Interceptor though, without a doubt it’s the coolest looking ship in the game. Then the Millennium Falcon cause… it’s the Millennium Falcon!
4. How do you build/find Squads? Do you have preferred tactics? Offensiv/defensiv? Do you prefer durable ships or Arcdodgers?
I want to like rebel consistency, and I have had some luck with Han Solo and more recently with Rey and Chopper. However, I keep going back to imperials. I think it’s primarily because I am so familiar with them. Soontir, The Inquisitor and Whisper are my ships; must be the gambler in me. I love Vader in the TIE Advanced too (especially with the Raider cards). Unfortunately he has been chased out of the current meta by Defenders. I do love the new x7 Defender; maybe I am just an Imperial junky!
When I’m building a list I tend to think about the lists that are prominent in the meta, and what the top players will be playing. I think about what I want to fly, or what I feel like flying (mostly based on which toys are new, or simply what mood I am in). I’m also a very aggressive player, so I think about ships and builds that play into that style. After that I think about the lists bad match ups. I try to find a compromise between ships I like, ships that can compete with common top meta lists and that have some tools to mitigate their bad match ups.
5. Is there a Ship that you would like a upgrade for? Either a title or new pilots.
It’s gotta be the StarViper. Not just because it clearly needs the love, but because it has the potential to be a really interesting ship, but just isn’t quite there. I have seen Virago Guri and Xizor do well, but they are very expensive and more often than not they become the centre piece of the list. If the Virago title wasn’t unique (and the ship was a bit cheaper) then you could do some really interesting and different kinds of builds with it. New pilots with interesting abilities would be cool too. It’s a shame the ship came out before they conceived of the tech upgrade slot. If any ship should have a tech slot it’s the Virago (and perhaps just the StarViper in general).
6. What was your greatest Achievement?
I’ve managed to avoid winning most of the big tournaments I have placed well in. The first store championship I won was the first tournament I won and was the biggest in the area at the time, so that is still a very fond memory. I’m also pretty proud of second place at the European Team Championship Singles event (I went undefeated, but lost out for first place on MoV).
7. Whats your opinion on the current development of X-Wing?
I’ve heard a few mutterings of “X-Wing 2.0”. I think that kind of talk is premature at this stage. Eventually the designers will address this because they have to. It is a symptom of the corporate business model; you can’t grow something forever and expect it to: A) remain the same and B) remain perfectly balanced.
Game balance is a very finessed art and full credit to the X-Wing playtesters (not to mention the designers) because they do a really good job, which is also a very difficult one. Ultimately it’s very difficult to tell how good something is until to put it on the table and play a game with it. X-Wing has a lot of different moving parts (and this number is only increasing exponentially), so it’s hard to tell how these elements will come together until you get something on the table and try it out. Due to the sheer volume of options we players tend to disregard certain ships, or upgrades, because they don’t suit our play style or because someone told us they aren’t competitive. In the end though the breadth of the competitive lists in this game is really broad and the designers (and playtesters) have done an excellent job to keep the game balanced, fun and interesting. It’s amazing how one small tweak changes everything. For example, see how Andrew Pattison proved that swarms were a potent and real threat in the Jumpmaster-heavy meta at the Yavin System Open 2016. The game designers changed one thing (Deadeye), and suddenly swarms are struggling to remain competitive.
I like the look of the new condition cards. I think they are a cool addition to the game. If the designers continue to be able to add new and interesting mechanics like this one to the game then I think we’ll see that X-Wing still has a lot of longevity to it. I don’t think Fantasy Flight Games are averse to taking risks and I really like the way they handle changes to game balance. I have confidence that the game is going to continue to be fun and interesting for some time yet.
8. Whats your view of the community?
The X-Wing community is absolutely fantastic. I couldn’t hope for a better gaming community. I have had a few negative experiences, and heard some horror stories about players, but ultimately these are very few and far between, and these examples don’t coincide with top level players and large event finals either. The best X-Wing players in the world continue to show incredible sportsmanship, comradery and enthusiasm for the game and the community. This is a massive part of what makes X-Wing a such a fun experience. It astounds me how large the community has become, and that it has managed to retain this ambiance.
9. Where do you collect/exchange information about X-Wing?
I was very fortunate to join a league when I first picked up the game. I couldn’t convince my girlfriend to play, so I went to the local game store to play (something I hadn’t done in 10 years at the time). There was a local league, so I joined and the players from that league became the 186th Squadron (186th.org). Largely my X-Wing discussion has been within the squad as we all share this enthusiasm for the game and desire to compete. Now that I have travelled all over Europe to play I have made so many friends from other countries who share this enthusiasm. I talk to them often and we spit ball lists or ideas. There are so many players out there, cool ideas and different nuanced metas. It’s fascinating to hear different people’s take on things and why they make the choices they do. Sometimes a seemingly small change (like swapping Gunner for R2-D2 crew) can make the difference between success and failure. I think this is one of the primary reasons we started the 186th Squadron Podcast, that and also James Dowdall loves talking.
There is so much enthusiasm for this game, and teams have been formed everywhere! Locally we have the Zombie Squadron, Sparkle Motion, Wamp Rats and not far away are Bristol Vanguard and the Weekend Warlords. I bet if you look for players you won’t have to look too far.
And there are the podcasts! These guys are great bunch of people with a ton of enthusiasm for the game. I have to recommend ours of course; The 186th Squadron Podcast, but there is the infamous NOVA Squadron Radio, Scum and Villainy Podcast, Mynock Squadron Podcast and Back to Dials to name just a few.
10. Are there any Pilots or Crew members you are missing from Books, TV-Shows, Movies, Comics, Games?
Where is Obi-Wan? He is super important to this whole thing and he has been left out! Dengar has two cards in the game and he is only in that one scene on The Executor! One Obi-Wan Kenobi card please Fantasy Flight Games. Actually it would be cool to see Starkiller from The Force Unleashed too. I think the character is ok, but I just really like dark side force users in X-Wing. It feels cool to play pilots like Darth Vader and The Inquisitor.