I'll be the first to admit that my... somewhat unorthodox approach to squad building in X-Wing doesn't always pay dividends. I spend too much on whiz-bang gadgets, end up with too few ships on the table... and then the swarm-stomp eats my lunch. I am too enamored with those shiny Mangler Cannons, and Proton Missiles, and Engine Upgrades, and Elite Skills, and, and, and...
The most logical (read: boring) outcome would be that I use those losses as a teaching moment, and change my tactics.
If ever I am close to revisiting my tactics, the five year old in me drags it's grape-jelly-slathered angsty self to the forefront of my conscience, stomps its dirty foot, and steadfastly insists I keep hitting myself in the head with the hammer... because the next time will be different. I never learn, and it never is.
Except... when it works...
Rewind the clock to about a month ago. Maniacal laughter echoed throughout the house as I exuberantly sprained my arm patting myself on the back. I had undoubtedly cobbled together The Scum List To End All Scum Lists (TSLTEASL). Came up with a sooper-slick moniker for this I-WIN button... "Mangled Crow". How cool is that?! No need to be a gracious loser this time... no sir! I would sustain myself on the tears...
Whatever. You get the point.
PS7 Palob would front this merry band of sure-fire-thing; dealing scorching death death from range 3 and stacking Focus so high I wouldn't be able to see my opponent across the table. His backup singers, the Three Sisters of the Critpocalypse, would make short work of pesky low-PS Tie Fighters with their Manglers... gleefully shredding cockpits and setting fires as they flit about the board like angry crit-slinging wasps.
At least... that was the plan...
Secure in the knowledge that the world was simply not prepared for my level of genius, I anxiously awaited the scheduled arrival of my prey... ahem, my worthy opponent.
Then, it happened...
The rotten no-good, double-dealing, floor-flushing such-and-such rails against my meticulously constructed plan for cosmic domination. Instead of the expected Tie Swarm variant, jerk drops a PS8 Decimator on the table, with Expose and a Mercenary Copilot in the passenger seat. Thus ensuring any defeat was as humiliating as possible. I think Kir Kanos and a couple of Academy Pilots may have been thrown in there for good measure. Not sure, as I was too fixated on that stupid Decimator to really notice.
In case you haven't caught on at this juncture... this is not the part that works. Not even close. To be fair, Mangled Crow is not a bad list. I fully believe it would have performed, had I not suffered from an acute case of cranial-rectal inversion for the entirety of the game. I won't relay the blow-by-blow, as it is too painful and too recent for me to confront. Suffice to say; mistakes were made. I ran the Three Sisters way too close and spent the first three rounds playing bumper-car conga line with them... leaving them unable to perform even the simplest of action. However, the pinnacle of idiocy that day... the true Pièce de résistance of ineptitude, was the number of times I did not fire the Manglers.
See... Palob needs to blow a Focus to fire that Blaster Turret. I was so focused (heh) on keeping Palob alive that I deluded myself into believing that the same held true for the Manglers. As The Sisters had no Focus (or anything else action-related) for half the game... they were relegated to a 2-dice attack. Right?
Wrong. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
Inevitable result is inevitable. I lost. Soundly.
The image of a gloating Decimator was seared into my brain, framed in the burning wreckage of what was once TSLTEASL. I vowed at that dark moment I would accommodate neither sleep nor sustenance until the glorious day I see it fall (not strictly true... I've slept and eaten plenty since then).
From that ignoble defeat, came the spark that would become TLTAW... The List That Actually Works. However, as this post is already well past wall-of-text, TLTAW will have to wait until the sequel: Part II, This Time It's Again.