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Network Musings March 13, 2019

I’ve been building a robust small network to do my CCNA ICND1 & 2 studies, using my ESXI server to run 4 IOS XRV’s connected to my servers PFsense firewall and virtual tacacs server.

I’ve come up against a bunch of things which have made this not necessarily as straight forward as it should be.

Getting the IOS XRV’s to run took a bit of manhandling, but we got there in the end (hint you need a console connection to them which you need to either have the full Licence for ESXI or configure them somewhere else and import them into ESXI (which I did).

Using IOS XRV for CCNA studies means you need to do things a little differently, as the default doesnt really exist, you need to either use IPV4 or IPV6 when using the appropriate commands.
Good example: assigning an IP address to an interface, in normal IOS you’d use the following:
conf t
int gi0/0
ip add 192.168.0.1 255.255.255.0
no shut

In IOS XRv you’d do the following:

conf t
int gi0/0/0/0
ipv4 add 192.168.0.1/24
no shut
commit

Also with IOS XRv is follows the trail of JUNOS in that you need to commit your config changes, to prevent issues occurring cause of a bad config change (which we all know is super easy in normal IOS).

In my current network, I have 4 IOS XRvs, each with an interface going to another IOS XRv, a loop back on 1, 2 , and 3, in the 192.168.255.0/28 netwroks, RIP provides connectivity, this is mostly because ICND1 only really looks at RIP v2. When I progress to ICND2 I’ll activate OSPF.

I installed Open NMS, and a Tacacs server to allow single point of authorisation and authentication, meaning I dont need to set up multiple users on each network element.

I also found because the internal 192.168.0.0/24 networks live in a different space (network) than the 172.16.0.0/24 net, we had some issues with TACACs workig correctly. in the end this was found to be the TACACs server not being able to send information back to the routers that sent the request initially even though you could ping and trace route the tacacs server. I added a static route to the 192.168.0.0 nets to the tacacs server and low and behold all the IOS XRv’s can now be authenticated via TACACs.

I’ll have more info coming soon!

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Categories: networking

Back on the CCNA bandwagon…with esxi March 6, 2019

Ok so its been a while since i talked about networking (the computer kind not the people kind), and im a little bit excited to say the least.

Im current going through the icnd1 book and have almost completed it, but rather than use gns3 via a virtualised linux guest on my esxi server i managed to get Cisco’s ios xrv 1000 working properly.

Basically my current topology is pretty limited (just 2 ios xrvs and 2 junos vmxs) but it works.

Theres a couple things i eventually found out particularly with the ios xrv.

First to make it work in esxi you need serial dupport which is only available in the top tier esxi licence.

Secondly ensure you have sufficient memory and resources.

I would suggest once the virtual boxes are configured id set up ssh and tunnel your way into the virtual boxes via that instead. Less headaches that way.

Also another thing to remember the network cards listed in the virtual machine stats wont reflect whats actually there.

For ios xrv the first network card is the management port (but we dont use that one) so the ports start from nic2 on in esxi.

Vmx needs to use the first two interfaces the rest are counted 0 to what ever.

Ill write up another blog detailing the configuration and some tips about both the ciscos and the juniper boxes.

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The Y-wing is coming for you March 4, 2019

The unassuming Y-wing, hardly the pinnacle of firepower or manoeuvrability, has started to become pretty prevalent.

There’s a few reasons why, and we shall discuss them in turn.

The first is due to the recent points drop, makes them a better value proposition compared to other ships. This means you can fit more of them in, thus having more redundancy and firepower.

The next is the fact for a min of 31 points you can have an 8 health ship. Points to health wise, its probably one of the best, points to resiliency probably a ship or two behind the dreaded Defender.

Also the ship can take a variety of upgrades to make it very efficient for the points cost. The most common is taking Ion Cannon Turret (4 points) and Veteran Turret Gunner (6 points), making for a double shotting base y-wing (gray squadron bomber or cryomorah goons) 41 points. Thats a pretty offensive punch for a small point cost (comparatively).

Another feature is also the fact they can take bombs (sorry devices), combined with the prior reason, you have a strong combination to do some damage and then roll the enemy ship into a proton bomb.

With the push towards more resilience based lists over ace type, means that ships like the y-wing are much more in demand.

The Y-wing is a very jousty ship. It wants to joust you. It can take damage, it can put it out. Combined with the Veteran Turret Gunner and Ion Cannon Turret, makes it a very formidable opponent indeed.

How to handle it?

Try to avoid the initial joust!. Sometimes this can be easier said than done, but careful planning of the asteroids, and placing of your ships will help you avoid the initial joust, and get around the sides of the Y-wings. You want to avoid the double tap, and sometimes it may not be possible, but with careful movement planning its possible to mitigate the joust.

Be thankful they dont have FCS.

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Categories: xwing

Why is Vennie so damn good in Hyperspace February 26, 2019

Vennie. After the post from PhilGC see here, Vennie has become pretty hot. And its easy to see why.

His ability grants him the ability to add a focus to any defence dice he throws IF the attacking ship is in any friendly ship turret arc (this includes his own.

So, in saying that, you have a ship that can generate some crazy defence if you take c3p0 or perceptive co-pilot.

Heres a pretty crazy combo I’ve played with in place of the usual (‘3p0, rey & vet turret gunner):

Vennie (62)
Pattern Analyzer (5)
Perceptive Copilot (8)
Finn (10)
Rey (14)

Ship total: 99

We already know how good rey/finn interaction is, well here it is on an even doper set up. In theory, Vennie can survive a possible 4 damage in one attack (range 3 primary attack [or HLC] in front arc) assuming you roll double evades admittedly.

But still that should put pause to you. Infact this vennie synergises with M9G8 beautifully, if he is attacking out the front arc you get an additional die to play with.

Now is this worth the loss of the double tap. Potentially. You could always keep vet turret gunner in place of finn, your defence wont be as good (in theory), but you do get more shots off (3 + 2 base).

Something to think about for sure.

Tomorrow I’m going to run over the Toronto System open winning list (and the runner up – the final had a bit of controversy so both lists need to be looked at).

Laters.

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Categories: xwing

Post Points update Xwing 2.0 February 13, 2019

So the points update has happened, and while a lot of it wasnt too surprising there was a couple of big surprises that threw a lot of people. The points changes can be viewed here:

Comparison Spreadsheet

Looking at the big call outs, big ships generally got a point reduction (except for upsilons), Moldy Crow title is 50% more (18 v 12), Tie Phantom lost its crew slot and gained a gunner slot (I had predicted this was a possibility), and proton torps got bumped to 12 points. Also Primed Thrusters and Supernatural reflexes are initiative based points (32 on vader!!). Leia and Han Gunner are two examples where they took too much of a change, I’ll explain further on.

The spready gives us some useful information to play with, especially when looking at the current meta, and how it will evolve.

Whisper (or any phantom for that matter) was a problem with Vader crew, and I’m glad its been fixed, a few people aren’t but eh, cant please everyone. If you coudln’t understand why vader crew is so broken on whisper, then you clearly don’t understand how manoeuvrable Phantoms are, and how they have a good chance of having you in their front arc more often than not.

Aside from that, now that we have some good points reductions, we are slowly starting to see ships that dont get much play, actual play time.

A good example of this is probably the E-wing, it was pretty much not played at all, but now with the points reductions, its actually seeing play. (I use it in a couple builds which I’ll discuss after)

Other ships are now seeing a bit more play, as you can fit things with them and make them worth while.

As for probably 2 of the other biggest surprises, is Leia for Rebels, gone from 8 to 2, means she is practically in every rebel list now. Every three turns, you can spend the 3 points to perform red manoeuvres as white, makes it incredibly powerful. Combine with something like Lando, or a b-wing heavy list and its quite scary. I believe they went too hard on her, and I’ll bet next points update, Leia will go to between 4-5 points. 8 is too high, 2 is too low, I think 4 would work.

Han gunner for scumm is the exact opposite, he was being used in a lot of scumm lists (including the ubiquitous Boba Fett w/ Marauder + Han Gunner), FFG bumped his points up by 200%, making him now 12 points. Once again, FFG have done the exact opposite of Leia and banged the points up to an almost unplayable level. I think once again, like Leia, there will be another points adjustment come the next points change, and Han will probably go down to about 6-8 points.

Since the points changes, I’ve been able to run a pretty interesting Rebel set up, I’ve got two builds, one Swarm Tactics based, the other a 4 ship list:

Swarm Wedge:
Braylen Stramm — A/SF-01 B-Wing 47
Crack Shot 1
Advanced Sensors 10
Jamming Beam 0
Ship Total: 58

Gavin Darklighter — E-Wing 61
Swarm Tactics 3
Fire-Control System 2
Proton Torpedoes 12
R4 Astromech 2
Ship Total: 80

Wedge Antilles — T-65 X-Wing 52
Swarm Tactics 3
R4 Astromech 2
Servomotor S-foils 0
Ship Total: 57

This list comes in at 195 points, and gives you some hard hitting shots, that pretty much guarantees a crit every attack thanks to Gavin.

I’ve been trialling a different version with 4 ships, and no Swarm Tactics:

Wedge and the Gang:
Braylen Stramm — A/SF-01 B-Wing 47
Jamming Beam 0
Ship Total: 47

Gavin Darklighter — E-Wing 61
R4 Astromech 2
Ship Total: 63

Wedge Antilles — T-65 X-Wing 52
R4 Astromech 2
Servomotor S-foils 0
Ship Total: 54

AP-5 — Sheathipede-class Shuttle 32
Leia Organa 2
Ship Total: 34

This list is more about getting shots into your opponent, while double modding either wedge and Stramm.

Both lists have been pretty decent, and I’ll need more practice with them to get the best out of them, but they’re possible now since the point update.

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Categories: xwing

Looking into the magic 8 ball – First Order December 27, 2018

Ok, so I’ve been playing a LOT of First Order of late. Its swung between two main builds:

1) Kylo, QD and Null
2) Dormitz, QD and Null.

I’ve found the first one, ran into issues if I didnt have a big enough bid,and kylo moved first, things became problematic to say the least. Kylo, more so than any other pilot aside from Soontir really wants to move last! His 2 shield 4 hull may seem solid, it goes down like a wet paper bag if you are not careful.

After facing several upsilon ships, I decided to ditch kylo and take Dormitz for his deployment ability. So far, I feel this version is leaps and bounds better than almost any other FO build, and infact, as I’ll touch on later 3 ship builds for resistance seem to be the most effective as well.

My current Dormitz, QD and Null build is this:


Lieutenant Dormitz — Upsilon-Class Shuttle 60
Pattern Analyzer 5
Hyperspace Tracking Data 2
Captain Phasma 5
Shield Upgrade 4
Ship Total: 76

"Quickdraw" — TIE/SF Fighter 45
Pattern Analyzer 5
Special Forces Gunner 10
Fire-Control System 3
Shield Upgrade 6
Ship Total: 69

"Null" — TIE/FO Fighter 31
Fanatical 2
Pattern Analyzer 5
Afterburners 8
Ship Total: 46

This list has some odd choices, but they work. Let me explain:

Dormitz with a shield upgrade?? WTF?? Yup. 1 extra shield may seem over kill, but the ability to weather 2 proton torp attacks before you go into its soft chewy centre can make a big difference particularly over the course of a game.

Also Shield upgrade on QD?? WTF?? This one shouldnt be so surprising, again, its about surviving the inevitable proton torp shot, if you can loose 2 shield, the opponent is going to hate popping shops at you after that. Once bitten twice shy and all that.

Null in general, people often attack him first, I usually had shield upgrade on him, which makes him quite survivable.

Im still toying with the idea of dropping afterburners back for the shield upgrade, but fanatical and pattern analyzer make good sense on him simply because of their efficiency. (Pattern analyzer, is actually a lot more filthy than the other options in the tech slot, try it with the quad jets!!).

Everything else should be pretty common sense.

In saying that – its bed time for me!

Cheers,
Heath

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Categories: xwing

Why Quickdraw is one of the most annoying units in X-Wing right now December 21, 2018

Currently in X-wing there are some interesting ships floating around. We’re seeing a preponderance of Poe, Rey, Redline, Whisper, and even Soontir.

However, I honestly think with all the double tap shenanigans going on, QD could actually be the most annoying ship currently out there.

Currently the usual build starts out like this:


"Quickdraw" — TIE/SF Fighter 45
Special Forces Gunner 10
Ship Total: 55

However, to build to taste, you really need to add some defense in there, to really maximise the use of her double tap.

So we add in Shield Upgrade 6 bringing our total to 61.

From here, we could build further, but at this point QD is quite solid. However, you could always add Fire Control System 3 and maybe to take advantage of Special Forces Gunner Trick Shot 1 while in between obstacles.

I’ve tried Juke on QD and it works rather well, but you really need a way to provide coordinate support to her, unlike phantoms, Juke isnt a must however.

QD is pain to deal with, as generally you will find she moves last, and always has an arc facing you, so if you have arc on her, you may not want to shoot at her, if she will possibly finish off a ship in her arc. I’ve had several games where QD has been the only ship in my opponents arc, and they didnt shoot at her because of the possibility of taking another 3-4 attack dice.

Now, lets look at SF Gunner, QD is in very rarefied territory of a ship having not one but top possible bonus attacks. Admittedly one happens after you lose a shield, the SF Gunner one happens if your arc in in your rear arc. Admittedly, it can only be 2 attack dice, unless you are in range 1, or obstructed with trick shot, it can be a powerful tool to prevent followers, and especially at PS6, makes an interesting side dish of hate.

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Tails of the 5 Ship Rebel List December 11, 2018

I’ve been spending some time playing a 5 ship rebel list, and thus far pretty happy with its results.

Theres more work to be done, but Im getting there I believe.

AP-5 — Sheathipede-class Shuttle 30
Ship Total: 30

Blue Squadron Escort — T-65 X-Wing 41
Proton Torpedoes 9
Servomotor S-foils 0
Ship Total: 50

Wedge Antilles — T-65 X-Wing 52
Servomotor S-foils 0
Ship Total: 52

Roark Garnet — HWK-290 Light Freighter 38
Ship Total: 38

Lieutenant Blount — Z-95-AF4 Headhunter 30
Ship Total: 30

This is the list so far, and I’ll explain some modifications I’ve made to it since.

The two most important parts are weirdly enough, Roark, and AP-5. Both ships give me the flexibility I need to put the PS5 gang at bay.

Roark, is simply because he lets me shoot at PS7, and AP-5 allows me to coordinate actions even to stressed (just one though) ships.

I like the idea of Blount however, Im not too keen on his resiliency. So I’ve swapped him out for Sabine in a Tie Fighter, as well as moved the Torpedo’s to Wedge. Generally I’ll gun for the weakest ship in my opponents list and try and tag team it with everyone.

Im trying Cavern Angels instead of Blue Squadron Escort, just so I can fit on deadmans switch, which makes the xwing a bit of a time bomb. A fairly resilient timebomb admittedly.

The main idea with this list is to basically try and trap the enemy within a bit of a kill box, boxing them between Roark, the xwings and ap-5. Sabine/Blount, is more for straggler duties.

Im still not entirely happy with this list, but more testing is required.

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Why are things so…common…?? December 4, 2018

Ok, the title, may seem a little wacky, but when you read the article, you may be like, “aaahhh I get it” and then (hopefully) “why is that the case!”.

So far for each class of ship, they have the same dial, and the same upgrade stack aside from the EPTs (Elite Pilot talents – called talents in 2.0).

It got me to thinking, why is this the case? Why does poe, have the same upgrade stack as a blue squadron rookie aside from the EPT??

Surely he’d have a more customised ship, and thus more options for upgrades?

The primary answer to this, is to make the dev’s lives a little easier, for balance purposes. But with the AI and deep learning tools available these days, surely they could utilise those data munching techniques to mix things up? It appears not to be the case sadly.

Interestingly, upgrade slots and point costs are the two variables they can change up with out having to errata a card.

FFG have announced previously that they will be doing point massaging in January sometime. Now will this also mean some changes to some upgrade slots? It could, and some ships could definitely use a change to their upgrade slots for sure.

I’ve talked about this with regards to Boba Fett (and the firespray in general), but from an overall perspective, there could be some ships that benefit from a slight tweak to their upgrade stack. Hell even tweak some individual pilots to maybe have an additional upgrade slot, or remove a slot as the case may be as a balancing option, rather than just a point adjustment.

I’m definitely for point adjustments, but in some cases, I think the ships in question are already pretty expensive, and are pretty borderline. Boba being a very good example of this, and maybe guri to a lesser extent.

But we also have to remember this isnt taking things into isolation but in reference to the other ships available.

I expect however, FFG will probably just do the easy way out and just do some point adjustments, and to be fair – I dont expect them to be the ones we expect them to be. Expect a few surprises in there for sure.

As an added gift, I’ll give you a couple ships/upgrade cards where I believe they will get a point adjustment and why.

Palob – palob is a critical piece with a lot of scum lists, expect to see the ship pop up a little bit in points about, 3-4 at most.

Proton Torps – this is a given, considering their popularity, however, I dont think they will get a point increase, just most other missiles/torps will get a point decrease, except for…

Barrage Rockets – Expect these to get hit with a 2-3 point increase at most. Very common and very useful, not as awesome as proton torps, but still highly effective.

Tie Phantoms – Expect maybe a slight point increase for these ships, maybe 2-3.

YT2400 – We will probably see a slight point reduction here, but not much – I’d be surprised if dash gets one – but the others definitely. Probably 3-5 across the board (dash aside).

Jump Master 5K – ewww what a pile of dog poo. Definitely no where near as good as the 1.0 variant, even with its upgrade slots available. My expectation is we will see a pretty decent point drop on these babies, even dengar(!), I think as much as 10 points, currently, its almost unflyable, especially with all the other super efficient ships Scum has.

Decimator – Another big ship thats probably over costed, arguably, so, I think if they do give it a point cost reduction, it will hopefully be a fair bit, as is, its pretty much unusable, especially when you have ships like the upsilon class shuttle, a good 24 points cheaper for 2 less hull, 1 more agility, and no turret (and no bomb slot), while we wont see a 20 point reduction, but more likely a 10-15 at most.

Anyways, I’ll leave it at that, happy flying!

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Back to Basics in 2.0

X-wing 2.0 is a similar beast but yet a much different one to 1.0. The game has changed substantially, yet is still the same, the game is coming back to a manoeuvring game more than a pure slugfest of 1.0.

My nats experience showed me that my ability to manoeuvre is severely lacking, so what do you do? You practice, and stick with a list. As some of you may know, Im terrible in that regard, I hate playing the same thing over and over again. But the reality is if I am going to improve I will need to stick with a particular list, or at least a couple of elements of the list.

There is several options available for a good ship for properly playing the manoeuvre game.

The obvious 3 is Soontir, Darth Vader and Fenn Rau.

Lets have a look at all 3 options, and potential combos with other ships.

Lets have a look at the dials


This is the Dial of the Fang Fighter.


Interceptor Dial.


Tie Advanced x1 Dial.

Looking at the dials, the first thing that stands out is how similar all 3 dials are, particularly the Fang and Interceptor. The only tangiable differences is the fact the Fang does Talons while the Interceptor does sloops, and the interceptor has 2, 3, and 4 forward blues, while the Fang only has 2 & 3 forward blues.

The native ability of the Interceptor makes it much more manoeuvrable (ability to perform a boost or barrell roll after performing an action) than the Fang (which is more about getting into front arc and range 1 of your opponent), and the Tie Adv X1.

Im going to focus on the Imperials as they really benefit playing the outmanoeuvre game with their abilities.

My current idea is this:
Soontir, Vader & Pure Sabacc.

Thats 166 base. Which leaves some decent points for upgrades.

First Im going to waste some points on shield upgrade for Pure Sabacc, as his ability actually is worth having the shield on him, which is 6 points.

Next up is mandatory FCS on vader, due to the ability x1 has. This leaves 25 points.

Following that, Id argue Soontir really benefits from having predator due to his pilot ability gaining a focus by being in the bullseye.

More talk about this another day. I have something else I need to get off my chest first…

 

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