A skilled pilot is simply what separates an awesome pilot from the rest of us. Yes there is certainly luck however it's not a measurable commodity and game experience coupled with player skill is what will consistently allow a player to make gains time and again.
Movement is the most important aspect of X-wing, like most war games if you have the better position you will often come out with the advantage over the course of the game. In X-wing this is attributed to having a better firing position onto the enemy squad but also positioning yourself to take little or no return fire at all. Obviously there are some exceptions to this such as turreted weapons etc. Back to the war games comparison, being a long time Warhammer in some editions where random movement was a primary factor the consistently top placed players were the ones who simply owned the movement element of the game, they knew where to place units, when to move them and how to react to the opponent.
I often have a lot of trouble after the initial joust anticipating where my opponent will decide to fly, that's an art form in itself I believe. Yesterday I was playing my 7 year old son and his experience (or inexperience) simply caught me off guard because of his manoeuvres. He constantly pulled unexpected turns and when I'd think he'd be turning in a small arc to gain a range 1 shot he'd simply zoom out with a 4 straight leaving me in a poor position. Of course it was infuriating to be getting out smarted by a young kid but it was also amazing to know was processing this game at an incredible rate and making excellent decisions not based off what I was doing but reacting to his own plan he had from the opening turn.
My kids have the habit (as we all have I'm sure) of taking the biggest ship that catches their attention, in this case he was running Chewbacca backed up with a K-wing. I was running 4 X-wings for a giggle and an attempt to 'get back to the basics' of the game and learn said 'Art of Flying' and it turns out my son was a valuable teacher. For what felt like dozens of turns he slowly but surely applied more damage than what he took by wide encirclements, separating his ships and pulling completely unexpected moves that I would expect an experienced or 'logic' player to use however he kept confusing me. By the time I was able to take Chewbacca out of the game I was left with a very crippled X-wing and one at full strength against an unshielded K-wing which was able to drop the crippled X-wing before it's own demise.
I congratulated my son on such a well fought out game and immediately told him how much he had taught me. His little 7 year old face couldn't quite comprehend being told that he'd been teaching a 30+ year old man a lesson about a game but at the end of it he was pretty chuffed with himself and that was more than enough motivation for him to want another game.
Speaking of another game today I'm going to run the 5 x A-wing list in an attempt to overwhelm one of my opponents but more so I'm looking for the next lesson to take away and apply to my gaming experience.
Thanks for reading.