Category: Star Wars

X-Wing: VT-49 Decimator

Wave 5 is going to give Imperials access to their first 360 degree turret in the form of the VT-49 Decimator, so lets take a look at exactly what this brick is going to bring to the table.

The Decimator is a bit of a first on a few fronts, its the Imp’s first turreted ship, it has an Agility of 0 (more on this later) but also it has its routes in the Star Wars Galaxies MMORP, every other ship, even the stuff from Wave 4 was routed in the EU in some form of story, but the VT-49 was introduced to Galaxies purely to give the Imperials an evil Falcon to fly.

It is fitting then that FFG have taken the opportunity to do a similar thing for X-Wing but whilst it would be easy to thing of the Deci as an Imp Falcon there is a lot more to it than that.

OK, so the Falcon comparison starts off well with the 3 Attack dice Turret primary weapon but for X-Wing thats where the similarities end.
0 Evade dice with 12 Hull and 4 Shields give the Decimator a different feel, its a lumbering giant that you can hit but can you kill it?

The dial for the Decimator is also an interesting one;

No Red manÅ“uvres whilst maintaing all of the 2’s and 3’s makes it an interesting ship to fly but if you do get it stressed it becomes a little trickier as the green is very limiting with none on the 1 manoeuvres.

In my mind the combination of Stats and Dial make it an extremely offensive focuses ship and with only Focus or Target Lock available as actions that does nothing to really change my mind.

Upgrade wise though things really do get interesting.
Having no less than 3 Crew Slots, a Bomb and Torpedo Slot and access to Modifications and a Title on even the PS 3 Patrol Leader make the Decimator an extremely versatile ship build wise but at 40 points for PS 3 it is also a weighty investment as it will no doubt end up costing a good percentage of your points.

The Named Pilots add even more spice to the mix with all 3 of them adding access to an Elite Pilot Talent and  some interesting pilot abilities.

Caption Oicunn was probably the most spoken about when the news dropped about the Deci with his PS 4 and 42 points cost getting you the ability to Ram other ships and deal damage to them.  He is a natural fit for the Decimator Dauntless Title allowing him to perform a Free Action after overlapping an opponent in exchange for a stress token.
Mara Jade also fits in really well with his play style of getting stuck in, up close and personal.
Another option you can throw on him is the Tactical Jammer Upgrade to force enemies who shoot threw him to count their shots as obstructed.

That comes in at 48 points but can be a very powerful tool if you can support him correctly with your remaining 52 points.

Something like 3 Black Squadron Pilots with Predator could be a nice support element with a good damage output and keeping the PS4 theme going.

I would use Oicunn to run in to the enemy early and then try to push through their squad with brute force  and then giving the opponent the difficult choice of chasing the damaged decimator, which should be hard to do initially due to the stress induced by Mara Jade or leaving a damage ship to live in to the late game, therefor wasting the fire they initially put in to it.

Commander Kenkirk on the other hand walks the  line of trying to be defensive on a 0 Agility Ship.
Coming in at PS 6 for 44 points his Pilot Ability lets you gain 1 Evade Dice once you have 0 Shields and have suffered at least 1 point of Damage.
I have to admit that I am not really convinced on this one and do need a lot more playtesting as I think he forces you in to spending too many points on the Decimator leaving you short for standard play but could be a big hit in a 60 minute format.

For Kenkirk I am thinking somthing along the lines of the following to see just how much aggro he can take if used correctly;

With a bit of creative flying I think that this list could emulate some of the Fat Han lists out there but I just don’t think it will have the staying power as you can quite easily be down to 8 or 9 Hull points before Ysanne kicks , worst case is that you go in to a Combat Phase with 0 Shields and 12 Hull as then you miss out on the evade and can take another volly before Kenkirk activates.

The last Named Decimator pilot is Rear Admiral Chiraneau who brings his attack focused Pilot Ability to the table allowing you to turn an eyeball in to a Crit when attacking at range band 1 or 2.
Having that in built focus and 0 Evade dice for me he is crying out for an Engine Upgrade to give him a useful action to take which should make him a much more versatile ship to fly.

I have been toying with this PS10 based list;

The plan with this list it to alternate which ship you present as a target to your opponent and to take advantage of your High PS and versatility in movement that Boba and the Engine Upgrade allow to try to out fly your opponent.

Builds for the Patrol Leader I have found a little harder as I have been tempted to run one with just Vader but I struggle to justify the extra 19 points over an Omicron.  Although, if you can actually fly a Lambda well, this could be fun;

This list is about as subtle as a brick to the face but if you can pull it of it will kill things but one mistake and its GG as the Hull points are as forgiving as you may think.

I dont know about you guys but I am really excited to get this ship on to the table properly and try out some new things with the Imperials as I think it opens up some doors that have not been available to them in the past.  Whilst some people may lament the addition of more turrets to the game, I honestly think FFG have done an amazing job with the Decimator as all of the pilots seem to open up completely different possibilities and I am looking forward to seeing where it takes us!

Scum and Villainy, Most Wanted Z-95’s

A look at the upcoming Most Wanted expansion for the 3rd X-Wing Faction, Scum and Villainy.

Hi Folks,

After some much needed time away from X-Wing after competing in the Canadian Nationals event I am back in the saddle and rearing to go.

First on my hit list was to start talking about the announcement of a third faction for X-Wing, Scum and Villainy.

Whilst I am more than happy with the game the way it is now I cant help but be excited about the announcement of a third faction and there is enough information around now for me to form some opinions on how I think they will fit in to the game and what I am looking forward to.

The first thing I wanted to look at was the Most Wanted expansion as it is a new take on the way things work being an expansion that not only features cross faction ships but also comes with dials and cards for stuff not even in the box.  This new marketing approach and what it could mean for future releases is a topic for another day however as I really want to look at the toys you get in there and what they can do.

As you can see, its got a lot of stuff in there and first to the table is going to be the Z-95 Headhunter.

No just to clarify before I get too deep, the Scum Z’s have the same dial as the Rebel Z’s other than the fancy colour for scum.  The official ruling is that for any cross faction ships the paint job can be whatever but the dial, pilot card and pilot insert must be matched to the faction you are playing.

The Stats for the Z-95 is the same 2’s down the board that Rebel players are used to but there are some interesting differences non the less.

Despite sharing the same points cost as their Rebel counterparts the Binayre Pirate and Black Sun Soldier come in at one less pilot skill than the Bandit and Tala respectively.
With the stats, dials and action bars being the same what is this reactive points hike getting you?

Access to the all new Scum and Villainy exclusive Illicit Upgrade Slot.  Personally I am not a fan of paying points to grant me the ability to pay more points for something  but I have faith that FFG has the balance in mind when they made the decision but with only a limited knowledge of the upcoming illicit upgrades its hard to be sure just yet how worth while it will be.

Some of the Illicit Upgrades do sound fun though.

I can see some value in a few Binayre Pirates with Dead Man’s Switches whilst I think I would rather have Feedback Array on something a little beefier but arch dodging with Black Sun Soldiers and letting rip with the Array or Hot Shot could be fun too.

The named pilots is where the Scums play style really starts to show itself though.
Kaa’to Leeachos stealing your own tokens to beef himself up and has access to an Elite Pilot Talent so he can get access to the one turn Target Lock/ Focused attack to make Missiles a consideration.  With Veteran Instincts and Homing Missiles he comes in at a respectable 21 points but should provide a good bit of Alph damage to a squad.  I actually like the idea of playing him in a counter intuitive way for Scum and Villainy though and running him with Wingman along side something like a Push the Limit/Rec Spec Boba Fett as both ships could then be quite offensive with With Kaa’to taking Target Lock as an action whilst Boba takes Target Lock and Pushes the Limit for the Double Focus, then once the combat phase starts Kaa’to clears Boba’s stress and steals a Focus Token for his troubles.

N’dru Suhlak on the other hand is very much the loaner,having a built in Lone Wolf but for Attack only again having access to the EPT and coming in at PS 7 I can see value in sticking Predator on him, hugging the Flanks early and just re-rolling all day long on your attacks.
For a change I am not as much of a fan of paying for Veteran Instincts on this guy as though the PS 9 would be nice he is no Whisper with a 4 dice attack so unless you are going to pay for some Missiles as well it feels a bit wasted.

One build I am looking forward to trying out once Scum Hits is my Chaff with Chaff list;
Chaff and Chaff

Pilots
Mandelorian Mercenary (43)
Firespray-31 (35), Recon Specialist (3), Lone Wolf (2), Counter-Measures (3)
Binayre Pirate (14)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Dead Man’s Switch (2)
Binayre Pirate (14)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Dead Man’s Switch (2)
Binayre Pirate (14)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Dead Man’s Switch (2)
Binayre Pirate (14)
Z-95 Headhunter (12), Dead Man’s Switch (2)
Squad Cost 99

The not so subtle plan is to Bum Rush people with the Binayre’s whilst the Merc does his thing, your opponent then has the choice of taking the longer ranged shots at the relatively tanky Merc leaving the Headhunters to output damage of deal with the Z’s while they are up close meaning that they will be Self Destructing in his face for extra splash damage.

Should be fun to fly and a bit of a headache to play against!

Thanks for reading guys and I should be getting more of Scum and Villainy written up this week so check back soon!

X-Wing: YT-2400 “Outrider”

Having played a few games against the Outrider now I thought I should do a little write up for you all.

After Rebel Aces finally hits we have Wave 5 to look forward to, of course if you know anyone who was at Gen-Con you may already own or have played against the YT-2400 or the Decimator.

I am going to have a look at the YT-2400 first as it is the ship I have seen the most of on the table, (more to do with availability than power level so dont make any assumptions from that)

First up we will go over the old ground of the generic stats for the YT-2400 but we now have the added bonus of knowing what the dial looks like.

The Stats are very solid for the ship with 2 Attack on a 360 Turret, 2 Evade, 5 Hull and 5 Shields and when you couple that with the stupidly good dial and a built in Barrel Roll action.  This gives you an extremely maneuverable platform, the dial is only missing the 5 Ahead (and some more K-Turns) so whilst it is not stressed it could end up anywhere.

The lack of Greens needs to be exploited in my opinion as it is one of the best ways to pin it down with only the 4 Green Maneuvers.  The fix to how Large Base ships interact with Barrel Roll does make in not as scary as it could have been but it still jumps around the table if you don’t do something to pin it down.

Coming in at a base cost of 30 points for the PS 2 Wild Space Fringer it is a very interesting choice, competing with the raw offensive power that a higher end fighter like the B-Wing, E-Wing or some of the named X’s it adds a much more rugged package for a fall of in its offense.  If you compare it to the 27 Point YT-1300 I would say the extra 3 points are well worth it, the much better dial and action bar as well as the extra agility and better distribution of hit points makes the YT-2400 the stand out choice for me.

Once you move on to the Named Pilots and Upgrades things get a little more complicated.

Whilst both Leebo and Dash have interesting pilot abilities I honestly think that if I fielded them I would only be paying for the extra pilot skill without trying something overly gimmicky.
Eaden Vrill’s pilot ability is a little more interesting and depending on the rest of your list can be a very good value upgrade.  If you have any kind of Stress Generation in your list the extra 2 points is well worth it, especially due to his relatively low pilot skill letting him fire after you have had chance to use Flechettes or Tactician, Vrill with Gunner comes in at 37 points and can do a fair amount of work against a stressed target.

OK, so I have been avoiding it but I will have to talk about the Outrider and the Cannon Options.

The ability to take a Cannon is nice with the raw power of the Heavy Laser Cannon being a favorite for a long time now.  The ability to actually make that Cannon a Turret sound extremely good but, in my opinion the Points Cost when coupled with the restrictions that the turrets impose make this a less than optimal choice unless you have a specific plan in mind.

What I mean by that is that you are not just paying 5 points for the Outrider Title you are sacrificing the Primary Weapon as well, initially this may seem like a small cost as it is only a 2 dice Attack for 2 out of the 3 cannons available you are trading a 2 dice Attack for no attack at all if your opponent can fly well.  In an all comers list I think I would be most tempted to take the Ion Cannon as at least it maintains the ability to attack at all range bands even if it does sacrifice raw damage output.
The problem is that even on an otherwise naked Wild Space Fringer that comes in at 40 points and so I think you have to build the list around it.

On the table I have played against the Heavy Laser Cannon Outrider and if you don’t have any way to add stress to it you can out fly people due to the versatile dial and barrel roll to keep you out of range band 1 and I do think it works well with a Fat Han who can babysit the Outrider really well to punish anyone who does get in to range band 1, I am still not 100% sold on the 12 points and no range 1 attack though…

Thanks for reading guys and let me know about your experiences with the Outrider or what you are looking forward to the most from the pack.

Kris

X-Wing: Rebel Aces A-Wing

So, Han and Tyco walk in to a Bar…
It was Admiral Ackbar and they said sorry…

Bad Jokes aside its time to delve in to Rebel Aces and look at what the changes to the A-Wing will mean and how it will fit in with the evolving post Wave 4 Meta.

Well the announcement for Rebel Aces is hardly new news but I have avoided writing about it up until now as I wanted to give Wave 4 time to settle down and hope that FFG would show us a little more.

Luckily for me they obliged and we now have a good idea of the contend of the pack and obviously I will be looking at just the A-Wing in this post.

General opinion is that the A-Wing has the same problems as the TIE Advanced in that, even with its awesome dial, it just does not bring the punch to the table that justifies its points cost without loading it up with missiles.  The Munition Failsafe from the Z-95 does help with the option to load up with a Missile as it lets you keep the card if you miss but for those who didn’t want to take missiles at all the 17 point PS1 Blocking Prototype Pilot was just a bit steep for most tastes.

The first step for FFG has been to address this issue with the Chandaan Refit Missile Card.

This is A-Wing only and takes up your Missile Slot for -2 points.  (I am looking forward to the FAQ for if this is affected by the Munitions Failure Critical Hit as someone is bound to argue it.  Auto win for your opponent being over points…)

This lets you have the PS1 A-Wing for 15 points which is a lot more manageable to fit in to a list and makes an excellent blocker.
I really like the option it opens up as if you are not planning on using a missile than why not save points.

The Chardaan A-Wing should compete well with the Z-95 as the filler of choice in Rebel lists as it is more survivable due to its extra evade dice and has a much better dial.

Another nice option that will affect my thoughts on A-Wings is the Prototype Veteran Title Card for the A-Wing.

So any A-Wing other than the Prototype Pilot (makes sense doesn’t it…) can be a Prototype Veteran gaining an Elite Pilot Talent on their upgrade bar.  If you already have access to an EPT than you can take two as long as they are not the same.
All of this for the basement price of 0 Squad cost!

Some of the stuff I have been thinking about with this card are things like;
Push The Limit and Wingman on multiple A-Wings that will be Focus/Evading every round and clearing each others stress at the start of every combat phase.
Daredevil and Expert Handling on Tyco so you can Boost the Hard 1 and Barrel Roll for a stupidly fun ship to fly.

There are lost and lots of combinations that this card opens up and I like the idea of just going all out in one aspect but don’t let the 0 points cost fool you, the cost of a 2nd EPT will add up really quickly and untimely it is still on an A-Wing.

Before I look at the Two new A-Wing Pilots there is one last Card that I really want to talk about.

Proton Rockets are a new Missile that joins the Ion Pulse from Wave 3 as a 3 point Missile and at first glance it seems a bit dismissible.  2 Base attack at Range Band 1 that needs a Focus Token to fire.  The important part is the body of the text that lets you add your agility to the attack up to a maximum of 3 additional dice so suddenly the A-Wing has a 5 Dice range one attack that only need you to have a focus token to fire.

Given the Speed and Agility of the A-Wing it as not that hard to acquire a Target Lock on a target before you get in to Range Band 1 of it so you can set up a 5 Dice Target Lock and Focused attack with ease from a ship that can cost as little as 20 Points.

Five Prototype Pilots all with Proton Rockets is quite an intimidating prospect providing you can keep them all alive long enough to fire you 25 Dice volley!

Aces adds in 2 new Pilots, Gemmer Sojan and Jake Farrel, both of whom add some nice Pilot Abilities to the A-Wing.

Gammer is the cheaper option at 22 points and comes in at Pilot Skill 5 and is crying out to get in to you opponents face and take advantage of the extra Agility it gives him.
I would be tempted to run him with Chardaan Refit, Prototype Veteran, Push the Limit for a 23 point ship that can get in close and stay there for a good amount of time. (Green Dice dependant…)

Jake Farrel on the other hand lends himself to outflying your opponent.  Coming in at 24 points for Pilot Skill 7 I like the idea of running him as a Wingman for Tyco with Push the Limit as Jake can Focus and still Boost to keep pace with Tyco.  Not too bad for 49 Points if you Stick Chandaar Refit on both but probably wants some more punch to the list so I would lean towards the rest of the squad being Tanky with a Bit of Punch.  Maybe a Chewbacca with Falcon Title, C-3PO and Predator would work with that paring as if you are like me and find flying a Falcon Fairly boring, zoning around with two super manoeuvrable A-Wings could make it bearable.

Time to look at some other fun lists you can make with the A-Wings after Rebel Aces comes out.

===================
Tyco Can Be A Blast
===================
Pilots

Tycho Celchu (32)
A-Wing (26), A-Wing Test Pilot (0), Proton Rockets (3), Veteran Instincts (1), Swarm Tactics (2)

Green Squadron Pilot (24)
A-Wing (19), Proton Rockets (3), Swarm Tactics (2)

Green Squadron Pilot (24)
A-Wing (19), Proton Rockets (3), Swarm Tactics (2)

Prototype Pilot (20)
A-Wing (17), Proton Rockets (3)

100 points

This was a list I have been considering to counter the swing in the Meta toward high Pilot and Fat Falcons that use 3PO to have some extra sustain.

This list can get in to range 1 quickly, fire off 4 5 Dice Attacks that should be Target Locked and Focused and hopefully overwhelm the Falcons Evade + C-3PO combo.  As I can’t be bothered with the Math 4 Hits from a target locked focussed attack is not unreasonable of which 2 will be cancelled by 3PO and Evade Token.  That should let 2 hits through from the first Ship and then even if he rolls the natural evade for every attack you should put 9 more damage on to him.  So 11 Damage in one turn is not unreasonable and 1 shooting the falcon is a possibility   All of this firing at Pilot Skill 10 to fire before Han (unless he has Veteran Instincts) of course if you then have 4 A-Wings to dog fight the rest of his list with which may or may not work but it should be fun to fly 😉

Thanks for reading and as always feel free to comment if you have any questions or disagree with anything.

X-Wing: Swarm Theory Part 4

It’s that time again, to look at one of the archetype builds for X-Wing.  Last time we looked at Howlrunner and what she adds to your Squad.  This week we look at how to actually move the 6 TIE block around.

After looking at the Math of why Howlrunner is good and how to build her into a 7 TIE swarm we are now going to look at some basic plays to make her and her six TIE block work.

The goal of this article is not to give you a step by step guide on how you have to move in the early turns as it will revolve around your personal play style, the asteroid set up and your opponent.
I am hoping for people to pick up some simple maneuvers and to be able to assess some options after looking at their opponents Squad and the Asteroid set up and make their own plans.

It would also be remiss of me to talk about a swarm in this age of Wave 4 and the threat that the Anti-Swarm focused Ordnance list that have been doing the rounds.  So we will start there.

The Rebel Y-Wing moves 5 Ship
Lengths (4 Ahead 
+ its Base)
 and so does the TIE Fighter.

This is going to get fairly basic but some people may not know about the rule of 11.

The basic premiss is that if both players deploy on the Range 1 Line of their deployment (as close as possible to each other) then they will have to travel 11 Ship lengths between them to be in range of each other.

From the perspective of the Rebel player (or the player wanting to use the ordnance) they will want to land at exactly 11 Ship lengths to gain the Target Lock and then next turn land at Range Band 2 so that they can have a Focused attack as the ideal.  This is a fairly unrealistic proposition against most ships, as if you have landed at Range 3 and been Target Locked most people will power into the enemy to try to negate the ordnance.

This means that most people playing with any type of ordnance based list against a Swarm will launch once they have the Target Locks and the new Munitions Failsafes only make this even more likely.

The Correct play is therefore to try to land outside Range 3 and then next round hit Range 1 with your full swarm.  Sounds Easy…

If you are flying in Ranks straight towards your enemy who is flying right back at you it is not too bad (remember you are well within your rights to ask what your opponents ships maneuvers options are if you don’t know them).  What you want to avoid is opening an engagement like this in Column as the back ships will be at range two of your opponents and still within Range 1 of all of your ships, meaning that Assault Missiles will still hurt your whole swarm.

Top Six TIE’s in Ranks Bottom Six TIE’s in Column

Why not just set up in Ranks and fly at your opponent then?

We now go back to the last article and look at the fact that the majority of your swarm is going to be low Pilot Skill.  Even if you managed to make a 6 TIE list with Black Squadron Pilots as your lowest Pilot Skill, in the emerging Meta where Higher Pilot skill has become more important against the Wave 4 Phantom you will likely be deploying the vast majority of your Swarm before your opponent has placed a ship.
Any enemy that sees your ships in ranks would be foolish to deploy opposite them, even if they are using an anti-swarm list.  This is because of the way that both formations can react to a threat to their flank.

Flanking either of these formations will give you a good advantage but if you can get to the flank of a formation flying in Ranks than it is in a much worse position as the first response would be to want to Turn in to you.

This leaves you in Column which if your opponent has anything about them will put the rear most TIE’s at Range Band 3 or even worse out of range entirely.  Your other option would be to Bank but as the TIE only has access to a Two or a Three Bank than you can not stagger the formation properly to hold a line meaning you are either breaking formation or just spending two turns to perform a longer turn.

Hopefully this shows that it is always preferable to be reacting from a Column so that you engage in Ranks.

The above diagram demonstrates the versatility of the Column’s Bank, a Bank will leave either formation in what is referred to as a Checker Board Formation which is a very powerful position to be in due to the options it opens up.

Depending on the engagement angle and position of your enemy the above formation could Barrel Roll as its action to dodge arch whilst holding formation or if positioning for a later round you can perform a second Bank to complete the Turn in to Column or if the enemy is looking to fly past you a Hard Turn will position to counter that move.

Not forgetting that both Straights or K-Turns are available to you as well.

One thing that it is easy to forget when picturing these moves is that Howlrunner will be moving at Pilot Skill 8.  This means that Barrel Rolls are not available from some positions as you have to move her last.  A clever opponent will use this against you and you also need to remember it for moving around asteroids in formation.

If in Column, Howlrunner should be placed in one of the rear corners which means that you cannot Barrel Roll back towards your table edge if you perform a Turn.

If moving from Ranks with a Turn then you will not be able to Barrel Roll towards Howlrunner or she will crash.  That is not to say that you should never do it as sometimes a crash will be advantageous but if you are looking to hold formation you need to remember it!

My next step would have been to demonstrate all of this in a game but due to my own loathing of flying the 7 TIE swarm (it just does not suit my play style I like the freedom of my 8 TIE build) and people looking to play with Wave 4 stuff I have not had chance to get a Battle Report done.  If you keep checking my Blog at The Dice Hate Me I will post a report as soon as it’s done – Kris

I hope this gave you guys some insight as to both the strengths and weaknesses of the 6 TIE block, what to be looking out for when playing with and against it and again I can only stress the importance of getting some ships on the table and experimenting with where you will end up after a maneuver and how tight a gap you can fit through etc…  If you have anything to add please leave a comment and next week we will be having a look at a Rebel Swarm I have been fooling around with!