Tuesday, March 4, 2014

X-Wing: Excited for Imperial Aces

The real Dream Team.  Step aside Vader.

Just to let you guys know how excited I am, I pre-ordered 4x boxes.  There's quite a few lists I want to try with it, but I think I'm excited about my 789 list the most.  To give you guys a quick preview on what the list will look like, it's basically running 3 named Interceptor pilots:  Soontir Fel, Carnor Jax and Turr Phennir.

This is the first list that I ever designed for my Imperials and one of the reasons I got in the game.  I really hope I can make this list work because I understand just how difficult it is to succeed with Interceptors.  To give you guys some perspective, here's how I feel about the state of the game.

Statistically, more ships means more hull points and attack dice to throw at your opponents.  This is a proven mathematical concept.

There is a reason why lists like Howl Swarm and XXBB are common in the tournament scene.  Count it up, go ahead.  The Howl list can have 7x2 attack dice at range band 3 with re-roll hits on each attempt.  The list itself sports a combined 21 hull points easy.  XXBB throws out 12 attack dice and packs a whopping 26 hull points, and all the ships are shielded before taking critical damage.
  • One list throws out more consistent damage, but is subject to more damage in return = Howlrunner + Friends.
  • The other list throws out lower damage, but has much more durability, especially vs. Crits = XXBB
Why do 3x or 4x Interceptor lists suffer?  Or hardly ever seen at Nationals or Worlds?  Because they have 9-12 Hull Points total and questionably lower damage output than either of these lists.  The maneuver dial and higher PS helps, but it does not account for half the durability.

Most of you have figured this out by now:  Killing enemy ships results in a very polarizing effect on the battlefield, and that's because he's less capable of doing damage to your ships in return.  Less ships means less dice and less dice means less damage to you.  Losing 1 Interceptor out of 4 is a lot different than losing 1 Tie out of 7.

The concept of Interceptors is that it's very... for the lack of a better word, absolute.  Skill comes from using the superior dial for sure, but the key point is that you're fighting with a 12+ hull point disparity against other lists and you only have 3 HP per ship.  Evade dice are mathematically weaker than attack dice, so in order for you to win out, you need to be 100% on top of your game on top of other factors.  There is virtually no room for mistakes and if you get hit (which you will), you need to pray to the dice gods every time.  To be a successful Interecptor pilot, you must rely on skill as much as luck.

Personally, I think there 3 major things and 1 minor thing to come out of this expansion pack.
  • The first is Carnor Jax and his ability that benefits your entire board.  This is absolutely huge because it'll actually allow the PTL Interceptors to outjoust most things in close range.  Attack consistency is king, and as long as you have the evade dice + odds in your favor, this WILL change how the game is played.  Look at it this way:  It turns that X-Wing's 3 focus and a hit into 1 hit that you will free evade with PTL into no damage.  At the same time, being able to dish back 4 dice + Focus of your own to full effect.  This is the difference between a dead ship and a free kill, the effects are utterly devastating and completely one-sided.
  • Royal Guard Ties are 25 points on the nose with PTL.  This means you can take 4 of them in a list and outpace Red Daggers and every Tie-Swarm list outside of Howlrunner herself (unless she starts taking more costly named pilots, which reduces the amount of Ties, which leads to a better matchup for you).  This is a huge metagame boon.
  • Lt. Lorrir being 23 points and outpacing PS4 pilots while retaining good value.  Sure, no EPT sucks, but he is a mini-Turr Phennir in every sense of the word.  The true question is:  Is he more cost effective than a Saber + PTL at 24?  Or RGT + PTL at 25?  I don't think so because he has to burn an action and gain stress for it, but only vigorous playtesting will tell.
  • Mini-buff for Soontir Fel is the Targeting Computer via Royal Guard Tie 0 Upgrade.  I think he's the only pilot that will be able to utilize this well since he gets that free focus.  He actually maintains his maneuverability but for 2 points, vastly increases his killing potential.
With that said, there are 2 lists I want to try right away.

789 - 98 points
Soontir Fel w/ PTL, Stealth Device, RGT Upgrade + Targeting Computer
Carnor Jax w/ PTL, Stealth Device
Turr Phennir w/ PTL, Stealth Device

Royal Guards - 100 points
4x Royal Guard Tie w/ PTL

1 comment:

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