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Subject: Maneuvers 301 (Formations) rss

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David Pontier
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I am in a league right now and most of the people in the league are just starting with the game. The first night I played against someone who told me it was his very first time playing. The second night I played against someone who said it was their second time ever playing. I see this formation a lot in our league nights.



Chances are many of you have seen this formation as well. Many of you have probably used one of these formations. This is where the ships are placed along the starting edge without any strategy other than to try and cover the whole map. I’ve even seen ships line up so on their first movement they have to dodge an asteroid.

First off, I don’t consider this to be a formation for either the rebels or the Imperials. With no offense intended to people who set up like this, I see this set up as just putting the ships on the board because you don’t know any better way to do it. When I play with my nephews, they prep all their ships and just place them on the table. I say, “No, we have to place the ships in pilot skill order.” Since they usually fly elite rebels, I end up placing all my ships first, and then they just put their ships back on in the same places.

Secondly, assuming both sides set up this way with their ships spread out, this set up HUGELY favors the Rebels. In my league the Rebels have a record of 13-1. The Imperial players are complaining that the game is unbalanced and the Imperials don’t have a chance. There are several other threads on this site that say the opposite, ie the Rebels don’t have a chance.

The reason that this type of spread out set up favors the Rebels is that when the rebels fly only three ships, it is typically because they are flying elite pilots like Wedge, Luke, and Horton. Two TIE fighters against any one of those ships stands very little chance unless they are Howlrunner and Vader. And even then, you have so many points left over with a 3 Rebel build, that Horton has 1 or 2 sets of proton torpedoes, Luke and Wedge have such upgrades as Marksmanship and R2 D2 or expert handling. Also, the Rebel player often brings at least two of their ships together to attack as a pair and there are no two Imperial ships that can face off against two elite Rebel ships.

It is very hard for the Imperial player to coordinate his fire once he starts spread out like that, so his TIEs get picked off one by one, while doing minimal damage to the rebels and half of that damage is likely repaired by R2D2.

So let’s talk about formations. While it is most important (in my opinion) for the Imperials, it is also important for the Rebels.

Rebels
First let’s look at the ships we are working with.
X-wing
Biggs requires other ships to stay at range 1. Garvin requires other ships to stay at range 2. If you are flying Wedge, it is likely you have swarm tactics on him, and that also requires other ships to stay at range 1. X-wing’s are the deadliest attack ships in the game. When the Falcon comes out, that might change, but I am only talking about wave 1 right now. They need to be the front line in any formation you run. You want to get them at range 1 of your enemy and unload.

Y-wing
Horton and Dutch play very differently. With Horton, I feel it is wise to put Proton torpedos on him, and they do not have a 360 degree firing arc, so for the first two rounds, he needs to be pointed at the enemy. Also, his reroll ability is only good at range 2-3, so he wants to stay at least at range 2 from the enemy.
Dutch uses his ability when he is range 1-2 from friendlies, and torpedoes aren’t as good on him, so I usually just use his Ion cannon. So I throw him into the middle of the combat to keep him close to friendlies and I don’t care which way his firing arc is pointed.

So let’s look at a typical set up formation.


This is very basic. It assumes the enemy is coming from your right. This means if you bank or turn to the right, the Y-wing stays at the back of the formation and the X-wings are the front line. This formation also moves well through asteroids.


The Y-wing in this formation does slow it down. A 4 straight and a 3 turn are both red for a Y-wing, so it limits the groups maneuverability. Flying with just 4 X-wings makes it easier to move about.


Also, this formation is very simple. It doesn’t offer you complex attack strategies. It allows you to focus your fire on one ship, but it limits your firing arc since all your ships are pointed in the same direction. Also, since you often want to keep one ship back at a distance, once you do that, you end up breaking formation and you can’t navigate as well.

A better set up formation for the rebels is to figure out how you want your attack formation to look and then work backwards to a set up.


This list is the first serious 4 ship Rebel list I ever ran. The X-wing is a rookie and the Y-wing is a Gold Squadron with an Ion cannon and Wedge has swarm tactics. The strategy behind this formation is to put Wedge as close as possible to the enemy while keeping Biggs as far away as possible yet still within range 1 to protect Wedge. Wedge will use his swarm tactics to give the rookie a chance to also fire first and between the two of them, they hope to kill one TIE. Biggs will fire on aother TIE to strip its evade token, and the Y-wing will then fire on the same TIE to ionize it and hopefully disrupt the Imperial formation.

If you’ve played even 1 game on a 3’x3’ grid you know that you don’t usually exchange fire until the second round, so you want to get in this position after two movements. You also want to make sure you are at least range 4 from the starting edge. A 3’x3’ grid board is almost 3 range finders (range 9) wide. So halfway across the board is range 4.5. Since Wedge moves last, you don’t want to get too aggressive and crash into the oncoming ships, so you want something adjustable depending on the opening movement of the enemy.

So here is this set up if we take it back one movement.


It took several different tries for me to pick maneuvers that didn’t make the ships overlap and that still left viable spots from them to start that also didn’t overlap.

And here are the ships backed up one more movement.


As you can hopefully see, the ships have no relation to themselves. Wedge is actually too far forward (outside of range 1). The rest of the ships are starting somewhere inside of range 1, but it isn’t clear. Also they have no determined relationship to each other. It would be impossible to set these ships up accurately at the beginning of the game to make them end up where you wanted to. So I will adjust them slightly so they can be easily measured using the standard range ruler.


The Rookie X-wing is placed first so his front is range 1 from the starting edge. The Y-wing is then placed so his front is just behind the X-wing, but he is moved to the right so his left most nub is Range 1 from the edge of the X-wing. Then Biggs is placed. He is also just behind the Rookie, and his outer edge is placed at Range 1 from the other X-wing’s outer edge. Then Wedge is placed at Range 1 from the starting edge and Range 1 from Biggs.

Now, after they move twice it looks like this.


It is a little different than our original goal, but it serves the same purpose. All three ships are at range 1 of Biggs. Wedge and the Rookie are in the front line. The Y-wing will be close enough to the enemy to use his Ion cannon but not too close to get tangled in an Imp Swarm. It looks like Biggs and the rookie will crash, but since the rookie moves first, he will be out of the way before Biggs moves. This means you can’t swap the rookie for Wedge, or they will crash.

Like I said when I started, if the Imperials are overly aggressive and move with a 5 forward to start, you will risk crashing into them with this formation. So if you dial the second move back a little, it will look like this.


I have the Y-wing banking now to keep him at range 1 of Biggs. Without the bank it is very close and you run the risk of the measurement being subjective. After the bank, his 360 degree Ion cannon should still be in range of most of your enemies. Another alternative is to start the Y-wing by aligning range 1 to its center post instead of the nub. This will make it start closer to Biggs and can then go straight 2 instead of banking on the second turn.

Obviously this is the tip of the iceberg. I could sit here all day dreaming up different attack formations for different builds and back tracking them into unique set ups. One advantage of this set up is that it looks like my very first picture where the ships appear to be randomly set up. However, if you pull out your range ruler to place all your ships exactly, your opponent will know something is up. So practice and get good at setting up the ships without a ruler. Your opponent will be shocked when all the ships come together perfectly into a deadly attack.

As far as the Elite Rebel build with only 3 ships, I haven’t flown it very often and so I haven’t brainstormed as many attack formations or opening maneuvers. But the same tactic works. Set your three ships up in the attack formation you want and move them backwards to the starting edge.

As for the Imperials, this rundown took longer than I thought, so I will do them in a separate post.
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Garrett
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Very good post! I can't think of anything else to say other than that I really like it. Maneuvering and formations are very important.
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Robert Aronovici
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Stay on target... stay on target! Fire!
Anyhow, I see how thorough you are. Realizing now how powerful formation and maneuvering really is.

Thanks!
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Jeff Smith
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Great stuff. You always give me a lot to think about. In fact, just the other night I spent about an hour practicing my "flying." Now I need to try some different formations and then back-track as you did to figure out how to set things up initially.
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Todd Warnken
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jbbnbsmith wrote:
Great stuff. You always give me a lot to think about. In fact, just the other night I spent about an hour practicing my "flying." Now I need to try some different formations and then back-track as you did to figure out how to set things up initially.


That is a good way to learn maneuvering in this game. Just toss some asteroids on the table and move your ships around the table trying to avoid collisions while staying near each other.
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Ed G.
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Piqsid, you're a good man. Thorough, too.

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Alex McKechnie
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Piqsid, could you be troubled to compile all of this awesome into a handy .pdf for download? That would be amazing...

--Alex
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2 quick questions

a) how do you ensure that the fight will take place at that exact spot? Given that you have mostly PS2 ships, i do not think that you will have the luxury of setting up after your opponent has laid his ships down, eg. Up against a 6 named TIE group, or a 3 ship rebel

b) the final position, while pretty much perfect, seems very difficult to move over to the next turn. I mean that suppose your opponent is at range 1,a mass koiogran from him next turn will mean your rear is exposed to him. If he is too far away, your next movement would either have all the ships aimed at 1 direction, which would mean that they will not all get to fire at1 target unless you really are engaging head on, or they will all be aiming at a specific point but with multiple collisions. In short, it does seem that you are giving up the subsequent rounds of maneuvers in exchange for this 1 round of a perfect setup, and im interested in knowing what the next round of maneuvers would look like
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Sergio Achinelli
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Duraham wrote:
2 quick questions

a) how do you ensure that the fight will take place at that exact spot? Given that you have mostly PS2 ships, i do not think that you will have the luxury of setting up after your opponent has laid his ships down, eg. Up against a 6 named TIE group, or a 3 ship rebel

b) the final position, while pretty much perfect, seems very difficult to move over to the next turn. I mean that suppose your opponent is at range 1,a mass koiogran from him next turn will mean your rear is exposed to him. If he is too far away, your next movement would either have all the ships aimed at 1 direction, which would mean that they will not all get to fire at1 target unless you really are engaging head on, or they will all be aiming at a specific point but with multiple collisions. In short, it does seem that you are giving up the subsequent rounds of maneuvers in exchange for this 1 round of a perfect setup, and im interested in knowing what the next round of maneuvers would look like


a) As long as you take asteroids into account, if you deploy in the centre of the board, you could make those first 2 moves to the left, with identical results. That should cover most possibilities.

b) IME, it's impossible to prepare more than 2-4 opening moves. Contact with the enemy makes it irrelevant. But he is in a good position for the following turns, since Wedge doesn't have any ally in front of him, the Rookie and Biggs are positioned in PS order, and the Y-Wing can pretty much follow Biggs at his side.
 
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Bryan
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Quote:
Dutch uses his ability when he is range 1-2 from friendlies, and torpedoes aren’t as good on him, so I usually just use his Ion cannon. So I throw him into the middle of the combat to keep him close to friendlies and I don’t care which way his firing arc is pointed.


Do you use R5-K6 on him? Can you possibly have his ability do 2 target locks? You can give one to another ship when you aquire one, then if you spend the lock and roll an evade give another one to another ship again correct?
 
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T Bailey
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A great series of articles, Piqsid . They've definately helped us to look at the game in a new way and try new tactics. Until I found this site we usually set up like your example above with the idea of trying to sneak behind an enemy craft and force more 1 on 1 dogfights which the Imperials were hard pressed to win.
 
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David Pontier
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Zarash wrote:
Do you use R5-K6 on him? Can you possibly have his ability do 2 target locks? You can give one to another ship when you aquire one, then if you spend the lock and roll an evade give another one to another ship again correct?


In the build I usually fly with the rebels, it comes in right at 100 and there is no room for a droid. However, in the league I am in, the factions can earn bonuses, and the Rebels had a free droid (cost 3 or less) for a while and I used R5-K6. The problem is rolling an evade on one die is not easy to do. Also, I often used my Ion cannon to kill ships that only had one hit point on them, and R5-K9 only allows you to reacquire your target lock on the same ship, which is often dead.
 
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Jeff Dunford
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Piqsid wrote:
Zarash wrote:
Do you use R5-K6 on him? Can you possibly have his ability do 2 target locks? You can give one to another ship when you aquire one, then if you spend the lock and roll an evade give another one to another ship again correct?


In the build I usually fly with the rebels, it comes in right at 100 and there is no room for a droid. However, in the league I am in, the factions can earn bonuses, and the Rebels had a free droid (cost 3 or less) for a while and I used R5-K6. The problem is rolling an evade on one die is not easy to do. Also, I often used my Ion cannon to kill ships that only had one hit point on them, and R5-K9 only allows you to reacquire your target lock on the same ship, which is often dead.


R5-K6 lets you reacquire your target lock when you spend it (i.e. before that target blows up, even if that shot will destroy it a few seconds later), which means if R5-K6 triggers, Dutch can give a target lock to a neighbouring ship (which can be used against any opposing ship within range, not just the one Dutch fired at), even if Dutch goes on to destroy his target (and lose his own fresh target lock in the process).

I've had good results with R5-K6 on Dutch. I don't think I'd bother with it on any other ship, though, as usually I'd rather put a generic R5 Astromech on a Y-wing (and various other droids on X-wings) and spend those 2 saved points elsewhere.
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David Pontier
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iNano78 wrote:
R5-K6 lets you reacquire your target lock when you spend it (i.e. before that target blows up, even if that shot will destroy it a few seconds later), which means if R5-K6 triggers, Dutch can give a target lock to a neighbouring ship (which can be used against any opposing ship within range, not just the one Dutch fired at), even if Dutch goes on to destroy his target (and lose his own fresh target lock in the process).


You are correct. I guess reacquiring the target lock and the ship dying could be considered to be simultaneous and the player gets to determine in which order those occur.
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