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Subject: Maneuvers 302 (Imperial Formations) rss

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David Pontier
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Imperial formations

As I said in my last post, I think formations for Imperial players are much more important. The only chance that Imperials have to defeat the superior fire power of the Rebels is to focus the fire of all their TIEs on one target. And you need to fly around 6 ships to bring enough firepower to bear. The TIE interceptor changes this slightly, but they are so expensive and still blow up pretty easily, that it will be hard to build 6 ship squads with them included and while they do a lot of damage early, they will be the prime target of the rebels, and a good rebel squad should blow up a TIE in each of the first two rounds, so all those points go down the drain quickly. Now, there are a lot of upgrades in Wave two that make the Interceptor attractive, but the cost gets so high so quickly that you are looking at a 4 ship imperial build pretty soon, and I will direct you to the Rebel maneuvers.

In my experience I’ve seen two standard formations for six TIES. The first is this:


The pros for this set up is that it is very easy to do. Everything fits easily into the set up zone. It also presents a very wide firing arc since the ships are spread.

However I think there are several negatives as well. One is with regard to the firing arc:


Because you want all of your ships to fire on one enemy ship, you want the firing arcs to overlap as much as possible. As you can see, the zone in the center is well covered by all ships. But usually the enemy will attack at an angle from the left or the right, and you might be left with only 4 of your ships able to hit your primary target.

The other big problem with this formation is it doesn’t bank well. In most cases, you want to bank toward your target. In the first post I made I showed this picture:


This shows that three ships across bank very well, however, TIE fighters do not have a 1 bank maneuver.
If you want to bank the whole group, you can certainly do this:


But this gets crowded, and it doesn’t allow for careful navigation.

Another thing I don’t like about this formation is that it doesn’t protect Howlrunner very well.


Assuming you put Howlrunner in the middle back row, you can stagger your start to push her further from the front lines, but this doesn’t put her very far from the enemy. Since she is in the middle, if your opponent attacks from one of the sides, Howlrunner is probably only at range 2. If you do start her in one of the back corners, then you can’t stagger her at the beginning because she will no longer be at range 1 from the opposite corner.

The last problem I have with this formation is that it is difficult to move through asteroids. The minimum gap between asteroids is range 1. This formation is wider than that. Assuming you are playing a rebel, they should be setting up a bunch of asteroids at range 1 apart all over the middle of the board. This will leave only the edges free for you to set up, since no asteroid can be within range two from any edge and the 3-wide formation above is slightly less than range 2. If you have any academy TIEs in your squad, you will have to place them first and the rebel player will set up on the opposite side of the board forcing you to fly through asteroids. If you don’t have academy TIEs, then the rebel player should start in the middle and move slowly to force you to come into the asteroids to get him.

I prefer this formation.


The one really tricking thing about this formation is that you can’t set it up like this at the start because it is too tall. The link for the FFG world championship video is broken, so I can’t direct you there, but many of you have probable seen it anyway and he sets up something like this.


And then after the first move it looks like this:


Now, while this is certainly elegant, it is also very restrictive. You can’t go 5 forward on your first move. I like to be aggressive with my Imperials, and going 5 forward to start is nice. Also, it requires a very wide base since the back row starts spread out.


You can see that if your opponent puts an asteroid range two from the side that you will have to dodge it on the first turn. This is avoidable, as you can start both sideways ships on the same side, one in front of the other and they can both use the same turn to get in behind the group. There is only room to do this if you use a three turn. If you want to start slower and move the 4 ships forward with a 3-forward and then turn in behind them with a 2-turn, then you need to start the sideways ships on opposite sides.

The other issue you can see from above is that there is no exact measurement for the sideways ships. The sideways ships start a little further than range 1 from the 4-some and a little lower than the top edge of the back row ship. In both cases this is about a quarter inch further in both directions. If you start too far down, then whichever one is Howlrunner (or the ship with Swarm Tactics) may no longer be Range 1 from the top opposite corner ship. And if you start too high, then when you bank, you can collide with the ship above you. However, you can usually guess close enough.

I prefer this set up:


The outside two ships are turned at a 45 degree angle and the inside corner is lined up exactly with the top outside corner of the bottom row ship. The 2-forward template is there only to show you that the width of the movement template (any of them) is how far away the angled ships should be from the bottom row.

This moves into formation like this:


If you do only want to move 4 forward instead of 5 forward, then use the 2-bank instead of the 3 and move the angled ships in closer to about the width of the range finder.

As you can see, the bottom ships are still in range 1 of the front two and it will stay that way when you bank.

With this setup, there is a lot more overlap with your firing arcs, and it is very easy to aim the squad at your target. Also, the depth of this formation is about a 4-forward movement template, so the only way a ship will be able to flip around and get behind you is if their ship is touching the front row of this formation. With the 3-wide formation, if an enemy anticipates that you are going to move your squad in close at range 1, they can do a 4-koigran and get in behind you.

When banking, you can choose to bank the inside ships with a 2 and the outside ships with a 3 (ont the left below) or bank them all with the same number (on the right below):


Look at the firing arc for the formation when you use the same number for all ships:


Basically, if the ship in position 1 can shoot it, all six ships will have it in their firing arc. I understand that the firing arc for ships is slightly less than 45 degrees, but in 99% of the situations, this kind of overlap will hold true.

Let’s look again at the 3-wide after a bank.


This collective firing arc is much wider, but it is less focused. There are more holes for an enemy to hide in to avoid portions of the squad.

So now let’s look at some real world examples.


Here is a setup with the six asteroids. The dotted square in the middle is the legal place to put asteroids (range 2 from any edge).

I am going to simulate three different starting places.
Starting spot 1 is if you set up to the far left. I have two different flying formations depending on whether your opponent starts in the middle of the board or on the far right.

Starting spot 2 is if you want to start in the middle.

Starting spot 3 is if you want to start on the far left and your opponent moves slowly forcing you to weave around in the asteroids.

So for Option 1A it looks something like this:


This is pretty simple. I left of several of the movement templates to keep it from getting too crowded, but you can still see how they moved. This is easily the most frequent first two moves I take. Move forward, bank to the right, and attack. Notice also that the small asteroid closest to the starting edge of the board was placed at exactly range two from the starting edge, and by moving forward 5, the back row is now almost even with that asteroid and it can bank or turn without worrying about colliding. If I had only moved forward 4, this would not be the case.

For Option 1B it looks like this:


Now I decided to start 3 wide, moved forward 5, and then all the ships to a 1-turn. This transposes my squad and I can attack straight forward into the asteroids with my preferred formation. A good rebel strategy is to watch which side you set up your academy TIEs and then set up in the opposite corner. This maneuver allows you to make a right turn into the asteroids and still keep your formation. In order for this to work, you need to make sure you have your pilot skills in the right position. You need to have your highest skilled pilots back and to the left and the lower skilled pilots to the front and right.

Starting spot 2 is simple:


I like to fly with the 6 named TIEs. This means my lowest skill pilot is 5, and the rebels will almost always have a 2 or 4 skill pilot if they are flying 4 ships. This means they have to set up first and you can react to them. If the Rebels have to place first, they will usually start in the middle of the board and you can set up opposite them. When I am the Imperials, I try and place all of my asteroids as close to the side of the board as possible to keep as many of them out of the center of the board as I can. This will usually leave a gap at least range 1 wide so I can move straight through it.

For starting spot 3, if you want to weave through the asteroids with a 2 wide formation, this is what it may look like:


My brain exploded a little when I put this together.

This is a mess, and I am not going to even try and pretend that anyone could actually pull this off. I lettered each ship and gave them a number to show where they are at the beginning of each turn. There are two potential crashes. In order to avoid them Ship E needs to be lower skill (or the same) as ship B and Ship A should be lower than Ship D.

Instead of showing how to weave through asteroids with a swarm, this is advice to a Rebel squad on how to bait the Imperials into the asteroids. Set up on the opposite side, move aggressively toward the center of the board, then turn to stay on your half, and watch the Imperials try to react.

Again, I hope these illustrations are helpful in trying to show you the pros and cons of different formations and how to move (or not move) through asteroids.

Several people have asked for these to be converted to PDFs and I am working on that.
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Trevor Verhelst
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As always, very well put together. Well done sir!
 
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Alex McKechnie
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Nice! Very informative! I eagerly await the .pdfs...

--Alex
 
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Travis Merkle
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Fantastic read!

I had not seen the WC videos, but I had read descriptions of what Hothie had done with his setup. When I adapted the idea to my own play, I also used the outside ships at 45 degrees with a first turn 3 bank behind the other ties 5 forward, as you explained above. I am glad to see others utilizing that maneuver!
 
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Jeff Smith
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Another great article.
 
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Remo Galvan
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Fantastic read !

Waiting for the PDF ...
 
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Jörg Klöckner
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Is there a PDF?
 
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David Pontier
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There is a Word doc: Movement
 
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David Hoctor
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Brilliant! I am new player this was EXTREMELY helpful. Thank you!
 
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