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Subject: Critique my Imperial Lists! rss

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Michael Ptak
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So there's a local tournament coming up soon and I'm waffling on which list to take. As an imperial player I want a large and swarmy list. I was contemplating a modified Kessel Run list with a pair of interceptors, but thinking about it I think that kessel list might be stronger (since the higher initiative Obsidian pilots would shoot before those Alphas do).

I'm thinking:

Obsidian Squadron
Howlrunner + Swarm Tactics (changed to Elusiveness)
Winged Gundark
5x Obsidian Squadron Pilots

Strengths: Large numbers of shooters, usually firing before a lot of generics out there. TIE fighters aren't terrible at dodge 3. Loosing one fighter doesn't hurt as much as loosing an interceptor. Elusiveness on Howlrunner keeps her alive.

Drawbacks: No Interceptors. Loosing Howlrunner hurts part of the list.

or,

Black Squadron
Lord Vader + Swarm Tactics + Shield Upgrade
4x Black Squadron Pilot + Swarm tactics

Strengths: A swarm shooting at Initiative 9. When clustered together we can blow up or maim almost any one fighter out of space per turn. Only perceptible threats are Wedge, Han, and possibly Fett with a HLC. Vader has added shields, forcing opponents to either chew through him to remove the Initiative 9 or focus on killing the crunchier TIEs.

Drawbacks: Only five ships. Loosing Vader in the early turn hurts the list with wasted swarm tactics. No interceptors.

I was considering a third list combining some of the strengths of both:

Dark Wing
Howlrunner + Swarm Tactics
5x Black Squadron Pilots + Swarm Tactics

Strengths: Strength in numbers, Howlrunner presence, and all shooting at Initiative 8. Flying in a six-ship Brick allows high-initiative shooting with each shot allowing one die re-roll. Loosing Howlrunner still allows five Initiative 4 shots which match most generics.

Weaknesses: Loosing Howlrunner nerfs the list, and there's little protection for Howlrunner. No interceptors.

So, thoughts?
 
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Jim Chadwick

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I have to admit that I'm someone who is not a fan of Howlrunner. She usually gets targeted and taken out so fast by the enemy that she isn't worth the points. Also, I find flying in one big clump kind of boring.

I like the first list the best, though. I found Obsidian Pilots are great vs. Rookie Xwings and Academy Pilots.
 
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Xander Fulton
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Norsehound wrote:
Black Squadron
Lord Vader + Swarm Tactics + Shield Upgrade
4x Black Squadron Pilot + Swarm tactics
...
Dark Wing
Howlrunner + Swarm Tactics
5x Black Squadron Pilots + Swarm Tactics


Right off the top of my head, I'd ask why you were using 'swarm tactics' on ALL the fighters, anyway. After all, someone has to be the end of the chain, so...why give them the upgrade?

IMHO, it might make sense to take a plain-Jane Obsidian (or even 'Academy') pilot. With the four points saved turning a black + swarm into academy (to be the 'end of the chain'), you could turn one of the black + swarms into a Mauler Mithel + swarm (or something like that)...basically giving you some graceful fallback in your swarm chain if your top pilot dies (you have someone else - of higher skill than most your pilots - who can step up and start the swarm chain, again).
 
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Michael Ptak
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Swarm tactics on all of them means I can split up the squadron and as long as they're range 1 of each other, to Vader, they can all shoot at initiative 9. (or Howlrunner in the case of her list)

It does seem wasteful but on the other hand, the purpose of these latter lists was "Shooting at high initiative" and "Many shots"

One alternative I'm looking at right now is dropping one of the Black pilots in Howlrunner's swarm list and replacing it with Winged Gundark. The fallback there is that Gundark has skill 5, so the Swarmers could still use that.
 
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Xander Fulton
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Norsehound wrote:
Swarm tactics on all of them means I can split up the squadron and as long as they're range 1 of each other, to Vader, they can all shoot at initiative 9. (or Howlrunner in the case of her list)


But you don't need it on all of them.

Howlrunner -> Swarm tactics boost to Black Squadron #1
Black Squadron #1 -> Swarm tactics boost to Black Squadron #2
Black Squadron #2 -> Swarm tactics boost to Black Squadron #3
Black Squadron #3 -> Swarm tactics boost to Black Squadron #4
Black Squadron #4 -> Swarm tactics boost to Black Squadron #5
Black Squadron #5 -> Swarm tactics boost to ??? There are no other fighters for him to lend to!
 
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Michael Ptak
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Right, but say the squadron spilts and does a few K-Turns in different directions. Pilot 3 could chain to pilot 5, who chains to pilot 1 who chains to Vader. The point of the flight was to allow networking to Skill 9 as long as Vader was alive... which if I choose Focus and Dodge as his actions he could be for a while.

I may drop one of those Swarmer pilots for another named pilot though. It'll hurt that networking resiliency but it would add another skill to the table (and something else to draw off of if Vader bites it).
 
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Jeff Dunford
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Norsehound wrote:
Swarm tactics on all of them means I can split up the squadron and as long as they're range 1 of each other, to Vader, they can all shoot at initiative 9. (or Howlrunner in the case of her list)

It does seem wasteful but on the other hand, the purpose of these latter lists was "Shooting at high initiative" and "Many shots"

One alternative I'm looking at right now is dropping one of the Black pilots in Howlrunner's swarm list and replacing it with Winged Gundark. The fallback there is that Gundark has skill 5, so the Swarmers could still use that.
Norsehound wrote:
Right, but say the squadron spilts and does a few K-Turns in different directions. Pilot 3 could chain to pilot 5, who chains to pilot 1 who chains to Vader. The point of the flight was to allow networking to Skill 9 as long as Vader was alive... which if I choose Focus and Dodge as his actions he could be for a while.

I may drop one of those Swarmer pilots for another named pilot though. It'll hurt that networking resiliency but it would add another skill to the table (and something else to draw off of if Vader bites it).


Swarm Tactics lends the ship with Swarm Tactics' pilot skill to a neighbouring pilot. It does not let the ship with Swarm Tactics steal the pilot skill of a neighbouring ship. Thus, a Black Squadron Pilot with Swarm Tactics that is next to Winged Gundark cannot come up to Skill 5.

Also, if skill 5 is good enough, how about sticking Veteran Instincts on each BSP (to get to skill 6) instead? That saves a point per ship!

*edit* By the way, I noticed you said you're running this in a tournament. If it's FFG tournament legal, you'll need copies of each of the upgrades. Do you have 4+ copies of Swarm Tactics? That's cool if you do. I know there are lots of people who splurged for 4x TIE Advanced (and it's also in the TIE Fighter expansion) - I just haven't actually met anyone with that many copies. Same would go for Veteran Instincts, though, since it only comes in the Millennium Falcon and Slave I expansions.
 
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Robert M.
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Very quick thought before dinner: take Black Squadron, swap Shield Upgrade for Stealth, drop one BSP for Backstabber or Dark Curse.
 
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Xander Fulton
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Norsehound wrote:
I may drop one of those Swarmer pilots for another named pilot though. It'll hurt that networking resiliency but it would add another skill to the table (and something else to draw off of if Vader bites it).


Jeff touched on this a bit, but there isn't really a 'network' to swarm tactics.

Swarm lets one pilot (of superior skill) push his skill to one other pilot (of inferior skill). There aren't any situations where two ships can benefit from the same source at the same time.

So if your chain is Howl (swarm) -> Black #1 (swarm) -> Black #2 (swarm) -> Black #3 (swarm) -> Black #4 (swarm) -> Black #5

...in losing Black #1, you'd have to hope that Black #2 is in range of Howlrunner, or the whole chain breaks and everyone loses their benefit (unless someone else is in range 1 of Howlrunner, and you can start a new chain off of them).

Either way, you cannot really "split up" a chain of swarm tactics fighters. There has to be a straight series of range-1 connections from your best pilot, one fighter to one fighter, through to every fighter you want boosted. (And, per my point, someone is always going to be the 'last fighter in the chain', who has no use for the upgrade. Mostly, anyway - maybe if some kind of series of maneuvers and lost ships happens so that they would be the only fighter between your top pilot and the next closest fighter to chain to...pretty unlikely, IMHO, and so not really worth the point cost of the upgrade + having to use an 'elite' pilot! Given above list, that's our man Black #5...the only way he could possibly need swarm is if, somehow, he ends up the only fighter within range 1 of Howlrunner - or someone boosted to that level - and the entire rest of your fighter group. Generally, whoever that 'end of the chain' is, you'd just make sure they weren't ever actually IN that position - easy enough to do, just keep your fighters either grouped together or if you do want a line have the terminating fighter at the end of it. And save yourself four points!)
 
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Michael Ptak
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Swarm Tactics comes with TIE Fighters and TIE Advanced. I have four TIE expansions, two core sets, and four TIE x1.

According to the FAQ, my interpretation for Swarm Tactics appears to be correct. Vader can lend to pilot one, then to pilot two, etx. The problem is if one pilot has to fork.
 
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Jeff Dunford
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Norsehound wrote:
Swarm Tactics comes with TIE Fighters and TIE Advanced. I have four TIE expansions, two core sets, and four TIE x1.

According to the FAQ, my interpretation for Swarm Tactics appears to be correct. Vader can lend to pilot one, then to pilot two, etx. The problem is if one pilot has to fork.


Vader (Swarm Tactics) can lend Skill 9 to ONE other pilot. If that pilot also has Swarm Tactics, then it can lend Skill 9 to ONE other pilot. If that pilot also has Swarm Tactics, then it can lend Skill 9 to ONE other pilot. ...

Vader (Swarm Tactics) cannot lend Skill 9 to more than one other pilot (directly).

There is no spoon fork.
 
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Robert M.
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XanderF wrote:
So if your chain is Howl (swarm) -> Black #1 (swarm) -> Black #2 (swarm) -> Black #3 (swarm) -> Black #4 (swarm) -> Black #5

Norsehound's point, I believe, is that in his scheme it doesn't matter if you swap the map positions of Black 5 and Black 1; if there's a pilot without Swarm Tactics, then positioning may be more important.

Of course, in a Howlrunner squad (or any other time you're running in a close formation) it's a moot point, since everyone will be within Range 1 of Howlrunner and therefore likely in Range 1 of every other pilot. But Norsehound is right, in a technical sense.
 
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Michael Ptak
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Right, as long as I can trace a continuous path that goes from Vader and hits all of the pilots, without going back TO a pilot, swarm tactics can work.

If you arrange a brick of Six with Vader at the front rank, center, you can snake around all of the Black Squadron pilots with little trouble. This is how I would fly the formation for the first few turns, directing all those skill 9 shots at a single target, before the formation had to break. Then things get tricky.
 
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Xander Fulton
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Vorpal Sword wrote:
XanderF wrote:
So if your chain is Howl (swarm) -> Black #1 (swarm) -> Black #2 (swarm) -> Black #3 (swarm) -> Black #4 (swarm) -> Black #5

Norsehound's point, I believe, is that in his scheme it doesn't matter if you swap the map positions of Black 5 and Black 1; if there's a pilot without Swarm Tactics, then positioning may be more important.


Sure, but my point is that you are essentially spending four points just to have the option of 'swapping the map positions of Black 5 and Black 1'. How often is that going to come up, really? And is it important enough that it would be worth...I dunno, a concussion missile, or adding another rank-7 (or so) pilot into the mix so that once your best pilot goes down, you can still generate a useful swarm-chain?

That's a LOT of points to spend, just so you have the option of swapping out which fighter in the chain is the 'end' in the sequence. (ESPECIALLY in a Howlrunner squad when, as noted, they are all going to be in range 1 of her)

Anyway, that's just me $0.02 - I'd turn one of the fighters into the 'chain end-cap' and make it a regular Academy Pilot, and use the saved points to change another one over to a Mauler Mithel (or someone else that can equip 'swarm', and has more skill than the black squadron pilots).
 
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Robert M.
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XanderF wrote:
Vorpal Sword wrote:
XanderF wrote:
So if your chain is Howl (swarm) -> Black #1 (swarm) -> Black #2 (swarm) -> Black #3 (swarm) -> Black #4 (swarm) -> Black #5

Norsehound's point, I believe, is that in his scheme it doesn't matter if you swap the map positions of Black 5 and Black 1; if there's a pilot without Swarm Tactics, then positioning may be more important.


Sure, but my point is that you are essentially spending four points just to have the option of 'swapping the map positions of Black 5 and Black 1'. How often is that going to come up, really?...

I'd turn one of the fighters into the 'chain end-cap'...

Oh, I agree:
Vorpal Sword wrote:
Very quick thought before dinner: take Black Squadron, swap Shield Upgrade for Stealth, drop one BSP for Backstabber or Dark Curse.


I just wanted to make it clear that the difference between Norsehound and the "end-cap" advocates is an opinion about what's desirable, not a rules misunderstanding on either side.
 
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