Welcome to Flight School. I know you are furious that you were promoted from prestigious fighter pilot to shuttle pilot. The shuttle is an extremely difficult craft to fly well and it is easy to make a game ending mistake. Here, I want to talk about Engine Upgrade, what it means for your Lambda and how to avoid common initial mistakes.
First, though, I need to speak on firepower. The Lambda's main weapon is on par with the strongest primary weapons in the game. 3 dice attack is quite potent, the same as the much lauded X-Wing, Named Falcon, and the Firespray. It's a potent main weapon. The shuttle enhances this by being the only craft that can currently possess both a crew slot and a systems slot. My recommendation here is always Fire Control System and Gunner. But why?
Fire Control System gives a ship a wonderful ability. After any attack, you may gain a target lock on your target. Sadly, this is after an attack. Still, free target locks are great and makes the use of your action to boost less painful. Still, this upgrade doesn't help you unless you can target the same victim twice, right?
Gunner is another great upgrade. If you miss an attack (All rolled Hits and Crits are avoided by Evade dice or tokens), you may immediately make a PRIMARY weapon attack. It doesn't have to be on the same target.
Together, these two upgrades create an incredibly powerful combination. This is because, when you have multiple effects that activate following an attack, you get to choose which order they are resolved. This results in the following order of operations.
1) Declare Target
2) Initiate Attack 1
3) Resolve Attack 1
4) Gain Target Lock from FCS
5) If Attack 1 missed, Initiate Attack 2
6) Use Target Lock gained in Attack 1
7) Resolve Attack 2
8) Gain Target Lock again
Against high evade targets, you become far more likely to hit and it insulates you from a single bad roll or excellent defense roll. But the shuttle has a notoriously bad dial. Now we have to orient these heavy guns. Well first you need to understand your craft, it's propulsion capabilities, and most importantly you must stop trying to fly this like a fighter craft.
A note on naming convention. From here on, this craft will affectionately be known by <synonym for white> <space term> <large herbivore>.
Most people think the albino stellar cow is a slow craft. However, with enhanced propulsion, what they mean is that it doesn't turn well. Take, for example, the A-Wing. Often lauded as one of the fastest craft in production, we shall assume both are burning full out, moving their maximum distance followed by a boost. How much further ahead does the A-Wing get?
As you can see, they are dead even at the end. This is because of the large base of the alabaster void bison. The boost means that you add the distance of your base twice to the total distance moved. Here, our lovely ship moved 3 forward plus 1 forward plus 2 for the base plus another 2 for the base for a total of 8. The A-Wing moves 5 forward, plus 1 for boost, plus 1 for it's base twice for 2. A total of 8. That's right, our snowy stellar reindeer can keep pace with some of the fastest craft yet devised. Indeed, this is fast enough to move outside the firing range of a craft behind you.
Unfortunately, this ghostly star oryx simply does not have the turning radius to out turn such a craft. As we can see here, the diameter of a turn of 1 bank plus 1 bank boost is significant:
You will not be able to out-turn most craft. But not that, while you can't perform a Koiogran turn in this craft, the degrees of turn are on par with most craft using this method. You cover an incredible amount of distance with this ship moves.
Unfortunately, this leads to one of the single biggest piloting mistakes. During the initial approach to engagement, one should never, ever be in the center of the formation. Why you ask? The center seems perfect. It gives you options whether to go left or right. It puts you in the center of the region and able to control it. Or does it?
Here's the problem. The turning radius is so sharp and the engagement area is so small, once you commit to a turn either direction, you must complete that turn. This makes you extremely predictable.
If you refer back to our A-Wing race, you can see that the shuttle's speed is such that it spans half of the distance between forces in a single turn. This shall be used as the reference point for the rest of this lesson.
Let us assume you raced forward only to find that your opponents have veered off to one side. Your fighter instincts kick in and you decide to use this to your advantage. After all, it seems you are in a perfect position to flank them. So you continue full out for another round. Now you just need to turn to face the delicious hindquarters of your prey. Taking the lessons you learned about the turning you learned early, you bank one and boost and...
Oh, Vader is not going to be pleased about that. The only way to avoid it is to turn as hard as possible with a 2 bank, but that puts you still close to the edge and now stressed and facing ships that may well have lured you into a trap. You don't want this to happen to you.
But that's not the only danger. You began this fight by boosting into the center from the middle. This means that you quickly must choose to turn. But as we saw, the standard turn, while fast, is huge. And our prey may double back on it. If so, it leaves you with a single way to handle this turn. Sheep help you if there are asteroids, debris or mines waiting for you.
Once you commit to this path, you have zero capability of doing anything else. You are committed. And your opponent will know this. You will get maybe one shot before you have to maneuver and you are out of the fight for far too long trying to recover even if you don't find rebels clawing at your tail fins. Not only that, but the necessity for tight, stressful turns means that you cannot use the incredible speed of the craft to escape
I'm here to tell you, from the very first turn, you made a serious mistake which will hamper your maneuverability for the entire engagement. But there is a better way.
Start by hugging the very edge of the engagement zone. This gives you the maximum amount of room to maneuver. Ah, but you dispute this. After all, you can only turn a single direction instead of two. True, but you can make that turn at any time. Ideally, if the opposing force is across from you, you can move very slowly while the rest of your force arcs in to meet them. However, they may believe that you are incapable of rapid engagement and setup in the middle or far from you. In which case, we begin by moving 3 forward followed by an inward boost.
After a single turn, you are almost able to shoot at their starting area. Your deadly arc searches. But, if they were cowardly, you do not yet have a shot. Continue full throttle and move 3 followed by a boost if appropriate. You have now moved from your corner to the middle of the field deep in their territory facing to the side. They will almost certainly be in firing arc and range.
Further, you should likely find yourself behind them now. As your other forces engage the enemy, your extremely powerful white space cow is in a perfect position to begin civilizing the savages. You have taken a much derided craft and outmaneuvered them. From this position you can turn in any way necessary to continue fire. There are other considerations, such as obstacles and maneuvering, but those will come in future lessons. Here is the basis, the foundation, of many of the more advanced tactics. Study this. Fly it a couple times. Understand this and you will be one step closer to being a truly potent pilot for one of the finest ships in the Imperial fleet.
What do you think? Was this helpful? Was there something I could have clarified better? Do you want to see more of this?
- Buhallin, Darkheart, The_Brown_Bomber and 53 others like this