Planning to fail. Or, can you beat your own list?
Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:01 PM
Many times we find ourselves asking the same question, "How can I make my squad perform better?" Normally, getting a critique here on the forums is pretty easy and more often than not results in a list that is good enough to compete at the local tournament level. Quite regularly, it is that outside perspective that identifies the flaws in the list, or allows them to be seen much more easily.
During the, "Advice to new players thread", I shared an idea involving swapping squads and replaying the game to see if you could beat your squad. The idea is not original by any means, (I am pretty sure I read it in a thread back in 2012) and I figure that when SpitfireMKXI and I would swap sides it also helped save time so we could get more games in.
After I made that post, I kept thinking about how often we would turn the tables on ourselves and what we both learned about what each individual ship could do as part of the squad and using those effects better during games. A good case in point was the very first game that we played with the Lamba class shuttle. I don't remember the Imperial list exactly, but I know exactly what I had been flying against it and why I don't fly that list very often anymore. I had been flying an ABXY list featuring Garven, Ibtisam, Gold w/ ion, and a Proto A-wing. That single list had been my pride and joy for quite some time after I got my first B-wing and I was convinced I would conquer the world with it. I crushed the Lambda and it's escorts as easy as you please and since I had not yet purchased a Lambda, asked to just switch sides. I was relatively surprised at how easy it was to pick my squad apart, bit by bit, and realized just how vulnerable my list was. Part of the intuition came from knowing what I wanted my list to do, making target prioritization easier, but looking from the other side and seeing what I needed to set up in order to take out those priority targets, I had gained the insight of how my enemy could maneuver on me effectively in the future. By exploiting the weaknesses in my own list, which I had rarely thought about, I had shown myself what conditions I had to set while maneuvering to have a success on the board. Meanwhile, Spitfire was able to draw his own conclusions on how to defeat the ABXY list in a way that shocked even me. Before a tournament we practiced with a few lists and I still had plans on using ABXY. Spitfire, was able to show me how weak my squad could be and proceeded to destroy me using 4 Y-wings w/ ions, (one was Dutch w/ R5-D8) my first loss ever with ABXY. He knew from flying my list how important maneuvering was and capitalized on controlling my position and blocking my actions.
In closing, sometimes if you can put yourself outside the box and look in, you may find vulnerabilities in your favorite list that you had not noticed before, or your buddy may find a way to beat a list that they could not beat before. I challenge everyone to try this at some point and improve not only your own skill, but also your buddy's, ensuring challenging and rewarding game nights that encourage stepping away from popular meta and into inventive, outside the box builds. Who knows? Maybe you can create the next new game changing squad by beating your old tried and true one. Remember, the game is supposed to be fun and helping friends win can be just as fun as winning yourself.
- Revanchist likes this
Wedge+predator / Luke+VI+R3-A2 / Biggs / Bandit Sqd pilot.
Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:12 PM
I think your method is pretty well assured of improving your skill. I don't get to play that often so I rarely fly the same list twice. I think that keeps me clear of any ruts I may get stuck in.
Imperial cannon fodder: 2 Phantoms, 2 Defenders, 7 Tie Fighters, 7 Interceptors, 3 Bombers, 2 Lambdas, 3 Firesprays, 1 Vader, er Tie Advanced
Posted 15 May 2014 - 10:16 PM
I haven't done the swapping sides thing but I regularly try out different competitive lists in order to work out how they work, what they are capable of and what their limitations are. For instance I played around with HSF for three games in order to get a feel for it. I've played the TIE swarm as well and a number of other power builds. It all makes for good learning.
Posted 16 May 2014 - 05:39 AM
I'm glad to see you're still around, and I don't just mean on these boards.
Squad swapping is a great idea, because you go beyond theorizing about how your opponent's list will run in your first game by actually having to perform with it in the second game. You learn new squad-building tactics, new ships, and new interactions while simultaneously having to try and beat your own squad from game one. It's a good practice for new and experienced players alike. Thanks for sharing, and stay safe.
- InstantAequitas likes this