I played 3 games against my regular sparring partner last night, testing lists for the next regionals we're going to.
First game, I played Etahn with Advanced Sensors, a Hull Upgrade, and Prdator, Lt. Blount with an Ion Pulse Missile, and 3 Tala Squadron Pilots. He ran Ten Numb with Veteran Instincts, Biggs Darklighter with a Shield Upgrade, a Red Squadron Pilot with a Shield Upgrade, and a Bandit Squadron Pilot. He set up in a block in the center of his side, I set my Z's up in a shifted block 1/3 of the way from my right side, with Etahn off 1/3 of the way from my left.
I did some fancy rush-banking with the Z's, so that when the crash came I had Etahn facing my targets at range 3, 2 of my Talas at range 1 with Biggs, the other at range 2, and Blount at range 3. Biggs died that round, but so did my front two Talas. The next round saw me IPM Ten Numb and put some damage on both other ships, but lose the Tala that was left. The round after that, I whiffed both my shots and then lost Blount.
That was when Etahn decided to win the game. First, I isolated Ten Numb form the others using the asteroid that he had to break around from his ion shot, while his other ships K-turned expecting me to come around. A few rounds later, Ten was dead and hadn't fired another shot since the one that finished my 2nd Tala. The next shot, Etahn took one of his X-wing's attack dice away, and brought the ship down the following turn, which is when my opponent pulled off his remaining, shieldless Z-95. Etahn finished the game with 2 shields and 3 hull remaining.
Second game I switched to Imperials, playing Whisper with Advanced Cloaking Device, Veteran Instincts, and a Rebel Captive, two Black Squadron Pilots with Predator, and an Omicron Group Pilot with Darth Vader. He switched to the very same Etahn build I ran last game, supported by a naked Bandit, Tarn Mison with an R7 Astromech, and Lt. Blount with an Assault Missile. I put my shuttle on the right side, my two ties in the middle, and Whisper on the left, while he set his up in a line in the center on his side, from my left to right, E-wing, two ships worth the space, then Bandit Tarn Blount.
Everything on his side rushed forward, while mine slowly advanced. The second round, when combat hit, Etahn made a mistake and ended up on a rock, while Whisper was right in front of him. The rock took one shield, Whisper took the others and dropped him to a single hull, while the assault missile hit-crit-deaded one of my TIEs and picked at another. The TIE returned fire at the Bandit, taking a single shield, and the shuttle stripped both shields from Blount.
Two rounds later, my shuttle still had 3 shields and hadn't used Vader yet, his Blount was dead, and my Whisper landed on a rock in front of his Bandit and Tarn while Etahn tried to come back into the fight after a K-turn. I figured the phantom was dead, but he only managed to take a single shield off, while the shuttle and TIE finished his bandit. The next round the shuttle and Etahn faced off while my TIE and Phantom went after Tarn. After taking a shield off the shuttle and dodging all of my attack dice from the shuttle, Etahn exploded anyway due to some awesome force power usage from my Dark Lord (the only time I used it all game,) Tarn took a ton of damage from the others, and my opponent conceded.
Final game, I kept my two Black Squadron Pilots with Predator, but swapped the others for a Royal Guard Pilot with Push the Limit and a Hull Upgrade, and a Bounty Hunter with a Recon Specialist and a Seismic Charge. He went back to his first list, the one he's got the most experience with: Wedge with Push the Limit and an R2 Astromech, Luke with a Shield Upgrade, R2-D2, and Draw Their Fire, and Biggs with a Shield Upgrade. I set up swapped from the same way as last game, putting the big ship where Whisper was but directly in front of his team, two ties in nearly the same spot, and the interceptor where the shuttle was. He set up as normal, with Biggs in the back between Wedge and Luke in front.
First round he did his normal 3 straight, while my guy also did a 3 up (except the Interceptor, which charged 5 straight and barrel-boosted to get angled toward them upfield. Second round, since I've played against this guy so many times and know his strategy, I flung my BH 4 straight, causing Biggs to leapfrog Wedge and Luke and managed to focus, but Luke and Wedge to bump Biggs. This did successfully deny actions on the senior pilots, but it gave everyone a range 1 shot on my BH. My TIEs hard turned and neither had a shot, but my Int managed to boost into a range 3 shot at Biggs. I stripped Bigg's shields and took a shield off Luke from a crit, while he dropped 5 damage onto my BH (would have been closer to 8 with focus on his guys, but he didn't have it.)
Next round, I drop my bomb, figuring that he's going to K-turn, but he assumes I'm going to fly my ties fast straight (they are on a path to intercept his K-turn if I went 4 or 5 straight) and goes slow forward instead. Both my TIEs banked in and had to barrel roll to attempt to dodge my own bomb, and they both failed, while only his Biggs took a hit from it. At the end of the round, my BH had taken no more damage, and my Int was still full, but one BSP was dead, the other had 1 hit from my bomb on him, and Biggs was dead (but Luke was back to 3/3.) A few rounds of combat later, I lose my second BSP but he takes Luke with him, and it's left to just Wedge with 1 shield left against a BH that hasn't returned to the fight yet (the initial 3-4-3 left him too close to the opposite edge to K-turn, so I had to hard 2 right twice to come around instead.) The Int took 2 hits and a crit total from Wedge, but thanks to Hull Upgrade and not having secondary weapons, he came out alive and returned the favor, dropping 2 damage on Wedge. The next round, Wedge ended up having no shots, and both my ships were on him, so he called it there, but we rolled the dice anyway and he would have in fact lost Wedge anyway.
Things I learned: Etahn with Predator is a super dangerous ship, well worth the 35 points you paid to get him. Rerolling 1-2 dice, often with a focus token, and then turning one of your hits into a crit, means that he is dealing a ton of damage if left alone. This is completely ignoring the fact that he buffs the rest of your squad. My '95s were useless in that game, dealing next to no damage (Etahn actually did most of the damage to Biggs in that first round, one Tala never got a shot, the others dealt maybe 1 or 2 damage, and Blount put 1 on Biggs from a normal shot and 1 on Ten from the IPM,) but Etahn completely dominated his squad. Two BSPs with Predator make for an interesting, threatening flight, but they died of for me too early for me to see how they'd do. However, they did their jobs well, leaving my 4 more important ships (across both games) alive to really put down the hurt.