Magnus Grendel

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About Magnus Grendel

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    The Empire Needs You!
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  1. The big weak spot in that list to me is the Alphas. Finding points for Autothrusters for a generic pilot isn't easy but it can really make the difference on toughness, especially since you seem to see nothing but bloody turrets on the other side of the board these days. A TIE interceptor without Autothrusters is a TIE fighter paying 6 points for an extra attack die. Not an awful deal, but not an amazing one either (because pilots like Backstabber and Mauler Mithel can do that conditionally much of the time and throw in a high-ish Pilot Skill for the same price). Add autothrusters, though, and you get something like a 50% increase in defence when stuck on unfocused greens (meaning gunners, hotshot copilots, twin laser turrets and the like can get knotted), and if you have a focus token it becomes completely impossible to totally blank your green dice. The level of reassurance this provides imperial players is hard to overstate. On a 30-40 point Soontir Fel, it's justifiably noted to being vital for survival. For a 20 point alphathruster, it means it'll realistically take three target lock/guidance chip 4-dice cruise or homing missiles to kill just one ship. That's an incredible toughness for cost. I'm not sure where I'd find the points, but my immediate response is to look critically at the Sienar Specialist. A single Twin Laser Turret may not give you the massed fire you want - although I'm not sure what I'd arm him with instead - a Synched Turret has action economy problems of its own and is vulnerable to opponents who can shed target locks (and only frees up 2 points, not the 4 you need. If you want a close-quarter brawler, a specialist with an autoblaster turret might make for a nasty surprise for someone? That gives you a range 1 area that's effectively undodgeable on a tough-ish platform (3 green dice, 5 hit points), plus 4 'arc-locked' fighters that can duck, weave and strafe fairly well. Definitely. Unless you're leaving your ailerons at home, Strikers do not like "friendly ship at range 1" bonuses because they can't fly slow enough to stay in formation easily, whilst Snap Fire units are good, but Snap shots again strike me as the sort of thing that gets better en masse - because you can lay down a larger area with snap shot arcs covering it. Thought about this myself. It should make for a nasty force to face if you can get used to it. It's not as bad as it looks. At least for deployment and engagement, I'd say you have 3 'ships' - the two bombers, and two groups each of 3 TIE fighters. That's a small enough group to keep in close formation, each group is about 33 points and a fair match for a single ship in the enemy fleet, and small enough in size that you can put them in an off-set 'pinwheel' at deployment where they can all do the same manoeuvre without colliding. I don't see why not. You've essentially just dropped one TIE fighter to unlock Rage and a heavier weapons load. You've got a reload of Ion Pulse Missiles and Thread Tracers, which makes those bombers very high priority targets (because they're playing 'range 1-2 howlrunner'). I'm not convinced Youngster is really the best option - as long as thread tracers are firing, you've got rerolls covered without needing to stress the bejaebers out of your poor academy pilots, and the Stealth Device seems a very expensive toy to buy a 16 point ship that shouldn't be the squad's primary target anyway (because your opponent will want to kill those bombers if he the sense god gave a concussed gerbil). Theoretically, XX-23s could support Youngster with Expose, but that puts you reliant on an expensive synergy trick that has to work to be better than just a focus token, so I'm not sure that's a great idea. 12 points for a target locked 3-dice primary attack sounds too good to be true, which means in practice it'll probably be harder to get to work reliably than you'd hope. As an aside - Extra Munitions mean you're actually paying double price for your second round of thread tracers - it's actually more expensive than just buying a second volley! - granted you get ion pulse missiles too. One other thought for a mass-swarm-support bomber: The classic nightmare of a 7+ ship swarm is being dragged through the obstacle field, meaning that by the time you engage you're damaged, out of formation and lacking action-tokens you need to make your shots count. Consider a seismic torpedo to open yourself up a hole - that 2 points could both deny your opponent an 'obstructed shot' green die and allow you to scream in at full speed without having to steer round a big rock your opponent was planning to block your advance with. As an extra, extra bonus, it might even hurt them if they're too close - aces are good at dodging arcs, but when any obstacle on the board can be turned on spec into a range 1 cluster mine, there's suddenly a lot less places to go!
  2. If it only applies to non-unique, small ship rebel pilots, not too many. X-wings would still be hesitant to give up integrated astromech, I suspect. The A-wing would probably be the biggest beneficiary; even a single point drop allowing you to pack 5 A-wings with Juke and Snap Shot, which verges on a bit over-the-top. 5 B-wings due to a 2-point drop I think would be a bit too far, actually. 4 with some better kit than you get at the moment is one thing, but the B-wing seems waaaaay too potent compared to the other heavy swarm ships (PS1 TIE interceptor with autothrusters, PS3 TIE striker with Lightweight Frame, PS1 Protectorate, PS2 TIE bomber with Unguided Rockets/Lightweight Frame). 1 point isn't too bad. 5 unaugmented Rookies seems fairly reasonable.
  3. Great to see an actual tactics discussion! Generally, if you're setting up first, you want to give yourself as much space as possible to react to your opponent doing something nasty. As a rule, that means setting up in one corner, because you've got space to go up that side, or along your own board edge. If they're clearly a better jouster, you don't want to be in a situation where they could be ahead of you down a narrow channel, so either deploy facing along your board edge, or else at a 45' angle (so you can turn to face your board edge or the neutral board edge with just a gentle bank depending on where they deploy). Making sure you have space to do this is important - placing a rock at range 3 from your board edge and one side (so about range 1 in from the corner you intend to deploy in) creates a nice 'dead zone' where you have space to turn through but your opponent can't place a rock in the corner to block it because it can't be within range 1 of the one you just placed. In the deployment you've got there, I'd be wanting to go along my board edge to the right hand side and then turn up - try and pull the fight through the confusing trio of rocks in the bottom right. Note that to a degree it doesn't really matter in the specific case of Dengar. The point of pulling a jouster through rocks is to force them off green moves and to force collisions with rocks, aiming to deny them actions for the initial shots. With Expertise and K4 Security Droid, Dengar can fly straight over a rock and still bin off a fully modified torpedo. Of course, Debris (which would shut down expertise at least) is still useful, and don't mock the odd 'free' point of damage. More important when trying to engage Dengar specifically is to make him need to turn RIGHT (that asymmetric dial is still way too good but at least it doesn't have any green hard turns!). So going up the left hand side of the board is a better plan, even if the obstacles aren't quite as advantageously placed.
  4. Shara Bey's ability is worded differently because whilst you can spend the lock, you never 'own' the lock - which means you can't use it for 'if you have a target lock on the defender' abilities like Advanced Targeting Computer or Omega Leader; very relevant for an upgrade which (unlike Shara Bey) can appear in imperial squads.
  5. Probably Baze. A second shot if you miss is nice, but not being able to have another crack at the same target really cuts into the value of the upgrade. Swapping it for an Intelligence Agent for a point would go a long way to helping you line up those blocks and snap shots, too. Also, don't forget Kyle can have either Trick Shot, Adaptability or A Score To Settle in his elite slot for free. I'd probably recommend Trick Shot out of that list.
  6. The key tools a swarm has are raw firepower and blocking. Massed 2- and 3- dice attacks with 'just focus tokens' is actually pretty good. 5 Strikers or Interceptors, or 8 TIE fighters can turn a Scurrg or Decimator into hamburger at medium range in a couple of turns. Blocking is better than it was - TIE/x7 and Attani Mindlink made it all but useless, but people's unholy obsession with veteran instincts and the correction of TIE/x7 to mean you can't claim it if you collide means most things you actually see are vulnerable to being blocked. TIE swarms are especially brutal at close range - 3-4 TIE fighters at range 3 are an irritation to a T-70 ace (2 red dice versus 3 green dice with autothrusters is a bad joke) whilst the same at range 1 is a T-70 going home in a bucket (3 red dice versus 2 green dice four times is on a par with a full 100 point squad of heavy fighters). You will never make a swarm component ship 'tough' - the swarm concept you want is 'tough enough', which I generally define as meaning "taking multiple attacks or the expenditure of one-use tricks like missiles, crack shot, etc to take down". 4 Hit points behind 3 green dice is generally enough for this - with 2-ship squads of stupidly expensive aces and large ships being 'the in thing', forcing an opponent to 'waste' a second shot to get a kill is a big deal. The issue you have is that you're always losing - that is; you can expect to take the odd point of damage here and there continuously, especially if you end up in a stern chase of a big ship with a turret. Your 'punch' is continuously eroded and there comes a point where you no longer have enough concentrated firepower to be a credible threat - if you're down to 2 TIE fighters or one generic TIE/in or TIE/sk you've probably already lost, it's just taking you a while to die. By comparison, your opening punch is a good place to upgrade - it capitalises on the advantages of a swarm; hoping to blow away something big and tasty before the game starts going your opponent's way. PS is a trap. Swarms are rare enough that in a swarm versus swarm you'll regret not jumping to PS4, but in 99.9% of games you'll be facing a squad comprised of other named pilots and you'll be looking at PS5+ opponents. In that situation, anything above PS1 is a waste (or whatever your base PS is); because buying up PS is expensive for a swarm - because you buy it once for every ship in your squad, whilst a solitary expensive ace only buys a PS increase once meaning the same points investment buys a much higher PS. Besides which, lower PS is nice for a swarm because you want to move first to block opponents and deny them actions. The only reason to buy expensive swarmers is because you have a cheap-ish generic with an elite upgrade - Black Squadron, for example, is the archetypical 'elite swarmer' because that 2 points gives you a slot to equip Crack Shot, not because they're PS4. Swarms: 6-8 ships with 2-dice attacks. No matter how elite your pilots (and Ace TIE fighter and TIE/fo pilots are really, really good) be very hesitant about dropping to 5 ships or below because ultimately whatever special rules you have you're still flying TIE fighters and you lack raw firepower and hit points. Black Squadron Pilots with Crack Shot or Snap Shot do most of your heavy lifting. Mauler Mithel and Scourge are absolutely brutal with Snap Shot, delivering a 3-dice snap shot (and potentially following it with a 4-dice range 1 primary for a 7-dice hail of fire from a sub-20 point ship!) Be careful of Fenn Rau; that guy can soak as many range 1 shots as a swarm cares to throw at him (concord dawn, pilot ability) and ditto at range 3 (autothrusters, range defence bonus). Present him with a 2-range deep 'thicket' of TIE fighters to try and block him with the front ones and present a decent number of range 2 attacks is the best thing I can suggest. Don't hesitate to evade with standard TIE fighters if your only shot is going to be a 'pointless' shot (Fenn Rau at range 1, Soontir Fel at range 3, etc) - that evade token will help preserve your extra warm body until it gets a shot that's actually going to be useful. The 'industry standard' crack shot swarm is: Howlrunner (Crack Shot), 3 x Black Squadron (Crack Shot), 3 x Academy Pilot This gives you the opening Crack Shot/Reroll Barrage, but gets you 1 pilot more than a pure 'crackswarm', useful for blocking (especially when facing other crackswarms) and one extra attack for the mid-game My personal favourite swarm is: Youngster (Rage), 7 x Academy Pilot This gives you 8 ships - the most possible of any squad in the game - all save 1 at the same PS allowing you to chop and change movement order as needed, and with a stress-heavy 'pop-on-demand' focus/target lock analogue. Rage is something to throw in when you've got a range 1 shot on a blocked target, or a ship that's going to die this turn or is about to be stressed out of every getting actions again anyway, not something for general use. 8 ships is a really threatening board presences, especially since Youngster works at range 1-3 so you can come in in a loose net that's much harder to avoid than people are used to with TIE swarms, and Rage (being an action) is 'locked in' at the activation phase and can't be taken away if Youngster gets splashed by some PS25 super-ace punting a cruise missile into his face. I'd quite like to try a snap shot swarm: Mauler Mithel (Snap Shot), 5 x Black Squadron Pilot (Snap Shot) I fear that with most opponents being turreted ships who run away, it may not do that well these days. Heavy Swarmers: 5 Ships with 3-dice attacks deliver amazing punch. There are 3 imperials capable of this: Scarif Defender/Ailerons/Frame Alpha Squadron/Autothrusters Scimitar Squadron/Rockets/Frame I can't speak for the Alphas in person, but they have done well - winning events, even. Scarif Defenders are also good - I have plenty of experience with them and they're a joy to fly. They probably wouldn't complement Interceptors in a squad - being rather similar. Scimitars I have no experience with. I don't think they're great for a squad by themselves, because their dial and catastrophic dependence on focus tokens to work effectively makes them vulnerable to being forced to actually dogfight rather than just roll slowly forwards blowing stuff to dust bunnies, but I imagine 2 of them would drop well into a striker or interceptor heavy swarm, giving you an 'anvil' that will actually take some killing and can engage an opponent at range 3 with no real problems. Ordnance in Swarms and Heavy swarms: Missiles look like a great way to add some teeth. They are, but they have three problems: Getting a target lock on an opponent with a higher PS in an initial engagement is hard, and if you mess it up, you're stuck with your (generally 2-dice) primary weapon. Target Lock mean you're stuck with unmodified green dice, increasing the risk of getting killed before you ever get your missile shot off. Once the missiles are gone, that ship tend to end up a useless lump of plastic. XX-23 S-Thread Tracers are a godsend in this situation: They require a focus token, meaning you can keep a defensive token you can spend to protect yourself if you attract too much attention. They work at range 1-3, not 2-3 like normal missiles, which combined with your requirement of only a focus token means it's easy to get a shot with them They provide a target lock to the rest of your squad - even if you're not in a range 1 'block' (which unless you're using Howlrunner you shouldn't be as it makes avoiding obstacles and bombs far harder) the permissive range 1-2 should cover pretty much all of the engagement zone. XX-23 S-Thread Tracers do not work well with TIE/v1 on a generic: Yes, you get a target lock and this gives you an evade token. But receiving an evade token at PS2 means next to nothing because everyone else has already shot at that point, and once the TIE Advanced Prototype's missile tube is empty, the dratted thing can go die in a fire for all the impact it's really likely to have on the game. The Scimitar with Guidance Chips/Thread Tracers/Attack Missile is a whole 'nother animal - an acceptably tough brute that your opponent can't afford to ignore. Yes, cruise missiles are the obvious one - a 4-dice attack with unconstrained manoeuvres or a 5-dice in a straight attack run. The former is much better than the latter because your opponent will generally see the latter coming, and because pulling a straight 4 and still ending up not at range 1 of a target is a lot harder than it sounds. Actually more deadly (though for less obvious reasons) are Ion Pulse Missiles. They only do 1 damage, but the point is not just that the target is ionised, but that the target is ionised even if it's a big ship, and more importantly the target is ionised in front of a TIE swarm. See the comment about close-ranged firepower; if a 5-6 ship TIE swarm is close enough to get to range 1 and knows exactly where you're going to end your manoeuvre next turn, you're going home in a bin bag and I don't care what ship and upgrade cards we're talking about. Super-heavy/Elite Swarmers (4 Ships) 4 ships gives you a lot more room for upgrades, but you still need to be frugal. You're competing with 4 x Blue Squadron Novices, 4 x Scurrgs, 4 x B-wings, 4 x Twin Laser Turret Y-wings and similar built-like-a-brick-outbuilding squads, so follow their example and make sure you're tough enough to take a kicking; lose 1 ship and your numerical advantage over a 2-3 ship 'ace' list could be gone! Imperial TLT spam needs no particular introduction: 4 x Seinar Specialist (Twin Laser Turret, Lightweight Frame) They're not exactly tough, but they are acceptably elusive. The Lightweight Frame not working against primary shots at range 3 is irksome, though, since you have less raw toughness than your rebel/scum Y-wing counterparts and lack a green turn, making you easier to pin down unless you give up your action to start barrel rolling. TIE advanced make for a good superheavy swarm Tempest Squadron Pilot (TIE/x1, Accuracy Corrector, [Missile], Guidance Chips) x 4 It's a nice, simple squad that is easy to use. It's easy to default to the raved-about cruise missiles, but DONT DO THIS. Getting the target lock is hard at long range, a focus/evade-less TIE advanced is relatively easy to kill, and locking yourself into predictable moves is exactly what you don't want to do. Ditto advanced targeting computers. On Darth Vader, with free actions and high PS, the Advanced Targeting Computer is great. For a generic...not so much. By comparison, 2 automatic hits, come stress, come Kanan Jarrus, come M9-G8, is amazing. Proton Rockets are the same price and convert a slight drop in defence (focus rather than evade) into a scary automatic 5-dice-with-focus-and-guidance-chips at range 1. Yes, it's easy to avoid, but if your opponent is running scared of being at range 1 of you, then those accuracy correctors are working overtime. Plus, you have enough points to upgrade one Tempest to Zertik Strom (TIE/x1, Accuracy Corrector, Juke) making range 1 even more of a losing proposition. If you really want to double down on accuracy corrector synergy, cluster missiles are nice, but again getting the target lock is awkward. Fortunately you can aim to end at range 1, so it's not as bad as it might be, and cluster missiles will chop up an agility 1/agility 0 target into chunky salsa double-quick. Shuttles......Hmm. They could work in theory but their weakness is and always will be their dial. Keeping a target where it can be shot at is your priority - fortunately you have toughness to burn and lots of slots to do this with. The best 25 point 'dogfighting shuttle' I've seen is Omicron Group Pilot (Electronic Baffle, Tactician/Antipursuit Lasers, Tractor Beam) - the combination of tractor tokens flinging people around, a wide 'stress band' from multiple large ships or blocking threat, and the ability to turn or stop multiple rounds in a row makes them very irritating to face. A good support is a 'Modified Doomshuttle' - Omicron Group Pilot (Collision Detector, Darth Vader, Inspiring Recruit) - Electronic Baffle is nice but Vader will be damaging his ship fast enough that you don't want to throw any more self-harm into the mix. The extra point spent on Recruit gives the other dogfighting shuttles a bit more flexibility, because one of them per turn can use its baffle to burn off a stress it's just received plus a second one it already had, giving you double-value for that point of damage. I don't think a mixed-ship-type superheavy swarm would really work. Twin Laser Turrets, or Tacticians, work when you have them en masse.
  7. Because the U-wing's Pivot Wing title does give it Agility 2 and it has a focus token it's not using for anything but defence. The Wookie has: Agility 1, unmodified Reinforce Token Meaning 1 3/8 evades against each incoming attack The U-wing has: Agility 2, focused Sensor Jammer Meaning he's less effective against massed focused attacks (6/8 evades, about half as much), against one or two unfocused attacks he's massively tougher (effectively 2 2/8 evades, or about twice as tough). The reality is probably somewhere between the two these days - 2-3 attacks but most of them focused, so assuming 2 focused and one unfocused attack, and 2 focused and one unfocused defence (because on average it takes about 2 rolls of 2 dice to spend a focus token usefully), you get: focused attack/focused defence - 1 2/8 evades (nearly but not quite as good as the auzituck) unfocused attack/unfocused defence 1 3/8 evades (almost exactly the same as the auzituck). Meaning that it works out about the same as the wookie gunship. The U-wing does have a couple of advantages, though: Sensor Jammer is not dependent on actions. The Auzituck does have to commit its reinforce token to a given facing - which may be an issue when either you 'guess wrong' against an especially elusive opponent (say a TIE phantom coming in from the flank) or you're in a crossfire from two or more separate enemies. Of course you've got to off-set this against the Auzituck's much superior firing arc and the fact that lightning reflexes can be triggered without a 1-turn 'windup'.
  8. In the last missions evening we had, we had an 'expanding fireflower' after one quickdraw shot another quickdraw, whose revenge shot hit the first quickdraw, in each case setting off a double-tap attack before the second quickdraw's 'normal' double-tap. It's not an uncommon matchup to see and can result in truly ridiculous numbers of shots flying around..
  9. It would be nice. That way you can throw in fixes (like TIE/x1 titles), reworked old pilots or new pilots for each ship. It does give you the issue that you can't then change the dial, which is the issue for some ships, but that issue is dealable with. The thing is, it's easy to do a one-time 'fix'. An aces pack is essentially just that, or a plastic-free campaign box for Scarif (a la Correllian Conflict). 'Rotation' is a fundamental shift in the long-term-plan for the game, such that any pilot card you buy has a defined life expectency before it'll be replaced with an updated version. This is not specifically a problem, but at the moment the game is not structured for this in various ways; most of the LCGs with this planned in have, for example, clearly obvious 'expansion cycle' icons on the card face.
  10. Indeed. I'd love to see this, but I'm not sure how to execute it. I wouldn't mind the idea of 'pulling' a given wave to replace with new stuff (or new versions of old stuff) in a later wave, but (a) people are more hesitant to buy new miniatures than new cards, and (b) some of the older stuff is spattered through more recent waves.
  11. Indeed. Because things like that undermine the basic "it's omnipresent and mysterious" concept, just like the whole midichlorians 'jedi blood test' idea. If you're going to go the other way and do a 'not visible in the force' analogue to a 40k Pariah or Elenium's "the man without a destiny", fair enough, but that drifts rather too close to what they ended up pulling out as a gimmick for the Vong, and is definitely not the point of Wedge; he's not a jedi, he's just that good.
  12. Pretty much. At the same time, whilst Force Sensitives are super-duper-awesome +1 because the story says so, some people are just that awesome because determination and native skill - and the fact that some of them can outclass force sensitives (usually within specific fields, but still) helps underline how awesome they are - Tarkin and Thrawn as commanders, Fenn Rau and Soontir Fel as pilots, etc, etc - note that, for example, Kylo Ren is only the second force sensitive character in the game to be PS9. Or, indeed, 'Plot Armour'. I liken it to Terry Pratchett's Discworld - the Galaxy Far, Far Away is fully aware it's a story and will occasionally mandate exceptions to physics, logic, and rational believability in the name of plot expediency. Compare, for example, the archetypical deflect-blaster-bolts jedi ability with another mystical sci-fi universe (Warhammer 40,000) - in Ravenor, a psyker pulls off much the same trick - parrying a number of shots out of the air. Her opponent's response is an impressed nod, and the question "how do you do on full auto?"* * Answer: not well enough.
  13. The torpedoes won't do anything meaningful to a sub-epic ship and not a lot to one of those, so can be largely ignored. The armour makes it essentially indestructable. The Laser cannons, however, are outside the armour and can and do get shot off the ship, if I remember right? Therefore consider it to be a ship with appropriate green dice (probably 1) and dial that: Starts with a primary weapon value of 4 Cannot be assigned damage cards and ignores all non-critical damage. When defending, if hit by an attack, cancels all [hit] results. When suffering critical damage, reduces its primary weapon value by 1 for each [critical] result. Once its primary weapon value is reduced to 0, it is essentially disarmed and forced to disengage - meaning the defender 'wins'. Victory in the mission is the Sun Crusher either wiping out the defenders before getting disarmed or getting the defenders board edge within its firing arc at range 1 and performing the FIRE RESONANCE TORPEDO action.....twice? Three times? Playtest and tweak for balance. I'm not a fan of the ship myself, but that seems to work as a potentially interesting scenario.
  14. Exactly. If it's just one shot, you may as well shoot Biggs. But if you've got, say, a spread of 3 missiles driven by Target Locks that can bypass him, that's potentially enough to blast Norra Wexley, or Jess Pava, or whoever the 'big gun' Biggs is protecting is, to scrap without having to go through the mustachio-ed wunderkind first.
  15. This is why - for reference - Combat Retrofit says "GR-75 Only. Huge Ship Only." - the latter is redundant in the face of the former, but it's required to allow a huge ship to equip it at all. Also, Huge Ships cannot perform free actions, so that's another point that the plan falls over on - even if you had, say, Airen Cracken flying wing, he couldn't pass a spare action to the transport. Pairing a ship with the Jam action with the illicit upgrade Black Market Slicer Tools works, though - pair up a Rebel TIE fighter with a GR-75?