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Norsehound

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  1. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    About two months ago I told myself that I should challenge this longstanding notion that the VSD is in a bad spot. It's only fair, so I started out taking two VSDs with Tua and Brunsen and a sidecar GSD. The list had some problems, but I iterated enough times with some practice games to think it had some merit. In fact I was rather surprised on how other parts of my list were failing worse than the VSDs, they were doing ok. I took it to tournament play... it ended up dead last, with a day of disappointment without really much to show for the three games I took it into. Same with generic TIEs. Tried one game with them and I realized the generics were too fragile to really be worth it, even in a Sloane list. It repeated a lesson in the wave 2 days when I tried mass TIEs to snowball my enemy under blue dice. In the final game I realized I was only giving my opponent points. These things weren't meeting my expectations of what I want on the table. And maybe that's my problem, expecting too much of the VSD and hoping it can be something it isn't. For the Regional tournament I took my well-practiced ARQ battery list and came in second, clawing apart a lot of heavies all through standoff firepower. It's a list type I made wanting to replicate the success of the Rieekan aces list I was beating my head against for a summer some years ago, without relying on fighters in turn. Maybe I should give up on hoping the VSD can be more than it is. It's not going to be what I want it to be.
  2. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    I don't enjoy the feeling of powerlessness and futility. It's a feeling I get when trying to put VSDs into play competitively, and it hurts when my favorite ship continues to let me down. It also hurts when players are suggesting the VSD is wonderful in its current position, like it doesn't need fixes. It invalidates my experience of continually seeing them trashed by heavies, outrun when trying to flank, letting me down in competitively, and just not being good enough compared to what the ISD offers. After all this thread is, "Do the VSDs need an overhaul?" and the OP even asks, "Why isn't [my VSD] an ISD?" So it's not just me. I have a critics' mindset. I know the VSD's flaws and how they "should" be played as defensive ships, JJ hard-flankers, I know all of that. It also means I know what I can't do with them. And I want my favorite ship to be as flexible and desirable as an ISD. It has many makings of being a great ship, but two things need to be fixed for it to last in the 400 point meta it was not designed to handle back when it was just the core set: Speed and/or protection. Otherwise ISDs will win out every time, and my favorite ship is the poorest competitive choice to take in an Imperial list.
  3. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    Let us know when they've succeeded, because I think if there were a way, someone would have found it by now and we all would be using it. D-Cap gunboats aren't enough. Capable of crossing the board fast enough to commit it's second row of battery dice against a speed 0 objective-camping list just waiting for you to get in range? Ok. Let's see how many VSDs last charging into the teeth of some Cymoon/Liberty/Fighter ambush lists designed to camp an objective, because they're "capable". And yes it has to be the teeth, because anything other than a straight line and I'm arriving on turn 5 and my opponent already left.
  4. Norsehound

    Mel Miniatures Wishlist

    Guh, this is pretty much what the MC80 is supposed to be now, isn't it? Be careful making hard to kill ships- you don't want a situation where a game can go to time as one side remains invulnerable and wins by whatever kills they can scrape up in the shoot-out. Or a six-round game where nothing dies because Dauntless vs Dauntless games result in no destruction. Besdies it needs a point too beyond being just a survivable ship. The MC80 has a carrier role, LIB is turbolasers and 75 is ordnance. What does this ship *do* as a thing?
  5. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    I feel like anyone running a VSD with a straight face in a competitive situation is doing it for the challenge, not because it's a wise list building decision. They're doing it to show off or prove a point. It's like running Gladiators without the Demolisher title, or Interdictors without any experimental retrofit. It's a thing you do because you can, not because it's efficient.
  6. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    So much was unknown back in those wave 1 days... I still don't think the creators intended to push up to 400 originally either, which doubtless also has a factor in how ISD-VSD relations turned out. If VSDs were costed cheaper, how many would you expect to be flown in a VSD swarm list with Motti? I think that's the limiting factor on these ships and why FFG wouldn't be open to reducing the cost of the VSD (Apart from the convention of avoiding already printed cards, etx).
  7. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    What I and I think other VSD advocates want is the VSD to have some ability to win those engagements. Otherwise, that's the exact reason nobody takes them in tournaments, why they always disappoint, and why you should never take them outside of staged games (or you must accept the consequences if you do take them). Since they can't answer those meta-common situations, don't invest the points in a high risk that you're going to lose many of your engagements against random lists. Better take ISDs, which have an answer for all of those situations. ...while also having the desired flexibility. You can plop Tua on a VSD to give it the ISD's always-brace flexibility with an ECM they take for granted. But it's not very satisfying for a player like me who, looking at a VSD, knows he can't make his VSDs as flexible as ISDs because they have grating problems. I don't want it to be that way. I want to configure my VSDs in such a way that, with decent fighter escorts, I can take on any number of ships with a good chance of winning. I want the freedom to build my VSDs how I want, like I can with ISDs, without some meta-common build that utterly trashes them. That is not the case now.
  8. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    Because ISDs are still rocking 11 hull, an additional shield, push more fighters, have 2 AA, and since you didn't mention anything about protection: a defensive retro for the all-essential ECM. This allows you to put an officer of you choice in that slot instead of mandating tua on the risk you're flying against big ships. Speed 3 VSDs mean the VSD-II can be a better flanker by getting that nav on the turn they need the sharp turn and concentrate fire as they cruise in for the kill. It also means it can commit the blue row of dice quicker against speed 0 munchkins, and it can actually run down fleeing ships. VSD-Is are suddenly formidable because with one nav token they can jump to speed 3 and be a credible threat of projecting 8 dice with ordnance experts and have the hull to stick around (Where Demo needs to boom-and-zoom to live). Speed 3 means it's less likely you'll have games where your VSDs never shoot and they're looking at a cheaper ship flinging 6 dice when in optimum range. But! If you don't like them you can still shoot them, because XI7s and acc say the only choice they have in defending themselves is which 1 point they'll shed to a side arc- while they eat a full battery from a heavy. Yay! I'd like to see some discussion on how to use VSDs in ways other than second-player objective protection ships, or something other than D-Cap artillerymen "From the Back", and likely deployed close to their targets. Tell me how I can use multiple VSDs in an assault role against a camping speed 0 second player Rieekan aces ball pumped with Yavaris Norra B-Wings, or an Ackbar conga line with some fighters and flotillas to pad out deployment. Let me know how to face an Avenger ISD-I with Sloane supporting Demolisher and a pack of aces to pad out deployment, while you're using more than one VSD. My sense tells me these are among the match-ups are the worst possible combinations VSDs are going to be asked to face, but you must, if you're preparing to face anything other than a staged game.
  9. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    The way I understand VSDs now, they're offensively inflated in proportion to how well they can defend. Dcaps is unprecedented 6 dice at long range, External racks adds a lot of close range firepower like Giraffe shows us. If they can land these hits in combination with all of their offensive slots, they're fantastic. But this is not a reliable role since they can be avoided easily by faster ships or destroyed as easily as small ships by large craft designed to kill them. I gather that's fine for a lot of people, since like Raiders the trade-off is getting what you can out of the ship before it's destroyed. I on the other hand want them to behave more like generalist ISDs, including the tank and flank-assault roles. Or being the almost-bigger bruiser that I'm allowed to field 3 of instead of 2. But the way I see it those other area problems of speed and protection bring down my expectations for what the VSD can accomplish, and I'm forever feeling that something is missing from the VSD for it to compete. All it takes is that one heavy deployed in just the right spot to engage my VSDs one at a time- I'm not confident the focused VSD can hold out long enough for his wingmate to wheel in, even if I see the ISD coming. VSDs aren't a 1:1 replacement for ISDs with a cost deduction. They're an offensively biased ship with a defensive movement profile and hardly any options for when they meet a direct battery-based ship counter. I think that's a problem and why we don't see these fielded more often competitively. I'd rather they be ISDs in miniature than just another specialist medium pretending to be a generalist.
  10. There's an effort of mine I was tracking on Boardgamegeek for a while. I was mostly concerned with TMP era-ships, leaving TNG to bigger craft. I wanted to create upgrade slots unique to Trek to prevent cross-contamination with Star Wars, but still be compatible for playing in a Star Wars Armada environment (just don't expect to command squads with Trek ships). It's been in an on-and-off stage of development, in part because it's work I'm not being paid to do, and folks like Dsciorpo are fine pumping out untested content without me. I have a few ships on Shapeways, but they're all keyed for X-Wing bases since they were for another project.
  11. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    Kinda makes up for how frustrating super evasive lists are where VSD-Is never have a prayer of entering range... (of say an ARQ battery or Ackbar conga line that keeps side-stepping). Once upon a time, back in my first Massing at Sullust event, I took a VSD-I with Expanded Launchers and Sensor teams. I didn't win first place but I still remember making a fresh GSD disappear in one shot. The times I've tried to replicate this success, enemies easily flew away and hammered me at long range (as they should, see above). I keep asking why and end up posting my answers in threads like this.
  12. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    "You say you die to accuracies and xi7s? Don't sail into Ackbar range." No, your opponent is bringing an ISD of some form designed to kill ships as soon as possible, like a Cymoon with XI7s and H9s with Vader as a commander. He's gunning for your VSD- it's not something you can just avoid. Besides, what if Ackbar is sitting on an objective- you just concede all those points to him? "Why MUST you deploy in the center of the board instead of in a corner as an artillery piece?" after padding out your deployment, your VSD drops in some corner as a flanker piece. He deploys the rest of his ships in the opposite corner, then scoots the flotilla and all fighters to rejoin his formation. If you're lucky, your speed 2 VSD gets to maybe shoot something on turn 5-6 as it's chasing your opponent's ships. Voicing your complaints on the forum, other forum posters tell you, "You should have deployed your VSD in the center like you're supposed to, to make up for how slow they are, with Jerjerrod." "Why MUST you take second player if you have other first player ships?" As second player Rieekan decides to camp with Yavaris on his extreme end of the board for Contested outpost and drop down to speed 0, allowing a flotilla forward to contest the outpost. Under Station assault and Solar corona, he's dropped down to speed 0, waiting for you to get close to him to engage. In another situation you manage to do it. Your ISD crushes enemies, your fighters swat your opponents, and you've managed to win. Your DCAP VSD, on a flanking maneuver, never fired once in the entire match. You're wondering if it's a more efficient use of your points, or if you should buy Demolisher instead. You also figure that would make a better distraction on top of actually getting to the battle sooner. (This actually happened with me). "Why MUST you run it light if it kills more ships on the way out or provides the ability to kill more?" On the approach, your over-loaded VSD runs afowl of a 2x ISD list that deploys in such a way with the flanker at speed 3 and the anvil at speed 1. You're pinched between two ISDs that annihilate you easily with XI7s, then you wonder why you put so many points and your commander on a slow moving target. "So you're using your other ships to beat UP those heavies or carriers right? You're not just sailing ships into death, conga line style right?" Taking two VSDs, you prepare to pinch that MC75 that Sato is driving down the middle, thinking you can crush him in between you even though he's got projection experts out of a Pelta throwing shields on the gunnery-team equipped 75. After mauling both of your VSDs on the approach, he uses his side arcs to fire upon both ships, destroying them. He squeaks out of range before your fighters can catch up to it, and your Gladiator that rounds out the list is busy attacking the MC30 on the opposite side of the board. (this actually happened to me in a tournament setting, which is part of the reason I ended up in last place that day. I thought my 2x VSDs could handle it, since one would expect two mediums to finish a heavy.) Cymoons/Raddus/squadrons: so, you're taking objectives that let you fight them right? Or one's that help you if you do face them, right? You can't prep for everything, so you're prepping for the fleets you either expect to face or know you need a good answer to, right? That's why I'm running 2 dust cloud objectives with Leia, because I need Cymoon protection. Your opponent fields a list designed to make points off of killing ships and ignore the objective than allowing you to score points, jamming two ISDs at you and deploying to pick one ship off at a time. Even though you have contested outpost, suddenly there are two large ships focus-firing on your VSD. To prepare a VSD list with everything you need to face it, you have to take...well, the upgrades of Tua and Brunsen, to give the ships the best protection they can and make up where the VSD is lacking. Especially in a field dominated by meta-popular heavies that melt ships if they can. When I field VSDs I take Contested Oupost / Station Assault / Solar corona as a baseline because I need to force my opponent to come to my table so that I can bludgeon him with my slow-*** ships. If I get crazy, I try Hyperspace assault with a wild VSD-I in hopes that I can pop out and use the VSD-I's battery at close range. Knowing that VSDs in an assault roll will likely have to crawl across enemy fire, I pick situations where my opponents have to wade through my shots. Hence, a lot of objectives to that effect, and bidding deep for second player. "So does the ISD. Why is THAT so expensive? I don't have enough for 5 raiders when I run the ISD, so fighters hurt me." Yet the ISD has the capacity to command more amazing anti-fighter squadrons, a natural defense slot for ECM against large batteries, has two AA, a larger battery, and has greater protection than the VSD. I have also never heard anyone ask, "Why should I take ISDs? VSDs are cheaper and do a lot of the same things." I think you're exactly right, and large ships just emphasize the shortcomings of the VSDs. Back in Wave 1, VSDs were nigh-insurmountable because there weren't a lot of large-battery ships flying around in order to punish their shortcomings. They really have been made obsolete by the ISD, true to lore, and they've been struggling with various updates since. Gunnery team VSDs have the power to punch out lighter ships just as easily as they did in Wave 1 days. Problem is, as you say, it's vogue to run big ships. So now you have a choice; up-gun to fight toe-to-toe with other heavies that are present in most metas, or make your VSDs in such a way that won't hurt when you lose them. FWIW, I think VSDs are one or two upgrades away from being the fantastic ships they should be. Give them some ability to move effective speed 3 and you got your flanker, or VSD-Is can make that lethal pounce they need when they wish. Give them more protective options and they can stand toe-to-toe with heavies and actually have their discount felt in a meta game, even if their batteries are smaller and they command less fighters. This, as I've been debating. Those weaknesses I feel are speed and protection. Fix one definitively and the VSD has a way to compete.
  13. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    One of the areas the CR-90's variants beat out the VSDs is that they aren't expensive. You can afford to drop either of those CR-90s in a list that also does other things- Rebels have the points to cover up the deficiencies of their other ships ok. They're also fast enough to be anywhere they want to be and still do what they need to. They can't magically make fighters go away while/in place of their battery attack work, but that's not what you expect out of them. VSDs are a commitment when you're dropping one, and you need the extra ships to make up for its deficiencies. Deployed out of position? You need other ships to be where the VSD isn't while your opponent is running away from it. Problems getting focus-fired? you need rodeo clown ships to draw attention from the VSD (like ultra-scary Demolisher or some RDR kitted out with Expendable Racks and an Intel Officer). Compare this to an ISD (the point of the thread) which protects itself better and can get itself into/out of trouble easily. CR-90s answer both problems by either being expendable or running away.
  14. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    No, I hear you on how offensively capable the VSD is in various roles. One of the reasons I love the ship is all the potential capable out of those slots for cheaper (Ion/Turbo/Weapon Team is everything a gunship would want! Officer/Offensive Retro / Wep Team is likewise what every carrier wants as well). I'm saying none of that matters without better speed or better protection other ships (like the ISD) take for granted. Where's the flexibility if you Must take Tua (and so, Must give up your officer slot), Must deploy in the center of the board, Must take second player to matter, or Must run it light so you don't miss much when it dies? Why can't the **** thing be like an ISD, just with slightly lower hull and a slightly smaller battery in exchange for being cost effective like it should? Every time, it's because: 1. it's not fast enough to run away or attack when it wants to or 2. It can't tank punishment against killer heavies long enough to be relevant for more than one or two turns when the fighting stats. In that case, sadly, why invest the points when I can buy ships that last longer or are cheaper and better at their jobs? Not every game is going to be against non-Norra/Yavaris fighter balls or lists laden with light ships are charging at you (ideal situations where the VSD does well). No, to do well you need to have a plan against Cymoon superlasers, or Raddus bombs coming out of a hammerhead and two flotillas at speed 3 from opposite ends of the board. I guess what it comes down to, on the matter of flexibility, is this: What options does the VSD have in the worst possible match-ups it will face? I feel it doesn't have any , and there are a lot of bad situations that it can face. With the ship being as expensive as it is, as well, it also eats into choosing other ships to cover for its deficiencies.
  15. Norsehound

    Do VSDs need an overhaul?

    Looks good to me, roughly similar to a lot of the 2x VSD builds I was trying before the last run of tournaments (I used a GZ in place of the ARQ, was experimenting with trying to make a GSD-II into a better support ship). It looks good enough to me to practice with. I think the weakness in your list is fighters, but I'm gonna guess you have more practice with Phantoms than I do. With Thrawn you can do the wonderful double-commanding needed for your VSDs to be carriers as well, a great move! You may need to practice to have the timing down on when to initiate those commands. I'd pay special attention to your obstacle placement to control the direction your opponent is going to move into if he wants to approach your ships to kill, or the objectives to score. With this, Brunsen has plenty of things to trigger off of, and you can try to mitigate your opponent to allowing one ship in range for both of your VSDs to engage at once. I recall one of my own games of 2x VSDs against 2x Liberties with gunnery teams (this was way back when mass flotillas were still a thing for activation padding) and it didn't go well. The fewer enemy ships you can engage with the most of yours, at once, the better position you'll be in. Especially here since VSDs, while good, need to take advantage of their numbers and large batteries to blow apart one heavy ship at a time. You'll be in trouble if you're ever in a situaiton where their one heavy can engage one of your VSDs at a time without any kind of backup. Even your kiting ARQ would be a good help to drain shields on a side/facing arc to your VSDs, wearing them down so your VSD can kill the heavy quicker. TL:DR because I'm verbose: It looks good. Practice with it to figure out what works and what doesn't, but that's a list I'd try.
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