I've found the header "X-Wing: Take control of powerful X-Wings and nimble TIE Fighters to be a misleading summation of our little hobby.
Maybe call it:
STAR WARS: EveryWing
Take control of any ship from the Star wars universe that was worth making a model for...
Asking for a friend.
Some people know me. Im the guy who plays the imperial junk (Backdraft, Deathfire, OL and DC) in Top 8 SOS in Germany 2017, or Kylo Kath in some German Regional cuts 2018, or the Reaper-Countdown-Volso List two times in the Hyperspace cuts this season - all mentioned by american podcast - for example the mynocks. (Yes - it was always the same guy) Now I played again some kind of underastimeted list as well as for the last 5 years. Business as usual. A Decimator in a kind of old school list with Whisper. Branded as unplayable (some threats call for buffing the Decimator or some elements in that List and so on - It is a good index for this general view). When I was made aware of this by some German players and asked to translate my articles for you, I agreed. Maybe you are interested. Thank you Mark for helping me translate this one.
I am tinkering around with the Decimator since October 2018. I bugged Steffen Kähler (some of you know him because aof the worlds), other well know German tournament players as well as my team members shortly after the release of 2.0 with my ideas. Earlier this year I wrote an article “Ode to Decimator” in the German X-Wing Forum (so far only available in German; http://www.moseisleyraumhafen.com/t18286-taktik-eine-ode-an-den-decimator#297984) explaining why the ship is – other than a lot of people think – not a **** ship and basically “dead on arrival” but a viable option in 2.0 for all the Imperial Admirals out there. Now, around half a year later and after being constantly challenged to “play it in a big tournament if it is that good” I had to turn my ideas into a viable squad for a tournament.
On top, I had to come up with a squad not only for myself, but also for my team mate Enno; he committed way before me to bring a Decimator to the SOS in Hannover; eventually he went with RAC and Soontir. A little bit of fine-tuning and a couple of tough matches later his squad was set. At this point and time I was still playing a Sloane swarm and I was undecided whether to stick to it or to play with a Decimator as well. Nine test games later the squad was unbeaten (some of the games I won 200:0) and I was truly surprised by its performance. And when Jack Mooney on top of that won the SOS in Milton Keynes with Han/Jake I was sure that a Decimator squad is able to do this as well.
I came up with the name of the squad after the SOS due to the feedback I received and the obvious functionalities of it. The ships in the squad are well known, they are fast and tuned to the max. And thanks to Moff Jerjerrod they are even faster than what you would normally expect from Whisper and a Decimator.
Well known, fast and tuned to the max: Hot Rod
· Whisper (54)
o Juke (5)
o Fifth Brother (9)
o Stealth Device (6)
· Rear Admiral Chiraneau (80)
o Lone Wolf (5)
o Darth Vader (14)
o Moff Jerjerrod (10)
o Veteran Turret Gunner (6)
o Proton Bombs (5)
o Hull Upgrade (2)
o Dauntless (4)
The most components are more or less obvious. However, the there are elements and synergies that you might not get right away, hence a closer look is needed. Most important: both ships have initiative 5; for flying and triggering the abilities it is crucial to have the same initiative.
Moff Jerjerrod: Combinations and tactical concepts
The core of the squad is Moff Jerjerrod. His abilities allows all friendly ships to perform a red boost action during the system phase. The possibility to reposition before all other ships move doesn’t sound that great at first, especially when you look at the conditions and the price: the boost is a red action, you have to choose and pick the same direction for all ships, you can only trigger it every second round and it costs 10 points.
However, it makes the Decimator (and especially Whisper) faster, even more less predictable and gives the option to fly around obstacles easier (instead to fly with a 3 bank-left (white) onto an asteroid you do a 1 straight boost (red) and then turn in with a 1 bank-left (blue)). So it is all about to broaden the engage/disengage possibilities. Especially the Decimator is able to get back into action more quickly after disengaging due to the additional boost provide due Moff Jerjerrod.
Same goes for Whisper: she is even faster and more flexible than she already is: Decloak 2 forward (white), boost 1 left (red), fly 3 straight (blue) and then do a barrel roll; hard to see this coming. This example as well as other combinations turns the Phantom suddenly to one of the fastest ships in the game. It is also great to avoid getting trapped between obstacles and enemy ships: just do a boost and you are good to go. It is not as good as collision detector, but pretty useful nonetheless. Downside with the last mention option (boost to avoid being trapped) is that you might not get the auto evade token when you decloak due to the stress. However, you still can get it back using the regular action; and thanks to Fifth Brother and his Force token you are still “tokend up” sufficiently. In other words: most of the time it doesn’t matter whether you boost before or after you decloak (again: the importance of the same initiative of both pilots).
Also, as both ships can move within the system phase (Whisper even twice) they can set a block before other ships move (you can say at initiative 0). Especially the big base of the Decimator makes him more resistant to blocks but, at the same time transform him into an efficient blocker himself: due to the boost he is able to move before initiative 4 ships to counter-block them (blocking the blockers). Another tactical component for this scenario is the proton bomb, which can be placed either before or after the Decimator uses the boost action. The imminent danger is quite often enough to force enemy aces or swarms to disengage, and it keeps the stern of the ship protected. The possibility of being blocked or facing a bomb often means that the opposing ships won’t have an action respectively a token: bombs have to be outmaneuvered using a barrel roll or a boost and being blocked means that you lose your action. In the very end all this plays into the hands of Whipsers’ Juke and Vader (Crew) (both are synergizing on their own very well already).
Standard Tactic The Decimator is a tank, he wants to get into range 1 to shred enemy ships into pieces. He can either overlap ships with a lower initiative or set block; both is in his favor. Chiraneau with Vader (Crew) works a bit like the old Oicunn: as soon as the ship is in the arc of the Decimator it will get a damage from Vader. Thanks to the Moff and the Dauntless title you are able to set blocks respectively bump into enemy ships and get an action nonetheless pretty easy. This way the Decimator won’t get shot at, but deals damage; and Whisper will take care of the rest. The combination of the re-enforce action and Vader (Crew) makes the Decimator effective in the offense as well as in the defense. On top: both ships can generate a lot of Crits due Chiraneaus’ ability and Fifth Brother on Whisper. The games I have won with this squad were always pretty high points wise; a lot of them were even 200:0… even against squads where I wouldn’t have expected such a result at all. I wasn’t able to pull something like that off with another squad in 2.0 and I wouldn’t have expected to pull something like this off with a Decimator.
The Decimator is a good choice also with regards to the current Meta: Juke, Out-Maneuver or Crack Shot don’t matter for a re-enforced Decimator. Once he is engaged in a dog fight, he simply tries to overlap/bump/block; the Dauntless title will provide the action he needs to then deal out massive damage to the ships he is not touching.
In case the Decimator is going down he should have done his job by getting rid of the crucial element in the opponents’ squad. Whisper is an highly efficient (and annoying) late game ship that should be able to finish the game (potentially by just surviving to deny the victory points)
Lone Wolf: A two-ship-squad including a Phantom might be the only set up to use this upgrade optimally… thanks to the movement options of the Phantom of course. It will boost the offensive output of the Decimator (action should be used for the re-enforce and you can potentially modify a focus using the Force token from Vader) and even could be useful when being shot at (especially from range 3).
Dauntless: It’s a must have if you follow the standard tactic (overlap/bump/block) as you are not using Tua to get the re-enforce token. Goal is to ram other ships to deny them the attack on you and, at the same time, engage the remaining enemy ships.
Veteran Turret Gunner: It’s very helpful against squads with multiple ships that don’t have a lot of defensive dice; doing more than 4 damage in a round is likely. However, it doesn’t trigger often but when it does, it will hurt. It’s also a great tool against squads with a lot of hit points like Four K-Wings, Rebel Beef, etc.
Hull Upgrad: It’s simple: Re-enforce turns the Decimator into a tank, having another hull makes him even harder to kill. More detailed information (with some math) can be found in my initial article on the Decimator (see link above)
Vader: As described, he is the jack-of-all trades on the Decimator. He will make sure that you will deal damage, whether directly or indirect by taking away tokens from the opponent ship. Vader finished a ship in every second game I played, without getting Whisper or the Decimator directly involved. He is one of the best Crew options you can get.
Stealth Device (Whisper): Ideally Whisper has a Focus, two Evades and potentially a Force token when being attacked. That amount of tokens and three green defensive dice makes it difficult to kill her; when being cloaked you even have 7 green dice. In all games I have played I only lost Whisper twice. The good thing is (or bad thing if you have to face this squad): you can’t ignore the Decimator, but also can’t ignore Whisper as she is a beast in the late game. Whisper is the defensive counter-part to the Decimator: no green dice vs. „too many“. This conceptual interplay between the ships and the difficulty for the opponent to set a target priority makes the squad very balanced.
When you follow the described tactics there are not a lot of other squads that will give you trouble. No matter the matchup, you have at least one tool in your box to be able to deal with it. I personally don’t like to joust my opponent’s squad directly, even though it would be the best option most of the time. Squads that deal a lot of Crits as well as using jam actions are to most challenging matchups for the Hot Rod, however they are not unbeatable. This is also the reason why I will stick to this squad for the extended format for the time being. I was able to get into the top 16 at the SOS Hannover and almost made it into the top 8. The overall performance of the squad makes me confident that I could have made it even further that day.
Therefore: Stand firm! The Decimator is not ****. The Decimator is not dead!
What if I like flying handbrake Han but "feel" like he is fine because I prefer to fly him into corners, never use the dishonorable handbrake, and also refuse to dial in 4 straights and use the boost action?
_if_ this is true, this is where it really becomes a problem. List diversity is one of the best features of 2.0.
But equally it says more about the x-wing community, that (unscientific and unsupported) statement suggests that 25% of players would rather copy someone else’s success than play the game. Still fewer than triple jumps mind you.
May all these waac players draw each other. Six mirror matches is the best punishment I can think of!