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Baron Soontir Fel

TIE Defenders: Winning the War of Attrition

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Hey all. Like many of you, the Defender is one of my all time favorite ships ever since the old TIE Fighter games. I love the look (super aggressive) and concept (space superiority fighter). It's a ship that feels like a real world F-22, not a Spitfire, who can handle a variety of mission rolls and do more than just dogfight.

The problem being, of course, that this game isn't really designed to reflect that level of versatility. The Defender's fancy hyperdrive doesn't matter in X-Wing and missiles are often prohibitively expensive. Even it's amazing dial doesn't appear as maneuverable at first glance as the Advanced Sensors B-Wing. The lack of short turns has been lamented by many and the white K-Turn just encourages jousting-the least interesting form of dogfighting that doesn't favor smaller units of elite ships anyway.

So here is my question: Can the Defender win by rewriting the standard rules engagement? I steadily of making a passion and immediately turning about, can they make a pass and then just keep going? Use their big three turns to swoop back and the white K-turns to facilitate this turn instead of just wheeling back immediately?

Ideally this would work with something like: Delta Squad Pilot + Ion Cannon x 3. They stun their targets rush by and then stay out of arcs until they're ready. This would be a long game, sure. But could it work?

Please note that I'm not asking about whether or not this is an ethical or good sportsmanship. I'm just asking if we think it could be effective.

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The Tie Defender will earn its place in the Imperial lists. Ion ccannon is a great tool for this ship, but the problem is the price. It will need creative use of its colleagues, and a well integrated list.

Its a good ship. But its tough to place into your 100 point list.

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I don't think people give it credit where due.

 

White K-turn. Do you know what this means? If you think someone is going to rush into your face, do a white 4 K-turn. If they didn't, you smash and nobody can shoot. K-turn again to get on their tail. If they did however, you are now behind them AND with an action. Target lock at 1 range? Yes please!

 

Or how about the fact that it can grab ion cannons? Ioned them successfully? Great! K-turn and get behind them, TL, and enjoy a free range 1 shot on a helpless ship. 

 

Heck, if you feel like spending LOTS of point, grab a HLC. 4 dice at EVERY range! 

Edited by Battalia

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I see the Defender as great support for bombers at 100 points. The movement dials not that dissimilar, just a little faster. With Jonus in support you could use the HLC and outmaneuover for heavy damage or maybe with the Ion cannon, flechettes and bombs on your bombers.

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I think I need to point out something no one seems to have brought up that makes the White K-Turn an incredible tactic that can change the game. Yeah, you make have to take a stress to do a one hard. But you can K-Turn while stressed. Let that sink in for a moment.

 

There are lots of ways to give out stress these days. And in a clash, stressing an enemy ships means that you can get behind them because they can't turn to face you. The Defender doesn't care. So I don't get my action. I can still turn all the way around and shoot you. And again if needed.

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I am having some real success with the Defender.  It fights differently, but very effectively.  My favorite build is Delta (Engine, HLC) for 41 points.

 

If your opponent's formation is not facing you, use 1 banks and/or boosts in order to linger at range and fire.  When their formation turns to face you, use an appropriate bank to point your nose off center of their formation in preparation for a 4k plus boost back.  This leaves your opponent with a tough choice.  They can K-Turn, which costs them their next action, and stresses them.  This means they are unlikely to do significant damage and commits them to a green.  You can then follow up with a second K-Turn and be firmly behind them.  If they opt instead to turn towards the inside, you can boost after your K-Turn to the inside of their arc and get out of their arc, then k turn back into them next turn.

 

This boom and zoom fighting style is very effective, especially because your engagement range is lengthened by your HLC.

Edited by KineticOperator

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I think I need to point out something no one seems to have brought up that makes the White K-Turn an incredible tactic that can change the game. Yeah, you make have to take a stress to do a one hard. But you can K-Turn while stressed. Let that sink in for a moment.

 

There are lots of ways to give out stress these days. And in a clash, stressing an enemy ships means that you can get behind them because they can't turn to face you. The Defender doesn't care. So I don't get my action. I can still turn all the way around and shoot you. And again if needed.

I agree the white K-Turn is good but I have a few reservations about it's application and ability to be used consistently to make maximum advantage. Also combine that with it being a big investment to access this ability and his inclusion will shape the rest of your squad.

 

No Stress K-Turn. Obviously excellent for taking an action after the K. K's still remain a tricky thing to time in the early rounds as you don't want to bump (sometimes you do) or end up in front of them with your pants down. Named Defenders will be better at this than Delta's. Defenders also have the advantage of being able to take the risk on the 50/50 'will I make it K or not?'. If not they bump and hopefully survive to K next turn.

 

Stressed K-Turn. A great ability but I'm just not sure how much it will be used during standard games. I have a feeling it will be a good ship to counter specific builds, like the stress givers ect but will have limited use otherwise (unless you try to surprise your opponent with red turns ect but I don't think it will fool a good opponent more than once).

 

My final reservation with the Defender is it's lack of mobility. Usually high cost ships are very agile or very tough. The Defender looks tough due to it's greens but we all know that green dice fail consistently. Maybe it will simply be rethinking the accepted form of mobility, employing different tactics and moving this ship differently to everyone before it?

 

I think Engine will be a natural fit and using a support ship with Wingman will compliment it nicely. Cannons appear good options on this platfrom as well. Lastly I think it will make an excellent end game ship if we can keep it alive until then and the white K-Turn can shine.

 

It will be interesting to see how the Defender develops once people get their hands on it and thrash it out. I think it is currently the ship with the least Obvious application(s) and the most baffling/misunderstood (similar to the Lambda when it came out?) but will find a few good combo's or specific rolls to play as time goes on.

 

No doubt some great builds/squads will come out but at the moment it feels 'odd' to me in a 100 point dogfight.

Edited by McBain

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Just thought of something...If you slap an Engine upgrade on it, wouldn't that also give you a no-stress-but-no-action-3-K-turn? make your 4, boost one? Not sure how great that'll be, but hey, it's there. Something to think about. Not to mention you could bank instead for some weird possibilities.

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I stand by my statement of it being a great ship based on how well it worked for me on final table.  One Defender > a Z-95, E-Wing, and B-Wing.  It blew up all of those and had the 4th ship of their list, another B-Wing, half dead before it was blown up.  I only fielded a Defender and a Phantom for my final table Imp list...the Phantom went by by 2nd round because it took all 4 of thier ships to do so.  After that it was the Defender Show!

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Hey all. Like many of you, the Defender is one of my all time favorite ships ever since the old TIE Fighter games. I love the look (super aggressive) and concept (space superiority fighter). It's a ship that feels like a real world F-22, not a Spitfire, who can handle a variety of mission rolls and do more than just dogfight.

The problem being, of course, that this game isn't really designed to reflect that level of versatility. The Defender's fancy hyperdrive doesn't matter in X-Wing and missiles are often prohibitively expensive. Even it's amazing dial doesn't appear as maneuverable at first glance as the Advanced Sensors B-Wing. The lack of short turns has been lamented by many and the white K-Turn just encourages jousting-the least interesting form of dogfighting that doesn't favor smaller units of elite ships anyway.

 

 

I wouldnt compair the F-22 to a Defender since 22 are junk.  If you want I will go more into detail SW fighter are ahead of what we got, including electronic warfare.  They are better in everyway than other scfi fighters except transforming.

 

The reason I think it doesnt have the stats you think it should is because all the stats are not straight forward they take alot of attributes into account.  The Defender has the tightest turn capabilties BUT it is one huge muther ******.  A-Wings, Avengers, and Interceptors are manuverable enough to be very dangerous to esp the last two because of the power of the SFS L-s 9.3 they can at the least vap it in one quad volly, very likely less based on the fact it vaps Xs and As with one beam and blows apart Ys with one beam.

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Just thought of something...If you slap an Engine upgrade on it, wouldn't that also give you a no-stress-but-no-action-3-K-turn? make your 4, boost one? Not sure how great that'll be, but hey, it's there. Something to think about. Not to mention you could bank instead for some weird possibilities.

Close. You're not factoring for length of the Defender's base in there, so it's actually going to be equal to a no-stress, no-action 2-speed K-Turn.

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So, I haven't played it yet, but from Theorycrafting and the MathWing side of things, I can say this:

 

  1. It's not going to be a good jouster, even if using a white K-turn allows it to keep its action 100% of the time.
  2. But what the K-turn does is open up new tactical opportunities that get you better positioning. It can keep your enemies in arc more of the time, which directly translates into a higher damage output. You will need to abuse this to make the ship cost efficient.
  3. Conversely, if your opponents get the opportunity to put some good shots on it, it is only marginally more durable than a pair of TIE fighters.

It's really hard to quantify the second factor. I think it will be some time before the dust really settles and we get a verdict on this ship.

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The problem in my opinion with the Defender is the lack of green maneuvers.  Bleeding stress off this ship means going in a straight line.  Granted, it can do a 5-straight green but that takes you out of the fight for 2 turns.  

 

The Engine Upgrade will be nice because it allows you to shift your line with the left and right banks.  

 

However, with all the new Rebel toys for inducing stress (R3-A2, Transport Jamming, fletchette torpedos), it does not bode well for a ship with a very limited option for reducing stress.  The Wingman EPT will be golden as mentioned before.  

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So, I haven't played it yet, but from Theorycrafting and the MathWing side of things, I can say this:

 

  1. It's not going to be a good jouster, even if using a white K-turn allows it to keep its action 100% of the time.
  2. But what the K-turn does is open up new tactical opportunities that get you better positioning. It can keep your enemies in arc more of the time, which directly translates into a higher damage output. You will need to abuse this to make the ship cost efficient.
  3. Conversely, if your opponents get the opportunity to put some good shots on it, it is only marginally more durable than a pair of TIE fighters.

It's really hard to quantify the second factor. I think it will be some time before the dust really settles and we get a verdict on this ship.

What mathematical models were you able to use for the unique forms of mobility in this craft?

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I outmaneuvered Soontir Fel today. It was an awesome match, and the dice luck on both sides made the game go on much longer than it should have, but the Defenders wide, swooping turns worked great, and that occasional hard turn was fine without actions. Because unlike, well, pretty much everything else on the Imperial roster, they don't die just because they didn't take an evade token.

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I stand by my statement of it being a great ship based on how well it worked for me on final table.  One Defender > a Z-95, E-Wing, and B-Wing.  It blew up all of those and had the 4th ship of their list, another B-Wing, half dead before it was blown up.  I only fielded a Defender and a Phantom for my final table Imp list...the Phantom went by by 2nd round because it took all 4 of thier ships to do so.  After that it was the Defender Show!

What were you running, if I may ask, and what was your opponent running?

. . . the power of the SFS L-s 9.3 they can at the least vap it in one quad volly, very likely less based on the fact it vaps Xs and As with one beam and blows apart Ys with one beam.

Oh God not this again.

I outmaneuvered Soontir Fel today. It was an awesome match, and the dice luck on both sides made the game go on much longer than it should have, but the Defenders wide, swooping turns worked great, and that occasional hard turn was fine without actions. Because unlike, well, pretty much everything else on the Imperial roster, they don't die just because they didn't take an evade token.

Oh yeah? Sounds like fun. How was your Defender kitted out?

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Oh yeah? Sounds like fun. How was your Defender kitted out?

 

Rexlor Brath, Ion Cannon, Outmaneuver. At one point he PtL'd, but I got my Ion Cannon through with my target lock and not my focus token. His shield was gone, so when it went through i flipped it up and got the stress token crit. Ioned and double stressed, he actually managed to survive thanks to three straight turns of rolling max evades. In three turns he took one damage. I finally chased him to the corner, kiograned against the edge and barrel rolled so that there was no where he could be that wasn't in my arc. His final feeble attempt to kill me only took my final shield off. Never even scratched the paint. He took a hit and a crit even though he had 1 hull left. Still had an Academy TIE left.

Also, killed Vader on the second round of firing thanks to an Outmaneuvered Ion Cannon shot, then caused collisions so he only fired once and never got to do anything again. Brath killed him too.

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The problem in my opinion with the Defender is the lack of green maneuvers.  Bleeding stress off this ship means going in a straight line.  Granted, it can do a 5-straight green but that takes you out of the fight for 2 turns.  

 

The Engine Upgrade will be nice because it allows you to shift your line with the left and right banks.  

 

However, with all the new Rebel toys for inducing stress (R3-A2, Transport Jamming, fletchette torpedos), it does not bode well for a ship with a very limited option for reducing stress.  The Wingman EPT will be golden as mentioned before.  

I don't mean to call you out, because I started by doing the same thing, but I can't help but think that this is what we're doing wrong. We want the Defender to be a super interceptor, but why not try something new? I'm perfectly okay with going out of the fight for two turns, because I'll then be able to re-engage on my own terms.

 

 

I outmaneuvered Soontir Fel today. It was an awesome match, and the dice luck on both sides made the game go on much longer than it should have, but the Defenders wide, swooping turns worked great, and that occasional hard turn was fine without actions. Because unlike, well, pretty much everything else on the Imperial roster, they don't die just because they didn't take an evade token.

I think this is a such a good point. We also don't have to be afraid to bump or even take stress for a turn or two. A Defender with stress isn't as vulnerable as Fel. 

 

I stand by my statement of it being a great ship based on how well it worked for me on final table.  One Defender > a Z-95, E-Wing, and B-Wing.  It blew up all of those and had the 4th ship of their list, another B-Wing, half dead before it was blown up.  I only fielded a Defender and a Phantom for my final table Imp list...the Phantom went by by 2nd round because it took all 4 of thier ships to do so.  After that it was the Defender Show!

Do you mind telling us how you had it kitted out and how you went about pulling that off? I doubt you just jousted your way to victory.

 

EDIT: I'm also going to start trying these guys out on Vassal, but what list looks better?

 

Delta + Ion Cannon x 3 

 

or

 

Vessery (2 points of seasoning?) / Brax

Delta + Ion Cannon

Delta

 

Edited by BaronFel

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So, I haven't played it yet, but from Theorycrafting and the MathWing side of things, I can say this:

 

  1. It's not going to be a good jouster, even if using a white K-turn allows it to keep its action 100% of the time.
  2. But what the K-turn does is open up new tactical opportunities that get you better positioning. It can keep your enemies in arc more of the time, which directly translates into a higher damage output. You will need to abuse this to make the ship cost efficient.
  3. Conversely, if your opponents get the opportunity to put some good shots on it, it is only marginally more durable than a pair of TIE fighters.

It's really hard to quantify the second factor. I think it will be some time before the dust really settles and we get a verdict on this ship.

What mathematical models were you able to use for the unique forms of mobility in this craft?

 

 

Re point 1:

Same math that I use before, but I up the percentage chances that the Defender has focus on offense and defense, to account for retaining its action when K-turning. As a coarse estimate, I increase the chance that the Defender has focus on offense from 2/3 to 1.

 

The normalized damages are then:

3 attack dice, 100% chance of focus: 2.036

3 attack dice, 67% chance of focus: 1.74

2 attack dice, 67 % chance of focus: 1.00

 

We can do something similar when rolling defensively. Right now I assume that the target has a 50% chance of having focus when getting attacked. (Note: this is probably the weakest link in my estimates, it could very well be much lower due to focus fire.)  Using the same weighted averages as before for the action economy (2/3 focus on offense), and a mix of base attack dice and range bins, we get normalized durability of:

 

1 defense dice with focus 50% of the time: 0.517

2 defense dice with focus 50% of the time: 0.711

3 defense dice with focus 50% of the time: 1.000

4 defense dice with focus 50% of the time: 1.419

3 defense dice with focus 67% of the time: 1.127 <--- TIE Defender estimate

 

So where does that leave us...

 

The jousting value of a 3/3/3/3 stat line (normalized to a 12 point 2/3/3/0 stat line) is:

 

12 * ( attack coefficient * defense coefficient * (1.25*shields + hull)/3 ) ^0.52

 

12*(  1.74*   1.000*(3*1.25 + 3)/3  )^0.52 = 24.4 

Efficiency = 24.4 / 30 = 81.3%.

 

81% is very very bad, it's the worst in the game outside of some corner cases like the HWK-290. The TIE Advanced is actually a hair better than it at 82.2%, and we all know how much hate that ship gets.

 

For reference, a naked TIE Fighter by itself is (by definition) 100%, and a TIE Fighter supported by Howlrunner is about 117%.

 

But now lets use the more near-ideal action economy numbers:

12*( 2.036*   1.127*(3*1.25 + 3)/3  )^0.52 = 28.17

Efficiency = 28.17 / 30 = 93.9%.

 

So, 94% efficiency isn't horrible, in fact it's a hair better than the X-wing's jousting dial, which clocks in at 91.9%. But it is still not great compared to the TIE Fighter, or especially a Howlrunner Swarm. Now, my numbers could be off, in either direction. I think that if anything, I was slightly generous to the TIE Defender here, as it's action economy probably won't be improved THAT much by a white K-turn.

 

But just getting your actions while K-turning isn't the only benefit of being able to constantly K-turn. Onto the next point...

 

Re Point 2:

The above math does NOT consider the fact that a white K-turn will likely allow you to get shots of when you would normally not have anything in arc. So by deductive reasoning, if the jousting efficiency even with a perfect action economy isn't quite good enough to brute force joust yourself to victory, then you need to make up the difference by getting better shots on your enemy. KO and some others are reporting that this is in fact A Big Deal, that tactically it's potentially paying for itself. So, I think this is the factor that you NEED to abuse in order to make the Defender pay for itself: get itself in odd places repeatedly, possibly through many successive K-turns, that always puts guns on your opponent. If you can increase your firing duty cycle from, say, 80% to 95%, that's statistically a pretty big deal over the long run.

 

Edit: I just whipped up the 80% / 95% numbers out of thin air, but incidentally it nets a jousting efficiency of about 100%:

 

12*( 95/85*2.036*   1.127*(3*1.25 + 3)/3  )^0.52/30 = 99.5%

 

Re Point 3:

Well, this part at least is obvious, it has twice the hull/shields as a TIe Fighter, but the extra beef is all shields, so it's a little better than twice as durable.

Edited by MajorJuggler

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The problem in my opinion with the Defender is the lack of green maneuvers.  Bleeding stress off this ship means going in a straight line.  Granted, it can do a 5-straight green but that takes you out of the fight for 2 turns.  

 

The Engine Upgrade will be nice because it allows you to shift your line with the left and right banks.  

 

However, with all the new Rebel toys for inducing stress (R3-A2, Transport Jamming, fletchette torpedos), it does not bode well for a ship with a very limited option for reducing stress.  The Wingman EPT will be golden as mentioned before.  

I don't mean to call you out, because I started by doing the same thing, but I can't help but think that this is what we're doing wrong. We want the Defender to be a super interceptor, but why not try something new? I'm perfectly okay with going out of the fight for two turns, because I'll then be able to re-engage on my own terms.

 

 

I outmaneuvered Soontir Fel today. It was an awesome match, and the dice luck on both sides made the game go on much longer than it should have, but the Defenders wide, swooping turns worked great, and that occasional hard turn was fine without actions. Because unlike, well, pretty much everything else on the Imperial roster, they don't die just because they didn't take an evade token.

I think this is a such a good point. We also don't have to be afraid to bump or even take stress for a turn or two. A Defender with stress isn't as vulnerable as Fel. 

 

I stand by my statement of it being a great ship based on how well it worked for me on final table.  One Defender > a Z-95, E-Wing, and B-Wing.  It blew up all of those and had the 4th ship of their list, another B-Wing, half dead before it was blown up.  I only fielded a Defender and a Phantom for my final table Imp list...the Phantom went by by 2nd round because it took all 4 of thier ships to do so.  After that it was the Defender Show!

Do you mind telling us how you had it kitted out and how you went about pulling that off? I doubt you just jousted your way to victory.

 

EDIT: I'm also going to start trying these guys out on Vassal, but what list looks better?

 

Delta + Ion Cannon x 3 

 

or

 

Vessery (2 points of seasoning?) / Brax

Delta + Ion Cannon

Delta

I'm not certain the Ion Cannon is the best 3-point Upgrade on the Delta.

Hull Upgrade and Stealth Device are both VERY viable on the Defender.

 

As for the 2nd list, I severely dislike having lopsided generics. My Vessery + fleet is

Vessery + Adrenaline Rush (White-out those turns for a round for even crazier mobility)

Onyx

Onyx

(100).

 

At PS 3, your Onyxes are far more likely to get a target lock on the first round of combat than they would normally, giving Vessery an extra round of pilot-based insanity.

 

Now, for using Rexler, I'm gonna pair him with 2 Deltas, and give him Predator (action-free re-rolls, increasing the odds of using focuses for those sweet-sweet crits).

Decoy would also be brilliant, as you want that crittening to go under shields.

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Raven,

I was running:

Rexler + Homing + HLC + PtL + SU

Whisper + IA + Adv Sensors + PtL + ACD

99 points

I was lazy and didn't want to take anymore ships than I had to so I used just the 2 new ships and some of my upgrade cards.

They were running:

Lt. Blount + Wingman + Ion Missile

Knave Squad + Adv Sensors

2x Blue Squad + FCS

He ganged up on Whisper second turn and he went away hard. Then Rexler raged....but was not able to finish off that last B-Wing.

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I was trying to put some TIE/D builds on a squad builder just now and realized... No EPT's on the generics?! You are telling me the ship that was ONLY given to the best of the best of the empires pilots in the lore is only given to academy pilots and obsidian pilots who have only basic flight experience in the game?! What gives! Almost makes me throw them into the useless bin... So many new EPT's and combo's wasted... Makes me sad.

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